This one is sure to ruffle a few feathers in Apple HQ. Amazon has just made it easier for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users to buy music on their devices and they don't have to use iTunes to do it. Instead, Amazon has launched a special iEdition of their music store, with HTML5, that is specifically tailored to the mentioned products that will allow consumers to buy music from Amazon and then access the music from anywhere they'd like.
www.amazon.com/mp3, iProduct users can, for the first time, have a specific mobile version of the Amazon site for them to make purchases directly, with songs starting at just 69 cents.
Steve Boom, VP for Amazon Music, said,
Since the launch of the Amazon Cloud Player app for iPhone and iPod Touch, a top request from customers has been the ability to buy music from Amazon right from their devices. For the first time ever, iOS users have a way do that-now they can access Amazon's huge catalog of music, features like personalized recommendations....They can buy their music once and use it everywhere.
Music purchased is now automatically added to Amazon's Cloud Player library and can be accessed from the PC via Web browser, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Kindle Fire, Android phone, Android tablet, Roku or even Sonos wireless players. Amazon's MP3 store also has recently
been upgraded to bring the catalog to 22 million songs that are available for US users.
This definitely brings the Amazon Cloud Player into consideration for people who are fed up with iTunes or for those just entering the digital music market. Only time will tell if the company can take a significant chunk out of Apple's business, though.
Netflix never ceases to impress us. The company has been rolling in a stream of success
for a while now, even after upsetting its customers with a strange attempt at a brand split and price hike. In fact, over a third of the 800,000 customers that left because of the change came back in less than a year, proving Netflix' success with their offerings. This week, we're a little surprised to hear that the company has posted yet another profitable quarter, even after their problems this year, and remains one of the top dogs when it comes to connected TV owners.
Most recently, we learned that the PS3 was the
number one player for Netflix streaming. Now we're also finding out, via NPD, that Q4 was another success for Netflix. NPD reports that about 40 percent of all the households that had an Internet-connected TV were streaming Netflix directly from that TV during the holiday quarter, with 21 percent jumping ship from over-the-top video services on the computer. More specifically, if we dive into the 18-24 demographic that number jumps beyond 50 percent, further proving that young adults are driving innovation and acceptance of these newer technologies. Staying with that demo, 25 percent stream Netflix from a laptop or PC, 16 percent stream from a tablet and 13 percent are using Netflix on their smartphones.
For more on Netflix, including the numbers from their very successful fourth quarter, join us after the break.
It seems like this has been a bad month for old school gaming companies. We recently reported that THQ has
sold off its assets to various companies and has closed its doors for good. Now, Atari has also struggled to find a hold in today's gaming market and the company has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company said in a written statement that it is looking to "secure independent capital for future growth, primarily in the areas of digital and mobile games." This is a little bit different though, as the filing is for the American division of Atari only, and it is a move to try and find buyers for the American branch to break away from its less-than profitable French parent company.
Atari has also mentioned in their statement that March 31st will mark the expiration of their contract with BlueBay, the company's leading investor and only lender. So far, no future lender has been found but Atari has been given approval to receive $5 million from Tenor Capital, which is a company whose expertise is in distressed lending, exactly what Atari needs, at least temporarily, to jump-start some of its newer digital projects.
Atari U.S. will have three to four months to look for potential buyers for its assets, which also involve the Atari logo and the entire game lineup for the company. To date, Atari owns or operates over 200 different gaming titles and franchises.
We hope that a lot of the titles and franchises will find good homes with other game studios around the world. After the very recent THQ sale, though, I wonder how many studios will still have enough cash-in-hand to continue to make acquisitions. Hopefully, all of the assets will end up going to one company who can carry on the Atari brand with the integrity and respect that the name deserves.
In potentially the weirdest news since
Disney purchased the company, Lucasfilm seems to be bringing JJ Abrams in to direct the announced seventh installment of the Star Wars franchise. Abrams is pretty iconic in the sci-fi and alternate reality genre, creating the cult icons Lost for ABC and Revolution for NBC Universal. He is also responsible for films such as Super 8 and Cloverfield, both of which attracted large audiences.
Abrams has also recently taken the helm of another iconic franchise, and the one that makes this story strange:
Star Trek. He is responsible for the reboot of the series in 2009 and the upcoming sequel later this year. Now, there is a long-running debate of Trek vs Wars, and I know very few people who feel OK with any mixture between the two (hence the massive failure of Enterprise). This decision, if true, could cut the massive success of the Star Trek reboot short by at least a few movies.
Abrams has said he has been approached to do the project, however, as a fan, he felt a little intimidated to take on the franchise. To be honest, I don't blame him. There have only been six films in the franchise, and only three of them have really been anything to be proud of (I'll let you decide which three they are). A beloved
Star Wars film is something the original creator could not always accomplish, so for someone else to pull it off could be near impossible. On the other hand, Gene Roddenberry's original team were not able to continue making successes until Abrams came along, so maybe he is the man to pull this off, too.
So, here is the question: Trekkers, will you see a
Star Wars film helmed by Abrams? Jedheads, same question.
Five years can make a big difference in the videogame industry. Five years ago, THQ was valued at over $2 billion; today, right around $72 million, or so would suggest this week's bankruptcy auction. The company, which has had a lot of trouble finding its footing in the modern gaming market, sold off most of its assets to former rivals, including Sega and Ubisoft.
Once upon a time, THQ made a lot of money working with licenses, such as WWE,
UFC and movie titles from companies like Pixar and Nickelodeon. Unfortunately, there isn't enough interest in licensed titles like that anymore, so the company tried to branch out. Titles like Saints Row and Company of Heroes gained some traction, and even got the company the rights to produce a , announced at this past E3.
South Park title
So, who got what and for how much? You'll have to hit the break to find out.
Since the announcement for the
Microsoft Surface Windows RT availability, the question on everyone's mind was, "When will we see the Pro version?" Both devices were announced simultaneously, yet it is a full quarter later and we still don't have the high-end version of the device. While that is not exactly pleasant, we do have some good news to share: we have a launch date.
Surface Windows 8 Pro will officially be available in the US and Canada on February 9, just in time for Valentine's Day. So, what is so special about the Pro edition? The fact that it is a full computer: Intel Core i5 processor, Windows 8 application support, as well as classic desktop applications, which the RT edition cannot run. In addition, the Pro will come with a Surface pen, an enhanced stylus with Palm Block technology, is included, making it a great art device as well. With a stylus and a full version of Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, an artist can be creative anywhere they are.
There are more cool attachments and photos of the collection after the break.