Top News for March 28, 2014

Amazon

Here are today's top stories from Tech News Today for March 28, 2014:

  1. Amazon is expected to announce a new streaming TV service on Wednesday. The company sent invitations out yesterday. Reports based on leaks, unnamed sources and those annoying “people familiar with the matter” have suggested a set-top box that streams TV shows, movies and music videos and possibly that plays games as well. Read more at wsj.com.

  2. Microsoft announced Office for iPad yesterday. The suite includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint, but not Outlook, which is sold separately. Four years in the making, Office for iPad is getting generally positive reviews. And it’s free to download, but the free version allows only the ability to read, but not create or edit, Word documents. You can edit Excel spreadsheets and present with PowerPoint documents with the free version. Unlocking full functionality requires an Office 365 subscription, which starts at about a hundred bucks a year for the Home Premium edition. Read more at pcworld.com.

  3. BlackBerry released its fourth quarter earnings today, and as you might expect, things look pretty grim. Revenues are down 64 percent, dropping below $1 billion for the first time since 2007. The company lost $42 million for the quarter. But CEO John Chen is optimistic. Read more at theverge.com.

  4. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg yesterday provided some surprising facts about the company’s previously announced Connectivity Lab. The group will use drones, satellites and lasers to bring Internet access to remote places as part of Zuck’s Internet.org project. Read more at recode.net.

  5. We told you yesterday about how Twitter is becoming more like Facebook, and we even talked about the possibility that Twitter might add something similar to Google+’s interactive posts, which enable downloads directly. Now we’ve learned that Twitter is planning to release a mobile ad product targeted at app makers. The format is called the "app-install ad," and it’s designed to encourage users to download the advertised app straight from the ad, according to a report on Bloomberg. Twitter's been testing app-install ads for at least several weeks. One mobile-app maker contacted by Bloomberg said cost of acquiring each new user dropped by four-fifths using the new format. Read more at bloomberg.com.

  6. In explaining why Facebook spent $2 billion on the company that makes the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles, Mark Zuckerberg said Oculus has the potential to be the most social platform ever. So a Montreal-based collective called KO-OP Mode tested -- OK, mocked -- the idea by creating an app for browsing Facebook using Oculus Rift. The app lets you wander around in a 3D environment where the walls show the live Facebook profiles of your friends. The app is called Face rift. Read more at facerift.ko-opmode.com.

For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for March 28, 2014.