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  • Gerrit Eicker 07:46 on 12. December 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , Android, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , RSS Reader, , , , , , ,   

    Google Currents 

    Google wants to go Flipboard/Zite with Google Currentsbut misses the opportunity; http://eicker.at/GoogleCurrents

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 07:46 on 12. December 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Google: “Today we’re expanding our content offering with the introduction of Google Currents, a new application for Android devices, iPads and iPhones that lets you explore online magazines and other content with the swipe of a finger. … We’ve worked with more than 150 publishing partners to offer full-length articles from more than 180 editions including CNET, AllThingsD, Forbes, Saveur, PBS, Huffington Post, Fast Company and more. Content is optimized for smartphones and tablets, allowing you to intuitively navigate between words, pictures and video on large and small screens alike, even if you’re offline. … Alongside Google Currents, we’re also launching a self-service platform that gives publishers the flexibility to design, brand and customize their web content. … Great content needs a great audience, which is why Google Currents is integrated with Google+ so users can share articles or videos they’ve enjoyed with their circles. … Google Currents is now available for download in Android Market and the Apple App Store for US users.

      RWW: “Google Currents is to Social Media as Justin Bieber is to the Beatles – Google Currents is a new tablet app launched today that makes reading of syndicated web content easier, faster and more enjoyable than almost any other interface you can imagine. It’s like Flipboard but for RSS feeds. People are going to love it. That’s the nice way to describe it.You could also call it the sterilization of the social web. Just like today’s new Twitter redesign makes things nice and pretty for non-technical users – Google Currents is infinitely friendlier and more accessible than any RSS reader – even Google’s own Reader. Unfortunately, in the current application that ease of use comes at a great cost: Google Currents does away with many of the best parts of the social web. … Google Currents doesn’t let you do that. If you’ve got a Google Reader account from the hard old days you can add one subscription at a time to Currents, but if you discover something new out on the web at large – clicking the RSS icon does nothing. It’s like an empty smile – not a portal into a world of potential learning and fun – just a dead link. It’s a violation of an important universal law to kill an RSS link, but that’s what Google Currents has done.Back in the old days, all that clicking around, free subscribing, commenting and reading comments – that was the stuff that gave new little blogs a reason to live. … Take that away from them and just put the best big blogs in a pretty box and what have you got? The death of blogging is what you’ve got.”

      Forbes: “Unlike RSS readers, like Google’s very popular Google Reader, Currents is designed with aesthetic qualities at the top of the design totem pole. Instead of incorporating web standards like links Google treats sites more like an old-fashioned magazine. It all looks great, but you can’t click a link and hop on to your browser. You don’t see comments on posts and you can’t subscribe via RSS.Google, you’re not Apple okay? You’re never going to be Apple no matter how hard you try. Apple does its own thing very well already. The closed universe of apps and proprietary everything is Apple’s domain. The last thing Google should try to do is imitate Apple’s success. The future of the internet is a mixture of closed and open models. I don’t think apps will rule the world, or that proprietary software and hardware designs are the only way forward.

      GigaOM: “[W]hile Google Currents is superficially similar to these other services, there are some important differences that make me wonder whether Google really understands how media has changed and is changing. For a company that’s usually so forward-thinking, Currents as it stands now is more than a little disappointing. … Unlike both Flipboard and Zite, it doesn’t pull in your Twitter lists or streams from those you follow, or content from your Facebook social graph. In other words, you can push content out to these networks, but you can’t pull content in from them and view it inside your news reader. … The second element Google Currents seems to be missing is recommendations or some form of smart filtering of content, apart from the limited amount that appears in the ‘trending’ section. … Currents feels about as innovative as your garden-variety app from a traditional magazine – in other words, not very innovative at all. More than anything, it feels like a giant missed opportunity.

      RWW: “We’re not out of the woods yet, but Web publishing is starting to hit its stride. Product offerings are getting smarter, prices are getting better and, most importantly, the content is getting more interesting. We might not even be half way to the future of publishing yet, but the industry is picking up steam. – There are new ways to read, new ways to write and new ways to advertise. Publishing is a rapidly changing high-tech business now, so the tools change the content and vice versa. … Reading was the first thing that had to change before the business of Web publishing could change. … But the new rules in publishing are empowering independent content creators, too. Social media have created a new class of publishing, in which content created by everyone gets stitched together into a narrative. … The do-it-yourself publishing platforms have also become more powerful. It’s a great time to be a WordPress publisher, because it’s creating revenue streams for independent content creators and developers alike. … New publishing tools are great, but what publishing really needs is new business models. … Fortunately, things are looking up on that front, too. For one thing, thanks to WordPress and its partnership with Federated Media, ad revenue streams are now available to independent bloggers, not just mainstream sites. But there is also a whole new kind of advertisement on the horizon, one that takes advantage of the new hardware and the touchscreen sense of control. As devices get increasingly powerful, the limits on Web publishing fall away.

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:29 on 1. November 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , Android, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Google Plus + Google Reader 

    Google Reader gets redesigned and plusified: Google Plus now on Search, Blogger, Google Apps; http://eicker.at/GoogleReaderPlus

    (More …)

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:29 on 1. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Google: “Today we’re rolling out the new Reader design, and the Google+ features that we mentioned just over a week ago. Before the day’s over, all Reader users will be able to enjoy the following improvements: A new look and feel that’s cleaner, faster, and nicer to look at. The ability to +1 a feed item (replacing ‘Like’), with an option to then share it with your circles on Google+ (replacing ‘Share’ and ‘Share with Note’). … Updates to Google Reader on the web are rolling out gradually and should reach all users by end of day. A new Android application will follow soon. If you have questions about today’s announcements, please check out our Help Center.”

      RWW: “After announcing on October 20 that Google Reader would be annexed by Google Plus, Reader has gotten the ol’ +1 today. Google is rolling out the new, clean Plus theme that has already come to Gmail, Docs and elsewhere, and it is replacing the Reader ‘Like’ function with the +1 button. Sharing from Google Reader now produces a +snippet. I guess we no longer need that nice workaround. … For anyone who doesn’t use Google Plus, there are some amazing RSS clients that use your Google Reader as the back-end but let you share however you’d like. And you know you can still add all your preferred sharing services to the ‘Send To’ tab, right? The same settings we showed you before to add Google Plus as a Reader service will let you add anything else, too.”

      RWW: “Google has made very clear over the past month that Plus will be integrated into all of Google’s products over time, so this wasn’t a surprising move. However, rather predictably, there has been a user backlash anyway. … I believe that comment was a little disingenuous from Gray, because he knows that Google dominates what’s left of the RSS Reader market. There are always alternatives, but the reality is that relatively few people will use them. What’s more, most of the alternatives rely on Google Reader for content. … The RSS Reader market has declined because reading content is a very fragmented experience these days. … Even despite all of the changes in the way people consume content on the Web, Google Reader had been the holdout as a specialist RSS Reader product. It has (had?) a passionate community of RSS Reader fanatics.

      TNW: “The new look falls in line with the rest of the changes that we’ve seen from Google over the past few months, specifically after the launch of Google+. You’ll see a new preview pane that shows you all of your stories, with subscriptions along the left in a list like before. – Sharing in Google Reader is now considerably different than before. Instead of having a network in and of itself, anything that you share is now going to happen via a +1 to Google+, as detailed in a blog post last week. Google says that it has done this in order to ‘streamline Reader overall’, but the changes aren’t as welcome by everyone. … Ultimately it doesn’t take away from the usefulness of Google Reader as a product, and it’s not the first time that Google has pushed its way into your social life, either (remember the launch of Buzz?). At the end of the day it will be up to users to figure out if they want to share content via a +1, but chances are that Reader fans aren’t going to be adversely affected overall.”

      TC: “As expected, Google has ignored the cries of the niche community of Google Reader sharing enthusiasts [as well as what seems to be the entire online population of Iran], and has pushed forward in its plans to remove Google Reader’s native sharing features to promote deeper integration with Google+. While the ability to share with Google+ is an obvious important step forward for Google’s social agenda, it will be disappointing change for at least some of the Google Reader community – a community that even went so far as to create a petition to save the old features. The petition is now pushing 10,000 responses.”

      Blogger: “In fewer than 4 months since its launch, more than 40 million people have joined Google+, making it a living, breathing space for social connections and sharing to thrive. – Today we’re excited to announce the first way you will be able to leverage Google+ – by making it possible to replace your Blogger profile with your Google+ profile. – In addition to giving your readers a more robust and familiar sense of who you are, your social connections will see your posts in their Google search results with an annotation that you’ve shared the post.”

    • Gerrit Eicker 17:33 on 2. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Winer: “People should know that there is more than one way to do an RSS reading app. Google Reader is one approach. A thousand flowers should bloom to fill the gap it’s creating in the market. There is a way to do plumbing that’s open, that people can subscribe to, independent of Google. That does what Google Reader just stopped doing. I would try to make it work as much as I could without inventing new formats. … I love when people like Richard put awful ideas out there like the one he did. You’re trapped inside Google’s silo, even for something that was open from the start like RSS. Well I think there are a lot of people who are smart enough to know that that’s not true. Those are the very people I want to work with.

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:26 on 31. October 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , Android, AOL Editions, , , Apple Newsstand, , , , , , , , , , , , Google Propeller, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Social Media Feeds, , Tablet Apps, , , , , Yahoo Livestand   

    Tablet News Reader 

    Tablets and news are a perfect match: Google and Yahoo are going to add more reader apps; http://eicker.at/TabletNewsReader

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:27 on 31. October 2011 Permalink | Reply

      ATD: “Memo to Flipboard, as well as Pulse, CNN’s Zite and AOL’s Editions: You might want to make some room in the already-crowded news and social reader space, because you’re about to get some bigfoot company. – Next Wednesday, according to sources close to the situation, Yahoo will finally officially unveil its offering, called Livestand. – And perhaps as early as next week or soon after, Google will also weigh in with its version of the genre – code-named Propeller – which also might be the product’s name. Another moniker under strong consideration: Currents. As I have previously reported, Google Propeller is an HTML5 reader for the Apple iPad and Android – essentially a souped-up version of similar apps such as Flipboard, AOL’s Editions, Zite (which was just bought by Time Warner’s CNN) and Pulse. … Yahoo and Google PR declined comment.

      RWW: “Livestand is Yahoo’s take on the personalized reading app for tablets, which ousted CEO Carol Bartz announced earlier this year. Sources tell AllThingsD that the app is expected to be released next week. It was originally slated to be launched on iOS and Android during the first half of 2011. … More than Flipboard and Zite, Livestand looks and feels like AOL’s Editions app for iPad. … It’s a natural extension of Yahoo’s efforts to become a company that specializes, among many other things, in digital content. … Also in the pipeline is a project from Google, code-named Propeller. Less is known about how that app will look and function, but it’s generally understood to be the search giant’s answer to Flipboard, which Google unsuccessfully tried to acquire. … Even with the cross-platform advantage and enormous development resources behind it, products of this nature from Google and Yahoo could simply fail to catch on. The iPad has been in existence for nearly two years and applications like Flipboard, Zite and Pulse have proven very popular among consumers. To compete, the big players will need to offer something truly unique to readers, publishers and advertisers alike.”

      VB: “The tablet readers from two of the Internet’s largest technology companies has the potential to disrupt a landscape that has previously been dominated by small, nimble companies such as Flipboard and Pulse. Google previously tried to buy Flipboard, which was valued at more than $200 million in April, which is still chump change for the search giant.”

      pC: “Companies like Flipboard, AOL, Zite, and Pulse have found a lot of interest in their apps, which organize Web content through custom filters or by hooking one’s social-media feeds into the app. But given how new tablets still are to the vast majority of the population, and how as a result usage habits have yet to really settle into any established pattern, there’s still a lot of opportunity for both big companies and small startups to attract users.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:27 on 8. October 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , Android, , , , Imaging, , , , , , , , , , , Predictive Texting, , , , , , , T9, , , , ,   

    Nuance Acquires Swype 

    Nuance adds Swype to its speech and imaging applications, brings Swype to iOS? http://eicker.at/NuanceSwype

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:28 on 8. October 2011 Permalink | Reply

      UC: “Nuance has acquired Seattle-based startup Swype for something more than $100 million, says a source with knowledge of the deal. – I’m a big fan of Swype, and this is a brilliant acquisition by Nuance. … Nuance already has T9, a predictive text application first developed in the 90s, and T9 competes directly with Swype.

      TC: “Swype has been blowing minds since it first launched at TechCrunch 50 back in September of 2008. For those unfamiliar, Swype is the maker of an awesome app that allows users of touchscreen mobile devices to type messages with one swipe of the finger or stylus motion across the screen keyboard. The alternative (and patented) input method has proven to be super speedy, allowing data entry at over 40 words per minute, and has swept across Android devices. … The speech recognition giant has also been in the news of late, as it is has been in negotiations with Apple over licensing for Lion OSX. What’s more, while Apple did not confirm, MG held that Nuance is also a large part of the technology behind Siri, which will be native on all iPhone 4Ses.

      ATD: “As touchscreen phones became more popular, the predictive texting that eliminated triple-tapping became less necessary, as new forms of input on a piece of glass became mandatory. Nuance bought the technology from AOL. … The importance of voice and text entry became even more prominent this week after Apple unveiled Siri, a voice-activated assistant.

      TC: “Earlier today, I spoke with Swype CEO Mike McSherry, who explained the thinking behind the deal. ‘The broadest vision,’ says McSherry, ‘is we want to be the input for every single stream. You talk to your refrigerator and in-car navigation, you want your language models to follow you around.’ – When he puts it that way, Swype seems like a much more strategic acquisition for NUance than one which simply fills a hole. … Yes, Nuance is powering the new Siri Assistant in Apple’s upcoming iPhone 4S with its voice recognition technology. So does that mean that Swype could be coming to the iPHone as well? ‘I’d love to be able to see that,’ says McSherry, adding, ‘There are certainly lots of requests to see Swype on the iPhone.’

      RWW: “This could be the first steps to bringing Swype to the iPhone. We lamented after the iPhone 4S announcement that Siri, the voice input “assistant” coming in iOS 5, should have been Swype. Apple was a good working relationship with Nuance and if the parties can figure out a good graphical interface for Swype on the iPhone, it may be the next important feature in iOS. … Even if Swype never comes to the iPhone, Nuance has made a very astute acquisition. Nuance was already the leader in speech-to-text technology, ahead of others like Vlingo, The acquisition gives Nuance the clear lead in input methods for mobile devices. With Swype as part of the team, Nuance has planted its flag to be the leader in the vertical for the foreseeable future.

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:18 on 28. September 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Amazon Appstore, Amazon Appstore for Android, , Amazon Prime, Android, , , , , , , BlackBerry PlayBook, , , , Brand Recognition, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Kindle Touch, Kindle Touch 3G, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Kindle Fire 

    Amazon’s Kindle Fire might finally change the whole publishing industryirrevocable; http://eicker.at/KindleFire

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:19 on 28. September 2011 Permalink | Reply

      TC: “On Wednesday morning in New York City, Amazon will unveil the Kindle Fire. Yes, this is the name Amazon has settled on, to help differentiate the product from the e-ink Kindles… It will be a 7-inch backlit display tablet that looks similar to the BlackBerry PlayBook. … [H]aving played with a DVT model myself, I can assure you that it’s better than the PlayBook because the software is better and, more importantly, the content available is much better. … We also originally heard that Amazon Prime would be included, as a big enticement for would-be buyers. That may be off the table for now as well – but it’s not yet clear. It’s possible Amazon will release one version with Prime included for $300 and a version without it for $250. Getting Amazon Prime for $50 would still be a deal, since it’s normally $79 for the year.”

      pC: “The success of the Kindle shows Amazon is prepared to think differently from others and to disrupt its own products – in the Kindle’s case to disrupt the cash cow of print book sales – in order to be innovative and seize early advantage in digital markets. If Amazon’s hardware is undifferentiated and virtually the same as RIM’s PlayBook then Amazon has to differentiate elsewhere with content, experience and business models. Otherwise it will suffer the same fate as RIM’s PlayBook. … Amazon will build a true media tablet. The first true media tablet. The Kindle tablet will focus on the future of all media – TV, movies, music, books, magazines – to enable Amazon to become the dominant digital media retailer. That is Amazon’s ambition.

      Guardian: “Amazon hopes its brand recognition and loyal book-buying customer base will enable it to do battle with Apple, which produced 75% of the tablets sold this year. – Research firm Forrester reckons the Kindle tablet could sell between 3m and 5m units in its first year.”

      VB: “The timing of Amazon’s announcement might have something to do with competition from Barnes and Nobel, which is also allegedly scheduled to announce a new Nook Color tablet that will also retail for $250.”

      ATD: “In 2010, magazine publishers got giddy about the prospects of selling their stuff on the iPad. This year’s version of the story: Lots of enthusiasm, tempered with a little bit of skepticism, over Amazon’s new tablet. … Publishers will keep around 70 percent of all Amazon sales, and the retailer will share some customer data with the publishers. … The publishers who are on board with Amazon view their decision to link up as a no-brainer: They want more distribution channels for their stuff, not fewer. And they’ve been begging, unsuccessfully, for a credible competitor to the iPad since April 2010.

      TC: “With the launch of the Kindle Fire tomorrow, I thought it would be fun to write a little bit sci-fi and imagine what the publishing market will look like in the next ten or so years. I’m a strong proponent of the ebook and, as I’ve said again and again, I love books but they’re not going to make it past this decade, at least in most of the developed world. … 2025 – The transition is complete even in most of the developing world. The book is, at best, an artifact and at worst a nuisance. Book collections won’t disappear – hold-outs will exist and a subset of readers will still print books – but generally all publishing will exist digitally.”

    • Gerrit Eicker 17:33 on 28. September 2011 Permalink | Reply

      TC: “Amazon Fires $199, 7-Inch Tablet At Apple – The Fire itself is rather characterless and dull. It looks a lot like the 7-inch BlackBerry PlayBook (probably for good reason) and features just enough tech to pass as acceptable. There’s a two-point multitouch screen (the iPad has a 10-point screen), and an unspecified CPU… The most notable change is obviously the multitouch 7-inch LCD rather than an e-ink display, but moreover, the Kindle Fire is a complete storefront for the retailer rather than just an ereader. The tablet features apps for Amazon’s Android Appstore, Kindle store, Amazon MP3, and Prime Instant Video. … Amazon is pricing this model aggressively. Bloomberg is reporting prior to Amazon’s official event that the Kindle Fire hits at just $199 and comes with 30-days of Amazon Prime.”

      TC: “Amazon has revealed a new line of E-Ink Kindles that looks to bolster their ‘traditional’ eReader lineup. The three new models have taken the stage: the $79 Kindle, the $99 Kindle Touch, and the $149 Kindle Touch 3G. – The new super small, non-touch Kindle was announced to appeal to Amazon’s legion of eReading purists. It’s small enough to fit in a pack pocket, and will cost users a scant $79 – customers can order today, and Amazon says it will ship today too.”

    • Gerrit Eicker 11:57 on 29. September 2011 Permalink | Reply

      GigaOM: “They say Apple has met its first real tablet competitor. And no, it is not Samsung or Motorola. Instead it is from a company that started out selling books on the Internet: Amazon. And while there is some truth to that assertion, I wouldn’t put a lot of weight in the argument. … With the new Kindles, Amazon has been able to define the hybrid retail environment. … Given that we are increasingly shifting away from buying physical media and are instead opting for digital goods, Amazon is smart in its introducing the new Kindle tablet. … Amazon’s primary business is selling us things – lots of them – and getting them to us as cheaply as possible. And that includes physical and digital goods and services. That is its corporate DNA, and that DNA is going to influence all of its decisions – whether it is redesigning its website or defining new tablets. … The bottom line is that Amazon will be successful – at least more successful than Motorola or HTC – but it won’t come at the expense of Apple’s iPad or Samsung’s Android-based tablets.

  • Gerrit Eicker 19:17 on 20. September 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , +Hangouts API, , Android, , , , , , , , , , , , , , Google Plus Hangouts API, , , , , , Google+ Hangouts API, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Google Plus Opens 

    Google opens Google Plus for everyone: Google Plus Hangouts goes mobile and gets an API; http://eicker.at/GooglePlusOpens

    (More …)

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 19:18 on 20. September 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Google: “The Google+ project has been in field trial for just under 90 days, and in that time we’ve made 91 different improvements (many of which are posted here). Google+ is still in its infancy, of course, but we’re more excited than ever to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software. Today we’re releasing nine more features that get us that much closer. … In life we connect with others in all sorts of places, at all different times. And the connections you make unexpectedly are often the ones you remember the most. We think Hangouts should keep pace with how you socialize in the real-world, so today we’re launching it on the one device that’s always by your side: your mobile phone. To get started, simply find an active hangout in the Stream, and tap ‘Join’… Hangouts currently supports Android 2.3+ devices with front-facing cameras (and iOS support is coming soon). … If field trial has taught us anything about Hangouts, it’s that the community is overflowing with creative individuals. So in the wake of last week’s Google+ API launch, we’re also releasing a basic set of Hangouts APIs. If you’re a developer who wants to build new kinds of apps and games (and who-knows-what-else), then you can find more details on the Google+ platform blog. … For the past 12 weeks we’ve been in field trial, and during that time we’ve listened and learned a great deal. We’re nowhere near done, but with the improvements we’ve made so far we’re ready to move from field trial to beta, and introduce our 100th feature: open signups. This way anyone can visit google.com/+, join the project and connect with the people they care about.”

      Google: “Today we’re launching the Developer Preview of the Hangouts API, another small piece of the Google+ platform. It enables you to add your own experiences to Hangouts and instantly build real-time applications, just like our first application, the built-in YouTube player. … The integration model is simple – you build a web app, register it with us, and specify who on your team can load it into their Hangout. Your app behaves like a normal web app, plus it can take part in the real-time conversation with new APIs like synchronization. Now you can create a ‘shared state’ among all instances of your app so that all of your users can be instantly notified of changes made by anyone else.”

      GigaOM: “All of these integrations show that Hangouts may just be the killer feature of Google+ that helps to get users excited about using Google+ circles to get more use out of other Google services. With Hangouts becoming part of the Google+ API, this effect could even reach beyond Google’s core properties.”

      RWW: “Conspicuously absent? There are still no brand pages, and Google Apps accounts still can’t use Plus. The latter is especially frustrating, since Google Docs in Hangouts will dramatically expand the possibilities of using Google Plus for work.”

      TC: “First and foremost, Google+ finally has search. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe that a service built by Google launched without it, but it did. Now Google+ allows you to search for people and posts simply by using the search box at the top. Of note, you can filter results by either ‘Best of’ or ‘Most recent’. This also allows you to search the Sparks feature, which is still underdeveloped.”

      TNW: “This is a welcome change to the simple, profile-only search that Google+ was using before and is only one of several big changes that Google is implementing in Google+ today. It has also made major improvements to its Hangouts service, bringing enhancements and a move to mobile devices. The Google+ service is also now available to all so anyone interested can start trying it out.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:20 on 5. September 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , Android, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Kindle vs. iPad 

    Amazon will offer a Kindle Tablet on Android: at $250 it might become a challenge for the iPad; http://eicker.at/KindleVSiPad

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:21 on 5. September 2011 Permalink | Reply

      TC, Siegler: “Amazon’s Kindle Tablet Is Very Real. I’ve Seen It, Played With It. … It’s called simply the ‘Amazon Kindle’. But it’s not like any Kindle you’ve seen before. It displays content in full color. It has a 7-inch capacitive touch screen. And it runs Android. … Again, the device is a 7-inch tablet with a capacitive touch screen. It is multi-touch, but from what I saw, I believe the reports that it relies on a two-finger multi-touch (instead of 10-finger, like the iPad uses) are accurate. This will be the first Kindle with a full-color screen. And yes, it is back-lit. There is no e-ink to be found anywhere on this device.So how much will the 7-inch Kindle cost? $250. – Yes, Amazon has been able to trim the cost of the device to half of the entry-level iPad. And it will be the same price as Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color, which this will very obviously compete with directly. Both have 7-inch color touch screens. Both run Android. … The interface is all Amazon and Kindle. It’s black, dark blue, and a bunch of orange. … But the key for Amazon is just how deeply integrated all of their services are. Amazon’s content store is always just one click away. The book reader is a Kindle app (which looks similar to how it does on Android and iOS now). … Oh and one more thing: Amazon has been working on a multi-touch screen/e-ink hybrid tablet device. But that’s nowhere near completion, I’m told. So for now, this new Kindle will have to do.”

      TC: “I threw together the mockup above based on what he shared with me. … From this, we’ve learned at least one thing: competing with the iPad by trying to be the iPad.. doesn’t really work. … But they’re not. Rather than taking on Apple on their own court, they’re moving to keep a lock on a game they’re already kicking butt at (the e-reader market), while upping the odds that anyone weighing ‘iPad or Kindle?’ will be swayed in their favor. By launching with a 7” tablet (and only a 7” tablet), Amazon is making it clear: they don’t want the Kindle tablet to be the iPad. They want it to be everything the iPad is not. – They want it to be small, and comfortable to read in bed. This is a Kindle, after all. For many folks who just want something to read in bed or throw into their bag to read on the train, the iPad’s nearly 10-inch display can feel a bit gigantic. – They want it to be cheap.”

      GigaOM: “Instead of a full-fledged Android tablet, Amazon’s new Kindle slate runs a forked version of Android under the hood that no user is likely to ever see. – The 7-inch tablet takes a cue from the Barnes & Noble Nook Color; arguably the most successful non-iPad tablet if it fits your definition of one, and likely to see a hardware refresh soon. Amazon’s tablet will use a completely customized interface, not have Google apps of any kind, nor will it access the Android Market. It will run apps from Amazon’s AppStore. … Those wanting something smaller than a tablet but bigger than a standard phone may be more interested in the newly announced Samsung Note.”

      VB: “So what of the rumored 10-inch Amazon tablet? That device, which is said to run a quad-core processor and be a more direct competitor to the iPad, is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of next year if the 7-inch tablet does well enough. – Amazon may forgo releasing a touchscreen version of the traditional Kindle, Siegler says, but that’s still speculation so far. Intriguingly, he also says that Amazon is working on a multi-touch tablet/e-reader hybrid device that runs on an E-Ink screen.”

      pC: “Even if Amazon is cutting out some bells and whistles out of its tablet, it is offering users a lot more: a host of usable cloud services; some free services; and a low price. This may finally turn out to be the Android(ish) tablet fit to fight the iPad stronghold.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:38 on 22. August 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Android, , , Apple iMessage, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Mobile Group Messaging, , Office 365, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Windows Phone, , , ,   

    Skype Acquires GroupMe 

    Skype acquires group messaging service GroupMe, to help users stay in touch and make decisions; http://eicker.at/SkypeGroupMe

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:39 on 22. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Skype: “I’m delighted to announce we’re acquiring GroupMe, a provider of mobile group messaging services that helps users stay in touch and make decisions. – This acquisition is another step towards our vision to provide a global multi-modal and multi-platform communications experience. It complements our existing leadership in voice and video communications by providing best in class mobile text-based communications and innovative features around group messaging that enable users to connect, share locations and photos and make plans with their closest ties.”

      GroupMe: “Today, we have entered into an agreement to be acquired by Skype. Over the last few months, we had been in talks with Skype that started with discussions about potential commercial partnerships. As we got to know the core Skype team better, though, and as our conversations evolved, it quickly became evident that our visions were perfectly aligned. Both companies are focused on changing the way the world communicates, and helping people stay in touch with the people they really know. With a shared vision – an ambitious one – we decided our efforts to own real-time communications and the real life network could be best executed as one company.”

      VB: “Both Facebook and Google recently released their own offerings targeted at group messaging with Facebook Messenger and Google+’s Huddle. Skype’s decision to buy GroupMe shows it wants to make sure it also has its group communication bases covered. It should pair well with the services it already offers, including video calling, global calling, instant messaging, and text messaging services. – Skype is still in the process of being acquired by Microsoft. The big M said in May that it would buy Skype for $8.5 billion and as soon as the deal is completed, we will likely see Skype integrated into Xbox 360, Kinect, Windows Phone and Office 365. GroupMe’s application and technology would also help Microsoft flesh out its mobile offerings as it continues to expand Windows Phone 7’s presence and capabilities.”

      pC: “Far from being a messaging service aimed only at enterprises (like Yammer, for example), GroupMe has been making some strides into the consumer market by linking up with brands and events to increase its profile and relevance there as well: earlier this year it announced that the music event Lollapalooza and the TV show Dexter would both be using GroupMe’s APIs in their apps for their respective audiences to add more social features and to connect with each other via those platforms.”

      GigaOM: “Skype so far has been reliant on its instant messaging and voice (and video) call offerings to engage its hundreds of millions of users. However, the mobile phone changes that behavior – shifting the focus to more instantaneous services such a GroupMe in addition to a combination of other communication mediums – SMS, mobile phone, Beluga, Twitter and Facebook Messages in addition to email. – Skype, which has been one of the earliest beneficiaries of the iPhone boom, has seen lightweight group messaging clients like GroupMe gaining in popularity and it is right to be worried. … The fact remains that the sands of time were against GroupMe. The oncoming competition from Facebook Messenger, Google’s Huddle and most importantly Apple’s iMessage were going to fundamentally increase the pressure on GroupMe, which in turn decided that it was better to find comfort in the arms of a much larger company. … From a long-term perspective, Skype as an entity is going to have an identity crisis. It cannot figure out whether it wants to be a friend to the consumers or whether it wants to be a corporation- focused collaboration company.

  • Gerrit Eicker 14:10 on 15. August 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , Acer, , Android, Android Licensee, Android Licensees, , , , , , , , Huawei, , , , , , , LG, , , , , Motorola Mobility, Motorola Solutions, , , , Patent Wars, , , , , , , , , Sony Ericsson, , , , ,   

    Google Acquires Motorola 

    Page/Google: I am so excited today to announce that we have agreed to acquire Motorola; http://eicker.at/GoogleMotorola

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 14:11 on 15. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Page/Google: “Since its launch in November 2007, Android has not only dramatically increased consumer choice but also improved the entire mobile experience for users. Today, more than 150 million Android devices have been activated worldwide – with over 550,000 devices now lit up every day – through a network of about 39 manufacturers and 231 carriers in 123 countries. Given Android’s phenomenal success, we are always looking for new ways to supercharge the Android ecosystem. That is why I am so excited today to announce that we have agreed to acquire Motorola.Motorola’s total commitment to Android in mobile devices is one of many reasons that there is a natural fit between our two companies. … This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform. Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. … The combination of Google and Motorola will not only supercharge Android, but will also enhance competition and offer consumers accelerating innovation, greater choice, and wonderful user experiences.”

      Google: “Google Inc. and Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Google will acquire Motorola Mobility for $40.00 per share in cash, or a total of about $12.5 billion, a premium of 63% to the closing price of Motorola Mobility shares on Friday, August 12, 2011. The transaction was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies. – The acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a dedicated Android partner, will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing. Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business.”

      BI: “Needless to say this is a gamechanger in the mobile world, as Google moves down the stack, and is no longer just an operating system provider meaning it competes directly with Apple as well as the various other handset makers who currently use Android. … Other handset makers, like RIMM and Nokia are both up pre-market on the news as the focus obviously turns to Microsoft: Is it now forced to buy one of them? Or does Microsoft benefit because the remaining handset makers (Samsung, etc.) now turn more towards Windows?

      TC: “Big question now is: how will HTC, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Acer, Huawei, Lenovo and all other Android device makers respond to this news?

      TNW: “Analysts and industry experts have said Google needs to get into the handset business but nobody predicted this. Google has upped its game and is on a collision course with Apple, we can’t wait to see how it pans out.”

      HuffPo: “In January 2011, Motorola announced that it would split into two companies: Motorola Solutions, which would manufacture tech products aimed at businesses; and Motorola Mobility, which would focus solely on handsets.”

      HuffPo: “Motorola, the 82-year-old consumer electronics pioneer responsible for early televisions, cell phones and even the first broadcast from the moon, split into two companies … in a reflection of changing markets. – As separate companies – Mobility, targeting consumers, and Solutions, for professionals – the two will have simpler stories to tell investors and a nimbler approach to developing cutting-edge products such as tablet computers.”

    • Gerrit Eicker 16:59 on 15. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      GigaOM: “[T]his … gives Google a chance to build very integrated devices that combine hardware and software well, something Apple products are known for. But it will, again, pit Google against its manufacturing partners. – Now, we’ll have to see how if this adds momentum to Android or saps it. Will it be worth it ultimately for Google to get more patent protection and its own hardware maker, or could this slow down the Android Express?”

      GigaOM: “However, purchasing Motorola Mobility isn’t a magic bullet solution to Android’s ongoing patent woes. Apple and Microsoft decided to pursue legal action against Motorola despite its patent portfolio, so it obviously isn’t watertight. But whereas previously Google seemed to have little recourse beyond complaining publicly about the unfairness of the system, now it has some actual weight to throw around in court. … As far as ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ moves goes, this one by Google is a pretty bold one. It was beginning to look like Android was facing a long, slow death at the hands of licensing fees and patent litigation.”

      TC: “During today’s conference call explaining the deal, Page noted that Motorola’s ‘strong patent portfolio’ will help Google defend Android against ‘Microsoft, Apple, and other companies.’ The first two questions on the call went right to the patent issue as well. With Android under attack on the patent front by Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and others, buying Motorola is very much a defensive move as well.”

      Doc Searls: “At the very least, this is patent play. That’s why Larry talked about intellectual property. In mobile, Motorola (I’m guessing, but I’m sure I’m right) has a bigger patent portfolio than anybody else, going back to the dawn of the whole category. Oracle started a patent war a year ago by suing Google, and Google looked a bit weak in that first battle. So now, in buying Motorola, Google is building the biggest patent fort that it can. In that area alone, Google now holds more cards than anybody, especially its arch-rival, Apple.”

      TNW: “This is a massive twist and major turn in the patent battle, and Google has well and truly upped the game. – It is sad to see innovative companies resort to patent acquisition tactics to get one-up on competitors, but sometimes the only option is to fight fire with fire. – However, let’s not forget this isn’t just about patents. Google now has direct access to mobile phone handsets too, so who knows what other developments we’ll see in the coming months/years.

      pC: “Patents may be why Page also noted that the top five Android licensees showed ‘enthusiastic support’ for the deal. Google was quick to put out a release with quotes from four of them to support that. From Samsung’s Mobile head J.K. Shin: ‘We welcome today’s news, which demonstrates Google’s deep commitment to defending Android, its partners & ecosystem.’ … Meanwhile, the markets and the Internet are now zooming with speculation about what this might all mean for the wider mobile competitive landscape. Nokia’s shares are creeping up, as people wonder if this increases the changes of Microsoft buying it…”

      ATD: “First of all, the deal will give a lot of fresh meat to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which is already investigating several aspects of Google’s business, including its Android mobile operating system business. As The Wall Street Journal reported last week, investigators from the FTC and from the offices of several state attorneys general have been exploring whether or not Google prevents phone manufactures who become Android partners from using the smartphone operating systems of other companies.”

      RWW: “The deal is subject to regulatory approval in both the United States and the European Union. Yet, unlike many of Google’s acquisitions in recent years, this one should go through relatively quickly. That is because of what Apple has done to the ecosystem. … Yet, that is excluding the Android ecosystem itself. If Android is ‘open’ (and many people doubt how open it actually is, even if it is licensed for free), then what is going to happen with Samsung and HTC? … Android lovers should be excited that Google now has Motorola under its thumb. There should be more and better Android devices coming to market. Google lovers should be happy because it means that Google is defending itself in the patent wars and should raise the bottom line of the company. Apple, Microsoft, Nokia and the Android ecosystem should be wary because Google now has the capability of completing disrupting the balance of the environment in the same way that Apple has.”

    • Gerrit Eicker 17:29 on 17. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      GigaOM: “Our sources say that Motorola was in acquisition talks with several parties, including Microsoft for quite some time. Microsoft was interested in acquiring Motorola’s patent portfolio that would have allowed it to torpedo Android even further. The possibility of that deal brought Google to the negotiation table, resulting in the blockbuster sale.

  • Gerrit Eicker 12:06 on 10. August 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , Android, , , , , , , , , , , , , Facebook Messenger for Mobile, Facebook Messenger Mobile, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Facebook Messenger 

    Facebook Messages gets mobile apps: the Facebook Messenger, an answer to Google Plus Huddle; http://eicker.at/FacebookMessenger

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 12:07 on 10. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Facebook: “More and more of us rely on our phones to send and receive messages. But it isn’t always easy to know the best way to reach someone on their phone. Should you send an email or text? Which will they check first? Did they even get your last message? – We think messaging should be easier than that. You should be able to write a message, click ‘Send’ and know that you will reach the person right away. – So today, we’re introducing Messenger, a new mobile app that simplifies how messaging works, and gives you a faster way to message friends and small groups. … Messenger will be available for both iPhone and Android starting today. Just search for ‘Facebook Messenger’ in your phone’s app store, or get a link to the app texted to your phone.”

      RWW: “Messenger is fairly simple. If you have used BlackBerry Messenger before then you should be able to understand Facebook’s newest offering (without the confusing PIN system of BlackBerry). Messenger can also do group chat, which puts it in competition with the Google Plus Huddle function in its mobile app on iOS and Android. What do you think of Facebook’s new Messenger initiative? Is it something you plan on using? … Facebook Messenger is the product of Beluga, which Facebook acquired in March, right before the start of SXSW. It was started by ex-Google employees Lucy Zhang, Ben Davenport and John Perlow. Beluga was released to Apple’s App Store in November 2010 and must have impressed some developers at Facebook as it was not even six months before Facebook came swooping in. … Dubbed ‘Project Titan‘ before it was announced, Messenger is another phase in the rollout of Facebook’s unified inbox. Facebook’s messaging philosophy has three main ideas: 1) seamless messaging, 2) conversation history and 3) the ‘social inbox.’

      TNW: “Rumor has it that Beluga will keep its doors open, but there’s no telling for how long. Now that Facebook has derived Messenger from its acquisition, it’s highly unlikely that the company will continue support for the other product. … If you’re a big fan of Facebook’s integrated messaging platform, it should be great. If you loathe having to log in, well, no app’s going to fix that problem. The one very interesting part? You can use Messenger to contact anyone in your phone’s contact list, not just your Facebook friends.

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