Monday, September 19, 2011

The Latest from TechCrunch

The Latest from TechCrunch

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Leaked Photo Purportedly Shows iPhone 5′s Insides: A5 Processor, Bigger Display And Battery

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 08:46 AM PDT

a5-chip_02

Being the pedigreed gadget geeks that we are, most of us here at TechCrunch are always up for a good gadget tear-down. We’ve seen everything from phones, to tablets, to friggin’ FBI tracking devices get splayed apart, and we loved every second of it.

So when a tear-down gives a glimpse inside of what very much looks to be the iPhone 5? Yes, please.

Leaked on Chinese microblogging site Weibo (if Twitter and Facebook had a baby that only spoke Chinese, that’d be Weibo), this little glimpse into what’s being claimed as the innards of an iPhone 5 show at least 3 things of note:

  • A5 processor (Same CPU used in the iPad 2)
  • A slightly bigger/stronger battery (4.2v, 1430 mAh versus 3.7v , 1420 mAh)
  • The LCD backpanel (the blue bit just barely visible on the left side) definitely appears to be going from edge to edge, as rumors have long suggested the display would do.

If you’re having a hard time telling heads from tails in the picture, note that the components on the right would actually flip over (see the attached cable) and rest on top of that visible on the left. Note that some components appear to be missing — most notably, there’s no antenna, nor any body/caging to hold it all in place.

What do you think? Is this one the real deal, or just an inside look at a rather detailed clone?


Company: Apple
Website: apple.com
Launch Date: January 4, 1976
IPO: September 19, 1980, NASDAQ:AAPL

Started by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple has expanded from computers to consumer electronics over the last 30 years, officially changing their name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. in January 2007. Among the key offerings from Apple’s product line are: Pro line laptops (MacBook Pro) and desktops (Mac Pro), consumer line laptops (MacBook) and desktops (iMac), servers (Xserve), Apple TV, the Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server operating systems, the iPod (offered with...

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Local Recommendations App Alfred Hits iPad, Plans To Add Deal Curation Soon

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 08:39 AM PDT

alfredlogo

Local recommendations mobile app Alfred has arrived in a new, iPad-optimized format (iTunes) which includes deeper integration with Facebook. The optional Facebook Connect sign-in feature enables Alfred to better learn about its users’ preferences by mining Facebook data for likes and check-ins.

Alfred, which comes from a startup called Clever Sense, is focused heavily on its use of algorithms to surface recommendations as a differentiating factor between it and other, similar applications.

Previously, Alfred based its recommendations for restaurants, bars, coffee shops and nightclubs on a quick “taste profile” created for users through a short quiz upon launch.

After answering a few questions, the app would produce (in our experience, at least), relatively accurate results, if, in some cases, fairly obvious ones. It was interesting, however, to see the details as to why you would like result X or Y, instead of seeing just the recommendation itself. Now Alfred will tell you even more information about its interest graph, informing you that, for example, “91% of people out of 650 like this place,” alongside each recommendation.

And the stream of recommendations is no longer limited to 10, as it was at launch. You can now scroll through all the recommendations for a given area, sorted by your interests.

Also new is an optimized Google Maps view that plots all your recommendations on a map for easy access. Before, individual recommendations could only be viewed on the map one-by-one.

But the most interesting update has to do with the added Facebook data-mining feature, which arrives in the iPhone version, too, as do all the new features.

Now, when you tag a place in a Facebook status update (this is the new format for the Facebook “check-in,” by the way), Alfred knows this and asks you later to rate it using simple buttons like a “thumbs up” and “thumbs down.” Soon, it will do the same for Facebook Likes. Foursquare integration is next, we’re told, followed by Twitter (via geotags and mentions).

Local recommendations alone aren’t the end-game for Alfred, though. It will soon begin to use its artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms to start recommending local deals, too, also based on your interests. Given the increasing number of daily deals and other Groupon-like services, it makes sense that a recommendations engine like Alfred would begin to offer some sort of deal curation service like this on top of its business recommendations.

Alfred won’t talk exact download numbers for its app, but says they “exceeded expectations,” when the app passed 100,000 downloads a month ago. User engagement is high, the company notes, with active users interacting with the app 3 times per week, with an average rate of 1.8 times per week for everyone else.

The new iPhone/iPad app is available on iTunes here. An Android version will be launched in the future.


Company: Clever Sense
Launch Date: November 4, 2008
Funding: $1M

The Clever Sense Platform makes sense of the real world by harvesting and sifting through the vast amount of information available on the Web. The platform is designed to connect the online world with the offline world: delivering the right information to the users in the right context (right time, right place, right intent). At the heart of the Clever Sense Platform is the Serendipity Engine: a personalized context-aware right-time discovery engine. The Serendipity Engine adds a layer of real-time...

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Backed By Top Notch Investors, Professional Search Engine Identified Aims To Rival LinkedIn

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 08:35 AM PDT

iden

Identified this morning launched its eponymous search engine for professionals, hoping to challenge the likes of BranchOut and LinkedIn by leveraging Facebook‘s vast database of information about people.

The company, which has raised $5.5 million in seed funding from Tim and Bill Draper, Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, DST partner Alexander Tamas, Facebook’s Chamath Palihapitiya and other angel investors, was originally founded by two Stanford Graduate School of Business grads last year.

Identified’s search engine, which was debuted earlier this morning, basically allows people to see how they appear when others look for them online, particularly in a professional context.

The startup’s technology organizes and categorizes all professional information it can find on Facebook, and says it has thus far scored and indexed over 40 million professionals, 60,000 companies and 8,000 universities.

Each Identified user is given a score, based on who and what they know according to their online profiles – a score they can improve by adding information and expanding their network.

According to Facebook, less than 50 percent of user enter their professional information in their Facebook profiles, however.

Here’s how one of the company’s cofounders, Brendan Wallace, pitches Identified’s search service:

“We began Identified as a recruiting site to connect job applicants with companies, but saw the power in providing search results based on people’s online networks — not just the standard metrics of education and work experience. Nobody had ever attempted to quantify the value of a person’s online network.

We saw that companies cared as much about a person’s network as they did about their education and work experience. So we built Identified to show people how they appear to world based not only on what they know, but who they know.”

Legendary VC Bill Draper (founder of Sutter Hill Ventures and Draper Richards, among other investment firms) also foresees a bright future for the fledgling startup, saying that he thinks Identified will become the “standard of professional networking for the Facebook generation and beyond” just like Facebook did for social networking.

Identified says hundreds of companies, including Google, Disney, Sequoia Capital and MTV are already using its service on a daily basis to search for professionals.

If you’d like to learn more about Identified, check out Forbes’ launch coverage.

For what’s worth – my lousy Identified score is 20:


Company: Identified
Website: identified.com
Launch Date: September 19, 2011
Funding: $5.5M

Identified is a professional search engine. Using the power of social data on Facebook, Identified's proprietary search technology helps professionals connect with other professionals, companies find employees, and users find future employers. Identified assigns each user a professional “relevance score”, derived from a user’s educational background, work experience, and network. Institutions like companies and universities are also scored using this algorithm; each institution’s score is the weighted average of the scores of its members. Identified was founded by Stanford University...

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HP TouchPad Go Photos Leaked: Here’s What A Dead 7-Inch Tablet Looks Like

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 08:10 AM PDT

touchpadgo1

Gather round, young and old, for our first and last glimpse at the never-to-be-released HP TouchPad Go. The seven incher was supposedly a couple weeks away from shipping when HP decided to send webOS hardware to rest in pieces, but one forum-goer claims to have had one for three months. From what we already know, which is basically just the information from the tablet’s FCC filing, this seems like the real deal.

Just like in the filing, the pictured TouchPad Go has a noticeable processor upgrade, clocking in at 1.5GHz rather than running the 10-incher’s 1.2Ghz processor. This model in particular comes with 16GB of internal storage and touts front and rear cameras, along with another awesome little surprise. Apparently the HP TouchPad Go was equipped with what appears to be an NFC module, which will unfortunately never get any use because this tablet will live on only in our memories (and the cache).

The ZooPDA tipster (first noticed by TIMN) said that the screen has the same resolution as its 10-inch counterpart, with 1024 x 768 pixels. The slate also appears to have a 4:3 aspect ratio. If only that bezel was a bit thinner, this thing would be a pretty complete package. As far as TouchPads go, that is.

But that doesn’t really matter. This TouchPad Go leak is the equivalent of our first look at a recently extinct animal. Exciting, but utterly inconsequential.

Check out the full gallery below.


Company: Hewlett-Packard
Website: hp.com
IPO: NYSE:HPQ

Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ), commonly referred to as HP, is an American multinational information technology corporation headquartered in Palo Alto, California, USA. HP is one of the world’s largest information technology companies and operates in nearly every country. HP specializes in developing and manufacturing computing, data storage, and networking hardware, designing software and delivering services. Major product lines include personal computing devices, enterprise servers, related storage devices, as well as a diverse range of printers and other imaging products....

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AT&T Talks Asset Sales With Rivals In Time For First Hearing

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 07:56 AM PDT

attmo

It should come as no surprise that AT&T may have to make a few sacrifices to settle their pending T-Mobile deal, but a new report today reveals who exactly AT&T has been starting conversations with.

In order to help grease the wheels, AT&T is reportedly in talks with MetroPCS and Leap Wireless (parent company of insectoid bargain carrier Cricket) regarding the sale of spectrum access and subscribers.

AT&T appears to be engaging in preliminary talks with both companies, but Bloomberg’s sources report that they have also reached out to a handful of other companies about striking a deal. That short list includes CenturyLink, Dish Network, and perhaps most interestingly, Sprint-Nextel.

In light of the Department of Justice lawsuit filed on August 31, AT&T’s plan to sell off assets is meant to minimize concerns that an AT&T/T-Mobile merger would reduce competition and lead to higher prices for consumers. AT&T’s talks with their smaller competitors are likely to be very informal at this point, which could work out to AT&T’s advantage. By engaging in preliminary talks with competitors AT&T can say that they’re making efforts to address DOJ concerns and put on a cooperative face for the public (and their shareholders) in time for their first hearing on the 21st.

Even so, Bloomberg reports that even if an asset purchasing agreement were to be struck, it still may not be enough to sway the Justice Department. AT&T seems to be testing the waters here to see what kind of reaction their initial talks get them, but we’ll see how things really play out in just a few days.



Mobile Ad Networks’ Fill Rates Drop, Windows Phone Tops CTRs

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 07:34 AM PDT

smaato

Mobile ad optimization platform Smaato, Inc. released the results of its latest mobile advertising report today, for Q2 2011. The findings include a look at mobile ad adoption, fill rates and the overall effect on mobile ad network performance.

Smaato’s Mobile Metric Report, based on over 80 million ad requests and over 60 connected ad networks across 230 countries, found that ad inventory was increasing at a faster rate than budgets, leading to a decline in advertising fill rates.

It also found that Windows Phone led iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Symbian in click-through rates both in the U.S. and worldwide.

According to Smaato, the worldwide average ad network fill rate was 18% in Q2, a 2% drop from last quarter and a 3% decline year-over-year. Among the 40 top ad networks in the world, fill rates varied widely, running anywhere from 3% to 58%.

In the U.S., among the 20 top ad networks, fill rates declined 27% to 19%. Only 6 of the 20 performed above average (between 28-62%.) Says Smaato CEO Harald Neidhardt, current economic conditions are a factor in the fill rate decline, but it’s also an indication of an increasingly fragmented market.

Despite these drops, Smaato found that networks engaged in specialization saw greater returns, offering features like geo-location or video to add more value. Nine mobile ad networks out of the top 40 performed above the average Smaato Index, with rates ranging from 23% to 58%, despite “considerably” smaller volumes.

In its platform comparison, Smaato measured the average CTR (click-through rate) of all devices and set this number to 100.

Windows Phone (131) led the smartphone operating system (OS) index for the 2nd consecutive quarter, while RIM (91) overtook Apple (86) in ad performance on the Worldwide Performance Index. Nokia’s Symbian (114) is down from last year, and Android (76) increased performance by nearly 50%.

In the U.S., the smartphone platforms performed differently, however, with Windows Phone (108) just barely ahead of Apple’s iOS (107), but losing ground to Android (89). RIM moved into 3rd place, and Nokia’s Symbian trailed.

Neidhardt says the ad outlook for Android will continue to improve as low-cost Android-based smartphones enter the market alongside new Android-powered tablets in Asia. “As this trend continues, we will see even greater demand from big brands and advertisers for the Android platform,” he says, “and therefore greater revenue opportunities for publishers and developers as Android continues to proliferate.”

The final metric measured this quarter was ad network response time, which ranged from 39 to 328 milliseconds (msec) for the top 10 networks worldwide. This translated to an average response time of 290 msec.


Company: Smaato
Website: smaato.com
Funding: $15M

Smaato is the Mobile Ad Cloud - operating the leading mobile advertising optimization platform called SOMA. More than 30,000 app developers and premium publishers have signed up with Smaato to monetize their content in 220+ countries and to manage close to 30 billion ad requests per month. Additionally Smaato is serving more than 150 millionen unique users. SOMA's unique feature is the aggregation of 60+ leading ad networks globally to maximize mobile advertising revenues. Through an open API and the...

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Zappin’ To The Oldies: A Tesla Coil Plays The Hits

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 07:09 AM PDT

0

The folks atMIT’s Electronics Research Society know how to put on a show. In this short video they show us a Tesla coil connected to a keyboard that can play jaunty tunes using pure, unadulterated energy. While these guys are no musical virtuosos, they make up for their lack of training by creating an instrument that can feasible flatten you like a blast of heat lightning.

Sadly, no one yelled “Play Freebird.”



“MadeInGermany”: Now Germany Has A Robot Car, Too

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 07:02 AM PDT

Picture 5

Japan and the US aren’t the only countries in the world boasting advanced robot cars. Now Germany has one, too. A team of researchers at Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin has roboticized a conventional VW Passat [homepage in English], which has successfully finished trial runs in central Berlin “several times” over the last weekend without causing an accident.

The car (which is called “MadeInGermany” for some reason) made its debut in 2007 when it drove around autonomously in a closed area in a closed down airport in Berlin. But now the vehicle was able to finish a 20km round trip in the center of the city, between Kaiserdamm to Brandenburg Gate, for the first time – roundabout traffic, speed limits, pedestrians and a total 46 lights on the way included.

The car is equipped with a drive-by-wire system, three cameras, a radar system, a set of laser rangefinders, and a GPS module boasting an accuracy of 10-20cm. It’s insured for 100 million Euros.

The university says the concepts of the ”MadeInGermany” and the Google car are pretty similar and that it frequently exchanges information with its American colleagues.

Via Heise Online [GER]



Opera Acquires Mobile App Store Handster

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 06:47 AM PDT

Image (1) operasoftware.jpg for post 336073

Mobile browser maker Opera Software today announced the acquisition of Handster, Inc., a mobile application store platform company. Handster, based in Illinois with operations in Odessa, Ukraine, supports Google Android, Java, Symbian, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, as well as netbook and tablet applications.

It offers a white label version of its app store to mobile operators in addition to running its own branded site at Handster.com. Current Handster partners include MTS, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei and LG.

According to a recent report by Research2Guidance, Handster was the leading third-party application store for Android apps, beating out PocketGear, Amazon’s App Store, GetJar, and a dozen other popular brands. At the time of the report (June 2011), Handster hosted nearly 23,000 apps, with 2,500 more added each month.

Opera, too, has its own mobile app store, the Opera Mobile Store, launched in March. The store, powered by Appia’s storefront technology, serves the iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Java and Symbian platforms, in addition to hosting Web content. The store’s content and interface is customized to each device, local language and currency.

The Handster acquisition will serve to bolster Opera’s app store’s content, which is now offered directly to consumers, as well as to OEMs and mobile operators for on-device integrations.

According to Opera CEO Lars Boilesen, “Opera is evolving from being a browser company into a fully integrated mobile services company,” he says. And this acquisition serves that goal well, clearly.

Handster Founder and CEO Victor Shaburov will join the Opera Mobile Consumer and Publisher management team based in San Mateo, California, USA. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Company: Opera Software
Website: opera.com
Launch Date: September 19, 1995
IPO: OPESF

Norway-based Opera provides web browsers for the desktop, mobile, and other electronics such as the Wii. It also provides a service called Opera Link that lets you access bookmarks across devices.

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Company: Handster
Website: Handster.com
Launch Date: January 6, 2005

Handster is an AppStore solution company offering a white label platform and a branded AppStore (Handster.com). The platform supports Windows Mobile, Google Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Java applications. Smart phone users can access the store via a website, mobile web and an on-device client. The company offers a scalable white label AppStore solution for mobile operators, handset manufacturers and distributors. The Company powers the application store for HP EMEA and provides aggregated content for the LG App Store. Founded in 2004,...

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Samsung Exec: We’re Coming After The iPhone 5 As Soon As It Lands In Korea

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 06:33 AM PDT

samsung headquarters

As the pending case tally reaches almost two dozen, Samsung has decided to both go big, and go home once Apple’s flagship iPhone 5 debuts. With its Galaxy Tab 10.1 officially banned in Germany, and the GalTab 7.7 pulled off shelves at IFA in Berlin, Samsung is the only participant in the battle with casualty products.

And apparently, it’s about time to strike back. According to an unnamed senior executive at Samsung, the firm plans to file suit against the iPhone 5 as soon as its released in Korea hoping to ban sales of the killer phone on its home turf.

Here’s the direct quote out of the Korea Times:

Just after the arrival of the iPhone 5 here, Samsung plans to take Apple to court here [in Korea] for its violation of Samsung's wireless technology related patents.

For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents. We will stick to a strong stance against Apple during the lingering legal fights.

You hear that? The iPhone 5 would need a downgrade to iPod touch territory in order to avoid litigation from Samsung. The chances of that are about as good as Apple discontinuing the iPhone altogether, so get ready for a showdown come mid-October.

So far, Samsung has been on the receiving end of many of these lawsuits. But according to another unnamed senior executive, “We are taking different tactics since we are quite confident. If Samsung wins in Germany that will give us a big breakthrough and so will other envisioned efforts against such products as the iPhone 5.”

For a short while after this Samsung/Apple madness started, it was somewhat expected that the fight would be resolved amicably based on the highly beneficial and symbiotic business relationship shared by the two companies. Apple is one of Samsung’s biggest customers, which is likely the reason for the South Korea-based company’s tentative attitude during these legal proceedings. But the plan has clearly changed.

Should Samsung see a victory, Apple and Samsung won’t be the only affected parties. Both SK Telecom and KT, Korea’s largest mobile carriers, will feel a loss if the iPhone 5 gets banned. As will many South Koreans who have been waiting just as eagerly as we have for the next-gen iPhone.


Website: samsung.com
Launch Date: September 19, 1969

Samsung is one of the largest super-multinational companies in the world. It’s possibly best known for it’s subsidiary, Samsung Electronics, the largest electronics company in the world.

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Company: Apple
Website: apple.com
Launch Date: January 4, 1976
IPO: September 19, 1980, NASDAQ:AAPL

Started by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple has expanded from computers to consumer electronics over the last 30 years, officially changing their name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. in January 2007. Among the key offerings from Apple’s product line are: Pro line laptops (MacBook Pro) and desktops (Mac Pro), consumer line laptops (MacBook) and desktops (iMac), servers (Xserve), Apple TV, the Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server operating systems, the iPod (offered with...

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A Twitter Poem: Next Nexus Leaked With Specs, Details, And Launch Info

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 06:08 AM PDT

nexus-prime

Late last night the Android community was taken hostage by a rogue Twitter user. @tfleming223 started tweeting lines from a cryptic poem said to contain launch details about the upcoming Nexus phone and Ice Cream Sandwich Android release. But in true Internet douchbag fashion, this guy would only release parts of the poem when certain users followed him and he reached 1,000 followers. Well, as shown after the jump, the poem so far hints at a November 3rd Verizon release, along with stating the next Nexus would be a world phone. And he might be right.


@tfleming223

While things that go bump in the night, surely give you a fright,
It's all in good fun as I share treats and panda fun.

So Instead of filling your belly with candies, jellies and other hollows eve fare,
Perhaps your palate will cast a ballot, for an ice cream sandwich instead.

With an internal date now set and LTE a sure bet,
Those that get Tim Cook's new pet will be filled with green eyed regret.

But wait you cry for what date can you buy?
This the panda did shall share…

Fore on the date Bruce Wayne's true father did die;
you shall in fact be able to buy in stores of red and black.

But those who pay other masters don't fret,
over exclusive deals and bets

For in many other favors you will get your treat
be they GSM or wimax radios inside, the nexus brand will ride world wide


This isn’t the first time unannounced details were revealed through a Twitter poem. @black_man_x, aka The Panda King and the supposed creator of this latest poem, played the same silly game with surprising accuracy concerning the then-named HTC Incredible HD. The details were spot on and pegged the phone, later named the Thunderbolt, as Verizon’s first LTE device — although simple logic could have done that as well. The same user later tweeted another poem about the Droid Bionic and stated that the release date would be in the later part of April. “Till after Passover,” he said. While the Bionic just recently hit the shelf, the phone did suffer numerous delays, some of which likely hit at the last moment. This guy is clearly familiar with Verizon Wireless’ road map.

It’s hard to say whether this latest poem correctly names November 3rd, the death of Batman’s creator (his “real father”) Bob Kane, as the phone’s release date but that date does fall in line with previous rumors and Google’s own timetable. Also, the next Nexus would of course be a worldphone as previous incarnations where only available in GSM form. The last two came unlocked, but it’s unlikely that the US’ Verizon edition would follow that precedent. Of course more could still be revealed by our poetic friend.

Apparently there’s more to the poem, which will be revealed sometime today. Blame Jay Cutler: per one of @tfleming223 last tweets yesterday, he was going to reveal the rest if the NFL’s Chicago Bears pulled out a win against the Saints. However, Cutler couldn’t complete a pass last night and the Saints proceed to roll the Bears 30 to 13. (But how about those Lions!?)

Even if this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about, Google will likely announce the next Nexus and Ice Cream sandwich in a few weeks. It’s unlike Google and its hardware partners to do a reveal and then immediately sell the device. My money is on an October announced, November release, and the Detriot Lions to go deep in the playoffs.



In Ongoing Quest To Kill Paper Business Cards, Cardcloud Launches Android App

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 06:01 AM PDT

carcloud

Cardcloud, formerly known as My Name Is E, is today – finally – launching an Android application.

Cardcloud for Android basically allows users to create and exchange an unlimited amount of online business cards.

Interestingly, recipients do not need to have any apps installed on their phones, as Cardcloud users can send their contact details and whatnot directly to an email address. Needless to say, that makes Cardcloud a great alternative for exchanging traditional business cards.

Users can rapidly share (“beam”) their Cardcloud cards with people who do have the app installed on their phone, and the service works across different platforms (which, in Cardcloud’s case, means iPhone to Android and vice versa is possible).

Cardcloud cards contain the contact information you’d typically find on paper business cards, but can also include links to social networking accounts, an up-to-date profile picture, geolocation information and notes. Also included is a vCard for fast storage on a local device or service.

For alternative or similar services, check out Bump, SnapDat, CardFlick and CloudContacts.


Company: Cardcloud
Website: cardcloud.com
Launch Date: January 1, 2010

E on your phone allows you to share online & social business cards with anyone through 3 taps of your finger. You can use E from any phone with an internet connection. Exchange cards with multiple people from phone to phone instantly. Staying in touch has never been this easy. With E on your phone, you'll always be able to hand out your contact information to whomever needs it. No reprints. No piles of cards. Like your phone, always in your...

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Social Loyalty And Rewards Platform CrowdTwist Raises $6M From SoftBank And Others

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 06:00 AM PDT

crowdtwist

CrowdTwist, a social loyalty and rewards platform, has raised $6 million Series A funding led by SoftBank Capital and Fairhaven Capital with kbs+p Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments and other investors participating in the round.

A recent graduate of the inaugural TechStars New York class, CrowdTwist powers loyalty everywhere. The startup’s loyalty software allows a brand’s users to earn points for any activity they do online, both on a brand’s site or on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Youtube and other sites. Users can compete against themselves and others to earn rewards, prize packages and discounts.

On the back end, the platform also helps brands identify their major influencers and understand how an individual customer is interacting with their various properties.

CrowdTwist is already being used by brands like JCPenney and LiveNation. For its clients, CrowdTwist has increased average time-on-site by 250%, average page views per visit by 450% and average purchase size by over 30%.


Company: CrowdTwist
Website: crowdtwist.com
Funding: $1.5M

CrowdTwist powers loyalty everywhere. Our next generation loyalty platform allows users to earn points for any activity they do online, both on your site and wherever else your brand lives (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube). Users compete against themselves and others to prove dedication to your brand and move closer to earning unique rewards, prize packages and discounts, all the while driving significantly more engagement, brand interaction and revenue. CrowdTwist's loyalty software is able to unify your disparate online presence...

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‘Facebook Live’ Will Host House Republican Leaders Next Week On Monday

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 05:30 AM PDT

congress

Facebook earlier this morning announced that it will feature a live discussion between COO Sheryl Sandberg and a trio of House Republican “Young Guns” next week on Monday, starting at 3 PM PST / 6 PM EST.

The company will leverage its Facebook Live platform to host the discussion, which will be led by Sandberg and joined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

According to the announcement, they will “talk about what they’re doing in Washington D.C. to help the U.S. economy rebound and how technology is changing the way government works”.

Facebook users are invited to ask questions on the wall of the event.

The initiative is part of Republicans’ efforts to more adequately compete online in the 2012 election contest.

The latest Facebook Live guest was Oprah Winfrey. Former guests from the field of politics have included U.S. President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush, NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.


Company: Facebook
Website: facebook.com
Launch Date: January 2, 2004
Funding: $2.34B

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 500 million users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 weeks, half of the schools in the Boston area began demanding a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately recruited his friends Dustin Moskowitz and Chris Hughes to help build Facebook, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college networks. The original idea for the term...

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NICE Systems Acquires Fizzback For Approximately $80 Million

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 03:20 AM PDT

fizzback

NICE Systems this morning announced that it is to acquire UK company Fizzback for approximately $80 million in cash. Fizzback is backed by Advent Venture Partners, Nauta Capital and TAG.

Fizzback sends consumers requests for feedback relating to a specific interaction or transaction via mobile, web or social media. The feedback is then analyzed by Fizzback to determine a relevant response, and the company subsequently engages the consumer at the point of experience, for example in the contact center, branch, point of sale, mobile app, or on the Web.

Read more over at TechCrunch Europe.


Launch Date: September 19, 2011
Funding: $5M

The Fizzback Group are innovators in customer engagement. Founded in 2004, the award winning Fizzback solution helps companies to listen, respond and act in real-time to their customers' comments. Feedback captured at the point of experience is analysed automatically using a unique artificial intelligence engine, driving relevant responses, prompting company action and providing powerful insight into the voice of a previously silent majority. Fizzback enables businesses to derive true economic benefits by increasing customer lifetime value...

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Company: NICE Systems
Website: nice.com

NICE Systems is a provider of Insight from Interactions solutions and value-added services, powered by the convergence of advanced analytics of unstructured multimedia content and transactional data – from telephony, web, email, radio, video, and other data sources.

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