Tech wrap: EBay acts on Hunch

November 21, 2011

EBay said it acquired the data analysis firm Hunch to help it develop more recommendation technology for its online marketplace. Hunch analyzes data from social networks like Facebook and from questionnaires to make personal recommendations. EBay said Hunch will help it suggest relevant products for shoppers on its online marketplace. Chris Dixon, Tom Pinckney and Matt Gattis, who founded Hunch in 2009, will stay on at eBay and remain based in New York. The purchase price was not disclosed, although tech blog Uncrunched pegged it at around $80 million.

Windows L8?

November 17, 2011

Microsoft’s next operating system — provisionally known as Windows 8 — may not hit the shelves until early 2013, one respected company-watcher thinks, giving Apple, Google and Amazon more time to fine-tune their tablet offerings.

HP’s answer to the MacBook Air

November 16, 2011

HP’s answer to Apple’s MacBook Air is in, and it’s called the Folio13. 

GoogleTV: Another partner says bye-bye

November 12, 2011

GoogleTV's cast of partners -- in happier times

Remember those television commercials featuring actor Kevin Bacon touting GoogleTV?

Tech wrap: Modern Warfare 3 answers call to duty

November 11, 2011

Activision Blizzard’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3″ video game racked up more than $400 million in sales on its first day in stores in the U.S. and the UK, beating last year’s record of 5.6 million units, or $360 million in sales of “Call of Duty: Black Ops.” That game went on to sell $1 billion in less than two months.

Tech wrap: Can Nook tablet take on Kindle Fire?

November 7, 2011

Let the low-end tablet wars begin. Barnes & Noble unveiled a Nook-branded tablet on Monday, the company’s answer to Amazon.com’s recently announced Kindle Fire. At $249, the 7-inch Nook tablet is a bit pricier than the $199 Fire, but Barnes & Noble is betting that consumers will pay the extra $50 for the device because it offers faster processing speeds and 16 gigabytes of storage space compared to the Amazon tablet’s 8 gigabytes. Both devices hit shelves next week. Barnes & Noble, which operates a chain of 700 U.S. bookstores, also lowered the price on its Nook e-book devices in an effort to take on Amazon’s line of Kindle e-readers, which were recently reduced in price.

Microsoft: mobile getting better, no numbers yet

November 7, 2011

Microsoft  made a big deal of the launch of three U.S. phones running its Windows Phone 7.5 software, the latest upgrade to Windows Phone 7, which represents a complete overhaul of the Microsoft mobile phone software.  They built a giant model of a phone in Herald Square, New York City and had rappers and dancers performing around it on Monday, while pizza was handed out to bemused onlookers.

Rumors of RIM’s death…

By Maureen Tkacik
November 4, 2011
…would be greatly misspelled, ungrammatical and take five times as long to send on an iPhone By Maureen Tkacik
The opinions expressed are her own. Possessing an ancient affliction known as “shame” I generally try to avoid brandishing opinions in the arena of “investment advice”, as hilarious as that would be. But a few weeks ago I nearly broke this rule when the PE ratio of a company whose products I actually use dipped below my height in feet (5.5.) “There’s gotta be a price for everything,” I figure; and I like to think that even I, were I a publicly traded security, would have levels at which I’d be a “Buy.” Well, four weeks after my editors wisely ignored that column, the PE ratio of the stock in question now looks like it could hit 3.14159.  

Samsung is calling fine artists

November 4, 2011

Samsung is going bodly where few major electronics companies have gone before — the fine art market.
The Korean electronics giant is developing a new high resolution LCD screen for displaying artwork electronically in homes and offices.
These “new digital canvases”, as Samsung puts it, will help the company tap into the $60 billion annual art market, one third of which is based in the United States. 
“It’s very significant market opportunity,” Scott Birnbaum, vice president of new business development for Samsung Semiconductor, said in an interview. 
The concept of electronic art has been tried before but has not really taken off, mostly because of the poor appearance and lack of availability of digital paintings.  
Samsung said its screens would have more real-life colors and would support brushstroke-like texture. 
A major supplier of Apple for everything from flash memories to processors, Samsung is working with digital signage company Planar Systems, which will be distributing the framed LCD art screens. 
Planar plans to launch the product next year. 
Another set of conversations is also taking place between Samsung and budding artists to encourage them to try the digital realm. Samsung wants to build a cloud-based art collection and needs the artists to license their work for it. 
Maybe artists will now start thinking in terms of pixels rather than just brush strokes.

Tech wrap: Groupon goes public, super nova

November 4, 2011

Shares of daily deals site Groupon rose more than 50 percent in their stock market debut, but at least some of the early trading exuberance may have come from limiting the fraction of the company that was sold. The shares rose as high as $31.14, or 55.7 percent above the IPO price, in early trading on the Nasdaq, at one point pushing the market value of the company up to $19.9 billion.  The shares later eased back, closing at $26.11. Despite the early success, there are still lingering questions about Groupon’s business model and about competition from better-funded rivals such as Amazon.com and Google.