AP Technology NewsBrief at 6:32 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Huge gadget show gears up in VegasThink your high-definition TV is hot stuff _ as sharp as it gets At the biggest trade show in the Americas, which kicks off next week in Las Vegas, TV makers will be doing their best to convince you that HDTVs are old hat, and should make room for "Ultra HDTV." It's the latest gambit from an industry struggling with a shift in consumer spending from TVs, PCs and single-purpose devices such as camcorders to small, portable do-it-all gadgets: smartphones and tablets. The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that device shipments to U.S. buyers fell 5 percent in dollar terms last year excluding smartphones and tablets, but rose 6 percent to $207 billion if you include those categories.
Google emerges from FTC probe relatively unscathedSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Google has settled a U.S. government probe into its business practices without making any major concessions on how the company runs its Internet search engine, the world's most influential gateway to digital information and commerce. Thursday's agreement with the Federal Trade Commission covers only some of the issues raised in a wide-ranging antitrust investigation that could have culminated in a regulatory crackdown that re-shapes Internet search, advertising and mobile computing.
6 takeaways from Google's antitrust settlementGoogle Inc. has settled an U.S. antitrust probe that largely leaves its search practices alone. In a major win for Google, the Federal Trade Commission unanimously concluded that there is not enough evidence to support complaints from rivals that the company shows unfair bias in its search results toward its own products. Below are six of the biggest takeaways from the decision announced Thursday:
It's 'cash only' now for tourists at the VaticanVATICAN CITY (AP) _ It's "cash only" now for tourists at the Vatican wanting to pay for museum tickets, souvenirs and other services after Italy's central bank decided to block electronic payments, including credit cards, at the tiny city-state. Deutsche Bank Italia, which for some 15 years had provided the Vatican with electronic payment services, said Thursday that the Bank of Italy had pulled its authorization after Dec. 31.
Review: Nintendo's TVii tops button-laden remotesLOS ANGELES (AP) _ Nintendo's TV-watching tool for the new Wii U game console beats my regular remote control hands down. Called TVii, the service transforms how you watch television in three key ways. It turns the touch-screen GamePad controller for the Wii U into a remote control for your TV and set-top box. It groups your favorite shows and sports teams together, whether it's on live TV or an Internet video service such as Hulu Plus. And it offers water-cooler moments you can chat about on social media.
Media stocks buoyant after 'fiscal cliff' dealLOS ANGELES (AP) _ Shares of media companies rose Wednesday as fears of an advertising slowdown based on slower economic growth abated somewhat due to a deal to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff." Movie studio owners could also benefit from a one-year extension of certain film and TV tax credits in the budget deal passed Tuesday.
NY comptroller sues Qualcomm on political spendingALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ New York's comptroller has sued Qualcomm Inc. in an attempt to compel the wireless technology company to disclose its political spending to him and other shareholders. The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Delaware seeks a court order to inspect company records, saying prior requests for the information have been rebuffed by the San Diego-based corporation. The suit cites studies that say corporate political spending tends to hurt investor returns.
Google chairman heading to North KoreaSEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ When he lands in North Korea, even Google's executive chairman will likely have to relinquish his smartphone, leaving him disconnected from the global information network he helped build. Eric Schmidt is a staunch advocate of global Internet access and the power of Internet connectivity in lifting people out of poverty and political oppression. This month, he plans to travel to the country with the world's most restrictive Internet policies, where locals need government permission to interact with foreigners _ in person, by phone or by email _ and only a tiny portion of the elite class is connected to the Internet.
LG beats rivals in race to sell new OLED TVsSEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ LG Electronics Inc. started taking pre-orders on Wednesday for the world's first big TVs that use an advanced display technology promising startlingly clear images on wafer-thin screens. The South Korean company said the 55-inch TVs, which use a technology called "OLED" and have a price tag of 11 million won ($10,335), will be delivered to buyers in its home market next month. The new TVs will be available in North America, Europe and the rest of Asia before the end of March, LG said in a statement.
California newspaper defies trend to shrink costsSANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ New and expanded sections to cover business, automobiles and food. A nearly five-fold increase in community news pages and more investigative reporting. Even daily color comics. It feels like a throwback to an earlier era at the Orange County Register, where a first-time newspaper owner is defying conventional wisdom by spending heavily to expand the printed edition and playing down digital formats.
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