Android users are rolling their eyes over the newly introduced customization capabilities released in Apple’s iOS 7 like “dynamic” (live) wallpapers and backgrounds with the parallax effect. You can already do these things on Android and have been able to for some time. In fact, you can fully personalize your smartphone, from the homescreen widgets to the default apps, icon sets and more. A new company looking to build a business around smartphone personalization is MyColorScreen, which last week released its theming app, Themer, into private beta. Though not yet available to the public, already 250,000 users have signed up requesting an invite, and so far, around 140,000 have installed the app after being let in. Though to some extent the app is competing with the numerous other Android “launchers” on the market today, Themer is something of a different beast. Instead of either taking over every aspect of your phone, like Facebook Home did, or offering a launcher app as the base plus a suite of widgets you have to seek out and download separately, Themer is designed to allow for one-click installations, with backgrounds, icons, widgets and more all bundled together in each theme. To use the app, you simply browse for a theme you like, push a button, and your Android phone is customized. The themes are high-quality, too. They’re purchased from the designers who haunt the MyColorScreen website, a social service where users can share and comment on photos of Android customizations. You can think of it as something of a Dribbble.com for Android homescreen designers. MyColorScreen has an interesting history. The company co-founders, Ashvin Dhingra (CEO), Joshua Solan, and Brandon Miniman, didn’t create MyColorScreen.com themselves – they acquired it. Solan, who owns a popular mobile software development community called XDA Developers, and Dhingra have backgrounds in finance. After school, they worked on hedge funds in San Diego together before relocating to New York. But all the while, they had entrepreneurial side projects on the side. (Solan bought XDA Developers a while ago, but he’s now more involved with MyColorScreen today.) “We were always amazed at the large user base of XDA,” explains Dhingra. “We would look at it, and think ‘what are the big things people are talking about on XDA? What is it that people want to do with Android?’ And what we noticed is that a lot of people are talking about customization, and Continue reading
As our physical mailboxes gradually get a little less stuffed with direct marketing letters, two of the companies that have played a part in shifting that business to email, mobile and social media networks are coming together. XL Marketing, the NY-based direct and email marketing company co-founded by former CEO of Apple John Sculley, is buying Intela, a UK-based rival. The deal makes good use of the $70 million that XLM picked up in funding a little over a year ago, and will give it a crack at more international business, as well as a chance to sell through other data marketing services beyond email targeting to Intela’s current customer base.
HTC’s next big smartphone will offer up a fingerprint sensor like the iPhone 5s, the Wall Street Journal is now reporting, and will be unveiled on October 15. Separately, invites have been sent out to journalists from HTC Taiwan, pegging October 18 as the date for a special event in Kaohsiung, which is being promoted with a couple of sentences that hint at a fingerprint sensor and possibly improved BoomSound stereo speakers. Continue reading
Microsoft has reached out to HTC to see if the company would be interested in adding Windows as a second OS to its Android handsets, a new report by Bloomberg claims. It isn’t clear exactly how the two operating systems would share the handset, in terms of allowing dual-booting or making a user choose a default at device setup, but it’s a sign Redmond may be thinking about pulling out all the stops to get people using its mobile OS. Continue reading
Dell had an event this week, which is in itself noteworthy regardless of what they launch, but it turns out there were Android tablets there! We talk about those for a while, as well as the Elliptic Labs ultrasound gesture control SDK, Android in the Car, Amazon’s four-camera phone plans, and briefly the Kindle Fire HDX. Continue reading
Swedish startup Memoto did well on Kickstarter – well enough to earn the company 11 times its funding goal, or $550,000 to drive the creation of its lifelogging camera. The small camera is designed to be worn on your person, features no buttons and takes pictures constantly while worn, but as of today it’s called the “Narrative Clip,” not the Memoto, as its creators rebrand to Narrative with $3 million in new funding. Both the rebrand and the new money will help Narrative expand on a global scale, the company says. Continue reading
A new update for Snapchat that just rolled out adds an option to create Snapchat Stories, a new type of sharing for the temporary social network which allows users to build chains of shared content that can be viewed an unlimited number of times over a 24-hour period. The Stories are shared to all your friends at once, and each piece of content added itself lasts for a full day before disappearing. Continue reading
Dell rounded up a slew of journalists in New York today to show off a number of new gadgets — including some shiny new XPS notebooks and convertibles — but the company is finally making good on promises of a big tablet push. And among that portfolio of tablets are two low-cost options that run Android.
Really, Dell? Continue reading
I never thought I’d see the day when someone would find a reason to build a wee tiny foldable 3D printer that can make things about as big as a few matchboxes. This printer, called the LumiFold, is a 3D printer with a build envelope of 90x90x90mm and uses UV sensitive resin to print fairly high-quality objects in a few minutes. Continue reading
Twitch, a popular video game streaming service, announced today that it has raised a $20 million Series C round led by Thrive Capital. WestSummit Capital participated in the funding, as did, notably, well-known game publisher Take-Two Interactive.
According to its release, Twitch currently sees 45 million monthly unique viewers on its service. Twitch allows gamers to stream their play, which might sound niche, but as competitive gaming grows in popularity, the company has been riding its wave. Continue reading