As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.
Secret founder doesn't care if teenagers kill themselves, as long as they don't cause a PR headache
It took me a while to understand what Byttow was saying, and even longer to come to terms with how sociopathically callous he apparently is when it comes to human life.
Microsoft's Four Biggest Problems
Where is Microsoft headed in the next three to five years? Will it continue to slog along, as it has been for the past several years, riding its PC legacy and expanding its footing in the cloud, while its market is increasingly defined by business users instead of consumers?
With Satya Nadella now at the wheel, it’s clear that Microsoft is looking for a new direction. Nadella has famously said that the company is shifting to a “mobile-first, cloud-first” mentality, although so far the company only seems to be making headway in the latter.
To better understand where Microsoft is headed, it’s important to look at the main problems it faces.
Microsoft’s biggest, most glaring shortcoming is. of course, the fact that it hasn’t yet figured out how to gain a foothold in the mobile market. At the present time, Microsoft’s mobile market share amounts to just 3.5 percent. That’s a dismal number, especially compared with Apple’s 14.8 percent and Google/Android’s 80.2 percent. Additionally, its Surface tablet has only been able to garner less than 3 percent of the tablet market. This makes Windows the only major operating system that doesn’t have a viable mobile component. Why does this matter? As personal habits have shifted to a mobile-computing model, this is where the money is. About 53 percent of Apple’s revenues last quarter came from iPhone sales. In general, the desktop and laptop markets have been in decline, as consumers are relying more on tablets. This doesn’t mean laptops and desktops are being eliminated, but it does mean that a household that once would have bought two laptops now buys just one and uses a tablet for the second device. But there’s also another reason that this is important: Having a strong mobile arm is important for keeping consumers within a brand’s ecosystem. If I own a Microsoft PC but buy an iPhone, I’m more likely to buy an iPad over a Windows 8 tablet, and eventually, when it’s time to buy a new laptop or desktop (assuming I don’t just use a tablet instead), I’m also more at risk of leaving Windows to go with a Mac. Additionally, if I buy an Android phone or a Nexus tablet, I’m also more likely to try Google’s ecosystem in other ways, like trying its Office rival product, Google Drive. Because Microsoft doesn’t have a viable mobile platform, consumers must go elsewhere, to Apple or Google, and once they do, they’re more likely to stay there.
There is one potential bright spot here for Microsoft. A new report by Gartner found that one of the fastest-growing devices today is the “premium ultramobile category,” which consists mostly of the MacBook Air and Microsoft’s Surface Pro — although high-end ultrabooks by Lenovo, Dell, HP and Acer are also in this category. The research firm is forecasting premium ultramobile devices to grow by 50 percent this year and 70 percent next year. And by the end of 2015, 80 percent of all premium ultramobile devices on the market will be Microsoft’s.
What should Microsoft do? Personally, I think Windows 8 is a solid platform, and the Nokia hardware itself is also excellent, so the problem isn’t with the quality of its products; it’s with getting people to take a chance on them. How does Microsoft do this? Cut prices on its mobile line, across the board. If Microsoft could offer deep discounts on smartphones and tablets on a par with Google and Amazon, they will gain traction in the marketplace. They could also leverage Office and Xbox to increase the value add for these devices; after all, a tablet or phone that offered free Office 365 or free Xbox game titles would be a real draw for consumers.
Another problem for Microsoft is that its ecosystem isn’t standing up to the competition. Of course, Office 365 is the exception to this — and it’s a huge one, no doubt. But its Windows Store is about one-fifth the size of the App Store and Google Play, it doesn’t have a viable rival to iTunes (unless you count Xbox Music), Google’s Chrome browser surpassed Internet Explorer in total market share for the first time this month (and IE has lost roughly 50 percentage points since 2008), Bing remains a distant second to Google Search (18.7 percent versus 67.6 percent, respectively), and Microsoft only recently released a free online version of Office — Microsoft Office Online — in response to Google Drive. Having a robust ecosystem is critical to retaining customers and growing device sales, and Microsoft clearly has a long way to go here. On the bright side, Outlook.com gained the same number of users as Gmail within a few months of launching last year, and it remains popular. Its Office Online product has also been highly rated.
What should Microsoft do? Microsoft has to get more apps in its store, but it’s a chicken-and-egg kind of problem: Developers don’t want to build apps that there isn’t demand for, and consumers don’t want a phone that doesn’t come with all their favorite apps. Microsoft has to find a way to incentivize developers. It could do so by paying app developers outright, offering higher margins on sales and offering consumers significant credit toward app purchases. Of course, by slashing prices on its mobile line to generate more sales, it will solve this problem more directly.
Is Microsoft out of touch with consumers? Over the past few years Microsoft has seen its influence waning, and it’s also made a number of key mistakes. For instance, the company waited almost three and a half years after the first iPhone debuted before launching its own modern smartphone operating system, Windows Phone 7 (which failed miserably); it took two years to launch its first tablet after the iPad; it went all in with a new operating system for PCs as well as mobile, Windows 8, which uses a metro-tile interface that is best used with a touchscreen device, not a standard mouse and keyboard, as most consumers have; its latest iteration of the Xbox game console was positioned as an all-in-one entertainment unit for the living room instead of as a pure gaming device, was priced $100 higher than the PlayStation 4 and required a $60-per-year membership fee just to be able to use Netflix, Hulu and other apps; etc. Its product pricing continues to be out of step with consumers, as it’s overpriced several key products — Xbox One, Surface, Windows Phone and Office — and then had to slash prices later.
What should Microsoft do? Again, a better pricing strategy is what’s needed most of all. Microsoft has to stop taking the premium-model approach with many of its products — phones, tablets, laptops, Xbox. Microsoft also needs to stop pushing the Windows 8 metro-tile interface as a universal solution for its mobile devices, laptops and PCs. On a mobile device it makes sense, but for traditional computers it’s just not what consumers want right now.
One of the reasons that Microsoft came to dominate the PC market was that it licensed the Windows operating system to a wide array of third-party manufacturers like HP, Dell, Samsung, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, etc., which all flooded the market with cheap products. These are the same manufacturers that today are producing Windows 8 laptops, ultrabooks and tablets. Without this large group of manufacturers behind it, Microsoft would face even greater competition in the markets that matter. But it’s a mixed blessing: With this entanglement of third-party companies, Microsoft doesn’t have the ability to control the design, style, features, marketing and pricing of the majority of its Windows products. Microsoft has tried to overcome this by buying Nokia and producing its own branded tablet, the Surface, but in so doing it’s run the risk of alienating its tablet partners, and, as a result, the Surface has always been priced considerably higher than third-party Windows 8 tablets. Overall, Microsoft’s manufacturer partnerships are a net positive for the company, but this lack of control over its products makes it harder to control the brand and innovate with new features and designs.
What should Microsoft do? This is one area where there’s not much that Microsoft can do. Its manufacturer partnerships are simply too important to risk. The company should discontinue its Surface line and focus instead on the Surface Pro, where it can charge a premium and the market is growing fast, and on the Nokia handsets, where it doesn’t face as much partner competition.
This Mesmerizing GoPro Video Will Make You Feel Like A Wildly Spinning 'Human Coin'
If you’ve been to a Cirque du Soleil show in the past decade, you’ve probably seen a Cyr Wheel in action. Invented in 2003 by acrobat Daniel Cyr, the lightweight apparatus allows brave people to seemingly defy gravity as they spin all over the place. In “The Human Coin” — posted below — the Taiwanese street performer Isaac Hou invites us to fly vicariously with him, as he works a Cyr Wheel with a camera strategically attached inside, extending the life of the GoPro video genre even longer.
Uber taxi app 'competing unfairly'
The Uber taxi app is “competing unfairly” with London’s black cabs, senior Labour MP Margaret Hodge says.
VIDEO: Cyber extortion a growing threat
Newsnight’s David Grossman reports on the growing threat to technology companies posed by cyber extortionists.
Forums: iOS 8 questions and discussion
With the Beta release of Yosemite in the hands of a million Mac owners, and questions about that subsiding, the next big question in the MacNN forums is about the future of iOS 8. Forum-goers discuss the future of the Mac desktop in two different threads, one asking if a consumer Mac Pro might surface, and the other questioning the possibility of a Retina iMac.
Tech firms hit by cyber extortion
Tech firms hit by threats to take them offline
Google And Facebook Will Now Pay At Least $3.55 Each Time They Use A SF Bus Stop
By Jennifer Baires
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Commuter shuttles run by Google Inc, Facebook Inc and other Silicon Valley companies began paying on Friday to make stops at San Francisco bus stations after protests blamed them for gentrification.
The private buses, which for years have taken tech workers from San Francisco to their offices in Silicon Valley, have in recent months drawn criticism from groups who say that by catering to well-paid professionals, the buses lead to higher rents in diverse, low-income neighborhoods.
Protesters also have said the vehicles get in the way of municipal buses.
Under an 18-month pilot program that launched on Friday, the shuttle services will be allowed to use bus stops at over 100 locations throughout the city and in exchange they will pay at least $3.55 each time they pick up or drop off passengers, officials said.
The program has not completely quieted protests. A group of about two dozen demonstrators gathered in the Mission District on Friday to express continuing anger at the buses, which glided by them with their new, bright green permit placards.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) estimates there are 35,000 daily trips made on the shuttles, and that through this program it will raise $3.7 million to cover costs for making sure they run smoothly.
“We’re grateful to the SFMTA for taking the lead on the pilot and look forward to working with the city and participating shuttle operators to refine the program,” a Google spokesman said in a statement.
Richard Drury, lead attorney in a lawsuit filed in May against the city and a number of companies involved in the shuttle bus program, said exhaust fumes from the buses are a concern in neighborhoods where they operate.
“The Mission District, a historically Latino area, is ground zero for this program,” Drury said. “One of the main impacts of the program is that it allows high-income people to displace low-income residents in the Mission.”
His group is calling for the city to put more effort into studying effects of the shuttle buses.
SFMTA declined to comment on the lawsuit.
“For many years now we’ve had commuter shuttles operating within the city,” said SFMTA spokeswoman Kristen Holland. “They are large charter buses that are regulated as vehicles themselves, outside of our purview. We’re just regulating where they stop.” (Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Bernard Orr)
Going Through A Nasty Divorce? There's An App For That
Breaking up is hard to do, but a new startup seeks to make the painful process of divorce a little easier
The One Big Thing That Will Reduce Software Bugs, But No One Does It
This one simple change in the mindset of programmers can drastically reduce the number and seriousness of bugs. This change leads to software that works and is delivered on time. And yet, very few practice this approach.
This comes from the book No Bugs! (free downloadable copy here) which I wrote 25 years ago. And it’s still spot-on today. The key to significantly reducing bugs in software is (from the book):
A developer I know once said, “Bugs should not be called bugs, they should be called Massive F#@k-Ups [MFUs].” “Bug” connotes that some outside agency decided to infest your program with bugs and that if you live a clean life, and sacrifice small furry animals at the foot of your computer, they will go away.
MFUs exist because programs are written by people, and people make mistakes. The only way to eliminate MFUs is to go into your code, find the bugs, and fix them.
This is the most critical concept to understand (and the one most often blown off). You will write MFUs. You will sit down and with complete malice of forethought put MFUs in your code. Think about it – you know that you are the one putting the bugs in there. So if you sit down to code, you will be inserting some bugs.
And somebody needs to find them so you can remove them. No amount of designing, prototyping, CASE, reviewing, management, and so on, will avoid this.
This concept is important because it colors your approach to debugging your code. If you view mistakes as “bugs,” you hope none are found. (You hope the good fairy came by, sprinkled pixie dust, and the bugs left.) If you view the mistakes as MFUs, you know they unquestionably exist, and you hope to find all of them so that they can be fixed.
It’s a simple but powerful change in mindset that has tremendous impact. But it’s not easy to make this change. The resistance from most developers to this is strong because it means directly taking on the responsibility for the MFUs they inserted into the system.
Can you get your development team to take responsibility for adding MFUs to your code? If you can, the pay-off is gigantic.
Jimmy Fallon Honors Orlando Bloom And Justin Bieber's Fight With #DumbFight Hashtag
Justin Bieber and Orlando Bloom’s recent altercation is definitely the one stupid fight to rule them all. So in order to honor it properly, Jimmy Fallon started the hashtag #MyDumbFight.
The Bloom/Bieber “fight” is hard to top, but with stories about everything from being smacked with white gloves to arguing about the Little Caesars slogan, these tweets just might do it.
“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.
Neil deGrasse Tyson Says Media Misled Over Speed Of Light Story
Were physicists all wrong about the speed of light? You might think so, given the stories posted recently about a new paper suggesting that light travels a bit more slowly than the 186,000-miles-a-second figure that’s familiar to generations of science geeks.
The paper’s author, University of Maryland, Baltimore County physicist Dr. James Franson, said his work had been “sensationalized” in some of the stories, including one entitled “Physicist Suggests Speed Of Light Might Be Slower Than Thought.”
And Franson isn’t the only physicist who takes a dim view of the coverage. So does celebrated astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
“The speed of light has almost mythical significance in physics,” Tyson told The Huffington Post in an email. “But to be honest, the headline in this case needs to say something like ‘New Calculations Suggest that the Speed of Light May Be 0.0000003% Slower Than We Thought,’ which then might not have garnered any headlines at all.”
In the paper, Franson argues that a “corrected” value for the speed of light might help explain a puzzle stemming from observations of a supernova that exploded in 1987.
Following its explosion, astronomers observed photons (particles of light) and nearly massless particles known as neutrinos streaming from Supernova 1987a, Franson told The Huffington Post in an email, adding that photons and neutrinos have been thought to travel at roughly the same speed. But the first photons from the supernova, which was located in a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way known as the Large Magellanic Cloud, were observed much later than the first neutrinos — a discrepancy that astronomers were hard pressed to explain.
Franson’s paper offers calculations suggesting a possible explanation for the anomaly, as he explained in the email:
What is new about my calculations is that they suggest that a gravitational field may slow light down slightly more than it does other particles, such as neutrinos. Neutrinos have extremely small masses and they travel very nearly at the speed of light as a result. My calculations suggest that the velocity of light may be slowed down by a few parts per billion more than the neutrinos.
So if we’ve been wrong about the speed of light, it’s only by the tiniest bit. And Franson said that, in the absence of corroborating evidence, “we should be skeptical about these results.”
Tyson, too, stressed the preliminary nature of the calculations. “If the author’s calculations are correct,” he said in his email, “then the speed of light may drop measurably… If true, this would be an important result for physics.”
What’s the takeaway? Maybe this: When it comes to accepting a new value for fastest speed in the universe, let’s take it nice and slow.
Making the Internet Work for Democracy
A level playing field for the Internet got a powerful boost this week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) threw his support firmly behind protection of Net Neutrality in any new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decisions on regulation of the Internet. Senator Reid anticipates a fight. There’s a lot of money and power at stake in how the Web will be defined and regulated in the coming months. Will the Internet become a private market for information access? Or, will it remain a globally linked and open public square?
No doubt, every member of Congress has noticed the popular level of interest about equal access to online communications. Over a million comments have flooded the FCC. Open Internet advocates are demanding that equal access be the guiding principle of any updated regulatory framework. The dual strategy of pressuring both Congress and the Executive Branch has worked. A rally of public interest voices has created the political space to engage with our government on policy. So now that we have the attention of people in power, how do we get the open Internet that we want?
Political space — the time and interest of elected leaders — is not guaranteed to last. We need to make the benefits of an Internet-connected society more visible and permanent. Claiming this influential political real estate means that we must build a broad and deep support system for leaders willing to move forward. Why? Because building expectations is one thing; creating a system that maintains and enforces the goal is another. Today’s Congress has little capacity for technology policy in general. Our goal? Give Congress this capacity, starting with an open Internet.
Starting this weekend, Congress leaves town for more than a month. The August recess is a great time to show your support at home and demonstrate new networks of constituents who want a level playing field for Internet access. Remember, midterm elections are in November. Every member of the House and a third of the Senate is in campaign mode.
Here’s something you can do: Throw a Maker Party!
Maker parties are easily organized community events that gather like-minded people to create and share the Web. The week of August 4, a group of public interest champions led by the Mozilla Foundation is bringing the world together to support an open and free Internet. You might know Mozilla from the top of your screen — they created the open-source Firefox browser. You should also know that it is a values-based organization whose mission is to create a humane global community. The primary way they do this is by teaching and sharing web literacy skills to build bridges between our offline and online worlds. Mozilla Maker Parties are happening until mid-September (disclosure: I am currently working on a project for Mozilla).
The coalition of like-minded tech organizations (including Reddit) have made it easy for you. Here’s a DIY kit for a teach-in on Net Neutrality — sign up!
If you hold a net neutrality event, make sure to invite local elected leaders. Here’s some easy research to make this gathering attractive to your Member of Congress:
Find out who is already working in your neighborhood to create an open, democratic playing field for the web. Here’s a map of public interest Internet projects broken down by congressional district. It includes libraries, public safety, educational and healthcare themed locations. Invite them! Don’t forget to reach out to your local hackerspace.
Then go to www.house.gov and find your member. Scroll down for a clickable map. The Senate is here. What is her technology interest? Is he listed on the Golden Mouse awards? How did your member vote on privacy, intellectual property, cyber security? Is she a member of the new Congressional Maker Caucus? The Human Rights Commission? The Internet Caucus? Read a few committee oversight plans on your member’s website. Where does technology show up in his oversight responsibilities?
Our open Internet constituency should inform members in ways that are useful for them in their roles inside of Congress (as issue advocates, party leaders, individuals with specific committee assignments, caucus members, etc.) As a former congressional staffer, I can tell you that constituents who build helpful relationships — and who show up when you need them with well researched information — have outsized influence.
If you get the chance for a “big picture” conversation with your elected leader, it is also important to point out how the United States, in order to remain a leading democracy, must demonstrate that Americans value the equal opportunity to connect online. We don’t want to lose our chance to be an exemplary model for 21st-century democracy. After all, the point of having an open Internet is fundamentally democratic — it ensures a community where any individual can make and share with anyone else.
Making and sharing a democratic Internet couldn’t come at a better time. Our society needs to rebuild trust in shared purposes. The Internet was created by idealistic scientists and engineers. One dreamt, the other built. For the most part, there hasn’t been a lot of room in the technology utopia for politicians, or for government. This has to change. The problems we are facing are systemic — politics and government are unavoidable. Today, the right to be connected and to communicate must be understood as a requirement for social prosperity and safety, just like the interstate highway system was in the 1950s.
Keeping the Internet open and accessible will determine our capacity to be a representative democracy. The moment before us appears in the headlines as acronyms and bureaucratic rules but it really illustrates the difference between destiny and fate. You choose one, the other chooses you. We’ve just been handed an opportunity to participate in the future of democracy. Let’s not pass it up.
Leak claims redesigned home buttons for 4.7-, 5.5-inch iPhones
Photos obtained by a French site show what are claimed to be home buttons and connected flex cables for Apple’s 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhones, sometimes dubbed the iPhone 6 and iPhone Air, respectively. Both differ not only from the iPhone 5s, but each other, with the 4.7-inch phone for instance having a straight cable, and the 5.5-inch device having a slightly bent one. The buttons themselves are also visibly different. Significantly, identification numbers appear to match previous leaks and other parts from Apple.
WATCH: He's Related To Obama, Clinton And Einstein.. Here's How To Know If You Are Too
Could you be cousins with Barack Obama? What about Gwyneth Paltrow or Albert Einstein? It’s entirely possible. Find out why we’re all more connected than you might think.
We want to know what you think. Join the discussion by posting a comment below or tweeting #TEDWeekends. Interested in blogging for a future edition of TED Weekends? Email us at email@example.com.
Facebook Is Back
UPDATE: 3:00 p.m. — It’s back. You may now resume posting those photos of your beautiful cats/children/lunch.
Something weird is happening at Facebook. Sometimes it’s saying this…
And sometimes it’s refreshing just fine. Whatever is happening, remember that you’ll survive. We promise. We’ll let you know when it’s back.
CardioSmart Med Reminder app is a great resource for your patients
Have a patient who has trouble remembering to take their medications? Here’s an app that can help.
The post CardioSmart Med Reminder app is a great resource for your patients appeared first on iMedicalApps.
Keka: "MOMA Meets Dell" By Bringing Designers, Manufacturers & Consumers Together
Let’s say you’re in the market for some new Home Decor products because you’ve just moved and are looking at wide expanses of empty hardwood floors. You’re scouring the web for nice sofas, chairs, drapes, lamps and other accessories for your new home. And you have a theme with patterns in mind.
Let’s say you find a sofa that’s perfect in size, style and form for your needs on the IKEA website but you don’t like any of the patterns. When you’ve seen the pattern you wanted–if you’ve seen it elsewhere–the sofa is all wrong. So you want the IKEA sofa with your pattern. Can’t have it.
Or, perhaps you’re creating an Impressionist motif in your living room and want a Monet pattern lamp. You can’t find one. Can’t have it again.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have the home accouterments you want? Well, here’s why you can’t … yet.
For time immemorial, designers have had a huge distribution headache: getting their hard-fought designs into production with manufacturers of the products that would bear them. They had to be mini-Marketing machines; targeting the precise right products on which their designs could ride; kick-in those doors to start those conversations; negotiate the deals; quality-assure production; and so on ad nauseam.
Then after all that was done successfully, they were pillaged on the royalty end by a greedy supply/distribution chain which gave them only a teeny percentage of the profits. They were literally taken to the cleaners as too many middle men shared the pie.
And then, the manufacturers had to ensure they weren’t making too many of certain patterns lest they get caught with their inventory pants down, which puts more businesses out of business than anyone can imagine.
Finally, the distributors have always tried to tell–no, demand–of the designers, designs they thought their customers wanted but we’re frequently wrong, then leading to the designer’s sales suffering.
Well, Henry Lo has got a solution for all these headaches … simultaneously.
I interviewed Lo extensively for a “TechScape” column I wrote on him and his company, Solid Line Products (“Turning Your iPad into Bizpad“) in November, 2011. At that time, Lo had told me excitedly about how he not only was providing innovative cases for iPhones and iPads unavailable elsewhere but that he was seeing unusual activity in terms of his customers wanting to personalize their cases themselves … to design them their selves.
Lo was looking forward to expanding the personalization abilities of his company’s product line and this was a big topic of conversation between us. He was right in the throes of a new company forming, one which would afford his consumers the option of completely designing their products, cases initially, or of what I would call ‘micro-licensing’ well-known designers patterns for all of their products. All of a sudden, Lo found himself embroiled in a new, previously unknown world of enabling consumers to have real choice and their own choice too.
Little did he now it would take him almost three years. But Henry Lo is a patient man; a methodical man.
Keka is Lo’s new creation and he’s already signed-up more than 1,500 designers to provide their designs including thus far, sofas, chairs, lamps, dishware, pillows, coasters, travel bags and growing. The vehicles for Keka’s design network to rise are limitless. “Our designers are the heart and soul of Keka, where we have one of the largest communities of licensed surface pattern and fashion designers from around the globe,” Henry Lo said. “Our award-winning designers create for leading brands such as Vivienne Westwood, Alexander Wang, Kate Spade, Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein and many others.”
“In 2012, I was attending SURTEX in NYC,” Lo recalled, “and that was the real opportunity eye-opener for me.” SURTEX is the largest trade organization for pattern designers and shortly after Lo’s experience there, he started the thinking path that begot Keka. “We chose Home Decor because it’s brand agnostic. When people buy a chair, they want a Herman Miller chair but don’t want to pay that much; so they buy a replica that’s just as good.”
But the most important aspect of Lo’s vision for Keka, I think, is the consumer seeing the exact pattern they want on the product they want and that new dynamic empowering the entire design community that Lo’s building. It is all about the designers but the consumers are driving that innovative designer success.
Julia Minasian-designed, Keka dinnerware
Keka designer’ lampshades
Keka desginer fabrics for any soft goods
With Keka, you can have home furnishing designs that nobody else can have and/or design them yourself
But Henry Lo isn’t a Design guy learning about Technology. He’s coming at it from the other way around. He’s very much into “The Long Tail,” a retailing strategy proved successful by Apple, Amazon and Yahoo! “Not only is it a long tail,” Lo told me, “but it’s also wide in terms of all the designs that we can make available. We see ourselves reinvigorating manufacturing of all kinds while on our main mission of promoting designer’s designs.”
“I’m all about wiping out the inefficiencies in the marketplace. Keka helps our designers sell more products and get their designs on more stuff, and then help consumers buy more products with the designs they like on them. Because pattern outlives product life-cycles, Keka technology is enabling new markets.”
Shooting for nothing less than “the Democratization of Design,” as Lo refers to Keka’s mission, Keka has stealthily gone from 12 Keka’ designers in 2012 to over 1,500 today. Lo sees the opportunity for designers to create Keka ‘ collections carrying their designs as having huge dimensions. “Soon, we’ll have 2,000 designers with 10 designs each that equal 20,000 separate designs and then when they’re printed on 100 different products, we’ve got 2,000,000 beautifully designed products,” he predicted.
“The first marketing message was to the designers,” Lo said, “I think we accomplished that. The second message is to the consumer end, and get them all saying to themselves, “I can’t wait to share that design–or my design–with my friends!’ The third message is to Merchants/Retailers/ Distribution.”
Henry Lo takes an anarchistic, almost grass-roots approach to Keka’s business evolution. “It’s very disruptive how Keka and our designers challenge internal design teams which are being told by corporate marketers what they have to design. Let the people decide, let the consumers decide, let the crowd decide.
“We’re opening up high-end fabrics to the 3D printing renaissance that’s going on right now. The product is growing right now, whether the printing pattern is on fabric, stainless steel or porcelain. The problem we’re is solving is that consumers are confronted with too much choice when it comes to design choices. Keka connects consumers with the design choices that speak to them, and for them! The Home Decor sector is dependent on the supply-chain for choice. So we create more ways for individual designs to go to market.”
And traveling to market with Lo and Keka are his beloved designers. “We’re taking designers from their niche to whole new categories,” Lo exclaimed, “Who’s to say what designs are best? Let the crowd decide. At Pottery Barn, you can only buy the designs Pottery Barn likes.”
What’s Keka’s competitive advantage against a monolithic Pottery Barn? “How can a Pottery Barn’ internal design team, out-design Keka when they have such a huge cost structure and we don’t?” The answer of course is Pottery Barn couldn’t; Keka is like a large crowd-sourced army of designers.
Lo’s Keka has offices in San Francisco and London with eyes on opening a new NYC office soon. “We have an infrastructure of 10 employees to keep everything going but we sell a virtual product that’s real. So unlike the big retailers or big designers, we really can answer the consumer question, ‘ How can I get something I want quickly in three days from design-to-doorstep?’ We’re building a ‘MOMA meets Dell’ type company in Keka.”
“Our success is really through the success of our designer community,” Lo concluded, “If they can succeed by selling a entire collection through Keka … BOOM!”
5 Hot Rumors Surrounding the iPhone 6
When an iPhone release is coming up, people typically envision long lines in front of the Apple store, full of people who camped out the night before. Today, this depiction still isn’t far from the truth.
With every new release, Apple lovers everywhere become filled with uncontainable excitement. As Apple prepares to release the iPhone 6, fans can’t wait to see what the tech giant has up its sleeves.
In recent years, critics have been quick to claim that the iPhone has undergone little change since its early days, only incorporating minor updates with each release. However, this hasn’t been enough to hinder the anticipation of the iPhone 6. Although a specific release date has not been announced, some experts speculate that it will be in September 2014. Until then, here are some tantalizing rumors to hold you over.
Rumor No. 1: It will have a larger screen
One of the biggest rumors swirling around is that Apple is trying to get in on the large smartphone market with a wide screen of its own. The iPhone 6 may incorporate just that – a large screen that can compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5.
TechRadar reports that Apple may even be intent on releasing two versions of the iPhone 6, which would have different screen sizes to please all of its consumers. Each phone would have an HD display, but once again, there’s no confirmation on any of these rumors.
A majority of the tips on the new iPhone 6 screen resolution are coming from Apple insiders who have seen the testing going on behind the scenes. Apple is allegedly working on an 1704×960 resolution, but we won’t know for sure until the product is released and we can feast our eyes on it ourselves.
In general, smartphone users have been favoring devices that have larger screens. Big screens make phones ideal for activities such as gaming and viewing videos.
Rumor No. 2: It will be even thinner than the iPhone 5s
Gone are the days when smartphones were big, bulky devices. Although the iPhone 5s may seem slim, it can be even slimmer. Don’t believe it? A new video supposedly showcases the iPhone 6 and compares it to the iPod Touch, displaying a noticeable difference in size.
Just because the iPhone 6 screen may be larger doesn’t mean it’s going to be bulkier. In fact, rumors are swirling that the iPhone 6 itself is going to be thinner and lighter than its predecessor.
The iPhone 5 has a “boxy” look and feel to it, which will presumably be eliminated if this rumor is true. The iPhone 6 appears to be slimmer, curvier and more chic. Although this may not seem like a big difference to some, it could be a selling point for consumers who want a lighter phone. This is similar to how the fingerprint scanner drew attention from security junkies when it initially debuted.
Rumor No. 3: Sapphire crystal is in the works
Sapphire crystal may sound exotic for a piece of technology, but the iPhone 6 may feature it when it debuts. The iPhone has already utilized sapphire crystal in the past for items like its camera lens, according to MacRumors, but now it may use it for the screen as well.
Sapphire crystal is known for being durable, which would benefit those prone to dropping their phone. Earlier this year, Apple partnered with GT Advanced, which was thought to be a move to dramatically increase its production of sapphire crystal. This would add more support to the rumor that it will be included in iPhone 6 displays when they debut.
Rumor No. 4: It will be a lot faster
Gone are the days when we needed to wait for our phones to slowly load websites on the go. In the past, the iPhone has done a good job of making Web surfing a breeze, but it will become even easier for those who have the iPhone 6. Laptop Magazine reported that the iPhone 6 will potentially include a 20-nanometer quad-core, 64-bit A8 CPU. This would make it noticeably faster when browsing the Internet, processing graphics and running apps. Those who want a smartphone who can help them tackle their to-do list faster will appreciate the A8 if it’s indeed included in the iPhone 6.
Rumor No. 5: Shaky photos will be a thing of the past
While the camera is not rumored to be receiving an upgrade, Apple is rumored to be eliminating “shaky” photos. This means that the camera will include optical image stabilization so that you can snap photos continuously without having to worry about a blur.
Some sources have reported that the iPhone 6 will include a larger 10-MP sensor with a f/1.8 aperture lens, as well as a filter around the lens itself. However, there’s no confirmation on any of these rumors – photography buffs will have to wait and see what Apple reveals when the phone comes out.
While there’s hardly anything to report directly from Apple in terms of the iPhone 6, the rumors that have been flying around are giving consumers plenty to consider. Will consumers adapt to a smartphone that allows them to view videos more easily? Are they looking for a phone that has a faster processor? Only time will tell what the iPhone 6 will bring, as well as how consumers will react to Apple’s new product.
Image credit: Senate.gov (public domain)
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