Amazon Wants Cheap eBooks, Google Fixes Android Flaw, And More… [Tech News Digest]
Also, Facebook kills Gifts, Netflix signs deal with AT&T, EA launches subscription service, the PS4 goes 3D, and a reminder not to play with microwave ovens.
Amazon Explains Dispute With Hachette
Amazon has finally addressed its ongoing dispute with book publisher Hachette, explaining its reasoning for taking a stance. In a note on the Kindle Forum, Amazon explains its key objective is “lower e-book prices,” arguing that eBooks “can be and should be less expensive.”
Amazon states that with “no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out-of-stock, no warehousing costs, [and] no transportation costs,” eBooks should be cheaper. The online retailer is suggesting a cap of $9.99 for most eBooks, breaking down how this lower price point could actually raise revenues for all concerned.
Hachette is clearly sticking to its guns, arguing in favor of higher price points for eBooks. However, this is a compelling argument from Amazon which most consumers will likely support as it means cheaper eBooks.
The ball is now in Hachette’s court to present its side of the story. In the meantime, Amazon will continue to make Hachette titles harder to buy than books published by more-compliant publishers.
‘Fake ID’ Flaw In Google Android Exposed
Having an android has allowed me to explore the range and depth of my textual writing skills without the heavy reliance on emoji symbolism
— Kylie (@nice_and_shiny) July 30, 2014
A serious flaw has been discovered in Android that allows malicious code to be inserted into apps. Utilizing Fake ID, as the flaw has been nicknamed, cybercriminals could gain access to financial data or even take control of the smartphone or tablet affected.
The vulnerability has existed in Android since v2.1 released in 2010. It works because Android fails to check whether the cryptographic certificates which accompany each app are certified. This means malicious apps can be granted access to resources that should be off-limits.
Fake ID was discovered by BlueBox Security, which informed Google of the issue before going public. This means Google has had time to release a patch to partners after finding “no evidence of attempted exploitation of this vulnerability.” Let’s just hope that remains the case until those partners release the patch to users.
Facebook Gifts Is No More
Facebook has killed Facebook Gifts, choosing instead to focus on the Buy button. Facebook Gifts, which enabled users to buy presents for friends, was launched in September 2012. The effort failed, leading Facebook to focus on gift cards from August 2013.
Now, Gifts is being culled altogether, with Facebook gambling that the Buy button — which lets users purchase products without visiting a merchant’s website — will be more successful at generating revenue. This must surely qualify as another failed Facebook experiment .
Netflix Signs Streaming Deal With AT&T
— Jim Schneider (@JimboSchneider) July 29, 2014
Netflix has signed yet another peering deal, this time with AT&T. The deal, which follows on from similar agreements with Comcast and Verizon, means Netflix will receive VIP treatment through the AT&T tubes. This is good news for customers in the short term, but bad news for everyone in the long term… less buffering now means the death of net neutrality later.
EA Launches Xbox One Subscription Service
EA has announced a new video game subscription service coming exclusively to Xbox One. EA Access will give gamers unlimited access to a number of EA titles for $4.99 a month or $29.99 for a full year. The beta has now begun, with FIFA 14, Peggle 2, Madden NFL 25, and Battlefield 4 being the games offered up. Could Netflix-style services be the future of video games?
PS4 Update Enables Blu-ray 3D Playback
PS4 System Software 1.75 is now ready to download. Get downloading.! pic.twitter.com/w1nFA1FHxi
— PlayStation Europe (@PlayStationEU) July 29, 2014
The PlayStation 4 is now able to play Blu-ray 3D movies, after the capability was added with the release of PS4 System Software 1.75. You will, of course, still need to own a 3D television set , and the Xbox One is set to follow suit by adding support in August. But for a couple of weeks at least, Sony is beating Microsoft on the multimedia front.
PSA: Microwaves Are Not Toys
And finally, this video should act as a reminder that microwave ovens are not toys. While nothing overly upsetting happens to these Russian guys experimenting with microwave radiation, the potential power to harm should be clear for all to see. Even if most of us can’t understand a word they’re saying. Please don’t try this at home!
Your Views On Today’s Tech News
Do you support Amazon in its quest to lower the price of eBooks? Are you concerned about the Fake ID flaw in Android? Would you ever sign up to EA Access?
Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Image Credit: Mike McCune via Flickr