Dell just announced that the company has received "all the necessary regulatory clearances" to go ahead with its $25 billion buyout deal, funded by founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partnerships. Shareholders had approved the deal earlier this month by a 65% margin, but various federal regulators were required to sign off before it could officially proceed. The company now expects the deal to officially close before the third quarter of 2014. In an earlier statement, Michael Dell said the new ownership structure will "open an exciting new chapter for Dell."
Not long after the release of the Galaxy S4 earlier this year, Samsung found itself accused of artificially (and secretly) boosting benchmark scores on its flagship phone to ensure it would outperform the competition. Samsung outright denied that it had intentionally done so, but now the scenario is repeating itself with the release of the Galaxy Note 3. Ars Technica noticed the odd behavior while reviewing the device, and the details closely mirror those of the original controversy.
When running popular benchmark apps, Samsung's latest phone quietly enables a special high-speed mode, leading to scores that blow away similarly specced devices. The LG G2 features an identical 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor to that inside the Note 3, for example, yet it pales in comparison during benchmark runs. Ars Technica's research shows that the Note 3 makes a very real distinction between benchmark apps and regular software. Upon detecting the former, it kicks into a consistent 2.3GHz mode — the phone's highest possible CPU speed — that lets it achieve abnormally high scores.
Ars Technica also found a way of turning off the optimization; when that happens, the Note 3's performance comes back down to earth and loses its artificial advantage over rivals. The questionable tactics don't directly affect customers per se, but unfortunately it seems the press will need to pay a much closer eye to Samsung's benchmark scores from now on.
It's been a full week since the last Verge Mobile Show (can you believe it?), which means it's time for another episode. We've got everything from big phones to big cameras to big watches, plus a dose of big egos to balance it all out, so it should be quite the show. Be sure to join us at 4:30PM ET / 21:30 BST to catch the action live. We will have a video embed in this post once we are closer to show time.
Last week Valve made a number of major announcements with regards to its plans to take over your living room, but there was one other reveal that gamers were hoping for: the official announcement of Half-Life 3. And while that never happened, Valve did recently file for a "Half-Life 3" trademark in Europe. There's not much to glean from the trademark, which was filed on September 29th, other than the fact that it's a video game from Valve, but the HL3 name alone is sure to excite fans of the series.
Any news is good news
Of course, this is far from official confirmation that the game is in fact in development, but for the legion of fans who have been waiting for a sequel since Half-Life 2: Episode 2 launched back in 2007, any news is good news. Since that time the internet has obsessively followed every clue and rumor alluding to HL3's existence, and this should only help fuel the flames. Meanwhile, Valve's plans of late have focused more on hardware, with the recent announcements of SteamOS, the Steam Machines hardware beta, and its very own Steam Controller.
Scribd has been a go-to site for sharing documents on the web for years now, but today, the site is making a major pivot: it's launching an ebook rental service that's built right into its existing platform. The site will still have the same functions as before, allowing users to host, share, and read documents — but those have always by and large been open for anyone to read. Now, Scribd is also home to the majority of HarperCollins' US catalog of books, which will only be accessible through a $8.99 per month subscription. It'll be selling the books too, including a number of titles that aren't available to rent.
Lack of major publishers could make for a rocky start
Though the service is officially launching today, GigaOm reports that Scribd actually began publicly testing it back in January without HarperCollins' involvement. Scribd also has the support of six smaller publishers, and while its new deal with one of the industry's big five is important, the absence of the four others could still make the service a nonstarter for many voracious readers. For those who choose to subscribe, the books should at least be simple to start reading: Scribd's iPhone, iPad, and Android apps will all allow access to its library of subscription titles. They can be read on the web as well, and many will also available to download.
Despite the shortcomings in Scribd's library of ebooks, it seems that the company wants to get an early start in a space that several others now seem to be eyeing. Just last month, a startup called Oyster began offering a similar ebook subscription service for $9.95 per month — also with HarperCollins in tow as its only major publishing house. For now though, no service has managed to pull together a majority of the major publishers. And until services like Scribd and Oyster can add more titles into their catalogs, the best option may still be buying an ebook or heading down to the library.
Back in June we learned that iOS 7 would include standardized support for game controllers, but since then we've seen little of the gamepads themselves. A new image posted on the @evleaks Twitter account could change that, however, showing off what appears to be a press photo of a Logitech controller add-on for the iPhone. It's very similar to the blurry image published by Kotaku in June, with a directional pad, four face buttons, and a pair of shoulder triggers. It's also a lengthy add-on, appearing to nearly double the iPhone 5's length. Of course, if it is a real product, the design could change before it's eventually released. Gamepads for mobile devices haven't really caught on among players, but there's definitely a place for them — while there are plenty of excellent touchscreen games to be found in the App Store, there are still quite a few blockbuster iOS titles that could do with physical controls like these.
Google purchased Waze, one of the more popular mobile mapping and navigation apps around, back in June — and the FTC quickly indicated that it would review the purchase for potential antitrust violations. However, it's now looking like the purchase should go through as planned without any challenges. Bloomberg News is reporting that the FTC won't move to block the sale and has no concerns that Google's purchase of Waze would hurt the competition, according to unnamed sources. If the deal goes through as expected, it should prove to be a nice boon for Google's already-dominant mapping services — rolling Waze's crowd-sourced traffic and travel data to its own service could certainly help the company extend its strong position in the market. While some believe the purchase was a defensive move, either way it's clear Google saw significant value in the company — while the final purchase price hasn't yet been confirmed, it's believed to be north of $1 billion.