A bit of a lull this week ahead of what is shaping up to be an insane May -- and perhaps an even crazier June. We have events stacked three-deep at times, with industry ones like Google I/O, BlackBerry World, CTIA and SID Display Week looming along with private ones like Microsoft's next-generation Xbox unveiling. Next month? WWDC and the Electronic Entertainment Expo, just to name a few. Giddyup.
This week, we got what should be the final dredges of first-quarter earnings, with Facebook reporting $1.46 billion in revenue. That's a 38 percent increase over this quarter last year and a healthy $312 million in profit. Daily active users are also up, from 526 million to 665 million and, perhaps most importantly, Facebook managed to increase the performance of its mobile ads. That will be the key to its long-term success.
Key to T-Mobile's long-term success was the acquisition of MetroPCS and all the sweet, sweet spectrum locked up in its dowry. Big Magenta has been claiming this was a done deal for months, making some of us in the industry a little uncomfortable after the AT&T thing fell through amidst similarly confident talk. Thankfully for T-Mo, we needn't have worried. The $1.5 billion arrangement is indeed done and T-Mobile (and parent company Deutsche Telekom) plans on maintaining the MetroPCS brand in addition to its own. For now, at least.
My home state of Vermont made me proud this week by bringing gigabit fiber connectivity to the lucky residents of the greatest state in the Union.
In the wired-connectivity realm, my home state of Vermont made me proud this week by bringing gigabit fiber connectivity to the lucky residents of the greatest state in the Union -- for just $35 a month. That's about half the price of an equivalent plan in Google's fabled fiber service, but even more exclusive, with just 600 of VTel's subscribers opting in. I may yet move back and become the 601st.
We gained access to some new supposed details on iOS 7 this week, courtesy of matching reports in Bloomberg and AllThingsD. Jony Ive, who was promoted to oversee both hardware and software, is reportedly shattering silos and pulling developers from the Mac OS X side of things to help keep the radically retooled mobile OS on-track. Development is supposedly coming down to the wire for a planned September release and we'd hate to think what a delay might mean.
In other words: get ready for yet another Wii U system update.
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins looked a little further in the future to predict that tablets will be dead in just five years. Well, perhaps not dead, but he did say nobody would need them: "In five years, I don't think there'll be a reason to have a tablet anymore." Of course, one could quite successfully make the case that there's no need for tablets now -- they sure are nice to have, though. Heins has made similar statements in the past, saying that with no recurring revenue model, he sees no point in wading back into the tablet game.
The Wii U has allegedly been hacked, with mod chip developer WiiKey claiming to enable the execution of games stored on a USB drive. Things haven't been fully confirmed yet, but they certainly look legit -- legit enough for Nintendo to respond and say that, while it hasn't seen anything itself, it's ready to "take the necessary legal steps to prevent the facilitation of piracy." In other words: get ready for yet another Wii U system update.
Finally, some updates on the space tourism front. We'll start with the good: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo had its first successful test flight on Monday. It rocketed up to a mere 55,000 feet before shutting down and gliding back to terra firma, an important first step before a full-altitude flight later this year and planned commercial flights in 2015. In less stellar news, NASA was forced to extend its partnership with the Russian space agency Roscosmos until 2017. The reason? No American commercial space program has yet proven it has the chops to handle the duty.
In this week's Distro, we're getting you inside the world of Google Glass -- as much as we can without actually putting the thing on your head. We have a recap of my early experiences with the headset in my Living with Glass series before diving into the review itself. (It's a long one, so you might want to refill that coffee now.) Those two features are followed up by my interview with Bill Maris of Google Ventures, who is helping to push the wearable into the future. We also have reviews of the BlackBerry Q10 and Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11. In Switched On, Ross Rubin examines Google's presence on a competing mobile operating system. Joshua Fruhlinger tells you how to dodge digital fate in Modem World and PlayJam CEO Jasper Smith sits down for Q&A. Now, before you go, there's one vitally important thing you must know: It was not my idea to put my face on the cover, so keep your Oprah jokes to yourself.
This piece originally appeared in Distro #89.