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iTunes has new challengers, Apple is looking to make Siri better and more

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BRIC

The iOS/Android War might be won in the BRIC nations.

  • Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player take on iTunes Match. Who wins? The mobile music scene is not going to be easy to sort. We have solutions such as Spotify and Rdio, but iTunes is always the incumbent, while Amazon and Google are attempting to compete. Cloud storage makes sense, but what is the answer? Via Ars Technica, more here.
  • Turn Life Into a Video Game With This Dope 8-Bit Camera App - A new iOS app allows you to turn any picture into an 8-bit photograph. This is not only just a fun application, but it allows you to turn any photograph into the console image of your choice. If you’re missing some 8-bit in your life, check it out. Via Gizmodo, more here.
  • Yelp adding hygiene ratings to New York and San Francisco restaurant listings – Some people are hygiene fiends, the rest of us have eaten Army food. But, when we go out to eat, we hope to have clean meals. Yelp is a terrific app and the addition of hygiene concerns can only help. Via Engadget, more here.
  • Samsung May Tackle The iPad Mini With An 8-Inch Galaxy Note – The iPad Mini has been the runaway hit of the season. Samsung is attempting to capitalize on it with their newest offering, the 8-inch Galaxy Note. The Note offers a pen with digitizer that offers best in class communication with a tablet via stylus. While Samsung offers a variety of 7″ (or plus) tablets, none of them sell like the iPad Mini. Via TechCrunch, more here.
  • Apple job description outlines goal to evolve Siri as a distinct, recognizable character – While Siri is often referred to as the Apple Beta program that failed, they are continuously improving it. Whether or not Siri is the best at voice control (it’s not) it is still a key factor in determining how voice control evolves. I like what Siri does to Google voice search/control and other competitors  because it drives them to be better. Via 9to5Mac, more here.
  • Google Glass Ain’t Dead! Google Files For Virtual Keyboard Patent in Relation To Glass - I think almost every technologist wants Google Glass to succeed. Via competition, it can push other technologies forward. If you’re a Google user you are excited for the possibilities  but most are just looking forward to wearable computing. Any which way, it will be a defining technology of the era. Via Droid Life, more here.
  • Nielsen: Smartphone Battle Ready To Rage In Brazil, Russia, India - Any businessperson worth their salt looks to the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries as indicators of future growth. One of the reasons I’ve challenged Apple’s majority is their inattention to emerging markets, but they are starting to take a look. These markets have billions of unaligned consumers to make a choice. Via TechCrunch, more here.
  • Nexus 4 Wireless Charging Orb Could Arrive in February - According to Norwegian retailer Dustin Home, the wireless charging Orb for the Nexus 4 could arrive in February. Having been shown off on Nexus 4 unveiling day as the coolest accessory in town, we still have yet to see it find its way into the hands of anyone outside of Google. That’s not surprising, though, Nexus accessories almost always show up months after debuting during launch. I can’t wait for the orb, but why did it take so long? Via Droid Life, more here.
  • LG Remains Committed To Nexus 4 Production, Even As New Nexus Rumors Swirl - So the Nexus 4 has been tough get a hold of. And people have rumored that there is a Nexus 5 on its way (5″ screen, nobody knows the real internals). LG keeps saying Google told them the wrong “demand” details (a very very real detail for every business and logistics person), but refuse to honor any complicity. But LG shot themselves in the foot; they created the best smartphone to date, and let alleged demand get the better of them. If not for the absolutely amazing device the Nexus 4 is, both companies would be sunk, but LG got a big boost from a very real Nexus device, and Google from an OS which many (including yours truly) believe outshines all others. Via Droid Life, more here.
  • Has Google Finally Discontinued the Nexus Q?  I’ve actually always wanted a Nexus Q, but I have a Google TV, so it is a bit redundant. The smartphone is clearly not the way to the living room, but you have to applaud Google’s effort. They, ridiculously, tried to create an Apple TV replacement, at only 300% of the cost! Oh, wait. THAT DOESN’T WORK. The Nexus Q was going to be cool, but never at $299, or anything more than $99. It’s a fun experiment, but it should have never left the labs. The problem is; sometimes Google lets things escape the labs that have no business doing so. Luckily, the Nexus Q has faded into black while their better suited items float to the forefront. A $50 Nexus Q would have kicked off a revolution (despite flaws) a $300 one? see ya later! Via Gizmodo, more here.
  • Is the Lenovo Chromebook right for education? - I am a big  fan of the Chromebook, especially the ARM version. It hit the six hour mark, was inexpensive, and had the ability to operate on and off line. Lenovo’s version is more powerful, and great form factor. Any Chromebook is good for education, so long as your students have broadband. Lenovo has best of breed business devices, so I have to believe that their Chromebook solution can work. Via BetaNews, more here.

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.