Archive for May 22nd, 2012

Facebook shares drop 4.2% to $32.60 as pressure to perform mounts

Facebook’s shares fell again on Tuesday, leaving them down nearly one-third from Friday’s highs as questions mounted over the company’s financial prospects and its ability to grow fast enough to meet the hype surrounding its stock.

After Friday’s nearly flat close and Monday’s 11 percent plunge, the stock tumbled again Tuesday, 4.2 percent to $32.60 in the first 90 minutes of trading. That was a decline of 28 percent from Friday’s high of $45, but well off its lows of the morning.

Volume was again massive, with more than 45 million shares traded as of around 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT). That followed turnover of 168 million shares Monday and 581 million on IPO day.

Investors were already shaking their heads over the botched opening trading life of Facebook when they got the news late Monday that the consumer Internet analyst at lead underwriter Morgan Stanley cut his revenue forecasts for Facebook in the days before the offering.

Both JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, which were also underwriters on the deal, revised their estimates during the roadshow as well, according to sources familiar with the situation. One mutual fund source said they had never, in a decade of experience, seen an underwriter cut a company’s outlook during the roadshow prior to an offering.

Investors said the challenge for the young company is to prove it can grow aggressively, to justify its lofty valuation and demonstrate its maturity.

“Wall Street is a severe task master and they’re going to want to see quarterly results, then guidance, then subsequently they’re going to want to see that guidance beaten, and then the guidance raised,” David Rolfe, chief investment officer of Wedgewood Partners, said on Monday evening.

As bad as the declines have been, there is still a view that it remains overvalued. With Monday’s closing price of $34.03, the market implied a 24 percent annual growth rate for earnings over the next 10 years, a rate that would rank above 90 percent of the companies in that industry.

Thomson Reuters Starmine, meanwhile, more conservatively estimates a 10.8 percent annual growth rate, which would value the stock at $9.59 a share, a 72 percent discount. Similarly, the company’s price-to-earnings ratio remains lofty, even after the selloff. The $34.03 price implies a forward P/E of 59, compared with Google’s 13.3 forward price-to-earnings ratio (for a similar rate of growth).

Pressure remains intense on Nasdaq, which has shouldered much of the blame for trading failures last Friday. The exchange has already set aside money to compensate customers for bad trades, but some are warning its ability to snag future big IPOs is at risk.

Barry Ritholtz, the widely followed financial blogger and chief market strategist at Fusion IQ in New York, took all sides — Facebook, Morgan Stanley and Nasdaq — to task in the sharpest terms on his blog Tuesday.

“Thus, what we see are a series of bad decisions made by Facebook’s executives going back many years. The insiders got greedy, too clever by half, in how they used secondary markets. They picked a bad banker and an awful exchange,” Ritholtz said.

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Firewalls can help break into Facebook, Twitter

WASHINGTON: Firewall technology designed to boost security can unwittingly reveal data that could help a hacker break into Facebook and Twitter accounts, a new study says.

Using Android smartphones, Z. Morley Mao, computer science associate professor at the University of Michigan, and doctoral student Zhiyun Qian revealed how an attacker could hijack a TCP (transmission control protocol) Internet connection by taking advantage of publicly available information on smartphones.

Hackers could also take advantage of users’ willingness to download untrusted apps and network firewall middleboxes, which block data bundles that don’t appear to be part of the flow of information traffic.

The researchers detected these middleboxes on 32 per cent of the nearly 150 networks they tested worldwide. “Firewall middleboxes are supposed to protect against this kind of attack, but it turns out they do the opposite,” Qian said.

“Most vendors and carriers that deploy such firewall middleboxes still believe they are safe and we want them to be aware of this design flaw,” said Qian, according to a Michigan statement.

Middleboxes monitor the “sequence numbers” of data packets on their way to mobile devices. When you snap and share a photo with a friend, for example, it gets chopped into numerous packets before it’s sent across the network.

Your friend’s smartphone looks to the sequence numbers to put the picture back together. Middleboxes could help hackers use the process of elimination to home in on a number in the right range.

“An attacker can try to guess at sequence numbers. It’s usually hard to get feedback on whether a guessed number is correct, but the firewall middlebox makes this possible,” Qian said. “The attacker can try a range of sequence numbers. The firewall will only allow one through if it is in the valid range.”

How does the attacker know he has succeeded? That’s where the Android spyware comes in (smartphone malware is already very popular, the researchers say, and it wouldn’t be hard for an attacker to add this capability into an existing program).

The intelligence the spyware needs is not privileged information. It doesn’t need special administrator or root access. It would just read a couple of the phone’s publicly available incoming packet counters and let the attacker know when the counters -advanced.

Armed with a valid sequence number, the hacker could spoof Facebook or Twitter’s HTTP (as opposed to the more secure HTTPS) web login page and gain the user’s passwords.

These findings were presented today at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy in San Francisco, US.

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Top 3 Smartphones with High Resolution Screens

Smartphones have rearranged the pixel density charts this year, we take a look at the top 10 smartphones with the sharpest screens.

Anything above 250 ppi may seem like overkill but the boundaries continue to be pushed. For trivia junkies and those with 20/20 vision, we have ten recent smartphones with 300 PPI displays and higher.

When buying a smartphone, pixel density matters as much as screen size. You can use this simple calculator to know your phone’s pixel density.

BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha: 356ppi

The Blackberry 10 Dev Alpha was previewed recently, and provided to every developer who attended the event. Apart from the new beautiful OS, this device touts a marvelous 4.2-inch 1280×768 HD display with 356ppi, leaving the iPhone’s Retina Display a long way behind.

RIM recently unveiled its upcoming BlackBerry 10 (BBX) at BlackBerry World which took place last week in Florida. At the event RIM also handed out developer phones for the new OS and some of the developers who got their hands on the device discovered some codenames of future BBX devices somewhere in the BBX code.

Not much in known about these devices but six of them have been revealed and these include the BlackBerry Colt a device which has been rumored since late 2011 and it is believed to be the original name of the device which is now known as Dev Alpha. Apparently, this one was supposed to be the first BlackBerry 10 consumer standard device but it later got axed.

Next up is the BlackBerry London which is now supposed to be the first BBX smartphone for the masses and will launch sometime later in October. It also revealed another device which is a 10-inch BBX tablet known as BlackBerry Blackforest.

Other three devices include BlackBerry Nevada, BlackBerry Naples and BlackBerry Nashville and not much is known about these devices, but they will launch sometime after the launch of BlackBerry London.

All the names mentioned above are codenames and not what they will be known as once announced for the market. We are eagerly waiting for these devices as BlackBerry has managed to impress us at BlackBerry World.

Sony Xperia S: 342ppi

Sony has announced its first self branded smartphone at CES 2012 which is will be available in the market sometime later this quarter in select countries. This is the same device which was previously leaked as the Sony Ericsson Nozomi.

The Sony Xperia S has a 4.3-inch 720p Reality display and it is powered by a 1.5 dual-core processor. Additionally, the device sports a 12-megapixel camera, secondary 1.3-megapixel front facing camera with 720p video capture, NFC support and runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

However it will receive an Android 4.0 ICS update sometime in Q2 2012. It will be a PlayStation certified smartphone and will be available in black and white colors.

HTC Rezound: 342ppi

The HTC Rezound is a powerful smartphone from the Taiwanese manufacturer, that comes with Beats Audio integration. The Rezound features a 4.3-inch 720×1280 HD display at 342ppi. This smartphone is not yet available in the Indian market.

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5 latest dual core smartphones in India

Introduced first in early 2011, dual core chipsets are no longer exclusive to the superphone category. Listed here are ten recent smartphones with dual core CPUs, starting at mid-range prices.

HTC announces new Sensation XE with Beats Audio integration

Well, HTC has been quite silent about this, but the Taiwanese manufacturer has officially revealed its first smartphone with Beats Audio technology. We just would quickly like to remind you that HTC had recently acquired a part 51 per cent controlling stake at Beats Audio.

This new smartphone from HTC would simple be called the Sensation XE, which will be powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and would carry a similar design to that of the original HTC Sensation. One of the visible changes in the render appears to be the red backlit touch-sensitive keys.

The device will include 1GB of built-in storage, 768MB RAM, 8 megapixel rear camera, front facing VGA camera and a 4.3-inch qHD display. The device will come with its own customized Beats headsets and will also be able to identify when Beats headsets are plugged to improved the experience.

There is now word about the pricing for this smartphone. However what we know for now is that the device won’t take much time to hit the stores as it is expected to come to Asia and EMEA towards the end of September. Hopefully, India would be included.

The LG Optimus 3D

The LG Optimus 3D is just a phone in a league of its own. It’s just a sin to call it a superphone. This is the first of its kind. The LG Optimus 3D is a HYPERPHONE!

The 4.3 inch LCD capacitive touchscreen transforms into a glasses-free 3D experience. It’s beyond dual core technology, as its got tri-dual technology power packed in it. The phone runs on Android 2.2.2 Froyo and an upgrade to the 2.3 Gingerbread is available.

This phone is definitely a magical experience. People will just want it when it finally launches in India. The reason why I call it a hyperphone is because of its glasses-free 3D experience.

Gaming on this phone is just one great experience and the depth offered is brilliant. The easy access to 3D is also offered by a quick 3D space icon on the homescreen itself. The camera quality is brilliant as it’s capable of doing 720p HD video in 3D mode.

The 8GB internal memory makes you just go on and on shooting 3D content. To share all your 3D videos, there is a 3D YouTube channel icon pre-installed on the phone. The battery life on the phone is not that great, but it just manages a day somehow. The old Android 2.2.2 Froyo OS is also a bit of turn-off at present.

LG will soon be launching this phone in India and I am sure the pricing won’t be less than 35,000 INR. LG Optimus 3D has surely opened up a new league of phones that will just make the likes of Samsung Galaxy S2 and even the iPhones for a matter of fact, bite dust.

Motorola RAZR launched in India

As expected, Motorola has finally launched the much awaited Motorola RAZR in the Indian market. We have already talked quite a lot about this new smartphone from Motorola and now that it is finally available, we sure are excited.

The Motorola RAZR is priced at 33,990 INR and is a smartphone which is just 7.1mm thick and comes with incredible battery life.

The device sports a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED qHD display protected by Gorilla Glass, it has Kevlar Fabric on the back and it is splash proof smartphone. It is based on Android 2.3 Gingerbread (upgradable to Android 4.0 ICS early-2012) and is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor from Texas Instruments.

There is an 8 megapixel camera on the rear and a secondary front facing camera. Well, it sure has some sexy looks and good performance. However, as mentioned before, it has amazing battery life. The Motorola RAZR is rated to provide up to 12 hours of talktime using its 1780 mAh battery.

Samsung unveils new Galaxy R smartphone

Samsung has now introduced a new Galaxy smartphone and it is simply called the Galaxy R. The device was unveiled in Sweden is it is supposed to be a smartphone which fits between the original Galaxy S and the new Galaxy S2.

In regards to the specifications the Samsung Galaxy R boasts a 4.2-inch WVGA Super Clear LCD and is powered by a 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor. It runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread topped with Samsung proprietary TouchWiz UI, includes a 5 megapixel rear camera and has 8GB of in-built storage.

The availability of the device in other markets has not yet been confirmed, but we are quite hopeful that the device will eventually hit the Indian stores as a slightly affordable version of the Samsung Galaxy S2, and a possible competitor to the Optimus 2x.

The GALAXY R features:

1) Tegra 2 super chip.

2) 4.19″ WVGA Super Clear LCD touchscreen.

3) Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) operating system.

4) 720p HD video capture and 1080p Full HD playback(Divx, WMV, MP4, H.264 B/P only).

5) Built-in memory of 8GB and support for 32GB Micro SD.

6) Size: 125.7 x 66.7 x 9.55 mm.

7) Weight: 131 grams.

Samsung Galaxy Note

The all new Galaxy Note from Samsung is a monstrous looking phone and yet is has definitely some x-factor, you can’t deny the love for it on first sight. The Galaxy Note represents the middle-ground between a slate and a smartphone, and is a category in itself.

Additionally, this hybrid also comes with something called the Smart Pen which gives the user a more old school user input. As it has handwriting recognition, you can make memos in your very own handwriting! The Galaxy Note features the world’s first 5.3 inch HD Super AMOLED display (800×1280 pixels), the largest yet!

It also houses a massive 1.4 GHz dual core processor, beating its own Galaxy S2 in computing power. The Note runs on Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread. Memory is at 16GB internally, with a microSD that can expand up to 32GB. The specs on the Samsung Galaxy Note are brilliant not just on paper but in real-world usage as well.

At the back, it has an 8-megapixel camera that does full 1080p HD video along with a front facing 2-megapixel camera for video calling. The video quality is superb, the videos shot from the Galaxy Note are totally broadcast quality! The Samsung Galaxy Note also comes with a capacitive pen for finer control.

For Rs. 35,000 you might as well go ahead buy a tablet. Right now, it’s a no buy for me just because of its price and somewhat because of its size too. Wait for its prices to go down and then it might be a good option.

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Microsoft service makes research a social affair

SAN FRANCISCO: An “experimental” project by Microsoft to mix online social networking and academic research was open to the public on Monday.

The Redmond, Washington-based software colossus invited anyone to join its Internet community at so.cl, which was pronounced “social.”

“So.cl is an experimental research project, developed by Microsoft’s FUSE Labs, focused on exploring the possibilities of social search for the purpose of learning,” a frequently-asked-questions page at the website said.

“So.cl combines social networking and search to help people find and share interesting web pages in the way students do when they work together.”

The online community had previously only welcomed students studying information and design at select US universities.

As of Monday, those interested in getting involved with the social network were invited to send messages to socl@microsoft.com.

“We expect students to continue using products such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other existing social networks, as well as Bing, Google and other search tools,” the facts page at the website said.

“We hope to encourage students to re-imagine how our everyday communication and learning tools can be improved, by researching, learning and sharing in their everyday lives.”

However, so.cl hints at having greater aspirations with banners displaying messages inviting people to “discover like minded people,” express themselves, and have fun.

The opening of the so.cl gates came ahead of a day of Nasdaq trading in which Facebook’s freshly-issued shares plunged nearly 11 per cent.

The stock closed at $34.03, down 10.99 per cent for the day and well below the $38 initial public offering price, which made Facebook the second largest US IPO of all time when it went public on Friday.

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At 7th birthday, YouTube marks new milestones

SAN FRANCISCO: YouTube celebrated its seventh birthday by saying it has hit fresh milestones in terms of its offerings and the amount of time spent on the video-sharing website.

“Today 72 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute,” the Google-owned website said in a blog post Sunday.

“Like many 7-year olds around the world, we’re growing up so fast! In other words, every single minute you now upload three whole days worth of video instead of two. That’s 61 Royal Wedding Ceremonies, 841 Bad Romances, and 1,194 Nyan Cats.”

The blog added, “all 800 million of you all over the world have shown us we’re on the right track by increasing subscriptions 50 percent and watching over three billion hours a month.”

Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion.

The Mountain View, California-based Internet search and advertising giant has not yet announced a profit for the video-sharing site despite its massive global popularity.

YouTube has been gradually adding professional content such as full-length television shows and movies to its vast trove of amateur video offerings in a bid to attract advertisers.

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