Archive for the ‘Order’ tag
In order to clean your paintbrush sometimes you need to let it soak in paint thinner, but you don’t want the bristles touching the bottom as they will both bend and pick up residual paint from the bottom of the paint thinner jar. Instead, hang your paintbrush from an object such as a pegboard into a jar of paint thinner. More »
Lots of brands are forking over megabucks for Olympic sponsorship, ad placements and the like. In order to not get lost in that sea of branding, a brand has to do something pretty unique.
Enter BMW. They created mini, MINI replicas to fetch equipment like javelins, shot puts and discuses when they are thrown during the games and bring them back to the athletes.
Fluent is shutting down, or so you may have heard. It’s no surprise that a startup has failed – most do. It’s no surprise that an ambitious, bite-off-more-than-you-can-chew startup that went so far as to proclaim it was inventing “the future of email” is shutting down – that’s a hefty order for anyone to fill. And it’s no surprise that a company based in Australia (which to most VC’s may as well be the moon), couldn’t raise enough funding to continue …well, that’s no surprise, but it’s pretty sad.
What may end up being the bigger takeaway here for anyone daring to tackle one of those frighteningly ambitious startup ideas is that they should know that they’re taking on a damned near impossible task. Because if anyone can build a better Gmail, the one that’s best positioned to do so is Gmail itself.
Investors: Fluent Is “Too Ambitious”
That’s what Fluent co-founder Dhanji Prasanna tells me, at least, when I asked him if anyone could ever really take on Gmail. And Fluent’s potential investors agreed. “Many thought getting users to switch from Gmail was too ambitious,” he says. This, even though Fluent wasn’t asking people to actually switch email providers. It was just another way to interact with the service, similar to Sparrow. A new UI.
It also didn’t help that an investor pulled out at the last minute, due to a conflict of interest. “We could have taken the rest of the round and kept on, but then we’d be back at the raising table a lot sooner than we liked,” says Prasanna.
But the fact that Fluent was a new URL, as opposed to an app (like Sparrow), was a sticking point. “In both the literal and metaphorical senses, the muscle memory of `g-m-a-i-l.com` is just too powerful to overcome,” Prasanna told me, when explaining what happened at the startup. “This is not to say you can’t build a popular email service, but what we attempted was an enormous uphill challenge.”
Co-founder Cameron Adams agrees that it’s not something you can take on, if you don’t have the funding in place. “While trying to raise funds, the feedback that we got was that it was a great product and a great team but there was some trepidation at attacking the established email space,” says Adams. “We needed proof of quite large user numbers and growth – something we couldn’t supply with our own money.”
Gmail’s Baseline Is Too High To Beat
Prasanna also feels that the company got too caught up in trying to be a better Gmail, and early user feedback only served to highlight how far Fluent would have to go to beat the baseline Gmail had established. “Gmail is a fantastic service – it is the app I used the most bar none before Fluent,” he says. “For most users it is good enough. And therein lies the problem.”
“We were building feature parity with Gmail, while we should have been building out a can’t-live-without value feature like attachments or search,” he adds, ”i.e., something people would part with money for.”
Prasanna then recounted a story of meeting the CEO of Zimbra, who told him that he would simply walk out on a client if they were using Gmail – it’s just not worth trying to beat them, he told Prasanna. “There are a hundred little reasons why I think Fluent did things better than Gmail, but for most people Gmail is good enough,” Prasanna says. “And even if someone buys those hundred little reasons, they don’t necessarily add up to a single forcing function to switch.”
Turning Down Acqui-hires & What Comes Next
In any event, he insists that the decision to shut down came long before the Sparrow acquisition by Google. And like Sparrow, they too had “acqui-hire” options presented from “the usual suspects, as well as other red-hot Valley startups.” But the founders wanted to move on to different things that appealed to each of them on a personal level. “Ultimately, the financial motive didn’t rule the day. I like to think we deserve some credit for that,” he says.
The good news is that their dream – that is, one that speaks not to building a Gmail killer, but of building a service that makes sense of your data and helps you discover new things – has not been entirely killed. It will just sit on the back burner for a while, Prasanna says. Or maybe it will be incorporated into new projects in the future, he muses. But none of the founders are working on email-related projects now. Adams is working on a design startup called Canva. Prasanna is joining a stealth mobile apps startup in San Francisco. The third co-founder Jochen Bekmann is keeping his project under wraps for now.
Can anyone kill Gmail? Maybe one day someone will, the founders still believe. But they’re going to need a large runway to do so.
Prasanna will be posting more about his thoughts later today here on his blog. He adds that he doesn’t speak for the whole team.
Quite possibly the silliest – but definitely the most enjoyable – piece of PR that I have received this week. Maybe even this year. Order yours today!
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Judge Lucy Koh issued an order on Thursday denying Samsung’s motion to use devices seen in the films “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Tomorrow People” to invalidate Apple’s design patents.
Here’s hoping you weren’t planning on using one of Google’s Nexus Qs any time soon — the company has just revealed to pre-order customers that it has postponed the device’s consumer launch because users wanted more out of the curious little orb.
That said, Google’s tiny media streamer has been unceremoniously yanked from the Google Play store. All interested consumers can do now is give the company their email address for future updates on the situation, as there’s no word yet on when Google expects that full-blown launch to take place.
Thankfully, there’s a silver lining to be found here: anyone who already pre-ordered the Nexus Q will receive a developer unit (a.k.a. the existing device that Google gave out in droves at I/O) for free. Seeing how the developer device is exactly what those customers pre-ordered in the first place, I’d say they’re making out pretty nicely. Still, there are some intriguing new questions at play now — what exactly does Google plan to add to the little guy to make it more of a competitor in a space already crowded with arguably superior hardware?
An actual user interface would be a nice place to start; while the dev model connects to a television just fine, users have to select content for the Nexus Q to play from a wirelessly-connected Android device. Being able to call up YouTube videos and movies from the Google Play Store directly on the television screen (perhaps using those additional Android devices as remotes) could help the Nexus better hold its own against the Apple TV and the Boxee Box. It wouldn’t be a shock to see Google cram support for more media sources into the thing too — Netflix, Hulu, and the like would be great additions to a device that otherwise lives solely within Google’s content ecosystem.
Google is playing its cards close to its metaphorical vest, but for now here’s the email notice in full courtesy of Droid-Life:
We have an important update about your Nexus Q pre-order.
When we announced Nexus Q at Google I/O, we gave away devices to attendees for an early preview. The industrial design and hardware were met with great enthusiasm. We also heard initial feedback from users that they want Nexus Q to do even more than it does today. In response, we have decided to postpone the consumer launch of Nexus Q while we work on making it even better.
To thank you for your early interest, we’d like to extend the Nexus Q preview to our pre-order customers and send you a free device. If you had other items in your order, your credit card will be charged for those items only.
Your Nexus Q will be on its way soon and you will receive a notification and tracking number from Google Play when it ships.
Apple on Thursday won a reprieve on a court order requiring the company to post notices on all its EU websites as well as a number of print publications proclaiming Samsung’s Galaxy Tab does not infringe on iPad design patents.
Microchip Giant ARM Reports Q2 Earnings: Sales £136M, Net Profit £39.4M, EPS Of £3.58; ‘Record Order Backlog’
ARM Holdings — supplier of microchips for Apple’s iPhone and iPad products, Samsung’s Galaxy line and soon technology for Microsoft’s Windows 8 devices — continues to report strong results while riding the wireless device boom and expanding to newer areas. The company reported Q2 earnings (ended June 30) of £135.5 million ($213 million), beating analyst estimates of $206 million. Net profit was up by 48 percent, to £39.4 million compared to £26.6 million for the same quarter a year ago.
Pointedly, the company is gearing up for continuing good fortune, at least for the next quarter: It says it has a “record order backlog” that will let it ride well into Q3, but cautioned that macroeconomic uncertainties may impact what happens in Q4.
“Macroeconomic uncertainty may impact consumer confidence, and some analysts have become less confident in the semiconductor industry outlook in the second half,” it noted in a statement. But it noted that it expects overall revenues for 2012 to be in line with market expectations. That consensus currently is for full-year revenues of $860 million.
Macroeconomic conditions were also an issue raised yesterday evening by Apple’s CEO Tim Cook during Apple’s Q3 earnings call. Apple views the problem to be mainly to Europe, with Cook noting that it didn’t seem to be impacting activity in other markets like China and the U.S. But he also noted that the European affect was being felt on the bottom line as a whole.
Overall, in Q2 ARM shipped 2 billion chips that were used in “a wide range of applications.” That number, it said, was up 9 percent year-on-year, while with industry shipments are actually down four percent. Indeed, ARM’s rival Intel last week reported a five percent increase in revenues to $13.5 billion but also noted that it saw a slowdown in sales due to people holding off purchases until the release of Windows 8.
ARM also noted that processor royalties grew 14 percent year-on-year compared with a decline in industry revenues of 7 percent.
In a statement, CEO Warren East noted that ARM’s royalty revenues are currently outperforming the wider semiconductor industry as ARM extends beyond the wireless devices that have helped make its name.
“This quarter we have seen multiple market leaders announce exciting new products including computers and servers from Dell and Microsoft, and embedded applications from Freescale and Toshiba,” he noted.
Vizio pulled off a sort of coup with the Co-Star. This $99 Google TV box packs more features than Sony’s latest model and is half the price. Plus, I think the novel UI looks better than the standard Google TV interface. The box, which was announced last month, is now available for pre-order. It costs $99 and will ship August 14th.
The Co-Star ships with a dual-sided remote: QWERTY on one side and a touchpad on the other. A dual-core Marvell Armada 1500 powers the device. It sports the typical apps such as Netflix and Amazon, but also Onlive, which is the Co-Star’s prime attraction.
Onlive turns the Co-Star into a legitimate gaming machine. Owners simply need to pair one of the OnLive controllers to the box. From there, as long as the owner pays for the Onlive service, games are streamed to the box. And as someone who has played with Onlive since the beginning, I can attest that the service has matured from a novelty to a real thing. There is a touch of latency, but it’s hardly noticeable after a few minutes of playing. It’s almost like your mind adjusts for it.
With OnLive, a good price and Vizio’s typical stellar distribution, the Co-Star could turn out to be the star player Google TV so desperately needs.
The film tracks the 2010 world Tetris championships and has captured awards at multiple film festival awards, including the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Austin Film festival. It also includes footage of legendary gamer John McAllister’s 50-hour Asteroids marathon world record attempt.
Tetris has the distinction of being the first game ever created in the Soviet Union and exported to the US, after being designed by Alexey Pajitnov in 1984. It was first available in the west on Commodore 64 and early IBM PCs, and came in number two on IGN’s list of the top 100 games of all time.
I’ve played and enjoyed Tetris, although I would not consider myself by any means a highly skilled player — or an ultimate fan. But watching the trailer is an education in itself:
“It’s the only video game that can be described as perfect,” says one fan. Another says it’s not just a game … it’s a history, an evolution.”
According to another, the trick to playing Tetris at a high level is to always be always almost dead.
Image credit: Appler/ShutterStock