Mossberg and Swisher Leaving News Corp. for NBCUniversal

AllThingsD editors Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher are leaving News Corp. at the end of the year, and have reportedly completed a deal with NBCUniversal for a news and conference business. Mossberg and Swisher will have majority control over the company while NBCUniversal and another unnamed investor will share one-third of the business, according to an unidentified source. Most of the current AllThingsD staff is expected to join the new holding company. Continue reading Mossberg and Swisher Leaving News Corp. for NBCUniversal

Tablet Review: Amazon Launches Kindle Fire HDX this Week

Amazon’s newest tablet, the Kindle Fire HDX, is a good color tablet with a few improvements, but isn’t as versatile as its current rivals, suggests Walt Mossberg. Its best feature could be the video chat-based tech support, activated by its Mayday button. The latest 7-inch screen version starts at $229. Mossberg describes the tablet as a “hardware gateway to buying digital content from Amazon.” The basic model includes ads, but a version without ads can be purchased for an additional $15. Continue reading Tablet Review: Amazon Launches Kindle Fire HDX this Week

D11 Conference: Facebook COO Discusses New Android App

At the D: All Things Digital conference in California yesterday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg suggested it would take time to get Facebook Home on track. While acknowledging problems with Facebook’s new Android application, she remains optimistic about the company’s vision for a mobile experience. She stated that “Facebook Home is version one of a very large transformation” and suggested that progress is “going to be a long road.” Continue reading D11 Conference: Facebook COO Discusses New Android App

Windows 8: Laptop/Tablet Hybrids Attempt to Embrace Features

“Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system is a combination of two very different user interfaces, with each best used in a different way,” suggests Walt Mossberg. The entire system is touch-based, but only the start screen is fully optimized for touch, while the second interface, the Windows desktop, is best operated with a physical keyboard and mouse or touch pad. Continue reading Windows 8: Laptop/Tablet Hybrids Attempt to Embrace Features

Walt Mossberg Looks Ahead to Personal Tech in 2013

In a five-minute video report on the Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg discusses four personal technology topics that he believes may prove to be significant trends in the coming year, including a new era of smart TVs, more affordable smartphones and mobile plans, a new wave of more expensive music players and new health and fitness gadgets and accompanying apps. Additionally we should expect to see more tablets and more use of the cloud. Continue reading Walt Mossberg Looks Ahead to Personal Tech in 2013

Mossberg on iTunes Match: Store Your Songs without Slow Uploads

  • Walt Mossberg favorably reviews Apple’s iTunes Match service. For $25/year, you can create a music locker in the Cloud that allows you to play your music collection on up to 10 devices.
  • In contrast to similar locker services from Google and Amazon, you do not have to upload your entire collection — iTunes Match scans your iTunes library and matches it with its 20 million song library.
  • The service only works for digital music currently, and not for movies, TV shows or audiobooks.
  • Your locker can include up to 25,000 songs. It’s worth noting that, “Match is an optional addition to an existing free service called iTunes in the Cloud, which covers only songs you bought from Apple’s iTunes store.”
  • “In all, I like iTunes Match, and can recommend it to digital music lovers who want all their tunes on all their devices,” writes Mossberg. “It’s another nice feature of iCloud, priced reasonably.”

Walt Mossberg Reviews New G-Slate Honeycomb Tablet

The new G-Slate tablet from LG (sold by T-Mobile) was launched last week as the first tablet in the U.S. using Google’s Honeycomb software (Android 3.0 for tablets) to offer 4G speed and 3D video. With an 8.9-inch screen, the G-Slate offers less viewing area than Apple’s iPad 2 and the Motorola Xoom, but more than the Samsung Galaxy Tab and RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook.

The greatest challenges for the new device may be how to compete with the highly successful iPad — and how to differentiate itself from the other Android-based devices currently on the market. In his WSJ “All Things Digital” column, Walt Mossberg suggests that the G-Slate aims to be different in three major ways: by offering 4G cellular data speeds, enabling 3D video creation and viewing, and featuring an “in-between” screen size as compared to current offerings.

In his review, Mossberg found the performance to be on par with the Honeycomb Xoom, but overall not as good a choice as the iPad 2 (especially in terms of price, size and weight). And regarding the 3D functionality, he writes, “The 3D feature, which requires the use of 1950s-style colored glasses, seems like a parlor trick to me.”

Mossberg reports that the biggest selling point of the G-Slate is the 4G speed, but adds that the current problem with all Honeycomb devices involves a lack of “tablet-optimized third-party apps.” It’s tough to compete with Apple in this regard, considering it already claims 65,000 tablet apps.

Mossberg’s bottom line: “The G-Slate isn’t as good a tablet as the iPad 2. I’d only recommend it for people who want the higher cellular speeds, or who prefer Android.”

Walt Mossberg on the New Apple iPad 2

In this video interview from San Francisco, Wall Street Journal “Personal Technology” columnist Walt Mossberg provides his first impressions of the new thinner and lighter Apple iPad 2, premiered by Steve Jobs at an invitation-only event on March 2.

New features worth noting include front and rear-view cameras, a thinner form factor than the iPhone, faster graphics, and dual core processors. It seems that Apple addressed the shortcomings recently targeted in advertising by its competitors. Mossberg comments that Apple did enough to stay ahead, but suggests they’re not going to claim 90 percent of the market share like they did last year due to the sheer volume of competing tablets this time around.

Mossberg comments on Apple’s focus on content creation, as opposed to content consumption, which the company hopes will change the way some consumers see the device. He also suggests it is a big deal that Apple has been able to maintain its $499 price tag for the new version. (The Wi-Fi versions start at $499 for a 16GB model and $699 for a 64GB configuration, while the 3G iPads are priced from $629 to $829.)