Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Latest from TechCrunch

The Latest from TechCrunch

Link to TechCrunch

Touchanote Adds NFC Support to Evernote

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 08:26 AM PDT

touchanote-phones

Touchanote is a new Android application that ties together NFC technology with the popular note-taking and organizing software Evernote. Created by the Montreal-based startup Wiseleap, the app took home the $50,000 grand prize at Evernote’s recent developer conference in San Francisco.

At the time of the conference, the results of the developer contest were overshadowed by the much larger news regarding Evernote’s acquisition of image-sharing app Skitch. But Touchanote, despite its niche appeal, is worth a second look.

Through a combination of NFC stickers and this mobile application, both of which are available via Touchanote’s website, you can easily associate a note in Evernote with a particular NFC tag. So, for example, you could place a sticker on your fridge that’s associated with your grocery list in Evernote, enabling you to launch the list on your phone just by tapping or waving your device near the tag.

Or maybe you could stick a tag on your suitcase that’s associated with your packing list. A tag that launches your “to-do” list could be stuck to something on your desk at the office. You could tag boxes you’re planning to store or move to a new house with a list of their contents. You could tag devices with links to their online user manuals or support pages.

These are just a few ideas, of course. You can probably think of more.

The only problem, of course, is that NFC technology is currently limited to a small number of handsets. Most notably, Google’s flagship phone, the Nexus S, offers NFC, as do some variants of the Samsung Galaxy S II, select Nokia devices (like the newer Astound), RIM’s BlackBerry Bold devices (9900/9930) and its newer Curve models (9350/9360/9370), among others.

But for those of you out there who are just starting to experiment with NFC and its potential use cases, this seems like a practical way to take advantage of the functionality that such a technology provides.



Company:
EVERNOTE
Launch Date:
2007
Funding:
$95.5M

Evernote allows users to capture, organize, and find information across multiple platforms. Users can take notes, clip webpages, snap photos using their mobile phones, create to-dos, and record audio....

Learn more


Kayak Offers Deals On One-Way Fares From Separate Airlines In Roundtrip Flight Search

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 08:09 AM PDT

kay

Most power airfare searchers know that buying two one-way tickets on separate airlines can sometimes be cheaper than buying a roundtrip ticket on the same airline. But on most travel search portals you have to do a little digging to find these one way fares, and sites like Kayak wouldn’t pair two one-way fares from different airlines. Today, Kayak is integrating these fares, which the company has dubbed ‘Hacker Fares’ into flight search.

So if you are looking weekend roundtrip flight from New York to San Francisco, and the best price is $600 for an economy ticket on Airline A, you’ll also see the price options for two one-way fares on Airline A and Airline B, which may be cheaper. Kayak calls these Hacker Fares because searching and matching separate airline and travel sites for these cheaper one-way fares requires a bit of hacking.

Kayak has even trademarked the term and filed a patent for the technology. CMO Robert Birge says that airlines won’t be upset over this because the company is simply searching what’s already out there via flight data on the web.

While Birge won’t reveal how often a roundtrip fare on the same airline is more expensive than two separate one-way fares on different airlines, he did say that Kayak expects the addition of Hacker Fares to impact a ‘significant percentage of queries’ on a daily basis.

Kayak, which filed its S-1 nearly a year ago, appears to be holding off on its plans go public. As the company reported in its most recent filing, revenue is up but net income is down. Kayak could be waiting for Google to launch its own ITA-powered flight search tools and services that will directly compete with Kayak.



Company:
KAYAK
Launch Date:
14/1/2004
Funding:
$223M

Kayak is a travel search engine. It indexes hundreds of global travel sites to help you find the right flight, hotel, rental car or cruise line. Once...

Learn more


Ustream Shutters Live Mobilizer, Partners With Mobile Roadie To Allow Broadcasters To Create Mobile Apps

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 07:50 AM PDT

Taylor Swift

Last year, popular live video platform Ustream launched a mobile app development platform called Ustream Live Mobilizer that offered brands, celebrities, and bands a customizable iPhone application that featured Ustream's live steaming capabilities. But today, Ustream is shutting down Live Mobilizer and announcing a partnership with Mobile Roadie, which allows anyone develop and create sleek, rich media iPhone and Android apps.

Mobile Roadie will work with Ustream broadcasters to create mobile apps that showcase their Ustream live channels as well as a number of of other complimentary features. For example, Mobile Roadie’s Ustream apps will send push messages automatically when a broadcaster goes live, will allow visitors to "Check in" to a stream and share to Facebook and Twitter, will collect real-time analytics and location data on broadcaster live streams, and will allow users to chat with each other as they view a live stream.

Broadcasters will also be able to monetize the app, and can charge a one time or monthly fee for users to their Ustream content. Mobile Roadie says that existing Ustream clients using Live Mobilizer will have the option to migrate to the new platform.

Outsourcing mobile app development to Mobile Roadie makes a lot of sense for Ustream, who can focus on doing what they do best—live streaming. Mobile Roadie has become a defacto mobile app development platform for a number of high profile brands and celebrities using its platform, including Taylor Swift (see the example of the Ustream integration in this post), Madonna, Live Nation, Levi's, Twilight, and Vera Wang. In 2009, Mobile Roadie also developed the official iPhone app for LeWeb,, struck a deal with Random House to power iPhone apps for authors, and Sony Music to develop mobile apps for the music label’s network of artists.



Company:
USTREAM
Launch Date:
11/6/2006
Funding:
$87.8M

Ustream has created a network of diverse channels providing a platform for lifecasting and live video streaming of events online. Its platform empowers any individual, public figure or brand...

Learn more

Company:
MOBILE ROADIE
Launch Date:
4/2009

Mobile Roadie allows anyone to create and manage their own iPhone and Android apps. Founded by Brock Batten (Creative Director) and Michael Schneider (CEO) in 2009, they have created...

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Stop! You’re All Mad! WebOS Is Better Than Android!

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 07:48 AM PDT

newpalm-2118

Don’t listen to the masses. Buy the TouchPad (if you can find one) and enjoy webOS. It’s an amazing OS killed off by natural selection, like a beautiful peacock with a rare and debilitating reproductive problem. It has the swankiness of iOS, the multitasking of Android all built by the folks that started it all, Palm. The Internet is being overran by Android nerds. Don’t listen to them.

The TouchPad was doomed from the start. Tablets, outside of the iPad, are a niche device that attempt to justify their existence by replicating notebook functions on a slate form factor. They just don’t make sense without a robust app marketplace. A consumer can buy an iPad and never touch the web browser because of the sheer amount of useful and fun apps. That’s not the case with Android, BlackBerry, or webOS devices. These platforms, while fully functional and vibrant as any smartphone OS, did not prep for the transition to a 10-inch, thus the weakest of them will die an early death from poor consumer acceptance.

Unfortunately this early death doesn’t make any of the TouchPad’s competitors stronger. Android won’t benefit for this, but you still can.

The TouchPad is a fine device. The platform is more consumer friendly and operational in a tablet than Android right now and it has the pleasing user experience of webOS. We have never had any issues with webOS. We just couldn’t recommend it over the iPad. John’s official review of the TouchPad states, “WebOS and the Palm TouchPad are nearly perfect, an excellent amalgamation of everything that was ever right about Palm. But is even perfection, in this market, enough? Without a strong app base and some work on performance issues, the TouchPad may be the most beautiful dead-end we have seen yet.” Yep, that properly describes the TouchPad: a beautiful dead-end.

Some of Android’s faithful saw the TouchPad fire sale as an extraordinary opportunity. Here’s a dual-core tablet with an amazing 10-inch screen for only $100. Let’s all buy it and then put Android on it, they said. Great, but you, as curious onlooker not exactly sure how to flash a device or rebuild a kernel are better off with the stock webOS.

There’s currently a $1500 bounty for the first stable Android TouchPad build. The goal right now isn’t even Honeycomb but rather Android 2.x, which further supports my plea to keep the original tablet OS installed. The hacking cause might have gotten a free turn as what appears to be a Qualcomm prototype actually running Android 2.2.1 Froyo was supposedly installed on a TouchPad bought at retail.

I never thought HP would kill the TouchPad this fast. I figured the first generation of TouchPads were just to test the market and then HP, the mammoth PC maker, would out a proper second generation. But HP decided they didn’t want to be a mammoth PC maker anymore and axed their resource-sucking webOS hardware division. This departure then puts the pressure on the BlackBerry PlayBook as the under-performing tablet platform. Sprint already gave the tablet the stink eye and decided not to carry the 4G flavor. At least the Playbook has lasted longer than the TouchPad’s 49 day lifespan.

We’ve always said the TouchPad is a fine device and it’s an amazing deal at $99. Most of those are already gone and currently, the going price on eBay is just north of $300. (the same price as a refurb iPad) If you can find one though, buy it and enjoy webOS. There are a couple hundred apps available and there will likely be more coming from dedicated devs in the coming weeks and months. Think of it as a gadget of old: You buy it, take it home, turn it on and it works the same from day one. That’s the TouchPad now and it’s totally worth of $100. Just remember, for most people, webOS is better than Android on a tablet but besides in this case of porting, it doesn’t matter anymore, does it?




Microsoft Asks For An Import Ban On Motorola Smartphones

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 07:47 AM PDT

Courtroom2

Exhausted from a couple weeks in the European litigation ring, Apple has tagged in Microsoft to pick up the fight against Android. And it would seem that the divide-and-conquer strategy is panning out quite nicely for the duo we never thought would be.

Microsoft today filed a suit accusing Google’s betrothed, Motorola Mobility, of infringing on seven of Microsoft’s patents that just so happen to cover Android. Before the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, Microsoft requested an import ban on a number of Motorola smartphones.

A few of the features Motorola phones are allegedly infringing include email synchronization, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and a way to alert applications of a change in signal strength and battery power. Microsoft calls these things “essential to the smartphone user experience.” Then again, Microsoft argues that all Android devices make use of its technology. Motorola phones listed in the complaint include the Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq XT, Devour, Backflip, and the Charm.

According to Bloomberg, Microsoft is “confident that the ITC will rule in [its] favor.” Meanwhile, Motorola spokeswoman Jennifer Erickson said in an email to Bloomberg that Motorola is “vigorously defending [itself] against Microsoft’s patent attack business strategy.” And a business strategy is exactly what it is.

We’re all aware that Google is scooping up Motorola for one very key reason (although there are other great ones) — Motorola holds almost 15,000 granted patents, with nearly 7,000 applications. So I guess it’s actually 22,000 key reasons, although only about 18 of them will make a true difference in patent brawls. Still, that may be enough to solidly defend Android through the next few years, leaving iOS and Android far ahead of every other OS in the market.

Though Apple and Microsoft have long been bitter, hateful rivals, Microsoft has been forced to choose between the lesser evil. For the next few years at least, Windows Phone will not take the throne by any stretch of the imagination. But with webOS dropping out of the race, along with Symbian falling way behind in North America, Windows Phone has a good shot at stealing away the number three spot from RIM, whose market share continues to drop.

But if you think beyond the near future, Windows Phone has even greater potential. Nokia may be struggling, but the company has proven time and time again that it knows how to build a phone. Mango represents something fresh and intuitive, and with Nokia hardware, Microsoft may even be ready to grab a number two spot eventually. But it has to kill off one of the big boys first.

Since Apple’s platform is completely closed and contained to its own devices, the wide reach of Android seems like a more productive target. Apple is already throwing punch after punch at Samsung, with a few jabs saved here and there for HTC. That means Microsoft can focus on what’s left of the Android hardware makers — Motorola. Administrative Law Judge Theodore Essex will release his findings to the public on November 4.



Company:
MICROSOFT
Launch Date:
4/4/1974
IPO:
13/3/1986, NASDAQ:MSFT

Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is a veteran software company, best known for its Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of...

Learn more

Company:
MOTOROLA MOBILITY

Motorola is known around the world for innovation in communications and is focused on advancing the way the world connects. From broadband communications infrastructure, enterprise mobility and public safety...

Learn more


Nintendo To Revamp 3DS Hardware, Downplay 3D?

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 07:38 AM PDT

3dsderp

Nintendo’s recent 3DS price drop seems to have accomplished the goal of moving more units, but rumor has it that Nintendo’s higher-ups aren’t too pleased with the floundering portable as a whole. Among other things, Nintendo is supposedly considering a new hardware revision for the 3DS that downplays its 3D capabilities

That sounds a bit counterintuitive, but internal sources have told French gaming site 01.net that Nintendo is aware of the problems they’ve had convincing customers that the 3D display is safe to use. Nintendo has publicly stated that children under 6 should not use the 3DS with the 3D mode turned on, which has stymied the adoption rate among the younger set.

If this report proves to be true, then Nintendo may radically tone down the 3D angle, and will have to shift gears completely when it comes to their branding and marketing strategies.

Future hardware plans aside, Nintendo also reportedly thinks they’ve shot themselves in the foot due to a crucial hardware oversight on the 3DS: the lack of a second analog stick. Engineers are apparently working day and night to to create an inexpensive analog stick add-on that they believe will improve gameplay. Nintendo has also reached out to a group of hand-picked developers to create games that leverage the dual stick layout.

The mechanics of the analog stick add-on escape me, and 01.net doesn’t elaborate, but it raises a few questions: will it have to be removed every time the 3DS is closed? How is it going to attach to the console? Will it be worth a damn?

Nintendo is backpedalling hard here, but at least they’re recognizing their shortcomings and trying to make the experience better. If the new 3DS comes to fruition, Nintendo will likely draw the ire of gamers who picked up the current model on the cheap, but they’ll just need to grin and bear it if the model is more in line with their vision.




kandenchi: Designer Mouse That Looks Like A Battery

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 07:35 AM PDT

battery mouse

Japanese accessory maker Elecom announced [JP] the kandenchi today, a wireless mouse that’s designed like a battery. The 2.4GHz device, developed in cooperation with Tokyo-based design company nendo, can be connected to your computer via USB.

Technically, the kandenchi is really a conventional three-button mouse and compatible to Windows XP/Vista/7 and Mac OS X 10.5 and up.

Here’s how buyers would use the mouse (Elecom is using only promotion pictures that show people holding the mouse with the right hand, but I suppose this works for lefties, too):

Elecom plans to start selling the kandenchi in Japan in October for $65. Ask specialized online stores like Geek Stuff 4 U if you’re interested but live outside Japan.




The Smart Money Pours $1.5 Million Into Moat

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 07:11 AM PDT

MOAT

The smart money is pouring into Moat, the ad tech startup founded by former Right Media CEO Mike Walrath and brothers Jonah and Noah Goodhart. Ron Conway’s SV Angel led a $1.5 million round, along with Founders Fund, Vast Ventures, Lerer Ventures, and Founder Collective. Walrath and the Goodhart brothers previously seeded the company with $3 million from their funding vehicle, WGI Group.

Moat is attempting to create new ways to measure the effectiveness of online display ads. Its first product is a display ad search engine that just searches display ads so that people in the industry can easily see what campaigns are running online for different brands. Today, Moat is also launching a new brand analytics product that measures attention based on mouse hovers and heatmaps.

Moat wants to replace the click as a valid measurement of an online ad’s effectiveness. According to Jonah Goodhart, only 8% of internet users account for almost 85% of all display ad clicks. As I wrote in a previous post about Moat:

“Part of the problem with digital advertising," says Walrath, "is that we think we know what is happening with an ad and what makes it successful. Right now, all you have are clicks and conversions." Walrath thinks the industry is measuring the wrong things: impressions on one end, and clicks on the other. Big brand advertisers care more about attention.

Moat has a proxy for attention. It can generate a heat map of where people hover their mouse over an ad, and where they click as well. . . . Moat offers these heatmap analytics to brand advertisers, to help them figure out which display ads are the most engaging and to give them tools to fix the ones that are not working.

The next step is to test different versions of the same ad to see which ones draw the most attention so that marketers can iterate faster and fine tune their messaging just like search marketers already do. Moat plans to create a marketplace for ad designers to make it easier for brand advertisers to create multiple versions of ads and test them rigorously.



Company:
MOAT
Launch Date:
1/2010
Funding:
$4.5M

Moat is a free search engine for display ads. Moat also offers heatmap analytics and resources for creative. Online ads tend to be transient: visible one second and gone the...

Learn more

Person:
MICHAEL WALRATH
Website:

Investor, Advisor and Founder of start up and expansion stage companies. Formerly Founder, President and CEO of Right Media Inc. Walrath founded Right Media, Inc., (formerly Right Media, LLC) in...

Learn more


FlyKly Electric Bikes Are Coming To San Francisco

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 07:06 AM PDT

flykly.warranty

Electric bike maker FlyKly is bringing its stylish, powerful and eco-friendly bikes to San Francisco after having a blowout launch in New York earlier this summer. The company, which opened up shop on June 20th, sold out its entire stock of bikes in July at a pop-up store in Soho. Now, the bikes are being made available in San Francisco.

Calling these things “bicycles” seems odd, though – a term that conjures up streamers from from the handlebars and a wicker basket tied to the front. Instead, these “bicycles” look more like scooters. But since the bikes don’t go over 20 MPH, you don’t need a license to drive them.

The new bikes come in two designs: vintage and modern, each which sport a 100% electric lithium-ion battery. For just a $1′s worth of electricity, you’ll get 1,000 miles of riding, says FlyKly, at 40 miles per charge. (The battery reaches a full charge in just a few hours.) The battery is also removable, so you can charge it anywhere you want. And if the battery ever runs out, you can pedal manually to keep going.

Like ordinary bikes, FlyKly bikes can be parked and tied up to fenceposts, bike racks, sidewalks and parking garages offering spaces for bikes. The steering column and rear wheel are locked when parked. And just in case, the bikes also include a GPS tracking system for locating your bike if it ever starts moving when you’re not on it.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, “Kly” is a Greek word that means “constant energy or movement.”

FlyKly sells the bikes for $1,900 and shipping is free in the U.S. You can learn more about the bikes on the company’s website here: www.flykly.com.




Group Buying Site BuyWithMe Snags Patch.com EVP Away From AOL

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 06:51 AM PDT

buy

Our parent company AOL is having a rough time making money from Patch, its rapidly expanding network of local news sites, and that’s not its only problem. Today, group buying website BuyWithMe announced that it has recruited Charlie Gray, formerly Executive Vice President at Patch, as its new ‘Chief People Officer’.

BuyWithMe, which rivals the likes of Groupon and LivingSocial in the United States, says Gray will help manage the company’s growth plans, and hire, train and retain talent throughout the country.

BuyWithMe is certainly aggressive when it comes to acquiring its way into new markets. This year, it has already completed five acquisitions scooping up New York deals site Scoop St., Chicago deals siteDealADayOnline, San Francisco deals site Swoop, loyalty company Edhance, and LocalTwist.

BuyWithMe launched in 2009 and now operates in Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C.

At Patch, Gray scaled the growth from 100 employees in 30 locations to 1,400 employees in more than 800 locations in just one year, so the hire showcases BuyWithMe’s ambition for further expansion.

Previously, Gray served as Head of HR and Staffing for Google's North American Advertising Sales department, where he oversaw all people-related functions for Google's US and Canada sales and operations teams. He’s also worked for Ziff-Davis and RecycleBank in the past.



Company:
BUYWITHME
Launch Date:
3/2009
Funding:
$21.5M

BuyWithMe is the premier group buying website where leading local merchants offer exclusive limited time offers to members of the BuyWithMe community. Through the power of its numbers,...

Learn more


Winning To Lose: HP’s Hardware Sales Were Strong But That’s Not Where The Money Is

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 06:43 AM PDT

Dell_Dude

If you look carefully at why HP bailed on consumer electronics and PCs, there are a few clear and simple reasons. The primary one? HP was number one in sales but – at least by Amplicate’s arguably loose methodology – number seven in mindshare. In the end, it looks like it was better to let someone else flog the hardware while HP did what it always did best: tell businesses how to spend money in tech.

So who is taking over for HP? Well, according to a Digitimes report, it looks like HP will be handing the keys to their brand over to Samsung, much as IBM did when it partnered with Lenovo to sell laptops and PCs.

Samsung has tapped Quanta, Compal, and Pegatron – three mainstream hardware vendors – to examine the possibility of outsourcing orders. The Digitimes piece focuses on netbooks, but it’s clear that this move would make Samsung’s products cheaper and allow the company to ramp up in order to take over HP’s 40 million-unit-strong business and maintain its own lucrative trade.

So we’ve established motive, we’ve established some culprits, but we haven’t established timing. Why now? Why so suddenly? Gruber nails it:

The thing is, Apotheker's relevant experience was serving as CEO of SAP. What's SAP? SAP is an enterprise software and consulting company. Honestly, we all should have seen this coming. You don't bring in an enterprise consulting guy to turn around a PC and device maker. You bring in an enterprise consulting guy to turn a PC and device maker into an enterprise consulting company.

Whether HP goes to Samsung, Sony, or Asus is immaterial. What’s important to note is that Asian hardware manufacturers own the market and folks like Dell and HP saw the writing on the wall. Why compete in low margin hardware when you can sell the brand and let it live on – or not – at another manufacturer. Samsung would kill to have HP’s U.S. sales numbers.

The problem, however, is that HP commands no respect in the marketplace. This is where the IBM/Lenovo comparison breaks down. The ThinkPad line was historically a workhorse, considered by many to be the apotheosis of the fleet laptop. If you were a business traveller in the later 90s/early to mid aughts you wanted a ThinkPad and begrudgingly accepted a Dell or and HP. Aside from the Dell Dude, who has ever been excited to get a major name laptop from those companies? Alienware Area 51, maybe. Dell Inspiron, not so much.

So HP sheds a shackle and, with Samsung’s manufacturing power, that shackle becomes another link in that manufacturer’s golden chain. HP sunsets itself over the next decade, receding out of the dog-eat-dog world of hardware sales and it becomes as charmingly quaint as an IBM consultant in his pinstriped wool suit and white shirt. Why play in the messy, cyclical world of hardware, full of fickle, complaining consumers when you can take in $500 million for a tax system in Arizona. When this recession is over, organizational spending will pop like a cork and HP will be primed to take a drink.




Engine Yard Acquires Orchestra To Add PHP Support To Its PaaS

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 06:18 AM PDT

engineorch

Engine Yard, a provider of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions, this morning announced it has acquired Orchestra, developer of a platform for deploying, scaling and managing PHP applications.

Engine Yard, which is backed by investors like Benchmark Capital, New Enterprise Associates, and Amazon.com, opted not to disclose the financial terms of the acquisition.

The San Francisco-based company is best known for its PaaS for Ruby on Rails applications, but the acquisition will allow the company to add support for PHP applications.

Engine Yard in a statement says will continue developing the Orchestra PHP platform and continue to invest in both Ruby on Rails and PHP open source communities and projects. There are no plans to discontinue support or development of any of Orchestra's offerings.

Orchestra is made by echolibre, an Irish company employing avid contributors to the PHP community, and creators of FRAPI, an Open Source API Framework (among other projects).

The entire Orchestra team will be joining Engine Yard as a result of the acquisition.

To date, Engine Yard has raised $37.5 million in funding. The company competes with another venture-backed startup, Heroku, which was acquired by Salesforce for $212 million in cash late last year), among others.

Orchestra Announcement – 23rd August 2011 from Orchestra on Vimeo.



Company:
ENGINE YARD
Launch Date:
2006
Funding:
$37.5M

Engine Yard provides infrastructure services and support to allow clients to scale their Ruby on Rails applications quickly and effortlessly. Engine Yard’s services are open, cross-platform, and available...

Learn more


Rumor: Apple Preparing Discount iPhone 4 For September

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 05:47 AM PDT

iphone4

Déjà vu, much? Like Apple’s original strategy for the aging iPhone 3GS, a new report states that Apple is working on an 8GB iPhone 4 to be sold at a discount while the iPhone 5 will sell at a higher price with contract.

According to Reuters’s sources, Apple has contracted a Korean firm to manufacture the discount iPhone’s flash drive. Samsung was previously one of Apple’s vendors of choice for flash memory (the other being Toshiba) but it’s possible that recent patent unpleasantness may have soured that relationship.

The device, which is expected to launch within the next few weeks, is being looked at as Apple’s attempt to capture customers looking to transition into their first smartphone. Given the amount of mileage that Apple has gotten out of the 8GB iPhone 3GS that launched alongside the iPhone 4, such a device would probably give Apple some extra traction among first-time smartphowners.

The anonymous sources also come bearing news of the iPhone 5: it is reportedly slated for a late September release, but sans the cosmetic changes early renders and case designs have alluded to. The device is said to pack “a bigger touch screen, better antenna and an 8-megapixel camera,” but would otherwise look identical to the current model. Hon Hai and Pegatron, the two companies outed as working on the new iPhone, have been told to be ready to produce a total of 45 million units — nothing to sneeze at, for sure.

Summer is almost over, and the rumors are swirling at a faster pace than ever. The closer we get to the iPhone 5′s supposed launch, the more I hope some unrefutable evidence trickles out, but the scenario outlined above may well be what Apple has planned for the weeks to come.




Lenovo ThinkPad Honeycomb Tablet Up For Sale, Shipping Soon

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 05:28 AM PDT

thinkpad-tablet

Lenovo’s ThinkPad Tablet is meant for business types, but it just might be the best Honeycomb tablet available right now. It was announced late last month alongside the consumer-oriented IdeaPad K1 and the Windows version, the P1. Well, Lenovo is finally ready to take your credit card in exchange for a place in the shipping line. The tablet starts out at $499 for the 16GB, WiFi-only model and climbs to $669 for a 64GB flavor — 3G mobile broadband will not be available until October.

The ThinkPad Tablet comes dressed in appropriate digs; it looks like a ThinkPad tablet should. The lines are streight, the style all business, and there’s even a little red nub on the optional $30 active digitizer stylus. The rest of the tablet is a standard affair and built around a Tegra 2 platform. There’s a full size 3-in-1 SD card reader, full size USB host, micro USB port, mini HDMI, dual cams, and an IPS screen protected with Gorilla Glass.

The only thing missing from the ThinkPad Tablet are the fun apps. Lenovo loaded this tablet with apps suits will like and unlike its little brother, the IdeaPad K1, the ThinkPad Tablet is not Netflix Certified and so it doesn’t come with the streaming app. Still, for $499, you’d be hard pressed to find a better Honeycomb tablet — that is, of course, if you really want a Honeycomb tablet.

Update: My bad. The ThinkPad Tablet does come with Netflix. Bonus!



Company:
LENOVO
Launch Date:
1984
IPO:
LNVGY

Lenovo Group Limited, an investment holding company, engages manufacture and distribution of IT products and services. It offers laptops, desktops, workstations, servers, batteries and power, docks and port replicators,...

Learn more


AliveCor Turns Mobile Devices Into Low-Cost Heart Monitors, Raises $3 Million

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 04:53 AM PDT

alivecor

AliveCor, developer of a low-budget electrocardiogram (ECG) recorder that works in conjunction with a variety of mobile platforms (including iPhone, iPad, and Android devices), has raised $3 million in Series A funding, the company announced this morning.

The financing round was led by Burrill & Company along with Qualcomm, acting through its venture investment arm, Qualcomm Ventures, and the Oklahoma Life Science Fund.

AliveCor’s credit card-sized wireless device is capable of turning iOS and Android smartphones and tablets into low-cost heart monitors that can be used by patients at home and by physicians and other healthcare providers in a clinical setting. See video below for a demo of the iPhone version.

Note that the device isn’t for sale yet – AliveCor’s products haven’t yet been cleared as a medical device in the United States. It’s also unclear exactly how much it will cost, but earlier coverage by the Wall Street Journal mentioned a $100 price point.

The company says it will now use the capital to complete clinical studies currently ongoing at the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, pursue those necessary regulatory approvals, and gear up for commercial launch of its electrocardiogram recorder.



Company:
ALIVECOR
Funding:
$3M

AliveCor has developed a device that will turn any smartphone into a clinical-quality electrocardiogram (ECG) recorder.

Learn more


Accel Boosts Social Enterprise Expertise, Adds Salesforce Chatter Creator As EIR

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 03:58 AM PDT

chuck

After adding online payments exec Bill Ready as an Executive-In-Residence, Accel Partners is shoring up another area of expertise with the addition of former Salesforce.com executive Chuck Ganapathi as the firm’s newest Entrepreneur-in-Residence. At Accel, Ganapathi, who was the creator of Salesforce’s "Facebook for the Enterprise" Chatter, will focus on developing a company in the social enterprise space.

Prior to joining Accel, Ganapathi served as Senior Vice President of Products for Chatter and Mobile at Salesforce.com, leading the company’s product development efforts in enterprise social networking. Not only was Chatter Salesforce’s first real foray into social, but the platform has been lauded as the company’s most successful product release ever.

During that time, Ganapathi led the acquisitions of two start-ups: Dimdim, a real-time collaboration platform, and GroupSwim, a community platform with semantic filtering technology. He also led the integration of the acquired technology and teams from two file sharing and collaboration start-ups, Koral and SlideAware.

Ganapathi also ran Salesforce’s sales automation product, Sales Cloud, which makes up one of the company’s major revenue streams. Prior to his 5 year tenure at Salesforce, Ganapathi spent 6 years at Siebel Systems, where he was the founding product manager of their first internet application, Siebel eChannel. He also ran the company’s eCommerce and order management product line.

As an entrepreneur-in-residence at Accel Partners, Ganapathi will evaluate and incubate new business opportunities created by the intersection of social and mobile technologies in the enterprise.

Clearly Ganapathi has significant expertise in the enterprise software industry, and has had a particular focus in social areas of late. While Ganapathi didn’t reveal any specifics on what he will be building while at Accel, he shared his view that he believes social enterprise applications like Chatter are just the beginning of a long-term trend.

“Just as we went from on-premise software to cloud computing, there will be a similar move for social enterprise,” Ganapathi explains. Of course, there are a number of more mature and dominant companies that have emerged in the social enterprise space such as Jive and Yammer, and many social enterprise companies are getting bought. One could argue that there may not be more room left for new players.

But Ganapathi says that there are certain areas that are changing and are ripe for innovation, including how to translate conversations taking place in the work environment into productivity, and the transition in the distribution models in SaaS.

So how does the social enterprise fit into Accel’s longterm strategy? Partner Kevin Efrusy, who attended Stanford’s business school with Ganapathi, explains that one of cornerstones to the venture firm’s investment strategy has been furthering opportunities built on top of social web. Accel bet on social games with Playfish, social commerce with Groupon, and most recently, social recruiting with BranchOut.

Now, he explains, the time is right for a movement in the social and mobile enterprise space, and Accel decided to incubate an idea in-house. He adds that Ganapathi’s expertise and ‘technical depth’ made him the ideal person to execute this vision.

And the incubation/EIR model has seen success within Accel in the past. Cloudera, the startup that commercially distributes and services Apache Hadoop, was also incubated within Accel. And Couchbase, a NoSQL data base company, was also developed in-house.



Company:
ACCEL PARTNERS
Website:

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Phone Radiation Measurement App Maker Tawkon Raises $1.5 Million

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 02:43 AM PDT

tawkon

Tawkon, an Israeli startup that offers mobile apps capable of measuring cellular radiation, has secured seed funding to the tune of $1.5 million.

The capital injection comes from thetime, an investment company owned by Ilan Shiloah, chairman of McCann Erickson Israel and Nir Tarlovsky, and from Tzvika Barinboim. Other backers include management consulting company TASC, Don Perrin (one of Zipcar’s earliest investors) and Yossi Sandler, an early investor in Yedda (which was acquired by AOL).

Tawkon’s offers mobile apps for Android phones, BlackBerry handsets and the iOS platform, although the iPhone app only runs on jailbroken devices.

You see, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has made it abundantly clear that Tawkon's phone radiation measurement application is not welcome on its official App Store, pushing the startup to make it available for free (again, for jailbroken iPhones) through Cydia instead.

Last March, Tawkon had sent an email to Jobs in the hopes of gaining approval for distribution of the application through Apple's App Store, only to receive this response from the man, the legend:

No interest.

Sent from my iPhone

Well, at least his disinterest hasn’t spooked investors too much.



Company:
TAWKON
Launch Date:
2009
Funding:
$1.5M

tawkon is a mobile phone application that gives users information & tools to avoid mobile phone radiation , with minimal disruption to normal phone usage. tawkon monitors and analyzes...

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Daily Crunch: Dry Ice Machine

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 01:00 AM PDT

Canon Unveils New Line Of PowerShot Digital Cameras

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 01:00 AM PDT

PowerShot ELPH 510 HS

Nothing goes better with back-to-school clothes than a nice little point-and-shoot. Thus, Canon's timing couldn't be any better. Today the new PowerShot digital cameras are making their debut, and from the looks of it, Canon has its bases covered.

We have three new models: the PowerShot SX150 IS, PowerShot Elph 510 HS, and the PowerShot Elph 310 HS. Most impressive by a mile is the Elph 510 HS, which Canon is describing as "the thinnest digital camera in the world (with 12x optical zoom and a 28mm wide-angle lens)." A bold statement, but the 510 HS seems to be bringing it.

Features shared by all three shooters:

  • Intelligent IS: an image stabilization system that automatically determines the proper shooting mode based on conditions
  • Smart Auto: automatically selects the correct setting based on 32 predetermined shooting scenes (only 21 for video capture)
  • Speaking of… All three cameras record HD video
  • iFrame compatability

These bad boys range between $250 and $350, come in all shapes and sizes, and color options galore (at least for the little guy.) Let's take a look, shall we?

Canon PowerShot ELPH 510 HS

This is undoubtedly the looker of the trio: a super slim design, touchscreen LCD display, and 1080p video capture. Yep, all the bells and whistles accounted for. Here are the full specs:

  • 12.1 CMOS sensor with 12x optical zoom
  • 28mm wide-angle lens
  • Canon's HS System: combines a 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 4 Image processor to maintain high quality photos in low-light settings (also on the 310 HS)
  • 1080p HD video capture
  • High-Speed Burst mode: 7.8 fps
  • 3.2-inch LCD touch display
  • Touch Shutter: tap to focus, release to snap a pic
  • Colors: Black, Red, and Silver
  • MSRP: $349.99
  • Available in "the beginning of October"

Canon PowerShot ELPH 310 HS

Next up, we have the 510 HS's little brother, the Elph 310 HS. This is the cheaper of the Elph models and with the color options, I'm betting it'll end up in the hands of many a teenager. Full specs:

  • 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor with 8x optical zoom
  • 28mm wide-angle lens
  • Canon's HS System
  • 1080p Full HD video capture
  • High-Speed Burst mode: 8.7 fps
  • 3-inch LCD
  • Colors galore: Purple, Blue, Pink, Green, and Silver
  • MRSP: $259.99
  • Available "in the beginning of October"

Canon PowerShot SX150 IS

Last, but not least (but also kind of least because it's the cheapest of the three), we have the PowerShot SX 150 IS. Take a look at the specs:

  • 12x optical zoom
  • 28mm wide-angle lens
  • 720p HD
  • Manual-shooting capabilities (aperture and shutter priority)
  • 3-inch LCD screen
  • Colors: Black and Red
  • MSRP: $249.99
  • Available "in the beginning of September"


Company:
CANON
Launch Date:
1937

Canon Inc. is a multinational corporation that specialises in the manufacture of imaging and optical products, including cameras, photocopiers, steppers and computer printers. Its headquarters are located in Ōta,...

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Forkly Enters The Soon-To-Be-Stuffed Mobile App Taste Space

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 12:34 AM PDT

want-3

Remember last year when it seemed like everyone was doing a location-based mobile app? One of the original players in that space, Brightkite, eventually got overshadowed by newer rivals. Now two of its founders are back with a new mobile startup, and once again they’re entering a space that is quickly getting crowded: food.

Specifically, Brady Becker and Martin May have just launched Forkly into the App Store. While we’ve known about the company for almost a year, and known generally what they were doing for several months, it took quite a long time to get to this point. Now it’s here: an app for sharing and discovering food and drinks.

If this sounds familiar it’s because you’ve heard of Foodspotting, the popular food picture app that now has a million downloads. Or maybe you’ve heard of Nosh, the new “Instagram of food” from a founder of Google Voice that launched recently. And those are just two competitors. There are many others, and trust me, many more coming in short order.

But to its credit, Forkly looks very solid. Unlike Foodspotting, which focuses mainly on pictures, Forkly focuses more on ratings (Nosh focuses on both). You can “like” an item, “love” it, say it’s “okay”, or “not for me”. Forkly then uses this information to build up a “taste graph” for each user. This is then used to serve up other items you may like.

Or you can see new items served up to you in a social feed. And you can easily flag something to note that you “want it”. And you can write short reviews, etc.

There is also a gaming element in that users become “influencers” for recommending foods and drinks that others like.

Forkly also smartly offers tools for food bloggers, restaurants, and brands to use the service right off the bat. These could end up being the key stand-out features in the space. You can read more about that in their post.

So will Forkly be able to do what Brightkite could not — be the breakout of red-hot field? Considering that half of the competition hasn’t even launched yet, it’s way too early to tell. Being early didn’t help in the location space (in fact, you could argue that Dodgeball, which eventually led to the creation of Foursquare, was way too early), but it could here as startups race to get the most foods and ratings in their systems.

You can find Forkly in the App Store here.



Company:
FORKLY
Launch Date:
2010

Forkly makes it ridiculously easy to match your taste buds with the food and restaurants around you. Capture and share your tastes while dining out, and Forkly will help you...

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