Monday, December 12, 2011

The Latest from TechCrunch

The Latest from TechCrunch

Link to TechCrunch

Samsung’s LTE-Friendly Galaxy Tab 7.7 To Find Home On Verizon

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 09:50 AM PST


Verizon is awash in solid tablet options right now, but their current LTE-capable lineup may leave you wanting for something a little less unwieldy. If the thought of manhandling a 10-inch tablet is too much to bear, then take note: Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.7 will be coming to Big Red in due course with support for the company’s 4G network in tow.

Droid-Life reports that entries for the 7.7-inch tablet have begun to trickle into Verizon’s employee-facing support systems. Despite being the runt of the Galaxy Tab litter, the pint-sized tab is no slouch: it features a 1.4 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, a 1280×800 Super AMOLED Plus display, and a 5100 mAh battery. Hopefully the battery will be able to provide enough juice to accomodate the Tab’s LTE radio, which could be a make-it-or-break-it factor when it comes to usability.

It’ll certainly be a great choice for people looking to lighten their load, but as of yet there’s no word on when Verizon will push it out the door. Pricing details are nonexistant too, but hopefully Verizon cuts us consumers a break: they recently launched the Motorola XYBOARDs with a pretty hefty contracted price, so maybe Verizon can afford to dial the price gouging down a bit.

Adaptu Takes On Mint With Mobile Wallet Launch

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 09:45 AM PST


It’s hard to take on the entrenched incumbent Mint when it comes to delivering personalized financial management tools (just ask Wesabe), but Adaptu thinks it has found a niche where it can compete. With today’s launch of Adaptu’s mobile wallet, the company is focusing on a few differentiating factors, including its predictive analysis of cash flow, tools to help prevent overspending and support for other types of cards, like your insurance card, rewards cards and business cards, for example.

The end result is a fairly decent competitor to Mint’s mobile solution, which complements Adaptu’s online money management service at, a wholly owned subsidiary of StanCorp Financial Group, launched at the beginning of the year.

Like Mint, Adaptu can track your accounts including your checking, savings, credit cards, investments, loans and mortgages. But for consumers, one of Adaptu’s key features is the app’s ability to tell you – on the spot – if you can afford to buy something. This goes a bit beyond Mint’s budgeting feature because it looks at current and past spending trends in order to predict your future cash flow. This way, you’re able to see how a purchase would impact your monthly spending goals. The app is also able to track your bills and utilities, so it has a full picture of your cash flow situation from month-to-month.

In some ways, what Adaptu does is similar to HelloWallet’s “spending guidance” feature in its own newly launched iPhone app – a feature that tells you how much you have left to spend at that moment within a given budget category. However, HelloWallet isn’t a consumer-targeted service. It’s sold to enterprise customers. Still, given both companies’ emphasis on spending guidance, there are hints that this may be an area where Mint falls a little short.

The other big differentiator from competitors’ mobile wallet/mobile financial solutions is Adaptu’s ability to mimic a real wallet, thanks to its ability to host your business cards, insurance cards and business reward cards. To use this feature, you snap a photo of the card in question and add notes if need be. Everything is secured in the mobile wallet via a complex password and PIN, plus bank-grade security.

Overall, Mint seems to have a better user interface and design, but that’s a matter of personal preference. Adaptu’s (purposely) hand-drawn logo and the design of its financial analysis charts come across a little juvenile, when I think it was going for “user-friendly” instead. Pet peeves, perhaps, but I still want my bank-related apps to look like something a grown-up would use. Your opinion may vary.

But the sum of Adaptu’s features make it an interesting alternative to Mint for those who want more focus on cash flow details, financial planning and spending help. Mint, however, still leads in terms of number of banks, cards and accounts supported and the richness of its tools.

Adaptu is a free download for iPhone, available here and does not include a monthly fee.

The Nao Next Gen Bot Will Be Your Friend When No One Else Will

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 09:23 AM PST

Whoa. I thought Pleo was hot but this thing is out of this world. It’s basically a little walking robot that can see, hear, and recognize you from a distance. Originally designed to help teach autistic children, the Nao is now a fully-featured and surprisingly friendly-looking robot that can walk, play catch, and talk to you. The company, Aldebaran Robotics, updated their original Nao robot, adding a 1.6GHz processor and two HD cameras.

This guy won’t be cheap – he’s a service robot and the movement is so surprisingly smooth that I don’t doubt it will be in the upper thousands when it’s finally available. You can pre-order right now although I suspect that these guys choose you rather than the other way around.

From the press release:

Three years after it started selling its first NAO models, the company has sold 2,000 robots worldwide. Aldebaran Robotics has now released the latest generation of its programmable humanoid robots, which is intended for research, teaching and, more generally, for exploring the new area of service robotics.

Stemming from six years of research and dialogue with its community of researchers and users, NAO Next Gen is capable of a higher level of interaction, thanks to increased computing power, improved stability and higher accuracy. Therefore, the latest version of the NAO robot widens considerably the range of research, teaching and application possibilities made available to specific user groups.
One of the NAO Next Gen‟s novel and most remarkable features is the fact that it is fitted with a new on-board computer, based on the powerful 1.6GHz Intel® AtomTM processor, which is suitable for multi-tasking calculations. It also has two HD cameras that are attached to a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). This set-up allows the simultaneous reception of two video streams, significantly increasing speed and performance in face-and-object recognition, even under poor-lighting conditions.

As well as its innovative features with respect to hardware, NAO Next Gen boasts a new, faster and more reliable vocal-recognition programme called Nuance. This programme is coupled with a new functionality known as „word spotting‟, which is capable of isolating and recognizing a specific word within a sentence or a conversation.

Product Page via Victor

Approaching IPO Day, Zynga Now Has The Top Five Games On Facebook

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 09:06 AM PST


This is a big week for Zynga, as the gaming giant readies for its debut on the public markets at the end of the week. The company’s offering is expected to price this week and will raise around $1 billion in the IPO. Interestingly, Zynga passed a pretty major milestone this week, according to Inside Network’s AppData.

Currently, Zynga has the top five games on Facebook using daily active user numbers, with Words With Friends edging out EA’s Sims Social. CityVille took the top spot with 10.1 million DAU, followed by CastleVille (8.1 million DAU); FarmVille (7.2 million DAU); Texas HoldEm Poker (6.3 million DAU) and Words With Friends (5.7 million DAU).

Of course, Words With Friends got a big push last week after actor Alec Baldwin was kicked off an American Airlines flight for playing the game. Baldwin Tweeted about the incident, mentioning Words With Friends, and even mocked the altercation on Saturday Night Live over the weekend.

This extra publicity could have definitely given Words With Friends the boost it needed to move past EA’s Sims, which has been ahead of Zynga’s Scrabble-like game for some time now (Sims is still ahead of the game when it comes to monthly active users).

The company has seen some games flattening in growth, and others declining in traffic, so this slight surge in usage comes at an opportune time. Considering the importance of Facebook as a platform for Zynga’s games, having the top five games on the social network the week prior to the company’s much awaited IPO certainly helps the company put a nice growth spin on its dominance in the social gaming market. We’ll see if investors agree.

Storm8 Doubles Down On Casual Mobile Games (For iOS) With Pet Shop Story And Zoo Story 2

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 09:06 AM PST

Screen Shot 2011-12-12 at 9.05.38 AM

Like Zynga, Playdom and Playfish did in the early days of the Facebook platform, Storm8 beat most other game developers to smartphones back in 2009. It’s been nailing the big, lucrative market for simple RPGs and casual simulation titles ever since. And the company is pushing further into the casual side of its business today with the launch of Pet Shop Story and Zoo Story 2.

Both are starting on iOS.

Storm8 has launched many of its games on Android, and was part of Facebook’s mobile platform launch in October, but chief executive Perry Tam wouldn’t confirm that iOS is any more of a focus now. “They’re of equal importance going forward,” he tells me. “We have to dominate in both to be number one.”

Although, his company has clearly been doing quite well on iOS in terms of money. If you add in its casual studio, TeamLava, Storm8 had ten of the top 100 grossing titles on iOS this past year, based on Apple’s Rewind stats (although none of the games were in the top ten, so they weren’t making the most).

Pet Shop Story is along the same vein as the nine existing TeamLava games: You pick a cute animal then build a cute fantasy world for it, for free. But then you pay to buy virtual currency to purchase some goods while playing. The game also adapts a feature seen in similar types of titles, in that you can cross-breed animals to create new ones — chugs, labradoodles, toygers, etc. Zoo Story 2 comes with a similar range of features, including the ability to cross-breed animals, albeit with the zoo theme.

No one can accuse Storm8 of getting experimental. “It’s accurate to say that we’re focused on big trends in gaming, that the key principle is trying to reach as many users as we can,” Tam replies when I bring up the similarities between his company’s games and other hits on the market.

The money that comes in from its games has been adding up fast in the last couple years, in any case. We heard in August that it was raising a $300 million round of funding at a $1 billion valuation, based on a $100 million run-rate.  Inside Mobile Apps had previously reported that it had been talking about selling to EA or Zynga before focusing on a new round. Tam wouldn’t comment on its funding/acquisition status, except to say that its goal is to be the number one mobile gaming company. “We think we have what it takes. Whatever can accelerate that would be very interesting.” So I asked about an IPO. He replied: “If that’s what accelerates us, then yes.”

Hyper-Local Ad Targeting Startup PlaceIQ Raises $4.2 Million And Moves To New York City

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 08:48 AM PST

PlaceIQ logo

Ah, the allure of the Big City. PlaceIQ, a hyper-local ad targeting startup from Boulder, Colorado is moving to New York City, flush with $4.2 million in series A funding. New investors include U.S. Venture Partners and Valhalla Partners. Existing investors IA Ventures, kbs+p ventures, and angel investor Jerry Neumann also invested in the round.

PlaceIQ breaks up the world into 100 million tiles and gathers as much location data about each tile so that it can infer what people in those locations might be interested in at different times of day. As I explained in a post earlier this year:

Mobile advertising inventory still goes largely unfilled because the relevance and targeting isn't that good. PlaceIQ sifts through tons of data about locations to give marketers a mini-zipcode-like profile of each block. The data comes from both open sources and commercial data sets, including place data, retail data, government data, event data, photo data, social data, and, crime data. This goes well beyond Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare, but the company says it doesn't use any personally identifiable information. Rather, it is making assumptions based on the contextual cues of a person's location and time of day.

. . . It takes all of these various hyper-local data sources and maps it onto its 100 million map tiles. Then it normalizes the data and can guess what type of person is likely to be at that location at that time (a student, tourist, shopper, financial or tech worker, etc). It can also spit out information such as retail sales volume, events, foot traffic by time, and social media activity

The company is still doing mobile ad targeting (on an anonymous basis), but now thinks there is a broader opportunity in location-specific audience analytics across mobile phones, tablets, digital billboards, and even online and TV. It sounds like PlaceIQ is still trying to find its place. Welcome to New York!

Amazon’s Trojan Horse: Don’t Underestimate The Kindle Fire

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 08:11 AM PST


A number of prominent folks have been ripping into the Kindle Fire lately, claiming that it is slow, exhibits poor UX choices, and that consumers are returning them en masse. Heck, even the affable Marco Arment writes “If I didn't need the Fire for Instapaper testing, I'd return it.”

Tough crowd.

But there’s another narrative that says this is a secret success. Analysts estimate that Amazon will sell 5 million of the devices this quarter, a little under half the iPads sold in Q4 2011 (although the Fire has been on sale for a shorter period). I have a feeling that Amazon will hit or just graze this mark once it tallies holiday sales but, Amazon being Amazon, they’ll never announce total sales. Marco Arment or no Marco Arment, the Fire will do just fine.

The Kindle Fire is Amazon’s Trojan Horse. It’s made for the mass of men and women who have been looking into this whole tablet business and like what they see. But it is, first and foremost, a reading device and to fault it for not playing Angry Birds well or offering a sub-par Netflix experience is to ignore its primary goal: to inject the concept of Amazon content downloads into a consumer base that is increasingly inundated with video, audio, and ebook sources.

The Kindle Fire isn’t for the Marco Arment’s of the world. It’s for the folks who have priced the competition – the $529 Xyboard, the $499 iPad – and refused to take the plunge. Aside from a few mid-range sources (Vizio comes to mind, as does Viewsonic) there has been little support for the lower end by major manufacturers. When Amazon put their might behind something that may, at best, be frustrating to power users, the general consumer will scoop it up. In short, Kindle Fire, like the Nook Color before it, was the tablet I was waiting to buy for my mom.

The Kindle Fire clearly has some issues. The power button is horrible, for example. However, if you stay in Amazon’s walled garden of books and content, straying only occasionally to download a game or app, your experience is going to be more than acceptable. What frustrates the Android and iPad power user is the sense that the Fire should be so much better. It can’t and won’t be. Amazon isn’t selling to the power user. In a tech market obsessed with Tegra chips and Ice Cream Sandwich, the Fire is a device alone, designed from the ground up to be Amazon incarnate, from now unto eternity. Honeycomb? They don’t need no stinking Honeycomb.

In the end Amazon will cry all way to the bank as the Fire sells out over the holiday and is updated next year to faster and potentially slimmer hardware. It’s hard to accept, but Amazon doesn’t need the hardware geeks salivating over its specs. All it needs to do is serve up copies of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest.

Fileboard Manages All Of Your Attachments And Files On The iPad

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 08:00 AM PST


Fileboard is launching today as a service which allows people to manage their attachments and files on the iPad. The startup says that today’s professionals have hundreds of files scattered over dozens of local and cloud-based platforms including Dropbox, gMail and others.

Fileboard allows iPad users to manage email attachments and files in a single, unified view. Via a free iPad app, users can add and manage multiple file streams and accounts such as email for attachments, Office 365, Dropbox and The app will then show you all of your recently updated files and share files.

The virtue of using the service, says co-founder Khuram Hussein, is that you are able to see all of your attachments. Hussein previously co-founded message management startup Inbox2.

Fileboard plans to continue to add additional security, data loss protection, and role-based control features. The company has raised funding from 500 Startups, Christopher Grey and Klaus Fürst von Sayn Wittgenstein.

Lightbox App Debuts New Photo Journal: It’s A Lazy Man’s Tumblr

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 07:51 AM PST

Lightbox Photo Journal Screenshot

Lightbox, the beautifully designed social photo app for Android backed by $1.2 million in seed funding from Index, Accel, SV Angel, 500 Startups, and others, is today launching a revamped web interface that’s like a lazy man’s Tumblr. As with the hot blogging startup Tumblr, the idea with Lightbox’s new photo journal feature is to provide a stream of updates others can follow, share, like and comment on.

For all its simplicity, Tumblr still involves the set up of a blog and mostly manual updates. Automatic posting of content requires additional configuration or the use of third-party tools. But with today’s Lightbox update, all users get their own Tumblr-esque photo blog, no extra effort required.

Previously, Lightbox users were given a page for their public photos at a custom URL (format:, but the layout involved pages of thumbnails to click through. Today, that URL will now become a photo blog, where photos are automatically organized into albums for you. To accomplish this, Lightbox looks at the timestamp associated with the photos taken, enabling the service to group photos together appropriately. The end result is an automatically created photo blog with an attractive layout which ends up feeling very much like Tumblr. Here’s an example. And here’s another.

Users are given a “follow” button next to which their social stats display, including the number of photos posted, number of followers and the number of people they’re following in return. When you hover over one of the photos, you can quickly click a heart button to “like” it. You can view these favorites later on from your profile section. On an individual photo’s page, you can comment, tweet, share to Facebook or Google+. The entire post itself can be socially shared as well.

Lightbox has been an interesting company to watch, given its focus on building for Android first. Despite the mobile platform’s large market share, it’s still rare to see companies choosing Android over iOS for their debut. But that’s where Lightbox’s creators, Thai Tran and Nilesh Patel, see a market opportunity.

So far, the company seems to be proving there is a case for well-designed apps on Android (And it’s not the only one). Lightbox has now reached nearly 1 million downloads in less than six months. Going forward, the focus will be on both Android and HTML5. For example, the new Lightbox website and photo blogs are optimized for HTML5 web browsers, including Safari on the iPhone and iPad.

Lightbox’s update was submitted to the Android Market this morning, and the rollout to all of Google’s servers should complete by 9 AM PST today. You can download the Android app here.

Lenovo’s 2005S LePad Goes Live In China For Just $415

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 07:34 AM PST


Size matters, folks. Especially in the minds of our beloved electronics makers. Even with the 3.7-inch LePhone and the 7-inch A1 tablet on the market, Lenovo still made plans to fill the 5-inch space. Today those plans have taken shape with a pricing announcement for the 5-inch LePad S2005 Android mini-tab (or giant phone).

GizChina reports that the Android 2.3 Gingerbread-powered LePad is now available across China in Lenovo’s online stores, as well as its Taobao store for just 2699 Yuan (US $415). In terms of specs, you’ll find a 5-inch 800×480 LTPS touch screen, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. A 5-megapixel shooter sits around back along with a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat.

There’s nothing here that really stands out, but all in all it looks like a pretty cheap option if you’re looking to satisfy your phablet craving.

Any.DO Android App Downloaded 500,000 Times In 30 Days

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 07:29 AM PST


There are not many breakout mobile apps that are Android-first, but if the last 30 days are any indication, social to-do app Any.DO has a shot at getting there. The app’s been downloaded 500,000 times in the past 30 days from the Android market, and people are downloading it at a rate of 40,000 a day. The app is not quite one of the top 100 free apps yet (it is currently No. 113), but it is moving up the ranks. (As a point of comparison, Kevin Rose’s Oink app was downloaded 100,000 times in about three weeks on the iPhone and Yelp took 7 months to reach one million downloads on Android).

“The openness of the Android platform allows us to do many things that are impossible on other platforms,” says CEO Omer Perchik. Any.Do launched a month ago as a sleek to-do list with social sharing features. When we covered the launch, Sarah Perez wrote:

Like any to do list, Any.DO supports the basics, like adding tasks, marking them complete, setting priorities, etc. But it does a number of other things which make it stand out from the crowd. For example, you can create tasks using voice input, it syncs with Google tasks, and you can use gestures to manage your tasks like drag-and-drop for assigning task priorities or organizing tasks into folders or swiping to mark tasks complete. You can also shake your phone to clear off the completed tasks from the screen.

However, the most important feature is the app's backend. This task list app is actually intelligent, offering to auto-complete entries as you type. . . . Any.DO also lets you collaborate on tasks with family, friends and colleagues, potentially displacing group texting, email threads and other more socially focused apps like Facebook or GroupMe. It can offer contact suggestions when building collaborative tasks, and for those who are not Any.DO members, the app supports communication via email and SMS.

The app has an average 4.6-star rating out of more than 4,600 ratings. The initial growth spurt was due to the inherent social sharing features of the app (virality, FTW) and promotion on the Android Market. The installs seem to be leveling off a bit, but if people keep using the app and sharing to-do lists the growth should continue. Drilling down into usage sats, according to the company, 2.5 million tasks have been added, with more than one million completed. There are an average of 100,000 tasks added every day, and 50 percent are added by voice.

Steve Jobs Biography Is Amazon’s Best-Selling Book Of The Year

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 07:05 AM PST


Move over, Tina Fey — Amazon has just released the list of their ten best-selling books of the year, and Walter Isaacson’s thoughtful biography of Steve Jobs has come out on top.

The biography’s appearance at the top of the list is a bit of a surprise considering its relatively late publication this year, but the book’s impressive sales performance was fueled by the huge show of fan support after the Apple co-founder’s untimely passing in October.

Amazon culled these rankings from both their traditional book sales figures and Kindle eBook downloads, and this year two titles submitted through Amazon’s Direct Publishing program have made the top 10: Darcie Chan’s “The Mill River Recluse,” and Chris Culver’s “The Abbey”.

While Isaacson’s take on the life of Jobs took Amazon’s top honors, it doesn’t seem to have fared as well over at Barnes and Noble. According to their list of the year’s best-sellers (which to be fair only runs through November 21), Jobs’s biography rounds out the top five. It’s performance as a eBook in Nook’s line-up is even less impressive: it lands at #33 on the nookbook bestseller list, behind the compiled Hunger Games trilogy and something called “Mail-Order Christmas Brides.”

Here’s the full list of Amazon’s best-sellers, in case you’re looking to finish up your holiday shopping with a few good books.

  1. "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson
  2. "Bossypants" by Tina Fey
  3. "A Stolen Life" by Jaycee Dugard
  4. "The Mill River Recluse" by Darcie Chan
  5. "In the Garden of the Beasts" by Erik Larson
  6. "A Dance with Dragons" by George R.R. Martin
  7. "The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain
  8. "The Litigators" by John Grisham
  9. "The Abbey" by Chris Culver
  10. "Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle)" by Christopher Paolini

Urbanspoon Adds Check-ins With New “Dineline” Feature For iPhone

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 06:50 AM PST


Urbanspoon, the mobile restaurant recommendations and reservations application, is today adding a new feature called “Dineline,” which allows users to check-in to restaurants in order to track their dining habits. While most check-in apps are meant to register your presence at a venue for the purpose of game play, social networking, or receiving offers or discounts, Dineline is meant to be used to remember a meal, something more akin to Foodspotting than Foursquare.

The feature, rolling out to iOS users this morning via an app update, adds a new icon to the Urbanspoon homescreen. For those of you who haven’t been on Urbanspoon for a while, it’s no longer just a clever slot machine-style toy to find new places to eat. It also lets you browse and search for restaurants, connect with friends, and snap and share photos of the restaurant or your meal. It’s this latter feature – the photo-sharing aspect to the service – that is most improved with the addition of Dineline, as it now gives that photo a more personal context and purpose.

When you launch Urbanspoon now, a check-in button appears on the top right of the homescreen, allowing you to enter the “Where” and “When” of your latest meal. If you choose to share more information, you’re able to add a photo, meal price, notes and tap “I like it” or “I don’t” to save your quick opinion.

From then on, that check-in and the additional information you added will be available in the Dineline section of the app for future reference. The app will even make you charts and graphs about your favorite cuisines, restaurants, neighborhoods and more.

One nice thing about the check-in feature is that all this info can be added after the fact – which is great for those of you who don’t want to be the nerd at the table taking notes about your food. Just steal a quick photo and you can do the rest later. This is also handy for the security-conscious, who don’t want to broadcast where they are when not at home.

Despite being called a “check-in,” the addition is clearly not mean to pit Urbanspoon against Foursquare or Facebook, as it’s more of a utility than a social feature. That makes a bit more sense than Yelp’s check-in, for example, which blatantly rips off Foursquare’s idea of “Mayors” for its “Dukes.” However, at least Yelp’s check-in lets you push your arrival out to Facebook and Twitter, but Urbanspoon is Twitter-only. That needs to change. (Seriously, the whole Twitter is about “tweeting what you had for lunch” thing is a myth. Most don’t).

The Urbanspoon mobile apps have been downloaded over 20 million times across mobile platforms. The app update should roll out shortly on iOS.

RadioShack Combines Promos To Offer The iPhone 4S (AT&T) On The Cheap

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 06:48 AM PST


So you missed out on getting the new iPhone 4S when it came out. Worse, all your friends got the new Apple flagship and make fun of your 3GS at every possible opportunity. Plus, all the holiday shopping you’ve been doing has made it nearly impossible to afford the 4S without giving up every shred of financial responsibility.

If that description fits you, even a little bit, then rise up, dear reader, from your sad, Siri-free existence. Because Radio Shack just offered up an excellent way for you to be #winning with regards to your 4S-toting friends.

By combining a few different programs, namely RadioShack’s $30 instant savings promo and its Trade & Save program, you might find yourself walking out of a RadioShack with a free AT&T iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S. Here’s how it works:

Starting yesterday through Sunday, December 17, customers can automatically lop $30 off the price of a new iPhone 4 or 4S. Those are some rather measly savings to start, but when you pair them with savings from RadioShack’s Trade & Save program things get really interesting. RadioShack is offering a guarantee of at least $100 (max $200) for eligible 3GS and iPhone 4 trade-ins.

That means you could actually end up with up to $130 store credit after picking up what would be a $99 iPhone 4 (for you, it’s free of course). Then there’s the 4S. If everything goes as planned concerning your iPhone 4/3GS trade-in, you could nab a 16GB model for free too, with a little store credit left over. Even the mamma-jamma 64GB beast can be had for $169.99 if you play your phones right, which usually goes for $399.99.

Below you can find the pricing chart for savings, along with eligibility rules for trade-ins:


‡$200 value only applies to iPhone 4 16GB or 32GB in fully functional, cosmetically excellent condition, and charger must be included in trade. Appraised trade-in value credit may be applied instantly to your purchase. Other Terms: Phone must power on, cannot be PIN locked and must be in fully functional, working condition without any broken components, including, but not limited to, cracked display. In addition, the cell phone housing or casing cannot be cracked or broken, and neither the display nor the housing can exhibit any signs of liquid damage. Limit 1 per customer. All trade-ins are final. Not available where prohibited by local law.

Barnes & Noble Updates The Year-Old Nook Color, Adds Netflix, Flixster And More

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 06:26 AM PST

Netflix on B&N Nook Tablet

Barnes & Noble isn’t done with its original tablet. The Nook Color is over a year old and it just got its largest update to date that brings Netflix, Flixster, and access to Nook Comics and PagePerfect Nook Books.

The Nook Color paved the way for the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet by showing there’s a market for a content-driven low-cost tablet. The Nook Color was almost instantly a hit partially because it is completely hackable. Modders quickly improved the device by opening it up to 3rd party apps, but B&N was clearly paying attention because the tablet’s official updates often followed the trends of recent hacks. Slowly the Nook Color gained access to email, a proper web browser and even apps. Now, a year after it was released, the Nook Color is more tablet than ereader.

Today’s update brings Netflix and Flixster to the Nook Color. The update is of course free although access to content from either service is not. The update also brings two new Nook services: Nook Comics and PagePerfect Nook Books.

The Nook Comics app opens access to what B&N is calling “the largest collection of Marvel graphic novels” and thanks to the Nook Color’s color screen, these comics are displayed in full color. The PagePerfect Nook Books gives publishes a bit more control over how content is displayed on the Nook Color’s 7-inch screen. The new category of Nook books are “carefully crafted” to maintain the “precision and beauty” traditionally associated with their print counterparts. This media type first debuted with the Nook Tablet and is now available on the older Nook Color.

Barnes & Noble is officially a major player in the tablet scene. After Apple and Amazon, their line of tablets are seemingly outselling tabs from the big boys like Motorola and Samsung. B&N managed to ship more than a million Nook Tablets in the month follow its release. With support continuing for the aging Nook Color, B&N is stating loud and clear that it’s ready to fight. The Nook brand is here to stay (as if there was any doubt).

Nook Color owners can sideload the update today or simply wait for the OTA update that’s expected to roll out later this week.

Intel Lowers Q4 Sales Expectations By $1B Due To PC Makers Reducing Inventories

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 06:16 AM PST


Intel has just announced that its fourth quarter results are expected to fall below the company's previous outlook because of hard disk drive supply shortages.

Intel now expects fourth quarter revenue to be around $13.7 billion, plus or minus $300 million, on both a GAAP and non-GAAP basis, which is $1 billion lower than the previous expectation of $14.7 billion, plus or minus $500 million.

Intel explains that while sales of personal computers are expected to be up in the fourth quarter, the PC supply chain is reducing inventories and microprocessor purchases (this is where chip maker Intel is hurt) as a result of the hard disk drive supply shortages. So basically, PC makers aren’t making as many computers, which is cutting into Intel’s revenue when it comes to supplying chips to these device makers. Intel expects hard disk drive supply shortages to continue into the first quarter, followed by a rebuilding of microprocessor inventories as supplies of hard disk drives recover during the first half of 2012.

Intel just came off a strong third quarter, in which the company had its most profitable quarter ever.

Rogers Extends LTE Reach In Canada

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 05:57 AM PST

Screen shot 2011-12-12 at 8.56.03 AM

Folks in the Great White North have reason to be excited today, especially if they’re a customer of the Rogers network. Canada’s largest wireless carrier has today announced the expansion of its new LTE network in the Greater Toronto area and surrounding Vancouver.

The service initially rolled out to Ottawa this summer, and then stretched to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Today, residents of Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, and Markham can enjoy LTE speeds. As far as Vancouver is concerned, folks from West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Delta, Langley, Surrey, and Maple Ridge will also have access to Rogers’ 4G LTE service.

Rogers offers up a few different pieces of hardware to help you make the most of LTE, the most enticing of which would be the Samsung Galaxy S II LTE. You’ll also find the HTC Raider smartphone, the HTC Jetstream LTE tablet, along with a mobile hotspot and a WiFi stick.

Interested, eh? Check out Rogers’ dedicated LTE page for more information.

Yext Turbocharges Local Listings

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 05:45 AM PST

Lerman Yext

If you are a small or local business, managing your listings on the dozens of local listings sites on the Web is next to impossible. Yext, which started out as a pay-per-call advertising startup, shifted its focus earlier this year to create a one-stop dashboard for local businesses, called PowerListings. Just this year, PowerListings has grown to more than 35,000 paying customers. With one change on PowerListings, a local business can update its profile across Yelp, Citysearch, Yahoo Local and other partner sites.

Today, Yext is turbocharging its Powerlistings product by adding two dozen more partner sites, including Foursquare, EZLocal, and AOL’s Patch (disclosure: TechCrunch is also owned by AOL). But Yext is also speeding up the time it takes to change listings information across them. CEO Howard Lerman came by the TCTV studios in New York City to show me how fast the product works. While we were recording this video interview, we changed phone numbers and uploaded a picture for a Crunch gym across dozens of local listings sites.

Google Celebrates The Career Of Microchip Inventor Robert Noyce

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 05:37 AM PST

Screen Shot 2011-12-12 at 8.27.04 AM

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the life and career of inventor Robert Noyce, co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel. Noyce, who died in 1990, is credited with the invention of the integrated circuit. His patent for a “Semiconductor Device and Lead Structure” paved the way for the semiconductor revolution of the next decades.

He was called the Mayor of Silicon Valley and his relaxed corporate structures encouraged his employees to experiment in an era of buttoned-down austerity. Without Noyce and his various projects, you probably wouldn’t be reading this right now.

Even in the dark early days of the IC, Noyce understood the value and importance of a high-tech education. Quoth Wikipedia:

In his last interview, Noyce was asked what he would do if he were “emperor” of the United States. He said that he would, among other things, “make sure we are preparing our next generation to flourish in a high-tech age. And that means education of the lowest and the poorest, as well as at the graduate school level.”

Apple: 100 Million Downloads From Mac App Store In Less Than One Year

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 05:36 AM PST

mac app store

Apple this morning announced that there are now over half a million applications available in the mobile applications-specific App Store, and that over 100 million of apps have been downloaded from the desktop software marketplace Mac App Store in less than a year after its debut.

When the Mac App Store opened for business on January 6, 2011, there were only 1,000 software applications available from the store. The company did not specify how many are available today, but says there are now “thousands” on the store’s landing page.

Ouriel Ohayon from Appsfire estimates there are currently about 10,000 live applications on the Mac App Store, to give you an idea of its current size.

How many of the 100 million downloads to date were paid vs. free apps remains anyone’s guess.

As for the App Store, Apple says more than 500,000 apps available, and that customers are ‘continuing’ to download more than 1 billion apps per month.

Press release:

CUPERTINO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apple® today announced that over 100 million apps have been downloaded from the Mac® App Store™ in less than one year. With thousands of free and paid apps, the Mac App Store brings the App Store experience to the Mac so you can find great new apps, buy them using your iTunes® account, and download and install them in just one step. Apple revolutionized the app industry with the App Store, which now has more than 500,000 apps and where customers have downloaded more than 18 billion apps and continue to download more than 1 billion apps per month.

"In just three years the App Store changed how people get mobile apps, and now the Mac App Store is changing the traditional PC software industry," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "With more than 100 million downloads in less than a year, the Mac App Store is the largest and fastest growing PC software store in the world."

"With Autodesk products in both the App Store and Mac App Store, we can reach hundreds of millions of Apple users around the world," said Amar Hanspal, senior vice president of Platform Solutions and Emerging Business at Autodesk. "With our free AutoCAD WS and the more powerful professional drafting tools of AutoCAD LT, we're using the Mac App Store to deliver new products and reach a growing base of new Mac customers."

"The Mac App Store has unparalleled reach and has completely transformed our distribution and development cycle," said Saulius Dailide of the Pixelmator Team. "Offering Pixelmator 2.0 exclusively on the Mac App Store allows us to streamline updates to our image editing software and stay ahead of the competition."

"In less than one year we've shifted the distribution of djay for Mac exclusively to the Mac App Store," said Karim Morsy, CEO of algoriddim. "With just a few clicks, djay for Mac is available to customers in 123 countries worldwide. We could never have that reach through traditional channels."

The Mac App Store offers thousands of apps in Education, Games, Graphics & Design, Lifestyle, Productivity, Utilities and other categories. Users can browse new and noteworthy apps, find out what's hot, see staff favorites, search categories and look up top charts for paid and free apps, as well as user ratings and reviews. The Mac App Store is included with Mac OS® X Lion and is available as a software update for any Mac running Mac OS X Snow Leopard®. For more information visit,

Mac developers set the prices for their apps, keep 70 percent of the sales revenue, are not charged for free apps and do not have to pay hosting, marketing or credit card fees. To find out more about developing for the Mac App Store visit,

No comments:

Post a Comment