Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for September 24, 2013:
- China is opening a Free Trade Zone next week in Shanghai, and according to the South China Post, Internet service within the zone will be free of the usual Chinese blocks. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and the New York Times will be freely accessible, unlike in the rest of China. Microsoft will take advantage of the zone to partner with BesTV New Media on a joint venture to produce video games for the Chinese market. China banned game consoles in 2000 in order to protect youths from their corrupting influence. Read more at reuters.com.
- Yesterday, insurance and investment company Fairfax Financial Holdings offered $4.7 billion to take BlackBerry private. Fairfax already owned 10% of BlackBerry. The BlackBerry board did sign a letter of intent to accept Fairfax's offer, but a deal is far from done. The letter lets BlackBerry shop itself around for six weeks as Fairfax takes a look at BlackBerry's books. If the deal falls through, BlackBerry will owe Fairfax a sum ranging from $157 million to $262 million depending on the stage of the deal. Read more at nytimes.com.
- Those of you disappointed that Apple didn't announce new iMacs last week can stop being disappointed. Apple just released new iMacs, albeit with minor updates. The new specs feature 2.7GHz Core i5 and Intel's Iris Pro GPU. Other options can get you up to a 3.4GHz Core i5 Haswell chip and NVIDIA GeForce 700 GPU. 8GB of RAM and 1TB drives are now standard, with maxes of 3TB fusion drives and 32 GB RAM. The new lines are available today and base configurations range from $1299 to $1999. Read more at techcrunch.com.
- The latest version of Google's Android Device Manager lets users remotely lock their device. The feature requires your Android device to be attached to some kind of network, but assuming that's true, you'd be able to go to Android Device Manager on the web to remotely lock down your device. Read more at cnet.com.
- Google's trying to get rid of the legacy Netscape plug-in architecture from Chrome. Staring in January 2014, all but a short whitelist of commonly used plugins like Silverlight, Facebook Video and Google Earth will be blocked from the Netscape Plugin Application in Chrome. Users can whitelist their own plug-ins but Google expects to end Netscape Plugin sport entirely but he end of 2014. Google also will stop accepting applications in the Chrome Web store that support the Netscape Plugin API from today, de-listing them in May and unpublishing them in September. Read more at cnet.com.
- Sarah, you're a cord cutter and not here -- but you'd be interested in this story. Apple just re-released Apple TV version 6.0 software which brings iTunes Radio and a number of other new features. Apple originally released 6.0 on Friday, but the update was found to brick some devices. The Verge says that "so far the update seems to be bug free." Read more at theverge.com.
- BBM for iOS and Android will take a little longer to arrive. BBM Executive VP Andrew Brocking wrote in a post Monday night that the leak of an unreleased BBM for Android app has a glitch that causes a traffic spike. BlackBerry will hold off releasing the new apps until it can completely block the leaked version and reinforce its system to handle traffic spikes. Read more at cnet.com.
- The US Food and Drug Administration released guidelines on how it will regulate health-related smartphone apps and accessories. The FDA will oversee apps that "are intended to be used as an accessory to a regulated medical device" and apps that "transform a mobile platform into a regulated medical device." The FDA assures the public that the agency will not regulate the sale or use of tablets or smartphones nor will it regulate app stores. Read more at venturebeat.com.
- The Street reports Twitter has decided to list its stock on the New York Stock Exchange, rather than the more common home for tech stocks the NASDAQ. The Street's sources say Twitter will sell between 50 and 55 million shares for $28 to $30 putting the company's valuation at $15-$16 billion. The NASDAQ has suffered several technical issue over the past few months and paid $10 million to the the SEC over troubles with Facebook's IPO. Read more at theverge.com.
- Samsung unveiled a new component for smartphone cameras called ISOCELL. ISOCELL should make low light pictures better since it increases light sensitivity as well as allow for more accurate color reproduction. Samsung says that the move to ISOCELL will allow it to create devices that can capture high resolution images and still be small enough to fit into a mobile device without affecting design. Read more at mobileburn.com.
For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for September 24, 2013.