We are proud to announce our first daily newsletter: SiliconMorning. With SiliconMorning, we want to present the best tech news from around the web to you in one tasy little package that arrives in your inbox every weekday morning (we aim for around 8am PT).
Most of the tech newsletters send out by the big sites today just list their own stories. That's fine, but we think you're better served by a morning briefing that doesn't just focus on stories from one site.
Our aim is to give you a head start by summarizing the top tech news for you.
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The iPhone Turns 5: It's hard to imagine the tech world without the iPhone today, but it was just five years ago that Steve Jobs introduced "three revolutionary new products" at Apple's WWDC 2007. It's probably a sign of our times (and Apple's genius) that it's hard to remember how revolutionary some of the most basic iPhone features were at the time, so if you have some extra time today, re-watch the 2007 keynote. (YouTube)
Are Apple, Nokia and RIM supplying backdoors for government intercepts? A group of Indian hackers got their hands on some documents from an Indian military network that shows that a number of tech firms (and especially mobile device manufacturers) are providing backdoor access to their devices to the Indian government "in exchange for the Indian market presence." Expect to hear a lot more about this in the next few days. (Computerworld)
Intel vs. ARM: The rivalry between Intel and ARM is heating up. The Economist offered one of the best looks into why the two companies are going head to head now over the weekend. Money quote: ARM "lies at the heart of a huge “ecosystem” of companies: a federation, perhaps, as opposed to Intel’s integrated empire. […] Between them they shifted perhaps 8 billion ARM-based semiconductors in 2011, half of them in mobile phones and mobile computers, the other half embedded in consumer items and elsewhere. According to IDC, a research firm, the market for PC-powering chips that use Intel’s x86 processor architecture, which Intel dominates, was about 400m last year. (Economist)
Netflix arrives in the U.K.: It's taken a while, but Netflix is now available in the U.K. For £5.99 per month (the first month is free), her Majesty's subjects can now stream movies and TV series from content partners like the BBC, Sony, Disney, Paramount, Channel 4 and ITV. Lovefilm, one of Europe's most popular Netflix-like services, immediately undercut Netflix's subscription price by £1. (The Verge)
One Tablet Per Child: The OLPC initiative is launching an 8" tablet. It will have a 1024×768 display and run either Android or OLPC's own version of Linux. Don't get to excited, though, as you won't be able to buy one. The group will sell the tablet directly to countries that will buy them in bulk. Price: about $100 for the most basic version. Gizmodo got some hands-on time with the tablet and calls it "a product that recognizes that a healthy degree of compromise is more than worth getting technology in the hands of people who need it most and can afford it least. It's a promise, fulfilled." (The Verge, Gizmodo)
Unexpected praise for Windows Phone (and confirmation that the Nokia Lumia 900 is coming): It's not often that we hear positive things about Windows Phone, which generally gets ignored or laughed at by most tech pundits. Ahead of this year's CES, the New York Times took a look at the history of Windows Phone and Microsoft's relationship with Nokia.
The NYTimes also confirmed that Nokia will indeed announce its flagship Lumia 900 Windows Phone model at CES this week.
Quotable: "Bill Flora, one of the designers of Windows Phone, said the care that Microsoft took in designing its products had changed vastly since he joined the company out of art school in the early 1990s. “Now, instead of 80 percent of its efforts being unenlightened, just 20 percent are unenlightened,” said Mr. Flora, who recently left Microsoft to form his own design firm in Seattle." (NYTimes)
Get off my cloud: Ahead of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Acer announced its own iCloud rival over the weekend and went as far as ripping off the design of the slide Steve Jobs used to introduce iCloud. (TechCrunch)
An Lenovo Android TV: Who would have thought it would one day come to this, but Lenovo is making a play for the living room with an Android-powered smart TV. The creatively named K91 will run Android 4.0, feature a webcam (including facial recognition for parental controls) and a remote control with a touchpad and come in 42" and 50" inch models. It should be available later this year.(Gigaom)
Odds and Ends
Don't talk about the (cyber) war: The U.S. expelled Livia Acoista Noguera, the Venezuelan consul general in Miami, over the weekend. According to the Guardian, the consul was caught discussing a potential "cyber attacks against the U.S. while she was stationed at her country's embassy in Mexico." Noguera was apparently looking for information about severs of nuclear power plants in the U.S. (The Guardian)
Absurdly useless machines: The New York Times features a portrait of Joseph Herscher this weekend. Herscher builds Rube Goldberg machines in his Brooklyn apartment and sees them as an art form. Worth a read if you are into "useless machines." (NYTimes)
CES is about to jump into full swing this week, so expect days full of ultrabooks, tablets (especially of the Android persuasion) and all kinds of interesting gadgets to launch over the next few days. This is Microsoft's last year at CES, so keep an eye out for Steve Ballmer's keynote tonight (Monday) at 6:30pm PT, as we will probably learn more about Microsoft's tablet strategy with Windows 8 and will get some Windows Phone news as well. You can watch it live here.