Tech news from the web:

Barnes & Noble is to introduce the Nook Tablet, a lighter, faster, 7-inch color touchscreen e-reader, Engadget reports. The Nook Tablet is set to be released on November 16th for $249.

According to a study by Ernst & Young LLP, US venture capital investment in clean technology rose 73 percent from last year in the third quarter, Bloomberg reports. Read more

ipod family BIZ LIFE

Ten years after Apple launched the iPod, the company’s latest edition of the MP3 player has been synced with better software and prices. Meanwhile, two start-ups populated by Apple alumni are trying to bring a touch of their alma mater’s stylish approach to the humble thermostat and the art of time keeping. As well as reviewing the newest Nano after the jump, we have assessed the state of the MP3 category and taken an interactive shuffle down the iPod’s memory lane.

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Tech news from around the web:

Google is preparing a launch in the next two weeks of a music-download store that would work closely with its Google+ social network, according to The Wall Street Journal. The music service would recommend songs in an online library to Google+ contacts, who in turn would be allowed to listen to those songs once for free, two people close to the service told the WSJ. Read more

Spotify has just launched a new download service and integration with non-touchscreen iPods, capabilities that have been more than a year in the making.

But Spotify is insisting this lengthy timescale is not another symptom of its tensions with record labels – rather it shows just how difficult it is to create a rival to iTunes for managing music on the go. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • US broker Jefferies & Co says it believes Apple is about to launch a new video-focused cloud-based service, International Business Times reports. The broker adds that this fresh assault on the living room could mean the launch of a new Apple device.

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Apple is making a more serious bid for the set top box market with 99 cent TV and $4.99 new movie rentals that are streamed through a smaller version of AppleTV.

Chief executive Steve Jobs introduced the new device at an event in San Francisco. It will cost $99, down from $229, and is available for pre-order today, arriving in about a month.

The new AppleTV will offer rentals exclusively, no purchases. This will eliminate storage issues. First-run HD movies will rent for $4.99 on the day of the DVD release. Read more

Just ahead of Apple’s expected announcement of an autumn refresh of its iPod lineup today, SanDisk has unveiled an update to a rival portable media player in the sub-$100 category.

SanDisk claims parity in market share with Apple where the iPod shuffle plays and says its Sansa Fuze+ has far more features. Read more

It is over a decade since I dumped my Sony Walkman mini-disc player in favour of one of the first portable digital music, or MP3, players – a device called the Rio PMP300 manufactured by Diamond Multimedia.

It had a small LCD screen and a circular pad with control buttons, and could store 12 tracks on its 32MB of internal memory. One AA battery provided power for eight hours or more.

Devices such as the Rio paved the way for a slew of innovative portable digital music and multimedia players, including Apples iPod, launched in October 2001, and a huge accompanying ecosystem of add-ons, ranging from cases and chargers to docking stations and speaker systems. Read more

Some analysts are getting a little weary of Amazon’s continual tease on Kindle sales figures.

The internet retailer’s shares rose on Monday, based on its press release that the eReader had become the most popular gift in its history.

But Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts complained in a note that they continued to be frustrated with the limited data from Amazon, which has never released any dollar or unit numbers on Kindle sales. Read more

Sony lost the portable media player battle to Apple and the iPod some time ago, but its latest Walkman, launched in the US on Wednesday, does suggest the Japanese company can still occupy a significant niche.

The X-Series Walkman does not try to match the App-tastic iPhone and iPod touch, apart from one significant US-only application, but instead attacks the audio and video Achilles’ heel of those devices.

(This review was originally published on May 14 2009) Read more

Apple’s iPods on occasion catch fire or explode, but federal officials and the company have declined to issue a recall because the accidents are so rare, according to a Seattle television news report. After battling for months, station KIRO obtained 800 pages of documents from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Those files include 15 complaints of smoking or fire, including some depictions of iPods igniting while teenagers slept. With 175m units sold, however, fewer than one in a million have been reported for that defect to the CPSC, though of course, not all such problems are reported. This being America, litigation is pending.

  • A Yahoo / Microsoft deal could still be struck if it involved “a boatload of money.” That was the word from Carol Bartz, Yahoo’s chief executive, who said her company is no longer in serious talks with Microsoft over a deal to combine their search efforts. But she acknowledged that negotiations between the two companies were continuing “a little bit”.
  • Time Warner is close to a decision to spin off all of its AOL internet business, according to three people in contact with the company. Although a decision has not yet been finalised, executives prefer spinning off the whole division rather than a part. Over the past year, Time Warner has considered spinning off either its advertising-driven “audience business” or its legacy dial-up internet business, they say.

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Which Silicon Valley phone to buy this summer? The new Palm Pre with its scintillating operating system and clever design, or the old iPhone with an updated OS containing features it should have had in the first place?

That may be too simple a comparison. How about making it a choice between a phone with few exciting applications from third-party developers to one with more than 25,000 apps and games to choose from, many enabled with a new sophistication? Read more

  • Apple has introduced a new version of its smallest MP3 player, the shuffle. It’s almost half the size of the old one and has twice the capacity at 4Gb – enough for 1,000 songs. New to the iPod line is its “VoiceOver” ability – press a button and it speaks the name of the artist and song.
  • Microsoft revealed more details of its Windows Marketplace for Mobile – its version for Windows Mobile phones of Apple‘s App Store for the iPhone. Like Apple, Microsoft will take a 30 per cent cut from developers of applications, but it emphasises “transparency throughout the certification process,” something Apple has been criticised as lacking.
  • Google said it would begin using behavioural targetting for its ads – showing ads related to a user’s interests. It promises more relevant and effective ads for users and advertisers respectively, but the practice is controversial.

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ipod_classic_fam.jpgNews that Apple is in talks with record labels about a possible ‘all-you-can-eat’ model for iTunes is making the rounds on the blogs this morning following last night’s story in the FT.

Over at TechCrunch, Erick Schonfeld asks whether music companies would be willing to go along with a subscription model. We think the answer is clearly yes. Read more