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

 

  • India’s Reliance Communications approves stake sale

MUMBAI, India — India’s Reliance Communications has approved a plan to sell a minority stake to a bidder like Etisalat, AT&T (NYSE: T) or MTN Group, sending its stock up as much as 6.5 percent in Monday trading.

Reliance said Sunday its board has approved selling up to a 26 percent equity stake to strategic or private equity investors, and gave the go-ahead for other "strategic combination opportunities."

The company named no potential suitors, but an official with knowledge of the talks said Monday that discussions were most advanced with Dubai-based Emirates Telecommunications Corp., or Etisalat, for a 26 percent stake sale valued around $4 billion.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because discussions are ongoing, said Reliance Communications was also in "exploratory talks" for a similar deal with AT&T and South Africa’s MTN Group.

Reliance Communications executives have spoken with executives from AT&T and MTN, but formal talks have not commenced, he said.

• Yahoo’s site mirrors Facebook in latest facelift

SAN FRANCISCO — Yahoo Inc.’s (Nasdaq: YHOO) latest facelift will include a Facebook touchup.

As part of changes rolling out this week, Yahoo will import personal updates from Facebook’s social network for users who want a bridge between two of the world’s most popular websites. The Facebook link will need to be turned on by each Yahoo user.

The personal updates, known as a "news feed" in Facebook’s parlance, will be available throughout Yahoo’s website, including its front page and e-mail service. Other tools will empower people to automatically let their Facebook friends know what they are doing and saying on Yahoo services such as its photo-sharing site, Flickr.

The additional tie-ins follow through on a makeover that Yahoo announced late last year in an effort to make its website more compelling.

Although Yahoo still commands a worldwide Internet audience of nearly 600 million, people have been hanging around for progressively shorter periods during the past few years. One of the reasons is because people increasingly congregate on Facebook to share photos, video clips and music, discuss current events and bond with their families and friends.

Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., is betting that more of its visitors will stay on its website if they can simultaneously monitor what’s happening on Facebook. Keeping people on its site longer would give Yahoo more opportunities to sell online ads and revive its revenue growth after an extended slump that has sapped its earnings power and stock price.

Connecting with Facebook is just the first step in Yahoo’s attempt to establish its website as a social hub. Later this summer, Yahoo intends to import personal updates posted on Twitter’s short-messaging service. And by the end of the year, Yahoo will begin featuring widely played Internet games such as "Farmville," ”Mafia Wars" and "Fishville," made by Zynga.

• Sharp improves wall display technology

TOKYO — Walls, ceiling and floors will turn into wall-to-wall imagery with Sharp’s new technology that has minimized the gaps between displays, allowing them to be used like high-tech tiles.

The Japanese maker of Aquos flat-panel TVs showed Monday a massive screen like the ones at movie theaters, except that it was made of thirty 60-inch liquid crystal displays mounted next to each other.

The space in between each display, which still shows up as dark lines crisscrossing the screen, has been reduced to just 6.5 millimeters (0.26 inches) — the thinnest in the world for displays of that size, according to Osaka-based Sharp.

Previously, such lines were far thicker at 40 millimeters (1.6 inches), appearing like black frames around each display.

Sharp’s "i3 Wall" (pronounced "i-triple wall") systems will go on sale mainly to businesses in Japan in August and later this year in the U.S. and Europe, targeting showrooms, shopping malls and airports, officials said.

The whole setup, including software to convert video and images for i3 Wall, costs 50 million yen ($550,000) each. Sharp hopes to turn it into a 100 billion yen ($1 billion) annual business over the next several years.

Sharp’s Fujikazu Nakayama said the displays were clearer and brighter than other ways to show expansive images such as rear-projection and plasma displays.