Tech News Today 522

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Tech News Today
Episode 522

Tech News Today 522: Karma Conga Line

What is Microsoft planning next week? Can anyone save Nokia... or Sony? How does free data help a new mobile company?

Submit and vote on story coverage at


News Fuse

Digging Deeper

  • Can the Xperia Ion get Sony out of its mobile rut?
  • Flashback to the Android fragmentation visualized chart
  • ComScore numbers for Apr 2012
  • Aug 2011 #s
    • The Sony Xperia Ion is hitting ATT on June 24th for less than $100
    • This is the first Sony-only branded device (Sony bought out Ericsson from its JV)
    • Phone itself: LTE, Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread - modified to include some features found on ICS, 4.6-inch screen, video engine from Sony's Bravia TV line, 12MP camera with image sensor from Sony's camera line, NFC, dual core processor 1.5GHz, 1080p video,
    • The Xperia Ion isn't considered a "hero" or flagship phone, according to a person familiar with AT&T's launch plan. Rather, it fills a slot in the mid-tier level.
    • Sony worked with ATT on the design and Sony is going to put marketing money behind the Ion
    • Sony's not in the top 5 smartphones as of Apr 2012 acc'g to ComScore, last year it had 5% in 2011 making it the #7 smartphone maker
    • What do we think of the phone, the all-Sony approach and what would be a win for Sony here?
    • What would it take for Sony to be a name in phones? (Why does Sony struggle when Samsung succeeds?)
  • Karma: a 4G provider that rewards users for sharing their data plan with strangers
    • Karma just graduated from the TechStars NY accelerator program, raised almost $1M in capital
    • The Karma hotspot costs $69 and is powered by Clearwire's network, which provides WiMax 4G service in 80 major US cities. Users pay $14 per gigabyte of data they use, with no monthly fee or minimums. The twist is that Karma makes your hotspot into an open Wi-Fi network. When a new user joins, they are taken to a personalized page about the owner of the hotspot. Strangers can then sign in with their Facebook account and get 100MB of free browsing. For every user who does that, the owner of Karma gets 100MB of free data credited to his account. The company calls this "social telecom."
    • Earlier this week, Verizon introduced its shared data plan, which provides unlimited talk and text, and also lets users purchase a single package of data they can share among their devices.
    • A recent study from research firm Analysys Mason found that the average smartphone user consumes 221MB of data per month. On Karma, that would work out to a monthly cost of $3.09. Verizon charges $50 for 1GB on its new shared plan and it charges users as much as $40 for each device they want to use beyond the first one. AT&T's mobile data plans charge $20 for 300MB of data and require a commitment of $50 for 5GB in order to enable the tethering that turns a device into a mobile hotspot.
  • Samsung boasts about its Galaxy S III developement secrecy
  • Don’t Bring Your Work Home..Ever!
    • Samsung is bragging about secrecy
    • The company published a blog post on Samsung's official global blog explaining the measures taken to keep the Galaxy S3 a secret
    • The post tells the story of how parents couldn't tell kids what they were working on
    • The GS3 was a top-secret project, prototypes were in security boxes, prototype deliveries were done in person
    • No pictures allowed (photos or drawings), so if there was a problem with a part of the phone, Samsung R&D had to explain it in words
    • Samsung made three different working GS3s prototypes and each one was inside of a "dummy box" to disguise it
  • Microsoft takes aim at Google+ Local as more detailed Yelp content comes to Bing Local search
    • Yelp will deliver review snippets, photos, business details for Bing users in the US and will be placed prominently on Bing Local pages, helping users connect with businesses and companies that are in their local area. Initial rollout begins today, but Microsoft will implement Yelp fully across the US in the coming weeks.
    • Google+ Local rolled out. The new, more social, offerings replaced the Google Places pages and brought the importance of its Zagat acquisition to light.
    • Yelp was named as the provider of business listings and reviews in both Apple’s Siri voice-assistant and its new custom 3D mapping service in the company’s new iOS 6 operating system, with data also supplied by mapping giant TomTom.





"TNT Crew!

Since I was called out by name, I thought I would give a quick analysis of why I think iOS and Android users fight. Three basic reasons:

1. For years, Android fans have endured a certain degree of smug condescension and even ridicule from iPhone users. The iPhone was just better. But, as Android has come to equal and, some would argue, surpass iOS, there is a certain degree of “getting their own back” by Android users and a bit of defensive hostility by iOS users.

2. I think there is a underlying belief in “zero-sum-ness” going on. The idea that the extent to which one platform dominates will impact the quality of that platform’s experience. The app development issue, for example.

3. BUT, I think most of it is simply the “rivalry” phenomenon in human nature. Why do Cubs fans trash-talk the Cardinals, and vice-versa? Going back to ancient Rome, when there were brawls in the street between supporters of the Blue and the Green chariot teams, there is a deep-seated enjoyment we derive from supporting our “club” and bashing its rival.

All silly? Sure. Can’t we just all get along? Sure. But where is the fun in that?!  :0)

- Vance"

"Hi Tom,

Have you ever thought that the reason only Android users care or get pissed off when the Iphone gets feature late is because APPLE is always suing the s**t out of everyone for copying them. Also for whatever reason, the features are acknowledged and tout as innovation only when Apple introduces it.

-- Sincerely, George"

"Hey TNT crew,

I can understand the internet community being upset with the new ads in Skype, but getting rid of those ads is actually a cheap and easy thing to do. I added $10 to my Skype credit 3 years ago and still haven't used it all. This means I will not be seeing ads in my calls. I wish there were more ""free"" services I could pay a few dollars to remove ads from.

Another perspective is that paying Skype users have been subsidizing the free users for a long time, maybe this will help reduce costs for the paying users.

Love the show!

Sean Ontario, Canada"



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Production Information

  • Edited by: Jason
  • Notes:
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