Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Morning Tech Wrap: Microsoft, Amazon, Mozilla

Microsoft has released its Windows Phone Mango update to manufacturing. Ahead of its official release in the autumn, Tuesday morning saw the Windows Phone development team sign off on the release to manufacturing of Mango, according to the Windows Team Blog.

The feature list of Mango is long, including a new email conversation view, ‘threads’ that bring together text, IMs and Facebook chat, and of course, IE 9. According to TechCrunch, Fujitsu and KDDI will by the world’s first to launch a phone that runs on Mango in September. The handset used will be the Toshiba-Fujitsu IS12T, which was briefly revealed at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference just a few weeks ago. The device will include a 3.7” LCD display, a 13.2 megapixel camera, 32GB of internal memory and will be waterproof.


Amazon has reported healthy sales that jumped 51% to $9.9 billion, though its profit fell on operating expenses. The e-retailer’s second-quarter results beat Wall Street expectations, reaching sales of $9.9 billion compared to last year’s $6.57 billion. Even with these impressive sales, profits dropped 8% to $191 million, or 41 cents a share, from the $207 million, or 45 cents a share it reported a year earlier.

The company blamed the decline on a 54% rise in operating costs, the LA Times reports. The added expenses, like distribution centers and increased Kindle advertising, are “smart” investments, the LA Times quotes analyst Dan Geiman as saying: “There’s a kind of catch-up involved with adding facilities to keep up with their growth,” he added. “The company discontinued building distribution centers when the economy was weak, but that is something they have restarted in the last year or so.” Amazon expects sales to grow in the third quarter to between $10.3 billion and $11.1 billion.


Mozilla, the creator of web browser Firefox, is working on an open-source operating system that would work on phones and tablets. According to CNET, Mozilla has revealed plans to adapt the Gecko engine that drives its web browser, turning it into an open-source OS that will eventually work on mobile devices. ‘Boot to Gecko’ is the name of project, and it will be released to the public “in real time,” according to Mozilla researcher Andreas Gal.

“We will do this work in the open, we will release the source in real-time, we will take all successful additions to an appropriate standards group, and we will track changes that come out of the process,” CNET quoted Gal as saying. “We aren’t trying to have these native-grade apps just run on Firefox, we’re trying to have them run on the web.”


Facebook has launched a new Facebook for Business section. Perhaps in answer to Google+’s individuals-only approach to profiles, Facebook has rolled out the new section detailing how Stories, Ads and Pages can help increase business. According to The Next Web, the design of the sub-site is clear and easy-to-use, showing simple step-by-steps for putting together your pages, running ads and detailing who will see what. The ‘Stories’ function shows “conversations about your brand, going on in the Facebook universe.”