National NewsAngry Birds maker Rovio names new CEO
Finland's Rovio, the maker of the Angry Birds mobile game, said it has hired Pekka Rantala from beverage maker Hartwall to take over as its new chief executive by the beginning of next year. Current CEO Mikael Hed, son of board chairman Kaj Hed, will join the company's board of directors as well as take on the role of chairman at Rovio's animation studios. After scoring a global breakthrough with Angry Birds in which players use a slingshot to attack pigs who steal birds' eggs, Rovio has expanded the brand into an animated TV series and merchandising of toys and clothing. Rovio said several years ago it could go public in Hong Kong or New York, but has later said it was not planning an initial public offering any time soon.
Apple working with NXP for pay-by-touch technology in new iPhone: FT
(Reuters) - Apple Inc is working with Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors NV to add secure near-field communications (NFC) technology into the next iPhone, which would enable smartphone users to pay by touch, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with Apple's plans. NXP will provide the secure near-field communications chips that will allow an iPhone to connect with payment terminals or ticketing systems, the daily reported. Apple has invited media to a "special event" in its hometown of Cupertino, California on Sept. 9, when the iPhone maker is expected to unveil the latest versions of its best-selling smartphones.
Google tests airborne drones to deliver goods
By Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc is developing airborne drones capable of flying on their own and delivering anything from candy to medicine, the Internet company said on Thursday. The effort, which Google calls Project Wing, marks the company's latest expansion beyond its Web-based origins and could help Google break into lucrative markets such as commerce and package delivery, ratcheting up the competition with Amazon.com Inc. Google, the world's largest Internet search engine, said it will take years of development to create a service with multiple vehicles flying multiple deliveries per day. An early version of the drone, which Google showcased in a video on its website, has a 1.5 meter-(yard-)wide wingspan and is capable of flying pre-programmed routes. "These planes have much more in common with the Google self-driving car than the remote-controlled airplanes people fly in parks on weekends," Google said on its website, referring to the company's test fleet of automobiles that use sensors and radars to navigate city streets and freeways on their own.
China's Tencent shuts messaging accounts after censorship rules-state media
China's Tencent Holdings Ltd has suspended more than 300 accounts on its WeChat mobile messaging app and banned around 40 others as government restrictions on spreading political news online take effect, state media said on Friday. Earlier this month, China imposed new rules on what kind of information can be spread via instant messaging apps as well as restrictions on accounts which can broadcast news to large numbers of followers. Of the 357 accounts closed down by Tencent as of August 25, 46 were permanently banned while the rest were suspended, the official Xinhua news agency said on its microblog.
SoftBank, Sprint to offer Sony Xperia smartphone for first time: sources
By Yoshiyasu Shida and Reiji Murai TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese wireless operator SoftBank Corp will offer a Sony smartphone for the first time, selling a soon-to-be-launched Xperia in Japan, and in the United States via its unit Sprint, sources with knowledge of the matter said. The deal could give a much-needed boost to Sony's struggling mobile division, which last month cut its outlook and said it did not expect to make a profit in the year to next March. Sony faces stiff competition from low-cost Chinese smartphone makers, and its mobile unit has a limited presence in the key U.S. Four sources told Reuters that a Sony flagship Xperia smartphone would be available from SoftBank in time for Japan's winter holiday shopping season.
U.S. banking group says unaware of any 'significant' cyber attack
The group, known as the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or FS-ISAC, includes all major U.S. "There are no credible threats posed to the financial services sector at this time," the group said in an email to its members. FS-ISAC told members in the email that it decided not to raise its barometer of threats facing banks during a regularly scheduled conference call on Thursday.
iPhone 6 -- the jolt that mobile payments need
Nokia's HERE Maps is coming to Android as a Samsung exclusive
Toshiba pushes TransferJet in the West, wants it embedded in smartphones
Google’s secret same-day delivery drone program is not so secret anymore
Search, mail, maps, Android, glasses, Internet balloons, self-driving cars, robots, satellites and drones are just a few of the many products Google has to offer, or has started working on, with the latter being the company’s latest revelation. According to The Atlantic, Google is very interested in same-day delivery options, and already has a two-year old drone product – now not a secret anymore – to tackle this particular desire from users. Google is not the only company looking to offer same-day deliveries – the company is already offering such services in certain markets albeit not via air – as Amazon has unveiled its drone program a few months ago. Google’s drone project is called Project Wing, and relies on a
Get strangers to deliver the bad news with 'Somebody' messaging app
What to expect at Apple's upcoming event
After months of speculation, the world's most secretive consumer technology company has finally sent out the official invites to an event on September 9, where the unveiling of the iPhone 6 is expected to take place. Back in May, when Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, sat down with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at the inaugural Code Conference, he said: "We've got the best product pipeline that I've seen in my 25 years at Apple." The statement got Apple's fans very excited and hinted that a host of new devices, including another truly innovative product in the mold of the original iPod, iPhone or iPad, were on their way. The new phone looks set to have a 4.7-inch display, much larger than the one found on the current flagship iPhone 5S, and Apple is also expected to offer a ‘phablet' version of the device with a 5.5-inch display and as much as 128GB of space on board for productivity, music and video storage.
4 'iWatch' alternatives Apple could unveil on Sept. 9
Play-Fi takes on Sonos in wireless audio
Unfiltered America: one Instagram account is documenting the Everyday USA
David Guttenfelder returned to the US last month after spending the previous 20 years working as a photojournalist overseas. His career with the Associated Press had taken him to far flung places across the globe — Nairobi, Tokyo, North Korea — so his return should have marked a homecoming for the Iowa native. “The United States kind of feels like a foreign country to me,” Guttenfelder says. “I’ve never worked here as a photographer before.
Wear next for wearables? in CNET UK podcast 401
You can still win a free Moto 360 with a Yo, as company apologizes for epic contest fail
Motorola has decided to use the viral, yet-not-really-necessary, Yo “messaging” app to promote the upcoming Moto 360 smartwatch, and offer 20 lucky fans the chance of winning the device during the promotion. All a smartphone user had to do to try and win the gorgeous Moto 360 was to simply send a “Yo” to Motorola, but the contest ended badly for many participants, and now the company wants to make up by giving away an extra batch of Moto 360 units. What Motorola did once the contest was over was to contact winners on Yo to tell them they have won the device. But the company also contacted many other people telling them they’ve also won. When the users accepted
US researching implants that'll help your body and mind heal itself
Samsung navigates away from Google with Here maps for Galaxy phones
Google Maps may be one of the undeniable strengths of the Android platform, however Samsung has decided to offer an alternative in the form of Nokia's Here maps. A beta version of Here for Android will be made available exclusively for Samsung Galaxy devices when the newly announced Gear S smartwatch hits stores in October. The partnership bringing Here to Samsung's Android smartphones is just an extension of the same licensing agreement that provides the mapping functionality on the Korean company's Tizen-powered smartwatch. Google and Samsung's relationship has been growing increasingly fractious in recent times.
Chinese e-commerce rivals challenge Alibaba
BEIJING (AP) — China's biggest property developer, Wanda Group, and Internet giants Baidu and Tencent unveiled a new e-commerce venture Friday in a challenge to industry leader Alibaba Group ahead of its U.S. stock offering.
China to offer tax breaks on electric cars, limited mostly to local brands
China said on Friday it would offer tax breaks on purchases of electric cars predominantly made by Chinese automakers, in its latest policy measure to boost green vehicles in the world's biggest auto market, amid rising concern over pollution. Last month, the official Xinhua news agency reported the government would stop levying sales tax on approved models of green cars from Sept. 1. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology posted on its website on Friday a list of 17 vehicles from 11 automakers, including one model each from the China joint ventures of Nissan Motor Co Ltd, General Motors Co and Daimler AG. The moves comes as China renews its push to popularize all-electric cars and heavily electrified so-called plug-in hybrid cars.
Google Lunar XPrize: Part-Time Scientists visit the moon in Germany
Nokia's Here map app arrives on Tizen, before Android Wear
Samsung denies child labour at Chinese supplier
South Korea's Samsung Electronics has refuted fresh allegations by a labour protection watchdog that one of its suppliers in China hired child workers. New York-based China Labor Watch (CLW) claimed in a report Thursday that Samsung supplier HEG Technology had hired people under the age of 16 at its facility in Huizhou, China. Samsung, however, insisted that a recent onsite investigation found no underage or student workers at the facility. "The investigation found that there were no child workers nor student workers working in the Samsung Electronics production line at HEG," the company said in a statement e-mailed to AFP on Friday.
Oculus Rift turns rollercoaster ride into a virtual shooter
Singapore switches on super-fast 100Gbps network for researchers
Google tests using drones to deliver goods
Google on Thursday said it is testing using drones to deliver items bought online, putting its own spin on similar efforts by Internet retail titan Amazon.com. Two years of research into what Google referred to as "Project Wing" was capped this month with test flights delivering candy, water, medicine, dog treats and other items to two farmers in Queensland, Australia. "Self-flying vehicles could open up entirely new approaches to moving goods," California-based Google said in a blog post disclosing the project. Project Wing drones were described as having more in common with Google's self-driving car than remote-controlled aircraft used by hobbyists.
Brazil arrests 'greatest destroyers' of the Amazon rainforest
Authorities in Brazil this week arrested members of a criminal gang that they described as "the greatest destroyers" of the Amazon rainforest. As the BBC reports, the organization allegedly logged and burned enormous swathes of the rainforest and sold public Amazon lands for farming, resulting in estimated damages worth more than $220 million, according to the Brazilian Federal Police. Most of the Amazon lies within Brazil's borders, and deforestation rates have increased alarmingly in recent months. In 2009, Brazil pledged to reduce deforestation rates by 80 percent by the end of this decade, though its efforts have been hampered by poor enforcement and widespread corruption.
Tesla, Chinese firm plan 400 charging stations
BEIJING (AP) — Tesla Motors Co. and a state-owned Chinese phone carrier announced plans Friday to build 400 charging stations for electric cars in a new bid to promote popular adoption of the technology in China.
Australia's consumer watchdog sues US games giant Valve
Australia's consumer watchdog Friday said it was taking online US video games giant Valve to court for allegedly making "false or misleading representations" and refusing to offer refunds. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said Valve Corporation, which operates digital video games distribution platform Steam for more than 65 million customers worldwide, allegedly breached local consumer law. "Valve may be an American-based company with no physical presence in Australia, but it is carrying on business in Australia by selling to Australian consumers, who are protected by the Australian consumer law," the ACCC said in a statement.
Chrome update lets you share your browser, not your history
The world wants a bigger iPhone and big smartphones in general
Tomorrow Daily 044: NASA advances its SLS program, Leap Motion for VR, and a 3D-printed castle
Pregame film study shifts to phones, tablets
Xbox One update rolling out with new media player and SmartGlass app improvements
Microsoft’s big September update for Xbox One is rolling out to consoles today, just under a month after the company made it available to select beta testers. The update includes a number of improvements focused at the TV integration on the Xbox One, including a boot to TV option, live TV mini guide, and an expansion of Microsoft’s OneGuide TV guide data to Brazil, Mexico, Austria, and Ireland. The biggest feature is a new media player app that allows Xbox One owners to play files from attached USB devices. Codec support is robust, and Microsoft plans to support formats like animated GIFs and MKV by the end of the year.
Watch Edgar Wright's most hyper-dramatic movie close-ups
It's pretty easy to work out when you're watching an Edgar Wright movie: the British director has a penchant for using close-ups to tell little visual jokes, making mundane objects hilariously important with crash-zooms and portentous music. Filmmaker Jaume R. Lloret, who previously cataloged every death in Quentin Tarantino's movies, has pored through all of Wright's films to catalog his use of close-ups. The resulting video shows his use of the technique in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and the director's "Cornetto trilogy" — Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World's End.
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