News Fuse for July 18, 2013

Google Drive Cloud Encryption

Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for July 18, 2013:

  1. Verizon announced their new phone upgrade plan, Edge, during their positive quarterly earnings call this morning. Starting August 25th, Verizon customers can go on a non-contract plan where they pay the cost of the phone over 24 months and can upgrade after six months, although upgrading customers must pay half the cost of the phone. That means you have to pay off the phone if you upgrade before 12 months. Unlike T-Mobile's Jump plan, but exactly like AT&T's Next plan, Verizon's Edge gives no reduction in monthly service costs. As for the earnings, Verizon added 941,000 subscribers and earned $5.2 billion in profit, up 16% year over year. Read more at news.cnet.com.

  2. Android Central has what it says are the first photos of the next-gen Nexus 7, or at least a very convincing prototype. If it turns out to be legit, the device is still made by Asus, there should be 16 & 32gb options, a 7-inch LCD display, 1.2-megapixel front camera, and a 5-megapixel rear camera. The device appears to run Android 4.3, uses microUSB for connections, has dual speakers, and possibly even 4 gigabytes of DDR3L RAM. Also, another version of Android 4.3 popped up in the wild. Google+ user Jeff Williams bought a Nexus 4 off Craigslist and posted a screen shot of the device running Android version 4.3 and build number JWR66N. So probably a new Android OS next week too. Read more at androidcentral.com.

  3. You don't see this very often, but Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are all on the same side by signing a letter that requests the U.S. government allow the companies to give more details about government requests for user information. The letter is signed by an alliance of 63 tech companies, nonprofit organizations, and trade associations. They also ask the government to issue a transparency report of its own detailing "the total number of information requests made and the number of individuals affected by each." Read more at allthingsd.com.

  4. Remember my prediction that Nokia would be in trouble and BlackBerry would stabilize this year? Well, you can forget I said that now. After Blackberry's wreck of an earnings report a few weeks ago, Nokia came in with a not-nearly-as-ugly quarter. Sure revenue is down year over year, but the loss is also down to only €115 million. But smartphone sales are growing. 7.4 million Windows Phone 8 devices sold in Q2, up from 5.6 million in Q1, and 4.4 million in Q4. Read more at engadget.com.

  5. HTC has introduced the One mini, a 4.3-inch version of its flagship smartphone the HTC One. HTC is pricing the Mini "two price points below the HTC One" by stepping down to a 1.4GHz dual-core processor (Snapdragon 400), 1GB of RAM, 16GB of non-expandable storage, and the loss of NFC, optical image stabilization for the camera, and an IR blaster. HTC says not to fret though, the One mini will provide "exactly the same experience" to customers at its big bro. Read more at theverge.com.

  6. Samsung just introduced the world to its 1TB solid state drive. The Samsung 840 EVO uses 10-nanometer class 128 gigabit NAND flash memory in conjunction with Samsung's MEX controller, which allows the drive ridiculous read/write speeds in the over 500MB/second territory. The 1TB model will cost $650 and is a part of a line of EVO SSDs. The smallest drive, a 128GB model, will cost $110. Read more at maximumpc.com.

  7. CNET reports that sources say Google is experimenting with encrypting all Google Drive files while stored. Google encrypts transmissions to and from the cloud storage service already. Encrypting the files while stored would prevent Google, and any government that might want to look at the files, from knowing what's in them. Only the user would have the key. Services like SpiderOak already practice "zero knowledge" encryption, meaning only the file's owner can read the data. Read more at news.cnet.com.

  8. The UK government says it will investigate Huawei's involvement in a cybersecurity centre, following a report by the parliament's intelligence committe that staff were working at the base, located in Oxfordshire. US politicians have worried Huawei may be a threat because of links to China's government and military, but Huawei has strongly denied having close ties to the Chinese state and has stressed that it is 98.6%-per-cent-owned by its employees. It has been active in the UK after striking a multi-billion pound deal to provide networking equipment to BT in 2005. Read more at bbc.co.uk.

  9. More than a year after taking in the first applications for generic top-level domains, ICANN has issued its first approvals. The winners? The arabic word for web or network. Game in Chinese. AND Russian for online and site. These will all be the first non-latin character domain names. One loser is Amazon. An ICANN committee recommended against granting .amazon to the Seattle company as it might be confused with the Amazon region of South America. Read more at engadget.com.

  10. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Microsoft firmly believes this because it is bundling 12 months of Xbox Live Gold with Office 365 subscriptions. This is a limited promotion that runs between July 18th and September 28th and requires you to purchase either a year-long Office 365 subscription or a 4-year Office 365 University subscription. The offer is not available in the U.S., but is available in most of Europe, Asia and Australia. Read more at theverge.com.

For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for July 18, 2013.