Monthly Archives: August 2012
Ignoring the wailing of pundits who complained that the Galaxy Note phablet with its 5.3″ HD screen was too big, Samsung instead chose to listen to the purchasing power of its customers, who have snapped up over 10 million units of the giant phone-tablet hybrid in the year since its introduction.
On Wednesday Samsung announced the Galaxy Note II, which increases the screen size to 5.5″, adds a quad-core CPU, the Android 4.1 (a.k.a. Jelly Bean) operating system, a battery more than 20% larger, and an improved S Pen, all in a package that is only slightly larger than its predecessor and weighs just two additional grams. The announcement also claims 4G LTE which, if released in the U.S. in this configuration, would be Samsung’s first quad-core phone here. (The U.S. version of the Galaxy S3 uses a dual-core Qualcomm SOC, not the quad-core Exynos SOC found in the international phone, in order to provide support for 4G LTE).
Walking through the differences between the two devices we can start with same 2GB of RAM, and a 1.6-GHz quad-core CPU instead of the 1.4-GHz CPU in the original. As for the case, it’s overall roughly the same size–151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4mm vs. 146.85 x 82.95 x 9.65mm–but sports a metal back plate as opposed to the original plastic one. Placement of the ports on the phone has been changed slightly, and the battery has been upped to 3100 mAh from 2500 mAh. The .2-inch larger screen is still Super AMOLED but the resolution actually has been reduced slightly from 1280 x 800 to 1280 x 720 (which is the pixel resolution of 720p HD). Read More
Next week or next year, Amazon will start giving away its e-reader. Here’s why.
My record on predictions about Amazon is mixed at best. Two summers ago, I guessed that “before the holidays,” Amazon would cut the price of its cheapest Kindle e-reader to $99. My logic was solid—the cost of the Kindle’s parts kept declining rapidly, and Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, seems to be happiest of all when he’s slashing prices—but my timing was off. Amazon’s cheapest Kindle didn’t break the $100 barrier until last year, when the company lowered the price to $79.
Being wrong doesn’t deter me, though, so last month I reported on another vision in my Amazon crystal ball. The company was moving toward offering same-day shipping to people in large metro areas across the country, I said. But a few weeks after my piece, Tom Szkutak, Amazon’s chief financial officer, pooh-poohed the same-day shipping plan during a call with stock analysts. “We don’t really see a way to do same-day delivery on a broad scale economically,” he said. To me, that sounded like a bluff meant to throw off competitors. Amazon already offers same-day shipping on select items in 10 American cities, and shipping things faster has always been one of its primary corporate missions—that’s why it’s building dozens of new shipping centers across the country. I’m still sticking to my guns—I believe that over the next few years, Amazon will offer same-day service on more items in more places. But until I’m proven right, you can go ahead and call me wrong.
Keep that record in mind when you hear my next report from Amazon’s future. Next week, the company is holding a press event in Los Angeles to introduce some new stuff. Many observers believe that we’ll see upgrades to the firm’s Kindle lineup. These include, according to All Things D, a new Kindle Fire that has a camera and a better display and, per TechCrunch, a “front-lit” E Ink Kindle, meaning one that you can read at night. If that’s the case, I’ll be ecstatic. Read More
Politically motivated hackers shut down the computer network of the world’s largest oil company for more than 10 days this month, the first time such a group has employed the kind of sophisticated cyberweapons typically used by national governments.
Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the national oil company of Saudi Arabia, said over the weekend that it had restored its network following the Aug. 15 attack, which affected more than 30,000 computer work stations.
The company said in a statement that its production and refining systems were unaffected by the attack because they are walled off from the main computer network.
“We addressed the threat immediately, and our precautionary procedures have helped to mitigate these deplorable cyberthreats from spiraling,” said Khalid A. Al-Falih, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco.
But at least one website the company operates, aramco.com, remained down Monday.
“We are working diligently to restore services to normal as soon as possible,” said a statement on the website.
The company’s Houston-based U.S. office referred requests for comment to its headquarters in Saudi Arabia. But emails sent there bounced back, suggesting that work to restore the company’s computer system was still ongoing.
The hackers have not been so tight-lipped. Read More