Good morning! It’s a bright and sunny day in London. Here’s the tech news you need to know this Wednesday.
1. Apple is now the number one smartphone manufacturer in the world. In Q4 of 2014, Apple devices outsold Samsung — the previous #1 — for the first time since 2011, according to data from Gartner. Apple saw a 49% jump in Q4, compared to Samsung’s almost 12% decline.
2. Uber has acquired mapping startup deCarta. The taxi-hailing company currently uses Google Maps to power its apps for riders and drivers. Uber is also looking into self-driving car technology.
3. Neighbourhood-based social network Nextdoor has raised $US110 million at a $US1.1 billion valuation. It’s trying to build hyperlocal online networks based around real-world communities.
4. Google’s search monopoly might soon be over. That’s what Peter Thiel, a respected venture capitalist, said at Launch Festival in San Francisco. Eric Schmidt has previously admitted that “all bets are off.”
5. Facebook’s Open Computer Project (OCP) has launched its first commercial startup. Launched in 2012, the OCP aims to revolutionise the computer hardware industry in the same way Linux changed the software industry. The launch of a commercial startup is a significant milestone.
6. Google has delayed its Android encryption plans because they were crippling people’s phones. The company had intended to have strong encryption on by default on Android 5.0 Lollipop, but it’s causing massive slowdowns.
7. Big video game companies are giving away their game engines for free. It means that anyone can develop games using their platforms, in return for a cut of the proceeds. Valve Software, Epic Games and Unity are all opting for this royalty model.
8. Millions of Apple and Google customers have been left vulnerable to hackers due to a newly discovered security flaw. It’s called a “FREAK attack,” and Apple is already moving to fix it.
9. Twitter is requiring new users who sign up through Tor to provide a phone number. It’s part of a crackdown on harassment and trolling on the social network.
10. Amazon may be planning to launch its own wireless mobile phone service. The prediction comes from Macquarie research after Google officially announced its own network, and is in keeping with what we know of Amazon’s previous products.