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Motorola Droid Bionic, Google Buys Zagat, RIM Rips a Page from HP's "Playbook" BYTE Newsbriefs 2

Motorola Droid Bionic, Google Zagat purchase and RIM rips a page from HP's playbook. Tech news: Sept. 8, 2011

Today in the news -- and at long last -- Motorola said its $300 Motorola Droid Bionic is available. Announced at CES in January, the long-awaited smartphone originally was due this spring.

The Droid Bionic is an Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) based phone -- and targets enterprise and consumers alike. For IT, the Bionic includes a data usage monitor, Citrix Receive and other enterprise-friendly utilities.

At CES in January, Consumer Reports produced this early look at the Bionic. Check this out.

Though the proof will be in the reviewing, the specs on the Bionic Motorola began shipping today in fact are notable: Motorola's first LTE 4GS phone, the Bionic includes a dual-core Texas Instruments 1GHz CPU, an 8-megapixel camera and 1GB of RAM. It also includes 1080p HD video capture capability.

Watch for a teardown and full review in BYTE soon. My colleague at InformationWeek provides a deep look here and now.

Like the Motorola Atrix, the Bionic plugs into a dock-like system that adds more memory, an 11.5-inch display, a full keyboard, USB and other capabilities above and beyond what the tablet or smartphone alone offer. The so-called lap-dock system will set up you back $300, though, and other docs are available from Motorola, too.

It's interesting. BYTE has been following a story for weeks now based on reports inside Intel and Motorola that Microsoft is also working on such a docking station device. As BYTE reported, this is a joint Microsoft, Motorola and Intel effort to allow Android tablet users to pop in their devices and switch to a heavier OS, such as Windows 7 or 8, and faster, more home PC-style experience.

Also in the news today, Google is buying 31-year-old dining/hotel guide Zagat. Watch out Yelp and Open Table. It's easy to imagine how, as Google continues to integrate all its services with the Google+ network, Zagat will play heavily location-wise, search-wise and community-wise into the ever-expanding Google ecosystem.

In a Google blog post, a Google VP explains why Google is going local.

More Google news: Execs say its green initiative is finally bearing fruit, what with recent green company investments and its oft-repeated assertions that cloud services are inherently cleaner. In this blog post from Google today execs get in more detail on why this should matter to techpros.

Didn't know Google was into green and how the cloud plays into it? Check out this video, where Google's Jolanka Nickerman explains its carbon offset plans.

Google, it turns out, even has a so-called green czar, who claimed in January that Google's invested more than $40M since 2007 in research and various investments.

Google now claims Gmail is 80 times more efficient than site-bound email, citing its own study and that of other experts. Find the full story here.

And finally, there's mobile news fromResearch in Motion. It's now trying new tactics to get people buying, including issuing $100 gift cards to US and Canadian residents who purchase its tablet, the Playbook. Limit: Three a customer. Will it work?

Listen to BYTE Wireless Radio for our take on that soon.

It sure looks RIM is ripping a page from the HP, ahem, playbook. In August, HP saw jaw-dropping and enthusiastic response after it began selling its discontinued TouchPad tablet for $99 to get rid of inventory.

Of course, RIM can't just give away money -- nor can HP. The deadline for this deal is September 23, according to reps. In setting the deadline, though, RIM looks to be using an age-old sales tactic designed to promote an urgent feeling among buyers. Time is running out, so it goes. Will IT care? Will you? Let me know.

For more on the new RIM deal, my colleague has an excellent piece

Finally, and no surprise here, RIM is trying to attract more developers. And it's heading for Android. According to the company, it's setting up more than 50 events to lure Android developers to the platform.

If you're an Android developer with an interest, BYTE would love hear from you.

Based in San Francisco, Gina Smith is editor-in-chief of BYTE. Follow her @ginasmith888 and email her with comments, suggestions and story tips at [email protected]