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Apple Event Invitations Sent, iPad 2 Basically Confirmed

Apple event invitations have been sent out for March 2nd. News of the event leaked out yesterday, but now it’s official, as reporters have started receiving their invitations.

It will take place at 10am Pacific on March 2nd in San Francisco at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

"Come see what 2011 will be the year of," the invitation teases, with a big picture of an iPad hiding behind a calendar page displaying a big number 2.

iPad 2 Expected to Be Unveiled at Apple Event on March 2nd
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Kara Swisher at AllThingsD is reporting that Apple will unveil the iPad 2 on March 2nd at in event in San Francisco. 

Recent reports have indicated that the next iPad will be available through both AT&T and Verizon, and will be thinner, lighter, and will have at least one camera on the front, as well as more memory, and a more powerful graphics processor. 

HP TouchPad, Veer and Pre3 Smartphones with webOS Introduced

Hewlett-Packard (HP) today announced the TouchPad, described as a version of webOS for the big screen. It’s essentially an iPad competitor, and is due out this summer. 

"Today we’re embarking on a new era of webOS with the goal of linking a wide family of HP products through the best mobile experience available," said Jon Rubinstein, SVP and GM of HP’s Palm Global Business Unit. "The flexibility of the webOS platform makes it ideal for creating a range of innovative devices that work together to keep you better connected to your world."

Details of Next iPad Revealed

The Wall Street Journal is reporting some new details about the next version of the iPad, based on what "people familiar with the matter" have revealed. Apple has not yet officially commented. 

According to the report, the next iPad will be available through both AT&T and Verizon, and will be thinner, lighter, and will have at least one camera on the front. It is also reported to have more memory and a more powerful graphics processor. 

Facebook Shuts Down Facebook Phone Rumors…Again

Every now and then, rumors will start about a mythical Facebook phone. Eventually, Facebook will shoot them down, as is the case this week. 

The rumor, this time, was that HTC was going to launch a Facebook branded phone at Mobile World Congress next month. Details of the phone were made available as well, and rumors began to spiral into "Facebook’s going to compete with Apple and Android" territory. 

Number Of Tablet Users Growing Rapidly, And They Like Free Content

According to a new report from IDC, the worldwide market for tablets grew by 45.1% in the third quarter of 2010, driven mainly by iPad demand. Now, the iPad faces a great deal of competition from various manufacturers (many showcased at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas). 

The Ecosystems Will Determine the Gadgets We Buy
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In 2001 Apple launched what would be one of the most iconic products of the 21st century’s first decade. The iPod changed music and consumer electronics – but it also led to one of the most counterintuitive marketing strategies of the modern age as well. As the iPod grew in popularity, Apple began to sell $1000 computers as accessories for a $200 gadget. The ecosystem of the iTunes store and the ability to manage your music easily and seamlessly with your iPod started a revolution that led millions to consider (or reconsider) getting a Mac as their primary home computer.

People Want More Information About Doctors Online
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U.S. adults with a primary care physician spend more time researching the latest electronic gadget or a gift for a friend than they do choosing a doctor, according to a new study released by Insider Pages and conducted by Harris Interactive.

At the same time, the majority of U.S. adults with a primary care physician wish they could find more comprehensive information about their doctors online.

Google Buys eBook Technologies to Provide Richer e-Reading Experiences on Tablets

eBooks and e-readers are big business these days. Amazon’s Kindle recently became the company’s best-selling product ever, and its competitors have done pretty well too. Now tablets are coming out of the woodwork to go head-to-head with Apple’s iPad, and these are also ideal for reading eBooks (some with Android).

Microsoft Announcements from CES
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The Consumer Elecronics Show (CES) in Vegas has already been a big event for Microsoft, and it doesn’t even end until January 9. CEO Steve Ballmer reflected on the past year, and introduced some elements of where the company is headed. 

Can Microsoft Compete with the iPad?
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Reports indicate that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is expected to unveil some new slates from Samsung and Dell at CES next month that are designed to compete with Apple’s incredibly popular iPad. 

The company has not confirmed, and the sources of the info are unnamed, but evidently trusted by the New York Times, which reports

Can Google TV on the Logitech Revue Turn You Into Kevin Bacon?
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Logitech has a new ad for its Revue device (the set-top box/Blu-Ray player with Google TV) that has Kevin Bacon playing a guy that is a huge Kevin Bacon fan in what quite possibly is some of Kevin Bacon’s finest work to date. 

Maybe this ad is just what Google TV needs to pick itself up after a disappointing launch. 

RIM Buys Interesting User Interface Company TAT

BlackBerry makers Research in Motion (RIM) are buying a company called The Astonishing Tribe (or TAT). RIM CTO  David Yach said the following in a statement on the BlackBerry Blog:

Today we are pleased to confirm plans for The Astonishing Tribe (TAT) team to join Research In Motion (RIM). We’re excited that the TAT team will be joining RIM and bringing their talent to the BlackBerry PlayBook and smartphone platforms.

Nexus Two Rumored To Be Coming In Less Than 2 Weeks
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Rumor has it that the Nexus Two will be announced at a press conference on November 8th in New York. The announcement would come from Google and Samsung together, and the device would be he first to ship with the next version of Android – version 2.3 aka: Gingerbread. It would also be available on more than one carrier. 

Apple Fans Get All Kinds of Good News Today
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Apple made a series of announcements today, including a new MacBook Air, a sneak peek of Mac OS X Lion, the Mac App Store, a public beta of FaceTime for Mac, and the introduction of iLife ’11 with upgrades to iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand.

The New MacBook Air

Will Windows Phone 7 Be A Success?
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Microsoft showed off its new Windows Phone 7 devices this week. There are a lot of questions about how Microsoft will perform in the smartphone space, though they’re clearly up to the challenge. Microsoft’s success in this space also has big implications for the company’s performance in the search market, which means search marketers should keep an eye on this.

Study Finds iPads Aren’t Replacing PCs
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New research from the NPD Group indicates that nearly 90% of initial iPad sales are incremental and are not cannibalizing the PC market. 

"Contrary to popular belief, the iPad isn’t causing cannibalization in the PC market because iPad owners don’t exhibit the same buying and ownership patterns as the typical consumer electronics customer," the group says. 

Sharp Launching Android Tablets, E-Bookstore

Sharp announced today that it is developing a new cloud-based media service business called Galapagos. The company will start by releasing two tablets and an e-bookstore. Sharp says the tablets are developed specifically as e-book readers. They will reportedly run Android as the OS. 

The initiative is aimed at the Japanese market. 

iPad Coming to All U.S. Best Buy Stores September 26
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Best Buy just announced it is expanding iPad availability to all U.S. stores September 26. That of course goes for the Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi +3G models. 

Verizon and RIM Announce BlackBerry Curve 3G

Verizon and Research in Motion (RIM) announced a new 3G version of the BlackBerry Curve today. It will become available on September 16 in business sales channels, and through Verizon in the coming weeks. 

The device comes in charcoal or fuchsia red. Here are the features and specs as noted in the announcement:

 

Boxee Box With Intel Atom Processor Coming Soon
The Boxee Box is due out in November, just in time for the holidays. It will come out looking to compete with the likes of the much-hyped Apple TV and Google TV. Here’s what Boxee’s Avner Ronen had to say on the Boxee blog after Apple launched its newest Apple TV device:

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