TechBytes: Microsoft's Mystery Event

MasterCard MarketPlace, Netflix release delay, Microsoft's new software.

April 12, 2010— -- Microsoft is inviting select guests to a mystery event today, creating buzz like its rival Apple. The software giant is expected to finally announce its new line of cell phones aimed at younger users interested in multi-tasking. The phones will cost less than the iPhone or Google's Nexus, and they will not use the upcoming Windows Phone 7 software.

MasterCard Mall

MasterCard's new online shopping mall opens for business today. The MasterCard MarketPlace predicts what you will buy and creates a customized mall around your interests. The card company gives retailers information on your buying history, and they tailor offers directly to you. The program uses software developed by Next Jump, which runs employee discount and reward programs.

Netflix Release Delay

Netflix customers who want to see some of the latest movies on DVD may have to wait a while. The company has agreed to delay the DVD release of movies from 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures in exchange for better terms for streaming them on the Internet. That means movies like "Avatar" and "It's Complicated" won't be mailed to customers until 28 days after they're first released for home screening.

Digital Drafting Table

Touch screens are the wave of the future but Microsoft says that a touch screen and a pen are better. They've combined the two in new software called "Manual Deskterity" and they're showing it off in a prototype digital drafting table The program allows users to copy, cut, stack, slice and tear quicker and cleaner than ever before.

Ads Change Colors

And, finally, smart ads are getting even smarter. IBM has come up with new, interactive signs that change color based on what the viewer is wearing. The idea is that shoppers may be more positive about ads that seem to respond to them. The billboard uses sensors and LEDs to match the most prominent color it "sees." But word is the sign tends to crash when confronted with clashing outfits.

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