Tech News Roundup: Mobile Mania and Man vs. Machine

Tech News Roundup: Mobile Mania and Man vs. Machine

Welcome to your weekly Raven dose of tech news. If you’ve been following the wires and blogs, you know it was a big week for apps and mobile as Apple and Google announced the availability for app developers to offer subscription plans and Microsoft teamed up with Nokia to develop new products on the Windows Phone platform. But that’s just the short of it.

When Apple unveiled it’s plan to make subscription pricing available for developers selling their wares in the iTunes store, the news was bittersweet. The long-hoped for pricing model seemed to fly in the face of developers’ in asking for a 30 percent fee on subscription revenue. In contrast, Google announced their answer for content publishers looking to charge subscriptions, called Google One Pass. The differences between the plans include Google’s limitation of the payment system to magazine and newspaper applications and a more reasonable 10 percent service fee ─ two major points of contention in Apple’s offering.

Google struck a direct hit to Apple in the ongoing battle for the favor of digital content providers on mobile platforms, and users in turn. Much is at stake for mobile app developers, and it was interesting to note this week’s report that application access by those accessing content on mobile devices grew 8 percent in the U.S. during the last three months of 2010, year over year. The heated competition between the two top players was also apparent by this week’s news that Android increased its lead over Apple’s iOS as top taker of smart phone ad impressions.

Meanwhile in mobile-land, following last week’s brutally honest assessment of its own failings in the marketplace, mobile device maker Nokia partnered with Microsoft to launch a Windows Phone 7 product next quarter. Nokia, once a major player in cell phone manufacturing, has been in the midst of a death spiral that touched off with the skyrocketing popularity of smart phones. Nokia’s CEO also hinted at discussions between the company and Verizon as part of a modern-day strategy that has escaped Nokia in the recent past. Nokia, of course, has its work cut out for it if it intends to chase leaders Apple and Google in the smart phone marketplace.

So, there was much ado about mobile during this week kicked off by Valentine’s Day and its spirit of connectedness. Consider the mobile news above the meat and potatoes of your candlelight dinner. Thing is, a recap of the week would be complete without these miscellanea. Consider it the cherry on top of another sweet week in the industry.

  • Google took another step toward wiping out content farms from search results with a Personal Blocklist extension for the Chrome browser that lets individual users create custom black lists for domains they deem spammy.
  • Windows’ Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate makes some big claims about its being a modern browser to support HTML5. However, Mozilla took to disputing Microsoft’s tough talk, outlining how the browser falls short of the capabilities required of the Web today. Being behind before release doesn’t bode well.
  • In a three-day battle of man vs. machine, humans can be proud of their showing by reps for the race Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Watson, the most advanced computer with natural language capabilities and 4 terabytes of stored content developed by IBM, may have one the game, but not before a major rally (and moral victory) by Jennings before the competition concluded. Regardless of the outcome, the games were an exciting display of what computers are capable of today, and an impressive showing by our own wise and witty kind.