Vast digital public library opens
NEW YORK — Some of the country’s top research institutions have combined to launch a massive online archive. The Digital Public Library of America began beta testing Thursday, promising a site with millions of materials ranging from images of George Washington to footage of Freedom Riders during the civil rights era.
Directors of the digital library, first conceived in 2010, include officials from Harvard University and the University of Michigan and a former executive at Google. The library had planned events at the Boston Public Library on Thursday to mark the opening, but it postponed them until the fall because of the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Microsoft readies new mobile devices
NEW YORK — Microsoft is working with manufacturers to produce a line of small touchscreen devices powered by Windows, apparently intended to compete with 7-inch tablets like the iPad Mini and Amazon Kindle Fire.
Peter Klein, Microsoft’s chief financial officer, says the new devices will be available in coming months at competitive prices. Microsoft Corp. is struggling to extend its software into smartphones and tablets as consumers are turning away from PCs, the foundation of its empire. Over the winter, it launched two larger tablets under the Surface brand. And in October, the company took a large stake in Barnes & Noble’s digital unit, which sells a line of entertainment-oriented 7-inch tablets under the Nook brand.
BlackBerry maker stops music service
TORONTO — BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion says it is silencing its streaming music service barely two years after it launched. The Canadian company has emailed BlackBerry Messenger Music subscribers to notify them that the cloud-based service will stop working on June 2.
RIM said the decision follows a “strategic business review” of its offerings. BBM Music launched in August 2011 as a $4.99-per-month service that allowed BBM obsessed users to swap song recommendations and share music with friends. But there were limitations — each user could only share up to 50 songs from a catalogue of millions of tracks for their own personal playlist.
Existing subscribers to the service are being offered a free 30-day trial to competing service Rdio.