The challenge for Marissa Mayer

The big news in technology circles is the appointment of Marissa Mayer, one of Google’s earliest employees, as the CEO of Yahoo! That makes the 37-year-old the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Yahoo! is sorely in need of some innovation and Mayer brings with her the rich experience of having launched several products at Google, including having played a major role its two most successful products — Google Search and Gmail. She has held two vice-president portfolios — (Search Products and User Experience) and (Local, Maps and Location Services) — and is one of the most recognised women executives in Silicon Valley.

Yahoo! has generally fallen off the radar in recent years from among the big league dominated by Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft, in probably that order of listing. But in the past, Yahoo! has been known for its innovative products. Among several wish-lists web users have drawn up for Ms. Mayer is the wish to restore the photo-sharing service Flickr to its former glory.

Incidentally, Ms. Mayer also announced, on the day of her appointment as Yahoo! CEO, in an interview to a business magazine, that she was pregnant with her first child and her delivery date would be sometime in October. So now technology forums are discussing whether that makes her the first pregnant CEO of a Fortune 500 company!

iPad Mini?

Here is another piece of speculation that seems to be gaining ground by the day. Is Apple developing an iPad Mini just to knock out all its competitors from the universe? This time, the publication speculating on this is no less than the New York Times. It had reported that the world’s largest technology company is developing a 7.85-inch iPad Mini that will quell whatever challenges are posed by the likes of Amazon Kindle Fire and the upcoming Google Nexus 7. NYT has said, quoting unnamed sources, that the tablet would cost significantly lesser than the currently entry-level price of $499. The Amazon Kindle Fire currently retails in the U.S. for $199 and has been the most successful of entry-level tablet PCs.

Though it is not unusual for Apple to provide iterations on some of its products, specifically the iPod with its iPod Nano, iPod Touch and iPod classic variants, the company has in the past said it won’t introduce any size lesser than the current 9.75-inch which it deemed was optimal for its multi-touch. Steve Jobs, particularly, was known to be adamant about the screen specifications of the tablet PC. However, under the leadership of Tim Cook, and in the face of a growing market, the idea of an iPad Mini does not sound all that improbable. But like all things Apple, no one is going to get the official word on this until the product is launched.

Indian languages on HTC

Mobile handset manufacturer HTC has announced Indian languages support for its HTC One and HTC Desire phones. A press note said the company has rolled out support in Hindi, Tamil and Marathi scripts through all the messaging functions on phones launched this year. The devices that will support the languages include HTC One X, HTC One S, HTC One V, Desire C and Desire V. Bengali language viewing capability is coming to the phones in August.

Those who have HTC phones will be able to add the language support through an automatic software update soon, the press note added.

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Weekly WindowOctober 17, 2012