Tech News 8/31/12

Good morning folks,

Lots of news as we head into a long weekend.  No post on Monday as it’s a holiday, so we’ll catch you again on Tuesday.


– Rovi has partnered with Dixons Retail in the UK to provide backend support for Dixons to offer consumers the ability to purchase and rent movies and TV shows in the home.  The deal follows on the heels of another deal with UK supermarket giant Sainsbury’s, who plans to launch a streaming platform. (link)

– HBO is finally going to start selling subscriptions to non-cable customers beginning in October, but before you call your cable company to dump your service plan, the rollout is only for citizens of Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark.  Further, an HBO spokesman said the model is specific to the Nordic region and it’s unlikely to roll out any wider, as the circumstances are different in this region as HBO doesn’t have to protect an entrenched business model as they do in the US.  Further, the move will give them a head start against Netflix who plans to rollout streaming service before the end of the year. (link)

– A new Millennial Media and comScore report suggests that entertainment consumption on mobile devices has grown 82% year over year thanks to the growth of the smartphone and tablet market.  The growth outpaced the 55% increase in overall smartphone ownership during the same period.  When looking at the demographics, Hispanic consumers are 39% more likely to view mobile entertainment content compared to the overall smartphone audience, with African-American consumers 10% more likely.  As expected, younger audiences are also more likely to watch than the overall audience. (link)

– If you were looking to pick up a Kindle Fire tablet from Amazon this weekend, you are out of luck.  In less than a year after it’s launch, the tablet is sold out according to Amazon, earning the company a 22% share of American tablet sales and becoming the No. 1 selling product on Amazon.  So far users have accessed more than 22 million videos, applications, games, books and other content with the device.  The news comes in advance of an expected announcement from Amazon which should reveal the next line of tablets. (link)

– Amazon has opened their Android Appstore over in Europe, becoming live for residents in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.  The move comes in advance of an expected rollout of the Kindle Fire internationally. (link)

– The Korea Times is reporting that Samsung is threatening to sue Apple if the upcoming iPhone 5 has 4G LTE support as Samsung enjoys an extensive patent portfolio pertaining to LTE technology, owning about 10% of all LTE patents.  In fact, they could exercise their rights now with the recent launch of the iPad 3, but waiting for the iPhone 5 gives them an opportunity to totally disrupt Apple, by calling for an injunction that could remove the device from shelves until a court reviews.  It will be interesting to see if this actually unfolds, or if it’s just sore feelings over it’s recent loss. (link)

– In another part of the world, Reuters is reporting that Google CEO Larry Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook have been chatting recently about their intellectual property disputes so they can avoid a courtroom and apparently have another date to speak soon.  According to Reuters, mobile products and similarities between Android and iOS are at the center of negotiations. (link)

– New IAB Research found that US moms turn to their smartphones to coordinate things for back to school, giving brands and retailers an opportunity to reach busy moms.  The study found that 28% are sharing back-to-school related info via social networks, 25% are finding coupons and discounts, 21% are building and checking shopping lists, and 20% are shopping – all via their smartphones.  (link)

– According to Chitika, adoption of Apple’s latest operating system, Mountain Lion, has surpassed 10% of all Macs, since it’s launch last month making it likely to surpass the growth of the previous version Lion during the same time period.  (link)

– In other Amazon news, the retailer is hooking up with Nokia Oyj for maps on the new Kindle Fire maps app, which is another snub to Google who has been the standard for maps, but recently decided to start charging for use, which is why many companies are starting to look for new solutions.  Nokia is a good choice as it’s a huge map provider already, making maps for it’s own devices and all mapping apps for Windows Phone.  (link)

– Walmart has rolled out a new semantic search engine called Polaris on their site and mobile apps, which it expects will increase the likelihood of a customer completing purchase by 10-15%.  Built by their internal @WalmartLabs division, the search engine takes advantage of semantic technology, enabling discovery using algorithms that rank results via social signals from around the web.  These algorithms take into consideration the number of “Likes” and Pinterest Pins. (link)

– Analysts at eMarketer have revised their projections on Facebook’s revenue estimates to around $5 billion for 2012, which is about $1 billion lower than previous estimates.   The revised estimates follow a recent Q2 earnings call which posted lower than expected results as Facebook continues to find solid ground since it’s IPO. (link)

– If you are a fan of Etsy, the crafty sales site is now announcing that gift cards will launch this October, just in time for the holiday season. (link)


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