Archive for March, 2011
When Amazon’s Appstore rolled out last week, we glossed over one detail that merely seemed neat. Today, we’re inclined to say that Test Drive may be the most significant part of Amazon’s announcement that day. Basically, Test Drive allows US customers to take apps for a spin at Amazon.com, with all the comfort that their tried-and-true desktop web browser brings — but rather than sit you down with a Flash-based mockup of the app, Amazon is giving you a taste of bona fide cloud computing with an Android virtual machine.
In other words, what you’re looking at in the screenshot above isn’t just a single program, but an entire virtual Android smartphone with working mouse controls, where you can not only try out Paper Toss, but also delete it, browse through the device’s photo gallery, listen to a few tunes, or even surf the web from the working Android browser — as difficult as that may be without keyboard input. Amazon explains:
Clicking the “Test drive now” button launches a copy of this app on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), a web service that provides on-demand compute capacity in the cloud for developers. When you click on the simulated phone using your mouse, we send those inputs over the Internet to the app running on Amazon EC2 – just like your mobile device would send a finger tap to the app. Our servers then send the video and audio output from the app back to your computer. All this happens in real time, allowing you to explore the features of the app as if it were running on your mobile device.
Today, Amazon’s Test Drive is basically just Gaikai for mobile phones — its purpose is simply to sell apps, nothing more. But imagine this for a sec: what if you could access your own smartphone data, instead of the mostly blank slate that Amazon provides here?
Gallery: Amazon Appstore Test Drive hands-on
Amazon.com lets you play with an Android virtual machine, try apps before you buy them originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 27 Mar 2011 18:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Being a fashion intern must be brutal. At least, that’s the impression one illustrious Marc Jacobs International intern left on the MarcJacobsIntl twitter last night. Sapped of all energy, he celebrated his last day on the job by calling out Marc Jacobs CEO Robert Duffy, describing him as a “tyrant” and “tough” with plenty of exclamations. He also wished some serious luck for the fresh interns coming in after him. The official twitter currently reads, “All is well here at MJ. Twitter is a crazy place. Protect your passwords.” Well, even if you never work in this town again, good luck to you! [Business Insider]
BrandFinance declares Google the most valuable brand in the world originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 25 Mar 2011 04:52:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Groupon’s U.S. sales collapsed in February according to data gathered by a TechCrunch source.
The source ran a program that collected data off Groupon’s site to tabulate sales. The data might not be dollar for dollar accurate, but it could easily be accurate from a direction perspective.
As the US Supreme Court prepares to hear yet another appeal in the seemingly unending patent dispute between Microsoft and XML specialists i4i next month, some pretty influential folks are starting to take sides — officially. Perhaps most notably, Acting Solicitor General Neal Kumar Katyal filed an amicus brief backing i4i and a previous US Court of Appeals decision to uphold the $290 million judgement against the software giant. Other big guns backing i4i with amicus briefs include DuPont, 3M, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and GE. Of course, Microsoft’s getting a little help from its friends with official I-got-you-bro statements coming from Google, Apple, Toyota, and Walmart. The appeal is expected to hit the Supreme Court in April and has big implications for patent litigation — specifically, it could give tech giants like Microsoft more guts to go after patents held by little guys like i4i.
Government says it’s got i4i’s back in Word patent dispute originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 22 Mar 2011 16:38:00 EDT.
Whether via public library or personal collection, e-books may be getting harder to borrow and loan out — HarperCollins put the squeeze on government-funded rentals last week, and today Amazon has allegedly disabled e-book sharing startup Lendle with one fell stroke. Lendle allows readers to trade e-book rentals, in a fashion, by tapping Amazon’s API to list books they agree to loan out, and in return, gain access to a Lendle database of books available to borrow from readers like themselves. The service allegedly fell under the auspices of Amazon’s existing 14-day, one-time-only loaning policy, but that didn’t stop Amazon from revoking Lendle’s access to the API, effectively shutting the service down. According to the no-reply email Lendle received, the reason is that the service doesn’t “serve the principal purpose of driving sales of products and services on the Amazon site.” Perhaps there’s some deeper reason behind the move, but that explanation certainly sounds pretty narrow-minded.
Update: Well that was quick — Lendle is now reporting that Amazon has reinstated its API access under the condition that Lendle disables its Book Sync tool, which is a non-essential feature anyway. Great, just in time for bedtime stories on the west coast as well.
Amazon blocks Lendle e-book sharing service (update: it’s back!) originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 22 Mar 2011 23:13:00 EDT.
The New York Times is about to roll out a payfence that charges users $35 every four weeks for all you can eat digital access. That means you can read the Times on your smartphone, tablet, and the web.
How does that compare to other digital media subscription services? Not very well. This chart from Michael DeGusta shows what a massive outlier the New York Times is when it comes to cross platform digital media subscriptions.
DeGusta thinks the Times’ digital plan is “delusional” and notes you could subscribe to the all-in digital plans of the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, and The Daily (not listed, but $39 per year) and still have $99 in your pocket instead of buying the all in New York Times digital plan.
Update and correction: The original version of this post said you could get a physical paper for $310 annually. That was based on a 50% introductory rate for home delivery to Brooklyn, which only lasts 12 weeks. The annual sub would actually come to $538, which is slightly more than the digital option.
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Ford engineers want to know how your car looks under every imaginable lighting condition. They have something called the Visual Performance Evaluation Lab, which simulates the exact sunlight at any time of the day all year around.
Using motorized lights with 6,000 watts of combined power, the lab allows them to see how every component looks as the day passes. In theory, that means that they can adjust the car to provide with a “very user-friendly, pleasant environment inside”. In practice, it’s just an excuse for them to have a tan all year around.
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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