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May 10, 2013

Technology News Briefs — May 10, 2013

Amazon to Produce 3D-Enabled Smartphone

Amazon is hard at work on creating a Smartphone with a 3D holographic display, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Sources “familiar with the company’s plans” told the WSJ Amazon will use retina-tracking technology to make it appear as though images are floating above the screen in a 3D hologram.

It is possible users of the device will be able to sift through content using only their eyes, according to the report. It was also said the device would support 4G LTE connectivity and will be powered by chips from Qualcomm.

The sources said the 3D-enabled Smartphone is just the beginning of new hardware projects at Amazon as the eCommerce giant pushes to compete with technology titans Google and Apple.

Amazon has declined to comment on the rumors.

Apple Step Closer to iRadio After Signing Deal With UMG

Apple has signed a licensing deal with Universal Music Group to launch its free Internet radio service, sources told The Financial Times.

Apple is reportedly also finalizing details with Warner Music and is angling after an agreement with Sony Music which, apparently, has shown less interest in the deal than its counterparts.

Securing streaming rights from Universal and Warner, two of the biggest record companies in the U.S. that represent a myriad of popular artists, is huge for Apple — a step that is sure to make the competition — Pandora and Spotify, for instance — sit up and take notice.

The Web-based music streaming service is likely to make its debut this summer with plans to, eventually, launch globally.

According to the WSJ report, the iPhone maker also plans to increase its ad business to include audio ads. Sources told the Times that, as part of the ad deal, rights holders would receive roughly half of the ad revenue.

iRadio, which would partner with iTunes, would focus on mobile devices and would include the ability to rewind a song from the middle, sources told the Times. It would also have a function to allow users to purchase songs.

Mozilla Launches Phones for Apps Program

Got a great idea for an HTML5 app? Mozilla has a proposition for you.

As part of its Phones for Apps for Firefox OS program, Mozilla is offering app developers an incentive to share their brilliant ideas with them — their very own Geeksphone Keon, the developer preview device powered by Firefox OS.

“If you can show you’ve got a great app idea and the skill to build it, we’d love to see your apps in the marketplace when the Firefox OS launch begins later this summer,” Mozilla said in a blog post. “And, to sweeten the deal, we’ll send a Firefox OS Developer Preview device for you to work with now.”

The program will end either at the end of the month or when the company’s supply of Geeksphones runs out.

Mozilla previewed the first commercial build of its Firefox OS open mobile ecosystem Feb. 24. The first round of Firefox OS devices will be available to consumers in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela with additional markets to be announced soon. So far, 17 carriers from around the globe are on board.

Firefox OS Smartphones are the first to be built “entirely to open Web standards, enabling every feature to be developed as an HTML5 application,” reads a company press release

Web apps access every underlying capability of the device, bypassing the typical hindrances of HTML5 on mobile to deliver substantial performance. The platform’s flexibility allows carriers to easily tailor the interface and develop localized services that match the unique needs of their customer base.”