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Amazon Goes After Apple with Updated Kindles

While Apple builds the buzz over their up-coming press conference, Amazon has slipped in with some big news of their own. CEO Jeff Bezos met with the press this morning to unveil a new line of Kindle Fires and a new Kindle e-reader and what I saw made me weak in the knees. I love my iPad but Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD is calling me with one feature I’ve been craving for a long while.

For the first time, Amazon shouldered its way into Apple’s space with a high end Kindle Fire HD model that retails for $499. This is well above the price points they were hitting and seems to go against the grain of Bezos statement:

“We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices.”

Google Maps Shows Off As Apple Prepares for iOS 6 Without It

With the imminent release of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 looming Google is working to remind everyone of just how powerful Google Maps is. It will need to since it will no longer be powering the Maps app when Apple’s iOS 6 is finally rolled out next week with the iPhone 5 (at least that’s the rumor).

From the Google Lat Long blog we get

Maps keep our spirit of adventure alive by making it easier for us to explore the world around us. That’s why today, we’re making Google Maps even better with new turn-by-turn navigation with traffic conditions, biking directions, Map Maker and new Street View imagery in more locations globally. These improvements are part of our ongoing effort to build the best map we can — one that’s comprehensive, accurate and easy for you to use.

The Written Word Stumbles as Photo Sharing Tops Link List on Twitter

Now that the whole world is walking around with a digital camera in their pocket, photo sharing is booming. According to Diffbot, photos are the most commonly shared item on Twitter.

Just look at this graph from eMarketer. There’s nothing coming close to images, including articles. Think about it. Twitter already reduces our thoughts to 140 characters, now bit by bit, images are replacing all the words. As a writer, I find that frightening, but I’ll bet the photographers are shouting, it’s about time!

Twitter usage is around 27.7 million right now but eMarketer thinks it will cross 30 million next next year. A nice number, but that’s still only 13% of the population and 16% of all internet users.

Smartphone App and Browser Usage Cross the Half-Way Point

It’s a real sign of the times when you can’t watch an hour of television without seeing a couple of cell phone or tablet commercials. These handy-dandy devices are no longer a luxury item, they’re rapidly becoming as common as that TV you’re seeing the ads on.

comScore just released their latest set of numbers in the July 2012 MobiLens report. Nothing startling, but there are a few interesting items to note.

Let’s start with the kinds of phones everyone is using.

Samsung and LG still rule for pure number of devices in hand but look at Apple. They’re the only one showing an appreciable rise in sales. Last year, they only had 9.5% of the business, coming in second to last after RIM. (Notice RIM is now off the chart.) Apple has now topped Motorola and is closing in on LG. Think they can best them by the end of this year? With more Apple announcements coming our way in about a week, it’s possible.

Google Receives Patent for Facial Recognition To Unlock Phone

Let’s keep this short because all this is is another in the long line of patent announcements that are making people wonder if patents are simply a way to hinder progress rather than promote innovation.

Google has been awarded the patent for a face-to-unlock feature on a smartphone. cnet reports

The search giant yesterday was awarded a patent, called “Login to a computing device based on facial recognition,” that describes a technology for identifying a person’s face and delivering to that person full access to personal information on a device.

In order for the technology to work, Google’s patent requires a camera that can identify a person’s face. If that face matches a “predetermined identity,” then the person is logged into the respective device.

Almost Half of All Smartphone Users Have Purchased Digital Entertainment Products

American’s have a bad case of Johnny-Five syndrome. So named for the robot in the movie “Short Circuit,” the disorder’s one and only symptom is the intense craving for more digital input. Movies, TV shows, podcasts, webseries, music, ebooks — they can’t get enough.

According to the new Mobile Intel Series report from Millennial Media, 47% of smartphone users have purchased digital entertainment in order to halt the cravings, but sadly, the fix is only temporary. One season of “The Vampire Diaries” isn’t enough. The entire catalog of films starring George Clooney won’t do it. Even the massive collection of free ebooks on Amazon can’t fill that empty feeling a Johnny-Fiver gets once the data has been consumed.

This is good news for all you entertainment content sellers out there.

Smartphone Adoption Happening 10 Times Faster than PC’s in the 80′s

Let’s take a brief walk down memory lane.

We went from arcade games to Pong, to Nintendo 64, to Kinect and now games you can download and play instantly on your phone while on the go.

On the go phones, used to mean a phone booth then people with money had car phones with a mobile operator and from there we had mobile phones the size of a brick. Phones gradually got smaller, then they got smarter and look where they are now.

Computers? They used to take up an entire room and you needed thousands of punch cards and a degree in order to run one. Then home computers hit the market, we DOSed until Microsoft opened a Window and now you can carry a computer in your pants pocket, no wires, no punchcards.