20 February, 2012



Barnes & Noble to launch 8GB Nook Tablet to better fight Kindle Fire, says report

Posted: 20 Feb 2012 08:53 AM PST


Barnes & Noble will soon launch a cheaper 8GB model of its Nook Tablet to help the company compete with Amazon’s blazing Kindle Fire, according to a document obtained by The Verge.

The current Nook Tablet runs $249, but it has had a hard time attracting cost-conscious consumers who prefer the $199 Kindle Fire. While I personally prefer the Tablet against the Fire because of its smoother processing, the average consumer likely sees the two units as too similar to justify paying $50 more.

To bring down the price point of the Tablet, B&N will lower the storage capacity to 8GB from its currently available 16GB. That will lower the amount of room that lets you store e-books, e-magazines, games, and other media. Thankfully there is a microSD slot on the Nook Tablet that lets you bump up storage if you feel the need.

The Verge’s document points to a release date in just a few days, with timing at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday the 22nd. The document says units of the 8GB model should be delivered to stores between Feb. 18th and 21st.

Apple is also reportedly testing out a smaller size for its mega-popular iPad tablet, a move that would help it better fight smaller Android-based tablets like the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet.

A Barnes & Noble representative did not immediately respond with confirmation or denial of the report.

Nook Tablet photo: Barnes & Noble

Filed under: mobile

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ABC News gets rare access to Apple’s troubled plants in China — will you watch?

Posted: 20 Feb 2012 07:34 AM PST


ABC’s “Nightline” program will air a special report Tuesday night that will give an “unprecedented” look into into Apple’s troubled Foxconn plants in China, which have drawn the ire of critics and Apple fans alike.

Apple, one of the most secretive companies in business today, has closely guarded details about its production facilities that make its coveted iPhone and iPad devices. After numerous negative reports about the Foxconn, including several worker suicides, the dam broke in January with a report by the New York Times that closely documented worker abuses. Apple responded by saying it would investigate abuses by the plants, and Foxconn agreed to raise worker wages by 16 to 25 percent.

The “Nightline” report will be one of the first time’s Apple and Foxconn have allowed any news organization tour the floor and get access with managers and workers. It will show off the conditions of half a dozen production lines of factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China.

“Nightline” anchor Bill Weir said that after years of denials, Apple finally gave him and ABC News the go-ahead to file a report from the Foxconn floor. He says that he doesn’t know exactly why he was picked but suggests it could be because:

• I’ve said nice things about their products on the air.
• ABC News is owned by the Disney Corporation and Disney CEO Bob Iger serves on the Apple Board of Directors
• The Steve Jobs Trust is Disney’s largest shareholder.
• They enjoy “Nightline.”

Apple said Weir would have full access to the plant but he would not be allowed to speak with CEO Tim Cook or long-time Apple VP Jony Ive about the facilities.

From ABC News’ early preview of the report, the most eye-opening part of the visit might very well be interviews with Foxconn workers. A look into the psyches of several workers shows how mind-numbing the job is: “I don’t think much about other things,” 26-year-old Liang Juan told Weir, “because the management is strict and we’re busy working and have no time to think about other things.”

ABC will air the “Nightline” report on Foxconn and Apple Tuesday night at 11:35 p.m. ET/PT. Will you stay up late to watch?

Foxconn factory video screenshot: ABC News

Filed under: VentureBeat

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The incredible anti-aging startup! Started in 2008, Pinterest is now just six months old

Posted: 20 Feb 2012 06:44 AM PST

Benjamin Button via Pinterest (of course)

One of the special powers that comes with being the hottest startup in the blogosphere is an anti-aging ability that makes your company younger each day. Now that Pinterest is the tech community’s new darling, the company now falls into this category.

According to data from CrunchBase, Pinterest was founded in 2008. If you go by founder Ben Silbermann’s LinkedIn profile, the site was founded in 2009. The normally very precise Bloomberg pegs the site’s founding as 2010. And according to the most recent press from this weekend, Pinterest is one of the fastest growing sites in history. Launched just six months ago, it now has almost 10 million users. Incredible!

There is an explanation for why Pinterest flew below the radar for so long. According to The Daily Dot, the site began as a private project in 2008, when Silbermann left Google. In a speech to design bloggers, he talked about the difficulty of creating something new at a time when the economy seemed to be falling apart.

The site became an official company in 2009, but didn’t launch to the public right away. When it did launch in March of 2010, it was a closed, invite-only beta. And even today the site remains invite only, although it has eased the process significantly as it grows the size of its user base.

If Pinterest continues to age in reverse at its current rate, the site will be back to an idea on a napkin in less than three months, so we recommend you try and join as soon as possible before the service is swallowed up in a wormhole of hype that disrupts the space-time continuum.

Filed under: social

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LG unveils the 5-inch Optimus Vue, the new “phablet”

Posted: 19 Feb 2012 11:51 AM PST

LG unveiled Sunday its new 5-inch device that blurs the line between phone and tablet. It's called the Optimus Vue.

Before Samsung released its Galaxy Note, the term "phablet" wasn't in our vernacular. But since the Note measured in at 5.78 inches tall by 3.27 inches wide with a 5.3 inch screen, it pushed the limits of how big a smartphone could be. Especially since the Note is just two inches smaller than the seven inch tablets on the market, including the Kindle Fire and the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Now, LG is diving into the phone-tablet form factor with its Optimus Vue. The Vue is slightly smaller than the Note with a five-inch screen. The Optimus Vue also takes a hit in screen resolution, delivering 1024-by-768 pixels compared to the Note's 1280-by-800. Both phones are come with a 1.5 Ghz dual-core processor and eight megapixel rear camera. The Optimus Vue also has 32GB internal memory and runs Android Gingerbread 2.3. And what phone-tablet hybrid would be complete without a stylus? The Optimus Vue comes with a Rubberdium pen to use when your finger just won’t do.

LG describes the phone as "the slimmest among all LTE phones currently on the market and is perfectly suited for a hand and fits comfortably in a jacket pocket." Note that it doesn't mention a jean pocket, because we're sure even LG realizes this phone won't fit into most pants pockets.

The Optimus Vue launches in March 2012 in Korea. No word yet on whether it will make its way to Europe or the United States. Maybe that's a good thing though, I'm not sure America is ready for two Frankenstein-like phablets just yet.

LG hasn’t yet released pricing details for the device.

Filed under: mobile, VentureBeat

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Collaboration app MightyTeams brings productivity to the iPad (exclusive)

Posted: 19 Feb 2012 10:43 AM PST

New York-based startup MightyMeeting has its sights on boosting mobile productivity in the enterprise. In keeping with the growing trend of using tablets to do work, MightyMeeting is unveiling a collaboration app called MightyTeams for the iPad and Android tablets.

Several apps have popped up in the last year that have pushed the enterprise into adopting tablets. Apps such as Skype, Dropbox, Yammer, and SalesForce Mobile have paved the way for more enterprise-minded apps to be released.

MightyMeetings seeks to eliminate the need for multiple apps to communicate with your team and share work with its new application MightyTeams. While popular services DropBox, Skype, and Google Docs give companies an easy way to share documents, collaborate on projects, and communicate with entire teams, you still need at least 2-3 apps on your tablet to use these services. MightyTeams rolls several collaboration services into one app, letting you share files, work on documents between teams, message team members, and hold conference calls in one interface.

MightyMeetings previously released an app of the same name which focused on presentations via video and PowerPoint and attracted customers from the pharmaceutical, manufacturing, and financial services industries. The new application, available online and for iOS and Android devices, focuses on collaboration between employees includes features such as microblogging, group messaging, voice conferencing, and file sharing. Each service is something you’d find in a stand-alone app. For example, Yammer is a enterprise social network that includes activity streaming and microblogging, and Skype offers group messaging and video calls.

“Unlike Dropbox we transcode content – videos and presentations – for the iPad, iPhone, and Android. This content can then be presented directly from the iPad, locally or remotely,” MightyMeetings chief executive Dmitri Tcherevi told VentureBeat in an email, “No one else does it as well as we do, and this has been driving adoption. We now have over a million assets in our repository.”

MightyMeetings isn’t the only company to release an app like this. Veeva Systems has released similar software-as-a-service applications to enable companies to work on projects together. Veeva’s Vault service, for example, facilitates file sharing and project cooperation. Veeva’s products are primarily aimed at the pharmaceutical sales industry.

MightyTeams will be available Tuesday, Feb. 21 in the Apple App Store and the Android Market. It can also be accessed with any browser. The app will cost you a subscription fee of $4.99 per month, but current MightyMeetings members can get it for free.

Filed under: cloud, mobile

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