Apple and Japanese telecom giant Softbank may be developing a new mobile phone that can download songs from iTunes, according to a report from Japan's Nihon Keizei Shimbun Friday.
Apple representatives did not immediately respond to inquiries about the report. Motorola , of course, put out the first phone with iTunes last year, but those phones couldn't download songs over the air.
According to a Reuters interpretation of the report, the rumored Apple-Softbank phone would do just that. Wireless networks in Japan are extremely fast and allow people to use their cell phones for a variety of things, such as buying food and gear from Japan's ubiquitous vending machines. In the U.S., Verizon offers its V-Cast music download service for mobile phones.
What isn't clear is whether the companies are working on the long-rumored iPhone, or Mac Mobile, or whatever you'd like to call it. Many people, including Motorola CEO Ed Zander , think Apple will eventually release its own mobile-phone design, but thus far it has been content to partner with companies like Motorola and dominate the portable digital music market with the iPod.
BOSTON--Put down that joystick and start walking. As part of the Emerging Technologies exhibit at Siggraph 2006 here, a student group from the virtual reality lab at the University of Tsukuba in Japan has developed virtual shoes.
Well, the Powered Shoes themselves are real, but putting them on allows the wearer to walk through a virtual world. Do I hear gamers salivating?
The shoes used in the demonstration here looked like a cross between a Birkenstock and an old-fashioned roller skate. However, the technology can be applied to any footwear. Each shoe's sole has three sets of motorized rollers that drive the skate backward in measure with the pace of the walker to cancel motion and keep the walker in place.
"You can walk through a virtual world, but be positioned here," said Hiroaki Yano, who, along with Hiroo Iwata and Hiroshi Tomioka, developed the device.
The Powered Shoes additionally have sensors on the toe of each one that allow the shoes to serve as a locomotion interface, registering every step with the computer program. In the technology's current form, direction is changed by rotating the computer and monitor around a circular track on the floor that the walker stands inside of.
The shoes achieve essentially the same effect as a treadmill, without a giant contraption taking up space in your apartment. On their own, the creators joked, Powered Shoes could be used for indoor walking when winter makes it difficult and indoor walks for restless dogs.
A more serious application for Powered Shoes is use in conjunction with robotic devices employed in search and rescue, or other places humans may want to "walk" through, but can't. Walking, something that comes naturally to humans, may be an easier way to manipulate robotic devices than a controller.
Sales of Windows were strong last quarter, but weaker than expected results from online advertising and the Office units led Microsoft earnings to come in a penny per share below analysts estimates. Microsoft also issued an outlook for the current quarter that fell short of what some analysts were projecting.
For the three months ended June 30, Microsoft said it earned $4.3 billion, or 36 cents per share, on revenue of $15.84 billion for the fiscal fourth quarter ended June 30. That was within the range Microsoft forecast in April, although revenue was slightly higher than the $15.7 billion First Call estimate and per-share earnings were a penny lower than First Call projections.
"We're between our high and low guidance," Microsoft chief accounting officer Frank Brod told CNET News. He pointed to particularly strong results in the Windows business, where sales were up 15 percent from a year earlier, ahead of Microsoft's forecast of 7 percent to 11 percent growth. Gains in piracy, particularly in China, helped that. He also noted that Microsoft has now sold 180 million licenses of Windows Vista.
"Our online services was off slightly from what our expectations as well as our business division was down slightly," Brod said.
For the current quarter, Microsoft said it expects per share earnings of 47 cents or 48 cents, on revenue of $14.7 billion to $14.9 billion. Analysts were targeting $15.0 billion in revenue and per-share earnings of 49 cents, according to First Call. The company also lowered its forecast for full-year earnings by 1 penny per share, with its new forecast calling for earnings of $2.12 to $2.18 per share.
Brod noted that the company does plan to continue investing in its online business as well as boosting the amount of money it spends marketing Windows.
"Embedded in our guidance for next year is a significant investment in the marketing program around Windows Vista.
Microsoft shares dipped in after-hours trading, changing hands recently at $26.09, down $1.43, or more than 5 percent, according to Google Finance.
Brod said that Microsoft's bookings pipeline remained strong, although he said Microsoft has seen an expansion of its sales cycle--the amount of time it takes to close deals--as companies spend longer weighing purchases.
"We're seeing the sales process takes a little longer than it has in the past," Brod said. "A lot more debate goes on."
Brod said that IT spending is stronger in emerging markets than in mature ones, but added Microsoft has "not seen a whole lot of pull back in our customer bases."
The earnings report comes amid continued attention over whether Microsoft will choose to seal a deal in the online advertising arena. In addition to its seemingly endless on-again, off-again moves with Yahoo, Microsoft reportedly met Wednesday with Time Warner to talk about its AOL unit.During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina .
I guess it was just a matter of determining how long Mitch Kapor's patience would last, since he has enough money to fuel a dead project for a loooonnnggggg time.
He fed Chandler and the Open Source Applications Foundation for six years on the premise that it would deliver a mind-blowingly innovative PIM suite.Mitch Kapor
Six years later, Chandler just blows.
OSAF announced this week that Kapor is leaving and taking his funding with him. It's about time.
Kapor--the designer of Lotus 1-2-3, the co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the founding chairman of the Mozilla Foundation, and the chairman of Linden Labs--certainly can find other things to do.
OSAF wasn't a bad idea, and Chandler wasn't either. But neither was managed particularly well . Time to move on.
The best communal open-source projects are run like Mozilla , Eclipse , or Apache .
Chandler had none of this. It had a strong, inward-looking development team that never really got beyond itself.
That's a recipe for failure in open source. And thus, Chandler has failed.
MIAMI--The Future of Web Apps conference here hasn't even started yet , but I'm already sensing a major theme of the weekend: social media really is a whole lot bigger than Silicon Valley.
I was sitting in the lobby of my hotel, writing a couple of blog posts because there's no in-room Wi-Fi when a handful of 20- and 30-something guys with laptops came in and set up shop. Another, who'd been sitting across the room, came over and asked us if we were in town for FOWA and the accompanying BarCamp Miami. As it turns out, we all were.
I spent a few minutes talking to one of them, a Honduras-based Web consultant named Alejandro Corpeno who had recently launched a side project called TuBabel . It's a community site that they eventually hope will be a comprehensive, user-driven resource to deciphering the many significant discrepancies between dialects of Spanish spoken throughout the world. From what Corpeno told me, those language differences are significant enough to warrant their own Web site, and said that he eventually hopes TuBabel will be a sort of Latin American UrbanDictionary .
TuBabel is a piece of social media that's very foreign to me, culturally. The site is all in Spanish, of which my knowledge is limited to "la cerveza mas fina," and it deals with a phenomenon that U.S. English speakers don't encounter in their own language . But I could still get a grasp of its function and purpose because of that social media site structure with which we're all familiar by now: There are tag clouds. There's a staff blog. There are member profiles for networking And there's a bright, color-gradient-happy design.
I come across social-media sites created outside the U.S. all the time. But it's much less often that I get to talk to the founder of a site that was created internationally, in a language other than English, with a target audience with practically no overlap to the SoMa or SoHo sets--and yet browsing the site still feels intuitive. Imagine: Social media actually might be that great international unifier that all those wacky Web futurists say it is.
I probably shouldn't find this quite as remarkable as I did, and have made a note to myself to get my head out of the sand. While at FOWA, I'll be keeping an eye on cool trends and new players in the international social media and start-up markets that you probably won't read about on the English-language industry blogs.
But Web 2.0 isn't the only common denominator at this conference. One of the hotel's staff members noticed the pack of FOWA attendees in the lobby, all with PowerBooks or MacBooks of one variety or another, and commented, "Is there an Apple convention in town?"
"Yeah, basically," one of the FOWA-bound guys said.
Updated 1:55 p.m. PDT with no comment from Expedia.
Correction 12:45 p.m. PDT : This blog initially misstated the day the price of Expedia shares rose on rumors of a possible bid by Google. It was Tuesday.
Does Google want to buy travel site Expedia? A Wall Street analyst referred to rumors Tuesday morning that Google could make a bid and that drove up the stock of Expedia about 9 percent at one point, according to Reuters .
The rumors are just that though, at this point.
The move doesn't exactly make sense given that Google has shied away from being a company or buying companies that create content. It's likely one of the latest off-the-wall Google acquisition rumors that end up going nowhere .
But it does give a short-term boost to the company rumored to be acquired and Expedia, the largest online travel site, likely won't argue with that.
Representatives from both companies said they don't comment on rumors or speculation.
Google Analytics relaunched today, adding several new visualization tools and ways to share data with others. The tool gives Web site owners a free and relatively easy system to keep track of how people are accessing content on their site, including ways to track which content is getting the most views, how much time each user is spending on the site, and the number of visits by time of day. There's also a handy map overlay which will show you where your users are, right down to the city they live in.No it's not an episode of Jericho , it's site usage by geography.
One of the updated features is the Analytics dashboard, which is now completely customizable and has simplified data. Users can relocate, add, and remove the various data widgets, in a similar fashion to that of iGoogle . Also new is the option to e-mail or export reports as PDFs, which can now be scheduled to be sent out automatically every day, week, month or quarter using a built-in calendar. Previously you were only able to export it as a non-human-friendly XML file.
The service is mainly an extension of Google's AdWords program , which lets site owners purchase words that link to various parts of their site via contextual ads that show up on Google or partnered search engine results. But even if you're not interested in making money it's a free Analytics solution that requires no software, just a line of code on any page you want to keep track of. If you're a WordPress user, there's even a plug-in to automatically add it to your site. Blogger users are also able to add it by tweaking their blog template .
There's more information about the update on the Google Analytics Blog post. For more screenshots of the new dashboard, keep reading.This is Google Analytic's new dashboard. Each stat box is its own widget, and can be moved around or closed ad-hoc. To dig down into where your visitors are from you can pull up a map which will show you which countries are checking out your site the most. Everyone likes pie...charts. This one breaks down which browsers your users are running.