Weekly news round-up: Tablets and social networking

Despite the shocking, daily developments stemming from the phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper arm, News International, news on tablets and social networking also managed to make a bit of noise this week as well, thanks mainly to Google and Amazon.

On Wednesday, Web expert and app maker Paul Allen reported that the Google+ population was likely already at 10 million, and expected to reach 20 million by the weekend. Google hasn’t yet released figures for its social networking effort.

Amazon had two big product news stories this week. On Wednesday, it announced the launch of its Kindle 3G with Special Offers, which will be supported by advertising and priced at US$139. It is identical to the $189 3G Kindle, except that it has advertising and deals as the screen saver and in the lower portion of the home screen. The new Kindle also has wireless access from AT&T.

The following day, it was reported that Amazon is planning to release its own tablet by October. For years, the online books giant has fought with Apple Inc. over digital books, music and mobile applications, and the impending tablet release will give it a leg up in the hardware department and further ratchet up the competition between the two. The new tablet is expected to run on an unspecified version of Android, and experts are already saying that it is in the best position to compete with Apple’s iPad.

Facebook on Thursday announced the results of its study on how people engage with journalists on the social networking site. Posts in which a journalist gives an analysis and shares personal reflections have 20 percent more referral clicks than average posts; photos receive 50 percent more likes than non-photo posts; and links that include thumbnail images in the preview receive 65 percent more likes and 50 percent more comments than posts without images, the study found. Posts that ask questions accounted for 10 percent of the posts sampled on Jouranlist Pages, but these posts received two times the amount of comments and 64 percent more feedback overall.

On Monday, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News announced they are planning to sell Android tablets preloaded with their content beginning in late August. This programme is to shore up readership and finances after the publications emerged from bankruptcy about one year ago. The publications will distribute about 2,000 tablets to customers who buy subscriptions to the two newspapers, and each tablet will have four preloaded news apps, including two offering replicas for print versions of both publications, one for additional Inquirer content, and the other for philly.com.

A start-up looking to become the go-to place for tablet news will launch in the autumn, it was reported Wednesday. TabTimes will cover all things tablet-related, and only be available on the iPad. The free app will publish original content daily, and have an advertising-based business model.

This entry was posted in Amazon, Apple, Apps, Facebook, Google, Kindle, Tablet, Weekly news round-up. Bookmark the permalink.

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