Monthly Archives: April 2010

Paul Taylor

The evolution of digital photo frames has followed a familiar pattern in the consumer technology industry.

First generation devices had a fixed amount of internal memory and had to be updated by plugging them into a PC, second generation devices supported expandable memory and were updated using plug-in flash memory cards and the latest generation can be updated wirelessly – using Bluetooth, WiFi or a cellular connection. Read more

Maija Palmer

Opera logoAcquisitions are not generally Opera’s style. The Norwegian browser company has done only around five  in its 15 years of existence. However, two of those were this year, first the $23m acquisition of AdMarvel, the mobile advertising company, in January and on Friday the purchase of FastMail, the Australian web-based email company for an undisclosed sum.

The modest spending spree represents an attempt by Opera to secure its position at an important technology transistion moment. It has always been a stalwart runner up in terms of desktop browsers, well-liked by a tech-savvy elite, but far behind the likes of Internet Explorer and Firefox in terms of user volumes. However, there is a chance for it to secure leadership in mobile browsing. Read more

Paul Taylor

In this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section, we look at the options for staying online on the road:

“There are three basic ways to get online using a laptop and a mobile phone network: using a laptop with an integrated cellular modem; hooking up or “tethering” a laptop to a smartphone; and using an external cellular modem or personal mobile hotspot device such as Novatel’s MiFi.” Read more

Steve Jobs has been in the news lately, partly involuntarily due to the mislaying of his next generation iPhone, and partly of his own volition.

His latest piece of communication came this morning with his long post explaining his opposition to Flash, the Adobe video product that he has banned from iPads.

The intriguing aspect of his missive is his insistence that Apple is more open than Adobe in its approach to mobile web standards. This is ironic, since Apple has faced criticism that it operates a closed platform with the iPhone, iPad and iTunes. Read more

David Gelles

It was only in March that LivingSocial, the number two group buying site, took $25m in Series B funding. That, apparently, only tided the fast-growing company over for six weeks. Today the company is back with another $14m in funding, largely from the same investors.

That may seem like a lot of cash to take on in a few short months, and it is. But it pales in comparison to the $135m that Groupon, the leader of the pack, took from Digital Sky Technologies and friends a few weeks ago. Read more

The FT’s Lex column writes that while Hewlett Packard’s acquisition of Palm may make a degree of financial sense for both companies, the challenge will be to meaningfully integrate Palm without alienating existing partners.

HP is a long-term partner of Microsoft, and is soon to release the first real competitor to the iPad: a touchscreen slate running Windows 7. In promoting Palm, the two companies will have conflicting priorities for the development and marketing of some new products, while playing nice on the full scale PC side. Read more

Over the last few months, AU Optronics, the world’s third-biggest flat-panel maker, had the dubious honour of being the last major independent flat-panel maker in the world. The Taiwanese company Thursday, however, made it clear that it agrees with its rivals: vertical integration is the way to go.

Unlike its rivals who are each allied to just one brand, however, AUO is casting its net wide by partnering with a number of Chinese TV brands. On Thursday AUO said it would add two more of its clients to this list by establishing TV assembly joint ventures in China with both Haier and TCL Multimedia.

 Read more

Richard Waters

A year ago, Silicon Valley investor Roger McNamee was talking up the potential for Palm’s latest gadgets to put the iPhone in the shade – and getting into hot water with the SEC in the process (which led to this self-parodying video).

So Wednesday’s hurried sale of Palm to HP marks an ignominious retreat – even if Elevation Partners, McNamee’s buy-out firm, at least managed to protect its downside.

All-in, Elevation put $460m into Palm between 2007 and 2009 in what amounted to a big bet that it could corner a piece of the new smartphone market before slow-moving giants like Microsoft and Nokia (not to mention HP) finally got their act together. Read more

David Gelles

Never mind that his campaign website is a virtual knock-off of Facebook.com.

Chris Kelly, Facebook’s former chief privacy officer who is now running for California Attorney General, is not taking it easy on his former employer.

Candidate Kelly today used strong language to distance himself from Facebook’s recent changes and said that if elected he would hold the company accountable if it violated state laws.

“Facebook’s recent changes to its privacy policy and practices with regard to data sharing occurred after I left the company,” Mr Kelly said in a statement. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

You couldn’t quite call Carol Bartz’s first European press conference a charm offensive.

“Why do you think I’m here?” Yahoo’s chief executive asked, half-joking, when pressed about whether anyone could have done a better job of leading Yahoo in the 16 months since she joined. “I’ve got plenty of money and was very happy. I don’t need everybody to think I’m an asshole. You think it’s so much fun answering your questions? If I didn’t think there was a good bottle of white wine at the end of it, I probably wouldn’t do it.” Read more