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There may be a Starbucks on every corner of every major city and an iPod in the carry-on bag of every traveler, but a brandchannel survey has declared that Google still reigns when it comes to worldwide brand recognition. Apple ranked No. 2 in brandchannel's worldwide survey, but came in No. 1 among U.S. and Canadian respondents. No surprise, perhaps, since Google edged Apple out in the worldwide ranking last year, too. (For its part, Starbucks ranked No. 5 worldwide and No. 4 in the U.S. and Canada.) Apple TV's predicted success might help Apple nudge Google out of the top spot next year, as long as it can shake off iPhone naysayers, who are casting doubt on the gadget's smartness.
Not only that, but Austin, Texas-based DisplaySearch, which specializes in market analysis of display technology, analyzed the components required to build an iPhone and concluded that recent reports of 50 percent profit margins on each iPhone are overblown. DisplaySearch analysts reason that the iPhone will require glass as thin as 0.25mm and may use LTPS (low-temperature polysilicon) as the underlying display technology, bringing the cost of the display alone to $30. Integration of the multi-touch panel (plus the panel itself) adds another $30. When all is said and done, DisplaySearch estimates that Apple's cost to make a 4GB iPhone is "well above $300" and that Apple's margins on each phone will end up closer to 20 percent.
In another corner of Austin, some "entrepreneurs" with cajones are hoping like-minded types will fork over their credit cards to become resellers of Texas*podz, MP4 players that look - what? - exactly like the iPod nano. Except, according to the suspicious craigslist posting (which isn't likely to remain live for long), the Texas*podz "support MP3s, but it also can play MP4 videos." We're off to buy a batch and get in on the riches ("significant discounts on orders of 10 or more") and, while we're at it, update our account info on PayPal and send our bank account details to the king of Nigeria. We're also seriously considering booking the first flight to Kaiserslaugtern, Germany, where money rains down from the sky.
TGIF: If you don't have any plans for the weekend, why not check out what the kidz are up to in Virtual Laguna Beach, MTV's online version of its reality show that lets everyday schmoes rub shoulder tattoos and belly button rings with the "stars" of the show. If that seems too strenuous, fire up your Wii game console and...read some news. Yes, it's true, Nintendo is now offering an AP news feed for Wii-ers. Imagine that, a video-game console that encourages you to stay informed.