Friday, August 5, 2011

The Latest from TechCrunch

The Latest from TechCrunch

Link to TechCrunch

Jeff Weiner on His First Earnings Call, LinkedIn’s Revenue Mix and the Profit Surprise (TCTV)

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 08:31 AM PDT

If ringing the bell at the NASDAQ or NYSE is a momentary victory dance for a Silicon Valley CEO (or, you know, a has-been cartoon character from my youth that may or may not represent a veiled argument for communism), the first earnings announcement can be the cold splash of reality: You are now Wall Street’s bitch. And Wall Street was not in a happy mood yesterday.

Thankfully for LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, the company made its debut on the quarterly conference call with surprisingly good earnings– particularly profits no one was expecting and significant jumps in user growth. (Wall Street, only impressed for a few hours, has been trading the stock down this morning; still LinkedIn has held up decently compared to others.)

We spent some time with Weiner at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View yesterday to talk about a lot of things: The quarter, that valuation, whether LinkedIn has opened the market or proven you have to be a $5 billion-$10 billion whopper of a company to get out and sustain a good price, and the debate over whether people still want everything relating to their professional life siloed on one social network, or mixed in to Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be posting chunks of the interview throughout the day.

Up first: What happened this quarter that Wall Street wasn’t counting on, the surprising strength of its hiring services business given the brutal national unemployment, whether LinkedIn is too reliant on that business and how its international expansion strategy is 180 degrees different than Groupon’s.



Is The Next Motorola Tablet Called The Kore? All Signs Point To “Yes”

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 08:15 AM PDT

Motorola_Vert

Before we enter the breach, I'd like to ask that you all have your grains of salt at the ready because we're entering some highly speculative territory. Motorola has been going on a domain shopping spree lately, and thanks to a little snooping by the folks over at Fusible, now we're all privy to Moto's purchases.

Five domains, MotorolaKore.com, KoreMotorola.com,  Moto-kore.com, MotoKore.com, and Motorola-Kore.com, were all registered on August 3. It's apparently the first batch of domains that Motorola has picked up in quite a while, which lends just a bit of credence to the idea that Motorola has something up its sleeves for the next few months.

Now of course there's nothing concrete at this point about what the Kore actually is. The registration information lists the technical contact at Motorola Mobility, and the domain's nameservers confirm it, so at least we're not getting worked up over the wrong half of Motorola here.

Thankfully, Motorola Mobility CEO has given us some room to play, thanks to some veiled statements he made during an earnings call last week. He admitted that going forward, Motorola was looking to launch two more 4G-capable tablets and at least one more 4G smartphone. The Kore may well be one of the devices he had in mind, and considering his mention of "challenges in being first to market with the Xoom", my money’s on these domain purchases being their first step of a big marketing push for a new tablet. The Xoom was a bit of a mixed bag when it came to marketing, especially considering their Super Bowl ad looked great but said next to nothing about the tablet. It sounds like Jha and company may have learned their lesson, and the Kore may be the first device to benefit from it.



MyNines Runs Out Of Cash; CEO Becomes VP At Rue La La

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 08:08 AM PDT

kothari

MyNines, a startup that made its debut back in 2009, has gone belly up. The company, which we likened to a ‘Kayak for private sales’, wasn’t able to secure the financing needed to sustain the business.

MyNines aimed to help consumers sort through the daily flash sales sites by aggregating products for sale and offering users the ability to search and filter by designer, category, highest discounts, as well as deals ending soonest, most viewed items, deals under $100, and newly listed.

We received an email from CEO and cofounder Apar Kothari, who has moved on a VP role at private sale shopping destination site Rue La La, where she will be heading up business development and strategic partnerships.

Writes Kothari, who was previously manager of corporate development at Fox Interactive Media:

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

After an incredible two years chasing my dreams as CEO/Cofounder of MyNines, I’m thrilled to continue the next phase of my techfashion career as Head of New Business Development & Strategic Partnerships at Rue La La.

While MyNines embodied the perfect blend of my passion for fashion & entrepreneurship, I didn't have the resources to scale it. I'm super-excited to not only leverage the assets I acquired at MyNines, but also to work with a rockstar exec team at RLL.

I've learned a ton & my deep experience in the flash sale/fashion world provides the optimal springboard to identify game-changing opportunities for RLL.

Kothari will be based in Rue La La's New York office.

MyNines, which is now offline, was originally founded in 2009 and raised $500,000 in seed funding.

We’ve added the startup to the TechCrunch deadpool.



Sprint Unveils Their First $100 4G Android Phone: The Samsung Conquer 4G

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 07:52 AM PDT

conquer4g

It looks like it’s go time for the Samsung Conquer 4G. Upon Sprint‘s announcement this morning, we have a few more specs to offer you along with a launch date — August 21. Just as we expected, the handset will go for $100 as long as you sign on the dotted line of a two-year agreement.

As it turns out, we had most of the specs already pegged. What we didn’t know is that the low-res front-facing shooter will clock in at 1.3 megapixels and the phone will, for certain, run Android 2.3 Gingerbread out of the box.

Along with that, already-known specs include a single-core 1GHz processor, a 3.2 rear-facing shooter (with flash and zoom in tow), Sprint ID, and a 3.5-inch touchscreen with 320×480 pixels of resolution. Obviously, the Conquer 4G isn’t what you’d necessarily call a beast, but for the price it’ll certainly get the job done.



Do You Live In An Android State Or An iPhone State?

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 07:47 AM PDT

android iOS states

It is clear by now that Android is winning the overall mobile market share battle in the U.S. among smart phones. But how does the battle break down by state? Mobile ad network Jumptap put out a report this morning (embedded below) with a map showing which states have more Android activity versus iOS activity across its network that reaches 83 million mobile users.

According to Jumptap, Southern and Western states like Florida, Texas, California, and Oregon over-index for Android. Whereas the Midwest and New England states are dominated by Apple devices. Strangely, New York state is neither. It is one of the few remaining Blackberry strongholds. (I’m sorry, that’s just embarrassing, and I live in New York).

Overall Android market share is 38 percent versus 33 percent for Apple’s iOS, as of June. By comparison, comScore just released market share estimates on U.S. mobile subscribers yesterday that puts Android at 40 percent and Apple at 26.6 percent. The Android numbers are close, and the large difference in iOS share could be because Jumptap is counting iPod touches while comScore is not. (Jumptap is concerned with ad impressions in mobile apps, comScore looks at smartphones only).

What is clear is that there are more Android phones in the U.S. than iPhones. But more is not necessarily better. If you drill down to JumpTap’s click-through rates, iOS still performs better for adevrtisers. Mobile ads on iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches are clicked on 0.78 percent of the time compared to 0.47 percent for Android (and 0.36 percent for Blackberry). Remember, this data is only based on the activity on Jumptap’s own network, which could be skewed one way or another, but it sounds about right. The sad thing is that a 0.78 percent click-through is the best the mobile ad industry can do right now. Forget Android versus Apple for a moment. What that data says is that mobile ads are failing across the board.



FBI Launches Its First Mobile Application, The ‘Child ID’ iPhone App

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 07:20 AM PDT

child id

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has just informed us that it has debuted its very first mobile application, an iPhone app dubbed ‘Child ID’ (iTunes link).

The app gives parents a way to electronically store photos and vital information about their children, enabling them to quickly show pictures and provide physical identifiers such as height and weight to security or police officers in their vicinity if for whatever reason a kid goes missing (which, according to the FBI, happens in America about every 40 seconds).

The FBI stresses that it doesn’t collect or store any photos or information that users enter in the app until they themselves decide to send anything to the authorities.

A tab also allows parents to rapidly shoot an email to the relevant authorities, and the app also comes with tips on keeping children safe and specific guidance on what to do in those first few crucial hours after a child disappears.

Obviously, the app is free, and the FBI says the application will be ported to support handsets other than the iPhone in the ‘near future’.

Also read:

FBI Adds Facebook, YouTube, Twitter Profiles. MySpace Completely Dissed

The FBI Adds New Widgets And Facebook Quizzes To Its Social Media Arsenal



Verizon Roadmap Promises September 8 Launch For Droid Bionic Superphone… Finally

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 07:11 AM PDT

leaked_verizon_roadmap

Well, look what we have here. Turns out that CEO Sanjay Jha of a little company called Motorola wasn’t lying when he said the long-awaited (like, really long-awaited) Droid Bionic will hit Verizon shelves in September. September 8, to be exact. At least, that’s what this leaked Verizon document obtained by IGN is telling us.

And that’s not all it had to say. Apparently an unannounced BlackBerry Curve 9370 4G will also be making an appearance on September 8, along with the 4G LTE Xoom from Motorola. Another mystery phone, the Samsung Stratosphere, will also launch on the 8th, and is said to be a 4G Android 2.3 device. Some believe that this will be the successor to the Samsung Fascinate, a Verizon-branded Galaxy S variant. Then again, we’ve heard reports that the Galaxy S II will be called the Function for Verizon, so this one’s a bit of a question mark.

Past that we see what looks to be a successor to the LG Revolution landing on October 20, and a 4G radio-equipped device listed as the Samsung Galaxy Tab P8 — what we assume will be the Galaxy Tab 8.9 — slated to hit shelves in November.

We’re also seeing another curious handset set for a September 29 launch, which is supposedly designed specifically for the ladies: the HTC Bliss. The HTC Vigor, a replacement for the ThunderBolt, should hit shelves October 5. Check out the larger image after the break.



Smartling Partners With CloudFlare To Package Security And Language Translation For Users

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 07:00 AM PDT

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TechCrunch Disrupt finalist CloudFlare is teaming up with realtime website translation service Smartling to allow users to translate their websites into any language. As you may know, CloudFlare offers a service that protects websites from online threats, promises and increase in page load speeds, and more.

Smartling offers a large, scale SEO-friendly realtime translation service for websites. The company has a hybrid model which allows you to pick between professional translators, machine translations, and crowdsourced translations.

Now Smartling will offer an app to all Cloudflare users that enables these translations along with securing and stabilizing their site. This is the first partnership of this kind for Smartling, which has helped Foursquare, Survey Monkey and Scribd translate their sites. In fact, Smartling's cloud-based platform is now being used by CloudFlare to translate its website and application into 27 languages to start. The German, Indonesian, Portuguese and Norwegian sites are well under way.

Smartling just raised $10 million in new funding. CloudFare recently made waves when it was revealed the security service was being used by infamous hackers LulzSec. And CloudFare just announced a $20 million round of funding.



Stop! It’s A Really Bad Time To Buy A Kindle

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 06:01 AM PDT

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The Kindle is the hottest ereader on the planet but I wouldn’t buy one right now. Nope, we just crossed that threshold where it’s downright silly to buy one right now. You can wait a few weeks. The next-gen model is right around the corner.

Amazon just slashed the prices of refurbished Kindles. A WiFi-only model can now be had for $99 while the 3G version is just $129. That’s cheap — even for a refurb. Kindle 3 accessories also now have a lower price. SlashGear points out that the last time Kindle refurbs and accessories went on sale, the Kindle 3 launched just a month later. That fits the prior rumors that the new ereaders and slates were possibly launching in September or October. Can’t you wait until then?

Amazon has new Kindle models on tap; that’s pretty much accepted as a fact now. Previous rumors stated that they will launch with the much-anticipated Amazon tablet. The fourth-gen Kindle line is said to include a touchscreen model and a low-cost solution. These cuts seem to say Amazon is clearing out the ol’ warehouses in time for the new models.

New Kindle models always bring better e-ink screens, more memory and cleaner styling. It’s said that the popular ereader is going to get a make-over this time around and might even lose its physical keyboard.

There’s another choice, though. The touch-ified Barnes & Noble Nook is a fantastic device. If you can do without the 3G option traditionally found in Kindle products, this is a fine route to ereader land and can be had now for just $139.

Still, it’s worth shelving your Kindle buying plans just a few weeks. The latest hotness is just around the bend. Go get a couple of books from the library and count down the days.



You Know, For Triathlons: Polar RCX5 Heart Rate Watch Review

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 05:57 AM PDT

RCX5

I’ve used quite a few heart rate monitoring watches in my day. I’ve played with Suuntos and Nikes aplenty, with whosits and whatsits galore. But the RCX5 is different in its utter simplicity. Designed to be worn while swimming, running, or biking, all of the smarts are actually in the optional sensors, leaving the watch itself as basic as a $20 Timex with a few tricks up its sleeve.

The base kit – that is, the watch, heart rate band, and a battery – costs $349. Although the watch and sensors are ostensibly OS X and Windows compatible, you’re going to be more comfortable using the software on Windows. I had some issues with the Mac sync and it wouldn’t work at all for me using a MacBook Air. It did work on my Mac Pro at home.

The extra gear costs, well, extra, although different packages – Run, Bike, Multi – add more than $100 to that price on the high end. To be clear, this watch is a major investment. The watch supports the Polar bike cadence and speed sensors, running pedometers, and GPS units. The heartrate monitor is water resistant as is the watch so you can wear it in all sorts of situations.

The battery lasts about six to eight months of regular use, which can be attributed to the watch’s dependence on radio communications. This is a far sight better, however, than most rechargeable models.

The things that stand out the most for me with this unit is the size, compact shape, and simplicity. Rather than cruft up the UI with “ghost running partners” and “time to exercise” reminders – although those are useful in some cases – this watch is no nonsense. The goal is to strap it on, do your training, be it biking, running, or swimming, and then look at the results. It’s a real sports watch in that it doesn’t want to help you loose weight or meet friends in the park for a jog. It wants to make you a machine.

To use it you simply strap everything to your body or bike, press the red “go” button to select a sport, and then press it again to start recording. You can also run pre-set workouts that you define in software. There are multiple activity readouts including a screen that shows current heart rate level (in comparison to the ideal) as well as speed, cadence, and distance. You can also set a special “gesture:” bringing your watch up to your heart rate monitor sets the watch to a different screen momentarily, a screen that you can preset. For example, you could set it to show you current time or distance and then drop back down to a read-out that focuses on heart rate.

DC Rainmaker has a video:

Once you have the watch, however, you need the accessories. It’s this upsell that may peeve some watch owners used to having an all-in-one solution although, I’d warrant, this looks better with a dress shirt that any of the monstrous GPS watches Garmin offers. Because this watch is only as good as its complementary sensors, so we’ll address those one by one.

Cadence sensors (bikes) – I tested the $30 CS speed sensor W.I.N.D. and the complementary $30 cadence sensor on my bike and got strong, consistent readings. Installation is a snap – you just place the sensor on one part of the bike and a little magnet on the other (placement varies). The sensors are small enough to be unobtrusive and are water resistant.

GPS – I also tested the small G5 GPS sensor, a device about the size of an iPod Nano that acted as a GPS antenna. It picked up a strong signal in New York and, surprisingly, also picked up a nice signal in Poland after about 30 minutes of searching. This small sensor comes with an arm band and is rechargeable via USB. Precision was strong – once the device achieved a satellite lock – but moving to a new location required another lengthy search process.

Foot pod – I tried the $113 s3+ stride sensor that connects to your shoe and senses current stride and footfall. I found this to be far more convenient than the GPS unit although slightly less precise.

Heart rate monitor – The standard model was comfortable, unobtrusive, and water resistant. It worked fine in all situations and I often forgot I was wearing it.


I’m away from my main computer and was unable to synchronize the watch with my Mac on this trip but here is a screen from the workout designer, a system for creating special interval workouts with a set speed and heart rate. You can also upload ready-made workouts to the watch and, for example, perform a set of intervals based on your specific goals.

If you’re looking for endurance-specific features, the RCX5 has them in spades. To be clear, I’m a big fat blogger so I can’t address the actual utility of these tools so I’ll paste them verbatim here for you to peruse. That said, I can state that this watch is different in that it definitely offers far more data than I’ve ever seen from a standard “runner’s” watch. Will it inspire me to do an Ironman? Probably not, but a boy can dream.

Sport Profiles: Essential for multisport and triathletes, this feature enables users to quickly switch between sports during training. With just a few button presses, this feature quickly adjusts settings to the current sport. It automatically detects any sensors needed, so that no time or training data is lost between swims, rides or runs. Four sport profiles come pre-loaded into the RCX5, and more can be added based on the user’s preferences.
ZoneOptimizer: Knowing how hard to train can be a challenge and it depends on many factors, including physical and mental state, stress, sleep, and previous training. The brand new ZoneOptimizer feature eliminates guesswork by adjusting personal heart rate zones based on a user’s current physiological condition. It guides training at the right intensity, making every session more effective.
Race Pace: The perfect feature for regulating speed and race strategy, Race Pace allows users to set a target time for a certain distance, and then displays the current pace/speed, as well as how far ahead or behind the user is from the target.
Training Load: This feature within polarpersonaltrainer.com displays a color-coded graph of a user’s cumulative training load, notifying a person when he or she has recovered enough for the next session, and accurately predicting training developments to prevent overtraining. This data also provides intelligence to modify training sessions as necessary.
polarpersonaltrainer.com: Several upgrades have been incorporated into the free online training journal to support the RCX5 users. Users can now create complete endurance training programs for running and cycling, including warm-up, work and cool-down sessions. The training programs can be easily synched to the RCX5 via the DataLink data transfer unit. After each session, it is easy to track progress online over time.

I’m obviously coming at this from the perspective of a dilettante so I’d recommend you also check out this exhaustive review by DC Rainmaker. For the average weekened runner, however, I think this watch may be a little too powerful and a little too expensive. While I wouldn’t recommend the Nike+ GPS watch for city-dwellers, it works just fine and Garmin has always pleased me with their self-contained heart rate/GPS watches.

Is this the watch for a weekend warrior? Probably not. It’s pricey, complicated, and oftentimes overkill. However, is this the watch for a serious triathlon trainee with a geek’s love of numbers? Absolutely.

Product Sets

RCX5 Bike (MSRP $389.95):

RCX5 training computer
WearLink®+ Hybrid transmitter
CS speed sensor W.I.N.D.
DataLink data transfer unit
Getting Started Guide

RCX5 Run (MSRP $419.95):

RCX5 training computer
WearLink®+ Hybrid transmitter
s3+ stride sensor
DataLink data transfer unit
Getting Started Guide

RCX5 Multi (MSRP $469.95)

RCX5 training computer
WearLink®+ Hybrid transmitter
G5 GPS sensor
DataLink data transfer unit
Getting Started Guide

RCX5 Basic Set (MSRP $349.95) (Available July 2011):

RCX5 training computer
WearLink®+ Hybrid transmitter
DataLink data transfer unit
Getting Started Guide

Product Page



Belkin Folio Case Adds A Keyboard To Your iPad

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 05:10 AM PDT

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Belkin has just announced the availability of their $99 iPad “Folio” case that includes a battery-powered Bluetooth keyboard that would, in theory, turn your iPad 2 into a full-bore mini-computer.

While I, personally, have never been able to use a keyboard/tablet combo with any exuberance, I suspect that this kit, complete with 60-hour battery and a full iPad stand – might make for a better experience.

If you’ve been dreaming of turning your iPad into an ultrabook, this may be your chance.

Keyboard Folio for iPad 2 (F5L090) – $99.99
• Premium suede-like feel with stitching
• TruType™ keys for comfortable typing
• Tri-fold design tucks keyboard away to keep screen protected
• Adjustable angles for viewing and typing
• Rigid backplate for stand stability
• Bluetooth connection avoids messy cables
• 60-hour active battery life
• Micro USB port for charging works with standard cables
• Compatible with iPad 2

Product Page



HTC Buys Mobile Web Services Company Dashwire For Up To $18.5 Million

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 04:20 AM PDT

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Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC this morning announced that it has agreed to acquire, through its HTC America Holding unit, 100% of Seattle-based mobile-web connected services company Dashwire for a maximum purchase price of $18.5 million to boost its HTCSense.com mobile cloud services offering.

Dashwire offers a range of consumer, social and device management software services for mobile operators, device makers and retailers. The company’s platform is available for Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian and BlackBerry.

On its website, Dashwire says it is backed by investors who ‘built the wireless and technology industries’ at McCaw Cellular, Western Wireless, Voicestream, Nextel, China Unicom, and Microsoft.

Another investor is Best Buy Capital, the retail giant’s investment arm.

At the end of last year, Dashwire raised $1 million in debt financing.

The company was founded by CEO Ford Davidson, a former Product Manager in the Mobile Devices group at Microsoft. Dashwire’s CTO, James Prudente, helped build critical elements of Amazon's web operation in its early days, and also helped create the Amazon Mobile group.

Related:

Smartphone Maker HTC Buys S3 Graphics From VIA, WTI For $300 Million

HTC Invests In Multimedia Delivery Platform Company Saffron Digital



Pastebin Now Home To 8 Million Active Pastes

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 03:37 AM PDT

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Pastebin, everyone’s favorite bin in which to paste, just surpassed 8 million active pastes. The service, started in 2002, has held far more than that number over the past decade or so, but this a new record for simultaneous, active pastes for the site.

The admins state that “this number includes private pastes which are hidden from the public and search engines and that about 1/3th of all pastes created are private ones.”

Pastebin is interesting because they’ve become a locus for IRC and, as a result, Anonymous and Lulzsec activity. Many of the Lulzsec announcements, for example, appeared on Pastebin and because of the tenuous nature of Pastebin content, it has become a sort of an anonymous digital graffiti wall.

While the vast majority of the pastes consist of code and chat transcripts, it’s interesting to see how Pastebin has become a clearing-house for public, anonymous announcements. The site also has some great code highlighting features making it useful for militant, anonymous hackers who will bring down the old world order through the steady erosion of dark secrets and sub rosa state craft and, as a special bonus, those who are programming in Perl.



Kinetic Space Framework Allows PCs To Read Dance Moves, Sign Language

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 02:56 AM PDT

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The Kinetic Space project uses almost any type of 3D spatial scanner – including the Xbox Kinect – to register and read gestures. How does it work? Well, first you register your body and then record a set of gestures. The system can read those gestures and trigger events based on the speed and repetition of the gestures. The best part is the granularity: you can even scan hand motions for an interesting form of man-machine sign language.

The project code is available here and it supports the “PrimeSense PS1080, the Kinect or the Xtion sensors” so it runs the gamut from high-end to low.

The software observes and comprehends the user interaction by processing the skeleton of the user. The unique analysis routines allow to not only detect simple gestures such as pushing, clicking, forming a circle or waving, but also to recognize more complicated gestures as, for instance, used in dance performances or sign language.

What is it good for? Well, it can read a gesture from one person and register it on another and you can train it to register tiny movements and, potentially, allow for full motion control of your PC. Minority Report it isn’t, but that future is getting closer and closer.



Oh Gosh: The HP TouchPad 16GB Is On Woot For $379

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 02:12 AM PDT

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Remember when I said I thought HP was telegraphing its sales with the TouchPad pricing? And how I said the device is $100 off this weekend? Well either HP is not selling any TouchPads at all ever or they’re on some Quixotic race to the bottom in relation to every other tablet out there. You see, the TouchPad is $379 on Woot this morning.

I love Woot. Best shopping site ever. But Woot (generally) is where gadgets go to die. It’s where you can get a $99 smartphone that the rest of the world didn’t want or a failed manufacturing experiment that no one wanted to buy. It’s not always that way (Wine.Woot, for example, is just the opposite of what I described: a finely curated, clever site for great wine), but it’s often that way.

That said, clearly Woot has some pull and for HP to put their gear on there is a big deal. But I worry that this move will induce a slow and steady erosion of WebOS sales figures. Leave it to HP to lead us all into another netbook rathole, cheapening the mobile computing experience until it collapses under it’s failure to add value.

via TopolskyCorp



Daily Crunch: Aluminum

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 01:07 AM PDT

NewMe Accelerator, Aiming To Encourage Black Tech Entrepreneurs, Has Its First Demo Day

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 08:46 PM PDT

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Yesterday someone asked me whether the reason most of my avatar photos are silly is because otherwise I would have to deal with people constantly bringing up the fact that I don’t “look” like I should work in technology, meaning that I’m a (relatively not nerdy) woman.

While I had never consciously thought about it, the answer is yes (“silly” at least is off-putting, while “woman” just means “has no idea about tech”).

The concept of minority in Silicon Valley is a bit unique; White, Asians and Indian males are relatively well-represented while Latinos, Blacks and women are not. For some reason our community is exclusive to an extreme. I mean, people used to give Arrington guff for being a lawyer (!).

If Mike and I have it “tough,” the entrepreneurs at NewMe, the first startup accelerator targeting black founders specifically, have it a thousand times tougher with regards to looking like they should work in tech — Women represent 23.8% versus African-Americans at 1.5% of our work force respectively. As Central.ly co-founder Chris Bennett told me, “There aren’t minorities in tech, there just aren’t. One of the problems in the black tech community is that there isn’t yet a community.”

Co-founded by Angela Benton (wow, female and a minority — a double whammy) and Wayne Sutton, NewMe attempts to remedy this, by giving Silicon Valley exposure to African American-led startups. NewMe provides its charges  with access to housing, resources and mentorship from top Silicon Valley companies (Google is a sponsor and the startups have been working out of Tagged’s offices). Instead of investment, the incubator aims to provide value by fostering a supportive community.

When asked why there was such a dearth of minorities in the tech sector and what we could do to remedy it, Benton referred to investor Dave McClure’s answer when asked the same question at a tech event, that people invest in what they know — pattern matching whether they’re doing it or not.

According to Benton, who is considering opening up the program to Latinos next,  the solution to the diversity gap is giving minorities more exposure, ” We can show more diversity in what founders look like in the media, ” she said “So that a kid who reads CNN or the Huffington Post [or TechCrunch] can see that it's accessible. We need founders that are more successful, raising money and having exits, and it can't just be one person, it needs to be several people.”

Said mentor, and Foursquare head of monetization, Tristan Walker, “The more we can expose the Valley to what we don't know the better off everyone is within the stack, from venture capital, to entrepreneurs to consumers, and that's what the Valley is about, sourcing the best products and ideas and talent.”

Here is a list and brief description of each NewMe startup in its first cohort, below.

Pencil You In

Similar to Styleseat, but with more of a focus on appointment setup functionality, Pencil You In is like a Opentable for salon appointments.

Kloud.co

Described by the founder as a Greplin meets Dropbox, Kloud.co imports your “online universe” and lets you search through cloud services like Facebook, Gmail, Twitter and Dropbox — creating folders of what you were looking for and any other contextual information.

Playd

Playd, allows you to check in to your favorite games like you’d do for venues on Foursquare, whether they’re PC-based, mobile or on console.

FetchMob

Like a more casual TaskRabbit based only around shopping, FetchMob lets people crowdsource their shopping trips by asking their surrounding community for help.

BeCouply

Mobile app and social network BeCouply aims to solve the problem of how and where to socialize as a couple, by connecting couples and letting them share dates, activities and photo moments with the similarly partnered.

Cued

Launching in the fall, Cued hopes to give its users relevant location-based activity recommendations, through using data from your already existing social shares.

goKit

goKit is basically an About.me for people with multiple personas, attempting to give people an easily set up outlet to express the multiple parts of their online identity.

Vouch

Vouch is like a Hashable for recommendations, an app that allows people to take their offline person recommendations online with Twitter-based #vouches.

AisleFinder

AisleFinder solves the problem of never knowing what aisle the items on your shopping list are in, using Mechanical Turk to acquire data about in-store item’s location.

Central.ly

Similar to OwnLocal Centrally wants to be the one stop web promotion shop for small to medium-sized businesses who want to create websites with the least amount of hassle.

Image: AisleFinder founder Curtis Pope



New Intel Ultrabook Reference Models Could Undercut MacBook Air Significantly

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 07:58 PM PDT

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When Intel launched its Ultrabook initiative, we were excited: a full-on PC notebook the size of a MacBook Air? Promises of Adamos and Series 9s danced before our eyes, sexy but overpriced. Could this new spec be the one that makes our Air-toting friends jealous?

Unfortunately, few ultrabooks have surfaced, and those that have aren’t really competing pricewise. And just today we hear that Apple is hogging all the aluminum, so people are going to make their notebooks out of fiberglass. Fiberglass!

Don’t fret: Intel is on the case, and everything will be all right.

Intel understands that ODMs absolutely have to get prices under a thousand bucks if they want to compete. Digitimes reports that they’re calling a meeting next week in order to discuss a few new standard bills of material totalling a very reasonable $500-700, and if they’re smart, using components that manufacturers can actually get their hands on.

There haven’t been any teardowns part-by-part cost breakdowns of the latest MacBook Airs, but the previous generation was estimated to have a BOM of somewhat above $700, and as the updates have been fairly minor (new processor, Thunderbolt), that’s probably still a good estimate.

Intel is aiming at 18mm notebooks and 21mm-thick (for 11-13″ and 14-17″ screens respectively) designs with room to upgrade to their latest processors when the time comes. No optical drive, either, which is arguably more of a jump for Windows users than Mac Users. Both would, depending on options, fall at most at ~700, which with a 25% margin and room for assembly and shipping, puts you nicely at a thousand bucks. And that’s at the high end.

When we’ll actually see these designs is a mystery; I’d guess the first ones to make it to Best Buy shelves will be Ivy Bridge models in early 2012. Hopefully we’ll hear more from the companies themselves by then.



Early 3DS Price Drop At Wal-Mart Could Enable Savings Plus “Ambassador” Perks

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 07:27 PM PDT

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Nintendo recently had an epiphany, owning up to the 3DS’s slow launch by slashing pricesand paychecks. To make up for shafting early adopters, Nintendo has also said that anyone who has bought a 3DS before the price drop hits (on August 12th) will be eligible to receive 20 free virtual console games. But what if I told you that you could get a 3DS for the new price and get 20 free games?

You’d probably tell me it’s too good to be true. And it might be. But a “trusted source” has told Cheap Ass Gamer that Wal-Mart will be making the price drop effective a bit early — on the 9th. If you were to buy it there and then log into the 3DS eShop before the 12th — you’ve got the best of both worlds.

There’s no way to be sure it’s for real until Wal-Mart makes an announcement or the 9th comes around, but if you’re thinking of picking up the console with the new price, consider dropping by a Wal-Mart or calling in on the 9th to check. We’ll be sure to follow up this coming Tuesday. Hopefully Nintendo doesn’t find out about this.



Netflix Hits A Million Subscribers In Canada

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 07:08 PM PDT

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Rejoice! It only took 10 months for Netflix to rack up a million users in Canada. They launched in September of 2010, and in July a lucky Canuck by the name of Amanda, in the province they call Manitoba, became their one-millionth subscriber. She wins a lifetime subscription to Netflix’s streaming service and a lifetime of people asking if they can somehow “get in on that.”

That’s really all the news.

Something to consider, though: Netflix still has a lot of growth coming its way in Canada. They have 25 million subscribers in the US and Canada combined, which, if my math is right, means there are 24 million in the US. That’s around 8% of the population! Whereas, in Canada, the number being served is less than 3%.

With solid broadband penetration and rather long winters, streaming Netflix seems a perfect match for our friends in the north. Maybe they’re afraid they’ll go over their bandwidth caps?



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