Bill Gates Goes To Brazil, Apple’s GarageBand Hits iPhone, Google Refreshes Gmail, China Launches Unmanned Spacecraft

Breaking news, with updates throughout the day from your Fast Company editors.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Signs Brazilian R&D Deal. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation unveiled a partnership with the Brazilian government aimed at improving agricultural productivity among small farmers. The research effort, which will be primarily focused on region-specific needs for sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, was announced on the eve of the G20 conference. Brazil has increasingly come to rely on food imports due to domestic considerations. This is the second major R&D agreement announced by the Gates Foundation recently; Fast Company reported on a partnership with the Chinese government that was unveiled last week. –NU


–Updated 3:00 p.m. ET

Apple Takes GarageBand To iPhones. Apple has refreshed its highly praised GarageBand music creation app and taken a huge step in making it a universal app for iPhones from the 3GS upward (and iPod Touches too). Improvements including key transpositions and better quality audio recording mean we can probably expect more albums recorded on iOS devices in 3…2… –KE

Google Redesigns Gmail, Aims At Mobile. Google has released a new look for its flagship Gmail application, including a refresh for conversation view, smarter search, and a more adapative view for different sized screens. Google’s also realized it needs to help users optimize their website for mobile browsing experiences, and has released the GoMo site with explanations and pointers. –-KE

–Updated 12:45 p.m. ET

Coldplay Turns Down Spotify, Sets Sales Record. After the band turned down a linkup with Spotify for their latest album, Coldplay’s “Mylo Xyloto” has set a digital album sales record for sales in the U.K. in the first week, selling more than 83,000 digital units, reports Digital Music News. Coldplay’s success may indicate, DMN points out, that for big-name bands, spurning advances from Spotify, Rdio and the like, could pay off. —NS

–Updated 7:45 a.m. EST


China Launches Unmanned Spacecraft. The unmanned Shenzhou 8 craft took off successfully, and will meet and dock at the Tiangong-1 space lab, which China launched in September. The craft carries experiments developed in partnership with a German space agency. If the mission is successful, China will follow this up with two manned launches, in which Chinese astronauts will travel to Tiangong-1 to live in orbit for up to two weeks, the BBC reports. —NS

Symantec Reveals Cybersecurity Breaches. Over the summer, 48 U.S. companies were attacked strategically by hackers, Symantec reveals in a report released today. The targets varied over time, and included the chemical industry, motor industry, defense organizations, and human rights NGOs. The security attacks were traced to a computer and its owner in China, the Guardian reports. —NS

iPhones Expected To Be Half Of All Smartphones Sold In Q4. On the heels of the iPhone 4S launch, Apple‘s iPhones are set to account for half of the all the Q4 smartphone sales in the U.S., BGR reports. Apple’s expansion on U.S. carriers, dropping the price of their older iPhone models, and launching its fastest selling iPhone are behind analysts predictions for a successful holiday quarter. —NS

–Updated 5:45 a.m. EST

[Image: Flickr user twicepix]

Yesterday’s Fast Feed:Microsoft’s Commercial Kinect Partners, Panasonic’s Record $5.5 Billion Loss, Anonymous Threatens To Expose Mexican Cartel, and more.