MediaFile

Tech wrap: YouTube changing the channel?

A man looks at a YouTube page in a file photo. REUTERS/Peter JonesYouTube 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.

Tech wrap: Retailers’ wake-up call

Shoppers pay for merchandise at the Macy's department store in New York October 8, 2009. REUTERS/Mike SegarRetailers risk losing the majority of mobile device users unless they make mobile shopping easier and more engaging, writes Jessica Woh. While 89.7 percent of Americans aged 18 to 64 have mobile phones, only 49.1 percent use their phones to shop, according to marketing service Arc Worldwide. Consumers who use mobile phones to shop are able to compare prices on the go and are seen as less likely to make impulse buy, Woh adds.

Apple’s iPad 2 went on sale in 25 countries outside of the United States. But if you’re traveling abroad and price is your main consideration, you’ll want to wait until you get home to buy one. In the U.S., you’ll pay $499 for the base model– with 16 gigabytes of storage and Wi-Fi only connectivity — while the same model in Denmark will set you back the equivalent of $702.

What the RIM PlayBook’s ability to run Android apps really means is akin to a Mac running Windows via a virtual machine, writes Business Insider’s Dan Frommer. The upcoming PlayBook tablet will only support apps for the Android 2.3 operating system and not 3.0, which was designed for tablets. RIM made the announcement so “it will able to say that the PlayBook can technically support tens of thousands of Android apps”, Frommer added.

Tech wrap: Ripe BlackBerry not sweet enough

A man looks at a BlackBerry product display in a shop at a mobile and computer shopping complex in northern Tehran January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi Research In Motion’s quarterly net profit jumped 32 percent, boosted by strong global BlackBerry smartphone sales. But a weaker-than-expected outlook as it spent heavily on the launch of its PlayBook tablet next month, sent RIM’s shares tumbling after the bell.

Facebook is testing a real-time ad targeting system that relates your user profile to words that you form as you type them, according to AdAge’s Irina Slutsky. For example, “users who update their status with ‘Mmm, I could go for some pizza tonight’, could get an ad or a coupon from Domino’s, Papa John’s or Pizza Hut”, she writes.

The hungry masses are gobbling up Apple’s iPads mainly because of the approachable touchscreen interface, writes Wired’s Brian X. Chen. Web browsing topped the responses to a casual poll by Wired asking “What do you do with your iPad?”, matching the result of a study by NPD Group last year, Chen adds. Reading and social networking followed browsing in the Wired poll. A minority used the iPad for special purposes such as recording music, writing poetry and teaching in class from book notes.

Tech wrap: Amazon offers Android apps, gets sued by Apple

A demonstrator plays a racing game on an Android-based Motorola Atrix smartphone during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 6, 2011. REUTERS/Steve MarcusAmazon.com opened its store for Google Android smartphone applications, ratcheting up its fight with Apple after the iPhone maker sued Amazon in a bid to stop the online retailer from improperly using its App Store trademark.

A New York court rejected a class action settlement hammered out between Google and publishers that would allow the Web search leader to scan millions of books and sell them online.

U.S. wireless operators will have to pay higher subsidies for cellphones as they come with more features, Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse said during a chief executive panel at the annual CTIA wireless industry conference.

Time Warner Cable’s iPad app runs into trouble: the price of popularity

Time Warner Cable, the No. 2 U.S. cable operator, isn’t a fancy company. Ever since its spin-off from Time Warner Inc it has photo 2focused on being a steady-as-she-goes friendly neighborhood telecommunications provider with video just being one of the services it carries through its pipes alongside Internet and voice.

Well, perhaps feeling a bit of cable envy as larger rival Comcast got all the press with its fancy digital businesses and fast growing cable networks — and well, NBC — Time Warner Cable decided to venture a little bit more into the 21st Century with its roll-out of a free iPad app yesterday. The app allowed iPad owners to view 30 channels in their homes, which was well received by most technology bloggers and deemed a success.

However, it just might have been too successful.  The company said the app’s popularity ”unfortunately overwhelmed the system” meaning some customers could not download it Tuesday evening. To make matters worse Time Warner Cable had to “temporarily” reduce the number of channels to just 15 to ease strain on the authentication process used to verify the user as a paying cable subscriber.

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.

Product catalogs get an iPad makeover with Cooliris’ new Decks app

Fresh off a recent $9.6 million funding round, Cooliris is launching a new app that aims to re-invent the old-fashioned product catalog for the iPad generation.Decks

The new Decks app, available on Thursday in the iPad apps store, lets consumers create personalized catalogs of their favorite brands and products in a format that the company says is optimized for a tablet PCs’s touchscreen.

Each catalog, which the company likens to individual cards of a deck, automatically updates to showcase new deals and promotions, and can be flipped through in a slide-show-like experience – think Flipboard for shopping.

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.