MediaFile

Apple App Store hits the big 1,000,000,000

One billion makes for a catchy and memorable milestone. The world’s population passed the 1 billion mark in 1804. McDonald’s sold its 1 billionth hamburger in 1963. The 1billionth PC shipped in 2002.

Apple’s App Store hit that mark today, in just nine months, with much fanfare.

Granted, downloading a small program to your iPhone or iPod Touch is an entirely different sort of commerce than selling a burger or a PC, but Apple’s app universe has managed to acquire a remarkable amount of cultural currency in a short amount of time.  As evidence, look at the controversy over the “Baby Shaker” app, which Apple quickly removed and apologized for on Thursday (the company’s statement said in part “this application was deeply offensive and should not have been approved for distribution on the App Store”).

It goes without saying that apps have changed smartphones and mobile computing. They have also given rise to a lucrative cottage industry for developers and entrepreneurs, and made Apple a serious player in the mobile gaming space.

Such success invariably invites competition,  which is already here and promises to heat up further. Research in Motion recently opened its app store for the BlackBerry, Nokia will launch its Ovi store soon, and Palm will soon follow with a store for its forthcoming Pre smartphone.

Facebook valuation in eye of the beholder

The $15 billion valuation that Microsoft appeared to bestow on Facebook in 2007 provoked some scepticism – including within Facebook itself.

It turns out, the privately-held social networking firm has a much more conservative sense of self-worth, and puts its value at a one-fourth of the Microsoft figure.

According to redacted court documents obtained, and somehow decoded by the AP, Facebook valued itself at $3.7 billion in June, when it was in court over a dispute with a rival social networking site.

dellPhone a rumor at best – Michael Dell

The Web may be buzzing with stories about whether computer maker Dell should or shouldn’t get into the cell phone market, but the company itself  has tried to stay out of the public discussion. 
Michael Dell said on Friday that reports of Dell’s cell phone ambitions were “best described as a rumor” when chased by reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. 

The analysts had this to say about the computer maker doing battle with rivals such as Apple in the cut throad phone market as well as in computers. 

 Some were encouraging:

“This strategy makes a lot of sense. Smartphones are a big opportunity and in a way they’re canibalizing notebook and netbook sales to a degree,” said Kaufman Bros analyst Shaw Wu. “It’s probably minor today but could become bigger over time as smartphones get more powerful. It’s better to go embrace the threat than doing nothing.”

Nokia: A $500,000 Exit to Brooklyn?

Hours after it issued its second warning in three weeks, forecast shrinking cell phone sales for 2009 and promised to reduce expenses, Nokia held an investor meeting in Brooklyn, New York. Most analyst meetings take place in Manhattan, and Chief Financial Officer Rick Simonson told the audience on Thursday that he’d been asked why the company chose the Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge.  Brooklynites are very accommodating, Simonson said — adding that Nokia saved money by moving the meeting from the heaving center that never sleeps.  Simonson didn’t give a figure, but JPMorgan said in a note that Nokia saved as much as $500,000 by simply making Wall Streeters cross to the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge.  It’s hardly enough to counter a 5 percent cut in cell phone sales volume next year and probably not even a fraction of the cost of putting Nokia’s latest multi-media phone, the N-97 on the market, but it is a good start. Maybe other conference organizations will take its cue, and this reporter will have a shorter commute more often.

(Photo:Reuters)

Google’s Android phone: An (updated!) first look

The T-Mobile G1

Here’s Google and T-Mobile’s image of their long-awaited T-Mobile G1 phone. And here are some of our own pictures hot off of the presses.

Executives hold the new G1 phone running Google’s Android software in New York

Google’s Android

The new phone, available late in October, comes in three colors (white, black and brown), features advanced search tools, a full web browser, simple access to Google applications including Google Maps, Gmail, and YouTube, and access to Android Market, where users can get games, music, and also shop.

So, are you itching to pick one up? Would you trade in your iPhone or other mobile handset for a G1?

Hold off on the eulogy for Motorola

moto.jpgWhat in the world has gotten into Motorola? For more than a year, Wall Street has lamented its fate. Just this week, industry forecasters predicted the handset maker would have nothing to show for the second quarter other than a hefty net loss and a drop to fourth place in the global phone market after losing share to LG Electronics.

So imagine the surprise when Motorola emerged with a small profit, sold nearly 2 million more phones than analysts had expected, and held on to its No. 3 ranking? Company shares jumped 13 percent as it also outlined an expected profit from continuing operations for the full year.

Motorola executives lost no momentum in describing ambitious plans to analysts either, saying they expected to launch 50 new devices this year, many more of them equipped for high-speed wireless networks. They are also looking more closely at the best ways to split the company, with a final separation due in the third quarter next year.

iPhone’s first chapter – a timely update

(Here’s an updated chronology. This first posted June 9)  

 

iPhones

2007

Jobs_iPhoneJanuary 9Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs unveils iPhone in the tech industry’s most anticipated new product introduction of the decade.

June 29 – Apple and U.S. carrier partner AT&T Inc start selling iPhone as technology enthusiasts form long lines outside Apple stores.Scoble

July 25 - After big build-up, first weekend sales figures reports disappoint investors. Apple and AT&T sold 270,000 iPhones in first 30 hours; but customers only activate 146,000 of the devices due to initial AT&T service problems.

Who will run Yahoo?

yahoo-sign.jpgWho’s going to run Yahoo?

There are myriad answers to that question, but AllThingsD suggests that Ross Levinsohn, the former head of News Corp’s Fox Interactive Media Group, and partner, former AOL Chief Jon Miller, are heavily mentioned as the kind who might get a crack at it.

Miller’s an interesting choice and one wonders if joining the company would push Yahoo closer to an AOL deal. Miller wasn’t immediately reachable on Monday night.

Meanwhile there’s no guarantee that Jerry Yang, who is still in charge, is going anywhere. In fact, on Monday, Yahoo itself worked to rally shareholder support in the face of a proxy battle with Carl Icahn, saying the his plan for the company’s future was “ill-defined”, and questioned whether Microsoft was ever serious about a full-scale merger.

iPhone rivals: We’ve got news too

While all eyes are on Steve Jobs’s presentation at Apple’s developers conference, rivals to the iPhone want you to know that they are not afraid to shout during a hurricane — in hopes that someone hears their thunder.

At least that’s what we suppose is the reason Samsung and Nokia both have news today, about one year after the original iPhone was introduced.

A woman walks past a sign set to promote Samsung Electronics’ mobile phones in Seoul While Apple’s CEO was unveiling a new “more affordable” iPhone with 3G network support and integrated GPS support, Korea’s Samsung launched a new touchscreen smartphone called Omnia that aims to make Internet browsing easy. It has a wide screen for viewing video as well as music capabilities and a 5 megapixel camera, and runs on Microsoft Windows Mobile software.

Nokiahoo or Yahookia? Nah…

desert.jpg

With all the interest in Yahoo Inc these days, we took the opportunity to ask Nokia CFO Rick Simonson at the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit if the world’s largest mobile phone maker would be interested in buying Yahoo. He laughed and joked that of all the questions we could have asked him, this was one he didn’t see coming. Then he goes on to say:

We’ve not been involved obviously in Yahoo. We’re focused on closing the acquisition with Navteq

We’re not out in the desert trying to invent a search algorithm that’s better than Google or Yahoo’s for instance. They’ve got some scale there we don’t have.