Microsoft on Monday announced the availability of its next-generation desktop Web browser, Internet Explorer 9. “The best experience of the Web is on Windows with Internet Explorer 9,” said Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft’s corporate VP of Windows Internet Explorer, in a statement. “Today, the Web can unlock the power and performance of the best PC hardware through Windows and Internet Explorer 9. Websites also can act more like applications within Windows 7, with features such as Pinned Sites.” Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Web browser is one of the oldest still available, having launched in the dark ages of the Internet. Thanks to its inclusion on nearly all Windows computers sold, it is also still the most popular browser by a wide margin. Market share tracker Net Applications shows that IE’s browser market share sat at 56.77% in February. The next closest browser, Mozilla’s Firefox, owned 21.74% of the market. Hit the break for the full press release and download IE9 via the read link. More →
In a meeting with analysts, Redbox President Mitch Lowe reaffirmed the Coinstar-owned company’s plans to launch a Netflix “Watch Instantly” competitor this year. Coinstar CEO Paul Davis first confirmed the forthcoming service last year during an earnings call, though he would not specify whether the company’s Internet streaming service would utilize an all-you-can-eat pricing model or and a la carte model. Lowe has now confirmed that the service will be subscription-based, but he did not indicate price points for the service. Redbox currently owns and operates a large network of unmanned DVD rental kiosks located throughout the country. These self-service kiosks, which are stocked with new releases and popular recent titles, allow customers to rent DVDs for as little as $1. Redbox still has not revealed a partner for its upcoming streaming service, though rumors suggest Amazon may be the most likely candidate. More →
Yesterday, Google announced the expansion of Gmail’s Priority Inbox feature to its mobile website. Users accessing gmail.com from their HTML5-capable smartphone browser can now view messages categorized by Gmail as both “important” and “everything else.” Currently, users must enable Priority Inbox on the desktop version of Gmail to be able to view it on their mobile — only viewing is supported, users can not yet rank messages from the mobile web version. Priority Inbox is supported in Android 1.5+, iOS 3.0+, and most other HTML5-capable smartphones. More →
Mr. Murdoch et al. took the wraps off of News Corp’s The Daily at a press conference on Wednesday. The gist of the new digital publication is that it’s a daily newspaper built for the iPad that offers original content and immersive, interactive features. Sounds cool. But what about the majority of the world, which still finds itself iPad-less in spite of all that magic? And what about frugal owners of the magical iPad who can’t be bothered to fork over a buck each week to support the hard work of The Daily’s news team and creators? Well luckily for both camps, we now have The Daily: Indexed. Programmer Andy Baio has put together a Tumblog that indexes The Daily content each day and presents it as a list of links. All of the articles linked by the Tumblog are hosted on The Daily website, though they are really only intended to be shared via email, Facebook or Twitter from within the iPad app. If you’re looking for a taste of Rupert’s new “paper” and don’t have access to an iPad to take advantage of the free two-week trial, The Daily: Indexed has the the goods. More →
During a press conference on Wednesday, Google announced and subsequently launched a Web-based version of the Android Market. Providing functionality similar to iTunes where apps are concerned, the new Android Market website will allow users to browse Android software from any computer with a Web browser. Previously, users could only browse the Market on Android phones and tablets. The new Android Market site is live right now and can be reached from the read link below. More →
Twitter on Wednesday began rolling out a new feature called “Connections.” The feature, which is already common on other social networks, gives users a new way to discover and follow people they might otherwise not have found. The Connections view is visible when browsing another user’s profile page on the twitter.com website. It provides two main views: a brief sampling of mutual followers and a brief sampling of people you both follow. Alternatively, users can view a full list of mutual followers or people in common that they follow by selection the relevant options from drop down menus on a user’s “Following” or “Followers” timelines, as seen above. Twitter first tested the Connections feature last summer and while the company has yet to announce the new feature today, Connections appears to be rolling out to all users at this time.
According to an unconfirmed report in The Seattle Times, Microsoft is preparing to demonstrate a new home entertainment product set to combat Apple TV and Google TV. The rumored service will supposedly be demonstrated this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Said to be powered by a “stripped-down version of Windows tailored for set-top boxes and connected TVs,” a customized version of Windows Embedded is the likely candidate for this type of product. The devices are also said to feature a UI similar to the Windows Media Center interface, and will include a “polished and familiar TV-program guide that makes it easy to blend and navigate both online and broadcast content.” While no manufacturing partners were revealed in the report, an initial round of Windows TV boxes will apparently go on sale later this year for around $200. More →
Predictions from Piper Jaffray’s managing director and senior research analyst Gene Munster have been compared to darts tossed at a 10-foot dartboard, but that won’t stop the man from churning out new notes. On Monday, Mr. Munster laid out his roadmap for Apple in 2011 and it actually looks like he may be in store for a few wins this year. Then again, the roadmap is based almost entirely on things we already know with near certainty — or, in some cases, absolute certainty — so these can hardly be called Munster’s wins if they pan out. Here’s how Apple’s 2011 pans out in Munster’s eyes:
- Verizon launch of the iPhone: Probability 95% (March qtr) (our est)
- Mac App Store: Probability 100% (Jan. 6 launch)
- iTunes cloud services: Probability 90%
- iPad geographic expansion: Probability 100%
- iPad subsidies from carriers: Probability 80%
- OS X Lion: Probability 100% (summer 2011)
- iPhone (March quarter). We are modeling for Apple to launch a CDMA version of the iPhone at Verizon in the March-11 quarter. The fifth generation iPhone will likely ship this summer with NFC capability.
- iPad (spring). We believe the second generation iPad will launch in spring 2011.
- Macs (uncertain). We have moderate confidence that Apple will release redesigned MacBook Pros in 1H11 and redesigned iMacs in 2H11.
Munster does also note that Apple may launch some nifty new Web-based services and maybe even a television in 2011, but again, these are just rehashed rumors that have been around for quite a while now.
Google recently revamped its mobile Google Docs offering, providing more robust editing capabilities on several smartphone platforms. While the revised sites are quite useful on mobile devices like the iPhone and Android handsets, they’re hardly optimized for larger devices such as the iPad. As of Friday, however, the full desktop Google Docs experience is now available on Apple’s tablet, pushing third-party productivity suites one step further toward extinction. Users need only visit docs.google.com from the mobile Safari browser on their iPads to start using the Google Docs desktop editors for documents, spreadsheets and more. Google points out that because mobile browsers still aren’t as powerful as desktop browsers, iPad users can easily switch to the mobile-optimized editor if they so choose. More →
Verizon Wireless just sent us a statement on its brief 3G network glitch that happened last night and early this morning — our devices seemed to act fine, but apparently the glitch had to do with Internet browsing on devices. Full service has been completely restored at this point, but here’s the full statement for those who are interested:
Last night, during routine maintenance of our 3G network, a technical glitch hampered the ability of customers to reach the Internet through web browsers on their phones. This technical glitch lasted from approximately 1:40 am – 5 am ET, and covered a large proportion of our regular network. 3G network coverage was never out, just this one particular service. Full capabilities were fully restored at approximately 5 am ET. We apologize to any and all affected customers.
Amazon is gearing up to launch a web-based Kindle service accessible from any computer, Computerworld is reporting. Going on record, Amazon said that the new Kindle for the Web will “enable users to read full books in the browser and [enable] any Website to become a bookstore offering Kindle books.” While the service should be announced at some point today, it’s said that it won’t be commercially available until possibly January, right around the Consumer Electronics Show. With Amazon being a leader in the eBook store world, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t want a piece of every addressable market, and that includes desktop-type computers. Yesterday, Google announced and launched its eBook service called Google Books, which currently has over 3,000,000 available books. More →
Regional wireless provider U.S. Cellular has announced three new prepaid calling plans just in time for the holiday buying season. The new plans, which all include unlimited text messaging, will offer 200, 400, or 1000 talk minutes and retail for $29, $39, and $49 respectively; the 400 minute plan will also include 5GB of monthly data usage.
“With balancing the budget on the minds of many, prepaid plans can help customers stay on top of spending and don’t require a contractual agreement,” quips the press release. “U.S. Cellular’s new prepaid plans offer spending flexibility through unlimited messaging choices and graduated levels of included voice minutes.”