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Developers In China Can Now Make Money Via Google Play Apps (But Not In China) (Jon Russell/TechCrunch)

Google has announced that developers based in China can now make money from apps listed on the Google Play Store. The update covers 130 international markets but not China itself, however. Nonetheless, the move will give Chinese developers exposure to the hundreds of millions of Android devices on the planet, opening up opportunities to make money via in-app purchases or subscriptions within free applications, and by selling paid-for apps too. Google said that China-based developers can receive payment direct to Chinese bank accounts, although the revenue will be wired across in US dollars. As it stands, Android developers in China can make money from their apps, but they need to use third-party app stores (which are popular in China since Google’s app store is not pre-loaded on Android devices in China), or an overseas-registered Google developer account. This move will open things up a lot more. As Facebook and Twitter have both found with sales efforts in China, the country’s tech community has an interest in leveraging large global networks to reach customers and users overseas, even for services that are blocked or unavailable in Mainland China. Today’s news follows a report from The Information  (paywalled) which claims that Google executives are in discussions with potential partners and the Chinese government with a view to launching Google Play services in Mainland China. Google declined to comment when we asked about the allegations, but any such move would represent a remarkable about turn for the company, which relocated its search engine and other services outside of the country in 2010. China is the world’s largest smartphone market based on shipment volumes, which means Google is losing out on potential revenue from millions of smartphones and tablets that don’t have access to its services and app store. Even if it did make a spectacular late arrival, China’s smartphone ecosystem is highly evolved and that means plenty of competition. Featured Image: Jiawangkun/ Shutterstock

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Airware’s Drone Operating System Gets Strategic Investment, Tech, Clients From GE Ventures (Josh Constine/TechCrunch)

Dull, dirty, and dangerous. Those are the tasks robots are best for, but it also describes jobs with General Electric’s Field Services division, inspecting wind turbines and oil pipelines. So today GE Ventures made one of its first major strategic investments  in robotics through a new partnership with drone hardware, software, and cloud services platform startup Airware . GE will provide an undisclosed sum on top of the $40 million Airware’s already raised, assist the startup with technology, and connect it with GE’s huge range of industrial clients. In addition to equity, GE will get to work closely with Airware to “make sure the platform can address a number of their use cases”, Airware CEO Jonathan Downey tells me. Airware CEO Jonathan Downey Founded in 2011 by Downey, the son of two pilots , Airware’s operating system lets businesses customize drones for specific commercial purposes, from agricultural land management to industrial inspections to anti-poaching at wildlife preserves . Open source drone frameworks aren’t flexible enough for many business use cases, but building drones from scratch is prohibitively resource- and engineering-intense. Airware’s platform handles all the basics of unmanned aerial vehicle hardware, the software that keeps the drones in the air, and the cloud services that host and transmit data the drones collect. Airware’s staff has grown from 40 to 70 since raising  $25 million in a round led by Kleiner Perkins  in July to push it through its official launch for commercial businesses. But first, it needs to hammer out the software to run the drones in more use cases, and refine their performance for ways they already know how to fly. That’s where GE and its flock of clients will come in handy. For example, when a client’s wind power turbine’s blade breaks, GE typically has to hoist a human technician hundreds of feet in the air to inspect the blade. That’s dangerous and wildly inefficient

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Advanced Variant of "NotCompatible" Android Malware a Threat to Enterprises (Eduard Kovacs/SecurityWeek)

Mobile security firm Lookout has been monitoring the evolution of the Android Trojan dubbed "NotCompatible", and they say the latest version of the malware is sophisticated enough to pose a threat to protected enterprise networks. NotCompatible.A , which researchers discovered in 2012, acted as a proxy on infected devices, but it didn't cause any direct damage. The mobile malware's authors did not use a complex command and control (C&C) architecture and communications were not encrypted, making it easy for security solutions to detect its activities. New features in NotCompatible.C The latest version of the threat, NotCompatible.C , is far more complex. According to Lookout, the authors have made it more difficult to detect and resilient to takedowns by implementing features usually found in mature PC-based malware. NotCompatible.C uses peer-to-peer (P2P) communications between infected devices, which makes it resilient to IP and DNS blocking, and it relies on multiple C&C servers that are geographically distributed, which enables the malware to function properly even if law enforcement authorities manage to shut down individual servers. The malware's authors have also started encrypting all C&C and proxied traffic, making it difficult for network security solutions to identify the malicious traffic. Furthermore, public key cryptography is used for mutual authentication between C&C servers and clients. In an effort to protect their infrastructure, the cybercriminals use a gateway C&C to analyze incoming connections, and block those that come from IP addresses that are not trusted. NotCompatible.C distribution and use NotCompatible.C is distributed through spam campaigns and compromised websites. The attackers are not leveraging any exploits, but instead rely on social engineering to trick potential victims into installing the threat on their mobile devicese

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Cisco expects to pay $188M to Rockstar, the Apple-owned patent licensor (Joe Mullin/Ars Technica)

Cisco has doled out a serious chunk of cash to settle its patent lawsuit with Rockstar, a patent-holding company created out of the ashes of Nortel, a Canadian telecom. The $188-million pre-tax charge was revealed in CIsco's most recent earnings call, and  first reported on Monday by the IAM Blog . Rockstar, which was created by a group of big tech companies including Apple, first sued Google and its customers in October 2013. In January, it sued several cable companies , saying their cable modems infringed Rockstar patents by using the DOCSIS standard.  Cisco intervened in that case the following month. This month's settlement ends litigation against both Cisco and its customers, who had received letters from Rockstar and related companies asking for patent royalty payments. At least a dozen ISPs approached by Rockstar were using Cisco products, including Time Warner Cable, Windstream, Suddenlink, Knology, and Cable One. In its most recent 10-K filing , Cisco said one of its customers was scheduled for trial in October 2015. The "Rockstar Consortium" was formed in 2011, when five tech companies—Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson, and Sony—banded together to outbid Google for the Nortel patent portfolio. They paid $4.5 billion. Apple owns a large share of Rockstar and has a seat on the company's board of directors. Rockstar CEO John Veschi has said that he, not the board of directors, calls the shots.

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Qualcomm to Build ARM-Based Server Chips (Jeffrey Burt/eWeek)

CEO Steve Mollenkopf gave few details, but Qualcomm will present a challenge to both smaller ARM server chip makers and dominant player Intel. Qualcomm, the world's top mobile chip maker, is ready to get into the crowded ARM-based server chip business.At the company's annual analyst day Nov. 19 in New York, CEO Steve Mollenkopf said company engineers have been working on the technology "for some time. Now we are going to have a big product that goes into the server." The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on Qualcomm's move.Mollenkopf was short on details—there was no talk about timetables or technological insights—but the entrance of such a large and well-funded player is sure to send ripples throughout the still-evolving ARM server chip space and introduce a significant competitor to Intel, which owns more than 90 percent of the server chip market. "You've got a really huge company with a lot of cash … that wasn't in there before," Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights and Strategy, told eWEEK . "It would be really, really hard to push Qualcomm out in some way." The ARM server market is still in its early stages. Chip makers like Advanced Micro Devices, Applied Micro and Cavium are beginning to roll out systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) based on ARM's 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture, and ARM officials expect servers powered by ARM chips to gain momentum over the next few years. Hewlett-Packard has already announced a low-power Moonshot server powered by Applied Micro's X-Gene SoC.However, other chip makers—in particular, Samsung and Nvidia—had reportedly backed off from the idea, and one of the early pioneers, Calxeda, shut its doors late last year after running out of money.That said, the trend toward cloud computing is fueling interest in low-power processor platforms. Cloud infrastructures demand high-performance servers that are small and highly energy-efficient, making power consumption as important a metric as compute capabilities. Intel has been aggressive in driving down the energy usage of its x86-based Xeon and Atom chips, while ARM and its partners are looking to address what they see as a significant opportunity. At the same time, major Web companies such as Google and Facebook are building their own highly efficient systems that run open-source software like Linux, and are open to trying data center technologies—from processors and servers to networking and storage—that are not made by the likes of Intel and Cisco.

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