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Apple rejects Sony app over book-buying options

Apple Inc. has rejected Sony Corp.'s e-book reader app for the iPhone because it doesn't give people the choice to buy books without leaving the app for a website.

The high-profile rejection shows Apple tightening control both over the way apps work and the way money flows through them.

Apple keeps a close eye on the iPhone and iPad programs that outside developers submit for distribution in the iTunes store. Sony's Reader for iPhone app would have sent people to a website once they were ready to buy a book.

Apple's insistence on an in-app purchase option can be seen as its way of ensuring that people using its gadgets get a familiar experience every time they make a purchase through an app. But such a move would prove less lucrative for companies such as Sony, because Apple takes 30 percent cut of revenue from in-app purchases.

In the past, Apple has not enforced this rule across the board. Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle e-book reading apps for iPhone and iPad don't use in-app purchases, but rather send users to a website.

Sony protested what it calls a change in the way of enforcing the rules.

"We opened a dialogue with Apple to see if we can come up with an equitable resolution but reached an impasse at this time," the company said in a statement.

Apple said this in-app clause was already part of the developer guidelines.

"We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase," said spokeswoman Natalie Harrison.

Harrison declined to comment on whether Apple would consider removing Amazon's Kindle apps from its store.

Amazon also declined to comment.

- Jessica Mintz, AP Technology Writer

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Google rolls out Android Market for Web browsers

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) - Users of phones running Google Inc.'s Android operating system are getting more ways to browse and buy apps for playing games, reading the news and other tasks.

The Internet search leader announced its Android Market Web store Wednesday. The store lets users choose apps through a Web browser and have them installed remotely to their smart phones and tablets. Previously, the Android Market was only available on Android-running devices.

Chris Yerga, director of engineering for Android cloud services, said the move is meant to give users more ways to find and install apps on their Android-running gadgets. It also gives developers more control regarding the promotion and sale of apps, he said.

Like the Android Market app, the Web store allows you to look for apps by category or browse featured or most popular ones.

The announcement of the store, at market.android.com, came at a media event for a new version of Android. Called Honeycomb, the new software is geared toward tablet computers, which are growing more popular amid Apple's launch of the iPad last April.

Also Wednesday, Yerga said Google will start supporting in-app purchases, which means that Android app developers could make it possible for users to buy virtual items such as additional levels or features within games. This is a feature Apple Inc.'s iPhone already has.

Bart Decrem, general manager of mobile for The Walt Disney Co., demonstrated that feature on the popular music game "Tap Tap Revenge." In the game, which has long been available for the iPhone, users buy songs and then tap along on the touch screen in time to the music to score points.

Decrem co-founded Tapulous Inc., which created the "Tap Tap Revenge" games and was sold to Disney in July for an undisclosed amount. He said the games have been downloaded more than 50 million times so far.

Since "Tap Tap Revenge" games are free and make money from advertising and in-game song sales, the announcement is a big deal for Decrem.

"It's a pretty big step forward in the maturing of the platform as an app platform," he said.

- Rachel Metz, AP Technology Writer

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T-Mobile to sell tablet with 3-D cameras, glasses

NEW YORK (AP) - Aiming to ride two crazes at once, T-Mobile USA will sell a tablet computer that can shoot 3-D videos.

The cell phone company said Wednesday that the "G-Slate" tablet from LG Electronics Inc. will be out this spring, but it didn't say exactly when, or how much it would cost.

The tablet will have an 8.9-inch screen and two cameras on the back, which together can capture 3-D, high-definition video. The tablet will come with red-blue 3-D glasses for 3-D viewing while shooting.

The G-Slate will be one of the first tablets with Honeycomb software, a version of Google Inc.'s Android operating system specifically designed for tablet computers.

The G-Slate will have a third camera on the front, for video-conferencing over T-Mobile's wireless broadband network.

The 3-D tablet comes as gadget makers and phone companies are trying to ride the coattails of Apple Inc.'s hit iPad tablet computer. Meanwhile, Hollywood studios and TV makers are pushing 3-D movies and TV sets, but 3-D TV sales have so far been disappointing.

Also Wednesday, T-Mobile is starting to sell another tablet, the Streak 7 from Dell Inc. It runs an Android version designed for smart phones. It costs $199 with a two-year contract for data service, after a $50 mail-in rebate.

- Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer
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