Leading iPhone eBook Reader Stanza Acquired by Amazon

amazon_stanza

People who like to read books on their iPhones (including myself) will be pleased to hear that Amazon (s amzn) has grown tired of playing catch-up with Stanza on the platform and instead bought out the much smaller company behind the app, Lexcycle. The Stanza makers are reportedly “very excited” by the development, which is understandable considering the gobs of cash Amazon no doubt threw their way. I’d be jazzed, too.

While it looks like the Stanza devs will continue to work on the app under the Amazon banner, and they claim that no major changes to the app will result from the purchase, Amazon no doubt has big plans for the platform, which it will likely integrate with its existing iPhone app for Kindle titles. Hopefully they don’t just shut it down in favor of their own app, or rebrand it, because I think the Stanza name at this point has become a force to be reckoned with in the world of iPhone apps. Read More about Leading iPhone eBook Reader Stanza Acquired by Amazon

Vid-Biz: Panasonic, Time Warner, UGC

Panasonic to Cut 15,000 Jobs, or 5 Percent of Its Workforce; facing tough times the consumer electronics giant will also close 27 manufacturing sites (12 percent of its worldwide production facilities). (The Wall Street Journal)

Time Warner Expanding Metered Broadband; details are few, but more cities to face the cable company’s stingy policies — better watch what you download. (GigaOM)

Nearly Half of U.S. Internet Users to View UGC Vids by 2013; this is up from 36 percent in 2008. (eMarketer)

NaviSite Hooks Up with EdgeCast Networks; partnership will yield a new portfolio of CDN-based services such as caching, electronic file delivery, streaming, API tools and support. (emailed release)

Italian Judge Suspends Decision in Google Video Case; Criminal Court of Milan pauses to consider procedural issues (it’s a common occurrence), proceedings to continue Feb. 18. (see our previous coverage) (The Privacy Advisor)

Commercials Make TV More Enjoyable? New NYU study finds that people who watched TV with commercial breaks included rated their experience higher. Huh? (The Live Feed)

Matt Smith Joins Inlet Technologies; Smith was previously with Yahoo and is now the senior director, systems architecture for the encoding company. (release (PDF)

Reasons to Stick With QuickBooks for Windows

quickbookswindowsYesterday, I looked at QuickBooks 2009 for Mac and while the new version is an improvement in many areas, it does not replace the Windows version in all situations. In fact, there are a number of good reasons to continue to use the Windows version of QuickBooks despite your desire to switch completely over to the Mac. Here are the major reasons to stick with QuickBooks for Windows.

Multi-user QuickBooks

If you have multiple people in your company that need access to QuickBooks (maybe AR, AP, controller, CFO or CEO) then you have to use the Windows version. The Mac version simply does not support multiple users. Period. You could also consider using the online version of QuickBooks, as long as you can live with the limited feature set.

QuickBooks Premier

QuickBooks Premier is really five industry-specific flavors of QuickBooks: Contractor, Manufacturing & Wholesale, Nonprofit, Professional Services, and Retail. If you need the extra features to support these industries, then you will only find them on Windows. Some of the features are pretty compelling, so I would recommend you take a hard, long look at the product description before you pass on Premier.

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2008: Set-top Boxes Set Up for a Fight

Think of 2008 as Act I when it comes to set-top boxes, the prelude of what’s to come. Next year will bring the conflict in Act II, and 2010? Hopefully Act III and a resolution.

In 2008, all manner of brand-name and upstart players began vying to be the box that connects to your TV set delivering movies, TV, web video and is basically the center of your digital media universe. Stalwarts like HP and Blockbuster rolled out their devices as newcomers Sezmi and Verismo came on to the scene (while still others, like Vudu, tried everything to get noticed). But the two real newsmakers of the year were Apple (s AAPL) and Netflix (s NFLX).
Apple TV
Apple kicked the year off with a bang by rebooting its Apple TV, and it looked like Steve Jobs & Co. were poised to dominate video the same way they dominated music. Throughout the year Apple added all the major studios (even nabbing HBO), got digital releases day-and-date with DVDs and added HD content (heck, it even kissed and made up with NBC).

But it was Netflix who crashed Apple’s set-top party and became the one to watch — literally.

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GigaOM White Paper: The Facts & Fiction of Bandwidth Caps

Beginning on Wednesday, Comcast is going to start capping the total amount of data you can transfer using their broadband connection, to 250GB per month. In order to give you a better understanding of the issues at hand, I have teamed up with my old friend Muayyad Al-Chalabi to release this white paper, “Broadband Usage-Based Pricing and Caps Analysis.”

Is T-Mobile Spinning on Google Phone Bandwidth Caps?

There are many problems with T-Mobile USA’s 3G plans, as we outlined yesterday. None compare to the seemingly foolish 1 GB bandwidth cap on “unlimited” data plans they are hawking along with the Google Phone. Today, in response to a New York Times query, they seemed to have backed away from the cap.

We removed the 1GB soft limit from our policy statement, and we are confident that T-Mobile G1 customers will enjoy the high speed of data access over our 3G network. The specific terms for our new data plans are still being reviewed and once they are final we will be certain to share this broadly with current customers and potential new customers.

The Times might be satisfied by the explanation, but like some others, I am not buying this story just yet. When T-Mobile says they are still figuring out specific terms for new data plans, it smacks of double speak. Does the company really mean to say that they are going to be imposing a bandwidth cap, though it would be north of 1 GB? If not, they could simply would have said: no caps whatsoever.

By the way, Verizon Wireless, the master of double speak, imposed a 5GB bandwidth cap on its “unlimited” data plans. As an aside, I think it’s time folks stop issuing misleading advertising by saying “unlimited” data for X-amount of dollars.

VoIP, 3G Roaming & G1, aka the Google Phone

So the big day is finally here: Google has released its Android operating system, the latest entrant into the mobile OS wars.

The Android-based, HTC-made G1 was launched earlier today at a ceremony in New York, and among the attendees were our intrepid reporters Liz Gannes and Craig Rubens. After getting a first-hand look at the device, they promptly called me and compared it to the iPhone. (Coverage from across the network can be found here.)

But from a VoIP, data and broadband perspective, I still had questions. And when I finally got them answered, it became clear to me that Android isn’t nearly as “open” as Google and T-Mobile’s hype machine would have you believe. In fact, the most you could say about G1 is that it’s “almost open.” [digg=http://digg.com/gadgets/VoIP_3G_Roaming_G1_aka_the_Google_Phone] Read More about VoIP, 3G Roaming & G1, aka the Google Phone

AT&T 3G Network Ready for Faster Speeds

If you’re like me, sick of the double-crossing, bandwidth-capping ways of the in-the-red Sprint, it’s time for you to start thinking about other mobile broadband options. Of course, you can sign up for Verizon and pay premium dollars for the same 5 GB-a-month download cap and restrictions over their EVDO network. Or simply switch technologies and go to AT&T’s 3G Network, which is getting speedier and is as widely available as those offered by Sprint and Verizon.

AT&T said today that over the next month it will deploy High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) technology in the six remaining markets across its 3G footprint, leaving it able to deliver 1.4 Mbps down and 800 Kbps upstream speeds. This will be an improvement over HSDPA technology (High Speed Downlink Packet Access), which is slower.

HSUPA puts AT&T on near-equal footing with EVDO-based mobile broadband sellers Sprint and Verizon. And it’s not stopping there — the company also plans to graduate to HSPA+ and then to LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology to offer even higher speeds for mobile broadband.