THE WRAP: Amazon takes on tablets; Google expands data centers

It was the week that saw Amazon enter the tablet business, Google reveal new data center plans for Asia, and Intel and Samsung back yet another mobile operating system. 

Amazon debuted its hotly anticipated tablet device, the Kindle Fire, this week. It runs on a heavily-modified Android build developed for maximum integration with Amazon web services, and offers Wi-Fi connectivity only. And at under $200 (€148), it’s competitively priced.
 
What that means for Apple and the iPad is unclear, but Jamie Moss of Informa Telecoms & Media says that while the Kindle Fire could be iPad’s first serious rival, it’s not so much because of the device itself as the mature direct-to-consumer billing relationship that comes with it.
 
It was also the week that saw Google announce plans to build three new data centers in Asia after buying land in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.
 
Google – which has six data centers in the US but only two outside the country, both in Europe – said the focus on Asia was due to the tremendous growth of new users in the region.
 
The Linux Foundation and the Limo Foundation meanwhile announced the Tizen project to develop a cross-architecture open-source device OS, led by Intel and Samsung.
 
In contrast to Android, the Tizen project plans to open the entire software stack, from the core OS all the way up. It will use an API based on HTML5 and other web standards.
 
Intel’s involvement is significant, as the chipset company also revealed it’s moving its focus away from MeeGo and to the new Tizen project as it wants to shift its OS investments towards HTML5.
 
In other news for the week, South Korea’s SK Telecom launched LTE devices and associated price plans – none of which include an unlimited data option.
 
Meanwhile, Australia’s Telstra made LTE services and its debut 4G dongle available to consumers, who can use LTE in capital city CBDs and around 30 regional and metropolitan population centers. (The data plan is capped at 8GB.)
 
In business news for the week, cash-flush China Mobile came under pressure from investors to spend some of its horde on international acquisitions, including possibly Telefonica, New Zealand operators Kordia and Vodafone New Zealand forged a new partnership to jointly provide telecom services under enterprise contracts; and Norway's Telenor threatened to find a new partner for its Indian joint venture if existing ally Unitech does not participate in a planned 82 billion rupee ($1.66 billion) rights issue.
 
Spokesmen for European incumbents Deutsche Telekom and BT said there was little point in selling copper networks to fund fiber rollout, following reports BT is sitting on a potential £50 billion(€57.6 billion) asset.
 
The European Commission announced a probe into bank’s efforts to self-regulate electronic payments, amid concerns the rules will exclude new players.
 
And finally, it was the week that saw US lawmakers declare war on supercookies.
 
Two Congressional representatives asked the Federal Trace Commission to
probe the use of supercookies by companies like MSN and Hulu. Unlike regular cookies, supercookies cannot be deleted, and can reportedly recreate a user's profile after less powerful cookies are deleted. 

The lawmakers claim use of supercookies “takes away consumer control over their own personal information, presents a greater opportunity for misuse of personal information, and provides another way for consumers to be tracked online, according to Reuters.

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