Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “MTV’s Mobile TV App Lets You Chat and Co-View Content With Your Friends”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “MTV’s Mobile TV App Lets You Chat and Co-View Content With Your Friends”

MTV’s Mobile TV App Lets You Chat and Co-View Content With Your Friends

Posted: 28 Feb 2012 01:54 AM PST

BARCELONA: MTV Mobile has announced a new mobile TV app called MTV Under The Thumb at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The app offers MTV content on-demand with a social twist: it lets users co-view the content and chat with friends in the app at the same time.

Users can also share their favorite shows on Facebook and pair their mobile device with a web browser on a computer, which turns the device into a remote control or a second screen.

The app is designed with Generation Y in mind, said Ben Jones, European Director of Technology at AKQA, who co-developed the app with Viacom’s Northern Europe unit. Chat is real-time, and you can pause it and continue viewing wherever you want – ideal for the notoriously distracted Millennials.

As far as content goes, some of the initially available shows are MTV franchises Teen Mom, I Used to Be Fat and Jersey Shore. News, previews, celebrity gossip and a “What’s Hot” section are also available.

While the app itself is free, the majority of content requires a subscription. MTV offers three levels of access – “Tiny Thumb” is the free level, which offers news and a limited selection of actual shows. “Super Thumb” unlocks more shows for a monthly fee of 2.99 euros (or 29.99 euros per year), and “Ultra Thumb” gives users who have a MTV Mobile handset contract free access to all shows.

MTV Under The Thumb is available for iOS and Android in Germany, Holland, Belgium and Switzerland, with other markets to follow. US folks needn’t wait, though, as that market is not on the short-term menu.

Complete Coverage of Mobile World Congress 2012

More About: Mobile World Congress, mtv, social, social tv, under the thumb

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Have Facebook? You Can Now Check In to the Future With Forecast

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 10:05 PM PST

Foursquare tells people where you are. A new mobile app called Forecast, which is opening to Facebook users on Tuesday, instead tells them where you will be.

Here’s how the free app for iPhone and Android works: Users make “Forecasts” that include what they plan to do and what time. Those Forecasts are broadcast to their friends, and can serve as informal invitations to join.

Friends can accept them by clicking a “me too” button, and when they arrive, they can check in the same way that they do on Foursquare. Pinnell says more than 80% of forecasts are followed through to the check-in.

“The special thing about the future is that it hasn't happened yet,” explains CEO René J. Pinnell, “which means you can change it.”

This thing is especially special to advertisers.

It’s the reason that Google makes so much money off of search ads. When advertisers can reach people at a time they are making a decision, like searching for a dentist or declaring their desire to go out for pizza, they can influence that decision. Targeted deals and suggestions for complementary activities are both business models that work nicely with the future checkin.

For this reason, Forecast isn’t alone in its pursuit of what I call the “preemptive checkin”. Ditto, Hotlist and Crowdbeacon are just a few others.

None of these, however, dominates the concept in the same way Foursquare dominates the real-time checkin.

Pinnell says that about 100,000 beta users have signed up to use the app, which launched in beta after his previous app, a group messaging app for planning parties called Hurricane Party, failed to translate well outside of South by Southwest, where it launched.

Currently, it’s only been available to Foursquare users. In time for South by Southwest 2012, Forecast is opening the app up to Facebook users as well — a much bigger potential userbase.

Will you join? Let us know why or why not in the comments.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, mattjeacock

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NASCAR Driver Tweets From Car, Gains Over 100,000 Followers in Two Hours

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 09:45 PM PST

When the Daytona 500 ran into a protracted delay following an explosion and fire on the track Monday night, NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski did what any social media addict would: grabbed his phone and began posting status updates to Twitter.

Then he gained more than 100,000 followers in less than two hours.

Keselowski’s fellow driver Juan Pablo Montoya crashed into a safety vehicle mid-race. The collision and jet fuel — the safety vehicle reportedly holds 200 gallons of jet kerosene — sparked a huge ball of fire, although both vehicles’ drivers appeared to avoid serious injury. The race was halted. From his spot in the racecar traffic jam, Keselowski sent this tweet to his (at the time) less than 85,000 followers:

More than an hour later, the race resumed. Keselowski’s follower count topped 185,000.

Keselowski’s initial tweet set off a hysteria in the sports Twittersphere, and triggered a set of funny exchanges between him and his fans:

Keselowski then passed the continued delay with a steady stream of tweets updating and reacting to the accident and to-be-continued race. Eventually, the Daytona 500 got underway again, and Keselowski passed the message on to his swollen follower count by retweeting NASCAR’s senior vice president Steve O’Donnell:

Earlier, Keselowski had retweeted fan Jessica Lynn Burkett, who spoke for pretty much everyone when she posted:

Keselowski then got into a wreck of his own after the race resumed. No word whether it was a case of tweeting-while-driving, but he did post another message to his account minutes after his crash.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Brad Keselowski

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With Second Cohort, NewMe Continues Accelerating Minority Entrepreneurship

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 08:33 PM PST

In a tech world where just 1% of startup founders are African American, it’s easy for young minority entrepreneurs to feel discouraged trying to navigate Silicon Valley. But that sense of alienation is on its way out if the digital minds behind the accelerator NewMe have their way.

With its second group of budding startups one week into the three-month program, NewMe is poised to continue making progress in its mission of broadening and demystifying the path to startup success for African American, Hispanic and female founders.

“A lot of them can’t go to their parents or immediate network and say, ‘Hey, I want to start this app or this website, how do I get started?’” NewMe founder and CEO Angela Benton said in an interview.

When NewMe’s first group of startups finished the program’s inaugural session last summer, 60% were able to secure an average of $92,000 in investment money from outside funders, Benton said. The group’s journey was also documented by Soledad O’Brien in the CNN documentary Black in America: The New Promised Land: Silicon Valley.

NewMe’s current class of seven founders is farther along with with their products going in than the first group was, Benton said. The group is working out of a co-working space in San Francisco and being put up communally in a house in the city. NewMe has also attracted a growing list of sponsors for the accelerator, including Google, the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, and the social discovery site Tagged.

A Network of Opportunity

NewMe participant Amanda McClure is co-founder of the startup Kairos, which aims to leverage augmented reality technology for the day-to-day interactions of the enterprise market. She said she was attracted to NewMe both for the issue it addresses and its moment of inception.

“Women aren’t really encouraged to start a business,” she told Mashable. “But I think now the team is ripe because people are getting a little more irritated with working for a big company and not being able to innovate.”

Fellow accelerator participant Naithan Jones of the startup AgLocal said the key to making NewMe a tool for progress is companies like his and McClure’s actually getting off the ground.

“It’s not just a happy-to-be-here thing,” said Jones, whose company intends to create an online marketplace for restaurants and consumers to buy locally-raised meats. “We need to create venture-backed, customer-backed companies that are successful. Then we can really impact this.”

NewMe takes a small equity stake in its participating startups, but unlike many accelerators, does not itself provide them with investment capital. Benton said NewMe invests sweat equity in its startups and provides them with something more valuable than additional funding — a network of mentors and advisers.

“A founder of a new company needs that exportable network,” Jones said.

If the experience of McClure, Jones and their cohort is anything like Curtiss Pope’s NewMe experience, the twelve weeks will be time well spent. Pope’s company, AisleFinder, essentially works as a Google Maps for supermarkets, directing shoppers to the items on their lists. Pope said NewMe opened a world of networking and feedback that would have previously taken much longer to access.

“I think having something of your own is what everyone wants,” Pope said. “But to have the confidence and execution to make it happen is an important piece. A vehicle like NewMe, where you have that support, is huge.”

Creating a New Cycle

Pope is now a member of the new crop’s network of feedback and advice. He spent time at the group’s house shortly after they arrived in San Francisco, giving honest reactions to their apps and business plans. But NewMe also strives to create a longer tail of influence than simply former participants advising current ones.

NewMe partner Wayne Sutton said he’s seen a couple similar programs launch since NewMe began. And, while in the program, participants give talks and share their own experiences with younger minority students who may have tech or business dreams.

At a recent event at Tagged, NewMe’s entrepreneurs enjoyed snacks and conversation with a group from a program for African American students at San Jose City College. The students go to school near the tech world’s epicenter but are often a world removed, said program coordinator and professor of African American Studies Khalid White.

“To see people from NewMe who look like them and share some of the same interests merging their passion with their profession adds a real sense of relevance,” White said. “It kind of put the students in the mind-set of, ‘This is possible for us, we could also do these kinds of things.’”

With that kind of long-range impact, that 1% number won’t last long.

Image courtesy of NewMe

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This Calendar Fills Itself Based on What You Like

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 07:46 PM PST

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.

NYC ShopperName: UPlanMe

Quick Pitch: UPlanMe is an online notification system that filters upcoming events and specials based on what you like into one place for your viewing pleasure.

Genius Idea: Instead of searching blogs, websites, magazines and newspapers for local events, simply unlock a category of interest — sports, music, shopping, food, nightlife and T.V. — to collect new events and local news on a customized events page.

For those of us who don’t have access to human lint rollers (ahem, Sean “Diddy” Combs at this year’s Oscars) or personal assistants, say hello to UPlanMe. This free product will save the social lives of busy bees.

UPlanMe is called the “Pandora of calendars” for a reason. It tailors your events calendar based on what you like on Facebook, what categories you have unlocked and prior events you’ve noted as interesting. If you say Bloomingdale’s sales on UPlanMe are appealing to you, similar related shopping experiences at Sak’s Fifth Avenue, Barney’s and other high-end retailers will show up in your queue.

If your Facebook page says you “like” Jeremy Lin, it will remind you when New York Knicks’ games are airing on television or when front-row tickets are available on Ticketmaster.com.

The site pulls from various APIs for events and special happenings. Sports fans will appreciate the latest game updates from ESPN, CBS Sports and other national networks. Fashionistas will hear the first word about sample sales, store openings, and beauty events in their area. There’s also a television section, so people can keep up with when their favorite shows and movies air.

This is why we would suggest logging into the site with a Facebook account. It will incorporate Facebook likes and interests into the UPlanMe system to improve social suggestions.

“We like to think of the platform as a giant switchboard,” UPlanMe co-founder Brian Kantor told Mashable. “Users can turn on or turn off what they are interested in to personalize event calendar. Users can then share events on Facebook and Twitter, and sync with whatever calendar client they use most.”


“A lot of brands and businesses are creating Facebook events to connect with users, but there is somewhere around 1% engagement,” said Sean Barkulis, CEO and co-founder of UPlanMe.

The website will give businesses a step up by reaching online audiences that are truly interested in their brand. UPlanMe provides a free, embeddable calendar for business and brand websites, promotions on the discovery page and demographic data on existing customers to tell you what events and specials to plan next.

UPlanMe just launched a couple of weeks ago, but it already has a social media reach in the millions. It’s gaining page views by working with businesses who self-promote on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.

The New York City-based startup hopes to gain about 500,000 new users by the end of their first year. The current business model is based on revenue from music, shopping, sporting event ticket sales and website promotions of different brands and businesses.

“In general, it’s really about bringing people closer and connected with brands and businesses they love,” Barkulis said. “We are trying to excel beyond anything that came before us.”

Image courtesy of Flickr, vonSchnauzer

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.

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20 TV Shows With the Most Social Media Buzz This Week [CHART]

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 06:46 PM PST

While it only earned one-third the social media chatter as the Super Bowl, this year’s Oscars broke serious records. According to Trendrr, the 2012 Academy Awards earned 4.2 million social media mentions, more than double what it earned last year.

And that’s not even counting the red carpet chatter, which topped 3.9 million social media activities. Celebrities in attendance certainly helped inspire the content, whether it was Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest red carpet stunt, Angelina Jolie’s legbomb or Octavia Spencer’s touching acceptance speech.

SEE ALSO: Oscars 2012: Who Won the Award for Most Social Buzz? [STATS]

The data below is compliments of our friends at Trendrr, who measure specific TV show activity (mentions, likes, checkins) across Twitter, Facebook, GetGlue and Miso. To see daily rankings, check out Trendrr.TV.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, narvikk

More About: features, Social Media, social tv, social tv charts, Trendrr, TV

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Hipster Orchestra: The Oscar Edition [VIDEO]

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 05:56 PM PST

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

The Hipster Orchestra is back in the studio, this time applying their talent towards famous film scores.

Dubbed the “Hipster Orchestra Oscar Medley 2012,” the collective of classically trained musicians turned their talents towards the cinematic overtones from classics such as Titanic, Star Wars and Indiana Jones.

The Hipster Orchestra started out as a side project of music-licensing company Jingle Punks. The side project has gone on to gain its own acclaim with recognition online and in the mainstream media. The opening act from the 84th Academy Awards even included some music composed by the Orchestra.

The tracks represented in the Oscar Medley include (in order):

  • Theme from Indiana Jones
  • Theme from Ghostbusters
  • “Danger Zone” from Top Gun
  • Theme from Star Wars
  • “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic
  • “Axel F” from Beverly Hills Cop
  • Theme from James Bond
  • “I Will Always Love You” from The Bodyguard

What are you favorite classical covers of movie songs? Let us know in the comments.

More About: hipster orchestra, jingle-punks, movie theme songs, Oscars, viral-video-of-day

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Move Over, Super Bowl. Spectator Gaming Reaches Millions Online

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 05:23 PM PST

Ten years ago, Sundance DiGiovanni set out to standardize competitive gaming. He wanted to create a “world-class organization” type of league that would bring in players from around the world into the living rooms of rabid fans.

Three months ago, Major League Gaming‘s StarCraft 2 Pro Circuit National Championship had 241,000 concurrent unique viewers from 175 different countries, and fans watched more than 3.6 million hours of video from Nov. 18-20. Their total tournament season had over 15 million hours of video watched by 3.5 million people. Contrast that with the number of people who watched the Super Bowl live stream this year — 2.1 million — and you see DiGiovanni’s dream has been realized.

DiGiovanni owes most of his success to improved streaming technology, and to the rise of companies like Justin.tv and TwitchTV, which support streaming esports and meet the demands of an exploding audience.

“Streaming has allowed us to take what was an in-the-room experience and broadcast it to millions of people,” says DiGiovanni. “If you go back five years ago, that wasn't possible. The costs keep getting reduced and the quality keeps getting better.”

Events are always streamed in high-definition. And viewers aren’t just restricted to watching one match at a time; during the past weekend’s Winter Arena, another StarCraft 2 tournament, viewers were given four different matches with commentary to watch at once, along with an additional stream that featured interviews with players. This might seem like a lot of content, but for fans of the sport, it’s exactly what they want. DiGiovanni explains that MLG’s viewers are so passionate about watching matches because they are gamers too, and can relate intimately with the drama.

“There is a big difference in what we have compared to the something like the NBA. Most of the people who tune in to watch that sport are passive participants; they don't necessarily play basketball,” says DiGiovanni. “We have an active participatory group; people who watch also play the games that they watch. It's a lifestyle.”

The results of its active, vocal audience is that many people are tuned into streams for three hours or more at once. It also helps that StarCraft 2 is the most popular esport in the world. According to developer Dustin Browder’s keynote at last year’s GDC, Blizzard purposefully developed StarCraft 2 to be the perfect esport after the wildfire success of StarCraft in South Korea as a competitive sport. Browder says the key elements to a successful esport are that it’s something that people can play competitively and spectate easily. They need to be simple enough to pick up, but have a high level of skill available for competitive play. Matches also must be uncertain all the way up to the end, an element that helps bump up streaming views on MLG’s matches.

DiGiovanni said social media is also helpful in the times between matches, where they can keep fans in the loop about day-to-day goings on. They also create almost daily video content related to professional gaming, which covers other esports as well.

Day-to-day interactions with viewers extends beyond MLG as well. Nick “Axslav” Ranish, playing in last weekend’s Winter Arena, says he uses a streaming channel to interact with and even educate newer fans.

“When I play, I basically walk through everything I'm doing, and then I read the screen chat, see the questions and respond. It's great way to talk to anyone all over the world,” says Ranish. “I actually try to run my stream very educationally. I used to be a math tutor, so I have background in teaching.”

Major League Gaming decided to hold a tournament in its New York offices for the first time with last weekend’s Winter Arena. The tournament brought the top 32 StarCraft 2 players from around the globe to compete for spots in the Winter Championship tournament at the end of March, and offered $10,000 to the champion. This was an experiment for MLG in many respects: It was the first time they converted their offices — which are used for broadcasting daily content — into a tournament space, and it was the first time the company sold pay-per-view passes to the whole weekend of tournament coverage, thus imitating the business model of other sports. It was a test to see if PPV was a viable streaming method, or if viewers would balk at paying $20 for a weekend of games.

Just before the final match, in which 18-year-old Lee Jung “MarineKing” Hoon from South Korea took the top prize, DiGiovanni made an announcement on the stream: Because of the success of the Winter Arena, MLG will hold two Arena events leading up to the spring championships June 8-10.

Check out our photos from inside the MLG offices during warmup in the gallery below.

MLG: StarCraft 2 Winter Arena in NYC

Players warm up for the Winter Arena.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: esports, features, Gaming, streaming

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FBI Shuts Down 3,000 Warrantless GPS Devices After Court Ruling [VIDEO]

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 04:50 PM PST

The FBI shut down 3,000 GPS-based devices this week in a response to a court case ruling decided on Jan 23.

The U.S. Department of Justice is now dispatching officials to remove the devices, which were not authorized by warrant to be attached to vehicles.

In United States vs. Jones, the FBI stuck a tracking device under a car owned by Antoine Jones — a nightclub owner and operator — living in Maryland.

Officials started using visual and GPS surveillance after suspecting him of trafficking narcotics, according to Supreme Court documents.

Local officers physically watched over the nightclub, installed a camera outside of the building, wiretapped his cellular phone and attached a GPS device to his Jeep Grand Cherokee. A warrant was issued for the installation of the GPS device within the District of Columbia within 10 days.

However, the GPS was installed on the 11th day and outside the District of Columbia. Over a 28-day period, Jones’ vehicle was tracked.

Watch the video above to see how this decision affects you and what the FBI is doing now to revise GPS guidelines and policies.

Do you think the FBI should be allowed to track supposed criminals by using GPS technology without warrants? Let us know in the comments.

More About: gps, Supreme Court, Video

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How Startups Can Build Lasting Relationships With Journalists

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 04:12 PM PST

Dmitry Dragilev is the marketing lead at ZURB, the interaction design firm behind ZURBapps, a suite of apps that helps people quickly design great products through rapid prototyping, iteration and user feedback.

It's a week before launch and you're hoping to score some awesome traffic from a well-known publication. Here is what usually happens: You send a PR release to a bunch of publications, you pay big bucks for PR agency representation, you tweet the day of the launch, and you hope your story gets picked up.

Be honest — how well did this approach work for you the last time you tried it? Lots of effort, but my guess is you were probably disappointed with the return.

Instead, approach reporter interactions as you would an actual relationship.

1. Date Before You Pitch

Most of us decide to pitch journalists right before a product launch launch or announcement, shooting out a press release and hoping to score great articles. This is the worst thing you can do. Don’t expect to pitch someone who doesn't know you or your product, in the hopes that person will understand the story and details just right — all in a few days.

Instead, build a strong relationship that benefits both of you — it’s the only way you can ensure great news coverage of your product launch.

After all, you don't pitch a VC or angel investor cold, expecting to earn funding, right? These days, you don't apply to a job cold and expect to get hired. As you know, relationships are everything when you are trying to build a company. A strong relationship with the press is just as important as maintaining relationships with your investors. Before you can even pitch to a reporter, you'll have to spend months of hard work, maybe even years, building a strong relationship.

Here are some specific tips on how to build genuine relationships with journalists.

2. Courting

First, you need to have a good idea of who your paying customers might be, where they tend to gather on the web. Which news publications/blogs do they read? Look at the comments on articles and figure out which publications you want to target.

Once you determine the correct reporters/publications, build a relationship with reporters almost exactly like you would build a relationship with a potential spouse. Research what catches the reporter's eye, both personally and professionally. Have at least three points you want to genuinely talk about, none of which relate to your product. Reach out and give the reporter something first (e.g. send in a story tip, for instance) before asking him for anything. Remember, you aren't looking for a “one night stand;” you are courting for a long-term relationship.

3. Dating

This isn't an “adult” friend finder service; this is eHarmony. Develop your reporter relationship over months: Help him out and show your interest in his beat. Show how the reporter can benefit from your help: Bump a reporter’s stories to the top of Techmeme, tip him off about breaking news, talk to him about his articles, respond to his questions in articles and via social media.

4. Getting Serious

You've already built a solid and genuine relationship with your reporter. By the time you ask for coverage, you should have helped him out a number of times. You've initiated multiple discussions that cover a variety of topics. You'd be comfortable meeting up and grabbing a drink with your reporter.

From here on out, you need to be extra careful. Around the time you’re attempting to seal the deal, your actions are critical to achieving awesome results.

5. The Actual Pitch

By now, you can determine your reporter’s interests and beats. Your pitch should be connected with at least two articles the reporter has written. If it doesn't, you're pitching the wrong person.

Your story must have a hook; in other words, it must relate to current trends or events. Most bloggers and news sites won’t be interested in a product that’s off-trend.

Stay super simple. Practice your pitch and wording before you talk to people. Think of it this way: Would your grandmother be able to understand what you're taking about? Remember, you're competing with a million other things that might grab a reporter's attention. If you aren't crystal clear, a reporter can get distracted or bored with what you are saying. Connect your product to trends and show how it stands out from others in this area.

You should be able to pause after the first sentence of your pitch, confident that the reporter already partly understands what you're talking about. It's good if the reporter asks a question back. If you receive a confused response (or none at all), you probably need to make it simpler.

Here are a few sample pitch sentences we used when launching our app.

  • App X helps you see if ads are getting in the way or if content isn’t getting read.
  • App X is a another tool to supplement surveys, feedback forms and chat.
  • App X can help you test landing page performance — it’s a guerrilla marketing tool.
  • App X helps you determine if your brand is headed in the right direction.

6. Ongoing Relationship

Your relationship with a reporter or blogger doesn't end after the pitch. You want it to be in it long-term, like a marriage. Like a real spouse, you'll have to invest in the marriage, maintaining it over time. After all, you've spent months and months courting this reporter — you don't want to toss him aside once the story is published. Keep the lines of communication open, and you won't be without a date the next time you launch a product.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, wellphoto, Flickr, thinkpanama

More About: contributor, features, How-To, Marketing, Media, pr

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FCC Chair: U.S. Needs ‘Spectrum Policy Innovation’

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 03:50 PM PST

Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), told attendees of the GSMA Mobile World Congress on Monday that the U.S. needs to “enter the next era of spectrum innovation.”

In his address, Genachowski credited two former “major policy innovations” with creating economic value for people across the world: spectrum auctions and the freeing up of “junk band” spectrum for unlicensed use.

A spectrum auction allows the government to sell the right to broadcast on certain frequencies to the highest bidding company in an open auction. According to Genachowski, these auctions raised more than $50 billion in revenue and created “more than 10 times that much” in other benefits.

“Junk bands” are so called because they’re heavily polluted, making them useless for communication over long distances. However, when the FCC freed them up for unlicensed use about 25 years ago, an unexpected thing happened – innovation. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cordless landline-based phones, technologies we know and love today, all operate on “junk bands.”

Genachowski said that ever since the FCC has allowed unlicensed use of “junk bands,” their use has generated up to $37 billion every year in benefits.

But Genachowski says that spectrum innovation can’t end there.

“I don't believe that auctions and unlicensed are, or can be, the last two major spectrum policy innovations, and in the U.S. we are moving forward with what I believe will be two of the next major spectrum policy innovations: incentive auctions, and long-range unlicensed spectrum,” Genachowski said.

Some spectrum owners aren’t using their spectrum efficiently, but Genachowski said that’s not their fault. Instead, it’s due to government decisions made before flexibility was a priority. According to Genachowski, an incentive auction can fix that: spectrum owners who want to get out of the market are able to auction off their spectrum to companies who could make better use of it, while keeping a portion of the proceeds for themselves.

That solution, Genachowski believes, will allow today’s market forces to ensure spectrum is used in the most efficient way possible.

Long-range unlicensed spectrum, also known as “white spaces,” is made up of spectrum that’s been allocated for a certain purpose but isn’t actually being used in a certain geographic area. Genachowski says that developing these “white spaces” for mobile broadband could usher in a new age of mobile innovation, much like freeing up “junk spaces” allowed for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi’s growth.

“This unlicensed spectrum holds tremendous promise to become another value-creating breakthrough on the order of magnitude of Wi-Fi,” said Genachowski. “We're already seeing promising innovation and deployments in this space.”

According to Genachowski, these innovations will help the U.S. deal with the “spectrum crunch” — the explosion in demand for wireless spectrum sparked by the rapid spread of mobile phones and tablet computers.

“Addressing the spectrum crunch and seizing the mobile broadband opportunity will require all stakeholders to work together,” said Genachowski. “And as we work together on ways to address physical and invisible mobile broadband infrastructure, we must also focus on empowering consumers”

Do you think these steps will do enough to avoid a lack of free spectrum in the near future? Sound off in the comments below.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, PashaIgnatov

More About: cell phones, fcc, Mobile, mobile broadband, Mobile World Congress, spectrum, white spaces, wireless spectrum

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How to Add Photos to Your Facebook Map

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 03:22 PM PST

1. Your Map

To manage your map, click on the "map" box in your favorites section, beneath your cover photo.

If you can't see a "map" box here, hit the down arrow to the right of the boxes to see the hidden boxes.

Click here to view this gallery.

Adding photos to your Facebook map is a great way to chart where you’ve been and what you’ve achieved in your life.

If you have added geo data to images as you uploaded them, they should already show on your map page. If not, we can show you how to quickly and easily add location information to your pics to give them geographical context.

SEE ALSO: How to Hide From Annoying Friends on Facebook Chat

Take a look through our simple step-by-step instructions above. Let us know in the comments below if you like browsing images on a location basis.

More About: Facebook, features, gallery, How-To, Social Media

U.S. Online Retail Sales to Reach $327 Billion by 2016 [STUDY]

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 02:55 PM PST

The future of ecommerce looks bright. After topping $200 billion for the first time, online retail sales in the U.S. are forecast to reach $327 billion by 2016, a study from technology and market research firm Forrester says. Overall share of the retail market is expected to increase from 7% to 9% during that period.

What’s driving the growth? More consumers are shopping online every day. Last year, 167 million consumers — 53% of the U.S. population — purchased something online. That number is expected to grow to 192 million, or 56% of the population, by 2016. The study also projects that consumers’ average yearly online spending will increase from $1,207 per person in 2011 to $1,738 per person by 2016.

Consumers are also becoming increasingly comfortable purchasing a wider variety of categories online. In a 2001 survey, Forrester found only three of the 30 retail categories were able to attribute more than 20% of sales to online channels. That number grew to eight categories in 2011, and is expected to increase to 14 categories by 2016.

U.S. shoppers are also now finding it easier to shop than ever before, thanks to improvements in mobile and tablet shopping capabilities. Innovative shopping models and loyalty programs — think flash sales sites like Gilt and Woot as well as subscription loyalty programs like Amazon Prime — and aggressive promotions are drawing sales away from brick-and-mortar operations. This was especially true during big discount periods such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, during which approximately 75% of consumers said they shopped online because the deals were better.

Meanwhile, online sales in Europe are expected to amount to 171 billion euros ($230 billion) in Europe by 2016 up from 96.7 billion euros ($130 billion) in 2011, according to Forrester’s estimates.

Image courtesy of Flickr, andrewarchy

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Email Overload? This Startup Lets You Unsubscribe to All Mailing Lists at Once [INVITES]

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 02:18 PM PST

Yesterday I was subscribed to 271 newsletters. Today, after putting about 10 minutes of effort, I’m subscribed to just the 17 of them I find useful — and they arrive at my inbox packaged in a single email.


Unroll.me, which started as a simple hack for unsubscribing to emails, is the startup behind this improvement, and it’s launching a redesigned product on Monday. For the first time, users can compile the newsletters they do want to receive into a one-email-per-day digest.

Here’s how it works: After you grant Unroll.me access to your inbox (only gmail, MSN, Yahoo and AOL are compatible for now), it searches for the newsletters you receive on a regular basis. A 2003 law that requires newsletters to include certain language makes this easier for the startup to spot them.

Through the Unroll.me dashboard, you can then opt out of each newsletter it detects with a single click (for sites like LinkedIn or Facebook, Unroll.me directs you to the appropriate settings page). You can also add any of them to a daily digest newsletter with one click. That’s it.

Eventually the site hopes to make money by building an index of newsletters. It could help newsletters acquire new subscribers by suggesting them to users who subscribe to similar ones, and it would charge them for the service. Unroll.me is currently offering newsletter recommendations to users, but none of them are sponsored.

Despite the lack of income, the service is free to use — but there is a catch. After unsubscribing from four lists through Unroll.me, you need to tweet, post or email friends about the service before you can continue purging your inbox.

Considering the benefits of the service, however, a social plug is a small price to pay.

Unroll.me is still in private beta, but the first 5,000 Mashable users who sign up at this link can skip the line.

More About: email, unroll.me

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Banner Ad Lets You Play Piano Like Schroeder [VIDEO]

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 01:44 PM PST

Do you have what it takes to be a world-class pianist? If you’re like most people, the answer is no, but an interactive banner ad from MetLife gives you a little taste.

The ad, created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, features Schroeder, the Peanuts character, at his piano. A headline asks, “Help Schroeder with his big performance.” To do so, you have to touch your computer keyboard (any keys will do) at roughly the speed he plays — not too fast, not too slow. A meter shows you how fast you’re going. The banner shown above ran on The New York Times‘s homepage last week. Another placement is planned for People.com on March 1. You can also play the “game” at MetLife’s Facebook Page.

Thematically, the ad fits in with MetLife’s current "I Can Do This" campaign, which is built around the premise that, when faced with a seemingly daunting task, all you have to do is take the first step and you’ll see there’s nothing standing in your way.

For whatever reason, The New York Times‘s homepage seems to be a magnet for trials of new banner ad technology. Last year, the USA network rigged the page to turn it into a game promoting the show White Collar. Before that, Mac and PC from the long-running Apple campaign conversed with fake ads on the page.

More About: Advertising, banner ads, crispin porter + Bogusky, Marketing

Facebook Denies Looking At Your Text Messages [VIDEO]

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 01:20 PM PST

Facebook denied a report Monday from the UK’s Sunday Times that the company is reading text messages sent by users that have installed its popular app on their mobile phones.

“The Sunday Times has done some creative conspiracy theorizing but the suggestion that we're secretly reading people's texts is ridiculous," said Iian Mackenzie, Facebook’s head of European communications in a post entitled “Today’s Bad Journalism.”

An earlier report in the Sunday Times suggested that Facebook was ogling users’ private texts based on the Facebook for Android app’s permissions. Those permissions seem to allow the Facebook app to view text messages stored on the installer’s phone.

However, Facebook has now strongly denied that it reads users’ text messages. Instead, Facebook says, the text-reading permission was put into place in anticipation of a text-integration feature currently being tested by the company.

". . . the permission is clearly disclosed on the app page in the Android marketplace and is in anticipation of new features that enable users to integrate Facebook features with their texts,” said Mackenzie. “However, other than some very limited testing, we haven't launched anything so we're not using the permission. If we do, it will be obvious to users what's happening. We'll keep you posted on our progress."

Mackenzie suggested that concerned users run a test to see exactly what data is being exchanged between a phone running the Facebook app and the company’s servers. He also made sure to tell readers that his post shouldn’t be interpreted as an announcement of a new messenger service.

“Just as an aside… we didn’t say we’re launching a messenger product,” said Mackenzie. “Any proper technology journalist will tell you that there are any number of things you can use SMS for, such as carrier billing.”

Do you always check the permissions of a new app you download? Do you think app developers should be more transparent about why you need to agree to certain permissions before installing an app? Sound off in the comments below.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ymgerman

More About: app permissions, cell phones, Facebook, Mobile, SMS, Text

Facebook Message on Ohio School Shooter’s Profile: ‘Die, All of You’

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 01:06 PM PST


The suspect in a school shooting near Cleveland posted a macabre, ominous message on his Facebook wall months ago, closing with the sentence “Die, all of you.”

The suspect, identified by witnesses and one of the shooting victims as T.J. Lane, shot and wounded five people outside a high school in Chardon, Ohio, resulting in at least one death. Lane is said to be a student at the school. Two of the victims are in critical condition, CNN reports.

Many reports said Lane also posted threats to Twitter last night, but that is unconfirmed, and a photo that is circulating that purports to show Lane pointing a pair of pistols to the camera does not appear to be the same person. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation that the site had shut down Lane’s Twitter account.

The Facebook message alluding to death was posted Dec. 30, 2011. The message appears to be a poem or lyrics to a song, describing a man with no belongings or family advancing on a “castle,” which he describes as “Lucifer’s Laboratory.” The man then apparently destroys the castle and kills its occupants.

The rest of Lane’s profile is fairly sparse, only taking the trouble to share the occasional song from YouTube and even using an app to post a “Happy Valentine’s Day” message on Feb. 10. None of the photos in his public albums appear strange or out of the ordinary.

We’ve reached out to Facebook for confirmation that the profile is indeed Lane’s and if they intend to lock it down in any way.

Update: Lane’s profile disappeared from Facebook shortly after this story was posted. A transcript of the Dec. 30 message is below.

In a time long since, a time of repent, The Renaissance. In a quaint lonely town, sits a man with a frown. No job. No family. No crown. His luck had run out. Lost and alone. The streets were his home. His thoughts would solely consist of “why do we exist?” His only company to confide in was the vermin in the street. He longed for only one thing, the world to bow at his feet. They too should feel his secret fear. The dismal drear. His pain had made him sincere. He was better than the rest, all those ones he detests, within their castles, so vain. Selfish and conceited. They couldn’t care less about the peasents they mistreated. They were in their own world, it was a joyous one too. That castle, she stood just to do all she could to keep the peasents at bay, not the enemy away. They had no enemies in their filthy orgy. And in her, the castles every story, was just another chamber of Lucifer’s Laboratory. The world is a sandbox for all the wretched sinners. They simply create what they want and make themselves the winners. But the true winner, he has nothing at all. Enduring the pain of waiting for that castle to fall. Through his good deeds, the rats and the fleas. He will have for what he pleads, through the eradication of disease. So, to the castle he proceeds, like an ominous breeze through the trees. “Stay back!” The Guards screamed as they were thrown to their knees. “Oh God, have mercy, please!” The castle, she gasped and then so imprisoned her breath, to the shallow confines of her fragile chest. I’m on the lamb but I ain’t no sheep. I am Death. And you have always been the sod. So repulsive and so odd. You never even deserved the presence of God, and yet, I am here. Around your cradle I plod. Came on foot, without shod. How improper, how rude. However, they shall not mind the mud on my feet if there is blood on your sheet. Now! Feel death, not just mocking you. Not just stalking you but inside of you. Wriggle and writhe. Feel smaller beneath my might. Seizure in the Pestilence that is my scythe. Die, all of you.

How to Turn Off Google Search Plus Your World Results [VIDEO]

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 12:45 PM PST

If you are tired of seeing the pileup of social content from Google+ friends every time you use Google, you can now do something about it. Here’s how to get old Google back and block the personalized results that Google Search, plus Your World spews up.

When the Google Search, plus Your World update debuted in January, the new Google feature didn’t gain many fans. Twitter and others criticized the enhancement for bumping up Google+ profile pages (images, videos and mentions in posts by the 62 million+ people on the social layer of Google) that relates to your search term.

Many thought the search giant was favoring its own links instead of bringing up the most relevant links, tainting the progress of the open web.

SEE ALSO: How Google's +1 Button Affects SEO

Follow the directions in the video to turn off Google’s new enhanced search feature.

Tell us in the comments if you will disable personalized searches or if you like the Google+-related recommendations.

Google Search plus Your World Personal Results

Integrated social search is immediately evident in three spots on your search results page. You have to be signed into Google+ to see all this.

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MasterImage 3D Tests Glasses-Free Tech on Qualcomm Tablet

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 12:30 PM PST

MasterImage 3D

MasterImage 3D is showing off its glasses-free technology at the 2012 Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona this week on a tablet manufactured by chip supplier Qualcomm.

Qualcomm’s MDP Tablet 3D Edition — which boasts a Snapdragon S4 processor — will feature MasterImage 3D’s latest glasses-free technology called Cell-Matrix Parallax Barrier Technology.

"We understand the demand for glasses-free 3D for the home is increasing dramatically," said Raj Talluri, vice president of product management of Qualcomm. "The advanced multimedia features of Snapdragon processors allow MasterImage 3D’s technology to come to life, showing OEMs, mobile operators and the content community that viable and compelling technology is available here and now."

Available for next-generation 10.1 tablets, the technology, along with new premium 3D videos and games, will be on display by Qualcomm at the event. The 3D-version of the MDP tablet will run on Android 4.0.

Qualcomm will be demonstrating various 3D content on the tablet, including new 3D programming from 3net, a joint venture from Discovery, Sony, Imax 3D, as well as 3D animated comics.

The technology aims to provide brighter images, a wider viewing angle and a more even look.

Are you interested in tablets with 3D technology? Do you think glasses-free 3D will become more popular in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Image courtesy of MasterImage 3D

Complete Coverage of Mobile World Congress 2012

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Angelina Jolie Hilariously Legbombs the Internet

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 12:17 PM PST

Angelina Jolie Legbomb

Angelina Jolie’s right leg has been everywhere since she first stepped onto the red carpet at the 84th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday night. Not only was her exposed leg and dramatic pose the talk of the Oscars, it’s now been hilariously superimposed into various pictures across the Web.

A photoshopped image of Jolie’s right leg has been making the rounds online, as users of the site BuzzFeed created photos of it popping up in historic and iconic pop-culture pictures. For example, Jolie’s limb is now featured in the scene of George Washington crossing the Delaware River and she’s also photo-bombing The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover. The concept has since gone viral.

Jolie’s leg was exposed through a black Atelier Versace gown and high slit at the Oscars, and to show off her stems, Jolie proudly emphasized her leg all night with a pose. However, it hardly went unnoticed. In fact, while accepting the award for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Descendants, co-writer Jim Rash imitated the pose by sticking out his right leg.

It sparked so much conversation on social media sites that it even has its own Twitter account now — @AngiesRightLeg. The account already has over 16,000 followers.

In addition, a Tumblr blog called AngelinaJolieing has also surfaced with Internet users submitting photos to add to the meme.

Is the leg worth the hype? What’s your favorite legbomb picture? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Editor’s Note: The above text has been modified to reflect that the meme was originally created by Buzzfeed and its readers, but it has since spread to the wider web.

BONUS: Oscar Memes

Angelina Jolie's Right Leg

Image courtesy of MTV Style

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More About: Facebook, legbomb, Oscars, photobomb, Social Media, tumblr, Twitter

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How to Turn Social Feedback into Valuable Business Data

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 12:07 PM PST

Joshua March is co-founder and CEO of Conversocial, a provider of integrated social CRM and marketing software for Facebook and Twitter. He resides in London.

You’ve set up your company’s Facebook Page and Twitter account, pulled together a social media team to start generating engagement, and now you’ve got a decent audience involved in conversations about your brand. Great, but where’s the real value?

It seems most companies understand that they need to take advantage of social feedback; however, many aren’t doing anything about it. In fact, 85% of marketers think that customer insight is the best potential advantage of using social media, but only 6% of businesses are actually using social media to collect customer feedback, according to a late 2010 survey.

Why is social insight so valuable? For starters, it’s real and organic; marketers can escape the barriers posed by contrived feedback methods, and get direct access to their customers’ real opinions. The more conversations you have, the greater potential you have to learn something, but the data can be difficult to extract.

My company looked at the different messages retailers receive on Facebook and Twitter.

Between 50 and 75% of messages that companies receive on Facebook and Twitter don’t need to be actioned in any way — they're just noise. Isolating relevant messages from general chatter is time-consuming, especially while you’re trying to stimulate conversation and engage with your fans and followers by the thousands.

The real challenge is to identify and learn from different, valuable lessons based on just one message. You’ve found it, it looks interesting, but what can it do for you?

1. Shed Light on Perceptions of Your Brand

Over a third of messages posted on social networks tell you something about how customers perceive your brand. Your fans and followers will say what they think of you without being prompted. Got any preconceptions you’re trying to shake? Trying to establish a certain brand personality? Social media tells you if it's working — directly. Your social conversations can help determine whether not just your social strategy, but your entire brand strategy is working out as intended.

2. Peek into Your Customers’ Heads

Want to really understand your customers? What are they talking about, and what does that say about them? Conversations that form around your brand can give insight that you may never have considered. Chatter around a product announcement could reveal feedback that, next time around, you can tap into. Community managers' conversation starters can provide more than just engagement for engagement’s sake. Have you considered directly asking things about your customers? For instance, what new trends are they loving right now?

3. Understand Which Products Resonate the Best

When you promote a new product on your Facebook Page, do you listen to what your fans have to say about it? Do they love it, or have you gotten an underwhelming reaction? Are your customers calling out for changes or other things they’d love to have? This is valuable feedback for your product team, and can be achieved within minutes of posting a new product. And if you receive complaints of disappointing purchases, respond and make necessary changes. Crowdsourcing doesn’t have to be a sophisticated process; it’s just making the most of what your Facebook Page or Twitter account already knows.

4. Learn from Major Customer Issues

Complaints and questions on your Facebook Page or retweeted across the web are social media managers’ nightmares. But the only way to really stem the flow is to track the complaints that surface time and time again — and to do something about it. Be prepared to deal with these issues (pre-emptive action may help in the future), and let the rest of the business know the most serious service problems it faces.

5. Construct a Social Media Customer Conversation Plan

How do you join the ranks of those leading companies that effectively learn from their social media communities?

Here are a few starting steps to get on top of diverse and jumbled social conversations, and to make the move toward effective research and analysis.

  1. It sounds simple, but work out what it is you’d actually like to know. Categorize messages that would benefit your company (complaints, product feedback, categories related to certain product lines), then create a checklist. When you’re next working your way through conversations and find something interesting, record it.
  2. Have a conversation with every team member involved in your social channels, and establish who needs to know what. If your product team has nothing to do with social media just yet, you may have some lobbying to do. Start collecting your own data, and show them all the insight you’ve discovered. They’ll soon sit up and listen.
  3. Mark customer sentiment on your Facebook and Twitter messages so you understand customers’ satisfaction levels around specific products or marketing messages you've sent out. It’s a really simple way to understand opinions.
  4. Group all relevant messages by the categories you’ve defined. This will make it easy for you to look through and analyze customer sentiment by product or service. Keep in mind that uncovering real insight relies upon representative data. If you’re working at any scale, you’ll need a tool to help you extract and categorize information.
  5. Put it all into a weekly report to share with your colleagues.

Social media insight is something worth capitalizing on. If you have a social media presence, you’re already generating valuable, organic data. The next step is to prevent it slipping through the cracks.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, TommL

More About: contributor, customer service, features, How-To, Marketing, social data

Fake Apple iStoves Seized From Chinese Warehouses [VIDEO]

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 11:54 AM PST

A Chinese company likes the iPhone so much that they named a stove after the Apple brand.

This is the latest of many Chinese companies to sell fake Apple products, but perhaps the first documented pseudo-Apple home appliance. Apparently, the company sold portable gas stoves engraved with the Apple logo and “iphone” brand name. The misuse of Apple’s brand was discovered only after the single burner stoves were deemed unsafe and seized by Chinese police in Wuhan, according to the Chinese tech website M.I.C. Gadget.

Police found 681 stoves sporting Apple’s logo and brand in two warehouses. The stoves had the half eaten apple graphic and “iphone” printed in white on a green background just below the burner. Also, the fake Apple stove was labeled an “Apple China Limited.”

Several Chinese companies have been known for illegally using Apple’s brand names to profit. In 2011, 25 fake Chinese Apple stores — that looked nearly identical to real Apple stores — were shutdown. An American living in China discovered the stores and blogged about visiting a couple of them.

This year, Shenzhen Proview Technology company in China claimed ownership of the name "iPad" and ordered the removal of Apple iPads from Northern China stores. Apple could face a $38 million fine in China for using the name “iPad.”

Watch the video above to see what the stove looks like. If Apple were to start making home appliances, would you buy them? What features would you want the stove to have? Sound off in the comments below.

Thumbnail photo courtesy of M.I.C. Gadget.

More About: apple, iphone, knock-offs, Video

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Intel Bringing Smartphones to More Countries, Partners With Visa on Mobile Payments

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 11:42 AM PST

India's Smartphone Martket is Growing Fast

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BARCELONA — Intel continues its steady march into the smartphone market with new international partners in Europe, India and China. The company announced new Intel Atom-based handsets with European provider Orange, India’s upstart provider Lava International, and China’s ZTE, as well as a long-term partnership with Visa

Intel CEO Paul Otellini delivered the mobile Atom CPU (formerly code-named “Medfield“) update at Mobile World Congress. He noted that Intel is “no stranger” to the mobile market, stating that Intel shipped 400 million RF devices in smartphones in 2011. But the company also realizes that it needs to deliver a platform like the Atom Z2460, which partners are now slowly building into handsets around the world.

On the smartphone partner front, Orange is building a mass-market entertainment phone, which will ship in the U.K. and France this summer. Running Intel’s Atom Z2460 system, the phone will come loaded with a variety of Orange entertainment services. Yves Maitre, SVP Mobile Multimedia and Devices for Orange, said his company decided 18 months ago to “address a mass-market position,” while still delivering industry-leading features. “It’s a huge challenge,” said Maitre

India’s Lava plans on delivering a high-end XOLO X900 smartphone, which will feature an Intel 1.6GHz processor, 400MHz GPU and an 8-megapixel camera. Lava Cofounder and Director Vishal Seghal described India as the world's fastest-growing large smartphone market. China’s ZTE has also joined hands with Intel and will deliver Atom-based handsets later this year.

Missing from the partner list was any company that would deliver Intel-based smartphones in the U.S.

Intel also announced a multi-year strategic alliance with Visa. The companies will work together to bring Visa’s services, including PayWave mobile transactions, to Intel smartphones.

SEE ALSO: Complete Coverage of Mobile World Congress

Otellini also spent some time outlining the mobile CPU roadmap. Moore’s law, which states that the number of transistors (and thereby processing power) will double every 18 months, may be too conservative for mobile development. The current Atom CPU is built on a 32 nanometer process. By 2013, it’ll be on a 22nm process and 14 nm by 2014.

Advancements like that make it clear that Intel and its partners will be delivering more and more powerful smartphones over the next two years. Yet, even with heavy-hitter partners like Lenovo (which is shipping the Intel-based K800 in China) and Visa, the chip giant has yet to breakthrough with a smartphone in America, which is thus far dominated by ARM-based mobile CPUs.

Intel may be able to start turning the tide with the introduction of a new low-end Atom mobile CPU, the Z200. Offering 1GHz speeds and a price point that could allow manufacturers to build sub-$150 phones, the Z200 is aimed squarely at the rapidly growing value market.

More About: atom, intel, Medfield, smartphones, Visa

The Oscars for Most Social Celebrity and Best Tweet Go To … [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 11:21 AM PST

While the stars lit up the stage at the 84th Academy Awards, viewers set the social web aflame, posting just short of 2 million messages on Twitter. This infographic shows which users and celebrities sparked the most activity.

A tweet criticizing the absence of the final Harry Potter movie in the Best Picture category attracted the most retweets: “Harry Potter inspired an entire generation. But apparently that isn’t good enough for the #Oscars.”

While the Harry Potter tweet got the most RT love, Twitter announced Monday morning that the most-tweeted Oscars moment was when Undefeated won Best Documentary Feature, beating out these memorable moments.

Explore the exclusive data below for more fun tidbits about the online Oscars buzz, according to ExactTarget.

To put the 1,980,930 Oscars-related tweets in context, Twitter saw 5,679,596 tweets for the Super Bowl this month.

SEE ALSO: 14 Memes from Oscars 2012 | Oscars 2012 Live Blog [TRANSCRIPT] | How Social TV is Taking Over the Oscars

BONUS: Oscar Memes

Angelina Jolie's Right Leg

Image courtesy of MTV Style

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More About: academy awards, celebrities, Entertainment, exacttarget, Movies, Oscars, Social Media, Twitter

Niche Media, Gilt to Launch Shoppable Luxury Magazine

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 11:01 AM PST

magazines image

Niche Media, publisher of high-end regional magazines including Gotham, Hamptons and Ocean Drive, is launching yet another luxury lifestyle title, this time in partnership with Gilt Groupe and Hudson News.

Du Jour, scheduled to launch this fall, promises to be multi-platform from the get-go, spanning print, web, mobile, social and email platforms. The publisher will mail out 235,000 glossy, oversized print copies quarterly in addition to 15,000 newsstand copies and a weekly opt-in email newsletter. Digital editions, which will be available on dujour.com and on apps for smartphones and tablets, will allow consumers to click to purchase the goods and services displayed on editorial pages.

The magazine is being pitched as “stylish, smart, sophisticated and stunning” and highly targeted — for a print magazine, anyway. Through its own subscriber databases as well as those of Gilt and Hudson News, the magazine is aiming to reach 3 million readers who meet five of seven qualifiers: 1) an average net worth of $5 million; 2) an average income above $250,000; 3) an average home value above $1.5 million; 4) liquid assets more than $1 million; 5) offline luxury purchases of $100,000+ per year; 6) $10,000+ in online high-end purchases per year; 7) annual philanthropic donations above $10,000.

Editorial will focus on such popular lifestyle topics as fashion, travel, dining and entertainment. About half of the content will be national; the other half will be region-specific.

SEE ALSO: Inside The Atlantic: How One Magazine Got Profitable by Going 'Digital First'

The magazine is also planning to develop presences on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook, and to connect its advertisers’ own social profiles with Du Jour‘s readership.

The promise to make Du Jour‘s editorial pages shoppable is an interesting one. The combined forces of the recession, falling print advertising rates and the development of digital magazine editions has compelled many publishers to explore ecommerce as a revenue source for the first time — but with some trepidation. There is the risk that magazines will lose readers’ trust once they begin to feature products they have a clear, vested interest in. By deploying click-to-purchase editorial from the beginning, Du Jour will give Niche Media an opportunity to test boundaries without risking the integrity of its existing brand portfolio.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr, Rodrigo Galindez.

More About: du jour, gilt, gilt groupe, hudson news, niche media

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Google: 850,000 Android Devices Activated Every Day

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 10:46 AM PST


To ring in the first day of Mobile World Congress, Google revealed some new statistics about how far its Android mobile operating system has come. Close to a million Android devices are activated every day, the company says, and there are now 450,000 apps in the Android Market.

The news comes straight from Google’s head of Android, Andy Rubin, who posted the stats on the Google Mobile Blog this morning. With 850,000 devices activated daily, Android is already 150,000 devices above the count from December, and the number represents year-over-year growth of 250%, according to the post. The estimated total of android devices in the world is now a staggering 300 million, Rubin says.

About a year ago Google had just 150,000 apps in the Android Market, but today it says there are 450,000. That’s impressive growth, but the platform still hasn’t caught up with Apple, whose iOS App Store boasts 550,000 apps officially, though some estimates go as high as 725,000. However, Android is clearly miles ahead of other rivals like Microsoft’s Windows Phone Marketplace (65,000) or BlackBerry App World (60,000).

Although the official count of Android apps is high, it bears reminding that Google counts wallpapers and “lite” versions of apps as separate apps. Microsoft, for one, says it doesn’t count such apps when tallying its count for its Windows Phone Marketplace.

SEE ALSO: Google Activates 3.7 Million Android Devices on Christmas Weekend [VIDEO]

Android’s rapid growth has a well-known price: fragmentation. With so many different devices — phones, tablets and now even gear like TVs — running Android, it’s difficult for users to know when, or even if a specific device will get an update. The latest version, Android 4.0 aka “Ice Cream Sandwich,” is intended to mitigate fragmentation somewhat but obviously it only applies to devices that ship with the OS.

Rubin also made comments about Google and tablets while at Mobile World Congress. The Verge reports that Rubin said Google plans to “double down” on tablets in 2012, making reference to the lukewarm reception Android tablets got in the marketplace in 2011. In a meeting with reporters, Rubin said the 12 million Android tablets sold thus far was “not insignificant, but less than I’d expect it to be if you really want to win.”

What’s your take on the state of Android? Unstoppable platform that will continue to dominate, or fragmented mess of an OS that needs tighter control? Sound off in the comments.

BONUS: 10 Android Pics You Must See

1. Arrow by John Homer

This slice of urban art was captured in Swindon, UK. The muted colors come courtesy of the FXCamera app, but the clever use of the arrow and great composition are John Homer's own.

Taken with: HTC Magic

Click here to view this gallery.

Complete Coverage of Mobile World Congress 2012

More About: android, Android 4.0, Android Market, andy rubin, apps, Google, ice cream sandwich, Mobile World Congres, trending

Twitter Must ID User Who Threatened Michele Bachmann, Judge Rules

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 10:33 AM PST

A U.S. federal judge has ruled that Twitter users who threaten presidential candidates with violence can’t expect to stay anonymous.

Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of Washington’s federal trial court decided last week that prosecutors can request Twitter to unmask a user who threatened Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.) with sexual violence. In Lamberth’s public ruling, the user was identified only as “Mr. X,” but Lamberth said that his full identity and Twitter timeline should be given to an investigation’s grand jury.

“Unfortunately, an overview of Mr. X’s Twitter page is warranted,” reads Lamberth’s decision. “Mr. X’s body of tweets is extremely crude and in almost incomprehensibly poor taste.”

In the tweet that sparked the federal investigation against him, Mr. X wrote that he wants to “f*** Michelle Bachmann … with a Vietnam era machete,” according to court records.

Lamberth himself didn’t think Mr. X would actually be violent against Bachmann or any other candidate. However, he said the authorities must be able to determine if someone poses a threat “until it is satisfied that there is no likelihood that the threat was legitimate.”

“The safety and security of those who seriously aspire to the federal government’s highest office is of paramount concern to each and every citizen because threats to presidential candidates undermine the very legitimacy of our electoral process,” wrote Lamberth.

No one has yet been charged in the investigation. Bachmann has since dropped out of the 2012 presidential race.

Do you think “Mr. X’s” identity and Twitter timeline should be released? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Flickr, Gage Skidmore

More About: 2012 presidential campaign, Politics, Twitter

8 Strategies for Launching a Brand Presence on Pinterest

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 10:25 AM PST

Charles Nicholls is an expert in ecommerce, web analytics, social media marketing and online buyer behavior. He is also founder and chief strategy officer at shopping cart recovery company SeeWhy. You can follow Charles on Twitter @webconversion and read his blog.

Many marketers have heard of Pinterest, but despite this, most brands have yet to hop on the hottest new social network. In this article, we’ll look at why Pinterest is important to brands and provide seven simple steps for leveraging brand presence on Pinterest.

Pinterest has quickly become one of the top five referring traffic sources for several apparel retailers. A study by Shareaholic in January showed that Pinterest drove only a fraction less referral traffic than both Twitter and Google, and more than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined.

Despite the powerful numbers, most brands and merchandisers are not present on Pinterest. There's no DKNY, Macy's, Walmart, Target, etc.

For those brands looking to develop a Pinterest presence, try these seven simple steps.

1. Reserve Your Space

Just like you would reserve a Twitter handle for your brand, secure a Pinterest user name. Some Pinterest members are already using brand names and logos for which they have no affiliation.

Some brands have jumped in to reserve their spaces without yet posting any content, including Karen Millen and Diane von Furstenberg. Registration only takes just a minute; plus you can use the graphics and profile information from your existing Twitter or Facebook page.

2. Leverage Your Brand Values

Think color, style and brand values. You've already invested in expensive photography to showcase your products. This is where you can leverage that investment and bring your brand alive.

Pinterest allows you to display big, high-quality images, like this full-page Nordstrom image. Don't limit your pins to straight product shots, but leverage your entire catalog of photography.

3. Themes, Not Product Promotion

Pinterest is centered around interests, like weddings, baby showers, home décor, gifts, recipes, color, etc. Leverage these themes by creating mood boards relevant to your brand and its latest styles. These mood boards should convey a consistent image, not be a simple look book of your products. Scatter your products throughout the board, but be careful to make sure that you are also mixing external content which echoes your product themes.

For example, West Elm built an “aquamarine” mood board. There are only three West Elm products on this page; the others are images from around the web, each of which expands on the theme.

4. Include Prices

Prices help customers to identify particular items for sale. For example, Gap included a price banner by typing the dollar value in the pin description. Remember, however, to make price changes when items go on sale.

5. Use Hashtags

Many people are unaware that Pinterest supports hashtags, similar to Twitter. Because of the theme nature of Pinterest, hashtags can offer organization support. For example, tagging each of the pinned photographs “#aquamarine” increases the chances that the West Elm mood board be found in search. As Pinterest grows, this will become increasingly important.

Moreover, the sharing tools built into Pinterest will automatically pick up your hashtags, so when your pins are shared or repinned, they’ll carry your hashtags with them.

6. Add the “Pin It” Button

Add the Pinterest “Pin It” button to your ecommerce site, right next to your Facebook Like button. This makes it easy for your website visitors to add images from your product pages directly to their boards.

7. Engage with the Community

Like all other social networks, you need to listen and engage, not simply broadcast your message. Try allowing members of the community to post to your boards, but be sure to monitor activity for appropriate content. When users upload their own pins to your boards, your themed boards will grow and you’ll quickly become part of the community fabric.

8. A Word of Caution

When you are pinning your brand's photographs, it's clear you are not infringing anyone else's copyright — they are your images. But when you add images from across the web, you don't own that content. And as a brand, you are using it for commercial purposes. This is a legal gray area, and should be reviewed with your in-house counsel.

Do you think brands should jump on the Pinterest bandwagon, or wait to find out whether the social network makes it big? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

More About: contributor, features, Marketing, pinterest

Nokia’s 41-Megapixel Camera Phone Takes Marvelous Photos [PICS]

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 10:00 AM PST

Hanging Out

The crisp detail of the PureView is evident, as the horizon is sharp as well as the foreground.

Click here to view this gallery.

BARCELONA — The Monday announcement of the 41-megapixel Nokia 808 PureView represents a major leap in mobile camera technology.

While more megapixels don’t always automatically lead to better photos, they do mean data-rich photos that can be more easily zoomed and edited. You’ll be able to do a lot more in post-processing with a camera like the Nokia’s. Of course, the photos will be very large in file size, so the PureView will undoubtedly need ways to bring in external memory cards or export photos to the cloud to prevent photographers from quickly running out of storage.

Mashable got some demo photos from Nokia taken by a team of rock climbers in South Africa. The results? Majestic shots that we could easily scale to smaller images that still looked just as good. While the nice landscapes gave the photographers an advantage, you can see how we cropped down some of their photos, and they still look great. File size was a factor, too — the images were about 12 megabytes each.

SEE ALSO: Complete Coverage of Mobile World Congress

Nokia unveiled the 808 PureView at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The phone will retail for 450 euros, or about $600, when it launches in Europe in May. The camera technology, brought to Nokia by Symbian, will appear in upcoming Nokia mobile phones as well.

What do you think of this smartphone? Is the price tag fair for its incredible camera? Tell us in the comments.

Complete Coverage of Mobile World Congress 2012

More About: mobile camera, Mobile World Congress, MWC2012, Nokia, Nokia 808 PureView, trending

Washington Post Launches Presidential Election iPad App

Posted: 27 Feb 2012 09:52 AM PST

Good news, tablet-owning politics junkies! The Washington Post has released a brand-new interactive iPad app that’s chock full of graphs, polling data, video and up-to-the-second news from the campaign trail.

The “WP Politics” app collects the newspaper’s politics coverage in one convenient location optimized for tablet viewing. When users open the app, they’ll be greeted by visually pleasing, photo-based headlines and content from some of The Washington Post’s most-read blogs. Users will also be treated to high-quality campaign coverage video.

“The Post has long been the national leader in political news coverage,” says Marcus Brauchli, executive editor at The Washington Post. “With our new iPad application, we’re bringing our expertise, depth, analysis and original reporting to a platform that will enable us to engage our readers in whole new dimensions.”

But the app is far more than just another new tablet-based news-reading platform. It includes features not found anywhere else on the web, including interactive tools and maps.

Those unique features let users easily see where a candidate stands on an issue and how that position has changed over time. Three different map options are also included: one showing state-by-state polls, another where users can click a state and view campaign ads playing in that area and finally, a map of historical election results since 1789, complete with Washington Post articles dating back to 1880.

“We believe we have created one of the most comprehensive and immersive political apps in the mobile space today — one where users can see, hear and interact with our content in an informative yet entertaining way,” says Beth Jacobs, general manager of mobile at The Washington Post.

While those features are all free, the WP Politics app is based on a “freemium” business model that allows users to pay $2.99 for additional content. People that pay the extra money will get access to two more features: “The Insider’s Corner,” which features Washington Post political blogs, columns and commentary, and “Campaign Files,” which lets users view all the articles ever broadcast on the app (Free users only get the latest 48 hours’ worth of campaign coverage).

Paying users will also be granted access to as-of-yet unannounced new features that will roll out after the initial launch. What kind of features, exactly?

“Users can expect to see more sharing functionality and tools that may focus on polling, campaign finance or other key political areas as the race gets closer to the conventions and the general election,” says Jacobs.

The WP Politics app is available starting Monday at the App Store.

Will you download The Washington Post‘s new politics app? If you already have, how do you like it? Let us know in the comments below.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, STEEX

More About: 2012 presidential campaign, App, apple, ipad

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