THE WRAP: Google offers Gmail voice

This week Google launched a VoIP service to take on Skype, while HP and Dell went head to head for 3Par, a little-known storage firm.
Google began a VoIP service through Gmail, offering low-cost calling to its 176 million users. Analysts said it would hit Skype harder than telcos.
Google also set up a dedicated real-time search page, giving search access to Twitter streams.
Australia’s next-gen broadband network became one of the bargaining chips in political horse-trading after a national election delivered a hung parliament.
HP and Dell fought over virtual storage firm 3Par, with HP twice trumping Dell’s offers. HP also grabbed database specialist Stratavia for an undisclosed sum.
In other acquisitions, Cisco said it would buy privately-held video management software provider ExtendMedia, while RIM grabbed Cellmania, which makes key app store components, giving RIM the ability to help operators offer their own apps markets.
Apple is on the verge of a deal with major US TV producers about making content available through iTunes at 99 cents per episode.
China Telecom reported flat first-half earnings despite strong mobile growth. It said it would boost fiber network investment by 16% in the second half.
Huawei snared a next-gen fiber network contract from Maxis, while ZTE won a $250 million (€196 million) mobile deal from Telenor Hungary.
Hungary revealed plans for a 4G spectrum auction by the year-end, but carriers said it should give the spectrum away.
Nokia Siemens Networks won its first Indian 3G contract
Indian cellcos called for a one-third cut in IDD termination rates.
The Pentagon confirmed its worst ever network security breach in 2008, when a USB drive was used to infect military computers.
Dell launched its first US smartphone, while Huawei and Samsung also foreshadowed Android devices.
Intel and Nokia set up a 3D research lab.
The French government confirmed it will increase taxation on triple-play services, following pressure from the European Union.
The Obama Administration began a review of 26 government IT projects worth $30 billion as part of a cost-cutting drive.
Microsoft apologized after employing scantily clad meter maids at an IT conference on Australia’s Gold Coast.
And a 27-year-old British woman smashed the world texting speed record by tapping out 137 characters in 26 seconds.