Nokia May Cut up to 14% of Workforce

After a slew of bad years, Nokia still hasn’t found their footing yet. Once one of the dominant handset and wireless hardware firms, the Finnish firm has struggled in the changing landscape. 2 years after dumping their Lumia and handset business on Microsoft, the company looks to be cutting more of its staff. The cuts come as part of the massive $16.6 billion Alcatel-Lucent acquisition, with up to 14% of staff from both firms being cut.

According to the source, Nokia is set to cut 10,000 to 15,000 jobs in total out of their global workforce of 104,000. The cuts come as part of the $1 billion in cuts due to the overlap between Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent. These cuts will occur in over 30 countries but will heavily impact Germany and France but Finland will be the hardest hit. This comes as the multinational refocuses their attention away from the mobile device and infrastructure market and more into their telecommunications side of their business.

In order to find more growth, Nokia is turning to software and service contracts as they are generally more lucrative. What this all means for future Nokia handsets, their supposed mobile comeback and other hardware ventures like the OZO Camera remains to be seen. I for one hope the company re-enters the smartphone market.

Meet KILLERDRONE! The Chainsaw Drone

Drones are an interesting piece of technology. They’ve only recently taken off (pun intended) and are now swarming over the world with adaptions for every type of activity. You can race your drone in the Drone world GP, they’ll deliver you your food or Amazon orders and are even used to used for underwater exploration. As with all ideas, there are some ideas that just raise more issues and questions than are worth, with the likes of a drone mounting a gun being one of them. The latest drone design to meet this category is the KILLERDRONE! a drone equipped with nothing more than a chainsaw.

That is correct, the KILLERDRONE! (capitals and exclamation mark are included in its name) is a drone equipped with a chainsaw and has taken off in Finland on its first mission… to hunt down and destroy snowmen. Featuring six rotors and a gas-powered chainsaw, the drone was flown into snowmen to prove that it could be used and has even been discussed as use for legitimate work such as cutting down trees.

While using the KILLERDRONE! to cut down trees may be a good idea, the idea that anyone could mount something like a chainsaw to a drone and then watch as it flew around unrestricted is quite scary. The machine was stopped eventually thanks to a party balloon, raising an even bigger question of what happened if someone stopped a drone above a populated area.

Lizard Squad Hacker Convicted of 50,000 Counts of Computer Crime

A Finnish hacker, and member of the notorious Lizard Squad, has been found guilty of 50,700 charges of hacking, according to the nation’s newspaper, Kaleva. The hacker, 17-year-old Julius “zeekill” Kivimaki, was given a 2-year suspended sentence, meaning he will avoid prison on the proviso that help “to fight against cybercrime”. Any failure to meet this condition will see Kivimaki serve his 2-year sentence in prison.

Kivimaki was charged with crimes related to data breaches, felony payment fraud, telecommunication harassments, plus a number of other computer fraud and violation of privacy crimes. He was identified as a member of Lizard Squad – the perpetrators of the Xbox Live and PlayStation Network DDoS attacks last Christmas – by cybersecurity journalist Brian Krebs late last year. Shortly after, Kivimaki conducted an interview with Sky News, using the alias “Ryan”, to discuss the Xbox and PlayStation DDoS attacks.

One of Kivimaki’s victims, Blair Strater, has been left “utterly disgusted” by the court ruling, feeling that the sentence is far too lenient. Strater was a regular victim of the practice known as “swatting” – fake calls to US law enforcement that result in a SWAT team being dispatched to an address – at the hands of Kivimaki.

“I’ve lost complete faith in the justice system, and that includes the FBI. He’s harmed American targets and the FBI should have stepped in by now,” said Strater. “The reality is, Julius Kivimaki will never be made to pay for his crimes.”

Thank you The Daily Dot for providing us with this information.

Apple Increases Prices of Its Products in Non-US Countries

While Apple has discounted the price of its Apple TV in North America to $69, the company seems to be doing the exact opposite to a lot of its products around the world. This comes as a result of the US Dollar gaining some ground and becoming stronger in the market.

Apple products which suffered an increase in pricing include the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Thunderbolt Display, and are now more expensive in countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Portugal and other countries to reflect currency adjustments.

For example, the Canadian Apple Store shows an increase in unlocked iPhone 6 from between $749-$969 to $839-$1,099, Thunderbolt Displays from $999 to $1,199, and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros from between $2,099-$2,699 to $2,449-$3,049. Apple also upped the price on its 15-inch MacBook Pro in France, with the base model now starting at €2,249 up from €1,999, and the higher-spec model up to €2,799 from €2,499.

Apple is said to continue to make the adjustments in order to ensure that its products and services are as consistently priced as possible throughout the world. However, in some cases, international prices will remain higher than North America prices as a ‘safety’ against currency fluctuations.

Thank you MacRumors for providing us with this information

Angry Birds Developer Rovio Lays off 110 Employees

It’s no surprise that the company that found luck with the insane success of Angry Birds has started to lay off employees.

Despite being the most downloaded mobile game of all time, Angry Birds is a simple game, with a simple concept, a game that arguably got in early and captured the hearts and minds of bored smartphone users before anyone else. This makes it easy to see how Rovio Entertainment, the Finnish company behind the game, hasn’t really been able to match the success of Angry Birds with any other game since.

It’s a problem that faces many mobile games – a game is an overnight success, they rely solely on that game to keep the business going, but once practically everyone owns it, there’s too few people left to buy it.

The layoffs mean the shutting down of the company’s Tampere studio, with their only presence in Finland being at their headquarters in Espoo.

Source: Wired

 

Exploration and Stunning Visuals Ahead in Oculus Ready ‘Pollen’

DK1 was impressive, but its technical limitations have been a tough challenge for games developers, who will have needed to see the potential for the technology beyond the hardware they were developing for. Now DK2 is here and while many developers are still awaiting their new hardware, some have been hard at work creating absolutely stunning, heavily detailed and atmospheric experiences for gamers. Sure these experiences aren’t going to be fully enjoyed as they’re intended until Consumer Rift is here, but it’s enough to get us even more excited about the hardware (if that is at all possible).

Pollen from Finnish developer Mindfield Games is a first person exploration adventure, which the developers say has been designed and optimised with virtual reality headsets in mind, allowing the game to take full advantage of the unique gameplay properties VR adds.

The game is set on Titan, Saturns largest moon and while you explore the gorgeous environments you unravel and make your own conclusions of the events that unfold around you in this Sci-Fi exploration epic.

“Having grown up with classic science fiction like Solaris and Space Odyssey, we have always dreamt of roaming desolate spaceships and discovering alien worlds.”, says Mindfield Co-Founder Olli Sinerma. “This dream settled us on a path to develop a first-person adventure where you wear a pressurized suit and explore a mysterious space station. Thanks to the Oculus Rift we have been able to create an environment that feels every bit as real as the world around us.”

Could Pollen be the game that brings the point and click style exploration adventure game back into the world of gaming? I certainly hope so, perhaps we may even see a Rift enabled Myst in coming years.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/X_1x_y15Pdw[/youtube]

Pollen is due for release on Pc in 2015 and will be on show at this months Gamescom even in Cologne.

Thank you RoadtoVR for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of RoadtoVR.

Finnish Smartphone Maker Jolla Expands to Two New Markets

Back in February, Jolla brought out release version 1.0 of their Sailfish OS and announced they were ready for global distribution. Since then it had been a bit quiet on that front and we hadn’t heard much. This changed during the past week when Jolla announced not one but two new partnerships on the emerging mobile markets.

Jolla is a new Finnish smartphone from the company of the same name. It is running the independent operating system, Sailfish OS. Based on the heritage of Meego, an open source operating system formerly developed by Nokia among others. The Jolla smartphone offers a distinct user experience, unlike any of the competition with its button-less design and unique gesture based user experience as well as Android application compatibility.

Snapdeal.com, India’s largest e-commerce marketplace, will be the new exclusive parter of Jolla Ltd. in India and should be available to their 25 million customers within a month.

Kunal Bahl, Co-founder & CEO, Snapdeal.com comments on this exclusive partnership: “We at Snapdeal.com constantly endeavour to offer high quality products across varied categories to our 25 million+ users at best prices. The smartphone category has been getting an extremely encouraging response on our platform. However the market in India offers few choices in terms of mobile operating systems. Jolla with its innovative Sailfish OS introduces an entirely new user experience to consumers. Jolla offers a unique smartphone experience both in terms of hardware and software. We look forward to a long term and mutually beneficial relationship”.

The second deal for Jolla was struck in Kazakhstan with Mobile Invest. This is the first partnership Jolla has in the CIS countries and the Co-founder of Jolla, Marc Dillon, commented that he was exited to attend the Jolla launch in Almaty.

Daniyar Galimzhanov, Mobile Invest comments: “The Jolla smartphone with its unique and independent Sailfish OS mobile operating system brings a breath of fresh air to the smartphone market, which has long been dominated by only a few players. We believe that Jolla has true potential to become a smartphone of choice for those looking for an alternative. We are honoured to open the world’s first Jolla showroom in Almaty.”

Thank you Jolla for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Jolla.

Lumia Cyan Update Has Been Released in Select Markets

Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update has been long teased and awaited by users of the latter operating system. The majority of users however are stated to be on Lumia handsets, having the Nokia devices engulfing the majority of WP market.

Lumia users also have some additional and exclusive features for their handsets, including Miracast support and Dolby Digital Sound Capture, amongst others. This is why they will be getting the WP 8.1 update under the name of Cyan, a special update designated for Nokia Lumia handsets.

There have been numerous reports from Spain, Finland and Taiwan regarding the Cyan update being released for their Lumia handsets. This is an unofficial announcement that Microsoft has started the world-wide release of its Cyan update, having it be released in select parts of the world in order to make sure no issues arouse before a full-scale release.

The first device stated to have received the update is the Lumia 625, having Microsoft breaking tradition from previous releases where the first devices to receive a new update were high-end Lumia handsets.

In addition to the release, an official Microsoft tweet stated that a widespread release of the Windows Phone 8.1 is set for the second week of July, having it now been backed up with the unexpected and silent release on the above mentioned markets.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Nokia

Xbox One Delayed To 2014 For Eight European Countries

Microsoft has officially confirmed that eight European countries will get the console late, in 2014.  The eight countries who will experience a delay in the product’s arrival are Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland. That said in November the Xbox One is still expected to arrive on time in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom, United States and New Zealand.

Microsoft stated that: “We understand this will be disappointing news for our fans in the impacted countries, and we are doing everything we can to bring Xbox One to you as soon as possible next year.”

Those in the affected countries will be compensated with a free game if they had already pre-ordered an Xbox One before this announcement.  Microsoft did not disclose why they were experiencing delays in those countries but you can probably safely assume it is because Microsoft wants to focus its demand on the biggest markets first. Microsoft also didn’t state when in 2014 the delayed arrival would be for the affected countries, they merely disclosed “as soon as possible”.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

New Brand “ID-Cooling” Entering European PC Cooling Market

ID-Cooling are a new brand in Europe founded by “Shenzhen Wan Jing Hua Technology co., Ltd.” of China. They are looking to make an entrance into the European PC hardware market manufacturing cooling products. They apparently have a long history of making business and OEM cooling products, for 10 years. They were present at Computex 2013 and they have announce four series of CPU coolers. Strangely the product segmentations are represented by Scandinavian flags.

  • Finland is graced by high-end cooling – FI series
  • The high/mid-range is under the Swedish banner – SE series
  • Iceland is going to be thin down-draft coolers – IS series
  • And Denmark will represent the traditional “open cooler” style – DK series

Unfortunately they didn’t disclose names and details of products but you can see more at their website here.

Information will come next month when they release their products to the EU market. Hopefully we will be able to bring you guys some reviews and see how this new player on the block performs. There are exciting times in the cooling market as both ID-Cooling and Raijintek are joining the market after public displays at Computex 2013.

Images courtesy of ID-Cooling

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