For all the hoopla surrounding Apple's iPhone and the various Android smartphones that have hit the market recently, many forget what is still, by a healthy margin tops in the market: RIM's modest BlackBerry. And RIM intends to stay on top by doing what it does best: offering something that's more affordable and can operate on wireless networks more efficiently than its flashier competition.
During the first quarter, RIM added 4.9 million new BlackBerry subscriber accounts for a total of 41 million subscribers. The company's device shipments were up 40 percent to 37 million compared with the same quarter a year ago, executives said on its quarterly earnings call.For the moment, RIM is a strong leader in the smartphone market. But chinks in its armor are already starting to show as competition from Apple and Android heats up.
The search has begun for a new Mozilla leader now that Chief Executive John Lilly has announced plans to step down later this year.
Mozilla Chairman Mitchell Baker announced the management change and search process in a blog post Tuesday. The announcement timing is intended "to make this process more open than is generally the case and is a reflection of the uniqueness of Mozilla as a public benefit organization dedicated to openness and participation in Internet life," she said. Even after he does step down, Lilly will stay on the Mozilla board, Baker said.
The news, reported earlier by All Things Digital, came just after Mozilla announced details for its Firefox 4 release, also planned for later this year. Mozilla plans to make the browser faster, tidier, and a better foundation for Web applications. About 400 million people now use Firefox, Baker said.
"Venture investing is what I've wanted to do for quite a long time--I've been involved in many startups, even building an incubator a decade ago, and have interests that span enterprise, open source, and the broader web, among others," Lilly said.
Firefox has risen to become an established power in the browser world, accounting for about a quarter of browser usage. It's used that clout to promote the idea that Web developers should create pages conforming to Web standards, not to the particularities of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which remains dominant despite the gradually shrinking usage.
But Lilly's successor will face a faster-paced browser development market and other different challenges than Lilly did.
Read the rest of this piece at CNET News.com.
Calling tablets the "next big wave of opportunities," McAdam said that Verizon was "looking at all the things Google has in its archives that we could put on a tablet to make it a great experience."
Tom Krazit of CNET News.com has more here.
When you're a multi-billionaire, impatient with the sometimes tortured pace of inter-government negotiations, you can always speed things along by cutting a check.
So it was that after the inconclusive results of the Copenhagen Conference, word came that Bill Gates had invested at least $4.5 million into geo-engineering research. The idea: Find a way to reflect solar energy and filter carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Now we've got an early look at one such company, which reportedly is developing a way to seed clouds by spraying seawater into the air.
The machines, developed by a San Francisco-based research group called Silver Lining, turn seawater into tiny particles that can be shot up over 3,000 feet in the air. The particles increase the density of clouds by increasing the amount of nuclei contained within. Silver Lining's floating machines can suck up ten tons of water per second. If all goes well, Silver Lining plans to test the process with 10 ships spread throughout 3800 square miles of ocean. Geoengineering, an umbrella phrase to describe techniques that would allow humans to prevent global warming by manipulating the Earth's climate, has yet to result in any major projects.
Armand Neukermanns, who is leading the research, told the Times Online that whitening clouds was "the most benign form of engineering" because, while it might alter rainfall, the effects would cease soon after the machines were switched off.
Not everyone buys that idea and the question of geo-engineering has predictably been marked by controversy. In a statement marking the opening of a UN conference in Nairobi this week, Jim Thomas of ETC Group, one of the founding organizations of an anti-geo-engineering campaign, criticized the idea and called for a global moratorium on geo-engineering.
"We knew Microsoft was developing cloud applications for computers but we didn't expect this," he said. "Bill Gates and his cloud-wrenching cronies have no right to unilaterally change our seas and skies in this way. A global moratorium on geoengineering experiments just became a whole lot more urgent."
On a less controversial topic, Gates has also been making news with his latest round of funding for projects designed to improve health in the third world. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced a fourth round of $100,000 grants to "creative projects that show great promise to improve the health of people in the developing world,"Update A PR representative from Edelman later sent me this note from Ken Caldeira ofthe Carnegie Institution for Science: "Bill Gates made a grant to the University of Calgary to support research in possible unique solutions and responses to climate change. Administrating this research funding, David Keith of the University of Calgary and I made a grant to Armand Neukermanns for lab tests to investigate the technical feasibility of producing the fine seawater sprays required by the Latham cloud whitening proposal, one of many proposals for mitigating some of the adverse effects of climate change. This grant to Neukermanns is for lab tests only, not Silver Lining's field trials."
But Facebook, of course, maintains that this is all ultimately good for the Internet and everyone on it, and that it's in everyone's best interest to jump on board: A post Tuesday on the Facebook developer blog explains that the new "social plugins" are now implemented on over 100,000 sites, and that they work.
Social plugins were one of Facebook's big announcements at F8, the developer conference that the social network held last month. They take its existing Facebook Connect product a few steps further by bringing users' Facebook friends lists to external sites and showing them their friends' activity. A news site, for example, could show which stories your Facebook contacts have been recommending and commenting on.
Read the full article at CNET News.com.
Last month was the 14th hottest April on record, according to the latest climate data issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In its monthly survey, NOAA said that 31 states reported above-normal temperatures. Just California, Nevada and Oregon registered cooler-than-average Aprils.
NOAA has been tracking monthly temperature since 1895.
Separately, NOAA said that the average temperature in the United States mainland was 54.3 degrees F, or 2.3 points above the long-term (1901-2000) average.
Other highlights from the report:
- Most states east of the Rocky Mountains experienced above-normal temperatures
- The Northeast and the East North Central Region posted its second warmest-ever April
- Illinois, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Jersey each had their warmest Aprils on record.
- The cooler-than-usual weather which prevailed in the South and Southeast continued into spring.
Mozilla hopes to release Firefox 4 in October or November, a new version that has speed among its top goals.
"Performance is a huge, huge, huge thing for us," said Mike Beltzner, vice president of engineering for Firefox, in a Webcast on Tuesday about plans for the browser. "We created the performance story, and we've got to keep at it."
Among other features planned for Firefox 4--and Mozilla emphatically cautions that plans can change--are support for high-speed graphics and text through Direct2D on Windows; a tidier user interface with more prominent and poweful tabs; support for several newer Web technologies; 64-bit versions; and compatibility with multitouch interfaces.
Speed is one item on a long list of changes Mozilla has in mind for its five-year-old open-source Firefox browser. Improving Firefox is arguably a greater challenge now, though, for several reasons.
You can read the rest of this article at CNET News.com.
Three spacecraft circling the sun will put the last piece of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity to the test by firing laser beams at each other from distances of millions of miles. The point of the exercise:Test for the presence of gravitational waves.
The scheduled test, to be jointly conducted by NASA and the European Space Agency, is expected to be carried out sometime around the end of this decade. Next year, though, the agencies expect to be able to perform an early test of the technology.
Referring to existing studies on the human cost of pollution, the AHA said that particulate matter likely contributed to the deaths of approximately 60,000 people each year. "This is a staggering loss of life that can be eliminated by stricter emissions standards as proposed by the EPA," it said in a statement.
While the relative risk of being exposed to air pollution was still small when compared to the effects of smoking, obesity, or high blood pressure, the AHA said pollution is contributing to a substantial increase in mortality rates and characterized it as "a serious public health problem."
How serious is the risk? According to the AHA, residents of the most polluted U.S. cities could lose between 1.8 and 3.1 years because of exposure to chronic air pollution. The people most susceptible to health risks from exposure to air pollution were found to include the elderly, people from lower socioeconomic populations and diabetics.
The AHA statement drew particular aim at particulate matter in the atmosphere, which it said has the potential to cause or exacerbate cardiovascular disease.
"Numerous epidemiological studies conducted worldwide have demonstrated consistent associations between short-term elevations in [particulate matter]and increases in daily cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Several studies have also reported adverse cardiovascular outcomes in relation to long-term [particulate matter] exposure," it said.
From the counter-intuitive files: Google's Android is outselling Apple's iPhone in the United States.
You have to wonder how many people saw this one coming, but NPD Group, which tracks gadget sales, reports today that smartphones using Google's mobile operating system climbed past Apple in the first quarter. The breakdown: Google had 28 percent of the market, compared with Apple's 21 percent. Both companies still trail Research in Motion, which remains No. 1 with 36 percent of the domestic market.Continue »
Twitter was back to normal after it temporarily vaporized the accounts of followers and accounts followed while it worked to battle a software bug.
Twitter confirmed the existence of the bug, which could be exploited to force one user to follow another. Earlier, the tech site Gizmodo, which had been tipped off to the vulnerability, published a step-by-step guide how to get any Twitter user to follow you.
As it worked to "rollback all abuse of the bug that took place," Twitter reset the follower/following numbers to 0. Company spokesman Sean Garrett told CNET that the bug was "unfortunately" real, and that the company hoped to know more about the specifics later on.
Twitter said that the bug did not make public any protected updates.
With Facebook's security and privacy standards Continue »
OLD WINDSOR, U.K.--I like computers. I like maps. I like drawing. And in one gestalt moment at 10:36 p.m. last Thursday, these affinities all came together.
As I entered a neighborhood park for a nighttime stroll after the kid was in bed, firing up a GPS application on my phone to keep track of my exercise, it occurred to me: Why not use the phone to create and record a path I could show as a design on a map?
So I did. I chose a basic pattern, spiraling in from the periphery to the center. The GPS-enabled phone (a Google Ion developer phone) helped me chart my course through the dark. Here's the result:
When I showed this to friends and family, I took some ribbing for being pretty geeked out and even perhaps well on my way to being somewhat deranged.
But my little experiment crystallized some of my thinking about the converging virtual and physical worlds. Both creating the track then viewing it later weaved these largely separate domains together.
GPS track art couldn't exist as a form of expression without technology that's just arriving today.
You can read the full story at CNET News.com.
President Barack Obama warned graduating seniors at Hampton University against getting distracted from their larger responsibilities by the myriad high-tech diversions now commonly available.
in his commencement speech at the historically black college on Sunday, Obama said the graduates had an added responsibility to be role models and mentors in their communities.
When the time comes, Obama said, they must pass the sense of an education's value on to their children, along with a sense of personal responsibility, self-respect and the "intrinsic sense of excellence that made it possible for you to be here today."
But that boilerplate caution, a familiar theme at commencement time, likely will get overshadowed by the president's remarks concerning high technology and its potentially negative impact on politics and civil society.
"You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank all that high on the truth meter," Obama said. He added that "with iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation."
Elsewhere, Obama recalled the university's humble beginning in September 1861 as a school for escaped slaves who sought asylum after fleeing nearby plantations in the Confederate South. Obama said the founders recognized that, with the right education, such barriers as inequality would not persist long into the future.
"They recognized, as Frederick Douglass once put it, that 'education means emancipation.' They recognized that education is how America and its people might fulfill our promise,'' said Obama, the first black U.S. president.
Drawing parallels to current challenges, Obama noted that Hampton's graduates are leaving school as the economy begins to rebound from its worst downturn since the 1930s, and as the U.S. wages wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Obama, who is pouring tens of billions of dollars into K-12 and higher education with an eye on raising standards and building the future workforce, said education can help graduates manage the uncertainties of a 21st century economy.
For much of the last century, a high school diploma ``was a ticket to a solid middle-class life,'' he said. But no more, as jobs today often require at least a bachelor's degree or higher.
"The good news is, all of you are ahead of the curve,'' Obama told the graduates. ``All those checks you wrote to Hampton will pay off.'' But too many others, he said, including disproportionate numbers of blacks and Hispanics, are unprepared and are outperformed by their white classmates in the U.S. and around the world.
"All of us have a responsibility, as Americans, to change this, to offer every single child in this country an education that will make them competitive in our knowledge economy. That is our obligation as a nation," the president said.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)