Technology News Headlines for July 2 2012 ( Monday )

Emil Michael Joins Klout As New COO

Social ranker Klout has hired a new COO, tech startup consultant Emil Michael. According to his Klout profile, Michael is influential, appropriately enough, about entrepreneurship and business. That tally matches Michael's LinkedIn profile, which reveals his past experience as a senior vice president at TellMe Networks, as special secretary to the Secretary of Defense, and most recently as a tech startup consultant for companies like Codecademy, GroupMe and Flipboard.

Mozilla's Firefox-Branded Smartphone Is On The Way
Mozilla is developing a Firefox-powered smartphone that will be ready by 2013. The big news here is the smartphone's Firefox OS, which is being built with HTML5, the most recent version of the standard code used to create websites. (HTML5 powers next-gen websites such as Nike Better World and the Arcade Fire-inspired The Wildness Downtown.) Aesthetic flair aside, HTML5 mobile apps are also cost-effective alternatives to native mobile apps. (Native mobile apps have to be developed for a specific platform, such as iOS or Android.) And no doubt Mozilla's robust developer community will help promote the creation of new HTML5 apps.

TCL Communication Technology and ZTE are slated to manufacture the devices, and Mozilla already has backing from major global telecom companies such as Deutsche Telekom and Sprint. No word on a U.S. date yet, but the first commercial Firefox OS phones are expected to launch in Brazil in early 2013, serviced by Vivo, the country's second-largest telecom company.

Thank Your Smartphone For The Extra 365 Work Hours You Log Per Year
We already know Americans work a lot. Now, a new Good Technology study puts a precise number on all those phone calls and emails you log after hours: 365. That's how many overtime hours the average American works a year, though it may feel less like work when you're checking your email at the dinner table, in bed, or on vacation, as many of the 1,000 participants reported. The study also found that the average American starts checking emails at 7:09 a.m., and 69% of us won't go to sleep without checking our work email. Depressing as it sounds, the widespread adoption of mobile devices for work means workers have more choice over when and where they do that work, which means you might be able to spend less time in the office. But it also means you might be falling asleep clutching your iPhone.

ICANN'T: Trio Of Google's Top-Level Domain Requests May Be Out Of Reach
In mid-June, Internet authority ICANN released a list of the web domain suffixes that companies across the globe had applied to own. Google was among the several companies that put in requests for vanity domain names, registering 101 of the 1,930 applications, each costing $185,000. But three of Google's requests may be rejected outright, The Register reasons, because of stipulations in the ICANN handbook that Google appears to have overlooked. The ICANN handbook puts certain domain names out of reach--among them are three-letter codes per the ISO 3166. It appears Google has applied for three of those: .and, .are, and .est, which are codes for Andorra, the UAE, and Estonia respectively. 

Dr. Dre's Beats Electronics Finally Snaps Up MOG
Via USA Today: Beats Electronics--the company that churns out the ubiquitous Beats By Dr. Dre headphones--just bought music subscription service MOG for an undisclosed price. (The rumor mill hinted at a possible acquisition back in March.) It's a big move for MOG, who has been trying to keep up with subscription-service favorite Spotify. Specifically, MOG has focused on hardware partnerships--with TV manufacturers like LG and Samsung and automakers like BMW and Ford. And Beats has forged its own big-name hardware partnerships, with HP and Chrysler, to extend the Beats audio experience to preconfigured laptops and cars. So although the acquisition isn't totally new territory for MOG (Beats' majority owner is hardware giant HTC), the marriage of Beats' top-notch audio hardware and MOG's software is certainly MOG's highest-profile move to date, which could give it the user boost it needs to remain a competitive player in the subscription music business.

Samsung's Galaxy S III Rigged With Health App
Samsung's home-grown health app for the Galaxy S III is now live, joining the multitudes of wellness apps built for the iOS and Android app-space. According to the press release that Engadget snagged, the S Health app reads data from select (third party) blood glucose and blood pressure measuring devices and can be set to chart your stats over a period of time. The app leaves space for users to manually enter in details like daily diet, or exercise records. Crucially, the app is also rigged to easily share one's healthy-wealthy accomplishments on a social network of choice.

Proview Trademark Suit Against Apple Fizzles To $60 Million Deal
The AP reports Apple has now settled a protracted trademark dispute with Chinese firm Proview over the iPad name for a mere $60 million. That's just 8.5 hours of Apple's profits at its current run rate, and is vastly reduced from the billions of dollars figures Proview had been talking about. The dispute centered over some tricky legal maneuvering, with Apple claiming its subsidiary had acquired global access to the iPad trademark, including in China, from Proview prior to the iPad's release--but Proview said it was an illegal purchase made via a subsidiary which had no rights over the name in China. Proview is in deep financial trouble, facing bankruptcy, and had recently been saying it hoped for up to $400 million in settlements from Apple. Apple is now free to sell the iPad in China, one of its fastest-growing markets, without worrying about the legality of the trademark.

MasterCard And Deutsche Telekom Unite For NFC In Europe
MasterCard and Deutsche Telekom just announced a partnership to bring SIM-based NFC services to Europe. Poland and Germany will be the first ports of call, with Poland getting a full-scale rollout of tag-based payments in parallel with a slower trial-based run in Germany. A mobile wallet service will follow in 2013. This means that Europe, ever ahead of the U.S. on mobile payment tech, will get yet another mobile payments service--Visa has confirmed the launch of its system set to debut in Spain and France in August this year, and Orange announced a nation-wide rollout of NFC-enabled SIM for all new subscribers in home country France.

Sony Buys Cloud Game Builder Gaikai For $380 Million
Sony has bought Gaikai, a company that specializes in cloud-based games, for $380 million. Using Gaikai's technology, Sony plans to extend its existing PlayStation services into the cloud to enable streaming games. Gaikai was started in 2008. Following a record loss-making year, Sony is in the process of consolidating its diverse product line under its "One Sony" strategy and according to CEO Kazuo Hirai, gaming is one of its key focusses.

Uber Plans Expansion With Cheaper Hybrid Vehicles
Uber, still technically a startup despite its fast-growing international standing, has revealed that from this Wednesday it'll be launching a cheaper taxi car option that connects its users to hybrid vehicles instead of the usual more luxurious black town cars. The new hybrid solution will cost a markup of just 10% to 25% more than the cost of a typical taxi--meanwhile still delivering the speed and convenience of the smartphone-centric Uber business model--compared to the 40% to 100% that Uber costs for town cars. In another tweak from Wednesday Uber users will also be able to request a stretch limo or an ice-cream van. According to the New York Times, Uber has seen monthly revenue growths around 20% to 30% over the last year.
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