Ten days ago a 3D printer called The Micro started a Kickstarter campaign with the modest goal of raising $50,000 in a month. With 18 days to go, the project has already raised nearly $3 million. The Micro has gained more than 10,000 followers and all of the early production runs of the $199 and $299 versions of the device have sold out. New supporters will have to pick a February 2015 shipment date of pay at least $600 for very early test production runs. Obviously, the frenzy of excitement around The Micro seems to indicate that there is real fascination about the idea of owning a 3D printer priced at the level of a video game console. More →
There’s a major fight brewing in the rapidly growing video streaming market over which device consumers use the most to watch their favorite online content. Game consoles, PC’s and connected devices linked to television sets have all proven somewhat popular… and yet it seems that nothing can stop the tablet juggernaut. More →
When camera phones begun proliferating back in 2002, many predictions were made about how they might shape future. But nobody really saw funeral selfies or post-crash ER photos becoming a trend. The thing about the selfie phenomenon is that it took so many years to develop and shape people’s behavior that old people are now caught off guard. An entire new generation of people has grown up and gotten used to having a camera with them at all times. This generation is now inevitably behaving in ways that trigger outrage and even moral panic in the over-30 crowd. More →
We’re about to learn whether 3D printing will ever have mainstream appeal because Staples is now offering both an in-store printing service as well as actual 3D printers. The cheapest printer costs $1,300, which is fairly steep, but shipping is free. Shoppers can now also walk into stores and ask for the employees to help them to design and print objects on the spot. More →
Hollywood Reporter quotes a stunning claim made by the CEO of Publicis, which handles the international marketing for Samsung. According to Maurice Levy, the famous Oscar selfie snapped by Ellen DeGeneres is worth somewhere between $800 million and $1 billion.
Mr. Levy is riding high right now, with the back-to-back, high-impact selfie stories: “This is something we did for Samsung. It’s us. The two selfies that are so famous — the one with all the actors at the Oscars and the second with President Obama — the two were done by our team.” More →
We live in an age of miracles for true connoisseurs of awful phone names. We have always been able to enjoy spectacularly dumb handset branding, but right now the industry is entering a new era with particularly impressive creativity and vigor. Here are the three worst phone names of all time: More →
One careless text message ended up costing a Buffalo, NY-area man $53,000, Buffalo News reported earlier this week. Louis J. Billittier Jr. dumped his fiancee with a terse text message, breaking off the engagement. Apparently trying to calm down the situation, he then sent a fateful text: “Plus you get a $50,000 parting ring. Enough for a down payment on a house.” Each of those 90 characters ended up having a price tag of roughly $600. More →
Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp has some interesting implications. Among them is the fact that Facebook is now starting to challenge mobile operators in major Western markets. German operator e-plus now offers a WhatsApp SIM card that gives users unlimited WhatsApp messaging combined with a mobile data and mobile voice calling package of 600MB and 600 minutes. The big news here is the price: 10 euros, or about $14 — and that is not a monthly charge; you can stretch it out as long as you can. More →
Micro, an unusually sleek 3D printer, is about to hit $1 million in funding on Kickstarter just a day after it started raising funds. The project hits the sweet spot for anyone interested in 3D printing as it might be the first commercially viable $300 3D printer the world has ever seen. More →
Samsung is wrestling with the same headwinds as Apple: slowing global smartphone volume growth and falling prices. Bloomberg reports that Samsung’s unaudited results show a first-quarter drop in operating profit to 8.4 trillion won, or roughly $8 billion. That figure is down from 8.78 trillion won in the same quarter last year. This is the first time since 2011 that Samsung has delivered back-to-back profit declines in two consecutive quarters. The company is facing pretty stiff criticism over the launch of the Galaxy S5 in its home market of South Korea — the new model is regarded as too derivative and boring by many local observers. Samsung seems to be aware that S5 is not going to be a barn-burner though, and it opted to price the model about 10% lower than S4 one year ago. More →
When the original Captain America movie came out, many wondered how well it would play in massive new Asian markets like China. Would a superhero movie with an in-your-face, pro-America message fare well? Well, the first movie in the franchise was a bit weak outside the U.S. — it grossed $194 million in all international markets combined. Fairly mediocre.
However, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a different story entirely.
The new domestic blockbuster is also off to a sizzling start abroad, hitting $207 million in just 10 days and grossing an incredible $39 million in China in less than two weeks. This places it well above the performance of Iron Man 3, a well-established Marvel series with a hugely charismatic lead.
So, what caused the sudden surge of international interest in Captain America? More →
Three pivotal slides from the epic Samsung-Apple litigation marathon have been picked up by 9to5Mac. The most fascinating among them, titled “Consumers want what we don’t have,” provides a breakdown of where the only remaining growth in the smartphone market was. Even all the way back in 2012, the only unit growth was derived from two main areas: smartphones that cost more than $300 and feature displays larger than 4 inches, and smartphones that cost less than $300. This, of course, was a huge headache for Apple, which only makes smartphones that cost a lot more than $300 and that feature tiny displays. More →
The smartphone industry is caught in a maelstrom of patent litigation, with Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola and other major companies entangled in a complex matrix of lawsuits. But other parts of the tech world also have their woes. A federal court has just ordered Marvell to pay $1.5 billion to Carnegie Mellon University over two hard-disk patents. The judge in case slammed Marvell with “enhanced penalties” for deliberately infringing on Carnegie’s intellectual property. More →