By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 1:33 am
Verizon Wireless takes advantage of the open nature of Google’s Android OS to ditch Google as the search engine on its Fascinate smartphone and replace it with Bing–and the company doesn’t provide a way to switch back. (It eventually says it’ll do so in an update.)
Long Island University student Chelsea Isaacs wants a quote from Apple for a paper, so she pings Steve Jobs–and when he proves unreceptive, she gets increasingly insistent that the fringe benefits of Mac ownership should include homework help.
Microsoft celebrates Windows 7’s first birthday by temporarily reviving its discounted multiple-license Family Pack and urging customers to snap it up “while supplies last.” The limited-time offer mainly serves as a reminder that Mac owners can buy an OS X family pack whenever they dang well feel like it.
Once-unavoidable video-rental titan Blockbuster files for bankruptcy, the victim of new competition (Netflix, Apple, piracy) but also the lackadaisical pace of its digital evolution (a year after Windows 7’s release, Blockbuster’s video download service is still incompatible with it).
At the TechCrunch 50 conference, Google CEO Eric Schmidt thoughtfully says he doesn’t understand why human beings are allowed to drive cars when computerized chauffeurs would be so much safer. For some reason, he doesn’t mention that Google has already been testing computer-controlled cars by sending them out on California highways.
Days before the scheduled launch of NBA Elite 2011, EA decides it’s too buggy to release until sometime in 2011. Among the quirks in a preview version: a “Jesus Glitch” which leaves the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum frozen in the middle of the court with his arms outstretched. “We are going to keep working until we’re certain we can deliver a breakthrough basketball experience,” promises EA.
Microsoft sues Motorola over mobile patents.
Telling Businessweek about RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook, co-CEO Jim Balsillie says “We’ve taken two fundamentally different approaches in their causalness. It’s a causal difference, not just nuance. It’s not just a causal direction that I’m going to really articulate here—and feel free to go as deep as you want—it’s really as fundamental as causalness.”
At the wireless industry’s CTIA confab, Sprint unveils an E! theme for its phones featuring an Android app based on Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
Motorola sues Apple over mobile patents.
Apple sues Motorola over multi-touch patents.
Apple delays the white iPhone again–until the spring of 2011.
After denying charges that an errant keypress on phones without data plans could cost customers $2, Verizon Wireless concedes that there is indeed a problem–and pays $52 million in refunds and $25 million to the FCC by way of restitution.
A little over a month after postponing the release of NBA Elite 2011 until it can deliver a breakthrough experience, EA cans the 2011 edition altogether. It says it’ll try again–with a different development team.
Ex-Silicon Valley CEOs Meg Whitman (eBay) and Carly Fiorina (HP) lose their bids for California’s governorship and junior senate seat, respectively.
Four and a half months after Microsoft’s abrupt, highly public mercy killing of its Kin phones, and long after everyone assumed they were dead, dead, dead, they’re back on sale at Verizon–at lower prices with cheaper, more restrictive data plans–as the Kin ONEm and Kin TWOm.
Shortly before Verizon Wireless rolls out its 4G LTE network, T-Mobile, which has been carefully saying its HSPA+ network delivers “4G speeds” decides to just call it “American’s largest 4G network,” period.
Hollywood and consumer-electronics makers hype 3D TV as the next big thing. But they also strike annoying exclusivity deals that hobble the nascent technology by limiting popular movies to one manufacturer’s hardware–such as a promotion that makes the 3D Blu-Ray version of Avatar available only with Panasonic TVs or a two-pack of Panasonic glasses that costs $400.
Popular microblogging platform Tumblr suffers a 24-hour outage, during which its proprietors don’t have much to say other than that the service will be back “shortly” and they’re working “quickly” to fix things.
Microsoft announces that it’s shuttering Kin Studio, the online service that was the Kin phone’s one semi-saving grace, at the end of January. Verizon offers to give affected customers any other smartphone for free, thereby doing its part to help them forget they’d bought Kins in the first place.
Okay, I’m done. At least for now–there are still eleven days left in 2010, and anything could happen…