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Mar 5, 2009

CLIP Enthusiasts keep pushing Smule’s Ocarina iPhone app to higher numbers

from VentureBeat by 

Ge Wang, the quirky Stanford assistant music professor who co-founded the iPhone music app makerSmule, delivered an update yesterday on his company’s growth since starting out just eight months ago.

Smule’s big hit is Ocarina, a cool app that we’ve written about a few timeswhere you blow into the microphone of the iPhone to make the surprisingly rich sounds of an ocarina flute. Wang said in a speech today at the eComm mobile tech conference in Burlingame, Calif., that nearly 700,000 people have now bought the 99-cent iPhone app since November.

There are more than 25,000 iPhone apps now, according to Mobclix. But Ocarina stands out as memorable. The app seems to work like magic, but Smule’s software analyzes the noise coming in via the microphone. The software can recognize changes in the force of the blowing, and the user can control the sounds by holding the iPhone up or down and tapping on virtual flute holes on the touch-screen display.

It’s not so much the revenue that’s impressive, but the passion of the fans and where the creators want to take them. YouTube is chock full of Ocarina enthusiasts playing songs such as Stairway to HeavenAmazing Grace, and the theme of the video game The Legend of Zelda. These fans are answering Wang’s question about “what does it mean to be a Smulean?”

Mar 4, 2009

CLIP Facebook’s Response To Twitter

Getting rid of the 5k limit makes sense for publishers like Techcrunch and other celebrities. Sorting thru feeds by groups allows us to manage friends from fans - and see their reactions separately. Realtime is critical. Can Google search become realtime - meaning relevant content is visible immediately? Google limits to just the top publishers.

Does this kill Twitter? Probably not. Twitter will need to move in new directions that is poorly served by Facebook. @Matt brings out one issue - the open database.

The critical challenge is scaled, realtime feeds. Twitter often falls flat on its face. Can Facebook do better? Let’s watch and see.

by Erick Schonfeld on March 4, 2009

Facebook made a number of announcements today about changes to its home page, profile pages, and activity streams. Taken together, these represent a concerted response to the rise of Twitter as a real-time message broadcasting system that goes beyond members’ personal circle of friends.

One of the biggest changes is that Facebook is getting rid of the distinction between private profiles and public pages. The 5,000-friend limit will be dropped from the public pages. Facebook doesn’t want Twitter to become the way large companies and public figures connect to fans. Up until now, Facebook Pages haven’t really been the place fans go to connect with their favorite celebrities or brands. For that, they’ve started going to Twitter, where they can get updates in real time.

Facebook is also speeding up the updates that populate the news feeds on everyone’s personal page. Before, these would be updated every 10 minutes or so. Facebook’s introduction of real-time updates and a one-sided follow system mimics Twitter’s functionality. While it may be a little late to this part of the game, its user base of 175 million dwarf’s Twitter’s. Explains CEO Mark Zuckerberg:

What we’re talking about today, is that there’s a philosophical change in that we want to converge these public figures (which are one way) and friends (two way connections).

Throughout the press conference Facebook emphasized the importance of the activity stream along with the social graph (which is the map of social connections between members). Chris Cox, Facebook’s director of product development, put it this way:

The stream is what is happening. We think it is as core as the graph. The graph is the connections, the stream is what is happening.

These changes will become evident front-and-center on the homepage. Says Zuckerberg:

With the new homepage, that will reflect a much faster flow of information.

The redesigned homepage will allow users to sort through and filter their feed more easily. Updates will be able to be filtered by groups, specific friends, or by applications. A new widget will highlight items from friends and other connections members interact with the most. In this way, Facebook is trying to strike a balance between its traditional strength as a private communication system and the increasingly public connections being made on the service as well.

Mar 1, 2009

iPhone Overwhelms Mobile Web Access

In a separate report, Net Applications reported spikes in usage share of Windows 7--the follow-on to Windows Vista due later this year--after Microsoft released the public beta of the operating system in January.

Similar to Windows Vista, Windows 7 usage share is showing a pattern of being much higher on weekends than on weekdays. In contrast, Windows XP has an inverse trendline. XP's share is higher on weekdays due to Microsoft's relatively high business vs. residential share of Windows XP.

This is an indication of strong interest in Windows 7, since it does not come pre-installed on a computer like Vista. Beta users are taking the time and effort to install it on their home computers, since corporations generally prohibit beta operating systems to be used in production environments.

February figures from Net Applications on mobile browsing market share.

(Credit: Net Applications)

In the mobile browsing arena, Net Applications reported that it had taken its first detailed look at market share and pronounced Apple's iPhone has having a "commanding lead" with 66.61 percent of the market. But, Net Applications noted, "Android and BlackBerry are rapidly gaining market share. This does not mean that iPhone web browsing is shrinking, because the overall market is growing rapidly."

Upstart Android, which Google released in October 2008, came in fourth with 6.15 percent, following No. 2 Java ME's 9.06 percent and No. 3 Windows Mobile's 6.91 percent.

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