Reuters is reporting that Google’s VP of Engineering, Andy Rubin, has been conducting talks with record labels in an attempt to launch an online music service “before Christmas.” The publication cites two sources familiar with the matter, and states that although record industry insiders are excited about the possibility of Apple and Google clashing on the digital music front, Google has yet to ink deals with any record labels. “Finally here’s an entity with the reach, resources and wherewithal to take on iTunes as a formidable competitor by tying it into search and Android mobile platform. What you’ll have is a very powerful player in the market that’s good for the music business,” said an anonymous record label executive. One thing is for certain, if Google wishes to play the role of David by Christmas time, it is going to need some labels in its arsenal… and soon. More →
We know how frantic things can get during this time of year: it’s almost Christmas and you’re wondering if you forgot anyone on your list, or whether everything you ordered will be arriving on time. For those who ordered the Barnes & Noble Nook in advance, units were promised to arrive on or before December 24. However, B&N is saying that there might be a very small percentage of customers who won’t be receiving their pre-ordered units in time. Those unlucky few will be receiving $100, almost 40% of the cost of the device, from the mega-bookseller for the inconvenience. It’s a nice gesture just in case things don’t work out, but we’re sure many of those customerss would be much happier watching their loved ones unwrap a new Nook under the tree on Christmas morning. More →
Those that hate Google but travel frequently might feel a bit conflicted over the next couple of months because of Google’s holiday gift to America. Starting today and ending on January 15th, Google will be offering up free, no strings attached Wi-Fi at 47 airports while Virgin American flyers will be getting free in-flight Wi-Fi as of the 18th. The In addition to this, Google has set up a way for travelers at each airport to donate to charities Engineers Without Borders, the One Economy Corporation and Climate Savers Computing Initiative. Google will match each airports donations up to $250,000 and will also give the most generous airport $15,000 for the charity of its choosing.
Believe it or not, Christmas is but 11 weeks away which means that every single tech company on the planet is going to be lighting up our inboxes with press releases about their holiday offerings. The first company to do this for 2009 is T-Mobile. Apart from another chance to get us bloggers talking about the Behold II and the Motorola CLIQ, T-Mobile took the opportunity to introduce two new handsets and a limited edition collaboration piece. The first new handset is the Nokia 3711, a 3G clamshell affair with a 2 megapixel camera, GPS by Telenav, and stereo Bluetooth. The second is the T-Mobile Tap. Presumably made by HTC based upon its appearance, the Tap is an “affordable and attractive” full-touchscreen featurephone that, like the 3711 has 3G, a 2 megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth and GPS by Telenav. New in another sense of the word is the myTouch 3G Fender Limited Edition. With only 10,000 to be offered sometime this winter, the Fender myTouch 3G sports a “guitar-inspired wood-grain finish”, 16GB microSD card filled with a bunch of music and videos not a soul alive won’t delete, and *gasp* a 3.5mm headphone jack. What do we think, people?
The lavish and sometimes frivolous mega-Internet-corp that is Google has been feeling the effects of the recession this year. First it started with the dismissal of a good chunk of manpower and now it is being reported that Google employees won’t be receiving Christmas bonuses this year. That’s a pretty major downer if you’re one of the employees who received a bonus as high as $20,000 in the past (though if that’s your bonus, you’re probably faring better than most anyway). How is Google making up for it? Free, unlocked G1s for everybody. Um, yay? We don’t know about you guys but we’d gladly take a bonus over a G1 any day, even if it is unlocked – how are you going to use 3G on that thing anyway if you decide to use it on a GSM carrier other than T-Mobile? Oh well… In these rough times we suppose the remaining Googlers should all just be thankful they still have a jobs.
Sure, a site or two might have reported yesterday that Bell is going to be launching the BlackBerry Storm on December 15, but we’ve just heard from our favorite Bell ninja that it looks like there a delay in store for the Bell Storm. While Bell has always maintained that the Storm will be available in time for Christmas, the fact that it’s now ordering managers to suggest alternatives to clients on the Storm wait list is rather troubling. He’s what our ninja had to say:
We are being told to take down all promotional P.O.P. (point of purchase displays) for the Storm and are being advised to expect a delay in Storm shipments. They did not say how much of a delay but managers are being advised to start making up sales through the current Bell line up for the Christmas season as we may not see the storm till after the Christmas rush. (Which if the last few years are any indication we usually consider the first 2 weeks of January apart of the Christmas/New Year rush)
We are also being told to stop taking names for “waiting lists” and that in the near future we may need to start contacting these current “wait list” clients to offer them new solutions.
We’re also hearing some grumblings that Telus may delay the launch of its Storm as well, though we are not able to confirm this for the time being. One thing we feel should be noted is that Telus has been heavily advertising the Storm for at least a month while Bell has just started. If there were a serious issue that needed fixing with the Canadian units, would Telus feel pressured to release a device with an unfinished OS much like Verizon / Vodafone, while Bell just takes the delay on the chin?
There’s a rumor floating around the interweb that the BlackBerry Storm is headed to Rogers in time to be placed under the Christmas tree of thousands of Canadians. The rumor, based upon a phone call to a Customer Service Rep who said very confidently that there will be a touch screen BlackBerry for sale soon on Canada’s only GSM network, has some major flaws to it.
1) The Storm doesn’t have the 850/1900 MHz bands of HSDPA, something which Rogers insists all new flagship smartphones they carry have.
2) No Wi-Fi is a huge failure, especially because of the lack of 3G. Would you have thought twice about buying the original iPhone if it lacked Wi-Fi? $20 says you would have.
3) A customer service rep… Seriously? Remember the time they told you that you would get a $50 credit mailed out with your next bill as an “I’m sowwy” for an error they made? Bet you’re still waiting on that one.
Just to cover some BGR ass, if this rumor does pan out, it would be a failure of epic proportions for Rogers. It’d be like them releasing the first generation iPhone instead of the iPhone 3G.