Monthly Archives: October 2009

Maija Palmer

DailymotionDailymotion, Europe’s biggest online video challenger to YouTube, on Thursday said it had raised $25m in a new funding round led by the French Sovereign Fund (FSI). The French strategic investments fund, which is 49 per cent owned by the government, contributed $11m to the round, with all the existing investors, Advent Venture Partners, AGF PE, Partech International and Atlas Ventures,  taking part.

Dailymotion chief executive Cedric Tournay also said the company had now hit break-even and expected to make a profit next year. The site now attracts around 60m unique users each month, up from 35m a year ago.  Although it is dwarfed by YouTube, it is doing well to survive and grow in a market where competitors like Joost and Veoh have had to retreat. Read more

Robin Harding

With dozens of smartphones powered by Google’s Android operating system set to hit the market, a different challenger to the Apple iPhone was on display in Tokyo today: the Else, from London-listed Israeli technology company Emblaze, using software made by Access of Japan.

The two companies are making bold claims for the device, long in development under the codename of Monolith. “Imagine a device that is not a phone surrounded by gimmicks you will not use; where the camera literally replaces your digital camera; you get real-time push email wherever you are in the globe; almost every song and film in the the world is one click away; and any one of its multitude of features is reached with no more than one light gesture of your finger and not buried deep inside folders within folders,” said Amir Kupervas, the chief executive of Emblaze Mobile.

The credibility of that statement was impossible to judge while watching Access’s chief technology officer demonstrate the device. Read more

David Gelles

Social games are oft criticised for being little more than drivel. It’s a fair charge. After all, there’s not much intellectual value in games like Sorority Life and Mob Wars.

Nonetheless, they have become among the most popular activities for users of social networks. Zynga, the largest maker of social games, says it has 50m daily active users of its various games, most of those on Facebook. In turn, Zynga is raking in cash through the sale of virtual goods.

Now Zynga is trying to do a bit of good in the world. At the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco yesterday, Zynga chief executive Mark Pincus said the company was now raising money for charities through “social virtual goods”. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Nvidia today launched a “GPU computing in the cloud” service that will allow designers to manipulate and check photo-realistic environments in a fraction of the normal time it takes on a PC workstation. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Google is expected to launch its own self-branded smartphone before the year is out, according to Ashok Kumar, Northeast Securities analyst

It will follow up with a series of phones running its Android operating system, as well as launching a branded netbook running its new Chrome operating system early next year, the analyst told me. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The Beatles: Rock Band outsold Guitar Hero 5 in September in the US, while Sony’s PS3 console beat its rivals’ sales figures for the first time, according to the latest figures from the NPD research firm.

The “Battle of the Bands” was a key focus as the two titles were released at the same time, but both were outsold by the latest release in the Halo franchise - Halo 3: ODST - and Madden NFL 10. Read more

Chris Nuttall

A compendium of digital book announcements for you today.

First, Spring Design has announced Alex (pictured), the first Android-based eReader, with full web browsing capabilities and patented dual-screen technology. Read more

Chris Nuttall

An ARM race is beginning to take shape in smartphones, as the latest models demand faster processors to deal with an expanding range of computing and multimedia activities on devices.

Marvell announced today it would overtake Qualcomm’s 1GHz  Snapdragon processor with a new family of Armada processors, based on ARM of the UK’s designs, capable of speeds up to 1.2Ghz.

That is twice the clock speed of the 600Mhz iPhone 3GS and the new Motorola Droid, reported to contain a 600Mhz Texas Instruments processor. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The amount of anti-iPhone propaganda emanating from Verizon Wireless suggests the rumour mongers have all been wrong that the US carrier will finally get the device when AT&T’s exclusive agreement with Apple expires in June 2010.

Verizon’s latest jibe at the iPhone and AT&T came this weekend with a teaser commercial for its first Android phone – the Motorola Droid, launching in November. Read more

David Gelles

Silicon Valley cheered three months ago when there was a slight uptick in venture capital investment during the second quarter of the year. Sure, investment was down 50 per cent from a year ago, but at least it was up from the first quarter, representing a “new normal” from which growth could begin anew.

Turns out the celebrations were premature.  Investments in US venture-backed companies dropped in the third quarter, putting 2009 on track to be the worst year since 2003, according to new data from  Dow Jones VentureSource. The total number of deals was up to 616, from 595 the previous quarter. But the total dollars invested was down to $5.1bn from $5.4bn.

“The slow recovery we’ve seen for venture capital has faltered,” said Jessica Canning, director of global research at Dow Jones VentureSource. “As liquidity and fundraising lag after the economic meltdown in 2008, investors have no choice but to keep a tight rein on investments until the industry is on more solid ground.”

Nor are many venture firms raising new funds. Just 17 VC firms raised new funds in the third quarter, the smallest number since the third quarter of 1994, according to Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association.

What’s worse, VentureSource didn’t take a rosy view of the future. Read more