Apple’s Siri represents the birth of a new breed of voice-controlled smartphone assistant services, and it is only a matter of time before other companies begin to expand their offerings as a result. While Microsoft and Google undoubtedly work to refine their own voice command services, a new third-party app hits the Android Market on Tuesday that could represent Siri’s first real competition. Cluzee, billed as your intelligent personal assistant, offers Android users a Siri-like service that includes capabilities even more impressive than Siri in some cases. As showcased in a video provided by Tronton, the company behind the app, asking Cluzee a simple question like “what does my schedule look like today?” will yield a spoken rundown of the user’s schedule. Beyond just listing events, however, the app also includes smart tidbits from a range of data it pulls from the web. In one example, Cluzee adds “to reach the doctor’s office on time, you should avoid Main Street because of construction” following the mention of a doctor’s appointment, using traffic data to ensure the user reaches his appointment on time. Read on for more. More →
During the AsiaD conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday, Google’s Android boss Andy Rubin said his company’s upcoming music store “will have a little twist.” Rubin confirmed Google “won’t just be selling 99 cent tracks,” which suggests it might take a subscription-based approach, or even offer ad-based free listening as Spotify does. Google Music beta already allows users to store up to 20,000 in the cloud. Reportedly, Google is only close to sealing a deal with EMI snd has not yet signed each of the other major record labels. Rubin explained that Google’s image as a search engine may have contributed to a stall in the deals. “Google is in the very very early phases of adding consumer products to our portfolio,” Rubin said during AsiaD. “The media industry didn’t see us as that. They saw us a search company.” Reports surfaced on Tuesday that suggested Google will launch its music store this quarter, but a separate story from The New York Times has said it could launch in the coming weeks. More →
Facebook has decided to kill off its Facebook Deals product, a service that was launched to compete with other coupon service providers such as Groupon and LivingSocial. “After testing Deals for four months, we’ve decided to end our Deals product in the coming weeks,” Facebook told Reuters. “We think there is a lot of power in a social approach to driving people into local businesses. We’ve learned a lot from our test and we’ll continue to evaluate how to best serve local businesses.” Facebook will instead focus on Pages, Sponsored Stories and its Ads product. Facebook announced Deals in November and began testing the service in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego and San Francisco. It partnered with aDealio, Gilt City, HomeRun, kgb deals, OpenTable, Plum District, PopSugar City, ReachLocal, Tippr, viagogo and zozi to power the service. More →
T-Mobile introduced a new Android application on Wednesday called “More for Me.” The app offers T-Mobile customers with phones running Android 1.6 or later, daily deals based upon their preferences, location, and interests. Discounts are provided by sites such as LivingSocial, which is available in more than 260 markets, but there are also exclusive discounts from T-Mobile or its partners. T-Mobile customers simply need to install the T-Mobile More for Me app from the Android Market to get started. Read on for the full press release. More →
On Tuesday evening, Amazon will take the wraps off of MyHabit.com — a new site that will compete directly with Gilt and other membership-only sites that offer discounts on high-end brands. MyHabit will have stiff competition, however, as Vente Privee has largely dominated the international private sales industry and will soon spread into the United States, according to Business Insider. The website will offer up to 60% off of select brands and sales will begin at noon EDT daily. Amazon says that it will offer free shipping as well as 360-degree views of products that are available. It’s unclear what brands are on board so far, but if you’re looking for a new pair of Louis Vuitton sneakers at a discount price, MyHabit.com could be a good place to start looking. More →
Yellow Pages, a subsidiary of AT&T, is launching its own Deals platform that will compete with Groupon and other bargain services, Bloomberg is reporting. The service is live now on YP.com, and AT&T is offering new customers a $10 credit towards their first “Deal of the Day” purchase — provided that you sign up before May 22nd. The carrier says that its Yellow Pages Deals service will be available in Atlanta, Dallas/Forth Worth, and Los Angeles to start, although it will be deployed to more cities in the future. AT&T could have the upper hand among mobile users, as it typically installs a default Yellow Pages application on most of its phones. However, it’s unclear if it will build the Deals service directly into mobile apps, or if it will only be an online/e-mail offering. If you live in one of the three starter markets and want to save a few bucks on your next steak, face painting lesson, or both, hit the jump to get started now. More →
In November, Facebook announced its new “Deals” platform that allows users to check-in to various local businesses for discounts. On Tuesday, the social network announced that it’s taking that idea one step further with its new “Deals on Facebook” service — which is currently being tested in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, and San Francisco. Using the Deals on Facebook, friends will be able to see local specials — such as concerts or group discounts at restaurants – and buy them directly from the social network. While we definitely see this service competing head-to-head with similar services from Groupon and Living Social, Facebook has teamed up with a number of partners, including aDealio, Gilt City, HomeRun, kgb deals, OpenTable, Plum District, PopSugar City, ReachLocal, Tippr, viagogo, and zozi for a more robust offering. If you’re in one of Facebook’s beta markets, hit up http://www.facebook.com/deals for more info. More →
AT&T on Monday announced ShopAlerts, a new mobile advertising service that will introduce location-based ads to the AT&T wireless network. The service, developed by AT&T Advanced Ad Solutions and Placecast, will serve advertisements and special offers to subscribers’ cell phones when they are in the vicinity of a participating retailer. Initially, the service is only being offered in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. “We are proud to take mobile marketing into the future with this unique offering that is being embraced by consumers and brands alike,” said Greg McCastle, senior vice president of AT&T Advanced Ad Solutions, in a statement. “ShopAlerts by AT&T enables brands/advertisers to help link consumer engagement with activation and ultimately to the point of sale.” The ShopAlerts service will be opt-in, meaning AT&T subscribers must elect to receive ShopAlerts ads before any related advertisements or deals will be delivered to their devices. AT&T’s full press release can be found after the break. More →
Google offered up a whopping $6 billion in an effort to acquire local deal vender Groupon last year, but the Internet giant was rebuffed. $6 billion is quite a healthy amount of scratch, but Groupon apparently thought it could take over the world on its own. Of course the massively successful coupon merchant must have known at that time — just as the rest of the world knew — that Google would certainly not leave well enough alone. Enter “Google Offers.” The aptly named service will be Google’s attempt to eat Groupon’s lunch, offering great local deals on, well, lunch — among other things. Restaurant deals, shopping deals and other local deals will be emailed to users each day, and the service will be packed full of opportunities to notify nearby friends of great deals via Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz and so on. Hit the break for a screen shot of a Google Offers page to see what we have to look forward to, as well as a fact sheet Google is sending to local businesses in an effort to get them on board.
When it comes to the online coupon space, Google wants in. The Internet giant wants in so badly, it was willing to pay $6 billion for the current market leader, Groupon. The huge offer was actually pretty fair considering Groupon’s reported $1 billion in annual revenue, but the deal died on the table and now Google is left searching for other ways to enter the space. According to a report from the New York Post on Tuesday, the company is doing just that — Google is currently on the prowl for a “Groupon wannabe” to snatch up so it can compete with the company that rejected its advances. Google tends to get what it wants, so an acquisition is bound to happen soon — and that’s good news for consumers. Stiffer competition means more deals, and thus more savings for users of these trendy new local deal vendors. More →
‘Tis the season, we suppose. Motorola’s latest, and most enterprise-focused DROID device has now dropped to the very appealing price of only $49.99 with new two year service agreement from Best Buy Mobile. Both online and physical store locations are offering the deal, and from what we have seen so far, this is the lowest out of the door price for this handset. Now, you’re ultimately going to have to make the call between the DROID Pro or the Motorola DROID 2 Global (if global DROID devices are up your alley, that is), but the price gap has definitely just been made a bunch wider. Make sure to check out our DROID Pro review to help you decide, ok?
[Via Engadget] More →
Looking for more excuses to avoid battling the Black Friday crowd? How’s this for a deal: the Dell Mobility Store will pay you $25 to take an HTC DROID Incredible — seriously. Dell is currently offering Verizon Wireless’ HTC DROID Incredible for free with a 2-year activation. Shipping is also free, and Verizon’s activation fee is waived. On top of all that, you’ll get a complimentary $25 Dell gift card with your order. We’re not sure there’s a better deal to be found right now. Of course the DROID Incredible is a little long in the tooth these days, and we’re not sure its specs will be overly competitive in 2 months let alone 2 years. But for the smartphone lightweight in your life who just needs a decent device, Dell’s deal is as good as it gets. More →
Facebook today announced the introduction of its mobile platform. The purpose of the project is to provide a social environment for mobile devices that will eventually mirror the company’s dominant Web-based platform. The initial mobile platform involves a number of projects across a variety of mobile operating systems — including iOS, Android and BlackBerry — and it will allow developers to more easily expand their Facebook products beyond the desktop environment.
Platform announcements made today include:
•Single Sign-On — quick easy log-ins from mobile apps on mobile devices
•Location APIs — allows any mobile app to access Facebook location services
•Deals Platform — location-based platform for local businesses to offer deals to nearby Facebook users
Facebook is updating its Android product immediately to include support for Single Sign-On and other new features, and its iOS offering will be updated next week.