Weekend Update 05.22.10–Two, Two, Two Phones in One Edition

This week, the valley was abuzz (certainly not atwitter) with preparations for the Google (GOOG) I/O developers conference, which aimed to showcase what the search giant has been up to inside the skunk works. Would it be TV? Video? A tablet? Free phones? Read on for all the news from a big week in the Valley, where it was about way more than Google.

Kara began the week just as she said she would, with another Jobs blast from the past. The video features Jobs from way back at D3 (we’re approaching D8 now), offering all kinds of Jobsian wisdom. Kara moved on to the world of Yahoo (YHOO) and its arms race with AOL (AOL) and Demand Media. Yahoo bought up Associated Content for a reported $90 million. Cheap content isn’t cheap, apparently. Kara finished things with some breaking news Friday about the FTC approved Google-AdMob deal. Now that Apple (AAPL) has iAd, maybe there is just enough competition.

Digital Daily began with a piece of significant Apple ephemera. Apple watchers have spotted the “tethering” option in the most recent iPhone OS 4 beta. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll finally get to do what anyone with a Blackberry has been doing for years. John wrote several pieces about the announcements from the Google I/O event. Among the notables was Google TV, where a set-top box connects the TV to the Web in an attempt to jump the content gap. John closed out the week with news that Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) will likely release a tablet based on Palm’s webOS by year’s end. We sure hope they keep the click wheel.

MediaMemo began the week with a report on the progress of iPad-iPhone magazine apps unfolding in the App Store. GQ is doing okay with its offerings, though Peter isn’t convinced the iPad is giving the app a significant boost. In pseudomedia news, TweetDeck, the Twitter client to the stars (or, at least, Ashton uses it), raised another $3 million. If TweetDeck is any indication, maybe Twitter’s public remarks haven’t killed off the client economy yet. Peter closed things out with an exclusive from the content factory world. He reported that Rafat Ali, founder of paidContent, will leave the business in early July.

Personal Technology got ahold of the latest 4G phone, the EVO, from HTC and gave it a speed test in Baltimore, home of the 4G connection. Walt said the promised speed was delivered, but the battery lagged under that enormous data load. The phone’s other features, like the front-facing camera, didn’t disappoint, but Walt’s criticism is well taken. It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles the thing has if there isn’t any juice left to run it. In Mossberg’s Mailbox this week, Walt answered a pair of questions about an American iPad in Paris and laptop warranties. Katie published a review of Togetherville.com, a social network designed for the six-to-10 crowd. The kidcentric network is designed to be a safe place for children to learn the lessons of social networking without the risks associated with more adult choices. It seems “walled gardens” can be okay if they are of the “kinder” variety. Katie hopes the site fleshes out its content offerings and becomes a real place of refuge for kids on the Web.

It turns out that Google gave two phones instead of one, that the twitter ecosystem hasn’t been killed yet, and that mo’ data means mo’ battery drain in the world of 4G. If you think this was a full week, stay tuned. We are in final countdown to D8, and with the speakers list reading like a who’s who of media and tech digerati, it will be one for the books, or at least the blogs.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald