MediaFile

Tech wrap: New Nook Color on the way?

Barnes & Noble sent out invites on Monday to a Nook-related event coming up on November 7. Most tech watchers expect the company to use the occasion to unveil a new version of its Android-powered Nook Color tablet e-reader, which could sport a better screen and upgraded hardware.

As CNet points out, the most anticipated question will be how much Barnes & Noble decides to charge for the new device. “With the Kindle Fire on sale at $199 (it ships November 15), there’s some pressure on B&N to come close to matching that price, though Amazon is allegedly losing money on each Fire it sells (our sources suggest the Fire currently costs around $220 to build). With that being the case, Barnes & Noble is more likely to come out with a faster, more powerful Nook Color that costs $249, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see it at $299,” writes David Carnoy.

Netflix has added a slew of new TV show episodes to its streaming video catalogue through an expanded licensing deal with ABC Television Group, a division of Disney. In addition to extending licensing for popular ABC shows such as “Lost” and “Grey’s Anatomy” that it already offers, Netflix added ABC’s “Switched at Birth,” “Alias” and episodes from past season of Disney Channel’s animated series “Kick Buttowski” to its streaming selection. Amazon.com also unveiled a content agreement with Disney on Monday that will let Amazon Prime subscribers stream shows from ABC studios, Disney Channel, ABC Family and Marvel.

A single hacker based in China launched a coordinated cyber attack earlier this year that compromised computer systems belonging to at least 48 chemical and defense companies, according to a new report from security firm Symantec. Computers belonging to these companies were infected with malicious software known as “PoisonIvy,” which was used to steal information such as design documents, formulas and details on manufacturing processes, Symantec told Reuters on Monday. The companies were not identified, but Symantec said the bulk of the infected machines were found in the U.S., Bangladesh and the UK and included some chemical companies that develop advanced materials used in military vehicles.

It’s no secret that Steve Jobs used to enjoy taking the occasional potshot at Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates. But Walter Isaacson’s new biography of the Apple co-founder, which was released shortly after he died earlier this month, reveals just how harsh Jobs could be in his criticism of Gates. In addition to calling Gates “unimaginative”, “weirdly flawed as a human being” and “fundamentally odd”, Isaacson quotes Jobs as saying “He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas.”  When ABC’s Christiane Amanpour brought up the comments in an interview last week, Gates dismissed the criticisms, saying “none of that bothers me at all.”  He went on to praise Jobs in the interview. At one point, he even went so far as to claim he helped Jobs invent the Mac.

Tech wrap: Print publisher bets the ranch on apps

Nicholas Callaway, (R) founder of Callaway Digital Arts poses with members of his staff as they hold Apple Ipads displaying Ipad apps that they helped created and publish at the company's headquarters in lower Manhattan during an interview with Reuters in New York, in this picture taken March 7, 2011.Successful childrens’ books publisher Nicholas Callaway believes paper is dead and that digital has come of age, writes Mark Egan. But Callaway isn’t worried that big publishing houses will eat his lunch. “They don’t understand the new medium, they don’t have the rights, they don’t know how to create the product and they don’t know how to get it out to the world,” Callaway told Egan. January e-book sales more than doubled from the same month a year earlier, rising 116 percent to $69.9 million, according to the Association of American Publishers. That topped sales of hardcover books, which fell 11 percent from January 2010 to $49.1 million.

Google will probably have to make some changes to how it does business as a result of antitrust scrutiny, in return for the ability to protect what it regards as its necessary freedom to innovate, writes Steve Lohr of The New York Times.

With all of the buzz around Google and privacy, is it any surprise that the company’s efforts to develop a mobile app that will identify people’s faces in order to access their personal information have stalled?  Experts say the novelty of a face recognition app may help attract early adopters. But policies would need to be uncomplicated and straightforward to keep users from abandoning it over privacy concerns, writes CNN’s Mark Milian.

Don’t look for Sony’s iPad killer any time soon

stringer

Don’t expect to see Sony’s response to Apple’s iPad tablet computer any time soon.

We talked to Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer, who was in town to discuss the unveiling of Google TV, the  initiative that marries the Web to television. Stringer was very excited about that product, which will appear first in Sony TVs later this year, giving the electronics maker a head start against what is expected to be a future filled with Internet-enabled TVs. While noting that Sony’s digital book reader product sales are still strong, he seemed much less thrilled about any iPad-killer plans for Sony, maker of the popular Vaio line of computers.

Everybody’s now making one aren’t they? Tablets, tablets, as far as the eye can see.