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April 11, 2013

Technology News Briefs — April 11, 2013

Dropbox Adds Single Sign-On Feature

Cloud storage service Dropbox is adding single sign-on (SSO) in a bid to appeal to the business sector.

SSO “works behind the scenes” to enable users to eliminate multiple sign-ins. Instead, users simply sign in with a central identity provider, such as Active Directory, to securely access Dropbox and any of the other business apps they use. This allows companies to put their current identity provider in charge of the authentication process.

“SSO means ease — one fewer password to remember and one fewer step to get to your work,” says Dropbox’s Anand Subramani in a blog post.

“Once logged in to your system, there’s no need to sign in to Dropbox separately. For IT admins, SSO means additional security and administrative management. Single sign-on gives you complete ownership of the authentication process and works with your company’s existing password policies. It also easily ties into the existing Dropbox provisioning and de-provisioning API to provide further Active Directory integration.”

Dropbox is partnering with Ping Identity, Okta, OneLogin, Centrify, and Symplified to make SSO a reality for its customers come May.

Formerly known as Dropbox for Teams, the service will now go by Dropbox for Business.

PC Market Takes Another Big Hit

Global computer shipments dipped 14 percent in the first-quarter from 2012 — a more significant fall than the 7.7 percent decline predicted by International Data Corp. (IDC).

This is by far the worst quarter yet since IDC began tracking quarterly PC shipments in 1994, and it’s the fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year shipment declines.

Fellow research firm Gartner’s numbers were not quite as dismal, but still indicated a significant first-quarter drop — 11 percent. Gartner said it was the first time the number of PC shipments fell below 80 million units since the second quarter of 2009.

According to IDC analyst Bob O’Donnell, the release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 — which was expected to boost sales — did more harm than good.

“While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the (user interface), removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices,” O’Donnell said. “Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market.”

Developers to Have Google Glass Within Month

Google Glass, explorer edition, will soon be in the hands of the developers who shelled out $1,500 to be the first people to own the futuristic, titanium-framed spectacles.

Reports on how soon vary with some saying one month and others saying within 20 days.

Either way, the wearable-computing device will reach developers prior to the Google I/O 2013 conference, which begins May 15.Google first introduced Glass at last year’s I/O conference.

Developers are responsible for picking up their spectacles in person, either in Los Angeles, San Farncisco or New York.

Glass is expected to be released to the general public before year’s end for less than the $1,500 early adopters are paying.