Sony's Xperia Smartphones Feature High-End Cameras

Today's topics include new smartphones from Sony, a virtual private network service from China that's compromising Windows servers, Windows 10-based Chromebook alternatives from Acer and Microsoft investing big bucks in the Uber ride service.

Sony's latest two entries in the super-competitive smartphone wars bring photo-taking to a new level, with the Xperia C5 Ultra, which is built around twin 13-megapixel cameras front and rear, and the Xperia M5.

The new Xperia 4G LTE-capable smartphones were unveiled by Sony on Aug. 3 as midange devices aimed at attracting consumers who are trying to increase the photographic capabilities of their handsets.

The Xperia 5 Ultra is being touted as including professional-quality selfie capabilities through the new 13MP front and rear camera that offer high-resolution imagery, according to the company.

A Chinese virtual private network service, dubbed "Terracotta" by security researchers, has compromised hundreds of Windows servers to use as part of its anonymizing infrastructure, providing both legitimate users and attackers with an encrypted network capable of bypassing China's Great Firewall, according to an analysis published by security company RSA on Aug. 4.

Organizations that have been compromised by the group include a Fortune 500 hotel chain, an engineering firm and the University of Japan.

Acer is rolling out Windows 10-based alternatives to the increasingly popular Chromebooks. The PC vendor, which has its own portfolio of Chromebooks, this month will start selling what the company has dubbed the Aspire One Cloudbooks.

These are low-cost, thin and light systems designed for mobile users who are looking for easy Internet and cloud access. It will come with Microsoft's new Windows 10 operating system rather than Google Chrome.

In a deal finalized on July 31, Microsoft agreed to invest approximately $100 million in Uber Technologies, according to a Bloomberg report. The new infusion in cash bumps Uber's valuation to $50 billion, an increase of $10 billion.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment on the matter. The Seattle Times reported that the authorization for the new funding was filed more than two months ago.

It's not the first deal between the two technology companies. In June, The Wall Street Journal reported that Uber was acquiring Microsoft's Bing mapping technology and its 100 engineers, for an undisclosed amount.

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