Amazon making moves to displace iPads in schools

We know Apple has had a lot of success pushing iPads in education, and during Apple’s Q3 conference call, CEO Tim Cook said the company would continue to be “very aggressive”. Apple’s iPad 2 sales in the K-12 market doubled y-o-y in Q3 thanks to a price drop to $399. In Q2, Apple said it sold about a million iPad units to the United States education market. With Apple’s upcoming iPad mini announcement possibly bringing an even lower price point for iPads in education, Amazon is announcing its plans today to get Kindle tablets into schools.

Reuters reported today that Amazon is launching a service, called “Whispercast”, aimed at allowing schools to easily deploy and manage multiple kindle devices:

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Samsung announces Jelly Bean updates for all US Galaxy S III rolling out in ‘coming months’

While we heard previously that Samsung was beginning to roll out Galaxy S III Jelly Bean updates in Poland, the carrier confirmed today users in the United States would see the update in the “coming months.” We still do not know exactly when to expect it, but Samsung said Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular will announce specific timing for the over-the-air updates separately. We will of course notify you when they do. Samsung’s full press release is below.

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Google rumored to debut $99 Nexus tablet in Q4 as Android tablets aim for lower price points

This is not the first time we heard major Android vendors are aiming to hit lower price points in the months to come. With iPad mini expected to eat into a large chunk of the 7-inch tablet market, and recent price drops and refreshes to the Kindle lineups, it makes sense Google and other Android manufacturers are aiming to offer an even better value following its launch. Digitimes, despite not having the best track record, stated confidently in September, while citing its usual supply chain sources, that Google is planning a $99 Nexus 7 tablet. It also claimed an upgraded model would take over the $200 price point. This would seem to make sense with rumors of a 32GB Nexus 7 landing for under $250. Leaked retail inventory listings and even a unit that accidentally shipped have backed up those rumors.

Digitimes is once again claiming today that Google’s $99 Nexus tablet is real, adding that Taiwan-based manufacturers have confirmed it will launch in the fourth quarter of this year. Where this leaves the rest of the Nexus line is unclear. If the $99 tablet and 32GB Nexus for $250 are real, it could mean the $99 tablet comes with 8GB or 16 GB. There is also a chance Google keeps a tablet at the $199 price point. This would seem to point to a 8GB model at $99, 16GB model at $199, and 32GB model at $250. However, we are not quite buying the idea tht Google will offer an extra 16GB for only $50 more than a $199 16GB model…

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Where the Internet Lives: Google opens doors to data centers with virtual tour

Google is doing something today that it has never done before, allowing the public to go behind the scenes at its various data centers. They are the same data centers Greenpeace recently praised for its “comprehensive energy reduction plan.” It is also the machine behind the 20 billion web pages indexed per day, 3 billion daily searches, and free mail to 425 million Gmail users. Apart from a few journalists who actually received tours of the data center, the rest of us will be limited to a new website Google has just dubbed “Where the Internet Lives”  (above we get an in-depth video tour from CBS News).

The site includes a collection of photos (some of which are above) from Connie Zhou, for each of Google’s data centers including: Berkley County (SC), Council Bluffs (Iowa), The Dalles (Oregon), Douglas County (Georgia), Hamina (Finland), Lenoir (North Carolina), Mayes County (Oklahoma), and St. Ghislain (Belgium). The site also contains photos and captions for Google employees working in the various data centers. You can even walk right in the front door of the Lenoir, NC data center using StreetView for a virtual tour: Read more

ISIS Mobile Wallet app for Android released for two T-Mobile devices, special SIM-card required

ISIS, a mobile payment partnership between AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, has released its first app onto Google Play that was pushed back from the initial September plan. The app, ISIS Mobile Wallet, only works with the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Relay 4G on T-Mobile in Salt Lake City, Utah or Austin, and it requires a special SIM card courtesy of ISIS, as MobileBurn noted. T-Mobile and the ISIS have not announced anything specific about the app, but you can give it a test run over at Google Play.

There is no word if AT&T or Verizon will receive a similar app for its NFC-enabled devices. If you are wondering about the nation’s No. 3 carrier, Sprint is not apart of the ISIS. It is partnered with Google Wallet on many of its phones. Furthermore, Sprint is rumored to announce its own payment platform sometime in the future.

Yesterday, TmoNews reported that T-Mobile users would receive a $25 credit when signing up and the service will officially launch in a pilot program Oct. 22.

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32GB Nexus 7 listed on Staples Advantage for $250

We have heard a ton of rumors regarding a 32GB version of the Nexus 7. Earlier reports pointed to an Oct. 24 launch, and we even saw a 32GB unit allegedly ship to a customer in Japan. Today, the 32GB variant has once again appeared online—this time on the Staples Advantage website for business customers. AndroidPolice linked us to the listing that currently has the 32GB Nexus 7 listed for $250. It also has an availability date of Oct. 18, although, that could likely be just a placeholder at this point. The pricing is slightly less than the current 16GB model that Google is selling, indicating the 32GB model might replace the 16 entirely—including taking over its pricing.

Sprint’s Samsung Galaxy Note II lands on Oct. 25 for $299, LG Optimus on Nov. 11

Sprint just made things official for its release of Samsung’s Galaxy Note II by announcing in a press release that the device will launch on Oct. 25. Available for $299 on the usual two-year contract or eligible upgrade, Sprint will get both Marble White and Titanium Gray colors. In case you forget, we had hands on time with the 5.5-inch device in August at its unveiling in Berlin. It also looks like Sprint is confirming a launch date for the previously announced LG Optimus G. AndroidPolice reported the carrier confirmed the device, which many believe LG’s upcoming Nexus is based on, will land on Sprint for $200 on a two-year contract starting Nov. 11. The report also noted that pre-orders for the Optimus G will go live on Nov. 1 Sprint confirmed (below):

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Google allowing more users in field trial for Gmail results in Google Search

Google has opened its Google search+ Gmail result beta further this afternoon so more users can get Gmail results in their main Google Search. The feature was first introduced in a limited beta in August. For those who do not know about the feature, relevant Gmail conversations will appear in Google Search (as you can see in the image above). Just search “Paris” and emails that you have sent talking about “Paris” will then appear. If you think about it, expanded search makes a lot of sense.

Furthermore, the folks at Google announced this afternoon that Google Drive, Google Calendar and more will now appear when searching in Gmail:

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Google pushes Android 4.1.2 OTA to Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S and Xoom Wi-Fi

Google released an over-the-air update for the international version of the Galaxy Nexus late this afternoon, bringing the latest Android version 4.2.1 to users. We first got word of Android 4.1.2 when it was released to the Nexus 7 on the Android Open Source Project last week. The update is pretty minor, as it only offers the ability to open notifications with one finger and bug fixes. Additionally, the update was released for the Nexus S and Xoom Wi-Fi this afternoon.

For those who purchased the Galaxy Nexus on Google Play, do not worry. The folks in Mountain View are probably close to pushing out the update in the next few days. At any rate, if you are feeling adventurous, you can hop in this XDA Developers thread to install the update manually. [Phandroid]

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Report: Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer looking to snag Google’s Henrique De Castro

Henrique De Castro

A new report from tech website AllThingsD suggested Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is currently ramping up efforts to poach a key Google advertising executive, Henrique De Castro, for either a COO or lead ad role.

AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher, who cited “sources close to the situation” and “numerous sources,” noted De Castro’s silence to his staff on the matter is an indication that her reporting is spot-on:

In fact, after reports surfaced several months ago here and elsewhere that Mayer was interested in him, De Castro told his staff at Google that he was not leaving.

That does appear to be the case now, according to numerous sources.

This past week, De Castro canceled a major off-site for his employees and several attendees who know him well said he was not present at the company’s first night of its annual Zeitgeist event for advertising and publishing clients. The suave De Castro is usually a more noticeable fixture at such gatherings.

When reached last night, De Castro said he would be attending Zeitgeist, but declined to comment further.

While Mayer has not been very successful at luring executives from various tech companies, the report further mentioned Yahoo’s current revenue guru and former Googler, Michael Barret, is reportedly not planning to stay with his search company for the long term. De Castro and Barrett also allegedly do not have the best coworker relationship…

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Samsung highlights Galaxy Note 10.1 in education with Institute of Play [Video]

Samsung’s latest product video shows off how the Galaxy Note 10.1 is being used in education by visiting the Institute of Play:

The Institute of Play have only begun to effect sweeping changes to the way education evolves. With the help of Samsung and the Galaxy Note 10.1, we get a glimpse of the incredible impact the Institute’s revolutionary methods are making, and how the potentially bright the future is for students everywhere.