If you've been riding along with me for any length of time, you know I get really revved up whenever I talk about the "Mobile Wave" in technology.
The truth is, I can't help it: I look at the forecasts, calculate all the money that can be made, and end up feeling as jazzed as can be about the windfall profits we can reap from this transformational trend.
And I'm not the only one who's feeling this technology-fueled ebullience: The folks over at Amazon.com are clearly experiencing the same adrenalin-driven affliction.
Amazon, you see, is coming out with its own smartphone.
And not just any smartphone. Amazon's entry into smartphone derby is going to be one cool mobile device - highlighted by a 3D screen that will display photos so realistically that you'll want to just reach out and touch them.
Why in the world, you might ask, is an "e-tailer" entering the wireless-phone business?
Just look at the numbers.
Apple Bond Offering is Proof It'll Do Anything to Avoid Taxes
The record $17 billion Apple bond offering this week will do more than just placate shareholders eager to get some benefit from the company's $144.7 billion in cash.
It will help Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) avoid paying taxes, a feat that the Cupertino, CA tech giant has elevated to a high art.
The company has kept the bulk of its cash - some $102 billion - in overseas accounts to avoid paying the 35% corporate tax rate here in the United States.
Borrowing money to fund its plans for dividend increases and stock buybacks allows Apple to reward its shareholders without repatriating those foreign profits and paying U.S. taxes.
Better yet, the interest Apple will pay out in its bonds is tax deductible, which will reduce the company's tax bill even more.
It's all so elegantly devious - and perfectly legal.
Apple Stock is Up After Earnings – But Are Gains Here to Stay?
Apple stock was up 5% in after-hours trading Tuesday when its earnings report turned out to be better than expected - but, not great.
Everyone was bracing for the worst when Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) released second-quarter earnings Tuesday after the close. The big question was just how bad things were going to be.
The answer turned out to be... not so awful. The iPhone maker surprised Wall Street with better than expected numbers, mostly because expectations were so low.
However, as expected, forward guidance was glum.
Apple: Cash or Trash?
With Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) off nearly 50% from its $705.07 a share high set last September, many investors want to know if it's a buy.
Not in my book. Here's why:
1. The company has held on to its premium pricing strategy for too long. Going out on price as it has recently with iPhones, for example, is the death knell of competitive differentiation. Businesses that engage in price wars have a very difficult time climbing back up the proverbial ladder.
2. The present management team is having trouble fulfilling the late Steve Jobs' vision, and execution appears to be stumbling. The Maps thing, for instance, was an unmitigated disaster and shattered Apple's image of invincibility. The public noticed.
The First Rule for Picking Winners in High-Tech Stocks
Last Sunday, I told you that the road to wealth was paved by tech.
I told you there was still hope for America - and for your retirement - because of the massive profits that high-tech stocks can generate.
But the truth is it's not enough to find an interesting company in a hot tech sector.
To score the kind of life-changing profits I told you about last week, you have to invest in the truly exemplary high-tech winners.
These are the companies that are changing the rules in computers, biotechnology, industrial materials, telecommunications, aerospace, and other cutting-edge sectors.
Those paradigm-changing ventures create markets where none existed, leapfrog existing technologies, and create products that their customers never even dreamed about... but then can't live without.
Dumping Apple Stock for Google: How Investors Could Get Burned
The trend has some wondering if investors are consciously moving their money from one tech giant to the other.
"There's a lot of money that likes the tech sector, and I think Google has kind of taken over from Apple," Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at North Star Investment Management, told Reuters.
Looking at the charts, it's clear that Google stock is now enjoying the kind of momentum that Apple had for years, while sentiment toward AAPL almost couldn't get any more bearish.
Since Apple stock hit its all-time high of $705.07 in September, it has plunged 40% and lost more than $260 billion in market capitalization. AAPL is down more than 20% year to date.
Google hit several new highs recently, and poked briefly above $840 in early trading Wednesday. Google stock is up 48% from its mid-June low last year, and up 17.5% so far this year.
And at least two analysts recently put a $1,000 price target on GOOG, reminiscent of last year when analysts were rushing to put a $1,000 price target on Apple.
"The bulls are in Google's camp, and the bears are in Apple's camp at the moment," Neil Mawston, the executive director of Strategy Analytics, told CNBC.com, which speculated that Google could be replacing Apple as the dominant tech giant, as Apple supplanted Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) in the past decade.
But any Apple investors who haven't already dumped shares in favor of jumping on the Google stock bandwagon might want to think twice before doing so now.
Apple iWatch, Google Glass First Shots in New Clash of Tech Giants
Coming less than a year after Google unveiled its Google Glass Web-connected eyeglasses, reports that an Apple "iWatch" is in the works emphatically confirm that the battle is now joined for dominance over the next wave of tech - wearable computing.
According to the reports, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has 100 people working on an iWatch users would wear on their wrists, but that would have many of the same capabilities as an iPhone.
But wearable computers could enable new uses, particularly in the area of healthcare, while perhaps providing the spark to encourage some promising technologies that have yet to catch on, like contactless payments.
Four of the biggest names in tech - Apple, Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), Sony Corp. (NYSE ADR: SNE) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) - either are selling, have announced, or are known to be working on wearable computing ideas.
The Tech Play That's Better Than the "Next Google"
I probably spend more time than anyone searching for hot young startups that will make money for my readers - even as the companies themselves change the world around us.
I'm talking about firms like Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), which in nine years has grown from a newly public company into a Web search, digital advertising, and online video juggernaut with a market value of $230 billion (and a stock price of $705 a share).
But I'm going to let you in on a secret that I've learned from my three decades in Silicon Valley.
You don't always have to find the "next Google" to make big money.
In the near term you can reap windfall profits by searching for the beaten-down tech stocks that the institutional players seem only too happy to ignore.
Those laggards are often hidden gems ... can come roaring back ... and turn the market on its ear when they do.
Liquid Robotics is About to Grab a Big Piece of a Gigantic But Little-Known Market
Technology investors should keep an eye on Bill Vass. He's making a big splash in robotics.
You may not have heard of him but he used to run a $1.4 billion unit for Sun Microsystems that dealt with federal contracts. When Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq:ORCL) later acquired Sun, Vass' work there played a major role.
Before that, Vass served as an information technology (IT) honcho at the Pentagon. He had major input into some 6,800 defense IT systems with a budget of more than $35.5 billion.
As one of the nation's most senior high-tech experts, Vass now serves as CEO of a small but well-funded startup.
It's called Liquid Robotics.
And its self-propelled water bots can travel from California to Hawaii without using a single drop of fuel.
But here's where the big payoff comes in for investors: each bot is packed with sensors that can gather a wide range of critical data about the world's oceans.
Believe it or not, that opens up a gigantic but little-known opportunity.
According to Vass, that potentially puts Liquid Robotics at the forefront of a $40 billion market.
And from what I can see, Vass is making all the right moves.
One to Keep an Eye OnIn fact, Vass recently launched a new unit that will target the Pentagon for sales at a time when the Navy desperately needs cheaper sources of data.
Meanwhile, just a few weeks earlier, Liquid Robotics snared both a contract and an investment from Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE:SLB), the oil services giant with a market cap of about $100 billion.
As I see it, that means Liquid Robotics is now on a clear path to issuing shares to the public in as little as three years.
Along the way, Vass is making quite a name for himself and his firm.
For investors that's a good thing, since it helps build the brand, keeping potential competitors at bay while adding value to any IPO down the road.
Turns out, Vass is in high demand these days.
While I was on the phone with one of his reps to arrange a chat with Vass, Liquid Robotics was juggling the details of a special about tracking great white sharks that ran on the Discovery Channel.
The TV show featured the firm's Wave Glider, the wave-powered marine robot that looks like a high-tech surfboard. The autonomous device has already set world records by covering some 13,000 nautical miles on the high seas.
His PR rep also was working out the details of an interview with Time magazine. All of this follows recent stories in both The New York Times and Forbes.
So, I'm glad to report that Vass was able to fit me in to his crowded schedule.
After all, Liquid Robotics is one of those startups you need to know about as a key player in what I call the Era of Radical Change.
To continue reading, please click here...
These Sugar-Fueled Brain Chips are Major Medical Breakthrough
It's just a simple carbohydrate that dissolves easily in water. But in human consumption, that means it hits the blood stream quickly and can spike blood-sugar levels to dangerous heights.
You could forgive doctors for declaring a "war" on sugar. After all, billions of people around the world consume more of this sweetener than they should almost every day.
Research reveals that sugar abuse is a major factor behind America's growing epidemic of obesity. Not only that, but many experts believe this tiny molecule is powering an explosion in cases of diabetes, too.
Some politicians have even jumped on the anti-sugar bandwagon. In the most recent case, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg caused a firestorm of protest when he said he wants a city-wide ban on sugary drinks bigger than 16 ounces.
But the "battle of the bulge" here in the U.S. misses a key fact about sugar...
It could become a major fuel driving the biotech revolution.
To continue reading, please click here...