Research firm slashes forecast for sales of personal computers

International Data Corp. expects sales of personal computers to grow 4.2 percent this year, down from a previous forecast of 7.1 percent.

The latest projection comes after the research firm’s tally showed PC sales fell by 1.1 percent in the first quarter compared with last year.

The company says the slow economic recovery, competition from smartphones and tablets and the fact that most households in the developed world already have PCs are holding back sales.

Soon you can shrink Web links right in Twitter’s message box

Twitter is offering to automatically shrink your links so they fit within the service’s 140-character limit.

Link-shortening services such as bit.ly convert long Web links into a handful of characters. Normally you’d convert the link elsewhere and copy the shortened form to the Twitter message.

Now, you’ll be able to do that all from the message box at Twitter.com.

The automatic shrinking feature will be rolled out to users over time. People who prefer another shortening service can still use it the old way.

HP’s Touchpad tablet to debut July 1 with first WebOS system

HP says its TouchPad tablet will make its debut in the U.S. on July 1 in two versions, for $500 and $600.

It’s the first tablet that uses the WebOS operating system, which HP bought along with Palm Inc. last year for $1.8 billion. Hewlett-Packard Co. has previously made tablets based on Windows, but WebOS is a cellphone operating system, making the TouchPad more like the iPad than a PC.

The price of the TouchPad also matches that of the iPad. The two versions come with 16 or 32 gigabytes of memory and connect to the Internet only with Wi-Fi.

Apple Inc. agrees to boot apps that warn of OUI checkpoints

After pressure from four U.S. senators, Apple Inc. has said it will start rejecting iPhone applications that tip drivers off about police checkpoints for drunken driving.

Apple updated its app developer guidelines Wednesday to exclude such apps. On Thursday, some OUI apps were still available in the App Store, but Apple usually gives developers a chance to update their apps so they can conform to the new guidelines before booting them.

The apps often combine warnings about OUI checkpoints with warnings about speed traps and red-light cameras. Application users help create the warnings by registering the locations.

An Apple spokesman had no comment on the change in the guidelines, and wouldn’t say why the change was made.