The Galaxy Note 10.1, which comes with an S Pen stylus that allows users to draw and write on the screen, will initially be sold throughSamsung’s newly opened Experience Store in Sydney’s CBD. The tablet will also be available through major retailers JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman this week.
Samsung confirmed the 16GB Wi-Fi only model (N8010) of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be the first variant to go on sale and will retail for $589 outright. 3G models (N8000) are expected to follow at a later, unannounced date, the company confirmed.
Samsung will eventually sell a 32GB Wi-Fi only model for $699, while the 16GB 3G model is likely to have a retail price of $729 and the 32GB 3G model should set you back $839. These prices have yet to be officially confirmed by Samsung but were advertised at the Experience Store launch last night.
Australian and NZ govs want cheaper mobile roaming pricesOptions for reducing mobile roaming costs in the report include improving pricing transparency; using legislation to allow roamers to become local end-users, resulting in users being charged local costs instead of overseas mobile prices; and introducing wholesale and retail price caps.
Conroy has also called on the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to bring in industry standards around making mobile roaming charges more transparent.
The Australian and New Zealand governments launched an investigation into the traffic and revenue data collected from operators in April 2011.
Both governments are now seeking public comment on the draft report, with a standard expected to be implemented within 12 months.
Australian supermarket operator, Coles, has deployed MasterCard’s PayPass technology across 749 stores, enabling customers with eligible credit cards to pay without having to sign or provide a personal identification number (PIN).
Customers can use the PayPass system for purchases under $100. The technology allows customers with microchip-enabled cards to use a specially-fitted EFT terminal without the card physically touching the machine.
According to MasterCard Australasia head of market development and innovation, Matt Barr, the deal with Coles means there are now 100,000 PayPass terminals in operation across Australia.
Rival supermarket operator, Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW), rolled outVisa’s contactless payment technology, payWave, across all of its stores and retail subsidiary, Masters, in May 2011.
Samsung has opened its first official retail store in Australia today, located in Sydney.
The Samsung Experience Store is located at 450 George St, Sydney and opened to customers for the first time at 8am.
The store, the first of its kind in Australia for Samsung, is a stone throw away from Apple’s largest Australian retail store which is located at 367 George Street, Sydney.
The Samsung Experience Store also has a dedicated “App Zone” which gives customers the opportunity to look at apps that have been developed for Australia, while a “Play Zone” has a lower level table designed for entertaining children with specialist child apps and games. A range of Samsung and third party accessories are sold in the store.
In addition to selling products outright, Australian consumers can purchase smartphones and tablets through the three main carriers in Australia.
A small piece of software engineered by a fan of The Pirate Bay allows users to find the website by typing in its real domain name, even if their ISP has blocked the site.
The utility, called the “ThePiratePatch,” modifies a computer’s “hosts” file, which is used to match domain names of websites with an IP address. ThePiratePatch modifies the hosts file to direct requests for thepiratebay.se through proxy servers that aren’t blocked by the ISP.
Users simply type The Pirate Bay’s domain name into their web browser. ThePiratePatch automatically fetches the new addresses for valid proxies.
“Apple is not the biggest or most valuable company in history–not by a long shot,” argued CJR. “Apple’s $622 billion market cap is a nominal record, which means ‘in name only,’ or alternatively, not really. That’s because it’s a record only if you don’t adjust Microsoft’s 1999 market cap for inflation. Sorry, but you have to adjust any number like this that’s that old for inflation — it’s comparing apples to oranges not to do so.”
According to data from S&P Dow Jones Indices, Microsoft’s market capitalization — the value of all outstanding shares — peaked at $620.6 billion in December 1999.
Apple’s market cap was $622.5 billion at the end of trading Monday. It had been even higher earlier in the day.
But when adjusted for inflation — it requires $1.38 in 2012 dollars to equal $1 in 1999 dollars — Microsoft’s $620.6 billion balloons to $853.4 billion, or over $200 billion more than Apple’s current cap.
Microsoft has ditched the 30-day grace period, a trademark of Windows 7, in the retail copies of Windows 8, mandating that users provide a product key during setup.
The change runs counter to previous practice by the Redmond, Wash. developer. With Windows 7, for example, users could run the OS for 30 days before activating the copy by providing a legitimate key.
That “grace period” was used by some to evaluate the software prior to purchasing, to save up to $100 by using an “upgrade” license to install the OS on a newly-formatted hard drive, and to create physical partitions or virtual machines for quick testing purposes.
Because Windows 8 handles activation differently, the grace period has been eliminated.
Sale of tarot readings and spells banned on eBayThe sale of a range of fortune-telling and witchcraft-related services will be prohibited on online auction site eBay after 30 August 2012.
Tarot readings, spells, curses and blessings are among the “intangible” categories being removed by the site.
The decision has been made because conflicts between buyers and sellers of these services are difficult to resolve, eBay said.
All listings of this kind will be removed in September, it added.
“I bought a spell on eBay to help a relative who was having difficulties at work and we were amazed by the results,” said Michelle Hobbs from Dorset.
SMH Article Attached here regarding Google.
– Facebook’s cratering stock price (and initial investors cashing out)
– Android Piracy issues: http://www.fiercemobilecontent.com/story/feds-seize-android-app-marketplaces-applanet-appbucket-piracy-sting/2012-08-22?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal
Store wars: Samsung, Apple gadgets at 10 paces
It’s a flagship consumer electronics store on Sydney’s George Street with smiling blue shirt-wearing sales staff, a minimalist design and smartphones and tablets that invite customers to pick up and play.
But according to Samsung, the new store – just a block from Apple’s Sydney store – was all its own idea. The company, renowned as a “fast follower” of the market leader, is doing little to dispel the notion that it is an Apple copycat.
The store at 450 George Street opened at 8am today when Samsung also began selling its new tablet computer, the Galaxy Note 10.1. The 16GB WiFi version – which has a stylus for writing/drawing and can run dual apps in split screen mode – is priced at $589
Everything from the store layout to the sales staff to the products and even the packaging and promotional material is uncannily Apple-esque.
Samsung previously ambushed Apple’s iPhone 4S launch by offering $2 smartphones in a temporary shop just metres away form the Apple George Street store, but now its presence is more permanent.
Samsung Australia’s vice-president of telecommunications, Tyler McGee, said Apple “didn’t even come into the equation when we were looking for a location [for the store]”.
But come on, the layout of the store is pretty similar, right? “Well, if you look at our layout this is the layout that we use around the world and it’s about basically giving the consumers the opportunity to interact, learn and play with our devices,” McGee said.
Many aren’t buying it – including Conan O’Brien, who recently mocked Samsung with a parody clip of a Samsung manager calling BS on Apple’s charges of copying. The clip includes a send-up of Samsung’s stores. Last month Samsung opened its first North American store in Vancouver, Canada.
While other retailers struggle, Apple’s 373 stores in 13 countries (including 14 stores in Australia) are booming, with global sales of $16 billion last year. The company sells more gear per unit area than any other retailer in the US.
Gary Allen, who runs a blog dedicated to Apple stores, ifoAppleStore, said Apple had proven it was critical for electronics companies to have a physical presence.
“It’s not difficult to copy the general appearance of Apple’s stores,” he told Fairfax Media. “But I think Samsung will find it more difficult to copy the buzz or excitement that Apple’s stores generate for its customers.”
Samsung’s stores will further inflame Apple’s claims that it is competing with a copycat. The pair wrapped up their arguments in the US patent infringement battle this week, and are awaiting a jury verdict.
The case lifted the veil of secrecy at Apple, revealing a slew of iPad and iPhone prototypes and sensitive details regarding the process of designing its products (much of which occurs around a kitchen table, apparently).
But the case – and the fact that Samsung is now the market leader in consumer electronics – has also shone a spotlight on Samsung and the family-run conglomerate that owns it.
One memo relied on by Apple in its case shows Samsung’s head of mobile communications, J. K. Shin, remarking that the iPhone caused a “crisis of design” at the company and demanding “let’s make something like the iPhone”.
Comparisons tendered in the case show a huge difference between Samsung’s smartphone and tablet designs pre- and post-iPhone and iPad.
A separate 132-page Samsung document shows the company did an exhaustive feature-by-feature comparison of the iPhone and its original Galaxy S.
“Influential figures outside the company come across the iPhone, and they point out that ‘Samsung is dozing off’. All this time we’ve been paying all our attention to Nokia, and concentrated our efforts on things like Folder, Bar, Slide,” Shin wrote just after the iPhone’s launch.
“Yet when our UX is compared to the unexpected competitor Apple’s iPhone, the difference is truly that of Heaven and Earth. It’s a crisis of design.”
He adds: “When you compare the 2007 version of the iPhone with our current Omnia, can you honestly say the Omnia is better?”
Samsung said the memo was “routine” and “typical competitive analysis”, despite fighting tooth and nail to have it excluded from the case. It argues Apple is trying to use the courts to stifle its biggest competitor.
Much has changed since 2007 and Samsung is now the global market leader in smartphones, with its Galaxy S III selling more than 10 million units so far.
A recent feature article by The Kernel – titled “Samsung: Power, Corruption and Lies” – took a detailed look at corruption allegations against top Samsung executives, which are rarely aired in Western media. Its current chairman, Lee Kun-Hee, had his house raided by South Korean police in 2008 following claims the company was maintaining a slush fund to bribe court officials and politicians.
Prosecutors requested a seven-year prison sentence and a $US347 million fine but Lee was sentenced to a three years suspended sentence and a $US109 million fine – and was pardoned by the South Korean government in 2009. He returned as Samsung’s chairman – but internal issues remain as the Lee family is fighting in court over ownership of the company.
McGee would not comment on the court case against Apple or on how Samsung is dealing with the increased scrutiny of its practices in Korea.
New law to control cyber data
NEW laws will allow authorities to collect and monitor Australians’ internet records, including their web-browsing history, social media activity and emails.
But the laws, which will specifically target suspected cyber criminals, do not go as far as separate proposed laws designed to retain every Australian internet user’s internet history for two years in the name of national security.
Under the laws passed yesterday, Australian state and federal police will have the power to compel telcos and internet service providers to retain the internet records of people suspected of cyber-based crimes, including fraud and child pornography. Only those records made after the request will be retained, but law enforcement agencies will be prevented from seeing the information until they have secured a warrant.
It is believed that while some telcos and internet service providers keep data for up to a week, others routinely delete users’ data daily, frustrating the ability of authorities to gather evidence against suspects.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said the laws would help police track cyber criminals globally and give authorities the power to find people engaged in forgery, fraud, child pornography and infringement of copyright and intellectual property. They also will allow Australia to join the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, which has 34 members.
”Cyber crime is a growing threat that touches all aspects of modern life,” Ms Roxon said. ”It poses complex policy and law enforcement challenges, partly due to the transnational nature of the internet.”
But Greens communications spokesman Scott Ludlam said the laws went further than the European convention, and that the government had failed to explain why the far-reaching powers were necessary.
The European convention states that the treaty is not focused on data retention but on targeting law enforcement.
Australia’s new laws mean information can be kept at least until police get a warrant.
Senator Ludlam was particularly concerned the laws would allow data that implicates Australians in crimes that carry penalties of three years or more – including the death penalty – to be collected and analysed.
”The European Treaty doesn’t require ongoing collection and retention of communications, but the Australian bill does,” he said in a statement. ”It also leaves the door open for Australia to assist in prosecutions, which could lead to the death penalty overseas.”
The deadline for submissions to a parliamentary inquiry into the separate proposed national security laws closed on Monday and a parliamentary committee will report on the issue at a date to be decided.
Those proposals would allow the telephone and internet data of every Australian to be retained for up to two years and intelligence agencies would be given increased access to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
New mobile roaming alerts set to prevent Aussie bill shock
Summary: Australian travellers may soon be informed of what mobile roaming charges they are being subjected to when overseas under a new standard that the ACMA has been tasked with creating.
Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy has tasked the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) with developing an industry standard that will alert Australians of roaming charges, no matter where they are overseas, in order to avoid “bill shock”.
“This standard will ensure that Australians receive an alert on their mobile phone when they land overseas, and this will allow consumers to find out how much they’ll be charged when they make a call, how much they’ll be charged when they send a text or how much they’ll be charged when they go online,” he said.
“Most importantly, these alerts will allow Australian travellers to opt out of using these services.”
Conroy has given the ACMA 12 months to develop the standard, which will apply to all countries where Australians use mobile roaming.
“Australians deserve to know how much they’re being gauged by mobile operators when they use their mobile phones overseas, and they deserve the ability to say ‘no’.”
The news comes on the back of a draft report (PDF) that was jointly developed by the Australian Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
The draft report is based on traffic and revenue information from mobile operators in both countries, as well as an expert study (PDF) prepared by Wik-Consult.
“This draft report shows that margins made by Australian telcos have been higher than 1000 per cent,” he said.
“Since the Australian and New Zealand governments announced our investigation, not surprisingly, these margins have come down, but Australian telcos have generously dropped from 1000 per cent margins to 300 per cent margins.”
Conroy said that this wasn’t good enough, so now the two governments are canvassing the public on a number of options that it could follow to take action against the telcos. These include the introduction of wholesale and retail price caps, enhancing the regulators’ powers or using legislation to allow roaming users to become local end users.
While the draft report only covers mobile users roaming between Australia and New Zealand, Conroy and New Zealand’s Communications and IT Minister Amy Adams said that it is the first step in approaching the problem on a global scale.
“This is not an issue that is unique to our two countries. It’s an issue that is being talked about and looked at around the world, but actually they face exactly the same challenges that we faced when we first started discussing it,” Adams said.
“It’s very difficult to go to the global one-size-fits-all approach. I think the way we’ve approached it is to make it work in our closest, most natural ally market, and then see how we can leverage up from there. It’s an issue that the world is looking at, but no one yet that I’m aware of has come up with a comprehensive, global solution.”
Submissions on the draft report and expert study are due by 27 September.
Parliament House gets free wifi
Blocks blacklisted sites from open network.
The Department of Parliamentary Services has committed to spending $10,000 a year on free wifi for visitors, politicians and employees of Parliament House.
The department deployed the network on July 31 and launched it this week, informing visitors that no passwords would be required to connect to ‘WiFiParliament’.
Departmental secretary Carol Mills said all unencrypted traffic going into and out of the wireless network was controlled by proxies that scanned for malware.
Encrypted web site traffic was not inspected to maintain the confidentiality of the users’ data.
The department also blocked about 500 sites that the Defence Signals Directorate had found to be malicious.
It also worked with security vendor Trend Micro to blocked a wider list of bandwidth-intensive, malicious, or adult sites, including peer-to-peer downloading servers and gambling sites.
However, Mills said there were no controls to prevent malware from spreading between devices within the network.
“The user agreement that forms the conditions of use places the onus on users of the free service to protect themselves from other wireless devices,” she said.
“This enables the potential user to make an informed decision on the probity of using the free wireless service, in effect transferring the risk of a personal device being compromised back to the user of the service.”
Mills said the wifi service was an addition to the Department of Parliamentary Services’ existing wireless infrastructure.
The department expected the new wifi network to account for an additional 5 percent of its internet costs, amounting to less than $10,000 a year.
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Verizon Vacation Blackout Aligns With iPhone 5 Launch Rumors
The expected iPhone 5 launch next month will not only tax the resources of Apple but its carrier partners as well. According to new report from TechCrunch, vacation blackouts imposed by Verizon Wireless are in line with rumors about a Sept. 21 iPhone 5 launch.
Citing a trusted Verizon employee, TechCrunch said Verizon employees are banned from taking vacation time between Sept. 21 and Sept. 30.
Last week, meanwhile, BGR said an AT&T training event was moved to the first week in October so it wouldn’t conflict with a “huge announcement.”
Those reports are in line with rumors that Apple will hold a press event on Sept. 12 to unveil the next-gen iPhone (and possibly an iPad mini), and launch the device on Sept. 21.
The iPhone 5, meanwhile, is expected to include a larger, 4-inch screen and 4G LTE connectivity, among other things. For more, see PCMag’s iPhone 5 rumor roundup slideshow below.
Update: A Verizon Wireless spokeswoman pointed PCMag to a Techno Buffalo story that said a Verizon worker denied reports of a Sept. 21 vacation blackout.
For more from Chloe, follow her on Twitter @ChloeAlbanesius.
Microsoft Goes Off Half-Cocked
When I was a kid, my dad used to use the phrase “going off half-cocked.” It originates from the dangerous situation where a gun’s firing hammer is not locked in place ready to shoot and the gun is likely to fire a bullet without someone pulling the trigger. The phrase refers to someone who has not given an idea or a decision much thought.
Personally, I did not know you could half-cock a gun. It sounds like a product liability lawsuit waiting to happen.
No matter, Microsoft—with zero indication that anyone really wants to buy even one Surface tablet—has decided to make three million of them, market be damned.
The way I see this, it’s both good and bad. It’s good because I suspect Microsoft will hold a fire sale for these tablets. I’d buy one with the keyboard in a minute for, say, $300. If the keyboard is usable, that is. The problem is that nobody has actually used the machine, but here come three million of them!
Are you getting the half-cocked reference now?
There is another problem, too. Today’s market seems to be like it was in the early 1980s, when product cycles were shorter. This tablet is dead money by June of 2013. So, Microsoft not only has to move these items by then, but it must have an upgraded version shortly thereafter and move those as well.
Microsoft’s long-term strategy is to follow Apple’s lead and roll out high-margin retail operations to move things like the tablet and any future hardware. The issue is that Apple has more than 300 stores and can move millions of items but Microsoft is headed toward 30 stores.
This disparity makes a huge difference that apparently Microsoft cannot see. And it is already fumbling the future.
For example, Microsoft has an online store to complement the retail operation, but when you ask people about it, nobody knows it exists.
I discovered that the store even has an affiliate program that bloggers can subscribe to if they want to sell keyboards and get some pittance. (Affiliate programs are not generally money-makers for bloggers). I do not think I have ever seen a link to the Microsoft store from any blog or website, though. I assume that the affiliate program is in name only, meaning it is not a reality.
I’m sure that some people hankering for the Surface tablet will find the online store, but this isn’t an aggressive operation like, say, Amazon.
So, with 30 stores and a mysterious online shop, the company must move three million Surface tablets. That’s 100,000 per store in six months or 16,666 per store each month. That’s around 185 Surface tablets a day. If the stores are open ten hours each day, that means 18 people must buy a Surface each hour at every store. That’s one every three minutes, constantly.
I can go on and on with the math, but let’s just say I doubt it can manage this. Perhaps the online store can pick up the slack and maybe some enterprise customers can get these things cheap.
It just seems to me that Microsoft has “gone off half-cocked.” It’s the best way to put it.
You can Follow John C. Dvorak on Twitter @therealdvorak.