Facebook is again throwing money around to get a leg up on the competition. The social network is reportedly buying messaging app WhatsApp for a staggering $16 billion in cash and stock, plus an extra $3 billion or so in stock for WhatsApp employees. For those keeping track, that's 19 Instagrams.
The last two years have not been kind to HTC. Despite garnering critical acclaim from the One series and consistently improving both hardware and software, the Taiwanese company is getting battered on high-end phones by Samsung and Apple, and battered on low-end phones by Samsung and just about every Chinese company out there. According to a report from Reuters, HTC will try to shift its strategy in 2014 to give more attention to mid-range devices, which it has been ignoring somewhat for the last few product cycles.
Update: Google has announced that the deal is official on its investor relations site, and Motorola had its say too. The deal is worth $2.91 billion, with $1.41 billion paid at closing ($660m in cash and $750m in stock). Lenovo gets 2000 patents in the deal, plus a licensing arrangement with Google. Original post follows.
Google is always doing surprising things, but this is probably not something anyone would have predicted yesterday.
Google has reportedly closed a deal to acquire a London-based artificial intelligence startup called DeepMind. Google buys things all the time, but this time Mountain View has agreed to pay a huge sum of money for DeepMind. Sources are reporting the deal could have been valued as high as $500 million, or 0.5 Instagrams.
The Play Store is brimming with alternative home screens, but Aviate was far and away one of the most impressive we saw last year. This beautifully designed launcher takes a completely different approach to organizing your apps and data. Apparently Yahoo was just as impressed as we were because the company just announced at CES that it has acquired Aviate.
In case you missed it, Aviate tracks your usage patterns and groups apps into categories that are presented to you based on the time of day and your location.
T-Mobile has rapidly expanded its LTE footprint in the last year, but there is only so much the carrier can do with existing spectrum licenses. It was previously rumored the Un-carrier was working on a spectrum deal with Verizon, and now its official. T-Mobile will hand over AWS licenses worth $950 million and throw in another $2.365 billion in cash to get its hands on new Block A 700MHz licenses.
The internet got all sad and nostalgic in November when AOL announced with little fanfare that Winamp was shutting down. The music player and streaming service had been whipping llamas for 15 years, and it seemed like a depressing and inauspicious end. AOL smartly held off on the shutdown when there appeared to be interest in buying Winamp, and that's just what happened. Winamp is being sold to Belgian online radio purveyor Radionomy.
Bump was and early innovator in the area of file and contact sharing on mobile devices. Interest has waned a bit in recent years, but then Google bought the company back in September. Work seemed to stop on Bump's apps shortly thereafter, and now we're getting the official word – Bump and Flock are no more. Both apps will stop working and be removed from Google Play (and the App Store) on January 31st, 2014.
When Android founder Andy Rubin announced that he was leaving the Android team back in May of this year, it was a shock to say the least. At the time Mr. Rubin confirmed that he was staying with Google itself, but declined to say what his new role would be. Six months later, a report from the New York Times seems to have the first information on what he's been doing.
In the haze of excitement over getting the latest and greatest from Android, sometimes we forget that some people actually depend on their phones and tablets for work. Within the professional world, mobile access to email tends to be vital. For better or worse, an overwhelming number of businesses and organizations rely on servers running Microsoft Exchange (or other software implementing the protocol) to handle their email and calendar needs. Unfortunately, a minefield of bugs in KitKat's Exchange support are leaving many stranded without access to their employer's servers.