Google will sell wireless service in the U.S.
At Mobile World Congress on Monday, Google executive Sundar Pichai confirmed the rumors: The company plans to sell mobile service in the U.S., but insists it won’t mount significant competition to mobile carriers. Pichai said the offering will give Google a platform for experimenting with new services for Android smartphones.
...And teases launch of Internet-via-balloon, but Zuckerberg scoffs
Google’s ambitious efforts to bring balloon and aircraft-borne connectivity to underserved areas of the globe are pushing past some key milestones, with a public launch likely in a few years, Pichai said at MWC. But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg later picked holes in the plans, criticizing them as costly and impractical, and said the best way to grow Internet access worldwide is to work with telco operators—as he’s doing with the internet.org effort.
PayPal buys Paydiant in mobile payments play
Yet another company is using an acquisition to position itself in the mobile payments arena: PayPal is purchasing startup Paydiant, which has a platform for building payment and loyalty apps. Paydiant’s technology is most prominently used by the group of retailers behind CurrentC, including Target, CVS and Wal-Mart.
Look out, GoPro: here comes Xiaomi with a low-cost rival
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has rocketed to prominence in with low-cost mobile phones, and now it looks set to use the same strategy in the market for wearable cameras pioneered by GoPro. Its new Yi Action Camera has a 16-megapixel camera from Sony that can record 1080p video at 60 frames per second, and at $65 is half the price of GoPro’s entry-level Hero camera, which retails at US$130. It’s only available in China for now, but the company has its eye on global markets.
HP cuts a deal to buy Aruba Networks
The acquisition that Hewlett-Packard was rumored to be negotiating last week has come to fruition: It will buy Aruba Networks in a deal is worth $2.7 billion. The purchase will help HP strengthen its wireless network offerings to enterprises, and is the company’s first major acquisition since CEO Meg Whitman announced last year that the company would split into two.
Enterprises want privacy too, Silent Circle bets
The Blackphone isn’t just for paranoid individuals: Vendor Silent Circle is counting on enterprises also being a ripe market for its hyper privacy-aware products in the wake of several high-profile attacks, including last year’s hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment. At MWC it said that it’s planning a new smartphone and tablet along with enterprise messaging software
Iran gives a taste of what its Internet restrictions will be
Just days after news broke that Iran is in talks to get Google and other Internet companies to set up operations in the country, provided they observe local laws, hardliners provided a sample of what the ground rules are for users. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) arrested some Facebook users on charges ranging from insulting religious figures to conducting immoral activities, and promised to go after Viber, Instagram and WhatsApp users as well, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. The country also plans “smart filtering” to weed out Internet content that is found to be offensive or criminal.
Gates tops the Forbes rich list again
Bill Gates may have largely moved on from Microsoft to focus on philanthropy, but his net worth of $79.2 billion puts him at the top of Forbes magazine’s ranking of the world’s richest people. Other tech notables high on the list are Oracle’s Larry Ellison at number five, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos at 15, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg just below at 16. Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin follow at 19th and 20th.
Check out how this radical new Android phone makes the OS easier for newbies to handle.
One last thing
How the bitcoin-mining boom went bust, as told by The New Republic.