Android Sales May Be Approaching Peak, Say Analysts

According to Strategy Analytics, Samsung is the leading seller of smartphones, with over half of the Android market. Troubling, though, is that U.S. sales of Android declined 5 percent year-over-year, implying that the platform may have reached its peak

U.S. smartphone sales trends reflected the slowdown globally, even though Android is still at 56 percent of all sales and remains the most dominant in the U.S. Still, that share was lost to Apple who has 33 percent of the market and was the only OS to have grown over last year (up 10 percent); RIM’s Blackberry stands at 1.6 million units sold or 6.5 percent of the market.

“This was one of the slowest growth rates ever experienced by the important U.S. smartphone market,” said Alex Spektor, associate director at Strategy Analytics. Some of the reasons given are economic issues, higher penetration of smartphones, and tighter upgrade policies to improve margins – roughly the same as they are for the global market.


David Cage Talks Creating An ‘Emotional Experience’ With Beyond: Two Souls

David Cage, the CEO Quantic Dream, has always been ambitious in his game projects — a close look at Omikron: The Nomad Soul, Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain are all confirmations of that. Now, one of the leading storytellers in games today is looking to advance things even more with Beyond: Two Souls.

“My goal is to surprise people, to give them something they want without knowing they want it. I want to create an emotional journey, a unique experience,” says Cage. “I am not interested in giving them ‘fun’, I want to give them meaning; I don’t want to challenge their thumbs, I want to challenge their minds.”

“Maybe this is irrelevant or just overly ambitious,” he says. “Maybe this is not what most people out there actually want. But this is the goal I set myself with Beyond: to create something different.”

Source: Edge

Wikipad Gaming Tablet Details Revealed

Wikipad has announced the stats for their identically named tablet when it releases later this year. The gaming friendly tablet with an attachable gamepad will have a 10.1-inch IPS display with 16:10 1,280 x 800 resolution and weigh 560 grams and be only 8.6mm thick.

The final design model incorporates an Nvidia Tegra 3 T30 1.4GHz quad-core processor with 1GB of DDR2 RAM. The Wikipad will also feature at least 16GB of internal storage, though the exact amount of space hasn’t been finalized as of yet.

The Wikipad battery is 23.46Wh, capable of six hours of continuous gaming and eight hours of video playback. The tablet will also have a built-in 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera. It will ship with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and will not have a 3D display, despite what was shown at CES.

Source: VentureBeat

Funny Or Die Looks To Help End AIDS

Funny or Die has announced that it will work with Bono’s anti-poverty group ONE. The two will work with comedians and actors Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman, Tracy Morgan, Chloe Moretz, Marisa Tomei and Isaiah Mustafa to work towards starting to end AIDS by 2015.

The various stars appear in a video ask viewers to sign a petition on ONE to reverse proposed budget cuts to the life-saving AIDS program, PEPFAR. They also want to help push America to fulfill commitments to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

“Of course, everyone knows there’s nothing funny about this disease,” said Michael Elliott, CEO of ONE. “But humor can be an extremely effective tool in raising awareness and inspiring action and we’re thrilled to be working with Zach and Funny or Die on this campaign.”

A large part of the campaign is to give treatment to the millions not receiving anything to fight off AIDS, and ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Funny Or Die will look to leverage its fanbase of more than 16 million unique users per month, over 60 million video views per month, some 4.2 million Twitter followers, and close to 1.8 million Facebook fans to promote their cause.

According to ONE, “We are at a critical point in the global fight against AIDS…more than 6.6 million people are now on life-saving treatment, up from just 100,000 in 2002…but there are still roughly 8 million people in need of treatment, and new HIV infections outpace those placed on treatment by nearly 2:1.” Ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV, providing treatment to 15 million people, and drastically reducing new HIV infections are ambitious but achievable goals.

“AIDS has killed 30 million people in 30 years,” noted Elliott. “We finally have the science and know-how to end the pandemic, but it won’t happen unless we make sure the politicians know it is a priority and that effective programs, such as PEPFAR and the Global Fund, must be protected. This video will let us get that word out to millions of people we might not otherwise reach.”


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Blizzard Executive Agrees With Newell ‘Catastrophe’ Sentiment On Windows 8

Gabe Newell recently criticized the upcoming release of Windows 8 from Microsoft, calling it among other things “a catastrophe”. Rob Pardo, the executive vice president of Blizzard Entertainment, has taken to Twitter to support the sentiment.

“nice interview with Gabe Newell – ‘I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space’ – not awesome for Blizzard either,” tweeted Pardo.

Windows 8 is being designed to be more friendly to tablets, though the part that has developers concerns is that Microsoft will want to have more control over various applications and purchases made through the OS.


Facebook: Growing To 1 Billion Members And Beyond

Facebook is set to hit 1 billion users by the end of 2012. Growing this number is helped by a dedicated team that helps influence nearly every aspect of Facebook, and has grown from just five people to 150.

Central to this group is Naomi Gleit, product manager and the second-longest-tenured Facebook employee. Her goal is making “Facebook available to everyone in the world” as she describes.

Growing Facebook is perhaps more vital than ever, given some signs that expansion is slowing down and disappointing results from Facebook’s fiscal report. Since Facebook’s initial public offering in May, its shares have fallen more than 22 percent, to about $29 per share.

Gleit joined Facebook in early 2005 after writing a thesis on how Facebook beat out a rival website called Club Nexus on the Stanford campus, and after being turned down for a position as assistant to then-President Sean Parker, she eventually landed a job on the marketing team. “She wanted to work at Facebook more than anything,” says Matt Cohler, an early executive at the company who hired Gleit and is now a general partner at the venture capital firm Benchmark Capital.

Gleit pushed Facebook to expand beyond Ivy League schools to other colleges, followed by high schools, businesses, and, in 2006, to basically everyone. “My job has been, over the years, to remove barriers that are preventing people from joining Facebook,” says Gleit.

Gleit was the product management leader for the growth team when it was formed in 2007 because growth had cooled after reaching 100 million members. “She is someone that the engineers both tremendously respected and also feared,” says Palihapitiya, who left Facebook last year. “We used to call her ‘the Mom.'”

What helped the company expand was a deal with Google to show profiles in results and launching the “People You May Know” application. They later created a translation tool lets users in Spain, France, and Germany navigate the site in their native languages and within two years of its creation, the team had expanded Facebook’s roster of users sevenfold to 360 million.

Eventually, the goal of the GEM team (an acronym for growth, engagement, and mobile) was to keep existing members active and logging in from mobile devices.

Gleit wants to build “magic moments” in the site, and helped develop functions like the contact importer, which suggests friends based on names in a user’s e-mail address book. The next big opportunities are in emerging markets like India, where penetration still isn’t high for the site.

“There are still a lot of barriers in international markets, whether that be governmental barriers like in China, and occasionally Vietnam, or competitive barriers like VKontakte in Russia,” she says, referring to the Eastern European social network with more than 100 million users in that country.

Membership growth programs has become a mandatory part in many companies at Silicon Valley, with Quora, Dropbox, and Twitter all having their own now. While Facebook is staring down a billion users Gleit’s more interested in looking ahead. “1 billion is one-seventh of the world’s population,” she says.