Business

Hands on with Acer's Aspire Switch 10 PDF Print E-mail

PCWorld News

Acer’s dual-purpose Aspire Switch 10 can function as a Windows 8 tablet and laptop, but the shape-shifting product’s uniqueness is in its magnetic keyboard base, an element not found on other hybrid devices.

The Aspire Switch 10 is first a tablet, but it can be attached in multiple ways to a keyboard base, so it can be used as a laptop or as a screen to conduct video chats or watch movies. The keyboard base has a rotating roller with snap-on hinges and magnets that allow the tablet to be placed in multiple positions.

During a brief hands-on test at an event in New York, the tablet securely snapped on to the hard keyboard dock base. The tablet can also be docked to the base in the opposite direction, which Acer calls “display mode.” It also can adopt a reverse V shape, which the company calls “tent mode.”

The Switch 10 incorporates ideas from other hybrids already available, but the differentiating factor is the magnetic keyboard base. Lenovo’s heavier Flex and Yoga hybrids can be placed in similar positions as the Switch 10, but the screens are hardwired to the keyboard base. Detachable hybrids like Hewlett-Packard’s Split X2 and Acer’s Transformer Book T100 have tablet screens that dock to the base only in laptop mode.

Microsoft’s 10.6-inch Surface Pro 2 has an optional soft keyboard that attaches to the tablet through magnets, but a kickstand is needed to secure the tablet.

As a tablet, the Switch 10 had a sharp screen and felt responsive. It runs on a dual-core Intel Atom Z3745 processor—code-named Bay Trail—with a clock speed of 1.33GHz. The tablet has a screen resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, which is close to 720p, and not full HD.

At 585 grams, the Switch 10 isn’t as light as the iPad, but it feels light enough to carry around. Acer missed on some features—it has only one front-facing, 2-megapixel webcam. Many tablets in the class of Switch 10 have two cameras, one on the front and one on the back.

The Switch 10 will ship with a basic keyboard dock, and with it the product weighs roughly 1.2 kilograms. Acer plans to sell an option dock with a hard drive, which will appeal to laptop users. Internal storage on the Switch 10 is only 32GB or 64GB.

The product starts at US$379 and will ship in June in the U.S. and Canada. The company didn’t comment on worldwide availability. Other similar-sized tablets include the $375 HP Omni 10, which has a faster Bay Trail processor and more cameras, but no keyboard base.

The Switch 10 is an example of how hybrid device makers are trying out a variety of designs. But in a stagnant PC market desperate for innovation, companies are hoping one of these designs will become a hit.

“At the end of the day what they are trying to do is combine the capabilities of a PC and tablet in a device,” said Bob O’Donnell, chief analyst at Technalysis Research.

PC makers are trying to get the weight, size and price point of hybrid devices right, O’Donnell said. There has been some adoption of hybrids among business users, who want a tablet yet need a PC to run business applications.

The success of hybrids also depends on the willingness of users to run Windows 8 in tablet form, and early signs of adoption are encouraging, he said.

Agam Shah Reporter, IDG News Service Follow me on Google+

Agam Shah is a reporter for the IDG News Service in New York. He covers hardware including PCs, servers, tablets, chips, semiconductors, consumer electronics and peripherals.
More by

Subscribe to the Best of PCWorld Newsletter

Thank you for sharing this page.

Sorry! There was an error emailing this page

Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Business  |  
 
Twitter more than doubles its sales, but still can't turn a profit PDF Print E-mail

PCWorld News

Twitter on Tuesday turned in some healthy sales figures for the first quarter, though its net loss grew substantially compared to last year.

Total revenue for the period ended March 31 was roughly US$250 million, Twitter reported, more than double the $114 million recorded for the same period in 2013. Twitter’s sales topped analysts’ consensus estimate of $241 million, as polled by Thomson Reuters.

“We had a very strong first quarter,” said Twitter CEO Dick Costolo in the company’s announcement. “Revenue growth accelerated on a year over year basis fueled by increased engagement and user growth.”

However, Twitter hasn’t managed to turn a profit since it became a public company. The company reported a net loss of more than $132 million for the quarter, nearly quintupling the loss of roughly $27 million reported for the year-ago period.

The company’s earnings per share loss was $0.23, a tad worse than a loss of $0.21 reported last year. On a pro forma basis, excluding share-based compensation and other adjustments, Twitter broke even, beating analysts’ expectations of a loss of $0.03 per share.

Twitter’s stock was down to $38.30 in after hours trading, down considerably from its $42.62 Tuesday close.

Twitter, like Google and Facebook, makes the bulk of its money from advertising—$226 million for the quarter, up 125 percent. The lion’s share of its advertising—80 percent in the first quarter—comes from mobile.

To continue growing its ad revenue, Twitter needs to attract more users and increase the time they spend using the service. As a public company, Twitter is under pressure to make its service more accessible to a mainstream audience.

The company in recent months has tried to address this, partly through cosmetic changes like redesigning user profile pages and making photos more prominent in people’s streams.

Twitter is making progress in this area, but not very rapidly. Compared to the same period last year, Twitter grew its monthly active users by 25 percent, to 255 million. But compared to the fourth quarter of 2013, Twitter grew its monthly active users sequentially by less than 6 percent.

On mobile, Twitter now has 198 million monthly active users—a 31 percent increase, the company said.

Twitter executives will hold a conference call with investors and financial analysts Tuesday afternoon to discuss the results in-depth. More information could be given during the call about the health of particular types of ads, or of Twitter’s mobile ad network, MoPub.

Zach Miners , IDG News Service

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service
More by

Subscribe to the Best of PCWorld Newsletter

Thank you for sharing this page.

Sorry! There was an error emailing this page

Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Business  |  
 
Bitcoin traders agree to settlement in Mt. Gox class-action suit PDF Print E-mail

bitcoin

Plaintiffs in two class-action suits charging the embattled Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox with fraud have agreed to a settlement, and new plans to revive the exchange have been drafted.

Earlier this year a class-action suit in Illinois was filed against Mt. Gox, following reports revealing the theft of some 850,000 bitcoins—worth hundreds of millions of dollars—due to a hacking attack. The exchange subsequently filed for liquidation with a Japanese court.

Now, under a settlement agreement, Mt. Gox will be reorganized rather than liquidated, and a portion of the lost bitcoins will be returned, according to a court document filed Monday night in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. A similar class settlement was also reached in Canada.

Under the plan, the investor group Sunlot Holdings will acquire Mt. Gox and establish a new Bitcoin exchange, dubbed “New Gox.” With the exception of a $10 million fiat currency holdback to fund recovery efforts, all bitcoins and fiat currency currently held by Mt. Gox, including 200,000 recently “discovered” bitcoins, will be returned to exchange members’ wallets, the court filing said.

Affected Mt. Gox members will also be treated as if they hold a 16.5 percent stake in New Gox, the filing said.

Under the agreement, Sunlot will make its best efforts to investigate and prosecute civil actions against anyone involved in the loss or theft of Mt. Gox’s bitcoins, according to the filing.

Mt. Gox was once the largest online exchange for buying and selling bitcoins. With its much-publicized downfall it has served as the poster child for the technological risks of the digital currency, and its uncertain future.

The settlement is contingent on the Japanese courts accepting the purchase with the agreed-upon terms.

“We are very excited about this deal,” said Jay Edelseon, lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the case, via email. For the U.S. class, liquidation would have been a disaster, because it would have taken a long time and generated a miniscule payout, he said.

The announced deal will provide immediate funds to the consumer creditors, he added.

A spokesman for Mt. Gox did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A preliminary approval hearing for the settlement is scheduled for May 1.

Zach Miners , IDG News Service

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service
More by

Subscribe to the Best of PCWorld Newsletter

Thank you for sharing this page.

Sorry! There was an error emailing this page

Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Business  |  
 
Florida commuter's illegal jammer blocked more than cell talkers PDF Print E-mail

PCWorld News

Some drivers would love to have a cellphone-free bubble around their cars, but when a Florida man allegedly created one every day on his commute, it didn’t necessarily make the highway a safer place.

Jason R. Humphreys of Seffner, Florida, operated a cellphone jammer in his Toyota Highlander sport-utility vehicle during his daily commute for as long as two years before the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and the local sheriff tracked him down, the FCC said on Tuesday. Now he’s facing US$48,000 in fines, with 30 days to pay or file a response.

Humphreys told the FCC he used the jammer to keep people from talking on their cellphones while driving. Talking on a cellphone while driving is legal in Florida, even without a hands-free kit, though texting while driving is banned. Using a cellphone jammer is illegal for everyone but federal law enforcement, regardless of intent, according to the FCC.

Not only do jammers prevent consumers from making emergency calls, but they can disrupt critical communications by safety agencies, the FCC said. Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies confirmed that firsthand when they pulled Humphreys over. They said their two-way portable radios lost contact with the dispatcher as they got close to the SUV.

It was Metro PCS, the regional mobile operator now owned by T-Mobile USA, that tipped off the FCC that something seemed to be wrong on a stretch of Interstate 4 between Seffner and downtown Tampa about 12 miles away. On April 29, 2013, Metro PCS reported that its cell towers along the route had been experiencing interference during the morning and evening commutes. The FCC investigated with direction-finding techniques and found strong wideband emissions coming from a blue Highlander.

FCC agents and sheriff’s deputies pulled the SUV over, talked to Humphreys and searched the vehicle, where they found the jammer behind a seat cover on the backseat, the FCC said. Humphreys allegedly told the FCC he had been using the jammer during his commute for the past 16 to 24 months. Later testing found that the device could jam cell signals in three bands.

Humphreys is charged with unauthorized operation of a jammer, use of an illegal device and causing intentional interference. The FCC imposed the maximum fine for one violation of each, which adds up to $48,000. Because Humphreys used the jammer for so long, the fine could have been as high as $337,000, the FCC said.

Humphreys could not immediately be reached at a phone number listed for him and he did not return a message.

Despite some calls to legalize cellphone jammers in certain settings, the FCC takes a hard line on the devices, which are illegal to manufacture, sell or import in the U.S.

@sdlawsonmedia

Stephen Lawson , IDG News Service

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for the IDG News Service.
More by

Subscribe to the Best of PCWorld Newsletter

Thank you for sharing this page.

Sorry! There was an error emailing this page

Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Business  |  
 
Big data hype didn't speed growth in the BI market, Gartner says PDF Print E-mail

PCWorld News

All the hype around big data last year didn’t drive big growth in the worldwide BI (business-intelligence) and analytics market, according to research firm Gartner.

While the BI and analytics market grew about 8 percent to US$14.4 billion in 2013, the uptick could have been even greater, Gartner said.

Big data generally refers to mining and analyzing large sets of unstructured information obtained from the social Web, sensors and other sources, versus traditional BI, which runs reports and analyses off structured data stores.

“Even though big data hype reached a fever pitch [in 2013], this did little to move the dial for analytics,” Gartner analysts Dan Sommer and Bhavish Sood wrote in the report.

Only 8 percent of organizations surveyed by Gartner have actually deployed a big data project, with some 57 percent still in the research and planning stages, according to the report. This level of experimentation is “prolonging upgrade cycles in more enterprise wide initiatives,” it said.

There was also a disconnect in 2013 between the vendors with the most revenue and how quickly they grew. The top four BI companies—SAP, Oracle, IBM and SAS Institute—grew more slowly than the market average, according to the report.

These vendors’ core challenge lies in their maturity. “Their key offerings have been IT-led enterprise BI platforms connecting information through a semantic layer to a series of functionalities, such as reporting, ad hoc query and online analytical processing,” the analysts wrote. “This style of BI, while valuable, is already installed in most organizations.”

Companies such as Jaspersoft and Pentaho, which provide lower-cost alternatives to those kinds of tools, grew more quickly than the market average last year, they added.

Meanwhile, data discovery tools such as those sold by Tibco Spotfire and Tableau became more of “the ‘new normal’” for BI end-user experience during 2013, according to Gartner’s report. These tools give users a highly visual way to iteratively move through sets of data.

Large BI vendors worked diligently last year to release data discovery products of their own, which has “moved the whole market into a more competitive phase,” the analysts wrote.

Cloud-based BI also began gaining traction last year. Although it represented only 4 percent of the market, its growth rate was 42 percent. “Small businesses in particular have shifted their mentality around cloud and see it as an enabler to do more advanced things with big data and analytics, just like ‘the big boys,’” the analysts wrote.

Chris Kanaracus , IDG News Service

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for the IDG News Service.
More by

Subscribe to the Daily Downloads Newsletter

Thank you for sharing this page.

Sorry! There was an error emailing this page

Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Business  |  
 
«StartPrev12345678910NextEnd»

Page 1 of 47
FNN Home • Business
English (United Kingdom)
Google's future phone: The modular Project Ara:   (CNN) -- Google is jumping into its next futuristic hardware project. This time it's a modular smartphone dubbed Project Ara that can be customized by swapping out individual pieces, s...
Deluxe News Pro - Copyright 2009,2010 Monev Software LLC

ERS Broadcast Networks

ERS Broadcast Networks - Links