BEACON COMPETITOR?There are lots of expectations surrounding beacons technology for the next year, but a new competitor is crashing the beacons party. Smart LED lighting systems utilise datacasting software and sensors to identify and interact with your mobile phone. Dutch electronics giant Philips will be launching their own smart LED lighting for in-store use. Philips will capitalise on typical in-store grid lighting to create a simple positioning system, and will communicate with user phones through light. It can dish up content, deals, and other notifications to phones similar to how beacons can communicate. The advantage, claims Philips, is that retailers won’t have to bother installing an entirely new system like they would by installing beacons or other sensor-based technology.
At Newark Airport, a set of 171 recently installed LED fixtures are wirelessly collecting and analysing data that can help improve the day-to-day operations of the transit hub. These lighting fixtures can pinpoint waiting times at airport lines, recognise car licence plates, and are even being used for added security measures. Privacy concerns have already begun to swirl, but the New York and New Jersey Port Authority claims it will own the data and that no other agencies have access to it, for now. (GigaOm, New York Times)
SHARERS, ANONYMOUS: Secret and Whisper are two new mobile apps gaining massive popularity in recent weeks. They are pseudo-social networking apps — users log in to the app via an existing social network profile such as Facebook or Twitter, but unlike those social networks, users can share and post freely about anything from under the veil of anonymity. Users’ feeds are filled with similar secret posts from phone contacts, social network friends, and friends of friends. After one week, Secret has already cracked the top-20 rankings in Apple’s App Store, and Whisper has climbed to almost 3.5 billion page views per month, and is working with a significant $US21 million funding round secured back in September. (Wall Street Journal)
But there are limitations to remaining anonymous, too, thinks Lauren Hockenson at GigaOm. In particular, Secret and Whisper are booming in tech-centric areas like Silicon Valley and New York City. For people outside of those social circles, or with few other friends using the apps, the experience can be a bit empty. “Even if you share a good secret, the app is set up to reward those who have enough visibility to earn likes and comments, which will, in turn, make posts more visible and open to conversation,” elaborates Hockenson. (GigaOm)
CANDY CRUSH FILES FOR IPO: King, the maker of Candy Crush and other popular games, just filed for an IPO to raise $US500 million. In the filing, the company released incredible growth numbers showing that total revenue jumped from $US71 million in 2012 to $US632 million in 2013. (Business Insider)
APPLE’S NEXT LINE OF GROWTH: Recent moves by the company are giving the public hints as to where Apple will look for its next wave of growth. Cars, medical devices, and wearables will be it, think Thomas Lee and David R. Baker at the San Francisco Chronicle. (San Francisco Chronicle)
APPLE IN BRAZIL: Apple opened up its first retail outpost in Brazil, which is also its first official retail store in all of South America. South America represents another key market for future iPhone growth. However, Apple’s iPhone will cost over $US1,100 (USD) in Brazil, the most expensive retail price in any of the nations in which iPhone is available. (Bloomberg)
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL AND iBEACON: 65 iBeacons have been installed at two Major League Baseball ballparks, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Petco Park in San Diego. Ideally, MLB wants more than 20 ballparks across the country to have iBeacons installed before the season opens in March. MLB has already tested out sending fans digital coupons and video content directly to phones via the iBeacons. (Re/code)
OFFICE ON iPAD: Microsoft’s iOS-compatible version of their globally popular productivity suite, Office, will be available for iPad in the near future, reports Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet. The more interesting story, however, is that Office for iPad may hit the market before Microsoft releases its own touch-friendly version of Office for its own mobile devices. (ZDNet)
XIAOMI IN SINGAPORE: Chinese handset maker Xiaomi will make its first moves out of its home market and into Singapore at the end of this month. Singapore is a much smaller market, with a population of only 5 million. Xiaomi sold nearly 19 million phones in China last year. (The Next Web)
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