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Tech News: Best Buy's Free iPhone 5 Deal, and Intel's Latest Artificial Intelligence Buy


Plus, Michael Dell discusses plans for once Dell goes private; before launch of new consoles, video game sales are up.

Intel's New Acquisition Helps Build on Its Artificial Intelligence Technology

Just two months after Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) acquired the Israeli gesture-based technologies company Omek, the tech giant has bought Indisys, a Spanish natural language recognition company. Both acquisitions are big strides forward for the company's development of artificial intelligence technology.
Maya, one of Indisys' intelligent assistant interfaces

Though the exact details of the Indisys deal have not been confirmed, it was reportedly "north" of $26 million. Indisys, based in Seville, Spain, develops computer technology that recognizes language and can respond fluently and with common sense. Moreover, the company develops intelligent assistant interfaces, like Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) Siri and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Cortana, which is still in its early development. (For more on Cortana, read Microsoft Creates Answer to Apple's Siri?)

Intel likely acquired Indisys as part of its larger venture into 3D visualization and so-called "perceptual computing," which is Intel's term for the full deployment of quality gesture, touch, voice, and other AI sensory tech as part of the computing experience.

This is not the first time that Intel has worked with Indisys; last November, Big Blue's venture arm, Intel Capital, spearheaded a $5 million Series A investment in Indisys.

Best Buy's Trade-In Deal Offers Customers a Free iPhone 5

Until September 15, Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) will let you trade your old smartphone (yeah, we're talking really old, like Palm Pre old) for a brand-new iPhone 5. With the launch of the new iPhone 5C imminent and subsequent discontinuation of the 5, Best Buy is giving consumers an excellent opportunity while clearing out its inventory.

If you aren't looking to upgrade to the 5C or the 5S, this is a pretty good deal. Best Buy is offering a $100 minimum trade-in credit for any working smartphone as long as customers switch to the iPhone 5 and a two-year contract with AT&T (NYSE:T), Sprint (NYSE:S), or Verizon (NYSE:VZ). Tthe 5C will go on sale next week for $99 with a two-year contract. If you bring an old smartphone into Best Buy, you can get the old iPhone 5 for free. Are the 5C's bright colors and extended battery life worth $99? You'll have to decide soon because the new, more colorful iPhone will be on shelves next week, which means that its predecessor won't be.

If you own the aforementioned Palm Pre, Best Buy is offering you a heck of a deal. That smartphone, launched in 2009, is currently worth only $.75 on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). At Best Buy right now, you're guaranteed $100 in credit.

Plus, if your phone is worth more than $100, Best Buy will make up the difference with a gift card.

After Going Private, Dell Will Focus on Expanding Sales Capacity and Emerging Markets Presence

After shareholders approved his $25 billion buyback offer yesterday, Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) founder and CEO Michael Dell said in an interview with CNBC today that once his company goes private, his focus will be on expanding sales capacity, growing exposure in emerging markets, and expanding development and production of tablets. This comes just days after billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn announced that he was stepping down from the long takeover battle he has waged with Michael Dell.

Moreover, Dell said that he would shift the company from having an entrenched quarterly focus to "a longer-term, five-year, ten-year focus, doubling down on the investment." He also specified that he does not see the company entering the cellphone market, but that its main business will be in enterprise. Dell told CNBC that his company is focused on "powering those clouds that are being fueled by this enormous explosion of mobile devices."

New Consoles Have Already Spurred Jump in Video Game Sales

According to the Wall Street Journal, sales of video games, consoles, and accessories have risen 1% in the US since last year. This marks the first time in two years that the industry has not seen a decline in sales. The collective industry sales came in at $521 million, with $305 million of that coming from games, representing a 21% increase.

Some of the biggest contributors to that growth have been Electronic Arts' (NASDAQ:EA) Madden 25, the latest installment in its long-running football franchise, and Disney's (NYSE:DIS) Infinity, a game that ties physical and purchasable toys to video gameplay.

This spike is likely to continue upwards, as November will bring the release of new consoles: Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 4. Though last year's release of Nintendo's (OTCMKTS:NTDOY) latest console, the Wii U, did little to reinvigorate the market for gaming, analysts and video game experts have much more hope for the next generation offerings from Microsoft and Sony. In fact, Sony has already pre-sold over one million units of PlayStation 4.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
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