Posts Tagged ‘Next’
Apple Reportedly Trying 4.7- and 5.7-Inch Screens On iPhones Next Year, Cheaper Model Coming In Fall
Apple is looking at various changes to its iPhone lineup over the course of the next year, according to a new report from Reuters, including two sizes of larger smartphone devices, in both a 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch flavor. The “phablet” plans are also being considered alongside a less expensive iPhone model, which is slated to begin production next month, according to Reuters’ sources, after a brief delay as Apple attempts to get the colors right for the new plastic-backed device.
The cheaper iPhone would be launching in September following full production kicking off in August, according to some of Reuters’ sources, with an initial shipment target of around 20 million low-cost devices for the holiday quarter next year. The report details echo what we’ve heard from other sources recently, including from fairly accurate analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who previously shared reports of multi-color options for the cheaper iPhone, with a thin plastic case and the same 4-inch screen as the iPhone 5. Reuters adds that it should cost around $ 99 when it launches, and that its release timeline might be pushed back by as much of a year.
Reports of the low-cost iPhone have been making the rounds in more or less reliable circles for a while now, which is the more interesting component of this new report. Other sources have reported that Apple is looking at bigger-screened devices, so-called “phablets” to compete with similar offerings from Android smartphone manufacturers, including the Galaxy Note line from Samsung. But even Apple’s flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5, lags behind most competing general-purpose non-phablet devices like the HTC One and Galaxy S4 in terms of screen size at 4-inches.
Apple’s big-screen iPhone plans are less evolved than those for its low cost device, the report claims, with one of Reuters’ sources suggesting that we could still see the plans shift considerably before anything reaches a production stage. Apple has discussed the idea with production partners, but has not set any kind of timeframe for test production or launch as of yet. Reuters says that Apple is considering the different screen sizes comes as there’s increased pressure to field more than one device a year.
Apple CEO Tim Cook suggested that we might see a larger iPhone when the trade-offs of battery life, screen quality, color reproduction and other failings brought about would be possible to counteract, speaking at the recent AllThingsD D11 conference. He did admit that some consumers are interested in those devices, however, so it’s likely that these reports come from Apple’s attempts to overcome those limitations with engineering. Plenty of Apple products don’t make it past the testing phase, however, so while you can be sure Apple is experimenting with big displays for iPhone, you can’t be equally sure we’ll ever see one. Still, Cook’s guidance to consumers and media that they can look for big product launches in the fall and through next year specifically do line up with the timing of possible iOS phablet launches reported by Reuters today.
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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
I just spent a week in Japan, where I attended my first Japanese wedding in Tokyo. It was lovely, different and the same all at once. I’ve been coming here almost annually since 1998, and while most things have remained the same, I’ve watched Japan’s pace of consumer technology innovation take a seeming nosedive in recent years. I have no solid evidence to prove this — just some observations.
When I first visited Tokyo in 1998, Japanese mobile phones were years ahead of their American and European equivalents. Japanese mobiles were lightweight, had high-resolution — for the time — color screens, allowed internet access and some even had video cameras that supported real-time video chat.
This particular rumor has been swirling for a while already, but Reuters says its own sources are now backing it up: Samsung will switch from an ARM-based design and use Intel as the supplier of the processor inside at least one version of its next 10-inch slate, the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1. Word is that Samsung will run Android off Intel’s latest x86 Atom architecture, Clover Trail+, which we’ve so far seen in just a handful of smartphones including the Lenovo K900 and ZTE Geek.
By way of corroboration, Korea Times is reporting the exact same Galaxy Tab 3 rumor and has also quoted an anonymous Intel employee who claimed that the number of Atom engineers based in Korea has ballooned from six last year to as many as 50 personnel today. They’re said to be working on “Samsung-related projects with a mission to customize circuits for adaptation in Samsung products” — which certainly doesn’t sound like typical Intel behavior. Korea Times specifically says that Samsung is looking to reduce its reliance on the tricky supply of its own ARM-based Exynos processors, while Intel is offering the Korean giant good prices and cooperation in order to build its mobile market share. This all tallies with the idea of Atom coming to some high volume Android products — and it’s very possible that we’ll see proof of that at Computex next week.
Via: Android Beat
LG OLED TV Goes SmartTV Specifications: LG OLED TV announced today that it will begin accepting pre-orders for its eagerly-awaited 55-inch class (54.6-inch d…
Video Rating: 3 / 5
Motorola’s next flagship phone is called Moto X, will be built in former Nokia plant in Texas (updated)
Outside of possible FCC filings, Motorola has largely been coy about just what its next major smartphone will be — until now. The firm’s Dennis Woodside just revealed at D11 that the new flagship will be called Moto X (previously rumored as the X Phone), and that it will be built in a Fort Worth, Texas factory that was once used to make Nokia phones. Woodside isn’t giving away many details at this stage, although he teases that the smartphone will “know what you want to do before you do.” Oh, and he has a Moto X in his pocket… not that he’s about to show us anything just yet, of course. If you’re curious about Woodside’s actual quote, it’s below:
“It’ll be the first Motorola smartphone built in the United States. It’ll be built in Texas — we’ll employ around 2,000 people. It’s right outside of Fort Worth in a 500,000 square foot facility that was previously used to build Nokia phones.”
Update: Woodside had two extra nuggets while on stage — he mentioned that the Moto X will be “broadly distributed” across numerous carriers, a rarity for Motorola smartphones in recent years. Specifically, he noted: “The Moto X is going to be broadly distributed — that’s a first for Motorola in a number of years. The support of the carriers has been fantastic.” In other words, this won’t be a Nexus device, and you can count on some amount of skinning and bloatware to muddle things up. On the issue of battery life, Woodside said: “I’ll save the details for later, but [the industry issue of] battery life is a huge problem. Motorola has some of the world’s best engineers and systems designers who spend their lives on that problem. There are two processors in the device that creates a system that allows you to do such a thing.” Two processors, you say? Fascinating!
It turns out there’s a reason why iPlayer hasn’t supported downloads for radio shows in the UK: the executive wing of the BBC couldn’t implement this feature without explicit permission from the BBC Trust, which in turn had to seek advice from the national regulator, Ofcom. Fortunately, these hoops have been hurdled and the Corporation now says it expects to enable downloads for iPlayer users “in 2014,” giving them seven days to download a show after broadcast, up to 30 days to store it, and then seven days to listen to it once it’s opened. This’ll no doubt prove to be a popular feature, but since regular TV downloads still don’t work on the iPlayer app for Android, we’re kinda hoping the devs get that fixed first.
In a Chinese invitation we received earlier today, Foxconn Technology Group and Mozilla confirmed an upcoming press conference that will detail and make their Firefox OS partnership official. The event will take place in Taipei next Monday (just a few days before Computex truly kicks off), and it’ll see Mozilla welcome the 19th partner to its Firefox OS alliance. There isn’t much meat in the email, though we did spot a little hint in the rundown that says one or more new Firefox OS products will be displayed. Whatever they may be, we shall keep an eye out for them as soon as we land in Terry Gou’s back garden next week.
[Original image credit: Tony Law, Bloomberg Businessweek]
Via: Focus Taiwan
When few (if any) web browsers do everything well, many of us have more than one client just to cover all the bases. The GO Launcher Dev Team’s just-launched Next Browser for Android tries to solve this in the simplest way possible: it cherry picks features from established rivals. Sharing extensions from Dolphin? Check. Chrome’s frequently visited pages? Check. Speed Dial from Opera? Check. There’s even a Flipboard-style RSS reader. As there’s also bookmark syncing and voice search, Next Browser is theoretically the only client that Android users could want. How well that pastiche works is another matter, but those who’ve been pining for an all-encompassing browser can give the new app a try at the source link.
Via: Android Police
AMD boasted that its Z-60 Hondo chip would bring Call of Duty to thin tablets, and its boasts were for naught, but it looks like the company’s latest processor core is going to see a lot of use in the next generation of cheap laptops. Today, AMD has revealed its basic performance claims for its Jaguar core, the same one that’s reportedly built into the chips in both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The resulting Temash and Kabini APUs could finally have the combination of performance and battery life you’d need in an inexpensive Windows 8 tablet or laptop.
While some of AMD’s charts are a little misleading out of context, this one is fairly straightforward: AMD claims that its low-power Temash system-on-chip simultaneously manages to…