JD.com to sell Microsoft's Xbox One games console in China
JD.com Inc, China's second-biggest e-commerce company by market share, will accept pre-orders for Microsoft Corp's Xbox One games console in China from July 28 to July 30, the firm said on Monday. The pre-orders will be taken via Tencent Holdings' mobile social networks Mobile QQ and WeChat, known as Weixin in China, JD.com said in a statement. Tencent holds a 17.6 percent stake in JD.com. The Xbox One will be the first gaming console to be released in mainland China since the government banned console sales in 2000, citing games' effects on mental health.
Apple iPhones allow extraction of deep personal data, researcher finds
By Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Personal data including text messages, contact lists and photos can be extracted from iPhones through previously unpublicized techniques by Apple Inc employees, the company acknowledged this week. The same techniques to circumvent backup encryption could be used by law enforcement or others with access to the "trusted" computers to which the devices have been connected, according to the security expert who prompted Apple's admission. In a conference presentation this week, researcher Jonathan Zdziarski showed how the services take a surprising amount of data for what Apple now says are diagnostic services meant to help engineers. As word spread about Zdziarski’s initial presentation at the Hackers on Planet Earth conference, some cited it as evidence of Apple collaboration with the National Security Agency.
Facebook says SEC's IPO probe ends, extending WhatsApp closing date
(Reuters) - Facebook Inc said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission dropped its probe into the social networking company over events surrounding its controversial initial public offering. In its quarterly report filed on Thursday, Facebook said the regulator in May "notified us that it had terminated its inquiry and that no enforcement action had been recommended by the SEC." Facebook shares began trading on May 18, 2012, but soon fell below their $38 per share offering price and had lost more than half their value by the middle of August, angering investors. Investors also complained they were not told just prior to the IPO that analysts at Facebook's investment banks were cutting their forecasts after learning of the company's internal projections for advertising revenue. The end of the SEC probe does not affect shareholder litigation against Facebook, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and many banks over the Menlo Park, California-based company's IPO.
Dell, BlackBerry downplay threat from Apple-IBM alliance
By Euan Rocha and Alastair Sharp TORONTO (Reuters) - IBM Corp's recent move to partner with Apple Inc to sell iPhones and iPads loaded with corporate applications has excited investors in both companies, but two rivals say they are unperturbed for now. Top executives at Dell and BlackBerry Ltd scoffed at the threat posed by the alliance this week, arguing the tie-up is unlikely to derail the efforts of their own companies to re-invent themselves. I think it just made a good press release," John Swainson, who heads Dell's global software business, said in an interview with Reuters in Toronto on Thursday. PC maker Dell and smartphone maker BlackBerry are in the midst of reshaping their companies around software and services, as the needs of their big corporate clients morph.
Europe debates how far to push 'right to be forgotten'
By Leila Abboud and Julia Fioretti PARIS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European regulators have not yet decided whether to try to force search engines such as Google and Microsoft's Bing to scrub results globally when people invoke their "right to be forgotten" in the region. Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin - who heads France's privacy watchdog and the WP29 group of EU national data protection authorities - said in an interview on Friday that no consensus had yet been reached on what she called a "complicated issue". The European Union's top court ruled in May that search engines must take down certain results shown under a search of a person's name if the information was "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant". Although the "right to be forgotten" existed as a concept in European law, the ruling marked the first time companies like Google have been asked to field such requests from the public.
Cynk Tech plummets 85 percent as trading suspension ends
By Rodrigo Campos NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cynk Technology shares plummeted to close down about 85 percent on Friday after a trading suspension was lifted, but the stock was only being exchanged in private deals. Based in Belize, Cynk became one of the market's biggest stories as volumes soared and the social media company briefly became valued at more than $6 billion, despite having no revenue and being described as a "development stage" company.
Twitter is Still the Best Water Cooler Ever for Brands
Twitter is an essential platform for businesses marketing to other businesses and it's morphing quickly to a direct response "buy it now" platform functionality like Pinterest and Facebook. I anticipate "social selling" will accelerate moving forward, as social platforms embrace mobile enabled direct commerce and marketers pour more money into...
'Batkid Begins' is the origin story of San Francisco's smallest superhero
The city of San Francisco — and most of Twitter — stopped and watched last November, as five-year-old Miles Scott became pint-sized superhero Batkid. Miles, who has leukemia, was given the chance to dress up as his favorite comic icon by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. His day was made even more remarkable by the reaction from the city he wanted to save, as thousands of people turned out to watch the tiny crusader catch cartoon criminals around San Francisco. The feature-length documentary, created by filmmaker Dana Nachman, was teased at Comic-Con with a three-minute trailer that later appeared online courtesy of Deadline.
For Asgard! Women cosplaying as the new Thor
It has only been two weeks since Marvel announced that that a woman would take up Thor’s hammer in the comics, but attendees at Comic-Con 2014 have eagerly embraced the news. This year, Marvel is the top choice for cosplayers looking for inspiration, and mixed in with all the Deadpools, Captain Americas, and Winter Soldiers, we found a number of women wielding Mjolnir and excited about the direction Marvel is taking its comics.
The Verge Playlist: Weather the storm
Here in the Northeastern United States, we're in the thick of a hot, sticky summer, and with it, privy to theatrical summer thunderstorms almost every day. I love thunderstorms in the summer — there's just nothing like when the sky turns pitch black in the middle of the day and the clouds unleash their fury on the land below. There's a specific soundtrack that goes oh so perfectly with these storms: moody, atmospheric metal that builds from quiet nothing into crashing crescendos and soaring guitars. ...
Amazon may be going after Square with a credit card reader of its own
It looks like Amazon is about to release another piece of hardware. After over a year murmurs, documentation from Staples' internal inventory system suggests that Amazon is almost ready to unveil its own point-of-sale system to compete with the likes of Square and PayPal Here. A copy of the inventory documentation provided to 9 to 5 Mac includes an unreleased product referred to as an "Amazon Card Reader." The site reports that it's marked as a $9.99 product and the system notes that signage related to the reader should be held until August 12th. In that report, the paper said that Amazon was working on a point-of-sale system similar to the Square reader.
Animated worlds collide in five-minute clip from the 'Simpsons'–'Family Guy' crossover episode
The Simpsons and Family Guy haven't historically been on the best terms. In 2005, a joke on The Simpsons took a dig at the shows' similarities, which Seth MacFarlane said was "definitely a slam." But it appears they've buried the hatchet — mostly. The Simpsons and Griffins will meet in a cross-over episode of Family Guy airing September 28th on Fox. During a Family Guy panel at Comic-Con, attendees were given a sneak peek at the episode, and now it's available for the world to see.
Google will soon let you tour the Statue of Liberty in Street View
Soon, you might be able to visit the Statue of Liberty without hopping on a ferry and braving hordes of tourists. That's because Google recently collected Street View imagery of Liberty Island for the very first time — according to The New York Times, it's been a challenge getting permission and access to the island, which is run by the National Parks Service. The paper followed a Google contractor as he donned the Street View backpack and toured the island for the benefit of millions online, You can read the full story here.
'Gotham' first look: all set-up and no substance
In the opening moments of Fox’s new series Gotham, you follow a young, strangely mute Selina Kyle as she leaps up and down fire escapes, picking pockets and making mischief. You guess she’s supposed to be "young Catwoman" because of her signature goggles and her cat-like agility, but you never get a glimpse into her inner life.
Humanity is running out of oxygen in the trailer for 'Air'
In Air, it looks like The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus and Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator, Blood Diamond) are about to find that out for themselves. As Skybound Entertainment, the studio behind The Walking Dead TV show, games, and comics, explains, their "sanity is tested as they struggle to survive in the last bit of habitable space on Earth." According to The Hollywood Reporter, the low-budget film is produced by Robert Kirkman (also of The Walking Dead), and co-written by Christian Cantamessa, whose writing experience comes from video games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Red Dead Redemption.
Ron Moore shows off 'Outlander' at Comic-Con
As its release date draws near, Ronald D. Moore took to San Diego Comic-Con to reveal more details about his upcoming series Outlander. Moore, known for Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and the 2004 Battlestar Galactica series, announced last year that he was working with cable channel Starz on an adaptation of the popular Diana Gabaldon novel, first published in 1991. This weekend, Starz released a full trailer for the series, and Moore answered questions about it at a panel and a private press session.
Watch the explosive first trailer for 'Mad Max: Fury Road'
One of the biggest movies of next year will without a doubt be the return of Mad Max in Fury Road, and the film already started to wow audiences yesterday at Warner Bros.' big Comic-Con presentation. It's an explosive look at the film in all the right ways, and it shows that series director George Miller, who's back on board for Fury Road, still knows exactly what fans want to see out of its apocalyptic world. The film, which Miller calls "almost a continuous chase," extends the story of the first Mad Max film, but it's not necessarily within the canon of the rest of the series. The character is different to some degree." Hardy's Max will be joined by Charlize Theron, playing a warrior known as Furiosa.
Telltale Games confirms 'The Walking Dead' season three
Developer Telltale Games confirmed at Comic-Con yesterday that it'll make The Walking Dead season three. The news was revealed during panel held by Skybound Entertainment, the publisher of The Walking Dead comics on which the game and television series are based. Unfortunately, the developer didn't divulge details on the latest "season" of the story-driven video game, and it's unclear when it will be available.
Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 includes support for folders and interactive cases
Microsoft is planning to release its first update to Windows Phone 8.1 soon, and the company has started detailing some of the upcoming features to phone manufacturers. One of the main visual changes with Update 1 is the introduction of folder support, allowing Windows Phone users to drag one Tile on top of another and create a folder to organize apps. It’s a feature both Android and iOS have had for years, so it’s encouraging to see Microsoft is finally closing this gap. HTC, Samsung, and LG all use cases that wake phones up when they’re opened, or even display information on a phone display when a case is in use.
Richard Dreyfuss has never heard of it: talking to the creator of 'Sharknado 2'
Thunder Levin is in on the joke. The improbably named writer of SyFy’s notorious Sharknado has been making tongue-in-cheek disasters since 2008’s Mutant Zombie Vampires From The Hood. He also tells a story about Richard Dreyfuss that we will be sharing with our friends for quite some time. Thunder Levin: The guy who thought of Sharknado was (director) Anthony Ferrante and one of his writing partners on another film.
Solar 'superstorm' that missed earth in 2012 could have caused massive blackouts
A massive solar storm emitted from the sun could fry electronics and satellites around the globe, and take down much of the power grid. A 2009 report from the National Academy of Sciences said that such a storm could cause some $2.6 trillion in damage and a full recovery could take years. John Kappenmann, a co-author of the National Academy of Sciences' 2009 report, found that a large solar storm could leave 130 million in the dark.
Chinese search provider Baidu follows Google with a 'highly autonomous car' of its own
Chinese search engine Baidu is widely known as "the Google of China," and it looks like the company plans to go toe-to-toe against Google with a self-driving car of its own. According to statements attributed to Kai Yu, a deputy director of a Baidu research group focused on machine learning, the company is working on "a highly autonomous car." Yu tells The Next Web that it's "an intelligent assistant collecting data from road situations and then operating locally," adding, "We don’t call this a driverless car."
Startup offers elderly an Internet key to family links
The system -- the work of a startup called Hubert -- began operating in the United States and in Europe on crowd-funding website Indiegogo this month. "Everything started after one of my grandmothers died in a home for dependent seniors in France," Stephane Lucon, a Frenchman who co-founded Hubert, told AFP. "I was living with my wife and children 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) away from her, in Romania. I went to visit her whenever I could but I would have liked her to be able to see her grandchildren every day via Skype or any video conference application."
The Penguin appears in latest 'Gotham' trailer
Marvel is the biggest name in superheroes when it comes to the movies, so DC is now making a big effort to take over a screen of its own: the TV. Gotham, which premieres on September 22nd, will be one of DC's highest-profile attempts to bring its comic-book worlds to television. The show is a crime drama that tells the origins of Batman, though Batman himself won't actually turn up in the series. ...
'Guardians of the Galaxy 2' is coming July 2017
Guardians of the Galaxy looks like it's going to be a ton of fun, and apparently Marvel thinks that fans are really going to love it, because it just announced at Comic-Con that a sequel will arrive on July 28th, 2017. The announcement was Marvel's biggest surprise of the night, in what was otherwise a fairly quiet event in terms of details on its upcoming films. Its panel opened with a big sizzle reel of Marvel films that concluded with a quick tease of the villain Thanos. Two new cast members were announced for Ant-Man as well: Lost's Evangeline Lilly will be playing Hank Pym's daughter, Hope Van Dyne, and House of Cards' Corey Stoll will be playing the villain Yellowjacket.