iFive: RIM PlayBook Pricing, Steve Jobs Summoned to Court, New York Times Paywall Grows, Twitter’s Size, Verizon and Sprint?

It’s Tuesday–or what we like to call newsday. So quick, catch up on all the early developments with i5:

1. It’s here: The first precise pricing figure for the BlackBerry PlayBook–RIM’s first (and last?) big hope in the tablet wars. A 16GB Wi-Fi-only model will cost you $499 in the US and $499 locally in Canada, and it’ll be available from a decent list of stores. That’s priced to match the iPad almost exactly, as are the $599 and $699 of the 32GB and 64GB models.


2. Steve Jobs has been summoned to court to face questions about alleged antitrust behavior involving iTunes and a supposed music-download monopoly. The original complaint was filed in 2005, based on the forced link between iPods and iTunes and the (now abandoned) FairPlay DRM system. Now in the long-delayed court proceedings a federal judge has found Jobs has “unique, non-repetitive” knowledge and thus must show up in person.

3. The New York Times new paywall is creating all sorts of fuss and interest online, not least because it’s a paywall with enough bricks missing that people can still, sort of, access Times content for free–including via Google for five free clicks per day. But now the paper has admitted that search-engine blanking will soon extend beyond Google to “all major search engines.” It’s a big step, effectively walling the Times into its own isolated existence, apart from the rest of the free online news world.

4. Remembering that the Library of Congress has deemed Twitter’s social networking archive valuable enough a record of humanity to be preserved for posterity, how much data do you think that involves so far? Twitter revealed the figure yesterday, and thanks to the 140-character limit, the amount is tiny: About 20 terabytes–which would cost under $1,000 in hard drive space. On the other hand, that figure apparently represents twice the amount of text the Library contains in printed format–which perhaps underlines how interesting Twitter really will be for historians.

5. Despite the news that AT&T is buying T-Mobile USA to become the largest cell phone network in the U.S., Verizon’s CEO Daniel Mead says his company has no interest at all in acquiring Sprint, the No. 3 network in the current structure, to reestablish its lead in the industry. Verizon doesn’t “need them” he noted, stressing the goals of becoming the most profitable U.S. cell phone operator. He also remarked his company wouldn’t block the deal and suggested regulators may well approve it, under certain circumstances. The U.S. phone industry, long entrenched, is changing.

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