As Surface surges, consumer PCs soften, Microsoft says

During its second-quarter earnings conference call, Microsoft said it's encouraged by the surge in revenue for the Surface tablet-laptop hybrid. But this is happening against a backdrop of a weak consumer PC market.

Microsoft on Thursday reported fiscal second-quarter results that were better than expected. The company had sales of $24.5 billion, or 78 cents per share. Wall Street had expected revenue of $23.7 billion with a profit of 68 cents a share.

Devices and consumer revenue grew 13 percent to $11.91 billion. Surface revenue more than doubled to $893 million, up from $400 million in … Read more

Ballmer: Nokia deal is a good thing for our hardware partners

You might think Windows Phone makers would be peeved to find out they're now competing against the very company that provides them software. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has a different take.

In a conference call Tuesday with analysts and journalists, Ballmer said that he believes his company's $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia's phone business "grows the OEM opportunity," adding that he's already spoken with OEMs -- an industry term for device makers -- who have shared their enthusiasm about the deal.

"I've talked to a number of OEMs who are more … Read more

QNX updates its CAR platform, wants your next ride to support Android apps

At the Telematics Detroit Conference today, QNX pulled the wraps off of a new version 2.1 of its QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment.

The new QNX platform builds on the provider's telematics and infotainment architecture to enable developers to adapt Android apps for use in the car and to create apps and interfaces based on the Qt 5 application framework. This builds on the CAR Platform's previous support for HTML5 and OpenGL ES standards, giving mobile developers an assortment of widely supported tools to build software for your next car.

The new version of the QNX CAR … Read more

Microsoft cuts Windows 8 OEM prices to spur demand -- WSJ

Microsoft is aiming to amp up demand for Windows 8 notebooks by offering manufacturers a discount on the operating system, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

Based on comments from "people familiar with the situation," the Journal yesterday said that Microsoft is trimming OEM (original equipment manufacturer) prices for Windows 8 and Office 2012. The goal is to encourage device makers to develop smaller, touch-based laptops designed for the latest Windows version.

Sales of Windows 8 computers have been weak since the OS debuted last October. Conventional desktops and most laptops still lack the touch screens needed to … Read more

With Surface, Microsoft picks a fight with its closest partners

You can almost picture Microsoft's longtime hardware partners offering up polite, but terse, applause for the newly unveiled Surface tablets. Most were mum yesterday after the event.

How else are they supposed to react? For companies such as Hewlett-Packard or Acer, which have depended on Microsoft and its Windows operating system for its PCs and laptops, this is a slap in the face.

At best, Microsoft's Surface is implicit commentary that the original equipment manufacturers can't cut it in the tablet arena. At worst, Microsoft means to stake a dominant position, leaving even less room in a … Read more

Five OEM navigation systems that are worth your bucks

While just about any navigation system on the market will get you where you're going, not all of them are created equally. This is especially true in the world of OEM in-car navigation systems where screen size, interface design, feature sets, and (most importantly) price vary wildly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some automakers offer cutting-edge GPS navigators with innovative features that you'll wonder how you ever got along without. Others will make you wish you'd skipped the pricey navigation package and just packed a smartphone.

We've taken a look back on the most recent OEM navigation systems to have graced the Car Tech garage and picked out a few manufacturers, in no particular order, that consistently knock it out of the park when it comes offering the best in-dash technology for getting from where you are to wherever you want to be. … Read more

Andy Rubin called back in Oracle-Google trial to talk patents

SAN FRANCISCO-- Google Senior Vice President Andy Rubin made yet another appearance at the Oracle v. Google trial at the U.S. District Court of Northern California here this afternoon.

Called by Oracle, the focus this time was to learn more about Rubin's knowledge related to patents belonging to Sun Microsystems.

Right from the beginning, the tension in the courtroom bumped up a notch as Oracle attorney Michael Jacobs began his questioning. Similar to his first few appearances on the stand in this case, Rubin responded by evading most of the questions throughout his testimony.

When Jacobs commenced by … Read more

OEM Audio Plus delivers car sound in a box upgrade for Scions

Going through lists of amps, speakers, and subwoofers in a quest to upgrade your car's audio can be baffling. OEM Audio Plus removes the confusion, at least for Scion owners, by providing a complete package.

CNET tested the company's audio upgrade in the Scion tC. OEM Audio Plus also offers sound system upgrades for the xB and iQ, and is working on a package for the FR-S and xD.

The upgrade consists of replacements for all the existing speakers, and the addition of an eight-channel 360-watt amp and an 8-inch subwoofer with a 130-watt amp to power it. … Read more

Taiwan pub steadily criticizes Intel's Ultrabook

A Taipei-based technology news site has been publishing a steady stream of flak centered on Intel's Ultrabook laptop strategy. Intel counters, however, that this is little more than rumor and speculation.

Over the last week or so, DigiTimes has been offering up almost a daily dose of grievances, seemingly emanating from that region's suppliers, including ODMs (original design manufacturers) and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).

For example, on its front door as of Tuesday night PT, the publication has three articles critical of Intel's Ultrabook strategy.

The Ultrabook is defined roughly as an ultraportable laptop under 0.8 … Read more

CNET Roadside Assistance 006: Where have all the wagons gone? (podcast)

This week we try to help a listener replace her wagon, a Honda Accord owner wants to ditch his busted CD changer, and we explain what the heck "satellite based navigation" means.

Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 006 SHOW NOTES

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