Google has consolidated all its digital download services — Books, Movies, Music and Games — on one platform ‘Google Play’, in an apparent effort to compete with Apple and Amazon that have pioneered the online retail marketplace approach.

The service — play.google.com — combines the marketplace with Google Play’s cloud service. So Google users, purchasing a book at Google Play on an Android device, will be able to read it on the desktop via the cloud. The cloud service is free. The new service has created a positive buzz among tech blogs, some saying that Google is finally introducing its own game to compete with Apple’s uber-successful iTunes store. Even though Android devices have caught up with iOS devices in terms of sheer number, Apple is still head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to direct sales of digital downloads to its users. This is Google’s big step forward in that direction.

iPad3 launch

The big launch of this year — iPad3 from Apple — would have already been witnessed by the time this edition reaches your hands. However, just a day before the March 7 launch, one thing is certain. The new iPad — wagers are still on about whether it’s to be called iPad3 or iPad HD — will feature a crisper display and, in all likelihood, sacrifice its Home button. Steve Jobs was famously against any buttons on the device at the time of the design brainstorming.

But more than the product, the point of interest for millions of Apple fans is whether Tim Cook or anyone else will be able to bring the same kind of showmanship as Jobs did to product launches. That is a tall order but it would be interesting to watch just what glitz, what catchword is on display at the event. Will someone actually say “insanely good” or that magical “oh, and one more thing” right before the big reveal?

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Apple launches new iPadMarch 8, 2012