From their announcement of a
possible IPO a couple of months ago to looking for a new suitor, Zynga has been trying to expand from being just the "Facebook game company." This week, the company decided to officially say that it will be transitioning into a self-sustained machine that will no longer be tied as strongly to Facebook as it was before. Instead, Zynga will start to sell its line of games straight to online or mobile platform users.
With an IPO that could make the company worth $20 billion, Zynga is looking to directly impact the 230+ million monthly users who play their games on Facebook. We have more on Zynga's "it's not you, it's me" attitude after the break.
Given the prolonged economic downtown the U.S. has been experiencing since 2007 it comes as a surprise to me that a Lithuanian company called
Etronika not only seems to have their mind on their money and their money on their mind but also wants to make money fun, like Monopoly, by associating it with Kinect for the Xbox 360.
CTIA, the International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications, this week, Etronika showed off their new Kinect banking application by demoing that it can do all the things you would expect a banking application to do: like transfer money between accounts, view statements for credit/debit cards on file, pay bills, monitor exchange rates and the like. They also showed that you can transfer information from your Xbox 360 to your smartphone with the flick of a wrist... pretty cool. Check out the attached video to see for yourself how Etronika might have single handedly solved the U.S. financial crisis.
With the PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment networks
falling victim to some nasty outages caused by DDoS attacks on their lacking infrastructure in April this year, Sony took it upon themselves to completely revamp their systems and gain back the trust of those who had their accounts compromised, which included encrypted billing information. It cost them millions in legal battles and lost revenue along with the cost of revamping their infrastructure only to have it happen all over again 5 months later and this time they don't have E3 right around the corner to smooth things out.
On the 12th of October Sony announced that its networks had once again been breached. The damage doesn't seem to have gone as deep as the previous attacks as there didn't seem to be any outages. The attacks affected 60,000 Sony Entertainment Network and PlayStation Network accounts, as well as 33,000 Sony Online Entertainment accounts, resulting in 93,000 really unhappy users. Sony detected the attack after a huge amount of username and password matches were initiated against Sony's database.
Sony's Philip Reitinger, the chief information security officer, said that the accounts that were breached have been locked and that users billing information shouldn't have been compromised but it is possible unauthorized purchases had been made. They are also sending out emails to owners of the compromised accounts requiring them to verify before access is granted. Everyone on the PSN and SEN will also be required to reset their passwords, for which Sony suggests you use a strong one. At the moment, it doesn't seem like there will be any other reprieves for users. Sony did seem to act quickly when implementing damage control, which is its own reward, compared to the attacks in April so maybe that'll be good enough.
By now consumers have been inundated with a barcode-esque technology known as QR codes in golf magazines, t-shirts, Facebook profiles, Best Buy store shelves, everywhere online and now on TV thanks to a 4 day experiment being conducted by the Home Shopping Network. What would prompt such a successful enterprise to shove an 8-bit monarch butterfly patterned square in the bottom-right corner of their HD broadcasts? According to Jill Braff, the VP of digital commerce, there is a trend that continues to grow in favor of their customers making purchases from mobile browsers instead of calling in to place orders.
They are watching us on TV and using a mobile device as a faster, more convenient means of checkout. We thought about what if we married the two — what if we allowed people to scan a QR code during a product demonstration, which would bring them directly to that product page on the mobile device?
In their current state, QR codes certainly stand out but not necessarily in a good way according to Matt McKenna, the founder of Red Fish Media. Customization has become a key factor in determining QR codes success as a marketing technology.
They don't have to be ugly and generic anymore — they can be cool. I can't allow my customers to put a black-and-white bar code that looks like digital noise on something that someone's spending millions of dollars on to look beautiful.
A report from comScore said that in June of this year 6.2% of mobile users actually scanned a QR code and that the audience was limited to mostly young males, which doesn't leave much room for anything outside of videogames and gadgets. Andrew Grill, the CEO of PeopleBrowser, explains his reasoning for why usage rates are so low after the break.
iPhone 4s was released this week, however the specs didn't completely blow us away. Where is the phone with the kal-el processor? Well, while we won't see the five-core proc for Microsoft just yet, the company did lay out its plans to release dual-core and LTE Windows Phone 7 devices.
For more on the LTE and dual-core goodness, follow us after the break.
If you haven't heard by now, there's this really great new product coming out soon called Windows 8. It pretty much will unify the tablet, PC and smartphone and make them all one big happy family that talk to each other every day (don't forget about the Xbox 360, too).
Just last month at Microsoft's
//build/windows Conference, we were given the Windows 8 Preview for developers to get a sneak peek to start building some new applications. Quickly recapping, we were given a glimpse into some new features, a new Metro user interface and many other things that really make Windows 8 one of, if not the only platform, to develop on in the future.
However, the preview also left us with more questions than answers. Good news for my curious ones: Dell World 2011 was this week and Steve Ballmer himself was able to show off a couple of new, cool things that we can get excited about and look forward to.
We have the details after the break.