Wednesday, April 11, 2012

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Nokia Is Launching Its First Windows-Based NFC Phone At 1pm UK Time Today Top
Screen shot 2012-04-11 at 09.53.01Nokia has been weathering a series of glitches around the launch of its Lumia range of Windows Phone devices -- the most recent of which saw the company issue credits to users affected by data connection issues around the new Lumia 900. It is pressing ahead with new devices, though, and we have confirmed with sources close to the company that it will be launching its first NFC-enabled Windows Phone in Europe, at 1pm UK time today, along with a partnership with a European operator, France Telecom's Orange.
Wavii Launches In Public Beta, Aiming To Be Your Big Data News Aggregator Of Choice Top
waviiAfter years, yes years, in various states of stealth mode, Seattle-based personalized news aggregation startup Wavii is finally launching to wide scale public consumption. Backed with a list of angel investors that reads like a who's who of today's tech industry -- Ron Conway, Aydin Senkut, Mitch Kapor, Dave Morin, Shawn Fanning, Keith Rabois, Max Levchin, Paul Bucheit, Rick Marini, Joshua Schachter, and Mike Arrington's CrunchFund to name just a few -- Wavii is built upon some big ideas, and naturally is going to be greeted with some high expectations. Will it possibly be able to live up to them? In short: Maybe yes, maybe no. But first let's talk about what exactly it is. But first let's talk about what exactly it is.
Silicon Valley, London, NYC: Startup Genome Data Reveals How The World's Top Tech Hubs Stack Up Top
Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 7.24.28 PMLast year, we covered an ambitious collaborative R&D project called "Startup Genome," created by three young entrepreneurs, Bjoern Herrmann, Max Marmer, and Ertan Dogrultan. The goal of the ongoing project was (and is) to take a comprehensive, data-driven dive into what makes tech startups successful -- and not so successful. While part of the team has since split off to focus on Blackbox, an educational program and startup accelerator, Herrmann and Marmer have continued toiling away at Startup Genome, collecting data from the 13K+ startups that signed up for Startup Compass -- and more. Today, a year removed from launch, the entrepreneurs now believe that Startup Genome is finally crossing the threshold, reaching a critical mass of data on the world's top entrepreneurial ecosystems. Herein they compare the top startup ecosystems in an effort to give startups a glimpse into how (and at what rate) the world's top entrepreneurial hubs are evolving -- and which are leading the way.
Nokia To Offer Software Fix, $100 Credit In The Wake Of Lumia 900 Data Woes Top
lumia-900Microsoft and Nokia have a lot riding on the success of their flagship Lumia 900 Windows Phone, but the usual new gadget honeymoon period has been cut short for more than a few unsatisfied customers. Shortly after devices started going home with their new owners, reports of dead data connections began appearing on Nokia's support forums. Well, Nokia knows about the issue and they're not taking things laying down. AllThingsD spoke to Nokia U.S. chief Chris Weber, who stated that the company was hard at work on a fix and that Nokia would be issuing $100 bill credits to any and all Lumia 900 owners as a gesture of goodwill.
WWE Pushes The Social TV Envelope At Wrestlemania 28 Top
fisheye wwe stadiumWrestleMania has transformed itself from a small wrestling event to an international media spectacle. In its 28th incarnation, held at the beginning of this month, there were no signs of it stopping. The WWE did something unique last year - it announced the main event for Wrestlemania over a year in advance. The big match featured Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, a huge cross-over star, and John Cena, the current flag bearer for the company. Recognizing the challenges of trying to keep interest for the match a year in advance, the WWE turned to social media. I wanted to some of the people driving this initiative, both on- and off-screen. Jason Hoch, SVP of Digital Operations for the WWE, discussed his social media strategies for fan engagement and social TV.
Yahoo Entertainment Properties Hit Hard In Big Layoff-Reorganization? Top
Screen Shot 2012-04-10 at 8.11.25 PMOne would guess that the big Yahoo layoff-reorganization includes a culling of some the company's weaker properties -- and yes, we're hearing today that this includes Music and possibly Movies, popular sites that don't monetize well. Word has been leaking out since last week, when Digital Music News wrote a well-sourced article that didn't make the situation sound good. "Will there be a music-dot-yahoo-dot-com?," it quoted one person as saying. "Yes. But will it be integral to the future success to Yahoo? No. Has the traffic been good? No. Has this content been consistently interesting to advertisers? No."
Study: Hispanic Smartphone Owners Want Mobile Shopping Apps To Be Social Top
hispanicmobilereportUsing a smartphone while shopping to find better deals or to look up product reviews is now pretty mainstream. There are some interesting differences between how Hispanics use their phones while shopping compared to the average U.S. consumer, though. While observing 15 Hispanic smartphone owners in Los Angeles and conducting a nationwide survey of 500 Hispanic smartphone users in late 2011, White Horse and digital advertising agency Sensis noticed that Hispanic users often prefer to shop with friends and family members - a use case that most mobile shopping apps currently ignore.
Nifty: Smart Car Uses Hundreds Of ASCII Tweets To Turn Twitter Page Into A Stop-Action Movie Top
smartargtweetsNow this is a pretty nifty use of a corporate Twitter account. Smart Car's Argentinian division has filled practically its entire Twitter stream -- which is currently 456 Tweets long -- with ASCII art images that turn into a stop-action movie when you scroll through them. Check it out for yourself: While on the @SmartArg Twitter page, hit the letter "J", which is the hot key for scrolling to the next Tweet. You'll see a simple motion picture depicting a car driving down a street. You can also play it in reverse by pressing the "K" button. Most of the Tweets were written in late March, but the account just seems to be catching some viral popularity right now. Wants To Connect You With Your Idols Top
Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 7.19.38 PMMaybe you love Tim Tebow. Or maybe it's Lady Gaga that tickles your fancy. Whoever the celebrity may be, we're all huge fans at one point or another, which is why a new startup out of The Fort in D.C. is ready to connect you to your idols in new and interesting ways. It's pretty simple: You hop on over to, and you'll instantly see a few featured experiences. One that certainly grabbed my eye while writing up this post was an opportunity to "Pillage Startup Treasures" with Paul Singh of 500 Startups. Celebrities range from famous Polish celebrities to sports stars to actors to really anyone that makes you go: "Holy Shit! That was (insert celebrity name here)! Take a pic! Quick!"
Notion Ink Scraps High-Resolution Screen For Next Tablet Top
adamWe've always been interested in the Notion Ink project, which has always striven to be a true alternative to both the iPad and Android masses. Last time, it was through both a Pixel Qi screen and an interesting custom interface, but delays and yield problems more or less buried it and competitors piled up. The sequel to Notion Ink's Adam was originally going to have a 10" screen running at 1920x1200. A post on the company's development blog has admitted that this is not likely to happen.
Live At The Norfolk Mini-Meet Up Top
scaled.IMG_8381The three pillars of Norfolk's economy, according to local startup legend Marty Kaszubowski, have always been the military, shipping, and tourism. These three industries, fickle to begin with, are murder in a downturn. That's why Norfolk is on the start-up map. "We're giving people permission to try new things," he said. We're live at our second mini-meetup, this time in Norfolk, Virginia. We've been given some excellent office space right on Granby Street thanks to We Are Titans and they've supplied the small but growing crowd with pizza, beer, and a bit of verve.
Security Hole Spotted In Facebook Android SDK, Long Tail Apps May Still Be Unpatched Top
facebook-securityMobile app platform provider Parse is reporting having discovered a major security hole in the Facebook Android SDK. The problem was quickly patched after being reported to Facebook, but that alone may not be enough to secure affected mobile applications, the company says. The security vulnerability affected all apps using the Facebook Android SDK, including major apps like Foursquare, and there's no way for end users to know which app developers, outside the big ones, have implemented the fixes needed to secure users' data. (Except for Foursquare, which we know to be patched - whew!)
YouTube Live Turns One: Adds Pay-Per-View And Real-Time Analytics Top
youtube_live_avengersYouTube Live, Google's live streaming platform, celebrated its first birthday over the weekend. To mark this event, YouTube is adding a number of new features to Live today. Most of these (new production software, improved publishing flows and real-time analytics) are mostly of interest to video producers. The most important new feature, though, is the addition of pay-per-view as a monetization option for all publishers. Until now, pay-per-view was only an option for select publishers who worked directly with Google.
Science Fiction Top
MetropolisIn Ray Bradbury's short story "The Veldt," two children play in their "nursery," a sort of home holodeck where they can conjure up any scene in which to play. Bradbury always had a wonderfully clunky sort of technobabble; in this case, as the father tells the mother, "it's all dimensional superreactionary, supersensitive color film and mental tape film behind glass screens. It's all odorophonics and sonics, Lydia. Here's my handkerchief." Naturally, the nursery never shipped. It's not a real thing, and there's no mental tape film in 3M's labs. But Bradbury wasn't an engineer, and his story isn't a patent application. It was a work of imagination — yet still guided by a sense of the practical. Most concept devices, like last week's eye-mounted display from Google, are works of imagination, and are usually good or bad concepts according to how well they manage the aspect of practicality. Sometimes they're dead ends, pie in the sky. But often works of imagination are crystallizations of collective fear and desire: manifest destiny, in this case, for an industry.
Interview Street Helps Sequoia-Backed Startups Recruit With Its Latest CodeSprint Top
interview streetInterview Street, the startup that helps companies recruit by holding programming contests called CodeSprints, is doing something a little different this week — it's holding a CodeSprint for 13 different startups, all backed by Sequoia Capital. The CodeSprints started out as big events with a long list of recruiting companies, but while there are still plans for more comprehensive CodeSprints in the future, Interview Street started holding smaller, more frequent events, usually tied to a specific company or technology. It even did a CodeSprint with the White House, and it's working on a second.
Hoppit Launches The World's First Ambience Search Engine For Restaurants Top
Hoppit_logoFinding a good restaurant - even in a city you've never been to - has never been easier. Thanks to Yelp, Urbanspoon and its various brethren, a good place to eat is generally just a few clicks away. What if you want to find a restaurant with a very specific atmosphere, though? Say you're in the mood for a pizza at a relaxed place where the noise level is just right for a good conversation? Chances are, Yelp won't be much help there, but the newly redesigned Hoppit is putting these kind of searches at the core of its service. The New York-based startup describes itself as the "world's first ambience search engine for restaurants and bars."
Yahoo's New Catch-All Units For Consumer, Regions And Technology Highlight Challenges In All Three Top
yahooOne week after Yahoo announced that it would lay off 2,000 employees, the company has now confirmed the second part of its restructuring: a reorganization that puts the company's assets into three new business units -- consumer, regions and technology, with at least one operation put to the side for a potential sale. The announcement, revealed to the company in an all-hands meeting as well as an internal memo earlier today (first published by AllThingsD), was not released in a public statement, but TechCrunch understands that Scott Thompson, Yahoo's new CEO, has put three different functions within the consumer division: media, "connections" (interactive and social businesses) and commerce. Regions meanwhile will oversee all of Yahoo's ad business. And technology will provide the "science" and infrastructure that will underpin how the first two work.
500px Debuts 'Plus' Paid Membership Plan To Go Head-To-Head Against Flickr Top
500px500px, the photo sharing website that has become the new darling of the photo buff set, today rolled out a new $19.95/year 'Plus' membership plan, putting it more squarely in competition with Flickr. Up until now, 500px's premium offering has catered mostly to the "power user" and professional photographer set, with a $49.95/year "Awesome" plan offering unlimited uploads along with a personalized online portfolio. The new "Plus" offering is meant to address more middle market users -- it offers the same unlimited uploads and detailed user analytics provided by the "Awesome" plan, but without the personal portfolio feature. The site also has a free membership that allows for 10 photo uploads per week.
Powhow: Former Googler Unveils An Online Marketplace For Live, Webcam Classes Top
Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 9.42.44 AMWhile there are a host of startups currently offering distance learning options in the traditional academic sense, many people are interested in pursuing other hobbies or activities, like, say, boosting workout regimens, or learning how to cook, box, or draw their favorite cartoon characters. Of course, the problem is that we're all busy, and it can be tough to find the time to sign up for those classes at the gym, and, while YouTube likely offers some instructional videos in the category of your choice, there's a lot of noise, and the experience is far from personalized. That's why a New York-based startup called Powhow is launching its public beta today, which aims to allow anyone and everyone (with a webcam) to find and take classes in subjects like fitness, cooking, music, arts, DIY, and crafting from curated rosters of professional, credentialed instructors all over the world.
SAP Acquires Enterprise Mobile App Platform And Development Partner Syclo Top
SycloSAP is furthering its mobile presence today by acquiring Syclo, a company that provides an enterprise mobile app platform. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Syclo helps companies build and deploy secure mobile apps on a number of devices with confidence. Specifically, Syclo focuses on helping companies in the in the field service and mobile professional sectors extend their applications to mobile phones. The company supports integrations with IBM, Oracle, TRIRIGA, and SAP.


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