iFive: Intel’s Atom and Apps, Verion’s V-Cast, Google’s Me, Social Apps are Bad For You, HTC Tablet

Welcome to Wednesday: Shake off those dregs of sleepiness, and learn about today’s news.

See if you can guess which innovative writer was born 120 years ago today? Hint: You may have to break into the library with a lead pipe to find your tickets for the Orient Express. Yup, Agatha Christie, and Google’s celebrating it with a new Google Doodle. She’s sold over four billion copies, by the way … how about that for inspiration for the work day ahead?


1. Google is now definitely going to be
getting into the social network game. CEO Eric Schmidt
said so, publicly, by noting a “social layer” will go into its search
systems, mapping offerings and YouTube. So actually this Google
expansionist effort isn’t about pies, it’s more about a cream-filled
layer cake … and now the Internets are wondering what on Earth the
actual outcome will be. Hopefully it’ll be more successful, and less
care-free about user privacy, than the failed Buzz network.

2. Verizon, keen to retain as much power over the smartphone market–in other words, taking its carrier control-freak urges into the next generation of mobile devices–is now reported to have an app store for Android devices on the way. The V Cast store will support only Android 2.2 units at first, possibly expanding to earlier Android OS’s, and submissions from developers are already being requested by Verizon. The confusing aspect of this should be immediately obvious: Google has its own app store, and Android is an open standard. So is Verizon in competition with Google, supplementing it, or merely desperately hoping it can kill the openness of Android with its red-painted OCD-powered urge to own your phones?

3. Watch for the reports about Intel’s new chipsets
and app store today. The chip maker revealed them at its Intel
Developer Forum–the chips are the CE4200 (formerly Groveland) and the
E600 (codenamed TunnelCreek) and the AppUp center is now out of beta
testing and in the public domain. Intel’s application store is aimed at
supporting netbook users, with both free and paid apps for all the
usual uses. Its Atom chips are going into smart TVs and embedded
systems in cars and so on. So basically Intel is making good on its
promise to shove Atoms into as many devices as possible. Is it running
scared ahead of the tide of ARM innovations and AMD’s new low-power


4. Mad scientist alert: One of the U.K.’s most prominent boffins, Baroness Susan Greenfield, has just pronounced the Internet, computer games, and social networking as potential evils in society. Her beef is that while some “good things” had emerged from these techs, they may have unforeseen effects on society, and her data is sourced in (this is the mad bit) “anecdotal evidence from talking to parents” among other things. Seems like her concerns echo the best British traditions, like complaints back in Britain’s 17th Century past when folks worried about this newfangled “window glass” and how it may affect health.

5. Apple’s iPad may have spawned a host of upcoming competitors and clones, but the halo effect on the tablet PC market is only just beginning to kick in, it seems–Now there’re rumors about HTC’s entry with, interestingly, mention of Android 3 aboard. It’s predicted to benefit from HTC’s strong ties with Google and U.S. cell networks, and its smartphone making expertise. But HTC has overlooked one thing: Its tablet is due Q1 2011, around about the time Apple will reveal the iPad 2.0

Agatha Christie Google doodle


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About the author

I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise. I've also got a PhD, and worked in such roles as professional scientist and theater technician...thankfully avoiding jobs like bodyguard and chicken shed-cleaner (bonus points if you get that reference!)