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TECH SPACE
Google tailoring tablet computer software
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) Feb 2, 2010


Windows operating system champ but Chrome a contender
San Francisco (AFP) Feb 2, 2010 - Microsoft's latest version of Internet Explorer (IE) is a hit but Google's Chrome has been steadily gaining ground on the Web browsing software, according to industry figures released Tuesday. Chrome's share of the browser market rose from 1.62 percent in March of last year to 5.22 percent last month, according to Net Application trend data. During the same period, Internet Explorer's piece of the Web browser market dropped from 68.46 percent to 62.12 percent, Net Application reported. The percentage of people using Safari browser software tailored for Apple's Macintosh computers went from 3.63 percent in March of last year to 4.53 percent in January.

"I think what Microsoft is seeing is that when people upgrade from IE 6 they don't necessarily go to IE 8," said Net Application spokesman Vince Vizzaccaro. "They have been very vocal with trying to get people to upgrade, and people may be looking around to see what other browsers are available." About two weeks ago, Microsoft released a patch for an IE 6 software hole through which China-based cyber spies attacked Google and other firms. Attackers used email or some other lure to get employees of a targeted company to click on a link and visit a specially crafted website using IE.

Malicious software would then be downloaded that has the capability to essentially install 'back doors' in machines and give hackers access. The US software giant advised people to upgrade from IE6, which is nearly a decade old. No matter which Web browser people use, upgrading to the most current version promises to increase protection against hackers. Net Application data from January showed that while a fifth of the world's machines still used IE 6 to explore the Internet, IE 8 took the top spot with 25.56 percent of the overall market.

"We launched just less than a year ago, so it's both humbling and thrilling to see so many people choose our product so quickly -- making it the most popular browser of choice worldwide," Brandon LeBlanc of the Windows Team wrote Tuesday in a blog post. IE 7 and 8 browsers have together tallied more than 350 million blocks of malicious software and links to 125 million "phishing" websites devised to trick people into disclosing valuable information such as passwords. "You may have recently heard about organizations including Google recommending that people update their browsers and move off older versions, such as the nearly decade-old IE 6," LeBlanc wrote. "Think about what technology and the Internet were like in the year 2000 and consider how they've evolved since then. It was a different time and people's browsing needs were different. Today's Internet calls for more."

As iPad commanded the technology world's attention, Google continued working quietly on tablet computer software that could run rivals to Apple's latest creation.

Pictures of what a Google tablet might look like were featured at a Chromium developers web page on Tuesday along with talk of how touchscreen controls could work based on the Internet titan's Chrome computer operating system.

The images were posted online two days before the January 27 event at which Apple unveiled an iPad tablet computer that will begin shipping worldwide in March.

"You may have seen our Chrome OS tablet concepts from last Monday; in the video, some floating hands interact with a touch surface," Google Chrome lead designer Glen Murphy wrote in a personal blog post.

"We only used one hand image instead of showing the full range of gestures, but I did make a larger set."

Google made images and video of Google tablet gesture control capabilities available online for developers to consider.

The "concept user interface under development" could signal another front on which Google will battle with Apple, which uses its own custom software in the iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Macintosh computers.

The website focused on Chrome OS software and did not indicate whether Google would make its own tablet or opt to let others tend to the hardware.

Google's mobile Android software is built into iPhone competitors, including the Internet firm's own Nexus One smartphone released in January.

earlier related report
Nexus One gets touch and 3G capabilities
San Francisco (AFP) Feb 3, 2010 - Google is ramping up its entry in the hotly competitive smartphone race by adding "pinch-to-zoom" multi-touch and 3G wireless broadband network capabilities to the Nexus One.

The US Internet powerhouse said it is rolling out the improvements in an "over-the-air" software update it is firing off to Nexus One smartphones this week.

"This update provides some great new features, and fixes a few problems that some users might have experienced," the Nexus One team said in a blog post.

"In order to access the update, you will receive a message on your phone's notification bar."

The software modification will allow users to use two-finger pinching motions to zoom into on-screen images in Internet browser, picture gallery, or map applications.

Nexus One devices were limited to controls based on single-finger taps or swipes on screens when they launched in the United States on January 5.

Google promises that the update will also improve Nexus One connectivity to 3G networks that allow data to move more quickly, translating into more seamless video viewing and speedier application performance.

The upgrade also installs Google Goggles into the Nexus One applications menu, letting people search the internet based on pictures taken with cameras built into the smartphones.

Improvements were also made to a Google Maps program in the handsets.

"Just download the update, wait for it to install, and you should be all set," Google said.

The California firm unveiled its new Nexus One smartphone a month ago in a direct challenge to heavyweight Apple's iPhone handsets, billing it as a "superphone" and the next step in the evolution of its Android software.

Google worked with Taiwanese electronics titan HTC to make the Nexus One handsets, sold exclusively from the Internet company's online shop.

The touchscreen devices sell for 179 dollars if bought with service from T-Mobile, while "unlocked" handsets that can work with any telecom providers cost 529 dollars each.

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Apple iPad to ignite tablet computer market: ABI
San Francisco (AFP) Feb 2, 2010
ABI Research said Tuesday that Apple's iPad highlights the "real start" of a tablet computer market that should grow more than tenfold to reach about 57 million devices sold annually by 2015. "Apple's iPad is not the first media tablet," said ABI senior analyst Jeff Orr. "But it does help define this new device category." The main focus of a media tablet is entertainment, according to th ... read more


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