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Google keeps tight grip on tablet software

Audio books added to Kindle downloads
San Francisco (AFP) March 24, 2011 - on Thursday added books read aloud by celebrities, authors and others to the library of works that can be wirelessly downloaded to the latest generation Kindle electronic readers. More than 50,000 works from Amazon subsidiary Audible Audiobooks have joined the list of titles available for purchase using wireless telecom connections built into the Kindle. Previously, Kindle users needed to download digitized files of books from the website and then transfer them to the devices with USB memory sticks.

Journalism Online sold to Chicago printer
Washington (AFP) March 24, 2011 - Journalism Online, a company started two years ago to help newspapers and magazines collect revenue from online readers, was sold on Thursday to Chicago-based printing firm RR Donnelley. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. Journalism Online was launched in April 2009 by three veteran US media executives with the goal of helping news organizations make money on the Internet. The company developed a payment platform called "Press+" that would allow newspapers or magazines to charge online readers using a universal Journalism Online account.

RR Donnelley president and chief executive Thomas Quinlan said Press+ "provides a valuable tool for monetizing content." "Press+ enhances our offering and opens new avenues for publishers to generate incremental subscription and advertising revenue," Quinlan said in a statement. Journalism Online co-founder Steve Brill said "we are delighted to bring Press+'s innovative capabilities to RR Donnelley and look forward to engaging with the broad array of consumer and b-to-b publishers with whom RR Donnelley has relationships." US newspapers, faced with declining print advertising revenue and falling circulation, have been looking for ways to make money online but Press+ never gained widespread adoption. The Press+ platform was being tested by a number of small newspapers around the United States at the time of the sale.

The New York Times last week announced that it would begin charging online readers for full access to using a system developed in house. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. invested in Journalism Online last year and the paidContent website reported that it had sold its unspecified stake in the company to RR Donnelley. Jon Housman, president of digital journalism initiatives for News Corp., told paidContent the investment had "appreciated considerably" but did not provide any details. Murdoch's Wall Street Journal, The Times and The Sunday Times already charge online readers and the media tycoon has announced plans to eventually make readers pay for online access to all of the newspapers in his stable.
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) March 24, 2011
Google on Thursday said it will be keeping a tight grip on its Honeycomb software crafted specially for tablet computers.

The California technology giant known for letting outside developers and gadget makers have their way with its Android software for powering mobile devices wants them to keep their hands off Honeycomb for a while.

Google optimized Android 3.0, known as Honeycomb, for champions fielded in a tablet arena dominated by Apple iPads and was concerned that it might wind up used in smartphones where it wouldn't shine.

"Honeycomb was designed from the ground up for devices with larger screen sizes and improves on Android favorites such as widgets, multi-tasking, browsing, notifications and customization," a Google spokesman told AFP.

"While we're excited to offer these new features to Android tablets, we have more work to do before we can deliver them to other device types including phones."

Google planned to release Honeycomb as "open source" code for developers and gadget makers "as soon as it's ready," according to the spokesman.

earlier related report
Record Blackberry sales for RIM but shares plunge
New York (AFP) March 24, 2011 - Research In Motion (RIM) reported record Blackberry sales on Thursday, but shares in the Canadian handset maker plunged on an outlook that fell short of the expectations of Wall Street analysts.

RIM shares were down 10.75 percent in after-hours trading after gaining 3.17 percent during the day on Wall Street to close at $64.09.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company reported a net profit of $934 million for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year compared with $710 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Revenue for the quarter which ended on February 26 was $5.6 billion, up 36 percent from the same quarter a year ago. For fiscal 2011, RIM said revenue was $19.9 billion, up 33 percent from the previous year.

RIM said it expected revenue in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 of between $5.2 billion and $5.6 billion and earnings per share of of $1.47 to $1.55.

Analysts had been expecting $5.6 billion and $1.65 a share.

RIM said the guidance range reflected lower average selling prices for handsets in the current quarter, and increased investment in research, development, sales and marketing of its PlayBook tablet computer.

The range was wider than usual because of "the risk of potential disruption in RIM's supply chain as a result of the recent earthquake in Japan," it added.

RIM will begin selling the PlayBook, its iPad rival, on April 19.

RIM reported record Blackberry shipments of 52.3 million for fiscal 2011, up 43 percent over a year ago. It said 14.9 million BlackBerry smartphones were shipped in the fourth quarter.

"We are pleased to report record shipments and financial performance in fiscal 2011," RIM co-chief executive Jim Balsillie said in a statement.

"As we enter fiscal 2012, RIM is in an excellent position to benefit from the continuing convergence of the mobile communications and mobile computing markets," Balsillie said.

"We are laying a strong foundation for RIM's expanding market opportunity through focused investments and we are extremely excited about our smartphone, tablet and platform roadmaps," he said.

RIM announced meanwhile that the PlayBook will support software applications written for Google's Android operating system.

RIM president and co-chief executive Mike Lazaridis said the move will "provide our users with an even greater choice of apps and will also showcase the versatility of the platform."

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'Asia-Pacific smartphone market to double by 2016'
Singapore (AFP) March 24, 2011
The Asia-Pacific smartphone market is expected to double to 200 million by 2016, with Google's Android operating system the leading platform, an industry analyst said Thursday. The growing popularity of the handheld devices, which allow users to surf the Internet and access emails, will mean they will account for almost a third of all mobiles in the region in that time, telecoms consultancy ... read more

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