News Fuse for August 2, 2013

Moto X

Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for August 02, 2013:

  1. Motorola officially lifted the gag order on the press yesterday afternoon regarding the new Moto X phone. The first phone entirely designed by the company since Google bought it features a 4.7-inch 720p AMOLED display a 1.7 GHZ Snapdragon S4 processor as part of the X8 processing system, and an Adreno 320 GPU, and 2 GB of RAM. Underwhelmed? Well 24 hour battery life should help as should 18 backplate colors and 7 colors of of side buttons all available in your requested combination. The X costs $199 for the 16 GB and $249 for the 32 GB on a two-year contract. Only AT&T will offer the customization at first though Sprint will also sell models. The phone should come by end of August in the US and work on all major carriers. Read more at theverge.com.

  2. The European Union's European Commission has announced that it has approved conditions it agreed to with Penguin, the last major holdout in the antitrust probe involving Apple and publishers over e-book pricing. The book publisher agreed to terminate agency agreements that allow a publisher, not a retailer, to set prices on titles, as well as end the "most favored nation" pricing clauses that offered different prices based on location. Other book publishers such as Harper Collins and Hachette made essentially the same agreement like December. Read more at cnet.com.

  3. It's August 2nd, which means Michael Dell wants the shareholders to give him his company back. Dell and Silver Lake have raised their offer to purchase Dell Inc. to $13.75 per share with a 13-cent-per-share special dividend. This offer would value the company at $24.9 billion. There was supposed to be a shareholder vote today with Michael Dell's previous offer, but because of this new offer the vote has been moved to September 12th. Read more at allthingsd.com.

  4. Remember that SIM card security vulnerability that put 750 million phones at risk? Karsten Nohl, the discoverer of the flaw, explained at Black Hat that the Java vulnerability has been fixed by five mobile carriers by using that same vulnerability to rewrite parts of their operating systems. Nohl was going to demo the flaw at Black Hat, but because of the fix, he was only able to demo parts of it. Read more at theverge.com.

  5. Jessica Lessin reports Apple has acquired wireless chip developer Passif Semiconductor. Passif develops low-power chips, including radios. A low-energy Bluetooth radio has been considered promising for health and fitness devices that need long battery life. I imagine Apple thinks their devices could benefit form long battery life too. Read more at jessicalessin.com.

  6. At the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, researchers Alex Stamos, Tom Ritter, Thomas Ptacek, and Javed Samuel, preached the gospel of newer algorithms and protocols, because current ones will soon be useless and insecure by mathematical advances. So what's the next iteration that makes us secure again? it might be asymmetric encryption algorithms, which have pairs of keys: one key can decrypt data encrypted with the other key, but cannot decrypt data encrypted with itself. Read more at arstechnica.com.

  7. Dial P for Paranoia: The Wall Street Journal reports the FBI has the ability to remotely activate microphones on Android devices and notebook computers, according to an anonymous “former U.S. official.” These tools are supposed to help in cases of organized crime, counter-terrorism or child pornography. The tools it uses are both internally and externally sourced, with some coming from the private sector. Read more at techcrunch.com.

  8. The Pebble smart watch just got a little smarter. A new version of the Pebble iPhone app brings support for Gmail and other IMAP accounts. Previously, the Pebble app required users to use the default iOS mail app to get notifications on the watch. MobileBurn.com says that the text from some email providers may create odd formatting, but you'll understand the gist of the message. Read more at mobileburn.com.

  9. Suffolk County Police in New York visited the home of Michele Catalan after her husband was reported by a former employer for searching for the terms "backpack" and "pressure cooker bombs" on company computers. Before she knew about the employer tip-off Ms. Catalan posted on Medium wondering if the police visit had been caused by searches made on their home computers as she had been shopping for a pressure cooker. The police did not find any cause for concern after a cursory search and interview and have dropped the matter. Read more at wired.com.

  10. Microsoft introduced two new troll-fighting tools for Xbox users today. Enforcement United crowdsources opinions on whether particular content, like gamertags, violates Microsoft's terms of service. The other program, Xbox Community Level rewards players with experience points and loot by contributing to the Ambassadors Program and Enforcement United and other future programs. Read more at venturebeat.com.

For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for August 02, 2013.