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      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
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  • HTC wants a piece of Beats by Dr Dre

    Taiwanese smartphone giant HTC plans to pay about US$309 million for a 51 percent stake in Beats Electronics, the celebrity-centric marketing operation for higher-end headphones, fronted by hip hop artist and producer Dr Dre. According to HTC, the company is working with Beats Electronics LLC to create a line of HTC headsets offering "high performance sound" to be available this fall, a company statement said. Manufacturing for Beat’s headphones is done by Monster with lines including Beats by Dr Dre and Heartbeats with Lady Gaga. Read more on Gearburn.com

  • Google+: Now with games

    Google has added games, including the wildly popular Angry Birds, to its exploding social network Google+. "We want to make playing games online just as fun, and just as meaningful, as playing in real life", Google senior vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra said in an official blog post. He went on to say that the new feature was gradually being rolled out on the new social network. "When you're ready to play, the Games page is waiting." Along with global game sensation Angry Birds, the initial array of offerings available at Google+ includes Bejeweled Blitz, Zynga Poker, and Dragon Age Legends. A...

  • The group buying collapse is coming

    Group buying. Daily deals. Social commerce. Call it what you will, but the sheer number of blatant knock-offs that have sprung up in global markets following the "success" of Groupon and LivingSocial should give you a hint that all is not well. A fair number of these startups are nothing more than two or three people, a few laptops, an internet connection and phone line. They're strangely reminiscent of those outfits that sold small businesses those five-page microsites a decade ago. Small businesses got ripped off with websites based on cookie-cutter templates. Users/customers got ripped off because they actually couldn’t...

  • Online behaviour tracking and the erosion of your privacy

    Marketing and media companies are always looking for innovative ways to gauge consumer behaviour and activity online. It affects how accurately they're able to market their products according to age, gender, cultural demographics, and geography. There's a fine line, however, between savvy market research and bypassing the principles of consumer privacy. Many technology companies make it their mission to develop new technologies that practically deauthorise user choice about what is tracked and, even more subversively, how it's tracked. A recent example comes in the form of ETag tracking, which can store information about your online behaviour in your browser's...

  • Markets fall: What will happen to Silicon Valley recovery?

    Turmoil in global financial markets and economies is never good for Silicon Valley despite the fact that the regional economy has its own boom and bust cycles that operate on a different timetable. Currently, Silicon Valley has been booming, recapturing the trend that was in place in the second half of 2008, before the financial meltdown, of growing VC investments and jobs. It has to be asked though, whether like that recovery in 2008 which ran smack into an economic crisis, this recovery will again be nipped in the bud. Maybe. Profits at the large Silicon Valley companies such as Google...

  • Hulu streaming to hit Japan

    Online streaming giant Hulu is set to make its first move outside the US as it plans to offer film and TV streaming services in Japan. Hulu has always aimed to expand globally, as stated in its official blog. "We recognize that entertainment fans beyond the US have the same desires as those on our home shores: find and watch the world's premium content when, how, and where they want," says the blog. Hulu's Japanese streaming services, much like its offerings in the US, will be subscription based with monthly fees. Industry watchers have labelled Japan as a country...

  • Apple becomes world’s most successful company

    Based on the value of its global stock, Apple is now the most successful company on the planet. The stock exchange may currently be painting a grim picture for many businesses, but Apple continues to thrive with a total market capital of US$337-billion and a share value of US$363. The multinational company beat off companies like oil giant ExxonMobil in terms of overall corporate value. ExxonMobil's stock fell to US$68 per share; this lowers their total valuation to US$330.8-billion. While Google may still have the most valuable shares at US$549 per unit, their total market capital is US$177-billion, which...

  • Five ways social media was used during the London riots

    Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook have been blamed for augmenting the recent violent riots in London and other English metropoles. Speaking to British newspaper The Guardian, Steve Kavanagh, the deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police, said that "inflammatory" and "inaccurate" messages on Twitter helped fuel the riots. "Social media and other methods have been used to organize these levels of greed and criminality," Kavanagh said. Social media has also been used to help those who have been affected by the riots. Below, Memeburn looks at five ways in which social media was used during, and in the aftermath...

  • Big data, social TV, gamification and ‘Internet of things’ is the new black

    Activity streams, wireless power, internet TV, NFC payments and private cloud computing are some of the technologies that are being hyped at the moment, says IT research company Gartner. But some of the new technologies at the start of the hype curve include trends like social analytics, gamification, big data, social TV, natural language question answering and the "Internet of Things". Gartner's now-famous 2011 Hype Cycle Special Report provides an assessment of the maturity, business benefit and future direction of more than 1 900 technologies, grouped into 76 distinct Hype Cycles. The Hype Cycle graphic, pictured below, has been used since 1995...

  • Huh? Why is BlackBerry being blamed for the London riots?

    In recent days, the streets of London have descended into bedlam as riots and looting spread, sparked by a protest organised around the shooting of an alleged gang member. Scotland Yard reported that a total of 44 officers have been injured during running battles with angry youths and, as has become tradition, social networks such as Twitter have come under fire for enabling the orchestrations of public violence. This time, however, there has been much finger pointing at BlackBerry Messenger, the proprietary instant messaging service from Research In Motion. Steve Kavanagh, the deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police,...

  • 8 comic book movie viral campaigns that rocked

    Almost better than any film adaption of a comic book, is the anticipation built up from the viral campaigns which leak out from the silver tap of Hollywood. The internet has become a bridge which connects the public to their childhood memories and marketing agencies are quick to pounce on our nostalgia in the form of videos, online games and interactive websites which slowly reveal the next major blockbuster. In the past decade, the internet has assisted in marketing the release of a number of comic book films. Memeburn decided to take a look at some of the best....

  • 4 first world marketing mistakes to avoid making

    There's an old adage that goes, "you need to break a few eggs to make a cake". This doesn't mean, however, that you have to break every egg you have in order to get the cake just right. There is a bit of an advantage to being in an emerging economy. The fact that first world markets have gone through the pain of developing and learning online marketing techniques first means there is a wealth of knowledge which emerging economies can learn from in order to ensure that their online marketing strategy is optimally efficient and not always exploratory. Why...

  • Anonymous hacked while announcing operation to ‘kill’ Facebook

    "Hacktivist" group Anonymous has issued yet another threat of a cyber attack, this time against Facebook, reports tech blog Mashable. The loosely organised group of hackers has declared, in a statement aimed at the global body of Facebook users, that "your medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed". The statement goes on to explain the reasoning for what has been dubbed, "OpFacebook": Facebook has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people from all around the world. Some of these so-called whitehat infosec firms are...

  • Camera for all seasons – Samsung NX11 vs Canon SX30

    Back-to-back Review: The Samsung NX11 and Canon SX30 bridge cameras are aimed at the same photographer, but take different approaches. Both very light and very compact, ideal for doing the tourist or family holiday thing. One goes with an interchangeable lens system, one with a beast of a lens that does everything. Ish. Cameras in the bridge camera segment have, for a long time, been squeezed between their little brothers, the steadily more powerful and capable point-and-shoots, and big brother SLRs, particularly the low end consumer DSLRs – and to an extent, bridge cameras have had the disadvantages of...

  • DA leader addresses Twitter critics

    Helen Zille, leader of South Africa's largest opposition party, has responded to a recent spat between herself, officials from her party, and South African singer Simphiwe Dana that played out on Twitter. The spat began when Dana directed a number of barbed political points toward Zille on the microblog, to which the Democratic Alliance leader replied in kind, characterising them as "baseless assertions". Dana and like-minded Twitter users then began sending Zille and other DA officials a series of increasingly difficult-to-answer tweets. The spat peaked when DA spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko, in a move reminiscent of the ANC Youth League's characterisation of Twitter...