Rumors persist of HTC One with stock Android, despite the official denial

VIA: Phandroid
FROM: Engadget

Is Russell Holly a seer of the future, or did he just manage to get lucky? That’s the question we’re currently kicking around at Engadget. You see, when he first revealed that a Galaxy S 4 would be introduced at Google I/O with stock Android, we quickly dismissed it as something that’d never happen in a million years. Then it came true the very next day. Now, Holly is back with another mighty tall claim: “HTC is considering a stock Android variant of the One for release in theUS.” In fairness, rumors of such a phone began to circulate last week, but were quenched just as quickly by HTC. Contrary to the denial, however, Holly claims that multiple sources have informed him of an HTC One that’s in the works with stock Android 4.2.2. It’s tough to make heads or tails of Holly’s report, especially since he follows the assertion that HTC is “considering” such a phone with a claim that it’ll be announced within the next two weeks. Naturally, we’re taking this with more than the usual dose of skepticism, but like Fox Mulder, we want to believe.


Google Drive on Android, Scans receipts, Adds Cards

Seth Rosenblatt by Seth Rosenblatt May 22, 2013 7:04 PM PDT

Receipt scanning and a new interface, heavily influenced from the Cards look of Google Glass and Google Now, greet you in an update to Google Drive for Android.

You can now scan in receipts and other important documents directly to Google Drive for Android.
(Credit: Google)

Google Now is such a big deal that its interface sensibilities are spilling over into other Google services. The latest recipient of a healthy dose of Now is Google Drive (download), which updated its Android app on Wednesday with several new features.

A new Scan feature lets you back up and track important receipts, business cards, and documents by using existing optical character recognition (OCR) tech already in Drive. Choose Scan from the “Add New” menu, take a photo of the document, and Drive will automatically turn it into a searchable PDF.

The new interface leverages the Card look from Google+ and Google Play by creating more space between items. It also offers a new grid view and “large icon” previews, big enough to get a sense of what’s in the document but really more effective with images.

Document editing has undergone some edits of its own. You can adjust spreadsheet cell text colors and cell alignment from the app, which you couldn’t do before, and you can change a cell’s font typeface and size.

Finally, you can choose on a per-file basis to download documents to your local device storage, in addition to making them available to edit offline.

A Ballsy But Genius Tax Avoidance Scheme of Apple

Apple Avoids Paying $17 Million In Taxes Every Day Through A Ballsy But Genius Tax Avoidance Scheme\
Walter Hickey | May 21, 2013, 4:16 PM

Apple CEO Tim Cook charmed the Senate today, testifying on the company’s tax avoidance practices.

The most interesting part of the story wasn’t on the Senate floor, however.

The report published by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations detailing Apple’s strategies is a great read on its own.

The report gives an inside look on Apple’s absolutely genius tax avoidance strategies.

Apple uses a variety of offshore structures and arrangements to shift billions of dollars from the United States to Ireland.

The U.S. corporate tax rate is 35%, while Apple said it has negotiated a special corporate tax rate in Ireland of less than 2%*.

(The 2% rate statement has proven controversial, see below for details)

Apple has found the secret to not paying taxes. You just avoid taxes by not declaring a tax residency for the company that oversees the entirety of your international income.

First, let’s look at Apple’s main offshore holding company:

Apple Operations International (AOI) is the company’s primary offshore holding company. It was registered in Cork, Ireland in 1980, and its purpose is to serve as a cash consolidator for most of Apple’s offshore affiliates. It receives dividends from those affiliates and makes contributions as needed.

  • Apple owns 100% of AOI either directly or through controlled foreign corporations.
  • AOI owns several subsidiaries, including Apple Operations Europe, Apple Distribution International, and Apple Singapore.
  • AOI has no physical presence and has not had any employees for 33 years. It has 2 directors and 1 officer, all Apple Inc. brass. One is Irish, two live in California.
  • 32 of 33 AOI board meetings were held in Cupertino rather than Cork.
  • Shockingly, AOI doesn’t pay taxes. Anywhere. The holding company had a net income of $30 billion from 2009 to 2012, but has not declared tax residency in any jurisdiction.
  • AOI’s income made up 30% of Apple’s total world profits from 2009- 2011.

A key quote from the report explains why AOI exists:

Apple explained that, although AOI has been incorporated in Ireland since 1980, it has not declared a tax residency in Ireland or any other country and so has not paid any corporate income tax to any national government in the past 5 years. Apple has exploited a difference between Irish and U.S. tax residency rules. Ireland uses a management and control test to determine tax residency, while the United States determines tax residency based upon the entity’s place of formation. Apple explained that, although AOI is incorporated in Ireland, it is not tax resident in Ireland, because AOI is neither managed nor controlled in Ireland. Apple also maintained that, because AOI was not incorporated in the United States, AOI is not a U.S. tax resident under U.S. tax law either.

Please take a moment to consider the genius of Apple Inc.

Apple Sales International (ASI) is a second Irish affiliate. It is the repository for all of Apple’s offshore intellectual property rights.

  • ASI buys Apple’s finished products from contracted manufacturers in China — think Foxconn — and resells them at a major markup to other Apple affiliates in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India and the Pacific.
  • Although ASI is an Irish incorporated entity and the purchaser of the goods, only a small percentage of Apple’s manufactured products ever entered Ireland.
  • Upon arrival, the products were resold by ASI to the Apple distribution affiliate that took ownership of the goods.
  • Before 2012, ASI had no employees despite $38 billion in income over three years.
  • Apple’s cost sharing arrangement facilitated the shift of $74 billion in worldwide profits away from the United States from 2009 to 2012.
  • ASI’s parent company is Apple Operations Europe Inc. Together they own the intellectual property rights to Apple goods sold offshore.
  • Like AOI, ASI claims to be a tax resident of nowhere. It’s not obligated to pay taxes to any nation.

*UPDATE: Earlier today an Irish minister disputed that Apple negotiated a tax rate less than two percent.

Here’s the section from the subcommittee report disputing that comment, directly from Phillip Bullock, Apple Inc.’s Tax Operation Head. The interview was conducted on May 15, 2013.

Apple told the Subcommittee that, for many years, Ireland has provided Apple affiliates with a special tax rate that is substantially below its already relatively low statutory rate of 12 percent. Apple told the Subcommittee that it had obtained this special rate through negotiations with the Irish government. According to Apple, for the last ten years, this special corporate income tax rate has been 2 percent or less:

“Since the early 1990’s, the Government of Ireland has calculated Apple’s taxable income in such a way as to produce an effective rate in the low single digits …. The rate has varied from year to year, but since 2003 has been 2% or less.”

Other information provided by Apple indicates that the Irish tax rate assessed on Apple affiliates has recently been substantially below 2%. For example, Apple told the Subcommittee that, for the three year period from 2009 to 2011, ASI paid an Irish corporate income tax rate that was consistently below far below 1% and, in 2011, was as low as five-hundreds of one percent (0.05%):

It seems as if any deal pertains to a calculation of taxable income that procures a sub-2% rate rather than a toggled rate in and of itself.

And from document PSI-Apple-02-004, provided by Apple to the Senate:

Since the early 1990’s, the Government of Ireland has calculated Apple’s taxable income in such a way as to produce an effective rate in the low single digits, and this is the primary factor that contributes to Apple’s rate. The rate has varied from year to year, but since 2003 has been 2% or less. This result is similar to incentives made available by many U.S. states and other countries to entice investment in their jurisdictions.

Read more:

Teracopy, A Free Utility to Copy Files Faster and More Securely.

One small utility that I’ve used, recommended!

One of the most common complaints about newer versions of Windows is the slow copying speed, especially when transferring lots of files over the network. If you want to speed up your copying or if you regularly transfer large amounts of data and have to stop the process to perform some other disk-intensive task, this program may be just what you need.

TeraCopy is designed to copy and move files at the maximum possible speed. It skips bad files during the copying process, and then displays them at the end of the transfer so that you can see which ones need attention. TeraCopy can automatically check the copied files for errors by calculating their CRC checksum values. It also provides a lot more information about the files being copied than its Windows counterpart. TeraCopy integrates with Windows Explorer’s right-click menu and can be set as the default copy handler.

Copy files faster
TeraCopy uses dynamically adjusted buffers to reduce the seek times. Asynchronous copying speeds up the file transfer between two physical hard drives.

Pause and resume file transfer activities
Pause the copy process at any time in order to free up system resources and continue with a single click.

Error recovery
In case of a copy error, TeraCopy will try several times to recover and, in the worse case scenario, will simply skip the file, not terminating the entire transfer.

Interactive file list
TeraCopy shows the failed file transfers and lets you fix the problem and recopy only the problem files.

Shell integration
TeraCopy can completely replace the Explorer copy and move functions, in turn enabling you to work with files as usual.

Full Unicode support.
Windows 8 x64 support.
TeraCopy is free for non-commercial use only. For commercial use you need to buy a license.

TeraCopy Pro *
The paid version of the program includes the following features:
Copy/move to your favorite folders.
Save reports as HTML and CSV files.
Select files with the same extension/folder.
Remove the selected files from the copy queue.
More features coming soon!

Here is the official website:

Yahoo Buys Tumblr by $1.1 Billion in Cash!

Why Yahoo’s $1.1 Billion Tumblr Buy Is A Great Idea
Jay Yarow and Nicholas Carlson | May 19, 2013, 1:05 PM | 7,887 | 15
Published on Business Insider.

It’s all but official.
Yahoo’s board has reportedly approved the plan to buy Tumblr for $1.1 billion in cash. Tumblr’s board has reportedly agreed to the deal, too.
So, unless something goes wildly wrong, then Yahoo is going to own Tumblr, the simple blogging/social network site.
According to Quantcast, Tumblr had 184 million unique visitors, and 12.1 billion pageviews last month.
Despite those impressive numbers, it’s light on revenue, which is making a lot of people question the wisdom of spending $1.1 billion in cash on the site.
We think this is a win for both Tumblr and Yahoo. Yahoo gets a big, young audience. Tumblr gets more money and time to figure out its business.
Here’s the longer explanation of those two points from our previous report on the deal:
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is perfectly positioned to give Tumblr CEO David Karp what he wants.
You might think David Karp would sell Tumblr to Yahoo for $1 billion because it would put $250 million in his pocket.
You would not be stupid to think this.
$250 million is a nice incentive for anyone, let alone a first-time entrepreneur in his 20s, like Karp.
Karp has gotten lots of offers to sell Tumblr at prices that would make him rich over the years, and he’s resisted them all.
Why would he sell this time?
Easy: Karp and Tumblr have problems like never before…
Tumblr does not have a COO and the board wants him to hire one,
Tumblr is light on revenues. (Karp disputed this in an earlier story, but sources told us Tumblr is doing OK on revenues – it’s marginally behind plan.)
Tumblr needs cash to keep running and growing.
Selling to Mayer solves all those problems.
To keep Tumblr’s servers going, Yahoo has billions of dollars in cash. As for revenues and a COO?
Mayer, we’re guessing, will tell Karp not to worry about either for now.
Mayer, according to lots and lots of sources who have worked with her, is not concerned with things like “revenue” and “money.” She’s much more focused on “product” and “user-growth.”
Right now, Yahoo shareholders are happy to let her do that. That’s because Yahoo shareholders are not shareholders because of Yahoo’s core business or core products.
They are Yahoo shareholders because owning Yahoo is the only way to make a pre-IPO bet on Alibaba, a successful Chinese Internet company that Yahoo owns a big stake in.
So Mayer is perfectly able to spend a billion dollars on Tumblr and allow Karp to keep running it relatively ad-free. This in turn, should keep Tumblr growing, since users hate ads.
Buying Tumblr helps Yahoo solve one of Yahoo’s biggest problems: mobile.
Sometime in the next couple years, more people will be accessing the Internet through mobile devices than through PCs.
This trend is bad news for Yahoo, which has limited mobile reach and even more limited mobile usage.
(Its reach numbers get a boost because Yahoo gets credit for having a weather app installed by default on every new iPhone. This is despite the facts that the Weather Channel provides the data for the app, Apple built the app, and Yahoo sells no ads in the app.)
Tumblr, despite a rocky start in mobile, now has TONS of mobile users.
Check out this table from ComScore, which shows that Tumblr is, relatively speaking, about as strong as Facebook in mobile, and much stronger than Yahoo:
tumblr mobile

Read more:

Google’s Plan To Take Over The World

Authored by Steve Kovach in Business Insider | May 18, 2013, 8:00 AM

Google’s big keynote at its I/O developers conference this week wore me out.

Not because it lasted a grueling three hours and fifty minutes, but because of what was announced. With every new product update, every new feature, every new virtual service, it became more and more clear that Google isn’t just a search company that makes loads of cash by showing you ads. It’s creeping into every aspect of our digital, physical, and private lives at an exponential rate.

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it.

Google isn’t just the backbone of the Internet anymore. It’s rapidly becoming the backbone of your entire life, all thanks to data you’re voluntarily giving up to a private company based on your Web searches, photos, Gmail messages, and more.

After spending three days at I/O this week, it became more apparent than ever that unless millions (billions?) of people suddenly change their mind and start using alternative tech tools, or unless the government steps in waving the anti-trust banner, our lives, our history, and our personal wealth could be managed by one company –– Google.

It’s the most apparent in Google Now, a voice-powered personal assistant that launched on Android phones last year. At I/O, it became even more clear that Google no longer sees search as returning a list of 10 or 20 relevant links when you type in a query. Google Now is much more than that. It’s the embodiment of that geeky dream of a “Star Trek Computer,” an intelligent machine that understands natural language and real-world context to assist you before you even know you need assistance.

Google Now scans your email and knows when your Amazon package is arriving. It knows what sports scores to show you based on the teams you’ve searched for. It knows what stock prices to show you based on the companies you search for. It scans your calendar and reminds you when to leave to make your appointment on time. And all that data is delivered to you without you having to ask.

Following I/O, Google Now is more prevalent than before. Google recently launched the app on iPhones and iPads, and it’s coming to the desktop soon if you use the Chrome Web browser. Next year, you’ll be wearing Google Now on your face if you buy Google Glass.

Then there are photos, arguably the most personal things you share online. Now, Google scans every single one you upload to Google+. It can learn what your family members look like and group photos of them into albums automatically. It can tell if your subjects are smiling. If they’re not smiling, it can stitch their faces in from other images where they are and create the perfect photo for you. It knows if you’re taking pictures of mountains or puppies or buildings or famous landmarks and group your photo albums together accordingly.

It’s creepy and magical at the same time.

Google Glass didn’t get any stage time during the I/O keynote, but it was still a significant part of the event. You couldn’t go anywhere –– the press room, the cafeteria, the restroom –– without someone’s computerized headgear staring back at you. It was oddly discomforting knowing that thousands of people had the ability to take a photo or video of you just by winking at their Glass.
It’s far too early to tell if Glass will take off when it’s ready for the general public, but if it does, then it’ll be just another example of how Google has reached into the physical space to take over everything we see and do.

I could go on and on, but this week I learned that Google has its hand in almost every aspect day-to-day life and its penetration is only accelerating.

Android is growing like crazy with 900 million activations to date, and it has the potential to connect billions of people to the Internet for the first time in the next few years. Google Maps has a new look, and it’s turned into a snappy way to find places to visit and get recommendations. Gmail is turning into a money transfer service. I can only imagine what Google co-founder Sergey Brin is working on at Google X, the company’s lab for futuristic products.

The question to ask now is, are we OK with this? Does the benefit of faster search, better transportation, and automated news updates outweigh giving up so much of our lives to a computer run by a private company that mines our data?

They’re issues we’d have to tackle gradually, but hopefully not before Google advances faster than we can adapt.

Will Camera be Android’s Next Target?

In the just-concluded conference, Samsung released a Smart Camera with 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi supported,called Galaxy Camera. Equipped with the latest Android 4.1 system, 21 times zoom, 23mm ultra-wide-anglelens and 16 megapixel back-illuminated SMOS sensor, along with the OIS image stabilization technology,it can still be able to install various Android applications, edit and share photos.

What’s worth mentioning is that voice control and cloud storage are its native functionalities.Prior to Polaroid and Nikon’s released Android-powered compact camera, Samsung’s join-in activate the market even more. After all, Polaroid and Nikon are the old-school manufacturers, strong in optical technology but weak in Android development. And 3G/4G network supported and voice control are clear proof.

Do we need this kind of Smart Camera, indeed?

To me, Smart Camera compared to Smart Phone and Traditional camera is like ILDC( Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera) compared to slim camera and SLR( Single Lens Reflex). Prior to the ILDC, consumers only have two choices, the slim camera or SLR. The characteristic of both two kinds are clear-cut, one for convenience and the other for specialization. You just can’t have it both ways. The emergence of ILDC give users a possibility to compromise. As well as the interchangeable lens remained, it also achieve the entry-level of SLR in performance. In the meantime, it is portable and convenient as much as the slim camera.

So is the Smart Camera. Through the compromise of quality and better sharing character, user can experience the professional imaging quality and later photo-editing and sharing under the Android system. As long as photo-sharing is the trend, Smart Camera would rise just like ILDC if only the costs are controlled.