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E Ink revenues nose dive 60% in January

E Ink, the popular company that provides paper-look gray-scale displays for eReaders, reported consolidated revenues of $48.02 million in January, down 63.6% from the same month last year and 11% sequentially. The growing popularity of media tablets with full-color displays likely played a big role in the decline — sales of Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet are thought to be eating into the companies’ respective dedicated eReader businesses to an extent. Even though E Ink’s revenue took a nose dive in January, the company said that it expects to post revenues of $1.35 billion this year, up 5% from 2011.

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Todd Haselton

February 9th

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Sprint to expand 4G LTE to Kansas City and Baltimore this year

Sprint announced on Wednesday that it expects to activate its upcoming 4G LTE network in Baltimore and in Kansas City. The carrier has already said that it will flip the switch on its first 4G LTE networks in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio by mid-2012. The carrier’s first LTE devices will include Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus, the LG Viper 4G LTE and the Sierra Wireless Tri-Network mobile hotspot. Sprint said it also expects to improve the 3G coverage in each of the aforementioned markets. Sprint’s CEO Dan Hesse also said Wednesday that 86% of the phones his company sold during the fourth quarter were smartphones and that 66% of Sprint’s subscriber base now use smartphones, and the carrier’s 4G LTE network will certainly benefit any smartphone user that may be looking for faster download and upload data speeds. Sprint’s full press release follows after the break.

Baltimore and Kansas City Sprint Customers to Benefit from 4G LTE and 3G Enhancements in 2012

Sprint adds to the list of cities to benefit from new and improved network technology by mid-year

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), February 08, 2012 – Sprint (NYSE: S) today announced that Baltimore and Kansas City are expected to receive 4G LTE and upgraded 3G service by mid-2012. Sprint recently announced that 4G LTE and enhanced 3G service are also expected by mid-2012 in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Sprint 4G LTE will enable faster speeds for data applications, and the enhanced 3G service promises better signal strength, faster data speeds, expanded coverage and better in-building performance.

The launch of these large metropolitan areas demonstrates the continued commitment by Sprint to invest in its network through Network Vision. Sprint customers in these areas will soon enjoy ultra-fast data speeds and improved 3G voice quality. Whether a Sprint customer is using a smartphone to share a video of a double overtime game between the Kansas Jayhawks and Missouri Tigers or a Baltimore chef is checking the Web via a mobile hotspot for a new way to serve crabcakes, Sprint 4G LTE will make it easier. And, when someone makes an important voice call, they can expect to find a clearer connection and a stronger signal in more areas.

“Sprint is investing in its CDMA network and delivering on our commitment to ensure customers experience superior wireless voice and data service at an unbeatable value,” said Bob Azzi, Sprint senior vice president-Network. “We continue to deploy multi-mode base stations across Sprint’s nationwide cell sites and are expecting improvements in voice quality, signal density and data speeds. Today’s good news demonstrates the phenomenal progress that our teams are making toward implementing this new technology.”

The initial devices already announced to run on 4G LTE will be Galaxy Nexus™, boasting a pure Google™ experience, LG Viper™ 4G LTE with eco-friendly features, and Sierra Wireless™ Tri-Network Hotspot, a 3G, 4G and 4G LTE mobile hotspot. More information is available at www.sprint.com/4glte.

Sprint has been a 4G innovator since first launching the technology in 2008. Sprint has launched more than 25 4G-enabled smartphones, USB connection cards, notebook/netbook products, mobile hotspots and routers. Sprint offers a proven, reliable 4G experience for millions of customers compared to other national wireless carriers. Additionally, Sprint is a leader in value, with Sprint Everything plans with Any Mobile, AnytimeSM, including unlimited data, texting and calling to and from any mobile phone in America while on the Sprint network. With Sprint’s unlimited data plans, customers don’t have to worry about throttling or data overage charges on their monthly bill as they might with tiered data plans from other carriers.

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Todd Haselton

February 9th

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Amazon announces content agreement with Viacom for Kindle Fire, Prime customers

Amazon on Wednesday announced that it has entered into a new agreement with Viacom to provide a larger selection of television content to its Kindle Fire and Amazon Prime customers. Under the deal, Amazon’s customers will have access to episodes of The Real World, Chapelle’s Show and the The Sarah Silverman Program from Comedy Central, as well as a number of hit shows from Nickelodeon. “This deal with Viacom brings Prime customers and Kindle Fire users thousands of comedies, kids’ shows, reality TV and much more from some of the best cable networks available,” Amazon’s director of video content acquisition Brad Beale said. “We now offer more than 15,000 movies and TV shows in Prime Instant Videos and are working hard to add even more great content.” Amazon’s full press release follows after the break.

Amazon Announces Increased Prime Instant Video Selection for Kindle Fire and Prime Customers via Digital Video License Agreement with Viacom

Prime Instant Video now offers thousands of TV episodes from MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, TV Land, Spike, VH1, BET, CMT and Logo—including past seasons of popular shows such as Jersey Shore, Chappelle’s Show, Hot in Cleveland, Yo Gabba Gabba, iCarly and more

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb. 8, 2012– Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced a licensing agreement with Viacom that will allow Amazon Prime members to instantly stream TV shows from MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, TV Land, Spike, VH1, BET, CMT and Logo. This deal will bring the total number of Prime Instant Videos to more than 15,000. Amazon Prime members can enjoy this selection on over 300 different devices, including Kindle Fire—the Kindle for movies, TV shows, music, magazines, apps, books, games, and more. Right out of the box, Kindle Fire users experience the benefits that millions of Amazon Prime members already enjoy — unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Instant Video and the convenience of Free Two-Day Shipping on millions of items from Amazon.com.

Prime members will have access to thousands of episodes from Viacom through Prime Instant Video over the next several months. Titles will include kids’ favorites, stand-up comedy, and reality TV. Amazon will offer MTV shows including The Hills, Jersey Shore, The Hard Times of RJ Berger, several seasons of The Real World, and Comedy Central shows such as Chappelle’s Show and The Sarah Silverman Program. For kids, Amazonbrings Nickelodeon episodes of iCarly, Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, Yo Gabba Gabba, along with TV Land favorite, Hot inCleveland.

“Over the last year we have received fantastic customer feedback about Prime Instant Video. We are constantly working to improve the service by adding the shows that our customers enjoy the most,” said Brad Beale, director of video content acquisition for Amazon. “This deal with Viacombrings Prime customers and Kindle Fire users thousands of comedies, kids’ shows, reality TV and much more from some of the best cable networks available. We now offer more than 15,000 movies and TV shows in Prime Instant Videos and are working hard to add even more great content.”

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Todd Haselton

February 8th

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Nokia on smartphone strategy: We don’t have a Plan B

There’s no question that Nokia is betting big on the success of Windows Phone, and we have to admit that it has already unveiled several of the best Windows Phone handsets out there. But the Finnish phone maker is reportedly so convinced that Windows Phone will succeed that it doesn’t have a backup plan of any sort. ”Plan B is that Plan A is to succeed,” Nokia manager Victor Saeijs is said to have told Swedish financial newspaper Dagens Industri. We know Nokia is cooking something up for its low-end phones so all of the vendor’s eggs really aren’t in one basket, but its good to see Nokia so confident in its strategy. Nokia will reportedly unveil at least one new high-end smartphone later this month at Mobile World Congress, and we’ll be on hand to bring you all the news as it breaks,

[Via Engadget]

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Todd Haselton

February 8th

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ARM-powered Windows 8 devices will likely support desktop apps

Contrary to a number of reports that have suggested otherwise, ARM-powered Windows 8 devices will likely be able to run full desktop applications. Microsoft had failed for some time to provide a straight answer as to whether or not ARM-powered devices would be limited to simply running Metro-style applications. However, ZDNet‘s Mary Jo Foley noticed a Microsoft post that specifically discussed power states on Windows 8 ARM devices for “both desktop and Metro style apps,” which clearly suggests that support for desktop applications will be included. Microsoft still hasn’t officially confirmed this, but as Mary Jo Foley points out, we suspect that Microsoft was diligent with its writing and that it didn’t just drop in a reference to desktop support accidentally. We’ll likely have to wait just a little longer until the official word drops, but for now it appears full desktop applications will be supported on Windows 8-powered ARM devices.

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Todd Haselton

February 8th

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LG teases new 5-inch Optimus Vu Android smartphone [video]

LG recently began teasing a new smartphone that could very well make its debut during the Mobile World Congress trade show later this month. The device, dubbed the Optimus Vu, will offer a 5-inch display with a 4:3 aspect ratio, and rumor has it the phone will also come equipped with a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 8GB of storage, support for NFC, 1GB of RAM and an 8-megapixel camera. Unfortunately, the Optimus Vu will reportedly run Android 2.3 Gingerbread instead of the latest Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system. So far we’re not seeing a whole lot to be excited about other than the massive screen, since most of the specs are similar to what we’ve already seen in the LG Optimus LTE phone. We expect LG will have more surprises up its sleeve during the show, however.

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Todd Haselton

February 8th

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Nokia Lumia 800 to launch in U.S. on February 14th as part of $900 bundle

Microsoft may be planning to launch a special bundle that includes the Nokia Lumia 800 and several accessories for $899. Citing unnamed industry sources, The Verge said the deal will kick off on February 14th and will include a Bluetooth headset, a Purity HD stereo headset and Nokia’s Play 360 wireless speaker. Microsoft will reportedly not be offering the Lumia 800 as a stand-alone product. $899 seems a bit steep to us, even considering that consumers will be getting an unlocked device and a bundle of solid accessories. After all, AT&T will be launching the sub-$100 Lumia 900 with 4G LTE support and a bigger screen just one month later.

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Todd Haselton

February 8th

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Acer sues former CEO for violating non-compete agreement

Acer has filed a lawsuit against its former chief executive officer Gianfranco Lanci for allegedly violating a non-compete agreement. Lanci left Acer last March after the company hit a rough patch and was recently named head of Lenovo’s operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. “We believe Mr. Lanci has clearly breached the terms of the non-compete agreement he entered into willingly . . . we believe we have a very robust case,” Acer said in a statement given to the Financial Times. The Financial Times notes that Acer has fallen from the second to the fourth largest computer maker in the world while Lenovo has seen recent success and has risen to the No.2 spot.

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Todd Haselton

February 8th

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Nokia to unveil a new high-end smartphone during MWC

Nokia will unveil at least one new high-end smartphone during the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona later this month, Forbes said Tuesday. The Finnish company announced the Lumia 900, a Windows Phone device destined for AT&T, during the Consumer Electronics Show in early January but consumers are still waiting to hear what the company will launch as a follow-up to the Lumia 800 in Europe. Early rumors suggested that Nokia was planning to announce a Lumia 910 device with HSPA+ connectivity and a 12-megapixel camera, but Nokia recently shot down rumors of the camera upgrade. BGR will be reporting live from Mobile World Congress later this month so be we’ll be sure to bring you all the news as it breaks.

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Todd Haselton

February 7th

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Popular ‘Path’ app revealed to secretly upload all iPhone contacts to its servers [updated]

Path, the popular social network that competes with the likes of Instagram, may be uploading your iPhone’s entire address book up to its servers. Arun Thampi from mclov.in noticed the Path app’s steal data dump while trying to create a Mac OS X application for the social network during a hackathon. “Upon inspecting closer, I noticed that my entire address book (including full names, emails and phone numbers) was being sent as a plist to Path,” Thampi said, noting that Path didn’t ever ask for permission to do so. It’s unclear why Path is uploading the iPhone’s entire address book, but Thampi noticed that the social network performs the action during an API call with basic HTTP authentication. It remains unclear if Path’s Android application is also guilty of uploading personal information. Thampi has instructions on how to catch Path in the action on his blog.

UPDATE: A response from Path’s CEO follows after the break.

Arun, thanks for pointing this out. We actually think this is an important conversation and take this very seriously. We upload the address book to our servers in order to help the user find and connect to their friends and family on Path quickly and effeciently as well as to notify them when friends and family join Path. Nothing more.

We believe that this type of friend finding & matching is important to the industry and that it is important that users clearly understand it, so we proactively rolled out an opt-in for this on our Android client a few weeks ago and are rolling out the opt-in for this in 2.0.6 of our iOS Client, pending App Store approval.

Dave Morin
Co-Founder and CEO of Path

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Todd Haselton

February 7th

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