Huawei boss says Tizen has ‘no chance’ of success (@engadget)

According to the executive, unnamed mobile networks had asked Huawei to make Tizen smartphones, but Yu feels that the platform has “no chance to be successful.”

That leaves the company with Android as the only thing its handsets can run, and when asked about this potential over-reliance on Google, Yu admitted that he’s concerned, but has “no choice.”

Can you really argue against that? Every Android OEM from Samsung on down is in this situation.

Congress passes cellphone unlocking bill, Obama likely to sign it into law (@gigaom)

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday allowing consumers to unlock mobile devices to work on a different carrier’s network. The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act was passed earlier this month by the Senate, leaving President Barack Obama’s signature as the last hurdle to be cleared before the bill becomes law.

Obama is almost certain to sign the bill. “The bill Congress passed today is another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice,” he said in a statement released on Friday. “I…look forward to signing this bill into law.”

Americans Spend Average Of 40 Minutes Per Day On Facebook, 1 in 5 of Which Are On Mobile (@techcrunch)

Josh Constine from TechCrunch:

Zuckerberg said that the 40 minutes a day on Facebook account for one in five minutes spent on mobile in the US. Yet Facebook’s CEO sees plenty of room to grow, as he said that Americans spend about 9 hours per day engaging with digital media. Facebook has 204 million monthly users in the US and Canada.

Facebook also downplayed mobile app install ads as a % of overall FB mobile revenue:

COO Sheryl Sandberg downplayed the impact of mobile app install ads to the 62% of Facebook’s ad revenue that comes from mobile and its total $1.66 billion it made this quarter from mobile ads. Her goal was likely to show Facebook’s mobile advertising offering is diverse, and its mobile ad revenue is not subject to instant disruption if, say, Apple and Google started offering app install ads on the app stores themselves.

More FB Earnings call stuff later.

Microsoft’s Bloodletting: The Least You Should Know

Microsoft announced today that they’ll be eliminating a total of 18,000 jobs today, the largest cut in company history. Basically, the brunt of these jobs are holdovers from the Nokia acquisition. From Ina Fried at Re:code:

Some 12,500 of the cuts are coming from the Nokia Devices and Services unit–roughly half that unit’s workforce. The company said it expects pre-tax charges over the next four quarters of $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion for severance and other costs.

In the same vein, the folks working on Nokia X, the handset Nokia was producing with Android (!) even while being acquired by Microsoft, will now start building those phones for use with Windows OS.

Kevin Tofel from GigaOM expects Microsoft’s strategy for Windows Phone to focus on emerging markets:

Now that Microsoft has effectively killed off Android as the software on the inexpensive Nokia X handsets, it’s clear the company thinks it can provide solid Windows Phone experiences for a low cost. And according to Elop’s note, that’s where the focus will be going forward: In the budget-friendly segment, particularly where the company already has a market-share foothold.

I think there are fundamental problems to this approach (see the comment I left on the article) but ultimately, Kevin’s right in the sense that given where they are, it’s probably their best strategy. And my feeling is, if it doesn’t work, Windows Phone is finito. I can’t see how they can continue to absorb those kinds of losses and it’s a monumental distraction from their focus on cloud, productivity and mobile enterprise: areas where I think Microsoft can still win as a business.

Finally, Om Malik takes a look at ex-Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and the overarching issue of the Valley’s culture of rewarding failing executives with huge compensation packages:

And Nokia, the once haloed and peerless brand when it came to phones was sold to Microsoft for relative pittance. Elop heads up Microsoft’s Devices Group. Think of it this way — since Elop took over as Nokia CEO, the company has  cut over 50,000 jobs (if you include today’s announcement.) That is just mind boggling.

Hard to argue.

FBI warns driverless cars could be used as ‘lethal weapons’ (@guardian)

The report, written by agents in the Strategic Issues Group within theFBI’s Directorate of Intelligence, says, “Autonomy … will make mobility more efficient, but will also open up greater possibilities for dual-use applications and ways for a car to be more of a potential lethal weapon that it is today.”

This presumably reflects fears that criminals might override safety features to ignore traffic lights and speed limits, or that terrorists might program explosive-packed cars to become self-driving bombs.

They’re not wrong; I think those fears are entirely justified. It will make the control & regulation of them a hot-button issue; will governments & municipalities have an override feature themselves to take over these cars in the event of a “hijacking?”

What Chess and Moore’s Law teach us about the progress of technology (@praxtime)

Thoughtful article comparing the exponential growth of aggregate chess ratings to similar growth patterns in technology relative to Moore’s Law. Similar to what I’m reading now in “The Second Machine Age,” which was released a few months ago. Chapter 3 is devoted to covering this kind of thing and plotting out the different dimensions using not just microprocessors per chip but internet download speeds, supercomputer speeds etc. to show how technology (particularly in mobile) has made the kinds of apps, services etc. possible that weren’t only a few years ago.