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April 16, 2013

Technology News Briefs — April 16, 2013

Firefox OS to Debut in Five Countries this Summer

Firefox Mobile OS will launch this summer in five countries: Venezuela, Poland, Brazil, Portugal and Spain.

Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs made the announcement at the All Things D conference in New York April 15.

Mozilla is currently working with Smartphone manufacturers LG, ZTE and Alcatel to build the first Firefox OS devices powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processors. Huawei and Sony will join later this year. So far, 17 carriers from around the globe are on board.

Mozilla previewed the first commercial build of its Firefox OS open mobile ecosystem Feb. 24. Firefox OS, which is designed for low-end devices thus far, targets the “emerging world,” Kovacs said.

Given that the “emerging world” is just coming on board with Smartphones, he added, Mozilla felt this was the right place to start and will gradually take Firefox OS global. Kovacs said Mozilla has partners lined up in the U.S. and will likely launch Firefox OS there in 2014.

Firefox OS Smartphones are the first to be built “entirely to open Web standards, enabling every feature to be developed as an HTML5 application,” reads a company press release

$15M iPhone has Unique Home Button

A Chinese businessman is shelling out $15 million for a one-of-a-kind iPhone.

The man, whose name was not revealed, took his love of Apple products to a whole new level after commissioning British craftsman Stuart Hughes to decorate the handset with a family heirloom: a 26-carat black diamond.

The device took nine weeks to create, according to Hughes’ website. Hughes re-created the original chasis of the iPhone 5 in solid gold, all of which was started and finished by hand. The black diamond replaces the home button.

“The chasis was inlaid with a circa of 600 white flawless diamonds with full gold dressing for the rear section with the logo in solid gold with 53 flawless diamonds,” the website reads.

“This masterpiece boasts a massive circa of 135 grams of 24-karat gold and of course sapphire glass set in the screen. The result was outstanding even down to the precise polishing to reveal its most beautiful harmonious appearance.”

Dish Network Makes $25.5B Offer to Sprint Nextel

Dish Network Corp. is ready to cough up $25.5 billion in cash and stock to acquire wireless service provider Sprint Nextel Corp.

The No. 2 satellite television provider in the U.S. is competing against Softbank Corp. of Japan for the No. 3 U.S. wireless carrier.

Dish Network is offering $17.3 billion in cash and $8.2 billion in stock to shareholders. That translates into 4.76 per share in cash and 0.05953 Dish shares per Sprint share.

“The Dish proposal clearly presents Sprint shareholders with a superior alternative to the pending SoftBank proposal,” said Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen in a press release. “Sprint shareholders will benefit from a higher price with more cash while also creating the opportunity to participate more meaningfully in a combined Dish/Sprint with a significantly-enhanced strategic position and substantial synergies that are not attainable through the pending SoftBank proposal.”

In a letter to the Sprint Nextel board of directors, Ergen said if the deal goes through, Dish Network will be “the only company able to offer a fully-integrated, nationwide bundle of in- and out-of-home video, broadband and voice services to meet rapidly evolving customer preferences.”

He also said the “new company’s assets will immediately establish national cross-platform leadership and will position the company to deliver innovative services while expanding our collective subscriber base.”

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