Saturday, May 29, 2010

Skype 2.0: Voice Calls over 3G

Today Skype finally launched the long awaited 3G Voice calling client. What this means is that consumers can make calls via iPhone using the AT&T 3G data network instead of relying on Wi-Fi. After AT&T approved Voice calling via 3G, many VoIP apps already support Voice over 3G networks. Skype was a little late to the party. The service is free until August 2010, after that Skype is planning to charge users for the service. I’m a little confused here, why the hell should I pay Skype for making calls on AT&T 3G network. I’m already paying $30 for unlimited data plan and Skype uses the same data network for voice calls. So this logic sounds ridiculous to me. Another possibility could be that there is a revenue sharing between Skype and AT&T for carrying Voice over 3G network.

Here is the FAQ published in the iPhone App:

What does the “free Skype trial” mean?

You can now make and receive Skype-to-Skype calls and call phones over 3G from your iPhone.

To get you started, we’re offering you free Skype-to-Skype calls over 3G until at least the end of August 2010. After that there’ll be a small monthly fee.

Remember, you can always make free Skype-to-Skype calls from a WiFi hotspot.

The client monitors the 3G bandwidth and displays warning if the required bandwidth is not available for the call. I tried couple of calls and the quality was really bad. I noticed a small warning screen mentioning the bandwidth is average and will affect call quality.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jack Dorsey: 3 Keys to Success

Very interesting talk from Jack Dorsey (creator of Twitter and Square) at the 99% conference about how twitter, square idea was conceptualized. Some great points for wannabe entrepreneurs. He also talks about his new brain child Square, an iPhone/iPod payment system. If you guys have 16 minutes of time, this is definitely a must watch video.

Some highlights of the talk:
• Draw your thoughts and ideas on a piece of paper
• Luck and Right Timing
• Iterating like mad
• Ideas: When to draw the line and move on with a different one.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Skype Group Video Calling is Available

As I mentioned earlier , Skype launched a preview version of Group Video calling today. You can download the beta version here. Using the new client users can make group video call with upto 5 people. The new client is only available for Windows. So the people you are calling should also need to be running the same version of client. Sorry Mac folks, it sucks. (I just bought my new Mac last week. It’s awesome and very sleek)

The beta version of Group Video calling is free. However, Skype is not gone give this premium feature for free in future. So go head and download the client and enjoy the Group Video calling before Skype starts charging for the service. I’m not sure if consumers are gone pay for the service. Maybe enterprise would.

The below statement confirms Skype’s intention to charge the feature:

Group video calling is just one in a set of new premium features you’ll see us roll out during 2010. We haven’t set prices for these premium features yet, but rest assured that we’re still absolutely committed to bringing you free voice and two-way video calling.

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Surprise! Samsung No. 1 US Mobile Phone maker, Apple No. 6

According to the report from ComScore, a leader in measuring the digital world, the key trends in the U.S mobile phone industry during the three month period ending March 2010 is that Samsung and Verizon are ruling the roost when it comes to OEM and Mobile Operator arena. I was surprised to see Apple at the bottom No. 6 with a mere 5 %. Looks like Motorola had a good run with its Droid, it comes second with a mere fraction of a percentage difference with Samsung.

Here are the statistics of the study:

OEM Market Share:
In the 3 month average ending in March, 234 million Americans age 13 and older were mobile subscribers, with device manufacturer Samsung ranking as the top OEM at a 21.9 percent share of U.S. mobile subscribers, inching out Motorola by a fraction of a percent. LG (21.8 percent share) ranked closely behind them, with RIM (8.3 percent share) and Nokia (8.3 percent share) rounding out the top five.

Mobile Operator Market Share:
In a ranking of the top mobile operators in the U.S. during the 3 month average ending in March, Verizon led the market with 31.1 percent of mobile subscribers. AT&T ranked second with 25.2 percent market share, up 0.2 percentage points from the period ending December 2009. Sprint narrowly grabbed the #3 position with 12.0 percent market share, closely trailed by T-Mobile (12.0 percent), while Tracfone gained 0.3 points to capture 5.1 percent of the market.

Mobile Content Usage:
In an average month during the January through March 2010 time period, 63.7 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device, up 0.6 percentage points versus three months prior. Browsers were used by 30.1 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers (up 2.6 percentage points), while subscribers who used downloaded applications made up 28.6 percent of the mobile audience (up 2.6 percentage points). Access of social networking sites or blogs continued to increase, posting gains of 2.8 percentage points to 18.7 percent of mobile subscribers.

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Sorry Verizon Subscribers, no iPhone this year

The rumored launch of CDMA version of iPhone for Verizon may not see the light. According to Computer World , AT&T and Apple probably have a quid pro quo in place that has extended the exclusive deal with the iPhone in exchange for a heavy bargain with iPad data plans. So after all the excitement for Verizon customers is short lived. Go have a beer or switch to AT&T. Switching to AT&T, you can get an iPhone and -- More dropped calls, no voicemail and sometimes no missed call notification.

"AT&T had to do something dramatic to get the iPad," said Brian Marshall, a Wall Street analyst at BroadPoint AmTech. AT&T's move was to discount their normal wireless data plans by 50% to iPad customers.”

The exclusive deal with AT&T was to expire this June, and this had prompted lot of analyst to predict that Apple might switch gears with Verizon. Also analyst point out to the failed attempt by Verizon to get iPad exclusivity. The mere mention of iPhone coming to Verizon drove the stock price of Verizon. There is still some hope; some folks predict that the Verizon might get iPhone sometime next year first quarter.

I’m sure AT&T did lot more to make sure the iPhone exclusivity was extended for some more time. No wonder the data plans for iPad are really great and without contract. That’s a bonus. It clearly shows that Apple was in the driver seat during negotiation.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Skype to launch Group Video Chat

Skype is planning to launch one of the most requested feature , Group Video Chat sometime next week. Skype already supports one-to-one Video Chat. The group video chat is limited to 5 people. The feature will be initially free and Skype plans to charge for the service later in future. Video conferencing is finally gaining momentum. There are rumors of apple supporting Video chat application as part of iPhone. Also, the stolen iPhone 4 shows both front and back camera. Some folks say the new iPhone might support recording 720p HD video. The next logical step for Skype would be to support Mobile Video Chat. How about creating a mobile Chatroulette? Its worthy of note that some of the new TV’s come with Skype inbuilt. So think of a Multi Party Video conference using your big HD TV. Initially the Multi Video chat will be supported for Windows and Mac comes later. Sorry Mac.

Skype is still viewed as a Consumer VoIP product. However it is making steady progress in the enterprise space. I think Multi Party Video chat is a good tool for enterprise communication. They may probably remove the limitation of 5 users and support more users for enterprise. Watch out Cisco, Tanderberg, and Lifesize.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Webby Awards winners announced

Webby Awards, the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet announced 14th annual Webby Awards. Some of the winners include Foursquare,Twitter, Mashable etc. The Webby Awards winners were chosen by Academy judges like Martha Stewart, Matt Groening, and Arianna Huffington, while people around the world chose the winners of The Webby People’s Awards.

Please find the press release below:

New York, NY (May 4, 2010) –Foursquare, Twitter, Jim Carrey, Darryl Hall, and The Muppets are just some of the Webby winners who will be saluted alongside special achievement honorees Roger Ebert, OK Go, Amy Poehler, and Internet co-inventor Vinton Cerf at the 14th Annual Webby Awards, organizers announced today.

Academy judges like Martha Stewart, Matt Groening, and Arianna Huffington selected Webby Awards winners, while people around the world chose the winners of The Webby People’s Awards. Setting a new Webby record, nearly one million votes were cast in a spirited competition that saw upstarts like Next New Network’s Reel Good Show (Variety Video), Texts from Last Night (Mobile Entertainment), and College Humor’s Amir Blumenfeld (Individual Performance) emerge victorious over more powerful finalists.

Organizers also announced its initial list of Internet innovators who will be recognized with Webby Special Achievement Awards. Joining the ranks of such past recipients as Al Gore, David Bowie, and Prince, they are:

• Webby Person of the Year: Roger Ebert has raised the bar for online journalism and writing through his poignant and wildly popular blog, Roger Ebert’s Journal ( Using his blog as a platform for thoughtful discussion on film, media, politics, and life itself, Ebert has found a powerful new voice and attracted an audience that thrives on vigorous debate and conversation.

• Webby Film & Video Artist of the Year: OK Go has rewritten the rock & roll rule book by harnessing the creative and viral power of Internet video to reach new audiences and achieve critical acclaim. Their iconic treadmill video for “Here It Goes Again” has been viewed more than 50 million times, while its Rube Goldberg video homage – “This Too Shall Pass” - has surpassed 12 million views in just two months.

• Best Actress: In her groundbreaking online series, “Smart Girls at the Party,” Amy Poehler has taken a simple concept – interviews with ambitious young girls – to unexpectedly entertaining new heights. Thanks to Poehler’s sweet, wry, and subtle humor, the series demonstrates the Internet’s ability to engage and empower a young audience.

• Webby Lifetime Achievement Award: Widely respected as the co-inventor of the Internet, Vinton Cerf designed the TCP/IP protocols and basic architecture that laid the groundwork for the creation of the Internet. From his pioneering work at Stanford University in the 1970s to his current role as Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, Cerf continues to shape Internet commerce, communication and culture.

“It’s exciting to honor breakouts like foursquare, Tumblr, and Twitter alongside the man who helped invent the Internet, Vint Cerf,” said David-Michel Davies, executive director, The Webby Awards. “That’s what makes the Webby Awards and the Internet so special. It’s a place where both newcomers like Evernote and Auto-Tune the News and veterans like The New York Times and Isabella Rossellini can experiment, take risks, and push the medium in new directions.”

Hosted by B.J. Novak of NBC’s The Office, the 14th Annual Webby Awards ceremony will feature winners and honorees delivering five-word speeches in the tradition of past Webby victors like Beastie Boys (“Can anyone fix my computer?”) and Jimmy Fallon (“Thank God Conan got promoted”). Speeches and ceremony highlights will be broadcast on the Webby Awards YouTube channel ( The ceremony will also mark the culmination of Internet Week New York 2010, a weeklong festival celebrating digital culture that’s expected to draw 20,000 people to over 100 events throughout New York City.

Highlights of the 14th Annual Webby Awards winners include:

• Multiple winners are: College Humor (5); New York Times (5); The Muppets Studio (4); National Geographic (4); CBS Interactive (4); Sundance Channel (4); HBO (4); Twitter (3); Next New Networks (3); (3); (3); AOL (3); and Mashable (3).

• Winners boasting star-power include: (Celebrity/Fan), Lisa Kudrow in “Web Therapy” (Comedy Series); Isabella Rosselini in “Green Porno” (Individual Performance, Experimental & Weird); Brad Pitt’s Make It Right (Activism), Daryl Hall’s “Live from Daryl’s House” (Variety Video),’s Interview Project (Documentary Series), Colbert Nation (Television); and Jaime Pressley in Axe’s “Clean Your Balls” (Viral Marketing).

• Achieving both critical and popular consensus, 38 works won both a Webby Award and a People’s Voice Award including: Auto-Tune the News (Video Remixes/Mash-ups); Colbert Nation (Television); Evernote (Mobile Applications); (Financial Service); Pandora(Music); Flickr (Community); foursquare (Mobile Social Networking); Hulu (Broadband); Jim Carrey (Celebrity/Fan); The Muppets Bohemian Rhapsody (Viral Video, Music Video) ; Twitter (Social Networking); and Interview Project (Documentary Series).

• The judges and public parted ways in several popular categories: For Best Weird, the Academy chose Selleck Waterfall Sandwich, while fans selected FAIL Blog. For Best Political Blog, judges embraced Truthdig, while the public voted for Huffington Post. For Personal Blog, Broken Secrets earned the public’s top votes, while Indexed was selected by the judges.

A list of winners in notable categories follows:

Viral Video
The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody - (Webby and People’s Voice)

Video Remixes/Mashups
Auto-Tune the News - (Webby and People’s Voice)

Individual Performance
Isabella Rossellini in Green Porno - (Webby)
Amir Blumenfeld (People’s Voice)

Jim Carrey Official Site (Webby and People’s Voice)

Documentary Series
Davidlynch.Com Presents Interview Project (Webby and People’s Voice)

Variety Video
Live From Daryl’s House (Webby)
Reel Good Show (People’s Voice)

Comedy: Individual Short or Episode
The Onion - (Webby)
Web Site Story (People’s Voice)

Comedy: Long Form or Series
Web Therapy II - (Webby)
Jake and Amir (People’s Voice)

Viral Marketing
Evian Rollerbabies (Webby)
Axe “Clean Your Balls” (People’s Voice)

Make it Right (Webby)
Renew the world (People’s Voice)

Best Practices
Twitter - (Webby)
NPR – (People’s Voice)

Mobile Social Networking
Foursquare - (Webby and People’s Voice)

Mobile Application
Evernote – (Webby and People’s Voice)

Selleck Waterfall Sandwich - (Webby)
FAIL Blog (People’s Voice)

Personal Blog/Website
Indexed - (Webby)
Broken Secrets (People’s Voice)

The Onion - (Webby and People’s Voice)

Hulu - (Webby and People’s Voice)

Colbert Nation - (Webby and People’s Voice)

Best Web Service and Application
Tumblr - (Webby) (People’s Voice)

For information on nominees in Webby Awards categories honoring interactive advertising and mobile content,

About the Webby Awards
Hailed as the "Internet's highest honor" by the New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet, including Websites, interactive advertising, online film and video, and mobile web sites. Established in 1996, the 13th Annual Webby Awards received nearly 10,000 entries from all 50 states and over 60 countries worldwide. The Webby Awards is presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Sponsors and Partners of The Webby Awards include: Microsoft Expression; Aol; YouTube; Pepsi; Aquent; Yahoo!; HP; Corbis Images; Tribal DDB Worldwide; East Media; IDG; PricewaterhouseCoopers; 2advanced.Net; KobeMail; Museum of the Moving Image; Behance; Business Insider; Time Out New York; paidContent and The Guardian.

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