iFive: Yelp Gets Coupons, Badges Earn Investment, News Corp. Buys Education Firm, 3-D TV Drama, Sony's Reader Expands

No doubt you've checked your social nets before reading this, so it'll interest you to note Apple's embracing the tech too: Phil Schiller's now tweeting, and Apple seems to be using its own account more. Is this an effort to promote Ping ahead of the holiday season, when a million iPods will be gifted? Who knows. Stick on some tunes and read the rest of the tech news:

1. We noted that the check-in/coupon location ad business was booming, and big-player Yelp has just confirmed this fact: It's launching a "Check-in Offers" option to its partner businesses. Business owners can offer one special deal at a time, available to Yelp clients who check in at their location--all with the aim of enticing consumers to shop, supply marketing statistical data and also to "play" Yelp.

2. Badges are no longer the specialty of Boy and Girl Scouts: Their digital equivalents are becoming a business in their own right. Before you say "whaaaat?" check this out--Badgeville, a startup that helps build badge-reward schemes for companies trying check-in social gaming, has just raised $2.5 million in investment. Hence, expect to see badges everywhere. Except, possibly, for ones that say "I don't play at check-ins."

3. Quite separate from rumors about its future digital newspaper, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has just spent $360 million buying Wireless Generation, a tech company that supplies educational gear to teachers--over 200,000 of them across the U.S. It's interesting, and as a stable, reliable business it'll add a steady revenue stream to News Corp. Exactly the kind of income it needs to prop up its ailing newspaper biz, and offset risky digital plans?

4. Is 3-D TV a fad or the future of fiction? Japan seems to be embracing the tech so swiftly that Fuji Television Network will run its first 3-D drama series in early 2011, a 10-episode piece about airports called Tokyo Control. This at least confirms that there's money in broadcasting 3-D shows...which may be enough to cement it's near future survival.

5. Meanwhile Sony's all but confirming that e-readers as stand-alone devices have a limited lifespan: It's revealed its Reader app will be hitting Android and iPhone smartphones in December. This parallels moves by Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and highlights the e-pubbing game is more about content than devices.

To keep up with this news, and more like it, follow me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.

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