A curated selection of the day’s most newsworthy tech stories from all over the Web.
At CES, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed the company’s plans to expand its motion-based Xbox 360 Kinect controller, which has already sold more than 8 million units, beyond gaming. Users can expect hands-free navigation of Netflix and (finally) Hulu Plus, as well as body motion capture for a new feature called Avatar Kinect, which will map the body’s actions, right down to eyebrow ticks, for things like multi-user chat. Expect all this in a likely Dashboard update out this spring. (New York Times and Electronista)
- Microsoft also revealed the next version of Windows will support ARM chips from companies like Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments. “Windows PCs will continue to adapt and evolve,” Mr. Ballmer said in his keynote. “It means Windows will be everywhere on every kind of device without compromise.” (Wall Street Journal)
- Oh, and in case you’re wondering how Windows Phone 7 is doing, Ballmer said the WP7 Marketplace now has 5,500 apps and receives 100 new apps a day from developers. (Boy Genius Report)
- Not to be outdone, Motorola dropped a neat little bomb of its own: the dual-core Motorola Atrix, a 4G smart phone with AT&T that doubles as the engine for — and docks with — a for a thin-and-light Android notebook. The carbon-fiber-looking handset reportedly sports a 4-plus-inch screen with 960 x 540 resolution, Nvidia’s Tegra 2 processor, 1 GB of notebook-grade RAM, and 16 GB of memory. Senior Writer Michael Copeland spent some quality time with it in this hands-on video preview. (Fortune)
- During his CES keynote, AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega revealed 20 new 4G devices — running AT&T, naturally — will launch this year, including modems, mobile hotspots and phones. De la Vega specifically mentioned Apple as one of the manufacturers who would get in on the 4G goodness this year, though he failed to give more details beyond that. (Boy Genius Report)
- In non-CES-related news, Goldman Sachs will reportedly stop taking orders for Facebook shares from clients today and also warned some investors to expect just a fraction of the shares they’d originally requested. As part of an offering document, new details emerged about Facebook itself: the social network had net income of $200 million in 2009 with revenues of $777 million. (Wall Street Journal)
- Some sources are saying professional social network LinkedIn plans to go public next year. Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and JPMorgan would be among the book runners, or lead underwriters. (Reuters)
- Google VP of Engineering Andy Rubin let loose with a blog post and YouTube video previewing Android 3.0, dubbed “Honeycomb.” New features will apparently include a really slick-looking new user interface, Google Talk video chat, as well as Books, YouTube and Gmail integration. Here’s the video. (Fortune)
- CityVille maker Zynga, which is reportedly also mulling over an IPO ahead of Facebook, will acquire struggling social browser maker Flock, which launched in 2005 and has raised almost $30 million. (TechCrunch and Reuters)
- Research in Motion’s upcoming PlayBook tablet, which will have Sprint 4G, is getting some positive feedback. Though the company says the OS isn’t totally optimized yet, the whole user experience is already pretty smooth. The dealbreaker for many however, may be RIM’s insistence that the PlayBook’s email and calendar be tethered to BlackBerry smartphones. In other words, without a BlackBerry, there’s no native email or calendar app access, though users will be able to access both through the web browser. (Gizmodo)
- In what may be an effort to thwart some businesses from using “spammy tactics,” Foursquare is placing caps on the number of friends and outstanding friend requests users can have at any given time. (AboutFoursquare)
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