An often irreverent look at this week's other news ...

Next Week: New Zealand

I’m flying to New Zealand today—a trip that includes about 19.5 hours in the air and that will see me losing Saturday, literally, thanks to crossing over the International Date Line. Yes, I travel to Europe fairly frequently, but most Europe flights aren't as time-consuming from Boston as flying to San Francisco or Seattle, so this should be interesting. I’ll be working semi-normally from Auckland, New Zealand, albeit 16 hours ahead of normal, which should also be interesting. And if you happen to be there, I’ll be speaking at TechEd New Zealand and making a general nuisance of myself at the show. See you on (literally) the other side of the world…

My Next Book: Windows Phone Something, Something, Something, Dark Side

Also, in case you missed it, I’m starting a book experiment of sorts and bypassing traditional publishing to create what I think of as a gift to the community: a free new book about Windows Phone 8 that I’ll write over the next several months and make available for review and feedback during the entire process. I’m making this up as I go along, but if you’re curious to see how it goes or want to help out, please check out The Next Book, where I describe what I’m trying to accomplish and provide a link to the site where the book discussion will be occurring. Thanks!

New Windows Phone 8 Device Images Begin Leaking Out

Speaking of Windows Phone 8, in the wake of Samsung’s announcement this past week about the first-ever Windows Phone 8 handset, the ATIV S, images of other upcoming Windows Phone 8 handsets have begun leaking online at the usual leak-happy sites. Among them are two Nokia handsets, a 4.3" Lumia 820, which features multiple colors and will ship via AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon in the United States, and the Lumia 920 PureView, which will be the new flagship Nokia device with a 4.5" display, multiple colors, and a unibody design. (Both should be formally announced at Nokia’s various events next week.) Not to be outdone, an HTC handset, the Accord, also leaked, though I can’t say much based on the weak-looking render that’s been provided.

Acer Joins the Windows 8 PC and Devices Ranks

I wrote this week about all the new Windows 8 and RT PCs coming out in "PC Makers Start Announcing Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs" and "More Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs Come Roaring Out of the Gates," but there’s more coming. Acer also announced new portable and desktop PCs, including the Aspire M3 Ultrabook, which offers a conventional Ultrabook design but with a multi-touch screen, and the Aspire V5, which does the same for a more traditional laptop form factor in 14" and 15.6" variants. Acer will also ship a 23" all-in-one desktop computer, the Aspire ZS600, which offers a full HD (1920 x 1080) display with 10-point multi-touch, a TV tuner, and optional Blu-ray drive. From what I can tell, Acer is going all-in on Windows 8, and hasn’t (at least not yet) announced any Windows RT devices.

Apple, Publishers Reach Out with Concessions as eBook Price Cuts and Refunds Are on the Way

Readers know that ebook prices took a sudden and sharp turn upward when Apple entered the market two years ago and colluded with the world’s biggest publishers to harm consumers and edge market-leader Amazon aside illegally. One US Department of Justice (DOJ) antitrust lawsuit later, things are changing. And in addition to ebook prices returning to the levels they were at before Apple turned on its pricing blender, ebook readers have some more good news coming their way. First up are the refunds: In the months ahead, customers who purchased ebooks over the past two years will receive tiered refund checks, based on whether the ebooks they overpaid for were New York Times bestsellers or not. And now Apple and four publishers have reached out to Amazon in a bid to settle their DOJ antitrust suit. And they’re offering to simply return the market to normal: Amazon and other retailers will be able to set prices on the wares they sell, instead of Apple and the publishers colluding together to set prices at a higher level. My advice to the DOJ is simple: Because this price reduction was going to happen anyway, I don’t see why these companies shouldn’t be punished. As an avid consumer of ebooks, in fact, I demand it.

Hey Samsung! It’s "Windows Phone 8," Not "Windows 8 Phone"!

Samsung’s curious insistence on referring to its new handset as a “Windows 8 Phone” has got people talking this week: Is Microsoft renaming Windows Phone 8 to Windows 8 Phone in order to take further advantage of the connection between its PC and device OSs? Nope. A trusted source at Microsoft informs me the name is Windows Phone 8 and that Samsung just misspoke.

Samsung Defeats Apple in Japan Patent-Infringement Trial

Samsung might have lost big in its highly publicized US court case against Apple, but it’s gone 2-and-0 against Apple internationally. This week, a Tokyo District Court in Japan joined a South Korean court in handing Samsung a decisive victory against Apple, ruling that Samsung’s mobile devices do not infringe on an Apple patent, in this case one involving PC-to-device sync. Maybe it’s time to revisit that US case and start alleging that Apple simply won in its own backyard and that maybe a more impartial crowd should start reviewing the company’s patents instead. Just a thought.

iPhone 5 Screen Production Delayed

More bad news for Apple: It looks like production of the screen that will be used by the company’s next iPhone will be delayed because of manufacturing difficulties. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, which now tracks Apple miscellany about as frequently as TMZ tracks celebrity drunkenness, Sharp was expected to begin making the iPhone 5 screens by late August but that work has not yet begun. This could—gasp!—delay the release of the next iPhone (which will be announced in a few weeks) and delay Apple’s beloved once-a-year bump when it can pretend that it's a bigger smartphone maker than Samsung. That said, Sharp is only one of three suppliers of iPhone 5 screens, so it’s unclear what the point of this report is—similar to the way it’s unclear what the point of a picture of some blond semi-starlet falling out of the back of a car is.

Listen to Paul. No, Really Listen. Or Watch. Or Both!

I recorded What the Tech with Andrew Zarian on Tuesday and Windows Weekly with Leo Laporte and Mary Jo Foley on Thursday. Both podcast episodes should be available soon, on the web, and via iTunes, the Zune Marketplace, and wherever else quality podcasts are found. You can also find all of my podcast activities on the SuperSite for Windows. Next week should be interesting, given the time change, but the plan is to record both shows from New Zealand.

The Paul Thurrott Mobile App: Is That a Paul in Your Pocket?

The Paul Thurrott: Pocket Tech app is now available for both the iPhone and Windows Phone, bringing all of my technical content to your favorite mobile device in a fun, on-the-go format. We'll have an Android version available soon as well, I'm told. And who knows? A Windows 8 app would make plenty of sense too. Download for Windows Phone - Download for iPhone

But Wait, There's More

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