Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Latest from TechCrunch

The Latest from TechCrunch

Link to TechCrunch Bets On HTML5 For New Mobile Site; Launches PlayBook And Android Tablet Apps

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 09:00 AM PDT

html5’s CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie has been open about his belief that mobile is a key pillar to the cloud storage company’s future. The company already offers native apps for a number of platforms, including Android, iPhone, iPad and BlackBerry, but the company’s mobile site was lacking in functionality. Which is why Box has completely re-developed its mobile site, and is launching HTML5 mobile offering and debuting apps for Android tablet and BlackBerry PlayBook devices.

For background, Box, which has 6 million users and stores 300 million documents, is a cloud storage platform for the enterprise that comes with collaboration, social and mobile functionality. Box has evolved into more than just a fils storage platform, and has become a full-fledged collaborative application where businesses can actually communicate about document updates, sync files remotely, and even add features from Salesforce, Google Apps, NetSuite, Yammer and others.

And now many Box clients wants to access much of the functionality listed above on mobile devices. Levie tells us that Box has seen a 600 percent increase in enterprise sales coming from companies that want mobile deployments. And Box has 1 million users across ioS, Android, and other mobile apps. Levie says that the mobile site is actually the most used mobile offering in the Box mobile family.

The HTML5 site is now more interactive, and includes automatic page refresh, commenting functionality, updated search, a new UI, and is altogether faster than the previous site. Users can also access and view files and folders and share content to co-workers and contacts.

The company is also launching new apps for the Android Tablet and BlackBerry PlayBook.

After talking to Levie briefly about Box’s new offerings, it’s very apparent that he’s bullish on mobile for the enterprise. “If you visited our offices today, every third word uttered by employees at Box has to do with our mobility strategy,” he says. “I see mobility has an inflection point for cloud computing and we want to make sure we are at the center of that.”

YC-Backed Opez Is Yelp Meets Facebook, For Service Professionals

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 08:59 AM PDT


Yelp provides a compelling platform for small businesses to connect with consumers via deals, reviews, reservations, information and more.

But independent service professionals like hair stylists, bartenders, and DJs have a problem: if they jump from one establishment to another (which is quite common), they have a hard time taking their clientele with them. Enter Y Combinator-backed Opez, a platform that’s looking to help these professionals keep in touch with their clients on a long-term basis, making it easy to keep them informed of any job changes or hot deals they’re offering.

Of course, Facebook already offers Facebook Pages, which can be used for similar a similar purpose. But Co-founder Chris Tam says service professionals want to be able to engage customers but also maintain a distance, which is the problem with using Facebook Pages as their centralized business page. Tam adds that this product is built specifically for professionals in certain industries, such as DJs, bartenders, models, hair stylists, personal trainers, cooks, and waiters.

Service professionals can create a profile, upload photo galleries and videos, showcase work, create a vanity domain for their profile, and more. They can then encourage their customers to go to their Opez profile and follow them. Professionals can also post status updates and email their followers, but without either party seeing the other’s email address.

So if a professional switches jobs, he can email his follower list, and keep people updated on where he is working next. He can also publish updates to Twitter and Facebook directly from Opez.

On the customer side, anyone can see the profile of a professional on Opez, but in order to follow someone, you need to create a profile yourself. You can then post reviews on a professional’s page.

The idea of Opez could be powerful because it gives service professionals a platform that blends the parts of Twitter, Facebook and Yelp — and it fits a clear need. The question at this point is whether it is different enough from Facebook Pages that industry professionals will be willing to create a profile on yet another new network.

Initial results are encouraging: Tam says that the site is already seeing traction amongst bartenders, models, hair stylists and others. And he adds that a mobile app is in the pipeline.

Justin.TV’s Video Gaming Portal Twitch.TV Is Growing Fast

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 08:55 AM PDT


In June launched TwitchTV, a live-streamed video game portal and community for gamers. It was an interesting move considering the video streaming company hadn’t really explored any verticals until then. But it looks like the startup’s move paid off. Twitch.TV is growing like gangbusters, and posted 8 million unique viewers worldwide in July.

Twitch.TV saw 1 billion minutes viewed in July, with traffic doubling. Of course, that’s a far cry from YouTube billions of daily views. But for a recently launched niche vertical, it’s still impressive.

For background, TwitchTV features competitions of a variety of games and platforms with top gamers, tournaments and commentary. The platform aims to be a one-stop-shop for live video for ‘eSports,’ which says is synonymous with competitive video gaming.

Twitch.TV aslo recently debuted a partner program for game developers and now has 500 total partners via the program.

The platform is also piggybacking on the massive success of Machinima, another online video gaming site which is seeing major traction amongst gamers.

Apple Patent Filing Could Put Plan and Carrier Changes In Your Pocket

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 08:52 AM PDT


According to a patent filing unearthed by AppleInsider, Apple may be looking to give their customers with a new kind of control: control over their current carrier. Titled “Method and Apparatus for Using a Wireless Communication Device with Multiple Service Providers”, it (longwindedly) describes how a phone could locally store several different carrier configurations profiles and allow users to swap them on a whim.

Apple outlines several embodiments of the system, but the most compelling are the first two. Long story short, they describe how it could be possible to change your plan and even carrier (hardware-willing) right from your phone. A device could store different price plan options as identifier values: once you chose one of those values, the correct carrier configuration kicks in. Imagine being presented options for T-Mobile and AT&T — if you chose the identifier for a 450 minute AT&T plan, the phone would automagically be set for AT&T service.

The patent even takes the concept further by introducing a ranking system, in which a mix of identifiers would determine which carrier config is enabled. Going back to the previous example, if you decided that you wanted a low number of minutes, and a high data cap, the device could select whatever plan would be the best fit and configure itself for that carrier.

Another embodiment of the system deals with international use. A iPhone loaded with the right carrier configurations could start off in the U.S. (AT&T), hop on a plane to Canada (Rogers), and make a connecting flight to Spain (Movistar). At each step of the way, the iPhone could easily be configured with the correct data and MMS settings, making for a seamless usage experience.

It should go without saying that this may not make it to a working phone. While I’d love to see a carrier-agnostic blank slate of an iPhone, Apple seems to have a penchant for patenting really cool ideas and sitting on them.

Live Blog: HTC’s “Major Announcement”

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 08:27 AM PDT


Late last night, HTC announced that they had a “Major News Announcement” to share this morning.

With HTC having made some of the finest smartphones we’ve ever seen (like the Thunderbolt, the 7 Pro, and the world’s original Android device, the G1), anything they consider “major news” is probably worth tuning in to.

So, what might they announce? Thanks to some late night leaks, we’ve got a pretty good idea — find the details, along with our live notes from HTC’s teleconference, below.

Refresh the page to update notes.

8:26 a.m: I’m waiting on the call now. The call is scheduled to begin at 8:30 A.M pacific.

8:27 a.m: Based on some news that broke late last night, we’re expecting HTC to officially announce that they’ve formed a strategic partnership with Beats Electronics, makers of the Beats By Dr Dre line. It’s likely that HTC will be announcing that they’ve acquired a majority stake in the Beats line, with an investment in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

8:31 a.m: Still on hold. This is probably the smoothest smooth jazz I’ve ever heard.

8:35 a.m: 5 minutes later, we’re still jammin’ away to some sultry jazz tunes. Pretty sure HTC forgot about us here.

8:37 a.m: To be clear, today’s press call wasn’t supposed to have been cancelled due to bits of the news breaking last night. HTC confirmed to everyone last night that the call would still go on, with additional details discussed.

8:38 a.m: Here we go! They’ve brought us into the call. Peter Chou (CEO of HTC) and Jimmy Iovine of Beats are leading the call.

8:39 a.m: Peter Chou: We’re very excited to announce this partnership. We plan to bring “studio quality” sound to handsets.

8:40 a.m: “Quality of design has always been a very high priority for HTC. When we met with Beats, we were very impressed with their knowledge and technology in the music area…. The team at Beats really understands music, and really understands the music experience.”

8:41 a.m: “With this strategy, with this investment, we’re able to bring the best people from two sides to make a very deep integration of Beats technology in the software, and the hardware. This is a great opportunity to take the mobile experience to the next step. Mobile phones — the smart phones — are very powerful. It makes it easier than ever to enjoy music… but the sound quality hasn’t caught up yet. This is an opportunity for us to provide great sound quality”

8:42 a.m: Yeah — so far, no new details. Just a lot of talking about how awesome the partnership is.

8:43 a.m: Jimmy Iovine is now on the call

8:44 a.m: “When a record is made, millions of dollars are spent on getting that emotion into music. When you then take it and put it on CD, and then MP3, you lose that emotion. [Because of these Mp3s, and bad earbuds], we’ve lost approximately 2 generations of sound.”

8:45 a.m: According to Jimmy Iovine, Beats went to HTC to ask them to invest.

8:46 a.m: Iovine: “Why Apple works so well, is because they have a head. What Steve Jobs does, the company follows. I’ve found that here with Peter.”

8:47 a.m: We’re moving into Q&A.

8:48 a.m: “What will this deal do to enhance the phone? Are consumers really looking for sound quality?” Jimmy Iovine: When we started Beats, people told us “no one cares about sound”. 3 years and 8 million headphones later, we’ve completely penetrated headphone sales between 12 and 20 years old. We brought it to them with culture, but it made them realize that quality matters. You’ll find that over the next few months, ALL phone companies will upgrade their sound quality. HTC will be first. Peter: This partnership is built on the idea that amazing sound is the key to an amazing mobile experience.

8:51 a.m: Will these be about headphones sold with the phones, or tech built into the phones? Peter: It’s not just purely the handset, it’s going to be a “holistic experience”. We see the possibility that we can create a lot more exciting innovations in the market place. [Didn't... really answer the question, there.]

8:52 a.m: “Why did you invest in Beats, rather than just license it?” Peter: We believe to create innovation, we have to have the two companies be working together day and night.

8:53 a.m: Can you confirm that this is a $300 million investment? Peter: Yes. This is a $300 million investment.

8:54 a.m: Jimmy Iovine on the size of the investment: The valuation that we came up with here.. was from March. Since then, Beats sales have doubled, but we kept the price the same [because we like HTC]. We, as in the music industry, HAVE to get to phones. This expedites that.

8:58 a.m: What, if anything, does this partnership do to your relationship with HTC? Jimmy: I talked to Todd [Bradley] and he was thrilled for us. It’s in HPs best interest to continue building out the brand, and our goal is to fix sound everywhere — but we’ll have an exclusive relationship with HTC in phones. (Sounds like Beats will continue to work with HP and other brands in computers, but will work strictly with HTC in phones)

Aaaand they’ve just ended the call. Thanks for tuning in, everyone!

Launch Date:

HTC Corp, (TAIEX: 2498) produces smartphones running the Android and Windows Mobile operating systems for themselves and as an OEM to other manufacturers. Since launching its own brand in...

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Gartner: Android OS Sales Top iOS, RIM and Nokia

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 08:05 AM PDT


Gartner just released its new mobile device sales for Q2 2011, and reports that Google and Apple are the “obvious winners” in the smartphone ecosystem. The combined share of iOS and Android doubled nearly 62% in the second quarter of this year, up from just over 31% in same quarter last year.

Google’s mobile operating system now accounts for 43.4% of all smartphone sales, up from 17.2% Q2 2010. And Apple reached 18.2%, up from 14.1% at the same time.

However, Symbian is now at 22.1%, down from 40.9%.

Nokia and RIM are both suffering, actually, with Nokia’s sales in the channel dropping due to decreasing demand for Symbian, but also inventory management issues in Europe and China. RIM, meanwhile, saw its share of the smartphone market drop to 12% in Q2, from 19% one year ago.

According to the analyst firm, worldwide sales of mobile devices grew 16.5% from this time last year, to reach 428.7 million units. Sales of smartphones were up 74% year-over-year and accounted for 25% of the overall sales in Q2 2011, up from 17% in Q2 2010.

“Smartphone sales continued to rise at the expense of feature phones,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. In mature markets, she noted that people were choosing Android over feature phones, in part due to manufacturer and carrier promotions.

By Vendor

When looking at the mobile phone sales by vendor, Nokia is still on top, with 22.8% of the overall mobile market. But the next quarter may see Nokia’s share falling. "The sales efforts of the channel, combined with Nokia's greater concentration in retail and distributors' sales, saw Nokia destock more than 9 million units overall and 5 million smartphones, helping it hold on to its position as the leading smartphone manufacturer by volume," Cozza noted. "However, we will not see a repeat of this performance in the third quarter of 2011, as Nokia's channel is pretty lean."

Samsung achieved growth, thanks in part to the new Galaxy S II, which is selling well – 5 million sales by the end of July. However, its overall share dropped year-over-year, and grew only marginally quarter-over-quater, Gartner said.

RIM’s smartphone market share dropped from 19% a year ago to 12% and it lost its #5 spot in the overall mobile device rankings to ZTE. RIM will have struggles ahead, too, Gartner believes, as it attempts to transition from BlackBerry 7 to QNX.

Apple continued to “exceed expectations,” said Gartner, even though the iPhone 4 is about to be replaced with a newer model. Part of its growth came from the 42 new carriers in 15 new countries it entered last quarter, bringing its total countries to 100. By the end of Q2, sales to end users reached 19.6 million units. And in China, Apple is the 7th largest mobile phone vendor, and the 3rd-largest smartphone vendor.

Former Virgin Digital Execs Raise $20M For Los Angeles-based “Innovation Factory”

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 08:00 AM PDT

elevator labs

Two ex-Virgin Digital executives, namely its former CTO Brendon Cassidy and former president Zack Zalon, have teamed up to start a Los Angeles-based digital business incubator called Elevator Labs.

The venture, which is both labeled an ‘invention company’ and an ‘innovation factory’, this morning announced that it has secured $20 million in initial funding from KGC Capital.

Zalon and Cassidy have worked together for more than a decade, having built and operated a number of digital initiatives at Virgin and creating several standalone businesses since. The idea behind Elevator Labs is to finance and provide technical and strategic guidance to LA-based startups and teams in order to go from idea to a sustainable business.

Here’s the main pitch (from the press release):

A key focus of the Elevator Labs mission is to continue to found, foster and grow new ideas and companies in the Los Angeles region while also building a community of innovation with existing Los Angeles technology, media and government organizations.

Currently, the Elevator Labs portfolio includes Hello Music, an online marketplace for independent artists and bands, interactive product agency Wilshire Media Group and stealth startup Fat Cloud.

Additional Elevator Labs ventures are said to be currently in development and will be announced in the coming months.


Elevator Labs is a Los Angeles, CA-based invention company that brings ideas from vision to value. Beginning with new business concepts, the Elevator Labs leadership team funds and builds...

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Mad Catz Intros The Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Albino Gaming Mouse For The Style-Obsessed Gamer

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 07:49 AM PDT

r7a_4 (1)

Are you not sticking out at your LAN parties? Does your mouse look like all rest? Are you feeling the need for something new, fresh, and, dare I say, innovative? Well, fellow gaming friend, Mad Catz has something for you!

The company just announced a new version of its rather strange Cyborg R.A.T. 7 gaming mouse. This new version, dubbed the Albino thanks to its matte white paint scheme, features the same infamous design found in the rest of the R.A.T. line along with an enhanced 6400DPI sensor, which lends to improved tracking and response. Yes, friend, this boy will make you the king of the nerds at your next LAN party.

The mouse just went on pre-order for $99. That’s slightly more than an average gaming mouse, but well within the price range most gamers are willing to drop in the hope for more frags. That’s also the same price as the black R.A.T. 7, but the white color scheme will certainly impress the ladies — as if ladies care about the color of your mouse.

Facebook Rolls Out Changes to Chat, Other Experiments, Leads to Problems

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 07:25 AM PDT


Facebook made changes to the Facebook Chat sidebar feature, several users are reporting. Now, your favorite online friends appear in the top section of Chat, with a separate list titled “More Online Friends” underneath. This makes it easier to find the Facebook friends you chat with often.

However, we’ve also seen reports where select users are getting a mini News Feed in their Chat sidebar instead. In somes cases, the News Feed appears above your contacts. This appears to be more of an experimental rollout.

Previously, the Facebook Chat sidebar presented your friends to you as one big list, sorted alphabetically by name, not by relevance to you. For what it’s worth, this is the Chat sidebar I still have in my Facebook profile, which indicates that the update is still in the process of being deployed as we speak.

Those who have received the new Chat update are seeing the Chat sidebar split in two, with a section containing those friends you most recently chatted with at the top, then a split, followed by a “More Online Friends” section below where the rest of your online contacts are displayed.

But that’s not all!

Although there are fewer tips coming in about this one, it appears that some users are seeing a more experimental sidebar which includes a mini News Feed at the top. This News Feed shows recent updates from your friends and the Facebook Pages you follow.

This makes it seem like you have two News Feeds, which can feel a bit odd.

Others report seeing fixed Facebook headers (the blue bar at the top – it doesn’t move when you scroll).

Alvito Falcon
Facebook has new design changes today! The header does nt scroll. And more updates above the chat on the right hand side!

Causing Problems?

It seems that the majority of these more oddball updates may be the result of “bucket” tests, where Facebook rolls out new features to a subset of its users, before deciding if or when it will roll those out to the rest of the install base.

The updates may also be the cause of the issues several people seem to be experiencing with the site this morning, which so far, include the inability to sign in, trouble using Facebook Connect, problems “liking” things, the inability to write on friends’ walls and the inability to post  status updates.

"Sorry, unable to update your status. Try again in a few minutes." #FacebookFAIL

Francesco Gaminara
Today FB has decided that i can't "like" a thing :/ #FaceBookFail

madame Leto.
i've written 2 statuses that now i want to delete but facebook won't let me fml. #facebookfail

Seth Spears
What's wrong with #facebook today, questions won't work, database errors, all kinds of problems! #facebookfail

J Shallow-Miller
FB is not letting me post on walls & repond to posts. ugh! #facebookfail

We’ve reached out to Facebook PR for a comment and will update if we hear back.

Update, Facebook’s Response:

After we changed the way that Facebook Chat worked a few weeks ago, we got a lot of feedback that people missed being able to see all of their online friends. Earlier today we made a change to re-enable that functionality; Facebook Chat now shows you the friends that you interact with the most as well as the rest of your friends that are currently online.
The “mini News Feed” you’re referring to is a News Feed test we are running (and have been for some time) and are unrelated to the changes we made yesterday.

Airband Raises $20 Million, Announces Plans For Mergers And Acquisitions

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 07:18 AM PDT


Airband, a provider of fixed wireless voice and data services to businesses, this morning announced that it has secured $20 million in financing from Boston-based ABRY Partners, which also got a seat on Airband's board of directors.

Airband, which offers Internet access, data services, VoIP, security and other solutions, says it plans to expand network coverage and capacity in existing markets but also explore mergers with or acquisitions of fixed-wireless providers operational in other regions and optimize its capital structure.

A year ago, Airband and Sparkplug announced their merger, creating one of the largest fixed-wireless companies in the United States with operations in 17 markets.

Launch Date:

Airband Communications is the largest WiMAX fixed-wireless provider serving businesses in the United States. They deliver a comprehensive portfolio of high-bandwidth and managed solutions over one of the industry’s...

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Launch Date:

Founded in 1989, ABRY Partners is one of the most experienced and successful media, communications, business and information services focused private equity investment firms in North America. We invest...

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Grooveshark Now Found Lurking In Boxee Waters

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 07:15 AM PDT


Grooveshark is now singing and swaying with Boxee as the music streaming service just hit the platform. The somewhat-underground music service streams lands on Boxee in a slightly different form than its online counterpart. The service not only looks different, but costs $9 a month after a free trial. Ouch. Grooveshark likely wants a slice of that sweet revunue pie Spotify is currently enjoying.

In fact, the Boxee version looks a feels totally different from the traditional online service. Gone is the iTunes-style interface as a, well, orange-ified version of Rdio takes its place. The new tabbed interface brings up user-selected music, playlists, and popular music. Like the traditional version, it allows for easy playlist creation and sorting.

I must point out, seeing how this app carries a monthly fee, that normal Grooveshark works fine in the Boxee Browser. It can be slightly slow navigating as the interface is designed for a mouse, but the whole streaming service works fine and I use it quite often on my Boxee Box. Just saying.

Launch Date:

Grooveshark is a web-based music application built for anyone on the internet to listen to music on-demand at no charge. Users have the ability to listen to single songs from...

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Boxee is a partially open-source freeware media player software platform that integrates personal locally stored media with Internet streaming media along with social networking features. Boxee’s social networking...

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Vuzix Wrap 1200 3D Glasses Hang A 75-Inch Screen In Front Of Your Nose

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 07:07 AM PDT

Wrap 1200

Vuzix is now shipping their Wrap 1200 3Ds, a pair of $500 glasses (a headtracking model called the 1200VR is coming later this month) that displays a 75-inch virtual screen in front of your face and supports 3D content. You have separate focus settings for each each eye and these are as light and small as a standard pair of sunglasses.

The Vuzix 1200s also allow you to wear your own prescription lenses under the device.

I’ve used earlier Vuzix video glasses on flights before and, barring the dork-feel of wearing a pair of video glasses, the experience is fairly interesting and impressive. Now, however, with HD, 3D and a huge screen these things could, feasibly, replace a standard monitor in some situations.

The glasses include a pair of headphones for audio and you can buy optional DVI adapters and light shields as well as a head-position sensor for more advanced tricks like real-time VR. The future, as they say, is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed.

Product Page

SteelSeries Sensei Mouse Is Familiar But Enhanced

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 07:00 AM PDT


I reviewed the SteelSeries Xai early last year, pronouncing it elegant and effective. I’d still recommend it today, except for the fact that a new and improved version has just been announced: the Sensei. The simple and comfortable design of the Xai is intact, but there’s a new metal surface (which has yet to prove itself; the old surface was great), customizable lighting, and some changes under the hood.

A new in-mouse processor (which they note is fast as 1994′s Pentiums) allows for increased sensitivity, collating and processing images from the laser sensor at up to 12,000 frames per second. Yes, it’s probably overkill, but so is a quad-core i7 when you’re checking email. The new engine should enhance the tracking accuracy, especially for high-CPI users like me, whose mouse rarely moves less than an inch in crossing 4000 pixels of display space.

The lighting has been updated, as well — you can now light up the scroll wheel, high/low sensitivity light, and logo with different colors. I suspect there will be many flag-related schemes being shared.

On the bottom you’ll find the same on-mouse sensitivity and profile manager from the last few mice. Again, overkill, but nice to have. The overall layout hasn’t changed, though I have to say I’m sad to see the classic, rough SteelSeries finish go.

We’ll be sure to put this one through its paces. You’ll be able to pick one up yourself in September for $90 or €90. Head over to SteelSeries for more info.

Have No Fear, The 7-inch HP TouchPad Go Is Almost Here!

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 06:51 AM PDT


Never mind the marketplace is having a hard time selling the first TouchPad. Never mind that it has a fraction of the apps found on competing platforms. Never mind that it works best when paired with the least popular smartphone. HP is prepping a new TouchPad for an US launch. The TouchPad Go is a 7-inch tablet from the same strain the produced the original. Oh goodie.

This might not be the first you’re hearing of it. A smaller TouchPad was rumored alongside the first one. Back then, it was thought to have been called internally as the Opal. But then the device hit the FCC where the Go moniker was found.

Per the FCC docs, the tablet is much of what you’d expect: 16 and 32GB models, both available in 3G and WiFi-only flavors. The new model will actually pack a faster CPU with a 1.5GHz clockspeed rather than 1.2GHz. GPS, Bluetooth and likely Beats Audio are also packed into the smaller chassis.

Interestingly enough, the FCC docs do not talk of screen size. However, per the FCC rules, HP had to include the device’s ID label on a schematic exactly as it’s found on the real device. A webOSroundup forum member then took that label and used some middle school math to determine that, yes, this is a 7-inch tablet.

Joking aside, a smaller TouchPad, as long as it’s priced right, might do just fine among the webOS loyalists. The TouchPad is a fine device, but the initial high MSRP made it a hard sell. Now that the price is lower, first adopters are probably more interested. Hopefully HP learned its lesson and will price the smaller TouchPad more aggressively. No word on the exact release date, but since it just passed through the FCC, it will likely be within a few months.

The Motorola KORE: Just A Heart Rate Monitor?

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 06:44 AM PDT


While we were fairly certain that Moto was going to go all KORE on its tablet line last week, it looks like KORE is just a trademark for a heart rate monitor and headphones combo that works with Motorola phones. Bums-ville.


The KORE could also be a music player/fitness device that appeared a while back, which would definitely make it more interesting then just a pair of headphones. This is all just conjecture and kremlinology, obviously, so we shall see.

AT&T Joins Sprint In Offering Mobile Security To Customers

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 06:29 AM PDT


You're all aware of the increase in "hacktivism" and malware we've been seeing over the past few months, and as it turns out, the carriers are aware of it, too. Just yesterday, Sprint announced the availability of its McAfee security apps for Android, and today AT&T is looping in Juniper Networks for its new mobile security platform.

Though it's not quite rolled out yet, the first phase of AT&T's security platform will be the launch of its AT&T Mobile Security app, which will be based on Juniper's Junos Pulse client. The app won't launch until later this year. According to the release, the application will help keep both personal and enterprise phones safe by offering control and monitoring of apps and enabling anti-virus and anti-malware on the phone.

The truth of the matter is you can never be too secure when it comes to technology, especially with our banking and personal contact information all stored away in our smartphones. There are already plenty of anti-virus and anti-malware apps available in both the Android Market and the App Store, along with various other application stores, but it's definitely good to see the carriers get involved.

NuCaptcha Dynamically Alters Captchas To Promise Security

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 06:00 AM PDT


NuCaptcha, a startup that develops video captcha technology, is hoping to disrupt the captcha industry today with the launch of its dynamic captchas that promise security to website owners.

Captchas are security questions you find on Web sites that require you to decipher and type words or numbers and detects whether the user is a human or a spambot. Most Captchas you see are transcription, text-based Captchas.

Of course, captchas can often be confusing, and not user-friendly. NuCaptcha is trying to solve this pain point by offering site owners a more user-friendly alternative, called a video captcha. NuCaptcha has spent the last few years optimizing its security so that 3 un-distorted letters can be used on “most” sites. Sites that need more security can add up to 8 letters.

NuCaptcha’s Behavioral Analysis System detects unusual behavior dynamically and can increase the complexity of the Captcha and slow down the video, making it difficult for both bots and human-farms to solve Captcha in high volumes.

A variety of video-based templates are available for site owners, based on their required site look-and-feel, and can be deployed quickly. Currently serving millions of Captchas per month, NuCaptcha offers a Free, Pro and Enterprise offering, and users can determine the size, choice of videos, security level, and even optional branding, advertising and revenue generation through NuCaptcha's Advertising Programs.

NuCaptcha faces competition from ReCaptcha, which Google acquired in 2009.

Launch Date:

NuCaptcha introduces video technology to text-based Captchas. The NuCaptcha Security Platform is a CAPTCHA-based solution that uses motion video to authenticate human web interactions. Features of the NuCaptcha Security Platform...

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Zynga Exec Jumps Ship, Lands CEO Role At eHarmony

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 05:22 AM PDT


Jeremy Verba, a GM at social gaming company Zynga, has been appointed CEO and board member of online dating juggernaut eHarmony. At Zynga, Verba served as founding general manager of Treasure Isle, one of its top Facebook games. According to his LinkedIn profile, he was a member of Zynga’s executive staff since joining the company in December 2009.

Prior to Zynga, Verba served as president and CEO for social networking service Piczo, and before that held a number of leadership roles at companies like AOL, E! Online and CNET.

The timing of his departure at Zynga is somewhat peculiar, as the company recently filed to go public. According to the filing, Zynga aims to raise as much as $1 billion.

I’ve asked Zynga for an official comment on Verba’s decision to quit, and will update when I hear back.

(Update: Zynga got back to me but declined to comment).

EHarmony, meanwhile, says it has seen mobile app downloads surpass the one million mark in 2011, and continues to see growth all around the world.

The online ‘matchmaking’ service provider, which was founded back in 2000, now operates in 16 countries including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Brazil.

The company’s former CEO, Gregory Waldorf, resigned earlier this year after running eHarmony for nearly five years – he later joined VC firm Accel Partners. He was replaced on an interim basis by Greg Steiner, the company’s president and COO.

(Image via Verba’s Twitter account).


Arguably one of the first Web 2.0 sites because of its focus on connecting its users, eHarmony, an online relationship website, matches users together using a rigorous 250+ item...

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Piczo, Zynga, eHarmony

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Cloudera Now Certifies Companies For Apache Hadoop; Launches Partner Program

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 05:20 AM PDT


Cloudera, the startup that commercially distributes and services Apache Hadoop based data management software and services, is announcing a comprehensive partner program today for the companies that use its services.

Hadoop is a Java software framework born out of an open-source implementation of Google's published computing infrastructure which is fostered within the Apache Software Foundation. Hadoop supports distributed applications running on large clusters of commodity computers processing enormous amounts of data. Cloudera helps distribute Hadoop, and provides practical services around the technology, similar to what Red Hat does for the Linux framework.

The partner program includes a self-­‐certification suite that enables vendors to test and validate hardware and software for supportable operation within an Apache Hadoop cluster. Partners will also receive resources on technical training, marketing tools and more. And the company showcases certain on vendors across the ecosystem, so prospective companies can get insight on actual deployments.

Ed Albanese, business development chief for Cloudera, explains that that certification program is important to companies, and is similar to how Red Hat to validates the Linux operating system. With the partner program in general, he explains that Cloudera is trying to introduce a commercial link to see what’s happening in the development process and get an inside view into vendors.

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Cloudera, the commercial Hadoop company, develops and distributes Hadoop, the open source software that powers the data processing engines of the world’s largest and most popular web sites. Founded...

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August Capital, Google Ventures Put $18.5M In Online Legal Service Rocket Lawyer

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 04:29 AM PDT

Free Legal Document Service | Legal Help Online | Rocket Lawyer

More big money for online legal services. After LegalZoom raised $66 million from Kleiner Perkins And IVP, competitor Rocket Lawyer is also announcing a new round of funding. The startup has raised $18.5 million in funding led by August Capital with Google Ventures and Investor Growth Capital(IGC) participating in the round. This brings Rocket Lawyer’s total funding to $30 million.

Founded by lawyer Charles Moore, Rocket Lawyer not only provides legal documents to consumers and small businesses but also helps users that create customized legal documents that can be electronically signed online and shared instantly or downloaded for printing. Moore says that each month, more than 20,000 Last Wills and 40,000 Business Contracts are created. Rocket Lawyer offers these documents for free.

While users can use Rocket Lawyer on a one-off basis, many of the site’s users pay for actual legal advice along with access to the documents. Users can pay as little as $20 for a single consultation to $200 to $300 per year for on call legal service, which is a fraction of what some lawyers cost (the company currently has thousands of people who pay for the yearly service).

Moore says that 20 million people will have used Rocket Lawyer by the end of this year. And visitors to Rocket Lawyer have grown over 100 percent, year over year. The company has been growing revenue by $10 million each year, but declined to reveal if Rocket Lawyer is profitable yet.

Considering the traction that other players like LegalZoom are seeing as well, it looks like the online legal services industry is a fast-growing market that continues to have major potential. And LegalZoom is looking at an IPO on the next year.

The new funds will be used to continue building Rocket Lawyer's brand and patent-pending online legal solutions.

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