News Fuse for October 10, 2013

T-Mobile

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

  1. T-Mobile USA announced new international data plans yesterday in a New York event that somehow involved Shakira. Under the new plan T-Mobile users on the current Simple Choice plan pay no extra fees for international 2G data and text in more than 100 countries starting October 31. Voice calls will cost 20 cents a minute. However if you want high speed data, also known as , 'something that will do more than download my email' you'll need a speed pass. $15 gets you 100 MB for 1 day $25 for 200 MB for a week or $50 for 500 MB for two weeks. T-Mobile also introduced an international calling plan allowing calls and texts from the US to more than 100 countries for $10 a month and 20 cents a minute. Read more at laptopmag.com.

  2. Fitbit is on the scene with a new smartwatch/fitnessband hybrid - the Fitbit Force is a $129.95 bracelet has a small OLED screen right on the band so you can easily tell the time and how many steps you have taken or how many miles you've gone. Like Fitbit's Flex bracelet and its Zip and One trackers, the device tracks the steps you've taken, the distance you've gone, the calories you've burned, and updates the companion app with data via bluetooth, but the app can also update the band itself with information like time and incoming call notifications. Read more at abcnews.go.com.

  3. TechCrunch reports that Twitter is testing a new service that will send direct messages to users. The test is occurring through an experimental account called Event Parrot. Its description says to follow it "to receive direct messages that help you keep up with what's happening in the world." Read more at theverge.com.

  4. Bloomberg reports BlackBerry is more open to breaking the company into pieces for a sale amid fears that Fairfax Finanical will not be able to raise enough cash to complete it's $4.7 billion bid. Last week BlackBerry approached several companies, including SAP, Cisco and Samsung, to gauge interest in purchasing parts of the company. Meanwhile in good BlackBerry news, Rogers Communications has changed its mind and decided to carry the BlackBerry Z30 after customers complained. Read more at bloomberg.com.

  5. Dion Weisler, executive vice president of printing and personal systems at HP, said at the company's Securities Analyst meeting yesterday that indeed the PC market is shrinking, and that the push into non-Windows markets is being driven by places like China. "In China there are more tablets sold than [in] the United States. Guess what? Most of those are not on the Windows operating system," Weisler said. HP is focused on four OSes now: Microsoft, Android, Chrome, and Ubuntu. Read more at cnet.com.

  6. Aereo says its Android app is coming on October 22nd, however, the app will only be available in the areas where Aereo operates. Meanwhile at the Hall of Justice - I mean at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Aereo has won a case against broadcaster Hearst. Hearst sued Aereo claiming Aereo was rebroadcasting its Channel 5 signal without permission and copyright infringement. U.S. District Judge Nathanial Gorton said Aereo did not violate copyright because Aereo's service is akin to a remote DVR. Read more at venturebeat.com.

  7. Acer launched its C720 Chromebook line on Thursday in the US. The 2.76 pound laptop has an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 screen, 4 GB DDR3L memory and a 16GB SSD hard drive as well as an Intel Haswell processor. The C720-800 will sell for $250 and is available for pre-order on Amazon and Best Buy, though no ship date was announced. Read more at thenextweb.com.

  8. Bloomberg Businessweek published some choice excerpts from writer Brad Stone's upcoming book "The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon."Topics include the beginnings of Amazon to Bezos' biological father,the inner workings of Amazon & Bezos' leadership group, which is known as "the S Team." Stone describes Amazon as less than harmonious, and that "the people who do well at Amazon are often those who thrive in an adversarial atmosphere with almost constant friction." He also writes "Bezos abhors what he calls 'social cohesion,' the natural impulse to seek consensus." MEOW. Read more at theverge.com.

  9. Las Vegas is the latest city to to be promised 1Gbps Internet service and its not from Google. Century Link, which has a 1-gig pilot service in Omaha, Nebraska will begin offering fiber to the premises to residential and small business customers in select neighborhoods soon. The service starts at $79.95 per month on a 12-month contract, or $124.94 with Prism TV, and a six-month contract. Read more at multichannel.com.

  10. According to Hong Kong's Oriental Daily, engineering students from the Xi'an Institute of Technology may have been forced into an internship program at Foxconn where they would assemble PlayStation 4 units. XIT students were told to join the program or they wouldn't receive credits necessary to graduate. Foxconn investigated and found students who were assigned to night shifts and overtime were placed there in violation of Foxconn's policies. Read more at engadget.com.

For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for October 10, 2013.