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Weekly Techno Briefs

Category : IT industry
Each week our intranet news channel editors provide a round up for Capgemini colleagues of the business IT news that drives and inspires us. We publish some of the highlights here.

In today's Weekly Techno Briefs we bring you news about the race between Apple Watch and Android Wear, iWork for iCloud beta is out of the walled garden, Samsung's rival to Apple Pay, Samsung's Galaxy S6, something fishy in Lenovo PCs, and more...

Apple opens the iWork for iCloud beta walled garden
Apple Inc has made the iWork platform available to non-Apple users for the first time. The beta iCloud site has been updated to allow sign-ups from any device, which provides access to some of the features of an iCloud account via the web on Windows, Linux, Chrome OS and even Android.

Users of the new service will also be entitled to 1GB of iCloud space just for signing in from another operating system. The idea of Apple opening its ecosystem is a little leftfield, somewhat akin to Mars suddenly letting blue M&Ms into the packet, but it's not entirely unexpected.

Source: The Inquirer 

Apple Watch to shame Android Wear with sheer numbers
Apple Inc has reportedly asked its suppliers to make between five and six million Apple Watch units ahead of its impending April release, and is expecting to shift up to six million smartwatches in the first few months of release. In comparison, Google shipped just 720,000 Android Wear-powered wearables in 2014.

Half of Apple's orders are reportedly for the cheapest version, the Apple Watch Sport, which will cost US$349 (£227) when it goes on sale. The mid-tier Apple Watch, for which pricing details have not yet been announced, is said to make up a third of orders. Analysts expect sales to top 20 million in 2015.
Source: The Inquirer 

Samsung acquires Kickstarter success story LoopPay to rival Apple Pay
Samsung has acquired Apple Pay competitor LoopPay, a mobile wallet provider that allows payments to take place on existing magnetic stripe readers.
Speculation about Samsung acquiring LoopPay first surfaced in December, along with talk that the upcoming Galaxy S6 will be the first device to feature an Apple Pay-rivalling payment solution from the company. Samsung made the buyout official on Wednesday. The company didn't announce how much it has handed over for LoopPay, but said that the acquisition's founders will join Samsung's mobile division to push the "next wave of innovation in the digital smart wallet."

Source: The Inquirer
Galaxy S6 may be released at MWC
Speculations surrounding the so-called Galaxy S6 are already coming through thick and fast, ahead of the handset's likely launch at Mobile World Congress (MWC). Samsung's fortunes have taken a turn for the worse this past year, after the firm posted a 60 percent fall in profit in the third quarter owing to slowing sales of its smartphone line-up. Samsung is no doubt looking to turn this around, and will be hoping that the Galaxy S6 will help.

Samsung has sent out invites to a Galaxy Unpacked event ahead of this year's MWC on 1 March, which is likely when the Galaxy S6 will debut. Specs, if online speculation is to be believed, Samsung will 'go back to the drawing board' with the Galaxy S6 in a bid to boost the firm's faltering smartphone business.

Taking a leaf out of Apple's book, the Galaxy S6 will reportedly be crafted from metal as Samsung edges away from plastic smartphones, something which likely is to blame for slowing sales. Samsung all-but-confirmed this in its Q4 earnings call. 

The display is expected to have a higher resolution than the Galaxy S5, which featured a 1,920x1,080 Full HD display. It's likely that Samsung will look to challenge the likes of the Nexus 6 and LG G3 with a QHD 2,560x1,440 screen resolution.

Source: The Inquirer 

Sony Gets Glassy-Eyed
Sony announced that its SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1 will be available generally next month in the United States, the UK, Germany and Japan. The smart glasses -- Sony's first will also be released in March to business customers in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Sony's SmartEyeglass, priced at US$840 (£546), resembles a regular pair of eyeglasses with a sporty black frame design. It features a transparent 8-bit display screen with 85 percent transmittance in the lenses, which allows the wearer to read emails and other notifications that can be pushed from a compatible Android 4.4 device.

Sony's introduction of SmartEyeglass follows similar efforts to bring computerized eyewear to market -- notably Google's Glass project. Unlike Glass, Sony's SmartEyeglass is tethered to a separate controller that can be clipped to a lapel or pocketed when not in use. The controller houses the device's battery, speaker, microphone and touch sensors. The SmartEyeglass weighs approx. 2.7 ounces without the controller. It features a built-in 3-megapixel camera, accelerometer, gyroscope, electronic compass and brightness sensor. It supports wireless LAN and offers Bluetooth compatibility with Android devices. The battery provides around 150 minutes of continuous use.

Source: Tech News World

Lenovo caught shipping PCs with pre-installed Superfish malware
Lenovo is in customers' bad books this week after security bods realized that an installed tool known as Superfish is actually an adware menace that puts communications at risk. This is not the first time that Superfish has come to the surface. Lenovo's forums were first flushed with it in early 2014, and the firm has made some acknowledgement of this. It admitted to the problem in January and announced a suspension of the service.

"Due to some issues (browser pop-up behaviour for example), with the Superfish Visual Discovery browser add-on, we have temporarily removed Superfish from our consumer systems until such time as Superfish is able to provide a software build that addresses these issues," Lenovo said.
"As for units already in the market, we have requested that Superfish auto-update a fix."
Source: The Inquirer

NSA Suspected of Spreading Super-Resistant Malware
The NSA may be behind The Equation Group, creators of malware that defies the most-effective security measures currently available, according to a report from Kaspersky Lab. It appears the malware has been in existence since 2008. The Equation disclosure "creates a huge cloud over U.S. technology," said tech analyst Rob Enderle. This strategy "may have become a greater liability than an asset."
Kaspersky Lab on Tuesday announced the discovery of what may be the most sophisticated malware ever. The malware's creators, whom Kaspersky has dubbed "The Equation Group," use a never-seen-before tactic to infect hard drives' firmware. The technique "makes traditional antivirus and antimalware software practically useless. Most of the attacks hit Windows PCs, although Mac OS X users in China also have been hit, and iOS is vulnerable as well. "Given the sophistication of the malware that has been examined, the team is choosing their targets with care," noted Lamar Bailey, director of security R&D at Tripwire.

Source: Tech News World

The highlights from our Weekly Techno Briefs above do not necessarily represent the view of Capgemini Group.

About the author

Izzy Noon
Izzy Noon
Izzy joined Capgemini in 2014 as part of the General Management Graduate Programme. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Accounting and Financial Management. Having had experience in Accounts Receivable and Financial projects she is taking on a range of new projects from Sustainable Procurement Supplier Mapping to UK Graduate Recruitment through a global competition.

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