News Fuse for August 27, 2013

BlackBerry Messenger

Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for August 27, 2013:

  1. The Wall Street Journal reports Blackberry is seriously considering spinning off Blackberry Messenger into a subsidiary to be known as BBM Inc. The report notes several executives have been moved into the Messenger unit in anticipation. BBM is expected to become available on non-BlackBerry phones soon. BlackBerry announced earlier this month it is pursuing strategic alternatives, one of which would be a sale of the company. Read more at cnet.com.

  2. Microsoft is done with Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, has started releasing both versions to hardware manufacturers. Consumers still need to wait until October 18 – when Windows 8.1 is launched to the public – before they can purchase the update and start using it. Windows 8.1 was designed to fix some flaws in Windows 8 and win over the public with its touch-friendly approach to desktop computing. Read more at thenextweb.com.

  3. A Samsung executive told the Korea Times that the company will unveil the Galaxy Gear smart watch at a Samsung event on September 4th. According to a translated version of the Korea Times report, the watch will use a "non-flexible display" but future versions may include flexible tech. The watch is going to be targeted at young trend setters. So I guess us old fogeys are not the market for such a watch. Read more at thenextweb.com.

  4. Looks like Apple will have an in-store trade-in program for iPhones. Macrumors Eric Slivka reports that a training program is underway and Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac says his sources say it will start in September. Matthew Panzarino at TechCrunch found the program being tested in a few retail stores already. The pilot program checks for condition and pays a few hundred dollars on a gift card that must be used immediately to buy a new phone. Any remainder money can be kept on the iTunes gift card. Damaged phones can be recycled at the stores as well. Read more at techcrunch.com.

  5. Amazon has launched its new Mobile Associates API that gives Android and Kindle Fire developers the ability to earn up to 6% of every sale from goods that users buy on Amazon.com through in-app purchases. Developers can sell a single item from within an app, point to a category of products, or bundle physical and digital goods together. Read more at thenextweb.com.

  6. Dell introduced three new Latitude series laptops. The Latitude 7000 series runs on Intel Haswell processors, comes in 12- and 14-inch models and feature carbon fiber lids. The 5000 and 3000 series models include 14- and 15-inch models. The lower-end 3000 series starts at $599, while the high-end 7000 series starts at $1049. Both the 3000 and 7000 series will be available starting September 12th. Pricing for the mid-range 5000 series hasn't been disclosed, but they will be available in October. Read more at engadget.com.

  7. Facebook has announced shared photo albums, allowing different users to upload images to the same album. Up to 50 people can share as many as 200 photos in an album. If you set up an album you can control whether contributors can invite others or not. Albums themselves can be available to the public, friends of contributors or limited to just the contributors themselves. The feature came out of a January Facebook hackathon. Read more at mashable.com.

  8. Facebook is getting ready to pay $9 million to approximately 614,000 users as part of a $20 million legal settlement brought on by users after the social network displayed their pictures in “sponsored stories” ads without permission. Wooo hoo we're all gonna be rich! Individual payouts will be $15 each — a total that is higher than the $10 maximum proposed under an earlier version of the settlement. The payouts will only go to those who responded to a notice earlier this year. Read more at gigaom.com.

  9. Apple TV inched forward in features and revealed a little more about who its been negotiating with. The Apple TV now has apps for music-video service Vevo, The Disney Channel and Disney XD, The Weather Channel and Smithsonian. The US gets all the channels, other regions vary. Read more at techcrunch.com.

  10. ARM announced it's picking up Sensinode, a startup that makes internet-of-things software. Sensinode helped build a compression format for IPv6 that allows for low-power, low-bandwidth wireless links. ARM said it will continue to sell Sensinode's products. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Read more at techcrunch.com.

For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for August 27, 2013.