Intel’s plan to banish cables and connectors moves ahead with Broadwell chip
The new, fifth-generation Core processors that Intel unveiled Thursday are the stepping stone to the chipmaker’s plan for getting rid of the wired clutter that surrounds PCs. The new Broadwell vPro chips support wireless connectivity to displays and peripherals, but the Skylake processors due later this year will support wireless charging as well.
Amazon’s a hit, Google’s a miss
After a dismal third quarter last year when it posted its biggest loss in 14 years, Amazon.com turned around and on Thursday reported higher-than-expected net income in the fourth quarter. CEO Jeff Bezos credited growth in the company’s Prime subscription service, which increased by 53 percent last year; Prime members get free two-day shipping on goods ordered and have a range of streaming video they can watch. Meanwhile, Google’s $14.5 billion in net revenue for the fourth quarter might have been up 10 percent, but analysts expecting $14.8 billion were disappointed.
Indian rape victim sues Uber in U.S. court
An Uber Technologies user in New Delhi whose driver has been charged with her rape and kidnapping is now bringing a lawsuit against the company in the U.S., saying that the company doesn’t adequately screen its drivers. The company has been criticized for lax background checks; the driver in the Delhi case had a criminal record. The plaintiff is seeking damages and wants Uber to be forced to improve its safety practices.
Microsoft throws support to Android “rogue”
Microsoft is investing in a startup that’s creating a version of Android not controlled by Google, sources told the Wall Street Journal. Cyanogen is said to be raising about $70 million in a funding round that includes Microsoft and others who are eager to see Google’s hold over Android weakened.
Facebook to test localized notifications in NYC
Mobile Facebook users who wander near certain shops and attractions in New York City will soon get localized information delivered to their phones. As long as users have location services enabled, they’ll get so-called Place Tips if they wander near one of eight stores using transmitter beacons, or near some major landmarks, where the service will be tipped to their presence by GPS, cell and Wi-Fi signals.
Apple knocks out Louis Vuitton and Hermes as China’s luxury gift brand
Success in China drove Apple’s recent blockbuster quarter, and here’s another indicator of its brand power: Apple’s iPhone and other products have emerged as the top luxury gift choice among the wealthy in China. Apple products have surpassed those of venerable French brands Louis Vuitton and Hermes to become the gift of choice for both male and female Chinese luxury consumers, according to the Hurun Report
New U.S. law could add teeth to privacy enforcement…
A draft law to be sent to the U.S. Congress next month would strengthen online privacy protection and give the Federal Trade Commission authority to levy large fines if companies don’t follow the rules, Politico reports. Internet companies like Facebook and Google, as well as online advertisers and mobile app makers would have to get consumers’ okay before they can collect or share personal information.
…But anonymized data might still tell all about you
Privacy advocates have been emphasizing the importance of “anonymizing” personal information before it’s shared, whether in reporting data breaches or crunching big data. Now a new study from MIT shows that just three small clues—receipts for a pizza, a coffee and a pair of jeans—are enough information to identify a person’s credit card transactions from among those of a million people.
Charges laid against “Revenge Porn” site operator
The FTC is already acting as privacy knight to victims of a man who obtained nude photos of women under false pretenses, posted them to a website and charged hundreds of dollars to remove them. The settlement with Craig Brittain announced Thursday is the FTC’s first such enforcement action against a revenge-porn site. Meanwhile, a law firm has set up a new “cyber civil rights” project to assist those who have faced the more common problem: a jilted ex posting intimate photographs.
Sony, Warner partner with Singtel on Asia video service
Mobile operator Singtel has teamed with Sony Pictures and Warner Brothers to offer a video service in Asia that aims to take advantage of the Singaporean operator’s over half a billion mobile customers. Variety reports that the joint venture set up by the companies, called HOOQ, will be rolled out in Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Thailand starting this quarter.
Have you always been curious to know more about pioneering coder (and U.S. Navy Admiral) Grace Hopper, who famously coined the term “bug”? Take a 15-minute break today and check out this short film, “The Queen of Code.”
One last thing
You know Alibaba, but what about JD.com? The New York Times profiles China’s other e-commerce giant, which is betting on its ability deliver anything quickly using its network of couriers on motorbikes.