TechSummit Rewind #051

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a semi-daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Apple reports quarterly profit of $18.4 billion, its largest in history

Apple China Android

Apple generated a profit of $18.4 billion in its Q1 2016 on $75.9 billion in revenue. That’s the company’s largest profit in history.

Revenue was down in Japan and the Americas, with big growth in China being the only reason Apple’s revenue hasn’t already begun to decline. The 74.78 million iPhones sold in the quarter was basically flat year-over-year, while iPad sales declined 21 percent from 2015 with 16.1 million sold in the last three months of the year. Mac sales were down three percent from last year to 5.31 million.

Services, consisting of things like the App Store, iCloud, AppleCare, and Apple Pay, grew 26 percent year over year to $6.05 billion. Other Products, which includes the Apple Watch and Apple TV, grew its revenue 62 percent year-over-year, to bring in $4.3 billion during the quarter.

The Cupertino, CA-based company noted that there were over a billion active users across iOS devices within the last days. Apple also noted that Apple TV and Apple Watch received record sales during the quarter.

Twitter appoints Leslie Berland as CMO

Leslie Berland

Twitter has appointed former American Express executive Leslie Berland as its CMO.

Berland was previously American Express’ executive VP of global advertising, marketing and digital partnerships.

Inbox by Gmail gets smarter search with quick answer cards

Inbox by Gmail

Inbox by Gmail got updated today to make it easier for users to find information like addresses, membership numbers, and package tracking numbers in emails.

The app will now pop up a small card with a quick answer instead of just a list of emails.

For example, if you want to find your United frequent flier number because you don’t have it memorized. Inbox will look at your emails and try to find that number, so it can be displayed in a quick answer box.

According to Google, this is essentially powered by the same technology the app uses to build its trip bundles. Inbox will dish out quick answer cards for searches about addresses, phone numbers, membership numbers, flights, events, bills, package tracking “and more.”

Microsoft launches News Pro iOS app

Microsoft News Pro

Microsoft has unveiled News Pro, a news application that resembles Apple’s built-in News app. The app aims to offer readers a personalized experience by connecting them to articles that match their current interests, while uncovering other sites and stories they may like.

News Pro is powered by Bing News, with an interface personalized by social networks. Users can sign in with either their LinkedIn or Facebook account to have the home feed update with stories matched for them.

A separate section of the mobile app lets you customize which topics and industries you want to track. The tab is divided into two sections, “Browse” and “Pilot” – the latter offers the ability to toggle off or on Browse’s topic choices laid out in a grid format using small thumbnail images.

Users can also like and comment on stories in the app.

The app’s Speedy Mode option presents a stripped down version of an article that’s similar to iOS app SmartNews.

Slack forms Search, Learning & Intelligence group for ‘mining chat corpus’

Slack

Team communication app Slack has hired Foursquare executive Noah Weiss to head up the company’s new Search, Learning & Intelligence Group in its New York office.

“The focus is on building features that make Slack better the bigger the company is and the more it uses Slack. The success of the group will be measured in how much more productive, informed, and collaborative Slack users get – whether a company has 10, 100, or 10,000 people.”

-Noah Weiss; Slack search, learning & intelligence group head

Weiss is looking for people well versed in artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and information retrieval to mine the “chat corpus.”

Periscope integrates with GoPro for live streaming video

DCIM264GOPRO

Periscope has announced an integration with GoPro allowing users to broadcast to their followers from the action camera maker’s Hero 4 Black and Hero 4 Silver cameras. This’ll allow Periscope to recognize a GoPro whenever one is connected, the app gives users the option of broadcasting from the camera.

Periscope users can toggle the broadcast to feed from the iPhone or the GoPro, while continuing to see on-screen chat on their phones. Or, the app offers a new switch to “freeze” the iPhone screen so users can put it in their pocket while continuing to broadcast. The GoPro will save video recorded during the broadcast to the camera’s SD card.

Lyft taps Waze to make rides more efficient

Lyft

Lyft has announced a partnership with Google-owned Wave to use the app’s Transport SDK and match drivers with another pickup on the way to a destination. This should theoretically cut down on wait times once you hail a vehicle in the app.

“As the first and only ridesharing company to incorporate Waze’s latest advancements, we can make routing and rides even more efficient, which benefits everyone on the Lyft platform. Lyft and Waze share a similar vision for a future with less congestion, and we couldn’t be happier to be working with them closely to make that a reality.”

-Oliver Hsiang, Lyft VP of business development

Waze will become the default navigation method for drivers with a Return to Lyft button for easy access to the app’s controls.

Firefox 44 arrives with push notifications sites can send after users close page

firefox

Mozilla has launched Firefox 44 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android with push notifications, the removal of RC4 encryption, and new developer tools.

The updated browser is available now here on desktop, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. The Android version is trickling out on Google Play.

Unlike Firefox’s existing web notifications, you can receive push notifications even when the website isn’t loaded in a tab.

“This is super useful for websites like email, weather, social networks and shopping, which you might check frequently for updates.”

-Mozilla

The company is promising that Firefox users will need to first grant explicit permission before receiving these push notifications. These notifications can be managed by clicking the green lock icon on the address bar’s left side.

Furthermore, Mozilla is making these three privacy promises for the feature:

  1. To prevent cross-site correlations, every website receives a different, anonymous Web Push identifier for your browser.
  2. To thwart eavesdropping, paylords are encrypted to a public/private keypair held only by your browser.
  3. Firefox only connects to the Push Service if you have an active Web Push subscription. This could be to a website, or to a browser feature like Firefox Hello or Firefox Sync.

Developers are getting new visual editing and memory management tools.

The Page Inspector’s animation panel makes it easy to scrub, pause, and visualize each animation on a webpage. You can switch between a global view of every animation, drill down to just a few nodes, or pick a specific animation and use the visual cubic-bezier editor to ensure it moves just the way you like. A similar CSS filter editor allows you to visually add, remove, reorder, and adjust filters with live feedback from the page.

You can also now enable pixel rulers along page margins and use the new measurement tool to drag-and-measure arbitrary regions of the page. The Inspector now defaults to displaying CSS colors “as authored,” an eyedropper tool lets you pick colors right from the page, and shift-clicking on a color swatch cycle between authored styles and equivalent hex, rgb, and hsl values.

The new Memory tool helps front-end engineers understand and optimize the way pages allocate and retain memory. It takes a snapshot of the heap and allows you to drill down by retained object type, allocation stack, or internal representation.

On Android, Firefox 44 adds support for the Android print service.

LG planning two flagship phones for 2016 after fourth quarter mobile loss

LG_CES2015_OLED-TV-zone-3

LG has announced its Q4 2015 earnings, revealing that the mobile division loss money despite the company’s overall growth and profitability.

The company managed to sell 15.3 million smartphones globally in the fourth quarter, rounding up its 2015 total to 59.7 million units. Fourth quarter sales were up 12% compared to the third quarter, thanks to strong performance in North America.

According to LG, they will launch two new flagship phones and a “more cost-competitive value chain” in 2016.

Sony merges PlayStation businesses into US-based Sony Interactive Entertainment

PlayStation.jpg

Sony has merged the PlayStation business into the newly-founded Sony Interactive Entertainment. As of April 1, SIE will be run by president and CEO Andrew House from San Mateo, Calif. The company brings the hardware and software units of Sony Computer Entertainment and the PlayStation Network services run by Sony Network Entertainment International under one roof. Local arms will also be set up in London and Tokyo.

“By integrating the strengths of PlayStation’s hardware, software, content and network operations, SIE will become an even stronger entity, with a clear objective to further accelerate the growth of the PlayStation business. Along with our business partners, SIE will develop pioneering services and products that will continue to inspire consumers’ imaginations and lead the market. We will work hard to maximize corporate value by coordinating global business operations across San Mateo, Tokyo, and London by leveraging local expertise.”

-Andrew House, Sony Interactive Entertainment president & CEO

“It has become important for both SCE and SNEI to unify their business strengths under one entity with a single focus.”

-Sony

According to Sony, the two former companies will “combine resources across their hardware, software, content and fast-growing network businesses, positioning [SIE] for enhanced competitiveness, continued expansion and market leadership in all areas.”

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