mvar writes “Various sources report that a few days ago at CinemaCon Disney announced their plan to release, following the 2015 JJ Abrams Episode VII, a new Star Wars movie every 1 (one, uno, une) year. Yep, get your stomachs ready, because that’s a lot of Jar Jar Binks.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.
While HBO wonders what the hell they’re going to do if (or when, more likely) their hit show catches up to the books, the network is already thinking about more Game of Thrones TV — author George R. R. Martin says the network is considering a prequel series, possibly based on his Dunk and Egg short stories, which are set 90 years earlier. Read more…
In Larry Page’s note moments ago about Andy Rubin stepping down as head of Android to be replaced by Sundar Pichai, he also provided an update on Android device activations: there are now 750 million of them, across smartphones and tablets from 60 hardware makers. This an update on the 500 million figure noted in September 2012 . From Page’s note: Fast forward to today. The pace of innovation has never been greater, and Android is the most used mobile operating system in the world: we have a global partnership of over 60 manufacturers; more than 750 million devices have been activated globally; and 25 billion apps have now been downloaded from Google Play. Pretty extraordinary progress for a decade’s work. And here’s a visualization of how Android has grown, courtesy of Benedict Evans. By many estimates from analysts, Google’s Android is currently the world’s biggest smartphone platform. The most recent figures from Gartner , for example, put it at 70% of the market in terms of recent devices sold. Activations are a slightly more nebulous stat, however, because, as Evans points out, they don’t include, for example, Android devices sold in countries where Google services might get used, such as China. And they don’t count secondary-owners of devices, as you may sometimes get in developing markets. 750 million Android activations implies an active base of somewhere around 675 million, Evans says . “Plus China, of course.” As a point of comparison, iOS is at about 400 million. Analyst Horace Dediu, based on today’s 750-million figure and historical growth, predicts that Android will reach 1 billion activations by mid-August 2013. Last week , Google provided an update on how ebooks and music have been progressing on the platform: there are now over 5 million ebooks and 18 million songs available on Google Play, one year on after it got rebranded from its previous name of Android Market.
Apple Says It Was Targeted By The Same Hackers That Hit Facebook, Will Release Protection Software Tuesday
Apple has revealed that it was attacked by the same group that went after Facebook in a recent attempt to break that network’s security. The company says a “small number” of its employees’ Macs were affected, but there is “no evidence that any data left Apple,” according to a report by Reuters . The company will be issuing software to prevent customers from being attacked in the same manner, Apple said. Apple’s report follows the news from Facebook on Friday that it was targeted by hackers apparently operating out of China. Facebook also reported that none of its users’ data was compromised through the attack. Apple is said to be workign with law enforcement on trying to find the source of the hacking attempt, and will be releasing a software tool aimed at its customers to help them protect their own Macs against the malware used by the unidentified assailant. The goal for both Apple and Facebook, in being the source of these reports about attacks on their own companies is to be proactive and get out ahead of the news, in order to reassure customers that they’re doing everything possible to ensure the security of any data they hold. The object lesson of Sony’s PlayStation network breach, and the ensuing criticism and lawsuits that resulted from it being perceived as “slow” to notify outsiders of the attack is probably one cause of heightened transparency on the part of companies facing cyber-security threats. For Apple, admitting to a security breach is a rare occurrence. The company acknowledged some 400 iTunes accounts were hacked back in 2010 in response to customer complaints, but this kind of pre-emptive move indicates that we’re likely dealing with a different level of security threat altogether. On the plus side, account data seems not to have been leaked, and this means authorities will have the help of two technology giants and their considerable resources in tracking the perpetrators down.
Barnes & Noble has put up an excellent fight over the past few years against the rising tide of digital competitors like iPad, Kindle Fire, etc. But it would seem that the bookseller has still come up a bit short, as the Wall Street Journal reports that the company has plans to shut down nearly 20 stores per year over the course of the next decade. Just last week, we learned that B&N had a rough holiday sales season with a 10.9 percent sales decrease over last year’s holiday season. Barnes & Noble currently has around 689 retail stores in operation, but the cuts would eliminate around a third of those stores, leaving the total somewhere between 450 to 500 stores. However, Barnes & Noble’s Mitchell Klipper, who delivered the news to the WSJ, explains that less than 3 percent of B&N stores lose money. Still, shutting down stores is expected to strengthen B&N’s hardware business, including the Nook HD and Nook HD+, which has been a growing focus at the company. In the face of such a digital shift, it would appear that the bookseller expects its brick-and-mortar business to become more and more of a liability over the coming years.
Sure, 3D printing is fun and cute. And products like the Makerbot and Form 1 will most certainly disrupt manufacturing, even if it’s only on a small scale. But the possibilities of 3D printing stretch far beyond DIY at-home projects. In fact, it could entirely replace the construction industry. We’ve already seen folks at MIT’s Research Labs working on ways to 3D print the frame of a home in a day, as opposed to the month it would take a construction crew to do the same. But it isn’t just geeks taking an interest; a Dutch architect is interested in 3D printing a home, with the hopes that it’ll be ready by 2014. The architect’s name is Janjaap Ruijssenaars of Universe Architecture, and his project is a part of the Europan competition, which lets architects in over 15 different countries build projects over the course of two years. Ruijssenaars will work with Italian inventor Enrico Dini, founder of the D-Shape 3D printer. The plan is to print out 6×9 chunks of frame, comprised of sand and inorganic binder. From there, they’ll fill the frame with fiber-reinforced concrete. The final product will be a single flowing design, a two-story building. Here’s the project in Ruijssenaars’ words: One surface folded in an endless möbius band. Floors transform into ceilings, inside into outside. Production with innovative 3D printing techniques. Architecture of continuity with an endless array of applicability. As I said, he doesn’t plan on realizing the dream until 2014. So just because he has plans to build the world’s first 3D printed building, it would appear that others have time to nab the title first. [via 3ders.org ]
A fascinating project is making the rounds this weekend that could change the way we think of 3D printers. The Filabot is a robot that can turn scrap plastic into 3D printer filament, thereby allowing an almost endless supply of material for prototyping and manufacturing. While it’s probably not that exciting for non-hobbyists, the Filabot is essentially a way to make the raw materials used in products like Makerbot out of stuff you’d throw away. The creator, Tyler McNaney, ran a Kickstarter campaign last year and he is slowly but surely bringing the devices to market this year. Obviously you’re going to run into problems with such a small system – the impurities in the plastic and bubbles being of primary concern – but at about $50 a spool, PVC isn’t cheap and if you’re printing quite a bit of prototype hardware there’s room for a bit of error. Kickstarter backers paid $350 for their Filabots and a “public” price isn’t yet set. While there are problems with any recycling technology, the Filabot is a fascinating study at the potential for in-home 3D printing. Imagine, for example, printing out repair parts or toys using stuff that you would normally recycle? It’s a wonderful example of technology finally digging us – imperceptibly slowly, I’ll grant you – out of the plastic waste problem.
We sat down with Greg Duffy, CEO of Dropcam, to talk about his company’s move into online DVR services connected with their cool little HD webcams. The big news? Dropcam cameras now upload more video per day than YouTube. Duffy noted that the company is working towards more intelligent content sensing so their cameras and online DVR service will be able to pick out faces and figures in the scene and be a bit more intelligent with notifications and motion sensing. There wasn’t any new Dropcam hardware to speak of this CES but the service is definitely more interesting these days simply because a cloud-backed DVR could be a lifesaver for businesses and personal users alike.