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theEweekly Wrap: Spotify, spies and the Story HD

Clash of the tablets Google has announced the release of the first e-reader that features the Google eBooks platform integrated as standard. The Story HD is manufactured by iriver, and is set to hit the shelves on July 17th for $139 (£87). The integration means users can browse, buy (or just download free) from a catalogue of over three million Google eBooks directly through the device’s Wi-Fi system, rather than transferring downloads over from a PC.

Meanwhile, the current king of e-readers may be upping its game. The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon is set to launch two new models of the Kindle e-reader – one with a touch screen, and one an update to the current Kindle –as well as a multimedia tablet PC to rival the iPad. The latter would appear to be confirmed by DigiTimes reporting that Foxconn electronics company has begun manufacturing a 10.1-inch tablet for Amazon.

Spies defect The annual report from the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) has revealed concerns over the UK’s ability to withstand cyber warfare. The committee speculated that Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), responsible for monitoring and countering cyber terrorism and hacking, is struggling to keep hold of “a suitable cadre of internet specialists”. GCHQ director Iain Lobban said this is because it is impossible to compete with corporate salaries, and former UK government spies are leaving to work for big internet brands:

“They will be working for Microsoft or Google or Amazon or whoever. And I can’t compete with their salaries. I can offer them a fantastic mission, but I can’t compete with their salaries.”

The ISC report also criticised GCHQ for ‘losing’ £1 million of equipment over the last decade, of which around five per cent poses a risk to UK security. There is to be an 11.3 per cent budget cut across UK intelligence services – including GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 – by 2014.

Coming to America After more than two years of speculation, Spotify announced in an official blog yesterday that the music streaming service is to launch in the USA. Currently operating on an invite-only basis in beta form, users will be able to choose from Spotify Free, Unlimited and Premium.

Spotify currently has around 10 million users in Europe, of which around 8.4 million use the free service. Moves have been made in recent months to make the company more profitable, and it’s likely that the US market will do just that; for starters, the service has signed sponsorship deals with Coca-Cola, Motorola, Chevrolet and Reebok. The BBC reported that the US launch was delayed “because the [record] labels were not convinced about its ability to make them money”.

Written by Rachel Hand

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