Babbel Hits Android. Babbel is already a successful language learning tool on iPhones and iPads, claiming 5 million users learning in over 200 countries, and it's just announced it's hitting Android devices now as a free app. It will also arrive as an e-book soon to complement its web app and smartphone apps. —KE
—Updated 12:30 p.m. EST
HBO, MLB, and Comcast Come to Xbox. Microsoft continued the adoption of entertainment to its online service Xbox Live with the North American launch of several apps today—HBO Go, MLB.TV, and Comcast Xfinity TV. These are just the latest entertainment apps—joining the likes of Hulu, ESPN, FiOS, and more. Microsoft also took the time to announce some benchmarks for entertainment on Xbox Live:
• Globally, total hours spent on Xbox Live have grown 30% year over year (includes online gaming and entertainment).
• Entertainment app usage more than doubled year over year.
• Zune Video Marketplace is the world’s 2nd largest transactional video service.
• Gold members in the U.S. spend an average of 84 hours a month on Xbox Live.
• Entertainment usage has now surpassed multiplayer games usage.
—Updated 10:54 a.m. EST
Today In China Apple News... Tim Cook is in China, posing for photographs and popping into meetings to discuss Apple's expansion in the country. Cook is supposedly the first CEO to visit, and about time, too—China is sporting some record numbers for iPhone sales, and just approved the new iPad for sale as well (even as iPads are being smuggled in across the border from Hong Kong). Apple's 25 billionth lucky app downloader, Fu Chunli, was flown to Beijing and rewarded with a $10,000 iPhone gift card—the prize for her fortuitous purchase of the "Where's My Water" app, a mere month into her relationship with a new iPhone. --NS
Pottermore Starts Selling Harry Potter E-books. For just about $8 you can download any of the seven Harry Potter tomes from Pottermore.com, that's finally open for business. The books can be downloaded from Amazon for the Kindle, Google Play, Sony, and Barnes and Noble for the Nook reader. Audiobooks have also gone on sale, at $29.99 each. —NS
—Updated 8:18 a.m. EST
Nelson Mandela Archive Goes Online. Google's Culture Institute has added another trove of documents to its digital library. The new website, containing archival documents, photos and videos connected to Nelson Mandela's life, was assembled with help from the Nelson Mandela Centre For Memory in Johannesburg. —NS
Google To Take On Facebook With Commenting Platform. Google is planning a web-wide commenting system that will take on Facebook's omnipresent "Comment" boxes, TheNextWeb has heard. The system will be integrated into third-party sites, and comments will be fed into Google's search index to be archived. With such a social bent, it looks like Google+ will play a key role in this rollout as well. —NS
—Updated 7:30 a.m. EST
Today's Google Doodle features the Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, one of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's masterpieces. Today marks Mies' 126th birthday.
LulzSec Hacks Military Dating Website. LulzSec, associated with hacking group Anonymous, is still up to tricks after its leader and members were arrested earlier this month. In its latest attack, the group fessed up to hacking the Military Singles dating website, and has released passwords and user information of more than 170,000 members. —NS
Zuck's Harvard Emails Suggest Ceglia's Facebook Claim Was Faked. Facebook's lawyers have unearthed Mark Zuckerberg's emails from Harvard's servers, dating back to a week before he launched Facebook, in a bid to dismiss Paul Ceglia's claims to 50% of the company. While the records showed that Zuckerberg and Ceglia were working together on a system called StreetFax, Facebook said there was no record of the emails Ceglia produced to back his Facebook claim, which could imply those were faked. —NS
Rovio Buys Futuremark. Angry Birds makers Rovio have bought up a Finnish game makers Futuremark Games Studio. Futuremark's Shattered Horizon, like Rovio's Angry Birds Space, involves targets suspended in a zero-gravity environment. —NS
—Updated 5:45 a.m. EST
Yesterday's Fast Feed: Twitter Rolling Out Self-Serve Ads, Angry Birds Space Sees 10 Million Downloads, Square Spruces Up Card Case, and more!