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TECH SPACE
Amazon conjures rights to borrow Harry Potter; Samsung buys streaming AV service
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) May 10, 2012


China's Yao Ming signs book deal
Beijing (AFP) May 10, 2012 - Chinese basketball icon Yao Ming has signed a book deal with Britain's Opus Media Group for a limited-edition volume on his illustrious career, the publisher said.

Yao, who retired from the NBA's Houston Rockets last year, became one of the world's most recognisable sports stars through his court play and his many commercial sponsorships.

The multi-millionaire owns the Shanghai Sharks basketball club and his own wine brand, while participating in numerous charities, including the Yao Ming Foundation.

The first edition of the Chinese and English language "Yao Ming Opus" will be auctioned in 2013, the publisher said in a Wednesday statement on its website.

Opus publications include ornate pictorial books on subjects ranging from Manchester United football club to pop star Michael Jackson.

Shanghai's Oriental Daily said the first edition will be limited to 500 copies and contain photos spanning Yao's life and basketball career.

Amazon said Thursday it has signed a deal for the electronic books rights to all seven Harry Potter titles English, French, Italian, German and Spanish for its Kindle lending library.

The deal allows subscribers of the Amazon Prime service, which requires an annual subscription, to borrow the electronic versions of best-selling JK Rowling books.

Amazon said it inked the exclusive license with J.K. Rowling's Pottermore website to make the titles available to its customers via the Kindle e-reader.

But the deal only allows for borrowing of the ebooks, with Pottermore remaining the only place to buy the electronic versions.

"We're absolutely delighted to have reached this agreement with Pottermore. This is the kind of significant investment in the Kindle ecosystem that we'll continue to make on behalf of Kindle owners," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon's chief executive.

"Over a year, borrowing the Harry Potter books, plus a handful of additional titles, can alone be worth more than the $79 cost of Prime or a Kindle. The Kindle Owners' Lending Library also has an innovative feature that's of great benefit for popular titles like Harry Potter -- unlimited supply of each title -- you never get put on a waiting list."

The Amazon lending library has now grown to over 145,000 books that can be borrowed for free as frequently as once a month, with no due dates.

Books are borrowed to read on a Kindle device, and customers can have one book out at a time. When customers want to borrow a new book, any borrowed book can be returned from their device.

Rowling laid down her pen -- and Harry's magic wand -- when she finished the seventh and final Potter book in 2007, and since then the series has sold more than 450 million copies around the world in 74 languages.

Samsung buys streaming music-movie services
San Francisco (AFP) May 9, 2012 - Samsung Electronics on Wednesday announced it is buying mSpot to take advantage of the Silicon Valley company's prowess at streaming music and films to smartphones or tablet computers.

The South Korean consumer electronics powerhouse did not reveal what it is paying to acquire mSpot, which is based in the Northern California city of Palo Alto.

"MSpot shares our vision to bring a best-in-class cloud and streaming entertainment experience to consumers and they've backed it up with great technical solutions," said Samsung media solution center senior vice president TJ Kang.

Samsung is buying mSpot's technology and team for a price estimated in online reports to be less than $10 million.

Samsung said it will pre-install mSpot music, video and radio services in new mobile devices.

"With our combined resources, we are looking forward to redefining media consumption across the mobile universe with cloud services," said mSpot chief executive Daren Tsui.

Analysts agree that digital content and fun applications on smartphones is vital to the popularity of smartphones or tablets in the fiercely competitive gadget market and can be more important to consumers than slick hardware.

MSpot was founded in 2004 and its services include digital lockers for storing music in the Internet "cloud" and online streaming of songs and films.

The company faces heavyweight competition from Google and Amazon.com, which have each offer online music storage and streaming services.

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Thailand buys Chinese tablet computers for schools
Bangkok (AFP) May 10, 2012
Thailand on Thursday signed a multi-million dollar deal to buy hundreds of thousands of Chinese-made tablet computers for primary school children, an official statement said. The ruling Puea Thai party, linked to former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, promised to issue free handheld computers to a million students as part of a raft of pledges that helped it to an election victory last year. ... read more


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