Tag Archives: WCCFtech.com

Sundar Pichai stays diplomatic about Google building its own phones

There’s been a lot of speculation as to whether Google will end up building its own phone. Google CEO Sundar Pichai had sort of an answer on stage at Vox Media’s Code Conference: “Our plan is still to work with OEMs to make phones.” That’s not entirely a yes or a no, but for the most part, it seems like Google isn’t yet ready to reveal its cards when it comes to potentially building its own phone. For the time being it however seems like phone manufacturers working with Google may be safe from the company going after building its own phone. Google already has its own sort of play when it comes to a Google-designed phone in the Nexus project, but that’s also developed working in conjunction with other OEMs. But it’s offered the opportunity for Google to nail down the specifics and the Android experience on that phone, while

Apple TV begins hiding apps from the charts if you have them installed

Apple rolled out a small but interesting change to its Apple TV App Store Top Charts recently, which, for the first time, are now personalized to the individual user. Instead of simply showing a list of the Top Paid, Top Free and Top Grossing apps on the platform, the charts are now hiding listings for those TV apps you already have installed. The change was initially noticed by app developer equinux, which found that, following an update to its Live TV application last week, the app completely disappeared from the Top Free Charts. This was bizarre, the company said, because the app is one of the most popular in the German Apple TV App Store, and had been in the Top 10 almost since its debut. What the company soon realized was that the Apple TV was hiding apps from appearing the Top Charts after they had been installed. It tested this

Mary Meeker’s essential 2016 Internet Trends Report

The fastest way to learn everything going on in tech is to read this report. Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker has become a legend for publishing these compilations of the most critical stats and trends about how technology is evolving. From the funding climate to smartphone adoption to the tech giants to cutting-edge inventions, the Mary Meeker Internet Trends report has it all. Below you’ll find the full 2016 report embedded. Some highlights include: The global internet adoption rate was flat year-over-year at 9%, reaching 3 billion users or 42% of the world’s population Smartphone adoption’s growth is slowing, while Android increases marketshare despite a shrinking average selling price Video viewership is exploding, with Snapchat and Facebook Live showing the way, though video ads aren’t always effective Messaging is dominated by Facebook and WeChat, it’s growing rapidly, and evolving from simple text communication to become our new home screen with

Armarium lets you borrow luxury fashion from your smartphone

A number of startups want to make wearing the latest – and in some cases, luxury – fashion more affordable, including Rent the Runway, Le Tote, Gwynniebee, The Ms. Collection, and others. These companies offer to rent out clothing, instead of selling garments new. Today, welcome the latest to join this crowd: a new on-demand app called Armarium is launching to serve those with slightly more expensive tastes. Its collection features pricier statement pieces compared with its competitors, and promises to rent only those items from the current season or the last. For comparison’s sake, Rent the Runway’s pieces can be up to four seasons old, and are much more affordable when you choose to buy. But Armarium’s statement pieces rent for $300 to $500, and retail for $3,000 to $5,000, because they hail from higher-end brands. This makes it a bit out of reach for much of the mainstream, but is something that

Robinhood lets China trade US stocks free through Baidu’s finance app

Zero-fee stock trading startup Robinhood is barging into China, even though it lacks explicit regulatory approval. Robinhood will enter this legal grey area through an integration into Chinese search giant Baidu’s Stockmaster finance app. It will allow Chinese citizens to buy and sell US stocks with no fee and no account minimum from their phones when few affordable mobile stock trading options exist in the country. Robinhood co-founder and CTO Vlad Tenev tells me no agency officially regulates US stock trading, creating a grey area loophole. “This is going to be the first time the Chinese consumer has access to the US stock market in such an easy way” Tenev says. [Disclosure: Tenev was a friend of mine in college.] StockMaster for iOS and Android lets users see share prices and financial news, and now, trade US stocks based on that info. Robinhood’s mobile app charges no commission to buy and sell

Xiaomi inks Microsoft patent deal and agrees to pre-install Office apps on its phones

Xiaomi is moving closer to launching its smartphones in the U.S. market. Today the Chinese company announced a partnership with Microsoft that includes a cross-license and patent transfer agreement and the pre-installation of Skype and Microsoft Office products on Xiaomi devices. The companies said that, starting this September, Xiaomi’s Mi 5, Mi Max and Mi 4s, as well as cheaper Redmi Note 3 and Redmi 3 smartphones will be sold with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Skype applications pre-loaded. The partnership builds on the two companies’ previous collaborations: which have included a Windows 10 build for Android, and the use of Microsoft Azure to power Xiaomi’s Mi Cloud service. With more than 70 million devices sold last year, the bulk of which were in China, Xiaomi is potentially a significant distribution partner for Microsoft. But, more interesting that the pre-install deal, is the fact that Xiaomi has added more patents. “Microsoft has sold Xiaomi nearly 1,500 high quality patents that

Instagram officially announces its new business tools

Instagram this morning officially announced the launch of its tools for business users, including new business profiles, analytics, and the ability to turn Instagram posts into ads directly from the Instagram app itself. The launch comes following a series of leaks and reports of the tools’ imminent launch, and largely confirms details we already knew – like how the profiles would be structured, and what sort of insights on posts and audience demographics would be available. The company engaged with hundreds of businesses using its platform ahead of developing the tools in order to determine what needs were currently under-served. The business owners told Instagram they wanted better ways to help their profiles and posts stand out, tools that would let them understand their current and prospective customers, and those that would help them acquire new customers. This led to the creation of business profiles, Insights (analytics), and new tools

Nearly 1 in 4 people abandon mobile apps after only one use

Apple’s iTunes App Store is home to over 1.5 million apps and Google Play hosts over 2 million, but the number of apps that actually get installed and used on consumers’ devices is still quite small. We already knew that people only interacted with a small handful of third-party apps on a regular basis, and now, according to a new study on mobile app usage, we learn that about one in four mobile users only use an app once. Based on data from analytics firm Localytics, and its user base of 37,000 applications, user retention has seen a slight increase year-over-year from 34 percent in 2015 to 38 percent in 2016. However, just because this figure has recovered a bit, that doesn’t mean the numbers are good. Instead, what this indicates is that 62 percent of users will use an app less than 11 times. Says the report, “this is not a

Sirin Labs shows off $14K, super private Solarin smartphone, on sale June 1

Is the world ready for another smartphone? How about one that will cost $14,000 for its most basic model? Today, Sirin Labs — a startup put together by a team of founders out of Israel — used an event in London to unveil the Solarin, a privacy-first device “aimed at the international businessperson who carries a lot of sensitive information but doesn’t want to compromise on usability, quality or design.” The Solarin smartphone will go on sale June 1 in its own flagship store in London’s Mayfair neighborhood; and in high-end department store Harrods from 30 June, with prices starting at £9,500 (just under $14,000). The price and the chosen retail locations underscore that Sirin is not targeting your average, common businessperson, but a much smaller group of super-rich, for whom, presumably, $14,000 doesn’t seem like too much money to spend on a smartphone. Indeed, Sirin is banking on the belief that for these buyers, security and related

With its new wireless ecosystem, Mophie wants to remove cords from your life

More often than not, mobile devices are a permanent dash from power socket to power socket. Mophie is the #1 brand in extending your range between charges, and with the launch of “Charge Force”, the brand wants to remove incessant plugging and unplugging from your life, too, with a brand new wireless ecosystem. The system is pretty straightforward. Dress your phone in a fetching little electronic tuxedo in the form of a Mophie Juice Pack battery case and you’re good to go. The case includes wireless charging technology, enabling you to just plonk your phone down on a charger pad, and it’ll merrily charge away. The charging pad and battery case kit costs $99. And, on closer inspection, maybe I should have given the phone a quick wipe before taking photos. Don’t use the fingerprints to steal my identity, please. The system uses “preferential charging”, which charges the phone first (that’s where you’ll need

Facebook set to foster popularity of branded content

Jared Feldman Crunch Network Contributor Jared Feldman is the founder and CEO of Canvs, a platform that measures and interprets emotions. How to join the network Branded content was already becoming more attractive to many marketers and publishers trying to navigate the shoals of the online media ecosystem. Now, thanks to Facebook, it’s set to really take off. I think this sector will grow quickly, and in some interesting new directions. At its annual conference, Facebook said it would allow publishers to include branded content in their Instant Articles posts, using a new tag and ad unit as part of broader efforts to encourage more high-quality content of all kinds, especially live video. The changes provide a path for publishers to both tap the huge Facebook audience and, for the first time, make money doing it. Done right, branded content can be hugely popular, especially when it leverages big brands alongside

What Facebook Live and Periscope need is a waiting room

Livestreams start boring because broadcasters don’t want to begin the real action until more people have tuned in. That can take a few minutes, even with streams being rapidly distributed via push notifications, tweets, and the News Feed. But by that time, the initial audience may have bounced, and the recorded replay won’t entice viewers later. Facebook Live videos auto-play their first seconds in the News Feed, but no one wants to watch creators twiddle their thumbs saying “Hey, we’re just waiting for more people to join the broadcast.” That’s why Facebook and Twitter should take cues from other forms of mass media and build a way to stoke interest and assemble viewers before a livestream starts. Pre-broadcast screens from Facebook Live and Periscope (from left) Movies begin marketing many months or even years in advance. The promotional blitzes climax in the weeks before the film is even released. They

Comixology CEO shows off new Unlimited subscription service

Facebook LinkedIn Comixology’s New Subscription Plan Comixology recently launched Comixology Unlimited, a subscription plan that offers unlimited access to thousands of digital comics for just $5.99 per month. Given the “all you can read” model, it’s natural to compare the new service to Netflix, but CEO David Steinberger told me that Amazon Prime’s video offerings are a closer match — and no, not because of the corporate synergy (Amazon acquired Comixology two years ago), but because Comixology now combines subscription and individual purchase options. Related Articles Amazon Guts The ComiXology App With Removal Of In-App Purchases, Users Not Happy With Comixology, Amazon Acquires A Piece Of The Comic-Based Media Empire Put another way, if you want to try out a comic like Bitch Planet or Saga, you can read the older collections through Unlimited. Then, if you’re really hooked, you can get fully up-to-date by buying the newest issues individually.

Two-year, $25M study finds positive effect of cell phone radiation on some cancers in male rats

A major study conducted by the National Toxicology Program has found a slight, but significant, positive correlation between radio-frequency radiation exposure (like that given off by phones) and certain cancers in rats — though only male ones. The two-year, peer-reviewed study involved thousands of rats, each of which received one of several carefully controlled doses of radiation daily for two years (including a control group that received no radiation at all). Two to three percent of rats exposed developed glioma in the brain, and one to six percent developed schwannoma of the heart. Related Articles Sean Parker is on a mission to solve cancer Disrupting the wrong stuff Obama’s New Cancer Initiative Could Use A Shot Of Silicon Valley Innovation Strangely enough, only male rats showed these increases — and even more puzzling, the control group rats (which received no radiation) tended to live shorter lives. The effect is weak and

Copyright questions remain after Google’s fair use victory

If you didn’t already know the jury’s decision in Oracle’s long-running lawsuit against Google, you wouldn’t have been able to guess it from looking at either company’s legal team yesterday. Moments after the verdict was read, both sets of high-powered intellectual property lawyers huddled up and spoke softly, without any outward signs that Oracle had just lost a crucial round in its battle to extract up to $9 billion from Google’s pockets. The jury found that Google’s implementation of Java APIs in Android was fair use, a decision that will not only save Google from writing a huge check but will also give developers a little breathing room as they build their own Java products. But it’s a complicated victory because a prior court already found that the APIs in question are copyrightable, and even the fair use win might not last forever. Oracle has already said it will appeal. “It’s interesting because APIs are