Bits and Bytes
01 Sponsor: Launch actions, not just apps. It's like speed dial for everyday tasks. Launch Center Pro saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.
02 Site News: I'm happy to announce that I'm now a part of the Syndicate Ad network!
03 Airbnb: The U.S. state of New York is taking Airbnb to court, saying they need to provide information on people who "may be acting illegally by renting out their homes." Airbnb refuses to hand over said information, saying if a person wants to make a few bucks here and there by renting out their flat for a night and staying with a friend, that's OK.
04 Amazon: More information about the Amazon phone has leaked, kind of. BGR, the original source of the leaked images, has provided some extra detail as to how the phone's four front facing cameras will track your head and manipulate the apps on your screen. One sentence summary: Amazon wants you to tilt, not swipe, your smartphone.
05 Apple and Google: Using a sample size of 500 million mobile web users, Opera Mediaworks claims that Q1 2014 was the first quarter where Android devices generated more web traffic than iOS devices. The exact numbers: 42.8% of all traffic was Android, and 38.2% was iOS. In Q4 2013, those figures were 37.7% Android and 43.4% iOS.
06 Apple: Here's their new ad for the iPhone 5s. It's called "Powerful".
07 Apple: iOS 7.1.1 is out. It's a sub-30 megabyte update that fixes several bugs and improves Touch ID performance.
08 Apple: They took out a print ad that shows their new solar farm with the text "There are some ideas we want every company to copy" in a massive font at the top of the page.
09 AT&T: They're going to pump $500 million into a Netflix clone. No launch date (or reason why) in sight.
10 China Mobile: The world's largest wireless operator (781.1 million subscribers) just "booked its lowest quarterly profit in five years". Why? Chat apps are killing SMS revenue, and building a nationwide 4G LTE network is expensive.
11 DigiTimes: Samsung wants UMC to license their 14 nanometer technology, like GlobalFoundries recently did, but UMC thinks Samsung's licensing fees are too high.
12 Dish Network: According to Bloomberg, America's second biggest satellite TV provider will offer a streaming service this summer that's pretty much the golden dream: The TV you already have, but delivered over the internet, to any device you own, for $20 to $30 per month.
13 Google: According to Re/code, Shishir Mehrotra, who is "responsible for product, engineering, user experience, as well as [the] monetization functions" at YouTube, is leaving. No word as to where he's going.
14 Google: Ads for apps are now better integrated into search results. Ads for apps will also now appear in YouTube videos.
15 Google: It was revealed during the Apple/Samsung trial that Google agreed to pay some or all of Samsung's damages should the court rule in Apple's favor, but only for four specific patents. Two of those four patents in question were dropped from the case before it even began.
16 Google: They've begun selling the Nest thermostat on the Google Play Store. For those interested, it's $250.
17 LG: Images of LG's next generation Android skin have leaked. Spoiler: It's the latest version of Samsung's TouchWiz, but with a different color palette.
18 Microsoft: It appears that Microsoft has gone from a three year release cycle for Windows, to a one year release cycle, and now they're trying to get something out the door every six months, at least that's what Mary Jo Foley claims.
19 Microsoft: They've joined the Power Matters Alliance for wireless charging. It's an odd move when you consider that Microsoft just bought Nokia, which has shipped millions of devices that use the Qi wireless charging standard. Oh well.
20 Motorola: They tweeted that they shipped 6.5 million phones in Q1 2014.
21 Roku: This popular Apple TV clone has finally added YouTube support.
22 Samsung: An unannounced smartphone has just been approved by China's version of the FCC. It's essentially a 7.0 inch version of the Galaxy S5.
23 Samsung: Rumor has it that a "premium" version of the Galaxy S5 is in the works. Compared to the current S5, this new version will have a slightly larger 5.2 inch screen that's significantly sharper (2560 x 1440 resolution). It's also worth pointing out the upgraded internals. There will allegedly be two variants. One powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, and another powered by an unannounced 20 nanometer Samsung chip that will sit next to Intel's latest 4G LTE modem.
24 Samsung: Rumors out of Korea say it took just 10 days for Samsung to sell their entire Gear Fit (the watch with the long curved display) inventory. How many did Samsung make? Between 200,000 and 250,000 units.
25 Samsung: Strategy Analytics tracked 250+ Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4 users in the U.S. for one month and discovered that, on average, people spent seven minutes using Samsung's apps versus 149 minutes for Google's apps. The most popular app, bar none, was Facebook at 11+ hours of usage.
26 Samsung: The analytics firm Localytics says the Galaxy S5 now makes up 0.7% of all Android devices in use. More importantly, they say 64% of Galaxy S5 devices in use are in the U.S., 23% are in Europe, and 13% are in the rest of the world.
27 Tesco: When this UK supermarket chain announced a tablet last year, everyone laughed at them. Turns out they've sold 500,000 Hudl units and are planning to show off an updated model later this year.
28 Twitter: They're now letting everyone migrate to the new Facebook user interface.
29 Vevo: For those who haven't heard of Vevo, it's a YouTube channel owned and operated by record companies. If you like music videos, Vevo should be your homepage. Anyway, they've just shared some ridiculous data points: 6 billion views in December, up 46% from a year ago, and 65% of those views were on mobile devices.
30 WhatsApp: The just published three new numbers: 500 million monthly active users, 700 million photos shared every 24 hours, 100 million videos shared every 24 hours.
31 Withings: They announced a new fitness tracker that does something I've never seen another fitness tracker do: The Pulse O2 ($120) tracks blood oxygen levels.
32 Xiaomi: They have a new URL, Mi.com. Some people are saying the company will rebrand itself to Mi so people in the West will actually be able pronounce their name.
The Real World
33 Bolivia: The country's minimum wage has been bumped up 20% to $215 per month.
34 China: The Japanese firm Hitachi will install the "world's fastest" elevator in a Guangzhou skyscraper. Said elevator can go 45 miles an hour (72 kilometers per hour), or to put it another way, it can go from the ground floor to the 95th floor in 43 seconds. The elevator in Taiwan's Taipei 101 tower has the current world record at 60.6 kilometers per hour.
35 Malaysia: The Bluefin-21 submersible scanning for the MH370 flight recorder has searched 80% of the designated search zone and has thus far found nothing.
36 Russia: Alexei Navalny, Leader of the Russian Opposition, is banned from using the internet, yet he just got slapped with a $8,400 fine for using Twitter to call a district councillor a "drug dealer". Alexei says his assistants manage his Twitter account.
37 South Korea: The latest numbers from the ferry disaster: 113 bodies recovered, over 190 still missing.
38 UK: "The British Heart Foundation, which polled 2,444 adults, found 39% sacrificed health benefits for cost when doing their grocery shopping. One in four said they hadn't bought a single portion of fresh fruit or vegetables in the last week." I would love to know how expensive fruits and vegetables are in the UK, because I certainly wouldn't call myself rich, yet I buy fresh produce every day.
39 UK: How much is six extra months of life worth? For women suffering from breast cancer, data shows Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtansine) works wonders, but at a cost of $150,000. The NHS currently dispenses Kadcyla, but that will change in 2016, because it's simply too expensive.
40 UK: Making graphene is a complicated and expensive process, right? An Irish-UK team of scientists doesn't think so. They put graphite powder in a blender, along with water and dishwashing soap, turned it on, and boom, graphene smoothie.
41 Ukraine: The pro-Russian forces in Donetsk captured local politician Vladimir Rybak and tortured him to death, at least that's what Ukraine's acting president is saying.
42 USA: The Supreme Court has ruled that public universities in Michigan can continue to impose a ban on affirmative action, saying if that's what local voters want, then so be it. For those unfamiliar with the term, Wikipedia defines affirmative action as "the policy of providing special opportunities for, and favoring members of, a disadvantaged group who suffer from discrimination."
43 World: McDonald's reported their financial results. Sales in the U.S. are down 1.7%, but sales in Europe are up 1.4%. What weird world are we living in?