Also, BlackBerry posts surprise profit, Valve launches annual Steam Summer Sale, a U.S. college offers athletic scholarships to professional gamers, eBay Valet sells your unwanted stuff for you, and Conan O’Brien shows off at E3 2014.
iPhone Kill Switches Deter Thieves
In response to the increase of iPhone thefts I installed a free deterrent app. It’s called “Drop Phone Shatter Screen”.
— Jack Mackenroth (@jackmackenroth) January 15, 2014
There is now strong evidence that having kill switches on smartphones lowers the rate of crime by deterring thieves. Apple introduced a kill switch to iPhone with the release of iOS 7, and the number of iPhones being stolen since has dropped in several major cities. In New York, iPhone thefts dropped 19 percent, in San Francisco, 38 percent, and in London, 24 percent. Over the same time period, thefts of Samsung smartphones increased. Perhaps because they weren’t ugly enough.
These impressive figures prove that having a kill switch on a smartphone — enabling users to delete all data and render their handset inoperable if stolen — deters thieves. And it has led Google and Microsoft to commit to introducing kill switches for Android and Windows Phone handsets, respectively. The feature is likely to be enabled by default, with the user afforded the option to disable it.
Apple deserves a lot of credit for being the innovator when it comes to smartphone kill switches. It doesn’t make up for the distinct lack of innovation elsewhere in its product lineup of late, but it’s something at least.
Security Firm Wants Windows XP To Die
When Microsoft ended support for Windows XP in April 2014, most people agree it was the right decision. After all, XP is old and outdated. However, XP still has a 20 percent market share, and people are digging their heels in despite repeated calls for them to move on to a newer, more able, operating system.
Mykko Hyppönen, Chief Research Officer at security company F-Secure Labs, has had enough of people refusing to move on. According to The Inquirer, during a recent roundtable discussion, he stated, “I can’t wait for Windows XP to die. I’m glad Microsoft stopped shipping updates. I’m mad at Microsoft for shipping updates after end of support, it should try and kill this beast. But it’s not dead yet.”
Hyppönen is extremely well known in the security community, so perhaps his words will have an impact on those Windows XP users still desperately holding on to the past. Fingers crossed.
BlackBerry Posts Profit To Stave Off Death
Today wasn’t just about turning a profit & new devices. But also a community believing in each other. This is y(our) win! #BlackBerry
— Kimberly M. Cooley (@kmcooley) June 20, 2014
BlackBerry, the once popular but now struggling phone company, has beaten all expectations by actually posting a profit for its fiscal first quarter. A net profit of $23 million may not sound like much for a company the size of BlackBerry, but it’s a lot better than the $423 million loss posted for the previous quarter. Revenues stand at $966 million, which should stave off death for a while longer. Optimism!
The Steam Summer Sale Has Started
Valve has launched the 2014 Steam Summer Sale, with PC, Mac, and Linux gamers offered impressive discounts of a host of games. The Steam Summer Sale runs until June 30, so just remember that you can only play so many games in one lifetime. Make sure to choose carefully by reading reviews before cracking open your wallets and purses.
Athletic Scholarships For League Of Legends
Robert Morris University in Illinois has become the first college in the U.S. to offer athletic scholarships to professional gamers. The college is targeting League of Legends players currently attending high school, offering them up to 50 percent of their tuition fees and living costs, which equates to a healthy $19,000. And yet some people still think video games are aimed at children. Tch.
eBay Valet Sells Your Unwanted Goods
Selling your old and unwanted stuff on eBay is a great way of having a clearout while making money in the process. Unfortunately, it also requires a little effort. Thankfully, eBay Valet has arrived to do the hard work for you, in exchange for a healthy 30% cut of the profits, naturally. Previously available on the Web, eBay Valet has now been launched as an iOS app.
Conan O’Brien Wins E3 2014
And finally, Conan O’Brien isn’t a gamer. At all. But he does like the idea of video games, and his efforts to get better at playing them has become a regular slot on his show. His latest effort saw him attend E3 2014, but games weren’t the only thing on his mind. Watch the video to the end and you’ll see what we mean.
Your Views On Today’s Tech News
Do you welcome the arrival of kill switches for smartphones? Is Mykko Hyppönen right to wish Windows XP would hurry up and die? Is there any hope left for BlackBerry? What will you be buying from the Steam Summer Sale?
Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. All comments will be read and the best will earn a reply.
Image Credit: Whatleydude via Flickr