Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for September 26, 2013:
- Ebay has agreed to buy online payments company Braintree for approximately $800 million. Braintree's customers include Airbnb, OpenTable, GitHub and Uber. Braintree also owns Venmo, a direct competitor with Ebay's Paypal. Paypal product chief Hill Ferguson told AllThingsD that Braintree will continue to operate as as separate brand after the acquisition but it's too early to tell how Venmo will be used at eBay. Read more at allthingsd.com.
- T-Mobile will stop carrying BlackBerry smartphones in its stores and instead ship the devices directly, according David Carey, executive vice president for corporate services. This is a few days after BlackBerry said it would no longer market to consumers because of weakening smartphone sales.Carey said that "keeping stock in the retail distribution system was inefficient" because BlackBerry phones have not been high demand devices for consumers. Read more at reuters.com.
- Some users of Google Talk and Google Hangouts are reporting that Google has been sending their chat messages to the wrong recipients. According to some Twitter users, some of these chat messages are ending up in the email of the wrong people as well as Google Talk. Google says that it has identified the problem, stopped it from recurring, and is currently working on a fix. Read more at thenextweb.com.
- A new study from Pew Research Center found that 15% of US adults do not use the Internet and they like it that way. Of those who do not, 34% indicated it just wasn't relevant to them, another 32% said it was too hard to use, and 19% said it was too expensive. Only 7% said it wasn't available to them. 92% of those who do not use the Internet say they have no interest in starting., although 44% have asked others to look something up on the Internet for them. Read more at theverge.com.
- Twitter is rolling out a new feature that will let agencies broadcast messages in a crisis. Twitter Alerts, lets users sign up for emergency messages from agencies like FEMA, the World Health Organization, and local police departments. Once you opt into alerts, it'll send you push notifications and text messages in case of an emergency, much like severe weather warnings the National Weather Service sends to smartphones. When you open your Twitter feed, those alerts will also be highlighted in the stream. Read more at theverge.com.
- A new US bill backed by senators Ron Wyden and Rand Paul calls for intelligence reform after reports of U.S. government surveillance came to light thanks to Edward Snowden. The bill is called the Intelligence Oversight and Surveillance Reform Act and it would stop the NSA from collecting phone records in bulk of Americans. Should the bill become a law, it would also require a "constitutional advocate" be introduced to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts to argue against the government. Read more at theguardian.com.
- CTRL-ALT-DEL is such a part of our culture that I own a set of cups that mimic the keys. But Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates says he wish it weren't so, and blamed IBM. At a Harvard fundraiser, Gates told the audience ""It was a mistake. We could have had a single button, but the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn't wanna give us our single button."" Engineer David Bradley who worked on the original IBM PC gets the credit for inventing the three key salute, but has said previously Bill Gates deserves the credit for making it popular. Read more at theverge.com.
- According to a teardown analysis from IHS, a top-of-the-line 64GB iPhone 5s, which retails unlocked for $849, costs Apple just $218 to build, including manufacturing costs.The build for the 16GB iPhone 5s just $20 less, but Apple charges consumers another $200 for the extra 48GB of storage. The display assembly is the most expensive component at $41. What about those sensors, which includes the gyros, compass, accelerometer and the fancy new fingerprint reader? IHS says they only cost Apple $15. Read more at zdnet.com.
- If you buy an unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note 3 it may not come as unlocked as you think. David Meyer at GigaOm reports that unlocked Note 3s sold in North America and Europe will only be unlocked for SIM cards issued in those regions. So if you take your unlocked European Note 3 to Canada and try to us a Canadian SIM card, it won't work. British online retailer Clove posted this fact on its blog and Meyer confirmed it with Samsung's German PR folks. Samsung Switzerland is saying the opposite on Facebook, but Meyer points out this contradicts what it says on the Note 3 box itself. Read more at gigaom.com.
- Chinese officials told people.com.cn that the China Pilot Free Trade Zone in Shanghai will be under management measures consistent with the rest of the country. This statement contradicts a report earlier this week that said the Free Trade Zone would allow access to to sites like Facebook. If you forgot what the Free Trade Zone is, it allows for goods to imported, processed and re-exported without having to be declared to customs authorities. Read more at globaltimes.com.
For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for September 26, 2013.