Data Showing Android Pushing Past Apple Does Not Include iPhone 4

There is no question that Android’s share of the smartphone market is growing by lleaps and bounds. Earlier today, Nielsen came out with some more evidence that Android keeps rising. It published some very provocative numbers today suggesting that Android’s share of new smartphone subscribers surged past new iPhone subscribers in the U.S. during the second quarter, commanding 27 percent of recent smartphone purchases compared to 23 percent for the iPhone.

These figures represent new smartphone purchases over the preceding 6 months.  In terms of total smartphone subscribers in the U.S., the iPhone still has more than twice as many as Android, with 28 percent versus 13 percent.  But that number was flat for iPhone from the first quarter, while Android’s share rose from 9 percent.  (Blackberry is still bigger than both with 35 percent share of total subscribers, and 33 percent of recent subscribers).

The relative gains of Android compared to iPhone could very well signal a tipping point for Android.  Perhaps the weight of all 20+ Android phones and multiple carriers is finally collectively beating the iPhone, and there will be no looking back.  Or maybe the fight is not yet over.

According to this data, new Android subscribers passed iPhone subscribers in the second quarter, which ended on June 30.  The new iPhone 4 was announced on June 7, but not available until June 24th.

In other words, this data only includes one week of iPhone 4 sales. The flat market share line may very well be indicating nothing more than the end of the iPhone 3Gs product lifecycle. Many people who wanted a new iPhone delayed their purchase in anticipation of the iPhone 4. Yes, the iPhone 4 has some antenna issues, but those do not seem to be affecting sales.

Can Android keep on taking market share among new smartphone buyers, or will the iPhone bounce back next quarter with the full force of iPhone 4 sales behind it? Like they say, one data point does not make a trend.

Connecticut Attorney General Wants To Make Sure Amazon, Apple Aren’t Cutting Sweetheart Deals With E-Book Publishers

The Connecticut attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, has opened up an investigation into whether or not the deals Amazon and Apple have cut with publishers for the sale of e-books have violated any sort of rules of regulations. The fear is that the deals Amazon and Apple have worked out with top publishers may lock out other companies from entering the e-book business.

Wait, So 20 Phones On 4 Carriers Outsold 1 Phone On 1 Carrier? Shocking.

Okay, I’ll admit that my headline is a bit misleading. Apple actually sells two phones: the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4 (or, before the iPhone 4, they sold the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 3G). But they’re both iPhones. One is just better than the other.

It’s also hard to pinpoint exactly how many Android smartphones are for sale in the U.S. currently (meaning they’re not discontinued, etc), but it seems to be about 20. Could be a bit less — or it could be more. But the point is: it’s a lot more than one or two.

Seriously though, the most shocking thing about the news today that Android sales overtook iPhone sales for the first time last quarter is that it didn’t happen sooner. The sheer number of Android devices out there is one thing. But the fact that they’re available on all four major U.S. carriers is the real key here.

If you want an iPhone, you have to sign-up for AT&T. If you want an Android phone, you can choose between AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and, yes, Verizon — the largest carrier in the U.S. Was there really any question that Android phones would outsell the iPhone with that being the case? In fact, if that didn’t happen, I’d argue something was wrong.

The real interesting data would be if any single Android phone is outselling the iPhone. Based on the stats today from Nielsen, that doesn’t seem to be the case — unless one Android phone is dominating the sales figures (which isn’t the case).

Also interesting is that this data comes from the quarter before Apple released a new iPhone. No iPhone 4 sales are included here.

Android is clearly a hit. And as more and better devices keep coming, it will get even more popular. The fact that overall it still hasn’t passed Windows Mobile devices in the U.S. is a bit surprising — it should blow past those this quarter as Microsoft gears up for Windows Phone 7.

The point is: there’s a lot of room to grow for Android still. But comparing iPhone sales to Android sales is comparing an apple to a bushel of oranges.

That is, until Apple gets on another carrier in the U.S. We all know it’s going to happen, it’s just a question of when. Will it be early next year? Next Summer? Will it be Verizon, T-Mobile, both?

Apple is clearly never going to make as many phones as exist in the Android universe — they simply have a different strategy. Google is seeding their OS to OEMs to flood the market in an attempt to control mobile search. Apple is building its own devices in an attempt to control its ecosystem (and the app ecosystem). It’s quantity versus quality. It’s Windows versus Macintosh all over again. Except that Google is giving Android away for free.

OEMs love free. Customers love choice. 20 phones on 4 carriers are outselling 1 phone on 1 carrier. All of this is very surprising.

[photo: flickr/Jean-David et Anne-Laure]

Stanford Heats Up Solar Power With New Harnessing Technology

PETE DeviceA Stanford University research group says it found a way to more than double current solar power production efficiency. The technology uses both light and heat from the sun and is inexpensive enough that, if it pans out, it might be able to compete with oil.

Most current technology can either convert light into electricity at relatively low temperatures, or convert the sun’s heat at very high temperatures. Stanford engineers claim they developed a way to do both.

The photon enhanced thermionic emission, or PETE, works best at high temperatures, where current photovoltaics struggle. Solar panels usually use silicon to convert photons to electricity, but only from a certain portion of the light spectrum. Unused photons generate heat in the cells, making them perform poorly and losing up to 50% of the energy reaching the solar panel.

Professor Nick Melosh, who led the research group, says PETE works best at higher temperatures, making it most effective when used with solar concentrators like parabolic mirrors used in solar farms, rather than as rooftop solar panel replacements. If installed in solar farms, PETE could also pass any waste heat it can’t convert to a solar farm’s thermal conversion system. The team’s vision is to attach PETE devices to existing systems.

Solar panels are often expensive because they require a lot of silicon, but one PETE device needs only about a six-inch wafer of semiconducting material, reducing the amount of investment capital needed to get it off the ground.

According to the research team’s estimates, the devices could reach 60% efficiency on solar farms. Falling short of that goal could still have significant effects. The team said if they can boost efficiency to 30%, it could make the cost of solar power comparable to oil.

This video from Stanford explains more about the project:

Gmail Plugin Rapportive Raises Over $1 Million From Gmail Creator, Many Others

Rapportive, a startup that looks to make Gmail better by providing contextually relevant information about your contacts, has raised an impressive seed round of over $1 million with participation from some well known angels. The full list: Gmail creator Paul Buchheit, Scott Banister, Jason Calacanis, Gary Vaynerchuk, David Cancel, Dharmesh Shah, Shervin Pishevar, and Roy Rodenstein.  Also participating are Dave McClure’s new fund 500Startups, Nivi & Naval Ravikant’s VentureHacks, Charles River Ventures, Kima Ventures, Zelkova Ventures, and BOLDstart Ventures.

Rapportive has also announced that it was part of the latest batch of Y Combinator companies — CEO Rahul Vohra says that YC’s Paul Graham has described the round as “stunning”, and that it’s in line with his prediction on how funding rounds will be done in the future, with mass-syndication, and no fixed amounts, closing, or lead.

Rapportive uses a browser plugin to display information about your contacts in Gmail’s sidebar (it replaces the ads). This includes information like a profile photo, occupation, and links to their social network presences.  The company says it will use the money to hire, improve its existing product, and to expand to other email platforms (in other words, this won’t be Gmail-only in the future).

Information provided by CrunchBase

Twitter User Streams Is Crack For Realtime Web Junkies

I’m a little afraid to think about how often I hit the “XX new tweets” area to refresh my Twitter stream on Hundreds of times a day? Maybe more? It’s almost as if I’m an animal in some feedback experiment hitting a button. I cannot stop.

So why don’t I used one of the third-party Twitter clients that auto-refreshes every so often? I never found one that I really liked, plus the API limits seem to be a problem just about every time I try to use one. I want my tweets, and I want them now. Not in a few minutes. Now.

I’m an addict. And I just discovered Twitter crack. Uh oh.

As they announced last week, Twitter is in the process of testing their new Streaming API with a feature called User Streams. Basically, this is a realtime data push for desktop applications. This means almost all tweets flow to apps in realtime: friend tweets, reply tweets, DMs, search queries — you name it. There is no more refresh needed. I’ve been testing User Streams out this past weekend with the latest beta build of TweetDeck (one of two desktop apps the feature is being tested with — Echofon is the other). It’s amazing.

As I said, if you’re a Twitter junkie, this will be your crack. But even if you’re just an information addict (which I also am), this could potentially be heaven for you. I say potentially because User Streams on TweetDeck works so well that if you have a panel open doing a query for say, “iPhone” (which I demo in the video below), the tweets come in too fast to take in. But if the query you’re looking for is less popular, this is going to be perfect for you.

In the video below, I start out with three panels open: my friend stream, my @replies, and a location panel (that brings in Foursquare check-ins). As you can see the tweets in my friend stream update in realtime without me having to do anything. It’s so good, that it’s actually even faster than — often the “XX new tweets” message comes up well after I already see the new tweets on my screen in TweetDeck. And again, those are the actual tweets, not just notifications that they’re there.

As the video goes on, I open a window for the aforementioned “iPhone” query, to show you just how fast this realtime data is flowing in. I also open a search panel for “Android” to show it off as well. It’s amazing. And all of these realtime panels keep updating in realtime no matter how many different ones you open.

TweetDeck just went from a product I don’t use, to perhaps my most-viewed app. And again, this is just one of the first two products to get access to this feature. The plan is to roll it out a bit more later this month. Then in Q3 or Q4, Twitter hopes to launch User Streams at scale. Also in the coming months, they plan to allow beta testing for a larger amount of users (TweetDeck’s test is currently limited).

The User Streams feature reminds me a bit of FriendFeed right before the acquisition by Facebook. It was my go-to app mainly because it pulled in tweets in realtime — and you could do searches in realtime too. At first, a number of users felt the realtime updating was too fast — and made the service unusable. But FriendFeed had a way to pause the stream and also filter it nicely. A lot of third-party apps are going to pop up around Twitter User Streams that do that as well.

If you follow thousands of people, the realtime friend stream may be overwhelming. But I follow about 750 people, and I find it pretty manageable, even at peak times.

User  Streams also makes Twitter Lists even more interesting. For example, now I can put all the people who tweet about news in a List and port that list into a realtime TweetDeck panel. Have I mentioned how much I love this?

The sad part is that I’m not sure I can use any other Twitter app again without this realtime data stream. Even the great Twitter for iPhone seem pokey now. And seems stale with its update button. It’s realtime or bust for me. An intervention might be needed.

“Good On Video” Is The New “Good On Paper” With YC-Funded Hirehive And YCommonApp

“Good on paper” just became “good on video” with the latest double launch from the Y Combinator crew. With Hirehive, founders Dave Albert and Nick Bergson-Shilcock are attempting to replace at least some part of the unwieldy hiring process with browser-based video questionnaires, on a web platform where applicants can submit video, text or image responses.

On the backend, employers can submit a series of questions they want applicants to answer, and Hirehive manages the process. While job boards like and Craigslist pretty much dominate the online job application space, Hirehive’s video component may be the killer app as the higher bandwidth of video provides more information than text, which results in better informed hiring decisions. Companies like iViewXpress and HireVue also specialize in video interview services.

Hirehive has already been put through the motions by some of the Y Combinator portfolio companies, including AirBnb, which insists that the service has fundamentally changed the way it hires. In fact, one of the unique features of Hirehive is that companies can pool applicants, and the Y Combinator companies were so into the idea that they built the YCommonApp, where you can apply to 25 different Y Combinator companies at once (including some that have not yet launched) using the Hirehive software.

Video does come with constraints, and while the Hirehive team does not plan on replacing in person interviews entirely (“It’s not the goal”) they do insist that the video questionnaires work better than a resume for prescreening candidates. Albert explains, “Good on paper is an artifact of the narrow channels we used to have, a resume and a cover letter.”

Hirehive’s future plans include putting postings-based job boards like out of business. Initiatives like the YCommonApp could also work well across other verticals, such as with retail companies like the Banana Republic or GAP. Says Bergson-Shilcock, “We’re still living largely on a job postings and classifieds model, but there’s a lot more change to come, and that’s what we’re gunning for.”

And while the YCommonApp is Hirehive’s vision of what will kill, it’s only the first step. “Companies collaborating and sharing information is going to be a big part of how hiring is done in the future, but to get rid of job boards, we’re going to have to do more than that,” says Albert, “We’re working on that as fast as we can.”

Information provided by CrunchBase

Facebook Boasting They Have Google’s Social Strategy Product Documents

Facebook “knows all about Google’s social product plans,” and has obtained copies of proprietary Google documents outlining their social strategy. So said a Facebook engineer at the TechCrunch party at August Capital on Friday to all within earshot.

Google has yet to confirm that they are launching a new social network, but rumors have been flying for the last several weeks that the company is hard at work on finding a way to compete with Facebook. Google is conducting focus groups to gather information about consumers’ social habits as well.

If Facebook does have these proprietary documents it’s possible they obtained them from a former Google employee who switched companies. Regardless, it’s reckless to boast about it. Zynga sued Playdom in 2009, accusing them of obtaining trade secrets and other proprietary information from former Zynga employees hired by Playdom. If that’s the case with Google and Facebook, we might see legal action taken sooner rather than later.

Both Google and Facebook declined to comment on this story.

Department Of Outlandish Ideas: Build Solar Roadways

If you want to change the world, you have to think big. Say what you want about the feasibility of Scott Brusaw’s idea to replace asphalt roads with miles of solar ribbons that cars and trucks can drive on, it is a very ambitious idea. Brusaw is the co-founder and CEO of Solar Roadways, a bootstrapped startup in Idaho. He is an engineer, and is building prototypes of solar panels that could be used as roads.

Brusaw wants to create solar panels strong enough to support the weight of cars and trucks driving at 80 miles per hour. There is so much road surface in America, that the collected energy could replace other forms of fossil fuel energy, even with really inefficient solar panels. Even better, since roads go to each home and business, the roads themselves would not only collect the energy, but distribute it. The energy wouldn’t power cars themselves, except maybe electric vehicles juicing up at roadside charging stations. LEDs could be built into the roadways and used as signs. The concept is explained in the video below, which is part of a larger film project called YERT (Your Environmental Roadtrip).

The video shows Brusaw building some of these solar road panels in what looks like a garage. The Infrastructurist blog calls the scheme “dubious.” But the big, unanswered question is how much would this cost. It most definitely would cost more than conventional roads, which are under-funded already. But regular roads can’t offset their costs by producing energy (this is all assuming the technology can actually work at scale without too much maintenance). It also most definitely would cost more than plain-vanilla solar panels.

If the idea is “roads that pay for themselves” these cost issues need to be addressed before anyone will take this concept seriously. It is not clear why paving the country’s roads with glass is a better energy solution than simply setting up solar energy farms which connect to the existing energy grid. I’d really like to see what the proposed cost of these roadways would be and what the payback period would be in terms of energy produced.

The other question this raises is what would be the lifespan of these roadways compared to regular asphalt. And how often would the panels need to be replaced simply to take advantage of improving solar technology and better solar panels. Will we have to upgrade our roads every two years, and who is going to pay for that? Still, I like the fact that Brusaw is swinging for the fences and actually trying to build prototypes.

Update: Brusaw answers with some numbers. “We’re still in the prototyping stages,” he says Brusaw, “so we haven’t manufactured anything yet. Our target price is $10K per panel.” Each panel is 12′ X 12′, so it would take 440 panels for each mile of single-lane road. That is $4.4 million per mile, which he figures will produce enough electricity (7600 watt-hours per day) to power 428 homes. He thinks the payback period would be 20 years, and would drop significantly with manufacturing scale.

(Hat tip to Jon Steinberg).

Knewton Brings On Ex-AOLer David Liu As COO

Online learning startup Knewton has a new chief operating officer. David Liu, the former senior VP at AOL who spearheaded its Lifestreaming efforts and is also an angel investor (SimpleGeo, BlockChalk), is joining Knewton as COO and a member of the board of directors.

Knewton is an adaptive learning platform which raised a $12.5 million B round last April from Firstmark, Accel, Bessemer, First Round, and Reid Hoffman. Knewton currently offers online test prep and tutorials for the SAT, LSAT, and GMAT using adaptive learning algorithms which progressively make the questions harder or easier depending on each student’s knowledge and ability.

Liu’s charge is to help turn Knewton into a platform for textbook publishers and schools to create their own adaptive learning tools. Knewton proved itself with its test prep products, but now wants to move into the center of the education market, an approach other education startups like Grockit are also pursuing.

It’s A WinWin, Launches Referral Program For Ning Exiles

Hoping to cash in further on Ning’s shuttering of its free version, competitor is upping the ante with the launch of “WinWin”, a referral program directly targeting so-called Ning exiles.

The service claims to have already migrated more than 50,000 Ning networks, making it the largest “do-it-yourself social networking platform”, and hopes to continue this trend by rewarding new converts and those who encourage others to follow suit. Specifically, will be dishing out credits which can be converted into a host of premium features such as extra bandwidth. The size of the reward is proportional to the size of the migrated network so the bigger the switcher, the more credits awarded to both the referrer and the owner of the converted network.

10 Things Microsoft Can Do to Make a Real Tablet Platform

Many pixels have been spilled over Steve Ballmer’s admission that “[Apple has] sold certainly more [iPads] than I’d like them to have sold.” As Ars points out, Ballmer just doesn’t get why a dumbed down machine running a poky processor is so popular. However, any media lover can tell you it’s not about running Excel and Powerpoint on a tablet – it’s about doing a few simple things without much fuss. Here’s what Microsoft can do to build a great tablet platform that people will actually buy.

Use the Zune interface – As the four people who own Zunes will attest, the UI is great. It’s so great, in fact, that MS is planning on using parts of it in Windows Phone 7. But we’re not talking about Windows Phones, are we? We’re talking about a usable, cool tablet. So take the best of the Zune and blow it up to tablet size.

Ignore Windows 7 – Seriously: unless you’re an insurance adjuster or an EMT, you don’t need a full-bore version of Windows on your tablet. What you need is a media player and a few basic functions, not a full programming platform for folks to write garbage data entry apps. After all, isn’t that what the Internet is for?

Read more…

New York Times To License “DNA” Of Its Mobile Apps To Other Publishers

As one of the world’s leading media publishers, it’s critical for The New York Times Company to stay ahead of the curve in the digital space, or die trying. Hence, its efforts on the desktop with Times Reader 2.0, as well as its mobile website and multi-platform applications.

But the company has now come up with an additional way of deriving (sorely needed) revenues from its mobile apps apart from selling or slapping ads on them: licensing.

The NYT is reportedly experimenting with a platform dubbed Press Engine, which will allow other publishers to produce their own apps for devices such as the iPhone and iPad, apparently because they kept asking for a decent way to do so.

According to AdAge, which gained insights about the platform straight from a Times spokesperson, publishers will pay a one-time license fee for the platform at first, followed by a monthly maintenance fee. Any revenues generated from advertising or distribution of the apps, the publishers will get to keep for themselves.

Update: the press release is up.

The iPhone and iPad application templates will include the following features:

– partial offline reading and the ability to save articles;
– share functionality;
– photo gallery, audio and video;
– horizontal and vertical reading;
– simple search; and
– device-standard advertising units.

The first publishers to sign up for Press Engine are the Telegraph Media Group and three U.S. newspapers, namely Dallas Morning News, Providence Journal and Press-Enterprise.

James Moroney, CEO and publisher at the Dallas Morning News, is quoted as saying that the company plans to debut its iPad app, built using Press Engine, near the beginning of next year.

Like any publisher with no intention of getting left behind as the world evolves, the Dallas Morning News will of course need to figure out how to marry charging for the iPad application with posting all of its content free on the Web, Moroney acknowledges.

In other words: licensing another publisher’s apps does not a business model make.

Christine Topalian, director of the News Services division at the Times, also told AdAge that the initiative will not necessarily result in a tsunami of NYT app clones from publishers, but rather aims to help them “take the DNA of [its mobile apps] and the functionality of them”.

Nevertheless, if you start seeing news sites offering mobile applications that vaguely remind you of your experience with the NYT’s apps, you might just be looking at one that was replicated with their help, in exchange for a licensing fee.

Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007

Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007

Please note that even though it is not noted on the box, Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 is compatible with Windows 7 Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 is the essential software suite for home computer users and includes 2007 versions of Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and OneNote. This system enables you to quickly and easily create great-looking documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and organize your notes and information in one place, making it easier and

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