Posted: 4:06 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, 2013
By John Brandon
The Microsoft Surface 2 arrives on October 2. In other big news: BlackBerry just entered into a $4.7 billion deal to go private.
Each Monday, I cover the tech trends, gadgets, business services, and apps of note. The goal is to highlight not just consumer flash-in-the-pan ideas, but real developments that could impact your business. Post in the comments if you spot other essential headlines!
1. Microsoft announces Surface 2
One big piece of news this week for business users is that Microsoft has officially announced the Surface 2 tablet. The upgraded device, available on October 22, will last about 10 hours on a single charge (the debut tablet only lasted about four hours) and runs faster on the Tegra 4 chipset. Unfortunately, the included Office suite for Surface 2 is still the non-commercial version. Oh, and the kickstand now lets you use two different desk positions.
2. BlackBerry in $4.7 billion deal to go private
The tech giant is being acquired by Fairfax Financial Holdings for $4.7 billion in a move to eventually go private. The news comes today after a long downward spiral--the company recently announced plans to cut 4,500 jobs and take a $1B loss for the upcoming quarter. The company just released its popular BlackBerry Messenger app for iPhone and Android, but has now suspended downloads that, according to Computerworld, were causing some major issues.
3. Gneo task manager with gestures
A newly launched iPhone and iPad app might help you manage your day. Using gestures and an interface designed for iOS 7, Gneo (pronounced nee-oh) removes most of the clutter and geekiness of task management. I like how simple swipes help clear out tasks.
4. Apple sells nine million iPhones
Is Apple really falling behind the pack? Not if you consider how many iPhones they've sold already. By offering the iPhone 5C budget model in multiple colors and the higher-end iPhone 5S, the company racked up record sales--and helped push up the stock price up by 5 percent. Have you bought one yet? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your experience so far.
5. Pandora crushed by Apple iTunes Radio
Here's yet another lesson in the great need to differentiate. Pandora subscriptions fell by 12 percent since Apple released its new iTunes Radio service. There's no real differentiator with Pandora that I can see--although it does work with many car app ecosystems like Ford MyTouch and the upcoming integration with Chrysler uConnect Assist.