Pebble is one of the best Kickstarter success stories. Predating the original Samsung Gear and Android Wear, Pebble's first fundraising campaign raised over $10 million and spawned multiple generations and models of e-paper wearables. But as many tech startups eventually do, Pebble is being acquired by wearable competitor Fitbit. Read More
You may have heard: YouTube is getting into music in a big way. The Google-owned service has been a hotbed of music videos and independent artists almost since its inception, and lately pushes like YouTube Music and YouTube Red are formalizing that relationship. The latest progression comes out of left field: YouTube (and by extension, Google/Alphabet) has purchased BandPage, a service that helps artists and groups create website profiles specifically for music.
The acquisition was announced on BandPage's company blog, and the terms of the sale were not disclosed. BandPage uses a WYSIWIG editor for easy website creation, and publishing music or videos on the site allows for easy distribution on YouTube, Spotify, Rhapsody, iHeartRadio, and other music and social websites all over the Internet. Read More
Pinterest, the social media platform of choice for aichmophiliacs, is a great place to look at ideas for home decorating, fashion, crafts, and a thousand other things. I'm not much pinterested in the site, but my wife sure loves it. Some days she spends hours poring over the app, searching for inspiration for her latest project.
Now, with the introduction of buyable pins, she, and all other Android users, can buy many of the products they see with just a couple of clicks. Great... I'm so excited this is a thing now. Artem, I'm going to need a raise.
Let me step back a minute and explain what a buyable pin is. Read More
In the Android Police review of the OnePlus One, we called it "the best flagship you can't buy." That will change soon: the independent and often divisive manufacturer has finally seen fit to set aside its invitation system and start selling phones the old-fashioned way. Pre-orders will be available via OnePlus.net starting on Monday, October 27th at 15:00 GMT (8 AM Eastern time).
But it just wouldn't be OnePlus without some needless complication, right? According to this entry on the OnePlus blog, the company will only be offering pre-orders, and there won't be a conventional "launch date" for the non-invite retail phone. Read More
For some of us, breaking a smartphone is unimaginable. For others, it's only a matter of time. Either way, it could pay to have your ducks in a row. Samsung has introduced a new device replacement plan, and since no less than 107% of the world's phones were made by the manufacturer, a good number of people could benefit from this. But it won't come cheap.
Samsung's "Protection Plus Mobile Elite" plan costs $99.99 and provides coverage for two years. This price doesn't mean you get a replacement device as soon as yours breaks. Instead, you will have to pay a service fee each time you issue a claim. Read More
People talk on Twitter, they crack jokes, they share pictures, and they even try to sell things. Just as users used to have to link out to images before the service started offering that service natively, users will soon be able to make purchases without having to hop out to another site. Twitter is currently testing a feature that will embed a buy button directly into tweets.
When a user decides they want to buy something, Twitter will prompt them for their shipping and payment information. After that, it will send the order to the merchant, encrypt the data, and store it for use again later. Read More
You've seen the breathless coverage. You've read Google's hyperbolic marketing. You've seen countless demonstrations of why Google Glass is the future. And if you live in the United States, you can finally get one without jumping through limited access hoops or begging for an invite, if only for one day. Google's Glass Explorer program is open to US residents 18 and older from right now (9 AM Eastern, 6AM Pacific) until the end of the day on April 15th.
Google isn't giving eager Glass testers a break on the price: the head-mounted hardware is still a budget-breaking $1500. But you will be getting access to the latest "XE" revision of the hardware, and those who order as part of this promotion can get a free set of prescription glasses frames or shades to go with Google Glass (normally a $150-225 additional charge). Read More
An international mega-corp like Google buys companies like the rest of us buy coffee. Google's latest latte is SlickLogin, a startup that aims to make authentication simpler and safer by using sonic login codes on phones. The details of the purchase aren't public just yet, but SlickLogin's site confirms that "the [team] is joining Google."
SlickLogin's system is unique: it uses a cell phone as an authentication key with the help of nearly-silent audio codes sent via computer speakers. When you access a site or service with SlickLogin, your computer speakers send out a series of tones and pitches. Your phone picks up the nearly inaudible signal, then confirms the code with SlickLogin's servers. Read More
Rakuten is often referred to by western media as "the Amazon of Japan." That description seems more and more apt given some of the mega-retailer's recent purchases, including Canadian e-reader company Kobo. Yesterday Rakuten announced that it had purchased Viber, an up-and coming voice-over-IP company with apps on Android, iOS, and Windows, among others, for a whopping $900 million.
Viber is primarily a Skype competitor, though it also offers text and picture messaging, group chat, and cross-communication between mobile and desktop operating systems. Indeed, the company's dedication to being available on as many platforms and in as many locations as possible seems to have been a major plus - according to TechCrunch, the service has 225 million registered users. Read More
Yesterday social gaming giant Zynga purchased NaturalMotion, developers of notable mobile games including the CSR Racing series, Backbreaker Football, and the official Jenga game for iOS and Android. TechCrunch reports that the $527 million purchase includes $391 million in cash and 39.8 million shares of Zynga stock. NaturalMotion operates offices in London, Oxford, Brighton, and San Francisco.
Zynga has plenty of apps for iOS and Android, notably Words With Friends and the official sequel to Draw Something (which Zynga got from another acquisition, OMGPop). But the company's stock price has been lagging below the $5 mark for over a year, about a third of their post-IPO high. Read More