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. 

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.” 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.