GLOBAL TECH WRAP: Apple launching iWatch in third quarter - report

Left and below: artists' impressions of how the an Apple smartwatch could look
Samsung's Gear 2 (left) and Gear Fit, released in NZ tomorrow. For scale, the wearables are positioned against a pair of so-called "dumb glasses" owned by NBR's technology editor

Apple will release a smart watch in the third quarter, says Taiwan's Economic Times - a paper that has a reasonably good track record predicting Apple's next moves due to its close ties to local manufacturers. The Times says Apple has ordered  65 million iWatches by year’s end, which will be made by Taiwanese company Quanta, which already contract manufacturers some models of MacBook. The report says the first iWatches are due in August. A second Taiwanese company, TPK, is making a flexible OLED screen for the iWatch, the Times reckons - but beyond that details are scarce.

Meanwhile, Samsung is will release its second-generation smartwatch, the Gear 2 ($449) in NZ tomorrow (Friday). Check this website Friday morning [UPDATE: here] for a detailed first-look at the Gear 2, which will be joined by a step-down, camera-less model, the Neo ($349) and the smaller, lighter $299 Fit.

'Sesame Street' is launching its own kid-friendly streaming service, reports The Verge. It'll cost you $US3.99 per month or $US29.99 a year to stream all the episodes you can eat - as long as "you" are living in the US. The service will be geoblocked to others.

Facebook To Discontinue Messaging Feature in Mobile App, reports Digits. Now, Facebook users can send messages from within its main app, but the spokesman said that feature will soon be discontinued. The move, which Facebook hopes will increase use of its separate mobile-messaging app, is part of Facebook’s strategy of rolling out multiple apps offering different features of its core product. Facebook now has seven mobile apps, including photo-sharing app Instagram. In January, it launched Paper, an app that aggregates and curates news stories. Facebook also acquired mobile messaging service WhatsApp in February, for $US4 in cash plus shares that will boost the total value of the deal as high as $US19 billion. The social network plans to add voice calling to WhatsApp.

BlackBerry's new boss has a two-year survival plan, reports Bloomberg. “All I need to do is replace the handset revenue, and this company will be very different," CEO John Chen told the news agency. What with? Chen has high hopes for the BlackBerry Messenger App, which is now avialable free for iOS and Android (with in-app purchase options), plus QNX, which BlackBerry bought for $US200 million in 2010. QNX's embedded software can be used in cars and industrial gear.

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