Google just announced that it will acquire Nest, the company that sells the popular and impressive connected Smart Thermostat and Protect smoke alarm devices, for $3.2 billion. With the deal, Nest founders Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers will join Google, bringing the two men who pretty much brought the iPod to life into Google's clutches.
"They’re already delivering amazing products you can buy right now–thermostats that save energy and smoke/CO alarms that can help keep your family safe," said Google CEO Larry Page in a statement. "We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfill their dreams!"
Google says that Nest will continue to operate independently, and Nest says that the customer data will be kept separate from the rest of Google data mining. We've seen similar promises from other companies Google has purchased in the past, and many of them were broken. We'll see how this one pans out. The acquisition is now pending regulatory review, and will likely take a few months to close.
In what has to be seen as one of the biggest tech stories of the year, it's finally been announced that Apple's iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will be available on China Mobile, the largest cell phone carrier in the world, beginning on January 17, 2014. Both devices will support the China Mobile TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA cellular networks. Interested customers can pre-register for a device beginning December 25th.
“China is an extremely important market for Apple and our partnership with China Mobile presents us the opportunity to bring iPhone to the customers of the world’s largest network,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in the release.
It'll definitely be interesting to see what this does for iPhone worldwide marketshare, as China Mobile has 760 million customers.
The final piece of the Xbox One launch puzzle was solved yesterday when Microsoft confirmed that the console will launch on November 22nd. For those who don't have amazing an amazing memory, this is the same day that the Xbox 360 launched eight years ago. As previously announced, the Xbox One will cost $499, and will include the console, a controller, wired mono headset, and the new Kinect sensor.
Samsung is the first major company to release a smartwatch, revealing the Galaxy Gear during today's Unpacked event. The rumor mill was quite a ways off from what was presented today. The Gear sports a 1.63-inch 320 x 320 Super AMOLED display, with a 1.9-megapixel BSI auto-focus camera on the outside wrist strap (used to capture low-resolution images and 10-second video clips at 720p,) and a speaker on the inner wrist strap.
Galaxy Gear is also a platform unto itself, and it will have 70 apps on deck for launch, including familiar names like RunKeeper, Path, Evernote, TripIt, MyFitnessPal, eBay, and many others. That sounds great, but the device will ship with limited smartphone and tablet compatibility, working with only the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1 at launch, although Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy S III integration will be coming in October. With a compatible device, the Galaxy Gear will be your companion, allowing you access to Find My Device, S Voice, pedometer, call answering, and more.
At today's Unpacked event, Samsung announced its new S Pen-powered Galaxy Note 3, a bigger version of the large smartphone, with much improved internals. Aiming to end the talk of people complaining about the cheap plastic feel of Samsung devices, the company has given the Note 3 a faux-leather backing. You get a 5.7-inch 1080p display (up from 5.5 on the Note 2,) and the device will support the new LTE Category 4 as well as the new Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch. You get a 13 megapixel camera on back, with a 2 megapixel version up front, and the rear camera can record in up to 4K resolution at 30fps, a first for a smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will start shipping on September 25th rocking Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, available in black, white, and pink.
Amazon has announced an awesome new program called Kindle MatchBook that it's set to launch in October, bringing free and cheap eBooks to buyers of paper books. Basically, if you purchase a paper book from Amazon, you can buy the digital Kindle version for $.99, $1.99, $2.99, or download it for free, depending on the book. Most interesting? It's completely retroactive, going all the way back to 1995 when Amazon launched. Any participating purchase you've ever made on Amazon is eligible, as long as it is a part of the MatchBook selection, which will launch at about 10,000 titles next month. Amazon says that there will be some big-name authors taking part:
Kindle MatchBook will launch with books from Ray Bradbury, Michael Crichton, Blake Crouch, James Rollins, Jodi Picoult, Neil Gaiman, Marcus Sakey, Wally Lamb, Jo Nesbo, Neal Stephenson, and J.A. Jance, among others. In addition, Amazon Publishing will include all its titles in Kindle MatchBook.
Definitely a cool service, and one that makes Amazon an even more attractive purchasing destination when compared to Barnes & Noble and the Nook store, and Apple's iBookstore (which doesn't even sell paper books.)
Read More | Kindle MatchBook
As anticipated, Apple has sent out press invites to its next iPhone event, scheduled for September 10th. As Apple typically does, hints of what's to come are foreshadowed in the invite graphic. This time around, it appears that Apple is focusing on the multi-hued iPhone 5C, which we've seen will be available in multiple plastic colors as the entry-level iPhone option. We recently gave you a look at what you can expect both new iPhone models to look like. Of course, we'll have all the details for you live as it happens a week from today.
It's rumored that the iPhone 5S and 5C will go on sale on September 20th, ten days after Apple introduces them.
The Syrian Electronic Army strikes again at another VoIP provider, this time, Viber. We reported the cyber attacks on Tango, now it seems that the pro-Assad militant cyber group claims allegedly that it was able to download backups of Viber's database, which includes but it's not limited to phone numbers, device IDs and, supposedly, push notification tokens. Along with the purported intrusion, some Viber pages have been defaced. Viber has come forward and has stated that the intrusion is mostly harmless to customers of their VoIP services since they claim that the most vital user information is kept in a different database that can't be exploited by outsider threats. As always, Viber requests that 200,000 users be vigilant and report any suspicious activity with their accounts.
Today the Viber Support site was defaced after a Viber employee unfortunately fell victim to an email phishing attack. The phishing attack allowed access to two minor systems: a customer support panel and a support administration system. Information from one of these systems was posted on the defaced page.
It is very important to emphasize that no sensitive user data was exposed and that Viber’s databases were not “hacked”. Sensitive, private user information is kept in a secure system that cannot be accessed through this type of attack and is not part of our support system.
We take this incident very seriously and we are working right now to return the support site to full service for our users. Additionally, we want to assure all of our users that we are reviewing all of our policies to make sure that no such incident is repeated in the future. - Viber
Read More | Arstechnica
The Apple Developer Center portal has been in hiatus since last Thurday. Reasons for it being down took many by surprise as they were led to be believe it was related to a mundane web maintenance. However, Apple has come forward with information that the Dev site was compromised. Now, a security researcher named Ibrahim Balic has come forward claiming responsibility for the exploit several hours before the Dev site went into full lockdown.
Balic managed to see and copy Apple developer's full names and corresponding Apple ID and emails with an unavoidable injection tool attack. No other information was garnered from the exploit such as credit card information or App codes. Such information is under additional lock and key encryption housed in other servers.
Balic claims that he was also able to get a hold of the Apple ID of regular users. He stresses that this is for security research purposes only and he does not intend to give out any information to the general public as to how he managed the exploit. Full Apple statement below. Still, no apologies from Apple over the faux linen landing page. Here's a video of Balic discribing vulnerabilities within Apple's web services.
Read More | AllThingsD
It appears that Samsung is prepping for its first annual Samsung Developers Conference boasting a "cross-product, cross platform" event on October 27-29 in San Francisco. Perhaps, Samsung is shifting gears by lessening its dependence on Google's Android mobile operating system and blurring the lines of its long line portfolio of successful products with developers. The South Korean conglomerate has been working on different mobile OS like Linux based Bada and Intel processor based Tizen, which is a spin-off the abandoned Meego OS project by Nokia. Samsung promises more information to follow leading up to the event. Samsung and Google have had major successes as partners but, in the recent acquisition of Motorola, something that Google previously stated it wouldn't do and Samsung focusing on diminishing Google presence from its products have shown the relation is more stressed than first perceived.
Read More | Samsung Dev Con