EBay just bought the hottest e-commerce app in the App Store.
RedLaser, which lets users scan product barcodes with their iPhone camera and then compare prices online, has been downloaded more than 2m times.
With eBay’s acquisition for an undisclosed price, it will be folded into eBay’s robust mobile portfolio and become free (it was $1.99). RedLaser technology will be incorporated into eBay’s existing shopping apps, and eBay listings will show up in RedLaser results. Read more
CTIA – The Wireless Association is one of those industry groups that annually descend on a marquee city with a massive trade show, flooding the streets with badge-wearing conference-goers, and hotels and local businesses with dollars.
For five of the last seven years, CTIA’s show has been in San Francisco, as it will be this October. But this year’s show will be the last one in the City by the Bay for the foreseeable future.
The group is taking its show elsewhere (along with 68,000 attendees and $80m in economic activity according to CTIA), a response to the cellphone radiation law passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Read more
As is custom, Apple devotees are camping out in front of Apple stores around the country to get their hands on the latest product at the first possible moment. At San Francisco’s main store, one man brought an inflatable green couch.
Early reviews suggest that the iPhone 4 is worth the wait, with everyone from Engadget to the New York Times calling it the best smartphone yet.
Is the low-level radiation emitted from cellphones bad for your health?
The scientific evidence is inconclusive, but the debate is nonetheless gaining steam as more and more smartphones fly off the shelves and into people’s front pockets.
The city of San Francisco is expected to pass a law today that will require retailers to display the amount of radiation emitted by the cellphones they sell. And an app that monitors the real-time radiation level of your phone is getting blocked from Apple’s App Store. Read more
AOL’s fire-sale of social networking site Bebo marks another ignominious end to an overpriced deal for the company saddled with dishonour of having engineered “the worst deal of the century,” its dot-com era merger with Time Warner. But the FT’s Lex column writes that “it is at least becoming clear what AOL thinks its purpose in life ought to be.”
It is now all about content for AOL, with its mix of hyperlocal news and more focused blogs such as TMZ and engadget. “Actually making the reorganisation work will be a mean feat,” writes Lex, “but falling technology and media costs as AOL taps a network of more than 30,000 freelancers will help.” Read more
Apple’s new phone already seems too popular for its own good. Since becoming available for pre-order this morning, the iPhone 4 appears to be in such high demand it has all but crashed the online ordering systems of Apple and AT&T.
Like many trying to pre-order the iPhone 4, I was able to get as far as the “check eligibility” stage on Apple’s online store before getting bounced. The screen read “Please wait while we access your AT&T account information”, then delivered a message saying “Your request couldn’t be processed” and instructed me to try again later.
(Update: I was able to reserve an iPhone 4 for in-store pickup using the Apple Store app on my current iPhone.) Read more
Among the many upgrades included in the iPhone 4, the most intriguing is FaceTime, Apple’s mobile video calling service.
But despite its promise, video calling may not catch on with the masses. As the FT’s Lex column writes, “consumers have hitherto been reluctant to talk face to face, even as video calling became available with the advent of 3G.” Read more
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has just penned an editorial for the Washington Post, answering his critics and announcing that changes are on the way.
Mr Zuckerberg writes of two substantive changes coming soon — drastically simplified privacy settings, and an easy way to opt-out of third party services such as the recently launched Instant Personalisation feature. These changes are in line with what we reported on Saturday, when we revealed plans for Facebook’s “master control.”
Mr Zuckerberg, who has been criticised for not being more forthcoming in recent weeks, took responsibility for his company’s overreach. “The biggest message we have heard recently is that people want easier control over their information,” he wrote. “Simply put, many of you thought our controls were too complex. Our intention was to give you lots of granular controls; but that may not have been what many of you wanted. We just missed the mark.” Read more
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.
Twitter has unveiled its long-awaited monetisation plans. Through a programme called Promoted Tweets, the company will allow businesses to bid on keywords, similar to Google’s highly successful AdWords system.
Twitter gave details to the New York Times and AdAge, which posted their stories late on Monday night San Francisco time.
According to those reports, the system will allow advertisers to bid on keywords on a CPM basis. When a user searches for a term on search.twitter.com, one ad will show up at the top of the stream and be identified as a “promoted” tweet. Initial advertisers include Starbucks, Virgin America and Best Buy. Read more
The tough times for venture capitalists in the US persist.
The first three months of this year marked the slowest opening quarter to any year since 1993. The $3.6bn raised for new funds was down 31 per cent from the same time last year, and the 32 funds marked a 44 per cent decline, according to Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association (pdf).
The sluggish opening to the year is probably the result of the stubbornly closed public markets. “Many firms have been waiting until the exit market improves before embarking upon their fundraising efforts,” said NVCA president Mark Heesen. “This wait has been considerably longer than many firms anticipated.” Read more