A quick burst of 9 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team
Google has picked up a ground-breaking start-up out of the Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto.
University Professor Geoffrey Hinton and two of his graduate students, Alex Krizhevsky and Ilya Sutskever, incorporated DNNresearch Inc. in 2012, and the company has been acquired by Google for its research on deep neural networks.
Hinton is world-renowned for his work with neural nets, and this research has profound implications for areas such as speech recognition, computer vision and language understanding.
“Geoffrey Hinton’s research is a magnificent example of disruptive innovation with roots in basic research,” said U of T’s president, Professor David Naylor. “The discoveries of brilliant researchers, guided freely by their expertise, curiosity, and intuition, lead eventually to practical applications no one could have imagined, much less requisitioned.
This will all get open-sourced, for sure, won’t it? (Thanks @modelportfolio2003 for pointer.)
As for me, I am an entrepreneur at heart and now is the right time for me to start a new chapter within Google. I am amazed by what we have accomplished from those early days (not so long ago!), and remain passionate about the power of a simple idea and a shared goal — an open source platform freely available to everyone — to transform computing for people everywhere.
That’s the true transformation that Android has achieved. And that transformation has barely begun.
BlackBerry just won its biggest vote of confidence yet: A massive order for handsets running its next-generation operating system. The company said Wednesday that an “established partner” had agreed to buy 1 million BlackBerry 10 devices. The deal marks the largest-ever single purchase order in BlackBerry’s history, according to the company.
Almost certainly the US government, as was announced last November. Certainly a vote of confidence, whoever it is.
In a rare interview a day before Samsung Electronics announces a new flagship smartphone in New York, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller on Wednesday played down the expected competition from the device and discussed how believes such products — which run Google’s Android software — are inferior to Apple’s iPhone.
He shared data on the iPhone’s popularity and said Apple’s own research shows that four times as many iPhone users switched from Android than to Android during the fourth quarter, according to company research.
Unsurprising comments, intriguing data. But the headline – how do you “go on the defensive”? Surely you go on the offensive? Which Schiller seems to have done here.
Technically, yes. But let Ben Bajarin explain:
The problem when we talk about Android market share in both smartphones and tablets, is that we are not talking about market share in which a universal app store medium exists. This is because Android can be taken and forked, to the chagrin of Google, and used for the sole agenda of others thus not benefiting Google or the Play Store developers. This is the problem we have when we look at the Android growth in tablets. The greatest percentage of it is coming from Amazon with their Kindle fire, and the Chinese market. The Kindle Fire runs a forked version of Android and developers must use Amazon’s SDK and proprietary app store. 90% of Chinese Android devices sold do not come with the Google Play store installed but rather have ties to dozens of local app store from local service providers. Therefore to get an accurate picture of the Android market, it is more helpful to break out market share by devices which have the Play store and the ones that do not. If we did, then IDC’s, chart would look more like this.
It’s a telling diagram. AOSP (forked non-Google Android) is huge – and lumping AOSP and Google Android together gives a false picture of what’s going on. Trouble is, the AOSP numbers are very hard to acquire, despite being significant.
Acer President Jim Wong told the Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of a media event in Taipei that he expects sales of Windows 8 touch-based devices to pick up in the second half of the year. He declined to specify what support Microsoft has given Acer and PC makers. Several sources in Taiwan said Microsoft has recently offered steep discounts on Windows 8 to PC makers to boost development of touch-controlled devices.
Mr. Wong said the company’s operating margin had already bottomed at 0.3% in the third quarter and is expected to rise this year. The company expects its tablet shipments to exceed 5m units this year, with a 50% chance of reaching 10m, boosted by strong demand for Acer’s new low-cost tablet, the Iconia B1, he said.
What are the factors in that 50% each-way bet of hitting 10m? And of course those aren’t PCs – they’re tablets running Windows 8.
[Forrester senior analyst David] Johnson added that the differences – both significant and subtle – between various Windows 8 models aren’t always apparent to buyers until they’ve had a chance to use the devices. A road warrior might be better suited for a device with a built-in keyboard instead of a true tablet, for example, but they might not figure that out until it’s too late. “This is something that we think many buyers will not fully grasp until after they’ve made their purchase and have to live with their choice for the long term,” Johnson said.
That lack of practical information is, in business-speak, a barrier to entry. I spoke recently with Terena Bell, CEO of the translation firm In Every Language, who explained why she’d been impressed by Microsoft’s extensive ad campaign behind the Windows 8 launch. Yet when she decided to plunk down her company’s cash on a Windows 8 machine that would run upwards of $1,000, she was stumped by her hardware choices and had trouble finding reliable information and reviews. Microsoft’s slick ads were both friend and enemy – they first got Bell interested in, and later confused by, Windows 8.
Samsung Electronics won’t be the only company that gets a fancy eye-tracking feature. A start-up company called uMoove, which has been developing this type of technology for three years, says it will offer eye- and head-tracking to anyone, including device makers like Apple and software developers who make mobile apps.
Based in Israel, has been working on a technology for smartphones and tablets to track eye and head movements using a device’s front-facing camera. It said on Tuesday that very soon it would offer a software tool kit to apply its technology to applications.
A recent study conducted on behalf of TripAdvisor by independent research firm StrategyOne found that only 7% of Brits visited a high street travel agent to book their latest trip. Travelers in the UK and abroad now turn to web services as their primary booking tool. Brits were most likely to book via web-based travel agencies (27%) or directly on hotels’ own websites (23%).
The study also found the Internet to be the most useful to travelers when researching a trip. Travel review sites were regarded the most helpful with 38% of respondents choosing them as their top choice, but the data could be skewed given that it was administered by TripAdvisor.
Boot up: Rubin’s farewell, BlackBerry’s new million, Apple disses Samsung and … – The Guardian (blog)