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Category: Black Berry

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Consider the Clouds in 2014

As the dust settles into 2014 and we’re in the midst of our Q1 roadmap, we thought we’d share some thoughts of where we think cloud and mobile are heading, as they may influence how you think about your product, customer needs, or simply the future of the industry.


Smartphone penetration plateaus


2014 is the year smartphone growth will plateau, as we start to see saturation in the market. Apple recently released a more affordable Apple 5C that’s meant for the mass market and Google’s open Android OS has been making it easy for manufacturers to build cheap smartphones for years. The result: feature phone extinction.


Saturation should create opportunities in mobile device peripherals, including wearables. These devices will drive engagement with mobile devices as well as provide a way for companies to differentiate themselves. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch enables users to pick up notifications, control music playback, take pictures, or shoot short 720p movies with its 1.9-megapixel camera. With the smartphone and tablet as the feeders of information (the watch grabs information from Galaxy mobile devices via Bluetooth), Samsung has a hub on which to build useful peripherals.


Other wearables like the Pebble watch or Google Glass are rapidly gaining popularity in Silicon Valley. How quickly they can adapt to gain broad acceptance will determine the difference between being a long term success or the next Segway. Since wearables have been mostly familiar day-to-day accessories (glasses, watches, etc.), we think they’ll have greater success than something that requires greater change of behavior like the Segway.


Cloud and mobile become increasingly integrated


Mobile users need the cloud. You remember that when you lost your LTE connection and how frustrated you were as you waved your phone around looking for better signal? Yeah, that’s why the cloud is important. While apps have become smarter to support some off-line usage, they need that internet connection to be useful to you.


So why not just build apps that can run on the phone without internet? The cloud provides the convenience of off-device data processing and storage. While smartphones and other mobile devices have come a long way in terms of battery life, processing power, and storage space, the cloud does a lot of heavy lifting that makes apps work like magic.


Mobile and cloud means we’re connected wherever, whenever. Mobile empowers the cloud, and in return, the cloud powers mobile. For example, location data gathered from your phone is sent to the cloud where it’s processed and returned to your device in the form of useful contextual information about your surroundings. Big data will finally become useful to consumers as mobile and cloud work more closely together.


Enterprise fills the Black(Berry) hole


BlackBerry will be an interesting vendor to watch. 2013 was a rough year for them and with consumer favorites, iOS and Android, flying high from the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, companies will hedge their bets and consider sunsetting support for BlackBerry in favor of other solutions. The question becomes - who will fill the void left by BlackBerry?


More conservative clients who may be in highly regulated industries, like finance, may be hesitant to move to the cloud, though consumer adoption is influencing IT policy. If BlackBerry goes away, that opens up an opportunity for another big player to fill in the enterprise mobile gap.


Part of what’s driving this shift is the consumerization of IT. Consumer influence on IT is a trend that is here to stay. People want to use the same tools at work, that they also use at home. Mobility enables the lines between work life and home life to blur more than ever before. The pressure on IT to adopt more end-user friendly technologies will continue to mount.


Enterprises move to the cloud despite security concerns


Security in 2014 is not just for IT. Popular internet services like Snapchat and large companies like Target are just the latest in a long list of brand name organizations getting hacked. Consumers are going to think twice about the information they share and this habit will spill over into the workplace as well.


Cloud service adoption within enterprises is going to continue to grow and perhaps hit an inflection point, as companies realize that the benefits of the cloud outweigh the negatives. With privacy and security conversations hitting mainstream media, workers are being educated at home and in the workplace.


We’re seeing a lot of companies adopting Google Apps, Box, Dropbox, Salesforce, and many other cloud services. Some are even deploying multiple solutions that solve similar problems (e.g. Dropbox and Box) to meet the wants and needs of various functional groups. With all these services being adopted, IT will need to find a way to integrate them and fully manage everything within its security policies and parameters.


As a result, API platforms and cross-platform services are going to be huge this year. Secure management of this infrastructure will be a big question that will influence adoption.


DDoS Attackers New Tactics Amplify Attack Sizes and Hide Identities

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) perpetrators changed tactics in Q3 2013 to boost denial of service attack sizes and hide their identities. By employing a type of DDoS attack called a reflection attack, which leverages the capabilities of vulnerable servers, malicious actors launched high-bandwidth attacks with fewer resources with the intent to cause outages at their intended targets.


As reported in Prolexic’s Q3 2013 Global Attack Report, the reflection attack method grew in popularity among malicious actors by 265% year-over-year compared to Q3 2012 and by 70% in just the past quarter. Attackers are flocking to these distributed reflection denial of service (DrDoS) attacks, because this type of attack method provides them with significant benefits.


One benefit of DrDoS attacks for the malicious actor is the obscuring of the source of the attack (anonymity). By going through a victim server, the original attacker’s identity is hidden. Instead, it looks like the victim servers initiated the attack against the target.


The other benefit of DrDoS attacks for malicious actors is the ability to use the bandwidth of intermediary victim servers to make the attack more powerful. Because the amplification factor is so large – for one type of protocol attack the amplification factor is 17 – less outbound bot traffic is needed and the botnet can be much smaller.


In DrDos attacks there are always two or more victims: the malicious actor’s intended target and the intermediary servers. The intermediary victims usually participate unknowingly. They aren’t infected with malicious code. Instead, they may have a server feature turned on that DrDoS attackers have learned to exploit opportunistically – typically a common network protocol such as DNS or CHARGEN.


In Q3 there was a big jump in UDP attacks and a corresponding drop in SYN attacks. The increase in UDP attacks is part of this reflection attack trend.


Other DDoS trends identified in Q3 was related to the number of attacks. We found that the total number of DDoS attacks launched against our clients in Q3 2013 remained high and represented the highest total ever for one quarter. Usually Q3 is a relatively quiet month, but the DDoS attack trend showed a consistently heightened level of DDoS activity around the world over the last six months.


Since Q3 2013, we have seen a 58 percent increase in total DDOS attacks, 101 percent increase in application layer (Layer 7) attacks, 48 percent increase in infrastructure (Layer 3 & 4) attacks and 12.3 percent increase in the average attack duration.


Prolexic’s Q3 2013 Global DDoS Attack Report is available as a free PDF download. It includes a detailed analysis of the DDoS trend toward DrDoS reflection attacks. The analysis examines DrDoS attack methods, tools and services – specifically CHARGEN attacks being integrated into the DDoS threatscape – and provides steps for remediating CHARGEN attacks.


No Fun and Games: DDoS Attacks Use Gaming Servers

Each day, 145 million people play online video games. Many of the servers they use are insecure and misconfigured, making online gaming networks easy to exploit by criminals who launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.


What does this problem have to do with non-gamers? DDoS attackers use gaming servers to enhance their attacks, but their targets aren’t limited to the gaming industry. Many attackers simply use this medium to make their denial of service attacks more powerful. Regardless of your industry, a malicious actor could use gaming servers to attack your business.


The attacks keep coming and new techniques keep evolving. Using gaming servers to strengthen DDoS attacks is not new. Gamers and those who exploit multiplayer gaming infrastructures have been up to bad ends for a long time – since at least the 1990s.


Denial of service attacks involving gaming servers are launched by both those who are outside of the gaming industry and gamers themselves. Each group have different reasons for DDoSing. Non-gamers use gaming servers to boost their attacks against non-gaming businesses, especially against (but not limited to) the financial industry. Disgruntled gamers, on the other hand, may use a DDoS attack to knock a fellow gamer off a game network as a strategy to gain a temporary in-game advantage. Other gamers may use DDoS attacks to target other gaming systems to damage the playing experience of gamers on rival platforms.


One common type of denial of service attack that often involves the online gaming infrastructure is called amplified distributed reflection denial of service attacks, or DrDoS attacks. This type of attack has been used for decades. Early DrDoS attacks that involved gaming servers took advantage of misconfigurations within the servers that hosted Counter-Strike, Quake and Half Life – and they still do. One of the reasons gaming servers are so popular among non-gamers is that gaming-server aggregators provide a good source of server IP addresses to employ in DrDoS attacks. Although aggregators exist to provide a legitimate service for players to find a gaming server to play on, criminals use the server addresses maliciously. With the IP addresses, an attacker can identify which of them can be exploited and cause them to produce outsized responses directed the attacker’s target, overwhelming the target with network traffic and slowing it or shutting it down.


Gamers tend to use different attack techniques. They often track down the IP address of an individual rival and use a DDoS method called packeting to slow or stop Internet service at the target. Although packeting attacks are relatively weak, gamers also have more sophisticated attacks at their disposal: For a fee, enterprising developers offer ready-to-use DDoS toolkits that are pre-configured to take advantage of insecure and misconfigured gaming servers.


Even non-gamers are at risk from DDoS attacks that abuse gaming servers. You can learn more about attacks and tools that exploit the multiplayer gaming infrastructure in Prolexic’s white paper, DrDoS and DDoS Attacks Involving the Multiplayer Video Gaming Community.


Top Startup and Tech News Today: 7 Things You Missed Today

1. SVForum Announces First-Ever Startup Expo Day


Silicon Valley’s leading non-profit devoted to innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship, SVForum, is hosting a startup expo in October 2rd, 2013 in Menlo Park, California. SVForum, which has always had a long role in helping to connect entrepreneurs and investor, is hoping that the first ever Startup expo will help that dynamic. The startup expo is planned to be an open and interactive environment where investors and startups can meet. Instead of formal pitches, the expo floor will be open for investors to visit demo tables. “Being at the helm of a brand-new startup company is one of the most challenging experiences the business world has to offer,” says SVForum CEO Susan Lucac-Cowell. “The entrepreneurs that sign up for SVForum’s Startup Expo are being offered a much-needed jump-start, a chance to cut down on the slack time between starting out and ‘making good.’”


2. U.S. Ban On Some Samsung Products To Go Into Effect


The legendary Samsung vs Apple legal riff made headlines for weeks. Now, Samsung’s loss is going to start hurting the technology giant. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said that it would allow a U.S. ban on Samsung products that infringed onto Apple’s patents. On August 9th, the US International Trade Commission ruled that some of Samsung’s older mobile devices infringed on patents and then banned the importation of these devices. Samsung has said that it has means and methods of designing-around the parts of the technology that infringe on the patents, and that these have already been approved by the ITC. Hopefully, they will be enacted before a ban on Samsung products is able to go through.


3. Google Unveils New HP Laptop For $279


Google’s new laptop, which borrows many high-end features found in four-figure laptops, is selling for only $279. The HP Chromebook 11, which runs on the Chrome OS, relies heavily on continuous internet connection so it can connect to apps like Gmail. Many applications don’t run directly on the device as well; instead, they run over the internet. Chromebooks have little storage space, as documents, photos, and other files are stored online as opposed to being stored on the computer itself. The new laptop has a plastic frame with no sharp edge or corners and speakers that are under the keyboard. The Chromebook 11 measured 11.6 inches diagonally and weighs about 2 pounds. The laptop is available in white or black and enters the market on Tuesday.


4. WSJ Confirms HTC One Max Fingerprint Sensor, Says Debut Coming Oct. 15


Recently, a dozen or so photos of HTC’s upcoming One Max leaked, showing what appeared to be a fingerprint scanner. On Tuesday morning, the Wall Street Journal reported that HTC was getting ready to reveal some more information on its phone-tablet. It confirmed the name “HTC One Max” and confirmed that the smartphone would have a 5.9 inch display as well as an integrated fingerprint scanner. No clarification on how the fingerprint scanner would be utilized was given. HTC plans to unveil the HTC One Max on October 15th. After Apple’s introduction of the fingerprint scanned with the new series of iPhone 5S’s and 5C’s, it seems as though every player in the smartphone industry has decided that they too need to have a fingerprint scanner on their phone.


5. Google, Samsung And Others Reportedly Considering BlackBerry Bids

When BlackBerry’s future was still up in the air, few companies showed any interest in acquiring the once-giant smartphone builder. But, now that the future is looking bleak for BlackBerry, the company is drawing all sorts of interested acquirers. Ceberus recently revealed that they were working on gaining access to BlackBerry’s financials in order to determine whether or not they wanted to make a bid. BlackBerry co-founder Mike Laridis is rumored to be entertaining the notion of reclaiming his former company. Now, it has recently been reported that big names such as Google, Intel, LG, Cisco, SAP, and Samsung are all interesting in bidding for all or parts of BlackBerry’s business. It is unclear which parts are being hunted after, and whether or not the companies will pursue such an action.


6. The Best Startup Perk? A 40-Hour Week


Everyone knows that happy employees are better employees. So, a handful of tech startups have been trying a new approach to getting the best out of their workers: this approach is to make them work less. They’ve been monitoring workers to make sure that workers go home on time very night, and are able to relax and enjoy their weekend. At BambooHR, co-founder Ryan Sanders enforces a strict 40-hour maximum workweek. Some other companies are taking more modest steps to restore personal time. Vynamic, a startup in Philadelphia, told workers they were not allowed to send emails on weekends or between the hours of 10PM or 6AM. Rick Sheridan, CEO of Menlo, doesn’t allow workers to work past 6PM. The result he’s seen so far from this experiment, Sheridan says, is a productive 8-hour day, a happier staff, and more efficient work that leads to more pleased clients.


7. App Turns Airport Wait Into A Mini Holiday


Traveling is a pain, and that’s without counting the possible delays or stalling, and the inevitable layovers. But, startup app Smart Layover wants to help passengers with a few hours between flights make more out of their wait. The app, which is available for iOS, Android, and Blackberry lets users take advantage of their time to go see nearby attractions and facilities. Users simply enter the details of the layover, and the app will offer suggestions of things to do and see that meet the timeframe and location. The app’s database features day-use hotels, events, attractions, food and drink opportunities, and even discounts and coupons. Users who are aware of a layover can plan out their schedule – those with last minute delays can find last minute solutions to entertain themselves.


Top Startup and Tech News Today: 7 Things You Missed Today

1. Google Looks To Help Startups Start Up, Unveils Hub Network


Google announced on Wednesday that it would be partnering with co-working spaces and startup hubs (a place where companies can get access to an office, mentors, and other resources) to create a hub network. This initiative is being overseen by Google for Entrepreneurs. Google already has startup hubs in London and Tel Aviv, but this new network will cover seven less-prolific startup towns, from Chicago to Nashville to Minneapolis. Google says that they will back these hubs financially and technologically. Companies at the hubs will have more access to Google products, which includes cloud storage, Google App Engine credit, and Google Maps API. Google will check in with the hubs once a month and arrange annual events. Startups will have access to many Google marketing employees for mentorship.


Outreach to startups is becoming increasingly common among big companies, as they try to find innovation before another company does. Earlier this month, Samsung created its own accelerator.


2. China To Lift Ban On Sale Of Video Game Consoles: Reports


China is moving to repeal a 13-year ban of the selling of video game consoles. This came through a set of rules issued by the State Council in regards to the new free-trade zone in Shanghai. Foreign companies are now free to begin selling their products in China as long as the companies operates within the free-trade zone. However, each device must be pre-approved by the Culture Ministry. Consoles were initially banned in 2000 over concern that video gaming would be detrimental to the younger generation.


3. App Developers Refuse To Give Up On BlackBerry 10


BlackBerry isn’t in a good place right now, especially not after just having posted a billion-dollar loss for the second fiscal quarter. But, some good news for BlackBerry comes in the form of a report from Digitimes, in which application developers claim that they aren’t going to bail on the Blackberry 10. At the BlackBerry Jam Asia 2013 conference this week, many developers said they planned to continue building and supporting applications for the BlackBerry 10. Some developers say that smaller mobile platforms like the BlackBerry 10 are more attractive, because the iOS and Android app stores are too noisy, and thus harder to break in to. BlackBerry is currently in talks with Fairdox Holdings for a $4.7 billion acquisition. It this buyout goes through, it is uncertain what lies ahead in BlackBerry’s future.


4. Web Site Leaks Images of Gold iPad Mini


Apple is taking note of the tremendous success and popularity that was the gold iPhone 5S. After their numbers blew away Wall Street’s prediction and even their own predictions, Apple has decided that the more gold, the better, and may launch a gold iPad mini. ZOL, a Chinese web site, has leaked images of an iPad mini in the same color scheme as the 5S. There have also been leaked images of the iPad mini in Apple’s “space grey” color, so Apple may be bringing new color schemes to all of its iDevices. In additional to the new color scheme, pictures of the new iPad mini also confirmed that it will also have touchID fingerprint scanning and retina display.


5. Samsung Exec Reportedly Admits Galaxy Gear Smartwatch ‘Lacks Something Special’


When a new product launches, the last thing you want is bad press, whether it be internal or not, and it seems like someone at Samsung missed this memo. According to a report from The Korea Times, a Samsung executive admitted that the company wasn’t happy with the new Galaxy Gear smartwatch. ”We’ve acknowledged that our Gear lacks something special,” said an unnamed Samsung official to the site. “With more investment for user interface and user experience, Samsung devices will be better in terms of customer satisfaction.” Samsung’s new Galaxy Gear smartwatch launches early in October and is seem as a preemptive strike against Apple’s rumored “iWatch.” Galaxy Gear preorders opened just last week.

6. Panasonic Quits Smartphones to Focus On…Feature Phones


Japanese electronics giant, Panasonic, confirms that it plans on stopping development of smartphones for the mass market. This is not new; the company said in July that it wanted to review its smartphone strategy after posting losses due to weak sales of smartphones in Japan; this is the only market where the company had any presence in the smartphone market. Panasonic says that it instead plans on reallocating the resources to manufacturing and selling feature phones (the clam-shell type handsets that came before the smartphone era). Features phones still have a large following in Japan and account for roughly 30% of all mobile phones sold. This figure is, however, shrinking, as time passes.

7. Key dates from Google’s 15-year history

September 27, 1998: is born.
May 9, 2000: The search engine becomes available in 10 new languages
June 26, 2000: The first search engine to index 1 billion web pages is… Google!
April 1, 2004: The beta version of Gmail is launched
February 8, 2005: Google Maps is born.
November 13, 2006: Google purchases YouTube for roughly $1.6 billion.
May 25, 2007: Google Maps Street View is born.
November 5, 2007: Google announces the OS, Android.
September 1, 2008: Google chrome is born.
July 7, 2009: The Google Chrome OS, which is based on Linux, is announced.
January 5, 2010: The “Google phone” is introduced by HTC.
June 15, 2011: Google presents the first Chromebook, equipped with Chrome OS
June 28, 2011: Google+ is born.
June 29, 2011: Google starts testing their cars in Nevada.
April 5, 2012: The first Google Glass prototype is worn.



Top Startup and Tech News Today: 7 Things You Missed Today

1. Apple Maps Sends Errant Drivers Onto Airport Runway


Ever since Apple kicked Google Maps as its default map application and created its own application, the world has been awry with errors stemmed from incorrect Apple mapping. Although Apple has updated their map time and time again, and less errors have been reported, Apple Maps has done it again – this time, they sent Alaskan drivers down an airport runway. “The company’s Maps app misled drivers, leading them to drive across a main runway” at Fairbanks International Airport, according to The Independent, “Fairbanks International Airport told a local newspaper that twice in the past three weeks drivers from out of town have driven through the airport after being given bad directions by their iPhones.”


Staff of the airport asked Apple to disable directions around the area entirely until the problem was solved. The problem has not been solved and Apple has not disabled directions; so, Fairbanks has resorted to barricading their entrance ramp.


2. One In Eight Single Men Would Choose A New iPhone Over A Girlfriend


In a survey conducted by discount site, one in eight single men said they would rather have a new iPhone 5S instead of a girlfriend. The survey polled 550 single British males and found that 3% said that they were willing to drop their current girlfriend for a new iPhone. “You don’t expect to see one in eight men prepared to forgo love, or in the case of three per cent, ditch their current partner to get their hands on [a new iPhone]” a SaleLand representative said.


It may not be in their best interest to say this – or let their girlfriend hear them say this. No one wants to be left behind for a mobile device – especially when it’s one that will become outdated in a year.

3. Twitter Launches Emergency Alerts


On Wednesday, Twitter launched a system for emergency alerts to help spread information when other forms of communications are down. Twitter alerts can be useful in natural disasters or other emergencies when traditional channels of communication are overloaded or unavailable. “We know from our users how important it is to be able to receive reliable information during these times” said Twitter product manager, Gaby Pena. “Twitter Alerts is a new way to get accurate and important information when you need it most… Today, we’re launching Twitter Alerts, a new feature that brings us one step closer to helping users get important and accurate information from credible organizations during emergencies, natural disasters or moments when other communications services aren’t accessible.”


Users who sign up for Twitter Alerts will receive a notification directly to their phone for tweets marked as alerts. A number of organizations have been authorized to send alerts, and Twitter will expand this to include “public institutions and NGOs around the world.” Some of the already okay-ed organizations include the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, World Health Organization, and government agencies.


4. Samsung: We’ll Have a Gold Phone Too


After seeing the huge uproar caused by Apple’s gold phone, Samsung has decided that it’s going to release a Gold phone too. On Wednesday, Samsung posted a photo on its Twitter feed advertising a gold-colored Galaxy S4 Smartphone, with the caption: “Introducing the new #GalaxyS4 Gold Edition – for a style that’s uniquely yours!” The advertisement even adds on “Elegance is a touch of gold.” The announcement came just two weeks after Apple announced the iPhone lineup would get a new gold color. A Samsung spokesman didn’t respond to a request for a comment about when the company begin planning and implementing the idea for a gold-colored Galaxy S4.


5. T-Mobile No Longer Stocking BlackBerry Products At Retail Stores


With BlackBerry facing uncertainty and hardship in the future, T-Mobile has decided to pull all stock BlackBerry devices from their retail stores, citing weak demand among everyday consumers. Instead, T-mobile will now ship in-store and online BlackBerry orders directly to buyers. VP David Carey of T-Mobile said that business customers represent a large percentage of the BlackBerrys that T-mobile does sell, and that there will be demo models of BlackBerry handsets in stores, it’s just not possible to make a purchase in store. Although sales for BlackBerry are not halting entirely, this is not a strong show of support. Although AT&T and Verizon are still carrying on BlackBerry within their stories, this could change, and a lack of support from the nation’s largest carriers would spell significant trouble for the already burdened phone maker.


6. Apple, China Mobile Deal May Be Coming Soon


Apple may soon announce a deal with China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless carrier. Posters leaked on Thursday show that China Mobile may be getting ready for an advertising campaign to promote the iPhone’s arrival to its customers. China Mobile, which has about 700 million subscribers, is rumored to start carrying the iPhone 5S and 5C. Investors have been waiting for  a deal with China Mobile for a while now, as it has been speculated that the company had been working on a deal for quite a while. A deal with China Mobile could give the company’s iPhone business a large boost in numbers.


7. Fairfax Says It Won’t Abandon BlackBerry Bid

Prem Wasta, the head of Fairfax Financial Holings LTD said that he had every intention of completing the acquisition of BlackBerry. This is in response to the many doubts people have been having about the $4.7 billion deal for the smartphone maker. BlackBerry announced earlier this week that Fairfax signed a letter of intent that contemplating buying Blackberry for $9/share. Fairfax, which is also coincidentally, BlackBerry’s largest shareholder, is trying to attract other investors to get it on the action. There is no breakup fee should Prem Wasta of Fairfax decide to walk away, but Wasta told the Associated Press that he was not in the business of making an offer and then walking away.


We thought long and hard before we offered $9 dollars a share and we’re not in the business of offering a number and at the last minute changing the figure. Over 28 years our reputation is stellar on that front. We just don’t do that.” Said Wasta. Wasta did note that the deal was subject to six weeks of due diligence, but emphasized that he had no plans of abandoning BlackBerry. If the deal goes through, BlackBerry will go private and no longer be publicly traded.


Top Startup and Tech News Today-7 Things You Missed Today

1. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint Are Paid Cash by NSA For Your Private Communications

The NSA (National Security Agency) pays AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint hundreds of millions of dollars per year for access to 81% of all international calls in the US, according to a leaked inspector general’s report. The secret report states that “NSA maintains relationships with over 100 U.S. companies”, emphasizing that the United States has the “home-field advantage as the primary hub for worldwide communications.”

According to the report, AT&T charges $325 for each activation fee and then a $10 a day additional fee to monitor the account. Verizon charges $775 for the first month and then $500 for the months that follow after. Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google refuse to say how much they charge the government to tap into their emails and information. The Washington Post states that in a separate report, the NSA has been said to pay the telephone companies roughly $300 million annually in order to access communication information.

2. Ailing BlackBerry Agrees To $4.7 Billion Buyout

Blackberry has agreed to a probable $4.7 billion buyout from Ontario-based Fairfax Financial Holdings. Fairfax, which is headed by billionaire Prem Wasta, is already BlackBerry’s largest shareholder with approximately 50% of BlackBerry’s shares. They plan on taking the smartphone maker private. Wasta says that the sale of BlackBerry “will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employees… We can deliver immediate value to shareholders while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company.”

Under the proposed deal, $9 would be offered for each outstanding share, and Fairfax would contribute its own shares in this transaction. BlackBerry’s board supports this plan. A firm and solid deal is expected by November 4th.


3. Apple Polishes Forecast After Selling 9 Million New iPhones


Apple has sold 9 million new iPhones during their first three days in stores. This record breaking sale period has prompted the company to issue a new and, much rosier, financial forecast. Shares in the company closed up 5% at $490.65 on Monday after the company said that revenue during the fiscal fourth quarter would most likely be between $34 and $37 billion. Apple rarely adjusts its outlook mid-quarter, so this change in numbers comes as a surprise.

“The critics have told you Apple lost its magic,” said Daniel Ernst, a Hudson Square Research analyst.  “Customers are telling you something very different. Clearly, people like the product. That sentiment is almost more important than the number.” Sales of the iPhone 5S and 5C nearly doubled that of the iPhone 5’s 5 million numbers during the first weekend. The 9 million sale surpassed the rough number of 6 million that analysts projected.

4. Google Says Widespread Gmail Outages and Delays Should Be Resolved Soon


If you’re a user of Gmail, you may have noticed Gmail failing to load and having a very rocky performance. Google says that the delays should be resolved soon. Gmail has been dealing with disruption and outages for users over the past day, with slow load times and delayed receiving of emails as a result. More than 50% of users have been seeing performance issues. Google hopes to resolve the problem soon – until then, simply wait out the problem while they fix the email service.

5. Is the Race for Smartphone Camera Megapixels Over?


Smartphones like to brag about the number of megapixels their phone offers. However, things might be changing, as smartphone makes shift their focus on not the number of megapixels, but the size of each pixel. Apple and HTC both launched new smartphones this year with larger pixels, as opposed to more pixels. HTC actually halved its pixel count, saying that having fewer pixels allowed the now larger pixels to capture more light. CK Lu, a principal research analyst for Gartner, says that “It is not a race of the megapixels anymore… Some phone makers are deciding to make bigger pixels instead, which is a tradeoff, but results in better quality pictures in low light.”

However, analysts say that this isn’t the end of the megapixel competition. Dale Gai, an anlalyst for Barclays says that many companies will continue focusing on just megapixels. However, more established companies with higher-end smartphones will continue focusing on megapixel size, as they look for ways to differentiate their camera from the camera of other smartphones.

6. Tough Times Ahead For LG and Sony

Apple’s announcement of selling a record breaking 9 million iPhones during its debut weekend for the 5s and 5s is a nightmare for Asian vendors who are rolling out huge numbers of Android models. This is particularly harsh for the two vendors trying to stage comebacks in 2013 – namely, LG and Sony. The rapid sell-outs of the gold iPhone 5S might mean smaller early production volumes, as many industry sources are currently anticipating. Also, since Apple’s consumer demand is above Wall Street and industry projections, it can be assumed that Apple’s unaccounted for consumer base is one stolen from possible customers for LG and Sony.

Samsung is currently preparing an aggressive marketing campaign for the Galaxy Note, while smaller brands LG, Sony, and HTC are targeting the $600+ smartphone bracket. It will be likely that some of these brands, or all of these brands, will reconsider their marketing and product plan before the year ends.

7. Flipboard Raises $50 Million in New Funding


Flipboard, the app startup that lets users read digital copies of magazines, has raised $50 million new funding, putting them at a valuation of $800 million. This marks the company’s third funding round. Flipboard says that their user base has grown 60% to 80 million users, compared to six months ago. Also, there are now 3.5 million magazines on Flipboard.  “It’s definitely early days for us still but the traction this quarter will be 2x or 3x what last quarter was,” said Mike McCue, CEO of Flipboard. “The combination between the traction we’ve seen on the revenue side with these brand advertisements and brand magazines combined with what we did with 2.0 where anyone can build their own magazine—that really got us moving towards doing another round of fundraising.”

McCue says that most of the late financing will go towards hiring engineers and designers. He sees the staff, currently at a size of 90, growing to a size of 200.


Top Startup and Tech News Today-7 Things You Missed Today

1. LinkedIn Sued by Users Who Say It Hacked Email Accounts, Stole Contact Lists

LinkedIn users claim that LinkedIn accessed their email so the company could mine out a list of contacts and then send spam-like emails. The suit claims that “Linkedln is able to download these addresses without requesting the password for the external email accounts or obtaining users’ consent.” The complaint argues accessing “the users’ email accounts and downloading of all email addresses associated with that users’ account is done without clearly notifying the user or obtaining his or her consent” and is essentially hacking.


The suit doesn’t make clear how LinkedIn is hacking these email accounts – there are no specifics, except for the accusation that LinkedIn is hacking the email accounts. LinkedIn is denying the accusations, and put out a statement, saying that. “LinkedIn is committed to putting out members first, which includes being transparent about how we protect and utilize our members’ data… We believe that the legal claims in this lawsuit are without merit, and we intend to fight it vigorously.”

2. BlackBerry Returns to Corporate Roots to Save It From Oblivion

BlackBerry is cutting its workforce and product line in order to refocus on the demographic that first brought them success: corporate customers. BlackBerry announced last week that they were cutting 4,500 jobs and taking a writedown of up to $960 million for unsold phones. BlackBerry’s Z10 phone, which was supposed to make BlackBerry relevant and a smartphone leader again, was released to mediocre reviews. BlackBerry’s attempts to find an acquirer have been fruitless so far.


BlackBerry’s shares have fallen 17% to $8.73 since September 20th. The stock has fallen 94% since its 2008 high. BlackBerry, which was credited with inventing the first smartphone more than a decade ago, has not managed to keep pace with Apple and Samsung. The company continues to produce news models and products of smartphones, however, none have managed to become a hit with the consumer audience so far.

3. New Surface expected from Microsoft at NYC event

Microsoft is expected to announce new Surface tablet computers in New York on Monday. One version of the Surface tablet is expected to have a smaller screen to compete with Apple’s iPad Mini. The new Surface tablets are expected to be lighter and thinner, thanks to a new processing chip that uses less energy and doesn’t require a fan.


Microsoft released Surface tablets last October but sales have generally been slow. During the April-June period, they accounted a $900 million charge in expected losses for the Surface RT after they slashes prices. Microsoft is trying hard to join the personal tablet trend, although they are still not the leaders of the industry.

4. German group claims to have hacked Apple iPhone fingerprint scanner

A group of German hackers have claimed to have hacked the iPhone fingerprint scanner, just two days after Apple launched the new technology. Two prominent iPhone security experts validated the claim made by the German hacker group, the Chaos Computing Club. Apple representatives did not comment.


The Chaos Computing Club, one of the larger and more respected hacker groups, posted a video on their website showing somebody accessing an iPhone 5S with a fake fingerprint. The website then continued to describe hoe members of their biometric teams had been able to crack the fingerprint scanner. “Fingerprints should not be used to secure anything. You leave them everywhere, and it is far too easy to make fake fingers out of lifted prints,” Starburg, another hacker, said on CCC’s site.

5. Tests: New iPhones Less Durable Than iPhone 5

SquareTrade, which provides protection plan for gadgets, tested Apple’s iPhones to see if they could withstand drops, dunks, and other common smartphone injuries. It found that the latest models of iPhones were not as durable as last year’s iPhone 5.  However, the biggest disappointment was Samsung’s Galaxy S4, says SquareTrade, which stopped working after being submerged in water and being dropped a height of five feet. The phone that withstood these challenges the best was Googles Moto X.


“We were expecting that at least one of the new iPhone models would up its game, but surprisingly, it was the Moto X that proved most forgiving of accidents,” said chief marketing officer of SquareTrade, Ty Shay. Generally, with every iPhone the upgrade, the phone becomes more durable and stronger; it seems as though this time, it is not the case.

SquareTrade reviewed each device based on eight factors, including the material, the phone’s size, it’s weight, the phone’s ability to withstand drops of five feet, and the phone’s ability to stand being dunked in water for 10 seconds.


Officials from Samsung, Google, and Apple have not responded.

6. Nokia racks up the retweets by poking fun at Apple’s iPhone 5C

A tweet posted to Nokia’s Twitter account said “thanks, Apple” and was juxtaposed with images of the rainbow-hued Nokia Lumia product line, along with the text “imitation is the best form of flattery.” The photo has received over 38,000 retweets and is one of the most successful branded tweets ever. Business Insider reports that Twitter has confirmed that this tweet is in the “top echelon” of marketing tweets throughout all the site’s history.


Although Nokia didn’t invent multi-colored electronics, and Apple’s been pushing colored iPods for year, the Lumia did bring back color to the cell market in a noticeable way. And besides, it’s a war between brands on Twitter – generally, anything goes in these situations.

7. Sprint confirms ‘One Up’ early phone upgrade program

On Friday, Sprint confirmed their early-upgrade program, “One Up,” that will let customers pay in monthly installments and change their phones annually. Spring is the last of the four major carriers to offer such a program. Under the plan, subscribers could get an unlimited talk, text, and data plan for as low as $65 a month. New or existing customers who have owned their phone for at least a year are eligible. Customers who are eligible don’t have to trade in their phone during the sign up process if they don’t want to.