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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Where Does Jobs Stand Among America's Iconic CEOs?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The question is not whether Steve Jobs is an iconic CEO, but where Apple Inc's co-founder ranks in the pantheon of business leaders who have carved out a place in history.
Jobs would surely pass the Times Square test, meaning many people walking around the New York City tourist mecca would know who he is, while they might not recognize the names of other business legends such as General Electric's former Chief Executive Jack Welch.
And Jobs' technological innovations, among them the Mac computer, iPod, iPhone, and iPad, have brought him the same one-name recognition as Carnegie, Ford, Gates, Murdoch, and others.
But 50 years from now, will the Nano be considered as revolutionary as the Model T?
"What Ford did for the automobile -- just look at the suburbs and highways that developed from him, the assembly lines. Ford had a tremendous effect," said Mike Carrier, a professor at Rutgers School of Law in New Jersey, who has written extensively on innovation and intellectual property.
"I would put Jobs up in that category in terms of how he revolutionized our concept of music, of phones, of the computer, of literally everything."
But others say the jury is still out on the lasting influence of Jobs' creations, given the breakneck pace of technological innovations and the fickleness of consumers. Motorola's Razr, for example, was thought to be revolutionary just a few years ago.
"I'm not sure how all these innovations will stack up in the long-term," said Peter Cappelli, a management professor at the Wharton School of Business.
When Jobs first started out more than three decades ago, there were some who thought he would not make it.
Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, associate dean of the Yale School of Management, remembers vividly how Jobs awkwardly introduced himself to Polaroid CEO Ed Land during a lunch at Michela's in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1985.
"He came over to Ed to thank him for his wisdom in marrying progressive management with technological advancement," Sonnenfeld said. "After he left, Ed shook his head and said, 'That guy is never going to make it. He doesn't get technology. He's just a salesman.'"
Jobs is a salesman, one of the most successful of the last half century. But the magnitude of his technological brilliance -- The New York Times pointed out that his name appears as inventor on 313 patents -- and his penchant for theatrics place him on a historical spectrum somewhere between Thomas Edison and Walt Disney.
"There are few CEOs who can compare to Jobs in terms of breadth of activities, length of time in command, and connection with consumers," said Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse.
Part of Jobs' mystique is owed to a confluence of factors either unique to him or to our times. The attention paid to CEOs by financial analysts and the media far exceeds what it was during Henry Ford's day, for instance.
And Jobs' career trajectory as a pioneer, failure, and comeback success has the narrative arc that journalists love. Walt Disney or William Randolph Hearst hit on one or two of those plot points, but not all three.
"You can't underestimate the massive impact the press has had in building up the concept of the celebrity CEO," said Eric Abrahamson, professor of management at Columbia Business School.
He pointed to the reinvention of Kimberly Clarke as a case in point. That company began as a lumber manufacturer, then moved on to pulp before hitting it big with gas masks during World War I. After the war, Kimberly Clarke's fortunes began a downward spiral and did not recover until the company introduced Kleenex.
Though that turnaround is akin to the one Jobs' pulled off after returning to Apple in 1996 -- its stock is up roughly 9,000 percent over that time -- Abrahamson said, "I couldn't tell you who the CEO was who led Kimberly Clarke's turnaround."
Jobs diverges from his peer group in two key aspects: the number of industries his company's products have fundamentally changed and consumers' identification of him as the singular force behind those products.
Ford helped create the automobile industry. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Jobs designed aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-use devices that changed the way computing, music and movies were made and enjoyed.
By accident or design, consumers have made a visceral connection between Apple products and the guy in the blue jeans, black turtleneck, and wire-rimmed glasses. They know Jobs did not create the devices on his own, but they desperately want to believe that he did.
They have sprinkled some of Disney's pixie dust on him, in a manner of speaking.
"Consumers personally believe that Jobs is solely responsible for the products in their house," Elberse said. But they do not think that Murdoch alone puts out News Corp newspapers, for instance.
"Fifty or a hundred years from now they'll look back on Apple products and think, 'Steve Jobs made this,'" she said. "That's his cultural impact."

Apple Innovations Powered By Steve Jobs

Long before they co-founded Apple in 1976, the two Steves; Wozniak and Jobs were already assembling computers in a garage, the Apple I was mainly peddled to electronic hobbyists. But the world witnessed the beauty and new-age features of the Apple II in 1977; the computer immediately became raging success and became one of the definitive drivers of the micro-computer industry for years to come through the 1980s and 1990s (AP Photo/Apple

one of its most popular line of computers ever: the Macintosh. The Superbowl ad that debuted the Macintosh, used George Orwell’s dystopian view of the world portrayed in his novel 1984, to demonstrate the power of the Mac. Apple would continue to come out with sublime advertisements that glorified its products. The other hugely popular ad was the ‘Think Different’ campaign in 1997. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

John Sculley (middle), Steve Wozniak (right) and Steve Jobs make for a happy picture in the photo taken during the launch of the Macintosh in 1984. A year later, Jobs would be forced out of Apple after the board sided with Sculley, he would be out in the cold, without a company and no day job. Years later, Jobs would recall that being fired turned out to be a blessing in disguise, he went on found two other path-breaking companies. One was Pixar,.

This 1998 file photo shows Jobs holding an iMac. In an ironic twist of fate, Jobs the banished CEO, was brought back to Apple in 1996 (after Apple bought NeXT) as an adviser, then as interim CEO and finally, he was put back in the helm in 1997. One of the first things that he did as CEO was accept a $150 million infusion from the ‘enemy’ Microsoft, who also agreed to develop and ship future versions of its Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer and Other

Apple continued to innovate on the iPod, unveiling the iPod Photo in 2004, which allowed users to view photos and slide shows on a color screen. By now the positive effect of the iPod had rubbed off on the sales of Macs, which got a fresh lease of life, Apple’s new operating systems and the ability to play well with the Windows suite of software also boosted sales. In mid-2004, Jobs was also diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer, which

Apple continued to innovate on the iPod, unveiling the iPod Photo in 2004, which allowed users to view photos and slide shows on a color screen. By now the positive effect of the iPod had rubbed off on the sales of Macs, which got a fresh lease of life, Apple’s new operating systems and the ability to play well with the Windows suite of software also boosted sales. In mid-2004, Jobs was also diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer,

Apple Computers Inc. CEO Steve Jobs holds up the new iPod Nano during an announcement in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2005. The Apple iPod Nano is 1/5 the size of the original iPod and weighs 1.5 ounces or 42 grams. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Under Jobs’ guidance, Apple continued to innovate on its iPod range of music players and Mac suite of computers, it also kept adding a complementary set of products. The Mac Mini, a small factor desktop was introduced in 2005, it comes without a keyboard, display or mouse. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The iPod’s form factor became smaller and smaller. In 2006, Jobs unveiled the iPod shuffle, the smallest iPod to date. Currently, the iPod is marketed under four lines: the shuffle, nano, classic and touch. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

The MacBook Air was launched with much fanfare in 2008, its thinnest notebook with an all-flash storage. By now, Apple had switched to the Intel based processors from its earlier PowerPC range, allowing it to innovate rapidly rather than wait for the chip systems to play catch up with its ambitions. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)

Jobs has proved many times in the past that he was not infallible. Apple TV is one such example, first launched in 2006, it failed to take-off. In this 2010 file photo, Jobs is seen unveiling the Apple TV for the second time in 2010. Sales remain tepid.

The iPod nano was introduced as a replacement for the iPod mini in 2005 and used flash memory for storage. In this file photo in 2010, Jobs is seen discussing the latest features of the iPod nano.

After revolutionizing the music and smart phone industries, Jobs turned his eye towards the tablet industry, and the world was given the iPad in 2010. It proved to one Apple’s most successful product launches, even by its standards. To date, more than 25 million iPads have been sold proving once again that whatever Jobs touches turns to gold. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Smart phones had existed to close to a decade when Apple launched the iPhone in 2007. But this was no ordinary smart phone. It tied together the hardware, software, design and the app ecosystem into one beautiful device. Apple fanbois and the general public lapped it up. Jobs ensured that the smart phone industry was turned upside down and felled or broke the back of phone manufacturing giants like Nokia and Motorola. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

Apple CEO Steve Jobs stands in front of a photo of himself, right, and Steve Wozniak, left, during an Apple event in San Francisco. Apple Inc. on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011 said Jobs is resigning as CEO, effective immediately. He will be replaced by Tim Cook, who was the company's chief operating officer. It said Jobs has been elected as Apple's chairman. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)

Different Face of Steve Jobs From Chubby Cheeks Gaunt Jaw Line

Jobs quit his post as CEO with immediate effect and will be replaced by COO, Tim Cook. He leaves behind a huge gaping hole, not just in Apple but also in the larger technology and electronic industries.

Steve Jobs Quits As Apple CEO, Cook Takes Over


SAN FRANCISCO/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple Inc on Wednesday and passed the reins to his right-hand man Tim Cook, saying he could no longer fulfill the duties in a bombshell announcement that raised fears his health has deteriorated further.
Jobs, who fought and survived a rare form of pancreatic cancer and revolutionized the technology arena with the iPhone and the iPad in the past four years, is deemed the heart and soul of a company that this month briefly became the most valuable in America.
"I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come," Jobs, who takes on the new position of chairman, said in a short letter announcing his resignation.
The letter and a separate terse, somewhat cryptic statement from Apple raised more questions than it answered about Jobs' health and the future of the company.
While it's unlikely that his departure as CEO will derail Apple's ambitious product-launch roadmap in the near term, there are concerns about whether the company would stay a creative force to be reckoned with beyond the next year or so without its founder and visionary at the helm.
That is why Apple's stock dropped as much as 7 percent in after-hours trading when Jobs' departure was announced.
In the company statement, Apple co-lead director Art Levinson on behalf of the board praised Jobs' "extraordinary vision and leadership" and "countless contributions to Apple's success", saying he would continue to serve the company with "unique insights, creativity and inspiration."
However, the statement, which also talked about Cook's outstanding performance, said nothing about Jobs' health.
His battle with pancreatic cancer, which has stretched over several years, has been of deep concern to Apple fans, investors and the company's board. Over the past two years, even board members have confided to friends their concern that Jobs, in his quest for privacy, wasn't being forthcoming with directors about the true condition of his health.
Jobs has been on medical leave since Jan. 17, with his duties being filled by Cook, who was chief operating officer.
Jobs spent all Wednesday meeting with board members and top managers at Apple's headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, and plans to remain active in his new role, a source close to Jobs told Reuters. A second source said Jobs will remain on the board of Walt Disney Co.
Still, some industry insiders express concern that Jobs' has clearly signaled he is too ill to keep up the punishing pace of a top executive job.
The 56-year-old Jobs had briefly emerged from medical leave in March to unveil the latest iPad and later attended a dinner hosted by President Barack Obama for technology leaders in Silicon Valley. But his often-gaunt appearance had sparked questions about how bad his illness was and his ability to continue at Apple.
In each of Jobs' three health-related absences, Cook has taken over the helm. But the 50-year-old Alabama native, a former Compaq executive and an acknowledged master of supply-chain management, remains largely untested in Wall Street's view.
That's partly why, despite Cook being viewed as a safe bet to run Apple's sprawling empire, some still think his boss will be very badly missed. One Silicon Valley CEO, who declined to be identified because of the sensitive issues involved, said the tone of Jobs' statement indicated his health might be worse than publicly known.
Jobs has earned a reputation for commanding every aspect of operations - from day-to-day running to broad strategic decisions - suggesting he would not have given up the job if he had a choice.
"It's really sad," the CEO told Reuters. "No one is looking at this as a business thing, but as a human thing. No one thinks that Steve is just stepping aside because he just doesn't want to be CEO of Apple anymore."
"It feels like another shoe is going to drop."
Fans paid tribute but lamented his resignation, openly airing fears for the health of their technology guiding light. Employees at a downtown San Francisco Apple store huddled in small groups after the news spread through word of mouth.
"Not gonna lie - I teared up upon the #stevejobs news," said Bob Skrezyna, who goes by 'wordrebel' on Twitter.
Some reactions were put in crudely poetic, though somewhat poignant, terms. One Apple fan from Denmark posted on Facebook: "Good Job. I just ate an Apple. It was bittersweet. Guess I'll just have to Cook it from now on."
Others simply sympathized.
"It's sad to see someone visibly deteriorating and to see such a giant going through this. My heart goes out to his wife and kids," said Kelli Praught, an employee at a Palo Alto business who has served Jobs' wife.
The news caused immediate ripples in Asia, where many of the company's major suppliers and rivals are based. Samsung Electronics, Apple's top chip supplier and a major rival in smartphones and tablets, rose 3 percent in early trade, though part of that was because of a patent ruling in a court battle with Apple in the Netherlands. Sony Corp, which was overtaken by Apple in the personal music and tablet space, rose 1 percent.
While Jobs did not detail the state of his health, oncologists who have not treated the Apple founder said he could be facing several problems tied to his rare form of pancreatic cancer and subsequent liver transplant. They include possible hormone imbalances or a recurrence of cancer that is harder to fight once the body has already been weakened.
"I have to imagine that it's related to his health. I cannot imagine another explanation," said Jason Hirschhorn of The ReDEF Group, and the former CEO of MySpace.
His resignation certainly marked the end of an era at Apple.
A college dropout, a Buddhist and a son of adoptive parents, he started Apple Computer with friend Steve Wozniak in the late 1970s.
The company soon introduced the Apple 1 computer. But it was the Apple II that became a huge success and gave Apple its position as a critical player in the then-nascent PC industry, culminating in a 1980 IPO that made Jobs a multimillionaire.
Despite the subsequent success of the Mac, Jobs' relationship with internal management soured, and in 1985 the board removed most of his powers fired him.
Apple's fortunes waned after that. However, its purchase of NeXT -- the computer company Jobs founded after leaving Apple -- in 1997 brought him back into the fold. Later that year, he became interim CEO and in 2000, the company dropped "interim" from his title.
But it was the iPhone in 2007 that cemented his legacy in the annals of modern technology history. Two years before the gadget that forever transformed the way people around the world access and use the Internet, Jobs talked about how a sense of his mortality was a major driver behind that vision.
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life," Jobs said during a Stanford commencement ceremony in 2005. "Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure -- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important."
"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."
Google Inc Chairman Eric Schmidt, a friend of Jobs for years before the Internet search giant's move into mobile software and devices strained their relationship, wrote a moving testament to the legacy of his erstwhile business partner, echoing the responses of many of his fellow Silicon Valley executives on Wednesday.
"Steve Jobs is the most successful CEO in the U.S. of the last 25 years," he said. "He uniquely combined an artist's touch and an engineers vision to build an extraordinary company... One of the greatest American leaders in history."
Wall Street once again expressed confidence in the Apple bench, headed by supply-chain maven Cook.
"I will say to investors: don't panic and remain calm, it's the right thing to do. Steve will be chairman and Cook is CEO," said BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis.
On Wednesday, Apple shares slid to $357.40 in extended trading after a brief halt. They had gained 0.7 percent to close at $376.18 on the Nasdaq.
"Investors are very comfortable with Tim Cook even though Jobs has been a driver of innovation and clearly an Apple success. Tim has shown Apple can still outperform extremely well when he's been acting as CEO," said Cross Research analyst Shannon Cross.
Apple previously did not have a chairman. The company had said it didn't need one, the structure worked best for shareholders, and that it preferred to rely on two independent co-lead directors.
In his letter of just eight short sentences that was addressed to the board and Apple community, Jobs said: "I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee."

7 Products Steve Jobs Got Wrong

NEW YORK: Steve Jobs pushed the envelope many times when it came to product design, and the results weren't always pretty. Here are seven products created under his direction that failed commercially or functionally:
1. Apple III (1981) — The successor to the very popular Apple II was focused on business users and priced accordingly. Unfortunately, the hardware was unreliable. Apple lost the business market to the IBM PC, launched the same year, and a rapidly expanding market of PC clones.
2. Lisa (1983) — The first commercially produced computer with a graphical user interface cost $9,995 when it launched. It quickly fell into the shadow of the cheaper Macintosh, launched a year later.
3. NeXT Computer (1989) — Jobs' venture after being forced out of Apple created a computer that was in many ways ahead of its time, but in the vein of the Apple III and Lisa, it was also too expensive to catch on with mainstream users.
4. Puck Mouse (1998) — The new iMac was the first major product created after Jobs' return to Apple in 1996, and it was a big success, despite its tiny, round mouse. Users couldn't tell which way it was oriented by feel, and it tended to disappear in the cup of the hand, making it hard to use.
5. The Cube (2000) — This small desktop computer was beautifully encased in a cube of clear plastic. It won design awards but was a flop in stores because of its high price. Also, it didn't really offer any functional benefits over other Macs. Apple's designs are iconic, but people aren't usually willing to pay a premium for design alone. The Cube idea lives on in the Mac Mini, a more successful but less eye-catching small Mac.
6. iTunes phone (2005) — It's easy to forget that the iPhone wasn't Apple's first venture into the cellphone business. It formed a partnership with Motorola Inc. to launch the ROKR in late 2005. As a phone, it was decent if unexciting, but as a music player, it fell far short of the iPod. It could only hold 100 songs, and transferring them from the computer was a slow process. It was also criticized for not allowing users to download music over the cellular network, a limitation that also applied to the first iPhone. Some even called the ROKR "the iPhone."
7. Apple TV (2007) — Apple's foray into the living room was an uncharacteristically half-hearted effort — Jobs later referred to the Apple TV as a "hobby." It was a small box that connected to a TV and to a Mac in the home. A tiny remote allowed the owner to play music and movies from the PC on the TV. It was expensive, at $249, and complicated to set up and use. Movies purchased from iTunes were low resolution and looked blurry on HDTV sets. In 2010, Apple introduced a much improved, cheaper Apple TV designed to connect directly to the Internet.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Stanley Kubrick Made The First iPad, Claims Samsung

Sydney, Aug 24 (IANS) Hollywood filmmaker Stanley Kubrick designed the first ever iPad, and not Apple Inc, says rival company Samsung in a bizarre patent suit that cites the director's '2001: A Space Odyssey' as evidence, according to a media report.
The two companies are 'suing each other all over the world' for patent infringement, after Apple accused Samsung of 'blatant copying' of its products, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Apple won a temporary injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe. In Australia, it forced Samsung to agree not to sell the device until it can satisfy Apple that it does not infringe on its iPad patents.
A patent case against the Galaxy Tab is also running in the US and Samsung has filed its reasons as to why Apple should not be granted an injunction.
One of Samsung's exhibits was a still image and a YouTube clip taken from Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film '2001: A Space Odyssey'. The clip shows two astronauts eating while at the same time using what appear to be personal tablet computers, the report said.
Samsung says this was an example of 'prior art' for the general design of the iPad.
It also cited a scene from the 1970s British TV series 'The Tomorrow People', which appears to depict a tablet computer.
Consultant and blogger Florian Mueller, who first uncovered the Kubrick reference, said it would be 'amazing' if the court agreed with Samsung.
Mark Summerfield, a senior associate with a Melbourne intellectual property law firm, believes Samsung 'may have a case'.
'Generally science fiction is not legitimate prior art to a utility patent, because it does not inform the public how to make the fictional apparatus,' said Summerfield.
But there was no reason why science fiction could not be 'invalidating prior art' to a registered design, he said.
'For example, if I were to copy the Star Trek communicator as a novelty mobile phone, I would have no right to claim a monopoly in that design. I did not devise it myself,' he said. 'I think that Samsung probably has a viable defence here.'

3 Tablet Book: The Future Of Tablet Computing









Samsung Joins Apple In Emerging Markets Smartphone Push


SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics unveiled four new smartphone models under its flagship Galaxy line on Wednesday, expanding its offerings of cheaper phones to tap growth in emerging markets.
Samsung will enter a lower-end market ripe with cut-throat competition from Chinese producers including ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies, as well as a host of no-brand producers pumping out hundreds of millions of phones for consumers in China, Africa and other developing economies.
The move also signals an intensifying battle with Apple, Samsung's biggest competitor and customer, as the U.S. firm is set to launch a lower-cost version of the iPhone 4 and its much-anticipated iPhone 5 soon, according to sources.
"Smartphone makers are increasingly moving down the value chain to target the low-end segment and attract mass customers, especially those in China and India," said Lee Seung-woo, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities.
"It's an inevitable trend but will at the same time lower margins. Only a handful of top-tier manufacturers can survive in that end."
Samsung forecast on Wednesday cheap models costing below $200 would account for more than half the overall smartphone market by 2015 in volume terms, up sharply from last year's 16 percent.
"Samsung seeks to expand market share in the emerging market with models costing around $200, as those markets have lower smartphone penetration rates compared with advanced markets," a Samsung group spokeswoman quoted an executive from Samsung Electronics' mobile division as telling a meeting of the group's executives on Wednesday.
Apple and Samsung are locked in a bruising patent fight in the United States, Europe and Asia, as they jostle for top title in the smartphone market after ending Nokia's 10-year reign in the second quarter.
Apple has long stuck to the higher end of a booming mobile device arena, but is now seeking new markets to sustain the rip-roaring pace of growth that has enthralled Wall Street.
The introduction of cheaper models comes just a day before Samsung goes to a German court to try to overturn a ban on its selling Galaxy tablets in the country.
Samsung is also awaiting a crucial ruling by a Dutch court on Apple's requests to ban a much wider Galaxy line of products in the Netherlands and European Union.
Samsung, which is rolling out its latest Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet globally, hopes to raise tablet sales more than five-fold this year and sell 60 million smartphones.
The Korean firm is the nearest rival to Apple in smartphones and its shipments in the second quarter were just 1 million units short of Apple's 20.3 million unit sales, according to market data.
Shares in Samsung fell 2.1 percent, versus a 1.2 percent drop in the wider market.
Samsung expanded its Galaxy smartphone range to five categories spanning the high, mass and low-end segments.
Its new mid-to-high end Galaxy W will have a 3.7-inch screen and a 5-megapixel camera, while the mid-tier Galaxy M Pro and lower-end Galaxy Y Pro will be Samsung's first Galaxy models with qwerty keyboards.
The fourth Galaxy Y model, aimed at emerging market consumers, is an entry-level product with a 2-megapixel camera and processor speeds of 832 megahertz (MHz).
Samsung launched its first Galaxy product in June 2010 and its followup Galaxy S II, launched in April this year, has sold more than 5 million units.
The new Galaxy lineup, all running on Google's Android platform version 2.3, will be unveiled to the public at an annual electronics fair in Germany in early September .
The global smartphone market is expected to account for around 64 percent of the total handset market this year in dollar terms, up from 54 percent a year ago, according to industry data.
Much of that growth is expected to come from lower cost emerging markets, where margins are slimmer and competition is tough.
Small underground factories that churn out China's grey market cellphones, mostly in Shenzhen , are giving global brands a run for their money.
As many as 900 million phones a year are produced in Shenzhen , including big brands such as Huawei and ZTE but also lesser-known names like G'five and Daxian <600747>, according to industry estimates. Put end to end, those China-made phones could circle the earth at least twice.
Some 200-300 million of these grey-market handsets are cellphones that are not recognized or licensed by Chinese regulators.
While feature phones make up much of their output, these cellphone makers are increasingly also producing copycat versions of Apple and Samsung smartphones.
"Indian ringtones, African languages -- we can ask the factory to load up whatever you need," said Xu Shan, who runs a small store in Shenzhen that sells mobile phones from smaller local brands such as Daxian and Jugate.

Apple Suppliers Building Cheaper, 8GB iPhone 4


TAIPEI/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Asian suppliers to Apple Inc have begun manufacturing a lower priced version of its hot-selling iPhone 4 with a smaller 8 gigabyte flash drive, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
The flash drive for the 8GB iPhone 4 is being manufactured by a Korean company, one of the people said on Tuesday, declining to name the company. Apple currently sources its flash drives from Japan 's Toshiba and South Korea 's Samsung Electronics.
The sources declined to be identified because the information has not been made public.
Apple, which demands high levels of secrecy and security from suppliers and employees, declined to comment.
The existing iPhone 4 was first launched in June 2010 with 16 GB and 32 GB versions, with a white version added to the lineup in April. The 8 GB version expected to launch within weeks, one of the sources said.
In addition to launch of the smaller iPhone 4, Apple is targetting an end September launch for the next-generation iPhone 5, one source said, confirming earlier reports on Apple follower blogsites and industry websites.
The new iPhone , which some call the iPhone 4S because of its largely identical appearance to the existing iPhone 4, will have a bigger touch screen, better antenna and an 8-megapixel camera, one of the people said.
The iPhone 5's two manufacturers have been told to prepare production capacity for up to 45 million units altogether, the source said. The phone will be made by Hon Hai and Pegatron, the person added.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Security Expert Warns Hackers Can Attack Android

BOSTON (Reuters) - A mobile security expert says he has found new ways for hackers to attack phones running Google Inc's Android operating system.
Riley Hassell, who caused a stir when he called off an appearance at a hacker's conference last week, told Reuters he and colleague Shane Macaulay decided not to lay out their research at the gathering for fear criminals would use it attack Android phones.
He said in an interview he identified more than a dozen widely used Android applications that make the phones vulnerable to attack.
"App developers frequently fail to follow security guidelines and write applications properly," he said.
"Some apps expose themselves to outside contact. If these apps are vulnerable, then an attacker can remotely compromise that app and potentially the phone using something as simple as a text message."
He declined to identify those apps, saying he fears hackers might exploit the vulnerabilities.
"When you release a threat and there's no patch ready, then there is mayhem," said Hassell, founder of boutique security firm Privateer Labs.
Hassell said he and Macaulay alerted Google to the software shortcomings they unearthed.
Google spokesman Jay Nancarrow said Android security experts discussed the research with Hassell and did not believe he had uncovered problems with Android.
"The identified bugs are not present in Android," he said, declining to elaborate.
It was the first public explanation for the failure of Hassell and Macaulay to make a scheduled presentation at the annual Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas, the hacking community's largest annual gathering.
They had been scheduled to talk about "Hacking Androids for Profit." Hundreds of people waited for them to show up at a crowded conference room.
Hassell said in an interview late on Thursday the pair also learned -- at the last minute -- that some of their work may have replicated previously published research and they wanted to make sure they properly acknowledged that work.
"This was a choice we made, to prevent an unacceptable window of risk to consumers worldwide and to guarantee credit where it was due," he said.
A mobile security researcher familiar with the work of Hassell and Macaulay said he understood why the pair decided not to disclose their findings.
"When something can be used for exploitation and there is no way to fix it, it is very dangerous to go out publicly with that information," the researcher said. "When there is not a lot that people can do to protect themselves, disclosure is sometimes not the best policy."
Hassell said he plans to give his talk at the Hack in The Box security conference in Kuala Lumpur in October

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Kno Putting e-Textbooks On Facebook

Kno has decided to transition away from its oversize dual-screen tablet and focus more on the educational content it planned to put on the tablets by making thousands of textbooks available on Facebook.
At first glance, it's not a bad idea, considering the number of students that use Facebook already. Kno plans to become an e-book distributor; when students buy e-textbooks from them, the company will make it available through Facebook, a Web-based reader and even an iPad app that launched in June.
Kno will provide more than just text and pictures, too. The e-textbooks will be able to turn diagrams into quizzes simply by obscuring the parts of the diagram or their descriptions, making it easy for readers to test themselves. Another feature will create a journal that catalogs all the highlighted passages and notes the reader makes, compiling them into one easily searchable area
Other features planned include audio recordings and handwritten notes. The company already has information available on its Facebook app, but some features such as highlighting and annotating won't be available until later this year.

Chinese Authorities Find 22 More Fake Apple store

REUTERS - Authorities in China's southwestern city of Kunming have identified another 22 unauthorised Apple retailers weeks after a fake of the company's store in the city sparked an international storm.
China's Administration for Industry and Commerce in the Yunnanprovincial capital said the stores have been ordered to stop using Apple's logo after Apple China accused them of unfair competition and violating its registered trademark, state media said on Thursday.
The market watchdog agency said it would set up a complaint hotline and boost monitoring, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
It did not say if the shops were selling knock-off Apple products or genuine but smuggled models.
Countless unauthorised resellers of Apple and other brands' electronic products throughout China sell the real thing but buy their goods overseas and smuggle them into the country to escape taxes.
In July, inspections of around 300 shops in Kunming were carried out after a blog post by an American living in the city exposed a near-flawless fake Apple Store where even the staff were convinced they were working for the California-based iPhone and iPad maker.
Chinese law protects trademarks and prohibits companies from copying the "look and feel" of other companies' stores.
But enforcement is spotty, and the United States and other Western countries have often complained China is woefully behind in its effort to stamp out intellectual property (IP) theft.
In May, China was listed for the seventh year by the U.S. Trade Representative's office as a country with one of the worst records for preventing copyright theft.