Japan marks funeral for second-generation phones

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Japanese stores took delivery of no second-generation mobile telephones in January for the first time since their launch as shipments of advanced handsets soared, an industry group said Tuesday.

Japan and South Korea are at the forefront of third-generation (3G) phones, which offer high-speed Internet access and other interactive features and have not even entered the market in many developing nations.

Manufacturers sent 4.08 million cellphones to Japanese stores in January, the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association said.

“For the first time, the number of second-generation models was zero,” it said.

Japan becomes the second country to be virtually finished with second-generation following South Korea, according to Nomura Research.

Japan investigates after iPod nano overheats, sparks

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

An iPod nano in Japan overheated and discharged sparks, the Japanese industry ministry said Tuesday in a list of recent serious incidents involving consumer products.

“The battery part of the product overheated while being charged and sparked,” the ministry said, adding it was investigating the January 8 incident.

Makers Apple in Japan could not be reached immediately.

The company has publicly warned that iPod, iPod nano or iPod shuffle may generate excess heat while being charged in certain carry cases.

DreamWorks’ Katzenberg betting big on 3-D

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

DreamWorks Animation SKG Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg is betting on 3-D films to the tune of $30 million a year in the hope of bringing a dramatic bump to flat U.S. movie attendance.

“Clearly I’m putting my money where my mouth is and the company’s bet on it,” said Katzenberg in an interview at his headquarters a day before making his pitch to movie exhibitors in Las Vegas at the annual ShoWest conference.

DreamWorks’ 3-D initiative, using proprietary technology and processes, has been in the works for about 18 months and will make its theatrical debut on March 27, 2009 with “Monsters vs. Aliens.”

A studio tour revealed more and better special effects than the handful of stunts in 3-D of decades ago. Also, concert movies in 3-D give a feeling closer to being in a live audience, as fans pop off the screen and the band appears staggered on the stage with more realistic depth.

Microsoft cuts Xbox 360 prices in Europe

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp cut the prices of its Xbox 360 video game console in Europe by up to 28 percent on Monday to try to spur sales in a key battleground in the fast-growing industry.

The 80-euro decrease results in cuts of 18 percent to 28 percent across the three Xbox 360 models, bringing the cheapest Arcade version to 200 euros ($307) and the high-end Elite to 370 euros ($568).

Prices reductions in Britain range from 20 pounds to 50 pounds.

Hulu makes public debut, adds Warner Bros shows

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Hulu, the online video joint venture of News Corp and General Electric’s NBC Universal, will make its public debut on Wednesday with programming from Time Warner Inc’s Warner Bros Television Group, Lionsgate and from sports leagues.

Missing from the list of providers are media mogul Sumner Redstone-controlled companies Viacom Inc, which continues to hold discussions, Viacom said recently, and CBS Corp, which has said it was not averse to a licensing deal.

At launch, Hulu will offer full-length episodes of more than 250 TV series from current hits such as “The Simpsons” as well as older shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” It also will offer 100 movies including “The Big Lebowski” and “Mulholland Drive.”

EU launches probe into U.S. online gaming measures

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The European Union launched an investigation on Monday into whether U.S. measures on foreign online gambling companies break international rules, possibly paving the way for World Trade Organisation action.

European online gaming companies, such as PartyGaming and bwin Interactive Entertainment, complained in December that the U.S. Justice Department was singling out foreign online gambling companies for prosecution.

“The U.S. has the right to address legitimate public policy concerns relating to Internet gambling, but discrimination against EU companies cannot be part of the policy mix,” EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said in a statement.

Dutch court convicts Nigerian Internet fraudsters

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A Dutch court on Monday sentenced three members of a Nigerian gang to up to four years in prison for extorting tens of thousands of euros from victims who answered emails promising a stake in unclaimed inheritances.

A spokeswoman for the Haarlem court said judges sentenced one man to four years on charges of fraud, money-laundering and membership of a criminal organization, while two others were sentenced to 18 months and 13 months respectively.

Wal-Mart Ends Test of Linux in Stores

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Computers that run the Linux operating system instead of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows didn’t attract enough attention from Wal-Mart customers, and the chain has stopped selling them in stores, a spokeswoman said Monday.

“This really wasn’t what our customers were looking for,” said Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokeswoman Melissa O’Brien.

To test demand for systems with the open-source operating system, Wal-Mart stocked the $199 “Green gPC,” made by Everex of Taiwan, in about 600 stores starting late in October.

Walmart.com, the chain’s e-commerce site, had sold Linux-based computers before and will continue selling the gPC.

This was the first time they appeared on retail shelves.

Paul Kim, brand manager for Everex, said selling the gPC online was “significantly more effective” than selling it in stores.

Wal-Mart sold out the in-store gPC inventory but decided not to restock, O’Brien said. The company does not reveal sales figures for individual items.

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