MediaFile

Tech wrap: Apple’s iPad 2 launches

People look at their phones and computers as they wait for the iPad 2 to go on sale at the Apple store in Boulder, Colorado March 11, 2011. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Hundreds of people across the U.S. lined up to get their hands on Apple’s iPad 2, the update to last year’s wildly popular tablet computer. If you’re wondering how much the iPad 2 could cost you, Michael Hickins of The Walls Street Journal adds up the tab and discovers you could easily spend $300 on top of the $499 price tag for the cheapest model. Tablet sales are expected to surge to more than 50 million units this year, with Apple capturing more than 70 percent of the market.

If you do buy an iPad and you happen to be a politician, you might not want to use how much you paid for it as an example of why inflation isn’t a problem when you head into a working-class neighborhood.

Neil Young, the CEO of mobile-gaming success story Ngmoco, tells VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi about his quest to create a multibillion-dollar mobile entertainment company. And how he’s relying on two technologies, Mobage and NG Core, combined into a worldwide mobile social network, to make it happen.

And if your only alarm clock is your iPhone or iPod Touch, you’re “springing forward” for Daylight Savings time this weekend and you want to wake up on time on Monday, you might want to consider a backup, writes Business Insider’s Steve Kovach.

Zynga plots its mobile stategy

Zynga wants to get into your pocket. As the  publisher of games like, “Word with Friends,” a Scrabble-clone popular on Apple devices and since February, on Android platforms, Zynga, known as the top games publisher on Facebook, is likely trying to reduce its reliance of Mark Zuckerberg and co’s platform.

“You should play and you should pay,” says David Ko, the former Yahoo executive who moved to Zynga in November to spearhead its mobile push.

 In a recent interview, Ko told Reuters that Zynga’s mobile strategy has two parts: Creating mobile versions of existing Web titles like ”FarmVille” and “Mafia Wars” and, having users play games on their mobile devices before anywhere else, like on “Words with Friends.”

from Environment Forum:

Green apps that can save you money

Media members try out the new "iPad" during the launch of Apple's new tablet computing device in San Francisco, California, January 27, 2010. REUTERS/Kimberly White

As the market for applications running on mobile devices like Apple’s iPad and iPhone grows, so do ways to save you money and cut your carbon emissions.

Among them is Avego, a ride-sharing app for the iPhone that lets you offer vacant seats in your car to others and search for free seats if you’re car-less, all in real time. You receive updates on how far away your ride is, so you don’t have to wait around. And it even calculates how much gas-money each passenger should pay. Users create a publicly viewable Avego profile and their reputation can be rated by other members. Paul Smith of Triple Pundit calls the service “brilliant” and an example of “what can be done to reduce traffic, right now, at no additional cost and disruption to our current transportation infrastructure”.

3rdWhaleMobile’s FindGreen app gives GPS-equipped Android smartphones, BlackBerry, and iPhone owners a guide to local retailers and services listed in GenGreen’s Green Business Directory. TechCrunch's Matylda Czarnecka thought the iPhone version was one of the "top ten apps to make you more green". But some users in Google's Android Marketplace complain of few or no listings in their area.

Nokia and Microsoft? Just maybe

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (left) and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer address the Senior Leadership Event before they announce plans for a broad strategic partnership to build a new global mobile ecosystem . Nokia and Microsoft plan to form a broad strategic partnership that would use their complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (left) and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Credit: HO

Before there were smartphones Nokia made smart phones. Sleek. Colorful. Attractive. Sporting a distinctive, trademarked ring that, because there are so many Nokia handsets in the world, may actually be heard 20,000 times a second.

Nokia’s phones never made a huge splash in the United States, but worldwide they are to this day the market leader with some 300 million in use. In Q4 of last year, Nokia’s flagship Symbian mobile phone operating system boasted more than a third of the world’s market share. At nearly 37 percent, that was 10 percent more than the range of devices running Google’s Android, and more than Apple’s iPhone and Rim’s Blackberry combined.

But Nokia is losing, by leaps and bounds. The handwriting is on the wall. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who joined the company only last September, minced no words last Wednesday when he said the company was standing on a “burning platform.”

New York Times aware of buggy iPhone app

iPhone Frequent users of the New York Times iPhone application likely have noticed that the app has been a bit buggy of late. The New York Times developed a nicely designed means to get the latest news on your smartphone — when you can update it that is. 

This reporter, who uses the app almost daily and depends upon it to catch up on news during subway rides, noticed that the app is having problems refreshing.  Apparently others have noticed too. 

A sample of some comments about the NYT from Apple’s App store:

 

  “Freezes a lot”

“Cmon nyt pls fix the “no update” problem otherwise it’s a great app” 

Sprint: When all else fails, call a magician

davidblaineAfter bigger rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T stole the limelight at the Consumer Electronics Show with promises of multiple advanced phones for this year, now Sprint Nextel is trying to grab some attention with a stunt of its own.

In an intentionally mysterious invitation, the No. 3 U.S. mobile provider says it has enlisted the help of illusionist David Blaine to show the world how “Sprint’s making the Impossible Possible” at a New York Event scheduled for February 7.

Sprint’s promising that the event will be “a lot of fun” but it is mum on whether Blaine plans relive his Times Square encasement in a block of ice or his vertigo stunt in Bryant Park.

Privacy matters more when you’re mobile

A woman walks past icons for Apple applications at the company's retail store in San Francisco, California, April 22, 2009. REUTERS/Robert GalbraithPrivacy concerns are nothing new if you use the Web to tweet or facebook. But with Apple’s mobile platform joining the fray and speculation that Google’s might be next, should you be worried about how your personal information is being used on that 3G-enabled iPad or Android-powered smartphone you picked up over the holiday season?

Apple shareholders don’t seem to think so. Shares in the iPhone maker closed up on Tuesday and were unchanged in midday trading on Wednesday.

And with revenue from mobile apps sales forecasted to see 60 percent compound growth to 2014 and an expected increase in the number of apps downloaded worldwide to reach 76.9 billion in 2014 from 10.9 billion in 2010, there’s good reason for wider investor optimism.

Lawsuits will pressure Apple and Google to protect user privacy

On December 17, the Wall Street Journal published an investigative story that detailed how popular iPhone and Android apps like Pandora, The Weather Channel and Angry Birds breach user privacy. Less than a week later, the first lawsuits were filed.

So far, two suits seeking class action status have been filed, pushing for a ban on the sharing by apps of personal data like geo-location and phone numbers with advertisers. They also seek monetary compensation. The defendants include the developers of the apps in question as well as Apple. Google, which developed the Android platform, may face similar suits.

Smartphone owners who are concerned about advertisers receiving personal data without their consent may be encouraged if these lawsuits lead to stronger protection. But for Apple and Google they complicate matters. There is a fundamental tension between making mobile ads a valuable platform for advertisers and respecting the privacy of mobile device users. It’s going to take a long time to untangle the whole mess, and the lawsuits apply pressure to find a quick solution.

GlobalMedia-Baseball exec frustrated, but shies off lecturing Jobs

iphone1One of Major League Baseball’s top executives may not think Apple’s iTunes app store is particularly user friendly, but he’s not about to offer advice to the hottest technology executive on the planet.
    
Robert Bowman, the head of MLB Advanced Media, the league’s Internet and digital business, loves apps. He wants his sport’s games and other content to be on every wireless device out there and think apps will begin to shape how websites are designed. 
    
“We actually think it’s going to invade the website. We think people like apps,” he said at the Reuters Global Media Summit. “They’re easy to understand. They’re compartmentalized. It’s a quick way to get information.”
    
That said, the Apple and Google app stores leave a lot to be desired, Bowman said.
    
“The app stores are not well laid out. The app stores are very hard to figure out. Even Apple … they do a great job, but they’re hard to understand. The Android app store is very hard to understand, so it’s hard for people to find the content.”
 
But, when asked what he would do to improve Apple’s app store, Bowman demurred.
    
“I don’t think I’m going to get very far giving Steve Jobs advice,” he said of Apple’s renowned CEO. “He’s done pretty damn well not listening to me for the first 57 years of his life and so I’m just going to continue to let him not listen to me.”
    
Bowman acknowledged that the Android app store leaves him “a little bit more frustrated.”
    
However, the baseball executive is not alone is finding the app stores frustrating.
    
Despite charging $14.99 a pop, baseball has sold nearly 600,000 apps this year between the Apple and Android platforms, he said.
    
Bowman also dismissed questions about the future of set-top boxes or big TVs, saying both are not going anywhere.
    
“I don’t think there’s any history of media dying,” he said. “I still listen to radio in my car.
 
“The big TVs aren’t going to go anywhere. It’s like the automobile,” Bowman added. “We’re a country that likes big TVs. 

(Reuters photo)

The great iPhone-Android battle that isn’t

The great horse race taking place between Apple’s iPhone and the Google-designed Android phones makes for great drama. So much so that it can be easy to overstate how significant this rivalry is.

Case in point: Nielsen released a survey that asked people considering buying a smartphone in the coming year which mobile operating system they “most desired” on a new phone. 30 percent said they’d most desire an iPhone, while 28 percent preferred an Android phone.

The headline on Nielsen’s summary of the survey read, “U.S. smartphone battle heats up”—which is dramatic enough but not necessarily accurate. More telling was another statistic in the survey: Only 30 percent of U.S. mobile phones are smartphones. The rest are those not-so-smart feature phones.