Top 10 Internet Security Suites


G Data's security suite is one of the best defenders we've ever seen, and it takes the top spot among this year's crop despite a rough interface.
Symantec's Norton security suite will do a great job of keeping your PC safe, and the program is easy to use too.
4/5
prices from$28.24
A great choice for beginners and advanced users alike, Bitdefender's suite combines a friendly interface with top-notch protection.
4/5
prices from$36.48
The Kaspersky security suite's on-access scans could be faster, but it’s very good at detection and blocking.
4/5
prices from$19.99
Despite its somewhat middling detection scores, Trend Micro's security suite is simple to use.
4/5
prices from$24.99
Avast's latest security suite is effective in defending against malware, but it could stand to improve in cleanup.
Although not a top performer, Smart Security 5 is a strong, easy-to-use upgrade over previous versions of Eset’s security suite.
4/5
prices from$67.70
The latest F-Secure suite is quite capable of keeping your machine safe, but it may drag your PC down at times.
AVG's security suite will protect your PC, but it can’t quite keep up with the best performers in our latest test group.
While Check Point's ZoneAlarm security suite is a reasonably solid protector, it may drag down your PC’s operations.

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Ibex is a virtual reality desktop environment for your computer


[Credit: Wahba/Ibex]
Sure, it might still be a while before any of us common folk see an Oculus Rift on our desks, but that doesn't mean people like Hesham Wahba won't make stuff like the Ibex.
A resident of New York City, Wahba has apparently wanted a virtual reality desktop for a long time now. Ibex is built on top of Linux and it's currently very much still a prototype, but Wahba wants to make a program that bridges the gap between virtual reality software and virtual reality games.
Wahba told RoadtoVr, "I'm certainly hoping that for Ibex, in addition to having a simple clean workspace as you've seen, I'd like to add a virtual world around it so you can work in a beautiful field with a river flowing by and actually get up and go there to think or take a break."
Although it's currently geared to work with Oculus Rift, it seems that Ibex may very well work with any head-mounted displays. Wahba intends to eventually release a custom-written iOS app that will allow anyone to use their head-mounted peripheral of choice with the Ibex.

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Website troubles for some PNC customers

In the wake of Internet service attacks on JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, Wells Fargo and other institutions, PNC Bank said Thursday some online customers are continuing to have difficulty logging in.

"We are working to restore full service to everyone," said Fred Solomon, spokesman for Chicago's fifth largest bank.

PNC customer Mike Maddaloni, president of Dunkirk Systems, a Chicago-based web consulting firm in the Loop, said he has had trouble accessing his online business and personal PNC accounts since Wednesday. He needed to check his account balance and to get a copy of a check.

Yesterday the connection was so slow that he went off and did something else while he waited for the page to load. It never did. Then he got on Twitter and saw that it wasn't just him.

Today, he still couldn't access his PNC accounts online. The web developer, 45, was eventually able to get his balance through mobile banking, but by mid-Thursday afternoon was resigned to having to visit a Loop branch to get a copy of the check he needs.

It's the second-straight day that Pittsburgh-based PNC's online banking operations have been disrupted by a Middle East hacker group. Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Chase and Bank of America have also been hit in recent days.

"We are working to restore full service to everyone," said Fred Solomon, spokesman for Chicago's fifth largest bank.

The strikes have left customers temporarily unable to access accounts, thought the banks have said customer information hasn't been compromised.

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iOS Maps: 5 Reasons Apple Broke With Google And Built Its Own App

Ios Maps


Recent reports claim that Apple ended its iOS mobile maps contract with Google a year early. But the result, Apple's home-brewed Maps app, has left many users wishing the two companies had stayed on good terms.
Sure, Maps comes with new features that weren't available on the Google-made version for iOS, such as spoken navigation directions and 3D views of cities. But Apple's new Maps app has become infamous for its quirks (misnaming cities and countries, moving famous landmarks, distorting landmasses and manmade structures in 3D mode) and its lack of integrated public transit directions.
Some have called Maps "appalling" and a "huge step backward;" others have been less harsh and have labeled the app "a decent effort for a first pass."
Why would Apple do something like this? To answer this question, we've combed the wisdom of some of the web's top Apple watchers. Flip though our gallery (below) to view opinions from the New York TimesAllThingsDDaring FireballSlate and The Verge. Then, read on to view our gallery of the worst fails spotted in Apple's Maps app.

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Intel showcases new Windows 8-based tablet computers


Intel showcases new Windows 8-based tablet computers
Intel previewed a wave of tablet computers powered by a microprocessor that the company redesigned to make a bigger dent in the rapidly growing mobile market.

SAN FRANCISCO: Intel previewed a wave oftablet computers powered by a microprocessor that the company redesigned to make a bigger dent in the rapidly growing mobile market.

An assortment of major computer vendors made the tablets that were shown Thursday in San Francisco. All the devices depend on Intel's new processor and Windows 8, a dramatic overhaul of the widely used operating system made by Microsoft.

The tablets won't go on sale until October 26 when Windows 8 is released. The prices for the various machines will be revealed during the next few weeks.

Intel held the event in an attempt to prove it's adapting to the market upheaval caused by the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets such as Apple's iPad.

The shift to mobile devices poses a threat to Intel because its previous chip designs weren't well suited for the needs of smartphones and mobile devices. As a result, Intel's sales are now falling as demand for its personal-computer microprocessors tapers off.

Intel's new tablet chip, code named "Clover Trail" while it was in development, is called the Atom Z2760. It boasts a dual-processing feature that makes tablets run faster and with low power consumption so the battery life of a device should last 10 hours while it's showing video or performing other tasks.

The chips that Intel makes for PCs devour more power, making them ill-equipped for tablets that are often used for long stretches without a recharge. That's one of the main reasons Apple and other tablet makers have shunned Intel's chips.

Like Intel, PC makers are counting on Windows 8 to give them a slice of a market that so far has been dominated by the iPad. Most of the other tablets that are siphoning sales from the iPad are running on Android, a free operating system made by Google.

Windows 8 presents applications in a mosaic of tiles to allow for touch-screen navigation and highlight real-time information from the internet. The revamped operating system also can be adjusted to work on traditional laptop and desktop computers with keyboards. That versatility is meant to appeal to office workers and others who want to use their machines to create content, as well as consume it.

To cater to that market, some tablet makers are designing hybrid machines that include a keyboard that can be untethered from the display screen.

Erik Reid, an executive in Intel's mobile and communications group who orchestrated Thursday's showcase, described Windows 8 as a breakthrough that "offers an incredible andexciting opportunity to drive new innovation in the marketplace."

The flattery came after Bloomberg News reported Intel CEO Paul Otellini's apparent misgivings about the new operating system. In a meeting earlier this week with Intel employees in Taiwan, Otellini said he believes Microsoft is releasing Windows 8 before all the bugs are fixed, according to Bloomberg, which quoted an unnamed person who heard the remarks.

The manufacturers who have built tablets and hybrid machines running on Intel's new chip include Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo Group, Asustek Computer and Samsung Electronics.

Intel shares gained 44 cents Thursday to close at $23.09.

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Samsung Galaxy Note II in India for Rs 39,900: Worth it?


Samsung has just released its new Galaxy Note II ‘phablet’ in India for a whopping Rs 39,900. (For more details on the launch check out our live blog here.)
And now that it’s finally here, we do a quick round up of what we felt were the most pressing points around the launch of the new phone. Is it priced too high? Will it also have to compete with low cost tablets? And what are we most excited about?
The price: Ok, this is probably the first aspect that most users look for before they consider buying the smartphone. The Galaxy Note II will cost Rs 39,990 and while this might sound steep right now, remember that while the S III launched at Rs 42,000, it was available on retail for Rs 38,000. So prices are likely to be significantly lower within a few days of it retailing. As of now, Flipkart is offering it for the same price, but we’d be very surprised if this continues to be the trend.
Samsung has assured users of an interest free EMI option spread out over nine months which means that the smartphone will cost around Rs 4500 per month should you go for this. This is a great deal to offer, especially if you don’t want to burn a Rs 40,000 hole in your pocket.
AP
The screen size: This is the aspect that makes the Note II what it is: a phablet . It’s not just a smartphone to make calls with, but a 5.5 inch screen with1280 x 720 pixel density, which can drastically alter the video watching experience on a hand-held device. For those who like to watch movies, read magazines, the big screen should definitely be a big plus point.  But remember that you can’t just put this device in your jeans pocket.
What this also means, is that the Note is also competing with tablets. And some of these are priced a lot lot cheaper. Could this hurt the Note? Maybe.
The Stylus: As far as innovation goes, this is definitely a plus point, especially given that Samsung is trying to sell this device as the perfect companion for ‘creative’ people.  And we all fancy ourselves a little bit creative don’t we? Nice positioning Samsung!
The S Pen or the stylus is one feature that Samsung has definitely tried to improve in this device and it comes with advanced capabilities, like giving users the option of of adding Quick Commands to their stylus. This means that users can also simply press the S Pen button,to clip or edit selected content on the screen.
The Note II also has Air View capability, which means that even when users keep the S Pen approximately 10mm over the surface of the device it will still detect the presence of the stylus and allow you to preview emails, images, or videos without having to open them.
And perhaps most importantly it allows you to use it like a pen. According to Samsung Vice-President India, Asim Warsi, “The S Pen is tuned to sense 1024 different levels of pressure sensing. This can draw lines of depth, width, intensity”.
Warsi promises that this means that using the S Pen is exactly the same as using a normal pen and paper and can be used to write notes, sms and even emails. If it does everything Warzi says, this could be a huge boost for Samsung, especially since it will appeal to users who are not too comfortable with touch screens. Could this be the next big innovation for corporate users since the BlackBerry and QWERTY keypad?
The OS: Galaxy Note II ships with the latest Android OS Jelly Bean or Android 4.1. With features like Project Butter for faster functioning of the device, Google Now  ( a Siri like voice commands app but with the power of Google) , a smarter keyboard functionality and sharper notifications. For all Android fans, Jelly Bean should be reason enough to give this one a try.

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Search.xxx Porn Search Engine Launches (Because It's So Hard To Find Porn Online)

Search Xxx Icm Registry


In case anyone has any difficulty finding porn on the Internet, there's now a search engine exclusively for smut.
Search.xxx, which bills itself as "The Search Engine For Porn," searches for sites with the suffix .xxx, which, as one may have posited, are adult-themed.
ICM Registry, a Florida-based company that oversees all .xxx domains, launched the site on Thursday.
Aside from searching exclusively for porn, Search.xxx differs from other search engines like Google and Bing by allowing users to filter results by sexual orientation. Queries in Search.xxx aren't recorded in users' Google search history, so worries about potentially embarrassing previously-searched terms showing up at inopportune times are alleviated.
"It's the same dirty porn that you'd get in [sites ending with] .com, but in a safe, more controlled environment," Stuart Lawley, the CEO of ICM Registry, told The Huffington Post in an interview.
The company argued that its search engine returns better results because it knows that users are already looking for porn, rather than, for example, information about a sexual position.
As of Thursday afternoon, Lawley said the site had 100,000 unique visitors and 500,000 search quieres.
There's no direct revenue model with Search.xxx. Rather, the goal is to drive traffic to the search engine so more porn providers purchase .xxx domain names, which is how his company makes money.
"Our long-term game plan is to increase that market share," Lawley said. "The more customers we get searching Search.xxx, the more providers we will have registering."
Lawley said that most .xxx domain names, available from retailers like Go Daddy and Domain.com, are sold for about $75. The company reserved about 1,000 high-value addresses to sell for substantially more. Gay.xxx, for example, fetched $500,000, while Fetish.xxx sold for $300,000.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Lawley's company could make $200 million per year off the domain names.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the organization responsible for approving domain suffixes, approved the .xxx designation for ICM Registry last year.
Until this year, only a handfull of what are called top-level domains, like .com, .net and .edu, existed.The Associated Press reported in June that large companies including Amazon.com, L'Oreal, Microsoft and Google, have submitted proposals to ICANN for their own suffixes.
About 13 percent of Internet searches were for "erotic content" in the year that ended July 2010, Forbes reported last year. About 4 percent of the 1 million websites with the highest traffic were devoted to the subject.

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Google Maps now shows underwater panoramas


Google Maps, over the course of its existence, has covered expansive landscapes, and now for Google, staying on land isn’t ambitious enough. Google Maps now takes users underwater, and the best part is you need not know how to swim! In an official blog post, the VP of Google Maps and Earth and a snorkelling enthusiast, Brian McClendon, confirmed that Google has added, the very first underwater panoramic images to Google Maps, which Google calls “the next step in our quest to provide people with the most comprehensive, accurate and usable map of the world”.

Curious users can now use the service to have their first brush with six of the most incredible living oceanic coral reefs. “Now, anyone can become the next virtual Jacques Cousteau and dive with sea turtles, fish and manta rays in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii,” the official post reads. 

Among the visual delights that Google Maps users will be able to see will be a sea turtle swimming with a school of fish, and following a manta ray. Users can view at Apo Island, Philippines, a volcanic island and a marine reserve, and an ancient boulder coral that may be several hundred years old. Google shares that within the comforts of their living rooms, users will be able to join snorkelers in Oahu’s Hanauma Bay and drift over the vast coral reef at Maui's Molokini crater.

Interestingly, McClendon shares that they are partnering with The Catlin Seaview Survey, which is a significant scientific study of the world’s reefs, to ensure these images are available to millions of people through the Street View feature of Google Maps. The Catlin Seaview Survey, adds Google, used a specially designed underwater camera, the SVII, to capture these photos. 

You can view this video on exploring the ocean using Google Maps. 

In the meanwhile, go ahead and check out Google’s complete underwater collection, featuring Google+ underwater Hangout from the Great Barrier Reef. 

This month, Google introduced an extensive refresh to its high resolution aerial and satellite imagery, which can be viewed in both Google Maps and Google Earth. New 45-degree imagery in Google Maps spanning 30 new cities will also be introduced. Confirming the changes in an official blog post, Google’s Geo Data Strategist, Eric Kolb, says, “Improving the availability of more high quality imagery is one of the many ways we’re continuing to bring you the most comprehensive and accurate maps of the world”.

The aerial imagery on both Google Maps and Google Earth has now been updated for over 20 locations, while satellite imagery has been updated for more than 60 regions. Kolb highlights that among the new locations included in its latest release is the imagery of the Mecca in Saudi Arabia -- a religious site, where more than 15 million pilgrims gather each year. Another interesting imagery is that of the Abraj Al Bait, one of the world’s tallest clock towers.

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Comcast binges on Wi-Fi hotspots in California


Comcast’s Wi-Fi network has pulled up stakes and is heading west to make its fortune in San Francisco and other California cities. The cable operators said it has deployed a “few thousand” hotspots around the state though the greatest concentration is in the Bay Area.
wi-fi-zone1
Comcast may not have been able to cut it as a mobile operator, but it doesn’t seem to have any trouble becoming a wireless hotspot provider. On Thursday the cable company said it has completed a build of a “few thousand” Wi-Fi hotspots throughout its northern and central California cable territory, including the San Francisco Bay Area.
Like its cable compatriot Time Warner, Comcast isn’t just latching onto the established managed Wi-Fi networks in coffee shops, restaurants and shops. It’s building an extensive outdoor hot zone network as well, exposing its access points to the elements to capture high-traffic pedestrian zones and public gathering spots.
Until now Comcast has been mainly concentrating on the eastern seaboard where it has built extensive networks using Ericsson BelAir Networks equipment in and around Boston; Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va. But now it has cast its eye on the left coast. Comcast has also struck up roaming pacts with Time Warner and Cablevision that will eventually allow them to create a unified national hotspot network, though so far its only been implemented in New York City.
Comcast’s California rollout doesn’t appear to be quite as dense as its mid-Atlantic deployment, but it covers a lot of markets. A complete list of cities and towns is at the end of this post, but you can also see detailed coverage maps at the Xfinity website.

Comcast binges on Wi-Fi hotspots in California

Comcast’s Wi-Fi network has pulled up stakes and is heading west to make its fortune in San Francisco and other California cities. The cable operators said it has deployed a “few thousand” hotspots around the state though the greatest concentration is in the Bay Area.
wi-fi-zone1
Comcast may not have been able to cut it as a mobile operator, but it doesn’t seem to have any trouble becoming a wireless hotspot provider. On Thursday the cable company said it has completed a build of a “few thousand” Wi-Fi hotspots throughout its northern and central California cable territory, including the San Francisco Bay Area.
Like its cable compatriot Time Warner, Comcast isn’t just latching onto the established managed Wi-Fi networks in coffee shops, restaurants and shops. It’s building an extensive outdoor hot zone network as well, exposing its access points to the elements to capture high-traffic pedestrian zones and public gathering spots.
Until now Comcast has been mainly concentrating on the eastern seaboard where it has built extensive networks using Ericsson BelAir Networks equipment in and around Boston; Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va. But now it has cast its eye on the left coast. Comcast has also struck up roaming pacts with Time Warner and Cablevision that will eventually allow them to create a unified national hotspot network, though so far its only been implemented in New York City.
Comcast’s California rollout doesn’t appear to be quite as dense as its mid-Atlantic deployment, but it covers a lot of markets. A complete list of cities and towns is at the end of this post, but you can also see detailed coverage maps at the Xfinity website.
Comcast’s Wi-Fi hotspots are detailed in red
As with its east coast network, Comcast is offering Wi-Fi access to its residential broadband customers for free. For non-Comcast subscribers, the cable operator is selling access by the hour, day and week. The SSID for the network “XfinityWiFi” and can be accessed from any laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Apart from the Bay Area the new Comcast network is in the following markets: Aptos, Atwater, Buellton, Cameron Park, Carmel, Chico, Chowchilla, Colusa, Corcoran, Davis, Diamond Springs, Dinuba, El Dorado Hills, ElkGrove, Fairfield, Folsom, Fresno, Galt, Grass Valley, Hanford, Kerman, Lathrop, Lemoore, Lodi,Lompoc, Los Banos, Madera, Manteca, Marysville, Mendota, Merced, Modesto, Monterey, Murphys, Nevada City, Newman, Oakdale, Oroville, Parlier, Patterson, Placerville, Rancho Cordova, Reedley, Roseville, Sacramento, Salinas, San Andreas, Sanger, Santa Maria, Selma, Solvang, Sonora, Soquel, Stockton, Tracy, Tulare, Twain Harte, Vacaville, Vallejo, Visalia, Willows and Yuba City.

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Bank of America tests technology to pay with phones


The logo of the Bank of America is pictured atop the Bank of America building in downtown Los Angeles November 17, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Prouser/Files
(Reuters) - Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) is testing a technology that allows a customer to pay at a store register by simply scanning an image with a smartphone, such as Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) iPhone or Google Inc's (GOOG.O) Android devices.
The pilot program is being tested in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the second-largest U.S. bank is headquartered, and marks the latest effort by a financial institution to come out on top in the race to determine how people will pay for things in the future.
With sophisticated mobile phones reaching a growing number of people around the world, financial services companies, startups as well as technology giants such as Google and eBay Inc's (EBAY.O) PayPal, are looking for ways to turn phones into digital wallets that house credit and debit cards, coupons and store loyalty program details.
At stake is a gargantuan market for global mobile payments, which the consulting firm Gartner expects to exceed $171 billion this year.
Bank of America and other banks already rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in fees for managing payments, making it imperative for them to come up with the new way for people to pay their bills - especially when new regulations and a tepid economy are squeezing revenue.
In the trial, Bank of America has partnered with Paydiant, a startup that has developed a technology to allow such mobile payments. It doesn't require new phones or hardware for merchants.
In past trials, Bank of America has experimented with Near Field Communication technology, in which a chip installed in a phone transmits a radio signal when it is waved or tapped at a device at the cash register.
Bank of America launched its pilot last week at five merchants in Charlotte. The test will last three months and only the bank's employees have access to the program. They can use newer iPhones and phones that use the Android operating system.
"The pilots provide us with the opportunity to explore innovative mobile solutions, engage our customers and utilize their feedback," bank spokeswoman Tara Burke said.
Burke declined to comment on whether the bank is still considering using NFC technology but said it continues to test and monitor the marketplace. That technology suffered a setback this month when Apple did not embed NFC chips in its iPhone 5.
"EARLY DAYS"
In the bank's NFC trials, customers stored their payment information digitally in a secure area on their phone and then paid at a merchant who kept a device to read the signal from the phone. In the latest test, customers store their payment cards on a computer server and when they pay, they use an application on their phone that scans a Quick Response code displayed at the register.
Paydiant is currently running tests with five banks and financial services companies, said Chris Gardner, one of the company's founders. He declined to name the other participants.
"We are in this extended period of test and learn," he said. "It's early days."
The company's technology also allows its customers to control the payment process, rather than acting as another intermediary like Visa (V.N) or MasterCard (MA.N), he said.
The technology currently works with QR codes but could be adapted to other methods that connect a user's phone to a retailer, Gardner said.
In the Bank of America trial, Gardner said, one restaurant is using codes printed on receipts, allowing customers to pay at their table and leave.
Paydiant was founded in 2010. It raised $7.6 million in venture capital funding in February 2011, followed by $12 million in July.
The company makes money from a combination of small transaction fees, user fees or revenue from advertisements and offers, Gardner said. Its partners can also generate revenue from the service.

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BlueStacks and AMD bring Android apps to Windows

Summary: AMD and Bluestacks have announced a partnership to bring Android apps to Windows 7 and 8 PCs and tablets.

bluestacks
Want to run Android apps on Windows PCs or tablets? AMD & Bluestacks makes it possible.
What do you get when you add applications from the most popular mobile operating system, Android, to the most popular desktop system, Windows? Well, many of you will soon have a chance to find out since BlueStacks, creator of a Windows app that enables you to run Android apps on Windows, has joined forces with AMD to bring their cross-platform application to AMD-powered tablets and PCs. 
AMD is also working with its partners to pre-load the the BlueStacks Android App Player on AMD-powered Windows 7 and 8 laptops, desktops, and tablets. If you don't want to wait for a new PC you can download the master Android on Windows app, AMD AppZone Player. Or, you can simply download an Android app  from the AMD AppZone and it  will automatically install the player in addition to the app.
Once installed, you can then download and run such popular Android programs as Battlefield 3, Adobe Premiere Elements, and Pulse from the AMD AppZone. The companies claim that this is the largest collection of Android apps for PCs. They also maintain that the AMD AppZone Player brings hundreds of thousands of Android apps to the next generation of Windows 8 based slates, laptops, tablets and AiO desktop PC, but at this time there are only a few dozen apps. in the store.
I presume this is because these Android applications have been optimized and vetted to work work well with Windows and AMD hardware. You can install other Android applications besides the ones in AMD AppZone. If you already have Android apps on your smartphone or tablet, you can also bring  them over to your Windows PC by using BlueStacks Cloud Connect. To do this, you'll need to click the AppZone Player's settings button and then Cloud Connect and follow the on-screen instructions.
The BlueStacks Android Player is also available for any Windows XP, 7 or 8 PC directly from BlueStacks. AMD claims though that their version of the program thanks to "the collaboration with BlueStacks with optimizations for AMD GPU and APU [accelerated processing unit] technology enables a superior experience on AMD-powered PCs."
In a statement, Manju Hegde, AMD's corporate VP of Heterogeneous Applications and Developer Solutions said, "AMD and BlueStacks are making the emerging Android market part of the broader PC ecosystem with the introduction of AppZone. With the new Windows 8 operating system just around the corner, we’re excited to enable exciting new solutions for our PC customers and end users to experience."
Looking ahead, Rosen Sharma, BlueStacks' CEO added, "App stores and apps represent a multi-billion dollar opportunity. BlueStacks powered business models are ready to disrupt the PC industry by leveraging the unprecedented growth in the mobile eco-system. By partnering with AMD, we are able to bring 500,000 apps to Windows 8 and the broader installed base of PCs. That’s significantly more apps than any existing PC app store including Intel AppUp or the Windows 8 App Store."
Creative Strategies president and analyst Tim Bajarin added in the statement, "This is the right move and a winning proposition for BlueStacks, AMD and for the entire PC ecosystem. Everyone is eagerly anticipating Windows 8, but consumers want a broad selection of familiar apps now. AMD and BlueStacks have addressed that in a big way."
While the idea of running Android apps On Windows PCs is interesting, Bajarin makes a more interesting strategic point. If Windows 8 tablet users can indeed just run Android apps what reason will there be for mobile developers have to spend time porting their applications to Windows 8 when they can kill two mobile OS birds with one programming stone?

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BlackBerry 10 main priority, will shift focus to mobile computing later: Thorsten Heins, RIM


One of world’s most keenly followed CEOs, Research in Motion’s Thorsten Heins, on the hows and whys of BlackBerry’s resurrection.
One of world’s most keenly followed CEOs, Research in Motion’s Thorsten Heins, on the hows and whys of BlackBerry’s resurrection.
As Thorsten Heins strides into the room, he literally holds BlackBerry's future in his hands. Along with a tablet and a notepad, the President and CEO ofResearch in Motion (RIM), holds the nextin-lineBlackBerry 10 platform powered phone, one of the devices that are supposed to be the company's make-orbreak bet. Just eight months back, the 54 year old Heins, who joined RIM from Seimens in 2007, suddenly found himself thrust in the corner office as co-foundersMike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie stepped down after much investor cacophony over rapidly deteriorating results.

The Canadian company, punch drunk on its success, was caught unawares when the troika of Apple, Google (with its Android operating system) and Samsungchanged the rules of the handset business with new innovations. Black-Berry slipped, and how. Within five years, the iconic company , once a Wall Street darling and often cited as a gamechanger, saw its market share slide dramatically and share price plummet from all-time high of $147 to sub- $7.

After taking over, the 6'6" tall soft spoken chief executive has had to take some hard decisions — announce a 5,000 employee layoff, delay the launch of the BlackBerry 10 platform devices, and rationalise the global manufacturing network. Heins even had to oversee what was once unthinkable, a loss-ridden quarter. With the world watching his moves, Heins has been making deliberate choices as he sets RIM on a new course.

While analysts are already writing Blackberry's obituary, the embattled leader has the demeanour of a man who has calmly kept the cards close to his chest and is now awaiting the final show of hands. In India to meet telecom carriers ahead of the big launch, Heins talks candidly about BlackBerry's turnaround plans, making tough choices, and of course his chances of succeeding . Edited excerpts:

Do you think that RIM now has THE product around which the turnaround story can be scripted? 

It's not only about having a product but having the right platform to grow the company profitably. That's why we took the hard way. Everybody advised me to embrace Android . I don't know how many emails I get saying 'why don't you put BlackBerry services on Android?' I am so happy I didn't . Look at the Android camp now. Frankly, this all goes back to Mike Lazaridis' innovation because he built a very successful architecture and platform. RIM is not just a smartphone provider. We have devices, we have networks, we have a management system for these devices. It's all part of BlackBerry solutions. If I provide BlackBerry solutions to my customer base, I can't cut my leg and come up with something that everybody else has. Then there would be no differentiation any more.

At what stage are we today in RIM's turnaround? 

We still have significant regions of growth, like the Asia-Pacific and Latin America. We are leaders in South Africa. So turnaround, I would mostly say, is in North America, which moved very quickly to 4G LTE. It also led the innovation in touch devices. We were busy building our global portfolio. Within five years, we got from $5bn to $20bn revenue. But we were a bit caught in those developments. So marketshare in US was heavily deteriorating and it's likely to deteriorate . This will not change till we get BlackBerry 10 out of our door in North America. From a company perspective, given the financial results, you can make the point that we need to turn around the company from the profitability perspective.

So what's the plan? 

That decision was made 18 months ago when we looked at our current BlackBerry platform and operating system. The question was figuring out where the future lay and what's the next wave of innovation. We truly believe that we are at the next inflection point in the mobile industry. I have been in the mobile industry for 27 years and we have all gone from analog to digital. While GSM was a huge success , we moved on to EDGE. We went to 3G and now we have 4G, already implemented in US. The industry will move from mobile communication, where we are today, to mobile computing. This is not your mobile phone anymore (holding his phone), this is your mobile computing device.

Think about this from an enterprise perspective. I have my device on my hip, no desktop, no laptop and services are being played down from the cloud. The future is mobile computing; smart phones and tablets are just elements of it. The industry is on the verge of a whole new paradigm. It's fascinating and energizing. That's a decision we took 18 months ago to build a new platform. Our new BlackBerry 10 devices will not have a smartphone platform but a mobile computing platform. That's why we chose the hard way, build Blackberry ground-up . We wanted to innovate for the next 10 years.

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