Mobile Loose Ends

The World's cheapest touch-screen computer, at $35 it's 14x less than the cheapest Apple iPad WiFi. Held aloft by India's Human Resource Development Minister, Kapil Sibal.

Mobile Loose Ends – Some stories from the last two weeks that appealed to us and we thought were interesting and why.

Shopkick get a kick from VCs
The Wall Street Journal are finally realising that mobile is taking off and the reason they’re realising is that the VCs are starting to go into a frenzy. This story on new business Shopkick is interesting because one of their investors is Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Reid Hoffman. Who? Well Hoffman was founder of LinkedIn, ex VP of PayPal, and he put money early into businesses like Facebook and he like many other VCs now has his eye on the intersection of mobile phones and bricks-and-mortar retailing. It is we think just the start of a growing trend.

Read the full WSJ story here

Movitas create a new mobile business model

On another funding note – Movitas grabbed a new round of financing from a group of private investors, Movitas raised $3 million and has an interesting business model which focuses on the revenue opportunities of real-time communication between travel businesses and consumers before, during, and after their stay.

Read the full Techcrunch story here

Flipboard says OMG it’s Aston Kutcher

Flipboard is one of the big flavours of the moment – It’s a digital social magazine on the iPad eg if you see a page you like you can share it with your friends. Which sounds dull, but because one of the founders is an ex Apple iPhone engineer it’s anything but dull looking. They’ve also just received $10.5 million in Series A funding from a list of A-list funders including Index Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, along with individual investors including Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and Ashton Kutcher – yes THAT Aston Kutcher!

Read the full WSJ story here

Mobile Broadband revenues to double

According to a story on ITPro Mobile broadband revenues are set to more than double over the next four years. Analyst firm Infonetics Research expects the number of mobile broadband customers to hit 1.8 billion globally by 2014, representing more than a quarter (28 per cent) of total mobile subscribers.

Read the full ITPro story here

Flash defends it’s own corner

The dilemma for brands at the moment is to create an app(s), wait for HTML5 or do something in Flash. It’s a tricky choice, but one that Adobe thinks is a no-brainer, it’s Flash of course, well they would say that wouldn’t they?

Read V3’s full story here

An iPad for $35?

Finally – How cheap can a touch-screen iPad-like device be? According to this release from Reuters, India has come up with a $35 laptop. Will Apple be reducing the price of their iPad to compete? We think not.

India has come up with the world’s cheapest “laptop,” a touch-screen computing device that costs $35.
India’s Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal this week unveiled the low-cost computing device that is designed for students, saying his department had started talks with global manufacturers to start mass production.

“We have reached a (developmental) stage that today, the motherboard, its chip, the processing, connectivity, all of them cumulatively cost around $35, including memory, display, everything,” he told a news conference.

He said the touchscreen gadget was packed with Internet browsers, PDF reader and video conferencing facilities but its hardware was created with sufficient flexibility to incorporate new components according to user requirement.

Sibal said the Linux based computing device was expected to be introduced to higher education institutions from 2011 but the aim was to drop the price further to $20 and ultimately to $10.
The device was developed by research teams at India’s premier technological institutes, the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science.

India spends about three percent of its annual budget on school education and has improved its literacy rates to over 64 percent of its 1.2 billion population but studies have shown many students can barely read or write and most state-run schools have inadequate facilities.

Have a good weekend!

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