Dell choosing between Windows Mobile and Android for its phone — is there really a choice?

It seems that the number of computer makers entering the smartphone market is growing daily now. Just one day after it was revealed that Acer would unveil a smartphone at next month’s Mobile World Conference, Dell is apparently thinking about doing the same thing. At the very least, it has been working on its phone for about a year now, and has some prototypes, sources tell The Wall Street Journal.

Google apologizes for killing Bambi's mom

Google recently reported strong earnings despite a weak economy; it continues to gain search market share and its Android platform is set to take the mobile world by storm this year. It makes one wonder: Can anything stop Google? Thanks to Google Maps, we now know the giant’s one weakness: Deer.

Windows Mobile 6.5 IE looks, well, awful

Word keeps circulating that Microsoft is poised to unveil its latest mobile operating system, WIndows Mobile 6.5, at the Mobile World Conference to be held in a few weeks in Spain. There are plenty of screenshots already out there, but the latest show the OS’s version of its web browser, Internet Explorer (IE). Quite frankly, it looks awful.

Google, Plaxo offer simplified identity-sharing service

In an effort to make data-sharing easier to use, Google and social contact service Plaxo are showing off a simplified new way to sign in and synchronize accounts between them using only “two clicks.” The promise is that the average web user will eventually be able to easily take their user identities and their data anywhere online.

iTunes Plus upgrades get an important feature: Choice

I love iTunes Plus, Apple’s digital rights management (DRM)-free catalog of tracks in the iTunes music store — I’m buying music left and right on iTunes again. But I still have some iTunes tracks that I bought before the days when iTunes Plus was ubiquitous. Apple allows you to upgrade those to iTunes Plus, and has for a while, but there’s been a problem: It’s been all or nothing. That changed this week.

Hollywood stars pass studios, go directly to YouTube?

Google still hasn’t figured out a way to make money from YouTube, but that isn’t stopping the insanely popular online video service from signing interesting deals left and right. The latest involves the William Morris Agency, one of Hollywood’s top talent agencies. And it could alter the way artists get paid for content — and the web’s role in providing it.

A new iPhone lurking in the shadows?

Digging into code reveals a lot of things. It’s usually pretty good for predicting upcoming software changes, but it’s also good for upcoming hardware changes as well. And the latter may have been uncovered by MacRumors tonight about the iPhone.

Push, the movie, coming soon. Push, Apple's notification system, not.

At last year’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) where Apple showed off the iPhone 3G and the App Store for the first time, the company noted that third-party applications would not be able to run in the background on the iPhone, but said that a solution for that would be coming. That solution, called Push Notification, was due to launch in September, just a few months after the iPhone 3G and App Store’s July launch — but that never happened.

Will Intel let Jen-Hsun Huang spread graphics beyond PCs?

Nvidia chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang is on a mission to get graphics chips into everything from handheld computers to smart phones.  In a dinner with reporters on Monday night, the head of the Santa Clara, Calif.-based graphics chip maker said that the company is going to invest heavily in research and development and announce some interesting hires (see announcement story) soon. We last interviewed him in August.

Radar gets an iPhone app to better share media amongst friends

Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of websites and applications right now that let you share things with other people. Twitter does it, FriendFeed does it and Facebook does it, among many others. But while those are increasingly about sharing with as many people as possible, Radar has a sort of “less is more” approach. By sharing things with just people that are actually your friends or acquaintances, the items are more prone to elicit a response. And Radar’s new iPhone application extends that idea.

Kindle 2: Should you stop buying all those iPhone eBooks?

The Kindle — or, as it might be known to some: the weird book screen thing Oprah showed off in October — has basically been sold out since that episode aired. But rather than chalking its unavailability up to a major failure on maker Amazon’s part, it’s been evident for a while that a new version is in the pipeline. And it looks like we’ll finally get to see it on Feb. 9.

Plurk hates iPlurk, creates its own iPhone app

A few weeks ago, I had some problems with iPlurk, an iPhone app for the micro-messaging service Plurk. My main beef with the app was that the third-party developers who made it failed to capture what makes Plurk unique in its field. Well, I’ve got some good news: Plurk itself has come around and released its own iPhone app today.

Papermaster can lead Apple's iPhone team — but Big Brother is watching

Apple finally got its guy. Nearly three months after a judge ordered Mark Papermaster not to report for work at Apple as senior vice president of devices hardware engineering due to a contract dispute with IBM (his previous employer), the two parties have settled. Starting on April 24, yes another three months from now, Papermaster will lead Apple’s iPod and iPhone hardware teams, the company announced in a release today.

Apple and Palm continue the high stakes game of patent hold 'em

When Palm unveiled the Pre at CES a few weeks ago, it may not have been so obvious to casual onlookers, but it was taking a seat at a high stakes game where there is only one other player so far: Apple. You see, since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, no other company has released a mobile device that uses multi-touch — not even HTC with its G1, the first Google Android phone, which is only somewhat capable of doing it. Why? It’s hard to say for certain, but a logical reason is that everyone’s afraid of Apple’s patents. And given the new multi-touch patents Apple was just awarded, maybe they should be.

Notebooks now make up over 70 percent of Mac sales

Four years ago, sales of desktop machines made up 60 percent of Apple’s computer sales, while notebooks made up 40 percent. Not only have those numbers now reversed, they’ve skyrocketed in the direction of the notebook for Apple. In its most recently quarter, Apple reported that its notebooks constituted some 71 percent of all Mac sales, while desktops made up just 29 percent, The Industry Standard notes today.

The "secret" behind Hulu in a Super Bowl ad?

Video site Hulu sent an email out today telling people to watch Super Bowl XLIII (that’s 43 for you non-Romans) for the launch of Hulu’s ad campaign. That, in and of itself, is somewhat interesting because the video site backed by two television studios (NBC and Fox) is spending millions of dollars (or rather losing millions of dollars since NBC is airing the Super Bowl) to promote a medium that may ultimately kill television as we know it.

Netflix Q4: Cheap DVDs are recession-proof

Online movie rental service Netflix just announced that profits rose 45 percent during the fourth quarter of 2008. Looks like consumers feeling the economic pinch aren’t having any trouble digging up $5 to $17 for their monthly Netflix subscriptions. The downturn makes Netflix seem particularly affordable compared to buying DVDs or heading to movie theaters.

Independent Games Festival to pick the best of indie mobile games

For those interested in funding game startups, the list of nominees at the Independent Games Festival is always a good place to look for prospects. One of last year’s winners was The World of Goo, developed by 2DBoy, which went on to become a major hit for 2008. This year, there’s a mobile competition, dubbed 2009 IGF Mobile, for which the nominees were named today.

Spotted in the wild — the Google Web Drive?

Hints continue to surface that Google may be gearing up for the launch of an online storage system, which could be known as “Web Drive.” Another reference was found today in a cascading style sheet (CSS) file for Google Apps. In it, is an icon (right) for a mini “webdrive,” notes Google Operating System.

Awareness launches "best practice" templates for social marketing

“Social media marketing” is one of those catchphrases that sets off every right-thinking person’s jargon alarm, but the concept of engaging customers directly and interactively is becoming increasingly important to brand survival. Dave Carter, founder and chief technology officer of a marketing company called Awareness, says the strategy may even benefit from the economic downturn, since it’s faster, cheaper and more engaging than a traditional ad campaign. Now, Awareness wants to make social media campaigns more flexible and faster to deploy with templates called “Best Practice Communities.”