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A Ray(gun) of Hope

The idea of a ray gun has been something of fantasy in our minds for the past sixty years, but it may be a reality in the not too distant future. It may not be some super weapon of mass destruction but it could potentially save the lives of many. So far this device is being developed for neutralizing electronic threats.

Pew! Pew! Soldiers with handheld energy blasters are the stuff of G.I. Joe, not real life … until now. The U.S Army is currently testing electricity guns for possible use against electronics on the battlefield. They don’t look like props from the popular cartoon show but, rather like regular standard-issue M4 rifles with a pair of antennas that shoot out from the barrel and then spread, giving the front end of the gun a musket-like shape.

Source: DefenseOne

Storing Your Data in the Jungle

We all know Amazon as a company, and that they provide us with almost anything in the realm of electronics and slowly moving into other avenues. Sometimes we wonder if some of their branching out is profitable, but as far as their AWS cloud services, they are. Sitting at a value of $5 billion I would say that it has skyrocketed since its introduction in 2006.

For the first time, Amazon broke out the financial results for its Amazon Web Services business, which the company launched in 2006. The numbers showed that AWS was by far Amazon's most-profitable business, by operating margin. Amazon Web Services is a $5 billion business and still growing fast -- in fact it's accelerating," Bezos said in a statement Thursday.

Source: CNET

Another Smartwatch Coming 'Round

With Apple releasing a new smart watch, it is no surprise that Samsung has one on the workbench. There are a few surprises with this one though; first the SDK is being released before the new watch is. And second; the new watch will have a rounded face.

That's right, it sure looks like the long-rumored circular Samsung Gear watch might finally come to fruition. The move to a rounded watch face would explain the need for Samsung to open up the SDK to developers ahead of launch day, as the move away from a rectangular face would be a significant change for Samsung's seventh smartwatch.

New Gear

Source: Android Central via Samsung

New Round Samsung Gear Watch?

At Mobile World Congress this year Samsung was about the only company not to show off a new lineup of smartwatches and instead played a wait and see game and let their previous Samsung Gear products continue to compete in a crowded market. It now appears that Samsung is going to be jumping back into the smartwatch market with a new round smartwatch, and if the rumors are true, we could be seeing this new Samsung Gear product in September. Not a ton of details are known but Gizbot has all the rumors over here.

Apparently, the next-generation Samsung Gear watch will have a round face, according to Samsung's media materials, relating to the release of a new SDK.

The SDK for the Samsung Gear Ecosystem encourages users to "get ready for the next gear," notes Trusted Reviews.

No Comcast + Time Warner Cable Merger

The $45 Billion dollar Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger is officially dead. Comcast and TWC are the two biggest cable and broadband companies in the United States and there were major concerns about what losing that compeition would do to the industry. This is probably good news for consumers and so far I haven't seen too many tears shed over the failed merger. The Verge has more on this story.

Comcast has officially abandoned its $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable, after encountering resistance from regulators. "Today, we move on. Of course, we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn't agree, we could walk away," said Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts in a statement. "Comcast NBC Universal is a unique company with strong momentum. Throughout this entire process, our employees have kept their eye on the ball and we have had fantastic operating results. I want to thank them and the employees of Time Warner Cable for their tireless efforts. I couldn't be more proud of this company and I am truly excited for what's next."

I've Seen That Before

In the vast world of streaming video there are a lot of players, but one in the Asian market is standing out. This service is know as iFlix and is much like Netflix. They have landed $30 million before their launch from Catcha Group, the company that first announced their launch in March. If you're Asian, this is very good news. Enjoy!

The money will go towards bringing the service to more countries in Southeast Asia, increasing its catalog - which iFlix pegs at a vague “over 10,000 hours of content” - and financing a marketing push. Interestingly, iFlix said also that it will use the funds to “produce original programming.” That’s something that Netflix has done with great success, and with industry accolades to boot.

Source: TechCrunch

A Rare Fruit

There is a misconception out there that the new Apple Watch will be almost impossible to get anywhere else but online. As it turns out, there are several fashion stores that show it as being available on the 24th. This is not a close guarded secret by any means, Apple did have a list of the dealers that would carry them on their website in March.

In further evidence of the smartwatch’s positioning as a fashion accessory, as opposed to a tech gadget, while the product may not be in Apple stores to purchase on its official release day of Friday, select destination fashion boutiques around the world have their own stock, and will be offering the watch for sale at the end of the week.

Source: NYTimes

$28.65 - That's what you're worth according to Facebook

Facebook released their numbers this week and unfortunately for investors, they were a bit lower than hoped for. Even though Facebook didn't meet investor expectations, their numbers are still impressive.

  • Each users in Canada and USA generated $28.65 in revenue in 2014 for Facebook
  • Q4 in 2014 saw each user in Canada and USA generate $9 as compared to $8.34 in Q1 of 2015
  • The worldwide average for Facebook users was $9.45 in 2014
  • Facebook has 1.441 Billion monthly active users
  • Facebook has 936 Million daily active users

If you want more details head on over to TechCrunch.

Facebook failed to beat earnings estimates in Q1 2015, coming in with mixed results after 10 straight quarters of beating them. Its revenue of $3.54 billion fell short of its $3.56 billion estimate, though it exceeded the 40 cents EPS estimate with 42 cents.

In the release, Facebook blames fluctuating foreign exchange figures, including the weakening euro versus the dollar, for the missed revenue, saying it would have made $188 million more in revenue this quarter and and beat estimates if not for this issue. That would have let it easily beat on revenue with $3.728 billion. Several other public companies have made similar claims blaming the euro.

Google launches Project Fi

It's finally official, Google has launched their very own cell phone service and are calling it Project Fi. Project Fi is only available for Nexus 6 owners in the United States but I think it would be safe to assume more people will be eligible in the future. Right now you have to apply to be part of the early access program, but chances are good that Google will be opening this program up to more users in the near future.

Here is the deal:

Our plan starts with the Fi Basics for $20 per month. This includes:

  • Unlimited domestic talk and text

  • Unlimited international texts

  • Low-cost international calls

  • Wi-Fi tethering

  • Coverage in 120+ countries

Then it's $10 per GB for data. $10 for 1GB, $20 for 2GB, $30 for 3GB and so on. That's it. With no annual contract required.

The one interesting thing about Google's plan is that if you pay for 3GB of data and only use 1GB you will receive a credit for unused data. Issuing a refund for unused data could put some pressure on the competition who either make you lose unused data or if they are generous let you carry it over to the next month (up to a certain limit).

Overall I'd say the prices are pretty competitive, especially if you aren't using a ton of data. You can find out more over at Google's Project Fi website.

WTU Episode #309 - Netflix is Bigger than CBS

We have just posted up Episode #309 of Weekly Tech Update. In this episode we discuss that Netflix is now bigger than CBS, OnePlus says goodbye to invites and ASUS sells 500 Million Motherboards (enough to go around the world three times). We have those stories and more so check it out!

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