Tag Archive | "mobile"

Nokia Refutes Talk Of Microsoft Sale; Ticonderoga Likes It

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Shares of Microsoft (MSFT) have been under pressure this morning, and one thing appearing to contribute to downturn are rumors the company would step in to purchase Nokia (NOK) for $19 billion, according to remarks by Eldar Murtazin, a blogger widely credited with scooping Microsoft’s deal with Nokia earlier this year.

Murtazin’s blog appears not to have that claim today, but he is cited as stating such by Todd Haselton in a piece this morning on BoyGeniusReport.

A Nokia spokesperson, however, tells The Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Lawton a short while ago that, “These rumors are completely baseless.”

Murtazin has speculated as recently as May 16th that the two companies were talking about a deal.

Microsoft shares are down 54 cents, or 2%, at $24.47.  Nokia shares are down 34 cents, or almost 5%, at $6.68.

Well, at least one believer this morning is Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities, who follows Apple (AAPL) and has a Buy rating and a $612 price target on that stock.

“We believe reports from Boy Genius highlighting the potential for a Microsoft purchase of Nokia for $19 billion should provide Apple investors with even greater confidence that the company can continue to gain market share at the expense of legacy vendors in the mobile phone market,” writes White.

“In our view, Apple investors could not ask for a better deal, and we believe a transaction would only further Apple’s market share gains in the coming quarters.”

Sounds like White is choosing his words carefully, but it also sounds like he believes the rumor.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

App discovery startup Appsfire gets $3.6 million investment

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appsfireMobile application discovery startup Appsfire closed a $3.6 million funding round from French investors Idinvest, according to a Gigaom report.

Helping consumers easily find new applications that interest them is increasingly important to developers and businesses looking to distinguish their product from competitors

And considering the multitude of apps emerging from Apple’s app store, the Android Marketplace and Amazon, there is a large opportunity to make money from an app discovery platform like Appsfire.

Appsfire, which is available for both iOS and Android devices, seeks to provide some clarity to the sea of new apps. It works by scanning a user’s catalog of downloaded applications and then generating lists of recommended, featured and hot apps based on their interests. The company’s first discovery app launched last year and now has over 2 million users.

The company’s new funding will likely go towards hiring additional employees (it currently has seven) and branching out onto other mobile platforms, according to the Giagom report.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Intel to steer its center of gravity into low-power microprocessors (exclusive)

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Sean Maloney, Intel’s newly appointed president of Intel China, plans to deliver a keynote speech at the Computex trade show in Taiwan next week where he will unveil a heavy-duty effort to steer Intel into the production of low-power microprocessors.

Maloney is expected to say that Intel will accelerate its efforts to make chips that are more appropriate for tablet computers, smartphones, laptops, and low-power desktops. Intel has been doing that for some time. But Maloney, a well-respected executive who recovered from a stroke that kept him sidelined last year, is expected to push that even farther, according to a source familiar with the matter.

This shift within Intel is similar to the shift that occurred when it launched its Centrino laptop processors in 2003 — which Intel referred to as a right-hand turn. This is another right-hand turn, since the current roadmap isn’t as ambitious when it comes to low power consumption.

Most of Intel’s mainstream desktop chips target power consumption of about 40 watts or so. That allows for very fast microprocessor performance, but such a chip generates enough heat that it can’t be so easily used in a laptop and has no chance of making it into a tablet or smartphone. Now, Intel plans to target mainstream chips that consume about 15 watts.

That’s a big difference, but it doesn’t mean Intel will cancel a bunch of chips in development. Rather, the company will modify the roadmap over the next couple of years so that the center of its efforts focuses on 15 watt or lower wattage chips.

The company has already been moving in this direction for a number of years. Intel recently announced a new manufacturing innovation dubbed Tri-Gate transistors that will allow it to use lower power and smaller circuits in its 22 nanometer microprocessors. (Intel’s current Sandy Bridge chips use 32-nanometer manufacturing; the smaller the number, the faster, lower power, and lower cost.)  At its recent annual investor meeting, Intel showed a working 22-nanometer microprocessor code-named Ivy Bridge that is one of the flagship chips for this new low-power strategy. The Tri-Gate transistors take advantage of three dimensions and allow for a 50 percent power reduction at a given level of performance with only a 2 to 3 percent increase in costs. Ivy Bridge will be followed by a chip code-named Haswell that will represent the fruition of Intel’s efforts to reduce the average wattage of its mainstream chips.

Intel is also accelerating development of its lowest-power Atom microprocessors, which are targeted at smartphones, tablets and ultrathin laptops. The Atom chips have been shipping for a number of years, but Intel will turn up the treadmill now. It will shift from 45 nanometer Atom chips this year to 32 nanometer chips and then 22-nanometer chips in 2012. With every manufacturing shift, Intel can make its chips cheaper, faster, smaller and lower power. That pace of innovation is faster than the pace of Moore’s Law (observed in 1965 by Intel chairman emeritus Gordon Moore), which says the number of transistors on a chip doubles every two years.

Intel is also designing a brand new Atom single-chip computer architecture, code-named Silvermont, from the ground up. Those chips are also going to be designed for low power, and the cadence for introducing new chips will become increasingly faster. The 22-nanometer Silvermont chips are expected to be introduced around 2013.

“Intel will completely focus a huge percentage of consumer microprocessors toward mainstream, low-power, ultra-thin, no-compromise computers,” said the source. “The center point of the roadmap will be all about ultra-mobility.”

By the end of 2012, a large percentage of consumer laptops will be in the ultrathin category — think MacBook Air laptops that cost a lot less than they do today and have a lot more performance and all-day battery life. That’s the kind of machine that will use the chips that Intel is placing at the center of its efforts.

Asia is a good place to make the announcement since China is expected to be the largest PC market in the world starting next year. Maloney’s assignment to that region is significant. Maloney was considered the heir apparent to Intel chief executive Paul Otellini. But a stroke threw him off that path. He returned to work in January and is regaining control of his motor skills.

Intel’s Atom processors are beginning to appear in tablet computers and about 10 of them will be shown off at the Computex show in Taiwan.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Peak Games raises $5M for social gaming

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Turkish game publisher Peak Games has raised $5 million to make social games for emerging markets.

The deal shows that investors are looking beyond established markets to emerging countries where social games are still catching on. Peak Games, which has more than 10 million monthly active users on Facebook, is targeting its games at Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa.

The investment comes from Earlybird Venture Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm based in Munich, Germany.

Sidar Sahin, chief executive of the game company in Istanbul, said in an interview that it hopes to expand its roster of social games into markets such as Brazil and the broader Middle East region.

“We believe the next big Facebook games will come from an emerging market,” Sahin said.

While other companies try a one-size-fits-all approach for international markets, Peak Games focuses on making local versions of games that are culturally relevant to the people in the region. That’s key to getting a higher monetization than normal for an emerging market, said Rina Onur, co-founder and chief strategy officer.

Michael Pachter, analyst for Wedbush Morgan, said Peak Games shows that the social gaming market is a global one and that it may already own a leadership position in markets such as Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa.

Sahin founded the company in October, 2010, and it already has 50 employees and 10 games. The company has 10 million monthly active users playing traditional Turkish and Arabic card and board games on Facebook.

Onur said the company’s method is to understand its audience and make games directly for them. She noted that Turkey is the fourth-largest market for Facebook, with more than 28 million users. The number of Facebook users in the broader region grew 78 percent from a year ago.The company says it can reach as many as 56 million Facebook users now and expects that to grow to 250 million by 2015.

Previously, Peak Games raised $2.5 million from Hummingbird Ventures and serial business angels Evren Ucok and Demet Mutlu, bringing its total fundraising to date to $7.5 million in six months.

On a daily basis, 2 million people play the company’s games across five time zones, four continents, and five languages. The titles include Okey, Okey Plus, Poker Star, Komşu Şehir, Komşu Kabile, İkon Kız (FabGirl), Bizim Dünya, Komşu Çiftlik and Petiler. Okey, a card-based game, has more than 4.5 million monthly active users.

The company develops its own games and has also partnered with several leading social game developers in the West, including The Broth and MagnetJoy.

Rivals include Zynga, Disney-Playdom and EA-Playfish, as well regional players such as Brazil-focused firms Mentez and Vostu.

We’ll be exploring the most disruptive game technologies and business models at our third annual GamesBeat 2011 conference, on July 12-13 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It will focus on the disruptive trends in the mobile games market. GamesBeat is co-located with our MobileBeat 2011 conference this year. To register, click on this link. Sponsors can message us at sponsors@venturebeat.com. To pitch a startup at the Who’s Got Game contest at GamesBeat 2011, click here.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Finland’s Supercell raises $12M for hardcore real-time social games

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Finnish game developer Supercell has raised $12 million in funding for its hardcore real-time social gaming business.

The investment shows the increasing appetite for investments in social games, especially those that hope to one-up dominant social game companies such as Zynga by providing a next-generation style of game play on platforms such as Facebook.

Accel Partners, which led the $42 million investment in Angry Birds developer Rovio, led the round. Klaas Kersting, founder of Gameforge and chief executive of Flaregames, also participated.

Ilkka Paananen, chief executive of Supercell, said the company is focused on making games that are bigger in scope than most social games but are less involved than massively multiplayer online games or console games. The Helsinki company’s first title is Gunshine, a crime-fighting game where players shoot criminals and other enemies in real-time in a place called Dawnbreak City. It is played from an overhead view. While the action is fast, the graphics aren’t that complex. The game has been in closed beta testing since February and is going to open beta today.

The company uses Adobe’s Flash 10 platform to create its games. That allows the games to run in a web browser with no need for a download. And while Supercell uses Facebook Connect to help gamers find friends to play with, Gunshine itself is hosted on its own web site, not Facebook. The company also has a way to convert the games to run on just about any platform.

While the company is very late to the social gaming party, Paananen said that Supercell has new features such as the ability to play synchronously, or in real time, with three other friends. You can also play with friends asynchronously, or when they are offline and each takes a turn one at a time.

“We have more immersive and deeper games than most Facebook games,” Paananen said. “Our game is also better when you play it with friends.”

The games will all be free to play, where users can play for free and pay real money for virtual goods in small transactions.

Previous investors include London Venture Partners, Initial Capital, Cerval Investments and Lifeline Ventures.

Supercell was founded in June 2010 and has 20 employees. Kevin Comolli, a partner in the London office of Accel, will join Supercell’s board. The company acknowledges it has hundreds of rivals in online games, from Bigpoint to Gameforge and Innogames. Rivals targeting the hardcore audience on Facebook include Kabam and Kixeye.

“The market is hot now, but you have to do something unique,” Paananen said.

We’ll be exploring the most disruptive game technologies and business models at our third annual GamesBeat 2011 conference, on July 12-13 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It will focus on the disruptive trends in the mobile games market. GamesBeat is co-located with our MobileBeat 2011 conference this year. To register, click on this link. Sponsors can message us at sponsors@venturebeat.com. To pitch a startup at the Who’s Got Game contest at GamesBeat 2011, click here.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

UK payment startups join forces in $87 million merger

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2011 seems to be the year that mobile payments go mainstream with everyone from the big mobile carriers and handset manufacturers to scrappy new startups scrambling on to the payments bandwagon.

sQuid and ACT, which together cover 85 percent of the UK’s smartcard-based, contactless payments market, announced a merger today. The new company, Smart Transactions Group is valued at $87 million and expects to generate revenue of $15 million in 2011.

ACT specializes in retail reward programs and transit solutions for public transport. It handles 50 million transit transactions a month. sQuid supplies low-value, pre-paid payment cards for the education and retail sectors. sQuid payment cards are expected to be used in 10 million transactions this year. Neither payment system relies on existing bank or credit card infrastructure.

Smart Transactions Group’s payments business is growing at a double digit monthly rate, while transit transactions are expected to grow 50 percent in 2011. The new company will continue to expand its deployments in the UK and will target emerging markets such as Kenya and the United Arab Emirates. But more interestingly it also plans to launch NFC and mobile phone-based payments and ticketing.

Both companies are privately funded. ACT was formed in 2002 and sQuid in 2005.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

UK payment startups join forces in $87 million merger

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2011 seems to be the year that mobile payments go mainstream with everyone from the big mobile carriers and handset manufacturers to scrappy new startups scrambling on to the payments bandwagon.

sQuid and ACT, which together cover 85 percent of the UK’s smartcard-based, contactless payments market, announced a merger today. The new company, Smart Transactions Group is valued at $87 million and expects to generate revenue of $15 million in 2011.

ACT specializes in retail reward programs and transit solutions for public transport. It handles 50 million transit transactions a month. sQuid supplies low-value, pre-paid payment cards for the education and retail sectors. sQuid payment cards are expected to be used in 10 million transactions this year. Neither payment system relies on existing bank or credit card infrastructure.

Smart Transactions Group’s payments business is growing at a double digit monthly rate, while transit transactions are expected to grow 50 percent in 2011. The new company will continue to expand its deployments in the UK and will target emerging markets such as Kenya and the United Arab Emirates. But more interestingly it also plans to launch NFC and mobile phone-based payments and ticketing.

Both companies are privately funded. ACT was formed in 2002 and sQuid in 2005.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Kleiner backs iAd leader’s new startup Session M

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iadsLars Albright, the entrepreneur whose technology now powers Apple’s iAds, has a new startup, and it just raised a $6.5 million round led by famed venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

The Session M website is pretty bare right now, featuring a brief note from Albright that only hints at what the Boston-headquartered company will be up to:

Our team at session M loves how mobile apps are changing the way people interact with content. As the app ecosystem continues its explosive growth, developers are looking for new ways to achieve higher rates of engagement, and deliver even more rewarding experiences to their users. This is where session M steps in.

Albright previously founded Quattro Wireless, the mobile ad startup that was acquired by Apple for $275 million. Quattro formed the basis of the company’s iAd platform for high-quality, media-rich mobile ads, and Albright led the iAd team. Albright now writes that he had “an incredible experience at Apple helping to launch and grow the iAd business.” The startup was just written up in BusinessWeek as part of a wave of companies founded by entrepreneurs who left Apple — a wave that also includes mobile social app Color, iPad magazine Flipboard, and tablet textbook maker Inkling.

Session M’s funding comes from Kleiner’s iFund for iPhone and iPad startups, as well as Highland Capital Partners (which also invested in Quattro) and “notable mobile industry leaders” whose names are not disclosed.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Has Really Done It This Time

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On top of all the other stuff- he’s gone and pissed off New York madam Kristin Davis, who Eliot Spitzer can confirm you do not want as an enemy.

Davis, as in, Eliot Spitzer’s favorite purveyor of prosties (and now woman who haunts his dreams). According to KD, DSK had her on speed-dial, and she’s outing him as a client now because he messed with her girls.

“He was a client of my agency,” she told The Daily Telegraph. “When men abuse women I’m no longer going to protect their identities.” Miss Davis, 35, who claims to have a long list of celebrity clients, said Mr Strauss-Kahn called her directly on her mobile phone and paid $1,200 cash for two-hour sessions in hotel rooms.

“He wanted an ‘All-American girl’, with a fresh face, from the mid-West,” she said. “A girl in January 2006 complained he was rough and angry, and said she didn’t want to see him again”.

[Telegraph]



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Apple: China Mobile Deal Coming, Says Ticonderoga

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Apple (AAPL) is closer to a deal to sell its iPhone through China Mobile (CHL), the world’s biggest carrier with 600 million subscribers, writes Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White this morning. White was responding to comments made by chairman Wang Jianzhou this morning at China Mobile’s annual investor meeting.

According to a piece this morning by Bloomberg’s Young-Sam Cho, Wang told the assembled that Apple may produce a version of the iPhone that will work on a forthcoming 4G wireless network standard for China, dubbed “TD-LTE,” having decided to bypass the current “TD-SCDMA” that supports only 3G wireless connections, he said.

White writes, “Keep in mind, China Mobile has more wireless subscribers than any carrier in the world with 601 million at the end of March or 69% market share in the country, while China represents the largest mobile phone market on the planet with 876 million subscribers.” China Mobile has the TD-LTE standard up and running in trials in several cities, he notes, and should spread that throughout the country over the next year to a year and a half.

White notes that during a trip to China in December, he observed that 3 million China Mobile subscribers were already using the iPhone via a special SIM card that the carrier offers that can be inserted into the phone, and Wang today said that the total subs using the iPhone on its network is now 4 million.

White says the introduction of the iPad 2 and the white iPhone 4 in China in recent weeks were met with “Apple fever,” meaning long lines and even some “scuffles,” in some instances.

White reiterates a Buy rating on Apple shares and a $612 price target.

Apple shares today are up 64 cents at $340.51.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily