Posts Tagged ‘launches’
Remember LG’s EA93, that eye-catching 29-inch 21:9 “ultrawidescreen” monitor we played with at IFA last year? Well, it’s just spawned a couple offspring. Today in Korea, the company launched a TV set and an all-in-one PC which use the same 29-inch IPS panel with the same 21:9 aspect ratio, 2,560 x 1,080-pixel (WQHD) resolution and 178-degree viewing angles.
LG’s new all-in-one PC boasts a standalone TV tuner with instant-on (no booting required) and simultaneous PC and TV operation (PiP and several split screen modes). Details are few, but we know it features an Intel Core i5 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GT640M GPU (3D capable) and HDMI / MHL inputs (to use the display as a monitor). The PC comes pre-loaded with an instant messaging app (and matching mobile version) which lets users watch television while chatting.
The TV set supports PiP and split screen, including a 16:9 plus 5:9 mode (HD broadcast plus connected smartphone), and offers a comprehensive set of inputs (DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI and MHL). Pricing is 1.49 to 2.29 million won ($ 1,315 to $ 2,021) for the PC (based on configuration) and 690,000 won ($ 609) for the TV.
Source: LG Korea
Sprint’s LTE cells have been popping up a lot lately, and today they’re spreading like the blazes — the carrier just flicked the (official) switch on its faster network in 22 new cities. The focus is primarily on southern locales like Baton Rouge, Miami, New Orleans and Tampa, although the expansion includes cooler climates like Lansing, Napa and Raleigh. The company is also teasing future rollouts for 13 more cities in Michigan, Texas and Washington state. If you want to know whether or not you’ll see the coveted 4G symbol this summer, Sprint has the full details after the break.
Last we saw Lumu Labs it was in Hardware Alley at Disrupt New York where the Slovenian startup was showing off a prototype of its digital light meter plus iPhone app — aiming to convince photographers to replace “bulky” traditional light meters with a pocketable gizmo that plugs into their iPhones. Now, the startup has just kicked off a Kickstarter campaign, aiming to raise $ 20,000 over the next 25 days to get its light meter into the wild.
Lumu’s hope is to replace the standalone light meters that pro photographers carry around with them by harnessing the iPhone’s processing power and battery, and coupling that with its own digital light sensor. The sensor plugs straight into the iPhone’s headphone jack. Lumu says its hardware is more sensitive than the on-board iPhone light sensor, hence it’s able to provide photographer-friendly luminance measurements.
The basic idea is for a photographer to grab a light reading using Lumu on their iPhone, then input the suggested settings into their camera. Settings are displayed in Lumu’s app, which also allows the user to save data to the cloud so they can retain light-setting and location info, plus add voice records, notes, pictures, photo parameters, and more.
Returning to Kickstarter, Lumu said campaign funds will be used to help with the manufacturing costs of the device, and to recruit more coders so it can further extend the features of the app. The startup’s main software guy, Benjamin Polovičm, told TechCrunch: “We want to take advantage of the smartphone’s processing power and different sensors. The plan is to make different smartphone apps with custom functionalities for all sorts of professionals (photographers, videomakers…).
“We also believe that other developers are more creative than us and hope that they make their own software with new ideas and features, or inspire us. Further, we have to make Lumu work on (almost) all Android devices. But we don’t want to be too specific about our future ideas, because we don’t want to limit our supporters’ creativity.”
Sprint may be in the middle of a complicated set of acquisitions and mergers, but it’s continuing to build out its LTE network. The company says that it has activated LTE service in 22 US cities today, including Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, and Raleigh, bringing its network footprint to 110 markets around the country. That compares to 263 LTE markets for AT&T and 497 for Verizon Wireless, which was the first to build the high-speed cellular network across the country. T-Mobile’s nascent LTE network only covers seven cities. Today’s announcement still leaves Sprint with major holes in its LTE coverage, however, with cities like New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and many more without service. Some users have seen LTE connectivity in…
Out of beta and free, Skype today launches its video messaging service across all its major platforms. You can now send an unlimited number of messages (video missives were previously limited during beta, but free on premium subscriptions) to Skype contacts on both Windows 8, Windows desktop or Mac, while mobile options encompass iOS, Android and BlackBerry. A Windows Phone version is, however, conspicuously MIA. To remind yourself how it all works, check out our early hands-on here.
ESPN is further boosting its major sports coverage by producing a raft of extra material for golf enthusiasts at the US Open. And the outlet will be doing the same during the British Open, along with Wimbledon, the US Open and Australian Open for tennis. The network is employing a special team during the tournament (including some not normally involved in golf coverage) to supplement the main ESPN broadcasts with featured group and hole coverage, hole flyovers, shot tracking and more. Some of the extra goodies will appear on ESPN3, DIRECTV, and USOpen.com. All that means you might need to drag that extra TV out of the spare room, and possibly your Xbox, laptop or tablet. Who says watching sports reduces your attention span?
Source: ESPN Frontrow
We’d heard rumors that T-Mobile would take advantage of its MetroPCS deal to offer bring-your-own-device service to more customers, and it isn’t letting us down with the launch of MetroPCS’ Bring Your Own Phone. Much like T-Mobile itself, MetroPCS can now offer its plans to customers with unlocked GSM phones. Don’t be too quick to hop aboard, however. Only those in Boston, Dallas, Hartford and Las Vegas can switch service right away, and the carrier’s official support is limited to Android, iPhone and Windows Phone devices. Should everything line up, though, Bring Your Own Phone is available today.
On A Mission To Build The Next Big Pet Brand, Whistle Launches A $99 Fitbit (And Health Monitor) For Pooches
“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.”
— Andy Rooney
Yes, it’s become exceedingly clear that the Internet has entered into a prodigious, lascivious (and hilarious) relationship with cats. But, at the end of the day, when it comes to the title of “Man/Woman/Child’s Best Friend,” it’s the friendly neighborhood pooch that takes the cake. In my own experience, even when The World thinks you’re an idiot, life gets you down and you’ve forgotten to feed them, their tales are still going to wag — just at the sight of you. Sure, they may have questionable taste, but there’s probably no better representation of unconditional love than your local canine.
If what Rooney says is true, then it probably helps explain why some dogs have it better than some actual humans. (Exhibit A.) Lately, humans, at least humans in Silicon Valley, have become enthralled with wearable health tracking devices. So, considering there’s already a Birchbox for Dogs, it was only a matter of time before dogs got their own Fitbit. Enter: Whistle, a new startup launching today that wants to be the go-to activity tracker for dogs (and dog lovers).
Now, diligent readers of TechCrunch may say, “but, Rip, there’s already a Fitbit for dogs!” I’d advise them to go outside once and a while, but they’d also be correct. Last month, Jay Donovan wrote about a startup called FitBark (!) that is embarking (!) down a similar path. If nothing else, entrepreneurs take note: The emergence of a Facebook for dogs, a Birchbox for dogs, an Airbnb for dogs (times two), a “Find my iPhone for dogs,” and an Uber for dog walking proves we have an over-active dog startup market on our hands.
Next: DogCrunch? BarkMeme? (Yes, we’re hiring.)
Now, let’s just get this out of the way, since it’s one of the obstacles that a startup like Whistle is going to face: The idea of a Fitbit or a Nike+ FuelBand for dogs is ridiculous. Crying “Bubble!” or rolling your eyes for 10 minutes over the idea of a dog startup market almost goes without saying. No doubt there are plenty of people who will see this as a perfect example of Silicon Valley going too far. (Here’s Will Ferrell putting a fine point on the matter.)
And, yes, when one looks at Whistle, it’s easy to imagine a bunch of former VCs and private equity types sitting around a table, doing some market analysis and applying every successful tech company formula to the dog market in the hopes of raising a few million bucks. However, no offense to FitBark, but the Whistle founders want to go beyond just being a “Reasonable Device for Pet Owners” to build the next big tech-savvy pet brand around a killer line of devices and products — starting with an activity tracker.
As evidence of just how serious the company is (or, for naysayers, the growing “blubble”), alongside its launch, the company announced today that it has raised $ 6 million in Series A financing led by DCM Ventures, with contributions from a long list of investors, including Red Swan Ventures, Humane Society Silicon Valley President and former VP and GM of Intuit Carol Novello, Pinnacle Foods CEO and former Mars President Bob Gamgort and Rapleaf co-founder Dayo Esho, among others. Guitar Hero co-founder and Throttle Games CEO Charles Huang and former VP of Operations at Nest Labs, Sling Media and Virgin John Gilmore have both joined the company as advisors, along with several other prominent local dogs, and DCM partner and Sling Media co-founder Jason Krikorian joined Whistle’s board of directors as a result of the round.
Again, the real interest in Whistle (and in this space) can be found here and in one of Saturday Night Live’s best re-occurring sketches: Dog Show, which parodies the overzealous and obsessive dog owner. Not only does everyone have a dog, but people love to spoil their dogs. There are more dogs in the U.S. than there are children, Krikorian explains, and Americans spend over $ 50 billion on their pets every year.
Whistle is going after this audience by branding itself as a company that’s dedicated to helping pets live longer and healthier lives — a mission that’s easy to get behind — beginning with its first (flagship) product, a wearable activity tracker that connects to your dog’s collar. Similar to other Quantified Self devices, Whistle’s circular, metallic gadget contains a three-axis accelerometer designed to measure a wide range of motion, and rest, which the startup believes can act as key indicators of canine health.
The gadget also includes both WiFi and Bluetooth capability, allowing it not only to record location-based activity data, but transmit that information to Whistle’s dashboard, which owners can access via the startup’s smartphone apps or via the Web. The device’s location sensing capability is fairly broad, but Whistle co-founder Steve Eidelman (Disclosure at the end of the post) tells us that it can pick up on whether your dog is at home, or, say, riding in the car with you, based on which network it’s accessing (Bluetooth or WiFi). And, by the way, health and activity tracking entrepreneurs, if a pet company can do auto, remote Bluetooth-powered data sync, so can you. Don’t launch without it, you’re insulting your users.
Like the better examples among the Fitbits, Basis(es), FuelBands and Ups of the world, the real key to Whistle’s concept is not its device or apps, but its cloud platform and the data crunching it’s doing behind the scenes. Eidelman tells me that the company has been working with a lot of the biggest pet companies, veterinary clinics and so on to aggregate dog health data and break it down into categories. The more data it collects, the more the startup can build an accurate picture of health patterns and where your dog should ideally fall on that map based on its age, breed, weight and activity.
As it pulls in activity data in realtime, Whistle then weighs those indicators against its dataset (and “doggie demographic information,” as I’m calling it) to see just how well Fido is, or isn’t doing. And, really, dogs could care less about how many miles they log each day chasing cars, it’s really about the owner. If we assume the average dog owner wants to treat their pet well, then Whistle provides them with the benchmarks from which they can glean their success rate. Activity levels looking pretty low? That’s on you, pal, not your dog.
Plus, dogs generally have to be in a lot of pain if they’re going to outwardly show it. Generally, they’re going to suffer silently. (See? You just unconsciously bought into Whistle at the thought of a sad, whimpering dog, didn’t you?) With the ability to track your dog’s general activity and health levels in realtime, there’s a better chance that you will be able to identify problems before they get out of hand — or so the thinking goes.
And, if you’re willing to go with it, the real genius here is that, because Whistle is really playing into the motivations of the dog owner (not Fido himself), if they can convince you to buy their health tracker, they can then up-sell you on a string of other dog-focused products and services. Since Whistle is just launching today, they haven’t gotten there yet, but plans are in the works. Eidelman wouldn’t say what they’re working on next, but it is clear that the startup intends to become a brand (with a line of products), rather than simply holding fast to the “Fitbit for pooches” space.
Unlike, say, Amazon which sells hardware at a loss to get you using its other services, at the outset, Whistle is giving its apps, analytics and cloud service for free to get you to buy its hardware. The gadget will run you $ 99, which although it may seem like a lot, really isn’t for avid pet owners who will spend ten times that in a couple of weeks. Whistle is taking the same approach as RunKeeper (or Runtastic) in that it wants to build a platform and eventually stake a claim to the “pet graph.” Though my eyes just involuntarily rolled, this means that as more of these devices pop up, if Whistle can be the data platform which they all connect to, it would potentially be holding the keys to the kingdom.
But that’s getting a little ahead of the tail. While companies can always generate a little revenue from selling to really passionate, committed audience on their own site, the real key for companies like Whistle is retail. More specifically, retail partnerships. Considering people spend $ 50 billion on pets every year, somewhat surprisingly, a small handful of chain pet stores own most of the marketshare. For Whistle to become a viable company, getting its products into PetSmart or the equivalent is critical. If they can do that, and even perhaps capture an entire aisle, they’ll be rolling in dog treats.
For more, find Whistle at home here.
[Disclaimer: Though all of my posts should be taken with a grain of salt, for sake of full disclosure, I should say that I have known Steve Eidelman for several years and consider him a friend. While I have no personal financial stake in Whistle, I do admit a bias insofar as I hope they achieve fame and glory, alhough, admittedly, this can be said for the majority of startups I cover.
Disclaimer #2: I like. DOGs.]
Image credit: Cleanme.us / Alan Lomax
When Mission Motors unveiled its Mission R electric motorbike, it garnered a lot of attention — enough that the company created a Mission Motorcycles group to handle its new darling. That division now has something to show for its work, as it’s detailing the launches for both the Mission R and a limited edition Mission RS. The regular R will cost $ 29,999 (after a $ 2,500 tax credit), which nets a 163HP motor, a basic 105-mile battery and an information system with a camera, HUD and navigation. Upgrading to the $ 56,499 Mission RS (again, post-credit) brings lighter BST carbon fiber wheels, Öhlins FGRT forks and a 140-mile battery. The company begins deliveries this summer, although eco-friendly riders will need to pony up for one of 40 RS bikes to be part of the first batch — the ordinary R comes later.
Filed under: Transportation
Source: Mission Motorcycles
“Designers have kind of been living in the Dark Ages,” says Kelly Sutton, the founder of LayerVault. In October of 2011, his company released a Mac application that brought real version control (think Git) to tools like Photoshop, giving graphic designers the same benefits that software designers have had for decades. A year and a half later, LayerVault is taking its next big step, enabling anyone to sign up for a free 1GB account without a credit card. If you work with Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch, or any of the other apps whose file types LayerVault supports, it’s probably a good idea to think about backing up your work to the cloud.