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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