Saturday, 6 April 2013

Nokia Lumia 520, cheapest Windows Phone 8 mobile, now available in India


Nokia Lumia 520, that was recently unveiled in India as the 'cheapest Windows Phone 8' mobile, is now available for purchase from Nokia's official website and other online as well as offline dealers for Rs. 10,499.
Nokia originally showcased the Lumia 720 and Lumia 520 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The phones were then launched in the Indian market in March. While the Nokia Lumia 520 is now here, as per company's original statement, the Lumia 720 is expected to be available in mid-April.
Nokia Lumia 520 comes with 4.0-inch WVGA display and is powered by a Snapdragon S4 1GHz dual-core processor alongside 512MB RAM and 8GB internal storage expandable up to 64GB via microSD card. The phone comes with a 5-megapixel rear camera and connectivity options include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G.
The phone comes with a 1,420mAH battery and, of course, runs Windows Phone 8. Lumia 520 measures 119.9 x 64 x 9.9 mm and weighs 124 grams.
Nokia Lumia 520 technical specifications
  • 4.0-inch WVGA display
  • Snapdragon S4 1GHz dual-core processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • 8GB internal storage, expandable up to 64GB via microSD card
  • 5-megapixel rear camera
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G
  • Windows Phone 8
  • 1,420mAH battery
  • 119.9 x 64 x 9.9 mm
  • 124 grams

Micromax Ninja A91 spotted online for Rs. 8,499


Micromax Ninja A91 has been spotted over at online retailer Saholic for Rs. 8,499. The phone is listed as available with delivery promised within 3 business days, as of filing this report.
Micromax Ninja A91 comes with 4.5-inch TFT LCD display with 480x854 pixel resolution. The device and is powered by a MediaTek MT6577 1GHz dual-core processor alongside 512MB RAM and 4GB internal storage expandable up to 32GB via microSD card. The phone comes with a 5-megapixel rear camera and a VGA front camera.
Connectivity options on the Micromax Ninja A91 include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G and Micro-USB. Micromax Ninja A91 is a dual-SIM dual-GSM standby phone that comes with a 1,800mAH battery and runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
There's no word on when Micromax will officially launch the Ninja A91.
Micromax has recently been riding high on the success of the Micromax Canvas 2 (Review | Pictures) and Micromax Canvas HD (Review | Pictures). Though the Micromax Canvas HD made a lot of buzz when it was announced, the phone's availability in the market has been constrained due to supply issues and the recent changes in custom duty structure, that resulted in a price hike. However, the phone has finally started shipping and is being seen at retail stores across the country.
Micromax has also in the news recently as it was sued by global telecom giant Ericsson for Rs. 100 crore over patent infringement. The company is reportedly in talks with Ericsson over the issue and hopes to negotiate a FRAND license for the patents at the earliest.
Micromax Ninja A91 technical specifications
  • 4.5-inch TFT LCD display with 480x854 resolution
  • MediaTek MT6577 1GHz dual-core processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • 4GB internal storage, expandable up to 32GB via microSD card
  • 5-megapixel rear camera, VGA front camera
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G, Micro-USB
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 1,800mAH battery
  • 130 x 66 x 10 mm

Friday, 5 April 2013

Samsung to open mini-stores inside 1,400 Best Buy stores in the US


Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is planning to install its brand shops in more than 1,400 Best Buy Co Inc stores this year, a move that some on Wall Street said could help the world's largest consumer electronics chain boost in-store traffic, sales and profitability.
The news pushed Best Buy shares up 12.5 percent to $24.36 on Thursday.
The store-within-a-store effort is a key element of Best Buy's turnaround plan, which includes dedicating more space to more-profitable products like tablets and mobile phones. The company is also trying to use its clout with suppliers to fight online and discount rivals.
JPMorgan analyst Christopher Horvers said the Samsung deal was "another step in the right direction" and better positioned Best Buy against online retailer Inc.
"Retailers and vendors are learning how to better cope with online and pricing challenges to become more profitable omnichannel retailers," Horvers said.
The expanded partnership with Samsung is akin to the Best Buy's tie-up with Apple Inc as well as Dick's Sporting Goods Inc's partnerships with vendors Nike Inc, Under Armour Inc and North Face.
Best Buy's latest move "is a clear indication" that the retailer is better using its key partnerships to boost traffic and sales, Horvers said.
Janney Capital Markets analyst David Strasser said the move was "a wakeup call" for Best Buy's other key partners - Google Inc, Sony Corp and Microsoft Corp.
"These vendors will also need to take up more space and invest more heavily in Best Buy as a distribution partner," Strasser said.
Retailers such as Best Buy are also trying to find ways to appeal to shoppers who own more than one mobile computing device and are looking to connect them together and share content across multiple screens.
The "Samsung Experience" shops will showcase the entire range of the manufacturer's mobile products, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, connected cameras and accessories.
Some Best Buy stores will also have Samsung employees to help customers buy and activate their mobile devices. The specially trained Samsung staff will also help with product demonstrations, warranty registration and post-purchase support.
The shops will vary in size, with the largest being about 460 square feet.
© Thomson Reuters 2013

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Intel CEO gets $18.9 million pay package in final year


The value of Intel CEO Paul Otellini's pay package rose 10 percent to $18.9 million last year as he prepared to retire. His departure next month follows a tough year during which Intel Corp. stumbled as the growing popularity of mobile devices reduced demand for the company's personal computer chips.
Otellini's uptick in compensation disclosed Wednesday stems mostly from the amount of stock awards and options Intel gave him last year. Those could end up being worth more or less than the company's estimates, depending on how Intel's recently slumping stock fares in the future.
Intel trimmed the cash portion of Otellini's incentive pay by 19 percent to $5.23 million.
The AP's calculation counts salary, bonuses, perks and stock and options awarded to the executive during the year.

Kapil Sibal blames Supreme Court for telecom sector's woes


Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal Wednesday said the "golden goose" of telecom sector will not lay the golden egg "for a little while", thanks to the Supreme Court judgement.
He also said that if courts were to involve themselves in economic policy making then "we are in dire trouble".
Telecom was the golden goose which laid the golden egg.
The Supreme Court ensured that the golden goose will never lay golden egg again for a little while," he said while speaking at Annual General Meeting and National Conference 2013 organised by CII (rpt) CII.
Sibal was speaking on governance issues in the country.
Though the minister did not mention any specific order of the apex court, but he was apparently referring to the spectrum allocation case of 2008 in which all the 122 2G telecom licences were cancelled by the apex court in February last year.
"Between 2010 and 2013 with all the experiments, with all the court verdicts, with the Rs. 1,76,000 crore, we got into our kitty just Rs. 1,000 crore," he said.
Foreign Direct investments in the telecom sector plummeted by 96 percent to USD 70.46 million in the April- November 2012 period, from USD 1,987.18 million during the same period a year ago.
Sibal said no one consumers, industry and government, benefitted from the court order.
"The consumers' tariffs have gone up. So the consumer has not benefitted. The sector is under a debt of two lakh fifty thousand core. So the sector has not benefitted. The government has got Rs. 1,000 crore. So the government has not befitted. I would like to know who has benefitted," he said.
He said the telecom sector was opened up in 1994 for private players and it has been learning through its experience.
The Minister said that experiments done in 1994 failed and companies were given migration package in 2000.
"In a sense virgin sectors in which India not had any experience has to go through these pregnant processes. Where there cannot be absolute clarity as we go forward. This is also true of coal sector and power," he said.
The Minister said that it is emergence of structural issues in the court which is making it difficult for systems in the country to function in the matter of economic policy making.
"There is the other structural issue the view of courts in India on matter of economic policy making and that is a very serious structural issue. If courts were to involve themselves in economic policy making and determine the course of future of any particular sector in the economy we are in dire trouble," he said.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Apple no longer on Goldman's list of 'preferred' stocks


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Apple no longer on Goldman's list of 'preferred' stocks

Goldman Sachs has taken Apple off its list of most highly recommended stocks, joining other analysts in dialing back its expectations for the company.
Goldman analyst Bill Shope said in a client note that the iPhone 5, introduced last fall, hasn't sold as well as he expected. He says the company now needs some real "hits" among the products it rolls out during the second half of the year.
Shope took the company off Goldman's "Americas Conviction List," a list Apple Inc. had been on since December 2010. But he keeps a "Buy" rating for the company.
After a heady decade, Apple's sales growth is slowing down. It hasn't unveiled a revolutionary new product since the iPad in 2010.
A call to Apple for comment was not immediately returned.

Google faces more inquiries in Europe over privacy policy


Instead of facing one European investigation into its privacy policy, Google now has to contend with at least six of them.
Data protection agencies in Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands said Tuesday that they were moving to take action against Google over the policy, which the company introduced last year. They joined the French regulator, which had initiated a European Union inquiry on behalf of its counterparts across the 27-nation bloc.
While the regulators have repeatedly threatened the company with tough talk of a united front, the news Tuesday reflects the reality that privacy laws are fragmented across the EU, giving Google little incentive to yield.
Enforcement is a matter for national agencies rather than Brussels, but the French data protection agency - which is known by the initials CNIL - said it would cooperate with the other countries as they step up their scrutiny.
The CNIL said it had "notified Google of the initiation of an inspection procedure," the latest step in an investigation that began more than a year ago, when the agency said it thought the company's privacy policy violated EU law. Other agencies said they would conduct their own inquiries, building on the work of the CNIL.
The Google privacy policy streamlined the individual practices that had been in place across more than 60 Google services, from its search engine to its online mapping operation to YouTube.
The company said at the time that this was necessary to provide clarity to users and to improve its services.
European regulators, led by the CNIL, said that the company had been insufficiently forthcoming about its use of personal data, especially when the information was used across different services for purposes such as advertising.
Last October the heads of the 27 regulatory agencies wrote to Google's chief executive, Larry Page, demanding changes in the policy. They asked the company to do so within four months or risk sanctions.
"After this period has expired, Google has not implemented any significant compliance measures," the CNIL said in a statement.
Google has insisted that its use of data complies with EU law, and it stood by that position Tuesday.
"We have engaged fully with the data protection authorities involved throughout this process, and we'll continue to do so going forward," the company said.
Each of the national regulators now investigating Google has different procedures and enforcement powers.
In France, for example, the CNIL can fine privacy violators up to 300,000 euros, or about $385,000 - a drop in the bucket for a global giant like Google. In some countries, regulators can bring criminal complaints; in others they cannot.
The European Commission, led by its vice president, Viviane Reding, has been pushing for an overhaul of the bloc's privacy laws, under which data protection would be centrally regulated, but the idea faces opposition from some member states.
The announcement Tuesday means the investigations into the privacy policy could continue for months, during which time Google could continue to keep the system in place.
"It is essential regulators find a sanction that is not just a slap on the wrists and will make Google think twice before it ignores consumer rights again," Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, a privacy advocacy group in Britain.
Meanwhile, Google this week announced plans to replace its director of privacy for product and engineering, Alma Whitten, who helped create the privacy policy. Lawrence You, who helped start the team, will take over.
The privacy team at Google, which has 350 employees, was started in 2010 after two privacy blunders at the company involving improper data collection by Street View cars and Buzz, an ill-fated social networking tool.
The employees do things such as coach Google engineers on adding more privacy-friendly features to products, build tools like dashboards for Google users to control how their information is shared and make it more difficult for hackers to break into Gmail accounts.
The company said that Whitten's retirement, though she is in her 40s, had been planned and was unrelated to the EU news.
"Alma has done so much to improve our products and protect our users," Chris Gaither, a Google spokesman, said in a statement. "The privacy and security teams, and everyone else at Google, will continue this hard work to ensure that our users' data is kept safe and secure."
© 2013, The New York Times News Service

US SEC says companies may announce key data on social media


U.S. regulators said on Tuesday that companies can use Twitter, Facebook and other social media to make key announcements as long as they tell investors which sites they will use, an effort to help companies navigate the new media age.
The guidance from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission seeks to clarify disclosure rules after the agency opened an inquiry into a post made last July on the personal Facebook page of Netflix's chief executive, Reed Hastings.
The SEC investigated whether his announcement that the movie and TV streaming service had hit 1 billion hours viewed in June violated a rule that requires important information to be disclosed to investors at the same time.
The SEC said on Tuesday that it did not initiate an enforcement action or allege wrongdoing in that situation.
But it said staff learned that there was uncertainty about how disclosure rules apply to social media channels.
"One set of shareholders should not be able to get a jump on other shareholders just because the company is selectively disclosing important information," George Canellos, acting director of the SEC's enforcement division, said in a statement.
"Most social media are perfectly suitable methods for communicating with investors, but not if the access is restricted or if investors don't know that's where they need to turn to get the latest news," he said.
The disclosure rule at issue, known as Regulation Fair Disclosure or Reg FD, has been up for debate for some time. Companies have complained that it is outdated as social media revolutionizes the way they share news and attract customers.
Regulators rarely bring enforcement cases related to Reg FD, and there is some gray area in how the rules apply.
In the case of Netflix, some observers said it was not clear whether Hastings' Facebook post contained material information since executives had already made similar statements in public.
As companies and investors turn to these tools, regulators were bound to clarify the rules, said Howard Lindzon, the chief executive and founder of Stocktwits, a company that aggregates Twitter chatter about stocks for traders.
"A press release on Yahoo finance - who reads that anymore?" Lindzon said. "You're going to read news on your Facebook stream, your Twitter stream. The industry is changing, and it was a matter of time before it was going to be regulated."
Alert investors
Under the new guidelines released on Tuesday, companies could take steps such as noting on websites and press releases that they will use social media to make announcements and giving web addresses for their pages. That would give investors the chance to subscribe to or join the right sites, the SEC said.
While the agency said it would not take action against Netflix, it said personal social media accounts of officers likely would not be considered appropriate venues for future announcements of nonpublic information unless investors are told that the site may be used for such disclosures.
"The SEC is saying, 'Here is clear Reg FD guidance about using an executive's page. And if the information is disseminated this way again without the company alerting all shareholders to be on the look for it, we will not have a report, we'll have an enforcement action,'" said Eugene Goldman, a former SEC lawyer who is now with McDermott Will & Emery.
A Netflix spokesperson said the company appreciated the agency's "careful consideration and resolution of this matter."
Facebook welcomed the finding that it can be used for such information sharing, a company spokesperson said. Twitter did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In one recent instance of executives making an impact through social media, Tesla Motors Inc's Chief Executive Elon Musk said last week on Twitter that something "exciting" would be announced soon.
His tweets sent shares of the car maker higher. On Tuesday, Tesla announced that it had partnered with Wells Fargo and US Bank on a new financing product for its Model S electric sedan.
Other companies have had to crack down on executives' statements. Women's specialty retailer Francesca's Holdings Corp last year fired Chief Financial Officer Gene Morphis after accusing him of improperly communicating company information through social media.
His tweets had included comments about the retailer's audit committee, his meetings with investors and his board, and the company's financial results.
© Thomson Reuters 2013