Monthly Archives: January 2010

Chris Nuttall

Electronic Arts is sticking with Tiger Woods  during his current problems, but is bailing out of PC packaged goods for its latest golf video game, launched in a free open beta today.
 

EA is switching to an online version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour, withsales dwindling to almost nothing  for PC disk-based sports games, due to rampant piracy and many players preferring the console versions. Read more

Paul Taylor

Nice timing from the folks over at the Mozilla Foundation. As calls to ditch Microsoft’s Internet Explorer in the wake of the Chinese hack attack on Google reverberate around the internet, the open source project has released a new version of its Firefox web browser.

Mozilla wisely stopped short of making any special security claims about the new Firefox 3.6, but it does claim that the new browser is 20 per cent faster than its predecessor and includes “extensive under the hood work to improve performance for everyday web tasks such as email, uploading photos, social networking, and more.” Read more

Paul Taylor

The Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus made their official debut today with Verizon Wireless, the largest US mobile carrier. While there are relatively few new features in the Plus models, one particular application – exclusive to Verizon – stands out.

The Palm mobile hotspot, which will be available from the App Catalog when the handsets go on sale later this month, is a webOS app that enables the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus to operate as mobile Wi-Fi routers turning the handsets into MiFi-style instant Wi-Fi hotspots. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Just in time for the “Year of the Tablet”,  Seesmic has launched atouch-optimised graphically rich version of Twitter  for those who like to watch trending topics but not necessarily tweet.

Seesmic is best known in the Twitter ecosystem for its client software that lets users organise their tweets and “follows” better. Seesmic Look, its new product , would look good on a tablet or a big-screen TV and could change the way many people view Twitter. Read more

David Gelles

Amazon is clearly concerned about the Apple tablet, judging today’s news.

Though it has yet to be unveiled, the impending arrival of the iPad, or iSlate, or whatever it may be called, is likely to shake up the market for digital books in a big way.

Apple is in talks with the major publishing houses in an effort to secure content deals for the tablet. If it succeeds in working out deals, integrating e-book sales into the iTunes store would be a cinch. Add to this that the tablet is expected to boast a large colour touchscreen, and you have an e-reader on steroids. Read more

Richard Waters

A week before its expected unveiling, the reverberations from Apple’s tablet are already spreading out through the media industry. From today alone:

Amazon raised the royalty rate it pays to publishers and authors of certain e-books to 70 per cent of the cover price – not coincidentally, the same split Apple has turned into an industry norm through its App Store.

YouTube said it would start a video rental service, reaching beyond advertising into a new payment stream (though a test with video downloads last year went nowhere and was later scrapped). It was described by one analyst as a salvo aimed directly at Apple, as Google and Apple race to become dominant “cloud” video platforms. Read more

Chris Nuttall

I peered through 3D glasses, read the eReaders, stroked the smartbooks and smartphones and touched the tablets. The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is over for another year – and what a realm of the senses it was.

Instead of the usual vapourware, the future was close enough to touch, from smartphone screens to images that leapt out of TV sets. Read more

Chris Nuttall

CrowdFlower, the crowdsourcing start-up that aggregates online labour for data-crunching tasks, has tapped venture capitalists for a $5m Series A funding round.

Lukas Biewald, chief executive of the San Francisco company, said the money would fund expansion.

“We are creating a new global market that will make it possible for everyone in the world to do real, productive work at anytime, from anywhere,” he said. Read more

Peter Marsh reports on the FT’s Analysis page on the challenge UK technology companies face in growing their innovations into successful international businesses.

“Realtime Worlds is among a clutch of small, aspiring UK technology companies, many of them clustered around high-tech centres such as Cambridge, that seem to hold promise in a world where a country’s economic success is seen as being closely linked to the exploitation of new ideas. Read more

Google’s clash with China is about much more than the fate of a single, powerful firm, writes Gideon Rachman. The company’s decision to pull out of China, unless the government there changes its policies on censorship, is a harbinger of increasingly stormy relations between the US and China.

The reason that the Google case is so significant is because it suggests that the assumptions on which US policy to China have been based since the Tiananmen massacre of 1989 could be plain wrong. The US has accepted – even welcomed – China’s emergence as a giant economic power because American policymakers convinced themselves that economic opening would lead to political liberalisation in China. Read more

Western companies are struggling to bridge the growing gap created by the evolution of a cyberspace with Chinese characteristics – as the spat between Google and Beijing shows. In today’s FT, Kathrin Hille reports from Beijing on the growing rift between the Chinese and Western webs.

China has developed its own cyberspace. It is growing less like the internet in the rest of the world, not more like it. And it is not just the baleful presence of a vast, assertive and highly flexible censorship apparatus that accounts for this evolution: the formative forces of “.cn” also include cultural preferences and social structures that are very different from those of the west. Read more

Paul Taylor

Montreal-based Tungle.me claims that professionals spend more time arranging meetings than attending them, and that 60 per cent of meetings that do take place involve one or more participants from outside an organisation.
I have been a fan of Tungle.me’s scheduling app that integrates with users’ existing calendars since the Canadian-based startup first launched the email plug-in at the Demo Fall conference in 2007. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Jagex, developer and publisher of the popular Runescape  online role-playing game, has taken on the new quest of promoting a game from a third-party developer.
 

War of Legends  is a free-to-play online multiplayer strategy game developed by a Chinese team of developers based in Shanghai. Read more

Maija Palmer

Atlas VentureThe London technology community was dealt a blow on Tuesday when it emerged that Atlas Venture was planning to move its European operations to Boston. All new European investments will be co-ordinated from there, and Fred Destin, the London-based partner who has backed companies like Seatwave and Dailymotion, will be moving across the Atlantic this summer.

Other London-based partners, Christopher Spray, Graham O’Keefe and Regina Hodits will remain in London but only to service existing investments. They will not be involved in bringing new companies in to the portfolio. Which means that, as exits eventually arrive for the likes of Seatwave, these portfolio managers will have less of a role, and Atlas is likely to be slimming down further. Read more

Yahoo may have hoped that Google had turned itself into the target of the Chinese government, allowing other US companies to thrive unhindered, but it does not look like it.

By expressing its support for Google’s stand against Chinese censorship, and cyber-attacks, Yahoo has now been drawn into a dispute with Alibaba, the Chinese company to which it in effect outsourced its business there in 2005. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Aliph has added personality and loquacity to the latest generation of its Jawbone Bluetooth headsets, which go on sale today in the US at a lower price of $100.

Multiple personalities and voices in fact. Consumers can choose from the Hero, the Rogue, the Thinker, the Ace, the Bombshell and the Catch – six new designs with voices to match. Read more

Paul Taylor

At school I would smuggle a transistor radio into the playground so we could keep up with the cricket scores. Years later, I bought a pocket-sized portable television for the same purpose, which ran on batteries and had a huge and unwieldy extendable antenna – but still could not deliver a half-decent picture.

Today, you can watch television while out and about thanks to an expanding variety of services on a mobile phone, using digital or analogue capabilities built in to the phone or added via a small device. Recently, however, I have been exploring another option, in the form of a neat little device called the Qualcomm Flo TVPersonal Television – or PTV. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

 Tim Bradshaw in The Last Word in Friday’s Business Life section of the newspaper looks at how online status updates are becoming more personal and explicit:

If you have ever wondered why someone would divulge the most intimate or mundane details online – about the break-up of a relationship, say, or a sandwich filling – brace yourself. “Oversharing” is set to be the web’s biggest trend this year. Read more

Chris Nuttall

You may not be able to hear the Fab Four on iTunes  and the iPhone, but you will be able to see them with the licensing of their images by The Beatles’ Apple Corps to MusicSkins, announced today .

MusicSkins has won the rights to creating skins for seven album covers, including Sergeant Pepper, Abbey Road, Yellow Submarine and A Hard Day’s NightRead more

Paul Taylor

Google entered the smartphone wars as a vendor last week with the launch of the HTC-built Nexus One, a touchscreen-based handset it will sell directly to consumers.

The Nexus One, which uses Google’s Android mobile operating system and is described as a “superphone” by Google executives, seems designed as a direct competitor for Apple’s iPhone and the launch got me thinking about my current smartphone favourites. Read more