Skype 6.2 Arrives for Windows, Mac

Microsoft's Skype team rolled out two new updates, both labeled as version 6.2, for Windows and Mac. The Windows version includes a redesigned top toolbar that brings together main actions, like calling phones, creating groups, and adding contacts. It also includes eGifting, or the ability to send Skype credits to users on their birthday which the recipients can use anytime.

LibreOffice Kicks it Up to Version 4.0

Microsoft Office has long been the dominant office suite. Through the years there have been many contenders rise and fall: WordPerfect, Corel, StarOffice, and too many more to count. Sun Microsystem’s StarOffice eventually mutated into OpenOffice, which for a long time was the best alternative to Microsoft’s dominance. But when Oracle bought Sun, legions of developers abandoned OpenOffice, and instead threw in with a forked version called LibreOffice.

BlackBerry Won’t Launch BB10 Devices In Japan

BlackBerry may have been much of the past few months criss-crossing the globe in an effort to drum up developer support for BlackBerry 10, but it turns out that there’s at least one market where the company has essentially given up. According to a recent report from the Nikkei Business Daily, the Waterloo-based company would not bring BlackBerry 10 and the devices that run it to Japan’s shores, and BlackBerry has just confirmed its stance.

Dropbox Raises the Stakes on iCloud and Google Drive

Dropbox is releasing new APIs for iOS and Android that simplify integrating the cloud service into apps. Although it technically doesn't add any new file sync features that weren't already available to developers, the new API means that including Dropbox in apps will be much easier. Simpler integration could drive adoption and help make what has already been a popular, common cloud storage solution the de-facto standard — especially for cross-platform apps.

It's Official Dell's Going Private in $24.4B Deal

Dell has indeed made the decision to go private, according to reports from The AP and other sources. The deal reportedly involves a leveraged buyout worth $24.4 billion by company founder Michael Dell and partners. Talks about Dell going private have been growing this year, with reports last week saying that Michael Dell was offering up to $1 billion of his own funds to take control of the company to help make it happen.

Oracle Releases Java Patch Update

Oracle on Friday released a critical patch update for Java SE, offering the patch ahead of schedule to stave off an active exploitation affecting the Java Runtime Environment in desktop browsers. Server-side fixes are being offered as well. Initially scheduled for release on February 19, the February 2013 critical patch update contains fixes for 50 vulnerabilities. Java has been under fire lately for security issues, particularly affecting browsers, and Oracle recently vowed to be more communicative about what it is doing to fix these problems.

Firefox to Block Silverlight and Java - But Not Flash

Mozilla said that to improve security and cut crashes, Firefox will block plug-ins including Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Reader, Apple's QuickTime and Oracle's Java. Only the newest version of Adobe Systems' Flash Player will be run by default, said Michael Coates, Mozilla's director of security assurance, in a blog post. Plug-ins extend a browser's ability to run software or handle different media and file formats, but that extra ability opens new avenues for attack.

BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 Smartphones Make Big Debut

BlackBerry, which previously called itself Research In Motion, yesterday unveiled two new smartphones that it hopes will aid its efforts to return to favor with consumers and business users. One phone, dubbed the BlackBerry Z10, features a full touch screen - no QWERTY keyboard on this one. The 4.2-inch display has a pixel density of 356 per inch, compared to the iPhone's 326ppi density. The other, dubbed the BlackBerry Q10, includes a full keyboard similar to those on older versions of the BlackBerry.

59% Of All Android Tablet Usage Comes From The U.S.

Android tablets have nearly caught up to iPad devices as the world’s most popular tablet platform, and some project that they may even overtake iPads later this year. According to new research from app analytics company Localytics, the U.S., and specifically Amazon, should take the most credit for that trend: some 59% of all Android tablet usage came from the U.S., with over half of that attributed to Kinde Fire and Fire HD tablets, working out to a 33% share.

Next-Gen Video Format H.265 Is Approved

The ITU has approved a new video format that could bring 4k video to future broadband networks, while also making streaming HD video available even on bandwidth-constrained mobile networks. The H.265 standard, also informally known as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), is designed to provide high-quality streaming video, even on low-bandwidth networks.

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