Strange New World: Tech Picks of the Week

Not too much going on in the world of technology this week, while we wait for the iPhone to drop next week. But we did find some interesting stories. Apparently, the reports of the Blackberry's death have been greatly exaggerated, Intel is no longer so keen on Microsoft, and you will soon get your magazines just like you get your DVDs. Here are the picks of the week.

Who's afraid of the iPhone?

Research in Motion (RIM), the manufacturer of the Blackberry line of smart phones, announced that it has doubled both its revenue and its earnings for the first quarter of this year. The company earned $482.5 million this quarter, up from $223.2 million for the same quarter last year. And revenue grew more than 100 percent, up to $2.24 billion from $1.08 billion last year. RIM also says it shipped 5.4 million new phones during this quarter, and added about 2.3 million new subscribers. The company now has a customer base of about 16 million users.

The scuttlebutt around the country was that the iPhone was sweeping in and the Blackberry was going the way of the dodo, but that is simply not the case. Apple actually only sold 2.3 million iPhones during the first quarter of 2008. Apple sales may pick up quite a bit when it begins selling the cheaper 3G model and opens the phone up for enterprise use. But right now RIM is still in the driver's seat.

Intel Says 'No, Thanks' to Vista

For years Intel and Microsoft have been like two peas in a pod when it came to everything. But now it seems that Intel may be bucking that trend. When asked recently if the company would be upgrading its computer systems to Vista, a spokesman said, "We're in a refresh cycle now and there are a number of factors considered before we select software. We are testing and deploying Windows Vista in certain departments."

Yet another glowing recommendation for Windows Vista: Will it survive until its successor Windows 7 arrives in 2010? Or is Vista destined to become another Windows ME? If Microsoft's best buddy doesn't want its latest OS, why would consumers want to try their luck?

The Netflix of Magazines?

Time Inc is going to use the Netflix rental model and apply it to magazines. Starting in September, magazine subscribers will be able to pick and choose which magazines they get each month. Time Inc's Maghound online service will allow members to receive up to 3 magazines a month for $3.95 per month, five titles for $7.95, seven titles for $9.95, and $1 per title for eight titles or more. They hope to have more than 300 magazines available by the time they launch.

Jonathan Blum and Dan Evans co-host "Strange New World," a weekly syndicated radio show. Blum hosts the blog Blumsday.com and Evans is a features editor at PC Magazine.

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