Wal-Mart Starts iPhone 5 Sales, Amazon’s New Smartphone: Tech Business Roundup

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) has reported that on Friday it initiated selling 16-gigabyte iPhone 5 (NASDAQ:AAPL) smartphones in thousands of its own stores at substantial discounts, such as $127 compared to the original price of $189.97. A company spokesperson said that this price is valid with a two-year contract from the wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has hired Ray Kurzweil, the author and intellectual on artificial intelligence and similar topics, to “work on new projects involving machine learning and language processing.” Kurzwell said that he will be in place at Google on Monday. He is best known for his theories regaring “The Singularity,” or the point in the future at which tech becomes so advanced that it begins to outsmart humans by itself.

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It’s reported that a new smartphone model for Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) has been made by the Hon Hai Group’s affiliate Foxconn International Holdings on an exclusive basis, say industry sources. Smartphone parts suppliers to Amazon say that Foxconn is expected to ship as many as 5 million units of the new phone in 2013. The product is set to launch between the second and third quarter at a unit price between $100 and $200.

Shares of Vodaphone (NASDAQ:VOD) have plummeted over the $1.84 billion in spectrum bought in a Dutch government auction which it is feared might bring higher prices for frequencies to carry faster mobile services. Vodafone fell as much as 3.1 percent to 156 pence in London trading, marking the largest intraday decline since November 13th. Shares had fallen 10 percent thus far in 2012 through last Friday’s trading.

Don’t Miss: China Gobbles Up iPhone 5 at Launch.