Posts Tagged ‘mobile’

Millennials Start Their Holiday Shopping Way Before Their Parents

December 11, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Who says millennials are lazy? According to a Horizon Media holiday shopping survey of 680 respondents, 18- 34-year-olds have one thing over their parents: They're far more likely to have started their Christmas shopping early. Fifty-two percent indicated they had already started their gift-buying when the survey was conducted between Oct. 27 and Nov. 8, versus only 37 percent of those age 50-64. Of course, it's easy to seem industrious when you don't have to leave your sofa: Nearly half of millennials expect to do at least some of their shopping on their mobile phone, compared to just 30 percent of boomers.

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Twitter Adds Private Photo Messaging to Mobile

December 10, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

As AllThingsD reported it would earlier this year , Twitter on Tuesday launched a significant revamp of its private messaging product, adding the ability to send photos via Direct Message. Twitter also added a swipeable timeline feature (which we also reported would happen!). All of this comes days before a highly anticipated Instagram event.

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Strava CEO Steps Down, and Former CEO Returns, but Not for the Usual Reasons

December 10, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Strava , the endurance-sports app maker, is going through a leadership change. CEO Michael Horvath will publicly announce today that he is stepping down for family reasons, and former CEO and board chairman Mark Gainey is returning to the top role. Horvath will become president and chairman of the board. But this is not the normal smoothed-over executive battle. Horvath plans to post that the reason he is leaving is because his wife Anna has cancer, actually for a third time. Earlier this fall, she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in her liver that can be managed for an unknown amount of time. To complicate matters, Horvath has been splitting time for years between Hanover, N.H., where his family lives, and San Francisco, where Strava is based. So he is stepping back in order to be at home with Anna. Horvath said they agreed to talk about it publicly in the hope that other people will benefit from their openness. The other unusual part of this story is that Gainey is ready and waiting to take over from Horvath in what appears to be the smoothest of ways. The two men are longtime best friends — they rowed crew together at Harvard, and started their first company together in 1995. (It was actually originally supposed to be a “virtual locker room,” a la a ’90s version of Strava, but turned into the still-extant customer-communication company Kana .) The two men co-founded Strava in 2009, and Gainey stepped down as CEO in 2010, coincidentally due to a family issue of his own, he said

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Linux Foundation, Host of Consumer Electronics Firms Line Up Behind New "Internet of Things" Standard

December 10, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

The Linux Foundation said Monday that it has lined up a number of big name tech firms behind a new AllSeen Alliance designed to ensure easy connections among the various devices and objects that will be Internet-enabled in the coming years. Founding members of the group include: Haier, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Sharp, Silicon Image and TP-LINK. The effort is being built upon Qualcomm’s AllJoyn open source project.

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Sony Plans a 4K Fest for CES

December 9, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Sony may not use the term “4K” 4,000 times during its CES press conference and keynote. But it will surely come close. The electronics giant is betting heavily on the next big-screen technology to help reestablish Sony’s name as the kind of brand that consumers aspire to buy. “We’re [going] after the premium consumer out there,” said Sony Electronics president Phil Molyneux. The term 4K refers to screens with a resolution of 3,896 by 2,640 pixels, a significant step over today’s high-definition displays, but one that will take time to be affordable and widespread. (For more on that and other emerging TV technologies, check out this piece that my colleague Lauren Goode did from last year’s CES.) Sony already has televisions and video cameras with that resolution, and it is planning to expand into other areas, likely 4K smartphones and computers. “It’s clear people will want to generate their own 4K content,” Molyneux said in a briefing with reporters on Sunday. As for specific new products, Molyneux said we’d have to wait for CES. Molyneux said Sony is also working hard to drive down prices for the TVs and camcorders that can capture and display 4K content

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Plantronics Says It Can Be a Wearable Computing Company, Too

December 6, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Look at Plantronics’ online catalog and you’ll see a lot of commonplace products: Telephones, speakerphones and a long list of headphones, earbuds and headsets for everything from music to gaming to telemarketing. But CTO Joe Burton thinks the company needs to “shift to mobility … [and] away from normal phones.” It needs, he said, to make itself a competitor in wearable computing. I know; I was skeptical, too. Hang in there. As it turns out, even though “normal phones” are still its bread and butter, Plantronics has been experimenting for the past few years, loading its headsets with sensors like the ones you might find in a smartphone or, say, Google Glass. And with these sensor-laden hardware experiments, the company has been reaching out to third-party developers over the past few months through a secondary website, PLT Labs , to develop conceptual hardware and software . And some of these sensor-headsets are already out in the wild. At Cisco’s call center, Burton said, once a customer support rep puts on a phone headset, a motion sensor registers that it is being worn and the rep is automatically added to the call routing queue. If near an active webcam, he or she is put in the special video support queue. One of Plantronics’ internal experiments also piqued my interest. The company has hacked an Xbox to let the motions of a headset wearer leaning from side to side control a motorcycle racing game. In other words, Oculus Rift-esque motion tracking on a gaming console based on sensors connected to the body rather than the one-step-removed Kinect camera. As I wrote last month , the gaming startup Mind Pirate says wearables becoming as ubiquitous as cell phones is an “inevitability,” and believes it can help shape their future: Rather than trying to solve consumers’ problems, the idea is that entertaining apps will validate new categories of devices for consumers, which you could argue was a big chunk of the mobile story as well. Getting in front of games for devices like Google Glass may mean helping to figure out just what, exactly, a world of omnipresent games would look like. By contrast, Burton maintains that Plantronics’ chances at breaking into wearables may stem from the converse of that idea. That is, the company already has a history of convincing people to put stuff on their heads. He broke sensors down into four types: Near you (e.g. in your phone); on you (e.g. via a Fitbit clip); touching your body (e.g. an activity tracker on your wrist); and touching your head.

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Instagram to Hold December 12th Event in NYC

December 5, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Instagram has invited reporters to a press event on December 12th in Manhattan, according to reports from CNet and TechCrunch . The invitations do not specify what the event will focus on, though a recent report from GigaOm suggests it could be a messaging service .

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BlackBerry Desperation Campaign Continues

December 5, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Interim CEO and Executive Chairman John Chen is going to turn around BlackBerry just the way he turned around Sybase. This according to Prem Watsa, BlackBerry’s largest shareholder and the latest company mouthpiece to sound off in a campaign to proclaim to the world its longevity in the face of what appears to be a fast dwindling lifespan. In a Wednesday interview with Reuters, Watsa called Chen an outstanding leader, one who is certain to reinvigorate BlackBerry. With the $1 billion in financing that Watsa’s Fairfax Financial has provided it, the dilapidated smartphone pioneer’s turnaround is all but assured. “[BlackBerry is] company that deserves to exist and with John Chen it will,” Watsa said . “It’s got lots of cash, it has a long runway for John to make sure that the company is successful.” Watsa certainly sounds optimistic about BlackBerry’s chances under Chen

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Dell Tablets at Bargain Prices

December 4, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

If you’re thinking of getting someone a new, name-brand tablet for the holidays, but blanch at spending base prices of $229, $399 or $499, Dell is hoping you’ll look its way. The computer giant, battling an industrywide slump in PC sales, is once again making a push into tablets and one of its weapons is low pricing. Dell has had little success in tablets. But it introduced this fall a family of four Android- and Windows-based slates called Venue models. I took a close look at one model, the seven-inch Venue 7, which, at $150, is the least expensive new major-label tablet I’ve seen at the standard 16-gigabyte base memory level. (There are a few year-old models, or models with less memory that cost somewhat less.) To understand how low $150 is for a name-brand, 16GB tablet, consider that the market-leading Apple iPads start at $499 for the 9.7-inch iPad Air, and $399 for the iPad Mini with a 7.9-inch Retina display. Even the latest seven-inch models from Google and Amazon, known for aggressive pricing, start at $229. In fact, mostly because they adopted better screens, the 2013 models of the iPad Mini, Google Nexus 7 and top-of-the-line seven-inch Kindle Fire actually rose in price from the 2012 models. So, what exactly do you get from a $150 name-brand tablet? The answer: You get a lower-quality device with weak battery life, which might suffice for a first-time tablet buyer with a tight budget. The Venue 7 is a relatively chunky black plastic tablet running Google’s Android operating system, that’s available via Dell’s online store. It operates over Wi-Fi only, though a cellular version is planned for next year. It cannot be ordered with more internal memory than 16GB, but it has a slot for a memory expansion card. This tablet has a big brother, the Android-powered Venue 8, with similar specs, that starts at $180, still a good price. On the plus side, I found the Dell Venue 7 to be fast enough not to be annoying. Common apps like Gmail, the Chrome browser, the Kindle reading app, Google Maps, Twitter and Facebook all worked fine for me. Videos played smoothly. But buyers of this tablet aren’t getting the latest or best technology. The processor, an Intel Atom, and the version of Android used, Jelly Bean 4.2.2, are last-generation editions, though Dell says it hopes to offer an upgrade to the latest version of Android next year

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One of the Year’s Most Addictive Mobile Games Doesn’t Seem Like a Game At All

December 2, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

It’s inevitable: When I tell people I write about videogames, someone almost always asks, “What should I play?” Since I’m not a reviewer, there are plenty of games I haven’t played, but I always have at least one game on my phone ready to be shown off; recently, that game has been an unusual one. Clumsy Ninja , which game studio NaturalMotion first demoed at Apple’s iPhone 5 event in September 2012 , finally made it to Apple’s U.S. App Store a few weeks ago, and since then it’s been on a tear. “This is not designed to be a hardcore monetizing game,” NaturalMotion CEO Torsten Reil told me in a pre-launch interview. Well, oops? It is monetizing well — so well, in fact, that it broke into the top-25 iOS grossing apps chart within three days of its launch. At the time of this writing, it peaked at #14 overall on Tuesday and has been hovering between the high teens and low 30s since then, according to App Annie (registration required). (As for what that means in real money terms: According to one report from Distimo, the top-10 grossing apps make at least $47,000 per day . Even if the app never crosses the magical top-10 barrier, that’s still a lot of dough.) So why does Clumsy Ninja monetize so well?

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