tech in the spotlight

At 15, Google is Just Getting Started

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 27, 2013 11:56 AM

Happy birthday, Google!

The fabled internet company got its start 15 years ago when then Stanford students Larry Page and Sergey Brin conceived what is now arguably the world's most relevant tech company, moving beyond the web into mobile, automotive, and even health care. 

Topping $50 billion in sales last year, Google lays claim to a host of revolutionary projects and services that have changed the world and the way we live our lives. YouTube is the largest video site on the planet; Android is the dominant mobile phone operating system with 80 percent market share; Google X is crafting ‘moonshot’ projects like Google Glass and Project Loon; and just-announced startup Calico is set to address the biggest health concerns that challenge mortality.

How does one celebrate such remarkable achievements? With a homepage animation, of course.Continue reading...

mobile brands

Apple Eyes Emerging Markets with Colorful 5C, but 'Forward Thinking' 5S May Fall to Competitors

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 10, 2013 05:11 PM

The mobile industry's most highly anticipated event of the year has come and gone, leaving some innovation in its wake—but very little surprise. 

Today's iPhone event at Apple's Cupertino, Calif. headquarters confirmed a handful of rumors that have been circulating for weeks: two iPhones, the upgraded 5S and the more affordable, plastic 5C. The colorful 5C, which is essentially the iPhone 5 in a plastic shell, is the company's first foray into a value-centric device—a metric that will lend itself well in important mobile markets like China and India.

Available globally on Sept. 20, the two new devices will grant the company access into markets where it has previously encountered obstacles, though Cook and his colleagues did not mention any specific deal with China Mobile, the country's largest mobile provider. They did, however, highlight several providers in Japan that will offer the new iPhones

While more was revealed—additional details of iOS 7, updated camera functions, a new, faster processor chip—there was no mention of wearables, including Apple's eventual release of its rumored iWatch, leaving it more difficult to declare a winner in the latest mobile wars, especially between Apple and rival Samsung, which debuted its Galaxy Gear smartwatch and new Galaxy Note phablet last week.Continue reading...

brand partners

Google Forms Sweet Partnership with Nestle to Promote New OS: Android KitKat

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 4, 2013 10:43 AM

Google’s Android team apparently has a serious sweet tooth. Since 2009, each version of its operating system has been named after one sugary confection or another. Starting with cupcake and proceeding alphabetically through such treats as éclair, ice cream sandwich, and jelly bean, the system has announced its latest iteration—and the ultimate product placement: Android KitKat.

Google and Nestle have teamed up for a no-cash partnership that will include co-branding on KitKat candy packaging, as well as a branded sweepstakes. “We couldn’t imagine a better name for our Android K release than the tasty chocolate that’s been a favorite among the team since the early days of Android,” said Marc Vanlerberghe, Director of Android Marketing, according to a press release from Nestle.

Android chief Sundar Pichal revealed the new name, which was originally rumored to be Key Lime Pie, in a Google+ post and also announced that Android has passed one billion activations.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Kodak, Petco, Toyota and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 4, 2013 09:14 AM

In the News

Kodak officially ends bankruptcy.

Petco launches transformation effort.

Toyota announces hybrids recall.

Amazon unveils new Kindle, Matchbook service. 

Bank of America exits China bank stake.

Bison Council pushes acceptance of the meat.

Chick-fil-A offers free breakfast, with reservation.

Chrysler posts 12 percent sales gain in August as all brands ready for US sales reports today.

Google partners with Nestle to name new operating system.

Hershey boosts ad spending and sales have followed.

Johnson & Johnson adds red warning label on Tylenol over dosage concerns.

JCPenney finds love from other hedge funds.Continue reading...

mobile brands

Microsoft, Nokia Deal: Will Two Wrongs Make a Right?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 3, 2013 01:47 PM

In what may be the last notable move from exiting Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the company acquired Nokia's devices and services division and its intellectual property for $7.2 billion. 

While the brands have been connected since 2011, when Nokia adopted Microsoft's software across its smartphones, the merger will create a hardware and software supplier bolstered by the addition of Nokia's 32,000 employees. Ballmer believes that a deeper integration between devices, software, and services is required to compete with Google and Apple and that vertical integration will better finance the development of the Windows Phone platform.

While the deal at first glance seems to be a departure from the "One Microsoft" idea that Ballmer debuted in July under his restructuring plan, the company has outlined a connection between the success of its mobile venture and its other devices. "Success in phone is important to success in tablets. Success in tablets will help PCs.”Continue reading...

china

The Week in China: Taobao Brand Takeover, Shanzhai Cronut, Hello Kitty Planes and more

Posted by Abe Sauer on August 30, 2013 01:10 PM

China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.

This week: Zhejiang Satellite Television's "China Blue"... Nike's 100 percent recycled store... China's bra town… diaosi Mike Sui for Adidas... Mercedes hurting… Tiffany and Co. bling… Hong Kong's Kickstarter staffs up… Hello Kitty Boeing… I ♥ KM… WeChat in Mexico… Design Shanghai '13… Shanzhai cronuts... and more.Continue reading...

app watch

IKEA Enhances Retail Experience with App-Based Furniture Demo

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 7, 2013 03:57 PM

Never have sofa shock again. IKEA'a 2014 Catalog offers an augmented-reality function that allows consumers to check the size and fit of intended purchases in their own homes—virtually. 

Using an app, consumers can scan a specific product marked with a plus symbol in the print catalog, which then appears through the camera of a smartphone or tablet, allowing consumers to visualize what the piece of furniture will look like in a room.Continue reading...

repositioning

Zagat Relaunches with New Content, Plans for Expansion

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 30, 2013 04:39 PM

Google has given Zagat, the restaurant review service it acquired in 2011, a digital facelift. The company relaunched Zagat's website and mobile apps for iOS and Android, and dropped all paywalls and pre-registration requirements from the service.

Google will also expand the service's reach from nine major US cities to over 50 US and international destinations and will include reviews to cover hotels, shopping and “other places of interest." In an additional tie-in, users can now book dining reservations through Open Table and view menus before arrival.Continue reading...

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