The UpStream

Sony Buys Out Ericsson to Take Full Control of the Mobile Phone Company

posted Sunday Oct 30, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Sony Buys Out Ericsson to Take Full Control of the Mobile Phone Company

Sony looks like they might be doing something right here for once. This week, they will be acquiring full ownership of Sony Ericsson, removing Swedish company L.M. Ericsson Telephone from the picture. This will allow Sony to further their mission to put more music, games and videos on their devices.

This move will cost Sony $1.46 billion in exchange for the 50% share that Ericsson currently has. This also involved a patent and licensing agreement between the two companies, where Sony will now be in control of five important patents from Ericsson.

The acquisition will be another page in the "patent war" chapter of the book of mobile devices as of late. We talk about that after the break.

Samsung Takes Top Spot, Beating Out Apple as #1 Smartphone Manufacturer

posted Sunday Oct 30, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Samsung Takes Top Spot, Beating Out Apple as #1 Smartphone Manufacturer

Samsung's last quarter produced results so successful that it has allowed them to beat out Apple for the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. This adds a new level of interest into their legal issues, among them the distribution of the Galaxy Tab in Germany and other places.

Here's the numbers that gave Samsung the much-deserved top spot. Reports are in that last quarter, Samsung shipped 27.8 million devices, which makes up 23.8% of the smartphone market. Apple came in second last quarter, shipping only 17.1 million, which is 14.6% of the market. In third was Nokia, who stayed in third place, but that should change once numbers come in about their recently launched Lumia.

Augmented Reality Looks to Keep Your Eyes on the Road

posted Sunday Oct 30, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Augmented Reality Looks to Keep Your Eyes on the Road

Last week we discussed Microsoft expiramenting with augmented reality in an effort to create ad hoc surfaces to interact with touchscreens that work in conjunction with mobile devices. Making Virtual Solid is another company that is familiar with the concept of AR and they want to trick out your windshield with some GPS navigation.

Their goal is for the system to be simple and affordable. Current navigation systems are loaded with icons and symbols that take the drivers attention off of the road and focus it on deciphering the screen. Not to mention they are rarely placed at eye level on or around the windshield. Anyone who remembers fiddling around with suction cup mounts will understand why. Today, practically every smartphone has navigation built-in and if they aren't in your pants they are usually hanging around the center console where the cup holders and car charger plugs in.

The "Virtual Cable" that appears on your windshield to guide you is MVS's version of "follow the yellow brick road," except in this case it's a simple red line. The line can be projected onto the windshield from any built in or external navigation system and is easily seen in daylight and at night. MVS is constantly making improvements to the line with True-3D Technology and is focused on staying cost effective. If they keep this up it might actually start making it into some vehicles but while we wait to see it in real life, enjoy their demo video.

Groupon Looks to Group Buy it's Way Out of Termoil

posted Sunday Oct 30, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Groupon Looks to Group Buy it's Way Out of Termoil

This week Groupon kicked off their roadshow in hopes of winning over investors for a successful IPO (initial public offering) which they need to help smooth out the turbulent waters they've been sailing through. So far they've been battling a plethora of negative publicity in the media, class action lawsuits and now they're pushing for a successful IPO at a time when the markets are in bad shape.

The presentation focuses on the untapped potential there is in local markets, how Groupon will take advantage and the financial rewards for the company in the future. CEO Andrew Mason asserted that their new platform's potential is in the trillions of dollars and that it provides consumers with twice the buying power and increased profits for merchants.

The driving force behind those claims is their "Triforce: The Foundation of Groupon" (yes, it is an intentional The Legend of Zelda reference). The basis for which is their proprietary Smart Deals system which they refer to as "the deal factory." Smart Deals is how they get the right deals in front of the correct consumers and how they tailor the type of deals in accordance to the preferences of their merchants' customers. They also claim this allows them to drive up conversion rates which translates into happier customers and increased loyalty. The Smart Deals system is fed by their lead optimizer which fuels the sales team to keep the deal factory growing. The final part of the trifecta is a new service called Groupon Now. It focuses on allowing Groupon users to get real time Groupon deals from merchants on their mobile devices as they are out and about in a particular area. Mason summarizes all this as follows, Daily Deals (customer acquisition), Groupon rewards (loyalty and retention) and Groupon Now (yield management).

Their CFO, Jason Child, tried to communicate a bright financial future despite some difficult circumstances surrounding them in the present. Find out more and watch a video of their roadshow presentation after the break.

In Living Color Returns to FOX

posted Saturday Oct 29, 2011 by Scott Ertz

In Living Color Returns to FOX

Sketch comedy shows come and go, but it isn't often that one goes and comes back. FOX has decided to follow the lead of the other networks and movie studios and reboot a previously cancelled series: . This series, unlike, say Knight Rider, launched a large number of careers, including Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, and David Alan Grier.

The new version of the series, like the original will be produced by Keenan Ivory Wayans, the creator of the original series, and will feature unknown, young comedians. It will also, presumably, be controversial. The original series was full of groundbreaking comedy and things never before seen on television. Over time, as the series became more popular, the censors cracked down on the content more and finally cost the show its edge and therefore its viewership.

FOX is a lot more comfortable with being edgy since the 90s, with series like The Simpsons and / American Dad being among the top-rated shows on the network. Hopefully this will prevent the rebooted series from the same fate as its predecessor. We can look forward to two 30-minute specials airing this spring as a test for the market to see if the show will come back in the Fall or mid-season.

Are you looking forward to seeing new In Living Color, or should the networks leave past series in the past? Let us know in the coments section.

Amped Wireless Gives Us Long-Range WiFi

posted Saturday Oct 29, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Amped Wireless Gives Us Long-Range WiFi

Anyone who has ever worked in an office building can understand the problem of weak signal in the corners of the building. In our offices, we have great reception in the development office, but if you need to use it in a conference room, you have to hope someone has an open connection somewhere near. Now, Amped Wireless (not Amp'd Mobile) is coming to our rescue with its professional line of access points and repeaters, offering WiFi access up to 1.5 miles from the base.

The 600mW Pro-Smart Repeater SR600EX runs only $179.99 and claims a full 1.5 mile range. Considering that some standard Linksys and Netgear repeaters run in the same price range, I am a little concerned about the possibilities of this device. The company does offer a range increase guarantee, so if you try it and it is no better than what you have now, they will refund your money.

It seems like, for under $200, it is worth a shot if you are in the same boat that we are.

If you give it a shot, let us know in the comments. Also, to read the full press release, hit the break. To read more about the product, hit the source link.

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