Round up: Best of TechRadar Pro: Ballmer’s exit, postal SaaS, wearable tech and Windows Threshold

Round up: Best of TechRadar Pro: Ballmer's exit, postal SaaS, wearable tech and Windows Threshold

How SaaS has opened new doors for the post and parcel industry


Microsoft HQ


NetDespatch was among the first to develop Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. The web technology developed by the company had a huge impact on the parcel delivery sector; new business models, such as CollectPlus, could be brought to market quickly, and operators could increase volumes without the heavy investment and operational restrictions imposed by conventional IT systems.


We spoke to CEO Becky Clark, who gave us some insight into the challenges faced by industry players, as well as achievements and future strategies. Continue reading...


Wearable tech: How enterprises innovate with devices like Fitbit and Google Glass


IT


Wearable technology is all the rage these days. From Fitbit to Samsung Gear to Google Glass to rumored impending launches from Apple and Microsoft, wearable devices are top-of-mind for everyone excited about new technology. However, the tech industry and its consumers appear to be more excited about wearable tech as a theory than in practice.


More than half of the consumers who purchased a wearable device in the US have stopped using it, according to Endeavor Partners, a mobile strategy consulting firm. Continue reading...


Standing at the Threshold of Windows productivity enhancements


IT


The iPad has invaded our personal lives, but it also has a place in the business world. Whether you're a large company with employees who have access to iPads for work, or a small business running your entire enterprise from the device – the key to productivity is in the App Store. So, without further ado, here are our top 10 picks for the best business apps which you can get for your Apple slate. Continue reading...


Top 5 best iTunes download alternatives


IT


If you've ever used one of Apple's smartphones, tablets or Macs, you'll likely have come across iTunes, its software for playing music, videos and transferring media onto devices.


Many people have a love/hate relationship with iTunes as it used to be the only program that could sync music to iPhones, iPads and other Apple devices. It's also been criticised for its slow loading times (especially in Windows), lack of features and non-existent support for a number of popular file formats, leading many to seek out an alternative.


Apple's rivals caught on, and it's now possible to perform many of the actions previously tied to the program - such as synching media to iOS devices - using other media players. We've picked out five of the best to tickle your music fancy. Continue reading...


Exit stage right: Steve Ballmer leaves Microsoft for good


Racks


Under Steve Ballmer's reign, Microsoft expanded from a company that made and sold software, to an expansive enterprise that grew to almost rule the world, putting software on over one billion PCs and powering all kinds of businesses with their servers and services.


Sure, there were mishaps and failings – how could he be forgiven for missing the boat on smartphones entirely? – but the fiscal results remain: Microsoft swelled to a company with over 100,000 employees on the payroll, a market capitalisation of almost $400 billion (around £240 billion, AU$430 billion) and profits in the billions. Continue reading...

















Reuters News: Digital Ally says camera inquiries up five-fold after Ferguson shooting



n">(Reuters) - Digital Ally Inc forecast full-year revenue of about $22.5 million, encouraged by a "five-fold" rise in inquiries for its wearable cameras from police departments in the aftermath of the fatal shooting in Ferguson this month.



The forecast translates into a 26.4 percent jump in revenue from $17.8 million in 2013.



The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked demand to hold law enforcement officials accountable and in turn fueled interest in companies such as Digital Ally and Taser International Inc.



The company's 2014 revenue forecast was first reported by USA Today on Thursday, citing Chief Executive Stanton Ross, according to a regulatory filing on Friday.



Digital Ally said on Thursday it had received its first camera order after the Ferguson incident from the Michigan police department.



The company's shares closed at $18.66 on Friday on the Nasdaq.



Up to Friday's close, the stock had risen about 387 percent since Aug. 8, the day before the shooting, while Taser's shares had risen nearly 27 percent.



(Reporting by Mridhula Raghavan in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)



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Week in Gaming: New 3DS models, Super Smash Bros fever, and Super Meat Boy Forever

Week in Gaming: New 3DS models, Super Smash Bros fever, and Super Meat Boy Forever

Rumour has it that Nintendo president Satoru Iwata is a big Week in Gaming fan. There's nothing he likes to do more on a Saturday morning than chow down on some lovely big bananas and read through TechRadar's pick of the gaming crop.


And rumour has it that, having realised how humdrum the gaming news had been this week, he decided to reveal two new designs for the 3DS and 3DS XL on Friday - just for us. Thanks Iwata!


And what do these new handhelds add? A faster processor, new trigger buttons, a better screen, and most importantly, a new directional nubbin. The only downside is that some new games, such as the upcoming Xenoblade Chronicles, will be incompatible with the existing versions.


3DS


Other than that we're pretty damn pleased with Nintendo's new handhelds, but we'll be waiting a while to get our hands on them: the new designs will launch in Japan on October 11, but won't reach here until 2015.


Oh, and while we're on the subject, Nintendo's American president (and TechRadar hero) Reggie Fils-Aime did the ALS ice bucket challenge - and didn't nominate anyone after. Which means the ice bucket challenge is now over for everyone. That's it, done.


YouTube : www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSK3u23pz4Q

Son of a twitch


Ok, we lied, there was some other important gaming news this week. Amazon announced it had bought Twitch, which is kind of a big deal - and a bit of a shock too: following numerous reports, we were led to believe that Google was in the final stages of making a deal with the streaming giant.


Why this is good news for gamers


The justin.tv spin-off has rocketed over the years thanks to a thriving fanbase, a lot of which has been aggravated by the Amazon buyout. But Amazon is no longer just an e-tailer, and while selling stuff might still be its bread and butter, the company is betting big on home entertainment and gaming right now. Twitch.tv falls into that plan quite perfectly.


Or is it bad news? Arrrgggh!


Twitch


The cynic inside us worries that Amazon recommendations might start creeping into the service, but the optimist sees an opportunity to build its presence in gaming alongside its own studio (announced earlier this year), as well as building a serious YouTube rival. And Twitch, in turn, gets access to the Amazon bank vault.


So yes, while it's a shame to see another growing swooped up by one of the big dogs, we'll remain hopeful that Twitch will only be all the better for it.


Incidentally, these 'Twitch plays' are getting really out of hand.


YouTube : www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcoJYZuuzO4

Smash and grab


Super Smash Bros fever is sweeping the office as Nintendo continues to drip-feed us like the hype hamsters we are. This week the treat was a medley of music tracks from the upcoming brawler, including the one below. TUNE.


YouTube : www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORXonp2lc0g

Nintendo also revealed the next character in the lineup of fighters, Shulk of Xenoblade Chronicles fame. This adds more credence to an earlier character roster "leak". We won't spoil anything here, but if you really want to know who else might be joining the party, CVG has the skinny.


Nice to meat you


Team Meat, creators of Super Meat Boy, has been teasing a new project - and it's just revealed that project is an endless runner called A Voyeur for September.


All was announced at PAX this week, where attendees were able to play a demo of the endless platformer. The game is actually based on Super Meat Boy, maintaining the same art style and gameplay, but will be available on phones and tablets as well as Steam.


Unfortunately the name isn't an indicator of its release date. A Voyeur for September is just an anagram of Super Meat Boy. The game will be out "when it's done". [CVG]



  • We're at PAX Prime 2014 right now - check out what's going down.


Reuters News: Exclusive: Bitcoin promoter to plead guilty to unlicensed money transmission



NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of the digital currency to users of illicit online marketplace Silk Road, his lawyer said Friday.



Shrem, the former vice chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, will plead guilty next Thursday in New York federal court to unlicensed money transmission, Marc Agnifilo, his lawyer told Reuters in an email.



Prosecutors had previously charged Shrem with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, money laundering conspiracy and failing to file suspicious activity reports with government banking authorities.



Federal authorities shut down Silk Road last year, though a new Internet marketplace under the same name was launched in November. Prosecutors contend Silk Road enabled users to buy and sell illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services.



Soon after his arrest in January, Shrem stepped down from his role at the Bitcoin Foundation, a well-known trade group. He was previously CEO of BitInstant, a bitcoin exchange company.



A notice of a plea hearing in the case of Shrem and his co-defendant, Robert Faiella, was included in a calendar distributed by court officials earlier Friday.



It was not immediately clear if Faiella, a Florida man who faced similar charges as Shrem, will plead guilty or move ahead with trial Sept. 22. He has previously pleaded not guilty.



But Faiella, 54, is expected to fly to New York for the hearing, according to a court order filed Friday.



A lawyer for Faiella did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declined comment.



Prosecutors are pursuing a separate case against Ross William Ulbricht, the man accused of creating and operating Silk Road under the name "Dread Pirate Roberts." He is set to face trial Nov. 3.



The case is U.S. v. Faiella, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-cr-00243.



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PAX Prime 2014: Alienware unveils Area-51, newly reimagined gaming PC

PAX Prime 2014: Alienware unveils Area-51, newly reimagined gaming PC

Alienware is no stranger to designs that are "out there", but this is perhaps the most functional and unique one yet.


Announced today during PAX Prime, the Alienware Area-51 is a reimagination of previous Alienware designs, and will serve as the company's latest flagship gaming PC.


The triangular Triad chassis is designed to provide a controlled thermal exit environment ideal for when the system is placed directly against a wall.


The panels are also built to be as easy as possible to remove, with the interior promising to provide simple removal and the addition of parts.


Speaking of guts ...


You'll be able to customize the Area-51, but it will ship with the latest Intel Haswell-E Core i7 6 and 8-core processors with up to 16 processing threads and support for up to 32 GB's of 2133 DDR4 memory. Each system also ships factory overclocked and liquid-cooled.


The latest Area-51 will also have a brand new update to Alienware Command Center with the introduction of version 4.0.


Alienware Area-51


With 4.0, you'll be able to personalize nine lighting zones on the chassis with 20 colors that can generate up to 512 trillion lighting combinations using AlienFX. The Command Center will also let you monitor your hardware performance and configure profiles for individual games and apps.


There will also be more options when it comes to overclocking the system, adjust CPU clocks, voltages, memory timings and more with better precision than the previous software.


Pricing hasn't been announced yet, but you can expect US shipping to begin in October of this year and globally this holiday season.



  • Alienware's been busy with the Alpha Steam Machine too!


Reuters News: AT&T sues Cox Communications for patent infringement



n">(Reuters) - AT&T (T.N) is suing Cox Communications for infringing eight patents dealing with network quality after the regional cable provider ignored its complaints about the issue and made "billions" off of the technology, according to a new lawsuit.



In the suit filed Friday in Delaware federal court against Cox and more than 30 of its regional units, AT&T said that Cox had been warned about the claims of patent infringement as far back as 2009. It said Cox delayed negotiations and refused to take a license for the technologies.



AT&T claims the patents were infringed in Cox's use and sale of digital video recorders, set top boxes, Internet and telephone systems, according to the lawsuit.



The patents relate to methods for improving the quality and reducing the costs of telecommunications services, the suit said.



AT&T said in the suit that Cox was also inducing its employees and subscribers to infringe.



"(Cox) generates billions of dollars in revenue every year through its use of AT&T's technologies," the telecommunications giant said, adding that the lawsuit is necessary to prove AT&T is owed royalty payments for the alleged unauthorized use of its inventions.



A representative from Cox said the company just learned of the case and had no comment. Attorneys for AT&T also could not immediately be reached.



AT&T is asking the court to declare Cox's infringement "wilful and deliberate" and seeks unspecified damages. It also wants the court to order Cox to pay a "compulsory, ongoing" royalty to AT&T.



The case is AT&T Intellectual Property I, LP, and AT&T Intellectual Property II, LP, v. Cox Communications et al, No. 14-cv-01106.



(Reporting By Andrew Chung; Editing by Ted Botha and Alden Bentley)



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T-Mobile’s next ‘Un-carrier’ event will shake up Apple’s iPhone 6 launch

T-Mobile's next 'Un-carrier' event will shake up Apple's iPhone 6 launch

T-Mobile has announced that it's next "Un-carrier" event will take place September 10, just one day after Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 6.


The carrier sent out invitations for the Un-carrier 7.0 announcement with the note that this one is "personal."


"We told you Un-carrier 7.0 was coming. We told you we won't stop. And this time, it's personal," TechRadar's invitation reads.


T-Mobile has been hosting these events to announce various surprising policy changes, and they've been well-received by consumers. But this one might be a little different.


Disrupt this


As usual we won't know what part of the wireless business model T-Mobile is shaking up this year until it happens, and it's hard to speculate when there are so many parts that need shaking up.


Interestingly this Un-carrier show will take place not in a theater or other large venue, but at a T-Mobile store in San Francisco.


The last Un-carrier event covered Un-carrier 5.0 and Un-carrier 6.0, a free iPhone 5S "test drive" period and its "Music Freedom" streaming services, respectively.


We're eager to see how T-Mobile's upcoming move will relate to the new iPhone's release, especially given that "it's personal" this time around.



  • Sprint wants to be the new T-Mobile


Reuters News: Digital Ally says camera inquiries up five-fold after Ferguson shooting



n">(Reuters) - Digital Ally Inc forecast full-year revenue of about $22.5 million, encouraged by a "five-fold" rise in inquiries for its wearable cameras from police departments in the aftermath of the fatal shooting in Ferguson this month.



The forecast translates into a 26.4 percent jump in revenue from $17.8 million in 2013.



The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked demand to hold law enforcement officials accountable and in turn fueled interest in companies such as Digital Ally and Taser International Inc.



The company's 2014 revenue forecast was first reported by USA Today on Thursday, citing Chief Executive Stanton Ross, according to a regulatory filing on Friday.



Digital Ally said on Thursday it had received its first camera order after the Ferguson incident from the Michigan police department.



The company's shares closed at $18.66 on Friday on the Nasdaq.



Up to Friday's close, the stock had risen about 387 percent since Aug. 8, the day before the shooting, while Taser's shares had risen nearly 27 percent.



(Reporting by Mridhula Raghavan in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)



Breaking News: Turkish citizens fight back against Twitter ban


Sprint could get the next Sony flagship, and all signs point to Xperia Z3

Sprint could get the next Sony flagship, and all signs point to Xperia Z3

Sony hasn't done a great job of getting its Xperia flagships into the US, but it could be trying to get a head start with the next one.


That next one being, most likely, the Sony Xperia Z3, a phone we're expecting to see in September.


Both The Wall Street Journal and Reuters report that Sony has teamed up with Sprint and its parent company, Softbank, to release Sony's next flagship smartphone on Softbank in Japan and on Sprint in the US.


It will be a big step for Sony if the company can actually release a new flagship in the US in time for it to be relevant, so our fingers are crossed.


Guesswork


Granted, these reports don't specify what new Sony flagship they're talking about, but what else could it be?


It's also unclear whether this phone will come exclusively to Sprint in the US, or if that's just one of the carriers that will launch the Xperia Z3.


We're still expecting to see the Sony Xperia Z3 and a compact companion phone launch after IFA 2014, so watch out for some announcements next month.



  • Here are the best iPhone 6 leaks so far


Reuters News: Exclusive: Bitcoin promoter to plead guilty to unlicensed money transmission



NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of the digital currency to users of illicit online marketplace Silk Road, his lawyer said Friday.



Shrem, the former vice chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, will plead guilty next Thursday in New York federal court to unlicensed money transmission, Marc Agnifilo, his lawyer told Reuters in an email.



Prosecutors had previously charged Shrem with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, money laundering conspiracy and failing to file suspicious activity reports with government banking authorities.



Federal authorities shut down Silk Road last year, though a new Internet marketplace under the same name was launched in November. Prosecutors contend Silk Road enabled users to buy and sell illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services.



Soon after his arrest in January, Shrem stepped down from his role at the Bitcoin Foundation, a well-known trade group. He was previously CEO of BitInstant, a bitcoin exchange company.



A notice of a plea hearing in the case of Shrem and his co-defendant, Robert Faiella, was included in a calendar distributed by court officials earlier Friday.



It was not immediately clear if Faiella, a Florida man who faced similar charges as Shrem, will plead guilty or move ahead with trial Sept. 22. He has previously pleaded not guilty.



But Faiella, 54, is expected to fly to New York for the hearing, according to a court order filed Friday.



A lawyer for Faiella did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declined comment.



Prosecutors are pursuing a separate case against Ross William Ulbricht, the man accused of creating and operating Silk Road under the name "Dread Pirate Roberts." He is set to face trial Nov. 3.



The case is U.S. v. Faiella, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-cr-00243.



Breaking News: Mom tries to Facebook-shame daughter, gets pizza on face


TechRadar Show: Amazon buying Twitch, Facebook’s anti-spam crusade, and IFA expectations

TechRadar Show: Amazon buying Twitch, Facebook's anti-spam crusade, and IFA expectations

It's been a week to get the emotions running. Amazon kicked things off by announcing it will be acquiring Twitch, causing a lot of gamers to uncharacteristically take to the internet to express their disapproval.


And just as we were reaching breaking point with the ridiculous number of spam videos appearing on our Facebook feeds, Zuck has stepped in to announce he's going to fix it.


And with IFA 2014 just hours away, we discuss the biggest things we hope to see at the big bad Berlin show.


Oh, and at one point Marc gets distracted by a fly. This is what happens when he skips breakfast.


YouTube : www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcoJYZuuzO4

Facebook spam: where it's from and how to stop it

















Reuters News: Angry Birds maker Rovio names new CEO



HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland's Rovio, the maker of the Angry Birds mobile game, said it has hired Pekka Rantala from beverage maker Hartwall to take over as its new chief executive by the beginning of next year.



Current CEO Mikael Hed, son of board chairman Kaj Hed, will join the company's board of directors as well as take on the role of chairman at Rovio's animation studios.



Rantala, who is currently the CEO of Hartwall, earlier worked for 14 years for Nokia.



After scoring a global breakthrough with Angry Birds in which players use a slingshot to attack pigs who steal birds' eggs, Rovio has expanded the brand into an animated TV series and merchandising of toys and clothing.



But it has struggled to retain players and earnings halved last year due to investments in the animation business as well as stalling sales.



Rovio said several years ago it could go public in Hong Kong or New York, but has later said it was not planning an initial public offering any time soon.



(Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl. Editing by Jane Merriman)



Breaking News: Netflix's Hastings makes the case for Net neutrality


PC still not dead yet, speculates analyst firm

PC still not dead yet, speculates analyst firm

The bad news first; worldwide PC shipments are shrinking fast and the general outlook for the next five years is not rosy. However the good news is that the west, rather than emerging markets is providing with the necessary boost.


Analyst firm IDC reckons that the number of PC units shipped globally is expected to drop this year by 3.7%, much less than the forecasted 6%. Surprisingly, emerging markets are expected to show a more significant slump compared to more mature ones (down by 10.6% compared to a 5.6% jump).


Overall, PC shipments for 2014 are expected to reach 304 million units but although IDC didn't publish that figure in this particular report, the global revenue for that computing category is likely to be flat or up marginally as PCs usually sell for more in mature market and - good news for Microsoft - usually come with a genuine, original operating system.


A lull before the slump?


Jay Chou, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide PC Trackers, confirmed that Microsoft's recent decision to sell Windows 8.1 with Bing for cheap or give it away has had a positive impact.


"Programs to reduce PC prices [...] helped to improve PC shipments in some segments," he said, "Coupled with a shift toward more mobile PCs, the market has seen a quickened pace of innovation and a focus on price points. Nevertheless, the prospects for significant PC growth in the long term remain tenuous, as users increasingly see PCs as only one of several computing devices."


Best laptop 2014: which notebook should you buy

















Reuters News: SoftBank's first Sony smartphone deal takes aim at U.S. market



TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's SoftBank Corp and its U.S. mobile carrier Sprint Corp will offer a Sony smartphone for the first time, sources with knowledge of the matter said, as the two technology titans confront daunting challenges in the U.S. market.



The deal could give a much-needed boost to Sony's struggling mobile division, which last month said it no longer expected to make a profit in the year to next March. It will also bolster Sprint's handset line-up as it seeks to stem a flight in subscribers.



SoftBank, Japan's second most valuable company, is pushing price cuts and promotions at Sprint while unveiling joint smartphone offerings to shore up the No. 3 U.S. carrier, after U.S. regulators thwarted its hopes for a merger to give it the scale to take on bigger rivals.



Sony, long one of Japan's best-known brands but now struggling to pull its flagship electronics division out of the red, has been unable to gain traction in the key U.S. smartphone market, depressing a mobile unit that it hopes to make a pillar of its revival.



Sony managed only a 2.1 percent share of the global smartphone market in 2013, according to market research firm Gartner, and now faces rising competition from low-cost Chinese smartphones. In the U.S. market, the only carrier offering its handsets is No. 4 T-Mobile US Inc.



Sony will sell a soon-to-be launched Xperia flagship phone in the United States via Sprint, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. In Japan, SoftBank will make the phone available in time for the winter holiday season, they added.



Sony and SoftBank declined to comment.



SON AND SONY



Sony is expected to unveil its next flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z3, at next week's IFA tech expo in Berlin.



But the company remains far behind the big names in the industry: Apple Inc, which is set to unveil its new iPhone 6 next month, and Samsung Electronics Co, which makes the Galaxy series.



"I can't see this making much of a difference," said Deutsche Bank analyst Yasuo Nakane of the Sprint deal, stressing the importance of a deal with a major carrier such as Verizon Communications Inc - along with AT&T Inc one of the top two U.S. carriers - to get critical mass in that market. Sony offers an Xperia tablet through Verizon.



"Even if they put out a phone on Sprint, Verizon is the priority any way you think about it," Nakane said.



Masahiro Ono, an analyst at Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities, nevertheless saw the deal as a move in the right direction.



"They haven't been able to maintain very good relationships with carriers, unlike Samsung who has done very well," he said.



Sprint's aggressive strategy on new handsets and price cuts, with the unveiling last week of a smartphone developed by Sharp Corp exclusive for Sprint and SoftBank, is likely to accelerate under new chief executive Marcelo Claure, plucked from handset reseller Brightstar Corp which SoftBank acquired last year.



SoftBank CEO and founder Masayoshi Son has vowed bold moves by Sprint since a proposal to merge with T-Mobile US was withdrawn early this month.



(Writing by Sophie Knight; Editing by Edmund Klamann, Ryan Woo and Mark Potter)



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