IN THE PAPERS
In The Papers 19 February
Panasonic in race to launch 3D home system | Budget Travel customer data stolen
The Irish Times reports that US researchers have devised an environmentally friendly electric car that plugs into the wall to sell power back to the electricity company. The research is being funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), with a goal of developing 'plug-in hybrid electric vehicles' (PHEV) that not only use grid electricity to meet their power needs, but can also collect electricity from the wind or sun and then sell this back into the national electricity grid.
In other news of electric cars, the paper says that the first charge points for cars in Ireland will be up and running before Easter. The three charge points will be located around Dublin: outside the ESB headquarters on Fitzwilliam Street; at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources on Adelaide Road; and at the IDA/Sustainability Ireland HQ on Wilton Place. The charge points will be the first of 1,500 to be rolled out by the end of 2011. The project will go to tender later this year.
The paper also notes that NUI Galway and the University of Limerick have forged a research alliance. Read more on this story on ENN.
The same paper notes that the total value of the Irish online and telephone betting market is just under EUR800 million annually, according to an industry report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The paper also reports on the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Among the more quirky items on display, NTT Docomo demonstrated headphones that could allow users to control an MP3 player simply by moving their eyes. Texas Instruments showed off contextual web browsers and a 3D display. Safelinq's SmartLinq mobile phone sends information on the user's whereabouts to a company at fixed intervals, and sends an alert if the user does not move in a predefined period of time. Meanwhile, the Finnish Mobile Association showcased a wireless charging technology called PowerKiss, which is built into furniture.
The paper also reports on the Irish companies who attended the Mobile World Congress. For more on this, see our Weekly Digest.
The same paper notes that serial technology entrepreneur Dylan Collins has advised Irish state agencies to fund 300 low-cost internet start-ups a year, with the expectation that 95 percent would fail. Collins says a radical new approach is needed in Ireland if we are to build a truly smart economy. The cost of setting up an online business has fallen dramatically and Collins says that even the promoters of the unsuccessful businesses would learn a huge amount from the experience. Last year Collins sold a majority stake in Jolt Online Gaming to GameStop. Previously he sold Demonware to Activision.
The paper also reports that Panasonic claims it will be the first company to launch a 3D home entertainment system, due on the market late spring. At an event in Munich this week, Panasonic unveiled new products including the VT20, a full HD, 3D plasma TV, initially available in 50-inch and 65-inch screen sizes, bundled with two pairs of active shutter glasses. Sony is working to a similar timeline, however, with plans to launch 3D LCD TVs and Blu-ray disc players.
The Irish Examiner reports that a USB stick containing the personal details of tens of thousands of Budget Travel customers has been stolen. In a letter sent to all individuals affected, Simon Coyle, the liquidator of the now-closed business, confirmed that personal information relating to members of the public has been stolen. The information, which does not include credit card or other financial details, was taken from Budget Travel's main office in Dublin on 3 February. Two individuals involved in the incident have been identified by Garda, but the USB stick has yet to be located.
According to the Wall Street Journal, US energy regulators have approved a request by Google to become an electricity marketer, allowing the company to buy and sell bulk power like a utility. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously backed Google's application for what's known as market-based rate authority. Google currently does not own generation facilities or transmission lines to deliver power, and isn't planning to use the new authority for retail purposes, FERC officials said. Google has said its interest in power stems from a desire to manage its own energy supplies and gain better access to renewable power.
The Financial Times reports that PC maker Dell has posted quarterly sales ahead of its projections, on the back of greater corporate technology spending. Revenue grew 11 percent to USD14.9 billion in the period to 29 January, aided by USD600 million from the purchase of Perot Systems, and a 7 percent increase in product revenue. However, net income slipped to USD334 million, or USD0.17 a share, from USD351 million or USD0.18 in the year-ago quarter. Operating income fell to 3.4 percent of sales, down from 4.5 percent in the previous quarter and flat compared with a year earlier.
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