Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Siri Now Works With Task Management App Remember the Milk”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Siri Now Works With Task Management App Remember the Milk”

Siri Now Works With Task Management App Remember the Milk

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 04:53 AM PDT

The folks behind Remember the Milk, a popular task management service, have integrated the iPhone 4S‘s voice assistant Siri with the app’s calendar.

The process of adding a new task requires no additional steps — simply tell Siri to remind you of something, and that task will be automatically created in Remember the Milk as well.

To be able to do this, you need to have an account with Remember the Milk and go through a short setup process explained here.

This latest integration is another sign that Siri might revolutionize the way we interact with our phones.

Sure, voice commands and tasks existed before Siri — even on the iPhone — but thanks to Apple’s enormous reach and influence, as well as some of Siri’s advanced and fun features, we’re seeing a lot of buzz around Apple’s take on speech recognition and artificial intelligence.

Check out the video below for a quick demo of the feature.

More About: iphone, iPhone 4S, Remember The Milk, siri

Apple’s Mountain of Cash Grows to $81.5 Billion

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 02:00 AM PDT

True, the analysts weren’t too happy with Apple’s quarterly financial results, but here’s one amazing detail from Apple’s report that might make you feel optimistic about the company’s outlook: Apple now has $81.5 billion in cash as well as short and long-term investments.

Last time we checked (in July), Apple’s balance was $75.9 billion, surpassing the total operating balance of the U.S. government. With the company’s cash reserves growing as fast as they are, it opens numerous possibilities for acquisitions. For comparison, Google’s recent $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola would be a relatively small dent in Apple’s enormous cash mound.

During the call, Apple also announced that two thirds of the company’s cash an investments are held overseas. Apple has recently backed a proposal for a tax holiday, under which companies such as Cisco, Oracly, Pfizer and Apple would get a tax break on earnings generated overseas.

If the proposed plan is accepted, these companies would have to pay a tax rate of 5.25 percent, as opposed to the 35 percent tax on profits generated outside of the U.S. The consortium of companies backing the plan claims the tax break would be justified by investing in research and hiring.

China Business

A lot of Apple's growth came from its China business. China accounted for just 2% of sales in fiscal 2009, but jumped to 12% in fiscal 2011. "I've never seen a country with as many people rising into the middle classs that aspire to buy products that Apple makes," says Apple CEO Tim Cook. Apple's Brazil business also hit about $900 million for the year. Image courtesy of Flickr, Philip Jagenstedt

Click here to view this gallery.

[via ATD]

More About: apple, cash, quarterly results

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Android Ice Cream Sandwich and Galaxy Nexus: Everything You Need to Know

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 10:02 PM PDT

Google and Samsung launched the latest Android OS Ice Cream Sandwich and the Galaxy Nexus smartphone Wednesday morning in Hong Kong.

We’ve broken down the long-awaited phone and OS’s new features, so that you can see exactly what is now brought to the table. Our pick for most impressive new feature is that glorious camera, which includes native features ranging from filters to panorama shooting.

  • Big, fast and powerful: the Nexus Prime has a 4.65-inch display and LTE, runs one of the fastest 4G networks in the world and has a dual core 1.2ghz processor.
  • Everything about this phone is smoother. There’s a new font optimized for HD, software buttons replace hardware buttons and the keyboard’s improved.
  • Your face unlocks the phone, as facial recognition replaces a traditional pass code.
  • The new and improved camera has zero shutter lag, autofocuses, takes low-light photos, stitches together images into seamless panoramas and shoots 1080p, time-lapsed video. You also have lots of instant editing options such as removing red eye, adding a “hipster” filter or cropping.
  • The phone gives you a detailed analysis of your data usage, down to the very app sucking up all your bytes.
  • Android Beam eases sharing between phones — simply bump your phone against another Android to transfer videos, maps or other content.
  • Gmail and Google calendar have slick new looks and are integrated into the OS.
  • The People app innovates your contacts list, linking individuals with all of their social profiles.
  • You can multitask and view your recent apps.
  • Developers can download the SDK starting immediately. The phone will ship to the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia in November.

What do you think of Ice Cream Sandwich? Is it a game changer from Gingerbread or does it merely add some new bells and whistles? Let us know what you think in the comments.

More About: android, Google, ice cream sandwich, nexus prime

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PlayStation Vita to Launch in the U.S. Next February

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 08:45 PM PDT

We knew that Sony was gearing up to release its next-generation handheld console, the PlayStation Vita, which was unveiled at the E3 conference back in June. Now the gaming device has a launch date: Feb. 22, 2012.

Sony Computer Entertainment’s American CEO, Jack Tretton, made the announcement at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco Tuesday. “I can't wait for you to experience this revolutionary handheld system,” Tretton gushed in a blog post. The price tag? $249.

So how revolutionary is it? On the surface, it looks like an upgraded version of Sony’s last and largely disappointing handheld gaming system, the PSP. But Mashable got its hands on the Vita back in June and found it to be a lot more than it appears — the screen resolution and touchscreen controls were impressive, the analog joysticks handled well, the front- and back-facing cameras made for interesting augmented reality gameplay, and overall it seemed a more powerful system than the Nintendo DS.

But will the $249 price tag fly, in an era where millions of people are playing games on their smartphones? We’ll find out in February.

More About: playstation, sony, Vita

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Lemon Makes Lemonade Out of Your Electronic & Paper Receipts

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 08:15 PM PDT

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: Lemon

Quick Pitch: Lemon gives you the tools to collect all your receipts in one place and analyze the data in a simple dashboard.

Genius Idea: A personalized email address for shopping.

Chicago-based startup Lemon aims to be the single place where you store and manage all of your receipts — whether they be the paper kind collecting dust in your wallet or the electronic variety lost in your inbox.

After operating under-the-radar for several months, Lemon officially launched its web and mobile receipt system to the public last week. It has managed to attract more than 100,000 registered users who are already using it to pluck receipt data off the printed or digital page and place it in a dashboard for safe-keeping and future reference.

Lemon’s system is simple enough to use: You can either send your electronic receipts to or scan paper ones via the startup’s mobile applications for iPhone and Android.

Lemon then grabs the relevant purchase data from your receipts — date, amount, merchant, tracking number and the like — to create monthly summaries and purchase reports. You can, of course, revisit all your receipts and apply labels to make tracking expenses or storing receipts for tax returns an easy process.

Soon enough, you’ll be able to share receipts individually or by label with folks who might want quick access — like your accountant, for instance.

But Lemon isn’t just intended for the expense or tax-reporting crowds. “We want Lemon to be an application for absolutely anybody,” Lemon co-CEO Wenceslao Casares says. He points to heads of households, college students, small business owners and anyone else looking to retain information about their purchases (regardless of how, when or where they make them) as potential users of the service.

“Mobile phones are going to change the way we live,” Casares says. “And they’re going to change the way we transact.”

Lemon, with its current receipt-saving system and an eventual bill-payment product, Casares insists, will play a part in the mobile revolutoin he anticipates.

Lemon, which has 20 employees, has raised roughly $10 million funding.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Kate*

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

More About: bizspark, spark-of-genius, startup

A Duet with Siri [VIDEO]

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 08:01 PM PDT

Each day, Mashable highlights one noteworthy YouTube video. Check out all our viral video picks.

We’re not going to lie, we’re kind of in love with Siri. Whether it’s using the personal assistant to tweet or forcing her to answer absurd questions, we dig the technology and the app.

Jonathan Mann shared his love in the form of a song-of-the-day duet, Siri style.

In the song, Mann sings a number of our favorite Siri questions and quips. We love it.

What’s been your greatest Siri discovery? Let us know in the comments.

More About: iPhone 4S, siri, viral-video-of-day

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Google Ice Cream Sandwich, Nexus Prime Launch [LIVE BLOG]

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 07:21 PM PDT

Google has unveiled the long-awaited Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS for mobile and the new Nexus Prime smartphone at a joint Samsung Google Event in Hong Kong Wednesday morning.

We’re tracking all of the new Android Ice Cream Sandwich features, including a faster interface, updated graphics, folders and integration with Google+. Check out our live blog for all of the latest updates about the OS.

Bonus: Leaked Footage of the Samsung Nexus Prime

More About: android, Google, ice cream sandwich, web-2.0

15+ Improvements iOS 5 Brings to Your iPhone 4 Camera

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 06:52 PM PDT

1. Camera Access From the Lock Screen

Double-tapping the home key now brings up a camera icon on the slide bar. Hit it and you're straight into the Camera app.

Click here to view this gallery.

If you’re sticking with your iPhone 4, you need not be too jealous of the photography enhancements in the iPhone 4S.

That’s because iOS 5 brings a whole host of improvements to your iPhone 4′s camera and “Photos” app. We’ve taken a look at the exciting new features the update offers.

More About: apple, features, gallery, How-To, iOS 5, iphone, iphone 4, iphotography, photography

Allthis Is a Marketplace Where You Can Buy & Sell Time [EXCLUSIVE]

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 06:32 PM PDT

Imagine if you could grab 10 minutes of time with anyone in the world — your childhood hero, favorite musician or celebrity crush, for instance. Who would you want to meet and what would the opportunity be worth to you? Startup Allthis gives you the chance to realistically answer those questions.

Allthis is an online marketplace where users can buy and sell — using a virtual currency called “time credits” — 10-minute chunks of anyone’s time.

The idea, says cofounder Christopher Poseley in an exclusive interview with Mashable, is to unlock people’s time and make it available to others. “We really want to be the place on the internet where you can, in a trusted way, get in touch with anyone that you want to.”

Allthis, a small Angel-backed startup, quietly went live with its product a few weeks ago and has since organically attracted 10,000 users.

Here’s how it works: Every individual that joins the site is assigned a single token that others, if they have enough time credits, can buy at the going market rate. The token represents 10 minutes of your time and, as a condition of the registration process, you pledge to honor and give the allotted time to the highest buyer.

The price of your token goes up 10% every time it trades hands, meaning your onsite value, and the value of your time, increases. Once another user holds your token for a 24-hour period, then he or she can choose to cash in on the 10 minutes of your time. And once your token has been redeemed, you can donate your purchase price, in actual currency converted from time credits, to a U.S. charity of your choosing. Then, your token goes back on the market and the process starts over.

That’s all great, but you’re probably thinking that the Allthis model could never get you access to the most significant people in the world, just the thousands of Joe Schmoes using the service.

A few high profile internet stars, including Facebook engineer Sean Lynch and Zynga CTO Cadir Lee, have already signed on to Allthis to sell 10 minute increments of their time.

Maybe if could even get you time with a Mark Zuckerberg or Barack Obama — it’s a stretch, but there’s a chance. The site promises access to the more than 850 million people, as sourced from online public profiles, in its database. You can buy up tokens for famous folks and just wait it out until they join or buy with the intention of flipping a token to next highest bidder and cashing in on the exchange.

The token and time dynamics make for a unique onsite experience that motivates users to buy time as financial investments to pad the coffers of their Allthis bank accounts. Of course, your ego will also kick in once you see how the value of your time stacks up against other users’.

But, the way Poseley sees it, Allthis is really about letting you find and talk to almost anyone in the world. And, he says, it’s an entirely new way to meet strangers.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Gilderic

More About: allthis, Startups

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Not Buying Yahoo: “Sometimes, You’re Lucky”

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 06:23 PM PDT

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says that Microsoft dodged a bullet when it failed to acquire Yahoo in 2008.

In February 2008, the technology giant famously made an unsolicited $44.6 billion acquisition offer for Yahoo. Cofounder Jerry Yang (then Yahoo’s CEO) and the Yahoo board rebuffed the offer and did what it could to kill the deal. In May, Microsoft gave up.

Not long after, the market crumbled as major banks failed, and the market took Yahoo down with it. Carol Bartz failed to turn the company around and was recently fired. Yahoo is now worth $19.5 billion, less than half the amount Microsoft offered in 2008.

At the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Federated Media’s John Battelle asked Ballmer a simple question: “Are you glad you didn’t buy Yahoo for $44 billion?”

“You know, times change,” Ballmer first said before talking about how the market collapse alone would have hurt the value of the Yahoo acquisition, especially since the deal would have likely closed after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

“Sometimes, you’re lucky,” Ballmer admitted. Microsoft and Yahoo finalized a search partnership in 2009 that gave Ballmer control of Yahoo Search’s market share without dishing out the $44 billion to acquire the company outright.

More About: bing, microsoft, Search, Steve Ballmer, Web 2.0 Summit, Yahoo

Why Pandora Isn’t Scared of Spotify

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 06:16 PM PDT

Pandora‘s growth doubled after it launched on the iPhone, announced Tim Westergren, the company’s founder and chief strategy officer, Tuesday.

“Overnight, it completely transformed our business,” Westergren said at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

Pandora’s founder explained that the service, which has been around for 11 years, transformed from a simple desktop computer radio to a real radio because of the explosion of mobile. Users started taking their iPhones and plugging them into their cars and living rooms. Seventy percent of Pandora use now occurs on mobile devices.

Westergren said Pandora is “radio-at-large” By that, he means that, unlike traditional radio stations, Pandora can serve a wider variety of music. The company has more than 900,000 songs in its library, and 95% of those songs were spun in July.

“It’s really addressing the long tail,” Westergren noted. “Most of that music doesn’t get played on radio.”

Westergren isn’t worried about the rise of Spotify, Rdio and other music streaming services. He claimed that 80% of the time spent listening to music is spent on radio, while only 20% is spent on stuff that users own, including on-demand streaming services like Spotify. Westergren also argued that radio and on-demand music aren’t competitive because most people use them in tandem.

As for what’s next? “Obviously cars are a big arena for us,” Pandora’s founder said. “Half of music listening happens in the car.” He explained that it would take a long time to penetrate the car market, since people don’t buy new cars every year like they do smartphones.

More About: pandora, tim westergren

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Facebook’s Going a Little Purple for Spirit Day

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 06:01 PM PDT

facebook image

Facebook is throwing its weight behind Spirit Day, a day supporting LGBT youth and fighting back against bullying and digital abuse.

To celebrate this Oct. 20, Facebook is encouraging its employees to learn more about Spirit Day and turn their Facebook profile pictures purple in support, representing “spirit” on the rainbow flag. Facebook will also be turning two of its pages — Facebook Diversity and Facebook Safety — purple for the entire day.

Spirit Day is another example of Facebook’s effort to fight bullying and digital abuse. The social network has developed a digital tool for reporting abuse, it has partnered with MTV’s “A Thin Line” anti-abuse campaign, the BBC, the National Crime Prevention Council and other organizations looking to make a difference. Facebook has also participated in White House events and conferences aiming to curtail the spread of online bullying.

This effort is important as Facebook is one of the most popular and common places to find digital abuse. This is not a result of Facebook policies but a natural result of the huge amount of youths (and people in general) that communicate and share their lives on the network. It is both good business and absolutely necessary that Facebook address these problems.

SEE ALSO: 56% of Teens Say They Have Been Bullied Online [SURVEY]

Facebook is not alone in its support of Spirit Day, as other tech giants join in, including Yahoo!, AT&T, HP, Comcast and Viacom.

Users looking to show their own support can visit the Spirit Day Page, sponsored by GLAAD, to download anti-bullying resources and tint their own profile photos purple. There are also options to tint other social profile pictures purple, such as Twitter, Google+ and Tumblr.

How important is it for the tech world to support LGBT youth and take a stand against cyber-bullying? Is it long over due or unnecessary? Sound off in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, GOIABA (Goiabarea)

More About: Facebook, gay pride, Social Good

Nobel Peace Prize Winner: New Media Empowers Women

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 05:50 PM PDT

In the opening moments of Pray the Devil Back to Hell, the second part of Abigail Disney’s PBS series Women, War & Peace, peace activist and social worker Leymah Gbowee breaks down the impact the war in Liberia has had on her family, remarking, “My children had been hungry and afraid their entire lives.”

In a film full of remarkable statements, this one struck me as being particularly poignant. The film chronicles the work of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace. Organized by Gbowee, this movement brought together thousands of women from across religions to petition for change and an end to war. It worked. Not only is the movement credited with ending the Second Liberian Civil War, it led to the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as president of Liberia, the first female head of state in Africa.

Gbowee, Sirleaf and Tawakkul Karman were awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in peace-building and women’s rights advocacy.

At a breakfast earlier this week, I had a chance to ask Gbowee some questions about her journey, the importance of technology and the impact the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace movement has had on younger generations.

In the western world, we often take for granted the ubiquitous nature of connectivity and technology. In Liberia, activists like Gbowee had to get the word out to other women via radio and word of mouth.

The biggest limitation right now for women in areas like Africa and other parts of the developing world is the lack of access to technology. Beyond just not having the technical resources, women in these countries also don’t have education or experience using these devices.

Gbowee said that those of us in the western world — and she made a point to say that this has to go beyond the U.S. — need to look at investing in places without technology. The first step is assessing the needs, the existing setups and the goals in each area.

Setting a Better Example for Young Women

Gbowee also expressed to me the importance that those of us — especially women — who do have access to technology are using that technology responsibly.

Setting a good example for women all over the world and not simply “parading themselves over YouTube” is a good start. The more young girls in the developed world can embrace the positive, the better shot media as a whole has at “reversing the trend of negative portrayals of women.”

She went on to say that these sorts of positive influences could empower women in a whole new way.

Pray the Devil Back to Hell airs on PBS at 10:00pm tonight.

Watch Life After the Nobel: An Interview with Leymah Gbowee on PBS. See more from Women War and Peace.

More About: africa, Film, TV, womens rights

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Beyond Angry Birds: 8 Fantastic Physics Puzzlers for iPhone

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 05:26 PM PDT

1. iBlast Moki 2

This Godzilab game tasks players to get adorable creatures named Mokis into the goal portal. In order to do this, the player places bombs throughout each level, timed to go off at specific points.

This game requires more planning than the average physics puzzler, as levels must be considered not just for their physical attributes, but also for their temporal dynamics. Thankfully, if things get too complex, you're able to view user solutions. Also, enjoy nearly endless amounts of playtime with the game's powerful level editor and level sharing features.

[Universal Download]

Click here to view this gallery.

Games that challenge players with the laws of physics are all the rage on mobile platforms. Physics puzzlers combine two elements: gameplay mechanics and level design, both immensely satisfying on a basic level.

Angry Birds and Cut the Rope are two of the most famous physics puzzlers in the App Store. They've earned millions of downloads and expanded to other forms of media and merchandise.

SEE ALSO: Addicted to Angry Birds? Here's Help [INFOGRAPHIC]

These games are hardly the be-all-end-all of the physics puzzler genre, however. Here are eight more excellent choices that force players to solve various physics challenges – amidst plenty of flying objects, of course.

More About: angry birds, contributor, features, Gaming, iphone, Mobile

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How Google Ventures Chooses Which Startups Get Its $200 Million

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 05:03 PM PDT

Google Ventures, the search giant’s venture capital arm, will invest more than $200 million in more than 100 companies over the next year.

Bill Maris and Graham Spencer of Google Ventures discussed the VC firm’s investment philosophy at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco Tuesday. Maris explained that Google Ventures combines quantitative analysis of each startup along with traditional venture capital signals and gut instincts.

“We want to use our analytics to try to figure out … to get a better sense of whether we should invest,” Maris said as he explained how Google Ventures would choose the companies that would receive funding from the firm. The New York Times reported Google would spend $200 million in venture capital investments earlier this year.

Maris and Spencer said one thing that doesn’t affect the firm’s investment decisions is whether or not a company could be a strategic asset to Google. Like traditional VC firms, Google Ventures makes its investment decisions solely on the potential financial return to the firm and its partners.

When Federated Media’s John Battelle told Maris and Spencer they don’t act like normal VCs, Spencer responded with a simple quip. “Who at Google acts normally? It’s not something we’re trying to achieve.”

More About: Google, Google Ventures, Startups, Web 2.0 Summit

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“Batman Arkham City:” Can Anyone Make a Good Superhero Game? [OPEN THREAD]

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 04:51 PM PDT

batman image

Poor superheroes: They do so much to save the planet time and time again and we can’t even make a decent video game about it. Superhero video games are commonly a wasteland of awful, which isn’t entirely their fault.

They’re usually attached to a film and are given shorter development times. The tie-in with major movies also means that the games don’t have to be great in order sell.

There are, of course, wonderful exceptions to the rule. Some superhero games like the 1992 X-Men Arcade game or 2009′s Batman: Arkham Asylum turned out experiences that tapped a franchise and delivered an enjoyable game. However, for every success, there are raspberries like Superman for the Nintendo 64 or the recent Iron Man video games.

This fall there are a trio of big-name games hitting consoles, including Batman: Arkham City, a sequel to the Dark Knight‘s first successful high-def romp.

Previewing Batman: Arkham City and playing around with two other superhero games — X-Men: Destiny and Spider-Man: Edge of Time — gave us a little bit of hope. X-Men: Destiny had us running around as one of three new mutants who beat up thugs. It’s nice to fight with iconic characters like Gambit or Cyclops but too much of it felt like a series of tasks — talk to a person, fight some bad guys, talk to a person, fight some bad guys — rather than a story. The game looks pretty good and the fighting, albeit simple, serves its purpose.

Spider-Man: Edge of Time pits you as two, parallel universe Spider-Men, the modern day Spidey and one from the future. The game plays great but runs into the same problems most other Spider-Man games face: How do you approximate the spatial awareness, agility, speed and reflexes of Spider-Man into a controller? Well, you do the best you can. Web swinging and sending out zip lines are fun and a special button lets real-world Spidey enter a Matrix-like slow-mo highlight his speed. Of course, the camera gets lost during these acrobatics and it can be disorienting to automatically zip to something you can’t see on-screen.

One of the reasons the new Batman video game series has done so well is because Batman is based in (relative) reality. Batman can’t fly or cling to walls but instead gameplay is based on sneaking around, using gadgets and setting ambushes. Combat still feels a bit like a min-game (you time button presses to avoid attacks and there are few innate combos) but the game really lets you feel like a modern-day Bats. The game now encompasses all of Arkham City with a more open-world, Grand Theft Auto-style atmosphere.

It might be marginally easier to make a Batman game, but the development team at Rocksteady has clearly put in some time to make sure the game isn’t just another one of those awful superhero games you hear so much about. Which leads us to ask:

Why is it so hard to make a good superhero game?

Let us know in the comments why you think superhero games are so often a disaster and tell us your own favorite games that finally got it right.

More About: batman, video game

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9 Twitter Accounts Every Startup Investor Should Follow

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 04:20 PM PDT

Bill Clark is the CEO of Microventures, a startup fundraising platform that uses crowdfunding to allow investors to invest between $1,000 to $10,000 in startups. He also manages the venture capital firm MicroAngel Capital Partners. You can follow him on Twitter @austinbillc.

When I wanted to learn about becoming an angel investor, I targeted the best VCs out there. By following these investors on Twitter, I came to understand the investments they made and the technology that interested them. Their startup investment advice has helped advance my venture capital education, and continues to keep me up-to-speed on a daily basis.

The nine VCs below are essential follows for anyone looking to better understand the industry. If you have any additional suggestions, please share them in the comments below.

1. @fredwilson

Fred also blogs daily at, and engages with his followers in the comment section. (Bonus: the comments are sometimes as good as the blog post itself.)

Wilson has an MBA Monday series, which educates both investors and entrepreneurs on all aspects of a startup, from return on investment to cap tables. He posts links on Twitter along with additional educational content.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Business, contributor, features, investment, Startups, Twitter, venture capital

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Apple’s Earnings: 5 Things You Need to Know

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 03:44 PM PDT

From the looks of it, Apple ended its fiscal 2011 with a whimper. Revenues didn’t hit The Street’s expectations and iPhone sales were down from the previous quarter. Even iPad sales came in on the low side of predictions.

However, anyone looking for signs of Apple’s downfall would be hard-pressed to find any after the company went over its numbers with analysts Tuesday afternoon. In fact, barring one worldwide event for which Apple had little control, the outlook for Apple was overwhelmingly positive. Here are some key facts Apple shared during its call:

Image courtesy of Flickr, Marcopaco

China Business

A lot of Apple's growth came from its China business. China accounted for just 2% of sales in fiscal 2009, but jumped to 12% in fiscal 2011. "I've never seen a country with as many people rising into the middle classs that aspire to buy products that Apple makes," says Apple CEO Tim Cook. Apple's Brazil business also hit about $900 million for the year. Image courtesy of Flickr, Philip Jagenstedt

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: apple, ipad, iphone, mac

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Angry Birds: 30 Million Daily Active Users and 300 Million Minutes of Gameplay Per Day

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 03:10 PM PDT

Angry Birds isn’t slowing down. According to its creators, gamers are spending millions of hours per day engaging with the mobile gaming phenomenon.

Andrew Stalbow, Rovio‘s GM of North America, says that the various version of Angry Birds have been downloaded 400 million times. Thirty million people play the game on a daily basis, he announced at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. One hundred thirty million people play Angry Birds monthly.

The result? Gamers spend a whopping 300 million minutes playing Angry Birds daily. That’s 109.5 billion minutes per year, or 1.825 billion hours.

SEE ALSO: Addicted to Angry Birds? Here's Help [INFOGRAPHIC]

Stalbow also revealed that China is the game’s second largest and fastest growing market. The company recently released an update for the Chinese Moon Festival in an attempt to appeal to Chinese players. Rovio will soon release an update for Halloween that will introduce a secret, new bird (we know that it’s yellow and looks a bit like a duck).

Several years ago, the company was working on games for publishers like EA. It was on the brink of collapse before it turned to social and mobile platform platforms. At one point, the company had nine employees, but now it has more than 170 employees worldwide.

More About: angry birds, Gaming, rovio

China Is Taking Over the Web, and Other Internet Trends [STATS]

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 03:00 PM PDT

KPCB Internet Trends (2011)

Did you know that 81% of users of the web’s top properties live outside the U.S.? That China added more Internet users in three years than exist in the entire United States? That Israelis spend more hours on social networks than citizens of any other country? Or that Nigeria is adding more Internet users every year than every country save China or India?

These are just some of the many stats Mary Meeker revealed during her highly-anticipated presentation at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. Meeker, who recently left Goldman Sachs for KPCB, is famous for her presentations on the Internet trends and the future of web. In 2010 she spoke of the unprecedented rise of iOS. In 2009 she spoke of how the mobile web is taking over the world.

Among the highlights of Meeker’s presentation:

  • Mobile search has grown fourfold in the last few years.
  • Mobile is growing faster than ever but still has huge upside.
  • Natural user interfaces and touchscreens are defining this decade.
  • E-commerce, especially mobile commerce, are on the rise.
  • The pace of innovation in Silicon Valley right now is unprecedented.

You can check out all of the stats in Meeker’s presentation, which we have embedded above. Let us know which stat surprised you the most in the comments.

More About: Kleiner Perkins, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mary Meeker

Rihanna’s UNLOCKED Redefines the Album Launch

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 02:57 PM PDT

rihanna image

Rihanna has boldly re-imagined what an album launch can be with the release of UNLOCKED, an interactive Facebook app that lets fans uncover the album, Talk That Talk, detail by detail.

The premise behind UNLOCKED is actually pretty simple: Users “Like” the page and then go on “missions” to uncover content released by Rihanna’s label, Island Def Jam. For example, fans were asked to submit a certain amount of fake lyrics to earn the lyric sheet for Rihanna’s album. Other unlocks so far include Rihanna’s new “R” logo, the single “We Found Love,” Rihanna’s new website, album release date and album cover.

In a sense, it’s like a Groupon built specifically for Rihanna’s new album. When certain “offers” reach a tipping point, the content becomes available. However, daily deals were not the point, “Its not that we wanted to create a Groupon for Rihanna, but what we did want to do was create a value exchange for Rihanna's fans,” says Alex Morrison, EVP of growth for AgencyNet, which co-created UNLOCKED along with Island Def Jam.

rihanna album imageSince the app’s launch in late September, UNLOCKED has received some staggering numbers. At time of writing, the project has given Rihanna nearly 1 million new Twitter followers and created more than 2.5 million tweets (a 445% increase from before UNLOCKED was launched). The project has also given Rihanna more than 700,000 Facebook fans with an estimated 208 million Facebook impressions.

Rihanna’s huge social presence is one of the reasons UNLOCKED has been such a success in the first place. Rihanna had the most fans of any celebrity on Facebook and ranked highly on Twitter as well. UNLOCKED requires a certain amount of built-in loyalty and a threshold of participation to work. For example, a small mom-and-pop indie band might have a harder time mobilizing fans than Rihanna’s small armada (called the “Rihanna Navy”) of fans.

UNLOCKED, however, won’t entirely replace traditional advertising. Island Def Jam will still be running Rihanna’s music videos through YouTube and VEVO and buying up advertising both in print and online to promote the album. UNLOCKED proves major artists can benefit from social projects. The unlocked content includes standard fare, like new single releases and a website, which would have been released with or without the app. The team behind UNLOCKED realized the real reward was social, rather than physical.

“Any digital asset is going to spread online for an artist like Rihanna,” says Jon Vanhala, SVP of digital, brand integration and new business at Island Def Jam and Universal Music. The real reward is not so much unlocking the content as it is being one of the first people to share it out. “There's social value for sure in getting something cool first and being able to share it,” Morrison says.

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UNLOCKED is also a smart way to engage Rihanna’s fans while she’s on tour or taken up with other press engagements. The app lets users feel like they’re interacting with Rihanna, by unlocking special content and helping promote her album. It’s a model that could be applied not just to other artists but across industries. Morrison says AgencyNet has received interest from publishers and beverage companies looking to implement something similar to the app.

While the model may only work for well-established artist or products, the success of UNLOCKED implies that Island Def Jam and AgencyNet may have a gold rush on their hands.

Is UNLOCKED the future of album launches or is it a passing fad? Let us know in the comments.

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How Touchscreen Tech Inspired Björk’s Latest Multi-Dimensional Album

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 02:46 PM PDT

For years now, musicians have done a lot more than wield guitars, basses and drum kits in order to create jams — PCs, mobile devices and tablets have made a serious entree into the musical world. Perhaps the most recent example of such digital wizardry is Icelandic songstress Björk's newest multi-dimensional album experience, Biophilia.

Biophilia, which was released as a full album on Oct. 11, is not just a musical project. It also contains a suite of custom apps, instruments and live experiences conceptualized by Björk after she was introduced to touchscreen technology.

I sat down with the musician before the album's release to talk about the inspiration behind the technology, and to analyze how music changes and evolves as more creative tools enter the fray.

Q&A With Singer-Songwriter Björk

How did touchscreens function when it came to conceptualizing Biophilia?

The entry point was touchscreens, really. On the last tour, from 2006 to 2008, we were working with touchscreens. I guess for me, touring with it and performing with it kind of tapped into something in me that made me want to write with it. It tapped into my musical education, where I felt that it was too bookish. I went to music school from five to fifteen, and it was quite classical, academic. I wanted to start a music school where I would have things more impulsive and more tactile.

"It just seemed like such an ideal way to map out how you feel about musical structures.”

I always had a dream to [teach] when I got older. But then, this sort of pop thing happened. So I guess when I saw the touchscreens, I was like, 'Wow, I can do this now.' It just seemed like such an ideal way to map out how you feel about musical structures. All the apps out there, the best ones…take something that's been academic and make it into a 3D environment. Some things are fine in books, but certain things — like music and physics — are meant to be 3D.

How did this technology affect your writing process?

I had always written my songs, since I was a child, by singing outside, and then I would come indoors and arrange them. For me, it was the first time where I was using an instrument while I was writing. I don't write playing the guitar. Maybe it's because I've always sang outside walking, especially as a kid. In a way you could argue that my accompaniment was nature.

That was my root — my relationship that I was at home in. It was the most natural for me. So to be able to sit with a touchscreen and play with your fingers while you're singing is kind of like, 'Wow, finally.' Technology has caught up with us.

But people are laughing at me when I say that I'm a bit technophobic. It takes me forever to learn things. It took me like five years to drive a car, and it takes me forever because I'm quite impulsive. I'm kind of spoiled because I've done a lot of my music — especially as I get older — myself on my laptop, but usually I have an engineer sitting next to me that helps me out when I get into trouble. So for somebody like me to see the touchscreen, it's like, 'Wow, now I don't have to program something for weeks and months.' So that's sort of the entry point.

But you didn't just use touchscreens to write the album. They're also part of the experience of the disc. How does that work?

In the beginning, the idea was to use touchscreens to write the songs, and connect them with nature — the elements. And then I didn't know what the platform would be. In the beginning it was going to be a children's music museum in Iceland. So I was writing, thinking about rooms. The first room is about lightning, so the children can play with a Tesla coil, and that's the bassline, and then they walk to the next room and it's like water, and they can make a riff with the water. Then they go to the next room, and it's crystals. So I was thinking like it was an interactive children's thing.

And then in the middle there was a chance that it might become a 3D movie. It seems like a big jump, but for me, the jump between a room in a house to a scene in a movie isn't that big a jump. And then that was super difficult and expensive — because obviously music was most important for me. I wasn't ready to wait like five years.

And then, basically Spring 2010, I programmed 10 songs. They each had 10 different natural elements with 10 different musicology elements, and the interaction in each song had already been decided — and then the iPad came out. So it was kind of like, 'Wow, maybe this is the natural home.' [The music started] off as a touchscreen and it should end as a touchscreen.

So did you buy an iPad as soon as it came out? Do you have favorite apps on the iPad for making music?

I bought the iPad and got apps like Soundrop, by Max Weisel, who ended up writing three of our apps. And Scott Snibbe's ones — like Bubbleharp and Gravilux. And then Touch Press, who did The Elements, and they later did Solar System.

It was just kind of outrageous because it was sort of like, 'Wow, I had already written a song about the solar system, and I had already written a song about viruses.' The subject matter I already had in my songs was viruses, the moon, the solar system, DNA.

Do you think technology is negatively impacting music at all?

I’ve been doing interviews for a long time, and I get asked so often, 'Why electronic music? It's so cold. It has no soul.' And I'm like, 'Well, it doesn't have a soul because no one put it there.' It's not the tool that puts the soul in there — it's the person. I've heard a lot of acoustic songs — songs written on a guitar — that have no soul. I've heard a lot of songs written on a guitar that have soul. It's the tool and it's the question of what we do with it.

"It's not the tool that puts the soul in there — it's the person.”

For example, [you can use auto-tune] to hide your faults, like Botox or something. Or you can use it as a creative thing. It's your choice. I used a product called Melodyne a lot on this album. It was first invented to tune your voice. But you can use it more to create harmonies. I would improvise a song, and then I would take my lead melody and put it in Melodyne, and then you can copy it. I went totally greedy and ended up with like 10 voices — but made out of that lead vocal.

I spent days on each song, [manipulating] each note so that each note would be like six different notes. What's exciting is that you capture the emotion of the moment, because obviously when you're writing a song, you feel a certain way and it's quite emotional. But if you are working with one lead vocal and making harmonies out of that, the emotion stays there. And if you have seven voices made out that same emotion, you magnify it.

Then what I did is that I went to Iceland and got a choir of 24 girls, and they ended up singing those harmonies, and they were actually quite difficult for a choir to sing because they were quite dense.

So you can cover up your faults and use this program by tuning your voice, or you can use the same thing and create chords that you couldn't have done without it. So it's your choice — do you want to be lazy, or do you want to push yourself and be creative? It's always going to be that question; it's never going to go away. Every day we have to ask ourselves, 'What are we going to do with this tool? Are we going to cut someone with it, or prepare a meal?’

This album has so many different elements — apps, instruments, etc — do you think a listener needs everything in order to experience it fully?

It's totally up to them. I don't think my fans should buy everything. Obviously they can if they want to, but I'm not like that at all. I don't buy box sets, but I respect collectors a lot. But I really wanted the album to stand on its own. And also, if you just want to buy one of the apps, and aren't that bothered by the music, you can do that as well.

At the end of the day, though, it's not that complicated, because in a normal band — whatever that is — you have drums and guitars and bass and keyboards and a vocalist and you have a concert. I have the touchscreen and I have instruments that are able to read that touchscreen. Normal bands have music videos; for me, the apps are even better than music videos, because music videos can be interpretations of the songs, but the apps are actually the songs. They're the visual representations of the song.

What do you think is the most misunderstood aspect of Biophilia?

If there's one thing I'd like to change is to make people realize that it's not that complex, and that the whole intention was to simplify something that was always supposed to be simple. I've been saying it's a bit like reading a whole book about how to break dance. It's impossible. But if you have the touchscreen in front of you, and you play around with it, it's really simple.

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Yahoo Reports Dismal Earnings, Revenue Down 24%

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 02:27 PM PDT

Yahoo reported its third quarter earnings on Tuesday and the results weren’t pretty.

The company net earnings were down 26% from the third quarter in 2010 and its revenue, excluding traffic acquisition costs was down 5% from 2010. Yahoo’s GAAP adjusted revenue was down 24% from third quarter 2010.

All in all, the financial picture was not positive, though the company did report higher than expected earnings per share.

Looking at the results, display revenue for the quarter was flat when compared with third quarter 2010. GAAP display revenue, search revenue and GAAP search revenue was also down.

Yahoo attempted to spin its positive assets in its earnings report, pointing out its continued success in certain markets. The company also recently announced a premium video portal, Facebook integration with Yahoo News and a new syndication content deal with ABC.

On the executive side, Yahoo is undergoing a period of change. The Yahoo board dismissed CEO Carol Bartz in September. Yahoo’s CTO Raymie Stata also just resigned. At Web 2.0 on Monday, Yahoo executive Ross Levinsohn talked up the business with Federated Media’s John Battelle.

Still, with these earnings, Yahoo’s future as an independent entity looks bleak. The big question is: What company — or private equity firm — is interested in buying it out?

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Apple Revenues Come in Lower Than Analysts Predicted

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 01:50 PM PDT

Apple on Tuesday reported revenues of $28.27 billion for its fiscal fourth quarter, lower than some analysts had predicted, but above the company’s outlook of $25 billion.

The company also sold 17 million iPhones and 11 million iPads in the quarter. The former was a drop from the 20 million iPhones Apple sold in its third quarter while the latter was an increase over the 9 million iPads sold in fiscal Q3. The company also sold 6.62 million iPods, which is down 27% from a year ago. That decrease, though, likely came as consumers traded up to iPhones and iPads. Apple also sold 4.89 million Macs in the quarter, a 26% jump over the year-ago quarter and more than analysts had predicted.

Both sales numbers, though, were somewhat lower than analysts had predicted.

For fiscal 2011, Apple’s revenues hit $108 billion and the company posted earnings of $26 billion. The company expects revenues of $37 billion for Q1 2012, which coincides with the calendar fourth quarter.

More to come…

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Yellowgate? Some iPhone 4S Users Complain of Yellow Tint to Screen

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 01:50 PM PDT

The ultra-smooth launch of the iPhone 4S may have hit a snag, albeit a minor one: Some users are complaining about yellow-tinted screens.

The discussion thread “iPhone 4S Screen Tint” has gotten 39 replies so far on Apple’s support page. A user called Snowglider appears to have started the discussion by noting a “really yellow tint” on the screen.

Some others noticed the same thing, though some speculated the effect was caused because the devices are new and it will go away within a week or so. Reps from Apple could not be reached for comment at press time.

The people in the group aren’t the only ones who’ve noticed a difference. In his review of the 4S, Joshua Topolsky of This Is My Next wrote, “One thing I did note, however, was how much less contrast-heavy the screen looks in comparison to the previous model. The iPhone 4S has a noticeably different color tone, and blacks seem far less dark.”

CNet also investigated, finding that cases were at least partially to blame because they cause the iPhone to think it was constantly dark.

As far as new product glitches go, this issue, dubbed “Yellowgate” by some, seems to be a pretty minor. It’s definitly not on the scale of the iPhone “Antennagate” in 2010. Still, this could be the biggest knock against the iPhone 4S so far.

Have you experienced Yellowgate? Let us know in the comments.

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VC Ben Horowitz Says Founders Make Best Startup CEOs

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 01:39 PM PDT

Venture capitalist Ben Horowitz argues startup founders should also be the CEOs of their companies. It’s a familiar investment philosophy for his firm Andreessen Horowitz, well known for its preference for founding CEOs.

During an interview at the Web 2.0 Summit, Horowitz said the institutional knowledge that founding CEOs have is what makes them most suitable to run their companies. “They have a set of historical knowledge that is almost impossible to replicate,” he told the audience.

Horowitz explained founding CEOs have been through every product decision, were a part of every hire, listened to customers from the beginning and are the keepers of a company’s vision. He also argued founding CEOs are best equipped to avoid major mistakes because they already made those mistakes early on and learned from them.

Andreesen Horowitz was founded in 2009 by Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreesen. Horowitz was the founding CEO of Opsware, which eventually sold to HP for $1.6 billion. Andreesen was one of the cofounders of Opsware, but he’s better known as the cofounder of Netscape, which sold to AOL for $4.2 billion in 1999.

Horowitz explained most of the firm’s partners were once entrepreneurs and/or founding CEOs, which helps the venture capital firm better connect with the struggles facing founding CEOs.

“It helps to have founded and run a company if you’re going to help somebody run a company who is a founder,” Horowitz noted.

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Warning: Facebook Free Starbucks and Tim Horton’s is a Scam

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 01:27 PM PDT

It’s been a while since we’ve seen an outbreak of free voucher scams hit Facebook but in the last two days American and Canadian coffee lovers have been targeted by would-be phishers.

As our friends at Sophos explain, offers purporting to be from Tim Hortons started targeting Canadian users Monday. Users were asked to “Like” a page and share it with Facebook friends in exchange for free coffee.

Today, the scam has spread to include Starbucks. Tim Horton’s is primarily a Canadian chain and the ubiquity of Starbucks makes U.S. users potential targets.

We’ve seen this sort of scam before — either with the promise of free goods or access to Justin Bieber’s cell phone number. In some cases, users are tricked into a “likejacking” cycle after accessing a nefarious link. In others, users agree to install a rogue Facebook application.

In this case, users are asked to provide an email address and other sensitive information.

The danger with these sorts of scams is that they can spread so quickly across social networks. Unlike email chain letter scams of the past, these scams can post to your Facebook page and instantly entice others into falling for the same rouse.

Do not give your email address to these rogue companies. Do not “Like” their pages or share the scam with your friends.

If you have fallen victim to the scam, we advise you to change any passwords associated with your Facebook account or email login as a precaution (as well as any logins that share those same passwords).

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Mashable Seeks Two Awesome Tech Reporters

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 01:06 PM PDT

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Mashable — that's right, the tech news site you're looking at right now — is looking for two go-getter tech reporters (New York and San Francisco) to help fill our news room.

As a Mashable staff member, you'll gain access to the world of social media, technology, digital integration, world news, politics, entertainment and more. All we ask of you is killer writing and reporting skills, a laser-like focus on details, boundless energy and willingness to work super hard at the coolest place on Earth.

Qualified applicants should have a journalism degree, experience writing for one or more tech websites or blogs, and familiarity with HTML and blogging platforms. We prize clean writers and those who can edit themselves as well as others. Mashable is a team organization and team players need only apply. Both positions are full-time roles based in our New York and San Francisco offices.

If you're interested, and qualified, you can apply for the SF tech reporter position by clicking here. You can apply for the NY tech reporter position by clicking here.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, rubenhi

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Dropbox Raises $250 Million and Grows to 45 Million Users

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 12:46 PM PDT

Dropbox, the burgeoning Y Combinator alumni with a popular cross-platform, cloud-based file storage system, has raised $250 million in Series B financing and is on track to triple its user base this year.

Dropbox now has 45 million users saving one billion files every three days, the company announced Tuesday.

The company is also expecting to hit $240 million in revenue in 2011, according to a profile in Forbes on Dropbox and its CEO Drew Houston.

Dropbox competitor also recently closed a sizable round — $81 million. Box is currently enticing iOS users with 50 GB of free storage.

But Apple’s just-launched iCloud could be Dropbox’s greatest threat to long-term success. Steve Jobs and Apple, reports Forbes, saw the company as a “strategic asset” and offered to buy it for an undisclosed nine-digit figure in 2009. Dropbox rejected the offer.

“Jobs smiled warmly as he told them he was going after their market,” Forbes details of Houston’s recounting of the meeting. “He said we were a feature, not a product,” Houston said.

Dropbox has 70 employees. The startup’s Series B round was led by Index Ventures with participation from a slew of new and repeat investors. To date, Dropbox has raised a total of $257.2 million.

Dropbox did not disclose its current valuation, but it is estimated to be around $4 billion.

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Motorola Droid Razr: First Impressions [PICS & VIDEO]

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 12:37 PM PDT

Thin is In

At just 7.1mm thin, Motorola claims that the Razr is the thinnest 4G LTE smartphone on the market.

Click here to view this gallery.

Motorola unveiled its latest phone, the Droid Razr, which it touts as “the world’s thinnest smartphone,” at an event this afternoon in New York City.

The new phone sports a dual-core processor, 4G LTE on Verizon’s network, a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced display and a profile that truly defines “thin.”

After taking some time to play with the phone, here are our first impressions.

It Is Thin

A hallmark of the original Motorola Razr was its thinness. Motorola managed to make a clamshell phone that was sleek, sexy and thin. The company has taken the same approach to the Droid Razr.

Measuring in at just 7.1mm thick, the Droid Razr is svelte. Motorola says it’s the thinnest 4G LTE device on the market and it may just be the slimmest smartphone in general.

The Droid Razr is also very lightweight. Holding it in my hand, I was taken aback by just how light the device is. I’m not sure if I liked the lightness — I prefer a tiny bit more heft, especially with a screen so large — but this is certainly not a phone that will bog anyone down.

The Screen Is Awesome

The Super AMOLED Advanced qHD screen is beautiful. Without serious hands-on testing, it’s impossible to know how this compares to the iPhone 4/iPhone 4S, but this is easily the best looking Droid display yet. Compared to the Droid Bionic, which I recently reviewed, this device just oozes clarity and brightness.

Motorola touted that the Droid Razr will be the first phone to support streaming Netflix in HD. That’s great for movie fans — though we’re not sure about what difference will make in real-world usage.

For me, the screen was definitely one of the standout features on the device.

Whither Droid Bionic

The new Droid Razr

Motorola and Verizon recently released the Droid Bionic, after months of delays. The Bionic is a great phone, but the Razr trounces it and then some.

Anyone considering the Droid Bionic should set their sights on the Droid Razr. Same dual-core processor, same 4G LTE, thinner, better battery, better screen and an assortment of accessories that would make Barbie jealous.

Battery Life Uncertainties

We couldn’t get a clear answer from Motorola regarding battery life on the Droid Razr. Sure, the standby and talk time looked impressive — but whether those tests were done on 3G, 2G (if we’re talking Verizon’s voice network) or 4G LTE wasn’t clear.

My own experience testing a number of Verizon 4G LTE devices leads me to believe that while the Droid Razr might have great battery life using 3G, when 4G is enabled, that time is going to go down. Fast.

Razr Is Back

Ultimately, I’m impressed with the Razr. This is Verizon’s big Android phone for the holiday season and a valiant competitor against both the Samsung Galaxy S II and the iPhone 4S.

With the original Razr, Motorola created something magical and iconic. While I don’t think the Droid Razr will achieve that long-lasting status for smartphones, it does help cement Motorola’s position as one of the elite Android device makers, especially for the Verizon network.

Priced at $299.99, the phone isn’t cheap. Still, the phone looks like it packs a powerful punch for Android fans.

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