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Fotofire's News Fix

Get your Fotofire web fix with this week’s collection of the team’s favourite technology news.

Microsoft buys Nokia

Nokia can trace its roots back to 1865 and a pulp mill in southwest Finland. A century and a half later, and after a few troubled years for the phone giant, Microsoft is buying Nokia for £4.6bn.

Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's handset business, along with a long-term licence of its patent portfolio and for its Here maps products, has sent shockwaves through the industry. What everyone wants to know is: what does it mean?

For the average consumer, it doesn’t mean much at all. The acquisition won't close until early next year. Phones with Nokia's brand will still be on sale. But you'll probably see the "feature phone" devices vanish within a year as they are withdrawn from all but the lowest-cost markets, such as Africa. Then Microsoft will try to get people to upgrade to Lumia and Asha phones.

But will cheap Android – and even cheap iPhones (scroll down to find out more!) – be a bigger temptation? That's been the problem for Microsoft since October 2010, when it launched Windows Phone, and it hasn't found the solution yet.

Finland has, however, lost its crown jewel – Nokia used to be worth 10% of all of Finland's manufacturing. Over the past five years it has been gradually shrinking, and the diaspora created from that has created pockets of technological innovation. The acquisition is sure to see a number of people leaving Nokia to look for jobs inside Finland rather than move to join Microsoft. But that could inspire a new generation of developers with new ideas – rather like Rovio, the Finnish company that now dominates the app world through its Angry Birds franchise.

After the emotional rollercoaster of comments on Twitter and Facebook when the news broke, discussion and analysis became more rational; the consensus now is on the future, and what Nokia will do with the fresh cash in its piggybank.

This status update sums up the prevailing general view quite well: "Nokia's catastrophe may be a good opportunity for Finland – we're a nation that tends to get stronger the heavier we're kicked between the legs."

Only One Week Left…

Apple has begun the marketing campaign for its latest iPhones, sending out invitations to an event at its Californian campus on September 10th. Put this in your diary, gadget geeks!

The event is expected to include the introduction of two new iPhone models: an iPhone 5S, successor to the current iPhone 5, and a lower-cost iPhone 5C.

Leaked photographs showing the iPhone 5C in yellow, green, pink and white suggest that the budget model will be housed in plastic casing, with reports indicating its screen and insides will be largely those of the iPhone 5.

The event will undoubtedly see a final preview of iOS 7 before it is released to the public. Details about iTunes Radio, Apple’s answer to music streaming service Spotify, may also be shared.

The company is holding a separate event for European journalists in Berlin at its Kurfürstendamm Apple Store, where the California launch will be simulcast.

Reports claim the 5S will come in gold as well as the usual white and black options, and will contain an improved 13-megapixel camera with two LED flashes. A fingerprint scanner may also be incorporated for extra user security.

Apple stores are expected to stock the new handsets from September 20th.

Trapped in the Web?

Although ‘internet addiction’ has yet to be officially recognized as a psychiatric condition, a hospital in Pennsylvania has become the first in the world to offer a treatment program for it.

According to Fox News, the voluntary inpatient program – which means no forced intervention – has been set up by ‘experts in the field and cognitive specialists with backgrounds in treating more familiar addictions like drug and alcohol abuse’.

Patients taking part in the $14000 program will go through a ‘digital detox’ where they are cut off from the internet for 72 hours – after which, they will go through psychological evaluation and counseling activities.

Founder of the non-profit program, Dr Kimberly Young, points out that a ‘mere dependence on modern technology does not make someone an internet addict’.

Take a Break

Did you know that Android’s operating systems are named after delicious sweet treats? Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice-cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean are previous names.

Android’s latest OS name, ‘KitKat’, was announced by Google’s senior VP on Twitter.

To celebrate its launch, Google has teamed up with Nestlé for a cross-promotional partnership—the green Android robot will soon be appearing on Kit Kat packaging and candy consumers will also stand a chance to win a Nexus 7 or Google Play credit.

This marketing partnership has also produced 50 million Android robot-shaped Kit Kat bars that will be available in 19 countries—needless to say; they are almost too cute to eat.

 

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