T-Mobile, the 4th U.S. wireless operator, had a 2.7% share rise, up to $31.85. T-Mobile is two thirds owned by Deutsche Telekom and specialises in providing plans for equipment installation, lifetime free data for tablets or free data roaming.
The company is also referred to an an “un-carrier,” as it also likes to call itself, and has eliminated all contracts and introduced a billing plan that encourages customers to pay for devices in instalments. And it seem they’ve got it going on big time.
“2014 was the best year of growth in company history. (…) Our Un-Carrier moves helped us blow away the competition. The best is yet to come, as the future looks bright in 2015,”
John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile said.
T-Mobile recently added 2.1 million subscribers, therefore managing to bring its customer count to over 55 million. This fact marks the 7th quarter in a row that T-Mobile managed to generate over 1 million customer additions. All in all, for the full-year 2014, the company added 8.3 million net customers; that’s an 89% increase from 2013.
The company has managed to add so many customers by using a series of “Un-carrier” initiatives, such as encouraging costumers to break their long-term contracts that characterise the wireless industry, and to offer them early upgrades, or free international data roaming, as well as data rollover and paying early termination fees for the ones who decide to switch.
Moreover T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network is well-known for having great coverage in urban areas, despite its continuing to suffer from some gaps in several other more remote parts of the country.
The company also announced Friday that it covered widely populated areas, with 265 million inhabitants at the end of 2014. This is a way better score than its original target of 250 million people. By the end of this year, its population coverage target is expected to reach 300 million people.
Among T-mobile’s targets is their surpassing their competitor, Sprint, which managed to add 900,000 net new customers, only 30,000 being post-paid subscribers, which are currently seen in the industry as representing the most valuable segment of the market. Legere had previously expressed their desire to surpass Sprint by the end of 2015. T-mobile is seriously working on achieving this.
Barbie dolls have always kept up with the Joneses, that’s why a new model will reportedly be an internet connected version of the worldwide famous doll. In order to make this happen, Mattel will be partnering with US ToyTalk, so as to develop Hello Barbie, the doll that will have two-way conversations with children.
ToyTalk must develop a speech-recognition platform in order to make this happen, but things are going pretty fast, as prototype of the doll has already been presented at the New York Toy Fair on February 14th, among other super smart toys.
“The number one request we hear from girls around the world is that they want to have a conversation with Barbie. Now, for the first time ever, Barbie can have a two-way conversation,” said a spokeswoman for Mattel,”
a spokesman for Mattel explained.
The Hello Barbie model will be able to play games with children and also tell stories and even jokes. But the coolest thing is that the doll will also listen to conversations and be able to adapt to them over time. For instance, in case a child mentions that he/she likes to ride a bike, the doll may refer to this in a future chat between them.
Hello Barbie will be given dialogue schemes based on what kids are most likely to say or ask, and due to the fact that the doll is internet connected, the scriptwriters in charge with its conversational skills will be able to load additional conversations after purchasing the doll. Mattel assures its clients that Hello Barbie will be easily updated with new phrases at some later dates.
Both ToyTalk and Mattel don’t want to stop here, but develop the technology even further, so that the doll will be able to talk to kids regarding their future career dreams and help them decide what they would love to do in life. However the doll can also be used as a regular toy if one decides not to take advantage of its internet connection, or anytime internet connection is unavailable.
The doll will reportedly cost $74.99, but an exact release date hasn’t been offered yet.
An apparent dispute regarding Facebook posts lead to the killing of a 13-year old boy by an 18-year old one. Roberto Madrigal, 18, is charged with first degree murder after shooting a 13-year old boy last Sunday in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood.
According to the Chicago police, Anthony Diaz was shot about 10:35 p.m. on Sunday. Diaz and his two sisters aged 15 and 17 had just left the house after a Facebook confrontation in which the girls had been involved, according to information provided by the boy’s father, Ralph Otero, 47. And while they were confronting some other girls regarding a Facebook issue and Diaz was recording the fight with his smartphone, he was shot in the chest all of a sudden. The boy was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital about an hour later.
This Friday the 18-year-old Roberto Madrigal was charged with first-degree murder for killing Anthony. Madrigal was also scheduled to appear for a bond hearing on Friday afternoon at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building.
“I’m devastated. The mom is devastated. We’re all in shock. My pastors are very devastated, because he’s a good kid. He was a good kid, honors student, and outgoing person. (…) All I ask is for justice. I don’t wish them harm. I don’t wish them anything bad, but unfortunately, we’re on this Earth, and we’ve got to pay for our mistakes,”
Ralph Otero, the boy’s step father said.
But in the meantime scandals are likely to go on, because according to Anthony’s mother, Laura de Domenico, her 17-year-old daughter is in a street gang and has had previous problems with the police. The woman explained how her daughter has a bone to pick with everybody and enjoys getting into fights. She is also afraid because after she learned that her little brother had passes away, the teen girl promised retaliation. Now both her parents are striving to make her change her mind so as to avoid other potential further tragedies in the family.
The mother admitted she was going to cry for her son for the rest of her life.
Neither of the parents know what the fight between the two boys had been about. Otero and his wife were sleeping when they got the call from Anthony’s oldest sister.
The absolute astronomy highlight of the week is actually seeing the formation of a multiple-star system unveiling before our eyes. This definitely gave the science world a a revolutionary understanding regarding what happens before a star is born.
Capturing this exact phase of formation is particularly important because it is the one that determines the number of stars in that system. However it is usually hard to catch a glimpse of because of dust clouds and dense gas.
Researchers studied a dense core of gas, called Barnard 5, which is located in a young star-forming region of the constellation Perseus, 800 light-years from Earth.
The article was published in the latest issue of the Nature journal and it was led by a team of astronomers from England and United States. The research team was conducted by Jaime Pineda from the Institute for Astronomy at ETH Zurich. Observing the exact phase of the birth of a multiple star system offers some vital clues, like the frequency of planets, the formation of stars and planets and, most importantly, it offers valuable insight regarding habitability.
“Seeing such a multiple-star system in its early stages of formation has been a longstanding challenge, but the combination of the Very Large Array (VLA) and the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) has given us the first look at such a young system,”
said Jaime Pineda.
The authors were involved in mapping radio emissions coming from methane molecules in the proximity of a young proto-star when they detected some fragmenting filaments of gas that were condensing in order to form three new stars. But the universe takes its time, that’s foe sure, as these condensations are expected to gravitationally collapse and form stars as a consequence sometime during the next 40,000 years, which is a rather short period of time considering the astronomical standards.
Researchers are of the opinion that these stars in the system will eventually range between one-tenth and one-third the mass of our Sun. However the main question that rose came as a consequence regarded why our system has only with one star, while the nearest system, Alpha Centauri, has three.
Vladimir Dinets from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has a recently published study in the magazine Animal Behavior and Cognition, in which he proves that crocodiles are lovable and sociable creatures, despite their fearful appearance. Crocodiles love to play in manners that can be closely be associated with the human ludic spirit, enjoying activities such as piggyback rides, playing the ball or sifting waves.
After investigating them closely, Dinets has found that crocodiles actually play with streams of water, love noisy ceramic artefacts, wooden balls, and enjoy “hunting” different objects that might be floating in the water.
“I present the first overview of play behavior of three types (locomotor play, object play and social play) in crocodilians based on original observations, published reports and anecdotal evidence,”
This is reportedly the first scientific study that investigated the ludic side of the crocodiles, thus shedding some light regarding the evolution of intelligence among animals. It clearly proves that play is a universal feature that is not only seen in humans.
Vladimir Dinets had been studying crocodiles for over 10 years.Dinets’ earlier researches proved that crocodiles can also climb trees, can work well with other crocodiles and even use lures in order to hunt their prey.
The study has also pointed out that crocodiles can get attached to human beings, who they consider reliable playmates. For instance the scientist evoked a story according to which a crocodile that had been shot in the head and rescued by a man afterwards, developed true feelings for his saviour. It appears that the two became close friends and would play together without restrictions. The only thing that separated them was the death of the crocodile, 20 years later.
He added that their playing routine often implied the crocodile swimming with the human,or trying to startle him by suddenly pretending to attack him or by sneaking up on him. But he equally accepted being caressed and kissed on the snout.
What Dinets is trying to encourage though these findings is the development of friendlier and more relaxed habitats for crocodiles living in captivity. Their having some toys and enough room to play would make them healthier, more content and with a longer life span than usual.
This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas saw automakers unveiling their self driving cars. Auto manufacturers also used the CES platform to showcase hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Mercedes Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche unveiled the self-driving Mercedes-Benz F 015 concept vehicle at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Costantine Samaras, a professor of engineering at Carnegie Mellon University said, “CES is a place where automakers can reach an entire new audience of consumers who are looking for what’s next. Even if it’s just at the concept level, there’s a lot of spillover for technology up and down an automaker’s supply chain.”
The car can accommodate four persons facing each other in a lounge-style seating while the car drives autonomously. It is just 15 years in future.
Toyota unveiled its self driving prototype last year’s CES event and this year it is showcasing the Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Toyota magnanimously announced that 5600 of its patents related to Hydrogen Fuel Cell will be free to anyone who wants to use them.
Toyota Senior Vice President Bob Carter said, “The first-generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, launched between 2015 and 2020, will be critical, requiring a concerted effort and unconventional collaboration,”.
Apple kicks off New Year with booming App store sales. Apple registered a 50% sales rise in 2014.The first week of 2015 saw half a billion Dollars worth of sale. It was also the single best day sales on New Year.
Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users spent a whopping .5 Billion dollars on app and in-app purchases in the 1st week of the New Year. It was a new record for the App Store declared the Company on Thursday. App sales provided iOS Developers with more than $10 billion in revenue. In all, the developers earned $25 billion till date.
Google’s operating platform, Android still dominates the market but developers prefer iOS as their favorite platform to work around. This is not surprising since users of this company’s devices spend more money on apps and games. The Apple App Store may not be the biggest revenue earner but it contributes sizeable revenue.
Android platform has already overtaken iOS in the smartphone market segment. The 2014 data reveals that Google has surpassed Apple for the total number of apps- 1.43 million compared to 1.21 million. For the first time since the launch of the App Store, Google has overtaken Apple with the highest number of apps.
The growth is not limited to Apple or Google app store. There has been a 90% growth in Amazon’s app store-up to 293,000 apps. It will be extremely beneficial for those who are using BlackBerry 10 smartphones or Kindle Fire devices preloaded with Amazon App Store.
Business and food & drink saw the biggest growth in iOS while Android saw the highest growth in games and photography. With the Android cameras getting better, it is not surprising to such growth in photography. Much of this growth took place in the latter half of the year. More developers joined Google in 2014 as compared to the combined total of Apple and Amazon. App development is also on the rise and saw a growth of 50% in 2014. The highest growth happened in Google.
Good sales of iPhone 6 and 6plus saw the iOS market rising across Europe, the US, Australia and China. The gap between the iOS and the globally dominant Android platform is narrowing down.
According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, market researcher iOS market share has increased in Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, the United States, Australia, and China. Android saw a decline in most of the above countries.
The fall in sales of Android was the first since September 2013. Android commands a market share of 48.4% with the iOS just a whisker behind with 47.4%.
Android continues to dominate in China where it commands an 80.4% market share and the iOS could manage barely 18.1%. Android share is pushed up continuously with a broad range of products by local manufacturers.
Japan was the only country where the iOS has declined and the Android share has increased.
The two leading oil companies in the world, Chevron and Exxon, have reported that they experienced an increase in profits for the third quarter of the year with positive performances from their processing plants which make up for the weak outcomes at their production businesses.
Not a lot of people expected that the two companies will meet their targets that are now seen on the charts. This is mainly because there were only a few who believed in what the huge refineries are able to give to the major players in the oil industry.
Now with what Chevron and Exxon showed for their third quarter profits, there is already a solid proof that refinery profits will go up if there is a major decline in oil retail prices.
The largest listed oil company in the world, Exxon, has reported $8.07 billion of net income for the first three months until the 30th of September. This net income shows that there’s been an increase of 3% in the company’s profits as compared to the same period of last year.
Meanwhile, Chevron has reported a net income of $5.6 billion which is 12% higher than what it earned in 2013.
In spite of the boost in third quarter revenues, Chevron and Exxon still reported that they are having a difficult time in keeping the numbers higher to meet their fourth quarter targets. The two made an assurance though that they will continue to extend extra efforts to make sure that there would be no big turmoil in the market.