Martyn Pavey

Business/computers/society

Duct Cleaning Company Loves The Jawbone Mini Jambox

Jawbone, the company behind the first major portable Bluetooth speaker, is taking its Jambox down a notch – in size that is.

The company on Wednesday introduced the Mini Jambox, a portable speaker that is about the same size as a can of Red Bull, and designed to amplify sound from your phone or the cloud wherever you are. The scaled-down speaker features “two neodymium drivers and a passive bass radiator” offering high-quality sound in a compact nine-ounce package which can “literally fit into your pocket,” Jawbone said in a statement.

Priced at $179.99, the Mini Jambox is available for pre-order today on Jawbone’s website and will be hitting major retailers nationwide later this month. It comes in nine different color options, including: red, silver, graphite, blue, aqua, purple, yellow, orange, and green.

The more compact version of Jawbone’s Big Jambox uses “advanced digital signal processing technology” for full-sound when listening to all types of audio content, including music, movies, games, and voice calls. It has a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which Jawbone said offers up to 10 hours of playback and 75 hours of standby time on a single charge. Our friend that works at Alpine Air Care, a local air duct cleaning company, says this will be “great for productivity” since he’ll be able to use the jawbone on the job and not run out of battery life.

“Mini Jambox goes with you literally everywhere and lets you take advantage of the spontaneous moments when you want to enjoy or share your entertainment, like streaming from Spotify on a road trip, showing friends a trending Vine clip at a party, or calling your family via Skype while honeymooning in Europe,” Travis Bogard, vice president of product management and strategy at Jawbone, said in a statement.

The Mini is created from a single piece of extruded aluminum, which makes up both the framework and face of the speaker. Inside the aluminum case, there’s an airtight enclosure, which “creates a maximally efficient acoustic cavity for producing sound,” Jawbone said. (more…)

Leak: Samsung could beat Apple to the punch with fingerprint sensor in Note 3

Apple’s biggest rival, Samsung, may be getting ready to unveil its own fingerprint sensing technology today with the Galaxy Note 3, potentially taking some of the wind out of the next iPhone’s sales even before the device is introduced.

According to one application package file (APK) list posted by noted tech news leaker @evleaks, a “FingerprintService.apk” file is among the many files included in that list. Additionally, a “trusted insider” said to work within Samsung India’s RD department has reportedly confirmed to Temefy that the newest generation of the Note will come with a fingerprint sensor and that it will have “an amazing feature.”

According to reports, the sensor in the Note 3 will be used to unlock the smartphone, but also to enable a “Dual User Mode.” Such an option would allow for the regular unlocking methods, such as password protection or simple swipe-to-unlock, but would give access to a user’s sensitive files were it unlocked with the owner’s fingerprint.

The website source does not explain why Samsung did not roll out the technology with its much more popular Galaxy S4 flagship’s debut earlier this year, but the South Korean tech giant could be simply testing the waters on the technology ahead of a larger rollout. The Note 2, predecessor to the device Samsung will announce today, is popular in its own right, moving millions of units in its first two months of release —so it could serve as a suitable testing ground for Samsung releasing the technology for a wider segment of its product line.
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GM, Ford and Chrysler post strong August auto sales

“The industry as a whole continues to experience a robust improvement in demand,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “August is looking to be the best month for retail sales that we’ve seen in the past seven years.”

Consumer spending on new vehicles in August will approach $36 billion, which is the highest level on record, he said

August sales continue to benefit from the housing recovery and consumer confidence, said Elaine Kwei, an analyst at Jefferies, an investment firm.

GM said it sold 275,847 vehicles in the U.S. last month, up 14.7% compared with the same month a year earlier.

“We have a lot of momentum and we feel good about the direction of the U.S. economy,” said Kurt McNeil, vice president  of GM’s U.S. sales operations.

Ford said it sold 221,270 vehicles in August, a 12.2% increase from the prior year.

Chrysler Group said it sold 165,552 vehicles in the U.S. last month, a 12% gain from the same month a year earlier.

“Last month we achieved our strongest retail sales in the past 60 months,” said Reid Bigland, Chrysler’s U.S. sales chief.

Six of the automaker’s models set sales records in August.

Toyota Motor Corp. said it sold 231,537 vehicles in the U.S. last month, a 22.8% increase from August a year ago.

“The auto industry continues to be a bright spot in the economic recovery,” said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager.

Nissan Motor Co. said its U.S. sales hit 120,498 vehicles last month, a 22.3% gain and an August record for the Japanese automaker.

Volkswagen said it sold 40,342 VW branded vehicles in the U.S. last month, a 1% decline from the prior year.

Auto price information company TrueCar.com estimated that U.S. auto sales reached 1.5 million vehicles last month, up about 14% from the same month a year earlier.

Part of the gain came from a quirk in the calendar. Some states and local government prohibit car sales on Sundays. Those restrictions resulted in August having one more selling day than the same month a year earlier.

One indication of how strong the retail side of the business was last month is that fleet sales – vehicles sold to rental car companies, governments and big companies – were expected to make up just about 14% of sales, the lowest level since early 2007, said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with auto information company Edmunds.com.

In part, the decline resulted from the timing of purchases by commercial customers and should reverse in the coming months as more 2014 models roll from the factories of automakers, according to Caldwell.

Overall, car sales are still running at their highest level since early 2007, Caldwell said.

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Article source: http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-gm-ford-chrysler-august-auto-sales-20130903,0,5376064.story

US trade deficit jumps 13% in July

WASHINGTON — The U.S. trade deficit jumped by 13% in July after hitting a more than three-year low the previous month, as the nation imported more goods, such as crude oil, and exports fell, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

The increase in the trade deficit to $39.1 billion from June’s upwardly revised level of $34.5 billion sent a mixed message about the hoped-for pickup in economic growth in the second half of the year.

A $3.5-billion rise in imports showed domestic demand increased in July for products such as consumer goods and automobiles, a positive sign.

QUIZ: How well do you understand the Fed stimulus?

But a $1.1-billion decline in exports from a record high in June demonstrated the continued impact on U.S. companies of Europe’s economic troubles and a slowdown in some emerging markets, such as China.

Economists expected the nation would not be able to sustain the deficit level reached in June, which was the lowest since October 2009. They projected the July trade deficit to widen to about $38.6 billion in July.

Crude oil imports were up 6.1% in July, to $23.4 billion, after a decrease the previous month, the Commerce Department said. The rise was partly caused by higher prices related to increased tensions in the Middle East.

Imports of automotive vehicles, parts and engines rose 3.1% to $26.4 billion. Imports of consumer goods, such as clothes, cellphones and appliances, rose 1.6% to $44.5 billion.

Exports dropped 0.6% in July from the record high of $190.5 billion the previous month. Still, the $189.4 billion in exported goods in July was the second-highest level ever.

Exports of capital goods, such as computers and civilian aircraft, as well as automobiles and consumer goods all were down in July from the previous month.

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Article source: http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-trade-deficit-exports-oil-economy-20130904,0,2029161.story