28 October, 2011



BuyWithMe acquired by Gilt Groupe, in for another round of layoffs (report)

Posted: 28 Oct 2011 09:15 AM PDT

A boatload of BuyWithMe employees are about to take a permanent “Gilt trip” after the startup’s acquisition.

Gilt Groupe, the luxe-themed website for upmarket flash sales, is reportedly in the final stages of buying struggling daily deals service BuyWithMe.

The latter company all too recently let the world know it was axing more than half of its staff after it was unable to raise a new round of funding. Some feel the layoffs happened to make BuyWithMe a more attractive, leaner purchase for potential buyers.

“The capital market’s willingness to invest in daily deal businesses has dried up," said BuyWithMe COO David Wolfe in a recent conversation with VentureBeat.

"Our game plan was to raise a significant amount of capital to push this comprehensive service offering deeply into markets and, as a result, change the basis of competition in the daily deal space. We were a little late," he concluded.

BuyWithMe was the third daily deals site in the U.S. behind heavyweight competitors Groupon and LivingSocial.

However, just a few months ago, Gilt Groupe itself was able to scrape together a respectable $138 million in funding, which left the company valued at a tidy $1 billion.

At the time of the funding, Gilt Groupe chief executive Kevin Ryan told interviewers the company expected to report $500 million in revenue for the fiscal year. He didn’t specifically mention the possibility of an initial public offering, but he did hint that the May 2011 round will likely be Gilt Groupe's final institutional funding round.

Filed under: deals, VentureBeat

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WebOS still a goner after Whitman saves HP’s PC division

Posted: 28 Oct 2011 08:41 AM PDT

HP_TouchPad_sadHP decided yesterday that the company would in fact keep its massive PC business alive, but the webOS division will reportedly not be so lucky and up to 500 jobs could be cut along with it.

When HP’s former CEO Leo Apotheker announced the company was considering spinning off its PC business — the largest in the world — and would kill the webOS hardware division, HP’s stock tanked and Apotheker got kicked out. New HP CEO Meg Whitman was installed and a month later, HP says it’s keeping its PC division. But unlike that course correction, the company appears to be done with webOS and will pursue Windows 8 for tablets.

During HP’s quarterly earnings call yesterday, Whitman said, "We'll make a decision about the long-term future of webOS within the next couple months." However, a Guardian report says the decision has already been made to cut webOS out. HP paid $1.2 billion for Palm and webOS in April 2010 and it was commonly thought HP would make a major play in smartphones and tablets with Palm as the backing. But nothing ever turned out, as Apotheker wanted the company to focus on software rather than hardware.

The webOS smartphone and tablet operating system seemed to get a second wind right after HP announced plans to kill the webOS division. The company’s once-$499 TouchPad tablet running webOS dropped down to a $99 fire sale price point and consumers hungrily gobbled them up.

During yesterday’s earnings call, Whitman officially deflected on webOS but seemed enthusiastic about making tablets for Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 OS. Windows 8, which is made to run on tablets, laptops and desktops alike, looks like a slick OS and if combined with the right hardware, it could be very successful.

It would be sad to see webOS not get another chance, considering that it was a good operating system in search of powerful hardware that never showed up. Alas, if the webOS division does get shut down completely, we hope HP releases some amazing tablets with Windows 8.

Filed under: mobile, VentureBeat

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Think twice before using Google+ with corporate and education Google Apps accounts

Posted: 28 Oct 2011 08:34 AM PDT

google_plus_open_networkAnyone who plans to enable Google+ features on their Google Apps account for work or school should make sure to note the privacy policy before proceeding.

Yesterday, Google began allowing customers of its Google Apps accounts — the company's enterprise suite of web-based applications for documents, email and more — to sign up for its social network Google+. App accounts can then gain access to all of Google+’s features, like Circles, video chat Hangouts and more.

However, as The Next Web’s Matthew Panzarino notes, doing so will allow the Apps account administrator to both access and modify all of your Google+ activity. This is pointed out in Google’s Help Center, which states:

Because you're signing up for Google+ with your corporate email address, your Google Apps administrator retains the right to access your Google+ data and modify or delete it at any time.

Basically that means anything you share — notes, status updates, videos, games, photos and more — on Google+ can be accessed by your boss.

The message from Google, at least to me, seems to be that you should either keep work and play in separate universes, or be extremely conscious that you’re mixing the two when you use Google+.

Filed under: security, social, VentureBeat

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In a commitment to honesty, Twitter finally buries the hatchet with third-party developers

Posted: 28 Oct 2011 08:20 AM PDT

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Ryan Sarver had just come back to work after his wedding.

Notice I said "wedding" and not "honeymoon." Sarver has for some time been Twitter’s first line of defense between the company and a occasionally disgruntled army of third-party developers. The relationship between those two entities has been testy at best and an out-and-out war at worst for the better part of two years. Unfortunately, mid-2011 was no time for a honeymoon.

I met with Sarver in Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, where bikes stood in racks against the walls and neon plastic deer and framed cross stitch decorated the foyer. It’s a hipster paradise, and the clean-cut, blazer-wearing Sarver seemed at once infinitely at home and slightly out of place in it.

But where Sarver is unquestionably beleaguered is in the relatively public forum of Twitter’s ecosystem developers – the men and women who develop apps that use Twitter’s APIs. They try to build businesses that complement Twitter, and when anything goes wrong with that setup (for example, Twitter makes a minor change to an API), Sarver is the de facto shock absorber. For such a young man, he handles the role of the guy developers love to hate with a large measure of grace and resilience.

"The ecosystem is over 750,000 developers," he told me. "It’s a massive thing. Any community of that size, you’re never going to keep everyone happy at all times. … Some people might be mad at me, but I try to hear what they’re trying to say and fold that back into what we’re trying to do.

"The most critical people are usually the most valuable ones. They tell you where the points of friction are and how you can improve."

“The most critical people”

In 2007, the infant microblogging service had yet to establish any real foothold outside San Francisco techies, yet it was trumpeting the wild success of its APIs. Co-founder Biz Stone said at the time, "The API has been arguably the most important, or maybe even inarguably, the most important thing we've done with Twitter. It has allowed us, first of all, to keep the service very simple and create a simple API so that developers can build on top of our infrastructure and come up with ideas that are way better than our ideas."

Yet for many developers, it seemed that as soon as an outside party came up with an innovative idea, Twitter was all over it. A long list of Twitter’s features, including mentions and lists, were first features of third-party Twitter clients.

Of course, since such features are often dictated by user behavior and requests, just how much Twitter was scamming off the ideas of others and how much it was simply responding to user needs are unknown quantities.

What we do know is that the company began to seem opaque to the users of its API. By the spring of 2010, when it hosted its first developer conference, developer angst had reached a fever pitch.

As the conference opened, the world learned that Twitter had acquired Tweetie and crowned it the company’s official iPhone app. Other Twitter iPhone app makers felt blindsided and betrayed. Businesses went down not with a whimper but a bang, and dev shops started wondering aloud what areas of the map were safe territory and what Twitter might decide to annex next for itself. No one seemed to be getting or giving any clear answers.

Twitter had built an ecosystem before it decided on a business model, and while it tried out different avenues and experimented with new features, it wasn’t disclosing all of its roadmap to all of its presumed partners. While some folks benefited from a close relationship with the company and its founders, others suffered from a full-on communication breakdown.

"The change in attitude Twitter had since Chirp conference … is just the feeling that they no longer care about developers or their ecosystem," said third-party developer Arik Fraimovich in a recent interview. "They seem to look at it from the narrow perspective of 'what's in it for Twitter?,' failing to understand that in an ecosystem, all parts need to contribute and communicate. They also fail to understand that the next creative use of Twitter won't be developed by their developers, but by some API developer — just as it was since their inception."

A year after the Tweetie acquisition, after everyone had adjusted to Twitter’s official, in-house suite of mobile apps, the company made an attempt to communicate part of its roadmap, the upcoming acquisition of TweetDeck and a renewed focus on consumer features.

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Filed under: dev

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Why iCloud is a bigger deal than you think for Steve Jobs’ legacy

Posted: 28 Oct 2011 08:14 AM PDT


Steve Jobs introduced a lot of important products to the world, including the Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, and iPad. One of the final products he brought forth before his death was iCloud, a storage drive for your life. Although it’s just getting off the ground this month, it might be one of the most important things Jobs ever helped produce in his long career.

iCloud, alongside the iOS 5 operating system, was the last product Jobs showed off back in July at the Worldwide Developers Conference. At that time, Jobs said, "We're going to demote the PC and the Mac to just be a device. We're going to move your hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud." The iCloud software would act as a storage solution for your media as well as a bridge that connects all your devices for purchased media and personal photos and videos.

iCloud went public Oct. 12, and while it may have been overshadowed by the iOS 5 release the same day, its impact will be much more substantial over time.

Ever since the introduction of iTunes, Jobs’ intention with Apple has been about presenting a unified ecosystem. Jobs wanted to control the hardware and software experience to make each aspect better and uniquely suited to purpose. Apple makes its money on selling you hardware, but it uses its often-great software to keep you happy and to get you to buy more media and apps from the iTunes Store. If you continued to buy more Apple hardware, you would be rewarded for that with various connections and integration. That idea expressly stood out with its digital hub strategy of having users connect their iPods and iPhones to a single computer running iTunes.

But there were problems with the digital hub strategy. Jobs’ idea was not fully realized because it wasn’t easy to manage your media on local machines, which meant there wasn’t as much incentive to buy into the Apple ecosystem for all your hardware needs. iCloud finally solves this problem by cutting the USB cord and giving you the flexibility to download and consume media across any equipped device. When you purchase a song on your iPhone, you can download or listen to that song on your PC running iTunes 10.5, your iPad, a MacBook Air running Lion OSX and more.

iCloud’s roots lie in MobileMe, which was Apple’s first stab a versatile cloud solution. MobileMe was introduced as a $99-a-year solution for syncing your e-mail, contacts, documents and calendar across devices, but it was ultimately a failure because it wasn’t reliable. Jobs got so mad at the MobileMe team that he fired its head and replaced him with Internet content leader Eddy Cue. “Let me just say it wasn’t our finest hour,” Jobs said of MobileMe during iCloud’s on-stage introduction.

But out of the ashes of MobileMe came iCloud, which is free, offers more features, and will end up being the application that completes Jobs’ original vision. In the process of being interviewed for his biography, Jobs told Walter Isaacson last fall that Apple would revolutionize the media hub and take it from your hard drive into the cloud. Jobs described it as such:

We need to be the company that manages your relationship with the cloud — streams your music and videos from the cloud, stores your pictures and information, and maybe even your medical data. Apple was the first to have the insight about your computer becoming a digital hub. So we wrote all of these apps—iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes—and tied in our devices, like the iPod and iPhone and iPad, and it's worked brilliantly. But over the next few years, the hub is going to move from your computer into the cloud. So it's the same digital hub strategy, but the hub's in a different place. It means you will always have access to your content and you won't have to sync.

In Isaacson’s biography, Jobs also admitted that Apple considered putting a music application on Google’s Android OS to give more users access to its content and effectively let them participate in iCloud. But instead, he chose to make iCloud’s mobile apparatus only work for PCs, Macs and iOS devices. "We put iTunes on Windows in order to sell more iPods,” Jobs said. “But I don't see an advantage of putting our music app on Android, except to make Android users happy. And I don't want to make Android users happy."

Not only does iCloud solve the problem of user-based content storage and accessibility, but it also helps solve the piracy problem for content providers. Filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and movie studios like Disney have expressed a more open view about content accessibility and want to give buyers the flexibility to watch movies on any device they want. But because of rampant Internet piracy, this concept hasn’t really taken hold. Music companies are a bit more open now that streaming services like Spotify and MOG are beginning to take off, but they’re still concerned about piracy.

With iCloud you’re encouraged to buy media and let Apple keep a backup copy, ultimately giving you more freedom. You don’t have to worry about storing the media long-term and can watch or listen to the purchased media across devices. And with the soon-to-launch iTunes Match component, which runs $25 a year, you’ll be able to access all of your music in your iTunes library on iOS devices legally.

What started as MobileMe has turned into something on the cusp of being revolutionary. Unified cloud storage solutions already exist with services Dropbox and Box.net, but having cloud storage integrated into the operating system itself makes the experience more seamless. Accessing your iTunes tracks or movies you’ve purchased at any time on a PC, Macbook, iPad or iPhone makes digital media more valuable and means you’re more likely to purchase it and in higher quantities.

And iCloud’s unification of media and content across devices will integrate into future Apple products, furthering its usefulness and usability. Jobs told Isaacson that an Apple-made television was something he wanted to create. The television could sync with iCloud, a move that would let users watch all of their Apple-purchased movies and TV, listen to music, use all sorts of apps and more. And who knows what will come after that?

As of now, iCloud is still incomplete and flawed. Without the right OS update or the right settings checked on your Apple device, you can’t use it. Not every device is equipped for it and there are weird errors that pop up occasionally. If you use more than one Apple ID, there is no way to combine the two to grant full accessibility to your media in the cloud. It doesn’t “just work.” But soon, perhaps even in less than a year, iCloud should have all of the kinks worked out and its capabilities could even be expanded to include more devices and more types of files.

In the end, Jobs wanted to complete his futurist vision of device and content unification and to see all the incredible devices he helped bring to the world work seamlessly together. With iCloud, he may have finally put the last puzzle piece in place. And just in time.

Filed under: cloud, media, mobile, VentureBeat

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That was fast: Samsung topples Apple as top smartphone maker

Posted: 28 Oct 2011 07:25 AM PDT

Samsung Galaxy S IISamsung has now become the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, leaping past Apple who held the title for just one quarter.

Samsung shipped 27.8 million smartphones last quarter, accounting for 23.8 percent of the smartphone market, compared to Apple’s 17.1 million units shipped, according to the research firm Strategy Analytics.

For Samsung, success not only came from Android, but also from Bada, its platform for inexpensive smartphones. In August, Bada appeared to be selling better than Windows Phone worldwide. Those numbers will only continue to rise for Samsung.

In July, we reported that Apple’s smartphone sales surpassed Nokia, the former leader, making it the No. 1 smartphone maker for several months. But Apple’s lead slipped due to the delayed launch of the iPhone 4S, and the introduction of strong Samsung entries like the Galaxy S II.

Overall, the global smartphone shipments grew 44 percent over last year to reach 117 million units. Samsung saw the biggest growth over the past year — it only shipped 7.5 million smartphones last year — while Nokia, unsurprisingly, fell the most, from 26.5 million smartphones shipped last year to 16.8 million this year.

When it comes to all handset sales globally, Nokia still remains top with 106.6 million shipments, compared to 110.4 million last year. Apple, meanwhile fell to the No. 5 spot, while Chinese handset maker ZTE moved up to No. 4 with 18.5 million units shipped. Samsung remains No. 2, shipping 88 million handsets, up from 71.4 million units last year.

Filed under: mobile, VentureBeat

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Groupon’s growth plan: launching ‘Groupon Reserve’ and replacing its worst salespeople

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 08:36 PM PDT

Group deals startup Groupon is launching a new service called Groupon Reserve, the company announced today.

The service will focus exclusively on high-end deals from high-end merchants and may silence critics who complain that most of the deals from the company’s regular daily deals service aren’t good enough. The first deal is a $70 three-course tasting menu for two at New York restaurant Bice.

Select Groupon email list subscribers in New York received the following email message about the new service today:

As a member of Reserve, you will occasionally receive exclusive offers for premium experiences, like today's offer to Bice. Hailed by the New York Times as "the handsomest Italian restaurant in town," Bice serves up urbane Italian cuisine in an elegant dining space.

The move is also likely part of the startup’s strategy to convince investors that Groupon is still capable of growing and eventually turning a profit. Company executives are currently on the road trying to convince investors that the company’s future is secure before making an initial public offering, which is scheduled for November 4, 2011.

Along with the new Groupon Reserve service, Groupon also plans to replace the worst 10 percent of its more than 4,800-person sales team, according to a report from Reuters.

CEO Andrew Mason told potential investors Wednesday in Boston that the action was designed to improve the quality of the deals being offered. Groupon currently has 143 million subscribers, but only about 30 million of them bought a daily deal in the third quarter of 2011.

The lack of repeat customers is startling because it could hinder rapid growth, which is basically the backbone of the company’s upcoming IPO valued at nearly $12 billion.

Filed under: social, VentureBeat

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Drinks and pitches flowed freely at DEMO and VentureBeat’s first New York City startup party

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 08:32 PM PDT

The crowd at VentureBeat's startup night at Katra Lounge, NYC

More than 100 people from New York’s burgeoning tech scene showed up October 25 for a startup party sponsored by VentureBeat and DEMO.

That’s not a bad turnout for an impromptu event organized just a week before. It’s a sign of the robust vitality and collegiality of the New York tech economy, which is one of the reasons VentureBeat was there in the first place.

VentureBeat editor-in-chief Matt Marshall and I were visiting New York this week on a mission to find out more about the city and its tech business. We talked with PR people, journalists and dozens of entrepreneurs. We spent time with VentureBeat’s intrepid New York staffers, senior editor Devindra Hardawar and staff writer Sean Ludwig. But the highlight of the week may have been the party at Katra Lounge, where a dozen brave entrepreneurs stood up in front of the crowd to give two-minute pitches for their companies.

We picked 10 of those startups to present ahead of time. While I kept strict track of the time (using the iPod Nano on my wrist), and the dozens in the crowd sipped their beverages, these 10 gave it their best shot.

  • agrowculture.org — helps urban farmers find the right technology for their space whether it is a window sill, backyard, or rooftop, and allows them to sell to their community.
  • Campalyst –  provides social media analytics software that helps brands to convert fans to paying customers.
  • ChatID –  a universal platform that powers chat communication between businesses and consumers anywhere around the web
    and from any mobile device.
  • Estimize — “First Call” for the social media age, allowing social finance users to aggregate their earnings & economic estimates and compete against each other.
  • Ingenuitas — creates open source software and hardware for manufacturing inspection and systems and provides customization, data management, and analytics.
  • Leebug — a SaaS solution for events that offers networking tools for attendees, branding tools for sponsors and revenue generating tools for event producers.
  • LocalBonus — allows consumers to use their existing credit/debit cards as their loyalty card at local merchants.
  • Paatle — the first global platform to simplify the way consumers rent, buy and sell real estate while enabling the entire real-estate ecosystem to collaborate.
  • Shodogg — a patent pending technology enabling any smartphone to deliver media content to any connected screen without using wires or boxes.
  • Surre.al –a location-based virtual world that interacts with the real world through augmented reality and the camera of your smartphone or tablet.

Missed your chance to come to the party? Don’t worry — VentureBeat will likely be holding more events in New York in the near future.

Photos: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

Filed under: DEMO, VentureBeat

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Codecademy raises $2.5M to make you a coding master

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 08:03 PM PDT

There’s something about Codecademy that made investors plunk down $2.5 million dollars today to help the Y Combinator startup teach more people to code online. Codecademy uses game mechanics to make JavaScript instruction fun and engaging for people who use its simple, clean online interface.

The money is going to be used to hire new team members, according to co-founder Zack Sims, who says the company is going to be looking for coders and designers to help with the rollout of new coding languages.

To coincide with their funding announcement, Codecademy launched a new programming course today written by Union Square Ventures partner Albert Wenger. Joining USV in the funding round are O'Reilly AlphaTech, Thrive Capital, SV Angel, Yuri Milner, Chamath Palihapitiya’s  Social + Capital Partnership, Founder Collective, Michael Arringcton’s CrunchFund, Collaborative Fund as well as a star-studded list of angel investors including Vivi Nevo, Dave Morin,  Naval Ravikant, and others.

Codecademy had more than 200,000 users who had completed 2.75 million exercises when Sims and co-founder Ryan Bubinski presented their company at Y Combinator Demo Day this Summer. ”We’re not talking about users now,” said Sims, but he added, “things have not really slowed down.

Filed under: deals, dev, VentureBeat

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RIM has its own future of mobile video — take that Microsoft

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 06:48 PM PDT

RIM videoAs if the Microsoft video detailing the future of technology wasn’t enough, Research in Motion may have accidentally released its own predictions.

Two videos were accidentally posted on a commissioned artist’s online portfolio and quickly taken down thereafter, according to Pocketnow.com, which fished the videos out of its cache. Whether the videos were actually ordered by Research in Motion has not been confirmed, though the first scene displays a banner with the Blackberry logo.

The videos show a connected future for RIM’s devices, with Blackberry devices that don’t exactly stretch the imagination in comparison to the Microsoft video. Some show interactive projections around the phone, others show an easier way to integrate personal smartphones into the corporate lifestyle.

If this is Research in Motion’s video, the company is thinking long term, including products for data protection, IT management, and more. Or maybe it’s just a pick-me-up for down RIM employees wondering if there is even a future for their company.

Check out the videos below, and a third parody from Sarcastic Gamer that we just couldn’t leave out.

Filed under: mobile, VentureBeat

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Soaring RedBox lifts Coinstar profits, planning online streaming service

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 06:43 PM PDT

Video and game rental service RedBox is having a banner year, increasing the Q3 earnings of parent company Coinstar 90 percent, the company announced today in its earnings call.

Coinstar’s RedBox kiosks, located in grocery stores and other retail spots, offer inexpensive movie and video game rentals. The dollar-a-day pricing is part of its appeal, but Coinstar announced plans to raise prices on DVD rentals to $1.20 per day.

The company also plans to launch an online subscription streaming service to compete with rival Netflix. The timing is key, as rival Netflix continues to lick its wounds, having shed 800,000 customers in the last quarter alone.

Coinstar’s earnings per share have been between $3.15 and $3.5 per share on revenue of $1.81 to $1.84 for the year. In after-hours trading the shares dropped 11 percent to $47, on investor fears that the price increase would hurt future sales, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Filed under: mobile, VentureBeat

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How Netflix dropped the ball by ignoring customer voices

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 06:30 PM PDT

It’s unclear how much research Netflix did with consumer focus groups prior to going public with its plan to split its DVD rental and streaming video businesses.

However, one thing that is certain is the company’s inability to pay attention to what its customers are saying.

Had Netflix bothered to listen, it might have avoided shattering its credibility, hurting the value of its stock price and losing more than 800,000 subscribers in the last three months.

In an interview with the New York Times shortly after its third-quarter 2011 earnings call, Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings said he assumed the plan to split the company had been presented to customer focus groups before it was made public but wasn’t entirely sure. Furthermore, Hastings said he couldn’t recall what those focus groups had said about the plan.

One would think that a decision as important as splitting up Netflix into two wholly separate parts would require lots of attention from focus groups, consumer polls, etc. — but more importantly, you’d think the CEO of the company would remember what they said.

Netflix declined to comment on the types of testing or the results from that testing.  “We don't discuss focus groups or our member research,” a company spokesperson told VentureBeat.

But regardless of formally conducted research and focus groups, if Netflix was seriously listening to the reactions of its customers, all it really had to do was review over 11,000 mostly negative comments on the company’s initial blog post about the announcement and/or check social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Shortly after the company’s announcement in July that it would be increasing subscription rates for some by 60 percent, social media research firm Mashwork conducted a study that predicted a large number of subscribers would cancel their service.

The study looked at 139,784 pieces of conversation — from a variety of sources, like Facebook, Twitter, blog posts and popular forums –  about Netflix over the first 14 hours after the announcement. Of those conversations, 36,543 (or about 26 percent) indicated that they planned to cancel the service due to the price increase.

While the results from the study don’t necessarily indicate a direct correlation to the 23.19 percent of U.S. Netflix subscribers who canceled, they do show how ridiculously easy it would have been for the company’s executive team to see that its decision-making was wildly unpopular.

Although Mashwork didn’t conduct research on the subscriber response to splitting up Netflix’s streaming and DVD business, Mashwork CEO Jared Feldman said he thinks the results would be comparable.

“It all boils down to Netflix not paying any attention to what their customers are saying though social media,” Feldman said in an interview with VentureBeat. “If Netflix had paid attention to the 26 percent of its U.S. customers talking about canceling, (the losses) could have been managed better.”

While the company eventually wised up and killed its plan to split the businesses, the damage has already been done. Netflix’s stock price setbacks and subscriber growth decrease might have halted the company’s long-term plans, which include spending more money on premium content for its streaming library as well as an intensive international expansion.

Filed under: media, VentureBeat

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Got hacked? Facebook lets friends help unlock your account

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 05:26 PM PDT

securityCan’t access your Facebook account, forgot your password or got hacked? Facebook announced today it is testing “Trusted Friends,” a new way to prove who you are when you’re locked out.

Facebook wants your friends to influence and be instrumental in every part of your social life, if not your real one. The company announced a number of new features to this end at its September developer conference F8. These include a new vocabulary to supplement the “like” button, options to listen to music with friends and discover news content through them. The security feature now lets your friends act as trusted liaisons when Facebook can’t contact you directly.

“It’s sort of similar to giving a house key to your friends when you go on vacation,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Pick the friends you most trust in case you need their help.”

Facebook Trusted FriendsFor example, if you suddenly don’t have access to your email, and can’t remember your Facebook password, Facebook won’t be able to email you a new password. Instead, the social network will contact three of your friends and require you enter an access code sent to each of them. The process will take longer than a simple email password reset because you have to wait for the friends to send you access codes. If you’re locked out due to a hack, you might not want to wait the extra time to take your account back, but it’s better than not getting access at all.

Facebook is also testing one-time passwords for third-party applications. When you accept a third-party application, you have to login to your account, but now Facebook will generate a one-time password for you to use in your regular password’s stead. That way, if the app turns out not to be from credible sources, you didn’t just give them total access to your Facebook account.

According to its blog post, Facebook is rolling out these features in honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

[Photo via dreams3d/Shutterstock]

Filed under: security, social, VentureBeat

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Allegations of past and present Internet crime haunt Airbnb co-founder

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 04:03 PM PDT

Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk was one of world's top spammers when he was a Harvard student, alleges his college roommate, Aaron Greenspan, in a blog post. The angry first-hand account also accuses Airbnb and Facebook of violating federal and state money transfer laws.

Greenspan says, using their dorm room as a base, Blecharczyk designed custom hardware and coded his own software to send out millions of spam emails per week. He was successful enough at it to pay his way through school until he was shut down by the Federal Trade Commission when he was a junior.

“Nathan was peddling pornography as an 18-year-old freshman. That’s something people should know about before investing hundreds of millions of dollars,” Greenspan told VentureBeat.

"We're not going to comment on a personal attack that is over a decade old," Airbnb’s Emily Fields Joffrion, public relations manager, told VentureBeat. Blecharczyk graduated from Harvard in 2005.

Greenspan’s accusations aren’t limited to the past. His screed also alleges that Airbnb and Facebook are currently in violation of federal and state laws governing unlicensed money transfers, specifically the California Money Transmission Act, which states the following:

“A person shall not engage in the business of money transmission in this state, or advertise, solicit, or hold itself out as providing money transmission in this state, unless the person is licensed or exempt from licensure..”

Airbnb's Joffrion said, as far as they are aware, the company is in compliance with the law: "With a lot of Internet companies, you're in uncharted territory, and it takes a while for the law to catch up," said Joffrion.

“My goal isn’t to destroy Nathan’s career here. He’s part of a much bigger pattern, and that’s what I have a problem with,” Greenspan said. While he doesn’t agree with this specific law, Greenspan is upset because he feels it unfairly punishes small startups like his own, while larger well-funded companies can throw their weight to avoid enforcement. Greenspan said the new Money Transmission Act, which went into effect in California in July, should apply equally to Facebook, Airbnb and his own startup FaceCash, but does not in practice.

Robert Venchiarutti, a deputy commissioner at the Department of Financial Institutions’ Money Transmitters division, told VentureBeat, “We apply the same way to all entities.”

Greenspan is just the latest person to pile on Airbnb. Recent allegations have come to light that Airbnb perpetrated an aggressive spam campaign on Craigslist, and the company offered a tin-eared apology to a woman whose house was ransacked by a guest, before back pedaling with a $50,000 security pledge to reassure potential renters.

An embarrassing leaked email from angel investor Chamath Palihapititya surfaced on Oct. 1, which excoriated the founders for attempting to cash themselves out of the company to the tune of $22.5 million when  the company raised $112 million.

Airbnb’s huge Series B round was led by Silicon Valley heavyweights such as Andreesen Horowitz, General Catalyst, and Yuri Milner’s DST.

Filed under: VentureBeat

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Motorola is closing the operating cost gap, hits mobile device revenue high

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 03:17 PM PDT

Motorola Mobility announced its third quarter earnings today, with a 20 percent increase in mobile device revenue year over year, but still a loss in operating costs.

“[Mobile device revenue was] driven by continued strong growth in international markets,” said Sanjay Jha, chairman and chief executive officer of Motorola Mobility. “We are also excited about the proposed merger with Google and continue to make progress to close this transaction.”

The company agreed to be acquired by Google in August for $12.5 billion, according to a Google’s quarterly report yesterday. This will help flesh out Google’s mobile division with its first internal hardware selection. Should Google fail to meet regulatory requirements, it will have to pay a fee of $2.5 billion to Motorola.

Here are the highlights of the earnings report:

* Operating costs loss hit $41 million in comparison with last year’s $43 million loss.
* Mobile device revenue topped at $2.4 billion.
* Net revenues overall gained an 11 percent rise year over year at $3.3 billion.
* Home division revenue was $825 million , down 10 percent year over year.
* Within this time frame Motorola announced the global launch of its RAZR smartphone and shipped the Droid Bionic, among other products.

Filed under: mobile, VentureBeat

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Sims Social, sports games, and digital sales drive EA’s Q2 earnings

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 02:45 PM PDT

For Electronic Arts, success in its second quarter came from strategies both old and new.

The company reported solid earnings based on strong sales of its major sports games, like FIFA 2012, Madden 2012, and NHL 2012, as well as major progress in its digital earnings thanks to The Sims Social and the finalization of its PopCap acquisition.

Non-GAAP net revenue was $1.03 billion, exceeding guidance estimates of $925 million to $975 million, and up from $884 million last year. Digital sales were also up 30 percent compared to last year, with digital revenue at $907 million on a trailing twelve months non-GAAP basis. The company also saw huge growth in smartphone games, with non-GAAP revenue up 87 percent from last year (thanks to its popular iOS games).

The company announced that The Sims Social, which launched in August, is now the No. 2 game on Facebook, with over 8 million daily active users and 40 million monthly users, according to AppData. With its PopCap acquisition complete, the popular game Plants vs. Zombies is now available on EA’s Pogo online game site.

EA says it sold nearly 8 million copies of FIFA 2012 during the quarter and over 3 million units of Madden NFL 2012. Additionally, over 6 million consumers have downloaded EA’s Origin game and social network software, a competitor to Valve’s Steam platform. The company has signed Warner Bros. Interactive, Capcom, and THQ to the Original platform.

EA has shipped over 10 million units of its Battlefield 3 game to stores, and it says it’s already beginning to receive reorders from retailers.

The company has raised its earnings forecast because of Battlefield 3′s strong sales, as well as Star Wars: The Old Republic, which is expected to be a big seller this holiday season. EA raised its earnings outlook for the third quarter from 85 to 95 cents per share. It now expects to earn between $4.05 billion and $4.2 billion in revenue for the entire fiscal year, while analysts expect just $4.1 billion, according to Reuters.

Filed under: games, VentureBeat

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Microsoft’s vision of the mobile future is astounding (video)

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 02:45 PM PDT

microsoft-mobile-futureA new video created by Microsoft shows how the company imagines technology will progress in the future, with mobile devices and interactive touch screens playing an even bigger role in our lives.

The 6-minute video, titled “Productivity Future Vision (2011),” is a sequel to a similarly themed video from 2009 with the same title. Each video shows hows technology adds value and real-time information to help us communicate, pursue projects and do business. Not only are the videos insightful but they’re just plain cool.

The new video includes several ideas we’ve seen recently, such as small touch-screen phones that relay incredible amount of information two ways, a Siri-like helper that’s activated by voice and touch screens on things like refrigerators and office-focused displays.

Many different concepts are on display as the video shifts from person to person, and the scenes connect in one world-spanning story. For example, a heart drawn by a mother at the beginning of the video is later seen on the interactive kitchen wall by her husband and daughter four minutes later.

Not only do these touch-screen devices help keep families in constant communication through text, voice and video, but they also make big contributions to business and education. A girl is seen doing her homework on a tablet-like device, while two businessmen work on an engineering project with the computer helping along with several steps.

As emphasized by Microsoft’s latest Windows Phone devices launched yesterday, we’re nowhere near the vision that Microsoft has laid out for us. But based on how far smart devices have come since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, it’s not hard to believe we could see these type of interactive machines and productivity apps in the next 10 years.

Watch the amazing full video below:

Filed under: mobile

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Livestream updates service with HD video, live rewind and real-time photos

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 02:02 PM PDT


Live video startup Livestream has launched a new beta of its site that adds in lots of new features, including the ability to rewind live video like a DVR, and new HD video streaming options.

Livestream and similar video sites, such as Ustream and Justin.TV, help the online masses watch live event and show coverage, including concerts, conferences and almost any type of event you can think of. We can only imagine this type of live programming will grow more popular over time and imagine brands will like this because audiences that world over will be able to attend.

The new Livestream has been re-designed and tailor-made to deliver new features, along with standard video streams. This includes HD video streams up to 720p, the DVR-like ability to rewind and fast forward during live coverage, photo updates, text updates, live blogging and video clips underneath the main video. With this many additions, Livestream will be taking on other live video sites as well as treading on territory covered by CoveritLive and ScribbleLive, which are used by journalists and bloggers to cover live events.

On top of making itself more competitive, Livestream’s intention is make the site more of a social destination in addition to being a premier place to watch live events like a Facebook or Apple keynote. The company is adding profile pages to encourage engagement, a Tumblr-like reposting feature, and the Twitter-esque ability to follow other users.

New York-based Livestream was founded in 2008 and has received nearly $13 million funding to date from Gannett and private investors. Livestream has about 120 employees and streams 1.5 billion minutes of video each month.

What do you think of Livestream’s new design and features?

Filed under: media, VentureBeat

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Apple will need more than Siri to make its TV plans succeed

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 01:56 PM PDT

Concept illustration showing what an Apple television might look like“Siri, record all new episodes of the Desperate Bridezillas of Jersey Shore.”

That may be how we’ll talk to our Apple television sets in the next few years, the New York Time’s Nick Bilton postulates.

With Steve Jobs’ posthumous claim that he “cracked” the code for an Apple TV interface, everyone’s trying to figure out just what he meant. Bilton assumes the only logical answer is Siri, Apple’s intelligent virtual assistant, currently exclusive to the iPhone 4S. But personally, I think Apple will need to do a lot more than just squeeze in Siri to make its mark in the TV market.

“As the line between television programming and Web content continues to erode, a Siri-powered television would become more necessary,” Bilton writes. “You aren't going to want to flip through file folders or baskets of content, checking off what you want. Telling Siri to "play videos of cute cats falling asleep" would return an endless YouTube stream of adorable napping fur balls.”

Apple has been working on a television interface for years, but the company has struggled to replace the ubiquitous (but user-unfriendly) remote control as the primary TV interface, sources in the know tell Bilton.

Indeed, Siri seems like a good solution, since it’s much easier to tell your TV what you’d like to watch than to peck through countless channels or TV guide pages. But I have a hard time believing it’ll completely replace the remote, since Siri’s voice commands, while usually accurate, can sometimes fall apart when you’re referencing an unusual name or place. Good luck telling Siri to find you the next showing of Koyaaanisqatsi.

Apple has already developed a simplified remote, which was first built for iMacs and other Apple hardware years ago, and is now included with the Apple TV. But since it only sports a few buttons — direction arrows, an enter button, pause/play, and a menu button — it’ll likely be too minimal to control an entire TV set.

To step into the TV arena, Apple will still need to rework the classic remote controller somehow. Google is facing the same difficulty right now with Google TV, which first launched with a full-sized keyboard on the Logitech Revue, and a monstrous mini-keyboard with Sony’s GTV sets.

And of course, Apple will need many more features than just a simplified interface to entice consumers. If Apple does step into televisions (and many signs seem to indicate that it will), it will also have to compete against more established TV makers when it comes to price and web-enabled features. Somehow, I don’t think slapping the Apple TV’s interface on a television set will be enough.

Filed under: media, VentureBeat

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HP is not killing off its PC division

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 01:39 PM PDT

Meg WhitmanHP will be keeping its PC division after all, according to a press released put out by the company today.

"HP objectively evaluated the strategic, financial and operational impact of spinning off PSG. It's clear after our analysis that keeping PSG [personal computing group] within HP is right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees," said chief executive Meg Whitman in a statement.

The company has changed its plans repeatedly since its second quarter earnings call, when it announced it was acquiring enterprise software company Autonomy and would be getting rid of its Web OS division, Palm, and potentially its now saved PC division. Soon thereafter, HP canned its chief executive Leo Apotheker and replaced him with former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman. Upon taking her position, Whitman pledged to stay the course, bringing a little continuity back to a company whose head very well may be spinning.

The review process involved looking at data on how deeply integrated the PC business was into HP overall. The company also looked at how the PC division affected its brand, and inevitably its bottom-line, realizing that to spin off the division was much more expensive than to keep it in-house.

“The HP board of directors is confident that PSG can drive profitable growth as part of the larger entity and accelerate solutions from other parts of HP's business,” read the press release.

What a way to start off as chief executive.

[Photo: Meg Whitman for Governor/Flickr]

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Google+ features come to Google Apps accounts

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 11:40 AM PDT

Google Apps customers can now access social features on the company’s social network, Google+, the company announced today on its Enterprise blog.

Previously, users of Google Apps — the company’s enterprise suite of web-based applications for documents, email and more — were denied access to Google+ features like Circles, profiles and Hangouts because the service was only ready for use by individual accounts. That meant if businesses and colleges wanted to use Google+, they had to use their own personal accounts for access.

“It took more technical work than we expected to bring Google+ to Google Apps, and we thank you for your patience,” said Google Product Manager Ronald Ho in a blog post. “This integration is just the beginning. We'll continue to add features and improve the way that Google+ works with Google Apps.”

Those with a Google Apps account will need to manually turn on the Google+ integration for their organization. Once that’s done, each user on the account will need to sign up for a new Google+ account to gain access to all the features on the social network.

For anyone who has been using their personal account and would rather switch to the Google Apps account, the company is building a migration tool that will let you merge your accounts together — meaning you won’t have to recreate all your circles or worry about losing all the people who’ve already added you to their own circles. Google said it expects the migration tool to be ready in a few weeks.

Google Apps accounts will essentially have all the same features as the personal accounts. However, the service apparently makes it easier for App account users to share information with each other via circles, even if they haven’t been added to another custom circle, Google said. That makes sense since businesses and other organizations using a Google Apps accounts primarily use it as a tool to connect with their employees, students, or other members.

Another addition Google Apps accounts will have is extra functionality for its Hangouts video chatting service. Google Apps users will now be able to add screen sharing to the multi-person video chat sessions — enabling them to collaborate on Google Docs and work together on projects. (See screenshots below.)

While enabling Google+ for Google Apps customers is certainly a big move for the company, eventually Google plans to bring Google+ functionality to all of its various services (Gmail, search, shopping, etc.).

Filed under: enterprise, social, VentureBeat

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Google Offers brings on partners, personalizes deals with new quiz

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 11:10 AM PDT

Google OffersGoogle Offers is expanding its selection to include a number of new partners, Google announced today in an official blog post.

There are two ways to run a deals business. You can build a dedicated sales force and seek out willing businesses who want to run a deal with you. But it takes a lot of time, effort, and financial dedication to successfully locate and convince business owners their deal will go far. Because deals are so hyper-local, it also takes a large knowledge base or team to know who to contact. Indeed, big names like Facebook and Yelp had to scale back or close down deals operations altogether.

In order to combat this expense and the big potential for failure, some players in the deals space have instead opted to aggregate deals from other deals sites.

Now, it seems, there is a third, hybrid option, which Google is taking: partnering while conducting its own business.

personalization quizSo in addition to the deals its generated on its own, Google offering deals from partners, including family-specific deals, outdoor adventure sports, high-end products and experiences, classes and more. Without the partners, Google would be hard-pressed to expand so quickly. But with new verticals and broader offerings, the company must also combat deals-spam, which it is doing with a personalization quiz.

The idea is to help Google understand what kind of deals you like, so you are not as quick to toss a Google Offers email in the trash. The quiz will allow you to tell Google where you hang out and what categories most interest you, with the option to change and update these preferences later.

In order to flesh out Google Offers, the company has also been busy acquiring deals businesses around it such as DailyDeal and The Dealmap, which Google said was directly influential in these new partnerships. Google’s quarterly report released on Wednesday also showed the company bought German deals site DailyDeal for $114 million.

Companies Google partnered with include Dealfind, DoodleDeals, Gilt City, GolfNow, HomeRun, Juice in the City, kgbdeals, Mamapedia, Plum District, PopSugar Shop, ReachDeals, Active.com Schwaggle, TIPPR and zozi.

The new deals will be available in San Francisco, Calif., first and will gradually roll out to more cities.

Filed under: deals, VentureBeat

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Geo-Loco: Is location 2.0 here and making dollars & sense?

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 11:00 AM PDT

This post is sponsored by Geo-Loco.

With the success of smartphones, cloud-based platforms like SimpleGeo, and “contextual” data from sources like GeoIQ and Factual, location-aware mobile devices and solutions have reached a tipping point. Consumers are accepting and using the technology, and location intelligence is bringing the benefits of “hyper-local” to media and advertising through apps like Foursquare’s just announced Radar.

Executives from Google, Starbucks, Facebook and Foursquare will join investors and entrepreneurs to address these topics in a highly interactive setting.

VentureBeat readers can register here with discount code vb25 to receive a 25% discount.

Conference topics include:

- The Future(s) of Location Based Services
- The Brands are Coming, the Brands are Coming!
- Tap, Tap: Is the NFC Tipping Point Finally Here?
- The Future of Geo-Loco Investment
- Daily Deals Suck! Why and What to Do about It
- The Future of Mobile-Loco Commerce
- The Great Indoors: the Future of Indoor LBS & LBA
- API overload: Making $$$$ and Sense with Data
- Context, and Infrastructure

By fostering discussion, interaction and exchange among startups, businesses, and investors, GeoLoco offers a unique forum to explore, learn about and capitalize on important new developments and opportunities in geo- and location-based services.

[Source: Dr. Phil Hendrix, director immr and GigaOm Pro analyst]

Filed under: mobile, VentureBeat

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Google+ adds a boatload of new toys for the visually oriented

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 10:59 AM PDT

Google released of a slew of new social features this morning for its Google+ social network that incorporate strong, fun visual elements.

You can now use Google+ to see popular posts, watch crazy visualizations of post analytics and edit your photos.

The company even threw in some fun Halloween-themed photo-editing tricks. It’s (almost) enough to make me want to sign back up.

“We’re always working on making the product better every day,” a Google spokesperson told VentureBeat via email, “always listening to user feedback and improving Google+ with every new feature.”

The new feature for popular posts is called "What's Hot,” a name that’s reminiscent of similar features for dissecting popular search terms from Google’s web search engine. The company calls G+’s “What’s Hot” section “a new place to visit for interesting and unexpected content.”

Perhaps more interesting for the visually oriented is Google+ Ripples, a new way to watch how posts travel across the company’s set of social features and through various user’s circles. You can view the “ripples” for any public post; this feature will show you all of that post’s activity. You can zoom in on specific events, check out top contributors and more.

Here’s a brief video explaining how Ripples work:

Finally, there’s photo editing. Leading with a Zoolander reference, Google senior VP Vic Gundotra wrote on the company blog that Google intends to help you make all your images “really, really, ridiculously good-looking.”

The photo features, collectively called Google+ Creative Kit, will let you perform simple, common tweaks such as cropping, sharpening and adding text. They will also let you apply the ever-more-popular filter effects to make photos feel vintage or show distorted colors. Blame Instagram and Hipstamatic, but social photo sharing is all about filters these days, and Google is wise not to ignore that trend.

Here’s another quick clip talking about the new Creative Kit features:

Filed under: social

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Want to get your site on the hot Pulse news app? Now it’s easy

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 09:30 AM PDT

If you’re a publisher dreaming of getting your content on the Pulse news reader app, today’s your lucky day.

Alphonso Labs, the company behind Pulse, is announcing Pulse Connect, a way to submit your site to Pulse’s catalog in three easy steps.

While it appears to be just a simple web form, Pulse Connect also gives you a glimpse of what your site will look like inside the Pulse app. That helps you detect any potential problems with your site’s feed so you can inform Pulse as they’re reviewing your submission.

The company says it will let publishers know within two weeks if their site is accepted into the catalog.

Pulse already has 200 content partners in its apps (including VentureBeat), but the company will likely see that number explode over the coming months. The company currently has apps available for the iPhone, iPad, Android, and most recently, Windows Phone.

Publishers are eager to jump onto Pulse, co-founder Akshay Kothari told me during a recent trip to New York City. That’s particularly interesting, since the company raised a bit of controversy with the New York Times when it first debuted. Kothari also mentioned that the company is seeing a lot of interest in getting ads in its app, and it’s currently exploring ways to do that without ruining the app’s gorgeous aesthetic.

Filed under: media, mobile, VentureBeat

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Why you need to get to Venture Shift NY

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 09:29 AM PDT

VentureShiftNYlogoThe following post is sponsored by Vator.tv.

There are some rumblings that cash may be drying up for tech startups. Does that mean a shakeout is on the horizon, and angel investor hobbyists are going to go back to their day jobs? Are the nose-bleed valuations at the later stages sustainable? The ecosystem is changing and affecting the way entrepreneurs build their companies and investors allocate their funds. Knowing how to build, given the restraints and new opportunities, and what to expect from today’s investors is essential to founders and all entrepreneurs.

Get first-hand knowledge about what’s happening across the venture landscape from top-notch seed- to late-stage investors as they share their experience at Venture Shift NY.

Venture Shift NY, hosted by Vator and Bullpen Capital, will be held on November 17 at Le Poisson Rouge in New York and will kick off at 4 pm with an open wine bar until 10 pm.

To get your 15% VentureBeat discount, use code “VB15″. Get your tickets before they sell out. Register here.

Here’s the lineup of speakers:
Mark Suster, Partner at GRP
Barry Silbert, Founder and CEO of SecondMarket
Billy Chasen, CEO and co-founder of Turntable.fm
Michael Lazerow, CEO and founder of Buddy Media
Howard Morgan, Managing Partner at First Round Capital
David Tisch of TechStars
James Robinson, Partner at RRE
Tony Florence, Partner at NEA
Owen Davis, Partner at NYC Seed
David Cundey at Credit Suisse
Brian Hutchings of Gunderson
Gil Beyda, Founder & Managing Partner at Genacast Ventures
Roger Ehrenberg, Founder and Managing Partner of IA Ventures
Daniel B. Garrie at Pulse Advisory
Lewis Gersh, Managing Partner at Metamorphic Ventures
Rick Heitzmann, Founder and Managing Director of FirstMark Capital
Spencer Punter of Capital Dynamics
Lee Hower, General Partner of NextView Ventures
Bobby Ocampo of Grotech Ventures
John Avirett of Greenspring
Ezra Roizen of Ackrell Capital
Micah Rosenbloom of Founder Collective
Bambi Francisco, Founder, Vator
Paul Martino, Founder, Bullpen Capital
Duncan Davidson, Founder Bullpen Capital
Rich Melmon, Founder, Bullpen Capital

Remember, get your VentureBeat discount tickets using VB15 before they’re sold out. For companies interested in having a presence at the show, the best deals are in the demo tables, which include a table to demo your services/product, three tickets to the event, and logos on TV screens.

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iPad 3′s biggest production challenge: that damn Retina Display

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 09:21 AM PDT

apple ipadThe Apple iPad 3 reportedly has a serious challenge ahead of itself when it comes to production: building that blasted pixel-rich Retina Display.

After the completely inaccurate reports about iPhone 5, it’s hard to trust any rumors about upcoming Apple products. But when it comes to the iPad 3, I find the idea of slightly bumping up the screen resolution and internal hardware completely believable. Plus, we’ve already heard similar rumblings from other sources when it comes to the iPad 3.

This latest report, courtesy of CNET, has an unidentified source suggesting that iPad display makers LG and Samsung are presently able to produce a 10-inch screen with a maximum resolution of 2,048 x 1,583. That resolution means the device would have 264 pixels per inch (PPI), and that’s twice the 132 PPI of the iPad 2′s 1024 x 768 display.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t hold up to what Apple has already delivered with its highly touted “Retina Display” that was first featured on the iPhone 4 and is now available on the iPhone 4S. Both of those models feature 960 x 640 resolution on their 3.5-inch displays, which means they have 326 PPI. That’s a far cry from the 264 PPI on these upcoming iPad 3 displays.

Besides not being able to live up to the standard PPI set by the iPhone 4′s screen, the manufacturers are struggling to make these new 264 PPI in large quantities. It’s much easier to manufacture small 3.5-inch displays with incredible pixel density than it is to make a 10-inch display with the same density, so coming up with the actual process has left suppliers stumped.

If manufacturers can’t deliver what Apple wants at high quantities, one other screen option is available: a better-but-not-that-impressive 1,600 x 1,200 resolution display. Even if LG and Samsung are only able to deliver screens with that resolution, it would still be a decent upgrade, especially if Apple updates the processor and cameras on the iPad too.

How important is a higher resolution display to you for the iPad 3?

Filed under: mobile

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