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EcoATM Eyes Increase in Deposits as iPhone 6 Launch Occurs

The rumor mill seems to be running at full churn as it anticipates news from Apple Inc. The colossus of Cupertino says it’s making an announcement Sept. 9. Many think Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) will be unveiling its iPhone 6, perhaps with a bigger screen.

That means the people at San Diego-based EcoATM are anticipating a change in deposit patterns.

EcoATM runs a network of 980 kiosks that take used mobile phones and music players, and give people cash in return. Maybe you’ve seen one at the mall.

EcoATM reports that right now, the iPhone 4s model is the most popular device that goes through its machines, with the plain-Jane iPhone 4 close behind. However, with a new generation of iPhones coming onto the market, EcoATM anticipates seeing iPhone 5 models.

“iPhones hold value the longest in the secondhand market, but older iPhone models do diminish in value each time Apple introduces a new model,” spokeswoman Amy Rice said by email. “We expect similar trends for iPhone 4 once the iPhone 6 is announced.”

Rice said to expect a 20 percent price decline for iPhone 4s, 5, 5c and 5s — and to watch for prices to constantly decline for the next two months. Also, expect the value of the iPhone 4 to decline about 75 percent. That’s because the phone can’t use the iOS 8 software, she explained.

Some 75 percent of phones turned in via EcoATM kiosks are refurbished and get new lives with other owners. The remaining 25 percent are recycled.

EcoATM is part of Seattle-based Outerwall Inc. (Nasdaq: OUTR), the company behind the Coinstar and Redbox kiosks you see in the supermarket.

• • •

Foiling Tomorrow’s Hackers: Qubitekk Inc. said on Aug. 26 that it received $3 million from the Department of Energy. The San Diego startup said it will use the sum to help develop unhackable quantum encryption technology that will protect the country’s power grid from cyber attacks.

A new machine called the quantum computer promises to make computing a lot faster — and means that computers will soon be able to crack codes a lot faster, hence the fear of a quantum computer breaking into a secure system. Qubitekk reported that 11 countries — including China and Russia — are working on quantum computers.

Qubitekk said it will work on its project with teams from several national labs as well as the University of Texas at Austin and Pacific Gas & Electric, part of PCG Corp. (NYSE: PCG).

The San Diego business says it has introduced the world’s first plug-and-play entangled photon generator. It’s kind of like a transistor in a conventional computer, the company explains, in that it enables the flow of information through quantum computers and quantum encryption products.

On another note, Qubitekk is advertising an opening for a hacker, specifically a machine-to-machine communications hacker, according to its website.

The business was previously known as GridCOM Technologies.

• • •

In the Round: Qualcomm Ventures and former Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) executive Steve Altman both participated in the $17.8 million series B funding round for 360fly, a Pittsburgh company that makes a single-lens camera and software that produces 360-degree video.

Images coming out of the camera do not have to be stitched together like other 360-degree view technology.

Also joining the funding round, announced in mid-August, were Catterton Partners and Voxx International Corp.

The camera is a product of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. Though 360fly’s technology was originally meant for military and aviation use, the camera’s makers want to apply their technology to the consumer and broadcast markets.

I think Qualcomm might be interested in the company’s robotic vision technology.

• • •

In Closing … The rumor mill has been around forever. What sort of technology does it run on these days? Is it digital or do we still rely on the good old analog version?

Send San Diego technology news to bradg@sdbj.com.

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