After winning award from NSA, Google engineer says NSA shouldn’t exist

The NSA's $2b data centre in Bluffdale, Utah (source: businessweek.com)

The NSA’s $2b data centre in Bluffdale, Utah (source: businessweek.com)

Joseph Bonneau, a Google engineer, was the first person to be awarded the NSA’s “Best Scientific Cybersecurity  Paper” award last week for his “The Science of Guessing” report. Bonneau’s paper analyzed more than 70 million user passwords to see why people are not good at making strong passwords. While winning the award is great and all, Bonneau says he is not a big fan of the NSA in the first place.

In a blog post, he thanked the NSA for the award, but then went on to say that organization’s attempts to collect data from users are not something he agrees with. “I don’t think a free society is compatible with an organization like the NSA in its current form,” he wrote.

In accepting the award I don’t condone the NSA’s surveillance. Simply put, I don’t think a free society is compatible with an organisation like the NSA in its current form. Yet I’m glad I got the rare opportunity to visit with the NSA and I’m grateful for my hosts’ genuine hospitality.

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Google believed to drop Asus, partner with LG for 2014 Nexus 7 to bolster hardware

While Google has only launched its latest tablet just last week with the redesigned, higher-resolution Nexus 7, there is already talk about next year’s model. Analyst Ming-Chi-Kuo has issued a new report today that outlines his belief that Google will drop its tablet-hardware-design partnership with ASUS in favor of LG.

Google has partnered with ASUS for many hardware components for the Nexus 7 in both the first-generation model and the 2013 edition. The two companies are closely knit in this regard, with Google even stamping ASUS’s logo on the rear of the 2012 model.

For 2014, Kuo says that Google will team up with LG to advance display design. Such a partnership would not exactly be unprecedented. Google and LG have worked together on the Nexus 4, Google’s current flagship smartphone. With this successful partnership on the phone side, a translation over to tablets would seem to be sensible…

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New Nexus 7 now available through Google Play ahead of expected release date

Google Play Nexus 7

While the new Nexus 7 has already been arriving in some retail stores and online ahead of its expected July 30 release, Google just announced that the device is now available to purchase through Google Play. It’s still only available to customers in the US, as an official date for the rollout to Canada, UK, Germany, France and a handful of other locations has not yet been confirmed.

We already reported that retailers were planning on receiving the new Nexus 7 in and around July 30, but others have reportedly already been able to get their hands on the device through several channels.  Staples is already offering $30 off the device through a discount on tablets that it’s currently running. Reviews of the device have been strong, with most pegging it as a serious iPad mini competitor, but we’ll see in the coming hours and days if demand for the device is just as strong.

The new Nexus 7 is 50 grams lighter and 2mm thinner than the previous version, and comes with a 1920×1200 display with 323 pixels per inch, 2GB of RAM, and a 1.5GHz Snapdragon chipset.

Both the 16GB model ($229) and the 32GB model ($269) are available to order through Google Play now with an estimated shipping date of July 30. A 32GB LTE version of the device will be arriving on AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the coming weeks for $349.

T-Mobile going $0 down for all devices tomorrow as AT&T’s Next program begins

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 6.56.24 AM

As part of its new un-carrier strategy, T-Mobile USA today announced that it will begin a new deal tomorrow: $0 down for all devices. Now, eligible customers can receive a phone with no money down and pay for the device over 24 months. Above is a chart with the monthly pricing for some of T-Mobile’s most notable devices.

“The number of reasons not to switch to T-Mobile this summer is ZERO,” said John Legere, president and chief executive officer, T-Mobile US. “This is a fantastic offer and we’re making it easier than ever for customers to get the latest amazing devices. Adding Zero Down in addition to JUMP!, and Simple Choice with no contract is all about making wireless work for consumers and shaking up this industry.”

T-Mobile says that the promotion will last for a limited-time, but the company does not specify much beyond that. Today’s announcement goes hand-in-hand with T-Mobile JUMP upgrade program, according to the company. Notably, AT&T’s JUMP competitor, which is called Next, goes live today. Verizon’s competing Edge plan starts next month. 

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Google prepares for living-room push as 4k support added to Android 4.3

4k

Google is clearly serious about its intentions to make a sizeable push into the living-room market, as Android Police spotted a small clue revealing that Android 4.3 has added support for 4k displays.

Google has added a new DPI category to Android: XXXHDPI. This is for screens with an approximate DPI of six hundred and forty. Did you think we were stopping at 1080p?

Android engineer Dianne Hackborn is quoted as confirming the intent behind this:

A typical use of this density would be 4K television screens — 3840×2160 …  Read more

Google ends free Netflix/Chromecast promotion due to ‘overwhelming demand’

Chromecast

According to a report from the LA Times, Google has confirmed today that it is ending the three months of free Netflix service that it launched as a promotion with its new $35 Chromecast streaming device yesterday. Reports of the device selling out at various retailers and shipping times being pushed back on Google Play started circling this morning, and Google says the promotion has ended due to the overwhelming demand:

“Due to overwhelming demand for Chromecast devices since launch, the 3-month Netflix promotion (which was available in limited quantities) is no longer available,” Google told The Times in a statement.

Reviews for the Chromecast have been fairly positive, with most agreeing the price point will be its biggest differentiator. However, the free Netflix promotion, almost a $30 value, was certainly helping to drive a lot of the early demand for the $35 device. A selection of reviews, good and bad, are below:

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