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Microsoft Q3 2014 earnings: Surface growth is soft, and Office 365 is a hit

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Microsoft posted its fiscal Q3 earnings today, and the company met analysts’ expectations with an EPS of $0.68 on $20.4 billion revenue. Net income was $5.66 billion.

The numbers were down slightly over last year, but there were a few bright spots. Surface revenue reached $500 million, though the company did not break down which model earned more — Microsoft is still selling the original Surface products in some markets. This is a year-over-year increase of 50%. (more…)

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Rogers increases monthly bring-your-own-device cost to $50 per line

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Rogers has increased the cost of bringing one’s own device (BYOD) to the carrier by $10 to $50/month.

Previously $40, the base cost of a monthly plan before data charges included unlimited national voice and text, and included add-ons like call display, voicemail and call forwarding. The price scheme came into effect last summer prior to the introduction of the CRTC’s Wireless Code, which essentially banned three-year contracts.

Carriers like Rogers, Bell and TELUS began incentivizing customers to bring their own devices by offering a $20/month discount, which worked out, over two years, to $480 in savings, roughly the same amount as a subsidized smartphone.

(more…)

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Shaw Communications invests in Rdio, creates strategic content partnership

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Shaw Communications, owner of an extensive cable TV and internet network, has made a strategic investment in Rdio’s parent company, Pulser Media, in an effort to bring more streaming music content to its subscribers.

Though the investment size has not been revealed, Shaw’s CEO, Brad Shaw said, “Rdio is the best available digital streaming music experience and a great complement to our leading broadband and Shaw Go WiFi services. Our partnership with Rdio will develop great offers that will enable Shaw customers and everyone across the country to enjoy this service.”

The partnership encompasses “marketing, content and promotion,” and will position Rdio within Shaw’s brands as the “leading digital music service in Canada.”

Canada is Rdio’s second-largest market, according to CEO Anthony Bay, and the venture will likely allow for placing local ads, facilitated by Shaw, in Rdio’s free streaming tier on mobile and web. Shaw recently deployed a high-speed WiFi network with 30,000 hotspots across British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and pockets of Saskatchewan and Ontario. Its subsidiary, Shaw Media, also owns Global Television and specialty channels like Food Network Canada and HGTV Canada.

Rdio is available on Android, iOS, Windows Phone and the web.

SourceWSJ
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Google Play Premium Game Sale has top Android titles at 50% off

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Google is doing some spring cleaning in its Play Store, offering no less than 20 of the top selling Android games for up to 50% their regular listing price. The Premium Games Sale contains a wide variety of titles, from casual games like Clash of Puppets to more serious gamer fare like Broken Sword or Shadowrun Returns (shown above).

The offer is only for a limited time, so dally at your own risk. The full lineup of 20 games are available at the source link below, but here is a full list of titles (more…)

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Facebook says current priority for WhatsApp and Instagram is growth, not monetization

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Speaking on a conference call yesterday following Facebook’s Q1 2014 earnings report, company CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg laid out a broad monetization plan for its mobile app portfolio. While 59% of Facebook’s $2.27 billion quarterly ad revenue comes from mobile, Zuck stated that the company is not expecting Instagram, Messenger, and Whatsapp to contribute in the near term.

“Our apps are at different stages of maturity,” Zuckerberg said. While Facebook’s mobile app, now at 1 billion monthly users, is mature enough to support an advertising platform, “for the next set of apps the current priority is growth.” That next set of apps includes Instagram, Messenger, both now at 200 million monthly uniques, and WhatsApp, which recently surpassed the 500 million mark. While Zuckerberg didn’t offer any specifics as to what level of maturity would be required for monetization, the 1 billion mark might be a useful yardstick. It might seem difficult to imagine a world where Facebook has multiple 1 billion user apps, but Zuckerberg stated on the call that WhatsApp “could be as ubiquitous as Facebook one day.”

(more…)

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Vic Gundotra, Google’s SVP of Engineering, decides to depart the company for ‘a new journey’

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Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google, has decided to depart the company.

The news was first announced today via Recode, but on Gundotra’s Google+ account he stated a very personal message that began with a death in the family and that “I have been incredibly fortunate to work with the amazing people of Google. I don’t believe there is a more talented and passionate collection of people anywhere else.”

Gundotra worked at Google for 8 years and was responsible for starting the annual Google I/O conference, but more importantly led the rush to put Google social with Google+. There is no word on where Gundotra is heading, or if he’ll be joining another company at all, only noting that “now is the time for a new journey. A continuation.”

Hugo Barra, previously Android’s VP, also recently departed Google to go work for the Xiaomi, which is considered to be the “Apple of China.”

Source: Googl+

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Henry’s to begin selling camera-centric Bell smartphones, offer free Phoneography courses

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Henry’s, one of the few Canadian remaining retailers dedicated entirely to photography, has partnered with Bell to sell camera-centric smartphones. The collaboration is meant to raise the prominence of smartphone photography among camera enthusiasts, and encourage smartphone users to seek out Henry’s experts for advice.

The company will sell six devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S5, S5, Note 3, HTC One M8, and the upcoming Sony Xperia Z2, and because photography is emphasized, they have a handy chart detailing which devices offer the best performance.

Henry’s is taking advantage of the fact that smartphone photography has come a long, long way in the past few years. With devices like the Galaxy S5 sporting 16MP sensors, and the HTC One M8 taking advantage of two rear cameras, the retailer sees this push as the right move at the right time.

(more…)

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Facebook sashays into the fitness space with Moves acquisition

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Facebook is acquiring its way into the fitness space with a new acquisition announced this morning. Moves, an app for iOS and Android, has been used by thousands of people to track their activity, using background location services and GPS to create an automated outline of your day.

Moves is different from other phone-based activity trackers in that it attempts to add context — where you were, and what other things you were doing while walking, biking or running — and presents it in a feed.

Facebook will be acquiring the team, but will reportedly not be integrating their data for some time. Moves also has a pretty useful API that connects to apps like OptimizeMe, Lifesum, Momento, GridDiary and others.

SourceMoves
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theScore for Android adds Feed to consolidate news, scores and highlights

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Popular sports news app, theScore, just received a big update on Android to answer its iOS version from last December.

Feed is integrated into MyScore, the section that places all your followed leagues, teams and players together. Feed goes further by, predictably, placing the most interesting news, scores and highlights in a relatively chronological order. Like a miniature social network within the app, the Feed is updated in real time, and works with theScore’s push notification system to ensure users don’t miss anything.

The Android app is still slightly behind its iOS counterpart in usability — some of the more fringe sports don’t receive the same attention, for example — but it’s nice to see one of the app’s best features hit Google’s platform, even if it did take five months to get here.

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BlackBerry Classic set to launch in November

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For the loyal BlackBerry users out there it looks like the BlackBerry Q20,otherwise known as the BlackBerry Classic, will see a release scheduled for November.

John Chen, BlackBerry’s CEO, stated in an interview with USA Today last week that “There’s a new product called the BlackBerry Classic that’s coming out. It’s an updated and enhanced version of one of our most popular and successful products called the Bold. It will include a keyboard and a good touch-screen, very fast Internet, Web-browsing capability and multimedia capability. But also it will be very productive and very secure. So, all the familiar things that people love, with some new technology updated. That will come out in November along with the server that helps companies manage devices.”

This device was announced late February and the specs will feature BES 12, “a generous 3.5-inch touchscreen,” with a “large battery” and is “crafted from premium materials and designed for reliability and durability.” In addition, the “Classic” and iconic design of this BlackBerry will bring back the navigation keys (menu, back, send, end) and a trackpad.

No word on price points or carrier partners.

Source: USA Today
Via: Berry Review

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