2011 Year In Review


The debut of UltraViolet and streaming on sites from Amazon to Facebook in 2011 boosted digital delivery. Meanwhile, Blu-ray saw a surge in sales as well as its profile in the ubiquitous Redbox kiosks. The industry maneuvered through a year of evolution, laying the groundwork for what many hope is future growth in both digital and packaged media.


January


» Consumer spending on packaged media and digital delivery in 2010 reached $18.8 billion, just 3% less than the revised $19.4 billion total reported for 2009, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group announces.
» Underperforming fourth-quarter titles and imbalances in available titles at kiosks hurt Redbox’s fourth-quarter results, causing the company to lower its full-year financial expectations.
» Netflix says its streaming service will become a standalone feature (red button) on a series of remote controls accompanying new Internet-connected televisions, Blu-ray Disc players and related media devices.
» Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei says executives are in no hurry to finalize a new licensing deal between subsidiary Starz Entertainment and Netflix.
» Ralph Schackart with William Blair & Co. in Chicago says Blu-ray player sales will top 32 million units in 2011.
» Dell bows transactional VOD movie service VideoStage as part of the computer manufacturer’s updated user interface on new tablet computers.
» Kiosk vendors for the first time generated more disc rental transactions than traditional video stores, according to new data from The NPD Group.
» Amazon reaches an agreement to acquire the remaining shares of LoveFilm, the United Kingdom-based online disc rental and streaming service.
» The Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice approve Comcast Corp.’s $30 billion majority acquisition of NBC Universal, set to close by the end of the month.


February


» Blockbuster Express says it will deploy 3,000 new kiosks in 2011, bringing its installed base to about 10,000 units by the end of the year.
» Executives at Time Warner, Viacom and News Corp. say they will consider licensing content to subscription video-on-demand platforms (Netflix), in addition to tweaking release windows and pricing.
» Bankrupt Blockbuster puts itself up for auction with an opening bid of $290 million from its debt holders. It expects the sale to close by April.
» BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield says studios must cut the theatrical window by 50%, with Netflix subscribers topping 20 million, Amazon on the cusp of launching a streaming service and January box office revenue significantly down from the previous year.
» Summit Home Entertainment files a complaint seeking payment of more than $9.5 million from Blockbuster for disc shipments ofThe Twilight Saga: Eclipse, among other titles.
» Hulu generated 323 million hours (19.4 billion minutes) of viewing in 2010 — more than twice the combined viewing hours (162 million) of all the major network websites, a new report says.
» Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment ups the unit disc price it charges rental kiosk vendors, notably Redbox and Netflix. The studio announces the All Access digital platform, enabling consumers to buy content directly and watch it on myriad connected devices.
» Netflix tests its streaming service in South America.
» Movie rentals downloaded from the Internet (transactional video-on-demand) will overtake digital movie sales by 2013, according to an IHS Screen Digest report.
» Amazon bows a streaming VOD service offering more than 5,000 TV shows and movies to annual subscribers.
» Redbox accounts for about 35% of the physical DVD rental market in the United States in January, the first time the kiosk operator has taken the overall lead in physical media rentals, according to The NPD Group.


March


» Warner Home Video’s windows on new-release movies offered to Netflix and kiosks help the studio realize a 15% margin lift, compared with titles not embargoed at least 28 days from street date, says Time Warner CFO John Martin.
» DirecTV is set to become the first to offer theatrical releases in the home in an early window via premium video-on-demand.
» A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge rules Blockbuster can proceed with an auction process — thereby avoiding what many observers believed would be Chapter 7 liquidation.
» An increase of studio new-release combo packs that incorporate Blu-ray Disc, DVD and digital copy is “dangerously” taxing global Blu-ray production facilities, according to a new research report.
» Redbox ups the profile of Blu-ray Disc titles in kiosks, in addition to incorporating user interfaces that enable consumers to view either high-definition or standard-definition rentals.
» Warner becomes the first studio to offer movie rentals on its Facebook movie page, with 2-year-old release The Dark Knight.
» Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger tells “The Charlie Rose Show” that packaged media isn’t dead — just challenged by alternative home entertainment options.
» Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes says subscription-based video-on-demand services such as Netflix and Amazon could challenge Hollywood’s ability to make movies and TV shows.
» Netflix subscribers are streaming more than six out of 10 movies watched online, topping digital sellthrough and transactional video-on-demand, according to a new report from The NPD Group.
» Netflix spends upwards of $100 million to outbid pay-TV networks for remake series “House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey and directed by Oscar-nominated David Fincher (The Social Network).
» Samsung unveils seven new wireless Blu-ray Disc player models that enable easier access to Internet-based content through upgraded user menus.
» Netflix’s streaming service takes a major body shot when pay-TV channels Starz Entertainment and Showtime Networks separately announced plans to delay or remove select content from the popular service.


April


» Blockbuster Express kiosks begin offering select titles, including Black Swan, on street date at premium prices.
» Netflix signs an agreement with Paramount to stream all of the studio’s first-run theatrical releases in Canada. It also secures U.S. streaming rights to all four seasons of the drama “Mad Men.”
» Dish Network wins the bidding for bankrupt Blockbuster with a $320 million ($228 million in cash) offer and announced it initially will keep 575 stores operating.
» Redbox says it is on track to introduce a digital offering in 2011.
» Dish Network says subscribers who include pay-TV channel Epix in their monthly plan can access 3,000 movies for free at DishOnline.com.
» Issues surrounding the cost of 3DTVs and required eyewear continue to negatively impact sales, according to a new report.
» Apple readies a cloud-based subscription digital storage system that would focus on video content, including movies and TV shows, an analyst says.
» Combined spending on 3D Blu-ray Disc will reach nearly $214 million worldwide this year, a rise of more than 530% over 2010, according to a report from IHS Screen Digest.
» Arco-based ampm convenience stores begin offering $1-per-day DVD movie rentals at branded kiosks throughout Central and Southern California.
» Mobile entertainment company mSpot.com launches a loyalty program, allowing members to rent new-release movies at discounted prices on portable devices, including the iPad, iPhone, Android, tablets, connected TVs, PCs, Macs and related smartphones.


May


» Redbox begins offering $2-a-day video game rentals, expanding on limited market tests the company launched in mid-2009.
» Blockbuster Express reports a first-quarter operating loss of $15 million, widened from an operating loss of $12 million during the prior-year period.
» Dish Network formally closes its $320 million acquisition of Blockbuster and delays a final decision on the fate of more than 1,100 video store leases.
» DirecTV is considering launching a fee-based Netflix-type streaming service, according to a detailed survey sent to select subscribers.
» A drop in the box office revenue of movies released on disc is being blamed for a nearly 10% drop in consumer spending on home entertainment in the first quarter of 2011, according to numbers from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.
» Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group acquires movie recommendation website Flixster.com and its popular Rotten Tomatoes movie ratings service. Time Warner CFO John Martin says the deals are geared toward setting up consumer apps for the soon-to-be-activated cloud-based UltraViolet service.
» CBS negotiates streaming deals with Netflix for the online disc rental pioneer’s pending foray into Latin America, according to CEO Les Moonves.
» Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes says he remains bullish on physical media, notably Blu-ray Disc and 3D movies.
» Dish Network asks NCR Corp. to stop using the Blockbuster trademark on its 9,000 Blockbuster Express rental kiosks. The request is declined.
» Google announces a deal with three major studios that adds more than 3,000 films for rent on YouTube, with some titles available day-and-date with DVD.
» A Canadian judge orders Blockbuster Canada to be put into receivership after major Hollywood studios call for payment of more than $67 million owed them by the chain’s U.S. parent.
» Netflix signs a multiyear distribution deal with Miramax that will allow its subscribers to stream hundreds of movies from the studio founded by Bob and Harvey Weinstein.
» Dish Network includes three months of free access to Blockbuster By Mail movie rentals to new satellite TV subscribers.
» The dormant 3DTV market is poised for a dramatic comeback, with growth topping 500% in 2011, driven by unit sales in Europe, according to a new report.


June


» NCR Corp. files a lawsuit against Dish Network, saying the new owner of Blockbuster does not have the right to halt a license agreement NCR holds to operate more than 9,000 Blockbuster Express kiosks.
» Blockbuster LLC, which is owned by Dish Network, cuts the single-day rental price on most movie titles to 99 cents — the same fee charged by many kiosks.
» Miramax and Hulu sign a multiyear agreement that gives the studio’s catalog to the online content aggregator co-owned by The Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and NBC Universal.
» Lionsgate licenses episodes from its “Mad Men” franchise to a Latin American digital buyer — a move it expects to generate $10 million in incremental revenue.
» The Walt Disney Co. terminates about 200 positions in its studio operations, including home entertainment positions. Lionsgate downsizes its workforce 2% from a total workforce of 500.
» The Walt Disney Co. revamps its namesake website (Disney.com) to include access to video games and movies via subscription video-on-demand (SVOD), transactional VOD and ad-supported streaming.
» Warner says it will begin offering new-release and catalog titles on demand to consumers’ TVs in China, making it the first studio to do so.
» Amazon ups video offerings on its Prime Instant Video membership loyalty program with the addition of more than 1,000 new movies and TV programs.
» Hulu’s owners — The Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and NBC Universal — put the online repurposed-content aggregator up for sale.
» Redbox tests $1.15-a-night rentals in the Portland, Ore., area, the latest pricing test by the DVD kiosk chain to see whether consumers are willing to pay more than $1 a night. Blu-ray Disc rentals remain $1.50 and video games $2 a day.
» Sony Pictures Home Entertainment pulls its movies from Netflix’s streaming queue due to contract issues with aggregator Starz Entertainment.


July


» A new In-Stat study projects that CE products incorporating wireless connectivity will top 419 million units by 2015 — including 54 million HDTVs by 2013. But stationary devices, such as Blu-ray players, are just getting beginning to take advantage of wireless technology.
» Blockbuster LLC unveils new summer discounted movie rental pricing, which includes DVD/Blu-ray Disc titles available for $1.99 for the first night.
» Netflix says it will launch a new streaming service in 43 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
» Blu-ray Disc movies and related content will represent more than 50% of packaged-media sales in 2014, according to a new report.
» Studios’ attempts to sell premium VOD access to movies in the home for $29.99 months before their disc release may be doomed, according to a new report.
» Netflix separates subscriber plans into DVD-only and streaming-only offerings for $7.99 each, raising the base price for the hybrid disc and streaming plan 60% to $15.98.
» The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, or DECE, launches its UltraViolet licensing program for content, technology and service providers.
» NCR Corp. CEO Bill Nuti says the company is looking at partnerships for its Blockbuster Express-branded kiosk business, or possibly to put the business up for sale.
» Mitch Lowe, who co-founded Netflix before joining Coinstar Inc.-owned Redbox in 2003, leaves the kiosk company to pursue “entrepreneurial and other interests,” according to a company statement.
» Blockbuster says it will continue operating 1,500 stores and employing 15,000 employees nationwide.
» CBS and Amazon enter into a multiyear agreement that allows Amazon Prime loyalty members to stream upwards of 2,000 episodes from the network’s TV library.
» Borders Group agrees to sell its assets to a group of liquidators led by Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Group.


August


» The f.y.e. (For Your Entertainment) retail chain begins offering proprietary in-store automated movie rental kiosks at select locations in Southern California.
» Walmart-owned Vudu begins offering 99-cent movie rentals.
» Amazon inks a license agreement with NBC Universal Domestic TV Distribution that allows its Prime loyalty members free streaming access to select Universal movies.
» Warner announces the launch of its first home entertainment discs to include cloud-based digital locker UltraViolet with the fourth-quarter releases of Green Lantern and Horrible Bosses.
» Three weeks after Netflix’s price hike, consumer perception of the company remains negative, according to YouGov BrandIndex, which tracks public perception of brands.
» “Seinfeld” star Jason Alexander releases an online video as a faux public service announcement asking viewers to donate $6 a month to the “Netflix Relief Fund” for subscribers facing a 60% price increase to stream and rent movies.
» Veteran home entertainment publicist Maria LaMagra dies Aug. 7 following a long battle with lung cancer.
» The NPD Group says more people buy DVD movies — especially box office new releases — than stream content on Netflix.
» Total consumer spending on home entertainment stabilizes, with a second-quarter decline of just 3.6% to $3.99 billion, from $4.14 billion in the same period in 2010, according to numbers compiled by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.
» Lionsgate announces that in December it will bow yet-unreleased theatrical title Abduction, starring “Twilight” actor Taylor Lautner, digitally for a two-week period priced at $6.99. The action film would open in theaters  Sept. 23 and is slated to debut on disc Jan. 17, 2012.
» Netflix reaches 1 million subscribers in Canada — 10 months after launching its first international operations in the country.
» Warner launches a beta test of a social media application that allows users to organize, display and buy movies online.
» Trans World Entertainment says it would consider opening new f.y.e. stores in 2012 and 2013, given the shrinking entertainment retail landscape and accompanying opportunities in select regions.
» Redbox begins charging a 15% to 20% premium for nightly $1 DVD movie rentals at kiosks in Austin, Texas.
» Miramax partners with Facebook to launch an app that gives users access to about 20 movies for streaming rental.
» Netflix and Telemundo sign a streaming deal covering more than 1,200 hours of Spanish-language TV programming annually.


September


» Starz Entertainment ends content license renegotiations with Netflix. As a result, Netflix will lose access to movies from Sony Pictures and Walt Disney Studios, among others, when the agreement expires Feb. 28, 2012.
» Apple stops offering 99-cent rentals of TV programs on its signature iTunes content store and Apple TV.
» Bankrupt Blockbuster Canada ceases operations after prospective buyers of the chain fall through, according to a filing with an Ontario court.
» The Walt Disney Co. names Bob Chapek president of Disney Consumer Products, reporting directly to CEO Bob Iger.
» Netflix reports revised third-quarter guidance (ending Sept. 30), saying it will lose 1 million more subscribers than previously thought. It also formally bows a streaming service in Latin America.
» Dish Network bows a Blockbuster Movie Pass streaming service that is available to new satellite TV subscribers for an additional $10 monthly fee.
» Netflix separates its disc rental business and names it Qwikster; subscriber defections soar.
» Warner Home Video is set to expand the 28-day delay of new releases from kiosks to video stores, beginning early next year, according to sources.


October


» Dish Network launches a Blockbuster-branded subscription streaming service called Movie Pass that includes movies from cable aggregator Starz Entertainment.
» Paramount Pictures combines its worldwide home entertainment, digital licensing and television licensing activities under one division, called Worldwide Home Media Distribution.
» Apple innovator Steve Jobs dies Oct. 5 after a bout with pancreatic cancer.
» Shipments of Blu-ray Disc players are set to reach 105 million units by 2015, with BD recorders replacing DVD recorders, according to new research by In-Stat.
» Failure to attract consumer interest in the cloud-based digital locker could spell doom for the home entertainment industry and movie production going forward, says Miramax CEO Mike Lang.
» Microsoft announces it is launching a repurposed TV streaming platform via Xbox Live that will offer content from more than 50 media companies globally, beginning in the fourth quarter.
» Netflix cancels the planned rollout of by-mail disc rental unit Qwikster as critics howl and the stock plummets.
» Strong sales of Thor, X-Men: First Class and Star Wars: The Complete Saga, among others, help create a renaissance for Blu-ray Disc and packaged media, according to a new report.
» Universal Studios Home Entertainment cancels plans to release action comedy Tower Heist in the premium video-on-demand window just 21 days after its Nov. 4 theatrical launch.
» Blu-ray Disc enjoys its best week ever compared with DVD in the week ended Oct. 8, kicking off the fourth quarter by contributing more than 40% of total disc revenue, according to Home Media Research.
» Redbox raises the price of DVD rentals to $1.20 from its traditional $1-per-day rate.
» Netflix loses 810,000 net subscribers in the United States in the third quarter (ended Sept. 30) — a 145% downturn from the comparable quarter a year earlier.
» Blockbuster LLC rolls out a new in-store subscription program, Movie Combo, that rewards frequent visits to its 1,500 stores.


November


» Blockbuster Express implements new pricing across its base of 10,000 kiosks nationwide, enabling consumers to rent new releases on street date.
» Consumer spending on home entertainment increased 5% in the third quarter (ended Sept. 30) — the first quarterly increase of home entertainment spending since the first quarter of 2008, according to the latest data from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.
» Netflix lets go more than 100 employees in the human resources and customer service departments — the latter involved with the recently canceled Qwikster disc rental service.
» BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield says studios should withhold new releases to all physical rental chains for 60 to 90 days.
» Blockbuster LLC reports net income of $3.3 million on revenue of $601 million — the first income since its acquisition out of bankruptcy by Dish Network.
» A proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit alleging price fixing filed against Walmart and Netflix seeks judicial approval.
» 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment launches the first-ever virtual disc store in the United Kingdom — capable of selling new-release Blu-ray Disc and DVD movies via a smartphone.
» Apple names Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Co., to its board of directors.
» Best Buy begins rolling out branded disc rental kiosks in Canada — filling a void left when Blockbuster Canada ceased operations.
» Netflix, in a regulatory filing, says it expects to generate a net loss for the full calendar year 2012 — a downward revision from the company’s Oct. 24 earnings call.


December


» Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter issues a report undermining Netflix, calling the SVOD service a “broken” business model.
» J.P. Morgan analyst Paul Coster, in a note, says the domestic kiosk disc rental business is approaching saturation, with more than 50,000 units in operation.
» Media reports suggest Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment have renewed merger talks. Both studios decline comment.
» Two websites accused of selling and distributing counterfeit DVDs are shut down by the federal government as part of a large-scale crackdown on illegal domains undertaken on Cyber Monday (Nov. 28).
» British supermarket giant Tesco rolls out a cloud-based program that allows consumers online access to in-store DVD and Blu-ray Disc movie purchases via media devices, including the PC, tablets, PlayStation 3, and LG and Samsung connected TVs.
» Cable operators are expected to implement incremental fees to subscribers who exceed monthly limits on data accessed from the Internet, including video streams from services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, beginning next year, an analyst said.
» Blu-ray Disc sales in the United States will reach about 115 million units in 2011, compared with 85 million units in 2010 — spearheaded by the Star Wars: The Complete Saga boxed set release, according to Futuresource Consulting.
» The U.S. Postal Service takes further steps to eliminate first-class, next-day delivery of letters, postcards and related items — such as Blu-ray Disc and DVD mailers — in an effort to save money, which could adversely affect by-mail rental services such as Netflix.
» The U.S. House of Representatives votes to make it easier for companies to share consumers’ video rental history online.
» Xbox 360 owners now have access to more content and an updated user interface, thanks to a series of new updates made available Dec. 6, Microsoft announces.
» A mere 5% of the 134 million Americans with devices capable of Internet video-on-demand are actually using them to rent movies, according to a new report from The NPD Group.

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The World's Top Youngest Stars In The Music Business


It’s been a good year for Mac Miller. The 19-year-old rapper played over 200 shows around the country, pumped his Twitter following past 1.4 million and released his debut album, Blue Slide Park, which became the first indie offering to open at No. 1 on the Billboard charts in over a decade.

“Making history is super-cool,” he says, lounging on a plush burgundy chair at the Forbes headquarters in New York. “I still don’t think I necessarily ‘made it’ … my whole thing is always, no matter where I get, to never be satisfied.”

For now, Miller can add another accolade to his résumé: member of the first annual Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the music category. He’s joined by a broad range of artists, producers, entrepreneurs and executives who are all shaping the future of the music business in different ways.

This year’s roster was handpicked by a panel of expert judges—Randy Phillips, chief of concert promoter AEG Live; Livia Tortella, co-president of Warner Brothers Records; and David Banner, the Grammy-winning rapper and producer—in conjunction with yours truly.

 The central question: Who will be the most influential figures in the music business over the next two decades?
There are some familiar names on the list, to be sure. Honorees including Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Lil Wayne and Katy Perry all appeared in ourCeleb 100 issue in June. We reserved 20 slots for recording artists across all genres, though, and many of them aren’t yet household names. There’sEsperanza Spalding, 27, the jazz musician who upset Justin Bieber to win the award for Best New Artist at last year’s Grammys; Conrad Tao, a 17-year-old piano-and-violin prodigy who gave his first recital at age four; and Skrillex, 23, an up-and-coming musician of a very different genre.

“[Skrillex is] a young producer who’s really helped put dubstep and electronic dance music on the map in the U.S.,” says Banner. “He also just received five Grammy nominations.”

Full coverage: 30 Under 30 – Music
Ten places on the list were set aside for music industry players whose primary focus isn’t performing. Three examples: Alex White, 25, a former Universal Music Group intern who founded Next Big Sound, a startup that provides artists and labels with advanced metrics to measure social media campaigns; Kyle Frenette, the 24-year-old manager of Grammy-nominated group Bon Iver; and Spencer Richardson, 27, founder of FanBridge, a company that helps artists market to fans with the help of direct email and spiffy analytics.
“Understanding the relationship with the fan and the lifetime value of a customer is what FanBridge is all about,” says Tortella. “It’s the future of music marketing.”

30 Under 30 in Music: Honorable Mentions
We certainly didn’t forget about Daniel Ek, 28, the founder of digital music service Spotify—he made the list in the Technology category, and is the subject of the cover story for the entire 30 Under 30 package. His 26-year-old colleague D.A. Wallach, the company’s artist in residence, is Spotify’s representative on the music list.
Expect to hear more from all the up-and-comers on this list as the years go on. As for Mac Miller, he’s looking well beyond the coming decade.

“My aspirations are very big,” he says. “I want to be remembered forever.”
For more on the business of music, see my book Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office

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Google plan to launch wearable computer

Date: 2011-12-22 Place: London

Google is reportedly developing computer glasses with a "heads up display" that would allow people to use the Internet out in the real world.
According to a New York Times report, the "Google Goggles" are designed as augmented reality devices that send information back to an Android smartphone attached the users' clothing or body.
9to5Google's specialist Seth Weintrub said that the latest prototype looks similar to thick-rimmed glasses but provides "a display with a heads up computer interface".
 "There are a few buttons on the arms of the glasses, but otherwise, they could be  mistaken for normal glasses," News.com.au quoted Weintrub, as saying.
 According to the report, the device that is said to operate via Wi-Fi Internet  connection or Bluetooth, has been developed in the search giants secret "Google X"  laboratory.
 If the rumours of these computer glasses turns out to be true, the technology could  be the first step towards doing away with touchscreen technology altogether. 

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DON 2 - Movie Review - 2 star Only


Don2: The King Is Back
                                                                                                                     Don2: The King Is Back (2011)
                                                                                Director:Farhan Akhtar
                                                                                      Producer:Farhan Akhtar
                                  Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta, Kunal Kapoor, Boman Irani,

                                                                                      Don 2 - Movie Review

                                                                           Rating- 5/10


Direction:
In terms of content and treatment, how much further has Farhan Akhtar taken the action flick? There's no easy answer to that. Needless to say Farhan’s creativity and talent takes the film to the next level. He completely justifies himself as a director. But, the film's outstanding topographical and technical detailing hampers the audiences' journey towards the characters.

Acting:
Shahrukh Khan is amazingly stylish in the role of Don. He proves that he can carry a role that is immortalized by Amitabh with élan. SRK indeed carries the entire film on his shoulders.
Priyanka Chopra as Roma who is Don’s Junglee Billi scores well. This girl is extremely confident. Lara Dutta as Ayesha ads glamour and charm to the film. Kunal Kapoor as Sameer Ali apparently plays an admirer of Don. He meets him in Berlin. He does a decent job. Boman Irani as Vardhaanis who is in the journey of taking revenge form Don is absolutely justified.

Synopsis
Shah Rukh Khan as Don is the most elusive, cunning, wily, astute, manipulative, unforgiving crime world who returns with a new set of enemies and greater ambition.

Having conquered the Asian underworld, Don (Shahrukh Khan) has now set his sight on European domination. In his way are the

bosses of the existing European underworld and all law enforcement agencies.

The action shifts from Kuala Lumpur to Berlin, as Don must avoid assassination or arrest, whichever comes first in order for his plan to succeed.

He is the worst nightmare for his enemies. He knows their deepest secrets and fears, and knows when to let them live and when to pull the trigger. Shah Rukh Khan as Don is back with a vengeance in Don 2.

Remember how Don pulled the rug from under everyone’s feet by feigning his own death and pretending as a simpleton impost ring as the Don in the 2006. The story now moves forward. Having fled from right under the nose of the cops, Don has now set his eyes on greener pastures.

The film begins in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and from there the action shifts to Germany. Incidentally, Don 2 is the first film to be shot in Germany.

Verdict:
Don is a contemporary action thriller with good entertainment, peppy music, endearing Shah Rukh and nostalgic memories. You can watch this film and enjoy it as long as you don't compare it with its original version. The 

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Apple vs. Samsung: The Evolution of Smartphones


This infographic detailing the battle over intellectual property between Apple and Samsung that finally shows just how complicated the patentwars have become.

The intellectual property battle rages on between tech giants – Apple and Samsung. Take a look through the infographic – created by Guys from Online MBA Guide – to study the roots and progression of the Apple vs. Samsung lawsuits.

The fued is notable due to the fact that Apple, the ‘world’s most valuable tech company’ by market capitalization and Samsung, which produces around a 5th of South Korea’s total exports, actually trade technology, and have continued to do so even during the patent lawsuit fiascos. If their relationship were to seriously suffer, Apple would run into production problems and Samsung would lose a lot of money.
In April 2011, Apple filed for patent infringement, claiming that Samsung copied its iPhone and iPad designs. Samsung has repeatedly counter-sued, claiming that Apple has infringed on their patents covering 3G and wireless technology.

Courts all over the world have taken on this battle. Europe and Australia, for instance, have ordered preliminary injunctions barring Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 from shelves — just in time for the holiday season.

apple samsung evolution of smartphones large

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Samsung Galaxy Nexus a sweet smartphone Review


As fans of Google's Android mobile software well know, each new version is named after a sugary treat, such as Gingerbread or Honeycomb. Android is about to get even sweeter with Ice Cream Sandwich a smooth, feature-rich operating system that will run first on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone.
The combination of Google's software and Samsung's hardware makes the Galaxy Nexus one of the best candidates to compete with Apple's latest iPhone, though its price is steep. It began selling last week in the U.S. for $300 with a two-year Verizon Wireless contract.


Like the previous phone in the Nexus line, the Nexus S, the Galaxy Nexus was jointly developed by Google Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. It features a slim frame with a large, curved glass screen that's comfortable for chatting with friends and excellent for watching videos. There are 32 gigabytes of built-in storage space on the Verizon version of the phone, but no external slot for a microSD memory card.
The screen, a pocket-busting 4.65 inches at the diagonal, makes the iPhone's 3.5-inches look diminutive. And despite the size, the Galaxy Nexus manages to weigh just 4.8 ounces, slightly less than Apple's offering.

On it, videos and Web pages looked crisp and bright, with rich colors. I started watching a video during testing — an HD copy of "The Help" that I rented from Google's Android Market — and had to force myself to break away to test other features of the device.

With the latest version of Android under the hood, the Galaxy Nexus is packed with new and improved features. Many of them are great; others are simply great in theory.

Overall, the software looks fresher and less cluttered. The virtual "buttons" that usually sit at the bottom of the screen have been redesigned. There's still a "home" and a "back" button, but no "menu" button to pull up various options within an app. Instead, there's now a "recent apps" button that shows what you've been doing lately on the phone.

Another neat change: The buttons are completely virtual, so they change directions when you flip the phone sideways and disappear when you're viewing photos or videos.
Other changes to Android include an overhaul of its virtual keyboard, meant to make it easier to type without messing up — something I've always had trouble with on the stock Android keyboard. I was often able to type more accurately than in the past, but sometimes still ended up with unintended words in my messages.

The Android browser and Gmail are updated, too. Gmail's new functions include the ability to search emails while offline The browser is zippier and has a "request desktop" option so you can check out Web pages in their non-truncated desktop version.

One new feature that falls into the "great in theory" category is Face Unlock, which uses facial-recognition technology to unlock the phone from standby mode. To set it up, you take a picture of your face with the phone. Then, all you have to do to unlock the phone is stare at the screen after you press the power button.

Most of the time it didn't work, though, probably because the phone couldn't recognize my face from certain angles. I was also able to fool it by holding up a shot of my face on an iPhone. So much for security.

Ice Cream Sandwich also has Android Beam, which lets you share such content as a Web page, map or video between two Android phones by bringing the backs of the phones close together. It only works with phones that have this Android software and near-field communication technology, though, so unless you and your friend both buy the Galaxy Nexus you'll be out of luck at launch.
More immediately useful was the phone's 5-megapixel camera, which is the snappiest I've seen on any Android phone. There was almost no shutter lag between shots, even when I had just turned the camera on.

Still, I would have preferred a higher-resolution sensor — 8-megapixel cameras are quickly becoming common on smartphones. In addition, photos I took could have been brighter, though this can be improved somewhat by using some of the available editing options, including numerous color filters and adjustable contrast options.

Like the iPhone 4S and some other high-end smartphones, the Galaxy Nexus can record high-definition videos in 1080p — the best resolution you can get on a consumer camera. I had some fun taking sunset videos with a time-lapse feature, and there are some goofy filming effects to play around with, too.

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Samsung Sweet Slate 7 Is Saddled by Its Software


Samsung's Series 7 Slate PC with the optional charging dock and keyboard accessories. The stylus, however, is included.....



Samsung's Series 7 Slate PC with the optional charging dock and keyboard accessories. The stylus, however, is included. Photo by Michael Calore/Wired

The jury is still out on Windows 7 tablets — and, at this point, it looks like it may never come in — but with the Series 7 Slate, Samsung at least gives this difficult niche the old college try.
Our last encounter with a Windows tablet dates back to March’s Viewsonic ViewPad 10, which disastrously attempted to combine Windows and Android in one device, dramatically failing at both. Here, Samsung is at least wise enough to pick one, and give that OS its all.
On paper, it gets off to a good enough start: The 11.6-inch LCD is gloriously bright (if you can keep the blasted auto-dimmer from engaging) and offers a 1366×768-pixel resolution. Under the hood, the 1.6GHz Core i5, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD hard disk would be capable specs for just about any standard laptop. And yet, at 1.9 pounds, the Samsung manages to weigh in at not much heavier than most 10-inch Android tablets.

Sure enough, performance is on par with similarly equipped laptops. If you connect a mouse and keyboard, you can even use the device for (very) rudimentary gaming — a testament not so much to the Series 7’s capabilities but rather its stability under load. It didn’t crash during a single benchmark test.
But the Series 7 is a tablet, not a laptop (Samsung confusingly makes both a Series 7 laptop and also this device with the almost-same name). As such, it’s designed with a different use pattern in mind. Like traditional tablets, the Series 7’s display auto-rotates based on how you’re holding it, but the vagaries of Windows means this happens more slowly than you might be used to with iOS or Android tablets. You’ll probably also want to use the included stylus instead of your finger. Clicking through Windows menus and toolbars is just too fine-grained for the average user’s ham-fisted touch. It’s up to you, though, to figure out what to do with the little plastic stick: There’s no place to store the stylus anywhere on the tablet, so consider wearing shirts with pockets from now on.

Samsung also includes a novel feature called the Touch Launcher, accessed via a button front and center at the base of the device. Press this and up pops a familiar icon wall very similar to the typical tablet interface. It’s pre-populated with links to YouTube, Twitter, a web browser, and so on. It all looks so easy, but these aren’t mobile apps — they’re either web shortcuts or Windows apps, many of which Samsung seems to have written itself. As such, they’re inextricably tied to Windows 7’s backend, and the spit-and-twine approach to building this system shows through often. Windows dialogue boxes often require your attention, and the overall lack of polish is distinct. Set the weather app to use Fahrenheit instead of Celsius, for example, and the weather widget on the Tablet Launcher home screen doesn’t make the change, only the app itself. The user can add and delete apps to this subsystem, but they have to be already installed on the device, or created as web links.

Aside from the Touch Launcher button, all the remaining buttons and ports are relegated to the sides. They are unfortunately difficult to get at by touch alone: All shaped like slim rectangles, it’s tough to tell the power button apart from the rotation lock button on the right, and the volume control on the left is actually tough to distinguish from the lone USB port (above) and mini-HDMI port (below) without a good amount of fumbling. A microSD slot and headphone/mic jack are also available. A charging dockaccessory ($100) replicates the HDMI, USB and headphone ports, adds an Ethernet port, and props up the tablet for use with a wireless keyboard (Samsung’s is $80).
But the real issues with the Series 7 aren’t Samsung’s, they’re Microsoft’s. To date, most Windows tablets are targeted for “vertical markets” like healthcare and manufacturing management, where users are constantly on their feet and need full-on Windows at the ready. But the Series 7 lacks the ruggedness most of these devices boast. More casual users will likely wonder why none of this works “as well as my iPad,” and that’s a fair criticism.

The response to that issue is essentially why Windows 8 is being developed, at which point the Series 7 may be batting clean-up in a whole new ballgame.

WIRED PC-class features in a tablet body. Possibly the most powerful tablet on the market today.
TIRED Windows remains a struggle with a pen-and-finger interface. Samsung’s Tablet-esque add-on is only three-quarters baked. Dock and wireless keyboard cost extra. Tepid battery life of about 4.5 hours.




The pokey pen comes with, the keyboard is extra. Photo by Michael Calore/Wired

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New Honda City 2012 Launched With New Features


Starting at a price tag of Rs. 6.99 Lakhs, ex-showroom Delhi, this is a facelift on the third generation of Honda's mid-sizer for India
NEW DELHI: Japanese car maker Honda today launched a new entry-level variant of its flagship sedan City in India, slashing the price by Rs 50,000 compared to that of the existing model.
The company, which is present in India through a joint venture with the Siel Group, had cut the price of the City by up to Rs 66,000 in June also, after implementing various cost reduction measures.
Marketing), at the launch of New Honda City in New Delhi on 14 Dec. 2012. 
 Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) on Wednesday launched   refreshed version of the new City at prices ranging  from Rs 6.99 lakh to Rs 10.22 lakh (ex-showroom,  Delhi). The old City was priced between Rs 7.49 lakh  and Rs 9.89 lakh.
 "Our target is to offer a product as affordable as  possible to customers. So we have launched a new  Corporate Edition of the City that do not have some  features, and we have cut the prices from the earlier entry-level version," HSCI Director (Marketing) Seki Inaba told reporters here.
The company's R&D division is also working on to increase the localisation of components and implement cost reduction activities, he added.
HSCI will start taking booking orders for the new City immediately and delivery will start from January.
The company had introduced the current third generation City in 2008 and has sold 1.36 lakh units so far.
The City sales have been facing stiff resistance from other models in the segment such asHyundai Verna, Maruti SX4 and Volkswagen Vento. While Verna, SX4 and Vento offer both diesel and petrol options, City comes only in petrol variant.
In August, HSCI had launched a new version of its premium hatchback Jazz, cutting the price by over Rs 1.5 lakh from the existing model as it looked to increase sales in a fiercely competitive compact car market.
Talking about the impact on sourcing of components from Thailand due the flood, Inaba said: "Our production was curtailed due to component shortage. However, we have been successful in ensuring components for the new City."
The production of its hatchbacks Jazz and Brio is likely to be normalised from February next year, he added.
"After the impact, we are now seeking alternate locations like China and Japan to source various parts. We are hoping that we will attain normal production level from February," Inaba said.
During 2011, HSCI has lost about half of its production  than its initial plans for the year due totsunami in Japan  and flood in Thailand, he said without giving details.
Asked about the impact of depreciating rupee, Inaba said: "We are trying to increase the amount of export of components like body panels from India to reduce the affect... We do not have any plans to raise the prices of our products."
Stating that the production of its hatchbacks Jazz and Brio would be normalised from February-March next year, Mr. Inaba said: “We are now looking at various alternative destinations such as China for sourcing components…focus is also on increasing localisation of cars that would help bring down our production costs and reduce dependability on other countries for sourcing parts.”
The 2012 City is mechanically identical to the 2011 model and comes with the 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine and a choice of manual or automatic transmission. The 2012 City is prices as below (all prices ex-showroom Delhi):
  • Corporate Edition – Rs. 699000
  • E MT – Rs. 770000
  • S MT – Rs. 820000
  • V MT – Rs. 870000
  • V AT – Rs. 942000
  • V (Sunroof & Leather Seats) MT – Rs.950500
  • V (Sunroof & Leather Seats) AT – Rs.1022000

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