Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Latest from TechCrunch

The Latest from TechCrunch

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Alien Dalvik 2.0 Launches, Adds Support For Running Android Apps on iPad

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 09:11 AM PDT


Today, the Myriad Group is announcing the launch of Alien Dalvik 2.0, its port of the Dalvik virtual machine found in Google’s Android operating system. This new release will allow Android applications to run on non-Android devices, including TVs, e-book readers, and even on tablet computers, like Apple’s iPad.

The company says it will demonstrate the technology in action at next week’s CTIA Enterprise & Applications 2011 conference in San Diego.

With Alien Dalvik 2.0, the majority of Android apps can run unmodified using Android Package (APK) files, says Myriad. That means app developers could, in theory, write apps using in a single standard and run them across all platforms.

In theory, of course. Something tells us that Apple won’t allow Android applications running on its iOS devices anytime soon. (RIM, however, might be interested.)

What may be more relevant than the technical (but not likely) iPad compatibility is that Alien Dalvik 2.0 will support a range of platforms, including e-readers, TVs, set-top boxes, in-vehicle digital displays and avionics. In addition to apps, it’s also capable of mobilizing content that includes live and recorded TV and on-demand movies.

OEMs interested in allowing Android apps to run on their non-Android devices may find the technology useful, which began supporting MeeGo in February of this year. Myriad is also well-versed in Java and other embedded systems.

The fact that Alien Dalvik 2.0 supports iOS is a nifty party trick, but not one that will have much impact…expect in the jailbreaking community, perhaps.

Jack Dorsey: “New York Will Have A Thriving Tech Community And We Will Help Build That”

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 09:04 AM PDT

Jack and Bloomberg

At a press conference with Mayor Bloomberg to celebrate the opening of Twitter’s New York City offices, co-founder Jack Dorsey gave the Big Apple his endorsement as a startup capital. “New York will have a thriving tech community and we will help build that,” he says.

Twitter already employs 30 to 40 people in New York City and its new office can accomodate 100 people. At Twitter’s current rate of hiring in the New York City, that should hold it for at least a year. Dorsey points out that New York City has more Twitter users than any other city and the state has the second largest number of Twitter developers.

Twitter’s increased presence in the city will contribute to the budding startup culture. Dorsey notes the importance of mentorship and support networks to building a startup ecosystem. “With every new tech startup, the desire to get together and talk about the challenges” goes up, he says.

New York City also excites Dorsey as a petri dish to experiment with mobile products especially. “New Yorkers live in a very different way because of the density,” he points out. “I am most excited about . . . opportunities to explore the density of the city.”

Company: Twitter
Funding: $1.16B

Twitter, founded by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams in March 2006 (launched publicly in July 2006), is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to post their latest updates. An update is limited by 140 characters and can be posted through three methods: web form, text message, or instant message. The company has been busy adding features to the product like Gmail import and search. They recently launched a new site section called “Explore” for...

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Person: Jack Dorsey

Software engineer Jack Dorsey is the Co-Founder of Twitter, and was the CEO until October 2008. Dorsey had the original idea for Twitter while still at Odeo, a podcasting startup which was a project of Obvious Corp. He is now the chairman of Twitter. In May 2009, Dorsey announced his latest startup, Square. Square, originally code-named Squirrel, is a mobile payment startup with both an app and a piece of hardware that allows the iPhone and Android to...

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Enterprise Mobile Computing Platform Enterproid Raises $11M From Google Ventures, Comcast And Qualcomm

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 09:01 AM PDT


Exclusive-Enterproid, the developer of a platform that allows professionals to maintain completely separate professional and personal profiles on a single Android device, has raised $11 million in Series A funding led by Comcast Ventures, with Google Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures participating.

Called Divide, the platform allows users to create a completely separate profile on Android devices that includes enhanced security, access control, remote wipe capability and a set of enterprise-grade versions of applications like email, a web browser, instant messaging, and SMS. Users can switch back and forth between their professional and personal profiles but no data can cross the division, so that no business content is compromised in the personal profile.

And Enterproid comes with a bunch of useful tools, including the ability to segregate voice and data usage for work, or hand a child a phone without the risk of the child accidentally emailing or calling a contact.

Enterproid’s Divide also allows users to manage devices from the cloud. Lost devices can be remotely located and wiped with corporate data being erased on the entire handheld. IT administrators can also reset passwords, and lock corporate profiles. Additionally, Divide has built-in expense management tools to help identify roaming devices and display network operator usage data.

Divide is available exclusively for Android phones and tablets but the startup plans to extend the service to iOS and Windows Phone 7 platforms in the future. The app is currently in private beta and will debut soon for download on the Android market.

Andrew Toy, CEO of Enterproid, tells me the platform is capitalizing on what he calls the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend. He explains that more and more employees are frustrated by having to carry around two separate smartphones, one for work and one for personal use. Enterproid solves this pain point, makes mobile computing more efficient and gives companies the ability to still maintain a secure mobile environment.

Google Ventures partner Rich Miner agrees that Enterproid is the future of enterprise mobile computing. “When you have one smartphone, you don’t want another phone,” he tells us. “Enterproid is leveraging the technologies now offered by these new sets of devices and creating a mangeable wall between enterprise and personal.”

Founded by former Morgan Stanley, MTV and Smule execs, Enterproid is working with carriers and manufacturers to develop partnerships, which will be announced soon, says the company. The startup is also releasing an SDK as well. The new round will be used to extend engineering capabilities, expand distribution internationally and launch additional global partnerships.

Company: Enterproid

The Divide platform by Enterproid gives mobile professionals a new way to use their smartphones for both work and personal life. With multiple profile support, great productivity apps out of the box and complete personal and IT cloud management, Divide is the next generation solution for enterprise mobility. There’s no need to compromise your personal freedom just because you want to do work on your handheld. Enterproid allows you to create an independent business profile on your Android phone so...

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8coupons And CityPockets Team Up To Let Users Organize, Resell, And Create Their Own Daily Deals

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 09:00 AM PDT


Back in 2007, a startup called 8coupons launched as a mobile coupon service that allowed users to sign up with their phone number, receive coupons and offers from local businesses via SMS. That was before Groupon had hit the streets, before the web daily deal model had really taken hold, and 8coupons was just a little ahead of its time on the mobile front. Since then, 8coupons has built out its web property, which today aggregates over 600,000 live offers nationwide from 4,000 sources including 450 daily deal companies as well as 50 local “non-daily” deal companies.

Over the last six months, 8coupons has been phasing out part of its mobile offers to focus more on providing its customers with the best online deals, as 8coupons Co-founder Landy Ung told us that, while merchants were initially excited by the mobile offering, the SMS option proved not to be scalable. The startup has instead recently launched an iPhone app, which users can use to see aggregated local deals and even take advantage of an augmented reality interface to see which businesses are offering deals as they stroll down the street.

With its new focus on becoming an all-in-one platform for deals, 8coupons is now leveraging its relationships with Groupon, LivingSocial and companies like to offer a full array of geo-tagged deals from your local area. Of course, as a web-based daily deal aggregator, 8coupons competes with startups like Yipit and The DealMap, which was recently scooped up by Google. The space, as we all know, is brimming with new daily deal players and aggregators, and as Jason wrote last year, in comparison to sites like Yipit, which offer a clean user interface, 8coupons had some design-related work to do.

To address this ease-of-use issue, 8coupons recently launched a redesign of its site, which has made the web experience cleaner and more intuitive, and includes a refined filtering system to make it easier to search and filter deals, as well as an updated map and list feature that allows users to check out deals in their area, a la DealMap.

That being said, to offer a complete service to its users, 8coupons needs to go beyond being just another aggregation and distribution platform, to a full-featured hub that allows visitors to discover, buy, organize, and create daily deals.

To do this, the startup has teamed up with an awesome young startup called CityPockets (you can read our writeup of the NYC-based deal wallet and resale marketplace here) to enable daily deal enthusiasts to track and manage their purchases to boot.

With its CityPockets partnership, 8coupons users can now organize their deals, get reminders when their deals are about to expire, or resell the daily deals they’ve already purchased directly on On the flip side, CityPocketers will be able to discover and buy live daily deals from 8coupons’ bullpen of deals from Gilt City, Buywithme, Groupon, etc., right from CityPockets.

8coupons has also recently launched its API, with CityPockets and sites like Topix acting as early adopters and testers.

In terms of monetization, Ung told me that the startup had previously remained profitable through display ads, but its new design notably features fewer display ads, as the startup is transitioning to a straightforward affiliate advertising model. The affiliate model, in which online merchants agree to pay 8coupons in exchange for providing an advertisement and link to the merchant’s site, (most of it is cost per action, Ung says), now comprises over half of the startup’s revenues.

For more, check out 8coupons’ new redesign here and its iPhone app here.

Company: 8coupons
Launch Date: August 8, 2007

8coupons is the largest source for local deals AND daily deals. 8coupons' network of 500,000 live, geo-targeted deals come from partners such as Valpak,, Groupon, Living Social, plus 2,000 other sources. 8coupons aggregates deal information from just about everywhere so our users can be confident they’re seeing the best deals from one place. Keep up with the best deals near you by visiting, subscribing to 8coupons’ email newsletter, following @8coupons on Twitter, or by becoming...

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Company: CityPockets
Funding: $770k

CityPockets is a digital wallet for daily deals. Users enter their login credentials to a number of different group-buying/daily deal sites (Groupon, LivingSocial, BuyWithMe, and many more) and our system automatically populate their account with all of their vouchers on a single dashboard. CityPockets send custom email reminders before a voucher expire, and have iPhone & Android app for mobile redemption. In April 2011, CityPockets launched a secondary marketplace for deals so that people can buy & sell...

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Remove The Special Offers From Your New Kindle — For A Price

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 08:17 AM PDT

kindle ad

Kindle buyers no longer have to decide at point of purchase if they want to forever look at advertisements on their Kindle. The fourth-generation Kindles, announced last week, allows buyers to remove the so-called Special Offers for $30. That’s the same premium Amazon charges up front for the normal, ad-free Kindle. This is smart.

The remove process isn’t complicated or hidden. On your Amazon account page, navigate to the “Manage Your Kindle”, click “Manage Your Devices” and then selection the option to unsubscribe from Special Offers. From there, you’ll be charged $30 to remove the honestly unobtrusive ads.

This is reportedly only available on the new keyboard-less Kindles and likely on the upcoming Touch model. Previous generation Special Offer Kindles will live out the rest of their days with advertisements (unless you Google on how to remove them).

This move makes the Special Offers Kindles look even more tempting. They of course feature a lower cost of admission without locking consumers into ads forever. Amazon doesn’t lose anything in the process. If anything, it gets Amazon’s ad units in front of more eyes and makes the company looks rather charitable by not charging extra for their removal. Expect this feature to be heavily advertised in the future as it suddenly makes the subsidized Kindles more marketable and sexy.

Company: Amazon
Launch Date: October 6, 1994
IPO: NASDAQ:AMZN Inc. (AMZN) is a leading global Internet company and one of the most trafficked Internet retail destinations worldwide. Amazon is one of the first companies to sell products deep into the long tail by housing them all in numerous warehouses and distributing products from many partner companies. Amazon directly sells, or acts as a platform for the sale of a broad range of products. These include books, music, videos, consumer electronics, clothing and household products. The majority of Amazon's...

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Product: Amazon Kindle
Company Amazon

Introduced in November 2007, Kindle is an e-reader developed by to allow easy access to a vast library of electronic books to be downloaded and read on the device. Over 90,000 books were available for download at launch; that catalog grew to over 160,000 by August 2008 and was growing by over 25,000 titles per month. Books, newspapers, magazines and blogs are loaded onto the device wirelessly via Amazon’s free EVDO network (called WhisperNet) and are published in...

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Video: Mini Stress Meter Displays Your Stress Level In Real-Time

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 08:14 AM PDT

stress meter 1

You’re constantly feeling stressed out but there’s no way to prove or quantify it? Then this mini stress meter Professor Nitta from the Tokyo Metropolitan University has developed might do the trick for you. The device is basically a pulse-wave sensor and a modified computer mouse rolled into one.

The way it works is that users place their finger on the mouse for 10 seconds, let the meter measures stress by analyzing the blood flow in the user’s fingertip and then let the system analyze the variation. The stress level is displayed on a computer screen in real-time on a  four level scale.

Regarding the definition of the term “stress”, professor Nitta explains:

You may wonder if what we’re measuring is really stress. In this regard, the clearest indicator of stress is the amount of hormones in the blood. Data from such blood analysis has about a 70% correlation with the results of our software. So it’s probably fair to interpret this measurement as an indicator of stress, like a blood test.

This video, shot by Diginfo TV (in English), provides more insight:

Via Japan Probe

Nexus Prime Details Leaked: New Name, Verizon Exclusive?

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 07:45 AM PDT


Well now. Samsung’s teaser video hinted at something big making its debut on October 11, but a new leak may have blown the whole thing wide open. BGR claims to have received the full spec sheet for Samsung’s long-awaited Galaxy Nexus (nee Nexus Prime), and if true, it's a sight to behold.

Before we go forward, I should caution you to have your grains of salt at the ready. We’re about to step into some murky territory.

The spec listing confirms a few things we were already expecting to see, like the inclusion of Ice Cream Sandwich and a huge 4.65-inch display. BGR’s sources go on to say that the Galaxy Nexus will sport a TI OMAP 4460 processor, which clocks in at 1.2 GHz, and 1 GB of RAM. It also packs a 5MP camera (with support for recording 1080p video), 32 GB of internal storage, an NFC chip, and an LTE or HSPA radio into a body that’s only 9mm thick.

Unfortunately, the Galaxy Nexus is said to be a Verizon exclusive at least for the time being. With their data caps firmly in place, it may be a good thing that Ice Cream Sandwich is reportedly able to track data use on an app-by-app basis. It’s also worth mentioning that the Galaxy Nexus is a pure Google Experience device, so users won’t have to deal with carrier or manufacturer tweaks.

Skeptic though I may be, these specs seem just average enough to be legit. It doesn’t pack a stupid fast processor, nor a crazy camera, nor anything that at first glance seems to good to be true. Even the design may be more sober than first anticipated.

An enterprising Redditor named Greyhaven7 (a.k.a. Eric Hedden in real life) took a still from yesterday’s teaser video and cleaned it up substantially. The end result looks less like a phone that was bent in half, and more like a subtle evolution of the Nexus S’s design language.

Either way, the official reveal is coming in less than a week.

Rdio Announces Ad-Free, On-Demand Music Streaming

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 07:33 AM PDT


Rdio, the digital music service created by Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, is today announcing the launch of an on-demand, ad-free music service here in the U.S. Now, when users sign up online to join Rdio, they’ll have access to all the full tracks from Rdio’s catalog of 12 million songs.

Previously, Rdio only provided its full catalog to paying users.

Rdio isn’t doing away with its paid plans, however. Those are still available, starting at $4.99 for unlimited Web streaming, $9.99 for unlimited Web and mobile streaming and $17.99 for the Rdio Family Plan. The key word here is “unlimited.” Only paying users will receive “unlimited” access to all of Rdio’s songs throughout the month. Meanwhile, the free users will have unlimited access for a certain period of time, but are then cut off.

For non-subscribers, Rdio now places a green bar at the top of the screen that indicates how much free music you have available for the rest of the month. As you listen to tracks, the bar decreases. The level of access is customized to each individual’s listening behavior.

Explains the company:

“The amount of free a person will get is dynamic and will be based on their own personal use and displayed in a meter in the corner of their profile. A heavy user will get more, but probably not as much as they will want and a light user will get more than they'd ever want. When a user runs out one month, they can come back the next month for more free or they don't have to wait and can sign up for an unlimited account.”

Access to this music is provided online and via Rdio’s native apps for Mac and Windows PCs, but not on mobile. No credit card information is required to sign up for the free plan.

Songs can also be shared to Facebook via the new integration with Facebook’s Open Graph platform, where they are posted to your News Feed, Ticker or Timeline.

Rdio says it sees free music as a marketing tool for its service and a way to get people to try the product, as opposed to another tier of service. That’s why it decided to go the ad-free route, instead interrupting the listening experience. By offering the free music in this format, Rdio hopes to convert more free customers to paying subscribers over the coming months.

Company: Rdio
Funding: $17.5M

Rdio is an unlimited, on-demand social music service that lets subscribers listen to music on the web and mobile devices. Rdio differentiates itself by its social design which emulates the way music has typically been shared—from person to person. Rdio subscribers build and share their online music collections from a catalogue of over 8 million songs, and can see the listening activity, collections and playlists of those they follow. Subscribers can also see what's in heavy rotation in their network...

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T-Mobile Introduces A Pair Of myTouch Handsets By LG

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 07:16 AM PDT


T-Mobile has just announced two new myTouch devices built by LG: the T-Mobile myTouch and the myTouch Q. You may remember seeing something similar yesterday in that leaked T-Mobile roadmap, and from what we can see these are both slated for a November 2 release.

The T-Mobile myTouch is your basic slab-style smartphone running Android 2.3 Gingerbread on a single-core 1GHz processor from Qualcomm. The myTouch has a 3.8-inch display, a 5-megapixel rear shooter capable of video capture in 720p, and a VGA front-facing camera for video chat. T-Mobile has slapped its myTouch skin over Android and tossed in the Swype keyboard, as well.

Rounding out the duo is the myTouch Q QWERTY slider. It holds most of the same specs as its myTouch cousin, including Android 2.3 Gingerbread and that 1GHz single-core Qualcomm processor. However, the front-facing VGA camera has been ditched and the screen was reduced to 3.8 inches. No worries though, the myTouch Q still keeps that 5-megapixel rear camera with 720p video capture. The four-row slide-out keyboard comes loaded with a Genius button, which launches directly into T-Mobile’s voice control system. Again, Android may look a bit different courtesy of T-Mobile’s myTouch UI.

The T-Mobile myTouch will come in both black and white flavors, and according to the roadmap it should cost $129 on-contract. Its slider counterpart, the myTouch Q, should also be available on November 2 in both grey and violet, with an on-contract price tag of $129.

Company: LG
Launch Date: October 6, 2011

The LG Group is South Korea’s third largest conglomerate that produces electronics, chemicals, and telecommunications products and operates subsidiaries like LG Electronics, LG Telecom, Zenith Electronics and LG Chem in over 80 countries.

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Company: T-Mobile

T-Mobile is a mobile telephone operator headquartered in Bonn, Germany. It is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. T-Mobile has 101 million subscribers making it the worlds sixth largest mobile phone service provider globally.

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Japan To Get 3DS Not Only In “Ice White” But A 3DS Monster Hunter G Bundle, Too

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 07:06 AM PDT


Nintendo and Capcom Japan have made two 3DS-related announcements today: first, Japanese consumers will be able to lay their hands on the device in a new color, namely Ice White, on November 3 (for the regular price of 15,000 Yen/US$195).

Second, Capcom Japan announced [JP] the so-called “Monster Hunter 3G Special Pack”, which includes a 3DS in white and special design and Monster Hunter 3G. The bundle will hit Japan on December 10 for US$274.

The game alone, bundled with that bulky Slide Pad, will cost US$91:

WD TV Live Media Streamer Skips Internal Storage For Spotify

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 06:56 AM PDT


Western Digital is getting a lot of mileage out of their WD TV media players, and that trend continues today with the announcement of their new WD TV Live box. Unlike its big brother, the WD TV Live is strictly a streamer, but it has a reason to boast: it’s the first WD product to ship with Spotify support

The WD TV Live doesn’t have any internal storage to speak of, but it does sport 2 USB ports for all of you who carry thumb drives full of illicit TV shows.

Once it’s set up on a wireless network or an ethernet connection, the WD TV Live can access media from computers on your home network, or from content partners like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Pandora. It’s got enough horsepower to playback video content at 1080p, and supports a boatload of media formats from the mundane (like AVIs) to the more obscure (hello MKV!).

Ardent Spotify fans need not worry about missing out here. The WD TV Live supports a majority of Spotify features, like managing playlists, sharing songs, and subscribing to friends and fellow music lovers with good taste.

With companies like Microsoft looking to own the living room with their new media initiatives, it makes it harder and harder for boxes like the WD TV Live to pick up any steam. Still, its price point is sure to help: at $99, the WD TV Live is an inexpensive way to start streaming with minimal headaches. It’s set to appear in Western Digital’s online store shortly, and it shouldn’t be long before it hits your electronics retailer of choice.

The Nintendo 3DS: Soon Available In Ice White And Misty Pink

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 06:43 AM PDT


Somewhere, deep within the Nintendo machine, an executive and his like-minded cohorts had a solution to the 3DS debacle. They had the answer to Nintendo’s problems. They were going to simultaneously spur sales and increase awareness. The plan involved an ingenious idea of creating new games rather than reviving old, worn-out franchises. But that didn’t happen. Instead, Nintendo is releasing another colored version of the 3DS — because that will help.

The Ice White model is set to hit the Japanese market on November 3rd for ¥15,000. That’s two weeks after the Misty Pink version launches. Nintendo has yet to announce these new models for the US but with sales faltering, they’re probably going to try all the tricks.

Sprint Opens Up Pre-Orders For The iPhone 4

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 06:06 AM PDT

Sprint iPhone 4 Pre-Order

Sprint has long been Android territory, but today everything changes. There’s still about 24 hours left until the brand new, super snappy, personal assistant-equipped iPhone 4S is available for pre-order, but the yellow carrier has put the iPhone 4 up for pre-order this morning.

The 8GB iPhone 4 is running for $99 on a two-year contract with the “Now Network,” which means it’s the only iPhone 4 to offer up unlimited data. As far as shipping dates go, Sprint says that if you “order today, we’ll charge your card for your phone today and we’ll do our best to get a shiny new iPhone in your hands Friday, Oct. 14 or Saturday, Oct. 15.” So basically you’ll be getting the phone about the same time that iPhone 4S buyers receive their brand new toys.

The iPhone 4S is available for pre-order beginning tomorrow, and starts at $199 on a two-year contract. If you want to experience the in-store iPhone frenzy, go ahead and get in line early (like, really early) on Friday morning, October 14.

Sprint likely won’t have the iPhone 4 in stock for too much longer, so if this is what you’ve been waiting for then head over to Sprint (like right now) and get your pre-order on.

[via MobileBurn]

Company: Apple
Launch Date: January 4, 1976
IPO: October 6, 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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Best Buy Slashes The 7-inch HTC Flyer Android Tablet Down To $99

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 06:06 AM PDT

htc flyer

Oh my. Tablet prices are in a free fall. The HTC Flyer is only $99 at Best Buy right now. The price seems isolated to Best Buy right now so it’s likely the price drop is not from HTC but rather Best Buy. The website is sold out but your local stores still might have some. You know what to do: drop everything and head down to your Best Buy. This is an awesome deal and hopefully a sign that manufacturers and retailers are finally getting aggressive.

HP started the fire sale trend by dropping the TouchPad down to $99. Even with a dead OS, the TouchPad was an amazing deal for $99. HP and retailers sold out within hours. The HTC Flyer might be a slightly smaller tab, but it rocks a proven Android release and is built quite nice. It’s a steal at $99.

RIM also recently cut the price of its tablet, the PlayBook, to $300. But it’s still overpriced. Amazon got it right with the $200 Kindle Fire. Consumers need a low enough price that the purchase feels like a deal. Non-iPad tablets are going to be treading water until they’re priced right. It’s unrealistic to expect $99 mainstream tablets, but prices still need to drop to a more competitive level.

As liliputing points out, the Best Buy Flyer sale might have been an accident but it’s also a great deal worth pursuing. Drop everything and head down to your local Best Buy emporium and tell the blue-shirted shopkeeps to bring forward your Flyer post-haste.

Company: HTC
Launch Date: October 6, 1997

HTC Corp, (TAIEX: 2498) produces smartphones running the Android and Windows Phone 7 operating systems for themselves and as an OEM to other manufacturers. Since launching its own brand in late 2006, the company has introduced dozens of HTC-branded products around the world. The company recently introduced the HTC diamond to compete with Apple’s iPhone. Founded in 1997 by Cher Wang, Chairwoman, and Peter Chou, President and CEO, HTC made its name as the company behind many of the...

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Xfire To Fly Solo Again, Raises $4 Million From Intel Capital

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 05:10 AM PDT


Exclusive - Xfire, which operates a social service used by 19 million gamers, has raised $4 million in fresh funding from Intel Capital and unnamed angel investors.

As a result of the capital injection, Xfire is severing the ties with Titan Gaming, the company that acquired them from Viacom a little over a year ago.

Both Xfire and Titan will henceforth operate independently from one another.

In addition to the spin-off and funding news, Xfire has also announced a trio of new execs joining its leadership team; Titan Gaming co-founder Mark Donovan will serve as President, Juston Brommel as CMO and Autumn Radtke as Director of Business Development.

Xfire provides a social communication platform targeted specifically at gamers, with features like group text and voice chats and user-generated content sharing tools such as screenshots, videos and live game broadcasts.

Newly appointed Xfire President Mark Donovan pitches the service as a sort of “Facebook meets Skype for gamers". Very meta!

Either way, the company says it supports a lively ecosystem that currently comprises ‘hundreds of game publisher partners’ and more than 19 million end users.

Intel Capital joins the following early-stage investors in backing Xfire: Tomorrow Ventures, Clearstone Venture Partners principals William Quigley and Jim Armstrong, PriceGrabber co-founder Kamran Pourzanjani, and founder Michael Robertson.

Donovan tells me Xfire originally received up to a Series C financing round since its founding, followed by an investment of ‘several millions of dollars’ by Viacom during the latter’s ownership of the company. He estimates that roughly $44 million has been injected into the company to date.

Company: Xfire

Xfire is a messaging and chat client for gamers that offers a number of features that fit seamlessly into the PC gaming experience. Xfire users can locate their friends and see who is online currently and what games are being played, XFire users can then join their friend’s game with one click from the Xfire client and chat inside the game window while playing with their friends. Xfire also provides gamers with server tracking tools, a P2P...

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Financial-organization: Intel Capital
Launch Date: October 6, 1991

Intel Capital, Intel’s global investment organization, makes equity investments in innovative technology start-ups and companies worldwide. Intel Capital invests in a broad range of companies offering hardware, software, and services targeting enterprise, home, mobility, health, consumer Internet, semiconductor manufacturing and cleantech. Since 1991, Intel Capital has invested more than US$9.7 billion in over 1,100 companies in 48 countries. In that timeframe, 189 portfolio companies have gone public on various exchanges around the world and 258 were acquired or participated...

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Atlassian Buys Mac Client For Git And Mercurial SourceTree

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 04:45 AM PDT


Last year, product development software company Atlassian raises a whopping $60 million in new funding, some of which was to be be put towards M&A. The company bought, a hosted service for code collaboration last year. And today, Atlassian is buying SourceTree, a popular client for Git and Mercurial distributed version control systems (DVCS) as well as Subversion source control. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Atlassian’s software development and collaboration tools to help teams conceive, plan, build and launch products. Products include JIRA (issue tracker), Confluence (content collaboration) and BitBucket. The company's offerings are used by 26,000 customers around the world, including Facebook, Zynga, Cisco, and Adobe.

SourceTree helps manage repositories from Git and Mercurial DVCS systems. As Atlassian explains, the client strips away the complexity of distributed version control systems and makes it actually usable.

So why did Atlassian buy SourceTree? Atlassian says that the client will expand on their current Git and Mercurial offerings. With the recent announcement of Git support in Bitbucket, the acquisition gives users a desktop client to work with any Git or Mercurial repositories. So developers can host their source in Bitbucket or any other hosting tool and then manage that source in SourceTree.

SourceTree, which is available both on the Mac App Store since and via direct download from the SourceTree website, is prices at $59.99 per license. Following the acquisition, Atlassian is making SourceTree free for a limited time. The company made a similar move when it acquired BitBucket.

Atlassian’s President Jay Simons says that Atlassian will be making more acquisitions in the near future, so stay tuned.

Ellison Reveals Oracle’s Public Cloud; Calls Salesforce The ‘Roach Motel’ Of Cloud Services

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 04:00 AM PDT


Today, at Oracle’s OpenWorld Conference in San Francisco, an animated Larry Ellison took to the stage to unveil an assortment of cloud computing services, which will run the company’s long-time-in-coming (six years, in fact, Fusion Applications — most notably the “Oracle Public Cloud”. And, not one to miss an opportunity, Ellison made sure to take quite a few public jabs at Salesforce — and vicariously, its CEO Marc Benioff — whose keynote earlier in the day was cancelled due to “overwhelming attendance”. Whatever that means. The cancellation created a hubbub and led to Benioff giving his own “off-campus” keynote at the St. Regis hotel across the street. (You can read our coverage of the Salesforce CEO’s talk here.)

As for the substance of Ellison’s keynote, the launch of Oracle’s Public Cloud is noteworthy in that it puts the company in competition with Amazon, Rackspace, and Salesforce, which are the clear leaders in the public cloud computing space. According to Ellison, Oracle’s new public cloud will be available for a monthly subscription and will include resource management and isolation, security, data exchange and integration, self-service sign up, elastic capacity on-demand, virus scanning, and more.

The Public Cloud will mix PaaS and Saas capabilities, the CEO said, enabling customers to run Fusion apps, extensions, and custom-built apps all on the new cloud. Along with a database service and a Java service for developers, customers can take “standard Java and Oracle Database apps and deploy them on the Public cloud without rewriting them”.

The Oracle CEO touched multiple times on the fact that the Public Cloud will be based on industry standards, allowing the programs Oracle hosts on the cloud to be easily transferred to a business’ data centers or to other services, like Amazon’s cloud.

So customers can take any existing database and move it to Oracle’s Public Cloud: “Oh and by the way, you can move it back if you want to. You can move it to the Amazon cloud if you want”, Ellison said. “You can do development and test on our cloud and go into production in your data center … and nothing changes. Everything is portable. Your data is portable”. And thus, the Oracle Public Cloud’s value proposition: It’s interoperability with other clouds.

Of course, Ellison also made sure to point out that its Public Cloud is not compatible with Salesforce’s cloud, which runs on custom languages like APEX and “proprietary” technologies that do not allow businesses to develop apps in a data center and move them to or other clouds.

And how about this for a shot at Salesforce? Ellison said that Salesforce’s approach constitutes the “ultimate vendor lock-in”, in which a customer can “check in, but can’t check out”, calling it “the roach motel of clouds”.

Ellison then lobbied against multi-tenancy, which allow customers to share a single app but it keeps their data separate — the very thing that Benioff had espoused earlier in the day. Instead, Ellison said that multitenancy was “was the state-of-the-art 15 years ago” and offers a piddling security model, whereas the modern cloud leverages virtualization for its security.

Under this model, customers “get a separate virtual machine, your data’s in a separate database because it’s virtualized”. Salesforce, on the other hand, “puts your data at risk by commingling it with others”, he said.

Ellison did not say when Oracle’s Public Cloud will be available, but with Fusion Apps having arrived, it can’t be far away. Of course, Fusion has been endlessly delayed, so nothing is certain.

Another notable announcement was the so-called “Oracle Social Network”, which, as you might guess integrates social networking into Fusion Apps. In other words, it’s a secure collaboration tool that allows customers to find and collaborate with colleagues both in their enterprise and across enterprises, using similar functionality to Facebook (like information feeds) as well as document sharing within their HR system or their own private social network. And perhaps most importantly, Oracle’s new social network seems to be a direct competitor of Salesforce’s Chatter.

Over the last week, Oracle has made some significant announcements and demonstrations of new products and aspects of its cloud computing services, but these have all still managed to pale in comparison to the feud simmering between Ellison and Benioff over the future of the cloud. (More on Benioff’s side here.)

The fight is on.

Image courtesy of The Frontline

Launch Date: October 6, 1977

Oracle is an enterprise IT company with a specialty in database management systems.

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Person: Larry Ellison
Companies: Oracle Corporation

Larry Ellison has been CEO of Oracle Corporation since he founded the company in 1977. He also races sailboats, flies planes, and plays tennis and guitar.

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Daily Crunch: Genius

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 03:00 AM PDT Raises $1.1 Million For Cloud-Based Business Apps Store

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 02:35 AM PDT


Exclusive - Roughly 21 months after successfully launching its vendor-neutral online marketplace for SaaS and cloud-based business applications, has secured $1.1 million from Spanish-American investment firm Nauta Capital to invest in further growth. is essentially a hub for SMB owners to compare, select and purchase SaaS and Web-based applications that can help them manage and grow their business. says it currently reaches some 60,000 businesses on a monthly basis (located primarily in North America and the UK), helping them discover thousands of cloud-based business apps and find the ones that best match their needs and requirements.

In total, roughly 1,500 vendors – including the likes of Zoho, NetSuite, Mavenlink and Assistly – have started using the fledgling company’s platform for online leads generation.

Available app categories range from CRM to marketing automation solutions, HR and project management tools to accounting and business intelligence applications.

Company: GetApp
Funding: $1.1M is a social portal for business software. It offers a simple way for buyers to research applications and a low cost channel for providers to be found online. Business buyers come to to find, compare and choose from a wide range of enterprise applications, organized into categories by industry and business need. Business buyers can save weeks from the purchase cycle. Value of to business applications buyers: All services are free It saves time. Up to several weeks from...

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Italian Wikipedia Shuts Down In Protest Of Proposed Law

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 02:21 AM PDT


In the true spirit of online activism, the entire Italian Wikipedia website has voluntarily taken itself down in order to protest a bill being proposed to Parliament. The law (“DDL intercettazioni,” roughly translated as Wiretapping Act) would require every website to publish within 48 hours a correction or comment relating to any content an applicant has deemed “detrimental to their image,” as they put it. If that sounds vague, broad, and onerous, that’s because it is.

If this law were passed, Wikipedia and other websites would have to post unedited and unsolicited “corrections” to any content deemed objectionable by any person. This content would have to be displayed without any review of the offending content or the “correction.” It doesn’t take an expert to see that this law is contrary to the principles of truth and openness.

In case it isn’t clear, let me just sketch out an example. Say a government official was facing charges of soliciting a prostitute. If this were to be reported on a news website, or written into his page on Wikipedia, he or someone representing him would be able to submit a “correction” that would be required by law to be displayed alongside that information within 48 hours, regardless of what it says or the truthfulness of the allegations.

There are already slander and defamation protection laws on the books, and this part of the law (which seems to have very little to do with wiretapping) seems to simply be a present to the highly visible and frequently-criticized class of people comprising politicians, celebrities, and so on.

To be specific (without getting too deep into it; I am not versed in the subtleties of Italian politics), the law is seen as a tool for people like Italy’s infamously newsworthy Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi. The many salacious charges against him would be required by law to be paired with any official commentary from the PM, his office, or his lawyers.

Wikipedia is careful to point out that the whole point of their service is to provide a free, comprehensive, and neutral encyclopedia that is open to input from all parties. This law would eliminate the neutrality of the resource they have worked to create, and so the users of have opted to remove it entirely:

Dear reader,

at this time, the Italian language Wikipedia may be no longer able to continue providing the service that over the years was useful to you, and that you expected to have right now. As things stand, the page you want still exists and is only hidden, but the risk is that soon we will be forced to actually delete it.

Wikipedia is, of course, actually based here in the US and foreign versions and communities are managed locally to some extent. The takedown of the Italian Wikipedia was not suggested or carried out by the Wikimedia Foundation, but they have written a short blog post in support of the effort:

The Wikimedia Foundation stands with our volunteers in Italy who are challenging the recently drafted "DDL intercettazioni" (or Wiretapping Bill) bill in Italy. This bill would hinder the work of projects like Wikipedia: open, volunteer-driven, and collaborative spaces dedicated to sharing high-quality knowledge, not to mention the ability for all users of the internet to engage in democratic, free speech opportunities.

I hope that the Wikipedians, as they are apparently called, here in the US would be able to take the same step, though I also hope it will never prove necessary. Personally I support this peaceful yet forceful demonstration of internet activism, and I’m sure many of our readers do as well.

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