Posts tagged Social
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According to studies done by J.D. Power and Associates, social media seems to be paramount regarding consumer satisfaction with their mobile device, whether it’s a smartphone or a traditional handset.
The studies found that device satisfaction averages 22 points higher among smartphone owners who use their phone to engage in social media platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare) than those who do not access social media platforms via mobile. In fact, over half of current smartphone owners claim they use their phone to access social media sites via mobile web or apps. On the other hand, feature phone owners obviously visit social media sites much less frequently than smartphone owners. However, the study found that a feature phone owner that actively engages in social media will find his/her device more satisfactory than the owner of the same phone, who just happens to be a less social breed of butterfly.
“It’s not unexpected that smartphone owners access social media sites from their device more frequently than traditional mobile phone owners due to features such as larger screens and QWERTY keyboards,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. “However, these findings demonstrate that equipping devices with powerful features and service is key to creating positive customer experiences with wireless devices.” With technology blossoming at an unparalleled rate, the demand for social media-centric and capable devices can only grow from here.
San Francisco-based Brooklyn Packet has raised $18 million in a first round of funding to make social games for mobile phones.
As part of the round, the company is changing its name to TinyCo, which in no way is representative of its ambitions.
The game-maker, which launched in 2009, has already reached profitability after releasing three iPhone titles, including Tiny Chef and Tap Resort. What’s more, it believes it has what it takes to build a $1 billion company over the next two to three years.
Those aggressive plans is likely what attracted big-name investors, like Andreessen Horowitz, which led TinyCo’s $18 million round, along with several super angels, including Ron Conway and Keith Rabois.
TinyCo builds mobile games that are free and supported by in-game virtual goods.
If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is.
In the past four years, Zynga has built a company valued close to $10 billion, by monetizing games on Facebook through virtual goods.
TinyCo’s two founders Suleman “Suli” Ali and Ian Spivey, who met each other in high school, said mobile has the potential to spawn great companies in the same way that Facebook did.
“The mobile opportunity is huge,” Spivey said. “Android is going to have 100 million new devices this year, and iOS will add 50 million more. Mobile is where Facebook was two years ago.”
Still, investors and entrepreneurs have been optimistic about the potential for mobile games before, and it hasn’t always gone so smoothly.
For Marc Andreessen, he admits mobile games have been “out of favor” for him for years.
“This is our first important investment in the mobile gaming category,” he said. “You needed the iPhone and other platforms, like Android and Windows Phone, WebOS and others, to make it happen. The market wasn’t ready before, and it didn’t matter how good the developers were.”
The company, which has 37 employees, is working next on launching games for Android, just in time for Google’s launch of in-app purchases, which is coming to the marketplace soon.
Andreessen said TinyCo is a “classic example of a startup with outstanding entrepreneurs. We are the first money in and its already profitable. That’s an incredible achievement with no investment.”
So, does TinyCo have the ability to be the Zynga of mobile?
Andreessen, who is also an investor in Zynga, wasn’t willing to go there, but added: “There’s going to be a whole series of mobile-centric franchises that are going to be much different compared to companies that built on the Web. mobile is a first-class opportunity.”
More Related Stories email article print page Thwapr Adds Geotagging to Social Mobile Video and Photo Sharing February 04, 2011 —
NEW YORK, NY — (Marketwire) — 02/04/11 — Thwapr, Inc. (OTCBB: THWI), a leading social mobile video and photo sharing service, today announced it has added a geotagging feature so users and brands can include location data for their videos and photos.
“Sharing videos from mobile devices will become a standard, integral part of a mobile, social lifestyle and experience,” said Leigh Newsome, senior vice president of products. “Adding new features such as geotagging further enhances the experience and brings location awareness for digital media to mobile phones, tablets, and computers. No more ‘where did you shoot this video?’ questions, it’s all right there on a map shown along with your video and photo. Thwapr brings this capability not just to consumers — via GPS savvy mobile phones, digital camera, and camcorders — but also to brands such as concert tours (show tour locations), sports teams (where the team played).”
Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification metadata to various media such as photographs and videos. Geotagging can help users find a wide variety of location-specific information.
This feature enhances mobile video and photo experiences by adding location information to help remember an experience or when searching for groups of videos and photos from for example, a family vacation or event. Geotagging can also provide more context for users when sharing on Facebook or Twitter and, on some media platforms, will show other media relevant to a given location.
Thwapr is a fun, easy and reliable way to share videos and photos to and from Web-enabled mobile phones. Compatible with more than 300 different kinds of handsets, Thwapr’s solution delivers a universal link via SMS, email, or QR codes where users can enjoy high-quality videos or view photos.
About Thwapr, Inc.
Founded in 2007, Thwapr is a mobile video sharing service that allows brands to mobilize and monetize content, extending its distribution reach while delivering the highest possible quality and user experience regardless of device, network or carrier. Founded by digital video pioneers from Apple, Avid and MTV, Thwapr’s patent-pending “Share to Phone” technology is revolutionizing mobile video, while also revitalizing traditional media by incorporating branded mobile video into print, broadcast, billboards and radio. A cloud-based solution that does not require a download or app, Thwapr is making mobile video sharing easy, fast and fun for the hundreds of millions of consumers with Web-enabled mobile devices. To see a video about Thwapr, text the stock symbol, THWI, to 757575 or visit http://corp.thwapr.com. Also, make sure to follow us at www.twitter.com/thwapr or become a fan at www.facebook.com/thwapr.
Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in Section 27A of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press release which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future. Such forward-looking statements include, among other things, the development, costs and results of new business opportunities. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others, the inherent uncertainties associated with new products and development stage companies. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release, and we assume no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Although we believe that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance that any such beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions will prove to be accurate. Investors should consult all of the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in Thwapr’s annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, Thwapr’s quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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I’ve found and interesting small cap company operating in the mobile technology industry – one that stood out from the pack because it has morphed two trends into one business model for those on the go.
But there’s a catch: This microcap company is looking to make money by giving away their products.
Sound far-fetched? Not really, if you think about other consumer product companies. After all, Procter & Gamble’s ( PG ) Gillette and Energizer Holdings’ ( ENR ) Schick brands don’t make money off the razor handles that they package with the razor blades – they’re counting on repeat blade sales to drive profits.
The razorblade comparison isn’t far off in terms of widespread use either. Cell phones have become an integral part of many people’s lives, especially smart-phones. With integrated browsers and apps to meet any mobile need, we’re using our phones to stay in touch with friends and family, check e-mail and play games.
The company I’m looking at is Glu Mobile (Nasdaq: GLUU), a small cap company that develops games for handheld units.
The company changed its profit strategy once Niccolo DeMasi took over as CEO a year ago. Rather than trying to make money off the mobile market by selling its popular games, Glu Mobile now tries to sell the concept of microtransactions. It’s generating revenue from millions of smaller in-game transactions, usually of a dollar or less, and from in-game advertising.
Glu Mobile’s concept is that the users pay their fare for the software by buying add-ons, trinkets and little things that enhance their playing experience in a social atmosphere. By melding the type of game-playing you might encounter over a network using a Wii from Nintendo (OTC: NTDOY.PK) or an Xbox from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), with the mobile devices that we depend on, Glu is banking on becoming the ruler of a mobile social-gaming kingdom.
***Glu Mobile is not a newcomer to gaming – the company is actually celebrating a decade of development this year. The company went public in 2007, but the stock raised some eyebrows on January 11, when it announced a secondary offering of 7.3 million shares at $2.05 apiece, a deep discount from the $2.34 price where they had been trading. The company plans to use the $13.8 million to speed up development of its gaming community, which is actually a good use of the money.
Glu has an impressive portfolio of top-rated games that includes Beat It!, Bonsai Blast, and Super K.O. Boxing! It also turns brands from partners including Activision, Atari, Hasbro, Microsoft, SEGA, Sony and Warner Bros. into games.
Under the Glu social mobile model, gamers can go head-to-head in shoot-’em-ups like Gun Brothers, or take control of toys with Toyshop Adventures. In December 2010, Glu said its Gun Brothers was approaching 3 million downloads, averaging 175,000 a day.
***By switching its strategy to free-to-play, Glu got a head start over its bigger competitors. Moving forward the company plans to release 25 titles each year.
Since DeMasi took over the company’s share price has doubled, and its cash position has improved. On January 6, 2011, Glu Mobile’s stock hit an all-time high of $2.90, right after announcing at the Consumer Electronics Show a partnership with Nvidia (Nasdaq: NVDA) to develop games for Google’s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android platform .
Glu Mobile still hasn’t reached the sweet spot of profitability and has had to tap into the equity markets to raise cash. That always makes investors nervous, but considering the long-term growth potential it appears that the equity raising strategy (vs. debt) is probably the better option.
In addition to the recent stock offering, the company received $13.5 million from a private placement in the summer of 2010.
Glu Mobil cut its losses in 2009 to $18.2 million, and indications are that it will report a smaller cash burn for 2010. For the three months ended September 30, 2010, Glu reported a $1.6 million loss, an improvement over a $4 million loss in the year earlier quarter.
With its substantial roster of games and an improving revenue picture Glu Mobile could become a takeover target. Recently old-line Publishers Clearing House announced that it was buying Funtank, which creates online video games for companies including Trident gum, The Walt Disney Co. ( DIS ) and Toyota Motor Co. ( TM ).
Glu Mobile may be on the cutting edge of gaming technology, and it appears to have put in place the financing needed to grow. At the current price, it’s definitely worth investigating.
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Remember the Cliq? Yep, Motorola’s very first MotoBlur Android social networking phone that came out way back in October 2009. The Cliq 2, debuting on January 19, also features MotoBlur but its specs are worlds beyond the original
Like the original Cliq, this Cliq 2 is designed to help you balance your social life as well as your work. It has a full-QWERTY keyboard as well as customizable work, weekend and home profiles. It sports a 3.7-inch high resolution edge-to-edge screen, a 1 GHz processor as well as a 5-megapixel camera. According to Motorola, it will come preloaded with Amazon Kindle, the Blockbuster application (like most T-Mobile phones), and will run Android 2.2 with Adobe Flash Player 10.1 support.
And yes, the Cliq hooks into the MotoBlur service, which stores all of your contacts, messages, photos and more onto a cloud-based server. It is much more business-centric than the original Cliq (which felt kind of teenager-ish) with business-ready features like a mobile hotspot, Exchange support, enhanced security features and Wi-Fi calling.
Unfortunately, the Cliq does not support T-Mobile’s faster HSPA+ network. This is disappointing since I was anticipating more 4G phones from the carrier. Right now, there are only two phones that support HSPA+ on T-Mobile, the G2 and the T-Mobile myTouch 4G.
We’re about to go get our hands on the Cliq 2 so watch out for a full hands-on look with pictures and first impressions.
Check out our complete coverage of CES 2011.
Social Networking in Asia is far different than in the US, partly because of connection speeds in countries which are still adding infrastructure. This has not slowed down the over recent years as money is spent on upgrading technology, though remote areas are slower to get these changes, where larger towns make it more cost effective to be concentrated on.
For Asia, the usage of Social Networking where there are connection has been very popular, though a little different than other parts of the world. Asia and the Asia-Pacific area have become a place where companies are looking at the potential and impact of a very large population base.
In recent Comscore report, the indications of computer use for Social Networking is interesting and shows just how much potential there is.
With the large interest, several companies have Social Networking sites which are very popular, such as Friendster, Cyworld, Mixi and RenRen. These cater to specific interests, which vary based on region. The number of countries having percentages greater than 75% shows just how popular these areas are, though the drop off for Japan appears to show interest in other means of communication. After all, Social Networks are all about communicating.
Whether it be online gaming or online dating, Social Networking is very popular. Many sites which used to have large audiences were those where you paid for services, but that is being replaced with sites which rely on advertising to get their revenue. With the use of mobile phones in Asia which are able to access the Internet, the growth has taken off and is not as predictable as other parts of the world.
Asia, in general, is wide open right now as technology infrastructure and mobile phone purchases are expected to increase significantly over the next few years. As a result of that, Social Networking will also increase.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This big picture essay wraps up our month-long special report on the Mobile Enterprise. Starting tomorrow, the entire report will be available only as a premium publication (in PDF format) for those who pay to receive it.
Today’s mobile device is the new personal computer. The average smart phone is as powerful as a high-end Mac or PC of less than a decade ago. And as billions of people worldwide rely on these ultra-compact machines for more and more tasks, the mobile device might qualify as humankind’s primary tool.
We are only just beginning to fathom what this reality implies for business, culture, and society. Our phones can now track our movements though the physical world. They can record our social interactions, store our personal histories, keep tabs on our likes and dislikes, and track our Internet content consumption, app usage, and purchasing behavior. As we outsource ever more of our decisions and memory functions to smart devices, our tools are gaining a powerful advantage over us. They live in our pockets; they know who we are. They’re learning more and more about us all the time. That’s why smart phones and tablets are uniquely positioned to predict what businesses should do to serve us best. Our devices are both comforting and a little frightening at the same time.
With over five billion individuals currently armed with mobile phones, we’re talking about unprecedented levels of access and insight into the psyches of over two-thirds of the world’s population. From any perspective—commercial or Orwellian—this is no small matter.
In the late 1990s, dot-commers were fascinated by a chart showing how long it took for each of the major media—daily newspapers, radio, and television—to reach 50 percent of U.S. households. Each of those technologies required decades to cross that threshold, but the Web took only a few years. Yet Web penetration pales by comparison with mobile today, in several important respects: Mobile usage is about individuals—both adults and kids—not just households. Mobile devices are bringing sweeping change to developing and poor nations, not just the industrial world. In other words, mobility has democratized computing and global Net access.
Part of this story goes beyond expansion of mobile subscribers. The transition to new devices is taking place with lightning speed, too. Clamshell and candy-bar phones designed primarily for voice communications (known as “feature phones”) are giving way to smart phones, and growth in access to high-speed 3G (and now 4G) networks continues to accelerate around the world.
The number of global 3G mobile Internet subscribers should approach a billion within a year or so, with the highest penetration rates in Japan (98 percent), Korea (80 percent), the U.S. (48 percent), and the U.K. (38 percent). And where 3G penetration has been low, year-over-year growth is blazingly fast—81 percent growth in Russia, 148 percent in Brazil, and 941 percent in China.
From a business perspective, no one can ignore the implications of mobility. Although the changes may be too numerous to track, it is possible to group them into seven fundamental transformations.
From time immemorial, humans as a species have relied for their survival on an ability to discover relevant information, whether that was knowing where the wildebeest drank water at night to ensure a meal the next day or finding the nearest ER during a medical emergency to save a life. Google’s “PageRank” algorithm, which helps find answers to 70 percent of the world’s online search queries, has changed how we as a species find the information we want or need. Now Google Instant provides search results before we’ve even finished typing the query. Sure, this matters on a PC, but it matters even more on a mobile. Mobile search has made discovery ubiquitous in the physical world of daily life.
Geo-tagging and location-aware services, in combination with search, have made discovery a two-way street. Apps such as Foursquare give users a means to “check in” at physical locations, giving friends, businesses, and brands a way to discover them. Startups such as Locately go even further, tracking car routes and foot paths on shopping trips.
Two-way discovery has broad implications for business. Shoppers can use their phone’s camera and apps such as Red Laser or ShopSavvy to scan the bar code of any product, enabling instant price comparison among dozens of retailers. If they’ve signed up for Amazon Prime (which provides unlimited two-day shipping for a flat annual fee), they can lock in two-day delivery from Amazon before they’ve left the store. Sure, Amazon, like other online retailers, is a free rider in this scenario, at the retailer’s expense. But consumers win on price, access, and convenience in ways that were inconceivable before mobile devices. This alone will force changes in the way all retailers do business.
In this cell-phone-centric age, your friends might learn that you’ve gone to see a movie when you arrive at the theater and check in on Facebook or Foursquare. But that’s probably too late to function as anything more than a boast. An iPhone app called Blaze Mobile Wallet tells them the instant you book a ticket in advance, giving them time to respond and meet you there.
When users pay for a reservation using the app, which debits funds from a prepaid account, a Facebook post lets friends know all the details: film, theater, and show time. “It makes it more likely that friends will join them at the movie,” says Michelle Fisher, CEO of Blaze Mobile, one of a slew of companies exploring how cell phones that act as wallets can encourage new connections between friends—and between businesses and their customers.
What makes it all possible is “contactless” payments, a technology that transfers funds when users wave a phone at card readers installed by retailers. In the case of Blaze Mobile Wallet, for example, RFID stickers featuring MasterCard’s PayPass protocol bring that capability to any smart phone that runs the app.
Home Depot, 7-Eleven, and many other large retailers have embraced contactless payment in recent years. Businesses are keen to make lines move faster and cut cash transactions, says James Anderson, global vice president of mobile for MasterCard. The company now has 83 million contactless cards and tags in circulation worldwide, and about 265,000 businesses are taking contactless payments. But those transactions are currently conducted with contactless versions of a regular credit card, or fobs that hang from the customer’s key chains.
Making it possible to pay through mobile phones will probably cause shoppers to behave differently, says Anderson. “People typically have their phone much closer to hand, so I think they are more ready to pay,” he explains. “For example, many women put their cards at the bottom of their purse for security, but keep their phone at the very top for easy access.”
The result is new opportunity for retailers, says Dave Wentker, head of mobile products at Visa International. “For retailers, mobile is a critical channel to reach their customers,” he says. “Paying with a phone is not just about payments; it’s about advertising, couponing, and loyalty.”
Bling Nation, a startup based in Palo Alto, California, is already demonstrating how businesses can use customers’ social ties. Like Blaze, the firm distributes stickers that make phones usable for contactless payment. It also taps features provided by Facebook to link each user’s account with his or her Facebook identity.
PALO ALTO, Calif. – Facebook has launched its own location-based social media service, similar to Foursquare and GoWalla, Nation’s Restaurant News reports. Facebook Deals enables marketers to give Facebook users something for checking in at participating retail locations through the Places feature on their mobile phones.
Around 20 businesses, including Starbucks, McDonald’s, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, have signed up for the initial debut of Facebook Deal. The new service allows Facebook and its merchant partners to provide more localized benefits.
“It’s a massive validation of location-based marketing,” said Reggie Bradford, CEO of Vitrue, a social-media marketing and branding firm. “This is a huge sea change in terms of the way location-based services are going to hit critical mass fast. … Three million people are already checking in with Places even before [the launch of] Deals, and about one-third of Facebook’s users use the mobile app.”
Retailers use Deals to reward users for checking in, such as a commemorative pint glass at Alamo Drafthouse and a buy-one-get-one-free entrée at Chipotle. Both Starbucks and McDonald’s added a charitable aspect to their rewards. McDonald’s is donating a buck to Ronald McDonald House Charities per check-in and Starbucks will give the same amount to Conservation International for each check-in.
“Really, the bigger draw is we have such a sizable following, more than 1 million fans,” said Chris Arnold, Chipotle’s director of communications. “We’ve looked at doing some location-based social-media promos, and based on our following, we thought this was a good place to test the waters. It’s a new product that Facebook is launching, which always brings added attention to it, and this is a good way to extend the relationship with our fans.”
Facebook and Skype are reportedly discussing an integration that would allow users of the world’s largest social network leverage the VOIP giant’s PC-to-PC calling capabilities with their Facebook account information.
Facebook and Skype are working to allow Facebook users to send SMS messages and make voice and video calls to friends and contacts via Skype, according to AllThingsDigital.
Facebook users will be able to sign into Skype through Facebook Connect, which allows users to sign-in third-party Websites with their Facebook accounts. The integration is expected in Skype 5.0, scheduled for an October launch.
A spokesperson for Skype neither confirmed nor denied the report, telling eWEEK Sept. 29: “While I’d love to give you a comment or more info, the only thing I could tell you right now is that Skype doesn’t comment on rumor or speculation.”
Facebook has grown to more than 500 million users, many of whom are spending more time socializing there than searching on Google.
However, Facebook wants to increase the stickiness quotient, particularly as it works to build out its social advertising capabilities.
One way to do that it to empower Facebook with more communications capabilities. Facebook has had chat capabilities for more than two years, allowing users to see which of their contacts are online and send them instant messages.
But a glaring omission has been voice communications and even face-to-face video chat.
Integrating with Skype, which has 560 million registered users of its own, would provide these capabilities for users without forcing Facebook to build its own VOIP capabilities.
A Facebook-Skype VOIP integration would also answer communications and collaboration capabilities offered by Google.
The search engine offers users Google voice and video chat and Google Voice phone management software, which has recently been integrated with Gmail.
September has proven to be quite the month for mating phones and Facebook. TechCrunch ignited the rumor that Facebook was building mobile phone software.
While it now looks as though another social networking phone made by INQ Mobile and Facebook is more likely, it’s clear Facebook is intent on extending its presence on mobile devices and other calling platforms.
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