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Tech News: Amazon to Launch Drone Delivery Within Five Years; Apple iPhone Huge in Japan

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Plus, the first billion-dollar-plus online Black Friday and more.

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We scour the world of tech to bring you the stories that matter.

Bezos Talks Plans for Drone Delivery

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos has said his company plans to use drones to deliver packages within four to five years. Last night on the CBS (NYSE:CBS) News program 60 Minutes, Bezos explained that octocopter drones (sporting eight rotors) will retrieve packages at Amazon distribution centers and fly them to customer homes. First-generation drones will aim to have a 10-mile radius and be able to deliver packages in under 30 minutes. Drones would carry packages weighing under five pounds, which make up roughly 86% of packages that Amazon delivers.

iPhones Are Big in Japan

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones have nabbed 76% of the Japanese smartphone market after the country's largest telephone company, NTT Docomo (NYSE:DCM), started carrying the latest iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C in September, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Previously, NTT Docomo had refrained from selling the models to support sales of Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Samsung (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) devices, as well as to protect its own Web store from Apple's.

BlackBerry Expands BBM in Emerging Markets

Troubled Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) is targeting emerging markets to expand its BlackBerry messaging (BBM) service, reports AllThingsD. The company has struck a number of deals with Android phone manufacturers in emerging markets like Africa, India, Indonesia, Latin America, and the Middle East, which will see BBM pre-installed on phones from companies like Celkon, Micromax, Zen, Nexian, and Mito. It's important to note that despite BlackBerry's shrinking handset share in emerging markets, its BBM application has continued to grow across platforms.

Microsoft Surface Tablets See Low Web Use

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Surface tablets make up a miniscule 1.3% of mobile tablet Web use in North America, reports InformationWeek. The largest share of mobile tablet Web use belongs to Apple iPads, followed by Amazon Kindles, Samsung tablets, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android tablets, and Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) Nooks, and finally Microsoft's Surface RT and Surface 2. The Windows 8-running devices have experienced poor market share, too. Microsoft was forced to declare a $1 billion write-down on unsold inventory earlier this year. With a price drop sales have increased, but Microsoft was still not one of the top-five tablet vendors during Q3.

The First Billion Dollar-Plus Online Black Friday

Consumers spent a record-breaking $1.2 billion in online purchases on Black Friday, reports AllThingsD. That's a 15% jump from the $1.04 billion spent in 2012. Amazon was the most-visited online retailer, followed by eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), and Target (NYSE:TGT). Apparel accounted for the largest spending category, followed by computer hardware, consumer electronics, packaged goods, and shipping services.

Amazon Series Debuts to Poor Reception

Amazon original series Alpha House has seen low popular reception since its premier according to social media readings, reports CNET. The half-hour comedy received less than 3,500 posts across Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO)-owned Tumblr, and blogs in the two weeks following its November 15 premier. Compare this to the initial two-week performances of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) original series House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, which received roughly 21,000 and 31,000 social media posts, respectively. Fizziology, the social media research firm behind these numbers, found 16% of the comments made about Alpha House positive and 7% negative, the latter of which is considered high. House of Cards, which launched in February, saw 62% of its comments positive over the same time period.

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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