Over six months ago, a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon called Isis launched a trial of its nascent mobile payment service in Austin and Salt Lake City. Not only was its debut already delayed, we also haven’t heard more than a peep from the company since. CEO Michael Abbott, who is the keynote speaker at ETA 2013 in New Orleans, has opened the discourse but still isn’t giving many specific details on the future. When we asked him about his company’s expansion plans, Abbott simply told us that “when [we're] ready, we’ll start putting it out in different places and see where to go from there.” In essence, he views progress in the mobile payments field as a constant evolution, which often involves taking smaller steps to accomplish a greater purpose. You can find the full quote below the break.
Tag Archives: Quiet
Now that the veil has been lifted from the AMD Radeon HD 7990, it’s time for the usual enthusiast review sites to reveal their thoughts — and benchmarks — on the latest graphics card from Sunnyvale. As we’ve mentioned, the 7990 has effectively two 7970 GPUs on board, promising over 8 TFLOPS of power and the chops to handle full 4K resolution under maximum settings. However, it’s a pricey little thing at around $ 1,000, which doesn’t set it too far away from the competition and its unique cooling system means an airy case is a must. What do our sample of reviewers think? Find out in our roundup after the break.
Filed under: Gaming
When you step off the elevator into Kixeye’s new downtown San Francisco office, a guy in military fatigues has you sign an NDA. After you do (I didn’t), a receptionist with a lot of piercings takes your name, while The White Panda’s “Foolish Monsters” blares in the background. Kixeye has whale harpoons stapled to its office walls, bad oil paintings (see left), ceiling-to-floor drawings of fire-breathing dragons and jacked unicorns, a 3-D printer of questionable purpose and little desire to answer to anyone else. All while remaining profitable, the midcore social gaming company has quintupled its headcount over the last year to more than 450 employees. The company says it has “several” times the $ 19 million in capital they raised stowed away in the bank. Too expensive for acquirers and still too small and unproven for public markets, privately-held gaming companies like Kixeye are chugging along profitably and doing things their own way. “We don’t talk about exit scenarios here. The employees are not here for that,” said Brandon Barber, who is Kixeye’s chief marketing officer. “Most people are here because they love making games and that’s what they want to do. Focusing on that stuff at this point in our trajectory is super distracting.” (If you want to know what Kixeye really thinks of everyone else in the industry, watch this video.) Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, other privately-held gaming companies such as Finland’s Rovio and Supercell, the U.K.’s King and Germany’s Wooga are also growing profitable businesses. Buyers Beware That feeling is mutual on the buyers’ side too. Warner Bros said last week that it would be opening a gaming studio in San Francisco. In other words, it is choosing to build, not buy. “Every time we looked at a company that was really interesting, we found that the price tag was more money than we thought was reasonable to pay,” said Greg Ballard, who is Warner Bros. senior vice president of digital games. Similarly, EA is holding off after some big ticket deals in the last few years to buy Seattle’s PopCap for up to $ 1.3 billion. “With regards to a large acquisition, we’re probably OK for the time being,” said Nick Earl, who oversees most of EA’s free-to-play games as a senior vice president there. “If the right deal presents itself, we would make that deal. But we’re not actively seeking it.” He said his arm of
If you hadn’t noticed, Qualcomm has a strong grip on the LTE chipset market. While there’s certainly exceptions like Samsung’s in-house designs, the company is often the gatekeeper for modern 4G. Broadcom chief Scott McGregor isn’t going to let one of his main rivals claim such large swaths of the mobile world; he tells investors that his company will have test samples of its own LTE chipsets in 2013, acknowledging that the company is “not there” with its progress towards advanced wireless. That there’s no technical details or shipping targets won’t much help for phone makers (or us), but it’s a welcome break that could lead to fiercer competition and, hopefully, lower costs for fast mobile data.
RocketAcademy writes “While all eyes were focused on SpaceX, which is preparing for another launch to the International Space Station, Virgin Galactic quietly put out a press release. Virgin Galactic has acquired full ownership of The SpaceShip Company, which will build production versions of SpaceShip Two. Ownership was previously shared with Scaled Composites, which built SpaceShip One and is building the SpaceShip Two prototype. There have been rumors of strained relations between Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites. This news, which was not announced until after the close of business Friday, raises some interesting questions about Virgin’s relationship with Scaled and its plans for the future.”
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Now that Smart’s second-gen Fortwo Electric Drive EV has gotten its year of time on the roads, the company is ready to announce its successor. For 2013, the car has received some mild tweaks to its design, but the real news is about what’s hiding inside this rear-wheel driven EV. For the first time, you’ll have to option of owning one outright, rather than being limited to a four-year lease at $ 599 per month. It’s thanks in part to an improved battery, which is now rated for an average lifespan of 10 years. The car has also received a massive power upgrade to 47 horsepower (up from 27 previously), along with an extra boost if you floor the pedal — this courtesy of a beefier engine and drive-train that gives it about 50-percent more power. Put it this way, this EV will get you from 0-60 in about 11.5 seconds, with top speed of 78MPH. Sadly, there’s no concrete word on what kind of range to expect, but it should be well more than the 87 miles of its predecessor. Beyond that, Smart’s added in GSM connectivity, allowing you the abilities to pre-start the car and keep track of its vitals remotely, among other features.
A quick drive around Brooklyn also confirmed how peppy and smooth the car was in use, however, not exactly on-par with our experience in Audi’s A3 e-tron – but it is considerably less. As our friends at Autoblog detail, the base model coupe is set to sell for a $ 25,000 MSRP plus fees, along with your choice of two chargers, which can cost up to $ 2,200 with installation. Here’s the good news, the car itself actually works out to just $ 17,500 thanks to a federal tax credit. All in all, this currently makes the cheapest full-on EV you’ll be able to get your mitts on. If you’d prefer to spice it up a bit, Smart will also offer a spruced up cabriolet variant for an extra $ 3K. Check out our chat with Smart about the car and the press release after the break for all the details.
Gallery: Smart Fortwo ED third-generation
The social network dodges questions from lawmakers, saying its decision is not yet final.
Facebook is dodging questions about plans to open its network to young children, two concerned House lawmakers said today. In June, the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook was exploring technology that could allow kids on the site under parental supervision. Responding to a letter from the House representatives, Facebook explained it had not yet made a final decision about officially allowing the under-13 audience. It also did not answer questions about what kinds of data it would collect or advertisements it might show to them.
We in the press haven’t heard too much from Five Stars, the customer loyalty startup, since it launched out of the Winter 2011 class of Y Combinator last year. But now that seems the silence has been for a pretty good cause: Turns out that Five Stars has been busy over the past year building a business with real clients, real users, and most importantly, real revenue.
Dr Caleb writes “According to the Globe and Mail, ‘The Internet surveillance legislation sponsored by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has disappeared down a dark legislative hole. For all intents and purposes, the bill is dead. If the Harper government still wants to pass a law that would make it easier for police to track people who use the web to commit crimes, it will have to start from scratch.’ The bill has been sent to a public safety committee for extensive revision, but it must be debated for five hours on the House floor first, and that won’t happen before summer recess. This is a followup to the story we discussed in February titled ‘Against Online Surveillance? You Must Be “For” Child Porn.’”
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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has sent a warning around Wall Street recently, telling the banks involved in his company’s $ 100 billion IPO to stop leaking juicy tidbits to the media.
As far back as September, security researchers discovered a “critical” bug in many HTC Android handsets that exposed users’ WiFi credentials to any hacker who cared to look. The flaw affected recent devices like the Thunderbolt and EVO 4G all the way back to the Desire HD. The researchers promptly notified HTC, but the manufacturer waited a full five months before acknowledging the flaw publicly a few days ago. Sounds shady, perhaps, but HTC sent us a statement clarifying that this is standard policy to protect customers. It says it waited to develop a fix before it alerted the big bad world to the vulnerability. Most newer devices have already received their fix OTA, but owners of some older phones — we’ll update this post when we know exactly which ones — will need to check the HTC Support site for a manual update next week. Meanwhile, in manufacturer’s defense, the guys at the Open1X group who discovered the bug say that HTC was “very responsive and good to work with.” Here’s HTC’s statement to us:
“HTC takes customer data security very seriously. If there is a known breach of sensitive customer data, our priority is customer notification along with corrective actions. It is our policy, and industry standard procedure, to protect customers, which sometimes necessitates not increasing data security risks by disclosing minor breach issues where no malicious applications are detected. In those cases, premature disclosure of vulnerabilities could spur creation of malicious apps to take advantage of any vulnerability before it is fixed. For this specific WiFi bug issue, we worked closely with Google and the security researchers from the date of notification and throughout this process to ensure that the majority of affected HTC phones had already received the fix prior to the vulnerability being made public.”
Two significant glitches in the iPhone 4S are troubling users.
Owners of those brand new iPhone 4S’s have been reporting problems. A glitch was leading to rapid battery drain for some users; while Siri, the much-touted “virtual personal assistant,” went silent for others.
slash-sa writes “Two South Africans have given their home country a boost with its Square Kilometre Array (SKA) bid by inventing cellular antenna technology which reduces ‘noisy’ emissions from cellular base stations in the area. They reduced emissions by using an antenna based on phased-array principles, providing omnidirectional coverage but also blocking the RF transmissions along a single direction (that would correspond with the bearing of the SKA core site). The antenna has been tested and performs extremely well. Trialling measurements have shown that the RF signal levels at the proposed SKA core site can be reduced significantly, while at the same time, much of the original GSM coverage can be retained.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.