iFive: Microsoft’s TV, Windows 7 Beats Vista, 3-D TVs Go Movie-Shaped, AMD Rivals Intel for Tablets, Google’s “Like” Button

It’s 2011 and CES is just around the corner, so to get you up to speed on the early news, here it is in adorably sized nuggets.

Facebook is sitting pretty, what with that $450 million Goldman infusion you may have heard a little about, but rival social networkers MySpace have not been so lucky. The News Corp. site will, in fact, lay off half of its 1,100-person staff later this month, according to a source familiar with the company. Now, on to other news!


1. Microsoft is doing it again, following a path blazed by its competitors–will it work out this time the way it did with Windows? Impossible to say, as this time MS is reportedly trying out a set-top box TV system. Yup, like Google TV, or Apple TV. The boxes, due for a CES reveal, will cost you about $200 and run a stripped-down Windows under a Media Center skin.

2. Windows 7 has just broken through the 20% adoption barrier on the world’s PCs, meaning MS has laid the specter of Vista to rest at last–Vista never was that popular. It’s a big score for MS, translating into hundreds of millions of dollars. But Window’s overall market share slipped slightly at the same time–and Apple, with iOS rather than OS X, is the main reason for this. MS better have a Windows 7 tablet ready, fast.

3. Also due at CES this week is a monster TV that combines a couple of memes in one: Vizio’s 50-inch plus range of 3-D TVs that come in a 21:9 aspect ratio. That’s more comfortably compatible with typical movie frame shapes, and means your experience of Avatar in 3-D at home will be way more like in a theater. It’ll probably beat Philips’ pricing on it’s 21:9 TV, which isn’t even 3-D.

4. AMD’s revealed its first Fusion chips–big news as it’s the main assault on the netbook/tablet market that Intel has so far dominated (in netbooks, anyway). AMD says its chips can run “all day,”which is 10-hours plus, and have a better graphics unit with full 1080p HD video powers and HDMI-out support. The chips are based on the clever Bobcat architecture, and mean the war with Intel in the tablet game is on.

5. Google’s just filed a patent for what looks, and feels like a copy of Facebook’s ubiquitous “like” button. It’s a way for you to socially share what you find online, with a more detailed parcel of info coming with the “share” alert than you get with a Facebook-style “Bob just liked this product.” Plus there’s a bonus: If Google ever makes this happen, sharers can potentially profit from the income of the ads they share.

To read more news on this, and similar stuff, keep up with my updates by following me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.


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