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Briefly: Intel challenges Apple; MS Origami; paid podcasts?

Intel challenges Apple on remote design

Intel has issued a friendly challenge to Apple to come up with a remote with fewer buttons, according to Macworld UK. The challenge reportedly came in the form of a remark made by Intel VP Don MacDonald during his keynote on the digital home at the Intel Developer Conference on Tuesday. \"We set the bar with no controls on a remote, we\'d like to see someone else beat that,\" MacDonald joked. The Intel remote control will be voice activated, all the customer need do is speak into the voice receiver. However, when demoed on stage the device initially failed to work, no doubt due to the acoustics of the auditorium, as MacDonald suggested.

Microsoft unwraps \"Origami\" tablet PC

Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled its compact \"Origami\" computer, which the software giant was originally scheduled to show at the CeBIT technology trade show today. A Microsoft spokesperson told the Associated Press that the device would officially be called the \"Ultramobile PC.\" Two variants of the device are expected to arrive ins stores by early April, priced between $600 and $1,000. One analyst said most power users will be disappointed. \"They\'re going after the consumer crowd,\" he said. \"There\'s no way you can cram enough hardware into a $500 price point and make it run well for Windows XP, let alone Vista.\"

Paid podcasts?

Talk show radio host Rush Limbaugh yesterday said that his company and Apple have developed a method to restrict access to podcasts to paid members. Previously, the only way for \"Rush 24/7\" subscribers to get Limbaugh\'s commercial-free podcasts was to download them individually through the Rush 24/7 member site. However, the podcats can now be delivered automatically via iTunes to paid members each Monday, simply by setting a preference on the Rush 24/7 website.

Apple sets up tech support center in India

Apple has decided to set up a massive technical support centre in India, reports India Times. Apple will hire 1,500 people by the end of this year, and 3,000 by the end of next.

Apple struggles to boost iPod market share abroad

Apple commanded a 73 percent share of the digital music player market in the United States in 2005, according to research firm NPD. This compares to a 56 percent share in 2004. Its worldwide share, on the other hand, was just under 25 percent in 2005, according to data from iSuppli. The Street estimates that Apple had a 22.5 percent worldwide share in 2004. However, MP3 player sales grew 270 percent from 2004 to 2005 worldwide, while they grew just 170 percent in the U.S.