social media watch

Biz Stone Thinks the World Is Ready for Jelly, a Social-Visual Search App

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 8, 2014 03:54 PM

Back in 2001, the ladies of Destiny's Child gave us fair warning, but who knew we'd have to wait 13 years to see if we were "ready for this jelly?"

After leaving Twitter in 2011, co-founder Biz Stone formed Obvious to explore new ideas with some former co-Tweeters, and then launched Medium, a "digital speakers' corner."

This week, he unveiled at CES 2014 his next big thing: Jelly, an app that brings social and search together to answer queries. Not quite the caliber of 'Queen Bey,' but we're intrigued.

Users will pose visual questions via Twitter and Facebook and receive answers back from select friends and followers.

“What we’re really doing is taking full advantage of what makes mobile mobile: the brevity, the location, the shortness of the answers,” said Stone, CEO of the new company.

In a blog post, the company said Jelly uses humans rather than algorithms to gather and parse information. “No matter how sophisticated our algorithms become, they are still no match for the experience, inventiveness, and creativity of the human mind."Continue reading...

brand revival

Polaroid, LG Get Nostalgic with Insta-Print Devices at CES 2014

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 8, 2014 02:49 PM

The Polaroid brand may seem like the perfect one to box up and send off to the Smithsonian, but the camera maker isn’t close to dead yet. At CES 2014 this week in Las Vegas, Polaroid is demoing a nifty new camera that allows photographers to either instantly share an image on social media or print out a 2x3 inch version of it on sticker paper, CNET reports.

Of course, the Android-based Socialmatic with a 4.5-inch touchscreen will need special supplies such as heat-activated Zink paper, which will run about $30 for 80 sheets. Still, the “hipster-vintage retro design” may interest younger consumers, CNET predicts. The Socialmatic isn’t expected to actually be on the market till the fall, however, and TechCrunch reports that it will cost $299.

To add to the shareability, the printed image includes a small QR code “so that other Socialmatic users can scan it, get the digital version from Polaroid’s servers, and reprint it,” TechCrunch notes.Continue reading...

mobile brands

BlackBerry Will Go On, Chen Says (At Least in a Knock-Off Keyboard)

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 8, 2014 01:52 PM

Smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry used to rule the roost as the world aspired to have the same phones that chief executives and bigwig attorneys were tapping away on. But BlackBerry had little chance to survive when the likes of Apple and Samsung introduced more advanced, user-friendly technology that has since won consumers the world over. 

It seemed that the company formerly known as Research In Motion was going to take a long-term leave from the consumer market, focusing on business and software, but BlackBerry apparently still has some fight left in it. CEO John Chen said at CES 2014 this week that while the company was going to “focus on its enterprise business for the next 18 months,” it was still planning to keep in the consumer smartphone race as well.

After posting as astounding $4 billion loss and only selling two million of its new smartphones, Chen said BlackBerry needs to sell five times that per quarter in order for the company to break even.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Yahoo Keeps on Content Path as Mayer Talks Mobile, Ads at CES 2014

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 8, 2014 12:39 PM

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s highly anticipated (and attended, as hundreds waited in line to fill the 1,700-seat Las Vegas Hilton) 2014 CES keynote played like a show as she focused largely on entertainment, unveiling a new digital magazine, introducing her new star colleagues, Katie Couric and David Pogue, and serving up John Legend for a Beatles rendition. 

But the focus of Mayer's talk didn't stray far from content creation, announcing the addition of Yahoo News Digest, a twice daily summary of news that will include information from multiple sources and news outlets. In a similar space, Mayer introduced another new content product, Yahoo Digital Magazines, which will be Tumblr-powered sections on Yahoo News.

The first two "magazines": Yahoo Tech, headed by former New York Times tech columnist David Pogue, and a Yahoo Food vertical. Mayer said digital magazines are core to the company’s strategic goals, indicating that the new projects will feed the ad beast with ad-funded content, but no display ads.

Another tech star is helping achieve Mayer's vision: British teen genius Nick D’Aloisio, who sold his Summly app to Yahoo! for $30 million last year and joined the company as a mobile product manager. D'Aloisio explained in a blog post how he helped develop the Yahoo News Digest app, whose backers include Yoko Ono, Stephen Fry and Ashton Kutcher.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Bends, Germs and Jelly Crash the Exhibition Floor at CES 2014

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 7, 2014 08:04 PM

It’s actually tough to make a call on what’s trending at CES 2014 this week with any coherence, as the range of technologies and new products on display at the show's first full exhibit day range from racing robots and recreational drones to wearable sensors, power chargers, and bends, wedges and curves.

Speaking of curves, director Michael Bay’s (Transformers, Pearl Harbor) unfortunate meltdown at Samsung's event Monday night was strewn across the Twitterverse. While touting the virtues of Samsung’s latest curved-screen models, as large as 120 inches, the teleprompter failed, and “Bay himself couldn’t come up with a single reason why anyone should care," Forbes commented. “In a nutshell, the moment summed up the TV industry’s problems: there are plenty of new TV’s to ogle at CES 2014.” 

Korean companies LG and Samsung both unveiled TVs that bend from flat to curved with the touch of a button on a remote after years of selling the notion that flat screen panels were best. Sony, meanwhile, is pushing 4K resolution—a technology that is coming soon once the cost of adding that many pixels to your television is cheap enough for the mass market and the TV’s themselves become large enough to reap the benefit.Continue reading...


Toyota Accelerates Push Behind the Greenest Propulsion: Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Posted by Dale Buss on January 7, 2014 06:42 PM

When it comes to alternative powertrain technologies, Toyota is in a great position to take a bit of a flyer. It made the right call in becoming the predominant brand in gasoline-electric hybrids with Prius, and it doesn't seem to be hurting from how the company has essentially declined to pursue a serious expansion of its tiny electric-car efforts.

Now comes Toyota making a significant bet on cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Joining rivals including Honda and Chevrolet in pursuing what could be considered the "greenest" power source of them all, Toyota was highlighting its FCV fuel-cell vehicle at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week after unveiling the concept at the lightly attended Tokyo Motor Show in November. It could be on sale in 2015.

Toyota said its FCV could provide a 310-mile range between fill-ups, which is on the order of what many vehicles provide between fill-ups of gasoline. The most significant difference, of course, is that fuel-cell vehicles produce only water vapor as a byproduct and produce no polluting emissions.Continue reading...


Intel Sheds Troubled McAfee Name in Antivirus Rebrand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 7, 2014 05:36 PM

John McAfee created an antivirus program that became the industry standard, making him an unbelievably wealthy man. But since splitting from the company in 1994, McAfee's wealth—and personal reputation—have taken a tumble, especially after he hid out in Belize while being considered a "person of interest" in a murder investigation—and blogged about it.

But McAfee's antics have also drawn some negative attention to Intel, which bought McAfee Inc. in 2010. Now, after grappling with McAfee's outspoken opinions and unruly actions, the company announced it will be officially rebranding the security software, devoid of McAfee's name. 

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced the change at the Consumer Electronics Show, where Intel is busy unveiling new efforts in wearable tech. While the McAfee sheild logo will remain, the software—which will be made available for free on mobile devices—will now be known as Intel Security, a change that is estimated to take a year to implement.Continue reading...

mobile brands

CES 2014: AT&T Vies for Consumers, Partners in Deal for Sponsored Data

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 7, 2014 04:50 PM

Consumers are already unhappy with the size of their cell-phone bills, but providers have got the mobile-hungry masses in a vulnerable spot: Pay up if you want to keep watching those cat videos wherever and whenever you want, America!

AT&T announced during Monday's Developer Summit at this week's Consumer Electronics Show that it will start selling data sponsorships, which will allow companies to sponsor data downloads by AT&T customers so the download won’t count against the consumer’s monthly limit. The sponsoring brand’s logo will be visible on the screen and the monthly bill, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"Customers just look for the Sponsored Data icon and they know the data related to that particular application or video is provided as a part of their monthly service," said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility. "That’s what makes this a win-win for customers and businesses." Continue reading...

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