GrabTaxi Raises $65 million To Increase The Competition With Uber In Southeast Asia

Monday 20 October 2014 @ 8:00 pm
grabtaxi You’d be forgiven for thinking that the taxi app war is exclusively a US phenomenon, such is the fierce battle between Uber and Lyft, but similar rivalries are actually ongoing across other parts of the world. The battle is heating up in Southeast Asia today, after GrabTaxi — a Malaysia-headquarted company that is active in six countries — announced a $65 million… Read More

Adobe report finds massive 43% growth in online video watching

Monday 20 October 2014 @ 6:59 pm
Adobe report finds massive 43% growth in online video watching

Above: Unique visitors to video sites shot up 146 percent from June 2013 to June 2014, according to Adobe.

Image Credit: Adobe

We’re wasting more time than ever watching video, and we’re increasingly doing it online, a new Adobe report has found.

What’s more, “online” no longer means “on a computer” — it increasingly means viewing videos on a smartphone, a game console, or a set-top box like a Roku or Amazon Fire TV.

People on the Internet watched 38.2 billion free videos online in the second quarter of 2014, a remarkable 43 percent jump over the same quarter a year ago. Almost three fifths of those videos were viewed on smartphones.

People watched 38.2 billion online videos in Q2 2014, according to Adobe's research.

Above: People watched 38.2 billion online videos in Q2 2014, according to Adobe’s research.

Image Credit: Adobe

And advertisers spent 25.8 percent more money in the same period, thanks in part to an average of two video ads per free video shown.

And unique monthly visitors to video sites more than doubled, increasing by 146 percent year-over-year.

It’s not just free videos (like YouTube and Vimeo) that are growing: Adobe found that TV show viewership online — via “authenticated viewing,” or views where someone has signed on via a username and password — has jumped an amazing 388 percent year-over-year, with an 85 percent increase in the number of people watching these shows.

And desktop PC-based video viewers are shifting to “over-the-top” (OTT) set-top boxes and game consoles.

The study is based on data collected from sites using Adobe Analytics and Adobe Primetime, so these figures are only a small slice of the overall Internet video phenomenon. For instance, it’s not clear if video giants YouTube, Hulu, or Netflix are even represented in the study (we’re asking).

For more, see the Adobe Digital Index, or check out the full online video report (.pdf).

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Whether it's a smartphone or tablet app, a game, a video, a digital magazine, a website, or an online experience, chances are that it was touched by Adobe technology. Our tools and services enable our customers to create groundbreaking... read more »

Apple’s new Mac Mini is way harder to fix or upgrade, teardown reveals

Monday 20 October 2014 @ 5:25 pm
Apple’s new Mac Mini is way harder to fix or upgrade, teardown reveals

Above: You'll need a fairly unusual T6 Torx Security screwdriver to open up the 2014 Mac Mini.

Image Credit: iFixit

On the outside, Apple’s new Mac Mini doesn’t look that different. It’s the same silvery, understated box that Apple has been selling for years.

But inside, the company has done much more than upgrade the processor and drop the price by $100: It has made the tiny desktop computer a whole lot harder to repair or upgrade.

“Sometimes we just don’t understand what goes on in hardware designers’ heads,” the team at iFixit, which took apart the Mac Mini, wrote today. “Apple took one of their most-fixable, most-upgradable products and broke it.”

First, Apple “updated” the Mac Mini’s case by replacing easy-to-remove screws with new T6 Torx Security Screws. You probably don’t have a Torx screwdriver in your repair kit — unless you’re a professional computer repair person — and this particular variety seems to be especially rare, so that makes it considerably harder for most people to open the case. (Note: iFixit, whose business is helping people repair gadgets, sells a T6 Torx screwdriver for about $5.)

Second, Apple soldered the RAM onto the motherboard, making it extremely difficult to remove without damaging the components. (Previously, only the CPU was soldered on.) So you can forget about easy memory upgrades.

Overall, iFixit lowered the device’s repairability score from 8/10 (one of the highest scores it has given to Apple devices, which are notoriously difficult for customers to service) to a more middling 6/10.

Other highlights of the teardown include the expected Intel Core i5-4260U Processor with Intel HD Graphics 5000, and 4GB of LPDDR3 DRAM chips from Samsung.

For more details, check out the full Mac Mini teardown on iFixit.

Sliding out the internals of the 2014 Mac Mini.

Above: Sliding out the internals of the 2014 Mac Mini.

Image Credit: iFixit


All of the 201 Mac Mini components laid out on a nice, white table.

Above: All of the 201 Mac Mini components laid out on a nice, white table.

Image Credit: iFixit

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Apple designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Apple software includes t... read more »

iFixIt help thousands of people repair their devices every day. The company believes that everyone should have the right to maintain and repair their products.... read more »

Sources: Yahoo In Talks To Buy Video Ad Platform BrightRoll For Around $700M

Monday 20 October 2014 @ 4:53 pm
Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 01.22.27 Yahoo has been building up its video and video advertising content, and we have heard that it may make another key acquisition in the area to further raise its game. The company is in talks to acquire BrightRoll, the cross-platform digital video advertising service. TechCrunch has heard that term sheets have been signed, and that the price, if the deal is completed, could be anywhere from… Read More

More yoga, less pizza: How tech startups are getting workers to care about their health

Monday 20 October 2014 @ 4:00 pm
More yoga, less pizza: How tech startups are getting workers to care about their health

Above: Employees participating in a wellness program through health startup WellShift.

Image Credit: WellShift

Employees who make a conscious decision to stay healthy may find it’s a heck of a lot harder if their employers aren’t on the same page. At the same time, companies complain that no one takes advantage of health and wellness initiatives.

However, a handful of startups are making the case that most employers are just ill equipped when attempting to provide health and wellness in the workplace.

Take for instance WellShift, a startup that gives companies and other organizations an “easy button” for launching wellness services that employees will actually use. More specifically, the startup works with local health and wellness professionals to set up times to hold special classes during office hours. Some of those classes include yoga, aerobics, martial arts, weightlifting, massages, cooking, and much more.

“For the cost of a pizza party most companies throw to reward employees, they could be offering free yoga classes four or more times a month,” WellShift founder Melanie Weinberger told VentureBeat.

“But both employees and employers need to want to get healthy or things will fall apart,” she added.

Weinberger said she frequently finds that human resources professionals are the most eager to sign up with Wellshift, often because they don’t really know how or what to do when it comes to putting together a program. On top of that, there are actually some federal and state subsidies businesses can apply for to help pay for workplace wellness programs.

“Before taking on a company as a client, WellShift will do a health assessment of all their employees to find out what matters most to them and what kinds of classes they’d be most likely to take advantage of,” she said. “Then it’s just a matter of scheduling and providing feedback, so long as everyone involved actually wants to improve the level of health for themselves and coworkers.”

But tracking progress when attempting to become healthier is still pretty hard and can even be discouraging. Wearable health tech startup EveryMove wants to change that by mixing activity-tracking gadgets and games to make employees healthier.

The startup’s new EveryMove @Work platform connects with most activity-tracking devices (over 150 total) to give you a dashboard showing your current level of activity and where you stand among your coworkers. The idea is then to allow employers to see this collective activity data from the entire workforce, while offering rewards as incentives for everyone to get healthier. Some of those rewards might include gift cards, paid time off, free lunches, and more.

The @Work platform makes a lot of sense. You’re utilizing gadgets and services employees are already using, and working to reward people for staying healthy. When you attach real rewards as motivation, I’d imagine you’ll have far more employees willingly signing up for and actively participating in wellness programs.

Companies willing to spend a little bit of money on services like those offered by WellShift and EveryMove may find that it’s much easier to get their employees to participate. And a healthier workforce will usually be happier — and more productive.

This and many other health data topics will be discussed at VentureBeat’s HealthBeat conference Oct. 27-28. Reserve your place now.

HealthBeat — VentureBeat’s breakthrough health tech event — is returning on Oct 27-28 in San Francisco. This year’s theme is “The patient journey: Connections, data, and innovation.” We’re putting long-established giants of the health care world on stage with CEOs of the nation's most disruptive health tech companies to share insights, analyze trends, and showcase breakthrough products. Purchase your tickets now and save $100!

EveryMove is the first fitness-tracking network designed to get the millions of Americans who are already investing in their health the recognition and real-life rewards they deserve. As the leading integrator of fitness tracking a... read more »

Mirantis Scores $100M To Continue Quest To Be Enterprise OpenStack Leader

Monday 20 October 2014 @ 3:15 pm
14371758950_1e58e574b6_k Mirantis jumped on the OpenStack bandwagon a few years ago when most companies had never heard of it, and it has ridden the wave as the project has grown increasingly popular with each passing year. Today, the company announced $100M in Series B funding to continue its quest to be the leader in enterprise OpenStack, a chunk of change that should help it keep marching forward. It’s… Read More

Following Sidecar, Lyft and UberX also get approval to operate at San Francisco’s airport (updated)

Monday 20 October 2014 @ 3:15 pm
Following Sidecar, Lyft and UberX also get approval to operate at San Francisco’s airport (updated)
Image Credit: Alfredo Mendez/Flickr

Update at 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time: Uber has also announced that it’s gotten permission to operate at SFO. 

The next time you need a lift from San Francisco International airport (SFO), look for a pink mustache — or a sleek and subtle UberX car.

Ride-sharing service Lyft just announced that it has struck a deal with SFO to “formally authorize Lyft’s operations,” the company wrote in a blog post. A spokesperson clarified that Lyft drivers will be able to drop off and pick up passengers at all SFO terminals.

Normally Lyft is more cooperative with authorities and regulations than its competitors, but in this case, Sidecar actually beat it to the airport, winning approval on Oct. 14.

Uber also announced today, via blog a blog post, that its UberX and UberXL has gotten permission from SFO to pick up and drop off passengers from the airport. Previously, only UberBlack and UberSUV, the company’s more high-end services, were allowed to do this.

In the summer of 2013, Lyft, along with Uber and Sidecar, saw some of their drivers getting arrested by SFO officials for being on airport property. At the time, the airport was barring these services from its grounds, only allowing San Francisco’s taxis to operate there. To circumvent the ban, some drivers would only drop off passengers, sometimes at a distance and without any visible signs of working for one of the services — hiding their Lyft mustaches or taking off their orange Sidecar mirror covers, for example.

This is Lyft’s second airport permission grant, as it received access to operate at Nashville International airport  in Tennessee last month.

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Lyft is a friendly, safe, and affordable transportation option. Just tap a button and in minutes you’ll be riding in the front seat with a new friend. Our Lyft community drivers have been background checked and personality screened t... read more »

Apple’s Tim Cook spends a long time explaining poor iPad sales

Monday 20 October 2014 @ 2:50 pm
Apple’s Tim Cook spends a long time explaining poor iPad sales

During Apple’s earnings call today, Tim Cook was asked to explain why Apple’s iPad sales slumped so badly over the past year.

Indeed, iPad sales were well down in the quarter at 12.3 million, compared to sales of 14.1 million in the same quarter last year.

According to eMarketer, iPad users will total 76 million this year in the U.S., or 52 percent of all U.S. tablet users. That market share is down from 54.5 percent of all U.S. tablet users in 2013.

The official story is that Apple reduced its iPad channel inventory at the end of June in anticipation of the new iPads (the Air 2 and the mini 3), which were announced Oct. 16.

But that explanation doesn’t sound quite truthy.

The company obviously didn’t cool off the supply chain for iPhone 5s, because sales of those phones must have accounted for much of the strong iPhone sales in the fourth quarter. The new iPhone 6s didn’t go on sale until 11 days before the end of the quarter.

And Cook spent an inordinate amount time on the earnings call addressing the issue.

“I view it as a speed bump, not as a big issue,” he said, choosing his words carefully. “That said, we want to grow. We don’t like negative numbers.”

“If you look at it over the long term instead of looking at each 90-day period, you’ll see that we sold 237 million iPads in just four years,” Cook said. “That’s twice the number of iPhones we sold during the first four years.”

Cook said that iPad sales were strong if you look at the numbers for the whole previous year, not by quarter.

He also responded to some analysts’ view that the tablet market may be saturated.

“We don’t think the market is saturated, and I do look deeply into the numbers,” Cook said.

“We looked at the country that sold the lowest percent of iPads to people who had never owned one before, and it was 50 percent,” Cook said. “And the number goes up to 70 in some of the other countries.”

Cook said he thinks people simply hold on to iPads longer than they do phones. “We’ve only been in this business four years,” Cook said, adding that his company is still learning about the buying patterns of iPad consumers.

“The iPad has a great future,” Cook said. “How it clicks over these 90-day periods, I don’t know.”

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Apple designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Apple software includes t... read more »

And The TechCrunch Disrupt Europe Finalists Are Crate, Disease Diagnostic Group, Oscult And PhotoMath

Monday 20 October 2014 @ 2:18 pm
disrupt-0083 Over 1,500 people have walked through door at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt Europe conference in London. We had everyone from Elvis impersonators to people dressed up as chickens participate, as one does at a tech conference. Highlights included watching our boss Tim Armstrong chat with Josh Constine about the high growth future of Aol, and what he learned after the mistake of firing… Read More

3Q venture capital drops sharply for Orlando, state

Monday 20 October 2014 @ 2:03 pm

The total for Central Florida companies was $9.35 million in the third quarter, down from a whopping $62 million during the second quarter. The second quarter was unusually high for Central Florida, bouyed by a $50 million investment in Orlando-based Kony Inc. Only two Orlando-based companies received funding in the third quarter: Neoreach Inc., which recently moved to downtown Orlando from Longwood, received $1.5 million in a funding led by Inc.; and LensAR Inc., which received later-stage funding of $7.85 million led by Aisling Capital LLC. Neoreach provides an online platform for social media monetization, led by Stanford graduate Jesse Leimgruber, while LensAR develops eye lens treatment devices.

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