Monthly Archives: January 2011

It’s all about the mobile web…isn’t it? Part Deux

I once referred to Eric Schmidt as ‘Derek’ by mistake, slip of the tongue…but anyway, if Derek ahem…Eric, says its all about the mobile web, then its gotta be true…right?…oh and he’s leaving Google too!

In the latest Harvard Business Review, guest contributor Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, writes about the company’s plans for the coming year, saying “as I think about Google’s strategic initiatives in 2011, I realize they’re all about mobile.” It’s notable that Schmidt didn’t say “mostly,” or “many,” of its initiatives are about mobile – he said “all” of them are.

There are three main fronts where Google’s strategic vision will come into play in 2011, explained Schmidt, one of which is “mobile money.” Yes, the CEO just confirmed Google’s plans for a mobile payments service. And apparently, we’ll see it this year.

In the article, Schmidt explains that we’ve reached a point where, thanks to geolocation and the power of the phone’s Web browser platform, it’s possible to deliver personalized information to users about “where you are, what you could do there right now, and so forth, and to deliver such a service at scale.”

LTE Development

verizon-4g-smartphones.jpg

In order to achieve that overarching vision, Google will be focused on three mobile fronts in 2011, the first being the development of high-speed mobile networks. Specifically, Schmidt referred to LTE, a technology that mobile operators have begun to call “4G,” although, technically it does not meet that standard’s requirements in terms of speed. Instead, 4G has been adopted as a marketing term which simply means “faster networks.” Schmidt says that these networks will be 8 to 10 megabits, roughly 10 times faster than what we have today. The new networks will help enable new applications, “mostly entertainment and social,” for modern mobile phones.

The wording of the article almost makes it sound like Google itself would be developing the LTE networks themselves, which is odd. That’s not to say that Google isn’t interested in LTE’s progress for its own ends – for example, Google and Apple are in a bidding war for 4G patents that are being auctioned off by Nortel Networks in the wake of its January 2009 bankruptcy. It is more likely that this is the sort of “development” Google is referring to, not building out network infrastructure. If Google is able to secure these patents, it can incorporate the technology they cover into its mobile operating system Android to offer more powerful applications for things like gaming, communications and social networking. The company that ends up on the losing side of this patent battle will have to pay royalties if it wants to do the same.

Mobile Money

The second front that Schmidt referred to is mobile money. “Phones, as we know, are used as banks in many poorer parts of the world–and modern technology means that their use as financial tools can go much further than that,” he wrote.

That was the extent of his comment, but it effectively confirmed that not only is Google working on a mobile payments service, but that service is a major area of focus for this year.

We’ve been following Google’s plans in this area, having noted a Google job posting for an NFC (near field communications) expert in January, which appears to be related to the Google mobile payments service. Plus, we connected the dots involving Google’s many initiatives that could be tied together to create this mobile payments platform.

Most recently, the addition of NFC, a short-range, high-frequency technology for data exchange between devices was added to Google’s Android mobile operating system. This technology already lets you scan Google Places window decals for businesses testing Google’s Hotpot program, a Yelp-like local recommendations service. But these are just cogs in a much larger machine. By launch, Google will be able to track the stickers for local places you scanned, your ratings and reviews on Hotpot, and then your actual transactions performed on your Android phone at checkout. It will probably deliver related coupons and discounts too, as Google’s attempted (but failed) acquisition of local couponing service Groupon seems to imply.

Increase Availability of Inexpensive Smartphones

Google’s third major initiative for 2011 is to increase the availability of affordable smartphones worldwide. With Android, this trend is already well underway. There are several Android-based smartphones now available for under $100. And with the launch of Broadcom’s mass-market 3G chipset (BCM2157), phones made with those components can retail for less than $100, even as low as $75.  Plus, chip maker MIPS also just launched Android smartphones with MIPS chips at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, in order to reach the low-end market. The MIPS phones could retail for under $100, even without a contract.

”We envision literally a billion people getting inexpensive, browser-based touchscreen phones over the next few years,” wrote Schmidt. “Can you imagine how this will change their awareness of local and global information and their notion of education? And that will be just the start.”

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It’s all about the mobile web – isn’t it?


Social 50 Music Chart : Which artists are maxin’ it on Facebook

I read somewhere that there is a whole server at Twitter HQ data centre that is dedicated the Justin Bieber…or was it the data centre at Facebook? Anyway its a shed load and will only get bigger as these artists see even greater potential for promoting themselves and the stuff they love and endorse……

That reminds me, if I have a shave with a Gillette will I end up in the ‘off couse’ mess that Tiger Woods was in? Here’s hoping, as I never did like golf – spoils a good walk.

Social 50 Music Chart | Billboard.com.


Hopkins delighted with Crescent Suzuki BSB deal

I have watched been following the ‘Hopperman’ for a while now….even when he was in that horrible Kawasaki green that made him look like the Christmas Grinch…but the elbow on the floor stuff is just unbeatable. Let’s hope he doesn’t try too hard in the opoening rounds, fall off and bugger the rest of the season for himself, the team, the championship and the viewing public…….

John Hopkins says he cannot wait to get the 2011 season underway after his deal to join the MCE British Superbike Championship was officially confirmed.

As expected, Crescent Suzuki has announced it will field the former MotoGP rider in 2011, the American following in the wheel tracks of former rival Sylvain Guintoli in making the switch to BSB with the Jack Valentine-helmed squad.

Looking to become the first American to win a BSB race, Hopkins is excited to be starting a new chapter in his career having been blighted by injury woes in recent years.

“I am really looking forward to BSB and working with Crescent again, it will obviously be a different crew but I know they are a great group of guys and that will be a good foundation to start the season.

“It is going to be a huge challenge for me, I know there are new tracks to learn, but I am not too concerned, I have to say with a passion for motocross I am definitely looking forward to Cadwell Park! I have seen the racing and photos from there and I can’t wait to have a go myself.

“I have seen BSB races before and I know that there is some tough competition there, so I am excited to get started – especially as I haven’t raced most of the other riders before. It is pretty much a level playing field in terms of the riders and their experiences, but that always makes for the best racing.

“Everyone says how close BSB is and I know that it will be the same this season, but I know I am joining one of the top teams and we will have been testing ready for the start of the championship

Hopkins switched from MotoGP to Superbikes in 2009 with a deal to ride a Stiggy Honda in the world championship, but he would only start six of those races. Furthermore, having most recently competed in the AMA Superbike series he missed a large portion of the season through injury.

“I have been unlucky with injury in past seasons – that comes with the territory but I can honestly say that I am fitter than I have ever been before, both mentally and physically. I know I had a reputation in the past, but it has all changed and my focus is on racing and I am really enjoying it.

“I wouldn’t be coming to BSB if I didn’t think I could be successful and I think it will be a better stepping stone for my future. The team had a great season last year and I am confident in them and the bike that we will be up there where we need to be.

“My style really suits the Suzuki and I am looking forward to riding the full-blown Superbike again, as in the U.S series the bikes are more restricted.”

Hopkins is a former four-time podium winner at MotoGP level and thus one of the most successful riders to be joining the BSB series. As such, series director Stuart Higgs is delighted to be welcoming him to the fold.

“Back in the 70s and 80s riders from the United States regularly graced the English circuits; legends such as Kenny Roberts, Randy Mamola and Freddie Spencer, so it is fantastic for BSB to restart that tradition. I’m sure John’s arrival will be nothing short of spectacular.”


Zynga Preps The Launch Of RewardVille: Earn Rewards For Playing Games

It’s interesting to see how these guys are looking at every possible angle to get you to spend…and also there plans for taking this stuff onto mobile.

Zynga is preparing to launch RewardVille. No, it’s not another ‘Ville’ game, but a custom rewards program apparently designed to let users earn rewards for playing Zynga games – which you can then use earn virtual currency, which you then use for purchasing in-game items.

Ok, let’s take a step back.

Earlier this month, domain industry vet and blogger Elliot J. Silver wondered whether it was Zynga who acquired the domain name RewardVille.com from its previous owner, for $4,500.

Fusible.com then pretty much confirmed Zynga made the purchase, by uncovering that the social gaming juggernaut had registered a European trademark for ‘Rewardville’ last month.

Fast forward to today, and Rewardville.com now resolves to a website that announces the rewards program in beta – the same website appears when you visit rewards.zynga.com, by the way. There’s a login screen, but you need to have a Zynga account (which, as far as I know, is usually created by connecting to your Facebook account) to get in.

There’s more.

If you look at the menu at the bottom, you’ll see a link to a now deleted FAQ item about RewardVille, which is set to launch in the next few weeks, as you can tell from the screenshot above.

I did some digging, though, and found a blogger that cleverly took screenshots of several pages Zynga put up about RewardVille, which all return errors at this point however.

The screenshot of the overview page is the most revealing:

It reads:

“RewardVille is a new rewards program which lets players earn rewards for Zynga games! Each time you play a participating Zynga game, you’ll earn Zynga Points (zPoints) and increase your Zynga Level (zLevel). At every zLevel, you’ll earn Zynga Coins (zCoins) to use on free, exclusive in-game items in RewardVille!”

I sincerely zHope that was as zConfusing for zYou as it was for zMe.

Participating games include FarmVille, FrontierVille, Mafia Wars, Treasure Isle and Zynga Poker (and not hit game CityVille), although Zynga says they’ll activate zPoints on other games in the future.

On another – now removed – page, Zynga specified that users automatically earn zPoints for playing Zynga games, and will need to register for a Zynga account in order to redeem zCoins. Users will be eligible to earn a maximum of 80 points per game per day, with a maximum of 300 points across the entire Zynga network each day.

We’ve reached out to Zynga for more information, but didn’t hear back immediately.

Zynga image
Website: zynga.com
Location: San Francisco, California, United States
Founded: July, 2007
Funding: $519M

Zynga was founded in July 2007 by Mark Pincus and is named for his late American Bulldog, Zinga. Loyal and spirited, Zinga’s name is a nod to a legendary African warrior queen. The early supporting founding team included Eric Schiermeyer, Michael… Learn More


DICE 2010 – Design Outside The Box

A great video for those into online entertainment courtesy of Jesse Schell…but also what is next in terms of social gaming

http://g4tv.com/lv3/44277


Re-engaging boys in learning……through gaming