MediaFile

Tech wrap: Netflix gets in the game

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings speaks during the unveiling of the iPhone 4 by Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California June 7, 2010. REUTERS/Robert GalbraithOnline video and DVD rental service Netflix is breaking away from its traditional role as a licensor of movies and TV shows , negotiating with actor Kevin Spacey and director David Fincher for the exclusive rights to a two-season, 26-episode remake of British political drama “House of Cards”, a source said.

Media execs who say they haven’t seen evidence of cable or satellite television subscribers canceling because of TV shows and movies available online may not want to break out the champagne, writes Paul Thomasch. The best devices to help cut your household’s dependence on pay TV are an ATSC tuner, digital media receivers Boxee Box and Roku XDR, digital video recorder Tivo Premiere, and small desktop computers Dell Zino and Apple Mac Mini, according to TechCrunch’s Matt Burns.

Electronics manufacturers warned production would be hobbled by further supply and distribution problems as companies struggle with power blackouts after the disaster in Japan. And the impact could be felt in higher prices or shortages of gadgets such as tablets, smartphones and computers for months to come.

News Corp aims to build its own social-gaming business as valuations of games companies, such as FarmVille maker Zynga skyrocket, its head of digital media said.

Indian security agencies are not satisfied with a plan offered by Research in Motion for access to data on its BlackBerry Messenger services, a junior telecoms minister told the country’s parliament.

Tech wrap: RIM’s PlayBook for fighting Apple, Google

Mike Lazaridis, president and co-chief executive officer of Research in Motion, holds the new Blackberry PlayBook with a screen projection of the device as he speaks at the RIM Blackberry developers conference in San Francisco, California September 27, 2010. REUTERS/Robert GalbraithResearch in Motion is a front runner in the race to convert billions of feature phone users into data-wielding smartphone customers but is seen possessing only a small window of opportunity to reinvigorate itself and match the momentum of rival mobile monarchs Apple and Google in a life-or-death battle for relevance, writes Alastair Sharp.

Prices for key technology components such as computer memory and LCD panels rose, as damage at Japanese plants and infrastructure caused by Friday’s earthquake and tsunami threatened to disrupt the global manufacturing chain longer than expected.

Microsoft introduced its newest browser, Internet Explorer 9, including a do-not-track tool that helps you keep your online habits from being monitored, and is worth checking out, writes Business Insider’s Matt Rosoff.

Tech wrap: Facebook friends Google exec

The Facebook logo is displayed on a computer screen in Brussels April 21, 2010. REUTERS/Thierry RogeFacebook signaled an increased interest in deals, poaching a member of Google’s corporate development team to lead its fledgling merger and acquisition efforts and underscoring the rivalry between the social networking company and the search engine giant.

AOL hired Twitter co-founder Biz Stone as a strategic adviser for social impact. Its newest addition, The Huffington Post, also announced several hires. AOL announced last week that it was firing 20 percent of its global workforce and editor in chief for AOL’s Engadget Joshua Topolsky quit over the weekend. Still unclear was the fate of AOL freelancers.

Sales of Apple’s iPad 2 eclipsed that of its predecessor on its debut weekend, with around 1 million units being gobbled up. One analyst sees the iPad 2′s early success as a warning sign of a global tablet bubble, where supply could outpace demand for tablets by about 36 percent. While a glut might not make tablet makers happy, consumers aren’t likely to complain about the price drops that could result.

Tech wrap: Apple’s iPad 2 launches

People look at their phones and computers as they wait for the iPad 2 to go on sale at the Apple store in Boulder, Colorado March 11, 2011. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Hundreds of people across the U.S. lined up to get their hands on Apple’s iPad 2, the update to last year’s wildly popular tablet computer. If you’re wondering how much the iPad 2 could cost you, Michael Hickins of The Walls Street Journal adds up the tab and discovers you could easily spend $300 on top of the $499 price tag for the cheapest model. Tablet sales are expected to surge to more than 50 million units this year, with Apple capturing more than 70 percent of the market.

If you do buy an iPad and you happen to be a politician, you might not want to use how much you paid for it as an example of why inflation isn’t a problem when you head into a working-class neighborhood.

Neil Young, the CEO of mobile-gaming success story Ngmoco, tells VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi about his quest to create a multibillion-dollar mobile entertainment company. And how he’s relying on two technologies, Mobage and NG Core, combined into a worldwide mobile social network, to make it happen.

Apple’s Steve Jobs unveils new iPad with a clenched fist and jabs aplenty

JobsIpad2Steve Jobs may be on medical leave from Apple, but he was brimming with vigor, and seemingly itching for a fight, when he took the stage to unveil the new iPad 2 on Wednesday.

Clad in his customary turtleneck and blue jeans, Jobs came out swinging. His target: the slew of “copycat” tablet PCs that are beginning to flood the market, impudently challenging his beloved iPad.

The competition was “flummoxed,” by the iPad, Jobs declared, and they have proven unable to match his creation’s low price or desirability.

Live coverage of the iPad 2 launch

iPad2 invite

Live coverage of the expected announcement of Apple’s iPad 2. The event will begin Wednesday March 2 at 10 a.m. Pacific/ 1 p.m. Eastern.

Will Steve Jobs show up? Will Tim Cook pull off a major Apple launch alone? Is the rumored iPad 3 the one to wait for? How have investors traded on the news of big Apple launches?

Until Apple launched the iPad last January, the market for tablet computers was little more than the junkyard heap of laptops with touchscreens found on eBay.  On Wednesday, Apple aims to secure its dominance in a market it (re)created with the expected launch of the iPad 2. Join our correspondents Gabriel Madway and Alexei Oreskovic at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center and others around Reuters for a live discussion of the biggest tech event this week.

Apple sightings…at your local cineplex

Searching for Apple’s secret sauce? Perhaps you need look no further than Hollywood for the key to their runaway success over the past decade.

According to the advertising mavens at brandchannel.com, the consumer electronics titan’s products — Macs, iPods, iPhones — cameo-ed in almost a third (10) of the 33 movies that topped the U.S. box-office charts in 2010, ranking first among all product placements last year. Nike, Chevrolet and Ford tied in second place.

Underscoring the broad-based appeal of the company’s gadgets, its devices manifested themselves in movies as diverse as family flicks from “Little Fockers” to “Tangled”, and in gritty art-house fare from “The Town” to “The Social Network”.

Can Tim Cook fill Steve Jobs’s shoes?

APPLE/IPHONE

Apple COO Tim Cook stepped firmly from behind the tech company’s curtain and onto the center stage that has been the virtual sole  domain of his famously inventive boss, Steve Jobs.

Jobs, Apple’s legendary CEO, is taking an indefinite medical leave and that has many pundits wondering, what’s next?

Jobs is more than just another executive. He is the creative power behind market- and even culture-changing products like the iPod and iPad. Much of Apple’s success can be directly attributed to its charismatic chief.

Obama tech dinner photos offer fodder for Silicon Valley Kremlinologists

ObamaCarIt’s Kremlinology day in Silicon Valley as industry-watchers pore over the details of the two photographs released by the White House of President Obama’s big dinner with the lords of the tech world.

Who sat where, who was drinking what, and what does it all signify, were among the top questions under debate the morning after the commander-in-chief and fourteen guests broke bread at the house of venture capitalist John Doerr.

If proximity to the president is the key measure of clout, then Facebook wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Steve Jobs won top honors, with both executives flanking Obama at the dinner table, as can be seen in this picture.

Nokia and Microsoft? Just maybe

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (left) and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer address the Senior Leadership Event before they announce plans for a broad strategic partnership to build a new global mobile ecosystem . Nokia and Microsoft plan to form a broad strategic partnership that would use their complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (left) and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Credit: HO

Before there were smartphones Nokia made smart phones. Sleek. Colorful. Attractive. Sporting a distinctive, trademarked ring that, because there are so many Nokia handsets in the world, may actually be heard 20,000 times a second.

Nokia’s phones never made a huge splash in the United States, but worldwide they are to this day the market leader with some 300 million in use. In Q4 of last year, Nokia’s flagship Symbian mobile phone operating system boasted more than a third of the world’s market share. At nearly 37 percent, that was 10 percent more than the range of devices running Google’s Android, and more than Apple’s iPhone and Rim’s Blackberry combined.

But Nokia is losing, by leaps and bounds. The handwriting is on the wall. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who joined the company only last September, minced no words last Wednesday when he said the company was standing on a “burning platform.”