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Nokia Sold “Well Over” 1 Million Lumia Phones To Date, Posts €1 Billion Q4 Loss

Posted: 26 Jan 2012 04:54 AM PST


Nokia earnings are out, and the contrast with Apple’s blow-out quarter results is astonishing. The Finnish phone maker, still the largest in the world by volume, reported a Q4 net loss of 1.07 billion euro, down from a 745 million euro profit in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The company’s smartphone sales decline paints an even bleaker picture: Nokia sold 19.6 million units in Q4 2011, down a whopping 31 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago (even though it’s up 17 percent from Q3 2011 thanks to somewhat decent Lumia sales).

Nokia says it sold “well over” 1 million Lumia devices to date (not just in Q4) and that it plans to bring the Lumia series to additional markets – including China and Latin America – in the first half of 2012. The billion dollar question: is this good enough for Nokia’s future to start looking bright?

Nokia needs it line of Windows Phone-powered smartphones to perform exceptionally well to turn the tide – right now they’re getting crushed by Apple and Android device makers in this particular, crucial game. As a Lumia 800 owner, I know Nokia can still make great devices, and that Windows Phone is in a good position to start competing. But that’s not enough to turn the Nokia ship around.

The company will need to kick up sales and marketing efforts a notch or two, enter more markets more quickly, attract more developers (to get more high-quality apps) and continue to improve the quality and appeal of its smartphone products more rapidly. To have a fighting chance, that is.

Reminder: Apple sold 37 million iPhones last quarter.

Nokia chose not to provide targets for 2012, saying this will be a ‘transition year’, “during which our devices-and-services business will be subject to risks and uncertainties”. Well, quite.

Also read:

The Not-So-Crazy Rumors About Microsoft Taking Over Nokia's Smartphone Division Resurface

Nokia Exec: iPhone, Android Handsets No Longer Appeal To Youth

AT&T Set Sales Records For Both iPhone And Android Devices In Q4 2011

Posted: 26 Jan 2012 04:44 AM PST


AT&T this morning released its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2011. Consolidated revenues clocked in at $32.5 billion, up 3.6 percent compared to the year-earlier quarter. Net income for Q4 2011 was $6.7 billion, or $1.12 per diluted share.

Zooming in on smartphone sales, it’s worth noting that AT&T delivered its best-ever quarter to date, hands down.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, the company says it sold 9.4 million smartphones, nearly double the number sold in the third quarter and 50 percent more than the previous quarterly record.

This also led to 19.4 percent growth in wireless data revenues, the company said.

During the quarter, more than 7.6 million iPhones were activated, the “majority of which” were iPhone 4S, and AT&T says more than twice as many Android smartphones were sold last quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2010. AT&T also said it sold 311,000 tablets in Q4 2011.

955 Dreams Raises $3.25 Million Seed Round, Launches “Band Of The Day” On iPad

Posted: 26 Jan 2012 03:00 AM PST


955 Dreams, the startup behind Apple’s iPhone App of the Year Runner Up “Band of the Day,” is today releasing the new tablet-optimized version of the app for the iPad. In addition, the company announced it has closed on a $3.25 million round of seed funding. Investors participating in the round included 500 Startups, m8 Capital, Kapor Capital, Felicis Ventures and CrunchFund (Disclosure: TechCrunch Founder Michael Arrington is an investor in CrunchFund).

As a part of the funding, Dave McClure of 500 Startups will join the company’s board, filling the first seat held by an outside investor.

955 Dreams’ Band of the Day app was released late last year, and was soon adopted by hundreds of thousands of users in its first few weeks on the App Store. The app, which features free songs (full songs, not just clips), artist bios, reviews, music videos and more, caught the attention of those at Apple thanks to its popularity as well as its unique design. The company had previously focused on long-form experiences like the App Hall of Fame title, The History of Jazz, but with Band of the Day, the team began to push out new content on a daily basis.

955 Dreams is not just a development shop that builds apps – it actually writes the artists’ reviews itself for Band of the Day. Explains Co-founder Kiran Bellubbi, “we’re a publishing company, and [our apps] are built on our own publishing platform.”

The platform powers all of 955 Dreams’ mobile apps, including Band of the Day, The History of Jazz and On the Way to Woodstock, all three of which were App of the Week, two of which made it into the App Store Hall of Fame, and one (BotD), which made it to App of the Year runner up. In other words, every time the company launches an app, they hit it out of the park.

With Band of the Day in particular, it was the combination of the editorial and the app’s overall design, with its simple, efficient and elegant navigational elements, that helped it reach over half a million users in just four months. With the launch of the iPad version today, the company expects to reach several million by the end of the year.

The new tablet version of the app is similar to the iPhone version in terms of feature set, but takes advantage of the large screen. Although the style is very magazine-like, the app is careful not to take up too much space on the iPad’s hard drive, as some magazine apps do: it’s only 10 MB.

Says Co-founder and CDO T.J. Zark of the new iPad version, “we refined every speck of the experience, the UI, the backend, and the overall look of this product. Just like the calendar that Band of the Day is built around, the way band photos reveal as you run your finger over the calendar…this is the result of a thousand tiny iterative decisions. We try very hard to take nothing for granted about the end experience. We strive to delight users!”

The company is also now experimenting with Android and is preparing to make its app publishing platform available to select partners, perhaps one or two content providers this year. “We’re talking to a few of them,” says Bellubbi, “but it depends on the reach of the content and the quality of the content. That’s extremely important to us.”

In fact, Bellubbi was downright obsessive about his products’ quality, scoffing at any so-called competition. “My personal belief is that when you put garbage into a garbage platform, you’re going to get garbage out…We try to focus very much on the user experience, and there are no compromises made.” (No wonder Apple likes them).

The new Band of the Day iPad app is available for download here.

Kaiser Permanente Takes Millions Of Medical Records Mobile With New Android App

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 11:29 PM PST


We’ve recently written about some exciting new ideas and technology that will transform medicine in 2012, how mobile technology is playing a role in this transformation, and lauded investor Vinod Khosla addressed the question of whether or not algorithms (and technology) will replace doctors.

Younger, smaller companies have flexibility, and can often have a greater impact on innovation and evolution of industries than giant corporations that have been around for decades. When we talk about innovation and technology touching the health industry, it’s hard not to mention electronic medical records (EMRs). As recently as 2009, The New England Journal of Medicine found that only 1.5 percent of U.S. hospitals have a comprehensive electronic medical health system. Practice Fusion, a venture-backed startup we’ve covered recently, has become one of the biggest providers of EMRs in the country, with 25 million digitized to date.

While the free web-based system for physicians is making some great progress in this area, and is catalyzing change, it has to be tempered by the prior statistic — there’s still a long way to go. That’s why it’s such great news for the industry, when older, giant corporations — the big kahunas — jump on the bandwagon and show they’re willing to help push their industries forward.

Founded in 1945, California-based Kaiser Permanente is one of the largest not-for-profit managed care consortiums and health plan providers in the country, with 9 million members, nearly 170K employees, 15K physicians, 35 medical centers, and 430+ medical offices under its fold. Yesterday, the health care organization announced the release of a free Android app and mobile-optimized website through which its millions of members can access their own medical information on the go.

This means that Kaiser Permanente patients can get full access to the company’s health record system and all that comes with it, which they already could do through, from their mobile devices. In 2011, Kaiser more than 68 million lab test results available online to their patients, and through the Android app and mobile web app, patients can now get 24/7 access to lab results, diagnostic information, direct and secure email access to doctors, schedule appointments, and order prescription refills.

The company plans to release an app for iOS in the next few months, but in the meantime, non-Android users can get access to the same set of secure tools through its new mobile-optimized website through their devices’ browsers. What’s more, the apps also make it possible for family members and other care providers to get access on behalf of patients and accomplish the same tasks that they could at This is great for people who are traveling and need to receive care from non-Kaiser Permanente providers.

The company’s data on how people are accessing its site is very telling, too, as it validates the notion that mobile technology has become an essential part of healthcare, as Kaiser told us that 14 percent of visits to its website now derive from mobile devices, a 46 percent growth since January 2011.

The health plan provider has previously released mobile apps for the iPhone, one that helps patients locate KP facilities and another app that encourages people to walk and pursue healthy activities, and while both are great tools, neither have the implications that giving broad access to EMRs does through Android, and soon iOS. Kaiser Permanente has made some great strides in HealthIT, and is set on pushing forward in mobile technology as well. If the other big health plan and healthcare providers follow suit, this can have an enormous effect on the health industry and patient care. It’s already further validation of the importance of EMRs.

You can find the Android app here.

HP Announces Open webOS 1.0, Outlines Release Schedule

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 01:09 PM PST


It seems like ages ago that HP announced that webOS would continue to live on as an open source project, probably because they’ve been awfully quiet on the subject since the big reveal in December.

Well, consider that silence officially broken. HP took to their webOS developer relations blog to tell what faithful users still remain all about how their open-source rollout is going to work, and the whole process has begun with the release of their Enyo application framework.

Enyo should be a familiar name to anyone who has developed a TouchPad application, but the 1.0 release was understandably focused on creating webOS-specific apps. Now that HP isn’t leaning on webOS to grow their stake in the mobile space, they’ve open-sourced Enyo 1.0 to make it easier to migrate existing apps to other platforms.

To that end, HP has also included in today’s release what they’re calling “the core” of the updated Enyo 2 framework, which further expands the number of platforms that Open webOS apps will be able to play nice with. Developers will be able to write an application once, and have it run within Chrome, IE9, and Firefox (not to mention mobile devices) without a hitch.

Today’s releases are just the tip of the iceberg though, as HP plans to pepper the next few months with newly open-sourced components. These releases (see below for the full breakdown) will continue in drips and drabs until September, when HP expects to open-source push to be complete and will rename the project Open webOS 1.0.

I for one am thankful that webOS has been given another lease on life, and I can’t wait to see what all of the mad, brilliant developers out there will do to it. We’ve all seen Android-to-TouchPad ports, but I’d love to see someone try and get webOS up and running on a Galaxy Nexus. It seems that the sky will be soon be the limit for webOS, so long as developers don’t get tired of waiting around.

Nokia Announces 1.5 Billion S40 Phones Sold

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 01:03 PM PST

Screen shot 2012-01-25 at 4.07.17 PM

Does the term S40 mean anything to you?

It’s a mobile operating system built by Nokia for its feature phones back in 1999, and first appeared on the 7110. Well, apparently a lady over in São Paulo, Brazil has today purchased the 1.5 billionth phone running the operating system in the form of the Nokia Asha 303. Nokia is calling it “one of the most significant milestones” in company history.

According to Nokia’s estimations, approximately 675 million people in the world are using phones running S40. As far as sales go, a dozen S40 phones are sold each second.

But that’s enough about the past. Nokia’s focus is now on its partnership with Microsoft, and according to Bloomberg, the Finnish company likely sold around 1 million units from its Lumia line since its debut. After losing $19 billion in market value over the course of 2011, the Lumia line is Nokia’s greatest chance of rebuilding itself and reassuring investors.

Luckily, a number of different research firms seem to agree that the Windows Phone OS will surpass iOS in the next three years.

[via BBC]

Game Your Video Aims To Make Mobile Video Editing As Simple As Possible

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 12:38 PM PST

Photo Jan 25, 11 56 34 AM

Modern day video editors can be daunting. While it’s better than the literal cut-and-paste practices of yesteryear, opening a new video editor can feel like stepping into the cockpit of a spaceship. Unless you’re trained to fly spaceships, in which case this analogy is broken (and also, you’re awesome.)

Looking to distill video editing down to its simplest form — a game like experience, they say — is Game Your Video, a new iOS app from Global Delight.

Here’s how it works: you pick a video from your library, and play it back. As it’s playing, you poke any of the myriad effect buttons (things like jitter, shake, spin, RGB splitting, or speed tweaks) sitting at the bottom of the screen to start the effect. The video keeps playing with the effect applied on the fly. Tap it again, and the effect stops. Don’t like the effect? Stop the video, drag back to that point in the timeline (which isn’t so much a timeline, really, but an iMovie-esque thumbnail summary) until the cursor is on top of the effect highlight, and tap a button to remove it.

The same effects can be applied in real-time to videos being shot through the app, using an identical mechanic: tap an effect to start, tap it again to stop. You can also pick songs from your iPod library as your video’s soundtrack, and cut/join clips with just a tap or two. Want to make your friends sound like a chipmunk (or an axe murderer)? You can do that, too.

It is really quite simple — at least in its overall concept. Some of the finer nuances of the UI can be confusing at times; it took me a few minutes to figure out, for example, that to edit videos you’ve already recorded you have to hit a specific “Game Your Video” button rather than the camera roll button sitting right next to it. None of it’s hard to wrap your head around — but given that they’re trying to make something for an audience daunted by other video editors, it’s probably worth fine tuning.

Here’s a quick video of my desk demo of some of the effects:

Will it turn you into the next Scorsese? Nah, but that’s not the point. It’s for adding cute little effects to your clips before tossing them up on Twitter or Facebook — and for that, it gets the job done.

Game Your Video launched this morning, and is going for $1.99 in the App Store.

Apple Overtakes Exxon As Most Valuable Traded Company In The World… Again

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 10:05 AM PST


It happened once before, in August, but that was due to a stock market collapse that left both Exxon and Apple well below their usual share price. This time, however, it would seem that Apple’s Q1 earnings call yesterday has led to a fresh spike on the stock market and what do you know?

Apple is once again the most valuable publicly traded company in the world, with a market cap of $414.83 billion.

Yesterday’s Q1 earnings call covered the period starting September 25, 2011 and ending December 31. That means it includes numbers for the iPhone 4S launch, along with any spike in sales during the holidays. Of course, anyone who’s following along knows that the next iPad will show its face pretty soon, leading Apple into what I’m sure will be another solid year.

Still, it’s a tough feat surging past Exxon as the company sells a commodity used by almost every country in the entire world, with a current market cap of $414.47 billion. Apple, on the other hand, sells computers, tablets, smartphones… you know, luxury items. That said, Apple isn’t quite in a place where it can maintain this lead for much longer.

On the other hand, the Wall Street Journal has rounded up new analyst estimates for the Cupertino-based company, and things are looking up with share price estimates ranging from $550 all the way to $666. Current share price for Apple is at $446, so hitting that goal anytime soon would be almost as mind-blowing as Apple’s Q1 results. Still, if Apple were to reach estimate share prices, its reign may last for much longer than expected.

As for the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq, both markets remain relatively unchanged for the day. The Dow Jones is at 12,713 points, up .30 percent on the day, while the Nasdaq is at 2,807.41 points, up .75 percent on the day.

Update: After teetering back and forth around a market cap of $415 billion each, it would seem the Exxon has taken the lead this evening with a market cap of $418.06 billion, compared to Apple’s $415.13 billion.

$99 Nokia Lumia 900 To Hit AT&T On March 18?

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 09:27 AM PST


Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was all to eager to show off the Lumia 900 at this year’s CES, but he unforunately kept to himself when it came to its price or release date. Now, thanks to a timely leak, it looks as though Nokia’s flagship Windows Phone could hit AT&T’s shelves on March 18.

That’s apparently the plan, anyway. The date, given to BGR by their anonymous sources, seemingly confirms earlier rumors about the device’s launch window, though they’re quick to note that the date isn’t set in stone since the 900 hasn’t yet completed the technical acceptance process.

While the release date may not come a big surprise to some of you, the Lumia 900′s price tag probably will. The device will reportedly cost a mere $99 with a two-year contract, putting Nokia’s LTE-capable flagship handset right alongside bestselling AT&T handsets like the 8GB iPhone 4. Still, its solid spec sheet — LTE radio, 4.3-inch display 1.4GHz processor, 8-megapixel camera — could provide enough impetus for buyers on the fence to take a leap on Windows Phone.

Between the dirt-cheap Lumia 710 (which can be found for free, if you’re diligent enough) and now the more-than-reasonably priced Lumia 900, Nokia is clearly aiming to sweep new and potential smartphone users off of their feet. If the leak is indeed true, it almost looks like Nokia is mirroring their aggressive European plan to push those units into people’s hands first and worry about profits later.

Could this be the right phone at the right time with the right price tag for Windows Phone to make its long-awaited splash in a crowded market? It may well be — Windows Phone is generally a joy to use, and it’s about time that people started taking a chance on it. Nokia and AT&T’s forthcoming promotional plans will do their part in making sure people hear about the Lumia 900, so here’s hoping that its time will come soon.

LG Nitro HD Surpasses 1 Million Units Sold

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 09:18 AM PST


comScore recently ranked LG second in the world in terms of mobile OEM market share, and it would seem the good news keeps on coming for the smiley-face company. The Nitro HD, or Optimus LTE if you’re from outside of the States, has reportedly hit 1 million units sold.

It was first available in South Korea last year in October, and LG sold 600,000 units on its home turf. After venturing into new lands, including Japan, Canada, and the US of A, another 400,000 units were sold. According to my calculator, 600,000 plus 400,000 does indeed total 1 million units.

If you remember back to our review, we had mixed feelings with the Nitro HD. The 4.5-inch 720p display is downright gorgeous, and certain hardware features like HDMI out, LTE support, and that textured back panel are quite nice. Android 2.3 Gingerbread, however, tends to lag quite a bit on the Nitro.

Luckily, the phone is slated to receive ICS in the second quarter of this year and there are obviously plenty of people who are pleased with LG’s latest endeavor.

[via CNET]

Popular Barcode Scanning App ShopSavvy Launches Mobile Marketplace

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 07:42 AM PST


ShopSavvy, which you probably know as the barcode-scanning, price comparison app, is  launching a major new feature today: SavvyListings, a mobile marketplace. With the addition, the company is hoping to turn its user base of some 20 million into customers who buy and sell items directly with each other.

To use the SavvyListings feature, you simply scan the barcode of product in question, then head to “Options,” and “Sell this Item.” (You will need to sign in with your ShopSavvy account). ShopSavvy, thanks to its database of pricing information, will be able to suggest a price for each item you choose to sell. It will also default the item’s condition to “gently used.”

Like a dumbed-dumbed version of Craigslist (yes, it can get even more basic, if you can believe it!) listings don’t have to include images, descriptions, categories or shipping costs. It’s just “I have this item,” essentially. Potential sellers can then reach out the buyers to make any sort of pickup and delivery arrangements they choose.

From then on, the item will appear under the “Local Stores” section until it’s sold.

The result transforms ShopSavvy from just a utility for comparing prices into a country-wide mobile yard sale.

Only one problem? If you have second thoughts after listing the item, there doesn’t seem to be an option to delete it from within the app itself. (So no, my copy of “20 Under 40” is not actually for sale, but thanks for asking).

Now You Can Control Your Galaxy Nexus By Groping A Wall

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 07:38 AM PST

Screen shot 2012-01-25 at 10.34.38 AM

The Galaxy Nexus’s 4.65-inch display may make it a handful for some, but a nifty new project from a developer known as DDRBoxman allows users to interact with their Galaxy Nexus on an even grander scale.

With the help of a projector, a Kinect camera, and a specially tweaked Ice Cream Sandwich ROM, he was able to interact with his Nexus by touching a wall.

Originally cobbled together for use with meetings and presentations in mind, DDRBoxman’s feat involved quite a bit of setup. A bit of software called Simple Kinect Touch allows a computer running either Windows or Linux to pull in and interpret data from a connected Kinect camera pointed at the Galaxy Nexus projection. It then takes that gesture data and turns them into TUIO data that the Galaxy Nexus can interpret as touch inputs thanks to its custom ROM.

That’s really the stumbling block right there — an enthusiast could probably get the projector and Simple Kinect Touch set up on a rainy afternoon, but DDRBoxman had to bake system support for the TUIOforAndroid app into the ROM. Maybe if we all ask nicely, he’ll share the fruits of his labor so we can partake in the wall-touching fun.

The end result isn’t the most fluid user experience you’ll ever see, but it’s impressive nonetheless for a proof of concept. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled on the project for a while, because I have a feeling it’ll only be get better with time.

JNSQ, An Independent Style Mag For iPad, Makes Its Public Debut

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 07:11 AM PST


JNSQ, the first independent style magazine for the iPad, is making its public debut today. The app, created by former marketing manager Melissa Middleton and angel investor and stealth startup founder Fritz Lanman, features similar content as to what’s found on the online version of the company, at, but is published monthly – like a real magazine.

The magazine has actually been live in the app store since October, so you may have stumbled across it on your own. But that was a “soft launch,” meant for testing and experimentation, as opposed to today’s public debut.

What’s perhaps more interesting (at least to those of you whose interest in fashion goes about as far as “what t-shirt should I wear today?”), is the platform on which JNSQ was built. Developed by an ex-Amazon employee hired on contract by the company, the magazine was created within a custom-built CMS system for building iPad magazines. That’s going to be useful going forward, because founder Middleton has ambitions to take JNSQ and expand it, turning the company into a new, digital media empire. Or, as she puts it, “the Conde Nast of digital.”

As for the user interface, it’s highly usable, clean, and uncluttered. There are integrated, but unobtrusive, sharing, bookmarking and favoriting buttons. And beneath the articles, a small “related content” section directs readers around the magazine in a more intuitive, iPad-friendly way. The app also doesn’t spend ages downloading content to the iPad upon launch, and the homescreen is broken up into clearly marked sections: Featured Articles, Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle (think health, home, travel, etc.).

JNSQ’s content is created by a team of 21 editors who contribute content to the app on deadline – like a real magazine. Their work is edited and scrubbed prior to publication, again, just like a real magazine. However, JNSQ will update throughout the month with new content – and will soon use push notifications (via Urban Airship) to alert readers of the additions.

Another difference between JNSQ and a traditional magazine is that the editors are bloggers. “Readers are trusting bloggers because we’re more accessible, it’s not ‘industry.’…Bloggers are non-policed, it’s fun, and they can put more personality into it,” Middleton explains. The bloggers’ voice throughout JNSQ will hopefully appeal to the right kind reader, she hopes: “our audience is the everyday woman. She’s not sitting at fashion week, but she still has a taste for style.”

Says Middleton, she got the idea for JNSQ back when the iPad first came out. “I was looking for style magazines,” she says, “and there was nothing. The demographics of the people who were buying the iPad at the time were men.” Obviously, that’s no longer the case – the iPad is for everyone. There’s a huge market for appealing to the style-savvy women’s mag crowd. Or really, anyone who loves fashion and style, regardless of gender.

JNSQ is too new to be sharing download numbers or active users numbers yet, but Middleton says the engagement metrics are “unbelievable.” So unbelievable, in fact, that one potential investor didn’t actually believe them. He requested she send a screenshot of proof. The metric that he couldn’t grasp? Users were spending an hour and a half in the app per session, on average.

Hey, that’s kind of like a real magazine. Maybe even better.