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October 16, 2012

Technology News Briefs — Oct. 16, 2012

Amazon May Go Into Chip Business

Online retail king Amazon.com is in “advanced talks” to purchase the mobile chip unit of  Texas Instruments, Israel-based news outlet Calcalist reported Oct. 15.

It is not known how much Amazon hopes to pay in the sale or if the company will continue to sell chips to competitors or use the technology only for itself.

Amazon uses Texas Instruments’ processors in its mobile devices, including its Kindle Fire HD. Rival Barnes & Noble does as well.

Texas Instruments told investors in September it was planning to sell its mobile processors division because the market is not large enough for its goals. The company announced a profit of $342 million in its wireless processor business, which includes open multimedia applications platform (OMAP) processors, as well as wireless-connectivity chips, and baseband products. In the previous year, profits sat at $558 million. The division lost $51 million during the second quarter.

Apple to Unveil New MacBook Pro

Apple is expected to launch a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display in addition to a smaller iPad at a media event Oct. 23.

According to an article by AllThingsD,  the notebook will boast the “same thin chassis, all-flash storage, and a 2,560-by-1,600 pixel density display.”

It is not yet known what the MacBook Pro will cost, but the current 13-inch MacBook Pro without a Retina display retails at $1,199.

Apple is also expected to unveil its smaller 7.85-inch iPad, known as the iPad mini, at the event.

Google to be Admonished for EU Privacy Changes

Google will be told today (Oct. 16) by the CNIL to clean up its European privacy policy, the Guardian reported Oct. 15.

The CNIL, a French data protection agency, will hold a press conference today to reveal the outcome of its discussions with the data protection chiefs of the other European Union countries.

The group concluded the changes Google introduced in March to its European privacy policy breached EU law because it did not give users the chance to opt out of the changes.

The CNIL will also order Google to undo those changes, and restore the previous setup, Chris Watson, a partner and privacy expert at the London law firm CMS Cameron McKenna told The Guardian.

The changes earlier this year combined individual “silos” of data assembled by services such as Google’s search service, YouTube and Maps into a lone data-store so it could tailor adverts and content more closely.

The search engine said at the time the new policy would make things easier for users, adding it was confident it had obeyed “all European data protection laws and principles.”

Optimus G to Hit Shelves Nov. 2

The LG Optimus G, the company’s first LTE quad core Smartphone, will be available to customers through AT&T beginning Nov. 2 for $199.99.

AT&T is taking pre-orders beginning today (Oct. 16) for the Smartphone which requires users to sign a two-year contract.

So far, the phone is receiving good reviews.

“Thanks to a quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor by Qualcomm paired with 2GB of RAM, the Optimus G flies,” writes BGR’s Raymond Wong in a review of the device. “The 4.7-inch True HD IPS+ display, with its sharp 1280 x 768-pixel resolution, is both bright and vibrant. The 13-megapixel camera is fast to boot up and shoot, and it includes features like the ‘Cheese shutter’ that lets you use voice activation to take photos.”

 Apple Hires Former Amazon Researcher

Apple has hired Amazon’s former CEO of Amazon.com’s A9 search and advertising search unit, to oversee its Siri voice-activated personal assistant.

Bill Stasior, who joined Amazon nine years ago as director of search and navigation, founded A9.com in May 2004. Stasior, who holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, describes A9.com as a “company with a mission to create groundbreaking technologies in search, advertising, and mobile that power customer centric, Internet businesses.”

Although Apple confirmed it had hired him, the company declined to comment.

 

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