Tech wrap: YouTube changing the channel?
YouTube is working on a major site overhaul to organize its content around “channels” as it positions itself for the rise of Internet-connected TVs that allow people to watch online video in their living rooms, writes the WSJ’s Jessica Vascellaro and Amir Efrati. Changes to the homepage will highlight sets of channels around topics such as arts and sports and approximately 20 “premium channels” will feature 5 to 10 hours of professionally-produced original programming a week, according to a Vascellaro/Efrati source.
Dish Network won Blockbuster in a bankruptcy auction for $320 million, further broadening its business beyond satellite TV and setting up a possible showdown with Netflix. The deal covers “substantially all” of the rental chain’s business, and likely gives Dish the rights Blockbuster had to stream movies over the Internet, the Blockbuster brand name and customer lists.
A Deutsche Bank estimate that 100,000 Motorola XOOM units were sold over its first two months means the tablet was a flop, writes Business Insider’s Jay Yarow. For comparison, Apple sold 300,000 iPads on the first week weekend it was available. BetaNews’s Joe Wilcox calls the XOOM a surprising success, noting that the tablet came to market with “huge handicaps, all of which make comparisons to iPad 2 unrealistic”. Wilcox says higher pricing has been the main deterrent to buying a XOOM.
Google removed the streaming music app Grooveshark from the Android Market, over concerns it was facilitating music piracy, writes The Next Web’s Matt Brian. Unlike services Spotify and Rhapsody, music is added to Grooveshark by users.
Microsoft and Toyota unveiled a plan to work together on bringing Internet-connected services to Toyota’s cars. Toyota is planning to set up a network based on Microsoft’s Azure “cloud computing” platform by 2015, which would allow customers across the world access to Toyota’s digital services.
Analog chips are back in fashion after Texas Instruments hatched a $6.5 billion deal to buy National Semiconductor Corp as it looks to cement its place in the mobile computing explosion, writes Noel Randewich. Analog chips — which manage power, among other things, in everything from tablets to refrigerators — look set to gain a new investor following as the industry’s growth prospects are reassessed.