Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for August 15, 2013:
- Facebook wants to control another little piece of your life, payments. AllThingsD reports Facebook confirmed they will test a service allowing anyone who has given credit card information to use their Facebook account to make purchases on mobile apps. JackThreads is the pilot partner. Read more at allthingsd.com.
- Lenovo announced that its mobile device sales have overtaken its PC sales thanks to growth in China. Lenovo has a staggering 42% of the Chinese market and reported its shipments of phones and tablets are up 41% year over year. Lenovo has been itching to get into the U.S. phone market. CEO Yang Yuanqing told the WSJ that "If a target or deal is consistent with Lenovo's strategy, we would take the opportunity." BlackBerry deal, anyone? Read more at theverge.com.
- Ubi Interactive, part of Microsoft's Kinect Accelerator program has created an app that combined with a projector and a Kinect for Windows, can turn any surface into a virtual touchscreen. For $149 the software supports a 45-inch display size. The pro version for $379 and business version for $799 both can go to 100 inches. The basic version supports one touch point and the business version supports two. If you want 20 touch points you'll need the $1499 enterprise edition. The app works on Windows 8 and Ubi is taking orders now at ubi-interactive.com. Read more at theverge.com.
- Activision released multiplayer details about "Call of Duty: Ghosts." The multiplayer mode will allow players to customize their characters via the Create-A-Soldier feature. You'll be able to choose weapon loadouts and alter your character's appearance. You'll also be able to create up to 10 soldiers who can compete in the new Squads mode, which features co-op, competitive and solo options. Ghosts launches November 5th. Read more at usatoday.com.
- The FBI has cracked encryption on two Western Digital My Book Essential external hard drives in a case against Jeffrey Feldman of Wisconsin, accused of three counts of receiving and possessing child pornography. Feldman has declined to give up his passwords, causing a legal battle about self-incrimination. FBI agent Chadwick Elgersma said in court documents that 7 more drives remain encrypted. The Feds did not reveal what kind of encryption was used on the drives. Read more at wired.com.
- Remember that Android OS flaw that led to a whole bunch of wallet apps to be insecure? Well, Google has issued a patch that fixes a flaw in the pseudo-random number generator. The bug in the number generator made it possible to steal Bitcoins from Bitcoin wallets that generated keys from an Android app. There was at least one reported theft with $5,700 worth of Bitcoins stolen. Read more at gigaom.com.
- Apple will supposedly announce a new iPhone September 10. ABI Research and KGI Securities say Apple will include a fingerprint reader on the new phone. Apple bought a fingerprint-sensor maker AuthenTec last year. Still don't believe it? Well the stock market does. Analysts believe a race for biometric devices will kick off with the announcement and biometric companies are getting a boost. Bloomberg reports shares of Precise Biometrics have doubled since Apple's AuthenTec deal and added 12 percent to the stock price yesterday. Fingerprint Cards AB has risen 10 times since AuthenTec and surged 14% yesterday. Read more at bloomberg.com.
- Who is the king of the streaming set-top-boxes? If you guessed Apple, you'd be dead wrong. According to new data from Parks Associates, the number one streamer is Roku. 37% of the 10,000 people polled used a Roku box to stream media. 24% used an Apple TV. Parks Associates says that the media streamers have a bright future with consumers because consumers are reluctant to replace "big-ticket items solely for smart upgrades." Read more at pcmag.com.
- Wireless devices that don't need a battery? Scientists are on it! Researchers at the University of Washington have developed prototypes that use "ambient backscatter" to draw power from RF signals like radio and TV broadcasts. The devices communicate by absorbing or reflecting the ambient signals. The devices could be used for structural sensors or embedded in things like keys so your couch can text you if your keys fall between he cushions. Read more at engadget.com.
- Tired of going to the Internet, downloading Skype, then installing it? So much work! Well, lazy people, your life is about to get easier. Microsoft will be shipping Skype with Windows 8.1 and the app will be "front-and-center" on the updated OS. When you log in to your MS account, you'll be ready to Skype with all the Skype-y people. Enjoy! Read more at thenextweb.com.
For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for August 15, 2013.