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Chrome, Vine, Yahoo use on the rise for iOS users

There’s nothing like getting real application usage data from real users. And Onavo provides that for “a few million” iOS users of its data compression service.  The big winners according to Onavo’s latest rankings were: Vine, Chrome, and (once again) Yahoo apps.

Since launching in January on iOS, Vine grew from 1.77 percent of U.S. iPhone users for that month to 10.7 percent in May. And the number of Vine users grew an impressive 39.9 percent from April to May. Google Chrome — which is also arrived on iOS last summer – also saw increased usage — perhaps because iPhone users aren’t thrilled with Safari. According to Onavo: “During the first quarter, Chrome stayed relatively stable around 10 percent, but in April it jumped up to 14.3 percent and in May it jumped further to 17.4 percent.”

But pictures are worth a thousand words:

Vine usage by iOS users

Google Chrome use by iOS users

And, it appears that the uptick in use of Yahoo apps that Onavo previously tracked is continuing, perhaps due to a recent Flickr app refresh and the introduction of its Apple award-winning Weather app.

  • Yahoo Weather grew 31.9 percent to 3.73 percent of users in May from 2.83 percent in April.
  • Mail gained 6.91 percent to 2.13 percent of users in May from 2 percent in April.
  • Flickr gained 41.3 percent to 1.15 percent in May from 0.81 percent in April.

Yahoo apps usage on iOS

Onavo has access to this behavior data because its free iOS app helps iPhone and iPad users minimize their monthly bandwidth charges by compressing application data in the cloud. In return, users provide Onavo with information about how long they actually engage with their apps.

Swedes say no to Google Apps for government use

A division of the Swedish government has prohibited government offices from using Google Apps, according to a report Thursday from privacy blogger Simon Davies.

The ruling on the case involving the Swedish city of Salem, dating to a case originally considered in 2011 involving compliance with 1998 legislation, is binding to all municipal bodies and federal agencies, Davies wrote.

The news of clamping down on government employees’ use of document storage, spreadsheets, calendars, collaborative documents, email and other services, the Swedish government’s Data Inspection Board comes as a result of issues surrounding Google’s contract policies, Davies wrote.

Davies wondered if schools might end up becoming disillusioned with cloud applications, too.

It’s fair to view the news as the latest proof point in the resistance to relying on shared infrastructure certain United States companies run because the U.S. government can access data. The revelations on the PRISM program got that ball rolling again in recent days, sparking renewed curiosity about what the European Union will end up doing to protect citizens’ personal data, and this news arguably contributes to the sentiment.

On top of that, the news could heighten further the divide between U.S. cloud and European cloud and shows the need for more infrastructure catering to the needs of smaller populations — say, for the European Union.

FDA to medical-device manufacturers: batten the hatches, the hackers are coming

The evils of the internet are seeping into the increasingly connected world of health care. On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration called on medical device manufacturers to double down on security, referencing an increase in cyberattacks against medical devices and hospital network operations.

Over the years, the health-care system has built up it reliance on technology — from patient-monitoring devices to pacemakers to electronic health records — in efforts to improve patient care and boost efficiency. But the FDA said it’s become more aware of security shortcomings and incidents that could put hospital operations and patients at risk. For example, it said:

  • Medical devices are becoming infected with and disabled by malware.
  • Patient data, monitoring systems and implanted patient devices are being compromised by malware in smartphones and mobile devices.
  • Passwords for privileged device access aren’t being properly protected.
  • Older devices aren’t getting timely security updates and passwords.

“Over the last year, we’ve seen an uptick that has increased our concern,” William Maisel, deputy director of science and chief scientist at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, told The Washington Post. “The type and breadth of incidents has increased.” Previously, he told the Post that they heard about security issues once or twice a year; now, he said they hear about problems weekly or monthly.

The heightened FDA comes on the heels of mounting reports from government agencies and independent researchers about cybersecurity holes in health care.

In the draft guidelines released Thursday, the FDA encouraged medical device makers to review their policies and practices to make sure security protections are in place. For example: finding ways to limit unauthorized device access to trusted users only or implementing “fail-safe modes” that ensure a device’s critical functionality even when compromised. The agency said that later, it will issue final guidelines that could enable it to block the release of devices that don’t meet its standards.

As we’ve covered before, the FDA is expected to release final guidance on how it will regulate mobile health technology later this year, so presumably, these new recommendations will apply to a subset of mobile health apps as well.

Wearable technology: This time it’s a $2,000 helmet

MobileBeat 2013

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A helmet-mounted display may be available to motorcyclists as early as 2014. While you won’t be able to use it to fire off weapons, like combat pilots do from their helmets in jet planes or helicopters, it will navigate you to your destination with ease and in style.

Russian startup LiveMap is working on a state-of-art motorcycle helmet with a built-in navigation system that accepts voice commands.

Touchscreen navigators and paper maps aren’t that useful to riders while on their motorcycles, so LiveMap’s gadget addresses this problem with augmented-reality such as full-color, translucent pictures projected on the visor. It will come fitted with a microphone for voice control, a set of earphones, a light sensor for adjusting image brightness, and batteries along with a G-sensor, gyroscope, and digital compass for head movement tracking.

Chief executive Andrew Artishchev calls it the “helmet from Iron Man.”

LiveMap has been working on the project for last five years. It has conjured up prototypes for the outer shell, electronic board, optics, and software with the support of Moscow Department of Science and other foundations.

Now the team hopes to ramp up its development, conduct testing, and obtain certifications before they put it into industrial production for a late 2014 release. The gadget is expected to debut in United States and Canada.

To take it to production, LiveMap is looking to raise $150,000 via crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo. The campaign will run until July 12. With a $1,500 contribution, you can own a limited “Hero Edition” helmet. The helmet is expected to retail at $2,000.

Lines between science-fiction and reality seem to be blurring, and after Google Glass and MYO, wearable technology seems to be catching on.

Image credit: LiveMap

iOS 7: Share or delete photos before entering a passcode with this new bug

MobileBeat 2013

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A new bug in iOS 7, Apple’s newest mobile operating system, gets you past the lock screen to perform some limited but important functions such as sending out your private photos.

Apple released its latest mobile operating system to developers at its Worldwide Developer Conference this week. Regular customers won’t be able to download it until the fall, but for now, developers get to play around with it to both think of new ways to use it in their own creations — but also to do some bug patrol.

That’s exactly what one developer, Jose Rodriguez of Spain, did. While playing around with iOS 7, he realized that he could get past the lock screen fairly easily in order to access the phone’s existing photo albums. Beyond that he was able to share those photos via Twitter, e-mail them, or delete them. In order to do this, you simply must open the calculator app, which is now accessible before you enter a passcode, right before you open the camera app.

Rodriguez found that if you open the calculator, then open the camera, you’re able to see all of the photos that the phone holds. Of course, you should expect to see more bugs come out of iOS 7 as it is still in its testing phase. Apple will patch this bug and more before, we’re sure, before iOS 7 is released to the public.

In iOS 7, you can perform more functions without entering a passcode than you could with previous iOS versions. This comes in the form of the new “control room” feature built into iOS 7, which you can access from the lock screen by swiping your finger up on the phone. The control room displays a number of unprotected tasks including access to the camera, switching between songs playing in iTunes, and now the calculator.

via Forbes

Funding Daily: Hey big spender!

MobileBeat 2013

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Whatever it was, it wasn’t sweet charity. Today, VCs pumped uncharacteristically large amounts of money into startups — and collected some funding for themselves, as well.

Let’s spend a little time on these stories.

Hyde Park Venture Partners closes $25M fund

Hyde Park Venture Partners, an early-stage Midwestern firm, got together a nice $25 million chunk of change to fuel its investment activities. A company rep tells us the new fund will be used to make seed and Series A in tech-focused companies in business, healthcare, and consumer verticals.

Good Data raises $22 million

Big data company GoodData has raised $22 million from Latin America’s largest enterprise software company. GoodData is one of Silicon Valleys “enterprise cool kids.” It is a business-intelligence service provider, meaning businesses use its cloud-based technology to make data-driven decisions. The platform includes operational dashboards, metrics and performance reports, data storage, analytics, and collaboration tools. Founder Roman Stanek said GoodData stands out from the crowd because it emphasizes heavily on user experience to make the tick technical elements of big data comprehensible to people outside of IT. Read the full story on VentureBeat.

Lolly Wolly Doodle takes $20M from Steve Case

AOL founder Steve Case’s investment company just put $20 million into a little-known kids clothing manufacturer in Lexington, N.C. But more interesting than the massive investment into the tiny company is that this is a major, major endorsement of a version of social commerce that actually works. As in, makes money, baby — buckets of it. From Facebook. “Our strategy is really to invest in companies most people haven’t heard of yet and make them into household brands,” Case told us this morning on his way to the airport. “We like finding things off the beaten path – that’s what we did with AOL — and we think the category they’re targeting is a $50 billion business that hasn’t really changed much in centuries.”Read the full story on VentureBeat.

Wrapp wraps a $15M Series B

Wrapp’s big bet on social network-powered gift cards is paying off. The company announced today that it has raised $15 million in a second round of funding, bringing its total funding to more than $25 million. And in addition to the funding, Wrapp is seeing tremendous traction after hitting the U.S. a year ago — now America is its biggest market, displacing its home country of Sweden. Read the full story on VentureBeat.

Thumbtack nails a $12.5M round

Thumbtack has raised $12.5 million to grow its marketplace of local services. The startup wants to make hiring a professional as easy as online shopping by providing a comprehensive directory, estimated costs and ratings, and one-click checkout.

Right now the process of finding a plumber, a personal trainer, or a wedding photographer is inconvenient. Sites like Angie’s List, Yelp, and Craigslist provide listings and reviews, but they do not improve the actual booking process. Read the full story on VentureBeat.

Talari Networks takes $8M

Talari Networks is in the super-sexy, totally-relatable-to-consumers space of WAN virtualization. WAN stands for wide area network, and the company basically is in the business of creating clouds with conduits between a company’s headquarters and other branches. The $8 million was declared to the SEC in a Form D today.

Image credit: sunfeetphotos/Flickr

Boxee, A Startup That Cuts Cable Cords In The Living Room, Has Been Trying To Get Itself Acquired Or Funded Since February

boxee box live tv antenna

Steve Kovach, Business Insider

Boxee has been creating software and hardware that helps people stream web video onto other devices and cut cable cords for the past decade.

Now it may be looking to cut the cord on itself.

Boxee has been looking for either an acquirer or a large round of financing since February, AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka reports.  It hired  banking firm Allen Co to help get a deal done but no luck so far. Boxee initially sought $30 million in additional financing, doubling the amount it has raised to date.

Part of the problem may be Boxee’s original positioning. For years it touted itself as a cord cutting solution for the living room, which likely rules out interest from traditional TV service providers. Comcast and Time Warner Cable have similar solutions to Boxee already, as Kafka points out, so they don’t need Boxee either.

Boxee last raised $16.5 million a couple years ago. The company is based in Israel and New York.

These Are The Biggest Changes Coming To Your iPhone

Your iPhones and iPads are about to look “flatter” because of iOS 7 – Apple’s new operating system that’s set to go public in a few months.

We got our hands on a beta version of iOS 7 so we could show you the coolest, most important new features coming to your Apple device.

Take a first look at how different an iPhone will look with iOS 7:

lt;divgt;Please enable Javascript to watch this videolt;/divgt;

Produced by William Wei

MASHUP: Apple’s 2-Hour Long WWDC Keynote In 60 Seconds

This Is Litecoin, The ‘Silver’ to Bitcoin’s ‘Gold’



Bitcoin isn’t the only cryptocurrency out there. 

An alternative called Litecoin is starting to gain traction.

Bitcoin and Litecoin are incredibly similar. Both are decentralized electronic currency, meaning that they aren’t linked in any way to big banks. They’re independent. And where the money supply of US dollars is always fluctuating, both Bitcoin and Litecoin will reach eventually reach a gross sum and maintain a finite, unchanging supply.

Circulation of Bitcoins will be capped at 21 million, Litecoin at 84 million.

Think of Litecoin as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. Just like in the physical silver and gold markets, Litecoin is trading at less than Bitcoin, but there’s more of it.

Litecoin is gaining popularity because of the ways it differs from Bitcoin; Litecoin transactions take only 2.5 minutes to process while Bitcoin transactions can take up to ten minutes to complete.

The way the currencies are secured is different too.

Litecoin utilizes something called “scrypt,” which is basically something built into Litecoins that make it really really hard to replicate or steal. The technology requires huge amounts of memory to infiltrate, which translates into a far more expensive process to virtually counterfeit.

At the time of writing, one Litecoin is worth $2.37 and one Bitcoin is worth $108, but with the extreme volatility observed in the Bitcoin market, it might be worth it to keep an eye on Litecoin.

Google to retire Chrome Frame for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, cease support and updates in January 2014

Google today announced it is retiring Chrome Frame for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, a plug-in that brings Chrome’s engine to old IE versions. The company wouldn’t share an exact date, but did say it will end support and cease releasing updates in January 2014.

Google’s reasoning appears to be based on the fact that Chrome Frame was released (initially in September 2009 and then as a table build in September 2010) at a time when old versions of Internet Explorer, which don’t support the latest Web technologies, were still in very high use. Now, the latest versions of Microsoft browsers are dominating.

“Today, most people are using modern browsers that support the majority of the latest web technologies,” Google said as an explanation of its decision. “Better yet, the usage of legacy browsers is declining significantly and newer browsers stay up to date automatically, which means the leading edge has become mainstream.”

Google’s goal with Chrome Frame was to let developers bring better experiences to more users, especially those who could not upgrade their old IE browser (mainly employees in enterprises). Chrome Frame let them set a tag on their pages to automatically switch IE users to Chrome Frame or prompt them to install the plugin if they didn’t have it. Now, the company is asking any developer whose app leverages Chrome Frame to prompt visitors to upgrade to a modern browser instead.

As for IT administrator, Google is hoping to pitching them Chrome for Business coupled with Legacy Browser Support, which lets employees switch “seamlessly” between Chrome and another browser (read: old versions of IE). The company has been working hard to get Chrome into enterprises, letting businesses configure over 100 policies for the browser.

See also – Google brings legacy support extension support to Chrome, adds cloud-based admin tools for businesses and Google kills Internet Explorer 8 support in Google Apps

Top Image Credit: Half Cut

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