Symbian Secures Big Backers in Mobile OS War

Symbian said today that 14 new companies, including Hewlett-Packard (s HPQ), MySpace, Qualcomm (s QCOM) and SanDisk (s SNDK), have joined its foundation. This brings the number of companies that have signed up to use the mobile operating system’s platform to 78, putting it ahead of the 47 members of the Open Handset Alliance, which supports Google’s (s GOOG) Android OS. More members are good, but Symbian still has to get those members psyched up and developing on its mobile operating system. Read More about Symbian Secures Big Backers in Mobile OS War

The Incredible Shrinking CES

As the Consumer Electronics shows opens in Las Vegas this week, the papers are awash in stories about CES being smaller this year, by about 11,000 attendees (about an 8 percent decline) and 300 exhibitors (a 10 percent decline.) Given that the Dow Jones Index has fallen about 30 percent, and the S&P 500 has dropped 33 percent since this time last year, such devotion to televisions, mobile phones, netbooks and other consumer gadgets is admirable. And there’s a silver lining to this cloud: consumer electronics may get easier to use.

Analyst Stephen Baker from NPD gave me hope, when he was quoted in a Reuters story saying, “In tough times, the emphasis maybe shifts from cool and neat to how do you make things work better.” But CES isn’t about making gadgets work better — it’s about hardware. And today’s ease-of-use problems are tied more to business model issues such as licensing content, protecting revenue streams and a lack of openness. Read More about The Incredible Shrinking CES

Despite Cool Tech, Samsung Isn’t Going to Pay a Lot for SanDisk

It’s common for companies in the midst of a hostile takeover to claim that their shares are undervalued (see Yahoo-Microsoft). SanDisk, which is being pursued by Samsung for $5.8 billion, is no different, and today its claims were examined in the Wall Street Journal. The paper focused on SanDisk’s (s sndk)X4 memory technology, which is central to the company’s argument that it’s worth more than what Samsung is offering. But cool technology aside, the unforgiving pressures of the NAND memory market, the 80 percent premium Samsung has offered, and the lack so far of a serious rival mean the price isn’t going to get much higher. Read More about Despite Cool Tech, Samsung Isn’t Going to Pay a Lot for SanDisk

SanDisk slotMusic Cards Will Soon Be Known As The Digital Dodo Bird

This morning, SanDisk announced its next foray into the world of digital music. Too bad this digital music idea, like their previous ones, will be going the way of the dodo bird.

SanDisk’s slotMusic product is a 1GB microSD card loaded with an album. You purchase the card from your local Wal-Mart or Best Buy and then insert the card into any device that will accept the card (such as a mobile phone). All music will be encoded in high-quality MP3 format, free of any sort of DRM. Currently Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, Sony BMG and EMI are on board.

So why, exactly, will SanDisk’s newest baby go the way of the prehistoric pigeon?
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