Archives: November 2010

The Wall Street Journal Takes Aim at Hong Kong

The Wall Street Journal launched a new section of offering business, financial, and lifestyle news targeted toward readers located in or interested in Hong Kong, along with Exchange, a finance blog.

The Hong Kong section will be available on the newspaper’s Chinese-language site sometime in December.

Marisa Wong is the newly appointed editor of the Hong Kong section, which also offers features including: The Moment, personal accounts of Hong Kong moments; Face Off, two experts debating a topic; Radar, in which Hong Kong residents reveal five topics they’re following; Inventory, a look at the retail scene; and Eight Questions for, question-and-answer interviews with movers and shakers.

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Windows Phone 7 App Update

I’ve been using the HTC HD7 running Windows Phone 7 for several weeks now, and I thought I would share a bit with you about the apps that I am using with the phone. One important measure of how well Windows Phone 7 is doing is the number of apps that are available in the Windows Phone Marketplace. There are now 2,479 Windows Phone 7 apps in the Marketplace, which is a constantly growing number. While we can debate the quality of the apps, a higher number of available apps increases the probability that the app you are looking for is available.

Apps are important because they increase the functionality of a smartphone beyond what is provided in the base operating system. One app that I have been using on my Nexus One that is also available for Windows Phone 7 is Pageonce’s Personal Finance, which I use to keep tabs on my credit card balances as well as other financial accounts. Adding this one app increases the functionality of the HD7 by providing easy access to more of my personal information.

I am a big fan of Google Voice, and I was happy to discover several Google Voice apps that are available for Windows Phone, though most of them are not free. The first one I bought was Go Voice, which provides access to your Google Voice account so that you can access your voice mail and text messages. At the time I bought Go Voice it was lacking the ability to dial-out calls with my Google Voice number so I also bought GV for Windows Phone. Go Voice has since been updated so that it too can dial-out calls, and both apps do so using the “old” method of dialing my HD7 and then completing the call.

Other apps that I have installed on my HD7 are AP Mobile, Weatherbug, Facebook, Seesmic, and Foursquare. Both AP Mobile and Weatherbug have live tile support, AP Mobile shows a different picture each day and Weatherbug displays the current temperature and weather for the location that I select. While I have Facebook statuses appearing in the People hub, I have found the Facebook app provides more features like access to my inbox and overall it is a very nice example of a Windows Phone 7 app. I like Seesmic because it provides access to both my Twitter timeline and Facebook newsfeed. Foursquare is a nicely implemented app but I have found it to not be as accurate at finding places as the Android version of the app, but I suspect that has more to do with the GPS implementation on the HD7.

As you can tell, I haven’t installed a bunch of applications, though every day or so I check the Marketplace to see what is new. My observation based on what I see in the Marketplace is that Games are the most popular apps. I’ve also noticed that the majority of the apps are not free and range in price from $0.99 to $2.99, which I am sure makes developers happy. Right now finding new Windows Phone 7 apps is a bit like a treasure hunt, which is fun though I think it will be a while before I will feel that I can go completely without my Nexus One.

iPad Screen Lock vs. Mute

While I was out of town for Thanksgiving Apple released the much anticipated iOS 4.2 upgrade, which adds several important features to the iPad like multitasking and folders. Perhaps the most controversial thing about the iPad upgrade is that Apple changed the function of the screen orientation lock switch to a sound mute switch, which I agree is a curious change for the iPad.

Having a mute button on a phone makes sense because you never know when someone is going to call, causing the phone to possibly ring at a bad time. However, my iPad rarely makes noise unless I want it to, such as when I am playing Angry Birds, and even then I can mute the sound. I really don’t see the need for a mute button on the iPad beyond being consistent with the iPhone.

To lock the screen in its current orientation you press the home button twice, then swipe right on the app task bar to display the buttons shown in the screen shot above, then tap the screen lock button on the far left. While there is a way to restore the screen lock functionality to what is the now the mute switch, it requires jailbreaking the iPad to use. Personally, I think I can live with the new way to lock the screen even though I would have preferred that Apple kept the original lock switch functionality.

NOOKcolor: Android Tablet In Hiding?

I think the NOOKcolor is one of the more interesting devices now available. The NOOKcolor is the second generation of Barnes & Noble’s eBook reader that has a color touchscreen, a new physical design, supports third party applications, and runs Android 2.1. It in fact has all the makings of an Android tablet, but the eReader functionality is what is front and center and the Android home screens and app menu are not accessible.

The current version of the NOOKcolor has the standard Android 2.1 web browser, which provides access to web apps like Gmail and Facebook. Pandora is included, along with a few games, and B&N plans to provide an app store in the first quarter of 2011, which provides the opportunity for other Android apps to run on the device.

Because B&N is a book company, they are not interested in making the NOOKcolor a full tablet to compete with the iPad, but I like the idea that they are taking bigger advantage of the Android operating system and the touchscreen. For example, the NOOKcolor makes reading more social by allowing you to share quotes from books via e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter, which I think is a logical extension to a Internet-connected eReader. I expect that with the touchscreen it is much easier to highlight text than with the first generation nook.

At $249 the NOOKcolor is more expensive than the Kindle and the first generation nook, which B&N continues to sell, but that price is cheap if you consider the NOOKcolor a tablet. It’s not surprising, then, that developers are hard at work on gaining root access to the NOOKcolor so that it can be used like a tablet.

Right now a complex method is available to gain root access, enabling people to run LauncherPro and Angry Birds, and developers are working on an easier method to rooting the NOOKcolor so that more users can take advantage of the capabilities of the device.

I don’t know what B&N’s response will be to rooting the NOOKcolor, but I can’t imagine they are surprised that it is happening, and if people buy the device and books, I can’t see why they would care. Selling a device that is hackable and appeals to Android enthusiasts is a nice differentiator from Amazon.

Zune Software Allows Internet Sharing With Windows Phone 7

One of the interesting capabilities of Windows Mobile and ActiveSync is that the device can access the Internet via USB and the desktop computer’s network connection. For the original Windows Mobile PDAs that only had WiFi, this ActiveSync passthru provides a way to access the Internet when WiFi is not available. Developers even found a way to take advantage of this capability to remotely control Windows Mobile devices from PCs and display the Windows Mobile screen in a window on desktop computers.

I was surprised to learn today that this ActiveSync “passthru” capability is available with Windows Phone 7 and the Zune desktop software. To try it out, turn on airplane mode on your Windows Phone, connect it to a computer running the Zune desktop software, open Internet Explorer on the phone, and open a web site. I am hopeful that developers will find a way to take advantage of this passthru capability to provide remote display and remote control applications like those that were available for Windows Mobile.

Answer Gilt Groupe's Call for a Senior Director of Mobile Marketing

Calling all tech-loving execs! Gilt Groupe is on the hunt for a senior director/vice president of mobile marketing to lead the execution of the company’s initiatives for the iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, mobile Web, SMS and real-time feeds. Problem solvers with great judgment are most wanted.

If hired, you’ll be responsible for developing a 60-day and 1-year strategic mobile experience plan, including marketing, product, partnership, technology and more. You’ll be the point person for creating revenue- and member-generating programs, while identifying key partnerships to leverage the brand’s mobile platform. Can you translate your innovative and intuitive ideas into a unique experience for Gilt’s customers?

To be considered, you’ll need at least 10 years in a mobile environments, with five or more years in mobile commerce. Those with strong organization skills and attention for detail, will do well at Gilt, especially if you have executive presence and a mind for numbers. Interested? Apply here.

For more openings and employment news, follow The Job Post on Twitter @MBJobPost.

LivingSocial Saves D.C. Shoppers $13 Million


LivingSocial has just released some interesting stats detailing the impact that its daily deals have had on shoppers and businesses in its hometown of Washington, D.C. From saving shoppers millions of dollars to growing small businesses, LivingSocial’s hometown successes bode well for the company and the daily deals industry as a whole.

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How Are You Using Your iPad?

MediaBistro took a survey today to find out how readers are using their iPads. It turns out that people are using their iPads for all kinds of things. They use it to check e-mail, play games, surf the Web, watch Netflix, cook, work, and of course for reading.

Here are a couple of notable responses:

Robyn Andrews posted: “I use it for surfing, email, games, and reading (kindle for iPad). I referred to a recipe on it during thanksgiving-fit right on the windowsill. It’s really handy because the battery is decent and it’s lighter than a laptop. doesn’t get as hot, either. :-)

Susan Kelley posted: “Getting ours in the next week or two, we’ll use it for business primarily (we have an online store), but we’ll also use it for online magazines & newspapers, etc. (I’m guessing there may also be some Angry Birds activity.)”

Jackie Taylor posted: “I bought one this weekend for my husband. He uses it to organize his class notes and as an e-reader. It’s also great for entertainment – watching movies on Netflix online.”

To read more and to share your iPad story, follow this link.

VP of Sales Chris Batty, Director of Sales Michael Cascio Leaving Gawker Media

GawkerLogo.jpgThere was some batty news out of Gawker Media: Chris Batty news, to be specific. Silicon Alley Insider posted an email to Gawker staff from founder Nick Denton announcing the departures of vice president of sales Batty and director of sales Michael Cascio. Denton’s email, via Silicon Alley Insider:

Yes, this may be a shock to some of you. Chris Batty and Michael Cascio, Gawker Media’s longtime head of sales and marketing and sales leader, are leaving the company at the end of December. In the new year, we will begin a search for a replacement; we will be looking at candidates both from the digital world and those with TV experience. Chris will coordinate the recruitment. Applicants should contact him directly. In the interim, the sales operation will be overseen by (sales director Gabriela Giacoman), who first brought Chris in.

It’s easier than usual to give the corporate bromides about departing colleagues because Batty and Cascio have such an impressive track record. No exaggeration is needed. Under Chris — and with help from (chief operating officer) Gaby Darbyshire‘s international deals — the company’s annual revenue has increased tenfold. The increase since 2005 translates into a 56 percent annual growth rate. This quarter will be by some margin our largest ever. Chris and Michael are ending on the highest of notes.

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