Monthly Archives: February 2010

Richard Waters

Finally, after all the vague feel-good comments, a real fact about Android phone sales to sink your teeth into. Speaking at the big mobile industry bash in Barcelona today, Eric Schmidt said handset makers were currently shipping 60,000 units a day with the Google software platform installed.

If that figure is sustainable, it adds up to nearly 22m a year. Compare that to Microsoft, which said that “more than 20m” Windows Mobile phones were shipped in 2008. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Apple may feel Flash has no future on the iPhone or iPad, but Adobe is making announcements  at the Mobile World Congress today that are likely to increase its penetration with developers.

Adobe is unveiling its AIR platform on mobile devices, starting with Android-based phones. Read more

Paul Taylor

Personal Tech in the FT’s Business Life section this week takes a look at Bluetooth headsets:

  Read more

Chris Nuttall

Microsoft and the Bungie independent studio gave an impressive demonstration of Halo:Reach , the next major instalment of the blockbuster Xbox franchise, at a media event in San Francisco  on Thursday evening.

The first-person shooter was one of more than a dozen games shown by Microsoftat its X10 event , in a bullish demonstration of its firepower for the year ahead.

It was an optimistic end to the week for the industry. Electronic Arts  and Activision Blizzard issued downbeat forecasts  on Monday and Wednesday and figures from the NPD research firm on Thursday showed that software sales fell 12 per cent in January. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Facebook revealed on Wednesday that more than 100m people use the social network on their mobiles every month. That’s around a quarter of their total membership.

As seems to be the norm for Facebook at the moment, even with such big numbers, the growth rate is huge – in September it had 65m mobile users. That suggests the number is likely to double annually. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The music industry has taken another beating in the blogosphere over the last 24 hours after the head of Warner Music lashed out against online music streaming services such as Spotify and We7.

“Free streaming services are clearly not net positive for the industry, and, as far as Warner Music is concerned, will not be licensed,” Edgar Bronfman Jr, Warner Music’s chairman, said on the major label’s analyst call yesterday.

“The sort of ‘Get all of the music you want for free and then, with a few bells and whistles, maybe we can move you to a premium price’ strategy is not the kind of approach to business we’ll be supporting in the future.” Read more

Chris Nuttall

The new iPad represents high levels of profitability for Apple, according to a breakdown of the price of its components and manufacturing cost by the iSuppli research firm.

Apple appears to have marked up the cost of 3G versions of the iPad considerably and its 32Gb model will offer it the biggest margins if iSuppli’s estimates are correct. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Attendees at the high-nerd-quotient International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week have been getting a sexy preview of what’s in store at the more mainstream Mobile World Congress phone show in Barcelona next week.

Texas Instruments has been showing how phones will have gesture capabilities as they take advantage of more powerful processors such as TI’s forthcoming Omap 4. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Google Buzz, announced today, aims to bring together a slew of Google services and a stew of social networking ideas.

The challenge for Google is to make its Swiss-army-knife complexity appealing to a public that might prefer the separate simplicity of 140-character tweets and the close social connections enabled by Facebook. Read more

Chris Nuttall

2010 is the 25th anniversary of the .com domain and dotcom companies appear to be back in rude health, judging by their domination of Super Bowl ads this year.

Google’s Super Bowl debut on Sunday night, with Parisian Love, was a low-budget affair. It was a rerun of an ad it has been showing online for months on YouTube. Read more

Paul Taylor

Personal Tech in the FT’s Business Life section this week takes a look at anti-virus software:

Add one certainty to death and taxes. If you connect a PC to the internet, sooner rather than later it will become the target of a virus or other internet malware. In defence, most PC users install anti-virus software and a firewall or a combination of the two in the form of an integrated – or comprehensive – internet security suite. Read more

David Gelles

Those who use the mobile web use it a lot. In urban centres it’s not uncommon to see dozens of people walking down the street peering into a smartphone screen.

Sometimes they are surfing the web or checking email, but oftentimes they are looking to do something — make a reservation at a restaurant, find a show or movie to go to, or make travel arrangements. But navigating the full web on a tiny screen can be cumbersome (especially when you’re walking or driving or on the train).

Siri, a startup that just launched its “virtual personal assistant” today, has identified this pain point and come up with an elegant solution. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Cameras have relied on mechanics for operations such as changing focus since their early days, but all that may be about to change, according to Silicon Valley start-up LensVector.

The company, founded in 2006, emerged from four years in stealth mode today to announce its first product – an autofocus created with no moving parts – on silicon.

“The vision of the company is to replace all the mechanical aspects of a camera with solid-state alternatives, starting with autofocus,” Derek Proudian, chief executive, told me. Read more

I spent the morning at the International Institute of Strategic Studies, for the launch of their annual report on the global military balance. I found the briefing really fascinating, which could be a dangerous sign that I am now on the official register of “international affairs bores” and should be forced into early retirement.

The briefing offered by the IISS experts ranged fascinatingly over a variety of topics from the Iranian nuclear programme, to Russia’s new military doctrine and the links (or lack of them) between al-Qaeda and Iran.

But the thing I found most interesting was the confirmation that cyber-security is the hot issue of the day. Read more

When the first Apple computer came out, it was a clean slate for developers. They could write any programme they wanted for it, and their efforts gave rise to the era of personal computing.

But since 2007, Apple has made its new systems far less open. Apps for the iPhone and iPod touch must be approved by Apple. This gate-keeping will continue as Apple rolls out the iPad. Read more

Paul Taylor

Motorola‘s share of the global mobile phone market has fallen from a Razor-fuelled 22 plus per cent four years ago, to just 3.7 per cent in the latest quarter. But don’t count the US phone maker out just yet.

Verizon Wireless, the largest US mobile phone network operator, confirmed today that it will start selling its second Android-based Motorola smartphone next month. Read more

Paul Taylor

Punxsutawney Phil may have got it wrong. Based on the flurry of new digital camera announcements yesterday, Spring is on its way.

Digital camera makers typically launch a round of product updates about this time in order to catch the spring holidaymakers, and the early summer vacationers. Today both Fujifilm and Olympus announced their new Spring line up. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

In spite of all the excitement around the App Store “gold rush”, investors have been wary of backing companies on the basis of a single mobile application.

“Historically, VC investment into mobile apps has been a black hole,” one London venture capitalist told me earlier last year – great for small teams of developers but hardly the basis of a lasting company.

Which makes it all the more interesting that Amadeus Capital Partners and Eden Ventures have just put £1m ($1.6m) into Ambient Industries, maker of location-based iPhone app FlookRead more

Chris Nuttall

Ustream, the internet live-video streaming service, has announced a $75m venture-capital roundled by Japan’s Softbank , primarily aimed at funding Asian expansion.

The Silicon Valley company said the second-round investment would help to fuel its growth in the US and Asia, specifically in Japan, China, Korea and India.

Giving individuals in China the ability to broadcast their thoughts live to the world sounds a risky business for any startup at present, but John Ham, chief executive, told me they would tread carefully. Read more

Paul Taylor

No handset has generated so much buzz since Apple launched its first iPhone two and a half years ago, but is the Nexus One really the “superphone” Google claims it is? 
The phone, manufactured by Taiwan’s HTC, is currently available in the US only, or on Google’s website for $530 (€380, £328) without the subsidy from T-Mobile USA. It has received mixed reviews since it was launched this month. Most of the complaints have been about the network and Google’s support, rather than the device itself.

Continue reading Do Androids dream of Nexus One?