Updated at 12:00pm to clarify the French law on unlocked cell phones, and at 1:43pm with comment from Apple.
The iPhone on Friday will make its debut in the United Kingdom and Germany, the first countries outside of the United States to get their hands on Apple's first mobile phone.
For months, many (including this guy) had expected Apple to wade into the European mobile-phone market with a 3G iPhone, but virtually the same model that's available in the States will be presented to British and German users of O2 and T-Mobile's networks, respectively. The … Read more
German auto giants Volkswagen and Daimler have taken minority shares in renewable-energy specialist Choren Industries, which has developed a process for turning leftover agricultural products and other biomass into liquid fuel.Choren is currently building a beta plant in Freiberg, Germany, that will produce about 15,000 metric tons of fuel a year. That's enough to provide fuel for 15,000 drivers for an entire year. It then hopes to follow up with a production plant that can crank out 200,000 metric tons of fuel. Ten to fifteen of these plants, Choren estimates, could cut up to 3 … Read more
If you are thinking of installing solar panels, don't wait.
Lyndon Rive, CEO of solar installer Solar City, says that prices for residential solar systems are climbing. Over time, they will decline. In five to seven years, he predicts solar energy will be on par with regular grid power. (Dick Swanson of SunPower has made the same prediction.)
Unfortunately, buyers right now are caught in a bind. The lingering shortage of silicon continues to keep panel prices high. Meanwhile, the subsidies are going down. Last year, California offered a rebate of $2.80 per watt, he said. This year, … Read more
A group in Dessau, Germany, has received funds and famed architect Rem Koolhaas as an adviser in its quest to build the world's largest structure.
Dubbed a "monument for all of us" the new "Great Pyramid," which is estimated would take about 30 years to complete, would be about 1,900 feet tall and 10 times larger than the Great Pyramid of Egypt, according to the Great Pyramid's Web site.
Instead of being a monument to only a few individuals, Germany's Great Pyramid would be a communal tomb open to anyone regardless of … Read more
In the name of nabbing terrorists, the German government is floating a plan that would permit authorities to plant spyware on suspects' hard drives through e-mail messages appearing to stem from official sources, according to various news reports out of Berlin this week.
The proposal, which has not yet been made public but was leaked in part to some German news outlets, is reportedly the brainchild of Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. He's pushing for its inclusion in a broader security law under consideration by Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government. The spyware provision is a response to a federal … Read more
As of Saturday, it's a crime in Germany to build, sell, distribute or obtain so-called "hacking tools" designed to allow access to protected data or promote other illegal acts.
The intention of the lawmakers, who proposed the item last year and passed it in late May, was to crack down on attacks on government and private-sector computer systems. Penalties include prison sentences of up to 10 years and fines, IDG News Service reports.
But some security industry representatives are worried the law will actually make the nation less safe because they believe it'll be more difficult … Read more
Germany's Schott Solar and Wacker Chemie AG have formed a joint venture to produce silicon wafers for solar cells, another sign of how the solar industry is consolidating.
Under the deal, Wacker will supply purified silicon to Schott Wacker (easily one of the more accidentally amusing company names in years). Schott Wacker will then turn the silicon into wafers and sell the wafers to Schott. Schott will then turn the wafers into solar cells. The joint venture will also sell wafer to other solar cell makers.
By 2012, the joint venture is expected to produce enough wafers to for … Read more
Looks like Google will finally have to stop using the Gmail trademark in Germany. A German appellate court ruled against the company, says German venture capitalist Daniel Giersch, who brought the case against Google. The court is expected to provide a written ruling on July 4, according to Google and Giersch.
Giersch runs an electronic postal delivery business that goes by the name G-mail, which is short for "Giersch mail." Giersch says he only wants to use the trademark in Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Monaco.
Separately, Google had to rename its e-mail service Google Mail in the United Kingdom … Read more
If you're looking for heavy open source adoption, apparently the place to go is the Fatherland, at least according to this article in Heise. Citing zero licensing fees, access to source code, freedom from lock-in, and other factors, the Germans are on an open source binge:
In a survey of IT procurement officers from Germany, Great Britain, and the US/Canada, 59 percent of those in Germany said that they use OSS in their companies. The figures were far lower in Great Britain and the US/Canada at 48 and 38 percent, respectively.
Nicht schlecht! While I'm glad … Read more