Amazon smartphone reportedly in production, set to go on sale in mid-2013

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Rumors have been in the air for several months that claim Amazon will compete in the handset space with its own offering, much like it did with its Kindle Fire line of tablets. According to a new report from the Taiwan Economic News, the Internet retail giant has selected the infamous Foxconn to manufacture the handset. Additionally, Amazon is said to have ordered 5 million units and will launch the device at $100 to $200 sometime in the second quarter or third quarter of 2013.

The Kindle Fire line of tablets, which has software based off Android with many custom additions (and even more subtractions), has done wonders for Android’s tablet marketshare, helping the platform close the seemingly insurmountable gap with the iPad. Amazon was the first to offer a tablet at such a low cost, selling in seemingly big numbers. However, no specific figures have ever been given. With its large online marketplace and bevy of apps on its Amazon Appstore, we wouldn’t put it past the company to be a serious competitor in the handset game. (via Engadget)

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Google exec blames Nexus 4 shipping delays on ‘scarce and erratic’ supply from LG

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Google United Kingdom and Ireland Managing Director Dan Cobley wrote on his Google+ page this weekend (via AndroidCentral) to explain the situation with the LG Nexus 4′s long shipping delays many customers have experienced since launch day. According to the exec, supplies from manufacturer LG have been “scarce and erratic,” which has caused shipping times of up to eight weeks in some cases. The Nexus 4 has certainly been a popular device, and one could wonder how it would affect Google’s holiday sales if the company could get it out by the holidays for the majority of customers.

The exec also said that customers who were notified with a “3-5 day” shipping estimate initially should expect their handset soon, as those orders are now in the fulfillment process. The shipping charge will be waved and an email notification will be sent to customers this week with tracking information. Additionally, customers who received pre-Christmas shipping times should see their handset delivered by then, but unavailability still lingers for most customers.

Saturday’s comments are certainly welcomed from the top and give us the first real insight on what is causing delays—other than the company is working to catch up with the high demand. You can find the exec’s full comments below:

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Sprint to acquire 100 percent stake in Clearwire for $2.2B

Sprint today confirmed in a press release that it will acquire the roughly 50 percent of Clearwire it doesn’t already own, giving it 100 percent ownership of the company in deal worth $2.2 billion:

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. & BELLEVUE, Wash. (BUSINESS WIRE), December 17, 2012 – Sprint (NYSE:S) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the approximately 50 percent stake in Clearwire (NASDAQ: CLWR) it does not currently own for $2.97 per share, equating to a total payment to Clearwire shareholders, other than Sprint, of $2.2 billion. This transaction results in a total Clearwire enterprise value of approximately $10 billion, including net debt and spectrum lease obligations of $5.5 billion.

The transaction will take place for $2.2 billion paid to Clearwire’s shareholders (other than Sprint), or $2.97 per share. Sprint explained it is a “128 percent premium to Clearwire’s closing share price the day before the Sprint-SoftBank discussions were first confirmed.” Sprint also said the spectrum acquired from Clearwire, in combination with its own, will provide “an enhanced spectrum portfolio that will strengthen its position and increase competitiveness in the U.S. wireless industry.” As noted in the release, Softbank, which is currently slated to take control of Sprint in mid-2013, gave its consent to the Clearwire deal as required:

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FTC antitrust investigation into Google said to end this week

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The New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported this evening that the long antitrust probe/suit/investigation into Google by the Federal Trade Commission is ending after nearly two years. The debacle, centered on antitrust litigation and allegations, is said to end with Google coming out relatively unaffected—something competitors like Yahoo certainly do not want. The FTC is said to end the investigation as early as this week, with Google agreeing to make changes to satisfy the organization. The changes are not yet clear. We can only wonder if CEO Larry Page’s meeting helped push things in Google’s direction. You bet we’ll update as more develops.
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Futurist Ray Kurzweil joins Google

Raymond_Kurzweil_Fantastic_VoyageBeyond interesting development:

Ray Kurzweil confirmed today that he will be joining Google to work on new projects involving machine learning and language processing.

“I’m excited to share that I’ll be joining Google as Director of Engineering this Monday, December 17,” said Kurzweil.

“I’ve been interested in technology, and machine learning in particular, for a long time: when I was 14, I designed software that wrote original music, and later went on to invent the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, among other inventions. I’ve always worked to create practical systems that will make a difference in people’s lives, which is what excites me as an inventor.

“In 1999, I said that in about a decade we would see technologies such as self-driving cars and mobile phones that could answer your questions, and people criticized these predictions as unrealistic. Fast forward a decade — Google has demonstrated self-driving cars, and people are indeed asking questions of their Android phones. It’s easy to shrug our collective shoulders as if these technologies have always been around, but we’re really on a remarkable trajectory of quickening innovation, and Google is at the forefront of much of this development.

“I’m thrilled to be teaming up with Google to work on some of the hardest problems in computer science so we can turn the next decade’s ‘unrealistic’ visions into reality.”

As if Google’s endeavors into futurism needed a jolt.