Facebook, which announced that it was adding hashtags to its service last week, is having a big announcement this week and word on the digital street has it that the company plans to unveil video as an added feature to Instagram. In other video news, Amazon announced this week that those recently purchased Nick Jr. shows like Dora the Explorer and Blue’s Clues are among the new material that has been added to its Kindle FreeTime Unlimited service. (The company also has the more limited Kindle FreeTime app, which is free.)
Samsung’s buying up a million copies of Jay-Z’s upcoming album Magna Carta Holy Grail to give out to Galaxy smartphone owners 72 hours before the album officially drops on July 4. The company also has a faster version of its Galaxy S4 phone on the way next month, one that promises double the speed of the current 4G LTE network. While the U.S. mobile networks may not be quite up to super-quick LTE, New Yorkers can at least juice up their batteries as AT&T has added 25 solar-powered recharging stations around the five boroughs.
Microsoft has a special deal for educational institutions buying hardware: a 32-gigabyte Surface RT tablet for $199. Its Outlook.com team up in Redmond also announced this week that it was ditching linked accounts in the name of security and switching over to aliases and the company released its Office Mobile for Office 365 Subscribers With iPhones app this week. The biggest Microsoft news o’ the week, however, is that nicely executed 180 on its Xbox One policies (you know, those “required Internet connection” and “restrictions on used games” policies) thanks to customer “feedback.” Your move, Sony.
As for Apple, the company’s e-book pricing trail continues in New York City with summations expected Thursday of this week, but an immediate ruling is not expected. Apple issued a statement on customer privacy in regards to the ongoing revelations about the National Security Agency and noted that its FaceTime and iMessage conversations were encrypted and said it couldn’t even crack those. The company found the time to work up a beta update for Apple TV testers that adds in iTunes Radio and a conference-room display feature.
Yahoo also joined the growing list of tech companies that have issued privacy statements to their customers. The post, from CEO Marissa Mayer and General Counsel Ron Bell, said Yahoo had between 12,000 and 13,000 requests from law enforcement agencies in from December 2012 to May 2013. And the shopping continues — according to the All Things D Web site, which reports that the company made an offer of $30 to 40 million dollars for Xobni and possibly $50 million for the Qwiki video app.
In other tech news this week, Adobe Systems has officially released its Creative Cloud suite to the public and the reviews are starting to come. Wal-Mart and Staples plan to start selling Google’s Chromebook laptop. BlackBerry has issued a security warning about a critical bug in the BlackBerry Protect app for its Z10 smartphone. Ford is responding to consumer complaints that its MyFord Touch electronic touchscreen dashboard systems are too confusing by putting back the knobs, and the Oxford English Dictionary has added some new terms in its latest update.
And finally, Man of Steel broke the box office record for the biggest opening numbers in June with $113.1 million dollars last weekend. This haul puts Supes second in line behind Iron Man 3’s $174.1 million dollar opening weekend last month.
The comic-book movies of summer are doing quite well and we’re not even to the mid-way point of the season yet. Next month, The Wolverine, RIPD, and RED 2 all arrive, as does the enormous San Diego Comic-Con International, with all of its industry news and film previews. So there are plenty of things to look forward to besides the new books hitting the shelves of your local comics shop each Wednesday.