MediaFile

Intel’s facial-recognition freaks out potential customers

Mine and Yinka Adegoke’s story today on Intel’s proposal to use facial-recognition technology with a virtual TV service and set-top box has raised legitimate concerns about allowing Big Brother into consumers’ living rooms.

People’s reluctance to have a camera keep tabs on who is sitting in front of their TV may be a hurdle that Intel has underestimated as it struggles to convince media content providers to hand over their shows.

When I bought a Kinect for my Xbox last year, I felt paranoid for at least a couple of weeks every time I sat down on my sofa in front of my TV. Each time I turn on my Xbox, a camera — connected to Microsoft and the Internet — sees everything I do.

Microsoft doesn’t currently use the Kinect to track who is watching TV in my house, but it has also discussed this possibility with programmers and it might come one day.

For now, I’ve gotten used to Kinect looking at me, just like most people have become accustomed to Google tracking what they do on the web.

Tech wrap: Kodak files for bankruptcy protection

Eastman Kodak, the photography icon that invented the hand-held camera, filed for bankruptcy protection and planned to shrink significantly after a prolonged plunge for one of America’s best-known companies. The Chapter 11 filing may give Kodak the ability to find buyers for some of its 1,100 digital patents, a major portion of its value. According to papers filed with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan, Kodak had about $5.1 billion of assets and $6.75 billion of liabilities at the end of September. Kodak now employs 17,000 people, down from 63,900 just nine years ago.

Kodak’s long decline can be traced back to one source: the former king of photography’s failure to reinvent itself in the digital age, writes Ernest Scheyder. Kodak’s film dominated the industry but the company failed to adopt modern technologies quickly enough, such as the digital camera — ironically, a product it invented. ”Kodak was very Rochester-centric and never really developed a presence in centers of the world that were developing new technologies,” said Rosabeth Kanter, a professor at Harvard Business School. “It’s like they’re living in a museum.”

Apple unveiled a new digital textbook service called iBooks 2, aiming to revitalize the U.S. education market and quicken the adoption of its market-leading iPad in that sector. The move pits Apple against Amazon.com and other content and device makers that have made inroads into the estimated $8 billion market with their electronic textbook offerings. Apple has been working on digital textbooks with publishers Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a trio responsible for 90 percent of textbooks sold in the United States.

Shadowing a fund manager at CES

More than 140,000 people descended (or will descend) on Las Vegas this week to kick the tires on a new wave of consumer electronics gadgets. Of those, a relatively small contingent (estimared? 3,500) are portfolio managers and other financial professionals earnestly seeking to place informed bets on the Next Big Thing.

We tagged along as Hampton Adams, head of research and a portfolio manager at Pasadena, California-based Gamble Jones Investment Counsel, hiked around a CES showfloor spanning 30 football fields in a pair of comfortable loafers, taking a first-hand peek at the technology industry’s latest offerings.

Inevitably, Apple always features high on Adams’ agenda even though the consumer electronics trendsetter isn’t even officially there. He wants to see what might be gleaned about Apple from its competitors.

SuVolta takes wraps off battery-friendly chip technology

Silicon Valley start-up SuVolta is giving the electronics industry a peek under the hood at its new technology that it claims will drastically boost the energy efficiency of microchips.

That’s something chip designers are focusing more and more on as people increasingly rely on smartphones and tablets that chew up battery charges.

SuVolta says it can halve the amount of power used by chips without affecting their performance, and it is debuting the details of its technology to scientists at the 2011 International Electron Devices Meeting on Wednesday in Washington, DC.

Got an idea but nowhere to pitch it? Try Intel and Facebook

Have you dreamed up the next social media sensation, energy-efficient engine or hot consumer gadget but don’t know where to pitch your idea? If you’re between 18 and 24 years old, log onto Facebook.

Intel and Facebook are teaming up in a new program called Intel Innovators to give young people a forum to debut new ideas and give feedback on other people’s. And $100,000 a month are up for grabs to help turn winning concepts into real start-ups — as long as you’re in the United States.

Through the Intel Innovators platform on Facebook, participants can lay out their business ideas and receive suggestions from fans to help refine and improve their plans.

Chipmakers most creative, drugmakers least?

Chipmakers including Intel and Qualcomm make up the world’s most innovative industry, according to a new analysis of patents by Thomson Reuters that is equally notable for some of the companies it does not include.

Thomson Reuters has just released its “Top 100 Global Innovators” list, which it compiled by scrutinizing patent data around the world using a peer-review methodology it developed.

“We tried to take an objective look at technology innovation and apply a composite measure not just of volumes, but also of influence in terms of citations of later published patents, in terms of globalization of patenting,” says Bob Stembridge, the lead analyst behind the study.

Tech wrap: Apple misses, Intel beats quarterly expectations

Apple reported a rare miss in quarterly revenue after sales of its flagship iPhone fell well short of Wall Street expectations. The September quarterly report was Apple’s first under new CEO Tim Cook, who took over in August after co-founder Steve Jobs resigned. The company reported a net profit of $6.62 billion, or $7.05 a share. That fell shy of expectations for earnings of $7.39 per share.

One analyst blamed lofty expectations for the miss. “The reality is their business is not an annuity. They have to sell their quarter’s worth of revenue every 90 days. They had a big upgrade cycle with the iPhone, the numbers came in weak. They need to set records every time they report to keep the momentum”, said Colin Gillis at BGC Partners.

Intel forecast quarterly revenue above expectations, defying concerns that the growing popularity of tablets and a shaky economy are eating into demand for personal computers. Intel said revenue in the current quarter would be $14.7 billion, plus or minus $500 million. Analysts on average had expected current-quarter revenue of $14.23 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Intel’s processors are used in 80 percent of the world’s PCs but the company has failed to gain traction in mobile gadgets like Apple’s iPad and Google’s Android smartphones. It also increasingly depends on China and other emerging markets to make up for weak sales in the U.S. and Europe.

from Ask...:

How should we respond to the “enormous” cyber attacks?

Security company McAfee uncovered a series of attacks on the networks of 72 organizations including the U.N., governments and companies around the world and said there was one "state actor" behind them.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Tech wrap: Apple’s valuation flirts with Exxon’s

Apple shares neared a record $400, a day after the world’s most valuable technology company posted blockbuster results and triggered a spate of brokerage upgrades. Apple’s climb brought the maker of the iPhone and iPad within shouting distance of Exxon Mobil’s market value of more than $400 billion despite the oil and gas producer raking in more than four times Apple’s annual revenue.

“We expect Apple will become the largest market cap company on the planet when the stock hits approximately $445, which is only about 13 percent away from aftermarket levels,” said Gleacher & Co analyst Brian Marshall, based on the assumption that Exxon shares remain flat. Apple shares rose to a high of $405 in after-hours trading on Tuesday.

Intel posted second-quarter revenue above expectations, defying investors’ concerns about slowing personal computer sales. Intel’s revenue in the June quarter was $13.1 billion, up 22 percent over the year-ago period and  above the $12.83 billion expected by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Tech wrap: Nokia wins big in patent fight with Apple

Nokia is likely to be paid hundreds of millions of dollars by Apple after victory in a legal wrangle over technology used in its arch-rival’s top-selling iPhone. Nokia said the deal would boost second-quarter earnings. Analysts said it was clear the sums involved would be significant, with some experts estimating Apple’s one-off payment at $650 million.

J.C. Penney is bringing in Ron Johnson, Apple’s senior vice president of retail, who oversaw the iPad maker’s wildly successful foray into brick and mortar stores as its new chief executive. Johnson will take the reigns November 1, Penney said.

The recent string of sensational hacker attacks is driving companies to seek “cyberinsurance” worth hundreds of millions of dollars, even though many policies can still leave them exposed to claims, writes Ben Berkowitz. Insurers and insurance brokers say demand is soaring, as companies try to protect themselves against civil suits and the potential for fines by governments and regulators, but also as they seek help paying for mundane costs like “sorry letters” to customers.