Archive for February, 2012

This Ridiculously-Easy-to-Clean Whisk Needs To Exist Right Now [Wish You Were Here]

If you're like me and simply buy a new whisk every time you cook because they're too hard to clean, you'll adore Kwon Hansol's Divisible Whisk with a handle that splits in two, stretching out the wires for easy cleaning. More »


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Andrew Liszewski

February 29th

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Sony: No quad-core phones until 2013

Sony has no plans to launch smartphones with more powerful quad-core processors this year, a Sony Mobile Communications executive confirmed on Wednesday. Speaking with CNET Asia, Sony Mobile product marketing manager Stephen Sneeden said he believes Sony will wait until 2013 to launch smartphones powered by quad-core processors like NVIDIA’s Tegra 3. ”We’re going to join quad-core when we feel that the performance matches the battery efficiency,” Sneeden said. “Because right now we don’t feel that is there. What we are going to be doing in the second-half of the year is moving to the Cortex A15 architecture, which we feel outperforms the current quad-core architecture.” While smartphone vendors like HTC, ZTE and others were busy unveiling quad-core Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich phones at Mobile World Congress this past week, Sony took the wraps off two new dual-core Xperia smartphones that will launch with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. ”You’ll see in 2013, as we’re evaluating the quad-core performance where it makes sense, where you’re not suffering in quality and the performance truly is there, and there really is something that demanding applications need,” Sneeden added. “That’s when we make the right move to quad-core.”

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Zach Epstein

February 29th

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The Best Way to Watch Baseball on Your Tablet or Phone This Season Is Out Now [Apps]

It's really hard to beat going to a baseball game on a summer afternoon. But if you can't be at the park, the MLB At Bat app is one of the best ways to follow any sport from a mobile device, and the 2012 version just hit all the app stores. More »


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Kyle Wagner

February 29th

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DigiMo Cracks The Code: Mobile Payments With No Point Of Sale Changes

digimo

DigiMo, is a mobile payments platform that actually makes sense to me. When I sat down with CEO Yossi Yarkoni and VP of Marketing Nir Shimony at the Mobile World Congress to hear about their concept, which is piloting in Israel right now, the first thing I thought was “wow, why didn’t somebody think of this before”. It’s a pretty good idea and solves many of the problems that plague mobile, face-to-face payments.

It actually works with existing infrastructure and requires no Point Of Sale hardware changes by merchants. Really. No NFC terminals to buy. No new card readers needed. This is a major sticking point for merchant adoption of new mobile payments platforms.

How does DigiMo’s patented non-NFC reliant payments method work?

First, customers upload their payment credentials and account info to their secure DigiMo account in the cloud.

Next, DigiMo issues bank cards to merchants (instead of individual consumers like regular issuers). This special DigiMo card has a specific bin range. Participating merchants receive a DigiMo card and unique barcode/number for each of their Point Of Sale terminals.

Finally, at the time of a purchase, a customer uses the DigiMo mobile app to scan the barcode at the cash register. They then authenticate the app with pin or other security credentials which connects to their DigiMo account in the cloud. This info is sent to the cloud and lets DigiMo know at which unique cash register the transaction is taking place. The merchant closes the transaction loop by swiping the DigiMo card into the existing POS reader which rides the rest of the transaction on the regular card network and authenticates at DigiMo’s server and debits the customer’s account.

Boom. You’re done!

So that is the description of their face-to-face mobile payments solution but they also have scenarios for remote commerce, peer-to-peer money transfer and coupon/offers. These are all described in the video below.

They are currently trying to raise venture capital to bring their pilot to the U.S.A. I will be curious to see if this is a payments scenario that consumers could latch onto. My guess is that with digital natives this kind of thing will be all the rage.



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Jay Donovan

February 29th

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Meet the Next CEO of Microsoft: Steven Sinofsky Is the Heir Apparent [Microsoft]

It was summer 2009. Microsoft had just shipped the final code for Windows 7 to PC manufacturers, who had begun burning it onto the tens of millions of new computers that would ship that Christmas. More »


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Matt Rosoff - Business Insider

February 29th

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Analytics Startup Mixpanel Is Tracking 4 Billion Actions Each Month — And It’s Cash-Flow Positive

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Mixpanel, the analytics startup backed by Sequoia Capital, hasn’t yet succeeded in its goal of unseating established analytics services like Omniture — but momentum is building.

Let’s start with the biggest number that co-founder Suhail Doshi shared with me this week. He says the company is now tracking 4 billion actions every month. Back in July 2010, that number was “only” 1 billion. He also says there are more than 2,500 organizations who are sending Mixpanel data every month (I guess that’s Mixpanel equivalent of an “active user”). And that customer base was built through word-of-mouth because, Doshi says, “We basically do almost no marketing” the startup’s total monthly marketing spend is between $3,000 and $5,000.

Mixpanel charges customers based on the number of actions it’s tracking, so with billions of actions tracked, it’s not too surprising that the business model seems to be working as well. Doshi says revenue has quadrupled since nine months ago, that Mixpanel now on a run rate for several million dollars of revenue a year, and that the company is cash-flow positive.

Even though Mixpanel launched in 2009, Doshi attributes much of the recent success to the launch of a new data store last summer. As a result, he says Mixpanel is now able to examine data at a much more specific and customizable level, on multi-dimensions rather than just one. For example, rather than just telling a customer how many visitors came to their site from Twitter, Mixpanel can show how many visitors came in from Twitter, broken down by country, and limited to those were between the ages of 10 and 13. Doshi also says that mobile analytics have been a big draw — of the startup’s top five customers, he estimates that three or four are mobile-only.

“Our next goals involve figuring out how to really grow the company and continue to offer more tools and services around our vision,” Doshi says. “How can we help the world learn about our data? How can we make organizations really data-driven?”

In addition to Sequoia, Mixpanel’s backers include incubator Y Combinator, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, Square COO Keith Rabois, and Bebo co-founder Michael Birch.



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Anthony Ha

February 29th

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The New Essential Apps February 2012 [Apps]

iPhones. iPads. Android. We've updated all of our essential apps lists to include a few forgotten favorites, some long awaited arrivals and, as always, even more amazing apps. Check them out! More »


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Casey Chan

February 29th

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Top 10 places to trade an iPad for cash or credit

The Internet is abuzz with stats about iPad trade-ins going through the roof as the March 7 iPad 3 unveiling in San Francisco looms closer, and while percentages and graphs are vaguely interesting, the real meat to the story concerns where and how people can get the most bang for their buck.

Look no further as 9to5Mac compiled a list of places to trade in an ole’ dusty iPad for cash or credit to buy Apple’s upcoming toy. Before perusing the options, identify the condition, features, and model of the swappable iPad. This knowledge will help decide its maximum value, because most of these online programs use a survey to determine the slate’s estimate. Moreover, it is prudent to act now as some reports indicate retailers are steadily dropping prices with Apple’s event drawing nearer.

Trade-in websites and their prices are available below. 

1. Amazon: Amazon offers high prices for the iPad 1 and iPad 2, but trade-in cash is only available in the form of an Amazon.com Gift Card. Of course, people can still buy the iPad 3 when it launches on the online retailer’s catalog—especially since the extra cheddar will most likely go to the new tablet anyway. A quick glance at the “Like New” prices reveal quotes ranging from an iPad 1 (16GB and Wi-Fi) for $290 to an iPad 2 (64GB with Wi-Fi and Verizon 3G in black) for $500. Amazon also notifies consumers that undervalued tablets could receive extra money after an official evaluation.

2. NextWorth: NextWorth lists similar prices to Amazon’s bids, but this handy website issues cash instead of a gift card with free shipping. The service also collaborated with Target online to extend the same deals to its shoppers. NextWorth does not show prices up front and requires a questionnaire about the iPad’s shape before quotes are given. With that said, a mint condition iPad 1 (16GB and Wi-Fi) goes for $169, while an iPad 2 (64GB with Wi-Fi and AT&T 3G in white) garners $436.

 

3. Gazelle: Gazelle is widely recommended and offers multiple ways to reap those bank notes through either a check, PayPal, or Amazon.com Gift Card. It is worth noting that choosing the Amazon Gift Card option will allot 5 percent more than the quoted value. Oh, and Gazelle has free shipping. A flawless iPad 1 (16GB and Wi-Fi) earns $152, while an iPad 2 (64GB with Wi-Fi and Verizon 3G) goes for $317.


4. Ebay: Ebay is circulating in the news recently due to reports that claim iPad trade-ins are up 10 times from last year. The website is the first—and probably the most iconic— online garage sale, so it would make sense for the e-commerce service to provide a revered trade-in program with cash dispensed through PayPal. Ebay advertises free shipping and lists quotes right away, but real values début shy of the initial projected quote after selecting the best condition options. A perfect iPad 1 (16GB and Wi-Fi) gets $192. Meanwhile, the iPad 2 (64GB with Wi-Fi and AT&T 3G) can bank $410.

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Elyse Betters

February 29th

Apple

Fly Or Die: Windows 8

If you were only allowed to read one piece of tech news today, I’d bet you’d read up on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The beta became available today, though we were lucky enough to go hands-on with the OS for the past week or so, and people can’t stop talking about it.

Windows 8 is a merging of old with new. A Metro UI offers up live tiles much like Windows Phone, but there are still some apps that require the old-school XP interface, sending you directly into the past when you least expect it.

For John and I, that’s our biggest concern. Metro looks wonderful, Bing’s HTML5 apps are crisp, smooth, and engaging, and the combination of bezel gestures and contracts (which is, essentially, a system that lets one app’s API communicate with another) makes the whole system intuitively navigable.

Getting thrown into XP, then, becomes even more awful. John brought up the important point, though, that Microsoft needs to maintain its relationships with big enterprise app developers and programs that expect their products to work the same way they did last year. Remember, we’re introducing an entirely new set of tools to Windows devs with this release, and the ones who’ve been around for forever will need time to transition.

And to an extent, so will the consumer. Change can be hard, right? But as I said, we’re hoping that this is just a step in the right direction rather than a vision realized.



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Jordan Crook

February 29th

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Facebook brings ads to mobile news feed and logout screen

Facebook on Wednesday announced at the company’s Marketing Conference that premium ads will now appear in its mobile application. Advertisements will be displayed on mobile news feeds — much like Twitter’s “promoted” tweets — starting immediately, with desktop logout screen advertisements scheduled to roll out in April. Previously, users would only see ads in the sidebar and news feed on the desktop version of Facebook. The move comes as the social networking giant is in the process of going public, and just after Twitter announced that it will bring ads to its mobile application.

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Dan Graziano

February 29th

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