Today in Tech: Amazon crafting iPhone competitor?July 6, 2012: 9:45 AM ET
How Amazon could tackle smartphones with one of its own; what it's like to live at a 'hacker hostel'
Foxconn International Holdings Ltd., the Chinese mobile-phone maker, is working with Amazon on the device, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. Amazon is seeking to complement the smartphone strategy by acquiring patents that cover wireless technology and would help it defend against allegations of infringement, other people with knowledge of the matter said.
What Amazon brings to the smartphone market [ALL THINGS D]
The biggest unknown, in addition to what hardware Amazon has in mind, is how Amazon will handle the service piece. The most conservative approach would be if it partners with and sells through traditional phone carriers. More disruptive — and potentially more intriguing — would be if the company pursued a different approach. With the original Kindle, for example, Amazon bought wholesale service from Sprint (and later AT&T) and bundled it into the cost of the Kindle and of purchased books.
At 'Hacker Hostels," living on the cheap and dreaming of digital glory [THE NEW YORK TIMES]
This is not some kind of dorm, but a "hacker hostel." It's one of several in the Bay Area that offer short- or long-term stays for aspiring tech entrepreneurs on the bottom rung of the Silicon Valley ladder, those who haven't yet achieved Facebook-level riches. These establishments put a twist on the long tradition of communal housing for tech types by turning it into a commercial enterprise.
Instead of seeing the benefits of free competition at the consumer level, the carriers are now exerting more control than ever before as demand for mobile devices skyrockets. Getting a device on a major carrier can take up to 15 months and cost millions of dollars; carriers are notorious for demanding custom devices in order to create customer lock-in. "Exclusivity is the bane of my existence," says one source at a major phone manufacturer. "But it's the only way business gets done."
But, said sources, it appears to be coming down to a contest between interim Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn and Hulu CEO Jason Kilar. "It's pretty much a choice between picking a media exec or a product exec," said one person, referring to Kilar and Levinsohn respectively, about leading the troubled Silicon Valley Internet giant. "It's about defining what Yahoo is going to be."
According to the Japanese press release for the MEG4.0, the device features a QVGA (320 x 240) display and up to eight hours of battery life in "intermittent display" mode, switching on for approximately 15 seconds every three minutes. It also contains a built-in accelerometer, allowing it to detect the position of the user's head and react accordingly.