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A roundup of the latest high-tech news “Hot Off the Wire” from The Associated Press and Local Tech Wire:

• Sprint overhauls Virgin Mobile, includes data

NEW YORK — Sprint Nextel Corp. is revamping , the prepaid wireless service it bought last year, and making it focus on inexpensive plans for young people who would rather text or send Facebook messages than talk.

The announcement clarifies Sprint’s strategy in the increasingly important prepaid market. With cheaper prices and increasing choices of phones and services, prepaid plans have lured more consumers in the last year. In the first three months of this year, new prepaid subscribers outnumbered those who signed traditional two-year contracts in the industry as a whole.

For Sprint, prepaid is especially important, because that segment represents all of the company’s growth. It’s losing contract-signing customers to AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless.

Next week, Virgin Mobile will introduce three new plans that include unlimited text messaging, e-mail, and Web access. The prices start at $25 per month for 300 minutes of calling.

"The way traditional telecom plans are oriented, it’s all around big buckets of minutes, and on top of that, if you want to get text and data, they’re typically bolt-on or add-on packages," said Dan Schulman, the head of Sprint’s prepaid division, "These young, data-oriented, constantly connected customers, in order to get that functionality, are paying for all these minutes that they never use."

• Nintendo profit drops for first time in six years

TOKYO — Japanese game-maker Nintendo suffered its first drop in annual profit in six years, hit by a price cut for the Wii home console and sliding global sales.

The maker of Super Mario and Pokemon games said Thursday that net profit for the fiscal year ended March 31 fell 18 percent to 228.6 billion yen ($2.5 billion). Kyoto-based Nintendo Co., which does not break down quarterly numbers, said annual sales slipped 22 percent to 1.434 trillion yen ($15.4 billion).

Nintendo is expecting tough times to continue. It forecasts sales to fall 2.4 percent to 1.4 trillion yen ($15 billion) for the fiscal year through March 2011 and expects earnings to slide 12.5 percent to 200 billion yen ($2.2 billion).

But the company expressed confidence in the popularity of its game machines. It is banking on a handheld that allows for 3-D games without the need for special glasses and which is set to go on sale this fiscal year.

Nintendo is facing intense competition from Microsoft Corp. with its Xbox 360 and Japanese rival Sony Corp., which makes the PlayStation 3. Both are also bringing 3-D gaming to their home consoles although those games require special glasses.

Nintendo’s handheld may also face a challenge from smartphones like the iPhone, which are increasingly popular and offer games and other entertainment content.

Sales of the Nintendo DS portable series, including the DSi XL with larger screens, which went on sale overseas in March, totaled 12.3 million in the Americas — breaking the game-machine sales record for the region, it said.

Worldwide, DS sales reached 27.1 million during the fiscal year, making for a cumulative 128.9 million sold, allowing it to surpass Nintendo’s Game Boy series, released in 1989, and up to now the top-selling handheld machine.

For the year, Wii sales totaled 20.5 million for cumulative sales reaching 70.9 million — the largest ever for game consoles for Nintendo.

• Activision 1Q profit up, shoots past expectations

NEW YORK — Continued strong sales of "Call of Duty" and a steady stream of revenue from "World of Warcraft" subscribers helped double Activision Blizzard Inc.’s first-quarter net income.
Activision said Thursday that it earned $381 million, or 30 cents per share, in the January-March quarter, up from $189 million, or 14 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 33 percent to $1.31 billion, from $981 million.

Using the measures comparable with analysts’ expectations, Activision’s adjusted earnings were 9 cents per share. Analysts had expected just 4 cents, according to Thomson Reuters.

The company’s adjusted results exclude one-time charges and account for deferred revenue on games whose online components reap sales over an extended period. On that basis, revenue slid 1 percent to $714 million, from $724 million. But it surpassed Wall Street’s expectations of $570 million.