News Roundup: No Tech For Old Men, Google Glass Shattered and Linux Is King
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News Roundup: No Tech For Old Men, Google Glass Shattered and Linux Is King

The Future Of Mobile Madness

Firefox OS isn’t just going for the low-end phone market, oh no, they’re coming for all you fancy expensive phone-users too. While not quite having the brand power of Apple nor the power of Google, Mozilla could still have an impact. Factor in the likes of Ubuntu and Tizen, the mobile phone market could look very different by the end of the year.

HTC profits have taken a major nosedive, falling 98% compared to 12 months ago, to $2.8 million worth of profit. While the release of the HTC One - along with some sparkling reviews - might make for a rosier Q2, the fall from grace is staggering.

Amazon Wants To Be King Of The Jungle While Google’s Glass Is Cracked Already

Amazon’s entry into the market may also play hellfire with the current status quo, with reports that one of their two models with feature retina-tracking technology that creates 3D images without the use of glasses. Competing on so many hardware fronts while still being an eCommerce giant may seem like a ‘too many fingers in too many pies‘-type situation, I think Amazon have the resources to pull it off. 

Meanwhile Google’s Glass may be keeping the tech press busy with all the possible social taboos it may trespass on, but it seems the actual device itself might be a bit naff. Some early reviews have been less than kind - Business Insider said it “has a ridiculously short battery life, elicits a headache, is difficult to read in bright light, doesn’t allow for settings tweaks and is buggy when it comes to voice controls”, Wired basically said it was only good for nerds, while one professor said it had the potential to “very well mess up the wearer’s neural circuitry.” So not an instant winner. According to a poll on Computerworld the majority of people wouldn’t wear the glasses, while a large minority might if it was cheaper.

MicroNook

The news that 41% of all Windows 8 licenses sold aren't being used may have been the spur for the potential return of the holy Start button in Windows 8.1. But more concerning is the idea that over half a billion people still use XP, despite the looming end of support for the decade+ year old OS. 1.7 million users of the 20-year-old Windows NT is amusing in itself.

While Amazon might be moving into mobiles, Microsoft might be moving into eBooks, with the rumoured takeover of Nook. While Nook-based hardware might disappear, or could see them move into digital textbooks, it could be an interesting merger.

Navigating Facebook, While Drinking

The Facebook news of the week comes in the form of a rumoured $1 billion bid to buy Israeli start-up Waze. The traffic and navigation app has had offers from the social media giant and Apple in the past, and is seen as a serious contender to Google when it comes to maps. Waze’s introduction would allow Facebook’s mobile base to be served better local information, and ideally replace Yelp and FourSqaure. Mark Zuckerberg won’t stop until your entire life is lived entirely within Facebook’s walls.

Elsewhere, scientists have spent four years studying college kids, and found posting pics & statuses about booze would make you more likely to be a bit of an alcoholic. Few were surprised.

Open Season For Open Source

Last year a report found that Open Source code was actually better than proprietary software code, and the findings still stand in this year’s report, with Coverity announcing that “Linux remains the benchmark for quality.” Combine this with the range of Open Source phones mentioned earlier, and the future is looking very open all of a sudden.

No Tech For Old Men

Where in most jobs it’s the kids who are being squeezed out, in IT it seems the opposite is true. Cheap workers from abroad, combined with the constant need for employers to retrain their workers mean they prefer paying the lower wages of the young instead of the 20-year veteran. With a general lack of skilled workers in tech-related fields, should companies be willing to shell out a little more for people who know their stuff, or should veterans get with the program and take a lower wage? Hard one to call.

Bitcoins On The Western Cape

M-Pesa has already proved Africa’s monetary needs are different from the likes of Europe or the US; around 30% of Kenya’s GDP goes through the mobile payment service. So it’s no surprise South Africa’s first Bitcoin exchange, BitX, is expecting a rapid rise. The cryptocurrency’s value has stabilised somewhat after the rollercoaster of the last few months, so how it fares from now on will be very interesting.

Freemium Free No More?

The UK papers are often full of stories about kids who have downloaded a free game and bought thousands of pounds worth of add-ons without their parents’ knowledge. Research by Microsoft says it averages out at around £34 each for UK parents. While it’s easy to argue a) don’t give kids so much tech and b) keep more of an eye on them if you do, kids will get their way eventually. While there are ways to restrict those unauthorised in-game purchases, there is currently an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading to see if this marketing to kids is unlawful. In-game restrictions (in the form of a PIN-code for every purchase) should be automatic, and the ability to run up four-digit bills should definitely be addressed. If Freemium is outlawed, it could have big repercussions on the app world.

 

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Dan Swinhoe

Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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