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Tablet sales fall off cliff, break ribs

Tablets on life support

John Davidson

The growth in tablet sales is facing a precipitous decline this year, according to the research company IDC, because people like you and me are holding onto our iPads waaaaay too long.

Worldwide sales of tablets will grow by only 7.2 per cent in 2014, down from 52.5 per cent growth last year, IDC said.

And if it wasn't for Android tablets, the market would actually be shrinking. Total sales of Apple's iPads will actually fall by 12.7 per cent in 2014, down to 64.9 million units, IDC said, while Android tablet sales will grow by 16 per cent to 159.5 million of the things.

'In the early stages of the tablet market, device lifecycles were expected to resemble those of smartphones, with replacement occurring every 2-3 years,' said IDC's Ryan Reith in a statement.

'What has played out instead is that many tablet owners are holding onto their devices for more than 3 years and in some instances more than 4 years,' he said.

Also, the fact that mobile phones are getting bigger and better hasn't helped tablet sales none.

'We believe the two major drivers for longer than expected tablet lifecycles are legacy software support for older products, especially within iOS, and the increased use of smartphones for a variety of computing tasks,' Mr Reith proclaimed.

A bright spot, at least in terms of sales growth if not sheer numbers, is in the sales of Windows tablets, IDC said. Those will grow by 67.7 per cent this year, though of course the only way was up for them: even with such growth, only 10.9 million Windows tablets will be sold in 2014, accounting for 4.6 per cent of the overall market of 235.7 million tablets.

If IDC has its numbers right, the outlook for Apple's iPad isn't all that rosy out to 2018, either. The compound annual growth rate of iPad sales between 2014 and 2018 will be -1.1 per cent, IDC predicted, compared to 38.1 per cent for Windows tablets and 5.9 per cent for Android tablets.

If the only way is up for Windows tablets, then it seems the only way for iPads is down.

The Australian Financial Review

PC Decline Slows While Tablet Shipments Wane

By Jeffrey Burt | Posted 2014-11-25 Email Print

IDC analysts say that the struggling PC market has been helped by the rapid deceleration this year in the once-hot tablet space.

The trends in worldwide shipments of PCs and tablets are continuing to change, according to IDC analysts. In a report Nov. 25, the market research firms said the decline in shipments of PCs will continue to slow, hitting a 2.7 percent drop this year. It's still a decline-continuing a streak that began in 2011-but the decreases are continuing to slow down, and the 2.7 percent is an improvement over an earlier IDC forecast of 3.7 percent fall in shipments.

However, most markets saw slight gains in PC shipments in the third quarter, they analysts said.

In another report the same day, IDC analysts said that shipments of tablets-which have been a key factor in the decline of PC sales over the past several years-will decelerate rapidly this year, growing 7.2 percent over 2013. That contrasts with the 52.5 percent increase in tablet shipments seen last year.

In addition, 2014 will be the first year in which shipments of Apple's iPad-which kicked off the rush for tablets when it was released in 2010-will decline. The numbers are indications of trends that analysts have been seeing for much of the year. The tablet market is reaching a saturation point in many markets, and according to IDC analysts, the lifecycles for the devices are beginning to lengthen, mirroring those of PCs more than smartphones. At the same time, after buying tablets and smartphones, users are beginning to look at their older PCs and deciding it's time to upgrade. 'Features like touch or convertibility, as well as Windows 10 could make systems more versatile and appealing, along with lower prices,' Loren Loverde, vice president of IDC's Worldwide PC Trackers. 'However, we've seen steady progress on prices and new designs over the past year, and replacements are stabilizing PC shipments but not boosting total volume.' The sharp decline in PC sales since the last quarters of 2011 had taken many established tech vendors by surprise. OEMs like Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Acer and component makers like Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, which derived much of their revenues from PCs, saw their financial numbers take a hard hit as consumers and businesses users spent their tech dollars on smartphones as well as iPads and other tablets from vendors like Samsung that run Google's Android mobile operating system. However, as these established tech companies worked hard to gain traction in the mobile space, there also was a push from the likes of Intel to develop technologies that would help drive down the power consumption and cost of PCs. That helped lead to new form factors- such as two-in-one devices (which can be used as either a notebook or tablet) and convertible systems-that could challenge tablets. Those new form factors-combined with Microsoft's decision to end support of the aging Windows XP OS and the decision by businesses to refresh their old fleet of systems-have helped slow the decline of PC sales, particularly on the commercial side and in mature regions, like North America and Western Europe. The popularity of Chromebooks also is increasing. However, sales of consumer systems continue to lag. Even though the pressure from tablet sales is decreasing, the competition from smartphones and phablets-smartphones with large displays-is growing, the analysts said. In addition, PC sales in emerging markets-which saw the arrival of tablets later and slower replacement cycles-are still declining faster.


Changing Web usage is hard. Google has granted a few extra months of leeway to those who rely on a handful of popular plugins, such as Silverlight, to extend what their browser can do.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Instead of cutting off all old-style browser plugins at the end of 2014, Google has given a temporary break to people who rely on plugins that extend the abilities of its Chrome browser.

The company is gradually banning plugins that hook into the browser using a mechanism called NPAPI (Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface) that's more than a decade old. But it's been tough getting Chrome users to completely stop using those plugins.

In September 2013, Google announced its plan to cut off support for NPAPI plugins. But it took a phased approach that still permitted the most popular ones: Microsoft's Silverlight, Unity Technologies' Web Player, Oracle's Java, Facebook's video-calling tool and Google's own Google Talk and Google Earth plugins.

Google decided not to leave plugin-reliant customers in the lurch quite as soon as it had planned. Justin Schuh, a Google Chrome programmer, explained why in a blog post Monday:

Although plugin vendors are working hard to move to alternate technologies, a small number of users still rely on plugins that haven't completed the transition yet. We will provide an override for advanced users and enterprises (via Enterprise Policy) to temporarily re-enable NPAPI while they wait for mission-critical plugins to make the transition. Good riddance

After years of slow going, the Web programming world is now working productively to expand the Web's possibilities not with plugins, but rather with new Web standards like HTML5's video and audio support. Plugins date back to the era when Microsoft's Internet Explorer ruled the roost but Web standards stagnated. Now the browser market is highly competitive, and plugins are on their way out.

And good riddance: plugins don't work on smartphones and tablets, they're hard to maintain, they're a bother for users to install, and are a top culprit in browser crashes, slowdowns and security vulnerabilities.

Plugins aren't totally disappearing from Chrome, however. Google will continue to indefinitely support plugins that use its own PPAPI (Pepper Plugin API), which includes the most widely used browser plugin, Adobe Systems' Flash Player.

Google has been working to add new interfaces to its preferred system for extending Chrome abilities, called extensions, and has shifted its own Hangouts app to Web standards.

Some of the affected plugins are still fairly common. Among Chrome users, Silverlight was launched 15 percent of the time in September 2013, falling to 11 percent of the time in October 2014. Java dropped from 8.9 percent to 3.7 percent over the same period. Google Earth plunged from 9.1 percent to 0.1 percent.

Three-step removal over 2015

Initially, Google said it estimated it would completely remove Chrome's NPAPI support by the end of 2014, subject to usage patterns and feedback. Now it's pushed that back, but the ban will still continue over a three-step process in 2015.

The first step, in January 2015, will be to begin blocking even whitelist-permitted NPAPI plugins by default -- a setting that can be overridden.

The second step, in April 2015, will be to disable Chrome's ability to run plugins at all unless a user specifically enables it by setting a flag -- chrome://flags/#enable-npapi -- in Chrome's technical preferences. Google also will remove all NPAPI plugins from its Chrome Web Store at this stage.

The last step, in September 2015, will be to completely remove all ability to run NPAPI plugins from Chrome.

Google also recommends plugin programmers look to its NPAPI deprecation guide for advice.

'With each step in this transition, we get closer to a safer, more mobile-friendly Web,' Schuh said.

Worldwide Tablet Growth Expected to Slow to 7.2% in 2014 as iPad Sees First ...

The worldwide tablet tablet market is expected to see a significant decline for 2014, according to reports from the International Data Corporation. The tablet market's year-over-year growth is expected to be 7.2% this year, down from 52.5% in 2013. According to the analysts, one of the central reasons for the market slowdown is the expectation that 2014 will be the first year Apple will see a decline in iPad shipments.

IDC expects Apple to ship 64.9 million iPads this calendar year, a decline of 12.7 percent from 2013. Capturing 67.7 percent market share and shipping 159.5 million devices, Google's Android operating system will continue to be the most popular OS for tablets.

Total tablet market shipments is projected to hit 235.7 million units shipped, yielding relatively small growth of 7.2 percent over 2013. As a comparison, shipments in the worldwide tablet market saw 52.5 percent growth from 2012 to 2013. IDC equates this slowdown in growth to the longer lifespan of tablets in the modern market.

'The tablet market continues to be impacted by a few major trends happening in relevant markets,' said Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers. 'In the early stages of the tablet market, device lifecycles were expected to resemble those of smartphones, with replacement occurring every 2-3 years. What has played out instead is that many tablet owners are holding onto their devices for more than 3 years and in some instances more than 4 years. We believe the two major drivers for longer than expected tablet life-cycles are legacy software support for older products, especially within iOS, and the increased use of smartphones for a variety of computing tasks.'

IDC also points towards consumer hesitancy over Windows 8 tablets for such low market shares in the total tablet and 2-in-1, or detachable, product market, a space Microsoft largely owns at the moment. Microsoft will only see about 11 million tablet shipments this year, equating to less than 5% of the overall tablet market.

'We need to look at how the tablet ecosystem is answering these challenges, and right now we see a lot of pressure on tablet prices and an influx of entry-level products, which ultimately serves Android really well,' said Jean Philippe Bouchard, Research Director for Tablets. 'But we also see tablet manufacturers trying to offset this price pressure by focusing on larger screens and cellular-enabled tablets. The next six months should be really interesting.'

Looking forward, IDC sees a few factors that could impact the worldwide tablet market, including the overall industry reaction to Windows 10, what Google does in the tablet space with Android and Chrome OS, and the yearly potential of even more products from Apple. But, according to IDC, 'Despite all of these unknowns, it seems clear that consumers can be expected to hold onto tablets longer than smartphones.'

Lyft Appeals To More Casual Drivers By Matching Them With Passengers Along ...

For years, the founders of Lyft had imagined a world in which carpooling would become mainstream, a world in which people wouldn't necessarily ride alone to work if they didn't have to. Today they move another step closer to that world with the release of a new feature allowing its drivers to get matched up with passengers heading in the same direction they are going.

With the launch of Driver Destination, Lyft will for the first time give its drivers some freedom in being able to accept rides based on where a particular passenger is going. It also could open up its service to a more casual group of drivers.

Previously, Lyft only showed drivers a passenger's destination after they accepted a ride. Now, however, drivers will be able to see only passengers that can be picked up while on the way to their own destination.

The new feature was built using some of the same technology the company uses for Lyft Line, which the company launched to match up passengers who are traveling along similar routes. The Driver Destination feature will match drivers with passengers who entered their destination because they requested a Lyft Line.

Linking this to Lyft Line could limit the number of rides those drivers see in the near-term. However, the company is aggressively trying to find ways to get more people using Lyft Line and, in general, to pack more passengers into its drivers' cars.

Last month, it began a test in which it would send an SMS message to users who had requested a standalone Lyft but had entered their destination and could be matched up with nearby Lyft Line passengers headed in the same direction. (I know because I received one of those SMS messages.)

As it converts more Lyft rides to Lyft Line rides, we could see broader adoption for ride-sharing (or, if you're old school, carpooling) on its platform. And that could mean more money for drivers who are basically just adding more passengers who are traveling along the same route.

Opening Lyft Up To A New Class Of Driver

But it's not just about money. The new Driver Destination feature is designed to create more efficiency in driver routes, by making sure they don't have to go out of their way when picking up or dropping off a passenger.

Lyft also hopes it will appeal to more casual drivers - i.e. those who merely want to supplement the cost of their commute to and from work but don't necessarily want to be on the platform picking up rides all day.

To date, much of the driver recruitment for both Lyft and Uber has been around signing up contractors who will drive more or less full-time. That's been necessary in part due to the huge demand those services have seen over the last few years. It's also led to drivers working for both services, or switching between them based on various recruitment promotions over time.

By giving drivers the power to only pick up rides on their commute, however, Lyft is targeting a much larger subset of casual drivers who don't plan to drive for Lyft all the time. The pitch is that they'll be able to occasionally make some money for rides they were already taking, just as long as they're willing to make a minor detour along the way.

As a result, Lyft is hoping to recruit drivers even if they're not looking to log 30-plus hours a week. They'll still go through the same application and onboarding process, which includes background checks and driver record checks, as well as a car inspection.

Yoga Tablet 2 and Tablet 2 Pro review: Innovative but imperfect

You have to hand it to Lenovo: The company isn't afraid to do something different.

In a sea of indistinguishable rectangular slates, Lenovo's Android-based Yoga Tablets ( first introduced last year) stand out with their unconventional approach to the tablet concept. Rather than joining the race to be the lightest or thinnest around, the devices offer an unusual form: A chunky cylinder serves as both a base and an adjustable multipurpose kickstand for the screen.

This year's new Yoga Tablets come in two models and three variations. There's the Yoga Tablet 2, which is currently available in an 8-in. size for $250 or a 10-in. size for $300, and there's the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, which has a 13-in. screen with a built-in projector (yes, really!) and costs $500. (Unless you can catch any Cyber Monday sales.)

Getting to know the Yoga form

I've been using the 13-in. Tablet 2 Pro and the 10-in. version of the Tablet 2 for the past several days. Size aside, the two models are very similar in appearance: When you hold them in landscape orientation, you have a standard tablet screen at the top surrounded by a metallic silver frame and silver-colored plastic on the back. The slate gets gradually thicker as you move toward the bottom and eventually slopes out into the cylinder base.

The base, which also serves as a house for the battery, is about the size of a roll of nickels on the Tablet 2 and closer to a roll of quarters on the Tablet 2 Pro. It makes the devices somewhat heavy -- the Tablet 2 Pro is just under 2 lb. while the 10-in. Tablet 2 weighs 1.3 lb. -- but it also provides a natural grip for holding onto the tablets while you use them. And it creates a lopsided weight distribution in which the heaviest part of the device is always against your hand, which actually makes for quite a comfortable and sensible setup.

As I mentioned earlier, the base does much more than initially meets the eye. Twist it gently -- or in the case of the Pro tablet, press a small button to unhinge it -- and you'll uncover a thick metal plate that swivels around and props the screen up in a variety of angles. The plate even has a hole in it if you want to hang the tablet from a nail or a hook in the wall. It's a clever idea that adds a whole new range of possibilities to the ways you can use these devices.


The base of the Yoga Tablet 2 can also be used to prop the screen up.

Both of the Yoga Tablet models feel sturdy and well constructed. The 13.3-in. Pro is quite a bit bigger than the 10-in. Tablet 2, as you'd expect -- 13.3 x 8.8 in. vs. 10.1 x 7.2 in. -- and there's a reason: It's designed explicitly to be a home entertainment unit as opposed to a more typical portable tablet that you'd throw into a bag and take out into the world.

Displays, speakers and that puzzling projector

And at first, it appears Lenovo has outfitted the Pro to fit that home entertainment purpose: The device's gigantic LCD screen has Quad HD resolution, which promises a stunning and pixel-packed display. When you compare the screen directly with other devices, however, you realize it's not quite as jaw-dropping as it sounds. Remember, resolution is all relative: While Quad HD is crisp and arguably even excessive on a smartphone-sized screen, that same number of pixels is spread out over a much larger surface area here.

As a result, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro ends up with about 221 pixels per inch (ppi) -- a lower density than what you'll see on many current tablets. When I look at it next to the 323ppi second-gen Nexus 7, elements on the Tablet 2 Pro appear less crisp and sharp, especially in high-resolution images. The Pro's display also looks slightly washed out next to the Nexus 7's and its whites are much more grayish.

That's being picky, though. By itself, the Pro's screen looks pretty good, and for most purposes, it should be perfectly fine, if not exemplary.

The same can't be said for the 10-in. Tablet 2, unfortunately: Its 1920 x 1200 LCD screen is just flat-out disappointing. Text isn't particularly sharp, and images don't look crisp; all around, it's a significant step down from the status quo.

Both tablets do have front-facing stereo speakers, which is a nice touch -- though they're better described as 'decent' than 'spectacular.' The 10-in. Tablet 2's speakers are reasonably loud but mediocre in quality; they're significantly more hollow and tinny-sounding than those on Google's recently released Nexus 9 tablet. The 13.3-in. Pro has an actual subwoofer on its back, which helps to fill out the sound -- but the impact is far subtler than you might expect, and the quality just still isn't great. In a side-by-side playoff, the Nexus 9 again sounds better.

So how about that built-in projector on the Tablet 2 Pro? Well, it works exactly as advertised: When you activate the feature through a menu on the device, an image shines out of the end of the tablet's cylinder base. You then point it at a wall and adjust a physical slider to manipulate the focus. The image quality is adequate; Lenovo says you can make the picture as large as 50 in., but even at small sizes, things are slightly fuzzy and not terribly vivid.

In fact, I'm a bit befuddled at the projector's inclusion: I'm just not sure when or why most people would want to use it. In most cases, you'd get a far more enjoyable experience by simply casting content wirelessly to a higher-quality TV screen using an inexpensive dongle like the $35 Chromecast. You could also plug the tablet directly into a TV via HDMI -- if either Yoga had HDMI-out capability, which they don't. The projector is certainly novel, but I would think including an HDMI-out port would have been a far more practical and desirable solution in this day and age.

In any case, if the idea of a projector appeals to you, the Pro tablet has it.

Performance, stamina and storage

Performance was a serious problem with the first-gen Yoga Tablet, and Lenovo has done little to address the issue in these second-generation devices. On both the regular Tablet 2 and the Tablet 2 Pro, animations are consistently jerky, scrolling on the Web is choppy and things just aren't terribly snappy anywhere in the system.

(If you're curious about specs, both models share the same internal configuration: a 1.86GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3745 processor with 2GB of RAM.)

Stamina, at least, is a strong point: The Tablet 2 is listed for 18 hours of active use per charge while the Tablet 2 Pro is at a very respectable 15 hours. Actual battery life is always going to vary depending on how you use a device, but based on my time with the tablets, I'd say those estimates should be quite attainable for most people.

Neither Yoga Tablet supports wireless charging, so you'll be plugging them in via regular USB adapters to power up. The tablets also lack support for near-field communication (NFC), which is an odd omission for Android devices in this class. Its absence probably won't be too big of a deal in most day-to-day use, but it does mean you won't be able to tap the tablets back-to-back with other Android devices to initiate wireless transfers of settings and files (as you can with most other current Android tablets).

As for storage, the regular Tablet 2 has a meager 16GB of internal space, only about 10GB of which is actually available for you to use. The Pro bumps things up to 32GB, with 24GB being available at first boot. Both systems have micro-SD card slots hidden beneath their stands that allow you to add up to 64GB of external space.

If you absolutely must take a photo with your tablet, both Yoga models have 8-megapixel rear-facing cameras. They also include 1.6-megapixel front-facing cameras for selfie snapping and video chatting.

The software

Lenovo's custom software, based loosely on Google's Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system, may be the strangest thing about these devices. The user interface seems to be a weird attempt at mimicking an iOS-like environment within Android. Given the iPad's popularity, I guess I can see why Lenovo might think that'd be a good idea -- but the end result is a muddled mess that's clunky and confusing and feels like a step back in time.

To wit: Lenovo has eliminated the typical Android app drawer and instead created a setup in which all apps, shortcuts and widgets exist solely on the home screen itself. The system icons are designed to look like iOS icons. If you long-press an icon, you even get the iOS-like effect where the icons all wiggle and then have small x's in their corners that allow you to uninstall the corresponding apps.

JR Raphael

Lenovo has eliminated the typical Android app drawer and instead created a setup in which all apps, shortcuts and widgets exist solely on the home screen itself.

But then there are Android-style touches mixed in with that. Most non-system icons follow Android's design guidelines, for instance. Some icons even appear in different styles depending on where you look -- like the one for Chrome, which shows up with Google's standard Android icon on the home screen but is represented by an iOS-style icon elsewhere in the system. It's a mishmash of conflicting visuals that's like sandpaper on the eyes.

Other system elements are just plain bizarre -- like the legacy overflow-menu icon inserted next to the tablets' virtual buttons. That's the series of vertical dots that used to appear in Android back around 2011 to provide support for older apps that hadn't been updated past the Android 2.3 Gingerbread design standards. For some reason, Lenovo decided to make it a core part of its current software environment: It's present on the home screen and pops up periodically as a placeholder for hidden options elsewhere in the system, creating further inconsistency and confusion.

Android's top-of-screen notification panel is still present, meanwhile, though with a dated-looking design. And Lenovo has moved all the settings out of that area and into a separate (and equally dated-looking) bottom-of-screen panel that appears when you swipe up from the virtual Back, Home and Recent Apps buttons. Confounding things even more -- if you long-press the Home button, you'll see the standard Android shortcut to Google Now. Got all that?

I could go on, but you get the point. The Yoga Tablets' software feels like it was created in a vacuum with no awareness of current design trends or standards. Lenovo's attempt at creating an Android-iOS hybrid results in an amateurish and inelegant environment that's going to leave both Android and iOS users scratching their heads.

With Google's polished and cohesive new Android 5.0 Lollipop release now out in the wild and available on other tablets, this type of configuration seems particularly inexcusable.

Bottom line

When I reviewed last year's original Yoga Tablet, I said Lenovo had created an innovative and practical form but had failed the grasp the basics. I expressed hope that the company would revisit the form in the future with better components and more intuitive software, because it had a lot of untapped potential on its hands.

Here we are a year later -- and sadly, it's the same exact story: This year's Yoga Tablet 2 and Yoga Tablet 2 Pro are cool concepts that come up short. Despite their clever forms and commendable stamina, they suffer from underwhelming displays, subpar performance and one of the oddest and most confusing user interfaces I've ever encountered. No matter how much I want to like them, their deficiencies are just too foundational and the resulting user experience too poor to be forgiven.

So once again, I'll end by saying that Lenovo makes some fantastic hardware and has some wonderful ideas. If and when the company goes back to square one and gets the basics right, its Yoga Tablets will be nothing short of incredible.

Pew poll: Limited knowledge on privacy policies, more on net neutrality

U.S. Internet users have a limited understanding of what net neutrality means and what protections are contained in company privacy policies, according to the results of a national survey by the Pew Research Center.

Just 61 percent of people responding to Pew's Web IQ survey correctly answered a multiple-choice question and identified net neutrality as equal treatment of digital content by Internet service providers, the research center said Tuesday. You can test your own Web IQ at Pew's website.

And just 44 percent of respondents correctly answered a true or false question on company privacy policies. The minority correctly answered that the presence of a privacy policy does not necessarily mean that the company keeps the information confidential that it collects from users, Pew said.

This recent survey was the first time Pew has asked about net neutrality 'so we honestly didn't know what to expect going in on that one,' said Aaron Smith, senior researcher at Pew's Internet Project.

Still, with more than six in 10 correctly defining the issue, and about 4 million comments to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission this year, net neutrality has gained some traction among Internet users.

Pew didn't ask about support for net neutrality or whether people think the government should 'take an active role' in the issue, Smith said by email.

'It is a fairly technical issue, so the fact that many people are at least aware of the terms of the debate could be interpreted as fairly significant evidence of how much this has penetrated the popular discussion,' he added.

On the privacy policy question, 'there is still a lot of confusion about privacy policies on websites,' said Lee Rainie, Pew's director of Internet, science and technology research.

But the answers weren't that surprising, Smith added, with a near identical response in Pew's recent survey to the same question asked in a 2003 survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

'In terms of privacy policy awareness, we found it notable how much knowledge on this issue has not changed over the years,' Smith said. 'Despite all of the data breaches, news stories, and policy discussions that have been happening around this issue over the last decade, Americans are not substantially more informed about this subject than they were a decade ago.'

On the other hand, more than eight in 10 Pew survey respondents were able to correctly identify Microsoft founder Bill Gates from a photo and were able to correctly pinpoint Twitter as the Internet service where hashtags are widely used. While about 20 percent of adult Internet users also use Twitter, according to Pew surveys, 'knowledge of Twitter conventions is widespread, even among non-Twitter users,' Rainie said by email.

More than 70 percent correctly knew that email can be used to send PDFs, and correctly answered that a megabyte is a larger amount of information than a kilobyte.

Just 34 percent of survey respondents were able to correctly link Moore's Law with the number of transistors on a computer chip, and just 23 percent correctly answered 'false' when asked if the Internet and the World Wide Web are the same thing.

Pew's survey, of 1,066 adult Internet users in the U.S., was conducted in September.

Nvidia wants to put a cheap Shield in your hands this Black Friday

Whether you're lining up somewhere after loading up on a Thanksgiving feast, or curling up on the couch in your pajamas with your finger on the refresh button, the siren song of ridiculous discounts on just about everything that comes with Black Friday is here. This year there's plenty of websites you can hit if you don't want to go out. Nvidia is a prime example this year, with promotions for both of their Shield devices that make for a compelling buy.

They don't get much more niche than Nvidia's power gamer-focused hardware, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The Shield Tablet was the first Android tablet outside of the Nexus 9 to sport Android 5.0, and the hardware just begs for some high end games to be played on it. Nvidia's GameStream service does a decent job of making it so you can play your PC games on the tablet, as long as you have the right PC hardware, and the new GRID cloud play service will hopefully fill in the rest of the gaps when it leaves beta.

What a lot of folks don't know about the Shield Tablet is the ability to play a handful of Valve classics on it, which is where the Black Friday deal comes in. The bundle includes the $400 Shield Tablet, the Shield Controller, and copy of Portal, Half Life 2, and Half Life 2: Episode 1 for $399. It's also worth pointing out that this version of the Shield Tablet is LTE ready, so you could get your mobile gaming on wherever you want if you attached a data plan to it.

If a tablet isn't what you are looking for, Nvidia's Shield Portable is also on sale. You can get the portable and one of the crush-proof cases for $199, which is a significant discount on a device that never really took off. You get access to the same GameStream service if you're rocking a decent gaming PC at home, and the HDMI-out for this portable even handles 4K video if you've got a TV that supports it. If you play a lot of mobile games that support controllers, this is one of the better experiences for gameplay. If you're more of a touch control user, you'd probably be happier with the Shield Tablet.

Whichever way you go, if you want to take part in the promotion you'll need to head over to the Nvidia website and get your refresh key ready. The purchase buttons are already set up on the site, which means Nvidia will flip a switch on Black Friday and whoever gets there first gets the deals.

Now read: Nvidia hacks together two displays to build better VR goggles

Regin Malware Threat; Apple (RED) Campaign; More T

Topping tech headlines on Monday, security experts warned of malware that's been used to spy on international targets.

Known as Regin, the back-door Trojan is what security firm Symantec called 'a complex piece of malware whose structure displays a degree of technical competence rarely seen.' Reports suggest that the threat can be traced to U.S. and U.K. officials, much like Stuxnet. The malware is able to load custom features tailored to each target, then follows a five-stage chain of decryption. For more, see the video below.

In other news, Apple launched a short-term section of its App Store featuring 25 applications with exclusive content, the proceeds of which will go directly to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS. Cupertino will also donate a portion of its global retail and online sales on two of the biggest shopping days of the year: Friday, Nov. 28 and Monday, Dec. 1. Reality star Kim Kardashian is doing something similar with her mobile game, Kim Kardashian Hollywood.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile's Music Freedom program added 14 new streaming services, including Google Play Music, Xbox Music, and SoundCloud. The new additions more than double the number of providers covered by the program, which lets users play music without drawing from their high-speed data allotment.

Be sure to check out a few other stories making headlines in the links below.

Bids in FCC Spectrum Auction Top $34B: This bodes well for the incentive auction that is now scheduled for 2016. Need for Speed No Limits Coming to iOS, Android in 2015: The much-loved racing series returns. Elon Musk Tips Tesla, BMW Battery Talks: Musk also defended the company's Nevada Gigafactory, and showed off a new rocket. All in a day's work. Microsoft Shows Off Robot Security Guards: Microsoft had some robot visitors at its California campus recently. Nexus 5 Tops Nexus 6 in Repairability: The 6-inch smartphone received a seven out of 10—the same grade earned by rival iPhone 6 Plus. Google's Times Square Billboard Spans Entire City Block: The Web giant just rented out the largest digital screen in North America. Google Pulls Anti-Gay 'Ass Hunter' Game from Play Store: The game encouraged players to hunt and shoot naked gay men. Meet Flow, the Mouse With More: Flow is a 'freely programmable wireless controller,' which combines hand gesture recognition, touch, and haptics. Nvidia Offers Black Friday Shield Bundle: Buy the 32GB Shield tablet 'Green Box' bundle for $399, and get a Shield controller for free. FCC Commissioner Walloped by Reddit: Mignon Clyburn seemed unprepared for the level of frustration Redditors have about their Internet service.


T-Mobile will start letting you know when it's slowing down your data speeds.

The mobile carrierhas agreed to change the way it handles customers who hit monthly data limits, the Federal Communications Commission announced.

When customers hit those limits, T-Mobile allows them to continue to use data, but at reduced speeds. T-Mobile will be more upfront with customers about those reduced speeds, the FCC said.

Until now, T-Mobile has given customers speed information for its overall network, rather than the actual speed they're receiving.

The FCC said that's confusing.

Related: The best and worst airports for cell phone service

TMobile must change its practices in the next 60 days, the FCC said.

The company did not immediately respond to CNNMoney's request for comment.

The FCC has been pressuring wireless carriers over the practice of 'throttling' data, as it is known.

It recently sued AT&T , alleging its plans was misleading customers, and Verizon recently abandoned plans to throttle the data of its customers with unlimited data plans.

First Published: November 25, 2014: 8:41 AM ET

Xiaomi slashes Redmi Note price for India

Xiaomi had announced their smartphones earlier this year. They began with the sale of the Mi 3 and finished the sale of the Redmi 1S today. Now it is the turn of the third handset, the Redmi Note.

In July, the Redmi Note was announced for Rs 9,999 for India. Xiaomi has cut the price by more than 10%, with the final price being Rs 8,999

Priced at a sweet Rs 8,999, Xiaomi's Redmi Note is a true value for money. Redmi Note is a 5.5-inch phablet featuring an HD IPS display with an 8-core processor and a 13MP camera.

The Redmi Note, though bigger in size, seems to be priced well below the MRP and looks like a true value for money.

Also Read: Be aware! Xiaomi has two variants of the Redmi Note

The Xiaomi Redmi Note sale is scheduled for December 2 and the registrations have begun on Flipkart.

However, the Redmi Note has two variants. While the non-4G Redmi Note is available for Rs 8,999, the Redmi Note with 4G is priced at Rs 9,999. There is no information about the sale of the 4G handset as yet.

Sony joins Emirates in ending its World Cup sponsorship

Sony Corp is to end its sponsorhip of the soccer World Cup against the background of a corruption scandal over the award of the next two tournaments to Qatar and Russia, according to a report published Tuesday.

Citing a person familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal said that the company had decided not to renew its contract as one of six 'official partners' of FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, when it expires at the end of this year. The WSJ said the eight-year contract was worth 33 billion yen ($280 million).

The news is further evidence of the price FIFA is paying for its failure to clear up accusations of corruption in the tenders to host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. The Japanese consumer electronics giant is the second major sponsor to walk away from one of the world's biggest sporting events within weeks, following Emirates Airlines.

Earlier this month, FIFA refused to publish in full a report by U.S. lawyer Michael J. Garcia into the allegations. Instead, it released selected excerpts of the report, clearing itself of any wrongdoing. Garcia immediately responded that it had materially misrepresented his findings. FIFA's conclusions effectively ended any prospect of re-staging the tenders.

The incident reignited outrage in Europe's powerful national soccer associations and leagues at the shortcomings of FIFA's management, and specifically at its Swiss head, Sepp Blatter.

The German soccer league, one of many which fears that its seasons will be disrupted by the need to move the Qatar tournament away from its traditional summer slot, has called for a European boycott of the tournaments in protest at the alleged cover-up.

Sony hasn't confirmed the report but had earlier called on FIFA to be thorough and transparent in investigating the allegations.

BlackBerry offers up to $550 trade

Summary: BlackBerry has a few Black Friday deals worth considering, including a way to trade in your iPhone and receive bonus value if you purchase a Passport.

(Image: BlackBerry)

I wrote about the new BlackBerry Black Friday specials yesterday and then BlackBerry announced the rest of the holiday deal.

The $200 Passport discount ends on 30 November and then starting on 1 December you will be able to 'trade-up' your iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, or 6 for a Passport. The press release states that a new iPhone 6 could be worth up to $400 and then an additional $150 ($200 CAD) is offered for Passport purchases.

The BlackBerry trade up page shows what each model of iPhone may be worth with offers ranging from $300 to $550 ($600 CAD). These prices are actually much better than other carrier and manufacturer trade-ins we have seen before. The convenience of working directly with BlackBerry may make this an attractive options for those looking to switch to a Passport.

The red and white BlackBerry Passport models are available to pre-order now, priced at $699 and $599, respectively. The $499 black Passport is now shown as being out of stock, likely due to the launch of the Black Friday sale yesterday.

ZDNet BlackBerry Passport coverage


T-Mobile's Music Freedom program, which allows users to access music streaming services without incurring data usages, has expanded by adding 14 new services.

T-Mobile's president and chief executive John Legere, called the new move 'pure Un-carrier,' the term T-Mobile uses to brand itself as a way it distinguishes itself from other mobile carriers like Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. Legere said that the Music Freedom program will ultimately include every streaming music service out there, and that this addition of 14 new services is an important step towards a more pro-music, pro-consumer approach to enjoying streaming content.

T-Mobile has already made headlines with the revolutionary program in the past, with the carrier launching the service with several streamers like Samsung Milk Music, iTunes Radio, Grooveshark, AccuRadio, Songza and Rdio in August. The new selection of streaming music services include Fresca Radio, Live365, Xbox Music and Soundcloud to name but a few.

T-Mobile customers have responded to the Music Freedom program, the company says, reporting that the number of subscribers listening to streaming music on any given day increasing by almost 300 percent. Around 66 million songs are streamed every day over T-Mobile's network - the equivalent of around 200 terabytes of data, according to the carrier's internal figures.

The deal has been popular with customers to be sure, but some industry experts say that Music Freedom may spell disaster for net neutrality. Carriers and ISPs have been accused in the past of wanting the ability to pick and choose which content providers it will support and which it will not - or which it will charge massive fees for the privilege of fast-lane access to their networks - but the T-Mobile service relies more upon consumer voting than T-Mobile making direct decisions as to which streaming services it will support and which it will leave out. In other words, while other carriers might make arbitrary decisions as to what streaming services to support - or charge those service providers that want to gain access to the network - T-Mobile is instead responding to consumer demand.

Currently the fourth largest carrier in the United States, T-Mobile may grow into the number three spot over the next year on the strength of its innovative user programs, industry experts predict.

Kim Kardashian's app to aid AIDS research

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian is 'thrilled' to help in the fight against AIDS by raising money through exclusive content on her 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' application.

The 34-year-old is working with multinational corporations Apple and (RED) in honour of World AIDS Day Dec 1. Through her app, she's offering exclusive new content and funds of all the in-app purchases will be donated to the Global Fund in a bid to eradicate the disease, reports'Players can show their support by participating in special (RED) events and purchasing exclusive (RED) in-game items like (RED) Beats headphones,' she said in a statement.

'As a 'thank you' for their support, players can take a (RED) branded selfie with me and share to their social networks! Players can even attend a (RED) fundraiser event in-game. I'm thrilled to be able to support (RED) through Kim Kardashian: Hollywood,' she added.

As part of the special features, the 'Keeping Up With The Kardashians' star's mother and manager Kris Jenner will become the first member of the family to get her own avatar as she helps gamers get to the top of the A-list.

In the weeks leading up to World AIDS Day, 25 games, including 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' will be making new content available to raise funds.

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