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tech champs

Apple Scores $30 Million iPad Contract with LA School District

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 19, 2013 07:07 PM

It’s a win-win for Apple and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) as the tech company was just awarded a $30 million contract to supply about 35,000 iPads to 47 schools at a cost of about $678 per device. 

“LAUSD is the nation’s second-largest school system, and its decision to award this contract to Apple, and Apple alone, is a hell of an endorsement—one that other school districts are certain to consider while mulling their own tablet deployments," notes All Things D. "Beyond that, it’s further testament to the mind share iPad is gaining in education, and the speed with which it is gaining it.”

LAUSD received more than a dozen proposals and narrowed them to bids from Apple and Arey Jones, which submitted separate plans using Dell and HP tablets. While the $678 price is above retail, the iPad’s are preloaded with educational software and come with a three-year warranty. District officials said students can take the iPads home.Continue reading...

brand makeovers

Intel Focuses on Present With New, Simplified Brand Identity

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 4, 2013 02:50 PM

Since 2009, Intel has been touting themselves as the "Sponsors of Tomorrow," but now, the storied brand is focusing more closely on the present as it encourages a new wave of tech-savvy consumers to "Look Inside."

The new slogan, a play on the brand's longtime marketing campaign "Intel Inside" is indicative of a shift towards a more focused, crisp brand identity. "'Sponsors of tomorrow' didn’t leverage our heritage as much as 'Look inside' does," Deborah Conrad, VP and CMO at Intel told The New York Times. "'Look inside' is a call to action, and 'Intel inside' says, 'Hey, here I am.'"

The change in market messaging coincides with Intel’s announcement of its fourth-generation Core microarchitecture, formerly code-named Haswell. The hybrid processor-graphics combo on a single chip can deliver 50 percent better battery life than current-generation laptops and twice the graphics performance for computers, gaming machines, desktops and laptops. “The chips use extensive “power gating,” where unused transistors—the on-off components of digital computing—are turned off when they are not in use and reawakened quickly when needed,” explains VentureBeat.Continue reading...

games people play

Microsoft Reveals TV-Integrated Xbox One

Posted by Beya Likhari on May 21, 2013 07:56 PM

After 8 years, Microsoft's Xbox announced it’s newest gaming console—Xbox One. The new console has taken the initiative to bring gaming back to the living room—a feat that faces some steep challenges in the name of smartphones and tablets. 

However, the most significant reveal ties into a top-of-mind trend that is impacting television broadcasters and mobile carriers across the board: second-screen. At the reveal, General Manager, Phil Spencer stated, “We believe that the television screen remains the most relevant screen in the home.” Microsoft understands that users are sitting in front of the television with tablets and mobile phones and has used this fact to bring back the focus to the television screen, allowing users to seamlessly toggle between surfing the web, watching television and playing a game in a feature called 'instant switching' on the Xbox One.Continue reading...

Microsoft Reportedly Wants to Buy Barnes & Noble's Nook Business for $1 Billion

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 10, 2013 12:45 PM

Shares of Barnes & Noble soared 24 percent after it was reported Thursday that Microsoft is considering a bid for the retailer’s Nook e-book business. 

Microsoft is reportedly offering $1 billion for the Nook brand and the digital assets of Nook Media on top of their $300 million investment last year to develop Nook content for Windows 8 tablets. "Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them,” said Microsoft president Andy Lees at the time. "We're on the cusp of a revolution in reading." 

But the revolution stalled as the Android-based Nook has been a money-loser for B&N, not helping America's biggest bookseller compete against Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader.Continue reading...

ad watch

Kindle Marriage Equality Ad Pushes Amazon's Stance

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 21, 2013 02:50 PM

It has been nearly 16 years since the episode of “Ellen” that found its main character, as played by Ellen DeGeneres, come out of the closet and tell the world that she was gay, followed up by the historic "Yep, I'm Gay" cover of TIME.

That, of course, was a watershed moment and plenty has happened since. States have legalized gay marriage. Gay characters that don’t fall into ancient stereotypes actually populate mainstream films and television shows. Those in the 18- to 44-year-old demographic are mostly all for gay marriage, leading many to assert that, with time, it will be fully integrated into American culture. 

That same demographic is the target of most marketers, which has led to a rapid growth in gay-themed ads. Anti-gay sentiment clearly isn’t dead, though, and marketers take the risk of getting one faction of its fans upset when it goes that route, a fact Kraft’s Oreo brand found out last summer when it put a rainbow-themed Oreo on its Facebook page and then discovered a massive fight occurring in its comments section.

Amazon has now stepped in to show that it’s happy to have its products, specifically Kindles, used by gays or straights. In a new ad campaign that broke this week, a shirtless man and bikini-wearing woman sit next to each other at a resort looking at their e-readers. While he squints at what looks like an iPad in the sunlight, she can see her Kindle Paperwhite just fine. He decides to purchase a Kindle from his device and after, suggests that they should celebrate. She says that her husband is bringing her a drink right now. His response? “So is mine.” Touché.Continue reading...

ad watch

Are Apple's New iPad Commercials Phoning It In?

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 18, 2013 12:02 PM

Veteran Apple watcher Robert Hof thinks Apple is phoning it in with the brand's latest commercials for the iPad, called "Together" and "Alive," and pulls together a slideshow of early Apple ads for context. Watch the new pair of iPad spots below and let us know what you think.Continue reading...

going mobile

MTV Woos Indian Teens With Co-Branded 'Fablet' Smartphone

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 13, 2013 04:01 PM

Since MTV aired “Video Killed the Radio Star” back in August of 1981, the company has gotten into plenty of things that haven’t involved music at all, from asking its viewers to “Rock the Vote” to exposing the world to the somehow fascinating mundane dramas of young adults on the Jersey shore

Now, Viacom’s MTV Networks International is getting into another business: selling branded tablets in India. Or, as the Telecom Tiger puts it, fablets (presumably, a more fab version of phablets). MTV has announced a partnership with Swipe Telecom to produce a co-branded fablet, MTV Volt.

The 6-inch smartphone features a television screen so people can get their MTV wherever they are. The youth-centric device will also serve as, “a fully functional high-definition Android tablet with Wi-Fi, dual cameras, FM player and GPS functionality,” that weighs half a pound and retails for around 12,999 Rupees or $240, Telecom Tiger reports. And, of course, built-in apps allow users to get right onto Facebook and LinkedIn.Continue reading...

tech wars

Grumpy Wall Street Aside, Revenue-Rich Apple Sees a Lot to Smile About

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 24, 2013 03:32 PM

Apple's flat profits and lower-than-expected iPhone sales dominated coverage of its Q1 2013 quarterly financial earnings call on Wednesday and sent it stock sliding, but the company cited several reasons why it sees a lot of opportunity ahead. 

Its revenues, after all, were reported at a record $54.5 billion — an 18% increase over the same quarter last year — with profits of $13.1 billion.

And despite news that Mac sales are down 21% year-over-year (with general PC shipments down 6% globally) CEO Tim Cook was quick to say the downturn was due in part to the success of the iPad — a "huge opportunity" for the company, he said.Continue reading...

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