TechSummit Rewind 132

This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Cyanogen shuttering services, OS in pivot

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Cyanogen is shutting down its services and nightly software builds on Dec. 31 as part of the company’s “ongoing consolidation.”

“The open source project and source code will remain available for anyone who wants to build CyanogenMod personally.”

-Cyanogen, in a blog post

Owners of Cyanogen OS devices (like the OnePlus One) must now transition to the CyanogenMod ROM for continued updates, which is led by a community of developers headed by former Cyanogen co-founder Steve Klondik.

Apple pulls all of Nokia’s Withings products from online store

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Less than a week after Nokia sued Apple for patent infringement in courts around the world for claims that Apple has refused to license its patents, Apple has pulled all products of Nokia-owned company Withings from its stores.

Links to the company’s bathroom scale and smart thermometer to Apple’s site give you the following error message:

“Looking for something? We thought so. However, the product you’re looking for is no longer available on apple.com. But we do have similar products to show you.”

-Apple, in an error message

Pew: 79 percent of Americans now shop online, fueled by cost more than convenience

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Eight in 10 Americans are now shopping online, according to a new Pew Research study. That’s 79 percent of U.S. consumers who shop on desktop or mobile, up from 22 percent in 2000. Over half (51 percent) have also bought something on mobile, according to the study, and 15 percent purchased after clicking through on a link shared on social media.

This is fueled mainly by cost, and the ability to research those costs and other matters, more efficiently across the web ahead of their purchase.

65 percent of online shoppers said if they needed to make a purchase, they’d compare real-world prices with those online and then buy where they would get the best deal. Only 21 percent said they’d buy without checking online prices for comparison, and 14 percent said they’d buy online without checking retail prices.

Compared with numerous other factors, the convenience of being able to make a purchase without going to the store is at the bottom of the list of what people considered important. Only 42 percent said this was either “somewhat” or “extremely” important.

Meanwhile, comparing prices (86 percent said somewhat or extremely important), asking questions (82 percent), buying from sellers they’re familiar with (84 percent), looking at the product in person (78 percent), and getting advice from people they know (77 percent), and reading online reviews (74 percent) were considered more important.

Pew also found that online reviews have become important to purchasing decisions, with 82 percent consulting online ratings when buying for the first time, and 46 percent said that reviews can help them feel more confident about their purchases.

However, 48 percent of shoppers said it’s often hard to tell if those reviews are truthful and unbiased.

The full report is available here.

Dutch market regulator bans T-Mobile’s ‘free’ streaming music service

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The Dutch Consumer and Markets regulator (AFM) ordered T-Mobile to stop offering a streaming music product that didn’t count towards consumers’ data usage.

The AFM called “zero rating” a violation of Dutch net neutrality rules, because it puts rival services at a competitive disadvantage.

According to AFM, T-Mobile Netherlands must stop offering it or face a $52,000 penalty per day.

Jawbone: Fitbit no longer seeking to block product sales

Jawbone Up2

Jawbone has resolved its legal battle with Fitbit.

The company confirmed to Recode that Fitbit is no longer seeking to block the import of its product.

“By dismissing this action, Fitbit is no longer seeking to block importation of Jawbone devices, including Jawbone products in development.”

-Jawbone, in a statement

In terminating the International Trade Commission case, Fitbit said that Jawbone was in dubious financial shape and was no longer selling the products in question.

“Press reports and other public documents indicate that the demise of Jawbone’s products has created substantial questions regarding Jawbone’s ability to continue to operate.”

-Fitbit, in a filing

Jawbone will continue with its own, separate case against Fitbit, which alleges that former workers took trade secrets to Fitbit.

Thundersoft buys Rightware for $68M to expand in automotive

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Thundersoft, a Chinese company that designs operating systems for drones and other connected devices, has acquired Helsinki-based company Rightware for $68M. The company develops graphical user interfaces for connected devices, with a special focus on automotive.

The deal should close in early 2017.

“The automotive market is one of the fastest growing segments for Thundersoft, and we are providing in-vehicle infotainment and cluster OS solutions to our customers worldwide. … In combination with Rightware’s unique technology, design knowhow and world-class talent, we can bring more value to our customers and transform the automotive industry with our innovations.”

-Larry Geng, Thundersoft CEO

“Kanzi is expected to power over 25 million cars by 2022. With Thundersoft, we can expand this footprint further and support our customers even better. We see that the specialization within the global automotive industry software will continue. This creates a huge possibility for us to position Kanzi as the industry standard software solution. The arrangement further strengthens our presence in the growing Asian automotive market and complements our strong footprint in the European and American automotive markets.”

-Jonas Geust, Rightware CEO

According to Rightware, current management will remain in place and will “re-invest in the company” as part of the deal.

Gear VR gets new VR browser

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Samsung’s Gear VR headset now offers an improved virtual reality web browsing experience.

Version 4.2 of Samsung Internet for Gear VR brings support for WebVR v.1.0, which mean let users stumble across images on some websites that let them view 3D versions of those images that can be viewed from multiple angles. However, Samsung did warn that the feature is experimental and can be on the buggy side.

Users can also change the background the sits behind the browser. Samsung tapped OTOY to provide the photos and claimed that each will “add depth to the user’s browsing, transporting them to a vibrant and realistic world that’s ripe for exploration.” There’s also a file browser for viewing content on the phone or through USB on supported devices.

The update is available now in the Gear VR store.

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