Tech giants announced several gadgets this week looking to get out ahead of the impending Apple iPhone launch at the highly anticipated media event scheduled for Sep.12. For instance, Amazon introduced the Kindle Fire HD and updated its Kindle e-readers, Motorola announced the first set of Droid Razr smartphones post acquisition and Nokia launched two Windows 8 smartphones. In other news, the FCC commenced a new program to measure mobile broadband speeds and Hootsuite acquired Seesmic to boost its user base.
10. Lenovo Pushes Into Brazil
Lenovo reached an agreement to buy CCE, a group of three Brazilian consumer-electronics makers. The deal is intended to expand Lenovo’s presence in Brazil where CCE makes personal computers, phones and TVs at its seven factories.
9. RadioShack Begins Wireless Service
RadioShack is taking advantage of the large demand for mobile services, launching its own no-contract wireless service. Partnering with Leap Wireless’ Cricket network, RadioShack will initially offer wireless services to two phones – the Huawei Mercury Ice and the Huawei Pillar. More phones will likely be added by the end of September.
8. Nokia Bringing Wireless Charging To Airports And Cafes
Nokia announced partnerships with Virgin Atlantic and major café chains The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. The partnership will offer wireless charging facilities to travellers in airport lounges (initially in London’s Heathrow Airport Lounge) and coffee shops. The deal follows the launch of two Nokia Windows 8 phones that include wireless charging features. Though this is not new, Nokia plans to take it mainstream by installing charging facilities in high-traffic pedestrian areas.
7. Hootsuite Acquires Social Media Tool Seesmic
Hootsuite acquired Seesmic, a social media app for Android and iOS. CEO Ryan Holmes commented that the acquisition will expand Hootsuite’s user base which currently sits at 4.5 million. The financial details have not been disclosed. The Seesmic brand will eventually fade away and the team will switch over to Hootsuite.
6. Zuckerberg Pledges Not To Sell Facebook Stock For 12 Months
Facebook took steps this week to reassure investors and Wall Street by announcing that major stockholders such as Mark Zuckerberg and board members Marc Andreessen and Donald Graham will hold on to their stock for another year. Furthermore, Facebook reported that it would buy back nearly $2 billion worth of shares in an effort to reduce the amount of shares in the market. The moves reportedly helped boost Facebook shares by five percent.
5. Motorola Unveils Three New Razr Phones
Motorola took the wraps off its next generation of Droid Razrs at its first major product launch under the ownership of Google. CEO Dennis Woodside introduced the Razr HD, Razr HD Maxx and Razr M, which will be the first smartphones to rely on Google’s Chrome browser for Android. The releases came on the same day as Nokia unveiled two new smartphones running on Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system.
4. Microsoft to Google: “Bing It On”
To combat the perception that Google search is better than Bing, Microsoft launched a “Bing It On” challenge, essentially a “Pepsi Challenge” –like campaign for search results. Following an online study conducted by an independent research firm , Microsoft claimed that in blind comparison tests, users preferred Bing nearly “2 to 1” over Google. The challenge available on BingItOn.com allows users to compare unbranded Web search results from Bing and Google side-by-side. Users can put in their search queries to declare a winner or say it’s a draw. The campaign also includes “Bing It On” sweepstakes with prizes including a Microsoft Surface, Windows 8, an Xbox 360 with Kinect and more.
3. FCC Plans To Test Mobile Broadband Speeds In The U.S.
The FCC announced plans to measure mobile broadband speeds in an effort to provide customers with detailed information on mobile data performance in the U.S. Major carriers including AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile have agreed to participate, which signals the growing reliance of consumers on wireless devices to access the Web.
2. Amazon Updates Its Kindle Line of E-Readers
Amazon fired up interest in its latest hardware at an event headlined by CEO Jeff Bezos. He unveiled the highly anticipated new Kindle Fire, calling it Kindle Fire HD, and challenging Apple’s iPad on several fronts. During the presentation, Bezos continually compared the two devices and commented that the company is building the “best tablet at any price.” Joining Amazon’s new suite of Kindle devices are the low-end 7-inch Kindle Fire and Kindle Paperwhite.
1. Apple Makes It Official, Sends Out Media Invite For Sept.12
Apple sent out media invitations for its much anticipated next generation iPhone product announcement scheduled for Sept.12. Industry experts commented that Apple’s announcement appeared to have a strong effect on competitors such as Motorola, Amazon and Nokia, which introduced a slew of gadgets this week. Apple has proved its dominance in the tech word as companies are keeping a close eye on Apple’s moves scrambling to get ahead of them.