Whatsapp Was Temporarily Banned in Brazil

One day after a court order in Sao Paulo banned the popular social messaging app for the entire nation of Brazil, WhatsApp is back in action across the country. In a decision that is likely bringing relief to the 93 million strong user base of WhatsApp in Brazil, Judge Xavier do Souza ruled that it was “not reasonable that millions of users be affected by the inertia of the company”.

In a nation where phone bills and contracts are often prohibitively expensive, many Brazilians make use of messaging apps such as WhatsApp to communicate with friends and family, both locally and abroad. It came as a shock then, when as of midnight on Thursday, local time, a 48-hour ban came into effect on the service across the country’s network providers. The ban came courtesy of a judge in Sao Paulo, who, as a result of WhatsApp’s refusal to hand over data pertaining to a gang member on trial over criminal actions, opted to issue a nation-wide ban on the service for 48 hours as a sanction.

This did not go down well with the online community, both in and outside of Brazil, with many taking to social media to show their outrage at the court’s actions. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg released a statement decrying the blocking of the service and pointing people towards Facebook’s own messaging service.

Tonight, a Brazilian judge blocked WhatsApp for more than 100 million people who rely on it in her country.

We are working hard to get this block reversed. Until then, Facebook Messenger is still active and you can use it to communicate instead.

This is a sad day for Brazil. Until today, Brazil has been an ally in creating an open internet. Brazilians have always been among the most passionate in sharing their voice online.

I am stunned that our efforts to protect people’s data would result in such an extreme decision by a single judge to punish every person in Brazil who uses WhatsApp.

We hope the Brazilian courts quickly reverse course. If you’re Brazilian, please make your voice heard and help your government reflect the will of its people.

-Mark Zuckerberg

Meanwhile, WhatsApp’s rival services, most notably Telegram were enjoying a large influx of users courtesy of the ban. Telegram alone reportedly gained as many as 1.5 million users from the blocking of its rival, causing their registration servers to choke under the sudden load.

While the ban was eventually overturned by another judge, it is worrying that a country that is commonly seen as an ally of net neutrality has the ability to ban a service nationwide on the ruling of a single judge, with no known consultation. Hopefully, both the country of Brazil and the rest of the world will take note that attempting to ban their citizens from such services unreasonably will not go down without a fight.

Online Trolls and Racists Being Targeted With Billboard Ads Near Their Homes

Online bullies, trolls and other people hiding behind the half-anonymity of the internet while insulting people have been a cancer on our society for quite some time and it probably won’t be stopped anytime soon either. We got a lot of stupid people in this world and they don’t seem like they’re learning. In Brazil however, they now risk their comments to be blown up and shown on billboards near their homes for everyone to read.

The campaign is called Virtual racism, Real consequences and it is backed by the civil rights organisation Criola. The group collects comments from Facebook and Twitter and uses geolocation tools to find the location from where the racist comments were posted. The group then buys billboard space nearby and posts the comments in huge letters for everyone to see. The group does blur the photo and names out, but the message comes across.

Translation: “A black girl called Maju. You can’t complain about prejudice.”

“The campaign is intended to encourage people to speak out and report racism,” said Criola’s founder Jurema Werneck. “Those people [who post abuse online] think they can sit in the comfort of their homes and do whatever they want on the internet. We don’t let that happen. They can’t hide from us, we will find them,”

The campaign was launched in July when a prime-time weather presenters photo, who happens to be coloured, was posted on the channel’s Facebook page and sparked a wide range of racists comments. Ironically, the same day was the Brazilian national day against racial discrimination. The billboard campaign has been running ever since and it has gotten mostly positive feedback since launch as well as launched a debate about the issue, which probably is the best effect they could have hoped for. Dialogue is the start of getting along.

Translation: “If she bathed, she didn’t get grimy.”

Does a comment on the internet cause less damage than a direct offence? Maybe for those who make the comments, but those who suffer the abuse experience the same prejudice and effect. I personally think that it is very sad that a campaign like this is needed in our day and age. We as the human race should have evolved beyond such neanderthal-ish behaviour by now. We are all humans and we all share the same small planet, it is about time that we all finally get along.

Translation: “I arrived home smelling black people.”

Internet.org Gets Trashed by Global Internet Activists

Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire Facebook founder, recently unveiled plans to offer a ‘free’ internet – essentially a sponsored internet portal through which limited filtered content can be viewed – to the world’s poor through his Internet.org endeavour.

A group of internet activists from around the world, however, have taken exception to the idea, accusing Zuckerberg of treating the poor as a lower class who don’t deserve to benefit from net neutrality, all in the name of ‘free’ internet; free from cost, but not free from corporate control. Digital rights activists across the globe have, quite rightly, accused Zuckerberg of attempting to violate the concept of an open internet.

Brazilian activists have written to President Dilma Rousseff, an advocate of Internet.org, to protest, saying, “We believe this project … could jeopardize the future of Brazil’s information society, the digital economy and the rights of users on the network, such as privacy, freedom of expression and Net Neutrality.”

The e-mail, written by Cristiana Gonzalez of the University of Sao Paulo, continued, “If defending Net Neutrality is a challenge, try convincing policymakers that there are better solutions to affordable access than offering the ‘free Internet’ via cellphones.”

In Nairobi, tech entrepreneur Ali Hussein Kassim said, “The Googles and Facebooks of the world can lure local users onto their global sites and platforms, but what happens to local Internet entrepreneurs who are trying to launch their own online businesses and services?”

“It’s like inviting me into your house and telling me that I can do this and that,” Kassim added. “People like us will continue pushing and pushing and pushing and pushing until they hear us. We will not give up.”

Zuckerberg, in a particularly pissy rebuttal to criticism, said last week, “We have to ask ourselves, what kind of community do we want to be? Are we a community that values people and improving people’s lives above all else? Or are we a community that puts the intellectual purity of technology above people’s needs?”

Niels ten Oever, head of digital for free speech group Article 19, was one of many who took exception to Zuckerberg’s rhetoric, responding, “It’s not the community of people that are fighting for Net Neutrality that are depriving people of full Internet connectivity. It’s the telcos, companies and governments that have the capacity and resources to do so, but who don’t.”

Zuckerberg does not want to bring free internet to the masses, he wants to inflate his Facebook userbase and monetise an untapped resource. The sooner he is honest about that, the better.

Thank you Moyers & Company for providing us with this information.

Hollywood Wants Exception to Net Neutrality Rules to Fight Pirates

Hollywood thinks it’s special, and can play by its own rulebook in its fight against online piracy, so the latest move by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) to bypass Brazil’s “Internet Constitution” – essentially the country’s version of net neutrality legislation – in order to block pirates is very much in character. The MPA has appealed to Brazilian Justice Minister to amend the Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the Internet (Marco Civil da Internet), still in its infancy, to allow special exceptions for choking traffic to notorious torrent sites.

In its appeal to Justice Minister José Eduardo Cardozo, the MPA writes:

“[Our] position is that the regulation should contain cases of exception to the general rule of net neutrality, enabling the judiciary to determine that traffic to a given illegal repository can be blocked.”

“The aforementioned suggestion is based on the premise that an adequate service must be in harmony with the possibility of allowing the judiciary to block access to content that, based on judicial scrutiny, is illegal for any reason, from a case of child pornography and trafficking of illegal substances, to the case of systematic disregard for the consumer and violation of intellectual property rights.”

The Marco Civil da Internet legislation has been in development since 2009 and is designed to protect online privacy and net neutrality. What the MPA is asking for is the addition of a “But…”, giving Hollywood studios the privilege – something the film industry is already swimming in – to abuse those privacy and net neutrality laws for the sake of money.

The new law has been in place for a year this month, and was fast-tracked after the Edward Snowden leak back in 2013. Amongst confidential documents revealed by Snowden were cables indicating that the US had been intercepting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s private phone calls and e-mails, as well as digital data from Petrobras – Brazil’s biggest oil company – and millions of Brazilian citizens.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of apcm.org

Google Uses Ziplines to Showcase Amazonian Rainforests

Google has been mapping a lot of the Globe with its Street View project. Thus far, we know it uses cars to get in and around places and map the area around streets in a 360 degree angle from the mounted camera on top of the car.

But how about the places where a car can’t go? The answer – ziplines! The latest addition to its Street Maps images comes from a partnership with the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation, who came with the idea of borrowing Google’s Trekker, Google’s special camera for capturing Street View photos, through its loan program, which lends the cameras out to nonprofits and other organizations.

“The big challenge was finding where to put the zipline,” says Karin Tuxen-Bettman, program manager for Google Earth who worked with FAS on the project. “This wasn’t an eco-tourism location where they had these sites already chosen and set up. They brought all their equipment by boat to the location and hiked several kilometers in to find this tree.”

With this initiative, FAS managed to capture a part of an Amazonian rainforest from the forest floor to the upper canopy. The foundation also took the camera down the Rio Aripuanã and Rio Mariepauá rivers to highlight the communities of people who live in and around the forest and rivers.

“These people are the devoted stewards of the river and forests, and protect it by living with it, preventing the destruction of the trees and the life that depends on them,” Tuxen-Bettman wrote in a blog post.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information

Nintendo Pulls Out of Brazil Over High Taxes

Nintendo has pulled all its products from the Brazilian market. The console manufacturer made the decision due to the country’s rising import fees and high taxes for electronics companies. However, Nintendo intends to retain a presence in neighbouring South American countries.

Brazil’s high import fees for electronics companies are intended to protect civil manufacturing jobs and to encourage businesses to produce its goods within the country, rather than ship them in. Nintendo, though, seems to have reasoned that the cost of producing its hardware in Brazil does not make business sense.

Bill van Zyll, General Manager for Nintendo of Latin America, has apologised to Brazilian customers, blaming Brazil’s local business environment for the withdrawal.

Source: Techspot

Germany v Brazil World Cup Thrashing Broke Twitter Records

The Germany Vs Brazil Semi-final match in this year’s World Cup has certainly caught the attention of any football fan or anyone involved in football after their 7-1 thrashing against the home team a couple of days ago. The thrashing on the pitch was not the only top score to grab people’s attention as twitters servers also got a thrashing through a record-breaking 580,000 tweets per minute being sent around the world.

In a statement following the match, Twitter reported that the new record washed out the previous record which was set earlier this year during the Super Bowl which stood at 24.9m tweets. In comparison this match topped 35.6m tweets.

This new record has been great advertising for Twitter, showing that their growth is still going strong. Other events over the last few years that have stood out on twitter include Beyoncé’s half time performance during last year’s Super Bowl at 268,000 TMP (Tweets per minute), Miley Cyrus’ MTC VMA performance at 360,000 TMP and this year’s Brazil Vs Chile World Cup match, which during penalties topped out at 388,985 TMP.

Although some analysts say Twitter is a dying trend and social media such a Facebook is more popular, this record-breaking event has shown that this is far from the case. With the World Cup final now only a few days away, if Germany give their opponents yet another trashing there is a chance that we could see the current record being broken once again.

Source and Image courtesy: The Guardian

Russia Blames US Lasers for Knocking Them Out of the World Cup

I’ll be straight up and say first of all that I’m not one bit interested in football and things such as the world cup, where national pride is at stake, also fail to grab my interest – those who know me know what it think about the sport but that is not to say that the tech the goes into it these days is not worth writing about. We all know that England are out of the Cup and although they [apparently for all I know] were eliminated fair and square, it seems that Russia’s kick off the tables may be anything but fair.

According to Russia’s team coach Fabio Capello, Igor Akinfeev who is Russia’s goalkeeper was blinded by a laser that was aimed at him from the other end of the stadium in a bid to knock his attention, causing him to lose a goal.

Now as it stands there is some strong evidence from TV footage of the game that Akinfeev was indeed blinded by something being shone at him and this Capello made clear during a press conference directly after the game.

“He was blinded by the laser beam. There are pictures. You can see that in the footage. This not an excuse, it is a fact. There was a laser. I have never come up with excuses to get by in my entire life.”

What will come of the incident is not yet known and if a laser was shone at him, there is not likely to be any certainly as to who did it and from who’s point of view they were doing it and sadly this won’t change the outcome of the game where the US are through to the next round and Russia, like many other teams are on their way home.

I can probably guess that many of you are keen football fans so I’ll leave this topic open to discussion. What do you make of the incident? Should it be investigated further and should there be further checks at the stadium entrances to stop people from bringing in lasers for this purpose?

Source: Fudzilla

Vanishing Spray Draws Attention During World Cup Free Kicks


If you’re watching the 2014 World Cup from Brazil, you’ve probably seen referees spray a white line on the field before free kicks.  The high-tech vanishing spray is being used to encircle the ball and a second line is placed ten yards away, to prevent players in the defensive wall from encroaching on the free kick.  The kicker also is unable to roll the ball forward a little bit before taking the kick.

The custom 9:15 Fairplay spray has received praise from players, and referees are still trying to sort out how to accurately spray it on the field.

Spraying the field has only been somewhat successful so far – defenders will initially line up behind the temporary spray, but will still move ahead of the line as the ball is kicked.  The mystery 9:15 Fairplay spray disappears after about one minute, and helps further legitimize free kicks.

Here is what Paul Rejer, Professional Referees Organization training and development manager said:

“We find the vanishing spray to be extremely useful and very effective in ensuring the defenders are 10 yards from the ball.  The spray makes it clear whether the ball is to be placed and where the defenders have to stand.  Since the use of spray we experience very few problems in achieving the… [minimum] distance.”

The spray is already used in Major League Soccer and in South American soccer tournaments.  FIFA has tested it during the Club World Cup and Under-20 World Cup – and it will be used in the Champions League starting next season.

Thank you CNN for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Business Insider

21 Countries And Rising Have Joined Anti-NSA UN Resolution Discussions

RT reports that 21 countries have joined in draft discussions at the UN for an anti-NSA resolution to be passed. In the discussions are the following nations: Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Germany, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Norway, Paraguay, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and Venezuela. The resolution seeks to condemn indiscriminate and extra-territorial surveillance and rectify that with independent oversight of all electronic monitoring.

The resolution was proposed earlier this week by Germany and Brazil, two of the largest and most vocal critics of the USA’s global spying operations. While the document does not single out the USA or NSA specifically, the rhetoric is clearly a direct attack on the NSA’s exposed global surveillance practices.

The draft resolutions states that UN members are “deeply concerned at human rights violations and abuses that may result from the conduct of extra-territorial surveillance or interception of communications in foreign jurisdictions.” and that “illegal surveillance of private communications and the indiscriminate interception of personal data of citizens constitutes a highly intrusive act that violates the rights to freedom of expression and privacy and threatens the foundations of a democratic society.”

Image courtesy of Joshua Lott / Getty Images / AFP

Sony Explains Why PlayStation 4 Will Cost $1,845 In Brazil

There has been some debate this week as to why the next-gen PlayStation 4 will cost significantly more to purchase in Brazil than anywhere else in the world. Some cried that Sony or at least local retailers were price gouging and taking advantage, but apparently that is not the case. The insanely high price tag is 100% genuine and Mark Stanley, the Sony general manager for Latin America has stepped up to offer an explanation.

“It’s not good for our gamers and it’s not good for the PlayStation brand” said Mr Stanley when speaking with Gamespot via their blog about the $1,845 price tag, 63% of which goes toward paying the incredibly high import taxes that are in place in Brazil.

Stanley’s blog post detailed the total costs, listing “transfer cost” for importing the system as 21.5% (almost $400), 22% for Sony and retailers, and in total he accounted how the actual cost should total at 106.5% of what it is, but that the 6.5% was removed after assessing a discount! Leaving the price at $1,845.

These import costs are insane and the only ways Sony could get around them would be for Brazil to change their importing laws, or to move some of the production of PlayStation 4 to Brazil, no easy task given that all PlayStation 4 production currently takes place in just one factory in China.

Making things worse for Sony in this market is Microsoft, who have been able to get their hardware to market there for $1,000. Still very expensive, but a whole lot cheaper than the PlayStation 4.

Thank you NPR for providing us with this information.

China Will Soon Have More Internet Users Than The USA

Akamai’s State of the Internet report has revealed that China’s internet users are growing rapidly and China could soon overtake the USA in terms of the number of internet users. Based on current growth figures for both nations China should overtake the USA’s number of internet users within around 3 years – so towards the end of 2016. Of course that makes the assumption that internet growth rates stay the same and from what we’ve seen in the past the rate of growth in China is only accelerating each year.

In the world there are believed to be 2.7 billion people connected to the internet but many of them sharing the same IP address or devices (at a household level for example) thus why Akamai’s state of the internet report only registered 0.75 billion IPv4 addresses. If we compare this year to last year there are now 13% more IP addresses connected to the observable global internet . Much of this rapid growth has been driven by China but also Brazil who saw an impressive 44% growth in their connectivity compared to the same period last year. Most advanced industrial economies seem to be growing at a stable rate of 10% or less. Interestingly three countries in the top 10 exhibited a quarter on quarter decline in connectivity – Germany, Japan and Russia so we’re not sure what is going on there.

Image courtesy of Akamai

Google Faces Antitrust Investigations In Brazil

Google is not exactly unfamiliar with legal action of an antitrust nature as it has faced antitrust lawsuits across a variety of locations in recent times, most notably in the European Union and the USA. Reuters report that Google is now facing more antitrust allegations though this time not it is in Europe but in Brazil. Brazilian antitrust watchdog Cade announced that it was assessing accusations that Google has used rival content unfairly, discouraged advertisers and favoured its own product listings in search results.

Google responded stating it was willing to cooperate with the Brazilian regulators. Microsoft is the company that filed the complaint in Brazil about Google obstructing advertising campaigns across multiple search engines to give an advantage to AdWords – which makes up 95% of Google’s advertising revenue. Brazilian shopping comparison sites Buscapé and Bondfardo accused Google of reproducing  product reviews made by users of their sites, not Google.

Given the heightened suspicion with American technology companies in Brazil right now, after the NSA revelations, we should expect Brazilian authorities to come down hard on Google should they be found guilty of violating antitrust laws.

Image courtesy of SiliconAngle.com

Google Becomes NSA Target According To New Reports

A fresh report from Brazilian TV network Globo reveals how the NSA has been spying on Brazilian oil giant Petrobras , Google, the SWIFT network and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The NSA’s spying on Petrobras goes against public statements made previously by the NSA where they claimed that they were not involved in any “economic espionage”. This latest revelation surely contradicts that with some of the slides mentioning economic motives to the spying on Petrobras. There will no doubt be a strain put on American-Brazilian foreign relations after this particular incident.

The SWIFT network is a cooperative that unites over ten thousand banks in 212 countries providing the communications that enable international financial transactions. By spying on the SWIFT network the NSA has essentially ensured that it can spy on all money transfers between banks all over the world.

The next interesting revelation is that the NSA spied on Google, one of its largest partners in the whole PRISM scandal. Google’s infrastructure was targeted for the private networks it offers to “targets”.

In the latest release the names of other targets were blacked out by the reporters because they actually had some relation with terrorism and national security and despite wanting to expose all violations by the NSA Glenn Greenwald claims their is still an element of responsible journalism to consider. The U.S is reported to have shared the results of this industrial and commercial spying with the rest of its main intelligence partners – Australia, the UK, New Zealand and Canada.

Image courtesy of Google

Latin American Nations Withdraw Ambassadors From Europe After Jet Incident

Russia Today reports that the backlash against Europe after the Bolivian Jet incident is now growing in Latin America. After having a serious emergency meeting already four countries have now decided to withdraw their ambassadors from European nations involved in the incident.

Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay will all withdraw their ambassadors from France, Spain, Portugal and Italy in retaliation against their decision to block airspace for Bolivian president Evo Morales and his state jet – pictured above.

Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela, stated that:

“We’ve taken a number of actions in order to compel public explanations and apologies from the European nations that assaulted our brother Evo Morales”

Both the UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) and trade-bloc Mercosur (Mercado Común del Sur) have condemned the actions of Europe as imperialist and neo-colonialist. This entire diplomatic spat has emerged from the belief that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was onboard the Bolivian State Jet. Since then the situation has escalated with the majority of Latin America condemning Western Europe and the USA, and many Latin American nations offering Edward Snowden asylum in protest.

Image courtesy of AFP Photo/Patrick Domingo

NSA Spied On Countries In Latin America

The NSA has been spying on the whole world, that’s not news to anyone. However, on the back of the USA trying to exert pressure on Latin America to not accept Edward Snowden’s asylum these latest revelations could deal a fatal blow to the USA. O Globo reports that the USA has been spying extensively on Latin America. Countries like Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador (and probably the rest of Latin America) have all been regular spying targets of the NSA.

Apparently the NSA hasn’t limited its spying operations to just military affairs and has also been stealing trade secrets from the Latin American oil industry, notably Venezuela. Latin America was targeted by “PRISM” and “Boundless Informant”. PRISM enables access to emails, chat logs and voice calls through American-based internet companies and Boundless Informant is capable of cataloguing phone calls and internet access.

The USA reportedly used PRISM to collect data regarding oil and military purchases fropm Venezuela and energy and narcotics from Mexico. Other victims of “lower level” spying were Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Paraguay, Chile, Peru and El Salvador. No doubt this latest revelation will spur more Latin American countries into offering Edward Snowden asylum. Investigations are already taking in Brazil over the reported intelligence breaches.

Image courtesy of Gringos.com

 

Snowden’s Asylum Options: 1 Withdrawn 10 Rejected 10 Pending

According to reports by RT.com Snowden’s options for political asylum are rapidly evaporating. The NSA whistleblower has withdrawn his application for Asylum to Russia after they told him he could only have asylum if he stopped “damaging” the USA, a condition he was not prepared to agree to. Furthermore Finland, Brazil, Poland, India and Germany all rejected his asylum claim outright stating they were not willing to accept him. Spain, Norway, Italy, Ecuador and Austria also rejected Snowden’s asylum request on the grounds that he had to be already inside the country for it to be processed. These rejections bring the total numbers of rejections to 10, and with the single withdrawal, 11 of Snowden’s options have already been vaporised.

So what options are left for the NSA whistleblower? Well he still has Bolivia, China, Cuba, France, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Switzerland and Venezuela left to reply. Of those ten remaining options China says it is not aware of the request and France has denied ever receiving such an Asylum request and since they also recently blocked a Bolivian Jet from flying through their airspace because of suspicions that Edward Snowden was onboard it could easily turn out that France will reject the request too.

As of writing the most likely nations to accept seem to be Venezuela and Bolivia after they both expressed anti-USA sentiments and stated their willingness to protect Snowden.

Image courtesy of the Guardian

Snowden Releases List Of Countries Contacted For Political Asylum Requests

While it is now relatively common knowledge that the famous internet surveillance NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is stuck in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, it hasn’t been well documented where he was seeking political asylum up until now. We’ve known he has been in talks with Ecuador, but with that starting to unfold who else has he been trying to seek political asylum with? Well surprisingly his options aren’t as limited as you might think. According to an official statement made by the whistleblower organisation WikiLeaks Edward Snowden has applied for political asylum in the following nation-states:

  • Austria
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • The Netherlands
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Russia (where he is situated now)
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Venezuela

Surprisingly, Ecuador is now off the list after President Correa seems to be bowing to American pressure. He has gone from pledging his support to Snowden at all costs to saying that he now offered Snowden help “by mistake”. It is also worth noting that Russia have also refused to offer Edward Snowden political asylum unless he stops releasing documents that are harming the USA.

Edward Snowden is currently seeking asylum on the grounds of persecution risk if he is forced to return back to the USA.

We will be sure to keep you updated with how this goes for Edward Snowden. He is easily becoming one of the most important figures of our generation.

Image courtesy of the Guardian

Sony To Hold PlayStation Event On May 7th In Brazil

Microsoft are set to unveil details of their Next-Gen Xbox next month, with their own special event that will take place on the 21st of May. As many of you will already know, Sony has already held their first “teaser” event for the PlayStation 4 where they demonstrate their vision and dreams for the future of the PlayStation brand and their own next-gen hardware, but there were obviously a few glaring omissions from the show, the hardware, the price and the release date and while some consumers were annoyed not to get these details, Sony knew exactly what they were doing and chose not to play all their cards at once.

Now it seems that prior to the Microsoft event we could be treated to a 2nd Sony event, also just weeks before E3 2013! The event is said to take place on May 7th and invitations have been sent to press and media that they should be in São Paulo, Brazil on May 7th at 17:30 where Sony will once again be speaking “about the future of PlayStation in Brazil.”

The rumour mill can grind on this one all day long but could Microsoft be shown up once again by Sony, who seem to have a much better crafted battleplan for this generations console release than we could have ever expected? Could we see the hardware at this new show, the release date or even the price? It’s very likely and since Sony have stated they plan to launch this year, they have to give consumers a date to save up for.

Microsoft just got worried.

 

Samsung More Succesful than Apple in Emerging Markets

Apple has dominated the smartphone markets of the Western world now for quite some time with its iPhone and recent figures show Apple’s dominance is growing in places like the USA. However, a new report suggests that Samsung is the company dominating the emerging markets of the world. In fact what was more surprising was the fact that Samsung is actually more popular than Nokia and Apple. Putting price aside consumers, from developing markets in Brazil, India, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, were asked which brand of phone they would buy and the results were: 32% Samsung, 22% Nokia, 21% Apple and 10% Blackberry. Only in Nigeria was Samsung not the dominant brand, Nokia reigned supreme there.

Looking at developed markets such as the United Kingdom and the USA, 32% of shoppers said they would buy an Apple device compared to just 22% choosing Samsung. According to Upstream, who conducted all these studies, this is because there is a strong relationship between income and brand loyalty.

“There’s a correlation between income and brand affinity,” says Marco Veremis, Upstream’s founder and CEO. “In the developing world, the mobile phone is an item of absolute day to day necessity, so brand choice is less important.”

Another thing pointed out by Upstream is that emerging markets tend to be skipping over the PC Desktop and Laptop phase, nearly all using the mobile phone as their primary electronics device for just about everything. Nokia has been cited as doing well in the poorest nations as its long battery life helps counteract erratic power supply networks.

While Samsung and Apple may dominate overall, it seems Apple’s position is under global threat unless they can tap into these emerging markets. Samsung has been seeing rapidly increasing global demand thanks to the success of the Galaxy S III and the demand for the Galaxy S IV. Nokia and Blackberry may seem irrelevant and/or on-the-decline in the Western world but in emerging markets they are still very much front-running candidates.


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