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HP TouchPad top-selling tablet in US after iPad: study
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Nov 22, 2011

Facebook, HTC building Android smartphone: report
San Francisco (AFP) Nov 22, 2011 - Facebook has allied with Taiwan's HTC to build a customized smartphone powered by Google's Android mobile operating system, according to technology blog All Things Digital.

The project, code named "Buffy," is aimed at making a handset tailored for the California-based social networking platform, according to the blog, which is owned by Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

The device would "deeply integrate" Facebook, which has more than 800 million members, "at the core of its being," All Things Digital said.

A Facebook team has been working with HTC as well as trying to make deals with telecom providers for the smartphone, which it hopes to release within the next 18 months, the blog said.

A Facebook spokesman declined to comment directly on the "Buffy" project to Things Digital but said: "Our mobile strategy is simple: We think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social.

"We're working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers to bring powerful social experiences to more people around the world," the spokesman said.

HTC already builds phones with dedicated Facebook programs.

Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad, which is being axed by the company, was the top-selling tablet computer in the United States after Apple's iPad in the first 10 months of the year, market research company NPD Group said Tuesday.

The TouchPad accounted for 17 percent of the 1.2 million non-Apple tablets sold in the United States between January and October, NPD said, edging out Galaxy tablets from South Korea's Samsung, which had a 16 percent market share.

Taiwan's Asus accounted for 10 percent of the non-Apple tablets sold during the period followed by Motorola, maker of the Xoom tablet, and Taiwan's Acer, each with nine percent market share, NPD said.

Apple sold 11.12 million iPads last quarter alone.

HP, citing disappointing sales, announced on August 18 it was discontinuing the TouchPad -- just seven weeks after it hit the market -- and abandoning the webOS operating system acquired from Palm that powered the device.

Two weeks later, HP said it planned one last production run of the TouchPad, which became a hot seller following a price cut from $499 to just $99 and the announcement that it was being abandoned.

Stephen Baker, NPD's vice president of industry analysis, said there are US tablet buyers interested in a device other than an iPad.

"Seventy-six percent of consumers who purchased a non-Apple tablet didn't even consider the iPad, an indication that a large group of consumers are looking for alternatives, and an opportunity for the rest of the market to grow their business," Baker said.

"The market is filled with long-time personal computer and phone brands as well as low-cost entrants," he said. "With a limited amount of shelf space and challenges in overcoming the iPad's first mover strength, not all brands will be successful."

One that is expected to be successful is US online retail giant Amazon, which began selling a tablet computer last week, the Kindle Fire.

A survey by ChangeWave Research of 3,043 North American consumers published Monday found that 65 percent of future tablet buyers plan to purchase an iPad but 22 percent said they will buy a Kindle Fire.

ChangeWave said the survey results should have other tablet makers worried.

"With the exception of the Samsung Galaxy Tab (four percent) no other manufacturer is garnering more than one percent of future tablet demand among consumers," said ChangeWave, a division of The 451 Group.

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Penguin stops giving US libraries digital books
San Francisco (AFP) Nov 22, 2011 - Publishing giant Penguin Group on Tuesday stopped adding digital works to US library shelves where they can be borrowed by owners of Kindle electronic readers.

In a statement, Penguin cited unspecified "concerns about security" as the reason for delaying release of new titles in digital formats to libraries.

Digital book distributor OverDrive.com said in a blog post that it was instructed by the Britain-based publisher to suspend availability of Penguin e-books and disable "Get for Kindle" features in all Penguin titles.

"We remain committed to working closely with our business partners and the library community to forge a distribution model that is secure and viable," Penguin said.

Seattle-based online retail titan Amazon recently made it possible for Kindle owners to borrow books for the e-readers from more than 11,000 US public libraries.

With Kindle Library Lending, Kindle books can be checked out from a local library for reading on any Kindle device or free Kindle applications for Apple, Android, Blackberry and Windows devices or personal computers and Macs.

Early this month, Amazon opened its own lending library of digital books available free to owners of its popular Kindle tablets.

To borrow from the Kindle online library people must be members of Prime, a premium Amazon service that provides free two-day shipping on all items purchased and unlimited streaming of online films and television shows.

The annual subscription fee for Amazon Prime is $79.

The library boasted thousands of works including many from New York Times best-seller lists. People can borrow one book each month.

Amazon worked out deals to pay publishers fees for lending books in the company's library, raising the possibility that Penguin is interested in similar compensation for digital works borrowed from public libraries.


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Amazon sells Kindle Fire below cost: research firm
New York (AFP) Nov 18, 2011
At $199, Amazon is selling the Kindle Fire slightly below the cost it takes to manufacture the tablet computer, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli. In a "teardown" estimate published Friday, IHS iSuppli said it costs $201.70 to manufacture the Kindle Fire, which Amazon began shipping to customers this week. "The Kindle Fire, at a retail price point of $199, is sold at a loss b ... read more

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