The UpStream

QR Codes Make Their First Cameo Appearance on HSN

posted Sunday Oct 16, 2011 by Jon Wurm

QR Codes Make Their First Cameo Appearance on HSN

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.

Microsoft Talks LTE and Dual-Core Windows Phones

posted Sunday Oct 16, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Microsoft Talks LTE and Dual-Core Windows Phones

The 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.

Ballmer Shows Off More Windows 8 at Dell World

posted Sunday Oct 16, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Ballmer Shows Off More Windows 8 at Dell World

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.

Hulu No Longer Up for Sale

posted Sunday Oct 16, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Hulu No Longer Up for Sale

It's been a while since we heard anything about potential buyers or even any rumors coming from the announcement of Hulu putting itself up for sale. Well, after several interested buyers not being able to work through negotiations of a sale with part-owner Disney, the Hulu collective of News Corp, Comcast/NBC Universal, Providence Equity and Disney have said that they are no longer looking to sell the company.

Our focus now rests solely on ensuring that our efforts as owners contribute in a meaningful way to the exciting future that lies ahead for Hulu.

The auction was already coming to a halt, not only from bad talks with Disney, but also with debate over digital rights, sale price and even Hulu's owners sometimes balking at actually selling off the video-streaming service.

Google's Second Round of Shutdowns

posted Friday Oct 14, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Google's Second Round of Shutdowns

Larry Page, since taking the helm of Google, has been doing a lot of housecleaning, starting with closing up 10 under-performing products. This week saw round 2 of the shutdowns, this time with much higher profile products.

First off is Google Buzz which has had nothing but problems since day 1. The product, which was something similar to Twitter, found problems with privacy on day 1 when everyone in your email list was added to your following list. This could include ex-husbands, stalkers, business partners - none of whom should see the things you are doing or the places you go on the Internet.

The second product is Jaiku, a product I was actually pretty sure was already closed. Jaiku, also similar to Twitter, was purchased in 2007 and never really integrated into the company properly. That being said, products that Google purchases and don't immediately re-brand (such as Jaiku or Orkut), don't usually stand a chance within the organization.

Google thinks they have learned lessons from these brands, though. Hit the break to find out why we think they might not have.

What Does the BlackBerry Outage Mean for the Company?

posted Friday Oct 14, 2011 by Scott Ertz

What Does the BlackBerry Outage Mean for the Company?

Research in Motion has been having a lot of trouble competing in the new smartphone world. When it was just them, Palm and Microsoft it was an easy world to compete in; everyone had a large marketshare because of the differing values. In the new world, with Apple and Google taking aim at a new way to use your phone, and Microsoft revamping their OS from scratch, sticking to your core and not making major changes to keep up is a nearly impossible game to win.

At least BlackBerry has been able to stay alive with their perceived level of security. RIM has always stayed where they are in the business world because of their encryption of everything that passes through the phone, but in the modern world there are a lot of ways to accomplish that without BlackBerry. Therefore, the worst thing that could have happened was a long outage of the BlackBerry servers. Unfortunately that is exactly what happened this week.

Why is this outage such a big deal for RIM? Hit the break to find out.

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