Monday, October 10, 2011

The Latest from TechCrunch

The Latest from TechCrunch

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Former Google SVP Of Engineering Bill Coughran Joins Sequoia Capital As Partner

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 10:03 AM PDT


Google’s former SVP of Engineering, Bill Coughran, has joined Sequoia Capital as a Partner. According to his Sequoia profile, Coughran will be making early and growth-stage investments for the venture firm.

Coughran joined Google as an engineering director responsible for infrastructure systems in early 2003, and over the course of the past 8 years was responsible for the engineering of Google’s search, client, geographical, and video products plus security and systems. As a SVP, he also served on the executive committee and was an advisor to Google’s Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and Google chairman Eric Schmidt.

During his time at Google, Coughran had a ‘deep involvement’ with the development of a number of Google’s most popular products including Chrome, YouTube, Maps and Search. While Coughran was at Google, the search giant’s engineering organization grew from a couple of hundred to more than 10,000 across the world. Priot to Google, Coughran founded Entrisphere, a telecom equipment vendor bought by Ericsson. He was also VP of Bell Labs' Computing Sciences Research Center where C, C++, Unix, Plan 9, and Inferno were created.

Sequoia was actually an early investor in Google.

The Linux Foundation Announces First Ever Automotive Linux Summit

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 10:00 AM PDT

Image (1) toyota-tux.jpg for post 218762

The Linux Foundation announced today the first ever Automotive Linux Summit. Taking place in Japan on November 28, 2011, it will be an opportunity to address the growing need for carmakers and Linux developers to collaborate on the future of cars as devices. Nissan and Toyota will both be there, along with Intel, NEC, and a host of other mobile solutions developers.

Dig it: “cars as devices”. The Internet of Things will be upon us sooner than we imagined. Automobiles are becoming increasingly complicated, with computers and computer systems getting more and more integrated into the whole of the vehicle, not to mention connectivity being expected by the driver at the dashboard. No single vendor can provide the breadth of experience required to develop and maintain the kind of software necessary to power all the computing on a car, so the vendor-neutral approach of the Linux stack makes tremendous sense to car makers.

The Automotive Linux Summit is specifically designed for the automotive industry and the growing cross-industry ecosystem for the future of mobility solutions. This premier vendor-neutral business and technical conference will bring together the brightest minds from the automotive industry, the Linux developer community and the mobility ecosystem. Attendees can expect to learn about how to use Linux and open source software in automotive applications ranging from in-vehicle on-board systems to cloud solutions for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications.

The Automotive Linux Summit currently has an open call for participation, so if you’re into Linux on cars, or cars as devices, consider submitting a presentation proposal.

Lenovo And YouTube Announce Space Lab: The Ultimate Science Fair

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 10:00 AM PDT


When I was just a wee pupil, an excellent science fair project didn’t get you much. At best, you walked away with a blue ribbon and the satisfaction of knowing your paper mache volcano was better than your friends’. These days, a great science project can win you much more, like the opportunity to attend a rocket launch in Japan. Way cooler, yes?

Thanks to a partnership between Lenovo and YouTube, students from all over the globe will be able to submit an explanation of their experiments through YouTube for a chance to have those experiments conducted in space. The project is called Space Lab and it officially kicks off today.

Here’s how this is going to work:

Students between the ages of 14 and 18 from anywhere in the world can submit projects from now until December 7. During the first week in January, world-renowned judges including Professor Stephen Hawking and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide of Japan will get together and decide who came up with the best ideas.

Then in March of 2012, both the regional and global winners will be announced. Regional winners will include six contestants from each region from both the 14-16 age bracket and the 17-18 age bracket. That’s 36 regional winners, if my math’s up to snuff. Prizes for regional winners will include a special trip to Washington D.C., the opportunity to experience true weightlessness on a ZERO-G flight, or a Lenovo IdeaPad U300s Ultrabook.

There will only be two global winners selected — one from the 14-16 bracket and another from the 17-18 bracket. The main prize will obviously be the chance to watch a live stream of your very own experiment being conducted on the International Space Station in space. The other facet of the prize package includes either the opportunity to train in Star City, Russia (home to the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center), or get a front row seat to watch your experiment blast off in Japan.

The live stream will happen sometime during the summer in 2012. Even though that’s a ways off, you really only have about three months to think up your experiment and submit it into Space Lab. In other words, get to work future space geeks.

Company: Lenovo
Launch Date: October 10, 1984

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, carrying cases, software, monitors, touch-screen devices, and printers. The company also provides accessories and upgrades, such as audio and video, cables and adapters, carrying cases, keyboards and mice, memory, projectors, security, storage, and wireless and networking products. In addition, it involves in the property holding and property management, procurement agency,...

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Company: YouTube
Launch Date: November 9, 2005
Funding: $11.5M

YouTube was founded in 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, who were all early employees of PayPal. YouTube is the leader in online video, sharing original videos worldwide through a Web experience. YouTube allows people to easily upload and share video clips across the Internet through websites, mobile devices, blogs, and email. Everyone can watch videos on YouTube. People can see first-hand accounts of current events, find videos about their hobbies and interests, and discover the quirky...

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Mozilla Releases Annual Report, Surveys The New Era Of Competition

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 09:55 AM PDT


Mozilla, the maker of the popular Firefox web browser, has just released its annual State of Mozilla — an interactive web-based report that outlines the organization’s progress, and where it sees things going over the coming years. It also includes one key stat: Mozilla’s revenues for 2010 totaled $123 million, which is up approximately 18 percent from 2009. Mozilla generates most of this revenue through search partnerships (Google is the biggest contract, but it also has deals with Bing, Yahoo, and other providers).

Mozilla says that the Google partnership is up for renewal in November, and that it has “every confidence that search partnerships will remain a solid generator of revenue for Mozilla for the foreseeable future”.

The document doesn’t have too many surprises, but it’s a reminder that Mozilla — which has long been associated primarily with the desktop version of Firefox — is putting more effort behind new projects. Namely, it’s putting a much stronger emphasis on mobile, and it’s also looking to tackle various challenges on the web, like creating a decentralized web identity platform and improving both the functionality and discovery of web apps. And it’s also looking to protect user privacy, in part through the Do Not Track initiative.

The report makes a few veiled references to the growth of Google’s Chrome browser, which is set to overtake Firefox in market share after just three years on the market. Google has, of course, long been an advocate of the web, but Mozilla makes sure to point out that it alone among the major browser vendors is “organized solely for the good of the Web as a whole”, rather than market share and profits.

Some important passages:

Today we're living more of our lives online than ever before. This gives Mozilla the opportunity to build freedom and user sovereignty into more areas of life. At the same time, advances in mobile technology move us toward several parallel worlds, each controlled by different giant commercial entities.

We have seen these kinds of threats before. Mozilla was born out of this type of environment, as a reaction to an online world that was full of promise and potential – but was then threatened by a few giant companies limiting consumer choice, interoperability and the overall health of the Web. We faced and won that challenge together then, and we need to face it again in this new era.

We also began including Android as a first tier platform along with our desktop platforms. This important shift has helped reinforce the expansion of Mozilla's mission to the next phase of the Web. In this new setting, Firefox is not only a browser on your desktop but evolves to be a trusted environment where a user has a consistent set of core controls over his or her experience, regardless of device.

We currently have several key business partnerships and are actively exploring search partnership opportunities and other potential revenue opportunities. We'll continue to build great products that help people enjoy the richness of the Internet, and we're confident that this allows us to identify appropriate sources of revenue.

Facebook Acquires Social Q&A Service — Team To Work On New Things, But Service Will Stay Open

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 09:51 AM PDT

Screen Shot 2011-10-10 at 9.50.34 AM

The acquisitions continue for Facebook. Last week, the social network bought, the social question and answer service, both sides confirm today. has more details in their blog post here. Meanwhile, Facebook has this to say on the deal:

We're excited to announce that we recently acquired, a Silicon Valley startup that created a really compelling way for people to express themselves and meet others through answering questions. We've admired the team's efforts for some time now, and we're looking forward to having Ed and his colleagues make a big impact on the way millions of people connect and engage with each other on Facebook.

Of note, the team says that they’ll be working on “new projects” at Facebook. But they also say that will continue to operate as a service. Facebook has a history of acquiring services just for their talent and shutting down old products, but in some cases, like FriendFeed, they’ve allowed them to stay open. It appears that will be happening here as well. At least for now. had raised $5 million in funding from Lightspeed Ventures, Balderton Capital, SoftTechVC, and a range of angels.

Aisle411 Partners With ZipList For Shopping Lists, Recipe Search

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 09:37 AM PDT


Mobile shopping app aisle411 is partnering with ZipList, a recipe search and shopping list platform, in the newest release of the aisle411 iPhone app, out now. With the update, aisle411 version 2.0, is also adding better aisle navigation, mapping out an optimized path through stores, whether that’s to help you locate a single item or all the items on your shopping list.

For those unfamiliar, aisle411 is an indoor navigation app designed to help you find your way through large retail stores, like Lowe’s or Home Depot, as well as in grocery stores like Albertson’s, Giant, Safeway, Von’s and others. It’s certainly a useful service where available, but is currently only offered in a limited subset of stores in just a handful of regions in the U.S. (Boo!)

For the lucky few who can take advantage of the app, the updated Shopping List Manager will let you built lists online or in the app using typing, scanning or by speaking, the latter thanks to voice recognition technology powered by Nuance.

The new Recipe Search feature will now provide access to over 130,000 recipes, which can be integrated with shopping lists and routed through the app’s trademark Aisle Navigation.

Also new today is the launch of the aisle411 API and SDK, which will be provided to app developers for free. (Contact the company for more info on that.)

This summer, aisle411 was one of 3 apps that impressed the judges at the Plug and Play Tech Center’s EXPO, a showcase of the best of the startup accelerator’s latest group.

The updated app is available now in iTunes. An Android version will launch later this year.

Company: aisle411
Launch Date: October 10, 2011
Funding: $2.1M

aisle411 empowers anyone with a mobile phone to find products and promotions quickly and easily in retail stores. With sophisticated interactive voice technology powered by Nuance, aisle411 offers a unique in-store search and comprehensive mobile retail shopping solution. With the aisle411 App, users can instantly locate products in stores down to the specific section of the aisle, find product reviews, manage shopping lists, share experiences with friends via social media integration, then get reward points and mobile coupons for...

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Facebook Gangsters Rejoice: Zynga’s Mafia Wars 2 Goes Live

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 09:18 AM PDT


Today is a good day to be a Facebook mafiosi. Zynga’s Mafia Wars 2 was originally expected to launch within the next few weeks, but the game has already gone live on Facebook and is ready for users to start building their massive criminal empires.

We’ve already taken an in-depth look at what Zynga’s bringing to the table with their first direct sequel, but here’s a quick refresher for veterans and newbies alike.  

First off, remember what the original Mafia Wars looked like? Forget it: the game has received a massive facelift. Now you can maneuver your thuggish little avatar through the game, and progress by developing your home turf and conquering seven different worlds. Think of it as CityVille meets Grand Theft Auto on a smaller scale.

Players also progress through the game by competing in fight arenas, where they face off against their in-game rivals (with or without the help of their crew). Mafia Wars 2 has a much stronger focus on customization than its forefather, to boot: the game sports over 300 different types of weapons, armor and vehicles with which players can bring the pain to mob bosses and rivals.

Oh, and international users will be glad to know that the game has full support for 16 languages right out of the gate, so players from Thailand, Germany, and Turkey will be able to engage in the carnage with nary an issue in sight.

In the end, we’re left with a social gaming experience that looks and feels nothing like the original. Given that Zynga’s more recent offerings sport a similar level of polish, it’s sort of gratifying to see one of their oldest properties get a much-needed overhaul.

Team From Twitter Analytics Startup SocialGrapple Heads To Google

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 09:17 AM PDT


Social graph analytics startup SocialGrapple has announced that its team is heading to Google. It’s unclear if this is an IP acquisition or just a talent play, but we’ve reached out to Google for confirmation. Update: Google has confirmed that founder Andrey Petrov is joining the company, so it appears that this is just a talent acquisition.

Founded by a Y Combinator alum Petrov, SocialGrapple gives you visual insights, interactive charts, and email reports from social data on Twitter. It allows you to monitor followers, compare types of followers between accounts and more. The service also to see the change in number of tweets, followers, and who is following you.

SocialGrapple also includes monitors brand mentions in the Twitter ecosystem. The service will archiving every tweet matching a specific keyword and will visualize this growth in volume of mentions, as well as tracking unique users who mention a keyword.

Here’s a neat example of what SocialGrapple can do. It’s unclear what the SocialGrapple team will be working on at Google, but perhaps they’ll be working on a Google+ analytics product in the future?

We’ll update the post when we hear back from Google.

BiteHunter’s New Update Adds Instant Dining Deals

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 09:00 AM PDT


BiteHunter, the recently released “Kayak for Restaurants” app,  is today launching a major upgrade to its iPhone app which includes integration with hundreds more dining deals sources including Yelp Deals, Groupon Now and LivingSocial Instant. The time-limited deals are featured within the app’s new “BiteNow” section, showing you discounted dining options while on the go. The best deals only appear for a few hours, then disappear.

Groupon Now and LivingSocial Instant are the competing “instant deals” offshoots from the already popular daily deals services Groupon and Living Social. Unlike the typical daily deal, which can be used at any time, instant deals are time-sensitive and are often used by merchants to boost business during slow periods.

Although still in the processing of rolling out, Groupon Now deals are already live in 40 markets across the U.S and LivingSocial Instant has deals live in 18 regions.

In total, with today’s release, BiteHunter has added 200 new national dining deals sources, and is continuing to add more on a regular basis.

BiteHunter’s overall design has been improved with this app update, too, with changes made based on user feedback. It’s now easier and quicker to use. The company added features like an automated calculator to show you the deals’ actual savings and the ability to customize your profile to show favorite cuisines only, save deals or share them with your friends via Twitter, Facebook or email.

Soon, the company will be rolling out a notifications system that will learn from your social graph and in-app behavior to push you updates showing you only those deals you would really be interested in.

Further down the road, BiteHunter will begin to function as not only a deals locator, but a tool you can use to purchase deals. Today, explains BiteHunter CEO and Co-Founder Gil Harel, it’s not always the best user experience to send you to another source to get the deal. The other website might not mobile-friendly, for example, and you have to sign in again to make a purchase. BiteHunter plans to serve as the middleman between you and the deal you want, so that you can purchase the deal in the mobile app with credit card information you have on file. The plan is for BiteHunter to house 70-80% of the deals in the U.S.

Through its API, BiteHunter’s aggregated deals are showing up in more places on the Web, too, including and the company has more partnerships in the works.

Since its launch in June, BiteHunter has been download by nearly 100,000 users. So far, it has raised $500,000 from angels, family and friends.

The new app is available on iTunes here.

Company: BiteHunter

BiteHunter is building the 1st real time meta search engine for dining deals. The company is searching hundreds of restaurant directories, restaurants' newsletters and websites, FaceBook pages, Twitter alerts and more, currently in the US and then all over the world to provide the most comprehensive real time dining platform.That includes for example finding all relevant dining special offers, daily deals, dining events , food daily specials, users checking in at restaurants etc.

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Location-Based Photo-Sharing App Trover Comes To Android

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 08:56 AM PDT


Mobile discovery and photo-sharing app Trover arrives on Android today, after having grown its install base to over 100,000 since its iPhone launch in July. The release extends Trover to a second mobile platform, but doesn’t include a new feature set or other notable changes at this time.

Currently, Trover offers integration with Facebook and Twitter for finding friends and sharing photos, but a future version will add Tumblr and Foursquare to its list of supported networks, we’re told.

Trover was created by Expedia and Zillow co-founder Rich Barton, Jason Karas and Andrew Coldham. It aims to provide a new way for people to explore their community via photo-sharing.

When you launch Trover on your mobile phone, it finds nearby photos and presents them in a grid-like layout. As you scroll down, the distance between your current location and the featured photos increases. You can also follow other users, including your Facebook and Twitter friends.

The app is attractive, well-designed, and easy to use, but since its first install on my iPhone, I have to admit that I haven’t often returned to check out new photos on any sort of regular basis. For me, and for a good many of my Facebook and Twitter friends I follow on the service, there’s been a drop-off in usage. Maybe it’s the power of Instagram, diverting our attention elsewhere, or maybe it’s just a general lack of stickiness in an increasingly crowded “photo-sharing” space.

Co-founder Karas acknowledges these challenges, but hints at upcoming features that will make the now entertainment-focused app more practical. One of these is the newly added keyword-based browsing (iPhone only for now) which lets you discover activities through searches. For example, a search for “kids” would pull up family-friendly discoveries. This feature will be further developed to include more helpful information like the URL of the location, the star ratings of the service and more in a future release.

Also planned is support for Foursquare and Tumblr integration, arriving in a month or two, which will allow users to check-in and/or share their photos on those services. Trover’s Facebook posting is being rethought as well, so as to allow for geo-tagging capabilities instead of simple photo uploads.

Trover is being honored today by O’Reilly Media as one of 15 mobile companies featured in its Startup Showcase at the Android Open Conference. The apps O’Reilly picked are meant to showcase some of the best new apps Android has to offer.

The new Android version of Trover is available now on the Android Market now.

Company: trover

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Grokking #OccupyWallSt

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 08:43 AM PDT

Occupy Wall st cityhall

As the Occupy Wall Street protest movement spreads across the country, it is becoming harder to ignore. The daily protests, which began on Wall Street in New York City, have popped up as far afield as Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Grand Rapids. Seemingly inchoate and leaderless, the protestors seem to be rallying against everything from economic inequality to political disenfranchisement.

Occupy Wall Street takes its cues from the Arab Spring movement in the Middle East. It is similar in that it is leaderless and organized via social media, except without the dictators to rally against. Instead, it’s target is “the system” itself as symbolized by Wall Street and the government. Occupy Wall Street is hard to put your hands around and unsatisfying in many ways, but is also in many ways the face of social protest movements for years to come. This is a cultural movement organized on the Internet and social networks. It is chaotic in the same way the Internet itself is chaotic.

But what exactly is #OccupyWallSt all about? Most stories in the mainstream media seems to be focusing on politicians denouncing the movement, or the size of the protests on any given day. Here is a video which lets the protestors speak for themselves. They seem to be complaining about everything—but that is kind of the point. The economy sucks, and a lot of people are unhappy out there.

The best way to keep up with it is via social media itself. You can search for Tweets with the #OccupyWallSt hashtag,or check out the Occupy Wall Street Facebook page, as well as the Causes page.

Dave Winer has created a helpful site called Occupyweb with a river of links and posts about the movement. Some of the best posts come from We Are the 99 Percent on Tumblr, where individuals share their own stories of being in debt, out of work, or simply finding it difficult to make ends meet.
Winer also has a photo stream culled from Flickr. (Or you can find Twitter photos here). Below is that news video and a few of the pics from Winer’s photo stream:

Motorola Launches RhoElements, an HTML5 Framework For Building Mobile Apps For Enterprise

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 08:35 AM PDT


Motorola is today announcing the launch of RhoElements, a Web-based application framework made possible through its acquisition of the cross-platform mobile app development platform Rhomobile. Motorola acquired Rhomobile on July 29, 2011.

Motorola says it plans to announce additional cross-platform development tools, enterprise integration components and cloud-based services for its channel partners and customers in the months ahead.

RhoElements provides an HTML5/JavaScript/CSS application framework with support for HTML5 features like app caching, Web storage, and the ability to optimize network utilization and enable continuous operation when a loss of connection occurs.

The framework is the first product to emerge from the acquisition of Rhomobile earlier this year. This particular toolkit is specifically targeted towards those developers working in the enterprise and in Motorola’s “PartnerEmpower” ecosystem.

With RhoElements, businesses will be able to develop and deploy Web-based applications on existing Motorola Windows Embedded Handheld (formerly Windows Mobile) and Windows Embedded Compact (Win-CE) devices. It will also work with the newly announced Motorola ET1 Android-based enterprise tablet.

The ET1 is a 7-inch, 1.4-pound ruggedized tablet running Android 2.3, which offers a 1GHz dual-core processor, 8 GB of internal storage (expandable to 32 GB via microSD), a Gorilla Glass screen with a 1024 x 600 resolution, 8-megapixel back camera and front-facing camera, plus an optional Bluetooth-connected barcode scanner and mag stripe reader, hot-swappable batteries, and secure system software.

The tablet will be under $1,000 when it launches in the fourth quarter of this year.

RhoElements, meanwhile, is now available to download from here.

Launch Date: October 10, 2011

Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI) is a data communications and telecommunications equipment provider that succeeded Motorola Inc. following the spin-off of the mobile phones division into Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. in 2011. The company is headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. Motorola Solutions is composed of the Enterprise Mobility Solutions division of the former Motorola, Inc. Motorola Solutions also previously had a Networks division, which it sold to Nokia Siemens Networks in a transaction that was completed on April...

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Company: Rhomobile
Launch Date: October 10, 2011

Rhomobile provides a free and open source framework, Rhodes, for cross-platform smartphone application development. Rhodes allows you to use familiar web skills (HTML, HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript) to create a native app, and then deploy that app across all the major smartphone OSes: Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and more are on the way. In addition, Rhomobile allows you to access and edit your data regardless of connectivity with the optional RhoSync, the world’s fastest, most scalable...

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The Man With 450 Geeks Powering The Olympics – And Tomorrow’s Startups?

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 08:23 AM PDT


In many respects the gargantuan project that is the tech behind the Olympics and ‘tech bubble’ startups don’t have a lot in common. One is a massive systems integration exercise involving large corporate players like ATOS, ACER, BT, Samsung, Panazonic, Cisco and multiple others. The other is a wave of fast moving companies filled with sneaker-wearing CEOs who prefer bean bags and foozeball to the air-conditioned corporate offices of LOCOG (that’s London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, to you).

But, speaking to Gerry Pennell, CIO of London 2012 and the man charged with delivering the technology around the Olympics, it looks like there is more to this than meets the eye that might pique the interest of the entrepreneur.

Verizon Officially Announces The Samsung Stratosphere

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 08:01 AM PDT


If you can recall that leaked Verizon roadmap we spotted way back in August, you’ll know that the Samsung Stratosphere is pretty delayed. Once slated for a September 8 launch alongside the mighty Droid Bionic, the phone has now been officially announced just a month later.

Similar in style and specs to the Epic 4G, the Samsung Stratosphere will enjoy the benefits of Verzon’s 4G LTE network, reports MobileBurn. The device sports a 4-inch Super AMOLED 480×800 display, a 5-megapixel rear shooter with auto focus and flash, along with a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat. Unfortunately, that rear camera won’t be recording any HD video, so hopefully you’ll have a Flip Cam tucked away somewhere for those special moments.

The Stratosphere is an Android 3.2 Gingerbread device powered by a single-core 1GHz processor. If you didn’t notice from the picture, the Stratosphere also comes loaded with a slide-out five-row QWERTY keyboard and Samsung’s TouchWiz UI.

For the specs on this bad boy, Verizon’s $149.99 on-contract price tag is not too shabby at all. The Stratosphere will be available in-store and online on October 13.


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Nokia Tries To Play It Cool With New Dubstep Ringtone

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 07:40 AM PDT


OK, Nokia, we get it: you want to be cool. The Nokia/Monster headphones spotted a few days back was a start, but what better way to attract a hip young crowd than to jazz up your iconic jingle with some dubstep?

In fairness, Nokia didn’t actually design the thing themselves. Instead, they launched a contest last September where they asked people to submit fresh takes on Grande Valse, the Spanish guitar tune that’s been burned into every Nokia user’s brain since 1994.

The Finnish company received over 6,000 entries (some of which weren’t even ringtones, apparently), and a panel of 7 judges sifted through all of them to find a winner.

Valerio Alessandro Sizzi’s dubstep remix took top honors, and netted the 22-year old audio designer a $10,000 prize. On top of that, his submission will soon be baked into the software of 100 million Nokia phones, and may soon appear in a pocket near you.

In Sizzi’s own words:

“I just thought as a sound designer that a sparkling, up-to-date and with a certain coolness version of the Nokia Tune would have been perfect to attract young and “cool-hunting” customers.”

We’ll have to see about that. Nokia’s got a lot of work to do if they want to cast off their stodgy reputation, and a dubstep ringtone could go either way. In its defense, the ringtone is surprisingly catchy (at least for the first few times you hear it), but only time will tell if Nokia can gain some more traction among the younger set.

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Keynote Buys Cloud Mobile App Testing And Monitoring Platform DeviceAnywhere For $90M

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 07:00 AM PDT


Keynote Systems, a company that provides web and mobile cloud monitoring services, has acquired Mobile Complete, which develops DeviceAnywhere, a cloud-based platform for testing and monitoring mobile websites and apps, for $60 million in cash plus a $30 million potential earn-out.

DeviceAnywhere, which raised funding from Motorola Ventures and Innovacom, offers a cloud-based platform for developers to test and monitor the functionality, usability, performance and availability of mobile apps and websites.

The SaaS allows you to test and monitor apps across 2,000 devices across global networks in 7 countries. Developers can also automates the testing of mobile apps, as well as use 24-7 performance monitoring of apps to detect potential problems.

DeviceAnywhere says that more than 1,200 organizations, including Dell, Salesforce, Google, Microsoft and others, are using the software.

Keynote Systems develops and sell services, hardware, and software to measure, test, and monitor web and mobile sites. Keynote plans to add the SaaS to its mobile monitoring business, and expects the addition of DeviceAnywhere to grow Keynote “into a $100 million business."

A Pirate’s Life For Me: Police Bust Hungarian Movie Ring

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 06:56 AM PDT


If you had any misconceptions about the noble pirates fighting the nasty, dirty MPAA, put those to rest now. Here’s the inside of a pirate’s lair in Budapest where we find a 70TB disk array (the article claims it held “5000 movies, 4000 songs, 6000 games and 500 pieces of software,” which is a ridiculously low number), blow, and what appears to be a shotgun.

A pirate group called CiNEDUB has single-handedly “forced” Warner Brothers to stop releasing films in Hungary for fear of having their content recorded and pirated on the day of release. Sick of CiNEDUB preventing them access to the ouvre of Harry Potter, the police busted the ring and found a large server room, lots of cash, and a mirror and razor blade combo that suggests some high times.

The bust happened under pressure from the Hungarian National Tax and Customs Administration. Two members of the nine member team are behind bars while the rest are still at large. From Torrentfreak:

"Most of this team were responsible for the great American filmmakers blacklisting Hungary," NAV said in a statement.

Say what you want about freedom and digital rights: these guys were, in the end, making money on pirated video. I don’t like corporations pressuring governments to do their bidding and I agree that it’s stupid to equate piracy with terrorism and gangsterism, you can’t honestly say that whatever these guys were doing in that cocaine- and shotgun-infested flat improved our digital freedoms one iota.

RIM Introduces NFC-Powered BlackBerry Tag

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 06:21 AM PDT


It was all the way back in February when RIM first promised that “many, if not most” BlackBerry handsets in 2011 will feature NFC technology. It proved true with both the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930, along with the BlackBerry Curve 9350/9360/9370, and we should see plenty more where that came from. That said, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie had one more trick up his sleeve at this week’s GITEX conference in Dubai, unveiling for the first time BlackBerry Tag.

BlackBerry Tag will come as part of the next BlackBerry 7 update. The idea is that you can share photos, documents, URLs, and contact information by just tapping your BlackBerry devices together — not unlike the Bump application on iOS and Android. The only difference is that the Bump app employed Bluetooth connectivity while BlackBerry Tag uses NFC technology.

Instead of scanning codes, BBM users will now be able to make connections by simply tapping the devices against each other, which will automatically swap BBM contact info. Even better, developers will have access to the BlackBerry Tag API, meaning they can bake the Tag functionality into their own apps.

It’s been a trying year for RIM. But perhaps this, along with other new software offerings, will get RIM back on track.


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iPhone 4S Tops 1 Million Pre-Orders In 24 Hours

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 05:55 AM PDT

iPhone 4S

Well, what do you know?

Despite all the “disappointment” over a basic refresh rather than a newly designed iPhone, Apple has still managed to break records. Apple today revealed that pre-orders for its iPhone 4S have topped one million in the span of 24 hours, putting to shame its earlier pre-order record of 600,000 iPhone 4 pre-orders in a day.

It can’t be that surprising either. The iPhone 4 was the top device last year, making up more than half of all phone sales in Apple’s history. But even with that success, only 5 percent of all mobile phones (including feature phones) are iPhones. Thus, Apple has made some serious processor improvements, camera upgrades, and introduced the Siri personal voice assistant to the iPhone 4S.

Clearly, it’s paid off.

Company: Apple
Launch Date: January 4, 1976
IPO: October 10, 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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3DPF: Japanese Company Creates Super-Realistic 3D Face Replicas

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 05:34 AM PDT


If you’ve ever dreamed of getting a super-realistic replica of your face for whatever reason, here’s your chance: a Japanese company called REAL-f [JP] is creating so-called 3DPFs (“3 Dimension Photo Forms”), copies of human faces “in 3D”. The startup offers two versions, a mask type replica and the so-called mannequin type, a replica of the head.

The way it works is that REAL-f first shoots pictures of a person’s face from various positions and imprints the image on vinyl chloride resin stretched over a mold. According to the company, it’s unique production technology makes sure that even details like the iris and blood vessels are replicated accurately (see the pictures to judge for yourself).

Buyers can get a 3D “face mask” for US$3,920 (additional copies cost just US$780 each). Each replica of one’s head costs US$5,875 (copies: US$1,960).

More pictures can be found on REAL-f’s Facebook page.

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