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Barnes & Noble Carves Nook Niche in UK

Barnes & Noble Carves Nook Niche in UK

Today in international tech news: Barnes & Noble will take Nook overseas for the first time. Also: In Asia, an underwater cable stretching nearly 5,000 miles becomes operational; Korea has a huge second quarter for TV sales; McDonald's gets into the pay-with-your-smartphone business; Netflix gets 1 million users in the UK and Ireland -- but is still losing $100 million overseas each quarter.

By David Vranicar
08/20/12 9:12 AM PT

For the first time, Barnes & Noble will sell its Nook e-reader overseas. The devices are headed to Britain, according to Reuters.

The UK launch will come this fall, according to the article, and will be sold by thus far unannounced retailers.

In the U.S., the Nook has earned a 27 percent share in the e-reader market, which is dominated by the Amazon's Kindle line. Barnes & Noble has slashed prices on its e-reader to try to compete with the Kindle.

Data Noodle

A 4,800-mile-long data cable has started operating in Asia, according to the BBC.

The cable, which is about 1.5 times as long as the width of the U.S., stretches from Japan in the north to Singapore and the Philippines in the south.

Using an optical fiber system, it can transfer data at 40 gigabits per second, according to the report. That is three milliseconds faster than the previous cable from Singapore to Tokyo -- a difference that could be integral to the region's high frequency-trading, which relies on computers to make trade automatically.

High-frequency trading often causes hundreds of thousands of transactions per second, so milliseconds, in this case, do indeed matter.

The cable was laid in as straight a route as possible, but it was also designed to avoid known earthquake zones around Japan and Taiwan.

Korean TV Market Dominance Widens

Korean television manufacturers grew their market share over Asian competitors from Japan and China, according to The Korea Times.

Citing a report from DisplaySearch, a display market research firm, The Korea Times said that Korean products accounted for 38.4 percent of the global market during the second quarter of 2012. The margin over No. 2 Japan, which was at 25.1 percent, grew from 11.1 to 13.3.

The top two TV makers in the world, Samsung and LG Electronics, are both Korean.

While demand for flat-screens has lost some steam in the U.S., markets like China, Mexico, Russia and Brazil are emerging to pick up the slack, The Korea Times' article stated.

Netflix Tries to Establish Itself in UK Market

Netflix announced Monday that it has reached the 1 million viewer mark in the UK and Ireland.

Netflix, which launched in the UK and Ireland in January, could try to turn its success into better rights deals with movie studios, according to PaidContent.org.

Netflix is up against Sky Movies, which has almost 5 million users and which has exclusive rights with the "Big Six" Hollywood studios, according to Paid Content. This has led to huge investments by Netflix -- CEO Reed Hastings told The Telegraph that the company's international operation is currently losing US$100 million per quarter.

The content bidding war has been especially fierce of late in the UK -- Sky recently retained most of its rights with soccer's Premier League in a deal that cost a handful of companies more than $4 billion.

Appy Meal: McDonald's App Streamlines Payments

McDonald's is testing out a new payment system in France that would allow customers to pay via PayPal, according to Reuters.

Customers at 30 different McDonald's locations in France will be directed to a separate pickup line, where they will pay with their mobile devices.

The deal harkens to the partnership between Starbucks and Square, which recently hooked up to allow customers to pay with smartphones. Dunkin Donuts also recently launched a similar app.


Tech Trek is a blog that looks at tech news from around the world. David Vranicar is a freelance journalist. His ECT News Network archive, with links to articles and podcasts, is available here. You can email him at david.vranicar@newsroom.ectnews.com.



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