Top tech stories of the day – Wednesday 11 December, 2013

Whole lotta love: Led Zeppelin’s music comes to Spotify – Confirming a rumor that surfaced early this morning, Led Zeppelin’s music is now available on Spotify. The band appeared on the streaming service shortly before CEO Daniel Ek announced the major deal on stage at today’s press event. Spotify says this is the first time Zeppelin’s iconic catalog can be streamed on demand. The band’s songs can already be purchased from iTunes, Google Music, and Amazon, but the group has proven hesitant in adopting the streaming model until now.

Curiously, Eddy Cue used Zeppelin as an example when he demonstrated iTunes Radio back at WWDC, but the band’s catalog cannot be streamed using Apple’s free radio service. Nor is it available via Google Play Music All Access. Pandora stands as the lone exception; Zeppelin’s music is already part of the radio service’s broad catalog.

Whole lotta love: Led Zeppelin’s music comes to Spotify

 

Beastie Boys countersue over ‘Girls’ parody ad, rekindling legal battle – When GoldieBlox removed a parody of the Beastie Boys’ song “Girls” from an ad for its toys, it seemed like a brief but heated debate over fair use and copyright ethics was over. Apparently we were wrong, as the Beastie Boys have now sued the toymaker for copyright and trademark infringement and demanded a jury trial.

“Rather than developing an original advertising campaign to inspire its customers to create and innovate, GoldieBlox has instead developed an advertising campaign that condones and encourages stealing from others,” they write, asking for court costs, lost profits from infringement, money earned by GoldieBlox as a result of the ads, and a permanent injunction against any further use of the re-recorded song.

Beastie Boys countersue over ‘Girls’ parody ad, rekindling legal battle

 

Microsoft sells over 2 million Xbox One consoles in 18 days – Microsoft says it has sold over 2 million Xbox One consoles since its launch 18 days ago. The sales figures average out to around 111,111 units per day, a pace that Microsoft describes as “record-setting.” While the company countered Sony’s 2.1 million PlayStation 4 sales with zombie stats previously, it’s clear both consoles are selling well. “Demand is exceeding supply in our 13 launch markets and Xbox One is sold out at most retailers,” says Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi.

Sony has sold over 2.1 million PlayStation 4’s across the US, Europe, and Australia up to December 1st. While Sony’s console launched 25 days ago, it was limited to the US and Canada for the first 14 days of sales and Sony’s most recent figures only include two days of availability across Europe and Australasia.

Microsoft sells over 2 million Xbox One consoles in 18 days

 

Dell Chromebook 11

Dell unveils education-focused Chromebook 11, arriving in January for under $300 – As promised, Dell has taken the wraps off its first Chrome OS device, the Chromebook 11. The 11.6-inch, 2.9-pound laptop is built with the classroom in mind, and it should ship in tandem with a Wyse PocketCloud app that should make it easy for students and teachers to share their work online.

Its 1.4GHz Celeron processor and 16GB solid-state drive are no great shakes, although the system could be the Chrome OS longevity champion — Dell estimates a 10-hour battery life that could beat out Acer’s long-lived C720. Educators who want the Chromebook 11 will have to be patient, though.

Dell unveils education-focused Chromebook 11, arriving in January for under $300

 

This is Nokia’s Android phone – Nokia has been building its own Android phone according to multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans. Codenamed Normandy, and known internally at Nokia under a number of other names, the handset is designed as the next step in low-end phones from the Finnish smartphone maker. We understand that Nokia has been testing “Normandy” with a special “forked” variant of Android that’s not aligned with Google’s own version, akin to what Amazon does with its Kindle Fire line.

This is Nokia’s Android phone

 

Microsoft considers free versions of Windows Phone and Windows RT to battle Android – Microsoft is considering making Windows Phone and Windows RT available free of charge to device makers. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans have revealed to The Verge that free future versions are under serious consideration by OS chief Terry Myerson.

We understand the plans aren’t fully set in stone, but they’re part of broader changes Myerson is planning for the future of Windows. Microsoft is currently planning and developing future updates, including a “Threshold” update that’s designed to bring back the Start menu and provide more flexibility for desktop users.

Microsoft considers free versions of Windows Phone and Windows RT to battle Android

 

twitter-languages

61 languages are found on Twitter. Here’s how they rank in popularity – As Twitter seeks to become a global town square, it’s not surprising that there are a multitude of languages on the service. Social media research firm Semiocast has compiled an infographic that highlights the most popular language used along with a breakdown of Tweets from around the world.

61 languages are found on Twitter. Here’s how they rank in popularity

 

NASA JSC's Valkyrie robot

NASA’s humanoid Valkyrie robot could lead the way to Mars (video) – NASA’s Robonaut is only just getting its legs, but it already has some fresh (and arguably superior) competition. The agency’s Johnson Space Center has given IEEE Spectrum a sneak peek at Valkyrie, a DARPA Robotics Challenge entry built to take on dangerous tasks that would normally require a human presence. In addition to sporting more joints than many of its typical two-legged rivals, the sometimes autonomous machine is chock-full of cameras, LIDAR and sonar that help it quickly move around.

NASA’s humanoid Valkyrie robot could lead the way to Mars (video)

 

Japan overtakes the US in app revenue thanks to mobile games – Despite its tech-savvy culture, Japan has for years lagged behind the West in its adoption of smartphones. However, due to the shift from feature phones to iPhones and Android handsets in the last year, app analytics outfit App Annie now concludes that Japan leads the world in app revenue — and the culprit is an explosion in mobile gaming.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Japan bested the US in app revenue this year by 10 percent. That’s up from spending 40 percent less than the US last year. The reasons for this shift are two fold: Smartphone penetration in Japan has boomed from 28 percent last year to 42 percent in 2013, putting it apace the States’ 44 percent. That led to an incredible increase in apps being sold, and games apps are leading the way by a wide margin.

Japan overtakes the US in app revenue thanks to mobile games

 
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Andrew Richardson

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Author: Andrew Richardson

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