Tag - Rakuten
Japanese retailer Rakuten has acquired Cyprus-based VoIP and messaging service Viber. The purchase, worth a total of $900 million, will see the Japanese Internet giant take control of Skype's biggest competitor, with the company claiming the purchase of Viber "perfectly complements Rakuten's strategy in the digital space" in its bid to become the "world's No.1 Internet services company."
Kobo made an important leap forward for itself Wednesday after it landed a deal for the Vox e-reader tablet to reach US Best Buy stores. The Android slate should be in stores now for the same $199 asked elsewhere. All four colors should be available on the Vox, which ships preloaded with both Kobo's own book app as well as PressReader newspapers, Zinio magazines, Merriam-Webster's Dictonary, and major apps like Rdio's music streaming, Facebook, and Twitter.
Kobo is trying a unique strategy to lure readers away from Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble by promising regular free e-books. Anyone who buys a Kobo Touch and first uses it on or before March 31 gets a free e-book each month. The publishers include Harvard Business Review Press, e-Reads, F+W Media, Gooseberry Patch, and New Word City, as well as four independent authors.
Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten said late Tuesday that it was buying Kobo for $315 million in cash. The deal gives it access to both an e-bookstore and e-reader devices, including traditional devices like the Wireless eReader and Android tablets like the Kobo Vox. Rakuten explained it as a push to expand its ecosystem outside of Japan through a media store, where books would just be the start.
Panasonic and Sony, as well as online shop operator Rakuten, agreed on Monday to work together on interoperable e-books. The step would see a joint system that would let e-books work across their devices as well as share a common platform for their stores. As portrayed by Nikkei, the common service would help keep track of e-book collections and have a web storefront.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE