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Weekly Rewind: Verizon plans Netflix-competitor service, Xbox Live gets a dashboard update, and Facebook’s Timeline officially launched in New Zealand


Didn’t have time to keep up with every ripple in the technology pond this week? We’ve got you covered. Here are some of the most noteworthy stories from the last week.

Consumer Reports gives us the low-down on U.S. carrier winners and losers

This week we learned which U.S. cell phone carriers have the best customer satisfaction and which carriers aren’t doing so hot. Consumer Reports gave a full rundown on the carriers and where they both succeed and fail. When it comes to the top providers that cover the national spectrum, Verizon came out on top and AT&T was busted as the worst. To our surprise, neither of those contenders made the top three. 

Microsoft launches Xbox Live update and companion smartphone apps

We first got into the nitty-gritty details of the Microsoft Xbox Live dashboard update on Monday when we reported that it would have 40 new entertainment apps, Kinect voice and motion controls, and cloud storage. The refresh was delayed until late on Tuesday, but we got our own update not long after. Coinciding with the dashboard makeover, Microsoft also launched Xbox companion apps for both Windows Phone and iOS devices. 

Verizon to partner with Redbox in a fight against Netflix

Earlier this week we learned that Verizon is possibly planning its own Netflix-competitor streaming service that will be available to users who don’t necessarily have Verizon’s FiOS TV service and might launch sometime in 2012. Later in the week, more details about the plan emerged and now point to Verizon partnering up with Redbox DVD kiosk service to launch the Netflix-competitor streaming service beginning as early as this May. 

Facebook launches Timeline in New Zealand only

While we first learned about the revolutionary Timeline feature that would change our Facebook profile pages entirely back in September, there have been more than a few delays and the feature that got so much attention a few months ago has still yet to launch. We speculated on Tuesday that perhaps Timeline and Facebook’s Open Graph feature would both launch decisively on December 15. As of the next day, we discovered that Timeline had officially launched — in New Zealand. Apparently this first-phase launch, because it’s in an English-speaking country, will enable Facebook to read feedback and make improvements quickly. The rest of us will still have to wait, unfortunately. 

Rumors of Apple’s iTV sizing begin to surface, company changes plans for its Spaceship campus

Rumors about the supposed Apple iTV started swirling a few months back, but this week we have another one and this time it’s all about size. Rumor has it (as usual) that the TVs will come in three sizes, ranging from 32-55 inches, probably with a 42-incher in the middle. We heard dates from mid-2012 to early 2013, but as we all know, it’s all speculation until Apple makes an announcement. We did get another peak at the company’s plans for a second headquarter campus in Cupertino, which even Steve Jobs said was a bit like a spaceship. The new plans reveal a circular building that has solar panels on the roof and is surrounded by green space and jogging trails. 

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