Last week, Bitcoin’s value tumbled 9% in one day on news that China’s central bank had ordered banks and payment companies to close trading accounts belonging to more than 10 exchanges. Since then, Bitcoin has crashed by nearly another 10%, now hovering around $480. It’s a steep decline from the feverish highs above $1,100 last November. More →
“Windows” has one of the five biggest trending topics on Twitter this afternoon. All four of the top iPad apps measured by download volume in America are Microsoft products right now. Even more astonishingly, Microsoft Word for iPad has become the No. 6 highest grossing iPad app in the United States. In productivity-loving Germany, Word is the third biggest grossing app on iPad and it actually just surpassed the mighty Candy Crush Saga in revenue generation. Even in notoriously unproductive countries such as Italy, Word is a top 10 app. More →
Smartphone volume growth is slowing down sharply right about now. Average sales prices for even high-end handsets are tumbling and sub-$200 smartphones without subsidies are becoming a major product category. That has not prevented a number of entrants from trying to find new angles that will bring them success in the phone market. Jolla is offering a new operating system. YotaPhone has a dual-screen model with an E-Ink display on the backside for desperate Twitter addicts. And now Danish company Lumigon is entering the fray with a €750 (USD$1031) model that offers a decadent treat for selfie fanatics. More →
Lush green hills under a cobalt blue sky with precisely the right amount of fluffy clouds floating about. Who hasn’t been lost in reverie staring at the default Windows XP wallpaper, dreaming of Middle Earth or maybe a weekend in Cork County? Yet that shot of a bucolic paradise has turned into a very personal nightmare for Charles O’Lear, the man who captured the iconic photo and sold it to Microsoft. More →
The messaging app market has really started to heat up after Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion and after Alibaba’s investment in the far more obscure Tango granted it a $1 billion valuation. As popular entries like Viber, WhatsApp and Tango have found big strategic partners, the number of stand-alone messaging apps with more than 100 million registered users has dwindled. BBM and Kik are among the most notable indie messaging apps left looking for sugar daddies and their futures will hinge upon whether they can show real potential to generate revenue. That’s why BBM is now at such a crucial juncture: It is dipping its toes in the advertising market for the first time.
Apple is basically facing a triple whammy for iPhone sales this spring. The overall smartphone market is currently going through a notable slowdown in sales growth and will go from nearly 40% growth in 2013 to under 20% growth in 2014, according to IDC. The China Mobile sales of TD-LTE phones as of February came in at weaker-than-expected 1.3 million units, translating to just 1 million iPhone units. And now it is looking as though the iPhone 6 won’t launch until September or so, meaning that Apple will be stuck selling the less than thrilling iPhone 5, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s models all through the June quarter.
Google Glass has been mercilessly mocked as clunky and nerdy, despite attempts to associate the pricey device with fashion shows and trendy magazine pieces. A new alliance with Luxottica aims to inject some glamor into the eyeware line. Luxottica is known for its Ray-Ban and Oakley lines of glasses, but also produces Versace, Miu Miu, Chanel and Vogue products. The current $1,500 price of Google Glass places it automatically in the luxury category – but it’s not clear whether the target group of wealthy geeks necessarily has much overlap with the Alain Mikli crowd.
It seems increasingly likely that Microsoft Office will be announced for the iPad within days. This could be a substantial blow for Windows tablet manufacturers as the move would remove one of the few reasons to purchase a portable device powered by Microsoft operating system. Curiously, the move is coming only weeks after the unveiling of Nokia X model range — smartphones that are powered by Google’s Android operating system. More →
There was much excited or dismissive chatter about British mobile game titan King on Wednesday after the Candy Crush Saga maker announced its initial public offering and implied it was seeking a valuation at nearly $8 billion. Isn’t this crazy? Are we not in the middle of another nutty tulip mania? More →
Florian Mueller, the leading phone patent maven, writes about a fascinating new twist in the handset industry patent wars. Mueller has in the past been harshly critical of Samsung’s own royalty demands but now he finds himself aghast that Apple is demanding a staggering $40 fee for smartphones and tablets using a suite of five Apple software patents. More →