Apple reportedly plays dirty to kill Spotify’s free tier — and I hope it gets away with it

Originally posted on PandoDaily:

spotifyOver at the Verge, there’s a report out that Apple is pushing music labels to “force” Spotify to abandon its free, ad-supported tier. As Apple prepares to gather the ashes of Beats Music and relaunch its own streaming music service — which sources say will likely be paid-only — this gambit would decimate Spotify’s user base from 60 million total users to only 15 million paid users. Moreover, sources told the outlet that if Universal Music Group removed its catalog from YouTube, Apple would pay the licensing fee the label conglomerate receives from that platform. (YouTube also has a streaming service in the offing). Considering Apple’s ability to preload apps onto new versions of iOS — not to the mention the fact that it already has 800 million credit cards on file and so only needs to convince a tiny portion of them to sign up in order to beat Spotify — the…

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The largest study ever on e-mail reveals how similar we all are

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Critics have been writing about the eventual demise of e-mail for nearly a decade. While some companies have indeed phased out the spam-laden form of communication in exchange for more modern methods, the truth of the matter is that e-mail is still incredibly popular.

Well over 100 billion e-mails are sent and received each day yet interestingly enough, most of us are fairly predictable in the way we use and respond to e-mails.

Researchers from Cornell University and Yahoo Labs recently spent several months examining more than 16 billion e-mails sent and received by two million people as part of the largest study ever on the subject.

Researchers found much of what you’d expect. For example, messages sent via mobile devices tend to be shorter in length and the more messages a person receives, the fewer they actually respond to. Furthermore, an e-mail is replied to faster during business hours and is generally lengthier in the morning compared to the afternoon or evening.

Digging deeper, the study revealed that half of all replies were sent within 47 minutes with two minutes being the most common response time. What’s more, half of all replies checked in under the 43-word mark and the most frequent reply length was just five words.

Source: techspot

Revenue gap between iOS and Android apps is still growing

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Traditionally, iOS apps have drawn more revenue than Android apps, but with Android’s sizable lead in global market share you’d think the gap was getting narrower. According to the latest data obtained by App Annie, it’s quite the opposite. In the first quarter of 2015, global revenue for the iOS app store was 70% higher than revenue from Google Play, up from 60% in Q3 2014.

The gain is attributed in large part to strong iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sales in China, where demand for larger screens is particularly high. In fact, Apple devices accounted for 25% of all the smartphones sold in urban China during Q1 2015. Shipments of smartphones with screen sizes between 5 and 7 inches constituted roughly 60 percent of total smartphone shipments in the country.

Despite coming out on top in terms of downloads, when it comes to overall iOS App Store revenue, China took the third spot after the U.S. and Japan.

Meanwhile, although it lost revenue to iOS, Google Play still registered a 70% uptick in downloads between the third quarter 2014 and first quarter 2015 thanks to its growing market penetration in Brazil, Mexico and Turkey.

Source: Techspot

Where does the stolen DATA go?

You’d be forgiven for ignoring news about the latest data breach; it seems like there’s a new report every day about some retailer, bank, or restaurant that has had their systems accessed by hackers.

When it happens, you can make the usual moves: alert your credit card companies, change passwords, sign up for credit monitoring. But what about the data that was stolen? What actually happens to it?

That’s what a team at data protection firm Bitglass wanted to know. So they created 1,568 fake employee credentials, attached watermarking technologies, and let them loose in the “Dark Web” to find out where they ended up.

Reaction was swift. In 12 days, the information was shared in 22 countries across five continents. The data received over 1,100 clicks and was downloaded 47 times. IP address information also indicated that it crossed path with cyber-crime syndicates in Nigeria and Russia, though activity was high in China and Brazil, too.

Source: PCMAG, Bitglass

Turn any TV into a Chrome PC with Google’s new Chromebit

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Chromebooks have proven to be an incredibly fruitful product for Google. The same can be said about Chromecast, Google’s revolutionary HDMI streaming dongle that’s spawned a number of similar products. Why not take the best aspects of both and create a single product?

That’s exactly what Google has done with Chromebit, a smallish HDMI dongle that brings a Chrome OS PC right to your television or HDMI-equipped monitor.

Developed in conjunction with Asus, the Chromebit is powered by a Rockchip RK3288 SoC (with Mali 760 graphics) alongside 2GB of RAM. There’s also 16GB of internal flash storage, 2×2 dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and a full-sized USB 2.0 port on the end. The device even swivels near the middle so you can better hide it behind a TV or monitor.

It’s not exactly a powerhouse of a computer but it could be a great addition to cash-strapped schools or even in developing nations that are just now starting to get online and integrating technology into daily life.

Google Chromebit isn’t an entirely new idea as Intel recently announced its $149 Compute Stick that’s a full-fledged Windows PC crammed into a stick about the same size as Google’s.

The search giant was somewhat short on specifics but we’re told the Chromebit will debut sometime this summer for less than $100 (which usually means $99.99 in marketing terms). It’ll be available in your choice of sliver, blue or orange color schemes.

Source: Techspot