IT News: Online Shopping at All-Time High

Plus, what your mobile PC says about you, and new products from TransMedia, Orb Networks and more.

'Tis the season for breaking online sales records, according to analysts at comScore Networks. They reported that between Nov. 1 and Dec. 5 this year, retail Web sites based in the U.S. raked in $13.7 billion in sales, up 25 percent from the $11 billion reported during the same period last year. Dec. 4 has been the high point of the season so far; with consumers that day shelling out a total of $647 million, last Monday set the online record for spending in a single day.

Mobile or Desktop: What Does Your PC Say About You?
Online retailers can probably thank mobile PC users for much of last week's shopping frenzy. According to researching firm MetaFacts Inc., people who own mobile PCs are about twice as likely to shop online -- and to shop at more than one location -- than those who own desktop PCs. They're also more likely to participate in online betting, have blogs, be members of online networking sites like MySpace, and own other mobile devices like portable MP3 players.

New Products: Glide Next, MyCasting, More
Last week saw the launch of Glide Next, version 2.0 of the Glide OS from TransMedia. It's a mobile desktop that lets users have access to their photos, documents, music, RSS feeds, bookmarks and e-mail contacts through any mobile device. The company says that a "universal translator" ensures that you can share your files with anyone, regardless of what device, operating system or network they use. This latest version features an online photo editor and word processor, with a spreadsheet beta expected in January 2007.

Orb Networks introduced its own media-sharing solution when it released version 2.0 of its MyCasting product, now available in a free download. MyCasting lets users create their own online "channels" featuring their music, photos, videos and podcasts. All MyCasting needs is Internet access -- via a PC, cell phone or PDA -- and a streaming media player; once a user signs on to their MyCasting account online, they can stream their media and share their files. For PC owners with a TV tuner card, MyCasting can also play live or recorded broadcast TV.

For educators, the Pronto by Horizon Wimba promises to give students and teachers a convenient way to spontaneously collaborate with each other online. Now available for free to all colleges and universities, the Pronto gives students and teachers access to class-specific contact lists, and then lets them connect with each other through instant messaging and VoIP. http://www.horizonwimba/getpronto

In the online video publishing arena, On2 Technologies Inc. has released the On2 Flix Publisher 2.0, which the company says can cut down the cost of operating a video Web site. The Flix Publisher 2.0's drag-and-drop interface lets users encode their videos and preview their quality before submitting them to a Web site. Meanwhile, the company says, site owners can rest assured that all videos can be properly encoded and made publish-ready at lower infrastructure and labor costs.

Here's a little something for the gamers on your holiday shopping list: the Konami Live! Online Game Contoller, released last week and now retailing for $19.99. Users just plug the controller into their computer's USB port, and they'll be taken straight to Konami's gaming Web site where they can access games, online communities and more.

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.


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