A curling, bending or twisting smartphone is coming in our midst, that is, if the technology levels up to existing phones in the wild. It’s the MorePhone which changes its shape when it receives a call or message from the other end. The shape change is in lieu of the vibrations and noises now common in mobile phones, or it could be a combination of that in the future.
The latest development so far is that a prototype begins to curl at some angle when the special memory wires from within are electronically activated by the incoming call or message. In other words, it morphs (change) itself once activated and a user will have a silent visual of what’s happening to the phone, a corner bend means a call or an entire side curl means a message or text.
MorePhone is set to be introduced in Paris on April 29 during the acm chi 2013. It is developed by Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab researchers who are confident that the technology will soon hit the world of mobile phones in five to ten years. Unlike ordinary smartphones, MorePhone is just a thin electrophoretic display with enough flexibility to allow room for memory alloy wires to occupy the space within and contract at the right time.
Washington Post writer Allan Sloan says that the tax benefits of Apple’s plan to buy back $ 60 billion of its own stock will outweigh the cost of the loans it will take out to fund the buyback of the shares.
If you’re wondering why a company with a cash balance of $ 145b would need to borrow $ 60b, it’s all about tax …
Around two-thirds of that cash hoard is held by Apple subsidiaries outside the USA, and if Apple brought the cash back home it would have to pay 35% corporation tax. Borrowing the money means Apple pays interest, but the tax saving more than cancels this out…
Says Sloan: “Let’s say Apple borrows money at an interest rate of 3 percent a year (which is more than it would probably pay), and uses it to buy back stock at the current price of about $ 410 a share. Each share that Apple buys back will reduce its annual dividend obligation by $ 12.20 a share, at the company’s current dividend rate. The interest on the borrowed money would be $ 12.30 a share — about the same as the dividend. But interest is tax-deductible, and dividends aren’t.”
So, at a 35% tax rate the money Apple would borrow would cost Apple $ 8 after taxes for each share it bought back. That looks much better on the books than the $ 12.20 after-tax cost of a $ 12.20 dividend.
I’ll bet the accountants and tax lawyers in our readership are all getting chills right now…
Back in CES, we’ve seen the Intel North Cape hybrid laptop/tablet powered by 4th-generation Haswell Chips. It was a pretty interesting piece of gadget equipped with sleek ultrabook design and detachable wireless display. Today, we’re excited to see this gizmo once more at Intel’s Innovation Futures Showcase in London.
As a refresher, the North Cape ultrabook is powered by the high-end Haswell processors compared to Bay Trail Atom processors for lower-priced Intel tablets. The hybrid ultrabook has a sleek 13-inch full HD (1080p) display, which can be detached and functions as a wireless tablet with 11.6-inch panel size.
One of the things Intel is most proud of about the North Cape is its power efficiency. With the Haswell chip onboard, the hybrid device can last up to 10 hours in tablet mode (additional 3 hours with the keyboard battery pack) that is at par with current low-powered ARM and Atom tablets in the market. Another key feature to look at is the new docking design for the North Cape. Intel is said to include a one-button electric latch that easily detaches the wireless display from the keyboard.
There’s no clear shipping date for the Haswell-powered North Cape laptops but many are expecting to see this gizmo on Computex in Taipei come June. More specs might also be revealed on the event. Stay tuned.
BlackBerry is obviously taking a second look at some of its best smartphones and using them as its inspiration in designing its newest handsets. For instance, the BlackBerry Z10 carries hints of the BlackBerry Storm, the BlackBerry Q10 might have come from the popular Bold line-up. Today, a patent has been recently awarded to the company suggests that a BlackBerry Torch inspired handset will soon be added to the BB10 line. Said patent was filed way back in 2011.
An image included in the patent application shows a handset with touches of the BlackBerry Z10 plus a slide-out physical QWERTY keyboard. The handset can only be described as carrying the ample touch screen of the BlackBerry Z10 combined with the physical QWERTY keyboard of the Q10. A smart phone like this can be a boon to Blackberry aficionados who are having difficulties choosing between the touch-happy Z10 or the Q10 with the beloved QWERTY keyboard.
Blackberry is the poster child for companies who came back from the brink of bankruptcy and are enjoying the proverbial second wind by coming up with good products and amazing software. Hopefully, the company can prove this again during the BlackBerry Live conference scheduled on May 14 to 16 when the company unveils some of its new BB10 devices.
Following AMD’s hire of Jim Keller last year, who had been Apple’s chief chip design lead working on the A4, A5, and A6 chips for iOS devices for 4 years, the company has now poached Raja Koduri as well. Koduri has been Apple’s director of graphics chip architecture for the past four years, after Apple hired him from AMD.
Advanced Micro Devices will soon announce it has hired a former Apple graphics chip designer to bolster its engineering leadership bench as it turns itself around, CNET has learned.
Raja Koduri, who most recently served as director of graphics architecture for Apple, will be rejoining AMD four years after leaving that company, people familiar with the hire told CNET. He will be taking on a role in AMD’s graphics business, though it wasn’t immediately clear to CNET what his title would be. AMD is expected to make the announcement next week.
Koduri’s reasons for going back to AMD are unclear – although it does seem that more Apple employees and executives have jumped ship in the past several months than is normal. AMD has reportedly been trying to hire Koduri back practically ever since he left AMD for Apple.
So, in short: Apple poached a key employee from AMD. Now AMD has poached that very same employee right back from Apple. Corporate ping-pong, anyone?