The holidays truly are the most magical time of the year. The twinkly lights, the spiked eggnog… the designer collaborations on your favorite tech products. It warms the heart.
For those who are shopping for the style-savvy technophiles in their lives — or those who just want to shop for themselves, no judgment — here’s a look at a few products that fit the bill. Note that this list eschews cute iPhone cases, because there actually are just too many of them to count. That could take up its own list and then some.
There are a lot of rad laptop and iPad cases out there. Very few are a collaboration between an established handbag designer and Apple, though. According to WWD, Apple approached Vivier two years ago with the idea for a laptop case partnership, and the results are truly good. They’re available three sizes (11″, 13″, and 15″) in a black basketweave, cobalt, and a cement grey — those last two made a bit more festive with pops of bright red. If you’re one of those who likes a full suite of Apple products, think of this as a fashiony extension of that same aesthetic.
They’re available in select Apple stores in NYC (SoHo, Upper West Side, 5th Ave), Palo Alto (Stanford, Palo Alto), Santa Clara (Valley Fair), San Francisco, Los Angeles (Third Street Promonade), Chicago (North Michigan Ave), Toronto (Eaton Center), and Boston (Boylston). They just hit retail stores a few days ago, so fly, my turtledoves! Fly!
Also in the Apple Store right now (what? They have good taste): Rebecca Minkoff teamed up with the headphone maker Frends on a new collection of changeable headphone caps called “FRENDS With Benefits,” and they make sweet, sweet shiny aquamarine hologram embossed leather music together. You heard us right. Frends headphones were already ridiculously pretty — see their rose gold and “oil slick” versions — and these take that to the next level. Black or gold headphones plus the Rebecca Minkoff caps come in at $249 and are available on Nordstrom.com, Apple.com, or select Nordstrom stores.
Goddammit, Jawbone. You sexed up your ads and had Juergen Teller shoot them, and I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. It’s like the time that Mr. Teller shot the Marc Jacobs Daisy print ads, and I bought the perfume without even smelling it. It was all right, and mostly I wore it out of guilt for having spent money on it. Such is the power of the media, ladies and gentlemen.
Anyway, the Jawbone MINI Jambox is pretty sweet, regardless of its new fashion cred. And, handily, purse-sized.
A gift from Bow & Drape, the fashion startup that allows women to create their own custom clothing and accessories, could go one of two ways. If your beloved (friend, flame, or otherwise) is the DIY sort, a gift card would let her play fashion designer and create her own looks. If you’re feeling brave, go ahead and make something just for her, be that a cocktail dress ($278), a blinged out sweatshirt ($68), or a 3D printed belt (98).
Original post: Gift Guide: For The Tech-Happy Fashionista
In the last few days Bitcoin has dazzled, with record highs and steep declines. Though Bitcoin fell more slowly from its peak than I expected, the currency did manage to shed half its value in a roughly daylong period. So that likely caused a few people to sweat.
But we’re back, baby! After slipping from $900 to $450 or so, Bitcoin has risen to the $735 level, with a firm upswing being its most recent MO. Here’s the chart of Mt.Gox prices for Bitcoin over the past week:
And the same chart with some helpful additions:
According to RealTimeBitcoin, the current market capitalization is around $8 billion. However, that total is calculated using a different Bitcoin price.
It is very, very possible that Bitcoin could find another market updraft akin to what it enjoyed two days ago, and reach new highs. It is also very possible that the Great Bitcoin Rally of 2013 is all but over, and the currency is set to fall as interest in it subsides, undercutting speculative buying that previously gave it such momentum.
We’ll keep an eye on Bitcoin so that you don’t have to. If it does anything batty, we’ve got you covered. However, so long as the following remains true, the Bitcoin discussion isn’t going anywhere:
Top Image Credit: Flickr
Back in the days before worldwide Disrupts and 1,300-person meetups, I used to travel to various countries and hold ad hoc meetups. Well I’m doing it again in Hong Kong and Shenzhen this week and I’d love to see you there.
If you’re in Shenzhen we’ll meet at Coco park, Futian from 7pm to 9pm on November 22nd. It’s where I met folks two years ago. Contact Michael Michelini if you need more info or want to sponsor a round of drinks.
See the original post here: Let’s Meet In Hong Kong And Shenzhen
IDC published its third-quarter 2013 smartphone market share and sales estimates today. Winners this quarter are Windows Phone and Android. Apple was mixed, while BlackBerry managed to implode at a clip so incredible, it reminds me of what happened to Longhorn’s dreams.
In the third quarter, Android saw its market share surpass the 80 percent mark (global), and its total volume grow to 211.6 million devices. Windows Phone grew year over year from 2 percent to 3.6 percent market share, shipping 9.5 million devices in the quarter. That device volume is a 156 percent improvement on the year-ago quarter.
Microsoft is likely content with that figure, but it remains small compared to its two remaining rivals.
Apple grew its device volume, from 26.9 million in the year-ago quarter to 33.8 million (third quarter). However, the larger smartphone market grew 39.9 percent in the intervening year, dropping Apple’s global smartphone market share to 12.9 percent from 14.4 percent a year ago.
BlackBerry lost even more blood, something that astounds me: It’s still alive? The company lost 41.6 percent of its device volume year-over-year. It shipped a mere 4.5 million devices in the quarter, under half of its former rival Windows Phone’s volume.
So, BlackBerry is all but kaput. This means that Microsoft has cleared the path for it being the “third platform.” However, as we recently saw, Microsoft’s developer numbers remain on the weak side.
Finally, according to IDC, the average selling price (ASP) of smartphones fell 12.5 percent in the quarter, to $317. This could mean that Android and Windows Phone have space to continue absorbing more market share, as the smartphone market itself expands, because they offer cheaper handsets than Apple.
For now, things appear somewhat set: Android rules the smartphone market, Apple makes all the money, and Windows Phone is scrapping to prove that it deserves the third-place spot that it has scratched out in the game.
Top Image Credit: Flickr
Assured Labor, a job hunting startup that began out of MIT and helps 25,000 employers hire across Latin America, has been doubling revenue month over month for four of the last five months and is beefing up its board.
The company has about 750,000 job seekers across two main platforms in Brazil and Mexico. Because job seekers in these markets might not have access to desktop computers, Assured Labor has built a mobile centric platform where users can get text alerts on when there are positions that might be relevant to them. Many of the listings are for jobs in sales or administration.
CEO David Reich says the company is adding about 1,000 employers a month. The company picked up $5.5 million in funding from Mexican private equity firm Capital Indigo, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Nexus Venture Partners and Kima Ventures about six months ago.
“We’re running at a fast clip and are able to consistently deliver way better opportunities to low wage job seekers than anyone else in the market,” said Reich, who just moved to Mexico City from New York about two months ago.
The company’s adding a few veterans, Steve Pogorzelski and André Andrade, from the recruiting and telecommunications world.
Pogorzelski was the international group president of one of the biggest Web 1.0-era job hunting sites, Monster, through its heyday from 1998 through 2008. He’s now the CEO of ClickFuel, an Massachusetts-based online marketing company.
The other new board member, André Andrade, was the COO of Movile and was an executive at two of Brazil’s largest wireless carriers, Vivo and Claro. He’s now a CEO at Titans Group, which creates value-added services for mobile carriers around the world.
Apple today announced the results of its Q4 FY2013 earnings and in its filing, the Cupertino-based company revealed that this quarter it sold 4.6 million Macs, a decrease of 7 percent from a year ago in the same quarter. iPod sales have also decreased this quarter compared to a year ago, with 3.5 million sold.
While it’s a decrease from a year ago, it’s more than what the company sold in Q3 FY2013 when it was “just under” 4 million. Prior to that, it was 4.89 million. Apple saw $5.62 billion in revenue from its Mac sales, perhaps spurred by the refreshed line of Macbook computers.
On Apple’s earnings call, Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer says that the global computer market declined this past quarter, according to the IBC, but saw opportunities for Macs to gain in market share.
As for iPods, the company sold nearly 3.5 million units this past quarter, a 35 percent decrease. This quarter, the company saw $573 million in revenue, but it was 30 percent less than a year ago. Interestingly, Macrumor’s editor Jordon Golson notes that, in total, the 26.4 million iPods sold in FY2013 is the lowest number of units sold since 2005.
Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Read this article: Apple sold 4.6M Macs and 3.49M iPods in Q4 FY2013, a 7% and 35% YoY decrease
The management shuffle at Zynga continues as new CEO Don Mattrick fills the executive ranks with longtime colleagues and friends from the industry.
He’s poached Clive Downie from Japan’s DeNA to be the company’s new COO. Downie has been in the gaming industry for more than 20 years, with 15 years of experience at Electronic Arts overseeing franchises like FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed, Medal of Honor and Command & Conquer.
After Electronic Arts, Downie joined Neil Young at ngmoco (which was short-hand for next-generation mobile company). Ngmoco was an early iOS developer that Japanese mobile gaming giant DeNA ultimately acquired for up to roughly $400 million in cash and stock.
DeNA bought the startup as part of an effort to duplicate the company’s success in the West through creating a dual game distribution platform and first-party game developer. (Ironically, Zynga was also an interested bidder in the deal several years ago.)
While at DeNA, Downie oversaw the development of the Mobage gaming platform and managed a number of first-party gaming studios in San Francisco, Vancouver and Chile.
Downie, who will report directly to Mattrick, takes the role after David Ko left the position two months ago. He has a tough job ahead, as Zynga is in the process of resetting its entire product pipeline.
He had mysteriously resigned from DeNA earlier this week, and DeNA West’s chief financial officer Shintaro Asako took over his role.
Here is the original post: Zynga Poaches DeNA’s Clive Downie As New COO
From smart meters and smarter street lights to distance learning apps and even implanted medical devices, the power and potential of mobile innovation is all around us, and US innovation increasingly centers around mobile.
Names like Jobs, Gates and Zuckerberg require no explanation and have become synonymous with American entrepreneurialism and progress in the digital age. Just six years ago, there was no iPhone or Android. Four years ago, a tablet was a relic from the Stone Age. Today, a majority of Americans wield a smartphone and one-third of us have added a tablet.
Already, there are more mobile devices than people in the world, and Americans spend nearly two and a half hours each day interacting with wireless devices. And that doesn’t include the 24 minutes daily we spend engaged in the distinctly retro activity of talking on the phone.
Add to this super-usage the recent projection that 99% of products that will ultimately connect to the Internet—from clothes to text books to refrigerators—have yet to do so, and it’s no surprise that data traffic on mobile networks is expected to grow 700-fold from 2007 to 2017.
Powering all that growth is possibility—a world of entrepreneurs working in garages, WiFi cafes and university campuses—who are busy creating the next step forward—from pioneering applications and devices to services that are transforming our nation’s health, education, civic engagement and economy and making lasting and positive differences in our communities.
It all begs the never-ending question: What’s next? To help find some answers, Mobile Future has launched The Mobileys, a new national competition to spotlight and support early-stage wireless apps, services and/or products that make the world a better place.
Winners will have more than bragging rights. First prize is $10,000, and the total purse for the contest is $20,000. We want to elevate and celebrate the next wave of big ideas and the visionaries behind them who will power the next wave of mobile progress.
Applications are welcome through the October 21, 2013 deadline.
It’s clear that mobile innovation is bringing change at a blistering pace. We need to continue to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit and technological vision that applies all this potential to improving the world around us. So what will be the next new things? That’s an open question, and we’re excited see the next generation of answers.
Read more: Calling next-gen mobile innovators
Google today is telling the story of a five-year-old boy named Saroo Munshi Khan who fell asleep on a stationary train during a break from searching for change with his 14-year-old brother Guddu in Berhanpur, India. That was in 1986, 12 years before the company was founded.
So why does Saroo matter to Google? Well, Guddu wandered beyond the station and Saroo fell asleep waiting for his brother’s return. A few hours later he woke up 1,500 kilometers away, in Calcutta, eons away from his home and family. 26 years later, or more than a quarter of a century, he found his way back home with the help of Google Earth:
Saroo survived on the streets for weeks, was taken into an orphanage, and was adopted by an Australian family with which he moved to Hobart, Tasmania. You can read the full story in Saroo’s book, A Long Way Home.
If you just want the Google Earth part, however, the company has provided it for you:
In 2011, using vague memories and Google Earth imagery, Saroo identified his home town. Using the ruler feature in Google Earth, he mapped out a search radius by making an educated guess about how far he traveled by train. After countless hours of scouring this area of Google Earth imagery, he came upon a proverbial needle in a haystack. Saroo spotted one vague landmark that led him to the next, helping him unlock a five-year-old child’s memories. He eventually spotted a neighborhood, street and tin roof that looked familiar.
In Saroo’s words, “It was just like being Superman. You are able to go over and take a photo mentally and ask, ‘Does this match?’ And when you say, ‘No,’ you keep on going and going and going.”
In 2012, Saroo embarked on a trip from Australia back to Khandwa, India. Once he arrived, he shared his story with locals, who helped him find his way back home to his mother and surviving brother and sister. Twenty-six years after accidentally leaving home, he finally found his way back.
Those who are getting a big feeling of déjà vu while reading this story, don’t worry; it’s probably because you’re remembering a very similar one from just a few months ago. A Chinese man also used a Google service for the same purpose, though it was Maps, it was 23 years later, and he was abducted.
See also: After being abducted 23 years ago, Chinese man finds his way home through Google Maps and Google Earth on desktop, Android, and iOS updated with 100,000+ new tours of popular sites, cities, and places
Top Image Credit: gilderm
The PC market continues to fall spectacularly, seeing the sixth consecutive quarter of declining worldwide shipments as well as the lowest back-to-school quarter since 2008. Worldwide PC shipments dropped to 80.3 million units in the third quarter of 2013, according to Gartner, an 8.6 percent decrease from the same period last year.
While Lenovo, HP, and Dell managed to grow their respective shares, this was not enough to offset the losses seen by Acer, Asus, and the rest of the market:
We noted last quarter that Lenovo and HP were neck-and-neck, but that a winner was emerging. Lenovo has managed to increase its lead, although it is still only a 0.5 percentage point gap. Gartner believes the upcoming holiday sales season will be “a key battlefield” for both companies.
Interestingly though, the biggest winner was Dell. The company’s PC shipments exceeded growth rate averages across all regions, according to Gartner.
Acer’s shipments declined a whopping 22.6 percent compared with a year ago, which is likely due to the reduction in netbook shipments. Asus meanwhile saw PC shipments decline 22.5 percent, despite the fact it has shifted its focus from PCs to tablets; the company’s tablet shipments were nearly equal to its mobile PC shipments in the third quarter.
In the US, PC shipments totaled 16.1 million units in the third quarter of 2013, a 3.5 percent increase from the same period last year. This was the second consecutive quarter of shipment growth after six quarters of decline. There was only one company that lost share in the US: Apple.
Gartner believes low inventory from the first half of 2013 as well as the introduction of new models with Intel’s Haswell, including new form factors, brought the sell-in shipment up compared with a year ago. Personally, I’m waiting for Asus to refresh its notebook lineup with Haswell before getting a new machine, so its losses don’t surprise me as I’m sure others are doing the same.
While these results are preliminary, as Gartner is merely offering its estimates, the reason for these poor sales is hardly a mystery. Once again, tablets are to blame.
“Consumers’ shift from PCs to tablets for daily content consumption continued to decrease the installed base of PCs both in mature as well as in emerging markets,” Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. “A greater availability of inexpensive Android tablets attracted first-time consumers in emerging markets, and as supplementary devices in mature markets.”
Top Image Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images