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Monday, December 16, 2013

Facebook No. 1 Mobile App Of 2013 But Google Has 5 Of Top 10

Nielsen published a range of year-end data today. Among other things the measurement firm said that 65 percent of American cell phone users now own smartphones. By comparison comScore says the figure is 62 percent. Regardless it means there are now more than 150 million smartphone users in the US.
Nielsen also reported that 29 percent of US households have at least one tablet. If there are roughly 115 million US households that argues there are roughly 33 million tablets in American homes. However this number undercounts the actual number of tablets in the market.
A previous Pew survey found that 35 percent of Americans over 16 owned tablets. The Pew data, if extrapolated, argue that there are more than 80 million tablets (as of September 2013) in US households. After the holidays are over that number could swell to over 100 million.

Not counting iPads and iPod Touch devices, Nielsen found that Apple had a 41 percent OS share of the smartphone market compared with 52 percent for Android. The most recent comScore US smartphone data reflect a very comparable 52.2 percent (Android) to 40.6 percent (Apple).
Nielsen also reported that Facebook was the top mobile app of 2013 and the Facebook-owned Instagram came in seventh but it was the fastest-growing app of the year. The second-fastest growing was Apple Maps.
Google dominated the rest of the list with five out of the top 10 apps. It takes up the most mobile app “shelf space.” Twitter came in at number 10.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Grand Theft Auto V has broken 7 World Records

Grand Theft Auto V is one of the most popular games among people of all the ages, no doubt in it, now also have obtained a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records.
The records keeping publication of Guinness Book of World Records confirmed on Tuesday that the game sold $800 million in its first day and within 3 days of its launched reached the $1 billion mark.
Let’s now look at the records broken by the Grand Theft Auto V; Best-selling action-adventure video game in 24 hours, Best-selling video game in 24 hours, Fastest entertainment property to gross $1 billion, Fastest video game to gross $1 billion, Highest grossing video game in 24 hours, Highest revenue generated by an entertainment product in 24 hours, Most viewed trailer for an action-adventure video game.
“Gaming is a worldwide hobby of people from all types of ages around the world.” said Craig Glenday, the editor in chief of Guinness Book of World Records. He added, we are really happy to see a game in the record books.
Grand Theft Auto V is an action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Grand Theft Auto Franchise Playfully Flicks Mud at Its Birthplace: Scotland

Grand Theft Auto Franchise Playfully Flicks Mud at Its Birthplace: Scotland

Since its introduction 16 years ago, the wildly popular video game franchise GrandTheft Auto has been set in some of the most recognizable cities in the United States. There were New York, Miami and San Francisco, and in the fifth installment, released to great fanfare this month, Los Angeles.
Yet the roots of the game can be traced directly back to Dundee, a former shipbuilding city in Scotland, better known as the humble home of jam and jute, a vegetable fiber used to make rope and burlap. It is a city that has, instead of the raw urbanity celebrated in the video game, a quaint coastline, as well as a population that prizes irreverence and wit.
“There’s a cultural aspect in the U.K. of not taking other people too seriously,” said Brian Baglow, a writer for the series’ first installment and the head of the Scottish Games Network. “That’s a very large part of why G.T.A. works the way it does.”
He added: “Basically, we’re all just sarcastic. There’s a strong tradition of satire here, which is centuries old. I think that in an American studio, you would run the risk of being entirely serious and straight-faced, whereas there is subversion in G.T.A. all the way through. It’s black humor.”
Grand Theft Auto was created in 1995 by four friends — David Jones, Russell Kay, Steve Hammond and Mike Dailly — in a two-room office above a small shop in Dundee that sold baby clothes.
Mr. Dailly, a programmer, had been toying with the idea of creating a “virtual 3-D city” that would allow players to roam freely and choose their actions. The team initially intended the protagonist to be a police officer, but it quickly scrapped the idea in favor of inhabiting a criminal.
“You just can’t go around running over people if you’re a cop — nobody liked playing the cop,” said Mr. Baglow, an early member of the team.
Fascinated by American gangster films like “Goodfellas” and “Scarface,” the four, who ran a company called DMA Design, based the narratives on their vision of the United States. (At the time, none of them had been there.)
“In the 1980s, Dundee was a shadow of its former self — it wasn’t the nicest of places,” said Mr. Kay, who rewrote the game for consoles. “We didn’t think it would be exciting if the games were set in Dundee.”
Creating the game was a form of escapism, he said: “We made a lot of inside jokes.”
And while the game — which has sold more than 125 million units worldwide since its debut in 1997 — satirizes much of American culture, it is also peppered with Scottish references. San Fierro, a fictional city, features a wealthy district called Calton Heights, after the dilapidated Calton area of Glasgow. San Fierro is also home to the Hippy Shopper chain, a twist on Happy Shopper, a grocery chain with stores in Scotland and Britain. In another city, a Saltire, the blue-and-white national flag, flies over a building. And a racehorse named Scotland Nil alludes to the long, humiliating history of goal-less matches by Scotland’s national soccer team.
DMA Design was eventually sold, through a series of complicated takeovers, to Rockstar Games, a label of the American game publisher Take-TwoInteractive Software, and the Dundee connection was broken. Rockstar Games has eight studios, including Rockstar North, based in Edinburgh, which is responsible for the creative content of Grand Theft Auto. Rockstar North is one of the biggest game developers in Britain, employing 300 people.
Scotland is now the biggest hub for game developers in Britain and among the biggest in Europe, with around 80 developers huddled around Dundee.
While some consider the game Scotland’s greatest cultural export since “Auld Lang Syne,” the game’s louche tone does not resonate with everyone. David Paterson, a councilor for the Scottish town of Hawick, said recently that he was “absolutelydisgusted” at the use of the town’s name for a “druggie hipster” district in its latest installment.
“It is going to destroy the good reputation of this town,” he said.
Still, for those who were there at the game’s beginnings, its sly references to their home bring smiles to their faces.
“These little inside jokes are very clever,” said Mr. Baglow, who is Scottish. “It makes me very happy.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Windows 8 Gaining Speed Among Desktop OS Web Traffic

Windows8 continues to claw its way up the OS ranks, while Windows XP keeps losing its grip.
Stats released Tuesday by Web tracker Net Applications gave Windows 8 an 8.02 percent slice of all desktop OS Web traffic for September. That number was up from 7.41 percent in August and 5.4 percent in July.
At the same time, Windows XP continues to shed its once-dominant position. For September, XP scored a 31.4 percent share, down from 33.6 percent in August and 37.1 percent in July.
In first place, Windows 7 has shown a resurgence in recent months, taking home a share of 46.4 percent in September, 45.6 percent in August, and 44.4 percent in July.
Windows8.1, which debuted as a preview edition in late June and will officially launch on October 18, accounted for 0.87 percent of September's desktop OS Web traffic. That was up from 0.24 percent the previous month.
In the mobile OS arena, Apple's iOS remained firmly on top last month with a 53.6 percent share. However, its hold on the market has been dropping steadily over the past year, according to Net Applications' data. In September of 2012, iOS's share was more than 63 percent.
Android has been moving slowly up the charts, especially during the past few months. For September, Google's mobile OS captured a share of 29.4 percent, up from 28.1 percent last month and 25.2 percent in July.

AT&T seeks to defend Austin, Texas, market with faster Internet

at & t

(Reuters) - AT&T Inc plans to start speeding up its Internet service in Austin, Texas, in December, to defend itself against a planned ultra-high-speed Internet and television service to be launched by GoogleInc in the same city next year.
Texas' capital city, with a population of 840,000, has a reputation as a high-tech industry hub.
After Google said in April that it would bring a service of 1 gigabit-per-second to Austin users,AT&T followed with a promise to match the offer if it obtained the same regulatory terms granted to Google by local authorities.
AT&T said on Tuesday that it would start by offering a 300 megabits-per-second service in December, and that by mid-2014 the speed would increase to up to 1 gigabit per second. It said this would allow users to download an entire high-definition movie in less than 2 minutes.
The AT&T service promised for December is almost seven times faster than AT&T's fastest existing home broadband offering.
Google had initially billed its first "Google Fiber" broadband offer, launched in Kansas City, Missouri, last year, as a test project to spur development of new Web services and technology.
But it has since suggested that high-speed Internet could be a viable business for the company, causing traditional broadband rivals such as AT&T to prepare a response.
AT&T's chief executive, Randall Stephenson, told investors at a conference on September 24 that AT&T was working on the Austin project and that he expected the company to do "multiple marketslike this over the next few years."
AT&T said it will reach "tens of thousands of customer locations" in Austin and the surrounding areas this year with its new speeds and will expand to more neighborhoods in 2014.

Google's Fiber service, which the company says provides Internet speeds 100 times faster than today's average broadband service, will be available in Austin by mid-2014. Google began offering Fiber in Kansas City in late 2012 and will make the service available in Provo, Utah, by the end of this year.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Angry Birds: New Angry Birds on Toons.TV Passes 1 Billion Views

Rovio declared it would be increasing its simulation line up after its online-only cartoon entry exceeded 1 billion views after it was launched in March.

The Channel Toons.TV is accessible on all Angry Birds games, video-on-demand and smart TVs services and 20 tv channels all over the world. To go together with the Angry Birds cartoon, Rovio will create a swing of latest data accessible in the next upcoming months in this year.
In addition to the latest season of Angry Birds Toons, two latest Angry Birds-branded sequences are in the works: one concentrating on the Evil Piggies and one concentrating only on the pink bird, Stella.
Toon.Tv is already try out an offering content from Sony pictures. A Five minutes clip of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is made available on Toons.TV ahead of the movie’s release on Friday.
Interview given by CEO, Mikael Hed to Rovio Entertainment at Advertising Week in New York, he quoted, “We are extremely excited about the positive reception from our fans with the original Angry Birds Toons series. Given the size of our reach and our massively engaged audience, it seemed only natural to extend beyond our own storytelling and partner with the best content creators to bring our fans even more fun entertainment,”
Year 2016 is confirmed for an Angry Birds movie produced by Sony Pictures will hit the big screens.Source:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Apple iPhone 5c Review: A Colourful iPhone 5 with Better Battery Life

iPhones have always been aspirational, high-end products, for which people have been prepared to pay a hefty price in order to join the (not particularly exclusive) club. With Apple's 2013 handset launches that approach has changed slightly: the flagship iPhone 5s occupies the traditional premium-product slot, while the iPhone 5c, reviewed here, and comes in for those with less money to spare.

However, pricing is still high compared to the iPhone 5c's many Android-based rivals, with the entry-level 16GB model costing £469 (inc. VAT; £390.83 ex. VAT) SIM-free, rising to £549 (inc. VAT; £457.50 ex. VAT) for the 32GB model. Two-year contract prices from Vodafone, supplier of our review sample, start at £42 a month for a 3G plan with a free handset, or £47 a month for a '4G-ready' plan.

The flagship iPhone 5s costs £549 (inc. VAT) for the 16GB model, £629 for 32GB and £709 for 64GB, while Google's Nexus 4 — perhaps the best-value Android smartphone of the past 12 months — costs £159 (inc. VAT) for the 8GB model and £199 with 16GB of internal storage.
The iPhone 5c may be a budget buy in Apple's terms, but it isn't really one in the broadest sense.


The most obvious innovation in the iPhone 5c is the chassis build, which uses a seamless plastic shell over a steel-reinforced frame. The general design is immediately recognisable as an iPhone, with the telltale home button beneath the screen, rounded corners and Apple logo on the back.


But Apple has decided, for the first time, to produce a handset with a range of pastel-coloured casings in addition to white: you can opt for green, blue, yellow or pink alternatives. There's no black, though. We were sent the pink version, which is unlikely to find its way into many businesses. It's worth noting that the only other handset maker that dares to be as bold with its handset chassis colours is Nokia.
The plastic that's used for the outer shell has a shiny but grip-friendly finish that's not completely scratch resistant. As with previous iPhones, the battery is sealed in behind a non-removable backplate.
The silent-mode switch and volume buttons are on the left edge, while the power switch is on the top. The headset jack is on the bottom edge, alongside the microphone, Lightning connector and speaker. There's a caddy for a nano-SIM on the right edge of the chassis.


The 132g iPhone 5c feels solid and substantial in the hand, yet is quite comfortable to hold — even for people with small hands. It's quite thin at 8.97mm and has a moderate-sized footprint at 59.2mm by 124.4mm.
The Retina display measures just 4 inches across the diagonal, but its 1,136-by-640-pixel resolution makes for a sharp and clear 326-pixel-per-inch (ppi) image. The backlit IPS LCD screen is vibrant and content seems to jump out at you. The iOS 7 feature that sees application icons jiggle about slightly as the phone moves in your hand is a little disconcerting, but it lends a faux 3D appearance to things.
There's nothing new about the screen specification — it's the same as both the iPhone 5s and the now-discontinued iPhone 5. That sets the tone for much of what's on offer here, for the iPhone 5c is essentially a rebadged iPhone 5 in terms of its core specifications.


The iPhone 5c uses the same A6 processor as the iPhone 5. It also sports the same 8-megapixel iSight camera at the back, the same 4-inch Retina screen and the same local- and personal-area wireless connectivity (dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4 respectively).
There are some differences between the iPhone 5 and 5c though. The sensor on the front-facing 1.2-megapixel FaceTime camera has bigger pixels for better low-light performance, for example. The 5c also supports a full set of LTE frequency bands, while the iPhone 5 has limited LTE support. Battery life is better, too, the 5c offering a claimed 10 hours of 3G talk and LTE internet use compared to the 8 hours of each on the iPhone 5. As ever, one person's average usage is another's light use, so it's difficult to be definitive about battery life. Still, if you're a current iPhone 5 user, you should go longer between battery charges with the 5c. During testing, we certainly didn't need to rush off and find mains power during a typical day's use.
The 5c may not be Apple's flagship handset, but its price sets it apart from mid-range offerings from other vendors — and for the money, its feature set is a little bland. Apple has saved its iTouch fingerprint scanner for the top-end iPhone 5s, for example, and we're surprised there's no place for Near Field Communications (NFC) here (or on the 5s for that matter). And while some people dislike the huge array of extras with which Samsung peppers its handsets, we'd have appreciated a little more innovation from Apple on the iPhone 5c.

OS upgrade: iOS 7

The main innovation work with this refresh cycle has gone into building iOS 7, of course — but that's not exclusive to the new iPhones. Apple's new mobile OS is downloadable to the iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, and the 5th-generation iPod Touch — although not all devices get the full gamut of features. This is not the place for a full review of iOS 7, but it's worth noting some key points.


iOS 7 has had a complete visual makeover. Apple follows the chassis colour through to the iOS 7 theme, and the overall design is flatter, cleaner and leaner. Third-party apps are already starting to follow suit. There are plenty of new features, including a swipe-up settings area that you can set to be accessible from the lock screen and which, among its features, lets you use the camera's LED flash as a torch.
A new app switcher appears when you double-tap the home key, letting you see everything that's running and sweep anything upwards off the screen to close it. There are many other changes under the surface that add new features and enhance older ones.
LTE ('4G') support is likely to be a key draw for some users, and if that's the case then it's worth checking your chosen operator's coverage. Our iPhone 5c review sample came from Vodafone, where it's available with Spotify or Sky Sports Mobile TV preinstalled. If you sign up for the handset before the end of October, you get 4GB of 4G data added to your contract for its duration. Vodafone's UK 4G rollout currently only covers London. At the end of September Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield will be added. By the end of the year 4G coverage will also include Bradford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.
The iPhone 5c's colourful appearance puts it firmly in the consumer camp, although the relatively sober white version is certainly an option for business users. If you're an existing iPhone user and weren't tempted by the iPhone 5, then the 5c is worth considering as an upgrade. However, iPhone 5 owners should think carefully: there's very little difference between the core specifications of the two handsets, and iOS 7 is just a download away.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Samsung Group Earns Over W300 Trillion

The Samsung Group's total sales exceeded W300 trillion for the first time in the history of Korea's biggest conglomerate (US$1=W1,085).

Samsung on Saturday said its total sales last year amounted to W302.9 trillion. It made W220.1 trillion in 2009, surpassing the W200 trillion level for the first time, and only took three years to cross the next milestone.

The main driver was the rapid increase in sales at core subsidiary Samsung Electronics. Samsung Electronics' sales have climbed from W136.3 trillion in 2009 to W201.1 trillion last year, with the electronics giant now accounting for 66 percent of the group's revenues thanks to brisk sales of mobile phones.

The Samsung Group's net profit also reached a record of W29.5 trillion last year. Group-wide net profit rose from W11.8 trillion in 2008 to W20.3 trillion in 2011.

The conglomerate said its total assets stood at W503.6 trillion last year, surpassing the W500 trillion mark for the first time. As of the end of last year, the group employed 425,000 people.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Does ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ Mean the End of Hollywood?

There’s a good chance you’ve heard: “Grand Theft Auto V,” the latest installment of the storied video game franchise, took in over $1 billion in its first week. That’s more than any movie released this year, with the exception of “Iron Man 3” (which happens to be the fifth highest-grossing movie of all time). At this rate, “GTA V” could be a nontrivial contributor to the U.S. gross domestic product. It’s a cultural event. Even Apple Inc. should be impressed.

It’s not a stretch to think that the people who didn’t go to the movies this summer might have said, ‘you know what, I’m skipping a few and using the cash for a different kind of blockbuster.’
In that case, the most interesting number to keep in mind may be 100 -- the approximate number of hours of gameplay that “GTA V” reportedly offers. For those diligent and conscientious enough to explore all the side quests, excursions and games-within-the-game, it provides weeks of entertainment.
That makes the $60 retail price a bargain: 100 hours of gameplay at $0.60 an hour. Compare that with the price of admission to a movie, even a two-and-a-half hour megaproduction. The other advantage for video games -- driving the usage cost down even further -- is that buyers get to keep the game.
So, could the multiple box-officedisappointments last summer reflect the beginning of a shift that goes well beyond blockbuster fatigue?

Merging Forms

There’s little reason to think that movies and video games couldn’t continue to co-exist. But if audiences are becoming overly familiar with Hollywood’s version of the three-act-structure and if games continue to grow as a form of narrative entertainment, it’s tantalizing to think that the next few years or decades might bring some more serious attempts at experimentation and cross-pollination.
It’s already been tried. Most of the results, however, have been marketing masquerading as “interactive storytelling.” Despite efforts in both industries to find some creative alchemy, most attempts, though admirable for the effort, fall short of true invention. Movies made from games, games made from movies, movies and games released simultaneously with added content end up being less than the sum of their parts, more like two conventional forms of entertainment smushed together and repackaged as a new product.
Movies and video games both take place in a larger, common universe of possible narratives. But are they fundamentally incompatible? Could anything interesting ever emerge from recombining the DNA of the two?
That’s where a game such as “GTA V” breaks through. It’s tempting to think of it as an open-ended movie: it’s written and directed by storytellers skilled in the cinematic form and produced by an expert group of visual designers. In that sense it feels like a big movie production. As the scale and complexity of these games increase -- and as our ability to simulate and render nuance and emotion and ambiguity increases - - these games are starting to verge on something entirely new. Whatever one might feel about the storyline of “Grand Theft Auto V,” it is hard to deny that it is pushing the boundary of the form.
Open world games have come a long way in a short time, but as impressive as they are, they’re still operated on rails -- theme-park rides rather than free-driving cars. “GTA V” points the way to games with a narrated openness in which players wouldn’t be presented with options so much as they would have tools to model their experience. Giving players the ability to create their own stories within the connected world of a larger story creates a natural, social evolution within the system. In this sense, “Grand Theft Auto V” and “Minecraft” show us what may be coming when the mediums we have now are reimagined as virtual worlds that can grow and evolve over time.

Next Generation

If anyone is going to invent a new form of entertainment from this model, she’s probably 15 years old right now, unbound by the conventions and assumptions of received forms. She’s growing up in a world in which a significant number of her interactions with other people are online (for better or worse). She consumes serialized programming in 13-hour blocks and doesn’t really distinguish between TV shows, movies or Internet videos. She consumes these stories on her phone, tablet and laptop whenever she wants, a few minutes at a time or maybe three hours at a stretch. She makes calls on her computer and surfs the web on her television. She makes no distinction between screens, small or large.
Maybe she’ll be the first auteur of this new kind of entertainment -- an environment with infinite horizons. She may imagine a platform where players are both the creator and the narrator, able to write the game as they play through it. Perhaps she’ll create the first Great American Possibility Space.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Gold iPhone 5S No Longer Available Online This Month

If you're planning to order a new gold iPhone 5S online, don't expect to have it in your hands just yet.
Apple updated its shipment times for online purchases on Friday and gold models won't be ready until October, according to its website. Meanwhile, silver and space gray models won't ship for seven to 10 days after an order is placed.

Apple fans lined up nationwide to get their hands on the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C on Friday morning, but those looking for higher-end devices in gold have largely been out of luck. The good news is Apple reportedly asked suppliers to increase the production of the model by one third.
The iPhone 5S comes in three shades (space gray, silver and gold), with pricing starting at $199 for the 16GB version, $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB.
Apple's flagship store in New York City attracted the largest crowd ever for an iPhone launch day, with about 1,417 people in line as of 8:00 a.m. ET Friday, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. But lines in other parts of New York City were relatively flat with a slight tick upward.

Apple is expected to sell between 5 million and 8 million new iPhones this week.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Nexus 4 16GB showing as sold out on Google Play, Nexus 5 expected soon

 It looks like the curtain is slowly coming down on Google’s flagship Nexus 4 handset, with the 16GB version of the popular device on Monday showing as ‘sold out’ on the US Google Play store. The 8GB version sold out at the start of the month.
Of course, the “we’re out of inventory, please check back soon” message doesn’t rule out the possibility that new stock will come in, but recent price cuts for the handset make it look very much like a stock-clearance move prior to the launch of the expected Nexus 5.
The timing looks about right too – the Nexus 4 hit the market in November last year, while its predecessors, the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus, were also both released at the tail end of the year (December 2010 and November 2011, respectively).

In addition, a report from the Australia-based Ausdroid site over the weekend said Google’s new phone will be announced on October 14, though the site didn’t name the source of its information.
It’s widely believed the new handset is being manufactured by LG – also the maker of the Nexus 4 – despite LG’s vice president appearing to claim earlier this year that the company was done with building Nexus devices.
The current Nexus 4 smartphone launched in November last year sporting a 4.7-inch display with a 1280 x 768 resolution, a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, an 8-megapixel rear camera and 1.3-megapixel front one, and 2GB of RAM. The new model is rumored to be based on LG’s new G2 flagship smartphone, and come with a larger display, Snapdragon 800 processor and LTE support.
Google itself has remained tight-lipped about Nexus 4 successor, although it seemed to make an early appearance a couple of weeks ago when it apparently turned up in a Google video promoting the next version of its Android operating system, 4.4 KitKat. In a short piece documenting the unveiling of a KitKat-esque statue on the company’s Mountain View campus, we get a glimpse of a guy holding what appears to be the Nexus 5. Google pulled the video when word got out about the boo-boo.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bump Mobile Contact Sharing App Acquired By Google, Will Stay Alive For Now

After raising nearly $20 million and becoming one of the most downloaded mobile apps but failing to find real revenue, Bump Technologies has been acquired by Google. Its namesake app Bump lets you physically tap phones together to share contact info and more, and it will stay open for download. Congratulations might not be the right word, but Bump could have a bright future at the Googleplex.

Bump’s David Lieb writes “We strive to create experiences that feel like magic, enabled behind the scene with innovations in math, data processing, and algorithms. So we couldn’t be more thrilled to join Google.” It appears that the whole 25-person team including Lieb and fellow co-founder Andy Huibers will be coming aboard at the search giant.
Bump and the collaborativephoto sharing app called Flock it released last year “will continue to work as they always have for now; stay tuned for future updates.” The blog post doesn’t mention what will happen to the Bump Pay app the startup built on top of PayPal that lets users make peer-to-peer mobile payments by knocking fists.

Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed, so it’s hard to tell exactly how strong of an exit this was for Bump and its investors, which include Y Combinator, Sequoia Captial, Felicis Ventures, SV Angel, Andreessen Horowitz, and many angels.
Bump gained huge popularity by being an early App Store hit. Instead of having to clumsily type out a new friend or professional colleague’s contact information, you and someone else could both open Bump, bump fists together while holding your phones, and the contact info, photos, audio, video, or other selected files would be shared between you instantly. As of March it had hit 1 billion photos shared and 125 million downloads, up from 100 million in August.
With time, though, other ways to quickly share contact information emerged. Meanwhile, Bump remained free and wasn’t earning any meaningful revenue so paying its strong mobile engineering team may have burned through the $16.5 million round led by Andreessen that the startup raised in November 2011.
Then Apple dropped a bomb on Bump. It announced a new feature called AirDropfor iOS 7 that would make sharing files between nearby phone a native feature. That could have curtailed Bump’s steady growth. It was time for Bump to throw in the towel.
Based on these factors, the acquisition may have been more lucrative than a basic acquihire, but not big enough to be considered a home run.

From one perspective, the sale might be considered a failure. Bump could have minted if it found a way to monetize its huge user base, but couldn’t find a way to go it alone and so instead folded into a tech giant. From a different perspective, Bump’s soft landing could be said to have kept investors from losing money while giving its team an opportunity for greater impact thanks to Google’s resources.
What may have interested Google actually isn’t Bump itself, but Flock. The app uses geolocation to determine which of your Facebook friends you’re nearby, and then offers to create a collaborative photo album with them that includes all the shots any of you took at that party, concert, or day in the park. The idea is that your friends might not broadcast all those photos to social media, but you’d still want to see them as you all shared the experience together. The Flock design philosophy was to strip as much out of the photo sharing process as possible to make it seem almost automatic.
Google might look to turn Flock into a part of Google+ as a way to simultaneously compete with Facebook’s photo sharing and Dropbox’s photo saving services. Google+’s Party Mode was a pioneer in collaborative photo sharing centered around events, but the late-comer social network has still failed to gain serious engagement. Facebook recently launched shared albums, making it more dire for Google to get deeper into the space.
The acquisition also scores Google a trove of mobile communicationpatents that it could use to help nearby devices sync up. These include an app noticing that sensors on two devices share similar readings to determine that they’re in proximity. Google could use these patents to improve Android and create richer alternatives to near-field communication (NFC).
With Bump and Flock’s features combined with Google’s built in-audience, the ideals of“irreducible” design the startup embodied could make a bigger impact without having to generate revenue directly.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Behind Microsoft Deal, the Specter of a Nokia Android Phone

SEATTLE — Before Microsoft reached a deal to buy Nokia’s phone business, there was a possibility that Nokia could have switched its smartphones to Google’s Android operating system sometime after late 2014.
And now, it is clear that a Nokia Android phone was more than a possibility. It was real.

nokia lumia

A team within Nokia had Android up and running on the company’s Lumia handsets well before Microsoft and Nokia began negotiating Microsoft’s $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s mobile phone and services business, according to two people briefed on the effort who declined to be identified because the project was confidential. 
Microsoft executives were aware of the existence of the project, these people said.
Another person said the idea of Nokia using Android wasn’t a part of Microsoft’s discussions with the company about an acquisition, even though that was widely recognized as a possibility.

On one level, Nokia’s Android effort is not shocking. Companies often have “plan Bs” in the works in case they need to change course on strategy or want to help negotiate better terms with partners. Getting Android to run on Nokia’s hardware was not a Herculean engineering effort, according to the people familiar with the project.
Still, a functioning Nokia Android phone could have served as a powerful prop in Nokia’s dealings with Microsoft, a tangible reminder that Nokia could move away from Microsoft’s Windows Phone software and use the Android operating system, which powers more than three out of every four smartphones sold globally.
Susan Sheehan, a spokeswoman for Nokia, declined to comment, as did Frank Shaw, a Microsoft spokesman.

Nokia reached a deal with Microsoft in 2011 to use Windows Phone on its smartphones, but Nokia had an option to exit that partnership at the end of 2014. Unraveling that deal would have been painful for both parties. It would have been devastating to Microsoft’s mobile phone efforts since Nokia accounts for more than 80 percent of the Windows Phone handsets sold. For Nokia, changing such an important ingredient in its products would have been a costly setback too.

Nokia has faced criticism that it made the wrong decision in choosing Windows Phone over Android several years ago. Nokia’s share of the smartphone market fell to 3 percent during the first half of 2013, from 32.8 percent in 2010.

There is no telling for sure whether Nokia would have been better off with Android over that time. It is possible the design of the operating system and greater abundance of Android apps might have put Nokia in a better spot.
The current status of Nokia’s Android project is unclear. Presumably, after Microsoft completes its acquisition of Nokia’s phone business early next year, there won’t be much future for it.