Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Latest from TechCrunch

The Latest from TechCrunch

Link to TechCrunch

Khosla, Google Ventures And Hearst Put $4M In Social TV Platform Miso

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 08:59 AM PST


The social app for TV content Miso has just raised $4 million in new funding from Khosla Ventures, with existing investors Google Ventures and Hearst Interactive Media participating in the round. This brings Miso’s total funding to $6 million.

Similar to GetGlue, Tunerfish and others, Miso launched as a check-in app for television content. The idea behind Miso is that as you watch TV shows and movies, users can check-in to this content, follow specific shows and earn points and badges for interacting with this content. Miso offers iPhone, iPad and Android apps for users on the go as well as a web app.

But more recently Miso has gone beyond the check-in to offer a social experience related to content. Miso launched an app gallery, ratings, a chatter stream, and a user generated platform for people to create questions for each other about content.

Another way that Miso has been innovating in the space is by partnering with cable companies to help create a more unique second screen experience. For example, Miso teamed up with DIRECTV and AT&T U-Verse to allow its app to communicate with the TV receiver to let viewers know what's on their TV at the moment and where they are in the show.

Other partnerships relate to content. Miso collaborated with Showtime's Dexter to give users tidbits, facts, quotes, and more when viewers watch the show.

Miso’s founder Somrat Niyogi tells us that the company’s strategy focuses on trying to figure out how to work with existing ecosystem partners. “They need help figuring out their second screen strategy, and we can be that partner.”

Of course, Niyogi has a realistic view of the competitiveness in the social TV space, adding that Most recently, TV recommendations startup BeeTV hit the deadpool. “I believe there will be a lot of consolidation in the space in the coming year, and we are preparing to be the leader,” he explains.

Niyogi is excited to be working with Vinod Khosla and the team to help grow Miso from its current user base of 250,000 members (up from 100,000 in January). The new funding will be used towards new partnerships and expanding the company’s technology team.

CrowdStar Brings Mobile Social Game Top Girl To Android

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 08:00 AM PST

Top Girl

Social gaming company CrowdStar is bringing its social mobile title Top Girl to Android phones with the launch of a native app. Top Girl will be sold exclusively through the Amazon App Store for two weeks after launching.

Top Girl is a female-focused mobile role-playing game that allows players to create a fashionable avatar and then climb up the fashion social ladder, collecting money by doing modeling jobs, buying new outfits, and going to clubs. The app is free to play but charges users for virtual goods.

The game, which debuted on iOS earlier this year, is one of CrowdStar’s most popular and top grossing games.

Smule Acquires Khush To Further Boost Their Music Cred

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 07:58 AM PST


Smule, makers of such fine musically-tuned iOS apps as Ocarina, Magic Piano, and I Am T-Pain, have just announced their intentions to acquire Khush, the equally music-minded company behind LaDiDa (you sing, it generates a beat) and Songify (you sing/talk/cough/howl, it bends the tune into a song). Wonder-Twin powers, activate!

The amount of the purchase wasn’t disclosed, though I hear that this combined cash-and-stock deal was mostly the latter. Everyone involved seems to see the deal as more of a melding of minds and mission statements than an exit for anyone at Khush, so the terms were built to keep everyone around for a while.

Smule and Khush are more similar than even their musically-matched mindsets would immediately indicate. Take their co-founders, for example: Smule’s Ge Wang is an assistant professor at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. Khush’s Parag Chordia, meanwhile, is a professor of music at Georgia Tech and the director of their Music Intelligence lab. Left hand, meet right hand.

While Smule has thus far been an entirely West Coast company (with offices in Palo Alto and San Francisco), the Khush folks will continue to operate out of Atlanta, Georgia and act as an independent studio. Songify and LaDiDa will both be getting support for Smule’s “Sonic Network”, which allows users to create, share, and collaborate on their musical creations.

To celebrate this mind-merge, a video (made with Songify) about one lady’s love for cats:

Update – The companies have just released this video, in which all of the co-founders “discuss” (in a way only they could) the acquisition:

The White Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Will Hit AT&T Shelves December 4

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 07:49 AM PST


White phones can be hit or miss. The white BlackBerry Pearl, for example, is an ugly phone. Period. But some white phones can be sexy little beasts, as is the new snow-white Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket. That’s right, just a few weeks after hitting AT&T shelves in black, a white version of the phone will be made available on December 4.

If you happened to forget, the Skyrocket is one of AT&T’s very first 4G LTE-capable phones, though you’ll have to be in one of the blue carrier’s 14 LTE markets to access those speeds.

The Skyrocket sports a 4.5-inch 480×800 Super AMOLED Plus display, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and Android 2.3 Gingerbread. You’ll find an 8-megapixel camera on the back capable of video capture in 1080p, along with a 1.3-megapixel front-facing shooter for video chat.

The phone will cost $249.99 on-contract.

Kik’s Cross-Platform Messaging App Makes Its Public Debut On Symbian (Yes, Symbian)

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 07:39 AM PST


Kik, the cross-platform messaging app that works on iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone, is today publicly launching on Symbian after a month of private beta testing. The new Kik Messenger for Symbian brings improved group texting, sent, delivered, and received receipts, notifications to indicate when someone is typing, support for photo sharing, and the ability to locate your contacts who already using Kik.

But I know what you’re thinking: why Symbian?

According to Kik CEO Ted Livingston, Symbian was “a logical next step” given the app’s recent return to BlackBerry devices. The company feels that to be truly a cross-platform application, you can’t just focus on the leaders, iPhone and Android, you have to address the needs of the complete smartphone market.

Says Livington, “frankly, I think writing Symbian off is a very North American centric perspective and is quite premature. There are hundreds of millions of Symbian users globally, with millions more expected to be added to the platform with the last generations of Symbian devices.”

“That’s a huge, diverse, global group of users who are hungry to use their smartphones in new ways,” he says. “If you want to truly change the way the world communicates, you can’t ignore Symbian users.”

So there. That’s why.

It’s also not a bad strategy for user adoption, either. The problem with many of today’s messaging apps (or voice apps, video chat apps, “social” apps, etc.) is that you’re expected to use them with others, but the app doesn’t run on but one or two platforms. As an iPhone/Android household ourselves, there’s an endless frustration with today’s iOS-centric marketing focus alone. Android users are people too!, I want to scream. I can’t imagine how the poor, slighted Symbian folks must feel then. (But seriously, maybe you should upgrade.)

If you’re still a Symbian user, though, at least you now have a great new app to try. You can grab Kik from the Ovi Store here. Everyone else can get their version from the mobile Kik homepage: just click here from your phone’s browser.

Wealthfront Debuts Customized, Intelligent Online Investment Advisor For The Tech Community

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 07:30 AM PST


You may have heard of Wealthfront (formerly kaChing), a startup that has been disrupting the investing and personal finance space. As we’ve written in the past, Wealthfront made it possible for average investors to access registered money managers who otherwise might require a minimum investment of $1 million or more.

Today, Wealthfront is launching its online financial advisor for the tech community, appealing to professionals from the tech communities who favor doing everything online, and are looking for ways to have their new wealth managed for far lower fees.

Finding (and paying for) a high-quality financial advisor can be a challenging task. First, you may not meet the minimum for some private wealth management advisors, which require millions under investment. And if you do qualify, these advisors take 1 percent or more of the returns.

What makes Wealthfront's web service unique is that it brings the quality investment theories of a fund manager online, at a much lower fee, essentially democratizing private wealth management to the masses. The company uses the industry-standard Modern Portfolio Theory, which until now, has been kept out of consumers' reach, and was only accessible via expensive financial advisors.

MPT optimizes your portfolio's expected returns for your acceptable level of risk. Until now, rigorous MPT-based financial advice has only been available through high-end financial advisors.

Wealthfront automates the application of this investment model, which was open sourced by Goldman Sachs. Co-founder Andy Rachleff, who was formerly a founder of Benchmark Capital, explains that the startup is targeting the tech community initially because this community feels comfortable managing money online. And Rachleff adds that many professionals in tech actually started asking Wealthfront for a specialized online platform.

When you begin using Wealthfront, the platform will ask you a number of questions to evaluate your risk, in order to create a tailored investment plan. For example, Wealthfront will ask if you own stock options, if you’ve ever made an angel investment, etc.

The platform will then recommend an optimized portfolio of carefully selected Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) spanning six asset classes, and monitors and periodically rebalances the investment mix to maintain a customer's desired risk tolerance. Rachleff explains that Wealthfront only uses exchange traded index funds because the target audience of tech professionals tend to be fans of ETFs because of low-cost nature.

Another element of the platform that Rachleff highlights is transparency. Wealthfront will show precisely what you'll invest in before you commit. Users have full visibility into how their portfolio is performing at any time. And there are no advisory fees on a customer's first $25,000 under management, and only a fee of 0.25% on assets exceeding $25,000.

And the timing is right for a focused platform focused on money management for tech professionals. With the current liquidity taking place in the tech world with both acquisitions and the IPOs of LinkedIn, Pandora, and many more to come, Wealthfront is an appealing alternative to putting your money with a Goldman Sachs, UBS or other private wealth manager. Already, Rachleff says the number of early employees of Facebook, Skype, LinkedIn, and Zynga have signed up to use the platform.

The startup has raised over $10 million from DAG Ventures and individual investors including Marc Andreessen, Jeff Jordan and partners from Benchmark Capital, Index Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Curly Cables, Where Have You Been All My Life?

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 07:07 AM PST

Screen shot 2011-12-01 at 10.00.09 AM

Some of my favorite “inventions” are the simple ones. The ideas that are so obvious that we overlook them entirely. This new Kickstarter project, the Curly Cable, falls squarely into that category. Honestly, why hasn’t this been created yet?

The Curly Cable is an iDevice charge/sync cord that looks an awful lot like the telephone cords of yore, when you were chained to the wall by a curly knotted 30-foot mess. I’m not actually old enough to have used one of these ancient wired phones, but I hear they used to come in a nice mustard yellow or avocado green. The Curly Cable, fitted in Apple white, is much less tangly, and gives you an extra few feet of leeway when using a plugged-in iPad or iPhone.

You’re already excited, I know. Why? Because we’ve all been there. You want to lay in bed and play a game or chat on the phone, but you have to hang your head off the edge or whip out a pair of headphones because your damn iPhone/iPad is almost down for the count in the battery department. It sucks.

But Curly Cable effectively fixes this issue by offering you an added 5 feet 10 inches (8 inches – 70 inches total) to conduct your iBusiness while plugged.

To get your very own Curly Cable, submit a $15 pledge (shipping included) through Kickstarter. $27 will get your two Curly Cables, while a super pledge of $400 will get you 40 Curly Cables.

5.47mm: Sharp’s Super-Thin CMOS Camera Module Paves Way For Thinner Smartphones

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 07:06 AM PST

sharp cmos

Smartphones are soon to become thinner: Sharp has developed a 1/3.2-inch CMOS camera module that’s just 5.47mm high, making it the thinnest module out there. The so-called RJ63YC100 features 12.1MP resolution, optical image stabilization and is specifically designed for use in handsets.

Sharp says it used “proprietary high-density packaging technology” to make the back-illuminated module as thin as possible. The device supports full HD video shooting and is sized at 11.0×11.0×5.47mm.

The good news is that the camera is ready for mass-production, which (according to Sharp) is scheduled to start in January (100,000 units per month). The company will ship the first samples to cell phone manufacturers tomorrow, at US$154 each.

New Social Discovery App Ntro Launches, Backed By $1.7 Million In Funding

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 07:04 AM PST


The L.A.-based startup nProgress is launching a new social discovery app ntro this morning, backed by over $1.7 million in funding from Jarl Mohn, Gordon Crawford, Kevin Wall, Activation Media Partners, Baroda Ventures, SV Angel, Jeff Pulver and Richard Crowell. The app, available now for iPhone and Android, is meant to connect you with others around who you may know through mutual friends or with those who share a common interest.

But unlike the others in this space (and there are plenty), ntro is staging its rollout to its target markets. It launches today in L.A. and the San Francisco Bay area, with additional cities planned for the future.

Ntro is offering an interesting combination of features we’ve previously seen in other “social discovery” apps, like SonarBanjo, Mingle and Holler, to name just a few. Like Sonar, ntro highlights those nearby you may know through mutual friends. Like Holler, it connects people around interests. Like Mingle, it’s focused on making introductions. And like Banjo, it does it all automatically.

Where ntro may have a bit of an edge, at least for now, is in terms of the customizations it provides. There are extensive filters and controls offered, allowing you to set your top interests as well as filter and search the surrounding crowd by very narrow interests. That is, not just “music” or “rock music” but the name of a favorite band, for example.

There’s also a heavy focus on privacy – the app never shares your location, nor does it share your personal info (like your phone number, email or even last name) without your consent.

With these extensive protections in place, there’s a bit of distance between you and those around you, which is quite unlike the creepy/awesomeness that is the social stalkerish Banjo or Sonar. In testing ntro, I couldn’t even see users’ profile photos, which is either due to the photo approval process (there’s a delay) or users’ own choice to not show their face (that’s an option). But if you really think you’ve found your soulmate/business connection/new best friend based on interests, you can message them via the app.

The other standout feature from ntro is the cover flow-esque way you browse through interests, where every item, whether a band, a book, a sport, an activity, etc., is given its own thumbnail. You then just tap the thumbnail to who else likes that item and is nearby.

At present, anyone can download the app and poke around, but only those in L.A. and S.F. will find nearby matches. The focus for the rollout is on large metro areas, with the next cities planned being New York, Chicago, D.C. and Boston.

You can try the app now via the download iTunes or the Android Market.

Diveboard Aims To Make Logging Scuba Dives Fun And Educational

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 06:45 AM PST


When I earned my PADI open water diver certification, I had every intention of making scuba diving a regular hobby. Then I got a baby and everything changed. I haven’t been able to dive since, but I still have my logbook and keep looking for opportunities to get back into a wetsuit. The next time I do, I’ll be sure to log my dive at Diveboard, a new online dive logbook.

Diveboard lets you manually enter dives, or you can automatically upload output from one of several supported dive computers. (Extra props to Diveboard for supporting Linux!). You can share your dives, including linking to any pictures you might have taken while underwater, as well as see other users’ dives and pictures. You can also track the number and kinds of fish you’ve spotted, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Diveboard is taking things a couple of extra steps by sharing their collected data with safety and scientific organizations. Users can elect to not share anything, share their data anonymously, or be identified as the owner of their data. Medical information will be shared with the Divers Alert Network (with whom less than 5% of divers regularly share their dive data). Water temperature information will be shared with; and species occurrence data will be shared with the Ocean Biographic Information System. If you’re a diver just looking to log your dives, you can also help out these other organizations just by logging your dives on Diveboard. Good stuff.

According to Diveboard’s Alex Casassovici, the intent is to keep the site free to use for divers. As he says, “diving is expensive enough already.” The team specifically wants to keep the site fun and useful for divers. Casassovici recognizes that most social networks (Facebook, Google+, etc) can’t adequately cater to the needs of niche groups, and he wants to see Diveboard be meaningful to and successful with the niche population of divers.

If you’re a diver, why not take Diveboard for a spin?

Sociocast Raises $1.5 Million For ‘Big Data’ Analytics Solutions

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 06:25 AM PST


Sociocast, which provides ‘Big Data’ analysis and human behavior prediction software to marketing and advertising decision makers within companies, this morning announced that it has closed a $1.5 million funding round before going after a larger financing round in 2012.

The bridge funding was provided by Detroit Venture Partners and angel investors Bobby Yazdani, Joe Zawadzki and Doug Imbruce.

Sociocast offers predictive modeling of human behavior based on analysis of huge data sets, enabling company like advertising technology vendors to gain real-time audience insights that help their own clients make effective marketing decisions.

Sociocast’s flagship product, dubbed Connect, aims to help advertisers reach the right people at the right moment, based on where audiences are and where they are likely to go next.

The company previously closed financing rounds in January 2010 and March 2011.

Frictionless Kills Facebook “Social” Article Readers Dead

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 06:20 AM PST

Screen Shot 2011-12-01 at 9.10.45 AM

Nik Cubrilovic and his buddy Brian Kennish have created something I’ll probably use every day. It’s called Frictionless and it takes the middle-man out of news reading on Facebook. It’s not quite ready for prime time, so I’ll recommend caution when trying it, but it works a treat.

You know those Washington Post and Yahoo News stories you see one Facebook? And you know how it asks you to install an “app” in order to read the link? Well, Frictionless hijacks that process in Chrome and sends you straight to the news story in question. It’s a bit wonky in that it still forces you to see the App page before it figures out what’s going on, but once the system pops you over to the actual article, it’s a lifesaver.

I’ve never been sure why folks like the Washington Post needed these Facebook apps in the first place and I’m wary of adding a bunch of cruft to an already overstimulating Facebook experience. It’s little workarounds like this that make the web a simpler and nicer place – kind of the way it was a decade ago.

Project Page

Video: Japanese Robot Climbs Up And Down Ladders By Itself

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 06:18 AM PST

robot feat

We’re getting closer and closer to the Robocalypse: Osaka-based industrial equipment maker Muscle Corporation and a few other Japanese companies have developed a humanoid that can climb up (and down) ladders all by itself. Considering how hard it still is to create robots that can walk smoothly, this is quite an accomplishment.

The so-called “Dream Robo” was actually showcased last year during the Shanghai Expo. It stands 1.4m high, weighs about 30kg and moves with the help of five motors that are built into its body.

Muscle Corp.’s president Hirofumi Tamai explains how Dream Robo actually climbs walls:

For example, if the robot suspends itself and moves to the next step, first of all, it raises its right hand. Then, it rotates its back. Next, it raises the hand a bit more, returns its back to the previous position, and pulls the hand downward. The force needed to grasp the pipe is transmitted in the motor, and after the motor has grasped it properly, the next motor is instructed to raise the left hand. So the robot’s motion involves that kind of dialog between the motors.

This video, shot by Diginfo TV in Tokyo, provides more insight:

And this video is proof that Dream Robos can handle walls outside buildings, too:

Acer President: Ultrabooks To Cost $799-$899 In 2Q12, $499 in 2013

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 06:10 AM PST


Ultrabook book prices are dropping. A report surfaced a few days back sourcing supply chain partners that stated ultrabooks should decline in price by 5-10% early next year. Now, Acer’s president is on record saying he expects even deeper price reductions and at least models from his company will cost between $799-$899 by the second half of 2012. Company president Jim Wong even stated that he expects prices to hit $499 in 2013.

The low prices, he stated, will be in part thanks to the uptick in ultrabook shipments. Right now Acer ships 100,000 ultrabooks a month but sees a future where that number is between 250,000 and 300,000 units. Acer hopes to hit that goal by the end of 2011 but that could be tough with the current prices. However, once the company hits mass shipments, prices should organically fall even farther.

The first half of 2012 will make or break ultrabooks. Most PC makers will be shipping their second generation models en mass and will be looking for these models to perform well. If they show any sign of faltering, expect at least a few companies to pull back, which will likely cause the entire ultrabook movement to collapse like a human pyramid topped with a fat kid.

Barnes & Noble Reports Q2 Net Loss Of $6.6M, Says NOOK Is Now A $220 Million Business

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 05:54 AM PST


Barnes & Noble this morning reported sales and earnings for its second quarter ended October 29, 2011, and they’re a mixed bag. Total sales decreased slightly, from $1.9 billion to $1.89 billion, compared to the prior year.

The company posted a net loss of $6.6 million for the quarter, or $0.17 per share, as compared to a net loss of $12.6 million last year. This is below Wall Street expectations.

Physical book sales declined, Barnes & Noble says, offset by increases in NOOK products and positively affected by the liquidation of the remaining Borders stores. sales, meanwhile, increased a decent 17 percent over the prior year, from $177 million to $206 million.

Zooming in on its NOOK business, Barnes & Noble boasted about the successful kick-off for its NOOK Tablet.

The $249 device was introduced on November 7, 2011. In the first few weeks of launch, the company says the NOOK Tablet has become the fastest selling NOOK product in its history.

Says William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble:

"We expect to sell millions of devices during our third quarter, adding to the millions of current NOOK customers."

B&N further said that the consolidated NOOK business across all of the company's segments, including sales of digital content, device hardware and related accessories, increased 85 percent in the second quarter to $220 million, on a comparable sales basis.

The company also says it plans to invest more heavily in customer acquisition activities to fuel NOOK digital growth. However, as a result, B&N expects full year EBITDA to be at the lower end of the previously issued range of $210 million to $250 million.

AVG Acquires ‘Online Family Protection’ Software Maker Bsecure

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 05:29 AM PST


Bsecure, a provider of online family protection software, has been acquired by Internet and mobile security giant AVG Technologies.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Bsecure says it has provided cloud-based technology and parent controls software in the Internet filtering industry since 2001. The company has long been a partner of AVG partner in offering parental control products.

Related: AVG Acquires Mobile Security Startup DroidSecurity

Phonedeck Turns Your Phone Into A Cloud App — 500 Pre-launch Invites

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 05:01 AM PST


Phonedeck appeared last year at Le Web. At the time it seemed very much like a beta project to manage calls from a computer. But we’ve long had the position that real social graph is in your phone – the people you text and call – and Phonedeck has now come on leaps and bounds. Today it’s releasing 500 invites for TechCrunch readers (use the code “TechCrunch” on the site) and revealing more about its upcoming service.

HealthRally Raises $400K From Esther Dyson & Angels To Help You Get In Shape (With Real Rewards)

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 05:00 AM PST


Busy schedules; mouths to feed; Angry Birds to play; another post by Rip Empson to read: There are thousands of distractions that get in the way of our regular exercise regimens, getting in shape, and improving our health. In fact, Americans spend over $50 billion each year on products and services designed to help lose weight, quit smoking, and to improve overall fitness.

From smart devices that track heart rates and sleep patterns to platforms that gameify your workout routines, entrepreneurs are looking for better and more effective ways to encourage people to get off the couch and take responsibility over their health.

HealthRally, a San Francisco-based social health startup in private beta, wants to help people reach their fitness goals by using one of the oldest tricks in the book: Financial incentives.

Yep, HealthRally is tying some basic behavioral economics, which show that financial incentives can triple one’s chance of reaching health goals, to a little bit of social networking in an attempt to create the ultimate way to stay healthy. To that end, the startup is taking a cue from Kickstarter and is building a crowdfunding platform through which users can share their health goals and have friends, family, and colleagues pitch in to create those real carrots-on-a-string that will keep them motivated. (Much like Fitango before it.)

HealthRally is betting that with friends and family contributing financially to one’s fitness goals, that peer support will drive success rates through the roof. That’s why the startup enables users to assemble their friends and broadcast formal wellness commitments to those they care about, with the ability to manage the process as they work through their checkpoints. And there’s no better way to motivate people than with cold hard cash, holiday gift items, and the prospect of scorn from spouses and friends if they don’t meet their goals.

In support of this social, crowdfunding approach, the startup is today announcing that it has raised over $400,000 in seed funding from prominent angel investors like Esther Dyson, Isy Goldwasser, Dick Sass, Ty Danco, and Jeff Thiel.

HealthRally has also assembled an advisory panel that includes researchers and entrepreneurs with significant experience in both behavioral economics and social networking, including Paul Zak, Director of The Center for Neuroeconomic Studies at Claremont University, Tom Valente of The Keck School of Medicine at USC, the former president of Healthiest You Denise Thomas, and SocialText Chairman and Co-founder, Ross Mayfield, among others.

“Games and badges are great, but most people would rather have an iPad, a vacation, or cool new pair of shoes”, says HealthRally Co-founder and CEO Zack Lynch. With HealthRally combining financial incentives with social support from friends and loved ones, it may be on its way to unlocking an effective means by which to both motivate people to take action and sustain a higher level of fitness once they do.

The startup isn’t saying much more on the specifics of its platform just yet, but it will be launching in public beta by the end of the year. So, more to come soon. To request an invitation, jog on over to their landing page.

Total Mobile eBook Sales Forecast To Reach $10B By 2016; Now Close To 1 Million Books In Kindle Store

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 04:43 AM PST


With this morning’s addition of 16,000 Italian-language ebooks, and 22,000 Spanish-language books, Amazon has updated the total number of digital books it claims to offer through its Kindle Store. The company says the new Kindle Store now offers over 900,000 titles in English and other languages, and indeed, the eBooks section actually turns up 950,000+ search results.

For the record: this is eBooks only – all in all, there are more than 1 million books, newspapers, magazines and blogs available for Amazon Kindle today, the company professes on this page (see ‘Massive Selection’) and elsewhere.

Conveniently, Juniper Research this morning released a new report on mobile eBook sales, which it forecasts to reach close to $10 billion ($9.7b) by 2016, up from $3.2 billion this year.

The research firm says the expected jump in eBook sales for portable devices can be attributed to the growing number of dedicated eReader devices on the market, an upsurge in usage across smartphones and tablet computers and the rise of brand bookstore apps like Apple’s iBookstore and, of course, Amazon’s Kindle Store.

Juniper Research says the increasing demand for tablets means that such devices will account for nearly 30 percent of all eBook downloads by 2016.

Perhaps surprisingly, the firm claims smartphones are not, and are unlikely to become, a primary reading device in markets other than Japan (due to the manga comics phenomenon there).

Amazon Launches Native-Language Kindle Devices, Kindle Stores In Italy And Spain

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 03:59 AM PST


Amazon this morning announced the fresh availability of an Italian-language Kindle, and the opening of an Italian Kindle Store, offering customers over 16,000 Italian-language Kindle books. The same thing is happening in Spain, obviously with a Spanish-language Kindle and a custom Spanish Kindle Store (over 22,000 titles).

In addition, Amazon announced that authors and publishers in both countries are now able to make their books available in the new and Kindle Stores using its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform (Spanish / Italian).

Read more at TechCrunch Europe.

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