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Tech Roundup: Google Hiring Slowdown, Intel Mobile Platform, iPhone Games, More

Google puts breaks on hiring -- It's not a hiring freeze, but when your headcount has been growing at 15 percent per quarter like at Google, any throttling back is obvious. Rather than one to two thousand extra bodies a quarter, the company is down to quarterly growth of about 500. In the third quarter of this year, Google added about 2.6 percent, hitting 20,123 employees. Those who are getting pink slips at the like of eBay and, possibly, Yahoo can't look at Google as the employer of all resort. Then again, the company also recently dropped its capital spending rate. Who could blame anyone for a little financial caution these days. [Source: FT TechBlog, BNET Industry Technology]

Running on mobile platforms-- It's a busy time in the mobile computing industry. Google has released the code to its Android operating systems. Intel showed off a prototype yesterday of a handheld based on its new Moorestown platform meant to power thin touch-screen devices with long battery life. And Nokia releases the first preview of the open source development toolkit for the Symbian-based S60. It's the race to be in consumer pockets -- in more ways than one. [Source: TechCrunch, AppleInsider, Ars Technica]

iPhone becomes game development playground-- Ars Technica has an intriguing interview with an iPhone game developer. Some of the upside is that people are doing this in their spare time with small groups at most and no need to harness the small armies needed for console or PC titles. Cost is low with a free SDK and a $99 sign-up fee, making the risk pretty much time only. But there are downsides. Customers are a finicky (and cheap) lot and difficult to predict. A flashy game doesn't necessarily grab anyone's attention. It's also tricky to program the iPhone in comparison with the relatively lavish capabilities of a desktop computer or game console. Just for that, we're bringing back 64K RAM machines and assembly language code. [Source: Ars Technica]

Free netbooks in India-- Did I say free? I meant fee with a wireless service contract. Giving away hardware isn't a new tactic for telecoms, but Reliance Communications, an Indian carrier, as well as Orange Slovekia and Carphone Warehouse in the U.K., are all offering inexpensive netbooks with specific service plans. Ironically, these might cost less than many cell phones and yet offer an interesting market cache. Don't be surprised if other carriers in various parts of the world follow suit. The question is how do you fit them into your back pocket? [Source: GigaOM]

TI to sell part of wireless business -- Texas Instruments has given up on off-the-shelf wireless chips for cell phones. Freescale, the Motorola spin-off, decided to take a similar course earlier this year. Too much competition, too little margin. [Source: GigaOM]

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