On the heels of a major reorganization, Foursquare is reportedly losing its Chief Operating Officer Evan Cohen and veteran business development head Holger Luedorf. “The departures come at a vulnerable moment,” Re/Code reports. Regarding the company’s recent splitting into two distinct services, Re/Code notes: “Observers wonder how well Foursquare can make its transition from one type of check-in app to local discovery software for smartphones, and whether the company has peaked in popularity.”
Google is reportedly developing a tablet that can capture three-dimensional images of objects. “Run out of the company's Advanced Technology and Projects group, Project Tango [as the 3D research project is being call] released a prototype smartphone in February,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “The technology demonstrated in the smartphone could be used for improved indoor navigation for the visually-impaired, step-by-step directions within stores, as well as for more immersive videogames.”
Making a big move into video, Yelp will soon let users upload short clips in the same way that they can currently upload photos. “The idea of the new feature is to help reviewers fully capture the atmosphere of a restaurant, store, or other small business, better than they could with photos alone,” Business Insider reports. “Each video can be between 3 and 12 seconds long, and Yelp will start introducing the ability to upload videos to its ‘Elite users’ in early June, before rolling the feature out to everyone else.”
During the first quarter of the year, Apple remained the single largest U.S. smartphone vendor, according to the latest findings from Counterpoint. “Apple's iOS claimed 36.9% of U.S. smartphones sold in the quarter, outside of the Android (59.2%), Windows Mobile (3.6%) and Blackberry (0.3%) sales,” reports AppleInsider.com. “Apple accounted for the largest share of smartphones for three of the top four U.S. mobile carriers.”
Think getting ads to work on smartphones is tough? Try a thermostat. Marketers could soon be faced with that challenge if Google gets its way. In a newly revealed letter to the SEC, the company said it could someday be serving ads on ‘refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities,’” The Verge reports. “As the definition of ‘mobile’ expands, the company argued, it could encompass nearly any device that isn't a conventional computer.” No wonder Google just dropped $3.2 billion on Nest, the next-generation thermostat and smoke detector.
Amazon has reportedly invested $20 million into Shanghai-based online food vendor Yummy77. “It is the first time for the U.S. e-commerce giant to invest in a Chinese company,” reports TechNode.com. “Amazon disclosed that it will hold a minority stake in Yummy77, which will continue its independent operation after the funding.” Yummy77 has aspirations to expand beyond Shanghai.
Squaring up against payment processing leaders like Square and PayPal, Groupon plans to provide partner merchants with a checkout system, dubbed Gnome, which includes payment processing. The proprietary system will come installed in an iPad, which Groupon will be giving away to each of its partner. The service, however, will cost merchants $10 a month. As GigaOm notes, “Groupon already sold a point-of-sale product, called Breadcrumb, but it cost $100 monthly for a single iPad rental in addition to payment processing fees.”
How small can computer screens get? Well, at least as an accompaniment to larger screens, some 700,000 consumers around the world bought a smartwatch during the first quarter of 2014, according to a new report by Strategy Analytics. So far dominating the market, Samsung sold about 500,000, or just over 70%, of the connected watches. “Those numbers are a significant increase over the company’s performance in the previous year … where it sold 1M units overall, with a marketshare of 52%,” Android Beat notes.
Google just lost its lead Glass electrical engineer, Adrian Wong, to Facebook’s Oculus unit. At the same time, the search giant has tapped Ivy Ross, currently Art.com’s CMO, to head up the Glass division. “It’s possible that Google is looking for someone to turn Glass’ perception around as it makes itself available to the normals, someone to take it from a ‘niche’ dorky gadget … to the next frontier in mobile computing,” TechCrunch writes.
Media types are still digesting an internal “Innovation” report from The New York Times, which leaked this week following the dismissal of executive editor Jill Abramson. Joshua Benton of the Nieman Journalism Lab describes the memo as “one of the most remarkable documents I’ve seen in my years running the Lab.” Calling the report “raw,” Benton adds: “You can sense the frayed nerves and the frustration at a newsroom that is, for all its digital successes, still in many ways oriented toward an old model.”