Monday, January 25, 2010
  • Gavin O'Malley, January 25, 2010, 1:44 PM
  • With the launch of what Apple is calling its "latest creation" just days away, it's officially Tablet Week for the entire industry.

    Publishers recently contacted by Apple about the launch tell 9to5Mac blog to expect a major partnership announcement, likely with "all of the major publishers."

    They also say Apple has been pitching itself against Amazon's model, arguing that its own "Agency model" gives publishers more control and freedom over pricing.

    Corroborating multiple accounts, the publishers describe the tablet as "a very-readable 10-inch glass screen smaller in size than the Kindle DX with a similar weight," but insist that it won't cost anywhere near the $1,000 price-point being reported elsewhere.

    Meanwhile, rumor has it that Steve Jobs is telling friends and colleagues, "This will be the most important thing I've ever done" -- referring to the soon-to-be-launched Apple Tablet.

    Claiming to have "detected" Tablet testing on Apple's Cupertino campus, mobile app analytics startup Flurry observed roughly 200 different applications in use. Because the vast majority of detected app are related to gaming and entertainment, Flurry is calling the tablet a "media machine."

    "Historically, tablet devices have been considered substitutes for anything where workers use clipboards, note pads or day runners," Flurry adds. "However, there was a surprising dearth of applications that support these use cases ... Instead, the largest category was games ... With a larger screen, more memory, multi-touch and multi-tasking expected, games will play better than ever on Apple handheld devices."

    Similarly, The New York Times sees the apps market -- already booming thanks to the iPhone and Android-supported mobile devices -- flourishing under the reign of the tablet.

    Citing Flurry, The Times writes: "The tablet ... will run applications designed for the iPhone, judging from data that an app-tracking company is picking up from devices in use around Apple's headquarters."

    Adds The Times: "But the larger screen -- most likely 10 inches diagonally -- and other features of the tablet could inspire developers to create new twists on apps, like games that two or more people can easily play at once on the same device." Read the whole story...
  • The Business Insider says it has "Revealed!" Facebook's plans to double its revenue, by giving users of its most popular game -- Zynga's FarmVille -- the ability to buy virtual goods -- in this case, tractors and seeds -- using "Pay With Facebook." In other works, Facebook will become the default payments system on its application platform. And, with 75 million monthly active users and 25 million daily active users, FarmVille is big business.

    As such, according to The Business Insider, some execs even think payments revenues can match or exceed Facebook's ad revenues. "Pay With Facebook" is already an option for games icluding Zynga's "Pirates: Rule the Caribbean!," Playfish's "Restaurant City," and Crowdstar's "Happy Aquarium." For the service, sources tell The Business Insider that Facebook plans to charge developers about 30% per transaction. Read the whole story...
  • Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan has a little -- actually a lot -- of search engine optimization advice for Bill Gates to help him better optimize his new blog. It ranked fourth on Google when Sullivan first searched for "bill gates blog" -- and now ranks behind Sullivan's own post on the subject. Worse still, it didn't even show up on Bing.

    Sullivan tells Bill that one of the most important elements in controlling rank is a page's title tags. "Ideally, each page on your web site has a title that reflects the terms you hope that page will be found for," he tells Bill. "Even more ideally, you've done a little keyword research to better refine those terms." Another problem is that every page on Bill's Web site has the same title, even though each page is about a different topic. "This is the same as publishing a bunch of different books, on different topics, but giving them all the same title," says Sullivan. "It hurts your potential to be found for what those pages are about ... It hurts the chances for people trying to find the good information you're putting out to locate it." Read the whole story...
  • StockTwits, which VentureBeat describes as "a sort of Motley Fool 2.0 for sharing investment information," has purchased financial news site Abnormal Returns. Terms of the deal are not being disclosed. The idea behind the acquisition is to fold the two services into one another -- along with stock charts startup chart.ly, which StockTwits bought last year -- into a real-time financial news hub.

    Investor information about Abnormal Returns is apparently hard to come by, but VentureBeat says "It's presumed to be privately funded on the cheap by founder Tadas Viskanta." StockTwits was originally built entirely on top of Twitter, but late last year debuted a desktop version, and migrated to its own messaging platform. If they prefer, users can still post messages to StockTwits through Twitter. Read the whole story...
  • In the age of Facebook and Twitter, it's instructive to know just how many friendships the human brain is really able to handle. The answer? 150, according to a new study published by Robin Dunbar, professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford University. His research reveals that while social networking sites allow us to maintain more relationships, the number of "meaningful friendships" is the same as it has been throughout history.

    Dunbar developed a theory known as "Dunbar's number" in the 1990s, which claimed that the size of our neocortex -- the part of the brain used for conscious thought and language -- limits us to managing social circles of around 150 friends, no matter how sociable we are, or how larger our Facebook networks. Dunbar, in case you're wondering, derived the limit from studying social groupings in a variety of societies -- from neolithic villages to modern office environments. Read the whole story...
  • With an eye on TV Everywhere, Brightcove is introducing a new "solution pack" that will give broadcasters and cable networks tools to roll out new video services tied to consumer cable subscriptions. The TV Everywhere Solution Pack, so-called, is built on top of the company's recently released Brightcove 4 video platform, adding support for authentication and rights management that are largely considered necessary for new premium video services.

    TV Everywhere, if you weren't aware, is an industry-wide effort by programmers and cable companies to give customers on-demand access to the content they've already subscribed to. To date, many major media companies have used in-house solutions to manage the distribution of their video assets online. The high expense of the expertise and technology required to roll out TV Everywhere-type services is causing many to rethink that strategy, according to Jeff Whatcott, Brightcove vice president of marketing. Read the whole story...