Monthly Archives: December 2009

Chris Nuttall

Carl Icahn , the billionaire activist investor, is upping his stake in another troubled company – revealing on Thursday in a regulatory filing  that he holds more than 9m shares in the video game publisher Take-Two .

Wedbush Morgan analysts speculated today that Mr Icahn taking an 11.3 per cent stake in a company he has long held an interest in could be an attempt to force a sale. Mr Icahn “acquired the shares in the belief that the shares were undervalued,” says the filing, and he may “seek to have conversations” with management. Read more

Chris Nuttall

While many will be queuing at cinemas for a look at Avatar on Friday through RealD’s 3D glasses, the same experience is not that far away on living room TVs.

Los Angeles-based RealD, whose technology is the most widely used for 3D in the cinema, announced a partnership with Sony today that will bring it to Bravia LCD TVs next year. Read more

Chris Nuttall

A year after its launch, Sony has announced its Home virtual world, accessed through the PlayStation 3, has reached the 10m user mark.

The console maker is also introducing its first massively-multiplayer online (MMO) game within Home today, which it describes as a unique social gaming experience.

It certainly represents Sony leveraging the PS3′s superior technology – Microsoft’s Xbox and Xbox Live service and the Nintendo Wii do not have the capabilities to tackle online games and environments of this level of sophistication. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Pandora, the personalised internet radio service for music, goes from forte to fortissimo, announcing on Wednesday it reached 40m registered users this month.

At a media dinner the previous evening attended by Tim Westergren, Pandora founder and hosted by Crosslink Capital, the VC which led a Series C round for Pandora, Peter Rip, general partner at Crosslink elaborated on its success.

Revenues in the latest quarter were up more than double on a year ago, he said, and Pandora is the prime candidate in Crosslink’s portfolio as VC firms look to bring their best companies to market in 2010. Read more

David Gelles

For a company of its size, Ebay has a surprisingly small footprint in the real world. While it enjoys a sprawling campus in Silicon Valley, it doesn’t have brick and mortar stores to staff, or the vast warehouses maintained by rival Amazon.

So in an effort to put a face on the company for the holidays, Ebay has sent a “mobile boutique” touring around the country. The first-time effort was on display in San Francisco today, and will be in Los Angeles later this week.

A souped-up trailer swarming with Ebay employees in leprechaun green shirts, the boutique has hundreds of the most sought-after products on display. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The “Google Phone” is real, judging by the multitude of photos available and tweets by lucky staff recipients, but why is it necessary?

Does Google want to change the cellphone industry? Is it worried that Android adoption will stall? I would say no on both counts. The Google phone is necessary because the company feels an Apple-like need to control the user experience. Read more

Paul Taylor

Until recently, most of the Taylor family’s digital photo frames (DPFs) were gathering dust because we had unplugged them. We had bought a clutch of these first-generation devices for displaying digital photos but found the screens disappointingly small and low-resolution, and the limited internal storage capacities allowed only a few dozen images to be displayed.

But digital photo frames have become cheaper and evolved quickly to add features that include: slots for extra memory cards, which make it easier to load photos; Wi-Fi networking capabilities, so content can be added via a home network; and the ability to refresh content over the internet, so friends and family can add photos, and images can be downloaded from web-based services. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The Unity game engine, now powering video game development from the iPhone to the Xbox, is yet another emerging platform set to open its own “App Store”.

User numbers have soared since David Helgason, Unity chief executive, announced at its developer conference in October that a $199 version of its software would be free.

“Meticulously, in four and half years, we’ve built up 13,000 users, and then in a month we’ve more than doubled that,” he told me this week. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Since launching our personal technology section on December 1, we have been featuring 2009′s best gadgets over the past two weeks.

Our ten categories covered everything from netbooks to eReaders, from pico projectors and the Loop (pictured) to internet-enabled TVs. Read more

David Gelles

The sweeping changes Facebook has made to its privacy policy are so complicated, and their effects so wide-reaching, that it seems the entire tech world is struggling to make sense of them.

Privacy organisations, no surprise, are none too pleased with the changes.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation concluded that “the changes will actually reduce the amount of control that users have over some of their personal data.” The Electronic Privacy Information Center said that the default settings “may result in greater disclosure than users intend.” Read more