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October 2013

Don’t freak out about Facebook’s ‘teen problem’ – CNNMoney

Investors sent shares Facebook lower after the company discussed teenagers’ use of the site. Investors punished Facebook’s shares Wednesday after the company admitted young teens aren’t using the site as much, but Wall Street analysts think the reaction is way overblown. “We did see a decrease in [teenage] daily users [during the quarter], especially younger teens,” Facebook chief financial officer David Ebersman said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Wednesday. The comments were surprising given that just last quarter, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said reports of declining teen usage were “just not true.” Investors weren’t pleased, erasing a big 15% gain they had given Facebook’s stock before the company disclosed the teen usage problem. But stock analysts downplayed the issue. Read More

Android 4.4 KitKat arrives, focuses on budget phone performance (video) – Engadget

After entirely too much teasing, Google has at last taken the wraps from Android 4.4 KitKat. The new mobile OS is based on efficiency that brings smartphones to “the next billion people,” according to Android Senior VP Sundar Pichai. Google’s own apps use less memory, and the interface will automatically scale back to fit on devices with only 512MB of RAM. While the company can’t enforce anything, it wants KitKat to be ubiquitous on Android phones released in 2014, regardless of performance — a lofty goal when some low-end phones still ship with Gingerbread or Ice Cream Sandwich. Much of the interface has been streamlined. There’s now a camera shortcut and more immersive “now playing” content on the Read More

Facebook admits young teens are losing interest in the site – CNNMoney

Investors love Facebook’s mobile growth over the past year. Facebook shares soared 15% Wednesday on blowout quarterly results — but the stock lost steam after the company admitted young teens are losing interest in the site. “We did see a decrease in [teenage] daily users [during the quarter], especially younger teens,” Facebook chief financial officer David Ebersman said Wednesday, during the company’s third-quarter earnings conference call with analysts. He said Facebook usage among overall U.S. teens was “stable,” however. Previously, Facebook had defended itself against multiple recent studies and articles proposing that teens don’t find Facebook cool anymore. Last quarter, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it “just isn’t true” that the company has a problem with the teen market. Ebersman’s admission Read More

HP’s 3-D Printers Won’t Begin a Revolution Josh Dzieza – MIT Technology Review

There’s an inescapable aura of science fiction surrounding 3-D printing. If we can already print medical implants and jet parts, surely household replicators can’t be far behind. The rapid price drop in hobbyist printers in recent years would seem to confirm this trajectory, and last week HP added momentum to what can seem an unstoppable trend by revealing plans to sell 3-D printers by mid-2014. But HP’s 3-D machines are unlikely to sit alongside its existing printers in offices and homes. Speaking at an event in Beijing, HP’s CEO, Meg Whitman, hinted that the 3-D printing technology being developed at the company’s research labs would aim to enable custom manufacturing shops to print out products more quickly. Indeed, more sophisticated Read More

Android KitKat could focus on cheaper phones and wearables – The Verge

Android 4.4 KitKat isn’t just an advertising coup. According to former Wall Street Journal reporter Amir Efrati, it will also be Google’s latest attempt to make cheaper Android devices attainable, and prep the mobile OS for wearable computing. Will KitKat take on Android fragmentation? According to Efrati, who says he’s had covert access to the Android 4.4 feature list, the key improvement will be better memory management to allow “entry-level devices” to run with just 512MB of RAM. Presently, less than half of Android devices are running the latest version of the operating system, which can be an issue for app developers who can’t rely on their audience having recent features that are added in each subsequent revision. Read More

Mobile Ads Fuel a Jump in Profit at Facebook – New York Times

After all, that’s how half of his company’s users connect to the social network and where half of its advertising revenue comes from. He just has to be careful not to scare away the kids because the youngest ones are already starting to go elsewhere. Facebook, which operates the largest online social network, reported Wednesday that its profits doubled in the third quarter, to $621 million, after excluding expenses related to stock options. The company’s revenue rose 60 percent, to $2.02 billion, compared with last year’s third quarter. Most of that, about $1.8 billion, came from advertising. Perhaps most important for Facebook’s future as an advertising-driven company in a world of iPads and Android smartphones, the company noted that mobile Read More

NSA secretly tapped Google, Yahoo data centers worldwide, new report claims – Fox News

ADVERTISEMENT Massive cloud networks from companies like Google and Yahoo cache and serve up much of the data on the Internet — and the NSA has secretly tapped into the unencrypted links behind those company’s enormous servers, according to a new report from the Washington Post. By tapping into that link, the NSA can collect data at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, the Post reported — including not just foreign citizens and “metadata” but emails, videos and audio from American citizens. Operation MUSCULAR, a joint program of the NSA and its British equivalent GCHQ, relies on an unnamed telecommunications provider outside of the U.S. to offer secret access to a cable or switch through with Google and Read More

Apple Targets Microsoft Office With Free Apps – New York Times

Apple said iWork, a set of applications for Macs, iPads and iPhones that essentially duplicates what Microsoft’s Office offers customers, would be free to anyone who bought a new Macintosh computer or mobile device from Apple. Each Apple app used to cost $10 apiece.  The latest version of the Macintosh operating system, Mavericks, will also be free. The pricing maneuver was perhaps the lone surprise at an Apple new media event here at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. As expected, Apple souped up its iPads with faster processors and zippier Internet connections. The company upgraded its iPad Mini, the smaller tablet, with a higher-resolution, 7.9-inch display. The full-size iPad, with a 9.7-inch screen, was renamed the iPad Air, Read More

Apple Hires Burberry Chief to Polish Image of Online Stores – New York Times (blog)

On Tuesday, Apple said it had hired Angela Ahrendts, who transformed Burberry from a faded British icon into a symbol of global luxury. Her new job: to reshape Apple’s physical and online retail efforts so that they are both equally admired. “I have wanted one person to lead both of these teams for some time,” Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said in an internal memo to employees that was leaked on the Web, “because I believe it will better serve our customers, but I had never met anyone whom I felt confident could lead both until I met Angela.” Apple’s over 400 retail stores have been instrumental to the company’s success. With a minimalist design and destination sites in Read More

Apple’s iPad problem – Fortune (blog)

Apple is expected to reveal a fifth-generation iPad and a new iPad Mini next Tuesday. IPad sales are slumping, and Apple’s share of the tablet market is in a tailspin. Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) is hoping to reverse the trend on Tuesday. The company is expected to reveal its first revamped iPad in a year during an event in San Francisco. But don’t expect Apple to produce a radically new device in an effort to turn the tide — the new iPad will likely be a marginal upgrade from the current version. Apple is expected to unveil a slightly thinner and faster iPad with a fingerprint sensor. “What are they supposed to do, add wings and make it fly?” asked Read More