Google Launching Business App Store

More than two million businesses today use either the free or paid version of Google Apps. This is in stark contrast to the over 500 million users of Microsoft Office. While one of the important reasons why Google Apps is yet to pose a significant challenge to Microsoft is undoubtedly the apprehensions about storing data in the cloud, there are also complaints about the lack of sufficient features on Google Apps.

In order to solve this, Google has apparently taken a leaf out of Apple’s book in order to launch a business app store primarily for businesses using of Google Apps. According to reports on the Wall Street Journal, this app store will function very similar to the Apple App Store. Developers can create applications that will offer an enhanced experience to Google Apps users – for instance, advance security features or the ability to import contacts. These applications can be sold on the business app store where Google will take a cut out of the sales and the remaining shall go to the developers.

An app store for businesses can be extremely rewarding simply because of the margins that it can offer. Unlike the Apple App Store which plays on volumes and where the prices of applications are most often under $10, those applications on Google’s business app store can sell at several hundred, if not thousands of dollars, considering that these are built for established businesses though the volume of sale is likely to be much lower.

However, questions about customer support and reliability on third party developers for applications remain. Considering businesses study a lot of parameters before spending their money, it is to be seen whether Google can actually pull this one off successfully.

What do you think? Can an app store for businesses be successful? Tell us what you think.

[via NY Times, WSJ]

Augmented Reality Coming To Flickr?

Imagine these scenario : You have just been from a trip to New York and have shared pictures on Flickr. One of the pics is of a burger shop that you loved and want to share the same with your friends on Flickr. It is normal for people to write such things on the image description area.

However, Yahoo has a better plan. In a patent filed by the company, the inventors explain the concept of a “virtual note” that can be overlaid across pictures that you have taken so that description of places captured in a photo as well as subsequent comments can happen inside the photo itself.

This is not all. The inventors talk of more embodiments. With geotagging already possible on Flickr, users may also browse across such virtual notes from a map view.

However, the most significant aspect of the invention is the use of augmented reality. The inventors describe that since these virtual notes are geotagged, accessing the service from a mobile device will gather all virtual notes geotagged to locations within a particular radius from the location of the mobile device that can be displayed to the user.

Flickr Augmented Reality

There appear to be a variety of use-cases to such an invention. Primarily this can simply serve as a tagging tool for Flickr users. However, such a tool can also grow to be a local-review feature (like Yelp?)where user reviews of places within localities can be accessed at a press of a button. And the worst use-case of all?Advertisers can use the virtual note feature to promote their places to people in the vicinity; much like Google’s ads on maps.

Nexus One On AT&T And Sprint 3G Networks Soon

The Google Phone could soon be made available on AT&T and Sprint’s 3G networks. If rumors are to be believed, work on this is already happening behind the scenes.

Documents submitted to FCC recently have offered indications of the Nexus One becoming available on AT&T’s 3G network soon. If you are wondering if this is something that is already possible, here is a clarification : Unlocked version of Nexus One is available for $529. However, you cannot use the device to access internet via AT&T or Sprint’s 3G networks. The device can only access the 3G network from T-Mobile. Users who do unlock the device can only access internet via AT&T’s Edge or 2.5G networks.

While partnership with AT&T appears likely after documents submitted to FCC, the speculations about Sprint remain sketchy though. Folks at Gizmodo write that they received the following response when they contacted Sprint for a Nexus One handset

Thank you for contacting Sprint regarding the nexus one.Unfortunately, this handset model is not on offer as of now.Once it is launched, you will see promotional campaigns related to thelaunch date, cost and the features of the handset on our Web site andother promotional media.Thank you for showing interest in our products & services. Please let usknow if you would like us to assist you with anything else.

Not very convincing, but sure gives an indication that something’s cooking.

[via Gizmodo, CNET]

PSPgo Price Drop Imminent?

Sony’s much hyped PSPgo hasn’t lived up to the expectations and sales have been moderate at best. One of the primary reasons behind this is touted to be the price.

Sony PSPgo is priced at close to $100 more than the other models in the segment and with price being one of the crucial factors in this segment, it is likely that Sony drops the price of the gaming console to try and increase the market share.

This apart, a marketing blitz is also likely. Sources close to GamerVision have told the website that Sony is planning a heavy marketing campaign to get the customers interested in the gaming device once more.

What do you think; will a price drop offer the turnaround that Sony is desperately looking for? Tell us what you think.

[via Gamervision]

Google Tablet : Does This Look Better Than The iPad?

Till late last year, the tablet was just a concept – a futuristic device that had been in the making for more than a decade. But in just a span of few months, things have changed. Not only did Apple demo the iPad, but there are also rumors that Google is now looking to launch their own tablet device.

Last week we had written about the likelihood of the Chrome OS supporting touch based technology. Now there are more indications of the Chrome OS being used in an iPad-like Tablet.

Concept video and pictures posted on the Chromium developers website (The Chrome open source project) give us an indication of what the Google tablet could look like. Check it out below

TechCrunch offers more insights about the device. According to their sources, there is more than one Chrome OS based tablet in the making. However, like with the Nexus One, only one of the tablet will be officially declared a Google Tablet while the rest will run on the Chrome OS and be branded with the respective manufacturers’ logo.

With a lot of these devices expected to be out by the end of the year, do you see the laptop market in danger? What are your thoughts on this?

[via Chrome Dev, TechCrunch]

Apple Working On Second Tablet Device

The iPad is touted as a bigger version of the iPhone. Now it looks like a smaller version of the Mac could also be in the works. TechCrunch reports second hand sources as revealing that Apple could possibly be working on a second tablet device which, unlike the iPad, would tend to serve as a laptop substitute.

While not much information is available regarding this device, it is speculated that this new tablet will have a much bigger screen; around 15.4″ and could run on Mac OS X.¬†TechCrunch further writes in that the device is likely to be demoed during the WWDC event in June of this year and could be launched before the end of the year.

We still have our doubts regarding this – Primarily, Apple is a kind of company that would like to get more things under the company’s control. With a Mac OS X powered tablet, the company could be losing out on vital revenues that the company could otherwise be making from app sales. However, this could also be a contingency device that could be launched if any of Apple’s competitors launch rival tablets that are much more open compared to the iPad and hence rake in market share.

What are your thoughts on this?

Acer Technology Helps Your Watch Television Via Instant Messenger Service

Acer is working on a technology that will combine the real-time connectivity offered by instant messengers with Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) technology to build a system that will enable users watch the TV shows of their choice right from the comfort of their instant messengers.

The technology, a patent for which was filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently describes a way to connect an instant messaging module to a television card and control the outputted audio and video signals from the IM service.
It is not clear if Acer plans to integrate this service with third party messengers like Skype or Yahoo Messenger

Will Amazon Buy Netflix This Time?

Rumors of Amazon being interested in Netflix are not new. There was talk about this as early as June of last year though at that point, it seemed more unlikely since Netflix’s strategy of staying with physical goods did not fit Amazon’s core philosophy of selling digital content.

However, a lot of things have changed since then. Netflix now allows video streaming and according to its latest quarterly report, 48% of its users at least streamed 15 minutes of video in this quarter. Besides this, Netflix’s subscription model has seemingly been received better among its registered users compared to Amazon’s pay-per-view model. Nearly 97% of the company’s 12.2 million registered users are paid subscribers. All this has given the DVD renting company an overall market value of $3.4 billion.

Collins Stewart analyst Sandeep Aggarwal says Netflix’s recent online streaming model along with newer market dynamics can mean Amazon will be flirting with the idea of acquiring the Los Gatos, CA based company. “There is now even a higher possibility. If someone is a category leader and it is still growing rapidly, they go ahead and acquire it”, he says referring to Amazon’s recent acquisition of online shoe retailer, Zappos.

What do you think? Will a Netflix acquisition be a good fit for Amazon? Let us know in the comments.

[via WSJ]

Google Chrome OS Could Come With Touch

There have been rumors in the past about HTC working on a Google Chrome OS touch screen tablet. However the strongest indications of this came today when Google Senior Product Manger, Anders Sandholm fumbled for words as a question was directly put to him – ‘Does Chrome OS come with Touch screen support?’.

According to the folks at TechRadar, Sandholm couldn’t manage to answer it in a Yes or No. Instead he said

“I can’t… I mean… right now we are targeting netbooks, that’s what we’re focused on, but I expect it to work well… we expect it to target everything up to desktop computers.Chrome OS will be built for a specific hardware setup.”

While this is still not an explicit confirmation, it probably has given away Google’s plans for the Chrome OS. What would you say?

[via TechRadar]

Is iPad Coming With Flash After All?

As Steve Jobs went about unveiling his latest creation on stage, the world collectively groaned about the non-availability of vital features like the camera and Flash.

Now looks like there is still hope for those who badly want to see Flash on the iPad. At least, there is some solace. The official iPad video demoed on the Apple website showcases an iPad that actually renders Flash.

In the video which is embedded below (check out 02:08), the user launches the New York Times website which launches seamlessly. Interestingly, two sections of the website; Travel and Video are built on Flash which means those two sections should not be ideally rendered on an iPad.

Could this be a fudged job? Folks at 9to5Mac think otherwise. They write

“Normally, we’d say that Apple simply did the renders in the Mac version of Safari and just CG’ed it into the video. However, you can see the page rendering and being resolution independent as well, so it is likely being done on an iPad. Note the iPad simulator in Dev Tools also doesn’t render Flash.”

We really are not sure whether to be skeptical on this one. But in any case, Apple decides to bring in Flash at the last moment, we would just say that they are always welcome.

[via 9to5Mac]