Nope–this isn’t a special effects shot from a movie, this really is Space Shuttle Endeavour near the ISS. She’s busy returning to Earth even as you read this, ending her final mission in space. On with the news:
1. There’re big rumors Twitter is to reveal its own photo-sharing service today, linked to its own API and using its own facilities. It’s another “internalizing” move by the successful social networking site, but it’s bound to raise significant controversy–especially since TwitPic, one of the leading third party sites that used to do this for Twitter, just (controversially) signed a deal to license users’ pics onward for sale. Their business model may be in tatters.
2. Samsung has revealed it’s sold one million Galaxy SIIs, and the device has only been on sale one month–making it Samsung’s fastest selling device. Meanwhile the company’s execs have dismissed Apple’s lawsuit alleging the Galaxy range of products are rip-offs of the earlier iPhone and iPads, noting it’s not “legally problematic” as their products don’t “copy” Apple. Samsung’s even hinting it could escalate the legal battle.
3. On the weekend it emerged that U.S. defense contractors had been hit with hack attacks, and now the Pentagon has escalated its response: Cyber attacks coming from another country, it threatens, can actually constitute an act of war–with all the requisite force that involves. Late last week it was revealed that China has assembled an elite cadre of hackers to defend its military Net from the influence of outsiders, and it’s possible to see how this could also be construed as a threat.
4. ARM has revealed hints on its future direction, and plans to have its low-power CPUs in half of the mobile PC market by 2015. It’s banking on expansion of the tablet sector at the expense of the laptop market, because it already has a huge share of tablet CPUs and Intel hasn’t yet leaped into the fray. Meanwhile it looks like Intel is delaying the launch of its key next-gen 22nm “3-D transistor” laptop chips, which could enable ARM’s plans.
5. A quarter of U.S. Internet users have now made a phone call online–up from a mere 8% just four years ago. It’s a sign that thanks to the VoIP revolution, and changing habits driven by increased cell phone use, traditional phone use is potentially on its way into history. The statistic is important for many communications companies, but particularly Microsoft which just invested billions in Skype, the driving force behind much of consumer VoIP use.