Архив метки: Berlin

LG is releasing an Android One handset with near flagship specs

Android One is one of a handful of Google projects aimed at helping the mobile operating system run better on entry level devices. As such, those handsets that qualify for the program are generally pretty middling, at best.
But LG’s G7 One bucks the trend, with some specs that wouldn’t be out of place on a 2018 flagship. Leading the way is the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm’s top of the line processor, coupled with a 6.1 inch QHD+ display and a 3,000mAh battery. There’s also that familiar notch up top design that’s all the rage on flagships these days.
There are certain cost cutting measures. The bleeding edge dual camera tech that LG prides itself on isn’t on board here. The 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage are not great, but perfectly acceptable for most. The headphone jack is still in place — which is a good thing for a budget device — it’s silly to expect users to have to factor in the price of bluetooth headphones.
The handset will be debuting at IFA in Berlin this week. Price is still TBD, but LG promises an “exceptional” one. At the very least, that should mean it comes in well under the company’s flagships.
If LG is able to offer up something truly exception from a price perspective, it could be the thing the company needs to help stand out in a smartphone race that has largely left it behind. It’s a strategy that has worked well for OnePlus, and LG could certainly use the hook.

LG is releasing an Android One handset with near flagship specs

The Nokia Asset Offload Continues: Qt Assets Go To Digia For ‘Fraction’ Of $150M Nokia Paid For It

qt logo

More downsizing and rationalizing from troubled handset maker Nokia. Today, Finnish software company Digia, which bought the Qt commercial licensing operation from Nokia a year ago, announced that it would buy the remainder of Nokia’s Qt business. Qt is an open source development platform that Digia plans to “quickly enable” to be used in Android, iOS and Windows 8 environments. The deal includes the transfer of software, technologies and 125 employees in Oslo, Norway and Berlin, Germany.

The companies are not yet revealing a price at this stage, a spokesperson told TechCrunch. But a report at Reuters notes that it is just a “fraction” of the $150 million that Nokia paid in 2008 for Trolltech, the open source platform where Qt originated. The Qt platform has been used by some 450,000 developers to date, mainly to develop software with a graphical interface. Digia says it is used across 70 industries in addition to mobile, including automotive, medical, and defense.

Nokia and Digia have actually been working together on Qt since 2011, when Digia acquired the Qt commercial licensing and professional services business from Nokia. That division is called Qt Commercial.

Why the offload, exactly? Nokia is making huge cost cuts as it continues to restructure its business — during its Q2 earnings the company noted that restructuring charges for the next two years will be in the region of €1.9 billion ($2.35 billion), so there is that. But also, the company has made Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform the basis of its smartphone strategy, and that has pulled it away from development platforms like Qt.

At the time, Nokia had said it would continue to support Qt’s licensing activities for at least a year during transition, and that’s what it has done. However, as more belt tightening has taken place at Nokia, it seems that it has reversed course on another part of its strategy. In March 2011 Nokia noted: “We want to emphasize our long-term commitment to Qt. Nokia will drive Qt developments in support of our business needs and our investments in community building, marketing and R&D will continue to benefit all members of the Qt community.”

Today’s news more or less removes Nokia from the Qt equation, however.

Looking ahead, Digia says that it will be investing in R&D for Qt “expanding its reach on many more platforms than ever before” and use it for its own international expansion. Digia notes that the commercial operation it bought over a year ago has “grown substantially” and will have a positive impact on 2012 revenues.

Perhaps most importantly, Digia will continue to keep Qt open source while developing the commercial part of the business and is trying to reach out to developers to do that. Open source activities will be centered around this site; commercial activities here.

“Now is a good time for everyone to revisit their perception of Qt. Digia’s targeted R&D investments will bring back focus on Qt’s desktop and embedded platform support, while widening the support for mobile operating systems,” said Tommi Laitinen, SVP, International Products, Digia, in a statement.

More information will be available shortly on qt.digia.com and qt-project.org which will be the main information-sharing sites for Qt.


The Nokia Asset Offload Continues: Qt Assets Go To Digia For ‘Fraction’ Of $150M Nokia Paid For It

Cloud Emailer Mailjet Hits 1 Billion Emails Sent, Launches Apps For Tracking Emails In Real Time


Mailjet, a cloud emailing service for tracking marketing and transactional emails, has just launched a mobile application for its business customers offering real-time email tracking. Within the mobile application, users can monitor email deliveries, plus keep an eye on metrics like bounces, opens and clicks.

The company, which just rolled out a new version of its platform a couple of weeks ago, is also announcing today that it has now reached 1 billion emails served.

For those unfamiliar with Mailjet, the startup is taking on more established and VC-backed players like SendGrid, Postmark, and Mailgun, to name a few. The service targets businesses who need to buy or rent SMTP email servers, by offering a cloud-based solution. Emails sent out through Mailjet are tracked in a number of ways, including through the use of specialized links, transparent images that tell Mailjet how many times it was displayed, through the analysis of SMTP exchanges for bounces and deliveries, and more.

Mailjet is one of the first companies in this space to add a mobile app (for iOS and Android) which allows customers to track their emails while on the go. The app requires a Mailjet account to use, of course, but it’s a freemium service if you’re interested in testing it out. Included in the app are tabs featuring the email feed, campaign activity, analytics and personal settings.

The company, based in France, also recently went global, with the opening of offices in San Francisco, London, Berlin and Madrid. Mailjet raised a small round of 180,000 euros from Brussels-based eFounders back in December and now reports having some 10,000 active users on its platform (up from 3,000+ in December).

Cloud Emailer Mailjet Hits 1 Billion Emails Sent, Launches Apps For Tracking Emails In Real Time

Facebook’s Mobile Viral Channels Are Working For Wooga, Europe’s Biggest Social Gaming Company


Viral channels are slowly and inevitably starting to matter for mobile game developers. For ages, many top developers would try and climb up the charts through a combination of mobile advertising, offer walls, free app promotions or more nefariously, download bots.

But as the charts have become crowded with north of a half-million apps and as Apple has clamped down on less savory means of acquiring users like bots, other ways of getting users are becoming more important.

Wooga, which is Europe’s biggest social game developer, is an example. Today, the Berlin-based company is saying that it has crossed 11 million downloads, which is respectable considering that the company only really entered the mobile space three months ago when it brought Diamond Dash to iOS. For those who are unfamiliar, Wooga is a Berlin-based social game developer that is second only to Zynga in terms of daily users on Facebook. It’s raised more than $32 million in funding from investors including Balderton Capital and Highland Capital Partners.

Diamond Dash was one of the first games that really made use of Facebook’s new viral channels for native mobile applications after they launched last October. So it’s an important litmus test in seeing how marketing is changing on the iOS and Android platforms. After Diamond Dash launched on iOS, Facebook drove about 18.5 million clicks to the game’s landing page in the iOS app store.

About 64 percent of Diamond Dash’s mobile players connect to Facebook, up from 28 percent in December.

That’s a super high share. I often hear from mobile developers in the social networking category that about 25 percent of their users might log in through Facebook. EA PopCap, for example, says that only about 20 percent of its Bejeweled Blitz players on iOS connect to Facebook even though the game is big on the social network too.

Wooga uses Facebook to create a real-time leaderboard for players and let users gift their friends. The company adds that mobile gamers who log in with Facebook are eight times more likely to pay. If they do pay, they tend to spend about 50 percent more than non-Facebook connected users.

That said, Facebook alone is still not enough to drive any single game to the top of the charts on iOS. Diamond Dash is doing well in European markets, where it sits in Top 50 grossing for Germany and Top 20 grossing for France. But it sits at around 200 in the U.S.

Facebook is also seeing some definite competition from Twitter as a driver of traffic to mobile apps. Twitter has a special deal with Apple to have its sharing features deeply integrated into iOS while Facebook-Apple talks have been at an impasse for years.

Before OMGPOP sold to Zynga for $180 million in cash and plus an earnout, I had been talking with the company’s chief executive Dan Porter about where the developer’s hit game “Draw Something” was getting users. He told me that about 50 percent of the game’s downloads were probably coming from word of mouth and social networks, instead of the app’s top ranking in the store.

Porter also said that Twitter was probably more important than Facebook for driving new users to Draw Something. He said that on Facebook, “You are competing with stream stories about Spotify, Pinterest, other games, Fab.com and so forth. Twitter and Instagram are more available and less congested right now.”

One other game developer and venture investor is also rethinking Twitter as a mobile game marketing tool too. Charles Hudson, who runs Android game developer Bionic Panda and is a venture partner at SoftTech Venture Capital says that while the game developer community dismissed Twitter early on, the picture is starting to change with the success of Words With Friends and Draw Something.

“I’ve come around to thinking that Twitter could be a really useful channel for games that are designed to target really large mass-market audiences given the broadcast nature of Twitter,” he wrote in a recent blog post.

So it’s still early days in seeing this shift from focusing on getting high rankings to viral promotion.

The real test of Facebook should be coming in a few weeks. Facebook only has viral channels for native iOS apps right now. They should be launching these channels for native Android apps any day now.

Facebook’s Mobile Viral Channels Are Working For Wooga, Europe’s Biggest Social Gaming Company

Discovr Unveils People Finder App, Helps You Surface Interesting People On Twitter


Discovr, the company behind what’s still one of my all-time favorite mobile app discovery tools, Discovr Apps, is out today with a new application for finding people. Not surprisingly, it’s called Discovr People. The startup, which also has apps in the Music and Movies verticals, is not trying to compete with the trendy “ambient location”/people-stalking apps hitting the scene as of late (like Highlight, Sonar, Glancee, Banjo, etc.), but instead is providing more of a Twitter-based people finder, not unlike the Berlin-based Flockofbirds app.

When you first launch Discovr People (iOS only for now), the app asks you if it can access your Twitter accounts. Say yes, and you’re off.

[Note to app developers: this is how social integrations should be done on iOS — stop asking for my Twitter username and password already.]

If you’re familiar with Discovr Apps, the new People app works the same way. The interface involves an interactive map showing a network of connected people, the way that Discovr Apps shows you apps related to the one you’re viewing. To start using the People app, you first type in a Twitter user’s name, and out pop spokes connecting them to the people they’ve tweeted with most recently.

The algorithm here is a bit of a mystery. The company says that it tracks your “recent” conversations across Twitter’s network of 140 million active users, but in my early tests, the results it displayed were odd at times. In my case, for instance, it displayed some who I tweeted with ages ago as well as some who I wouldn’t even call close Twitter friends. Maybe we conversed a bit lately, but I wouldn’t call them “regulars,” exactly. Other results were more on target.

When I entered in @TechCrunch’s username, however, the people results were more promising. Here, it was able to surface some, if not all, of the TechCrunch staff, including both writers and editors. It’s a good place to start, at least.

The company tells me that the “recent history” it’s referring to is not defined to a certain length of time, as it depends on how much a user tweets. If you tweet a lot, for example, it will be days or weeks. If you don’t, it will be longer – like months. People are shown as connections only if they have been actively talking to each other, which is different from how Twitter makes its own recommendations (a function based more on similarity).

There’s other secret sauce, of course, and the algorithm is always being tweaked, too.

After the initial network is displayed, you can then tap on any one of the connections to then see their related “spokes” expand outwards. You can also tap and hold for quick access to the Twitter bio and a button to follow/unfollow the user as you see fit.

Twitter, a network based more on people’s interests than on real-world connections like Facebook, has always faced challenges in helping people find other users they would want to follow. It has attempted to solve this problem in a variety of ways, including through the use of suggested people lists and category suggestions upon first sign up, suggested people presented to users in their Twitter profile, and, more recently, with updated mobile apps that invite you to “Discover,” meaning follow the popular trends happening across the service – another vector for finding people tweeting about things that may interest you.

Discovr People is not at all a panacea for the “who to follow” challenge Twitter faces, but it’s a worthy enough third-party complement to Twitter’s own in-house tools as well as those provided by other external developers. It’s also kind of fun for Twitter people-stalking purposes, if you’re into that kind of thing.

The new app is available here on iTunes for $0.99. Sorry, Android users, but Discovr says the time is still not right for it to move to that platform.

Discovr previously raised $1.1 million in seed funding, led by Australian VC firm Yuuwa Capital. Discover says its code base (which is used across all apps) just hit 2 million downloads as of last night.

Discovr Unveils People Finder App, Helps You Surface Interesting People On Twitter