The Coolest Smartphones You’ve Never Heard of: Nextbit's Robin and Freetel's Musashi take a rebel-like approach to smartphone design and service at CES 2016
It’s a given that smaller, lesser-known smartphone makers have to try harder to distinguish themselves in a market dominated by multbillion-dollar conglomerates. These models from a Kickstarter company called Nextbit and a newly formed, U.S.-focused Japanese company called Freetel definitely caught our eye with their refreshingly rebel-like approach to phone design and service.
These Android smartphones may not be for everyone, but then again, that’s not their objective. In any case, they sure are interesting.
The thin, slab-like Robin ($399) smartphone drew our attention at CES 2016 because it looked sort of like a Sony Xperia Z painted an eye-catching mint blue (you can also get it in midnight blue). Its shape is clean and uncluttered, as is the desktop of this Android phone. There's no bloatware. In fact, you won't see many of the more useful apps that typically fill a smartphone screen.
And that’s the idea behind Robin, a no-nonsense smartphone that keeps things simple by keeping much of what you do on your own personal 100GB piece of it’s cloud-based server.
Nexbit says Robin “automatically optimizes” the space on your phone by monitoring your app usage and moving the apps and data you don’t use often to the cloud (the generous cloud storage is included with the price of the phone). The phone itself, which has a 5.2-inch 1080 display, comes with 32GB of storage. By default Robin only does this over Wi-Fi when your phone is charging to minimize impact on your data allowance and battery life. That’s a good thing, too, because the battery has only 2680 mAh of capacity. Smartphones with such large displays typically require batteries with at least 3000mAh of storage to function for a full day on a single charge.
Robin has four tiny blinking lights on the back to let you know when it is communicating with the cloud server. Another LED on the bottom serves as an alert for important notifications. Other notable Robin features include a 13MP camera with autofocus and dual-tone flash; NFC for wireless file transfers and mobile payments; and a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone's screen without a password. Read more....
Star Wars™: Uprising players have journeyed through an epic storyline across iconic locations including the planets Hoth and Cloud City, and unlocked new character classes, like Bounty Hunter and Diplomats. Now, players will embark on a quest to unlock the power of the Force™, to be among the few elite to earn the galaxy’s ultimate weapon, the Lightsaber™.
As the uprising struggles to break free from the clutches of the evil Empire, strange new allies appear in the Anoat Sector. A mysterious advisor, a pale witch from far away, and a junk dealer who is more than he appears all have secrets to help unlock the power that binds the galaxy together, the Force. Players must seek it out and wield its power to lead the uprising.
Star Wars: Uprising takes place between Star Wars™: Return of the Jedi™ and Star Wars™: The Force Awakens, following the death of Emperor Palpatine. Players band together with smugglers, freedom fighters, bounty hunters and gangsters to rise up against the Empire as it tries to maintain control of the galaxy. They can also create unique characters, go on missions, develop skills, build up their gear, and recruit crewmembers for sector battles, all in an effort to create their own version of a Star Wars hero.
Star Wars: Uprising was named the App Store’s Editors’ Choice in more than 147 countries. The game is available for free on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Google Play for Android devices. For more information, visit: https://playstarwarsuprising.com/
Even as AppDynamics Inc. this week raised $158 million and discussed the possibility of going public like several of its competitors, venture capitalists are backing the next generation of application monitoring and analytics software.
One startup, OpsClarity Inc., emerged Thursday with $11 million in funding and software that applies techniques developed by consumer Web companies such as Google Inc., Facebook Inc.FB +0.98% and Yahoo Inc. to IT operations, which co-founder and Chief Executive Dhruv Jain said have been in the “dark ages.”
The company was started in 2013 and on Thursday launched its software, which it has been testing with beta customers for about 18 months. Beta testers range from startups like the ad-tech company C1X Inc. to public companies.
The Web fundamentally changed how applications are developed, but the problem of knowing how well and reliably they’re performing has been around for at least 30 years.
OpsClarity applies modern techniques to this problem–machine learning, data streaming, visualization–to suck in data and create a map of a company’s application architecture “like you would draw it on a white board…We can automate data collection, understanding the baselines of every metric for anomaly detection, understand the connectivity of systems and hence help you to [correlate problems] more quickly,” Mr. Jain said.
Because these frameworks are constantly enriched with new data, they’re alive, he said, like Google Maps. It has long been assumed that “engineers can live with crappy user interfaces,” he said, “but that’s not true any longer.” Read more....
Bertelsmann SE & Co said on Friday it was spending $230 million to acquire a minority stake in U.S. learning technology firm HotChalk, the latest move by Europe's largest media group to grab a bigger slice of the education market.
Bertelsmann, which controls broadcaster RTL and co-owns book publisher Penguin Random House, will become the largest stockholder in the company. The valuation of the funding round was not disclosed.
Reuters previously reported that Bertelsmann was going to lead a funding round that would value the Campbell, California-based company at $600 million to $800 million. The company has an annual growth rate in the double digits.
HotChalk, which launched in 2004, helps non-profit universities and colleges create online graduate degrees and currently supports 33 online degree programs.
Bertelsmann Chairman and CEO Thomas Rabe said in a statement that online services is one of the strategic segments the company wants to focus on in education.
Bertelsmann has recently made education a third pillar of its business alongside media and services, in a bid to grow its presence in the fragmented $5.5 trillion global market for education, in which the biggest single player is Britain's Pearson. Bertelsmann announced in September that it was creating a new business unit that will be run like a separate company to focus on education with a revenue target of 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion.)
HotChalk is one of a number of companies such as Coursera and Udacity, another Bertelsmann-backed company, that have sprung up in recent years to help bring universities courses online to a greater number of students. Read more....
Aquantia, today announced it has secured $37 million in an oversubscribed Series H round of growth capital. New investors participating in this round include Credit Suisse’s Direct Equity Partners, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, and Walden Riverwood along with existing investor Cisco Investments. Aquantia has raised a total of $199M and currently employs over 160 people. Since its first round of funding in 2005, Aquantia has become a market leader in high-speed Ethernet copper connectivity solutions the data center and enterprise.
The additional funding marks a major milestone in the company’s history, having attracted strategic investment over the years from among the leading companies in semiconductor and networking innovations, including Intel Capital, Cisco Investments, Xilinx, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, and Venture Tech Alliance.
“The semiconductor industry is experiencing some of the biggest technology inflections in history. Traditional venture capitalists have mostly abandoned investing in emerging semiconductor companies primarily because the sector has become so capital intensive. With so much at stake, private semiconductor companies, with a strong business model, outstanding execution, unparalleled strategic backing and the ability to displace large incumbents present a unique opportunity for investors.” said Lip- Bu Tan, CEO of Cadence Design Systems and Founder and Chairman of Walden Riverwood. Read more....
DELIVERY AGENT EXTENDS PARTNERSHIP WITH TWITTER AND ANNOUNCED AS OFFICIAL MARKETPLACE PARTNER FOR SOCIAL COMMERCE
Delivery Agent, Inc., the market leader in turning audiences into customers for the world’s leading global brands, today announced it has been selected by Twitter as one of the social media and information network’s official marketplace commerce partners.
Through the partnership, Delivery Agent’s omni-screen commerce platform, integrated with Twitter’s “Buy Now” functionality, will enable social sales for celebrities and media companies who, today, have a strong and growing presence on Twitter.
Delivery Agent currently powers omni-screen commerce across the web and TV for more than 60 TV networks, 600 shows and 500 musicians and celebrity influencers. In aggregate, Delivery Agent’s client portfolio reaches millions of Twitter followers whose direct connections with consumers can now be monetized through Twitter commerce. Fans and followers have a simple and secure way to immediately purchase products from a Tweet.. Read more....
Marin Software (NYSE: MRIN), provider of a leading cross-channel performance advertising cloud, and Boost Media, the leader in creative optimization marketing technology, today announced an enhanced partnership to benefit customers by streamlining the creative optimization process.
Marin Software is building on its partnership with Boost Media to emphasize the importance of including creative testing in advertisers' messaging and bidding strategies. As a result, Marin Software customers will now be able to leverage Boost Media's curated marketplace of expert copywriters and testing technology to optimize creative across search, social, and display campaigns.
The complementary combination of Boost Media and Marin Software offers customers a scalable best of breed strategy to support their ROI for search, social, and display marketing campaigns. Read more....
In the NSS Labs Breach Detection System (BDS) Group Test published today, global breach detection provider Lastline was recognized as a leader in Breach Detection due to excellent Security Effectiveness and low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), achieving an overall Recommended rating on the NSS Security Value Map™.
NSS Labs, a leader in independent security product testing and research, conducted comprehensive security effectiveness testing across eight BDS vendors. All vendor products were deployed in replicated enterprise environments and evaluated for their ability to detect a wide range of malware and exploits that attackers use in malicious Web, e-mail and other delivery methods to evade security products, gain footholds in networks and compromise sensitive information. Read more....
PSafe, the leading antivirus player in Brazil, is announcing a $30M Series D to take its security and privacy app suite to the rest of Latin America.
PSafe has been offering its free app since 2010, but switched their focus from PCs to smartphones in the wake of Brazil’s exploding smartphone market, and now have 52% of the Android market in Brazil, representing over 40 million smartphones.
PSafe founder and CEO Marco de Mello says Androids represent a full 90% of Brazil’s 70 million or so smartphones – not astonishing when you consider that Brazil is still the most expensive country to purchase an iPhone. The country’s smartphone market currently ranks fifth in the world, with 1.4 devices per internet user, represents ⅓ of the smartphone market in Latin America, and is growing faster than any other country in the region.
“People are skipping PC’s altogether, especially lower classes in Brazil,” says de Mello. “They don’t have the money for a PC, but they have to communicate, so they’re buying a smartphone.” — Marco de Mello, PSafe Founder
The $30M Series D financing, led by existing investors Qihoo 360, Pinnacle and Redpoint eVentures Brazil, makes PSafe the first mobile startup in Latin America to reach a R$1B valuation (about $320M), and will allow PSafe to expand to the rest of Latin America. De Mello says it may be PSafe’s last round of financing, and that the company is on track to be profitable in 2016.
Joyus, a startup aiming to build a QVC for a new generation, has raised $24 million in new investments. The round was led by Disney venture arm Steamboat Ventures and Marker LLC.
Joyus produces online videos that feature fashion, beauty and health products that can be purchased from the Joyus website or through a special Joyus video player when a video is viewed on other sites around the Web. The company typically makes money by taking a 40 percent to 60 percent cut of the sales of products featured in its videos. Read More....
Former Bonobos CEO Andy Dunn is “stepping up” to Executive Chairman of the company and will be replaced by retail expert Francine Della Badia. Dunn will become a brand ambassador and media face for the company while Della Badia will handle day-to-day business and manage the company’s Bonobos, AYR, and Maide lines. Read More
Cavium Partners with Quantenna and Aquantia to Deliver Fully Secure High Performance 802.11AC MU-MIMO WLAN Access Point Reference Design
Cavium, Inc., (NASDAQ: CAVM), a leading provider of semiconductor products that enable intelligent processing for enterprise, data center, wired and wireless networking today introduced a new turnkey reference design to accelerate the adoption of next-generation multi-gigabit 802.11ac Wave 2 Wireless LAN (WLAN) access points with comprehensive built-in security. This BOM-optimized reference design features OCTEON III CN7130 high-performance low-power quad core processor, Quantenna 802.11ac 4x4 MU-MIMO radio, Aquantia AQrate 2.5/5G PHY, 802.11 a/b/g/n 3 x 3 MIMO radio and Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability. The solution delivers multi-gigabit MU-MIMO wireless throughput along with robust secure transport and unique hardware-accelerated deep packet inspection capabilities for application layer security. The modular design is future-proofed to enable smooth upgrades to the next-generation 10G Wi-Fi. Cavium will demonstrate its reference design at Interop, Las Vegas, 2015. Read More
Aquantia, the market leader of high-speed Ethernet connectivity solutions for data centers, mobile and enterprise, today announced that it will demonstrate its game-changing AQrate® technology in the heart of a bustling hub of development activity in the NBASE-T Alliance booth #1251, at Interop Las Vegas 2015 from April 28-30. Read More
Last year, Kabam took a $120 million investment from Alibaba. Now, says COO Kent Wakeford, “we’re really going all in in China.”
The San Francisco-based gaming company has operated an office in Beijing since 2011, but today it announced plans to reorient the studio toward making games for China, rather than just for the West. That change, to focus on China’s 700 million mobile devices, is one component of an ongoing restructuring that will result in the net loss of around 25 jobs, taking Kabam from 850 employees to “more than 825,” according to a spokesperson. Read More
Jumio's Netverify Speeds Up Account Verification Processes by Over 80 Per Cent for Optimal Payments' NETELLER
Jumio, Inc., the fast growing online and mobile credentials management company, today announced that Optimal Payments, a leading global online payment solutions provider, has integrated Jumio’s Netverify® online and mobile ID document authentication service into its NETELLER® stored value service. Read More
Videology has become the latest demand-side platform to join FourFronts, a programmatic TV pilot headed up by FreeWheel, the advertising technology company acquired by Comcast last year. Read More
Is advertising finally full-frontal? Last year on Re/code, I predicted the convergence of the long-hyped television upfronts and the relatively newer digital content “new fronts,” suggesting that while it may not take place tomorrow, it won’t take forever, either.
I called the convergence “full-frontal” advertising.
One year later, as we approach the upfront season again, the question remains: How much closer are we to seeing full-frontal, and how many layers need to be peeled back before we get there? Read More
Aquantia AQcell Technology Boosts Small Cell Infrastructure With Multi-Gigabit Rates Over Copper Cables
Aquantia, the market leader of high-speed Ethernet connectivity solutions for data centers, mobile and enterprise, today announced the AQcell™ product line, a disruptive transport technology for the cellular infrastructure market designed to boost the speed of indoor Cloud-Radio Access Networks (C-RAN). Aquantia introduces AQcell in time for Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona as leaders in the mobility market converge to explore the most advanced technologies. Read More
With the influx of high profile digital data breaches in the past year, businesses and consumers alike have grown increasingly concerned over the amount of sensitive personal information at risk during online and mobile transactions. As attacks and fraud rapidly evolve and put hundreds of millions of consumers’ identities at risk, the market is seeing swift adoption of solutions to address these growing security issues. A new MarketsandMarkets1 report predicts the global identity and access management market will be worth $18.3B by 2019 and, according to findings from a recent CrunchBase poll2, identity management was identified as the industry expected to see the greatest growth in 2015, at a large margin of more than four to one over other burgeoning industries in the survey. Read More
Kabam’s revenue for 2014 was $400 million, a new record for the company — but it’s scaling back some of its underperforming divisions.
In addition to transferring some of its “legacy” Web-based games like Kingdoms of Camelot and Dragons of Atlantis to another company, RockYou, a move that was first announced in December, the free-to-play gaming company said today that it would scale back its third-party publishing venture, launched in 2013. The notion behind that vertical was to share Kabam’s learnings about how to run free games as a service with studios looking to scale up. Read More
21st Century Fox has agreed to acquire the online advertising technology company TrueX Media for $200 million. TrueX is behind the technology that offers to replace the usual advertisements in a video stream with one interactive ad. The deal with TrueX will help 21st Century Fox to drive ad engagement on its owned and operated digital platforms. Television, which for long has been the biggest advertising medium, has now peaked and will decline in coming years amid continued growth in digital platform, according to a research by ZenithOptimedia. On that note, we discuss below this development and the recent trends in advertising marketplace. Read More
Kabam and Disney’s Marvel Entertainment division have teamed up to create a second superhero mobile game.
The new game’s based on Marvel characters and it should deliver a “true-to-character role-playing game” for mobile devices, the companies said. The deal shows that brands increasingly matter as a means to stand out from the pack and nab players in the vast mobile audience. Mobile gaming is expected to hit $25 billion in worldwide revenues in 2014 and grow larger than console games in 2015, according to market researcher Newzoo. Read More
There’s plenty of debate over whether the TV industry will ever embrace programmatic ad-buying and selling to the degree that the Web has. But that isn’t stopping a slew of ad technology startups and behind-the-scenes TV-systems companies from angling to become the de facto facilitators for TV advertising, if and when it becomes more automated. Read More