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  • Foxconn to mass produce robots

    Controversial Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn has announced plans to mass produce industrial robots as part of its efforts to cope with labour shortages and rising wages. The project, which is initially forecast to cost the Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Tw$6.7-billion (US$223-million), was unveiled Saturday when Terry Gou, chairman of the conglomerate, broke ground for the construction of a research and development unit in Taichung, central Taiwan. “The investment marks the beginning of Hon Hai’s bid to build an empire of robots,” the Central Taiwan Science Park authorities said in a statement. Foxconn plans to make the investment through Hon Hai’s subsidiary...

  • Filipinos offer prayers online for All Saints Day

    For Filipinos who are unable to make the trip to their loved-ones resting places on All-Saints' Day, online prayers can now be offered thanks to an initiative from the local Catholic bishops. At undasonline.com, Filipinos far from their friends and families burial sites can now offer their condolences online come 1 November. All Saints' Day is a national holiday which celebrates the various saints in the Catholic culture. The site is being officially maintained by the media office of the Catholics Bishops' conference of the Philippines, according to a blurb on the website. The website outlines the users it specifically targets. "For...

  • YouTube partners with celebrities to drive original programming

    Globally popular video-sharing platform YouTube is set to partner with a number of high-profile celebrities to add around 100 channels of original programming. The site’s venture into original content includes deals with A-list partners such as actor Ashton Kutcher and pop legend Madonna. "Even more talented creators and original entertainment will soon join YouTube's existing channel lineup," YouTube global head of content partnerships Robert Kyncl said in a blog post. "Including channels created by well-known personalities and content producers from the TV, film, music, news, and sports fields, as well as some of the most innovative up-and-coming media companies in...

  • Dynamic Ads: Why you shouldn’t fire your Google Adwords operator just yet

    Google enlarged its beta test group for Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) this week in order for larger clients like retail chains to take advantage of the traffic they’re losing out on by not targeting their keywords properly. DSAs, not to be confused with Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI), create adverts based on the content of your site. Steven Levy, author of In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Lives, speaks of the early Google days when the founders were trying to figure out how to monetise their fledgling Adwords program: CEO, Larry Page, had the idea...

  • Josh Spear: ‘Collective Action’ and ‘New World Economies’

    "When I was old enough to talk, I told my parents I wanted to sell ideas," says Josh Spear. He must be a rich man because he has plenty of them, and they are revolutionising the way we think about the future of the world. Spending time with Spear will take you back to your days as a University student, talking about ideas and possibilities and how the world is going to evolve in the next 20 years. He is a founding partner of Undercurrent, a digital think-tank where he brings his trend-spotting insights and observations of how things are...

  • BlackBerry sued over global service failure

    In the latest twist of the tale of BlackBerry’s woes, the smartphone's maker Research In Motion (RIM), is now being sued in Canada and the US as a result of the global BlackBerry Messenger failure. The plaintiff of the suit hope to escalate the case into class-action lawsuit thus representing every BlackBerry user in the respective countries. At the moment, the amount RIM will be asked to pay out has not yet been determined. The US lawsuit accuses RIM of “negligence, unjust enrichment and breach of contract”. Filed this week in California, it was brought forward by the BlackBerry owners who...

  • 10 gems of wisdom for delivering service through mobile [Tech4Africa]

    Gustav Praekelt and Sebastien Lacour show two very different solutions to the same problem – delivering services to people via mobile when the Web was not a viable option. One was for a philanthropic and social awareness-based project and the other involved a for-profit company. Both show, however, that poor quality bandwidth needn’t be an obstacle to improving the lives of people in emerging markets. Praekelt’s project concerns the metaphorically powerless (poor and youth), while Lacour's deals with the actually powerless (people's whose pre-paid electricity supply was cut). Praekelt is the man behind the Praekelt Foundation, a philanthropic organisation that aims...

  • Three great social media campaigns from 2011

    As we start winding up 2011, it's time to look back over the year and see which social media campaigns made the grade and really achieved the goals that they set out to. The following list is a grouping of my three favourite international social media campaigns from 2011. I chose these three campaigns because they cross the boundaries between online and offline and really make those influenced by the campaigns “live” the brands. KLM -- The airline (yes it still exists) At the beginning of 2010, KLM the official airline of Holland, embarked on an aggressive social media listening exercise....

  • Seven rules for building a mobile campaign

    So you've decided to build a mobile campaign. It makes sense. Everybody has a mobile phone right? And you know a few marketing basics from that course you did once a few years ago. It should be easy right? Even though we're all marketers now, it’s a little more complicated than that. Here are eight things gleaned from three people deeply ingrained in the emerging markets mobile space. The three -- Brett St Clair, head of Mobile for Google South Africa, Nic Haralambous, CEO and co-founder of Motribe, a platform that allows people to create virtual mobile communities and...

  • PES 2012: Off the pitch winner or on the pitch failure?

    How does Konami’s latest football title fare against its arch-rival, and will it convert new followers to the long-running series? If you are a soccer fan, and you like video games, even just a little bit, you’ve probably heard of the EA Sports FIFA series and Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) series. Five years ago it was easy to differentiate between the two. Fifa was always the Britney Spears of soccer games; easy to pick up and play, easy on the eye, and catered to adolescents. PES on the other hand, was a soccer simulation. It was slower, more realistic and...

  • ‘Artists helping artists’ with Headliner.fm

    Queen once sang, "I want to break free". They might easily have been talking about recording artists breaking free from the shackles of the traditional music business model. Headliner.FM embraces this and wants to "spread the music", helping artists to connect with their fan base. Facebook and Twitter users are invited to the party to swap music recommendations based on personal choice and the option of raising awareness for one of the 110 000 musicians currently registered on Headliner.fm. Headliner.fm is a meaty concept, with plenty of sinew to chew on. Essentially a recommendation and promotion engine, Headliner.fm "lets artists market themselves...

  • Africa: Turning the tech world upside down (Part 2)

    In the first part of this article I discussed -- picking up from talks I gave at PopTech and Nokia World 2011 -- "The Idea of Africa" and how Western abstractions of the continent are often mired in the past, and, with examples, how Africa was turning the world upside down because disruptive ideas happen at the edge. Now, I want to look at the Two Big Trends. Trend #1: Adoption by Africans as consumers is increasing Trend #2: Technology costs are decreasing At the panel discussion I participated in at Nokia World 2011, I mentioned how: 87% of sub-US$100 phones sold by Nokia...

  • Searching for ‘piece of mind’

    Sculptures inspired by fishnets, a bicycle with a built-in record player and furniture from discarded road signs. Or go in search of a Piece of Mind. Well strung American artist Janet Echelman creates large-scale sculptural installations using age-old net-weaving techniques she learnt from fishermen in India. The installations are either hand-woven or machine-woven, depending on the requirements of the specific project. The sculptures are often suspended between buildings where they interact with the wind and sunlight in an almost magical way. When the sculptures are lit at night they add an inspiring light to the sky that resembles the...

  • Nintendo faces billion dollar loss

    Nintendo’s US$925 million losses are staggering, with the Kyoto videogame company blaming a lack of stellar titles and an ever-climbing Yen. For Nintendo, this is a full-year loss and for any other company would surely be a nail in its coffin. Nintendo issued a statement preceding the sales report. “Profits suffered due to re-evaluation of assets in foreign currencies, exchange losses totalling 52.4-billion yen (US$711 million) occurred”. Read more at Gearburn.comvar vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Android triumphs over iPhone app store

    The endless war between Apple and Android has seen a decisive victory, for the Android app store at least. In the second quarter of 2011, more Android apps were downloaded than iPhone apps, according to a recent report. ABI researcher, Lim Shiyang said, "Android's open source strategy is the main factor for its success. Being a free platform has expanded the Android device install base, which in turn has driven growth in the number of third party multi-platform and mobile operator app stores. These conditions alone explain why Android is the new leader in the mobile application market”. The growth figure...