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January 4, 2013

Technology News Briefs — Jan. 4, 2013

Microsoft Buys R2 Studios

Microsoft has snapped up home entertainment technology startup R2 Studios, beating rivals Google and Apple to the punch, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

The purchase is likely a bid to bolster Microsoft’s Xbox platform.

Created by Sling Media founder Blake Krikorian in 2011, R2 Studios is experimenting with new ways to display content on televisions. According to the WSJ, R2’s technology could mesh well with Xbox’s focus of adding TV entertainment to its gaming console.

R2 Studios was also in talks with Apple and Google before being purchased by Microsoft, WSJ reported. The purchase price was not made public and Microsoft has declined to comment.

Popular Brands on Facebook Not Due to U.S. Users

The most popular brands on Facebook are not popular due to ‘likes’ from U.S. users, recent data has revealed.

Of the top 10 brands on Facebook — nine of which are headquartered in the U.S. — only Wal-Mart’s fans were primarily American, according to Socialbakers. Ninety-five percent of Wal-Mart’s fans were from the U.S.

Next on the list for American fans are Starbucks with 49 percent and iTunes with a 45 percent U.S. fan base.

Americans account for only 22 percent of top brand Coca-Cola’s fan base.

Coca-Cola has a wide geographic distribution of fans that may be the reason it is one of the fastest moving brands on Facebook in recent months. It garnered nearly two million fans in October and November of 2012, according to monthly data by Socialbakers and tracked by MarketingCharts.

Coca-Cola’s fans are spread across the globe with the largest representations after the U.S. being in Brazil (13 percent), Mexico (eight percent), France (six percent), and Argentina (five percent).

Apple to Market Smartwatch, Analyst Predicts

A well-known analyst is predicting Apple will enter the wearable technology market in 2014 with a Smartwatch.

Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, in a note released this week, described wearable computers as a major future fad, one that Apple is sure to capitalize on, likely with a computerized watch.

“We believe that wearable computers will ultimately be a major future trend,” the note said. “Longer term (over the next 10+ years), wearable computers could eventually replace the iPhone and Smartphones in general.”

Munster’s comments come after rumors last week that Apple is working with Intel on a Bluetooth watch that will be compatible with the iPhone.

He is also forecasting that Apple will enter the TV market in time for the 2014 Christmas season. The TV, which he said would be priced between $1,500 and $2,000 would feature a 42- to 55-inch screen and include Apple’s Siri and FaceTime.

Munster also said the technology giant will launch a TV app store early this year as well as a radio service.