It’s been a weird decade for Cisco. After being a dot-com darling in the late 90s (everyone wanted a few Cisco routers for their door-to-door pet food delivery services), the company tried its hand at consumer products with the Flip video camera series and, a little while later, Linksys routers. It seems, then, that Cisco’s grand consumer experiment is over.
The terms of the sale are undisclosed but it should close in March of this year. Belkin has been taking a harder look at networking hardware for the past few years while still maintaining their ties to the computer accessory market that defined the company for years. Their current crop of routers are aimed at home users so Linksys could give Belkin a bit of an edge in the home/small office market.
What’s more interesting, however, is where Cisco hopes to go now that the company has divested itself of all consumer products. Consumer electronics are a horrible business. The margins are low and demand fluctuates depending on what comes out of Cupertino or Redmond. In short, there’s very little incentive to sell hardware to consumers when they’re fickle, hungry for Zappos-esque “You screwed up so give me free stuff” support, and rarely, if ever, upgrade their PCs and peripherals. What electronics manufacturer wants to waste his time with consumers when IT clients sign a nice contract and pay on time?
But the consumer market is leading the IT market. The story in CE these days is BYOD – I get emails about it nearly every day – and IT managers used to dropping a few thousand on fleet laptops now have to contend with people bringing in iPads, Surfaces, MacBooks, and their own mini-routers. It’s a maddening situation, to be sure.
Big iron isn’t the watchword anymore. Buying a Cisco router for a small home office barely makes sense and, increasingly, it makes even less sense for a bigger office. That is not to say that IT infrastructure isn’t lucrative – it’s just not as lucrative.
Belkin should be able to do good things with Linksys. Cisco clearly couldn’t.
The LG Intuition may be one of Verizon’s more poorly-kept secrets of recent memory. Apart from LG itself having confirmed that an Optimus Vu rebranding is due for the US within weeks, there’s been pricing and even an uncannily detailed FCC filing to fill in the gaps. Why not throw official press images into the mix? From the renders DroidDog has managed to obtain, the Intuition is a bit more than just a one-for-one port of the original Korean phablet. While Verizon’s influence is light outside of that attention-grabbing logo, there’s a switch-up in the navigation keys to reflect that Android 4.0 will be there from the beginning — a nice break from the ancient-feeling Android 2.3 layout of the original. About the only question left at this stage is that of the exact release date. There’s a September 15th mention in one of the images, but we all know how dates in press imagery can be misleading.
International HTC One S buyers might look at the black version like it’s humdrum, but if you’re an American who’s had no realistic choice but to get the gray T-Mobile edition, black is a rare and coveted thing. T-Mobile knows this all too well, and it’s using the micro arc oxidized hue as an incentive for loyal employees: work diligently enough, and a black One S with native T-Mobile HSPA+ is yours. There’s no word from the TmoNews tipster as to whether or not the color will ever reach the buying public, which could make it a rare collector’s item for Android lovers — not to mention a mild form of torture for HTC enthusiasts. The optimistic among us are hoping that it’s a sign of phones to come and that both black as well as gray can live in harmony on T-Mobile shelves.
Filed under: Cellphones
Steven Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President and head of Microsoft’s OEM division, is leaving his position for a senior role in the company. Guggenheimer has been in charge of liaisons between Microsoft and its OEM partners for many years, and leaves just as the company has announced its first home-grown computer, the Surface. There have been reports that OEMs feel uneasy about Microsoft competing with them in the hardware market, and Acer founder Stan Shih has been quoted as saying Surface is an only an effort to encourage manufacturers to produce Windows 8 and RT tablets. So far, Asus has been the only third-party manufacturer to announce a retail-bound Windows RT tablet, and HP recently announced it would not release a Windows RT…
Whether you’re looking to replace a damaged screen, swap a battery, or just make damn sure that the warranty of your HTC One S is void, DirectFix can help with its latest teardown video. This is the first time that we’ve seen a detailed inner peek at the smartphone itself, and those who appreciate fine craftsmanship are sure to dig this one. To get deep within the phone, you’ll need a nylon spudger, a Torx T5 and precision Phillips screwdriver, along with steady hands and — if the display’s adhesive isn’t cooperating — a hairdryer. Once the handset’s back cover is removed, it becomes quite easy to see how the battery pack dominates the inner space, which is complemented up top by a blue plastic shield that includes the lens cover and protects the main board. From there, many fragile connectors must be removed before the display can be separated from the handset, which is attached with adhesive. Naturally, putting the phone back together can be a bit tricky in its own right, which makes it quite a shame that YouTube videos can’t play in reverse.
Continue reading HTC One S teardown leaves little to the imagination (video)
Permalink |Related Posts: | Email this | Comments
It’s a sign of the times. Crowdstar is through with making games for Facebook and the company has just raised another $ 11.5 million to double-down on their move toward mobile gaming. The company’s existing investors including Time Warner, Intel Capital, YouWeb, The9, and NV Investments all topped up, bringing the company’s total funding to $ 35 million. Chief executive Peter Relan says there are some new investors too, but he couldn’t disclose who they are.
“Last year’s mission was pivot to mobile and this year’s mission is profitable growth,” Relan said in an interview. “We see the mobile market as five to six times larger than the Facebook social games market.”
You may know Crowdstar from such absurdist titles as Top Girl and Social Girl. In the game, you’re a girl who needs to buy virtual clothing, meet other virtual girlfriends and get a virtual boyfriend. At times, the game’s notifications have screamed at me, “YOU’RE NOT HOT ENOUGH!” I have also dated “Kevin, the Cutter of Meat” in the original Top Girl game.
Crowdstar is moving off Facebook as the platform is no longer as profitable as it once was for casual game developers. Facebook has clamped down on viral channels for game developers over the past two years, and its 30 percent revenue share is eating into profit margins. Even though Apple also takes the same revenue share, it has more than 250 million iTunes accounts. That means Apple has a wealth of credit cards to tap into, which makes it a lot easier for consumers to pay for things in games. Of the 845 million users that Facebook had by year-end of 2011, only 15 million people paid with Facebook Credits, according to its IPO filing.
Zynga is also definitively the leader on the Facebook platform, which makes it harder for new companies to break though (although Sweden’s King.com and Germany’s Wooga have had some success). In contrast, mobile gaming is still wide open. There’s still no single dominant player.
“Look at Temple Run and Dragonvale. The top mobile game can come from anywhere. The idea that the top game on Facebook could come from anywhere is silly,” Relan said, pointing to Zynga’s dominance on Facebook.
Unlike Zynga, Crowdstar’s titles skew a little younger. They’re for women ages 13 to 30. The mobile versions of the games have brought Crowdstar 25 million users and revenues are 80 percent from iOS and 20 percent from Android. Google Play and Amazon’s appstore are even in total monthly revenue. Amazon’s users are more lucrative. But since there are fewer of them, it balances out overall.
Crowdstar is also laying off about 25 people on the Facebook side of the company. Relan says he’s finding them jobs with other companies in his network. (He runs the gaming-centric YouWeb incubator, which has spawned companies like OpenFeint, which sold to GREE last year for $ 104 million.)
“The people no longer staying at CrowdStar’s Facebook studios have already been referred to other YouWeb companies as well as other games companies that we regard with great respect,” he said.
That’s not to say that mobile gaming will be a cakewalk. The profit margins on the business have come under pressure over the last 18 months with increasing competition. Apple has also cracked down on cheaper, and more unscrupulous, ways of acquiring users like download bots and offer walls.
Recent exits in the space like OMGPOP’s sale to Zynga and yesterday’s sale of Funzio to GREE have also set a benchmark valuation of roughly $ 200 million for leading gaming companies. Crowdstar’s $ 35 million in funding doesn’t imply a lot of room for return for later investors.
But Relan says that Crowdstar’s approach is more defensible since it’s highly focused on one demographic sliver of the market: young women.
“We’re not Pocket Gems and we’re not TinyCo,” Relan said, referring to the companies that top-tier venture firms Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz have bet on. “They’re going for a non-selective audience. They’re competing against the Zyngas and GREEs of the world.”
While Dell may still be releasing Streaks and Venues in other countries, a company spokesman tells PC World that its last remaining phone stateside, the Venue and Venue Pro are no longer on sale. While the short lifecycle of mobile products was cited in the pair’s time with us drawing to a close, the lack of replacements means Dell is out of the smartphone game in this country less than two years after entering with the Aero and Streak 5. While the spokesperson confirmed Dell would introduce more mobile devices in the US later this year, they could not say whether or not phones would be among them. We’re not sure what the reboot of its product lines will entail — other than a lack of connection to departed section head Ron Garriques — but at least it still has those Thunder, Smoke, Lightning and Flash names in their pocket whenever something new arrives.
Permalink |Related Posts: | Email this | Comments
The PlayStation Vita’s current augmented reality mini-games may be anchored to a handful of marker cards, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Front and center at Sony’s GDC booth was “Magnet,” a developer tech demo that shows off the next generation handheld’s markerless chops. The application maps out the texture and patterns to create its own marker, which would allow developers to create more natural AR experiences that won’t burden players with the hassle of carrying around marker cards. Sony says the tech demo won’t be evolving into a full game, but hopes it will inspire developers to build something new and exciting for the handheld. Although staff on hand couldn’t say for sure that this is an off-shoot of Sony’s SmartAR technology, we think it looks awfully familiar.
Permalink | | Email this | CommentsRelated Posts:
Seen here pointing a gun at the bartender while nobody gives a shit, some failure at life attempts to rob a pubin Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Unfortunately for brobro, he left empty handed after everyone ignored him and he got the sads and left. At one point a guy even walks in front of him to grab a seat at the bar. Wow, wearing a ski mask and waving a gun around and you STILL can’t command any attention? That’s sad. As soon as I walk into a room all eyes are on ME. What can I say, I know how to make an entrance. “With fireworks?” Illegal ones.
Hit the jump for a video news report of the shit, sometimes you gotta pistol-whip somebody to let ‘em know you mean business!Related Posts:
PermalinkRelated Posts: | | Email this | Comments