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Wall Street Journal

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Wall Street Journal Reports That Amazon Has Downsized The Fire Phone Team, Surprising No One

Amazon's Fire Phone, the logical smartphone extension of its Kindle Fire tablet series, is a dud. A combination of lackluster reviews, carrier semi-exclusivity, and most of all being tied into Amazon's app and service environment have made it more or less a total failure. The company never publishes hard data for its hardware sales, but casual observation and constant discounts (sometimes more than $500 off of the original $650 off-contract price) imply that the product has been a wash.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon isn't eager to continue in the phone market. According to the paper, "dozens" of engineers in the Lab126 hardware team have been laid off.

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Report: Google Has Assigned Engineers To Build A Version Of Android Just For Virtual Reality

At the first few major tech conferences of the year, CES in Las Vegas, Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, the current trend of virtual reality is inescapable. Such disparate players as Facebook, Samsung, and Razer are all throwing their weight behind various virtual reality headsets, and software developers are scrambling to meet the demand for apps, games, and videos. According to this report by the Wall Street Journal, Google isn't content to dip its toe into VR with the mostly experimental Cardboard platform.

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The paper cites "two people familiar with the project" who say that the company is working on another branch of Android specifically for virtual reality hardware and software.

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Wall Street Journal: The Next Version Of Google Glass Will Have Intel Inside

Though the hardware was mildly refreshed back in June, Google Glass has been running on much the same internals for the better part of two years. With the rise of Android Wear, at least some of us were wondering whether Google still intended to bring its head-mounted wearable system to retail at all. According to the latest report from the Wall Street Journal, Google is indeed planning at least one more version of Glass, this time running on an Intel chipset. The new hardware will reportedly be released next year.

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The original and current Glass models use Texas Instruments processors.

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Milk Studios Media Agency Sues Samsung Over Milk Music Trademark

Samsung seems to have a big target on its back that is particularly attractive to lawyers. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, a media company focusing on photography and management is suing Samsung over its use of the "Milk" trademark for its proprietary music service. The New York- and Los Angeles-based agency alleges that Samsung knowingly and willingly violated its trademark when designing the new service.

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Milk Studios isn't particularly well-known for everyday consumers, but it's more notable than you might think. While Milk Studios started with photography services in the 90s, it has expanded into a range of niche business-to-business media sectors, including online services, equipment rental, brick-and-mortar galleries, talent management and representation, and full production of websites, commercials, and more pertinently, music and music videos.

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WSJ: Samsung Sells 40% Fewer Galaxy S5 Units Than Expected, Sales Down From The Galaxy S4

Since Android's rise to the top of the mobile landscape, Samsung has been the clear market leader, at least in terms of sales. But the thrones of the mighty are shaking, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ cites anonymous sources, presumably within Samsung itself, that say the Galaxy S5's international sales have fallen 40% below the company's expectations. approximately 12 million phones were sold in the first three months after release, compared to 16 million for the Galaxy S4 last year.

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That's a big problem for Samsung, as the international megacorporation leans on its mobile division for profitability, and the mobile division hinges on its flagship.

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Wall Street Journal: Google's Vice President Of Engineering For Android Is Now The VP Of Engineering For Chrome As Well

Chrome and Android have been strengthening the old Google family ties for a while now, but according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, they just got a little tighter. The WSJ reports that Hiroshi Lockheimer, who currently serves as the Vice President of Engineering for Android, has also assumed the role of Vice President of Engineering for Chrome. That would put him in charge to a greater or lesser degree of the Chrome browser on desktops, Chromebooks and similar ChromeOS hardware, and Chrome on Android and iOS, plus whatever else Google has cooking up.

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Hiroshi Lockheimer, right, current VP of Engineering for Android.

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Wall Street Journal: Microsoft Is Ready To Buy Minecraft Developer Mojang For $2 Billion (Or 2 Instagrams)

It's estimated that the build-your-own-adventure sleeper hit Minecraft has sold over 50 million copies on various gaming platforms, including more than 5 million of the Pocket Edition on Android. How much would you say that Mojang, the Swedish developer co-founded by Markus "Notch" Persson, is worth? If a recent report from the Wall Street Journal is to be believed, Mojang and its properties are being acquired for a staggering two billion dollars by Microsoft.

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Minecraft creation and screenshot by AppleNova forum member Brad

Microsoft's interest in the company is clear: Minecraft has sold 12 million copies on the Xbox 360 alone, and it has slowly become a cultural phenomenon.

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Wall Street Journal: Google Plans To Send 180 Satellites Into FREAKIN' SPACE To Offer Internet Service To Remote Areas

Recently, Google's ambitious and public-spirited ventures are sounding less like the careful expansions of an international megacorp and more like the pet projects of Dr. Benton Quest. Self-driving cars, medical contact lenses, industrial robots - seriously, we're just waiting on a Walking Eye and Steve Ballmer in a villain costume at this point. The latest report from the Wall Street Journal (which tends to be spot-on when it comes to Google's plans) says the company is preparing a fleet of low-orbit satellites that will deliver Internet access.

Yes, really. According to the WSJ, recent Google hire Greg Wyler, founder of O3b Networks, is laying the groundwork for a plan to expand Internet service to super-remote locations that are currently underserved.

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Motorola Mobility Takes Down The Moto X's 'Made In America' Sign, Closes Factory In Texas

The time has come for America's most patriotic phone to remove its ten-gallon hat and hop down from its saddle, because Motorola Mobility has announced that it's closing down the high-end phone's assembly plant in Fort Worth, TX. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the facility will close its doors before the end of the year.

"What we found was that the North American market was exceptionally tough,"

- Motorola President Rick Osterloh

The reason is simple, the Moto X simply did not sell enough units for Motorola to achieve economies of scale. The company was able to move 900,000 units in the first quarter following its release, which didn't quite match the millions its competitors were able to move.

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Candy Crush Game Developer King Files For IPO Of Up To $500 Million

King has been making headlines lately thanks to trademark claims that are, frankly, insane. But it looks like the creators of Candy Crush Saga are doing something right: the Wall Street Journal reports that the company is filing for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, preparing to sell as much as $500 million in initial stock.

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King's collection of simple Facebook, iOS, and Android games are almost entirely driven by the free-to-play model, with headliner Candy Crush Saga being downloaded more than 100 million times on Android alone. The company has also become a lightning rod for controversy ever since it won extremely broad trademark claims on the term "Candy" (applied to video games and clothing) in January.

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