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February 2017

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Conserving storage space for users is about to be made even easier for Windows 10 users

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is set to add a feature to Windows 10 which would assist users in removing unnecessary files which otherwise clog the pipes and takes up space. Microsoft is calling this feature “Storage Sense.”

Windows 10 Insider Build 15014 was released only recently for the Fast Ring members of the Insider Program, and it comes with a number of improvements and changes. One of those improvements is the upcoming Storage Sense, which will feature two options to conserve space on your hard drive: deleting temporary files that are no longer needed, and removing files from the Recycle Bin which are older than 30 days.

It also comes with a manual option to free up space on the disk, but these two options should make sure that there is plenty of free space available, and the user is required to step in himself only in exceptional cases to make additional space available. Obviously, Storage Sense is turned off by default, but you can turn it on easily by navigating to Settings > Storage.

Storage Sense joins Microsoft’s own ebook store, an option to use any color as the accent color, and a number of other exciting changes which might come to the Windows 10 Creators Update. It is scheduled to be officially released this April, so it’s not long before we get our hands on the latest update ourselves.

The Fire Tablet was available for $39.99 last week. Unfortunately, the $10 discount is no longer available

Last week, Amazon Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) took everyone by surprise by dropping the price of its Fire Tablet from $49.99 to $39.99. The discount was available for all colors, recently launched along with the 16GB variation of the Fire Tablet. However, the discount is no longer available as the Fire Tablet’s price has been reverted back to what it was before.

Amazon may have temporarily reduced the price point in order to encourage sales, especially since the introduction of three new colors. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, it also revealed the 16GB variation of the tablet, so it does make sense for the company to make such a move in order to promote its tablet.

At the same time, it is important to note that Amazon recently unveiled the Kindle Oasis as well. Even though the e-reader is splendid to say the least, it costs a staggering $289.99. In many ways, the device cannot be taken as a wise investment, as it would be much more feasible to invest in a tablet instead. In fact, the iPad Mini 2 costs $20 cheaper. However, seeing how the Fire Tablet serves as a reliable e-book reader and has a lot more functions to offer, it could prove to be an affordable alternative to the Kindle Oasis and for those who do not wish to break their bank in the process.

That being said, this is not the first or last time that Amazon will make such a discount available for its Fire Tablet. Moreover, seeing how popular its Fire Tablets have become, it is highly likely that Amazon will invest much more of its time and resources into the product to make it much more appealing than it already is.

Duo is Google’s latest attempt to get a share of the live video chat market

A new video chat application that works solely on telephones, Google Duo is set to release today. All you have to do is tap on the image of the person you want to talk to, and you have an easy one to one video chat with them. It’s simple to make use of without any odd complications. Whoever uses this application will know that Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) hasn’t failed to achieve its objective of making a video chat application which is exclusively for cellphones.

Duo works on both Android phones and iPhones. When you join, the application checks your phone number and sends you a confirmation message. This is the entire setup process, there are no records to maintain. It is directly linked to your telephone number and contacts.

It is easy to access but not really suitable if you want to utilize Duo on anything other than your smartphone. It is incapable of making phone calls, or using any other special element during a call or during Hangout.

Nick Fox, vice president of Google’s Communications, said that this design is laser-focused on phones. Their goal is to make it solely work on phones: “Amazing on mobile, nothing on desktop.”

There is one component, Knock Knock, which only works on Android though. When you get a call, you get a live scene of the caller before you even take the call. It gives you a chance to see who is calling, it lets the caller make entertaining appearances to allure you to take the call. The advantage of this is that it makes the call start promptly. It starts working the moment you click answer. Knock Knock, only works with the people you have in your contact list so strangers’ calls don’t show up and you also have the option of blocking any caller you want. And lastly, if you don’t like this feature, you can always switch it off.

Google has worked hard at the back to make things feel prompt. It depends on WebRTC and some specialized groundwork to make the call work automatically depending on the quality of your connection. It also immediately picks up the call when you switch from your Wi-Fi to cellular data, the call just continues after a slight pause.

The quality of the call is equally good on both the iPhone and Android phones. However, Google doesn’t have the same power to work on iPhone the way it has on Android, that is why there are a few problems, no Knock Knock and you have to unlock your device before you take the call.

Google has made two new applications and has already made their announcement, however, the release dates have not been told. These applications, Duo and Allo (a messaging application) are not to replace Hangouts, a video and messaging application of Google. Hangouts will work, but with a more centralized purpose of serving businessmen.

Fox, has categorized these applications: Duo and Allo, for customers and Hangouts for the businessmen.

It is a bold move by Google for discharging Duo at this time when there are already a lot of different applications in the market. Fox said that it is focused on making different applications which cater to a variety of consumers. Google is set to make Duo a well one on one video chat application, the question that arises now is if it is good enough?

Indian Transport Minister visited the Tesla Factory in California and offered land in India to make the country its “Asian manufacturing hub”

Last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) factory in Fremont, CA, and talked about battery and solar technologies with some executives, fueling up speculations for a Tesla factory in India. While such reports were initially dismissed as rumors, it now appears that the government actually wants the electric vehicle maker to build a factory in the country.

Indian Express reported that Indian Minister for Road Transport and Highway, Nitin Gadkari, visited the Fremont factory on July 15 and met with company officials. The minister discussed about introduction, acceleration, and “pollution-free road transport” adoption, focusing on public and commercial vehicles, including buses, trucks, and two-wheelers.

The Indian government aims to promote green-energy transport in the country by offering incentives to vehicles powered by CNG, bio-fuel, electric, and ethanol. Interestingly, Mr. Gadkari offered land for a manufacturing facility near the Indian port, which would facilitate export of vehicles to other South Asian markets. He suggested the automaker to make India its manufacturing hub in Asia.

We already know that Tesla has been working to establish its first Asian manufacturing facility in China, the world’s largest automobile market. Thus, a senior Tesla executive appreciated the offer and said that the company will definitely consider it in the future, most likely after production of the Model 3 ramps up. The executive added that India will certainly be an ideal market for its first low-end luxury sedan, the Model 3, whose reservation has been opened to customers in India.

Tesla is already in talks with potential partners and manufacturers in China. Last month, a Bloomberg report suggested that Shanghai is the front-runner in cities vying for the Tesla China factory. However, both the company and reported local partner denied the news.

Being two of the fastest growing economies in the world with high-level carbon emission levels, China and India present the most lucrative markets for Tesla in Asia. Both the countries are now taking initiatives to alleviate their carbon footprint and promote the use of renewable energy.

With Tesla’s HEPA air filtration system in the Model X, which has recently been introduced in the Model S as well, the automaker can significantly improve air quality in these regions if such technologies hit their roads in sizeable volumes. The air filters not only offer clean, breathable air to passengers in the vehicle; it also purifies the air aroundthe car.

Tesla adds over 1 million square feet of warehouse space near the Fremont factory as it seeks to expand production plans

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been significantly adding more space to its main manufacturing plant in Fremont, CA to expanding its operations. Since the unveiling of its first compact sedan, the Model 3, the company has decided to upgrade its production and expansion plans.

Silicon Valley Business Journal reported on Monday that Tesla recently leased two new building at Oaks Logistics Center in Livermore, which is just 20 miles away from the Fremont factory. The move increases the company’s total manufacturing or warehouse space by over 1 million square feet in the region.

The facilities cover 635,533 square feet and 367,734 square feet of space. Additionally, the automaker will likely lease another 294,000 square-foot of building. Although there is uncertainty regarding the number of jobs the facilities will create, it is expected to be used as a warehouse, rather than a manufacturing space. Tesla is likely paying roughly 57 cents per square foot on monthly basis.

The Fremont factory, which has production capacity of 500,000 vehicles per year, is already one of the world’s biggest buildings having 5.3 million square foot of production and office space. Yet the company has been leasing out more space near the plant. Last year, it leased the 500,000 square-foot of former Solyndra production building and 300,000 square-feet building on Kato Road. Not to forget, the company converted the Lathrop facility, leased in 2014, into a casting foundry.

Tesla must have chosen Livermore because it’s close to its main factory and provides access to workers from Center Valley. Additionally, the report comes just a month after the Model 3 unveiling, after which the company has been working to upgrade its production plan to ensure that the customers of the $35,000 vehicle do not have to wait a lot. It has already scooped 400,000 reservations, which can grow even more by the end of 2017 when Model 3’s deliveries will initiate.

 

Xbox One may well be on its way to become cheaper

Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox One is no stranger to temporary price drops. During the Holiday Season or Spring Sale, Microsoft has temporarily dropped the price of the system more than once.

Now, Xbox One is once again officially slashed to $299 for a limited time. The last time the console was sold for $299 for during the Holiday period and Microsoft’s Spring Sale earlier this year, but something about the current price drop is what makes us curious. Could there be a permanent price drop on the way?

E3 2016 is just over two weeks ahead. The biggest gaming event of the year is stage to many games and hardware announcements. According to a recent report, Microsoft will introduce a Slim revision of the existing PS4 console and it may come with a 2TB hard-drive. It is fair to assume that if it is indeed true, then the current price drop may be a way to clear out the existing stock to make room for the new revision to replace the current system and all its SKUs.

Traditionally, slim revisions can also bring new price points. If this doesn’t turn out to be the case, then it can be assured that the revision will pack more features to make the case for its $349 price tag. Assumingly, Microsoft can phase out the current 500GB and 1TB SKU with 1TB and 2TB SKU. The new 1TB model could retail for $299 with a permanent price and the 2TB will take over as the higher SKU. It certainly does make sense. Assuming Microsoft’s previous moves, a price-cut will work as a strategy for its 2016 games lineup to attract more gamers to the platform.

The Country Callers discusses expected numbers for Tripadvisor and Vivint Solar prior to their respective Q3 earnings announcements

Tripadvisor Inc. (NASDAQ:TRIP) and Vivint Solar Inc. (NYSE:VSLR) are ready to publish their results for third quarter of fiscal year 2016 (3QFY16) after the closing bell today. The Country Caller reviews their previous earnings trends and whisper numbers. It appears that TRIP will once again miss Street estimates, both on top and bottom lines, whereas VSLR is likely to beat Street’s top line numbers.

Tripadvisor

Tripadvisor is slated to reveal its earnings in the after-hours today. FactSet data reveals that Tripadvisor has been given consensus earnings per share (EPS) estimate of 54 cents. Earningswhispers.com expects the company to remain in line with its performance for the same period a year ago and report 53 cents in EPS. Wall Street’s expectations suggest a 42.1% sequential increase over the Massachusetts-based company’s last quarter EPS of 38 cents.

The analysts expect TRIP’s revenue to come in at $439.44 million. Estimize.com’s revenue forecast of $434.9 million suggests that it is likely to underperform Street expectations this season. The $9.09 billion company earned $415 million revenue for the same period of FY15, suggesting that Street analysts have factored in 5.89% year-over-year (YoY) in their estimate. Reported net sales for 2QFY16 were $391 million.

Vivint Solar

For 3QFY16, the consensus has projected that Vivint Solar will report a loss of 46 cents per share today, a cent lower than 3QFY15’s loss of 47 cents per share. Loss is also expected to compress sequentially, as the Utah-based company reported 49 cents in per share loss for the last quarter.

The consensus revenue estimate for VSLR is $43.63 million, lower than Estimize.com’s projected value of $43.91 million. Consensus expects revenue increase of 94.2% as reported net sales for 3QFY15 amounted to $22.47 million. The $302.29 million company also announced $34.9 million revenue for 2QFY16.

The Country Caller discusses recent notable sales made by insiders at Oracle Corporation, Twitter Inc, and Alphabet Inc

Key insiders at Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR), and Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) have recently made notable sales. The Country Caller takes a closer look at the transactions these employees have made at their respective companies.

Alphabet Inc

Last week, CEO of Alphabet Inc. Larry Page sold a total of 66,664 shares through various direct transactions. The insider sold this amount for a combined total of $50,042,105. The transactions included both Class A common stock and Class C capital stock shares. After making these sales, Mr. Page now owns 89,000 Class A Google shares, and 21,205,290 Class C shares. These are worth $67,180,760, and $15,592,249,737, respectively, as per the closing prices on March 24.

Twitter

Chief Technology Officer Adam Messinger offloaded 11,386 company shares, for $16.73 apiece, making the direct sale he made on March 22 worth $190,488. After dumping these shares, he is now left with 1,494,599 Twitter shares, worth as much as $23,779,070 as of Thursday, March 24. Prior to this sale, the insider also sold 19,746 Twitter shares last month, through two direct transactions, for a sum of $366,401.

Oracle Corporation

President of Product Development Thomas Kurian dumped a total of 400,000 shares through only two transactions, one each made on March 21 and March 22. He sold this stake for a total of $16,642,020, and had 33,533 shares remaining afterward, worth $1,373,847.01 as on March 24. Within the last 12 months, this is the first time the insider sold Oracle shares.

Secretary, General Counsel, and EVP Dorian Daley also sold 47,500 Oracle shares, at $41.53 apiece, making her direct sale, dated March 22, worth $1,972,737. She owned 25,000 shares following this transaction, according to her SEC filing, valued at $1,024,250 as per the last closing price.

Jennifer Bailey, Apple Pay chief, was speaking at the Code Commerce conference in San Francisco

According to Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Apple Pay chief Jennifer Bailey, the in-house mobile payments system is being used and accepted at more than 35% of the retailers all over the country. Bailey has also predicted massive growth for Apple Pay next year.

Bailey was speaking at Re/code’s Code Commerce Conference being held in San Francisco, when she said that currently Apple Pay stands at around 35% adoption rate in the country. But as 2017 rolls in, that will figure rise meteorically. 35% adoption means around four million retail locations all over US, but that figure could rise to cover two out of every three retail locations.

That growth is also predicted in Gap’s participation in the Apple Pay method of transactions, which is reported to be launched in the next few months. So far, NFC payments and the “dip to pay” method has been the way to go for Apple Pay. But especially after the launch of Apple Pay in Japan and the application of EMV technology, that trend could be shifting.

Bailey has, however, reiterated that EMV is not necessarily the way forward for now, and it is more important right now that a number of partners are supported for mobile payments. While EMV is increasingly becoming a major rival for Apple Pay, the Cupertino company is simply looking to strengthen its foundations so that it could continue its rise as the next default payments method.

Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) bringing its SQL servers to Linux machines will cost Oracle Corporation (ORCL) some of its market share in Database Servers

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is looking to expand its footprint in the Database Server market, using its SQL servers to challenge Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) on the Linux OS. Microsoft’s cloud first strategy sees the potential for the company to experience growth in the database environment. By shipping SQL onto Linux, Microsoft is tapping a new operating system with a proven product.

Microsoft is tired of taking backseat to database segment titan Oracle, which has twice the market share of Microsoft. Microsoft does not seem to have found a way to make headway in the database server wars using its own Windows OS and is instead choosing to expand to Linux in a bid to woo customers that it had not catered to before. The Linux operating system, due to its open source nature, is used by individuals and companies with more complicated needs that require more than the run of mill systems.

With that in mind, Microsoft, which has never targeted the high end computing market, is now trying to diversify its software to reach more platforms including Apple and Google’s operating systems. Microsoft is also using pricing to beat out its competition and has adopted a low cost strategy to make its servers a more attractive proposition for companies with respect to its main competitor, Oracle.

It’s easy to understand why Microsoft is going through all this trouble, considering that SQL servers have been the dinosaur chunk of its cloud and enterprise revenue bringing in $2 billion in the past 3 years. With analysts projecting a continuing annual growth of the database server market by 6.6% annually all the way to 2019; it will be worth $41 billion in the next 4 years. For Microsoft, this is an opportunity that they cannot miss with their business strategy streamlined to cloud.