The High Tech Society’s Tech News Recap
February 2nd – 7th
Beginning this week, we are going to be doing our tech news updates a little differently. Instead of a daily (Mon – Fri) news post, with an update on Saturday, we are going to be condensing our tech news into one post that will be published on Fridays. Of course we may post the occasional news article during the week if we find something that we are excited about, such as Brandy’s awesome articles about Amazon coins, and the new EventWith website and upcoming apps. And if you would like to read about something in particular, you are always welcome to contact us with a request.
Below you will find my personal picks for this week’s tech news update. Including information about the tech Super Bowl commercials, new smartphone release in Africa, the shutting down of a huge Botnet, and more.
Super Techy, Super Bowl Commercials
Everybody knows that there are some amazing commercials during the Super Bowl. But this year, many different high tech and Internet related companies spent big bucks to ensure a spot in between the commercials for sodas and snack foods. Some of our favorite high tech commercials here at HTS included those by:
Best Buy – with a fast paced commercial where Amy Poehler rattled off tech questions while playfully flirting with a Best Buy clerk.
E*Trade – With their signature talking baby.
Motorola – Who can’t resist Megan Fox in a bubble bath?
Samsung – A hilarious commercial where Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen fight over who is going to star in the commercial while saying ‘Samsung’ numerous times.
Go Daddy – With their ‘When Sexy Meets Smart’ slogan where a zit faced nerd sucked face with supermodel Bar Refaeli.
Blackberry – An unusually weird commercial where an actor used his new Z10 to turn a big rig into an exploding pair of rubber ducks.
Of course, commercials aren’t the only thing in the Super Bowl and the game itself kept us at the edge of our seats as the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31.
Microsoft & Huawei Team Up to Release Smartphone in Africa
On Monday, Microsoft announced that it is going to be teaming up with the Chinese telecom company Huawei to launch a Windows powered, low cost smartphone in Africa, which is reported to be the fastest growing smartphone market in the world.
The phone will cost about $150, and is called the Huawei 4Africa. Microsoft and Huawei plan to sell it in seven countries, including Egypt, Morocco, and South Africa. This should help to increase Microsoft’s smartphone sales, and international market share, which was only about 2% last fall.
The partnership with Huawei should not have any effect on the deal between Microsoft and Nokia, and the Windows mobile operating system will still be powering Nokia’s new line of smartphones. It has also been reported that later this year, Nokia and Microsoft will launch their own smartphone in Africa.
According to the Times Newspaper, the smartphone market in Africa has grown about 43% each year since 2000. In places in Africa, about 10% of the more than 400 million cellphone users have cellphones, but that number is expected to quickly spike.
Symantec & Microsoft Shut Down $1 Million a Year Botnet
Earlier this week, teams from Microsoft and anti-virus company Symantec raided many data centers in the U.S. and managed to shut down a botnet that was believed to be netting more than $1 million a year. Computers that were infected by this botnet, named Bamital were being used for identity theft according to the companies.
Bamital has managed to infect over eight million computers in the past two years, it’s click fraud and hijacking schemes has affected many browsers and search engines, including Yahoo and Google.
Symantec and Microsoft have offered thousands of infected users free tools to ensure that Bamital is successfully removed from their computers.
Wikipad, the 7 Inch Gaming Tablet
After many delays, the Wikipad, a 7-inch gaming tablet is ready to be released sometime this spring. The Wikipad is an all-inclusive gaming tablet that has controls that wrap around the screen. The final model is a little different than the original concept, which had a 10.01 inch screen, 1280×800 resolution, and a Tegra 3 chip. The original tablet would have cost about $500 and because of the cost would have probably failed. The 7-inch version is expected to be much less expensive and will retail for about $249. The new 7-inch Wikipad still has a 1280×800 resolution, and still uses a Tegra 3 chip, just in a smaller model.
The president of sales says that the 10-inch version is still expected to be released, and will probably be powered by a Tegra 4 chip. Expected release date is around Christmas, 2013.
Stop & Frisk Monitoring App Available on iPhone
On Thursday of this week, the New York Civil Liberties Union released its Stop and Frisk app for iPhones. This app is a police encounter documentation tool that is designed to allow people to document police abuse coming from the New York Police Department’s criminal prevention program known as ‘stop and frisk’.
With this app, users witnessing a police stop can record audio and video, and the location of the stop, the information is then automatically sent to the NYCLU. The application also has a listener function which alerts the user when someone else is using the same app in the local vicinity.
This app has been available for Android phones for the past seven months and is extremely popular, with over 20,000 downloads. NYCLU has received more than 1,000 written reports, and 5,000 videos, however, only about 200 of the videos actually document police incidents. Most of the others are simply users trying the app out.