Nexus 7 tablets plagued by display issues

Google’s Nexus 7 tablets have just begun arriving at doorsteps, but users are already complaining that the slates suffer from faulty displays. According to a poll posted on the XDA Developers forum, the search giant’s 7-inch tablet is prone to dead pixels, and even more worrisome, some respondents complained that the glue that holds down the device’s screen wore off, causing the display to lift up (pictured above).

nexus 7 dead pixel Nexus 7 tablets plagued by display issues

If your Nexus 7 is affected, and assuming you ordered it through Google’s online store, you should contact the company’s device-support department here. And you should do it quickly – Google has a 15-day return policy.

Google poised to launch gigabit Fiber network

google Google poised to launch gigabit Fiber network

With download speeds that top out at 300Mbps, Verizon’s fastest FiOS Internet service is your best bet for pulling down big files in a hurry. Unless you live in Kansas City, that is, where Google’s primed to launch its first fiber-to-the-home network.

Gigabit downstreams, anyone?

More than a year after Google announced that it would build the blazing-fast network in the city, delivering gigabit Internet connections to local residents, the search giant sent out invitations Wednesday to a “special event” on July 26. The invitation, which smacks of a launch event, reads:

We would like to invite you to a special announcement about Google Fiber and the next chapter of the Internet.

Google previously said that it would launch the service this summer, and sources told GigaOM that it will fire up the network next week.

Socialcam: We’re being acquired by Autodesk for $60 million

Socialcam, a San Francisco-based startup whose video-sharing app boasts 3.7 million daily active users and 56 million monthly active users, according to AppData, will be bought by software company Autodesk for $60 million.

Socialcam announced the acquisition in a blog post Tuesday.

We’re excited to announce that, as of today, we have signed a definitive agreement to become part of Autodesk.

What does that mean for you? Nothing–no changes, except that we’ll have more resources to keep improving the Socialcam experience for you. The team at Autodesk believes in the work we’ve done so far and our vision for where we are going. And that’s our plan–to keep delivering the #1 video app to you every day.

If you haven’t heard of Autodesk, that’s probably because the company is best known for its professional tools for design and visualization. But their mission is to help everybody imagine, design and create a better world. Autodesk has a proven track record of acquiring and scaling fast-growing, early stage consumer businesses while staying true to their core audience and vision. Recently, with products like SketchBook and Pixlr, they’re making their award winning technology accessible to millions of people around the world through intuitive web, mobile and social platforms. We fit in right there–helping people around the world capture, create, view and share video in real time, wherever they are. We hope you’re as excited as we are about the good things in store for Socialcam as a result of this news!

Team Socialcam

Michael, Guillaume, Ammon, and Roxie

Apple taking steps to block in-app purchase exploit

Apple is reportedly working overtime to protect its App Store from a recently publicized exploit that allows users to download in-app content without paying for it. According to The Next Web, Apple has blocked the IP address of the server responsible for, which authenticates the fraudulent transactions, and told YouTube to remove an instructional video posted by the exploit’s creator, Alexey V. Bordin.

Despite Apple’s efforts, though, Bordin said the exploit still works and has been used more than 30,000 times. The Russian hacker also said he’s moved his server to a country that’s unlikely to be sympathetic to Apple.

Microsoft reveals the new Office, makes customer preview available

As expected, Microsoft trotted out the next version of Office today, spelling out what the fifteenth iteration of its single-biggest moneymaker will look like when it lands this fall or early next year.

Speaking at the San Francisco press event where the software was revealed, company chief Steve Ballmer said, “We are taking bold new steps at Microsoft.”

“The new, modern Office will deliver unparalleled productivity and flexibility for both consumers and business customers,” Ballmer said. “It is a cloud service and will fully light-up when paired with Windows 8.”

Office 15, as it’s been called, is available today in preview form. The final version, which could launch alongside Windows 8 this fall, will boast the following features:

Office at Its Best on Windows 8

  • Touch everywhere. Office responds to touch as naturally as it does to keyboard and mouse. Swipe your finger across the screen or pinch and zoom to read your documents and presentations. Author new content and access features with the touch of a finger.
  • Inking. Use a stylus to create content, take notes and access features. Handwrite email responses and convert them automatically to text. Use your stylus as a laser pointer when presenting. Color your content and erase your mistakes with ease.
  • New Windows 8 applications. OneNote and Lync represent the first new Windows 8 style applications for Office. These applications are designed to deliver touch-first experiences on a tablet. A new radial menu in OneNote makes it easy to access features with your finger.
  • Included in Windows RT. Office Home and Student 2013 RT, which contains new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications, will be included on ARM-based Windows 8 devices, including Microsoft Surface.

Office Is in the Cloud

  • SkyDrive. Office saves documents to SkyDrive by default, so your content is always available across your tablet, PC and phone. Your documents are also available offline and sync when you reconnect.
  • Roaming. Once signed in to Office, your personalized settings, including your most recently used files, templates and even your custom dictionary, roam with you across virtually all of your devices. Office even remembers where you last left off and brings you right back to that spot in a single click.
  • Office on Demand. With a subscription, you can access Office even when you are away from your PC by streaming full-featured applications to an Internet-connected Windows-based PC.
  • New subscription services. The new Office is available as a cloud-based subscription service. As subscribers, consumers automatically get future upgrades in addition to exciting cloud services including Skype world minutes and extra SkyDrive storage. Subscribers receive multiple installs for everyone in the family and across their devices.

Office Is Social

  • Yammer. Yammer delivers a secure, private social network for businesses. You can sign up for free and begin using social networking instantly. Yammer offers integration with SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics.
  • Stay connected. Follow people, teams, documents and sites in SharePoint. View and embed pictures, videos and Office content in your activity feeds to stay current and update your colleagues.
  • People Card. Have an integrated view of your contacts everywhere in Office. The People Card includes presence information complete with pictures, status updates, contact information and activity feeds from Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
  • Skype. The new Office comes with Skype. When you subscribe, you get 60 minutes of Skype world minutes every month. Integrate Skype contacts into Lync and call or instant message anyone on Skype.

Office Unlocks New Scenarios

  • Digital note-taking. Keep your notes handy in the cloud and across multiple devices with OneNote. Use what feels most natural to you — take notes with touch, pen or keyboard, or use them together and switch easily back and forth.
  • Reading and markup. The Read Mode in Word provides a modern and easy-to-navigate reading experience that automatically adjusts for large and small screens. Zoom in and out of content, stream videos within documents, view revision marks and use touch to turn pages.
  • Meetings. PowerPoint features a new Presenter View that privately shows your current and upcoming slides, presentation time, and speaker notes in a single glance. While presenting, you can zoom, mark up and navigate your slides with touch and stylus. Lync includes multiparty HD video with presentations, shared OneNote notebooks and a virtual whiteboard for collaborative brainstorming.
  • Eighty-two-inch touch-enabled displays. Conduct more engaging meetings, presentations and lessons, whether in person or virtually, with these multitouch and stylus-enabled displays from Perceptive Pixel.

Samsung widens lead over Apple in smartphone market, according to Reuters poll

Apple and Samsung have sold similar numbers of smartphones in recent quarters, but Samsung is expected to emerge as the clear leader in global sales following the year’s second quarter, according to Reuters, which polled 41 industry analysts. Thanks to sales of its Galaxy S3 handset, the analysts said, Samsung is expected to have sold 50 million smartphones in the quarter. Apple, by contrast, is thought to have sold 30.5 million iPhones.

“Samsung is expected to be the smartphone hero in the second quarter,” said IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo. “We are also expecting to see the biggest smartphone volumes ever shipped from one single vender in one quarter, driven by strong demand of the Galaxy portfolio, particularly the Galaxy S II and S III,” he added.

Samsung replaced 14-year titleholder Nokia as the world’s biggest mobile phone vender in the first quarter, when it outsold Nokia by 3.4 million phones. Samsung is expected to have stretched its lead to 15.7 million phones in the second quarter.

WSJ: Microsoft taking Google’s productivity software very seriously, trying to talk customers out of jumping ship from Office

Microsoft Office, the latest version of which will be revealed later today, dominates the productivity-software market among businesses, with a more than 90 percent stake of the space, according to research firm Gartner. But Google Apps, the search giant’s Web-based answer to Office, represents a real threat to Microsoft’s single-biggest moneymaker, and the software company’s taking it very seriously.

In response to Google Apps, which Gartner says is now the software of choice for one-third to half of new corporate users in the market for Web-based productivity programs, Microsoft has slashed the price of Office 365, its own Web-based software, by as much as 20 percent and tasked a “Google Compete” team with preventing Office customers from jumping ship.

And that team goes to great lengths to ensure businesses stick with Office, according to The Wall Street Journal. In one instance, Microsoft flew a company’s chief information officer out to its Redmond, Washington, headquarters, where it tried to convince him to reconsider his decision to drop his company’s $2 million-a-year contract with Microsoft.

For two days last month at Microsoft’s executive briefing center, Mr. Fuller and his colleagues were shown road maps of Microsoft products, toured a research lab, and saw new technologies, including one that lets shoppers virtually try on clothes, he said.

The man was impressed but ultimately stuck by his choice to embrace Google Apps, which he said was half the price and “cooler” than Office 365, a software suite Microsoft said last week “is our collective future.”

“And make no mistake,” the company added at its Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, “Google is out there pitching our customers.”

During the nine months that ended March 31, Microsoft’s Office division accounted for more than half of the company’s total operating profit, generating $11.6 billion.

Retailers already selling out of Google’s Nexus 7 tablets

If the Nexus 7′s early popularity is any indication, it’s going to be a hit, and it could resuscitate Android’s image among tablet consumers, just as Google hoped. Yesterday, in the hours after the search giant announced that it would start fulfilling pre-orders for its branded tablet, many retailers blew through their allotments, according to Reuters.

The websites of Sam’s Club and Walmart, which are affiliated, indicated Google’s 7-inch tablet sold out Friday afternoon, and GameStop told Reuters yesterday that it too ran out of the Asus-made slates. In fact, the company said it already sold its first two allotments, and it won’t have a third until August.

In 8GB trim, the Nexus 7, like Amazon’s Kindle Fire, retails for $200. A 16GB model sells for $250.