AP Technology NewsBrief at 2:23 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) BlackBerry launches long-awaited comeback campaignNEW YORK (AP) _ A new generation of more versatile BlackBerry smartphones is finally about to hit the market after excruciating delays allowed mobile devices made by Apple, Samsung and others to build commanding leads in a market that is redefining society. BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. formally unveiled its long-awaited line-up of revamped smartphones and software Wednesday at simultaneous events held in New York, Toronto, London, Paris, Dubai, Johannesburg, Jakarta and Delhi.
RIM changes name to BlackBerry, unveils 2 phonesNEW YORK (AP) _ After lengthy delays, Research In Motion Ltd. unveiled its first two phones with the new BlackBerry 10 system. The Q10 will have a physical keyboard, while the Z10 has only a touch-screen keyboard. RIM says it will also change its name to BlackBerry to maintain a single brand. It will have the ticker symbol "BBRY" on the Nasdaq Stock Market. RIM redesigned the BlackBerry system to embrace the multimedia, apps and touch-screen experience prevalent today. The question is whether there's time for the once-pioneering BlackBerry to catch up to Apple's trend-setting iPhone and devices running Google's Android system.
Review: Microsoft Office pricey, but good valueNEW YORK (AP) _ As much as I like Google Docs for word processing and spreadsheets, I find the online software clunky at times. So I was skeptical when I heard Microsoft is trying to sell its new version of Office as an online subscription. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the subscription gets you the same software you'd get buying it at a retail store. In fact, I'm using the new Office 2013 to write this review, and it feels as smooth as the customized version of Office 2010 I regularly use.
IBM sends Watson to NY college to boost its skillsTROY, N.Y. (AP) _ Watson, the supercomputer famous for beating the world's best human "Jeopardy!" champions, is going to college. IBM is announcing Wednesday that it will provide a Watson system to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the first time the computer is being sent to a university. Just like the flesh-and-blood students who will work on it, Watson is leaving home to sharpen its skills. Course work will include English and math.
High-tech cargo airship being built in CaliforniaTUSTIN, Calif. (AP) _ The massive blimp-like aircraft flies but just barely, hovering only a dozen feet off a military hangar floor during flight testing south of Los Angeles. Still, the fact that the hulking 230-foot-long Aeroscraft could fly for just a few minutes represents a step forward in aviation, according to the engineers who developed it. The Department of Defense and NASA have invested $35 million in the prototype because of its potential to one day carry more cargo than any other aircraft to disaster zones and forward military bases.
Lenovo profit boosted by smartphones, tabletsBEIJING (AP) _ Personal computer maker Lenovo Group said Wednesday its quarterly profit rose 34 percent to a record high on strong sales of smartphones and tablet computers. The company, vying with Hewlett-Packard Co. to become the world's biggest PC maker, said it earned $205 million in the three months ending in December. Revenue rose 12 percent to $9.4 billion, also a record.
Nintendo returns to profit, lowers sales forecastsTOKYO (AP) _ Japanese video game maker Nintendo Co. returned to the black for the first nine months of its business year and more than doubled its profit forecast for the full year, getting a perk from a weaker yen, despite pessimism about sales prospects. April-December profit for the Kyoto-based maker of Super Mario and Pokemon games totaled 14.55 billion yen ($160 million), bouncing back from the 48.35 billion yen loss reported a year earlier, it said Wednesday. Nine-month sales inched up 2.4 percent to 543 billion yen ($6 billion).
LG Electronics sinks to loss after EU fineSEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ LG Electronics Inc. reported its first quarterly loss in a year Wednesday after Europe slapped it with a massive fine for price fixing. Its net loss totaled 468 billion won ($429 million) for the last quarter of 2012, compared with a loss of 112 billion a year earlier.
Ticketmaster makes online 'CAPTCHA' puzzles easierLOS ANGELES (AP) _ Ticketmaster, often the target of fan anger when tickets to popular concerts get sold out in seconds, is removing an annoyance that can slow down the buying process: the jumble of letters that people need to decipher known as "CAPTCHA." The puzzles provided by Google Inc. are meant to deter automated systems known as "bots" from purchasing large numbers of tickets the instant they go on sale. Scalpers have been known to employ bots to acquire tickets, which they resell for a profit.
Amazon posts lower 4Q net income but stock jumpsNEW YORK (AP) _ Amazon's fourth-quarter net income fell 45 percent, as sharply higher revenue failed to keep pace with increased spending on order fulfillment and digital content, a trend that's become the norm for the world's largest online retailer. The company's financial results missed Wall Street's expectations _ but investors sent the world's top online retailer's stock up more than 9 percent in after-hours trading.
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