1. Comcast to Buy Time Warner Cable: Comcast announced that it was willing to buy Time Warner Cable from $45.2 billion. As usual with mergers this size, the United States Department of Justice and the FCC will have to evaluate the legality of the merger and decide whether it is necessary to block or alter the acquisition. Comcast and Time Warner are the two largest cable companies in the USA.
The Bottom Line: The potential market power that a merged Comcast/Time Warner could have has inflamed the “Net Neutrality” debate. While online TV systems such as Aereo are starting to disrupt the TV industry, Internet providers still hold a major influence. While this merger has the potential to ignite serious innovation, it also has the potential to block new entrants by playing its market power.
2. A Smart Watch for Kids: The technology toy company VTech recently announced the KidiZoom Smart Watch. The watch uses a 1.4” touchscreen and allows kids to take pictures, capture videos and play games. It is not a connected watch, however, because it does not allow any Internet connection.
The Bottom Line: As smart watches become more accessible, wearable technologies are becoming a reality and need to be integrated in a good technical approach for digital products. We can easily see great potential usages for ensuring child safety with a more advanced watch that will surely come to market sooner than later.
3. Microsoft Considering Android Apps on Windows: Rumours are swirling that Microsoft might bring Android apps to Windows in an effort to attract more consumers and to correct the perception that its operating system lacks applications. A third-party company, BlueStacks, is already providing software that enables Android app virtualization, but Microsoft’s support could be better integrated in Windows, perhaps allowing customers to download Andorid apps via its application store.
The Bottom Line: If Microsoft introduces Android app support on Windows, it could be, on one hand, a sign that the company has officially recognized its failure to attract developers. On the other hand, it could be a sign that Microsoft is confident in its cloud offering and that is sees Android apps as a way to hook customers to use Windows rather than as a way to patch its shortcomings.
4. Kickstarter Hacked: User Information Exposed: Kickstarter announced that they were recently hacked, exposing usernames, email addresses, street addresses, phone numbers and encrypted passwords.
The Bottom Line: Once again proof that security is a key factor for any website, even more so when critical information is detained.
Last week, I attended the “Age of Context” meetup hosted by Startup Grind Toronto. With technology journalist and author Robert Scoble as the guest of honour, it was an eye-opening evening, with the very latest in contextual technology, startups and privacy on the table for discussion.
First up was a brief contextual technology State of the Union. No secret to those of us working in the digital space, technology is changing—empowering us to do things never before possible—and it’s changing fast.
A couple apps that are doing it right:
Next up for discussion was privacy. While it may be a hot topic in the media, Scoble insisted that people don’t really care all that much about it. A quick survey of those in attendance supported his hunch—less than half of the 200 people in attendance said they had a lock-screen installed on their digital devices.
As a society we’re more than willing to give up our privacy—as long as the technology and software developers make it worthwhile. As people begin to warm up to the idea of contextual technology, the conversation surrounding privacy will evolve from being about the ownership of data to the ownership of trust. For every dollar that a homeowner saves by installing a Nest thermostat, or for every pound that is lost by wearing a Fitbit Flex everyday, the positive results will alleviate any initial anxieties that surrounded the sharing of personal data. “If the utility value is there, the freaky line will move,” said Scoble.
As we move toward a more contextual future where our devices are aware of not only our surroundings and movements, but of the nuances of our lives, Scoble identified three best practices that tech manufacturers and developers should observe as they make their foray into this new, all-knowing digital realm:
While the concluding Q&A session was filled with differing perspectives on various gizmos and gadgets, one theme that emerged is that contextual technology is increasingly becoming the norm. How we as a society choose to govern it, however, remains to be determined.
For more information on contextual technology, check out Scoble’s new book, “Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy
Nurun’s PureHacks initiative was recently profiled by Strategy magazine. An opportunity for Nuruners to pursue their ideas and explore new technologies, hackathons encourage innovation at our offices around the world.
Click here to check out some great behind the scenes footage and read the complete article “Inside Innovation: Nurun tinkers with tech”.
This is the 12th edition of the Nurun IT Download, with the latest news stories from the technology industry and insights from Nurun experts.
1. Facebook Launches Paper: Facebook launched a news reading application a la Flipboard. Developed by a 15-person team, the app makes good use of iOS7 capabilities. Like Flipboard, it allows users to read a unified stream of news, but Facebook puts the emphasis on curation and social, while Flipboard remains the leading aggregator. Paper is currently only available in the United States.
The Bottom Line: With Facebook’s revenue increasingly coming from its mobile apps, it isn’t surprising that Facebook wanted to secure the news reading space, even if that means the cannibalization of its revenue from the standard Facebook newsfeed. At launch, the application is ad-free.
2. Pebble Launches App Store: Pebble smartwatch owners have always been able to install applications made by third-party developers, however the process of finding applications was cumbersome at best. Pebble launched the Pebble App Store on February 10th to centralize the growing number of Pebble apps available. The App Store will be added to the existing Pebble apps on iOS and Android.
The Bottom Line: With the success of various app stores on mobile platforms, we can imagine that the Pebble App Store could have the same virtuous circle effect. That is, increasing the interest of developers, which in turn will augment the value of the Pebble, driving more customers to the platform. Whether the Pebble App Store will be successful in the long-run remains to be determined, it is at least a sign of Pebble’s short-term success.
3. Chromecase SDK Released: Google finally released its Software Development Kit (SDK) for the Chromecast streaming device. This will allow developers to build applications for iOS, Android and Chrome that can stream content to the device.
The Bottom Line: It was well known in the industry that the Chromecast needed an SDK to finally be able to compete with AirPlay and the Apple TV. We are happy to see that the SDK also comes with a human interface guide that will help developers make the best of the second screen.
4. Satya Nadella Becomes Microsoft’s CEO: From a list of 100 initial candidates, Satya Nadella was appointed as Microsoft’s new CEO. With the company for the past 20 years and a strong technical background, Nadella becomes the company’s third CEO.
The Bottom Line: We hope that new leadership will push Microsoft in the right direction and help them to become more competitive in the mobile and tablet markets.
According to the Winterberry Group white paper, titled “Programmatic Everywhere?” they asked panelists what “programmatic” meant to them. The majority associated programmatic with the terms “automation” and “real-time bidding.” However, the rest responded with words ranging from “premium” to “cheap” to “native advertising”— clearly misunderstood and carelessly tossed around. To sharpen this point, the term “programmatic” come through at least four times a day in my own emails from various trade publications. Programmatic. We’re inundated with it, and yet vendors and publishers use it differently. No, it’s not a bad word, but right now it’s hard to differentiate. It’s time we all got on the same page, so here are a few questions to ask:
Right now, efficiency and targeting capabilities drive programmatic buying, but this will evolve. It’s not about the data you have, but how you use it. With audience fragmentation, it’s getting more difficult to reach the right person at the right time with the right message. By diversifying the media and targeting capabilities, you can not only be more efficient with how and when you reach people, but also can incorporate first and third-party data into a more holistic view to engage potential customers.
This article was first published on ClickZ on January 22nd.