Qualcomm exec named new head of Google Fiber

3eafe52The Wall Street Journal reports that Google’s ultrafast Internet service Fiber has a new leader running the show, and not just any new leader. Dennis Kish, a former executive at semiconductor company Qualcomm, is replacing Milo Medin to head Google Fiber going forward. The Journal reports that Medlin will remain “an adviser to the Google Fiber team,” but the Google vice president will begin work on other unspecified projects.

Kish was brought in for his operational expertise and will lead Google Fiber as the high-speed Internet and television service expands to new cities.

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YouTube’s subscription music plans suffer another setback as head of music leaves – again

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Frustrations over delays in launching YouTube’s long-awaited subscription-based music service are the reason the company has just lost its second head of music in less than a year, reports the WSJ.

Chris LaRosa, YouTube’s product manager in charge of music, will be leaving Google this Friday to join a startup. A YouTube spokesman confirmed LaRosa’s departure but didn’t say which startup LaRosa would be joining.

We’ve been hearing rumors about YouTube’s plans to launch the service since last October – the rumors then suggesting it would launch that year. Then it was going to be the first quarter this year. And then the second quarter – which just ended, still with no sign of the service nearing launch …

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Samsung shares slide as CFO admits Q2 “doesn’t look too good”

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The WSJ reports that Samsung stock fell 1.9 percent as chief financial officer Lee Sang-hoon admitted that the company’s quarter two performance “doesn’t look too good.”

The comments were enough to drive down the stock price.  Samsung Electronics’ stock fell  1.9% to 1,320,000 won (US$1,296.4) as concerns over slowing profit growth reignited. Shares have fallen 8.5% so far this month, hit by a series of downgrades in earnings forecasts for the world’s largest seller of smartphones …

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Report: Amazon phone to feature four IR cameras for 3D interface, 13 megapixel camera, 4.7 inch display, 2GB RAM

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Boy Genius Report has posted its knowledge of Amazon’s next smartphone. Although it technically hasn’t been confirmed to be an Android device, it is almost certain that it will be powered by Android at some level, given Amazon’s existing Android ecosystem. BGR claims to have the first pictures of the phone, shown above.

According to the report, the phone will feature a 3D interface. This feature is enabled through a set of four front-facing Infrared cameras that track the position and orientation of the user’s face. The user interface can then update in response to facial movements. Apparently, the four sensors are located in each corner of the front face. The Wall Street Journal reported that the product would feature a 3D interface last week and is set for a June launch.

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Is Android the real target of latest Apple vs Samsung patent battle that starts today?

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Pieces in the NY Times and the WSJ suggest that the real target of Apple’s second courtroom patent battle with Samsung may be Android.

Some features in Samsung devices that Apple objects to are part of Google’s Android operating system, by far the most popular mobile operating system worldwide, running on more than a billion devices made by many manufacturers. That means that if Apple wins, Google could have to make changes to critical Android features, and Samsung and other Android phone makers might have to modify the software on their phones …

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LG shows off its upcoming ‘G Watch’ in new image, 240ppi 1.65inch screen rumored

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LG has posted an image of its upcoming smartwatch on Twitter, perhaps trying to deflect attention away from the Moto 360. The watch will run on the Android Wear platform, but unlike Motorola, LG has opted to use a traditional square screen for the ‘G Watch’.

Other than teasing that the device is ‘coming soon’, LG is still reluctant to release detailed specifications about the device. However, the Wall Street Journal is reporting some more concrete technical specifications according to ‘a person familiar with the matter’. The Journal says that the device will feature a 1.65 inch display with a resolution of around 240 pixels per inch.

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Nokia teases ‘X’ phone ahead of expected Android announcement at MWC next week

Ahead of its scheduled announcement at Mobile World Congress on Monday, Nokia is teasing what we expect to be its first venture into Android handsets.

What has been codenamed Normandy, an Android variant with a Windows Phone-like user interface seen on Nokia’s recent smartphones, is being branded as Nokia X according to information shared by evleaks and mirrored by Nokia’s promo (seen above).

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Google Mobile Services restrictions for OEMs once again coming under scrutiny

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The Wall Street Journal has published a new report in which it claims that there are some major “strings attached” for manufacturers when it comes to using Android. According to documents obtained by the publication, Google has imposed strict regulations on companies that wish to have access to YouTube or the Play Store on their devices. The documents show that in order to receive access to those services, companies are forced to feature other Google apps and set Google search as the default search engine on the device.

Companies wishing to gain access to Google services are forced to sign a “Mobile Application Distribution Agreement” with Google. Both HTC and Samsung have signed such agreements, which force them to preinstall twelve Google apps on any device they release. Other details of the agreement include placing the Search and Play Store apps “immediately adjacent” to the homescreen, and that Google apps appear no more than one screen away. Samsung and Google also recently signed a deal to license each other’s patents for the next 10 years.

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Audi, Google expected to announce Android-based in-car entertainment system

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A new report out of the Wall Street Journal indicates Audi and Google will jointly announce a new in-car entertainment and information system at next weeks Consumer Electronics Show. The aim of both companies is to “allow drivers and passengers to access music, navigation, apps, and services that are similar to those widely available now on Android-powered smartphones.”

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WSJ: Sprint could purchase T-Mobile USA next year

(via Flickr)

Almost two years to date since AT&T pulled its bid for T-Mobile USA, rival carrier Sprint is reportedly preparing its own offer to purchase the fourth largest carrier in the US.

That’s according to a The Wall Street Journal report which claims Sprint is currently looking into regulatory concerns that could be voiced if the third largest US carrier acquired the company which runs the fourth largest US carrier.

Sprint hasn’t yet decided whether to move ahead with a bid. Going forward despite regulators’ concerns would be highly risky. Any pursuit of a bid by Sprint could be aimed at testing antitrust officials’ reaction to a deal, and a bad reaction could put an end to the effort.

While Justice Department denied AT&T’s bid for T-Mobile in 2011 after a year long effort, it’s certainly possible a Sprint/T-Mobile merger could prove otherwise considering rival carriers AT&T and Verizon’s position in the market.

As the WSJ report notes, Verizon leads with 95 million postpaid subscribers and AT&T has 72 million subscribers, but such an acquisition would keep Sprint in a distant third place with just 53 million postpaid customers.

Both Sprint and Verizon have proved capable of adding competition in an an industry with so few key players. Sprint has long boasted its unlimited data offer for customers while T-Mobile famously reinvented the 2-year upgrade model with options soon adopted by the competition.

Unlike the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile acquisition bid two years ago, Sprint and T-Mobile operate with different technologies. The former company relies on CDMA technologies while the latter company is built on GSM.

Talking Schmidt: Google Chairman SHOCKED at NSA hacking of Google network, says he told buddy Obama that it is ‘not OK’

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt expressed his shock at reports that the NSA tapped into the internal communications links between Google servers, describing it as “outrageous” in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The claim was made as part of the ongoing PRISM revelations.

It’s really outrageous that the National Security Agency was looking between the Google data centers, if that’s true. The steps that the organization was willing to do without good judgment to pursue its mission and potentially violate people’s privacy, it’s not OK …  Read more

WSJ: Google execs worried by Samsung’s success with Android

Samsung-Galaxy-S3While Google might be happy with the mobile ad revenue Samsung brings in shipping roughly 40 percent of the devices running Android, The Wall Street Journal said Google execs worry behind closed doors that Samsung could use its dominance to renegotiate its cut of revenue from mobile ads and search:

Google executives worry that Samsung has become so big—the South Korean company sells about 40% of the gadgets that use Google’s Android software—that it could flex its muscle to renegotiate their arrangement and eat into Google’s lucrative mobile-ad business, people familiar with the matter said.

Citing its usual “people familiar with the matter,” WSJ claimed executives at Google are betting on companies like HTC and HP to release compelling Android devices that compete with Samsung. According to the report, Android chief Andy Rubin discussed the situation at a recent event for Google executives. He described Motorola as “a kind of insurance policy against a manufacturer such as Samsung gaining too much power over Android.” Read more