Obi-Wan Kenobi may not be our only hope after all: Ostendo's tiny projectors are designed to display crisp video and glasses-free 3-D images.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 3, 2014 12:24PM

Carrie Fisher & Kenny Baker in By Evelyn M. Rusli, The Wall Street Journal


In the future, virtual reality won't require strapping a bulky contraption to your head.


The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyInstead, imagine stepping into an empty room and then suddenly seeing life-size, 3-D images of people and furniture. Or looking down at a smartwatch and seeing virtual objects float and bounce above the wrist, like the holographic Princess Leia beamed by R2-D2 in the movie "Star Wars."


A key to this future may lay in Carlsbad, Calif., where startup Ostendo Technologies has spent the past nine years quietly working on miniature projectors designed to emit crisp videos and glasses-free 3-D images for smartphones and giant screens.

 

While Apple's new mobile operating system is mostly about catching up to the competition, there are some noteworthy innovations.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 3, 2014 9:43AM

HealthKit in iOS 8 (c) Apple Inc.By Nathan Olivarez-Giles, The Wall Street Journal


On Monday, Apple (AAPL) introduced iOS 8, the latest version of its iPhone and iPad operating system -- touting the new software as the most significant iOS release since the App Store appeared in 2008.


The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyWhile that may be an extreme comparison -- the App Store's arrival was a watershed moment in mobile computing -- there are definitely lots of new features to be excited about.


Smart and swappable keyboards
If you've ever used an Android phone, you likely know the joy that is gesture typing. Rather than pecking out words tap by tap across a cramped keyboard, gesture typing allows you to glide across a screen, letter by letter, to send correspondence.

Keyboard apps such as SwiftKey and Swype work amazingly well, and even stock Android has built-in gesture typing. With iOS 8, Apple plays catch up, opening its devices to system-wide third-party keyboard apps. SwiftKey, Swype and many others are one the way.

 

Here are the best ways to track your stolen or lost phone, including a new app that will take a covert snapshot of potential thieves.

By MSN Money Partner May 29, 2014 12:07PM

Selfie of a man in Venice © franckreporter/Getty ImagesBy Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Wall Street Journal


Consider your odds of becoming a victim of phone theft: Last year, 3.1 million Americans had their phones stolen, according to a Consumer Reports survey. That's double the number from 2012.


The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyCellphone carriers haven't done enough to stop this growing epidemic, fueled by high smartphone resale values and a liquid secondhand market. Until they do, it's up to you to protect your phone and aid police if it is stolen.


Starting Wednesday, the mobile security firm Lookout is adding a new tool for tracking down bad guys: the "theftie," a covert snapshot of someone trying to steal your phone.


It's part of an app that alerts you to suspicious behaviors on your phone, like a screen password mistyped three times. You get an email containing your phone's location and a highly unflattering look at the person holding your phone -- be they Samaritan or supervillain. Theft alerts cost $30 a year, bundled with Lookout's other services that block unsafe websites.

 

If Thursday's successful US market debut for JD.com was the undercard, it bodes well for the main event, as the emperor of Chinese commerce prepares to go public.

By MSN Money Partner May 23, 2014 1:56PM

Alibaba signage outside headquarters in Hangzhou, China ©Nelson Ching/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy Carol Kopp, Minyanville


It had been dismissed by some as a mere warm-up act for its bigger rival Alibaba Group, but the Chinese online retailer JD.com (JD) got a sweet welcome to America on Thursday, closing at $20.90 on the Nasdaq ($COMPX), a 10 percent pop above its initial public offering price.
 
Minyanville on MSN MoneyThe performance of the company's American Depository Shares was better than expected, especially in the cautious current environment for Internet IPOs.
 
That is being seen as positive news for the upcoming Alibaba IPO. The company has filed its registration paperwork with the Federal Trade Commission, and though no date has been set, the guesstimate based on the length of the review process places the opening date in early August at earliest.


If the scope of the two companies is different, JD.com and Alibaba Group have in common the challenges and opportunities of China.

 

The ability to anonymously peruse other people's profiles isn't just for creeps -- it plays a key role in the social network's usefulness and long-term success, a new book argues.

By MSN Money Partner May 23, 2014 11:25AM

Young woman using Facebook on laptop © Isopix/Rex FeaturesBy Drake Bennett, Bloomberg Businessweek


The way people at Facebook (FB) talk about Facebook, the social network is about sharing and connecting -- nourishing human bonds that might otherwise wither because of geography, busy schedules, or laziness.


Bloomberg BusinessWeek on MSN MoneyAccording to Harvard Business School professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, though, Facebook's success is not due to sharing, but to the habit, familiar to all Facebook users, of anonymously viewing other people's pages -- colloquially known as stalking.


Piskorski has researched how people behave on social networks from eHarmony to Zynga (ZNGA), and he has laid out his findings in a book, "A Social Strategy: How We Profit From Social Media," due out next week. His argument on the value of stalking to Facebook comes from a comparison between the dynamics of the world's leading social network and those of Mixi (MIXIF), a similar site founded in Japan in February 2004, the same month Facebook began in the U.S.

 

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