Sony Showcases Amazing Rollable Screen

From WiFi to Bluetooth, mobile technologies have begun to shift where we consume information and entertainment.  Touchscreens and voice automation have similarly begun to shift how we interact with it.  In the coming years, changing display technologies will likely have a similar effect on where and what we see.

Case in point – this week Sony revealed a new prototype OLED display so flexible it can be rolled and unrolled around a tube no wider than a pencil.  We’re not talking a screen that can just bend, this can literally roll and unroll. (Watch the video. More After the jump)

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Microsoft to Reorganize Entertainment and Devices

Confirming reports circulating for several days, Microsoft announced a substantial plan to reorganize its Entertainment and Devices division.    Timed to coincide with the fall departure of retiring group head Robbie Back, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will take over the division starting July 1.

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Crowd Sourced Knowledge: Netflix Prize Won?

netflix prize awardLog in to Netflix and rate a movie you watched on a scale of one to five and Netflix’ computers will try to suggest other titles you’re likely to rank the same way.  This algorithmic pairing process has been marketed as a key differentiator between Netflix movie rental service and that of competitors.  It’s been touted as an achievement. 

For two and a half years, Netflix challenged the public to try and create a better mousetrap.   A million dollar prize was dangled as bait for the first person (or team) to create a program capable of beating Netflix’ Cinematch algorithm by a margin of ten percent or better.   Nobody succeeded.  Developers inched close but couldn’t quite hit the mark. Seven percent, eight percent, nine…but not ten.  The so called "Netflix Prize" went unclaimed. Until now, that is.

On Friday, a group created from a combination of four independent teams that had been vying for the prize submitted a solution that they claim resulted in a 10.05% improvement over Netflix’ Cinematch ranking algorithm.

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By the Numbers: Stats Survey Snapshots

numbers reportThey can be true or corrupted.  You can churn them, burn them or turn them.  You can manipulate them up or down.  Numbers can be twisted to tell any story or support most any bias.   As an old saying goes, “facts are stubborn but statistics are pliable.”  But even that considered, some of the many data points cranked out by research firms can still give an interesting glimpse into the state of things.  

For this edition of the occasional Metue: By the Numbers Report,  we’ve gathered data from across a handful of recent surveys to shed light on media, entertainment and technology.  By the numbers: Click to Read More

Staffing Report: More Changes at MySpace, New Chip Specialist at Apple

staff report metueLast week, new News Corp digital chief Jon Miller began reassigning offices at MySpace.  Founder Chris DeWolfe was out, and former Facebook Chief Revenue Officer Owen Van Natta was in as CEO.

This week, the process continued.  Van Natta started today and more management moves followed. Tops among the new hires: Mike Jones, formerly of Time Warner and several startups, joins the group as Chief Operating Officer.

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Nielsen Quantifies 2008 Ad Spending Decline

ad-spending-2008.jpgThe overall ad industry was off in 2008. There’s no surprise there. With banks and “big auto” in trouble, there were fewer dollars passed around.  New data from Nielsen released Friday quantified the extent of the decline.  According to the preliminary data from Nielsen Monitor Plus, 2008  US ad spending was off 2.6 percent.   Total spending was down $3.7b to $136.8 billion.

Among Nielsen’s initial findings, by the numbers:

2008 sector ad spending• The bright spot for the year was Cable TV.  It showed 7.8% growth in 2008.  Hispanic Cable TV was also strong with a 9.6% gain.

• Ad supplements for Sunday newspapers were hit hard. Spending in the sector dropped 11%.  National papers were down 9.6%.  Local papers saw a 10.2% decline.  National Magazines fell 7.6%. Local Magazines dropped 3.7%.

• Internet display ads were off 6.4%.  (Pay for click ads, text, search and other performance based campaigns were not counted in the survey).

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Circuit City to Liquidate

circuit city times up metueIt’s hasta la vista for beleaguered electronics giant Circuit City.  The 60 year old company, which declared bankruptcy in November, was unable to agree to terms with a buyer in time to meet a Friday deadline.  Rather than seeking an extension, that likely would have only briefly prolonged life, the company will liquidate.  765 retail stores in Canada may still be sold, and are looking at January 23rd offer deadline,  but 567 U.S. stores are gone, effective March 31st.  Thousands of jobs will go with them. The merchandise sales will begin tomorrow.

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