Breakfast Briefing: What went wrong at Nokia, location data sell-off, Torvalds’ MacBook

Morning. Today’s top tech stories include more on Huawei’s security threat, how Nokia killed Meego in a nose-sliced-from-face argument and Steve Wozniak trashes Apple. Again.

Breakfast Briefing: What went wrong at Nokia, location data sell-off, Torvalds' MacBook

Nokia’s Meego own goal

The Register has detailed a report from Finnish company Taskmuro that reveals how Nokia’s bid to revive its fortunes fell apart due to in-fighting and a failed partnership with Intel. The Meego project was hoped to boost the company, but arrived too late and was underpowered. Part of the problem was rival teams within Nokia working on different projects. “Both teams had built the wrong thing,” the report found.

Telefonica to sell smartphone location data

Smartphone location data provides fairly conclusive proof of owner movements, which is why privacy campaigners get upset when companies gather such details without notice. According to a report from Out-law, O2 owner, Telefonica, would gather the information on phone location even if the location services were turned off, in a bid to sell detailed data about social behaviour in places such as shopping malls and town centres. The “Smart Steps” programme data would be sold to retailers and councils to provide marketing insights on user behaviour, but apparently there’s no need to worry because the data will be anonymised. Where have we heard that before?

Linus Torvalds’ MacBook

Linux guru Linus Torvalds has taken part in an entertaining Q&A session with Slashdot. Perhaps the most eyebrow raising moment comes when he’s asked to describe his computer.

“My laptop (that I’m writing this with, since I’m travelling in Japan and Korea right now) is an 11in Apple Macbook Air from last year,” Torvalds confides, before quickly mopping the collective brow of the Slashdot Technorati. “But running Linux, of course – no OS X anywhere.”

Nice back-pedalling.

Huawei’s rivals quick to put boot in

Chinese company Huawei is public enemy number one in the West, with officials in the US calling for an end to contracts with the networking manufacturer over security fears, and the UK also pondering an investigation. Yet according to The Washington Post there could be other motives for the recent negative attention focused on the company and its links to China’s political elite. Could it be that US manufacturing companies that are unable to compete on price are adding fuel to the fire to protect their own concerns?

Twitter’s true demographics revealed

Far from the impression many of us get on a daily basis, it turns out Twitter isn’t only full of tech people, journalists and trolls. The largest analysis yet undertaken, covering a massive 36 million user profiles, shows that the average tweeter is actually more likely to be a female American teen with a purple background. There are some interesting findings, including the nugget that when it comes to Twitter, France has the kind of gender inequality normally only found in developing nations.

US Navy funds MacGyver robot

No, it’s not an autonomous reconstruction of Richard Dean Anderson complete with awesome hair, but it is (not at all) the next best thing. The BBC reports that the US Navy is handing $900,000 to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology to develop a robot that “behaves like MacGyver, the television character from the 1980s who solved complex problems and escaped dangerous situations by using everyday objects and materials he found at hand”. Other researchers have said it might be harder than it sounds, which should be obvious – this is a man who once escaped from the bad guys in a coffin that turned into a jet ski.

Woz on the warpath. Again.

With friends like Steve Wozniak… The irascible Apple founder has turned on the company again, this time in a podcast with Tech Central, reported by The Register.

According to The Reg, Woz brands the mothership “arrogant” for failing to deliver an iPhone with an even bigger screen than the stretched display on the iPhone 5. “I wish they had made a small and a large version of the iPhone; that would have been great for me,” Wozniak says. “Keep the aspect ratio the same, horizontal and vertical the same, but just grow it in the other way.”

Someone should send him a 3G iPad with the Skype app pre-installed.

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