Top weekly news from the mobile & tech industry selected by Neomobile
First tablet running Tizen launches in Japan, caters exclusively to developers
Despite absorbing MeeGo, learning to run Android apps and pushing through a significant UI overhaul, devices running Tizen are notoriously hard to come by. Developers eyeing the platform in Japan, however, just got one more option: the Tizen build kit, from Systena. It’s a package that includes developer tools, manuals and technical and consulting services from Systena, but the real star of the kit is the included 10.1-inch developer tablet. Packing a quad-core 1.4 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage underneath a 1,920 x 1,200 display, this slab offers a Tizen 2.1 experience built specifically for app development and product demonstration. The company hasn’t publicly posted a price for the kit, but interested developers can request more information through the company’s website. The rest of us will have to settle for flashing our own devices.
Google Acquires Android Performance Startup FlexyCore For A Reported $23 Million
Google has acquired the French startup FlexyCore, which is best known for its Android performance boosting solution DroidBooster. Terms of the deal remain undisclosed, although France’s L’Expansion, which first reported the acquisition, has pegged the price at $23 million.
Google has confirmed the purchase, citing FlexyCore’s strong team and “expertise in building software to optimize Android device performance”. In fact, the startup’s team has already been integrated with Google’s Android team, while the acquisition has been a year in the making, having started last September and been concluded earlier this month, apparently. That’s quite a protracted acquisition, even by the slowest of European standards, and especially for what looks in-part like an acqui-hire.
Five year-old FlexyCore’s main product, DroidBooster, is designed to boost the performance of Android devices, in terms of speed and battery life — both of which are crucial to the competitiveness of any modern-day smartphone platform as device makers compete in the performance arms race associated with our always-on digital lives. It claims to be able to boost the performance of ARM-based devices by up to ten times, and does this by improving the performance of an Android handset at build-time by “generating highly optimized ARM binary from Dalvik code”.
The technology was being targeted by FlexyCore at both high and low end devices, citing handset makers’ ability to introduce new Android features or extend existing ones. It was also being pitched as a way to bring “high end performance to low end devices”, enabling Android to “break into the mass market”, which of course it has since done. However, an essential growth market for Google’s OS is emerging markets, and anything that can push high end performance to ever lower price points is bound to ring the cash registers at Mountain View.
FlexyCore was originally supported by french state-backed incubator Emergys, and has raised 1.5 million Euros from Paris-based VC Sochrastem, so if L’Expansion’s $23 million price is on the nail, this looks like a pretty decent exit for a French company, presuming all previous funding was disclosed, and including any earn-outs.
Yahoo Acquires image recognition Startup LookFlow To Work On Flickr
Yahoo’s latest acquisition will bring image-recognition technology to its Flickr service for sharing photos.
The Internet company is getting the new tools and expertise through its purchase of a startup called LookFlow. Financial terms of the deal announced Wednesday weren’t disclosed.
It’s a small acquisition, as have been most of the more than 20 deals that Yahoo has completed since hiring Marissa Mayer as its CEO 15 months ago. The one exception was the Internet blogging service Tumblr, which cost Yahoo Inc. $1.1 billion earlier this year.
Yahoo is picking up five LookFlow engineers in its latest deal.
Mayer, a former Google Inc. executive, has been particularly interesting in snapping up startups with expertise in making applications for smartphones and tablets
Twitter Likely to Kill Its Music App ahead of IPO
Just six months after launching it, Twitter is strongly considering killing off its Twitter #Music mobile application, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.
It is unclear what Twitter’s time frame is for ultimately ending support for Twitter #Music, as the company is currently in the midst of revamping its music department. But sources tell AllThingsD that the app’s fate is nearly sealed.
Upon its April debut, Twitter #Music spiked in the App Store rankings, reaching the No. 6 slot in overall free app downloads. But in the months that followed it slipped quickly. Sources said that since the initial surge the app has seen “abysmal” numbers both in iTunes App Store downloads and engagement.
As of the end of August, app analytics company Onavo places Twitter #Music at 1,672nd place in its own rankings. AppAnnie, another analytics service, ranks Twitter #Music at 264 in the iTunes Music app vertical as of October 19.
The scrapping of Twitter #Music, when it occurs, marks a clear misstep in the company’s online music strategy, which has lacked direction over the past year. The app was atypically developed in isolation inside the company. It was a sort of a skunkworks project led by former Twitter business development leader Kevin Thau, and built by the team behind “We Are Hunted,” a company Twitter acquired to work on music products. Twitter #Music, according to people familiar with its development, was never fully integrated with the overall product team as it was being built.
Pinterest, US-based social network, raises $225m in funding in a round led by Fidelty investments
According to several sources, Pinterest has completed another enormous funding, this time nabbing $225 million with late-stage investor Fidelity Investments in the lead.
The new infusion of cash — which comes on the heels of a very recent and massive funding in February of $200 million that valued the social scrapbooking company at $2.5 billion — pegs the latest valuation of Pinterest at $3.8 billion.
That’s obviously a whole lot of pins.
A Pinterest spokesman declined comment on funding efforts.
Sources said most of its current investors — including Andreessen Horowitz, FirstMark Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Valiant Capital Management — reupped in the latest round. But Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, which had already sunk $100 million into the San Francisco-based social scrapbooking site in May of 2012, was not part of this round.
Sources said the money was aimed in part at goosing international efforts, which has seen strong growth.