? All Tech Radio Episode 395
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  • It's Mother's Day. Time to think about what to get your mom for the big day. A tablet may be a great idea! Barnes & Noble is temporarily slashing the prices for its two reading-focused tablets. The reductions will last until the end of Mother's Day, putting the 7-inch Nook HD 8GB at $149 and the 16GB at $179 (a $50 discount), with the 9-inch HD+ set at $179 for 16GB and $209 for 32GB ($90 off). Compared to other options like the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 tablets, the deal may be enough to make up for both HD's lack of cameras.
  • Commercials in your car even with the radio turned off. GM CEO Dan Akerson said the partnership with AT&T to add 4G connectivity by 2015 for streaming videos to back -seat passengers could include a couple of revenue generating opportunities, reports Left Lane News. The automotive industry site reports that Akerson said GM will collect a $20 fee from AT& T for every connected vehicle it sells and the carmaker will also split the revenue generated from shared services. The ability to stream 4G technology into a car, which will allow for faster data mobile speeds for many in-vehicle features, presents a number of new business opportunities, said the CEO. "With a 4G pipe into a car, you can change the business model almost entirely," explained Akerson, reports Left Lane. "You may be able to have a real revenue generating opportunity into the car with - when you come up for example, what happens when the logo shows on your screen and its brought to you by Allstate?"
  • Adobe had been expected to demo Creative Suite 7 at its MAX conference down in smoky Los Angeles on Monday, but instead announced there'll be no more versions of its boxed software and that the Creative Suite brand will cease to exist. All CS apps updates will only be added to its Creative Cloud suite, and Adobe showed off some new tools to tempt its software stick-in-the-muds online. "We believe that we're now collectively hitting a tipping point where the web is now ready for a generation of tools and services that help build the future of HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript web," said David Wadhwani, general manager of Adobe's digital media business unit, at the MAX keynote. The current system of duplicating changes made in the Creative Suite and Creative Cloud products was wasteful and unproductive, he explained, and while existing boxed-software owners will still be supported, they won't be getting any more upgrades from Adobe.
  • Google-owned Motorola Mobility abused its position in Germany's mobile market when it filed a patent injunction against Apple, EU officials have said. Motorola won an injunction over Apple products that used patents relating to data transmission technology in February 2012. Apple offered to pay Motorola a licence fee for using the patents - but the two companies could not agree on a price. Apple products, including the iPhone, were taken off sale during the dispute. Several models of the smartphone, and the iPad, were removed from sale on Apple's German website - but were still available in other stores in the country.
  • It's only been a couple of months since the launch of SimCity and the debacle that followed (which still lingers today), but Maxis and EA want to cleanse your palate with a new addition to the Sims franchise: The Sims 4 is coming to PC and Mac in 2014. EA writes on their blog: "The Sims franchise is fueled by the passion and creativity of its millions of fans around the world. Their continued devotion to the franchise ignites the fire of creativity of the team at The Sims Studio, driving them to continually improve and innovate on one of the world's most successful simulation game that has sold more than 150 million copies worldwide."
  • In the world of the quantified self, there are so many devices from which to choose. You can go with the Jawbone Up, or the Nike Fuelband, or the Fitbit One. Now, in the words of Jillian Michaels in her sadistic 30-Day Shred videos, "it's time to kick it up another notch." ("No!" you scream, sweaty and red-faced in your living room, "I have no more notches!") Today, Fitbit launched its newest product, the Flex-a tiny device hidden in a flexible, wearable wristband. Sure, nothing new here. Jawbone did it. Nike did it. Basis is another one that's getting lots of attention (Raj Kapoor and Robert Scoble were both wearing Basis monitors at our most recent Vator Splash). What makes Fitbit Flex different lies in its NFC chip, which allows the device to automatically and wirelessly sync data to an app or the Fitbit Web dashboard. With the Jawbone Up, you have to plug the device into your phone to sync, and with the Fuelband, you have to manually sync. Additionally, the Flex is launching with Android and iPhone compatibility, where the Fuelband is only compatible with iOS.
  • Windows 8 is Microsoft's best effort to catch up with Apple and grab tablet sales away from the iPad by including things iPads just don't have, according to Microsoft founder Bill Gates. These things include keyboards and Microsoft Office, Gates says in an interview with CNBC. "With Windows 8 Microsoft is trying to gain share in what has been dominated by the iPad-type device," Gates says. He says Windows 8 was designed to wrap PCs into a tablet form, as exemplified by Microsoft's own Windows 8 hardware Surface PRO and Surface RT. "So if you have Surface, Surface PRO you've got that portability of the tablet but richness -- in terms of the keyboard, Microsoft Office -- of a PC," he says. "So as you say PCs are a big market. It's going to be harder and harder to distinguish products whether they're tablets or PCs." Microsoft sees customers are unsatisfied by limitations of pure tablets with touchscreens and no support for Office. "A lot of those users are frustrated," Gates says. "They can't type, they can't create documents, they don't have Office there so we're providing something with the benefits they've seen that have made [tablets] a big category but without giving up what they expect in a PC."
  • GameStop is shuttering its PlayStation 2 trade-in business as of June 1st, a company spokesperson confirmed to Engadget. "We can confirm that as of June 1st we will no longer be accepting the PS2 console or its related product for trades," the statement reads. Several of GameStop's retail locations confirmed to our sister site Joystiq that the June 1st date was accurate after a Reddit posting showed what appeared to be an in-store sign saying as much, and the statement today offers a bit more detail. For instance, GameStop won't end sales of used PlayStation 2 hardware, software and accessories -- both in store and online -- until "several months" after the June 1 cutoff. Those sales, of course, depend on "remaining stock from trades." Additionally, GameStop reminded us that it's totally pumped for the upcoming PlayStation 4. "We are very excited about the upcoming PS4 and are making room in our stores for it and other new platforms expected this fall," the statement says. And hey, with all the extra space available in GameStop stores by "holiday 2013" (when the PS4 is expected to land at retail), it looks like GameStop will be ready for business.
  • Earlier this week we reported that users had been complaining about a certain feature from the app Path: namely, that its default behavior was to automatically send text messages out to people a user may know when they first signed up with the app. The Path app has now received an update that removes the ability to find Facebook friends altogether, and TechCrunch reports that it's due to Facebook restricting Path's access to its API. Users can still share any items they post to Facebook, but any friend-associated activity has disappeared. The spamming behavior first went into effect with a March 6th update to the app. It gained traction when a digital marketer named Stephen Kenwright signed up with the app, and discovered that multiple individuals from his contacts received Path text notification early the next morning - even though he'd subsequently deleted the app on his own device. In that particular case, some of the texts manifested as robocalls due to the way local phone companies dealt with text messages sent to landlines.
  • We already posted an Xbox Rumor Round-Up recently, but here's another one to add to the list. A lot of rumors have been flying around about what we'll be calling the next Xbox console. So far, we've heard everything from Durango to simply Xbox 720, but there were never any official documents or registered domain names that have confirmed this. However, over the past week, Microsoft has registered several domain names under XboxFusion, including XboxFusion.com, XboxFusion.biz, XboxFusion.co.uk, and many others. It looks like we may finally have the name of the new console. Of course, this name still has not been confirmed nor denied by Microsoft, and the company probably won't make any statement until the big announcement on May 21. ScienceFiction.com will have a full recap of the announcement after the event, where all of the rumors will be confirmed or put to rest for good. Until then what do you think the console's name? Should they keep it simple and go with Xbox, or even Xbox 720? Or do you welcome the 'Fusion' ring to it all? Let us know in the comment section below!

email from listeners:

  • Larry from Seattle asks "Is it better to read books on a Kindle or an iPad?"