Investment In Architizer Shows That If You’re Building It, Venture Capital Will Come

While construction and real estate may not be as flashy as delivery services, driverless cars or drones for investors, they're both industries that are drawing real money from venture capitalists looking for new markets under-served by technology. In the last year, venture capitalists spent $250 million dollars on investments in the construction industry and another $1 billion according to data from CB Insights.

Microsoft makes Windows 10 a ‘recommended’ update for Windows 7 and 8.1

In October, three months after the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft outlined plans to 'make it easier' for users to upgrade to its new OS from earlier Windows versions. Until this July, Windows 7 and 8.1 users can get a free upgrade to Windows 10, and in its first months of availability, they were required to 'reserve' their upgrade through a simple registration process.

Jukely’s live concert subscription service finally arrives on Android

Jukely


Live-concert subscription service Jukely has finally launched an Android app, letting users browse upcoming shows, book a place at a gig, and listen to full audio tracks on the go.

Jukely for Android

Above: Jukely for Android

To recap, Jukely subscribers can pay $25 per month to attend as many concerts as they like from the roster provided. There are hundreds of live shows available through Jukely at any given time, though with the basic subscription members can only choose only one per day. There is a more extensive subscription option, however, which comes in at $45 per month — this gives members a “plus one” to a show.

Jukely has raised more than $12 million in funding since its launch in 2012, the bulk of which came via an $8 million round last year. The service is now available in most of the major U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, and it went international in April 2015 when it landed in Toronto, followed by London a few months later.

After a while as a Web and iPhone-only affair, Jukely has finally addressed the glaring omission in its arsenal: an Android app. “We’ve always been aware of the large chunk of Jukely users using Android devices and we’re excited to finally give them a new tool for using Jukely,” said Bora Celik, founder and CEO of Jukely. “We really wanted to optimize and streamline the user experience on their mobile device, and introduce the Jukely experience to a whole new group of potential power users.”

However, the Android incarnation falls short of its iOS counterpart insofar as it lacks Foursquare integration to guide gig-goers to the best places to visit after the show. And there is no Spotify integration here either, meaning users can’t open tracks in the Spotify app. However, the Android version circumvents the need for Spotify altogether via its very own in-app music player, which may actually be to many users’ preferences.

Jukely is plugging a hole that a number of other startups have tried to fill. It’s removing the friction from the perennial “things to do tonight / tomorrow” problem by serving up a library of live music available in your locale within a rolling 3-day window. Users don’t have to search local listings then figure out how to buy a ticket — everything happens in-app, and no further payments are necessary beyond the monthly subscription.

WillCall was another company which focused specifically on last-minute concert tickets, but it was acquired by Ticketfly last year. Then there’s London-based YPlan which is striving to build a billion-dollar business from finding you things to do across the whole entertainment spectrum — not just music.

With its subscription model, Jukely is betting on the thousands of students and twenty-somethings who spend their evenings and weekends keeping tabs on what’s hot in music, but who also don’t want to spend all their cash going to gigs. For $6.25 per week, it’s not a bad deal.


Jukely’s live concert subscription service finally arrives on Android

Jukely

Live-concert subscription service Jukely has finally launched an Android app, letting users browse upcoming shows, book a place at a gig, and listen to full audio tracks on the go.

Jukely for Android

Above: Jukely for Android

To recap, Jukely subscribers can pay $25 per month to attend as many concerts as they like from the roster provided. There are hundreds of live shows available through Jukely at any given time, though with the basic subscription members can only choose only one per day. There is a more extensive subscription option, however, which comes in at $45 per month — this gives members a “plus one” to a show.

Jukely has raised more than $12 million in funding since its launch in 2012, the bulk of which came via an $8 million round last year. The service is now available in most of the major U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, and it went international in April 2015 when it landed in Toronto, followed by London a few months later.

After a while as a Web and iPhone-only affair, Jukely has finally addressed the glaring omission in its arsenal: an Android app. “We’ve always been aware of the large chunk of Jukely users using Android devices and we’re excited to finally give them a new tool for using Jukely,” said Bora Celik, founder and CEO of Jukely. “We really wanted to optimize and streamline the user experience on their mobile device, and introduce the Jukely experience to a whole new group of potential power users.”

However, the Android incarnation falls short of its iOS counterpart insofar as it lacks Foursquare integration to guide gig-goers to the best places to visit after the show. And there is no Spotify integration here either, meaning users can’t open tracks in the Spotify app. However, the Android version circumvents the need for Spotify altogether via its very own in-app music player, which may actually be to many users’ preferences.

Jukely is plugging a hole that a number of other startups have tried to fill. It’s removing the friction from the perennial “things to do tonight / tomorrow” problem by serving up a library of live music available in your locale within a rolling 3-day window. Users don’t have to search local listings then figure out how to buy a ticket — everything happens in-app, and no further payments are necessary beyond the monthly subscription.

WillCall was another company which focused specifically on last-minute concert tickets, but it was acquired by Ticketfly last year. Then there’s London-based YPlan which is striving to build a billion-dollar business from finding you things to do across the whole entertainment spectrum — not just music.

With its subscription model, Jukely is betting on the thousands of students and twenty-somethings who spend their evenings and weekends keeping tabs on what’s hot in music, but who also don’t want to spend all their cash going to gigs. For $6.25 per week, it’s not a bad deal.










One third of Steam users run Windows 10

A young future maker investigates a 3D printer.

Valve updated its Hardware & Software Survey today for January, revealing that more than one in every three gamers on Steam is now using Windows 10. The latest and greatest from Microsoft may have just passed 11 percent market share, but on Steam the adoption rate is already at 34 percent.

In its first month, Windows 10 adoption on Steam passed Windows 8, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS X, and Linux. After two months, Windows 8.1 was also conquered, leaving just Windows 7. Six months in, it’s getting very close at dethroning the top dog.

Here is the January operating system market share list for Steam:

  • Windows 10: 34.05 percent
  • Windows 8.1: 14.43 percent
  • Windows 8: 2.06 percent
  • Windows 7: 42.08 percent
  • Windows Vista: 0.42 percent
  • Windows XP: 2.31 percent
  • Mac OS X: 3.55 percent
  • Linux: 0.95 percent

Windows 10 is poised to pass Windows 7 this year, probably in the next few months. Other Windows versions are losing adoption on Steam, meaning Windows 10 is gaining more than Windows 7 is losing.

Breaking down the numbers even more, here is how each operating system version fared:

steam_os_version_january_2016

Between December and January, Windows 10 jumped 1.59 percentage points — a small increase compared to months in 2015. These gains have to come from somewhere: Windows 8.1 dropped 1.06 points, Windows 8 slipped 0.14 points, Windows 7 fell 0.50 points, and Vista dipped 0.03 points. XP somehow managed to gain 0.14 points, but this is merely a blip and nothing to significant.

On the whole, Windows still dominates Steam with over 95 percent share. Mac and Linux slipped 0.01 points each in January.










Wilson Sporting Goods shows off its connected football to Super Bowl fans

Meet Wilson Sporting Goods' connected football.

Would you be excited if you knew exactly how fast Peyton Manning of the Broncos was throwing a football in the Super Bowl? Or would you like to know just how perfect a spiral Cam Newton of the Panthers threw on his last play?

With a Wilson X Connected Football, you would be able to do that. That’s why Wilson Sporting Goods is making the rounds with a beta version of its new smart football, which is part of the larger trend of connecting sports devices so that you can more easily measure and improve your sports performance. Such sports devices are one of the hot trends driving the Internet of Things market, which is expected to be $29.5 billion by 2020, according to market researcher IDC.

I got a good look at the football, which debuts in the fall of 2016, yesterday. Wilson Sporting Goods has made the official football of the NFL since 1941. But pretty soon, those footballs are going to be a little different, as they’ll have a small chip inside them that enables them to connect to a smartphone. The Wilson football — a follow-on product to the smart basketball the company launched last September — has accelerometers for detecting motion, a processor, and a Bluetooth connection so you can send the data to a smartphone. You can tell it apart from a regular football, except the lettering that says “connected football.”

On the smartphone, you can track metrics about the performance, like how perfect your spiral is, said Amanda Lamb, global marketing director for football at Wilson Sporting Goods, in an interview with VentureBeat. I have never been able to throw spirals. When I tossed the football, the app had trouble registering that I had even thrown it. And when I tried again, it finally showed that my spiral was 17 percent optimal. Peyton Manning, I am not. You can get data such as the spin rate and yards thrown.

To me, that information is fascinating. And Lamb said that the app will be able to tell would-be quarterbacks their stats and encourage them to get better. The apps will have games on them, such as how well you can throw a ball under the pressure of a 3-second timer. There are crowd noises and sports commentators to keep the kids motivated. You can share your stats on social, and you can challenge friends to play in real-time, even if they’re in another city.

“Kids get guidance to practice at home, but they do it for 20 minutes and say ‘This is lame. I can’t do this,'” Lamb said. “What we try to do is bring game mechanics into that experience to create something that kids will want to play over and over again.”

The ball taps the power of machine learning, accessible via back-end cloud infrastructure, to figure out what you’ve done. For instance, it knows from the way the ball moves whether you caught it or missed it. It can then figure out the number of completions you’ve had. Before you start playing with the ball, you have to hold the ball vertically for a couple of seconds to enable the sensor, or pair it, with Bluetooth on your smartphone. Then you tip it over and do it again.

The price hasn’t been disclosed yet. But Wilson charges $199 for its Wilson X Connected Basketball. You don’t have to charge your basketball, but the chip in the football will have a limited lifespan of a couple of years, or roughly the usual life of a football.

Wilson has been developing the smart football and its app for more than 18 months. Rivals for the basketball include the 94Fifty smart basketball from InfoMotion Sports Technologies.










ThirdLove Raises $8M To Take On The Lingerie World With A Phone-Based Fitting App

ThirdLove1 Of the many categories of products that are hard to buy online, one of the most challenging is underwear — and specifically bras. Even at the best of times — when you are physically in a store with a veritable sea of bras at your disposal to try on — the process can be painfully unrewarding, with two bras purportedly made for the same proportions fitting completely… Read More

Mobile network coverage startup Sensorly acquired by Mosaik

Sensorly

Sensorly, a French startup that crowdsources network coverage data about mobile operators, has been acquired by Mosaik, a Memphis-based company that provides network intelligence to telecom companies. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded out of Paris in 2010, Sensorly’s mobile app for Android and iOS lets its users carry out speedtests and see coverage maps of 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi networks based on data gathered en masse from Sensorly’s users around the world.

Sensorly for Android

Above: Sensorly for Android

From a consumer standpoint, this helps them make informed decisions about what the best carrier is in their location, while operators can also use this data to identify blackspots in their coverage. Sensorly is one of a number of companies operating in this realm — others include London-based OpenSignal, and RootMetrics which operates out of Bellevue, Washington.

Founded in 1988, Mosaik already serves as a strategic partner to mobile operators and related services, helping them optimize their network performances using apps and providing other network data. Tapping Sensorly’s arsenal of data will add another string to its bow.

“Mosaik and Sensorly are highly complementary and share a commitment to providing excellent wireless network experience solutions,” said Sensorly founder and CEO, Boris Lacroix. “Our goal is to ensure Sensorly continually evolves to be the most intuitive, flexible and insightful wireless network mapping service for consumers.”

For Sensorly, being part of a larger corporate setup will help it scale more quickly and give it access to Mosaik’s existing client base. For Mosaik, it can now access many more smartphone users on the ground around the world, and gain better insights into the state-of-play across more than 500 mobile operators with unbiased crowdsourced network data. It’s for this reason that Sensorly won’t be shuttered as a result of this acquisition — the inherent value of the company lies in its user base.

“We are committed to Sensorly’s global community and we will continue to invest in and improve Sensorly applications, mapping services, automation and analytics,” confirmed Mosaik president and CEO, Bryan Darr. “Network availability and performance is a significant concern for consumers, operators and businesses that rely on high quality wireless networks.”

Sensorly doesn’t publish its user numbers, so it’s difficult to know how many smartphones Mosaik will gain access to immediately. For comparison, OpenSignal is the better known brand operating in this space, and it claims around 12 million users globally, with more than 10 million installations on Android alone. Sensorly has secured less than a million downloads on Android, according to Google Play data, while RootMetrics has less than half-a-million.










Evolution of mobile is shifting the balance of power between Google’s parent and Apple. Again.

alphabet blocks

When the stock markets open this morning, it’s quite likely that the company formerly known as Google (GOOG) will seize the crown as the world’s most valuable company from Apple (AAPL).

It is the latest twist in Silicon Valley’s favorite feud between two giants who once were friends until they became bitter enemies and rivals. And while there are many subplots and personalities involved, the main thread running through their competition is the rapidly evolving nature of mobile.

Mobile still seemed somewhere over the horizon when Google went public back in 2004. For the next four years, Google was more valuable than Apple, which was just regaining some momentum thanks to sales of Macs and iPods.

Then came the iPhone. And suddenly, their fortunes seemed reversed.

By April 2008, Apple’s stock was racing ahead and it topped Google in value. Google released the first commercial version of Android later that year, but for a long time, it left investors and analysts scratching their heads. What good is a free mobile OS to a company’s bottom line?

It also sowed the seeds of the rift between the two friends. Google CEO Eric Schmidt would step down from the Apple board. Apple CEO Steve Jobs seethed that Android was a cheap ripoff, and launch a proxy legal fight against the its leading partner, Samsung.

In the meantime, it seemed the real business was hardware (made more compelling by Apple’s slick iOS, of course.) Indeed, even as Android phones eventually gained the upper hand in terms of market share, iPhones were still commanding most of the profits in the mobile game. Google briefly regained the market cap lead but Apple topped it again after February 2010, just a few weeks after the iPad was unveiled.

Once again, Google and other challengers scrambling a new market pushed by Apple, this time tablets.

As Apple soared, Google fought off critics. The accelerating shift to mobile created concerns about Google’s revenue from mobile search versus desktop search. The company began to tinker with building hardware. It bought Motorola’s handset business to take Apple-like control over hardware and software development (and then sold it Lenovo a couple of years later).

Along the way, the companies changed leaders. Tim Cook replaced Steve Jobs, who died just a few weeks later. At Google, Eric Schmidt handed the throne back to Larry Page.

The two companies continued to pursue their visions of the future in their own different, and idiosyncratic ways.

Apple preferred to keep its every move shrouded in mystery even as rumors of work on a watch or car bubbled up. Google preferred to experiment in public, with things like Google Glass, driverless cars, and a host of other so-called moonshots.

For all of Google’s fantastical future gizmos, investors remained dubious that they would pay off any time soon. And Apple seemed out of reach until the past year.

A year ago, Apple posted blockbuster earnings on the strength of massive sales of its larger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. But at the same time, sales of iPads continued to stall and then drop. In the most recent quarter, sales of iPhones were relatively flat as Mac sales also fell.

Despite a busy year of product launches (Apple Watch, new Apple TV, Apple Music), there doesn’t seem much indication that these new products will drive significant revenue any time soon. Since last July, Apple’s stock is down 26 percent.

The result is a big question mark hanging over Apple’s near-term future: What if the days of growing hardware sales are over for good?

In that case, the company has to rely on software and services to grow. And while App Stores sales continue to surge, its reputation for services (Apple Maps, iCloud services, for example) are not nearly as stellar.

Meanwhile, Google has continued to tinker. Most obviously with its name. It announced the parent company would now be called “Alphabet” and each of its products would be broken out separately.

None of these as of yet, as we learned in Alphabet’s first earnings yesterday, are producing much revenue. Though the are sucking up a lot of investment dollars.

The Google division is 99 percent of revenues, and the news from that corner delighted Wall Street. The company says big gains in mobile search were driving increased revenue. Executives point to a change in ad formats for mobile implemented last year that seemed to drive new momentum.

And YouTube viewership on mobile reaches more 18-49 year olds than any U.S. cable channel, the company claims.

Thus, after months of momentum behind its stock, Alphabet looks like it will nudge past Apple.

Alphabet’s stuck was already up more than 12 percent since last July. In after-hours trading, Alphabet’s stock was up 5.32 percent or $40.00 to $792 per share.

If that holds, CNBC estimates  that Alphabet would have $570 billion market cap, topping Apple’s value of $535 billion at the close trading.

More important than the market values, which can be ephemeral based on the whims of investors, is the real bottom line: In the last week of earnings, investors and Wall Street seem to be making a clear statement that they believe software and services will determine the king of mobile.

Of course, as we’ve seen over the past decade, the evolution of mobile can be cyclical. Apple may have temporarily downshifted to neutral, but it would be silly to think they can’t or won’t re-accelerate.

But for now, the fight for the future of mobile has moved back to Google-Alphabet’s home field where it certainly holds an advantage over Apple.

 

 

 

 

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Splatoon sells 4M copies worldwide, Wii U hardware sales now at 12.6M

Splatoon was a big hit for Nintendo this year.

The Wii U helped Nintendo to a healthy 2015.

Nintendo today released its latest financial report, covering the period from April to December 2015. It shows that Wii U hardware and software sales both increased year-on-year, helping to boost the Japanese gaming giant’s profits in an increasingly competitive $91 billion gaming market.

Splatoon was the standout Wii U software performer for Nintendo, with the colorful third-person shooter selling over 4 million copies between its May release and the end of the year. Worldwide Wii U hardware sales for the period rose slightly to 3.06 million, and Wii U software sales grew by around 2 million to 22.6 million — interestingly, most of that growth came from Japan, while both software and hardware sales in North and South America declined.

Releasing popular “blockbuster” titles like Splatoon and Super Mario Maker (which sold 3.3 million copies) was key to boosting interest in the Wii U, especially with Nintendo currently working on a mysterious new console, the Nintendo NX. These strong Wii U sales — along with the popularity of Nintendo’s Amiibo figures and increased sales of digital downloadable content — helped Nintendo to post an operating income of 42.4 billion yen ($351 million), up 34 percent from the previous year.

The Wii U has now sold 12.6 million units worldwide, which puts it a long way behind the current market leader, the PlayStation 4, which has sold over 35 million units to date. Microsoft hasn’t released recent sales figures for its Xbox One, the third player in the home console war, but recent estimates put it in second place with around 19M sales.