Jan 27, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Farmville Users To Get ‘Pay By Facebook’ Option This Week

Users of the hugely popular social game on Facebook, Farmville can expect the ‘Pay By Facebook‘ option to be rolled out sometime this week. The Business Insider reveals that Facebook’s payment gateway integration is so close to being implemented on Farmville that it could have been introduced last week itself.

The payment gateway is expected to be a huge money-spinner for Facebook, the world’s most popular social network that is now inching towards the 400 million registered users mark. However, despite the huge popularity of its application platform, the website itself had only been making money from advertising which did not contribute to much, considering the major part of revenues from gaming were to be made from purchase of virtual goods.

Facebook is expected to charge a 30% commission on transactions over its payment gateway. Despite this high charge, it is believed that developers would be willing to opt in considering the “Facebook stamp”. The Business Insider also notes that gaming app developers like Zynga believe a payment gateway from Facebook will in fact encourage more users to spend money, thus increasing overall revenues from the gaming apps.

[via Business Insider]

Jan 27, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Motorola Developing The Nielsen Ratings Equivalent For Mobile TV Broadcasting

The Nielsen ratings is one of the best known tools for tracking television viewership and audience composition. This is widely popular across the world and is taken as the benchmark when it comes to assessing the popularity of television programs.

However, with mobile TV getting prominence over the past few years, there does not exist a standard to track viewership from the mobile devices. Motorola seems to have taken the first step as a recent patent filed by the company shows.

In this filing, titled “Method for Collecting Usage Information on Wireless Devices for Ratings Purposes”, the inventors write about a technology that will enable them to assess viewership ratings from mobile devices. The inventors explain

“An illustrative system and method are described herein that enable the collection of information from mobile devices that are used to receive broadcasts of television or video programming over a wireless network. According to one illustrative embodiment, one or more ratings servers collect information associated with the use of one or more mobile devices to view broadcast video or programming. The collected information can then be used to calculate ratings.”

Motorola Patent For Mobile TV Ratings

We are not sure if Nielsen already methods in place to track mobile TV viewership. A CNET article that dates back to 2005 talks about Nielsen working on something similar though it is not clear if Nielsen’s technology, if it exists, would be regarded prior art.

What do you think?

Jan 26, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Walmart To Sell Google Nexus One Phone?

When Google announced their foray into the smartphone business with the launch of Nexus One earlier this month, they also brought a new distribution model. The Nexus One was sold solely via the Google website cutting off the middlemen in the process.

However, it now appears that the handset could also reach the shelves of Walmart. Folks at AndroidandMe have noticed Nexus One being listed as ‘Coming Soon’ at the Walmart Wireless website. What’s more the 3G network specs of the Nexus One indicates possible support for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint though as we know currently, the device is only available on T-Mobile.

It is not clear if the device would be actually be put on the shelves or will be available through Walmart’s website. For now, we presume only the latter is likely since getting the device to the shelves on Walmart would require a new supply chain strategy to be worked out which the company has apparently not brought about so far.

Check out the page yourself and let us know what you think?

[AndroidandMe via Mashable]

Jan 26, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

TeleNav Building GPS-Based Blogging System

Telenav, the Sunnyvale based maker of GPS Navigator might probably be looking at location-based blogging as the next logical step in their product diversification. In a patent filed earlier this month, the inventors from the company have described a technology that will help users create and read location-based blog entries.

What exactly is location-based blogging? Telenav inventors explain that in the current scenario, users can geotag any of the multimedia that they wish to share. While this is interesting to the readers, it is not particularly useful if a reader is looking at particular location based information. For instance, a user might want to take a look at all pictures taken from the top of the Empire State Building. Telenav sees location-based blogging as being able to categorize geotagged multimedia and offer valuable content to the readers. The inventors write

“a need remains for a mobile location based blogging system to efficiently create, populate and manage location-based blogs and to make the process of creating new User Generated Content for those location-blogs. In view of the ever-increasing added features desired by consumers in their mobile client devices, it is more and more critical that answers be found to these problems.”

The inventors explain the process with the help of an illustration

“FIG. 6A displays a street map on the multimedia display interface 210 of the client 102 of the general purpose mobile location-blogging system 100. In another example, FIG. 6B illustrates a set of general purpose location-blogs in a list format on the multimedia display interface 210 of the client 102.”

“n FIG. 6C and 6D, therein are illustrated the multimedia display interface 210 of a location-blog entry. For example, in an operation with update location-blog command, the client 102 can accept a location-blog command user input and a multimedia user input that can include a video recording, audio recording, image, text, multimedia data, or any combination thereof. The location-blog command and the multimedia data are sent to the server 104 of FIG. 2 in the server request 202 of FIG. 2. The server 104 can create a new location-blog entry that is associated with the new multimedia data. “

GPS-based blogging appears to be an interesting invention which can be quite popular. What is your view on this? Let us know in the comments.

Jan 26, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

BIS 3.0 To Support WMA, OpenOffice?

The next update to the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS), BIS 3.0 is expected to launch in March of this year and the next version, BIS 3.1 is rumored to launch soon after. While we had earlier heard about BIS 3.0 coming with a Gmail plugin to make message syncing easier, now we are hearing about additional support for WMA and OpenOffice.

Folks at BBLeaks quote their sources as saying that the next version of BIS, the 3.0 version will support both these extensions. Also, BIS 3.1 which is expected to launch soon after will also bring Yahoo, Hotmail syncing, Yahoo messenger download and Google Calendar syncing.

[via BBleaks, BlackberryCool]

Jan 26, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Price of iPad : $600 With Contract, $999 Unsubsidized? [Updated]

Update: The prices have been announced. First of all, there is NO contract. You may cancel your AT&T plans anytime.

16GB iPad with Wi-Fi is priced at $499. The 32Gb and 64Gb come priced at $599 and $699. On top of this is $130 for 3G. So, the most expensive iPad will be the 64GB device with 3G : $829

Original Post follows

The Apple Tablet is most likely to be priced at around $500-$600 with contract and $999 without one. This comes from Media Markt which is among the biggest electronics store in Germany; much like the Best Buy is to US.

An inadvertent posting on the company’s twitter account which has since then been deleted reads

Apple iPad – Ab 01. Marz bei Ihrem Media Markt fur nur 499,- Euro im T-Mobile Complete L Vertrag (sonst 899,- Euro)

An interesting confirmation is that the device will in fact be called the iPad. Another is an indication that the device will go on sale from March 1; something that was speculated to be impossible because of component supply shortage.

The speculation appears to be strongly likely considering the credibility of the source. What do you make of this? Is $600 with contract what you had hoped for? Tell us in the comments.

[via MacRumors]

Jan 25, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Motorola MOTOSPLIT Revealed?

Folks at Engadget have got hold of a pic that the source claims is of Motorola’s upcoming device MOTOSPLIT. This is a SnapDragon powered Android handset that is expected to be released by AT&T in Q3 of this year.

While the credibility of the rumor is not yet ascertained, it nevertheless looks like a great device. It is one of the thinnest sliding phones you’ll come across. Here is the screenshot of the device

What do you think of the device. Let us know in the comments.

[via Engadget]

Jan 25, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Apple Tablet To Run iPhone OS 3.2?

In the past two months, we must have heard a gazillion rumors and speculations about the upcoming Apple Tablet. One of the more ‘confirmed’ among these was that the Tablet could be running on the iPhone OS 4.0 which was also expected to be part of the announcement scheduled for Wednesday.

It now appears that the Tablet might not come with the 4.0 operating system after all. Flurry, the mobile analytics company has recently revealed that their system was able to track app usage from around 50 devices that had all the characteristics of the upcoming Apple Tablet. All this usage which was tracked from Apple’s Cupertino office pointed to the use of iPhone OS 3.2 and not 4.0 as earlier thought.

What could this mean? Well, for starters, this means that there could possibly mean that the Tablet’s operating system would not be too different from the iPhone’s; which also means that the Tablet will not be a direct substitute for the Mac since unlike Mac OS X, the iPhone’s current operating system does not let you use any application of your choice.

However, the OS being a 3.2 version, it could possibly mean that all the 130K+ applications available for download on the App Store will be seamlessly accessible from the Tablet, which is still a great news.

What do you make of this?

[Flurry via VentureBeat]

Jan 25, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Hewlett Packard Building Intent-Based Search Engine?

You will have to take this with a grain of salt, but it is possible that Hewlett Packard could be working on a search engine.  A recent patent filed in the name of ‘Jianwei Dian’ describes a search engine that will understand the “intent” of the user inputting the search query and list results that the user needs; not simply match the query with web pages like Google.

So, how does it work? The inventor explains that the process will involve understanding the query of the user and delivering results of the information and not just the web pages that contain the words from the query (like Google does). So, if you query “Contact Information of Jianwei Dian”, you are likely to see results ranked by those web pages that contain the email, phone number, etc. of Jianwei rather than just web pages that match the query. The inventor writes

“With considering both the relevance and reliability of the matched web pages, the intent match search engine more likely will give high rankings to the web pages that both contain the information the user is looking for and are reliable sources of information. This saves the user’s time, since the few top web pages or even the very first web page may already contain what the user is looking for and is also the most reliable source of information. The user doesn’t need to navigate through a lot of matched web pages before he finds what he is looking for. “

HP files Intent Based Search Engine

While the patent looks interesting, there is still not enough confirmation about who the patent really belongs to. The patent is filed in the name of ‘Jianwei Dian’ from Plano Texas. A quick search (on Google!) on the inventor gave us the following information:

Name: DIAN Jianwei
Location: Plano, TX
Company: Hewlett-Packard Company
E-mail: jianwei.dian@xxxxxx.net
Phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX (Home)

What do you think? Is HP indeed working on a search engine? Tell us your thoughts.

Jan 23, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Apple Working On Deal With Electronic Arts?

With less than five days to go for the unveiling of the Apple Tablet, rumors are flying thick and fast about all the things that the Tablet could be capable of. We already have heard about the negotiations that Cupertino has been having with book publishers like Harper Collins.

Now,we are also hearing that further discussions are on with the popular game developer, Electronic Arts who are well known for their EA Sports series of games. According to a report published on the Wall Street Journal, Apple is working on an agreement that will see the company showing off the Tablet’s gaming capabilities with games developed by Electronic Arts.

It will be interesting how Apple plans to market these varied applications. We had speculated if the company would launch an eBook store in order to cater to the different publishers. But with news about this deal out, it is likely that eBooks be sold as yet another application on the App Store. This is because iPhone OS 4.0 is assumed to let scalable applications that will work seamlessly across small sized screens like the iPhone as well as on the Tablet. In that case, a single App Store for all devices make sense.

However, considering the fact that games on the Tablet would be much more graphic intensive than those on iPhones, it will be interesting how Apple plans to tackle the issue. Will the user require to purchase the same EA Sports game separately for the iPhone and the Tablet? We hope not.

[via WSJ]