Breakfast Briefing: Amazon launches virtual currency, Android's app gains, couriers faster than the internet

6 Feb 2013
Breakfast briefing

Today's tech headlines include Amazon's "Coins" virtual currency, Apple's App Store lead being eroded and MI5 laying into the Snooper's Charter plans

Today's top stories include Amazon's new virtual currency, how Android is slowly killing Apple's App Store advantage, how to shift the whole web in a van, and more flak for the Snooper's Charter.

Amazon launches virtual currency

Amazon has launched a virtual currency enabling Kindle Fire owners to buy apps and in-app goodies through their devices. As TechCrunch points out, the "Coins" system is billed as a "a new way to spend money", which will delight parents who have bought devices for their nippers, especially since Amazon recently enabled in-app purchases.

Coins are worth one US cent, and the system is available in the US from May – with no news yet on availability in other countries. It's what the world needed, another virtual currency - so much more efficient than, say, credit cards.

Android eats into Apple's App Store advantage

The rise of Android is eroding another of Apple's iPhone advantages, because app developers are switching assets across to Android software production. Mercury News carries a Bloomberg report claiming that while developers used to prioritise apps for the Apple platform, the upswing in sales for Google's platform means it is now on a level playing field.

"It's growing exponentially - we've seen an inflection point the past six months," said one development company CEO. "We treat Android and Apple the same. They are equal partners to us and we put equal amounts of resources toward both platforms."

Want more bandwidth? Call a courier

XKCD has a fascinating comparison of broadband pipes against trucks and planes as a way of shifting big data. While residents in rural areas of Britain have long known that carrier pigeons can be faster than creaking connections, the article discovers that FedEx could carry all the web's traffic every day. "FedEx is capable of transferring 150 exabytes of data per day, or 14 petabits per second," it says. “Almost a hundred times the current throughput of the internet."

More fire aimed at Snooper's Charter

The Draft Data Communications Bill - better known as the Snooper's Charter - has come in for plenty of criticism over plans to monitor UK web and mobile traffic, but the latest blow will still hurt Home Office officials. A cross-party committee found that while there was a need for better ability to access traffic data, the plans needed a lot more work and were based on flimsy evidence.

According to a Guardian report, the boss of MI5 told a committee looking into the plan that the Home Office's justification for the bill was based on "some pretty heroic assumptions".

Read more

News