Software company makes big investment in media
Microsoft will be launching its own news operation later this month alongside the launch of Windows 8. Reuters reports that Microsoft's Product Management Group general manager Bob Visse confirmed that the software giant will be making a "big, multi-million dollar investment" with the aim of creating a "decent-sized media operation." A full redesign of Microsoft's MSN portal will accompany the new news operation, one that is aimed at tablet and touchscreen PC users.
Xbox Live services to go free from April 19-23
In an attempt to get some more users hooked on its premium Xbox Live subscription service, Microsoft will offer it for free for five days, commencing on Thursday, April 19, and running until Monday, April 23. Partners like Hulu Plus, Netflix, and EPIX will also open their doors for free during the same time period. Depending on where users are, however, they will get various amounts of free app access during those five days.
Incorporates Bing, Messenger, Hotmail
Having originally launched it in the UK, Microsoft has finally brought MSN for iPad to the US and Canada. The app mainly presents MSN articles in a magazine-style format, divided into categories like News, Autos, Video, and Entertainment & Celebrities. An offline mode can be toggled for reading away from Internet access.
App is 1st Microsoft news app for mobile devices
MSN in the UK has added its own news app for the iPad. The MSN UK App brings to the tablet current news, sport and entertainment articles, and videos (free, App Store). This is Microsoft's first news information service to run natively as an app on a mobile system without first having to go to a Microsoft portal site.
Samsung outs new basic phones with two Star 3s
Samsung has released successors for its entry-level Star II handsets with the Star 3 and Star 3 Duos. Both handsets are virtually identical, with the Duos adding a dual SIM slot. They have three-inch, 240x320 displays, and are 11.5mm (0.45in) thick.
Microsoft outlines launch plans for X360 live TV
In sync with the fall Xbox 360 Dashboard update, Microsoft has provided a listing of TV providers that will be ready to go this week. Along with existing access to ESPN, Hulu, and Netflix, the December 6 update will also bring EPIX authenticated video in the US, Lovefilm in the UK, MediaSet's Premium Play in Italy, Sky Go in Austria and Germany, Telefonica España's Movistar Imagenio, and MSNBC's Today in the US.
Online trackers reveal secrets, can't be erased
Two members of the US Congress have asked the FTC to investigate the use of "supercookies" by several online sites including MSN and Hulu. In a letter to FTC chairman, Jon Liebowitz, Republican Joe Barton and Democrat Ed Markey, expressed concern that the use of these tracking tools might be an unfair or deceptive act or practice under the Federal Trade Commission Act, which empowers the FTC.
Includes Bing searching, article sharing, more
Microsoft has launched MSN Onit, a men's lifestyle and article aggregator, as an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch as well as a version specifically for the iPad. The app, previously available only on Windows Phone 7, takes content from MSN along with a number of men's magazines (including Esquire and Men's Health) and popular sites like Playboy's The Smoking Jacket and delivers the aggregated content in a magazine style. Users can run related searches (using Bing) and share articles to Facebook if desired.
Vodafone intros 360 platform, new handsets
UK provider Vodafone on Thursday announced it has launched Vodafone 360, a series of Internet services for cell phones and computers that brings together all contacts, favorite multimedia and photo files as well as social networks. This will allow messages or chats sent through IM programs or social networks such as Facebook, Windows Live Messenger and Google Talk, to be synced between computer and phone, via both wired and wireless methods.
RIAA declares DRM dead
Long-time proponent of digital rights management (DRM) protection for music files, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has finally acknowledged that DRM has become obsolete, according to a recent report from TorrentFreak. DRM prevents buyers of digital music tracks from copying them to other devices in an attempt to curb illegal copying. But now, with major music retailers abandoning the format to appease the wishes of the paying public, RIAA chief spokesman Jonathan Lamy says the protection's death is now a matter of fact.
Garmin at CES 2009
Garmin chose Wednesday to reveal its full slate for CES and led off with a new top-end model for its nuvi GPS units. The 4.3-inch widescreen navigator updates the 880 with a lane assist mode that also includes a junction view: drivers are not only told which lane to use for the next change but also shown the layout to properly follow through the next exit or intersection. It further brings an upgraded set of MSN Direct data services and now lets owners check their airport flight status as well as more detailed weather with Doppler maps, better movie listings, local events and the option of sending maps and routes from a computer.