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Kindle Singles debuts pithy digital works

Google buys SayNow, fflick
Washington (AFP) Jan 26, 2011 - Google ramped up its investment in online entertainment Wednesday with the purchases of a startup devoted to movie talk and another that connects celebrities with fans. A blog post at Google-owned video-sharing website YouTube announced the acquisition of fflick, a service that mines Twitter messages for positive or negative reactions to films. "There are great conversations happening all the time off of, and that commentary has the potential to enrich your experience when watching and discovering video on YouTube," said group product manager Shiva Rajaraman. "As part of YouTube, the fflick team will help us build features to connect you with the great videos talked about all over the Web, and surface the best of those conversations for you to participate in."

California-based fflick was launched about six months ago by four former Digg employees. Google did not disclose the purchase price, which has been rumored to be about $10 million. SayNow, a startup founded in 2005 and based in the Silicon Valley city of Palo Alto, said it was "thrilled to announce that we have been acquired by Google." "Through the Web, smartphones and even land lines, our products brought communities together through the power of voice," it added in a blog post Tuesday. "And as Google has some of the best voice products in the world, we believe combining forces with the Google Voice team will let us innovate in new and unexplored areas." SayNow claims more than 15 million users and thousands of celebrities for its products and platforms. One application, SayNow Broadcast, lets brands and celebrities send and receive voice messages and chat one-on-one or in groups with fans.
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) Jan 26, 2011
Amazon on Wednesday released the first of a new line of short digital books pitched as quick, captivating works for its popular Kindle electronic readers.

The launch of Kindle Singles included the debut of TED Books, written versions of inspirational 18-minute talks that are a trademark of renowned TED gatherings dedicated to cultivating "ideas worth spreading."

"This first set of Singles was selected by our team of editors, and includes works by Rich Cohen, Darin Strauss, Ian Ayres, and the first-ever books published by TED," said Kindle content vice president Russ Grandinetti.

"We think customers will be riveted by these stories that can take them to a Swedish bank heist or to the Mexican border town of Juarez, or to consider a new way to think about happiness."

Amazon said that three months ago it began enlisting writers, thinkers, scientists, publishers and others to express "a single killer idea" in 5,000 to 30,000 words.

The first set of works became available online at on Wednesday.

"TED Books are to books as TED Talks are to lectures," said TED curator Chris Anderson. "They're short, pithy, riveting. They're designed to express a single big idea in a way that can be absorbed in a single sitting."

Amazon allows Kindle digital works to be read on a host of gadgets including iPads, smartphones, and personal computers.

"We think this Platform has the potential to create a new type of media unit designed for modern lifestyles," Anderson said. "Many people are hungry to learn, but have limited time to read full-length books."

Inaugural TED titles included "The Happiness Manifesto" by Nic Marks and Gever Tulley's "Beware Dangerism! Why we worry about the wrong things, and what it's doing to our kids."

Other Kindle Singles were "The Dead Women of Juarez" by Robert Andrew Powell and "Pakistan and the Mumbai Attacks" by Sebastian Rotella

Prices for works ranged from a dollar to a few dollars.

earlier related report
China's Lenovo, NEC form PC joint venture in Japan
Beijing (AFP) Jan 27, 2011 - Leading Japanese and Chinese electronics firms NEC Corp. and Lenovo Group said Thursday they had agreed to set up a joint venture in the personal computer business in Japan.

China-based multinational Lenovo will take a 51 percent stake in the company, called NEC Lenovo Japan Group, they said in a joint statement. NEC will hold 49 percent.

The tie-up gives Lenovo and NEC the opportunity to build their operations in Japan through "stronger market position, enhanced product portfolios and expanded distribution channels", the statement said.

"The agreement with NEC is a perfect fit for our strategy," Lenovo chief executive Yang Yuanqing said.

"It reinforces our commitment to our core PC business while, at the same time, providing important new opportunities for growth in Japan."

NEC controlled about 18 percent of the Japanese PC market in 2009, but globally it came in 12th with a share of less than one percent, the Nikkei business daily said last week, citing data by IDC intelligence firm.

Lenovo had roughly 27 percent of its home market and was ranked fourth in the world with a market share of about eight percent, it said.

NEC Personal Products president Hideyo Takasu will be the chief executive of the new company while the president of Lenovo's Japan operations, Roderick Lappin, will be the executive chairman.

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NEC, Lenovo in talks on joint venture: report
Tokyo (AFP) Jan 21, 2011
Leading Japanese and Chinese electronics firms NEC Corp. and Lenovo Group are in the final stages of talks to form a joint venture in the personal computer business, a report said Friday. A likely scenario would see Lenovo taking a majority stake in NEC Personal Products Ltd., a wholly owned NEC unit that makes and sells PCs, the Nikkei business daily said. NEC released a statement on Fr ... read more

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