Monthly Archives: October 2009

Richard Waters

Will the new Droid smartphone be a hit for the anti-iPhone alliance of Motorola, Google and Verizon?

How is Carol Bartz doing in her effort to turn around Yahoo?

And what does the fading buzz around Nintendo’s Wii say about the future of the gaming business?

Listen to reporters from the FT’s San Francisco and Tokyo bureaus discuss some of this week’s big tech stories.

This event is now over – read the transcript by clicking on the link below.
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Robin Harding

Nintendo has made a rare trip to Tokyo to update investors on its strategy (the session is timed, in what is becoming a Nintendo routine, to clash with Sony’s first half results briefing). From the investors and analysts I recognise here at the Imperial Hotel, it looks like Nintendo remains the greater draw, despite their weaker results yesterday.

Nintendo’s new DSi LL is available to play with in the foyer. My first impressions are that it is chunky – I wouldn’t chose one for the subway – but not all that heavy. The bigger, 4.25″ screens were a bit of a disappointment to me, because with the same resolution as the smaller DSi, it does not look very pretty. The new, full-size stylus pen is lovely though. Read more

David Gelles

In July we reported on how East Africa ended its isolation as the world’s last region not connected to the global broadband network. Until that point, the region relied on “satellite internet links that are slow, unreliable and often prohibitively expensive, problems that have inhibited business activity, public sector efficiency and the spread of internet access.”

Now the investment in that new technology is paying dividends. As Barney Jopson reports, Kenyans are rushing to get their businesses online and adopting “the late 1990s vocabulary of ‘B2B’ (business-to-business) and ‘B2C (business-to-consumer) transactions.” Read more

Richard Waters

Sometimes it feels like every news story you read is about Apple. If it’s not the iPhone or the phantom tablet, then it’s Steve Jobs’ health.

So to make up for it, today’s headlines are being hogged by Google. There was the first appearance of the much-hyped Android 2.0 on the Droid handset, not to mention what Techcrunch called a “killer app” for the new mobile software platform: a navigation service (see item below).

But that’s not all. In other Google news: the launch of Music Search, and efforts to appease the FCC. Read more

Richard Waters

Two years ago, navigation devices of the kind that you find mounted on car dashboards were one of the hot gifts of the holiday season and the stocks of Garmin and TomTom were riding high.

Not any more. Wednesday brought a double-whammy that knocked 21 per cent off shares in TomTom and 16 per cent off Garmin. Of the two pieces of news, it was the second that sounded the more ominous.

First was a warning from TomTom that prices for these devices, which not so long ago commanded a hefty premium, are likely to continue to slide. They dropped 27 per cent in the company’s latest quarter to an average of under 100 euros, and that erosion shows no sign of slowing. Read more

Richard Waters

Google Social Search, out today, is one of those ideas that is more interesting for what it might foreshadow than what it actually delivers.

We’ve all been conditioned by now into thinking that Google=Algorithms, and that Facebook=Social. That dichotomy falls away with a service like Google Social Search, a demonstration of how algorithms can make use of social connections that lie within reach of Google’s crawlers.

The Social Search service works by trying to divine who might be included in your social circle (broadly defined), then drawing from any relevant material these people have posted on public websites when you search for a particular term. These “social” results appear in a separate section of the search results, near the bottom of the page. Read more

Chris Nuttall

AudioBoo should soon be making a bigger noise in the US after a fresh funding round today.

The UK-based service is the best technology I’ve encountered for creating and instantly publishing high-quality mini-podcasts while on the go. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Finding that elusive open Wi-Fi connection just got easier this week with the launch of a new application that is building a world Wi-Fi map from its users connections.

Devicescape, a Silicon Valley startup, had previously offered a simple program called Easy Wifi that enabled automatic logons to Wi-Fi networks – walk into a Starbucks and the iPhone app would immediately connect you to the AT&T hotspot there. Read more

David Gelles

Earlier this year we asked if Facebook was “monopolising the social networking market“.

An upstart social network aggregator, Power.com, had sued Facebook in California court, and it looked like the law might force Facebook to open up its walled-garden. Power was alleging that Facebook restricts users and stifles competition, and was in violation of California’s unfair competition laws and US antitrust laws.

The answer seems to be no. On Friday a judge dismissed the case. Power’s claims “contain no factual allegations,” wrote US district judge Jeremy Fogel. Read more

Chris Nuttall

In this week’s FT techtalk, whatever was under discussion, it was hard to avoid bringing Apple into the conversation.

A blow-out quarter, new products, fresh Android competition for the iPhone and Nokia launching a legal strike – Apple is in everyone’s sights.

We also looked at the latest eReaders (yes, we’re sure there’s an Apple one coming as well) and assessed whether they are ready to be bestsellers with consumers or end up in the remainders pile.

And we reported live as Microsoft issued its first-quarter earnings.

Read the multimedia transcript below and join us live again next Friday for FT techtalk, a multimedia chat with the FT’s tech correspondents. Read more