Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Latest from TechCrunch

The Latest from TechCrunch

Link to TechCrunch

Verizon Officially Unveils The World’s Thinnest Smartphone: The Motorola Droid RAZR

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 09:20 AM PDT

droidrazr

If you remember from a teaser video posted a few days ago, today is a big day. Verizon and Motorola have finally announced the much-anticipated Droid RAZR, the next LTE beast to grace big red’s shelves. Here at the launch event in New York City, we’re hearing four words over and over again: faster, thinner, smarter, and stronger. And that’s exactly how we’d describe the new Droid RAZR.

The latest in Motorola’s line of Android smartphones takes heavily from its Droid brethren in terms of design, looking a lot like the Droid X/X2. It has that same “hump” along the upper back edge, likely making room for the camera and other goodies, but has dropped some weight with an even thinner waist line than its Bionic cousin. It’s also stronger, as promised in that teaser video, with a Kevlar fiber casing which, Motorola promises, will “withstand the back pocket test.”

Ready for specs? Of course you are.

The Droid RAZR touts a solid 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, Android 2.3 Gingerbread, 1GB of RAM, and of course, support for Verizon’s 4G LTE network. In fact, Verizon is claiming that this is its thinnest LTE-capable device to date, with a 7.1mm waist line.

That Kevlar fiber casing isn’t the only “rugged” quality on this phone — it also comes with Motorola’s new Splash Guard technology and a stainless steel core.

The new flagship also boasts an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with dual-LED flash and autofocus (capable of video capture and playback in 1080p). Sanjay Jha claims the phone will offer 12.5 hours of talk time and 8.9 hours of video playback. It’ll also come with Moto’s web top desktop app, if you go ahead and grab a Motorola Lap Dock. The RAZR also packs a microUSB port for charging along with HDMI out, naturally.

Motorola has included support for its MotoCast application, which streams content (whether it be pictures, movies, or music) between the PC and the smartphone.


Motorola is known around the world for innovation in communications and is focused on advancing the way the world connects. From broadband communications infrastructure, enterprise mobility and public safety solutions to mobile and wireline digital communication devices that provide compelling experiences, Motorola is leading the next wave of innovations that enable people, enterprises and governments to be more connected and more mobile. Motorola (NYSE: MOT) had sales of US $22 billion in 2009

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Company: Verizon
Website: verizon.com
IPO: VZ

Verizon Communications Inc. delivers broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s largest wireless network that serves nearly 102 million customers nationwide. Verizon’s Wireline operations include Verizon Business and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers converged communications, information and entertainment services over Verizon’s fiber-optic network.

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Motorola Challenges The iPod Nano With MotoACTV Smart Watch

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 09:10 AM PDT

motoactv

In a plot twist not many of us were expecting, Motorola took an opportunity at its NYC press event this morning (where we expect to see the Droid Spyder unveiling) to announce MotoACTV, a new smart watch.

CEO Sanjay Jha announced it has a 600MHz processor, and weighs in at just 35 grams. MotoACTV combines a GPS-enabled watch with a smart music player, which learns songs that make you work harder and plays them more often. The new watch also offers a built-in heart rate monitor (sans the chest strap), and relays every performance stat (including duration, distance, avg. pace, calories burned, and avg. heart rate) back to you through a bluetooth headphone set.

The MotoACTV watch tracks your running, walking and cycling stats outside, with treadmill and step machine stats recorded while you’re indoors. The watch also has an FM radio.

The watch also syncs with your PC, letting you access a dashboard of your performance stats at MotoACTV.com.

MotoACTV will be available nationwide on November 6, with an 8GB version going for $249.99, and a 16GB model going for $299.99.


Motorola is known around the world for innovation in communications and is focused on advancing the way the world connects. From broadband communications infrastructure, enterprise mobility and public safety solutions to mobile and wireline digital communication devices that provide compelling experiences, Motorola is leading the next wave of innovations that enable people, enterprises and governments to be more connected and more mobile. Motorola (NYSE: MOT) had sales of US $22 billion in 2009

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RIM Announces The BBX Platform, The Future Of BlackBerry

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 09:08 AM PDT

1

Mike Lazaridis, CEO of Research in Motion, “The whole company is aligning behind this single vision. It combines the best of QNX and Blackberry.” Meet BBX.

BBX is the future of RIM. Dan Dodge, president of QNX, joined Mike Lazaridis and proudly co-announced BBX. This platform incorporates enterprise, NOC and cloud services into one system that can run on smartphones, tablets and embedded systems. As Lazaridis stated, BBX is about bringing together “people, devices, content, and services.”

RIM and QNX built BBX to be secure. The platform is IEEE POSIX certified and conforms to EAL4+ and IEC 61508 Safety (SIL3) standards. The POSIX cert should allow for easy porting of Linux/Unix apps while providing a good deal of security.

HTML 5 is a big part of BBX. RIM sees the protocol as a bridge to older BB OS systems. Since BB 5 and BB 6 runs HTML 5, developers can code in HTML 5 for future and older devices.

Details are still a bit light despite the company spending a good deal of time during the DEVCOM keynote. More info will come from the Tech Keynote address at a later time.


Website: rim.com
Launch Date: October 18, 1984
IPO: NASDAQ:RIMM

Research In Motion (RIM) is a Canadian designer, manufacturer and marketer of wireless devices and solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. The company is best known as the developer of the BlackBerry smart phone. RIM technology also enables a broad array of third party developers and manufacturers to enhance their products and services with wireless connectivity to data. RIM was founded in 1984. Based in Waterloo, Ontario, the company has offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

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RIM Announces 1 Billion App World Downloads

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 09:07 AM PDT

Screen Shot 2011-10-18 at 12.02.57 PM

Mike Lazaridis, the belegaured co-head of RIM, took the stage at DevCon Americas to announce some strong numbers. First, RIM has just announced 1 billion App World downloads, which amounts to about 5 million downloads per day.

The platform is still going strong with 165 million RIM smartphones in current circulation and there has been an 80% increase in BBM users this year, up to 50 million.

Lazaridis apologized for the recent outage and reiterated his promise to supply $100 in apps and services to every Blackberry user, thanking partners for their largesse. The initial statistics were fairly slim and RIM didn’t break out sales of phones vs. Playbook tablets.



Advise.me Team To Launch Its Own Startup, A Social App Called Chirpr

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 09:00 AM PDT

chirpr-logo

Advise.me, the new and rapidly expanding startup accelerator and incubator, is working on its first startup. The company is still in stealth mode, and all we know about it is that it’s a social communication service of some sort, but definitely not another social network. It will, however, use existing social networks. And given the name and the landing page (chirping? mobile? the color blue?), our guess is that the new app has something to do with Twitter.

What’s perhaps more interesting than speculating on the app itself, is looking at the team behind it and the process by which it’s being built. Although normally Advise.me will be working with companies that apply to its accelerator program, in this case, the team decided to pass some ideas around and build something on their own. I guess that’s just what happens when you get this many successful entrepreneurs to come together.

Explains Advise.me CEO Solomon Engel, this is something that makes his group different from other programs out there. “Some folks on the team will act in an advisory capacity, others will act more operational and sometimes they could act as both,” he says. “So alongside working with companies that apply to our program, we’ll occasionally build something ourselves.”

Hence, Chirpr.

Specifically, the Advise.me team members working on the Chirpr app incude Advise.me Co-Founder and CEO Engel, Chief Scientist at Proximic (and previously Founder of AltaVista and Co-Founder at Qwiki) Louis Monier, VP of Product at SimpleGeo Jeffrey Kalmikoff, GM and Head of Product at Plaxo Preston Smalley, Principal at Galpin Industries Tyler Galpin, Senior iOS Lead Developer at Apple Geppy Parziale and Senior Cocoa Architect at Apple Eva Diaz-Santana. The only non-Advise.me team member on Chirpr is CEO at Audiobox.fm Claudio Poli.

Poli will serve as a lead engineer for Chirpr, while Apple’s Parziale and Diaz-Santana have the titles of Head of iOS Engineering and iOS Engineer, respectively. Galpin is Head of Design, Monier is the Data Scientist Advisor and Kalmikoff and Smalley are Product Advisors.


Company: Advise.me
Website: advise.me

Advise.me's program is offering a slightly different take on startup advising than some of the others in the space. Instead of a classroom approach, each startup receives one-on-one support from a team of 2 to 7 industry experts who have experience that's relevant to the startup they're paired with. That not only improves the quality of the advice the team can give, but the advisors can also help startups by connecting founders to the appropriate industry contracts.

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The Era Of Attachment Is Over: SugarSync Adds “Share By Email”

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 08:17 AM PDT

As a fan of kitten videos, I’m often embarrassed by my inability to attach said videos to emails I’m trying to send the rest of my local chapter of American Society Of Kitten Video Lovers (ASKVL). While 50MB may seem small to some (and it’s a file barely big enough to hold a kitten video let alone a video of a kitten and and a baby monkey), it’s enormous for some mail systems. In the end, I have to use Dropbox or SugarSync to share the video with my intended recipient, adding an unwanted step in my kitten video sharing experience. It’s enough to make me cry uncontrollably into my Lemon Zinger tea mug!

SugarSync has heard my citrus-tinged cry and now allows you to share files within email messages, adding them just as you would add a regular attachment. However, once you add them, SugarSync takes over and adds a link directly to the attachment instead of embedding and sending the entire file. From the PR:

SugarSync, the Cloud storage, sync and share company, today introduced SugarSync for Outlook, the easiest way for both individuals and businesses to share large files using the Cloud from within an email. With SugarSync for Outlook, users can easily:
Share files via links from within an email, eliminating large attachments and saving email storage space
Generate and share links to files from remote computers that are synced to SugarSync
Backup all shared files to SugarSync from within Outlook
Easily track the number of times a file you've shared is downloaded, and control shared files with the ability to disable SugarSync links anytime
Rely on SugarSync to automatically share all files via links every time you try to send an attachment, or just when the files are too big

The plugin will upload your attached files to the SugarSync cloud and allows you to track the files and shut the links down as necessary. The system works with Outlooks 2007 and 2010 for Windows and it’s a free download. You can check it out on the SugarSync site. Most important, however, your Kitten Lover’s Saturday Morning Wine And Hugs Group will love you for it. I know mine will.



Archos 80 G9 Tablet Review: Fun But Ugly

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 07:47 AM PDT

Archos 80 G9

Short Version: The Archos 80 G9 tablet isn’t necessarily something I’d recommend for the hardcore tablet enthusiast, but it certainly gets the job done. Powered by pure Android 3.2 Honeycomb, the tab offers everything you’d expect out of Android and a nice variety of ports, albeit with a somewhat rough build-quality.

Features:

  • 8-inch 1024×768 capacitive touchscreen
  • 8GB, 16GB and 250GB (hard drive) storage options
  • Android 3.2 Honeycomb
  • 1GHz dual-core processor
  • Front-facing web cam for 720p video chat

Pros:

  • Stock Android install works fine
  • Battery life exceeded the amount advertised, which is unheard of/lovely
  • HD 1080p video via HDMI-out was an unexpected treat

Cons:

  • Really poor build quality
  • To put it nicely, it’s not the most gorgeous tablet I’ve seen
  • Wi-Fi only, yet it teases you with a slot for a 3G dongle which will only work in Europe

Long Version:

Body

While it’s not exactly fitting with my tastes, I wouldn’t say the Archos G9 is ugly. The slate deviates from your more minimalist designs like the iPad and the Galaxy Tab, and instead adds a little flare. The G9 sports a dark grey bezel, along with a lighter grey plastic casing that has rounded edges. Along the side you’ll find a microUSB port for charging, HDMI out, and the lock button. There’s also a full-sized USB port that’s meant to hold a 3G dongle, but unfortunately that’ll only work in Europe. To those of us in the States, it’ll merely act as a full-sized USB slot.

The build of the Archos 80 G9 tablet is probably what I have the most beef with. Granted, it comes with a totally sturdy little kickstand, which is a useful addition, but on the whole you can tell that is isn’t a top-quality build. If you press just slightly against the smooth plastic back panel, either on the 3G USB port or the kickstand area, the plastic depresses and makes a bit of a cracking noise. Worse, the plastic depresses enough to affect the display, making it look like you’ve been pressing way too hard on the touchscreen.

In terms of size, the G9 is just right. I’ve played around with plenty of 10- and 7-inch tabs, but the 8-inch segment seems to be somewhat untouched. I found that its a great size for gaming, as you aren’t sacrificing too much screen real estate for a better grip.

Processor/Battery

The processing power on this little guy had me impressed. Android 3.2 Honeycomb ran like a dream powered by the G9′s dual-core OMAP 4 SoC chip. Even with a little stress test — me zipping my finger across the interface/web pages as fast as possible — the tab had no trouble keeping up. However, once I had a few things going at once (a few apps, a movie, and the browser), the processor certainly lost pace. I started to feel the lag when I tried to add a few more tasks to the list and the next app I launched abruptly crashed.

Battery life, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise. Archos promises 7 hours of video playback, which the G9 stood up to brilliantly. I spent an entire day conducting work from the G9 last week, and though it wasn’t the most efficiently I’ve ever worked, the G9 stuck with me throughout the day. It’s worth noting, however, that the tablet gets slower and slower as battery life decreases. With a full charge, hitting the lock button wakes the G9 up almost immediately. Once battery life gets low, it takes a few seconds to wake up and perceive gestures.

Display

The 1024×768 LCD display on the G9 was better than expected, showing very minimal differentiation from pixel to pixel. This becomes most clear while watching HD movies, which I did plenty of. Even better, this is the kind of tablet that many people can enjoy viewing content on at once. Even at a 45 degree angle off to the side, the screen still displays great quality and color. Thanks to the kickstand, I guestimate you can have up to five or six people watching a movie at once. However, the screen becomes increasingly difficult to see from lower or higher angles.

Taking it outdoors isn’t necessarily ideal, but with screen brightness turned all the way up I was still able to use it as an e-reader. Viewing video and pictures was more difficult, though.

Sound

Audio, on the other hand, may make it difficult for you and your friends to enjoy the movie. Before I turned on my air conditioner, my roommates and I were comfortably watching a few music videos. After the AC went on, we had to turn the volume all the way up to the max just to hear it. In the same vein, audio sounded a bit fuzzy, especially when pushed to the max. As far as tablets go, audio quality was adequate but nothing to get excited about.

Camera

Unfortunately, the G9′s front-facing web cam was not all that pleasurable to use. At first, it didn’t work at all until I downloaded a firmware update. Ever since it’s worked, but been super buggy. At times, the viewfinder simply goes black. If you happen to take a picture during the “black periods,” the picture is also a large rectangle of black. When it does work it’s unsurprisingly grainy, but at least gets the job done where it counts: video chat.

Conclusion

At just under $300, the Archos G9 is a fine slate. It comes packed with all the essentials, and has a battery life that should last around as long as you do. But if you’re looking for a high-quality tablet, this probably isn’t it. I’d recommend it as a Christmas gift for a tween, or perhaps a mobile computing device for someone older (who does mostly simple tasks like browsing the web and answering email). Size-wise it’s a great fit for someone who enjoys gaming, and it’s certainly light enough to travel with you.

This is not a tech geek’s tablet, and if high-quality is what you’re expecting out of it, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Configuration options:

  • Archos 80 G9 8GB: $299.99
  • Archos 80 G9 16GB Turbo (processor boost to 1.2GHz): $319.99
  • Archos 80 G9 250GB Turbo: $369.99
  • Archos 101 G9 8GB: $369.99
  • Archos 101 G9 16GB Turbo: $399.99
  • Archos 101 G9 250GB Turbo: $449.99


Clear Channel And LivingSocial Team Up To Bring Daily Deals To Radio

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 07:44 AM PDT

livingsocial

Media company Clear Channel Radio and daily deals service LivingSocial are today announcing an agreement that names LivingSocial as the sole daily deal provider for over 500 Clear Channel-owned radio stations across 90 cities in the U.S. The agreement marks LivingSocial’s expansion from an online and mobile platform to one that now serves listeners, specifically the 80 million listeners per week that Clear Channel can provide.

Throughout the day, local radio station personalities and DJ’s will describe the current LivingSocial deal to their audience, based on the market the station serves. The deal will also be posted to Clear Channel Radio station websites.

In addition, the companies state that other LivingSocial offerings, including LivingSocial Escapes and Adventures (its travel and events arms, respectively), will be featured across other Clear Channel platforms. LivingSocial also offers family friendly activities via LivingSocial Families and time-limited LivingSocial Instant Deals. These too, will likely be spread via Clear Channel’s support, although there were no specifics as to where or how the various deals would be promoted.

LivingSocial now has over 46 million members in over 603 daily deal markets. Clear Channel Radio, meanwhile, serves 237 million monthly listeners in 150 cities through 850 owned radio stations. Clear Channel content can be heard on virtually any platform, including AM/FM, HD digital radio, Sirius/XM and even online via its new venture iHeartRadio.com, a streaming radio service. iHeartRadio is also available in app format for iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry.


Company: LivingSocial
Website: livingsocial.com
Launch Date: October 18, 2011
Funding: $632M

LivingSocial is the social commerce leader behind LivingSocial Deals, a group buying program that invites people and their friends to save up to 90 percent each day at their favorite restaurants, spas, sporting events, hotels and other local attractions in major cities. LivingSocial has an extensive user base of more than 85 million, and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

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Actroid-F: Japan’s Super-Realistic Humanoid Gets A Brother (Video)

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 07:43 AM PDT

Picture 1

Do you remember Actroid-F, the super-realistic humanoid that we’ve shown you last year? Her makers, robot venture Kokoro and Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), have apparently been working hard since then to create a “brother” for her.

According to AIST, people kept asking the institute why it only manufactured a female robot, and they not only did that, but also built cameras into the new robot’s eyes to make him look at people (or other robots) while communicating.

Here’s a video showing the male humanoid interacting with his sister (in English, shot by Diginfo TV):



RIM’s Last Bullet

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 07:30 AM PDT

bullet

It hasn’t been an easy year for RIM. The Playbook came out half-baked, their handset line has taken a pummeling from its ambitious competitors, the businesses and governments of the world are alternately hassling and blaming them, and as if that wasn’t enough, they just had a catastrophic global network failure and their olive branch is unlikely to fend off lawsuits. Did someone at RIM HQ break a mirror back in 2008?

The doomsayers (like us) are plentiful, saying that it’s all over, pointing to shrinking market share, incompetent management, and general inertia. But the game’s not up yet and their complacence would make sense, looking back in a few years, if it turns out they had one more bullet in the chamber. Did they fire six last-ditch efforts to reinvigorate the company, or only five? They don’t seem to know themselves. Well, they’re about to pull the trigger and find out.

I’ll be the first to say that this optimism isn’t exactly warranted, and I intend to cast it off like an old coat at the end of this post. The decisions RIM has made over the last few years have baffled me. But it’s essentially explainable in this way: they’re a square peg in a square hole, and they’ve been trying to make themselves round. It’s not the easiest task when millions worldwide depend on technologies they popularized a decade ago. Microsoft knows something about this, but they’ve had better success than RIM with the Xbox.

It just won’t do to simply say they’re out of the game, though. Some companies have a glass jaw (Myspace) – some companies take a big hit and come out swinging stronger than ever (Apple). Not that I expect RIM to bounce back and dominate the industry, but all it takes is a good product and a bit of luck to start them on the right track again. The new QNX BlackBerry line will almost certainly be a compelling product, at least for the BlackBerry set. What about the luck?

If RIM is confident about its services (last week’s outage notwithstanding), it’ll make its own luck. Their team will get out there and tell the big hitters of the world this: Apple and Android are full of holes, and any trustworthy software is from some dinky third party. Are these products that Boeing should be using, that governments should be using? RIM can play the security card, the fear card, the infrastructure card. They’ve been doing this for years, and not only have they been the only legitimate option that whole time, but the only company that could do it better? Bought ‘em!

As much fun as it is to poke fun at RIM for their complacency, it lapses into complacency of our own when we ignore the fact that this is a globally-respected brand with millions of customers who would probably rather stick around than leave. Underestimate a cornered rat and the peril of your own fingers.

The only trouble? All this advice only works in enterprise. RIM will have to abdicate their “prosumer” segment — not that there’s much to abdicate. Look, RIM guys, be realistic. It’s just too late. That ship failed when you failed to produce a credible competitor to the iPhone for four years. Nobody with a hundred bucks, browsing their carrier shop for a new smartphone, is going to pick up a BlackBerry. Not one in a hundred is going to buy one over an iPhone or Android device. RIM’s market is no longer these people, and let’s not kid around, that’s going to hurt. The question is whether RIM is man enough to rip the band-aid off.

RIM might have missed again and again, but let’s not forget that they still have a loaded gun, even if there is just the one bullet left in it. Because sometimes one is all it takes.


Website: rim.com
Launch Date: October 18, 1984
IPO: NASDAQ:RIMM

Research In Motion (RIM) is a Canadian designer, manufacturer and marketer of wireless devices and solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. The company is best known as the developer of the BlackBerry smart phone. RIM technology also enables a broad array of third party developers and manufacturers to enhance their products and services with wireless connectivity to data. RIM was founded in 1984. Based in Waterloo, Ontario, the company has offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

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Women 2.0: Number Of Women Founders Doubled Over Past Three Years

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 07:28 AM PDT

women2_logo

Women 2.0, an organization whose goal is to increase the number of female founders in technology startups, is sharing some good news today: the number of women starting companies has doubled over the past three years. The new data comes from a survey of its own community, which includes everyone from actual founders and co-founders to aspiring entrepreneurs.

Back in 2008, Women 2.0 ran the same audience survey and found that 25% of its community were women founders. Today, more than 50% of its audience can now say the same.

Granted, only polling the audience of a women-focused technology community isn’t going to give you the same hard data as you would find if you took a broad sampling of the startup community as a whole and looked for changes over time. However, it likely does indicate that many of those 2008 respondents who claimed to be “thinking about entrepreneurship” actually followed through and launched their own companies. And that, in and of itself, should serve as solid inspiration for women entrepreneurs.

Unfortunately, not all the data is so rosy. The organization also said that the number of women exiting or getting funded has not changed significantly since 2008.

Another change from the previous survey to today’s is the location of the Women 2.0 audience. In 2008, nearly 100% of the community was based in the San Francisco Bay area. Now, the Bay Area accounts for 46%, while New York is 7% and the remaining members (which includes international members) accounts for 47% of the audience.

Women 2.0 says it has grown over the years as its audience matured. Three years ago, 85% of the community was only interested in events. Now, 25% are interested in events and the rest are interested in education around entrepreneurship and access to funding.

The organization also announced that the Kauffman Foundation is providing Women 2.0 with a second round of corporate sponsorship.. The corporate sponsorship will help Women 2.0 expand its educational resources via its online site and its global networking events like Founder Friday.


Company: Women 2.0
Website: women2.org

Women 2.0 is an organization focused on the launch of technology startups with at least one female co-founder. Women 2.0 committed to increasing the number of women entrepreneurs founding high growth ventures by providing the resources, network, and knowledge for the launch and growth of their company. Women 2.0’s startups are often web, mobile, clean tech and bio tech ventures in early stages of development. Our vision is to be a catalyst for innovation, mobilizing a global community of women entrepreneurs seeking...

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There Will Be Cake: Here’s How To Motivate Your Start-Up

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 07:24 AM PDT

techcrunched

Dexetra, a mobile start-up, impressed us all last night with their Siri clone, an Android app called Iris. The folks there were so thankful that their project hit the front page that they sent us a kind thank you as well as a picture of a cake that the founders gave the team in celebration of getting TechCruched [sic]. It’s heartwarming to see people who worked hard get rewarded for their excellent work, especially when the reward is in the form of cake.

The founders would also like to thank you, the community:

The article was just awesome. Got a lot of encouragement and positive feedback from the community. Our team is also very excited and would like to thank you for the write up.

Note: We are happy to post follow-up cakes in celebration of being TechCrunched, but let’s not make it a “thing.” Also, first person to comment “Slow news day?” gets cake. And banned.



I Heard You Liked 3DS Circle Pad So I Put A Circle Pad On Your Circle Pad

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 07:11 AM PDT

xlarge_coming

Capcom has let slip that an official Nintendo 3DS add-on circlepad – the circular joystick on the left side of the console – will be available for purchase in February to coincide with the launch of Resident Evil: Revelations. The dual circlepads will allow for more accurate aiming in many titles and I can definitely see the value, even over the 3DS’s built-in gyroscopic sensors. I’ve found that playing games like Star Fox in 3D is quite difficult because you leave the 3D sweet spot.

Nintendo World has no further info on the pads and there’s no description of the size, cost, or US availability. All I know is that it makes the 3DS look huge.



Doxie Go: Wireless Scanner (mostly) Cuts the Cord

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 07:00 AM PDT

DoxieGo

Doxie, the cute but functional document scanner, last made waves with its ability to send scanned items to Evernote, Dropbox, or your iPhone. That functionality was handy, but you still needed to dig out your Doxie scanner, attach it your PC or Mac, and then perform the scan. Doxie’s cutting the cord today with Doxie Go: a cordless self-contained scanner that saves scans to its internal memory. At your convenience, tether the scanner to your PC or Mac (or iOS device, with optional accessory kit) and transfer your scanned documents to your hard drive. This makes the scanner operate much more like a digital camera.

The internal memory stores about 600 pages of scanned documents. You can also scan directly to USB stick or SD card and completely avoid the need to connect the Doxie Go to an USB port. That’s the kind of innovation we like to see in this post-PC era!

Doxie Go is no speed demon, at about 8 seconds per page, but that’s a small concession for the convenience of quality scanning anywhere you happen to be. Doxie Go will produce a much better image than trying to snap a picture of a document with your iPhone. And the included Doxie 2.0 software now allows you to create searchable PDFs, which might be a handy feature.

Doxie Go packs a Lithium Ion battery good for about 100 scans per charge. It’ll charge over USB (while you’re syncing with your PC) in about two hours, or you can get the optional Doxie GoKit for $20, which includes a wall charger and international power plugs.

The cordless Doxie Go addresses one of the gripes I had when I reviewed the original Doxie scanner: the poor placement of the USB cable with respect to the flow of paper through the device. With Doxie Go, you can scan anywhere that’s convenient and attach the scanner to your PC anywhere that’s convenient because scanning and synchronizing are two separate tasks.

Scanners used to be all the rage, and now we take the task basically for granted due to the proliferation of all-in-one printer/fax/scanner monstrosities. It’s nice to see someone tackling the headaches of just scanning.

Doxie Go will set you back $199. It’s available for pre-order now, with the first units expected to ship mid-November.



Oracle Buys Enterprise Search And Data Management Company Endeca

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 07:00 AM PDT

endeca

Oracle has acquired Endeca, a company that powers enterprise search for large companies. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Endeca has raised a total of $65 million from Bessemer, Venrock, Intel, SAP, Ampersand Capital Partners, DN Capital and Lehman Brothers.

Endeca’s core technology enables companies to correlate and analyze unstructured data and provides enterprise search for large companies including Borders, Boeing, the Census Bureau, the EPA, Ford, Hallmark, IBM, and Toshiba. The company specializes in guided search, and auto-categorizing results based on the keywords someone enters. Endeca charges from $100,000 to more than $10 million per installation.

Endeca’s InFront offering allows businesses with tools for advanced merchandising and content targeting for e-commerce. And Endeca Latitude enables businesses to rapidly develop analytic applications that draw information and data from unstructured and structured sources together.

Oracle says that the combination of Oracle and Endeca is expected to more advanced enterprise data management platform. Companies will be able to process, store, manage, search and analyze structured and unstructured information together. For example, Oracle says the combination of Oracle’s own commerce application, ATG Commerce and Endeca InFront is expected to enhance cross-channel commerce, merchandising, and online customer experiences. And Oracle’s Business Intelligence offering and Endeca Latitude will be combined as well to give businesses a more powerful analytics platform.

Endeca currently has over 600 customers.

Other recent Oracle acquisitions include Pillar Systems, and Fatwire Software.



Dropbox Said No To A “Nine-Digit” Acquisition Offer From Apple, Steve Jobs

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 06:53 AM PDT

money

As we were reporting the news about Dropbox’s $250 million funding round, Forbes went live with a fascinating story, detailing how co-founders Arash Ferdowsi and Drew Houston turned down a “nine-digit” acquisition offer from Apple back in late 2009 when the company was only two years old.

The late Steve Jobs, Apple’s iconic co-founder and former CEO, reportedly led the first (actually, only) meeting and apparently told Dropbox’s founders that they should sell because Apple would crush the company with a competing product – the recently debuted iCloud service.

From the Forbes article (and cover story), written by Victoria Barret:

In December 2009 Jobs beckoned Houston (pronounced like the New York City street, not the Texas city) and his partner, Arash Ferdowsi, for a meeting at his Cupertino office. "I mean, Steve friggin' Jobs," remembers Houston, now 28. "How do you even prepare for that?" When Houston whipped out his laptop for a demo, Jobs, in his signature jeans and black turtleneck, coolly waved him away: "I know what you do."

What Houston does is Dropbox, the digital storage service that has surged to 50 million users, with another joining every second. Jobs presciently saw this sapling as a strategic asset for Apple. Houston cut Jobs' pitch short: He was determined to build a big company, he said, and wasn't selling, no matter the status of the bidder (Houston considered Jobs his hero) or the prospects of a nine-digit price (he and Ferdowsi drove to the meeting in a Zipcar Prius). Jobs smiled warmly as he told them he was going after their market.

Read the full story here, it’s very much worth your time.

(Image via Flickr user Images_of_Money, with permission)


Company: Dropbox
Website: dropbox.com
Funding: $257M

Dropbox was founded in 2007 by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi. Frustrated by working from multiple computers, Drew was inspired to create a service that would let people bring all their files anywhere, with no need to email around attachments. Drew created a demo of Dropbox and showed it to fellow MIT student Arash Ferdowsi, who dropped out with only one semester left to help make Dropbox a reality. Guiding their decisions was a relentless focus on crafting a...

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Company: Apple
Website: apple.com
Launch Date: January 4, 1976
IPO: October 18, 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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Ordr.in Raises Seed Funding From Google Ventures For Its Food API

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 06:49 AM PDT

Screen Shot 2011-10-18 at 9.42.24 AM

I’m at the TechStars Demo Day in New York City, where a class of twelve startups are showcasing their products to a room full of hundreds of investors (we’ll have a recap on TechCrunch later today).

Among the companies is a service called Ordr.in — which brings the power of food to any app, service, or website that wants to integrate it. Or, more specifically, it’ll let any of these services integrate online restaurant ordering. CEO David Bloom just announced that the company has raised a seed funding round from Google Ventures, which was led by Rich Miner.

Of course, there are already many web services that’ll let you order food from local restaurants (I’m currently addicted to SeamlessWeb). Thing is, the market is fragmented. Even the biggest services like Seamless and Grubhub don’t cover the entire US, and they don’t have all of the restaurants in their supported cities, either. And then there are many, many smaller sites covering local areas.

Ordr.in’s solution has been to parter with 72 local food ordering sites (and counting) across the United States, which let users order from some 7,000 restaurants. It then normalizes all of that data, and gives other apps and services access to it via an API.

It’s this API that lets any app or service integrate food ordering. Say, for example, Netflix wanted to integrate an option to oder dinner alongside your evening streaming movie. With Ordr.in, they could do it. And they have a financial incentive to do so — they get a cut of each transaction (as does Ordr.in).

The company has landed some major partners already, including Wyndham Hotels, which has 5,000 properties serving 110 million guests, but no room service. The hotel is using the Ordr.in API to integrate a food-ordering feature from its Wifi welcome screen. There are dozens are apps that have implemented using the API already, including a Hunch mashup and a Boxee app.



Adlibrium Launches Daily Deals Service Where Offers Appear As Mobile Ads

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 06:39 AM PDT

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Advertising and social media startup Camber Tech is launching its freemium service called Adlibrium Dailies, a daily deal service for mobile that distributes deals through mobile applications. The service displays the offers as standard banner ads within apps through remnant mobile ad inventory via ad exchanges, as well as via email to its own subscriber base. When tapped, the banner ads open up the advertiser’s offer, discount or coupon.

The service is live now in San Francisco, L.A., New York, London, Dubai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Singapore and Sydney.

Adlibrium launched into private beta on Android back in August with a focus on the small-to-medium sized business market. The platform lets local businesses create fixed price and time-sensitive offers and ad campaigns similar to Groupon Now. The difference is that Adlibrium doesn’t take commissions – instead, the startup charges for setting up a new campaign ($10, $50 or $100, depending on the type of ad, ranging from text-based ads to exclusive offers) and for the level of targeting capabilities the advertiser chooses. Offers and ads could be anywhere from $20 to $1,000 depending on how long they run and how narrowly targeted they are. For example, ads could be targeted only to those users within a 5-mile radius from a specified location.

As of today, the company says it now reaches 4 million consumers through its network (both via email and mobile combined). More info about this service is available here.

In addition, Adlibrium is also now launching an on demand local salesforce platform it calls Adlibrium Agents. The service, available as an Android App, is aimed at SMB service providers and is open to anyone who provides services to this market.


Company: Camber Tech
Website: cambertech.mobi
Funding: $1.5M

Camber Tech is the holding company for three unique platforms- Adlibrium, Snapify and Chatisfying. Camber Tech was started in 2008 by its founders after dropping out of college the previous year. Till date the company is self funded with three platforms in mobile, local and social as mentioned below. In 2009, the company became an Associate Member of the GSMA, and a Global member of the MMA. In Early 2010, the founders were invited to the Clinton Global Initiative...

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Vudu And Dolby Team Up For 7.1 Audio On Streaming Movies

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 06:38 AM PDT

vudu-dolby

Streaming movies just got a little more tempting for the home theater enthusiast. Starting with Vudu’s release of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, select movies will stream with Dolby’s bandwidth-friendly Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 audio. It’s almost time to throw-out your Blu-ray player, kids. High quality audio on streaming movies is convergence at its finest.

Vudu has long been known as the innovator of high-quality streaming media. Well before Walmart acquired the streaming company, Vudu introduced high-def movies and stunning 1080p HDX titles back in 2008. Now, here in 2011, Vudu is breaking expectations again with 7.1 audio.

"We're thrilled to announce that the first entertainment content for an over-the-top or broadcast environment has been released in 7.1-channel surround sound, the best possible audio experience available for this type of delivery. It's great to collaborate with a leader in HD streaming like VUDU to enable consumers to enjoy the latest 7.1 films," said John Couling, Vice President, Products and Platforms, Dolby Laboratories. "Today is just the first step. We look forward to having the opportunity to work with additional content providers to deliver premium-quality 7.1 surround sound to more consumers."

More than 30 files have been mixed in 7.1 audio for their theatrical release and DD+ allows for similar mixes in a home theater. Dolby states that more than 430 million device have the goods necessary to process Dolby Digital Plus including TVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, and mobile phones.

Vudu has a real chance to steal some of Netflix’s subs if they can quickly roll out more 7.1 audio titles. I, for one, long ago gave up high-quality audio for the convenience of streaming media and would love to reclaim my ears.


Company: Vudu
Website: Vudu.com
Launch Date: January 1, 2004
Funding: $36M

VUDU, Inc. provides digital technologies and services that deliver Internet entertainment to consumers’ HDTVs and home theaters. It offers VUDU Box and VUDU XL, which provides access to movies and TV shows; and VUDU Wireless Kit, which connects VUDU box to the Internet. The company also provides accessories, such as replacement remotes, power adapters, and power supplies and AC cords. It offers its services through movie studios, independent studios, and distributors. The company offers its products through its authorized...

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Gogobot Takes Social Travel Discovery Platform Mobile With iOS App

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 06:22 AM PDT

gogo

Travel discovery startup Gogobot is making its first entry into the mobile space today with a new, free iOS app.

In case you aren’t familiar, Gogobot is sort of like a Yelp for travel. The site leverages social data from Facebook, Foursquare and other services. You can navigate Gogobot by searching for places or things and see where a particular user has gone by navigating his or her passports. Check out our launch post from last year for a detailed review of the service.

The new iOS app includes all this functionality and more, plus allows you to create and share real-time digital postcards, find nearby restaurant, hotels and attractions to your current location, and access personalized trip plans.

Users of the app can select their current location, snap a photo and choose from more than ten different styles and filters to transform their photos (or photos from Gogobot's extensive catalogue) into beautiful, geo-tagged digital postcards. It’s sort of like an Instagram experience but tailored for travel.

Users can rate the places they have been to on the fly, write reviews and share the postcards immediately with friends via Facebook or Twitter. Each postcard is added automatically to a user's Gogobot Guide on the site.

The Gogobot App also allows users to access the trip plans that they've created on their Gogobot.com profiles, including maps, reviews and more. Additionally, the 'Nearby' function lists the best restaurants, hotels and attractions automatically based on a user’s location, making it easy to find recommended places on the fly. Similar to Gogobot.com, the app sorts destinations based on your friends' ratings.

As we mentioned above, this is Gogobot’s first entry into the mobile space, and an Android app will be arriving early next year, says Gogobot CEO Travis Katz. With the company’s mobile strategy, “the whole idea is how to capture mobile behaviors when people travel (i.e. taking pictures, checkins) and to make the experience it useful and beautiful,” he explains.


Company: Gogobot
Website: gogobot.com
Funding: $4M

Called by Michael Arrington “one of my favorite new startups for 2010,” Gogobot connects you with friends to make planning and sharing your travels fun. Based in Silicon Valley, Gogobot launched its private beta in November, 2010. The site has been covered by TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, AllThingsD, Trendslate, the nationally syndicated Nate Berkus Show, WGN-TV Chicago and was mentioned in Trendwatching’s 11 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2011. The site was founded by ex-MySpace exec Travis...

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