TECH BYTES: Verizon to launch app store

July 29, 2009 8:19:40 AM PDT
Verizon may not have the iPhone, but it will soon have its own app store. Verizon has announced plans to launch the V-Cast application store to take on Apple and other rivals. It launches later this year, but has a long way to go to catch Apple, which already has more than 50,000 apps available for download.

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A week after announcing an electronic bookstore, Barnes and Noble is making it easier to buy those e-books in its actual stores. The bookseller is now offering free Wi-Fi in all of its stores. Barnes and Noble plans to use the free Internet access to send personalized messages to customers including coupons and notices about book signings.

Popular micro-blogging site Twitter has launched a new home page. The big addition is a search box. You can type in a word or phrase to see what people are talking -- or tweeting-- about. There is also a list of the most popular topics on Twitter, broken down by the minute, day and week.

The Internet has become a much bigger part of our lives in recent years, but it doesn't appear to be taking away from our TV time. A new survey finds Americans currently watch an average of 13 hours of TV per week -- the same as five years ago. The average amount of time spent on the web has doubled in that time to more than 12 hours per week, but that comes mainly at the expense radio and newspapers.

Finally, watch out major league baseball players, you've got some new competition. A professor at Tokyo University has created baseball playing robots. One pitches, the other hits. The pitcher is incredibly accurate, throwing 90-percent of its balls in the strike zone. And the batter hits balls in the strike zone almost every time and doesn't swing at bad pitches. But perhaps the best part about these robots is that they don't cost as much as real players.

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