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BlackBerry's New Direction

posted Saturday Mar 31, 2012 by Scott Ertz

BlackBerry's New Direction

It is no secret that Research in Motion and BlackBerry are in trouble. They have had trouble selling their PlayBook tablets, even having to recall some and they are losing marketshare at an alarming rate, not helped by a massive outage last year. Add to that a long-overdue and constantly teased BlackBerry OS 10, also not without issue and the company's inability to get people to upgrade to OS 7-powered devices and you end up with a new CEO.

Only 10 weeks into his tenure and Thorsten Heins is making some major changes. He has started cleaning house on executives that have led to this disaster, including former Co-CEO Jim Balsillie. He also plans to clean house on some of RIM's consumer-facing projects. He believes that consumer-level products do not quite play into RIM's wheelhouse of expertise. On this week's earnings call he said,

It's now very clear to me that substantial change is what RIM needs... We see that Blackberry can not succeed if we try to be everybody's darling and all things to all people.

So, what does Heins believe are RIM's strengths and what are the changes he sees? Hit the break to find out.

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Facebook Timeline Now Active for Brand Pages

posted Saturday Mar 31, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Facebook Timeline Now Active for Brand Pages

Friday, Facebook make a pretty major move, introducing Facebook Timeline to all brand pages. Unlike personal timelines, which have not yet forced their way into the lives of those who do not want it, brand pages have all been converted. Perhaps Facebook learned their lesson from making it semi-optional with personal profiles, requiring them to now maintain two separate sets of profile code for personal pages.

The Timeline for Brands comes with a load of new features that did not exist previously. First, and most interestingly, is messaging capabilities. In the past, it was incredibly difficult to communicate with a brand in a meaningful way. You could leave a comment on their wall, but I can tell you as a brand manager myself, it is very difficult to keep up with what you have read and what you have not. The ability for someone to message you directly is a much more convenient way of communicating.

What other new features are available to Brands now? Hit the break to find out.

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Small SimCity Updates Tells Us There's a Bigger Picture in Store for All

posted Saturday Mar 31, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Small <i>SimCity</i> Updates Tells Us There's a Bigger Picture in Store for All

As promised, I bring an important, albeit small update from Maxis and EA regarding their upcoming SimCity title that was announced at GDC a few weeks ago.

SimCity's Facebook was completely redone this week in-line with their Timeline transition and we got to see a new cover photo and a few new status updates. More importantly, Ocean Quigley, SimCity's Creative Director, posted on the fan page late Friday afternoon a message to all fans about how the cities in the new SimCity game will interact and connect with each other. Everything looks to be pointing to another game that will require an active Internet connection to play and keep the game updated.

Of course, users will always be up in arms over a change, and you can read about that on their fan page. However, we have the message and a new screenshot from the game after the break.

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PlayStation 4 Being Called Orbis Internally, No Talk About it at this Year's E3

posted Friday Mar 30, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

PlayStation 4 Being Called Orbis Internally, No Talk About it at this Year's E3

As we talked about on the show a couple weeks ago, Microsoft would not be talking about anything that has to do with a new Xbox at this year's E3. We mentioned how if and when they decided to talk about something new would be about the same time Sony would follow suit.

Well, that kind of has happened this week, as Sony has said you can kill all the rumors about the PlayStation 4 being the highlight of this year's E3 show. However, Sony went into a little more detail about what the future would hold for PlayStation and the brand.

Of course, we have the details after the break.

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AOL Considering Selling Patent Portfolio

posted Sunday Mar 25, 2012 by Scott Ertz

AOL Considering Selling Patent Portfolio

Here's a story to put into the "I can't believe it" file: AOL is in financial trouble. Now, I'm not saying I cant believe it because I'm surprised AOL is having financial trouble, but because I'm surprised they are still around. Since their spin-off from the doom that was AOL Time Warner in 2009, they have seen a 29 percent drop in revenue, probably because Time Warner isn't propping them up anymore.

One way they believe they can fix this is to sell off their patent portfolio, which has over 800 active patents in it. One major AOL shareholder, Starboard Value LP, believes the portfolio could be worth over $1 billion in licensing revenue. That is probably a lot more than their 29 percent drop if you ask me.

So, who would be interested in technology that AOL has? Hit the break to find out.

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Kinectable Linux on Its Way

posted Sunday Mar 25, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Kinectable Linux on Its Way

If you have had an ache to build a motion-controlled application for Linux, have I got some great news for you. Igalia, the people who brought you WebKit, the browser engine that powers iPhone, Android and webOS, comes the next generation of Kinect playground.

Skeltrack is an open source library for interacting with Kinect without using the already pre-made library provided by Microsoft, which would be important if you were using it on Linux. While the purpose is a little unclear, what is clear is the talent this team has. They have managed to replicate the pre-E3 2009 state of Project Natal, tracking a single skeleton and 7 joints.

Personally I cannot see where or how this will have any real-world implementation as Linux's reach outside of the web server realm, where it is also losing ground, and mobile devices, which do not have USB to run Kinect, is one really lonely guy at ZDNet. I suppose the 4 remaining people who are writing Windows apps in Java might also be able to benefit from it, but the vast majority of software these days is written in Visual Studio, where you can use the full-featured, official Microsoft SDK for Kinect.

So, what do you think? Really cool tool or a lot of time spent duplicating something Microsoft gives out for free? Let us know in the comments section.

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