Monthly Archives: June 2012

Google’s tablet and living-room media device, unveiled at its annual developer conference, were enough to have some Google fans and tech commentators fawning over the company. Google also stepped it up another notch with a demonstration of the prototype Google Glass and a promise to turn it into a product by early 2014, reminding us that Google still has huge technology ambition – though some were not sure sure the company was taking the right direction. Read more

Sony Xperia Ion

Android smartphones have the summer to themselves in the absence of any new iPhone launch – so Sony and Samsung are taking on America this week with the Ion and Galaxy S III respectively. Also a look at a cellular Wi-Fi hotspot device from Tep that prevents rip-off roaming charges when using your smartphones abroad.

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Tim Bradshaw

As usage and advertising spending on Twitter’s smartphone apps begins to overtake activity on PCs, the company is refocusing on mobile, according to its chief executive.

Speaking to the FT earlier this week, Dick Costolo said that 55 to 57 per cent of Twitter’s users were on mobile, particularly as it expands outside the US, which now makes up around 25 per cent of its users, reaching as high as 80 per cent in the UK.

“That is great for us because our mobile users are more engaged,” he said. “When you are active on Twitter on mobile you use it more than if you were a desktop user.” Read more

Richard Waters

The Google Glass project is an impressive demonstration of the search company’s willingness to confront big technical challenges in pursuit of a breakthrough product. But the chances of it having a meaningful impact in the short term are not high.

That’s the conclusion I was left with after a brief test of the glasses on Wednesday – though since this is still a long way from becoming a  consumer product, any judgments are highly provisional. Read more

Now that the post-float hubbub has passed, it is clear that Facebook priced its initial public offering too aggressively. I don’t know if it was a quest for the bragging rights it felt went with a $100bn-plus valuation, but there was little or no consideration for the consequences. Instead of pricing the stock with some upward room for new investors, they let everyone who had invested earlier take the maximum out and cash in. Faced with high earnings expectations, Facebook will need to do more with a business model that is suspect at best. And now they are doing it with a full boat of shareholders who are underwater on their investment.

Continue reading: “Facebook lessons from a dotcom veteran”

The way in which a new product is unveiled can sometimes be just as important as the product itself. However, in Microsoft’s case this week, a few hiccups didn’t appear to distract some tech commentators from writing glowing reviews of the company’s tablet computer, Surface, announced on Monday.  Read more

Chris Nuttall

Cue is a new iPhone app aimed at making our increasingly complex, daily online lives form an orderly queue of events and reminders.

That’s a difficult nut to crack, but the startup has the confidence and financial backing of Bret Taylor, the departing chief technology officer of Facebook. He was also a co-founder of Friendfeed with Gmail creator Paul Buchheit - another Cue investor. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

“Growth continues” at Google+, up from the 170m users announced during the last earnings call, Bradley Horowitz, Google’s vice president for product management, said at London’s Le Web event on Tuesday.

But he acknowledged that Google’s social network still had some way to go.

“I don’t think we’ve hit that hyper growth phase,” he said, while pointing out that Google+ had still managed to reach the scale it had faster than many social networks. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Instagram’s future lies in extracting more value for users from all the photos they have uploaded in the past, founder Kevin Systrom told London’s Le Web event on Tuesday.

“We have all this data we want to let you explore,” he told host Loic LeMeur. “It’s not just about creation, it’s about exploration. That’s what we’re going to be most active in.” Read more

Richard Waters

Microsoft has come up with its answer to the iPad: a magnesium-encased tablet sporting a colourful cover that doubles as a keyboard.

The FT’s Matt Garrahan was on hand at the launch event in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon for the great unveiling of the Surface. Read our live coverage of the event as it unfolded, after the break.

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Richard Waters

Microsoft has taken a leaf out of Apple’s book by pumping up the anticipation – and speculation – ahead of its media event in Los Angeles late on Monday afternoon (local time). But even if it does launch its own hotly-anticipated tablet computer, the real issue is not hardware: it’s whether Microsoft can come up with the content and services it will need to draw buyers away from the iPad. Read more

The Securities and Exchange Commission published letters it exchanged with Facebook leading up to its IPO, revealing details of the US regulator’s concerns over the social network’s mobile business strategy, its dependence on Zynga, and how it presented its advertising model.

The correspondence was made public on Friday, a routine disclosure, and showed similarly routine questioning. Facebook responded to all questions in amended filings before the public offering on May 18.

“I know that everyone wants to paint Facebook as evil because their shares have gone down,” said Michael Pachter, a technology analyst at Wedbush. “These questions are completely reasonable questions, each of these.” Read more

Chris Nuttall

The leading hard drive makers seem set on reinventing themselves – extending not just their storage capacities but their product lines as well.

Seagate announced Backup Plus, a drive that can also backup media on your social networks, on Monday and it is in the process of acquiring the premium drive maker LaCie.

Now Western Digital is taking on the likes of Linksys and Netgear with a complete lineup of routers it claims will usher in a “new era of blazing fast HD entertainment streaming”. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Apple disappointed some in failing to provide any news on Apple TV at its developer conference this week, with attendees at the TV of Tomorrow (TVOT) show – a short walk from Apple’s event in San Francisco – noting this would have given a boost to the industry.

Instead, much of what was discussed at TVOT – second-screen activities, automatic content recognition (ACR), T[elevision] commerce – still represented the TV of tomorrow in terms of scaling and reaching a mass market, according to speakers. Read more

The body overseeing the allocation of new web addresses has revealed intense competition for certain domain names and strong demand for non-Latin web suffixes as companies apply to own potential rivals to .com, writes Duncan Robinson.
A total of 1,930 applications for new web suffixes were made, with more than a third of these aimed at just 229 addresses, according to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the organisation in charge of regulating web domains. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Seagate has launched a new line of external hard drives – the first to be able to backup photos stored on your social networks.

Its Backup Plus drives, launched on Tuesday, have the usual backup functionality of saving copies of your files from local drives, but signing into your Facebook or Flickr account, using the accompanying software, also allows automatic downloads of photos from those services. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Apple has unveiled Facebook integration with its software as well as a new Maps app to replace Google’s service. Its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco was also shown a new high-end MacBook Pro with a high-resolution Retina display.

The WWDC keynote, led by Tim Cook, chief executive, gave final details on Mountain Lion, the next version of its Mac operating system and unveiled iOS 6 – an update to the iPhone and iPad’s interface and apps.  The improvements to software and hardware – the whole MacBook range was upgraded – will help Apple better compete with Android devices and Ultrabooks that will soon feature Windows 8. The news is detailed in our live blog of the event after the jump. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The video game industry looked to the razzle-dazzle of its annual trade show in Los Angeles this week to lift it out of depression and E3, in part, delivered.

Sales have been suffering as interest has waned in the current generation of consoles, now seven years old, but Nintendo showed more than 20 games that would feature on its innovative Wii U console, due to launch later this year. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Sony was the only console maker to unveil new hardware of any significance at the video game industry’s E3 trade show in Los Angeles this week.

However, the Wonderbook is the most natural looking peripheral you can imagine – it looks just like a real book but works with an Eye camera and Move controller to conjure augmented-reality 3D images from its pages. . It will go on sale later this year for $40 bundled with its first title, Book of Spells, an original work from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

In an interview at E3, Andy House, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, told me how the Wonderbook came about. Highlights after the jump. Read more

Could some corporate twitter feeds – shock and horror – not be as popular with real people as they appear? New research published on Friday by a professor at Milan’s IULM University suggests that may well be the case, writes Eric Sylvers in Milan.

Marco Camisani Calzolari, a professor of corporate communications and digital languages, has examined the Twitter followers of 39 companies with major consumer brands, including DellOutlet, Starbucks, and Blackberry, and tried to determine which followers are likely humans and which are likely bots, or fake accounts. Read more