Archive for March, 2013

‘Facebook phone’ may ring true April 4

Facebook fueled fresh talk Friday about its own mobile phone after the leading social network scheduled a press announcement for next week.
Shortly after the Facebook invitation went out for the April 4 event, the technology news site TechCrunch reported the announcement would be a modified version of the Google Android operating system with “deep native Facebook functionality.”
Another report on “9 to 5 Google” said Facebook designing the software for the new smartphone, which would be made by Taiwan’s HTC.
Facebook’s invitation said only “Come See Our New Home On Android.”
The reports, if accurate, could explain the long speculation about a “Facebook phone” to help the social network better monetize its mobile platform by featuring Facebook prominently on the phone.
Facebook has long held firm it has no intention of building its own smartphone, saying instead it would rather weave access to the social network into software running the gamut of handsets.
News of the April 4 event at social network’s main campus in the Silicon Valley city of Menlo Park came as the research firm IDC released a Facebook-backed study showing that smartphones have become people’s close friends in the US.
US smartphone owners tend to be connected from the instant they rise until they fall sleep and revel in every minute of it, according to the study.
A weeklong IDC survey of more than 7,000 people ranging in age from 18 to 44 years old with iPhones or Android-powered smartphones showed that four out of five check their handsets within 15 minutes of waking.
The top three applications used were for messaging; Web browsing, and Facebook, in that order, according to IDC.
“People have a universal need to connect with others, especially those they care deeply about,” IDC researchers said.
“This coupled with mass market adoption of smartphones means that social engagement via phones has become mainstream.”
At a TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco in September, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said the social network giant is focused on mobile devices.
“It is really clear from the stats and my own personal intuition that a lot of energy in the ecosystem is going to mobile, not desktop (computers),” Zuckerberg said during an on-stage interview.
“That is the future,” he continued. “We are going to be doing killer stuff there.”
Facebook has made a priority of following its more than one billion members onto smartphones and tablet computers, tailoring services and money-making ads for mobile devices.
“Now, we are a mobile company,” Zuckerberg said at the conference.
Read the full article here:

U.S. ‘Underwater’ Homeowners Regain Equity as Prices Rise

About 200,000 U.S. homeowners regained positive equity in their properties in the fourth quarter as prices rebounded from a more than five-year slump, according to CoreLogic Inc. (CLGX)
At the end of last year, 10.4 million homes, or 21.5 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, were underwater, with owners owing more than the property was worth, the real estate data firm said in a statement today. That was down from 10.6 million homes, or 22 percent, at the end of the third quarter.
The U.S. housing market is rebounding as borrowing costs hover near record lows and employment improves, helping to fuel demand for a shrinking supply of property listings. Home prices jumped 9.7 percent in the 12 months through January, the biggest gain since April 2006, according to Irvine, California-based CoreLogic. About 1.7 million homeowners returned to positive equity in 2012, the company said today.
“The scourge of negative equity continues to recede across the country,” Anand Nallathambi, CoreLogic’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “The trend toward more homeowners moving back into positive-equity territory should continue in 2013.”
The aggregate value of negative equity in the U.S. decreased to $628 billion from $670 billion at the end of the third quarter.
Nevada had the highest percentage of mortgaged properties in negative equity, at 52.4 percent, followed by Florida at 40.2 percent, Arizona with 34.9 percent, Georgia with 33.8 percent and Michigan with 31.9 percent.
The majority of home equity is concentrated at the high end of the housing market. For mortgaged homes valued at more than $200,000, 86 percent are above water, compared with 72 percent for properties worth less.
A 5 percent gain in prices would return another 1.8 million homes, or 3.7 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, to positive equity, CoreLogic said.
Read the full article here:

Return top