Verizon officially announces Droid MAXX, Droid Ultra, and Droid Mini, preorders start today

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At its event today in New York City, Verizon announced three new Motorola DROID devices coming to the carrier, which isn’t much of a surprise if you have been following the latest rumors. When Verizon sent out invites to the event earlier this month, the carrier hinted that we’d be seeing new Droid devices, and we speculated we’d be seeing the Ultra, Mini, and Droid MAXX that had floating around in recent leaks. Confirming our suspicions, Verizon just made things official and announced pricing and availability for three new devices:

DROID MINI: A compact design with an edge-to-edge 4.3-inch HD display and wireless charging capabilities.

DROID ULTRA: The thinnest 4G LTE smartphone available, measuring 7.18mm, and with a 5-inch HD display. The ULTRA will be available in Black and Red models.

DROID MAXX: Features wireless charging and a 3500mAh battery that gives users nearly two days of battery life on a single charge, making it the longest lasting 4G LTE smartphone available.

The devices pack in much thinner dimensions than their predecessors, as well as some new software features and many of the upgraded specs we’ve been hearing about leading up to today’s launch. Motorola confirmed that the MAXX will come with the 48 hour battery life that was previously rumored, while still coming in at 9 percent thinner than the last generation MAXX. As for software, we see some of the new features we’ve seen in leaks for the Moto X, including: quick access to your device’s camera by twisting your wrist twice, and the ability wake the device hands-free with the “Ok Google Now” command. Also included is the new Touchless Controls and Active Display alerts: Read more

Verizon announces its fastest FiOS plan ever, still not close to Google Fiber and costs 4 times as much

As much as people wish it would change, Google Fiber is only available to a select group of cities, which means that the rest of us are stuck with other alternatives, like Verizon FiOS. Today, Verizon has announced its fastest tier of FiOS to date, but it’s still not as fast, or cheap, as Google’s offerings. Dubbed Quantum, the plan offers theoretical download speeds of 500Mbps  and 100Mbps uploads. For comparison’s sake, Google Fiber offers one gigabit both up and down.

Where Verizon’s offerings really differ, however, are in price. FiOS Quantum requires that you have a “double play” package, which starts at a whopping $309.99 a month. For a “triple play” bundle, which in includes phone service, the price jumps to $329.99. Both those packages also require a two-year contract. Google Fiber, on the other hand, costs $70 a month for just internet, and $120 for internet and TV.

The 500Mbps/100Mbps plans are available “in parts” of every existing FiOS market, with Verizon looking to bring it to more places soon.  Read more

Google (mostly YouTube) accounts for a quarter of all North American internet traffic

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According to new data from analytics firm Deepfield (via Wired), Google services now account for an incredible 25% of traffic on all internet providers in North America. Not only is that significantly more than Netflix, it’s a huge increase from the approximately 6 percent Google held just three years ago. As noted in the report, Google now measures in at more than Netflix, Facebook, and Twitter combined, but mostly due to YouTube: Read more

Samsung schedules first developer conference for Oct. 27-29 in San Francisco

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Samsung has just announced that it will be hosting its first developer conference later this year in San Francisco. While we assume that the event would include typical developer sessions for Samsung’s Android/TouchWiz devices, it looks like we’ll also be getting a look at the latest from across the company’s other product lines as well. Samsung isn’t saying much, but it is teasing “what’s next” for developers, hinting that we’ll be seeing at least some new developments with its SDK and developer tools.

The event is scheduled to take place at Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco from October 27-29. Registration isn’t yet open, and no specific details on what we’ll be seeing at the event, but you can sign up on Samsung’s website now to get notified when more information becomes available.

Google gears up for public Glass launch with investment in chipmaker Himax

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In another sign that Google is gearing up for the public launch of Google Glass, Reuters reports that the company has taken a stake in Taiwanese chipmaker Himax, a specialist in display driver chips with particular expertise in controllers for LCOS micro-displays used in head-mounted displays.

Google Inc will take a 6.3 percent stake in the unit of Taiwanese chipmaker Himax Technologies Inc that develops display technology for devices such as Google Glass, Himax said.

The investment will help fund the production of liquid crystal on silicon chips and modules used in head-mounted devices such as Google Glass, head-up displays and pico-projectors, Himax said in a statement …  Read more

Cydia developer Saurik exploits and fixes Android’s Master Key vulnerability with ‘Impactor’

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The severity of the Master Key vunerability (bug #8219321) Bluebox Security discovered has been disputed and folks often are willing to look past theoretical vulnerabilities until a widespread zero day goes public. The original claims were that 99% of Android devices were vulnerable but that has since come down with patches and Google updates. Still, with manufacturers and carriers unable to see the long term value in quick (or any) updates to their phones, a huge amount of Android users are out there, unpatched.

(Bluebox has a scanner in the Play store to determine if your Android device is still vulnerable) 

Enter Saurik, the developer/hacker/violinist responsible for the Cydia Jailbreak repository for iOS and Substrate for Android, who this morning, posted  an exploit and a fix (as well as a wonderfully-detailed bug #8219321 writeup) for Android devices that are unpatched. In true jailbreak fashion, the exploit runs from a Mac or PC and in a few steps gives your su/Root access to the infected phone/tablet. While it isn’t as plug and play easy as recent iOS jailbreaks, it is easy enough for anyone who wants to root their unpatched phone to do in a few minutes.

No vulnerability exploit would be worth its salt if there also wasn’t a fix attached and this is no different. Folks who just want a fix that their carrier/manufacterer won’t supply can also use this to make sure they aren’t vulnerable.

We’ve reached out to Google for comment and will report back if we hear anything.

Investor disappointment in Google (GOOG) results misplaced, says Warwick Business School professor

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While the market response to Google’s quarterly earnings seems to have been lukewarm, the stock price dipping in after-hours trading and at least six analysts lowering their price targets after the company came in slightly under Wall Street expectations, Warwick Business School Associate Professor John Baptista says that the modest performance is a ‘blip’.

Bapista, who has researched the company for many years, said that although Google’s ad revenues have suffered as traffic shifts from the desktop to mobile devices (something Google wasn’t slow to address), the real growth in the future will be in the cloud, with Google ideally placed to benefit …  Read more

Despite aggressive pushing of Google+, service only gets two percent of social sharing

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It’s pretty difficult these days not to have a Google+ account. Sign up for almost any Google service, and you find you’re on Google+ whether you wanted to be or not. But this aggressive approach of pushing accounts on people doesn’t appear to be paying off: a new report by Gigya cited by Marketing Land shows that only two percent of social media sharing takes place on Google+ …  Read more

Google announces Q2 2013 earnings: $14 billion revenue, up 19% year-on-year

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Google just released its earnings report for Q2 2013, announcing $9.56 per share on consolidated revenue of $14.11 billion, up 19% year-over-year. That’s compared to the 31% growth with $13.9 billion in revenue it reported last quarter, and the $12.12B in revenue it reported in the year ago quarter. It’s also slightly lower than the average of around $14.45 billion in revenue and $10.79 per share Wall Street was expecting. Google also reported $54.4 billion in cash and cash equivalents and operating income of $3.12B (22% of revenues), down from $3.24 billion last year.

“Google had a great quarter with over $14 billion in revenue – up 19% year-on-year,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google. “The shift from one screen to multiple screens and mobility creates tremendous opportunity for Google. With more devices, more information, and more activity online than ever, the potential to improve people’s lives even more is immense.”

Google’s Motorola unit reported revenues of $998 million, up from $843 million in the year ago quarter, which accounts for 7% of total consolidated revenues. However, Google also notes that “GAAP operating loss for Motorola Mobile was $342 million, or -34% of Motorola Mobile revenues” in the quarter, up from $199 million a year ago.

Google’s headcount is also way down from 53,891 full-time employees to 44,777, mostly  thanks to around 10K employees axed from Motorola alone in recent months.

GOOG closed the day hovering around 910 but dropped to 865, down approximately 5%, in after hours trading.

The full report is below: Read more