More than 100 international technology companies have interest in becoming residents of a floating city located in international waters outside of Silicon Valley. The project, called Blueseed, was co-founded by Max Marty and Dario Mutabdzija and lead by venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. The company is looking to either convert a cruise ship or remodel a barge in into a pirate island that would provide living accommodations, working space and entertainment facilities for approximately 1,000 customers paying between $1,200 and $3,000 each per month. Read on for more. More →
Motorola Mobility announced on Wednesday that its Motorola Mobility Ventures arm has invested in a social networking startup called Shaker. The firm, based in Israel, says its social network is “similar to interacting in the physical world,” and that it “creates a natural setting using your Facebook profile and allows people to meet around mutual friends and shared interests.” Motorola’s MOTOBLUR user interface found on several of its Android smartphones allows users to access multiple social network profiles, but early versions weren’t greeted warmly by users. Motorola may use Shaker to spice things up a bit in future versions of the UI. “Shaker’s innovative platform gives consumers the ability to not only interact with each other, but with brands in groundbreaking ways that could never before have been accomplished on a social network,” Mony Hassid, managing director of Motorola Mobility Ventures, said. It is unclear how much Motorola Mobility Ventures invested in Shaker. A full press release follows after the break. More →
Microsoft’s Zune senior business development manager Dave McLauchlan recently said he is leaving the company to create his own startup. McLauchlan announced his resignation to the public on Twitter. “I have some news to share,” he tweeted. “Last week I offered my resignation to [Microsoft] and my last day is [Friday].” McLauchlan will work on a startup called “Buddy.” The website, located at http://Buddy.com, says the company will help developers “build mobile apps cheaper, faster and easier.” McLauchlan also tweeted that he will still be around in the mobile space. Microsoft killed its Zune mobile media player earlier this year, but Microsoft confirmed it will continue to offer music and video services on Xbox LIVE, Windows PCs and Windows Phone devices. More →
Microsoft’s General Manager of the Windows Phone Developer Experience on Monday announced that he is leaving Microsoft to launch a start up. Kindel did not share the details of his new endeavor, and his public profile on networking site LinkedIn lists him as Founder and CTO of <redacted> at A super secret stealth startup. “[The start up] has to do with sports, advertising, mobile, social-networking, and, of course, the cloud,” Kindel wrote in a post on his personal blog. “I’m insanely excited to get started.” The soon-to-be former executive was with Microsoft for 21 years, having joined the Redmond-based company’s developer support group in 1990. Kindel’s full email to his team regarding the decision follows below. More →
AT&T on Wednesday gave the world its first look at the telecommunications giant’s new International Innovation Center in Ra’anana, Israel. For the first time, Israeli press was granted access to AT&T’s newest incubator, which has been operational in a temporary facility since July last year. AT&T established the foundry — its second such facility — alongside Israeli tech company Amdocs, and the company describes the Innovation Center as a “collaborative environment where AT&T and technology providers work with start-ups and developers to get the latest innovations and services into the hands of AT&T customers more quickly than ever before.” Startups and developers with products deemed worthy of the program are granted a direct line to experts in their field and ultimately, perhaps, to millions of AT&T customers. “The AT&T Foundry network is a collaborative environment where AT&T researchers, key industry technology providers and developers from all over the world innovate in new ways,” said AT&T CTO John Donovan in a statement. “Project managers drive project development in 30- and 90-day sprints that allow us to cut the time required to evolve great ideas into products and services by two thirds.” AT&T’s full press release can be found below. More →
VeriFone’s CEO, Douglas G. Bergeron, has taken to the Internet to publicly voice his company’s concern with a mobile payments startup named Square. Via a YouTube video and an open letter, Bergeron explains that Square’s reader has a “serious security flaw” that “places consumers in dire risk.” Bergeron and VeriFone’s beef stems from the fact that Square’s reader does not utilize any type of hardware encryption schema when scanning cards. What does this mean? If you were to use a VeriFone card scanner, the information scanned off of a credit card’s magnetic stripe would be encrypted, stored, and transmitted to the desired payment agency for processing. Square’s scanners attach to the 3.5mm audio jack of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and scan/store the read credit card information in plain text — making it later viewable by a person(s) running a skimming scam. More →
Ever since Google CEO Eric Schmidt first touted Android 2.3’s NFC capabilities at a recent conference, Google has made it clear that it plans to make a big play in the mobile payment space. Google’s play will star NFC, of course, and it certainly isn’t the only major player in the cell phone space looking to capitalize on the coming mobile payment boom — Nokia has already released NFC-equipped cell phones, RIM is known to be eying NFC and Apple is rumored to be testing the technology for future iPhone models. Today, The 451 Group revealed that Google recently acquired stealth mobile payment startup Zetawire. The Toronto-based company has less than five employees and no website, but it does have a patent application filed for “a payment system, an advertising system, and an identity management system” combined into a single offering. It’s hard to say exactly what Google has in mind with this acquisition, but it is probably safe to assume the company’s plans involve Android, NFC, ads and making money.