News Fuse for July 31, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4

Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for July 31, 2013:

  1. Mobile phone benchmarks are now being gamed just like the PC. A contributor at the Beyond3D forum claimed the Galaxy S4 only ran at 533 MHz for benchmark software. Anandtech confirmed this for many but not all benchmarking apps. Anandtech also found the CPU ran at different speeds under different benchmarking apps. Code in the TwDVFSApp.apk app indicate this is by design. Samsung says the GPU runs at 533 MHz for many programs but "the maximum GPU frequency is lowered to 480MHz for certain gaming apps" to avoid an overload. Read more at bbc.co.uk.

  2. Google has announced that starting in August, it will equip 7000 Starbucks locations in the US with free Google-powered WiFi. Starbucks already offers free WiFi via AT&T, but with the roll out Google says that customers will get speeds “up to 10x faster” than before. Burn on you, AT&T. By the way if you’re in a Google Fiber city (Kansas), this speed will jump up to 100 times faster. Read more at thenextweb.com.

  3. The Guardian has a report up that spotlights X-Keyscore, the National Security Agency's program that allows the agency to access "nearly everything a typical user does on the internet." The information comes fro m leaked slides from an X-Keyscore presentation. In the slides, the NSA program gives access to chats, browsing history, private messages, pretty much anything. X-Keyscore appears to be easy to use, too. For example To monitor a Facebook chat, all an agent would need is the Facebook username and a date range. Read more at theguardian.com.

  4. Office mobile came to Android today as long as you have Android 4.0 or more recent. The app is similar to the iOS Office app. You'll need an Office 365 subscription to view or edit documents. Editing is available for Word and Excel documents but is limited and documents are stored in Sky Drive. The app is only made for phones. Microsoft recommends using the Web version of Office for Android tablets. Read more at theverge.com.

  5. Microsoft earned $853 million in revenue from its Surface tablets since their debut last fall. This number was revealed in an annual financial report that Microsoft filed with the Security and Exchange Commission, although this didn't include the number of units sold, or how many units were Surface RTs vs. Surface Pros. The number is less than the $900 million the company had to pay for Surface RT inventory adjustments and also less than the $898 million Microsoft paid for Windows 8 and Surface advertising. Although Walmart apparently is temporarily sold out of the discounted Surface RT devices. Read more at cnet.com.

  6. You know what we don't cover enough of? Word processors. Say hello to Quip, a new word processor that is designed for mobile use. It comes from the ex-CTO of Facebook, Bret Taylor and it works on the web and iOS. Taylor told TechCrunch that Quip is "optimized for the era of tablets and phones." Quip reformats the document for whatever screen you're using and also has collaboration tools. Quip is free for personal use; a business license is $12 per month. An Android version of the app is in development. Read more at techcrunch.com.

  7. Bloomberg reports Facebook plans to sell TV-style video advertisements for as much as $2.5 million a day. Reportedly the 15-second ads will be offered for sale to advertisers later this year on a full-day basis targeting age and gender. Users will not see any given ad more than three times in a day. Read more at bloomberg.com.

  8. A UK court recently ruled that Microsoft's SkyDrive name infringed on a trademark owned by British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSkyB), and Microsoft has agreed to change the name to something else. In a settlement issued on Wednesday, BSkyB notes that Microsoft will not appeal the court ruling and that the company will allow Microsoft to continue using the brand "for a reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand." Read more at theverge.com.

  9. Douglas McClendon of Kansas filed an FCC complaint regarding Google Fiber terms that forbid hosting "any kind of server." In a response to the FCC, Google claims an exemption from the Open Internet Order for "reasonable network management" and cites similar policies of several other major ISPs. Ryan Singel of Wired points out that Google's terms would technically outlaw things like Minecraft and Slingbox, but Google employees in forums say Google would not try to shut down those sorts of servers. Read more at wired.com.

  10. Nintendo released its financial information for the quarter ending in June. The company reported a profit of $88 million, but an operating loss of roughly $50 million. The company sold 160,000 Wii U consoles, which is down from the previous quarter when it sold 390,000 units. Read more at engadget.com.

For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for July 31, 2013.