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Supercharging Android: Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility ;).

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Since its launch in November 2007, Android has not only dramatically increased consumer choice but also improved the entire mobile experience for users. Today, more than 150 million Android devices have been activated worldwide—with over 550,000 devices now lit up every day—through a network of about 39 manufacturers and 231 carriers in 123 countries. Given Android’s phenomenal success, we are always looking for new ways to supercharge the Android ecosystem. That is why I am so excited today to announce that we have agreed to acquire Motorola

Motorola has a history of over 80 years of innovation in communications technology and products, and in the development of intellectual property, which have helped drive the remarkable revolution in mobile computing we are all enjoying today. Its many industry milestones include the introduction of the world’s first portable cell phone nearly 30 years ago, and the StarTAC—the smallest and lightest phone on earth at time of launch. In 2007, Motorola was a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance that worked to make Android the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices. I have loved my Motorola phones from the StarTAC era up to the current DROIDs.

In 2008, Motorola bet big on Android as the sole operating system across all of its smartphone devices. It was a smart bet and we’re thrilled at the success they’ve achieved so far. We believe that their mobile business is on an upward trajectory and poised for explosive growth.

Motorola is also a market leader in the home devices and video solutions business. With the transition to Internet Protocol, we are excited to work together with Motorola and the industry to support our partners and cooperate with them to accelerate innovation in this space.

Motorola’s total commitment to Android in mobile devices is one of many reasons that there is a natural fit between our two companies. Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers everywhere.

This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform. Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. We will run Motorola as a separate business. Many hardware partners have contributed to Android’s success and we look forward to continuing to work with all of them to deliver outstanding user experiences.

We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android. The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to “protect competition and innovation in the open source software community” and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction. Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.

The combination of Google and Motorola will not only supercharge Android, but will also enhance competition and offer consumers accelerating innovation, greater choice, and wonderful user experiences. I am confident that these great experiences will create huge value for shareholders.

I look forward to welcoming Motorolans to our family of Googlers.

Posted by Larry Page, CEO

Who said? Larry Page said ;).
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Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

August 16, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Posted in Android, Google

Wi-Fi cars hitting the information superhighway ;).

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Ford's Wi-Fi system called MyFord Touch is added to its SYNC connectivity for mobile phones and music players

More cars are hitting the information superhighway thanks to new automotive Wi-Fi technology that allows vehicles to become rolling “hot spots.”

Analysts say consumers are warming to the notion of more connectivity in their cars, with “apps” for information and entertainment just as they have with their smartphones or tablet computers.

“Initially, putting Internet access in the car sounds like a distraction and frivolous but as time passes it will become a part of our lives and we will feel uncomfortable not having access,” said Jeff Kagan, an independent telecoms analyst.

“I think this is going to grow into a vibrant sector.”

Market research firm iSuppli said it expects a surge in worldwide shipments of car Wi-Fi systems to 7.2 million units by 2017, from just 174,000 in 2010.

Wi-Fi has been around for several years as an aftermarket accessory but many major manufacturers now offer some form of Wi-Fi or are developing it.

Ford has been offering Wi-Fi in selected models since 2010 and some form of Internet access is also offered by many other major automakers including General Motors, BMW, Audi, Saab and Chrysler.

In mid-March, Finnish telecom giant Nokia announced the launch of a Car Connectivity Consortium of 11 companies with common technical standards, including vehicle manufacturers Daimler, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

Autonet Mobile, a California-based firm that touts itself as the “first Internet-based telematics and applications service platform” for the auto market, has over 10,000 US customers using its CarFi service at $29 a month, said chief executive Sterling Pratz.

The group recently signed agreements with General Motors and Subaru.

Pratz told AFP that consumers are looking for better entertainment options for passengers in their vehicles and use Wi-Fi for videos, gaming and social networking.

“They feel there is a better way to stay entertained in the car compared with the DVD player. They lead a connected lifestyle and when they get in the car they feel disconnected,” he said.

A next step, Pratz said, is other types of applications that can allow parents to monitor speeds of their teen drivers and to find their car if it is stolen.

Autonet, which started in 2005 and has funding from venture capital firms, only operates in the US market but Pratz says he plans talks with European carmakers and is considering Asia as well.

In Europe, Audi is using a system from Marvell Technology and Harman Automotive to create a factory-installed mobile hotspot, allowing up to eight devices to be connected.

“I believe today’s consumers want the convenience of seamless connectivity and live content whenever and wherever they choose — whether in the home, office, classroom or automobile,” said Weili Dai, Marvell’s co-founder and vice president in announcing the system.

“Finally, the car is connected to the rest of our lives.”

Saab meanwhile has announced its own system based on Google’s Android operating system, dubbed IQon, touted as “a completely new car infotainment user experience.”

The Swedish automaker will allow third-party developers to develop “apps” by accessing 500 signals from different sensors in the vehicle.

“With Saab IQon, there are no limits to the potential for innovation,” said Saab’s Johan Formgren. “We will be inviting the global Android developer community to use their imagination and ingenuity.”

Analysts say the market is likely to grow as more applications become available — for entertainment, navigation or even for diagnostics of the automobile.

Yet a key question for developers of the technology is whether to offer Wi-Fi as a separate data system or allow consumers to bring their own.

Ford’s Wi-Fi system called MyFord Touch, which is added to its SYNC connectivity for mobile phones and music players, offers no separate data plan but instead allows consumers to plug in their own devices — smartphones, tablet computers or wireless cards.

This not only allows consumers to avoid a new data fee but enables easier adaption of a rapidly changing market for wireless devices, said Ford spokesman Alan Hall.

“We created the ability for a customer to bring in their 3G and 4G devices, and the car can take that signal and turn it into a Wi-Fi signal for four or five passengers in the car,” Hall told AFP.

Ford expects to have this Wi-Fi system on 80 percent of its cars sold in North America within four years, Hall said, and is also launching the system globally next year.

Doug Newcomb of the auto research firm Edmunds.com said the Ford strategy appears to make more sense rather than asking customers to pay an additional monthly data subscription.

“Several years ago before smartphones and the iPad, (a separate Wi-Fi system) might have made more sense,” Newcomb said.

“Now, people are saying, ‘If I have an iPad with 3G why would I need this in the car, why should I pay for another data plan?’… I think the focus now will be how to incorporate the smartphone into the vehicle.”

Who said? Rob Lever said ;).

Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

March 29, 2011 at 12:08 PM

Posted in Android, Google

China’s WoPhone to compete with iOS and Android OS ;).

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China Unicom, one of China’s three largest wireless operators, plans to introduce its own mobile operating system to compete head-to-head with Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android OS in China.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the wireless operator, which is building a third-generation wireless network that competes with China Mobile and China Telecom, is developing a new mobile OS brand known as WoPhone.

The new operating system is based on Linux, and it’s geared toward mobile handsets and tablets. Companies that plan to build devices using the new OS include China’s ZTE, Huawei Technologies and TCL. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics, US-based Motorola, and Taiwan’s HTC are also building devices using the new OS, China Unicom’s parent company, China United Network Communications Group, said in a statement on Monday.

For more on this story, read China Unicom to take on Apple, Google with OS on CNET News

Who said? Marguerite Reardon said ;).

Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

March 25, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Smart Phone OS Breakdown: Pretty Colors Edition ;).

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Now this is how you make a chart. Cold hard facts and figures are already irresistible, but Nielsen has done one better by organizing data about  US smart phone subscribers into attractive, colorful infographics. The chart shows the distribution of mobile operating systems by manufacturer, which gives Apple and RIM some nice big bars for their respective platforms. With their iPhone and Blackberry products, each company controls 27% of the US smartphone market. HTC is the next most successful manufacturer, with a 12% market share for its Android devices and 7% for its Windows Phone 7 handsets.

When considering OS penetration, Android managed to squeak past the iPhone and Blackberry marketshare with a leading 29% cut. Windows Phone 7 isn’t doing too badly for itself–10% seems like a decent portion of the market for such a young OS. A second chart, posted below, demonstrates the smart phone breakdown by age.

These results are remarkably even–while Windows Phone 7, webOS and Symbian obviously post smaller numbers, almost every bar shows a pretty consistent distribution of phones among age groups. Android has a 2% advantage in the 18-24 range, while RIM has a modest 1% edge among 45-54-year-olds.

Who said? Wesley Fenlon said ;).

Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

March 24, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Report: Google, Facebook consider buying Twitter ;).

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NEW YORK – Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. have both held low-level talks with Twitter Inc. about purchasing the privately held social networking service, according to a report published Thursday.

The talks have valued Twitter at $8 billion to $10 billion, The Wall Street Journal said, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. The Journal said the company had 2010 revenue of $45 million but lost money as it hired and invested in data centers.

Investors have shown keen interest in social networking services in recent months. Last month, daily coupon website Groupon raised $950 million in financing after reportedly turning down Google’s offer to purchase it for $6 billion. Facebook, which is privately held, is also said to have received $500 million in new funding last month, including $450 million from wealthy Goldman Sachs clients living outside the U.S., and $50 million from a Russian investor.

Also last month, LinkedIn, a social networking site geared toward professionals, filed to go public in an initial public offering worth up to $175 million.

Twitter and Facebook declined to comment. Google did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Google’s stock fell $3.08 to $613.42 in afternoon trading.

Who said? AFP said ;).

Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

February 17, 2011 at 6:06 PM

Posted in facebook, Google, Twitter

Yahoo Decides to Friend Facebook ;).

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Yahoo Inc. watched as social-networking website Facebook Inc. stole the attention of users and grabbed a major share of the online-advertising market.

Now the Internet pioneer is following an old mantra: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

YAHOO

After struggling for years to develop services that compete with the social network, Yahoo in recent months has installed tools such as Facebook’s “Like” and “Share” buttons on its news and sports websites in order to help Yahoo users share articles with their contacts on Facebook, among other things.

Yahoo, like other content providers, is seeking to leverage Facebook’s huge user base to draw more traffic back to Yahoo after readers click on the sharing buttons. The moves also are aimed at ensuring that links to Yahoo content appear in the search feature on Facebook’s site. Yahoo is using similar approaches with Twitter Inc., the Internet messaging service, and Zynga Game Network Inc., which offers online social games.

Yahoo hopes the moves will solve one of its biggest problems—a 10% slide in the time users collectively spent per month on Yahoo sites last year, according to research firm comScore. Yahoo’s internal research shows the main culprit for the slide is Facebook, people familiar with the matter said.

 

“‘Frenemy’—part friend, part enemy—is where Yahoo finds itself with Facebook,” said David Karnstedt, a former senior vice president of North American sales at Yahoo and currently chief executive of online marketing firm Efficient Frontier.

The enemy part, Mr. Karnstedt said, is that Facebook’s ad business is big and growing fast, sometimes at Yahoo’s expense. “The friend part is that Yahoo has stopped trying to get people not to go to Facebook and decided it was better off enabling that, largely because it didn’t have a real choice,” he added.

“I think ‘frenemy’ is not the right word. That implies more enemy than friend,” said Dan Rose, Facebook’s vice president of partnerships and platform marketing.

Yahoo Chief Executive Carol Bartz recently called Facebook her company’s top competitor. That is certainly true in U.S. display ads, a market that reached nearly $9 billion in 2010. Yahoo was No. 1 with 16.2% of the market, down from 16.5% in 2009, according to research firm eMarketer. Second-place Facebook saw its market share rise to 13.6% from 7.3% the prior year, eMarketer said.

“They’re a hot site, but there’s room for more than one of anything,” Ms. Bartz said at an event in December.

Some others at Yahoo stress recent collaboration with Facebook. “They’re a partner, and a good one at that,” said Mike Kerns, Yahoo’s vice president of social, games and personalization, in an interview. “We view them and their platform as a great opportunity to both distribute Yahoo and its partners’ content” and “to enhance user experience” on Yahoo.

Mr. Rose, Facebook’s vice president of partnerships, said the company doesn’t think of Yahoo as a competitor. “We’ve had a strong partnership in place with Yahoo for over a year, and we anticipate partnering with them even more deeply in the future,” he said. “Our interests are aligned to help people connect and share content with their friends from wherever they are on the web.”

By contrast, search giant Google Inc., which rose past Yahoo in the Web-search market during the last decade, has recently invested in developing a social-networking-type experience that could rival Facebook’s, people familiar with the matter have said.

So far, Yahoo’s partnership with Facebook hasn’t reversed negative trends. Last year it began letting users of its email service to access Facebook without leaving Yahoo, hoping to keep users there longer. Blake Irving, Yahoo’s chief product officer, said in an interview late last year that the feature “has not been seeing mind-blowing use.”

But he added that social networking is “an open playing field” and the company was developing new ways to help users stay connected with the “small groups of people that actually matter to you,” rather than a vast network of hundreds of people—including work colleagues and casual acquaintances—that many people now include as “friends” on Facebook.

As Facebook becomes a key place where people discover content such as news articles, Yahoo also sees an opening to provide technology to online content providers such as newspapers so they can better control of how users find and interact with their content, rather than leaving it up to Facebook and others.

For example, last week Yahoo made a public pitch to magazines and newspapers to use its software to reach users of tablets such as Apple Inc.’s iPad with features such as flashy, interactive graphics and photos. Yahoo didn’t name any partners.

Shifting Course

Yahoo launched or bought several social-networking-type services before ultimately forging partnerships with Facebook:

YEAR EVENTS
2005 Launches Yahoo 360 social network; buys Flickr photo-sharing site
2006 Tries to buy Facebook; deal falls apart
2007 Stops developing Yahoo 360; starts Yahoo Mash
2008 Yahoo Mash abandoned; launches Yahoo Updates
2009 Talks to Facebook about possible partnerships
2010 Lets users access Facebook and Twitter content while on Yahoo; adds Facebook “Like” and “Share” buttons to more pages; launches Yahoo Pulse
2011 Allows users to “log in” to Yahoo using Facebook, Google credentials.

Source: The company; WSJ research

Who said? Amir Efrati said ;).

Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

February 17, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Facebook’s Web of Frenemies ;).

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Facebook Inc.’s growing ambitions are redrawing battle lines in Silicon Valley.

As the seven-year-old company ramps up its hiring and adds new features to its social network, it is disrupting the businesses of established companies like Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. and putting even more Internet firms on notice.

Facebook, which has more than 600 million users and was valued at $50 billion in a recent funding round, is grabbing online-advertising from Yahoo, Myspace and others. The social network is a potential rival in electronic payments to eBay Inc.’s PayPal, while partnerships Facebook is cementing with smartphone makers set the stage for competition with Apple Inc. and Google in mobile services.

Meanwhile, Facebook is tussling with Google and Microsoft Corp. for top engineers.

As a result, many Silicon Valley companies increasingly have to decide whether to treat Facebook like a friend whose reach and user data can help propel their own growth, or a foe that can become a destructive force.

“Facebook is both a great competitor and a benefactor here in Silicon Valley,” said David Cowan, a venture capitalist at Bessemer Venture Partners in Menlo Park, Calif. “Anyone who’s trying to get the attention of the young Internet user now has to compete with the dominant position that Facebook has there. On the other hand, they have opened up a lot of opportunities.”

Facebook executives aren’t shy about their aspirations. “We think every industry is going to be rebuilt around social engagement,” Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said.

Facebook already helped spur a new crop of videogame companies designed around interacting with friends, Ms. Sandberg said, adding, “News, health, finance, shopping and commerce—we think similarly, all of these things will be rebuilt by companies that work with us to put social at the core.”

So far, Facebook’s key battleground has been in online marketing.

FACEBOOK

In just two years, Facebook’s share of online display ads has surged to 13.6% from 2.9% of the U.S. market, which reached $8.88 billion in 2010, according to research firm eMarketer.

Facebook’s growth comes at the expense of companies such as Yahoo and AOL Inc., and the site is also likely taking ad money away from traditional media like newspapers and TV.

Yahoo has stopped trying to compete directly with the social network and instead integrated Facebook features into its sites, hoping to halt a slide in the time its users spend on Yahoo each month.

Myspace, which like Yahoo has struck some partnerships with Facebook, declined to comment. Myspace and The Wall Street Journal are owned by News Corp.

[FACEBOOKjmp]

Jeff Levick, the president of AOL advertising, said he viewed the rise of Facebook as “complementary” because the companies are “running two very very different businesses.”

AOL, he said, focuses on monetizing the content that Facebook users share. “The more high quality content we produce and is shared, the traffic comes back to us,” Mr. Levick said. The top advertisers who are working with both companies are spending more with AOL each quarter, he said.

Facebook likely had revenue of $1.9 billion to $2 billion last year, mostly in advertising, one person familiar with the company has said.

Facebook has recently introduced ad formats that incorporate users’ networks of friends—even their names, photos and postings—into the ads.

And Facebook has also turned its attention to the local advertising market, launching its own location check-in and deals services that bring together elements of sites such as coupon site Groupon Inc. and business reviews service Yelp Inc.

Groupon and Yelp declined to comment.

Facebook is likely to tread on more toes as it builds out what’s known as a platform for the Internet, which other websites, cellphones and now even cars can use to build their own offerings to allow people to take their friends and preferences with them.

Some 2.5 million websites have so far tapped the platform, which lets them populate blog posts, news articles, product listings and other pages with Facebook’s “Like” button.

With its platform play, Facebook is positioning itself as a partner to other tech companies—even Google, which allows YouTube users to share videos with their Facebook friends.

“The foundation of a platform is one where people want to build on top because there is equal value exchange,” said Dan Rose, Facebook’s vice president of partnerships and platform marketing.

Still, Mr. Rose said Facebook intends to participate in new businesses that emerge from the use of its platform.

One case in point: Game developers such as Zynga Game Network Inc., among the first to find massive growth on Facebook’s platform, now have to pay a kind of tax.

Last month, Facebook said it would require all game developers on its platform to use its in-house Credits, a virtual currency for buying things in games. Facebook takes a 30% cut from all Credit sales. Zynga declined to comment.

Facebook could later extend its Credits system to other areas of commerce, including physical goods, potentially making it a competitor to PayPal and Amazon.com Inc.

Mr. Rose didn’t rule that out, but said the company had no current plans to do so and was focused on virtual goods for now.

PayPal President Scott Thompson plays down any rivalry with Facebook.

He said his company partners with Facebook, which lets people pay for Facebook Credits with PayPal. Even if Facebook gets deeper into payments, he said PayPal will be well-protected. “Payments is really, really hard to do,” he said.

Yet many Silicon Valley firms are wary of Facebook’s control over its platform and have turned elsewhere.

Online-dating service Zoosk Inc. launched in 2007 as an application on Facebook, where it experienced fast user growth. But in mid-2008, co-founder Shayan Zadeh decided Zoosk needed to expand to other platforms such as Myspace and its own website. It began to ask its Facebook users for their real email addresses, instead of just relying on Facebook as a means of communication.

Mr. Zadeh said he was concerned that some shift in Facebook’s business model or platform strategy could destabilize Zoosk. “If you want to be a long-term established business, you have to establish a direct communication line,” he said. Today, Zoosk has about 15 million to 20 million active monthly users; only about 20% of new users come through Facebook.

Facebook executives also have their sights set on smartphones, where they hope to become more integrated in the software on the handsets. Last week, INQ Mobile, owned by Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., unveiled a handset for the U.K. that prominently features contacts, photos and other data from users’ Facebook accounts. More such arrangements are expected soon.

Such activity increasingly puts Facebook on a collision course with Google, Apple and others in mobile advertising. Mr. Rose said Facebook could eventually make money off its mobile efforts through ads and Credits, but doesn’t have any plans for it at the moment.

Google declined to comment on Facebook, but in an interview last, year Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said the two companies compete for talent but not for ad dollars and that Facebook users use more Google services than any other users. He also said that “you’re assuming that if they do well we do poorly,” but “winners tend to all do well.”

Who said? Geoffrey A. Fowler said ;).

Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

February 17, 2011 at 5:56 PM

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