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Mobile Technology News, April 30, 2014

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • Jet Cycle Is A Street-Legal Cross Between A Motorcycle And A Fighter Jet (VIDEO)
    It looks like it’s ready to take off at any moment.

    A video being shared across social media this week shows what appears to be Ron Gallops’ F-106 Jet Cycle, with many wondering if it’s real or if it’s even street legal.

    The Jet Cycle is both — just don’t expect it to fly.

    Called Freedom 1, the Jet Cycle is a Honda Gold Wing motorcycle that’s been modified by Gallops to look like an F-106 Delta Dart, complete with a glowing afterburner.

    The result? A street-legal fighter jet with a top speed of 80 mph.

    Gallops told the St. Petersburg Times in 2005 that the biggest challenge isn’t driving a winged motorcycle, complete with a cockpit and landing gear. It’s watching out for everyone who’s watching him.

    You have to be paying attention because the people are looking at it, and they’re running all over the lane,” Gallops said.

    Seems like that’s still true today. In the video above, you can hear a horn honk as cars maneuver to get a look at Freedom 1.

    The Quail Run RV Resort posted some up-close photos of the Jet Cycle on its Facebook page, including this exterior shot:

    It even has a cockpit:

    Gallops writes on his website that the cockpit contains all the gauges and controls you’d find on a fighter jet. And somehow, underneath it all, is a 1500cc 6-cylinder motorcycle engine.

  • Piracy sites are 'rife with scams'
    Most popular pirate sites contain credit card scams, malware and/or other unwanted programs, says a media industry group.
  • Xbox One console to launch in China
    Microsoft says its Xbox One gaming console will go on sale in China in September, months after a 14-year ban on consoles was lifted.
  • New photos of 'iPhone 6' mock-up appear online
    As we live in the age of the 3D printer, it was just a matter of time before the dubious computer-rendering of an “iPhone 6” based on rumor reports would be produced as a model that reflects those measurements and rumors, but provides little convincing evidence that the next iPhone will actually resemble it. The dummy model, which like the “iPhone 6” cases seen in and outside of China recently are based on the current iPod touch, with a thinner profile and more rounded corners than the current iPhone.

  • Clippers 'We Are One' Message Takes Off Online
    It was a simple message from a team to its fans: WE ARE ONE.

    The words were posted on the website of the Los Angeles Clippers, a public repudiation of the racist comments made by team owner Donald Sterling — comments that earned him a lifetime ban from the NBA.

    Those words grew in power throughout the day as the rest of the league joined in. At least a dozen teams posted “WE ARE ONE” messages on their websites. Teams and players also took to Instagram and Twitter with the #weareone hashtag.

    Even the team’s current playoff rivals, the Golden State Warriors, posted a message of unity:

    As the #Warriors prepare for tonight’s playoff game, we share in the spirit of this league-wide message. #WeAreOne pic.twitter.com/k07HbGS1r3

    — Golden St. Warriors (@warriors) April 30, 2014

    The message reached across sports, with the Los Angeles Kings NHL team — locked in a playoff battle of its own with the San Jose Sharks — posting a #weareone message:

    #WeAreOne #LAKings pic.twitter.com/VqcMXDAB0A

    — LA Kings (@LAKings) April 29, 2014

    See the slideshow below for more #weareone messages.

  • Twitter Tries Out A New Definition For Twitter
    When Twitter filed for its initial public stock offering last year, it clumsily described itself as a “global platform for public self-expression and conversation in real time.” This tagline was used by approximately no one.

    As Twitter faces investor pressure to show its can attract more mainstream members, the social network has come up with a new definition of what Twitter does.

    “We think of Twitter as a companion experience to what’s happening in your world,” Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo said on the company’s earnings call Tuesday. Costolo repeated the line several times during the question and answer session with investors and analysts, while also asserting that Twitter, which has about a fifth as many active users as Facebook, is “incredibly mainstream.”

    Twitter no doubt hopes the new “companion experience” nomenclature will prove a friendlier, more memorable mantra that convinces holdouts to get Twitter handles of their own. The catchphrase is a kind of catchall that attempts to cover the many possible uses for Twitter, ranging from sourcing stories and getting news to catching celebrity gossip and talking about TV shows.

    The company does need to convince people that it has something to offer. (User growth, already sluggish, has slowed .) In a sense, the fact that Twitter is already very familiar to mainstream audiences points to a deeper problem confronting Costolo and co: The challenge for Twitter isn’t that it’s unknown. The challenge is that people — many, many people — know Twitter and know they don’t want to join.

    Reflecting concerns over Twitter’s success attracting users, the company’s stock price plummeted in after-hours trading Tuesday, even as Twitter reported strong gains in advertising revenue.

    Twitter’s new slogan may try to address the people problem by shifting Twitter’s emphasis from speaking to listening. The tagline suggests that Twitter doesn’t have to be a place where you self-express and share information. It can just be that screen you flick through while watching the Grammys. The line tries to reassure you it’s totally okay to be a passive consumer, rather than conversing creator.

    This is a point Twitter has been trying to make for several years. The biggest misconception about Twitter, Costolo said in a 2012 interview, is that “you have to tweet to Twitter.” For the past four years, Costolo and his predecessor have presided over a series of redesigns that have shrunken, squished and de-prioritized the tweet box, as if to tell silent Twitterers it’s fine to stay mute. The tweet box once sat on top of people’s timelines, making it the first thing they saw when they logged on. Now, it’s been reduced to a fraction of the size and slid to the left side of the screen. As it stands, 44 percent of existing Twitter accounts have never sent a tweet, according to a report released earlier this month by the analytics firm Twopcharts.

    Convincing Twitter holdouts to reconsider the site is likely to require more drastic changes to Twitter’s offerings, which risk alienating the old-timers. Costolo has already introduced a more visual, image-heavy look, one that he said helped increase Twitter’s base of users in the most recent quarter. He also noted that Twitter had simplified its signup process on mobile phones, and was better at suggesting Twitter accounts for new members to follow.

    Coming next: A move toward private conversations. Costolo told investors Twitter has plans to “[make] it possible for people to more fluidly move between the public conversation and private conversation.” There’s a chance the embrace of private messaging will woo the never-adopters. But it’s a certitude that this will be a change in focus for the social media site. The first word in the first image Twitter included in its initial stock offering filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission? “Public.”

  • eBay to repatriate $9bn cash to US
    E-commerce giant eBay says it is repatriating almost $9bn (£5.3bn) of its cash held overseas back to the US, for potential acquisitions.
  • Slow user growth hits Twitter shares
    Shares in Twitter dropped to their lowest levels since the company’s stock market flotation, as it reported slower than expected user growth.
  • Apple-Samsung patent trial now in hands of jury
    The trial portion of the second Apple-Samsung patent lawsuit is over, with lawyers for both sides giving final closing arguments both offensively and defensively in a case that saw Apple suing Samsung for copying five of its patented inventions, while Samsung countered that Apple had infringed on two patents it bought from others. The jury began deliberations immediately, and will work on the complex jury form assigning guilt and damages from 9:30AM to 4:30PM each day until it arrives at a conclusion.

  • Government PC made Muslim wiki edit
    The charity that represents Wikipedia in the UK has condemned edits made from government computers after more insults and vandalism emerged.
  • Most Powerful Marketing Tool of the 21st Century
    2014-04-28-powerfulmarketing.jpgWhether you recognize it or not, all successful organizations regardless of what they do or sell-have one thing in common: their owners, senior management and front line staff know how to build and maintain relationships. Without strong relationships, it is impossible to have success in business.

    We’ve all heard it before: it’s not what you know, but who you know. But what we should be thinking is: “Its not who you know, but its about who knows you”

    I would also goes as far as saying: “Its not who you call but who calls you”And thanks to LinkedIn’s powerful platform, reaching out and building your network has never been easier with over 80 percent of Australia’s five million professionals now on LinkedIn.

    With one click of a button you can connect with millions of new potential customers, find new potential partners to help grow your organization, connect with the media to build your personal or company brand and even hire new staff. And best of all every connection you make is targeted.

    Gone are the days where you need to spend countless amount of hours implementing marketing strategies in order to get in front of key decision makers for your product or service. LinkedIn allows you to search, connect and develop relationships in real time with anyone around the world 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

    I am getting excited just writing about it. Take a moment now, stop and think about the possibilities this creates for you and your organization. No longer will you have to pay high recruitment fees to find new potential employees, simply use LinkedIn’s powerful recruitment features to search, find and connect with talent all over the world.

    No longer will you have to spend hours and hours traveling to networking functions, in the hope that you will make a valuable contact. With LinkedIn you can connect with 100’s of targeted business professional every week. In a business world that is rapidly changing all the time, learning and implementing the latest sales and marketing strategies is not a choice it is a necessity if you are to stay relevant.

    Whether you are a newbie, have an account but not active or would like to further your education here are my top three tips in order to plan, connect and ultimately profit through LinkedIn:

    1) First and foremost you need a compelling LinkedIn profile

    In fact if you are ‘NOT’ on LinkedIn, I recommend stop everything you’re doing right now and create a profile.

    Your profile is one of if not the most important aspect of building your personal and professional network. Unlike five to 10 years ago, nowadays people buy into you, before they even look into your company let alone your product.

    “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” -Tom Peters

    2) Once you have completed your profile step two is all about creating a plan

    I am sure you have heard of the saying: In life people don’t plan to fail they fail to plan. Well business is no different; planning gives you a sense of purpose and direction.

    Think about some of the goals you would like to achieve within your current role over the next 3, 6, 12 months. Once you have written this down, now start to think about all the people you need to connect with in order to help you reach those milestones.

    For example if you are looking to increase your personal or company profile you may want to start connecting with journalists and editors in business. If your aim is to increase revenue you may want to start connecting with potential joint venture partners.

    The point of the matter is, make sure that the connections you make are meaningful and targeted in helping you achieve your goals.

    3) And finally add value

    To be successful on LinkedIn and in business overall you have to think about WIIFT (What’s In It For Them) rather then WIIFU

    (What’s In It For You) initially. Just because they accepted your connection invite doesn’t mean they are interested in what you have to say, remember: to be interesting you have to be interested.

    Building relationships through LinkedIn is no different to dealing with people in a network function, through a friend or colleague, it’s all about adding value and creating a win-win scenario.

  • VIDEO: Nod smart ring aims to rule them all
    The computing controller with sky high ambitions
  • 9 Moms Spill What They Really Want For Mother's Day This Year
    From “don’t get me anything” to “something from the heart,” it seems that every year when we ask mom what she wants for Mother’s Day, we get the same coded answers.

    Mom, we’re on to you…

    That’s why we partnered with Best Buy and enlisted real Moms to share what they’re eyeing this year. Oh, and as it turns out, “don’t get me anything” didn’t make this list.

  • We Can't End April Without This Important Message From Justin Timberlake
    New month, old meme.

    justin timberlake meme

    There are no bones about it.

    A new month is imminent.

  • 'Dinner and a Movie,' Not Dinner and an OTT Stream
    “Dinner and a movie” is one of the last affordable, middle-class family outings and has served as the venerable date night for countless romantic relationships both new and old. The American middle class has been losing ground for decades, and last week’s news that it is no longer the world’s richest is just the latest blow. We’ve already lost baseball to luxury boxes and Disneyland to premium passes, we now risk losing one of the last great escapes of the American middle class: Going to the movies.

    Last year George Lucas and Steven Spielberg warned that the film industry is headed for financial implosion. They think movies will be like Broadway shows with ticket prices eventually settling around $150 each. Ron Howard echoed this opinion last week at Tribeca suggesting we accept the change and embrace new technology. This doesn’t just mean more revenue for Netflix and more creepy ghost-theaters on Main Streets in towns across America.

    It means each parent, kid, girlfriend and boyfriend will abscond away to a different place in the house with his/her own personal laptop or TV set. And now with the coming ascension of virtual reality like Oculus Rift, the dystopian day we are literally oblivious to the person sitting next to us on the couch may not be too distant.

    Sociologists have well-documented the impact the advent of television had on American society. Our neighborly visits and door-stoop chats of the 1950s gave way to today’s “Armed Response” security signs and silent, isolated vegetating in front of the boob tube.

    Going to the movies is one of the few remaining reasons we get out from behind our TVs, laptops and cellphones. In fact, now that we can instant message from takeoff to landing on airplanes, it’s one of the last places we are admonished to surrender our Internet handcuffs (and how painful the withdrawal symptoms for those 90 minutes!).

    Movie theaters are also one of the few public connecting points that bring diverse parts of the community together. Given the increasing tendency for elites to buy their way out of public places, the people in the popcorn line on any given Friday night is one of the most middle-class melting-pot manifestations we have left.

    Saving the movie-going experience won’t save America’s middle class, but letting it go will lead us deeper down the hole of Internet isolation and greater separation from each other at a time when Americans need more real-world, interpersonal connections, not fewer.

  • Putin's Diatribe Against Google
    When Vladimir Putin launched into a diatribe about the internet and called it a CIA project, the rant got plenty of coverage. Unfortunately though, the West perceived the rant as just another of Putin’s megalomaniacal outbursts aimed at them. Little or no real analysis went into the question of why, while at a conference on media in St. Petersburg, the president of Russia would say those things or what he hoped to achieve by saying them.

    So, why did he do it?

    Everyone already knows about PRISM, the NSA’s program that collected a googolplex of information which is stored in cavernous secret facilities constructed expressly for that very purpose. Did he do it for the reason he gave for doing it? When Putin told the Russian people to stop using Google because the CIA was spying on them, and when he told them that they should instead use the Russian search engine Yandex, he should have expected that foreign investors would panic and that Yandex would drop the nearly five percent in value that it devalued. Putin is savvy. He understands the impact his voice has.

    Vladimir Putin had a very different purpose in mind for his announcement. And not surprisingly, the impact was felt around the world.

    His purpose was to move every single Russian into his sphere of influence. And the best way to do that is to be in control of social media. Up until now, Putin has successfully controlled and silenced all opposition because of his influence on almost every single traditional Russian media outlet. In Russia you never see an opposing figure on television, hear a dissenting voice on radio or read an unfavorable opinion piece in the traditional print press — which is still very powerful in Russia. The opposition has been barred from the media.

    The only place that the opposition has any freedom to operate without control, censorship or Big Brother is on international servers like Google.

    Voices in opposition of Putin send announcements and broadcast messages and conduct discussions through video and audio posts. They announce their protests and rallies on social media. Putin wants to clamp down on that outlet for access to the public. He want to stymie his dissenters. And, this is crucial, he wants to listen in.

    The Russian parliament passed a law, only several days before Putin spoke out in St. Petersburg, forcing all Russian social media websites to use Russian servers. Ostensibly, the reason for the law is for Russians to “Buy Russian.” But it is clear that there is far more to the law than simple patriotism. The law also demands that Russian servers keep a record of all internet activity and store that record in a way so that it is totally accessible to the authorities. The records must be stored for six months. And it is no coincidence that Russia’s leading social media outlet, VKontakte, is controlled by a group with extremely close ties to the president.

    The real reason for Putin’s diatribe at the media conference had far more to do with galvanizing internal Russian interests than the ostensible and obvious slap in the face to Western corporations like Google and arch enemy the United States of America.

    Vladimir Putin is far more sophisticated than he appears. He acts like a bully and behaves like a thug all in order to intimidate. It is when he changes his persona that we need to worry. Putin can be subtle and illusive. And he is always manipulative. And this time around, he manipulated the West with ease.

    Never underestimate President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

  • Men, These Skinny Jeans Won't Squash Your Junk
    When Patrick Woloveck moved to New York City from his hometown in Ohio a few years ago, he wanted to update his style. First step: transitioning from the staid straight-cut denim he had worn for years to a fashion-forward pair of skinny jeans.

    He was, however, in for a painful surprise.

    “It was the same story everywhere,” Woloveck, 26, told The Huffington Post on Tuesday. “The jeans I was trying on were all too constraining, too skinny and uncomfortable. I wanted to transition from the straight-leg pants I was used to, but there was no happy medium.”

    Specifically, he said he was alarmed by how most skinny and slim-fit jeans squeezed and squashed his family jewels. “What was available was just too tight in the crotch region,” he said. “That’s every guy’s biggest fear. It’s not what they want.”

    Sensing a business opportunity, Woloveck joined forces with a couple of fellow graduates from Ohio’s Miami University and set to work designing a new line of slim-fit jeans. Slimbs jeans — which launched its Kickstarter campaign this week — was soon born.

    “Most of [the skinny and slim-fit jeans] available in stores are in a European cut,” Woloveck said of the idea behind Slimbs. “But based on market research, these are usually too skinny and uncompromising for [most] American guys. We’ve created slim fit jeans that aren’t a pain to your manhood. These are pants that are comfortable, functional and aren’t constraining.”

    slimbs jeans

    Designed and manufactured in Los Angeles and made from premium denim imported from Japan, Slimbs jeans — which currently come in three washes — have been designed to have more room in the crotch region and around ones’ calves. The denim also has a touch of stretch to allow for easy movement.

    “We wanted to create something more than just a pair of pants,” Woloveck said. “We want to change the idea that guys have about slim fit and transitioning to slim fit. Guys should feel comfortable, mentally and physically when they’re transitioning.”

    Woloveck said he also wanted to ensure that his jeans — which are being sold for a little under $100 — were affordable, so they wouldn’t “break the bank or your balls.” Slimbs also throws in one free repair service for every pair of jeans bought, so if the crotch area rips (a big worry for wearers of skinny jeans, according to Woloveck), customers are covered.

    So far, it seems people have welcomed the idea of slim-fit jeans that allow the nether regions to breathe. Slimbs’ Kickstarter campaign reached its goal of $10,000 in less than 24 hours and Woloveck says the response they’ve received has been very positive thus far.

    “All my expectations have been exceeded,” he said.

    Slimbs isn’t the only American denim startup that has generated buzz in recent days. Earlier this month, Nevada’s Barbell Apparel made headlines for launching a line of denim made specifically for people who have muscular legs and butts; and last week, RPMWEST, a California-based company selling limited-quantity selvedge denim jeans, made waves after the successful launch of its own Kickstarter campaign.

  • Here's What It Actually Takes to Make It as an Entrepreneur

    A young male who was born to be an entrepreneur drops out from a computer science program at a prestigious university. He meets a powerful venture capitalist who is so enamored with his idea that he gives him millions of dollars to build his technology. Then comes the multi-billion-dollar IPO.

    That’s the Hollywood version of Silicon Valley. But it is as far from reality as is Disneyland. Entrepreneurship is never that easy and the stereotype of the startup founder is not representative of the technology world. Yes, there are a few, such as Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, who made it big. But they are the outliers — and they too don’t fit the stereotype. Here are six myths about what it actually takes to make it:

    1. Entrepreneurs are a product of nature.

    A common belief is that entrepreneurs are born and cannot be made. Venture capitalist Fred Wilson once said that he was shocked when a professor told him you could teach people to be entrepreneurs. He explained, “I’ve been working with entrepreneurs for almost 25 years now and it is ingrained in my mind that someone is either born an entrepreneur or is not.” Venture capitalist Mark Suster, with whom I once had a fierce debate on this topic, maintained the same.

    They’re wrong. My research team found that, of the 549 successful entrepreneurs that we surveyed in 2009, 52 percent were the first in their immediate families to start a business; about 39 percent had an entrepreneurial father and 7 percent had an entrepreneurial mother. (Some had both.) Only a quarter of the sample had caught the entrepreneurial bug when in college. Half didn’t even think about entrepreneurship then, and they had had little interest in it when in school.

    This sample doesn’t necessarily prove my point. But look at some of most successful entrepreneurs that we know: Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Jan Koum. They didn’t come from entrepreneurial families. Their parents were dentists, academics, lawyers, factory workers, or priests. I doubt they were writing business plans while in kindergarten or selling lemonade in grade school.

    I know many ordinary entrepreneurs who also didn’t sell lemonade. I myself come from a family of government bureaucrats and teachers. I started my career as an I.T. professional and never dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur. But when I was 33, the opportunity presented itself to me to start a company that could impact the world. I made the leap and helped build a business that generated $120 million in annual revenue.

    Silicon Valley luminary Steve Blank, who moderated my debate with Suster, adds another perspective. He says “Change the external culture and environment, and entrepreneurship can bloom regardless of its source — nature or nurture.” He’s right. Entrepreneurship flourishes in places where people can learn from and inspire one another, such as Silicon Valley and New York City.

    2. The best entrepreneurs are young. If you’re over 35, you’re over the hill.

    Silicon Valley investors openly tout their preference for younger entrepreneurs. One famous investor said, “People under 35 are the ones who make change happen … people over 45 basically die in terms of new ideas.”

    My research teams documented that the average and median age of successful technology company founders when they started their companies had been 40. We learned that as many had been older than fifty as had been younger than 25; twice as many had been over sixty as under twenty. Seventy percent were married when they launched their first business; an additional 5.2 percent were divorced, separated, or widowed. Sixty percent had had at least one child, and 43.5 percent had had two or more children. The Kauffman Foundation also researched the backgrounds of successful entrepreneurs and found similar results.

    On a post on Quora, Jan Koum, the founder of WhatsApp — the most expensive technology acquisition ever — wrote “i incorporated WhatsApp on the day of my 33rd birthday. i had no idea i only had 2 years left.”

    Look closer at the technology industry, and you will realize that VCs who say that older entrepreneurs are over the hill are misguided. For example, Marc Benioff was 35 when he founded Salesforce.com and Reid Hoffman was 36 when he founded LinkedIn. Reed Hastings was 37 when he founded Netflix; Mark Pincus was 41 when he started Zynga. Pradeep Sindhu was 42 when he founded Juniper Networks and Irwin Jacobs was 52 when he founded Qualcomm.

    3. Dropping out is the way to go; education is merely a distraction.

    PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel made headlines when he announced four years ago that he would pay students $100,000 to drop out of college. He wanted to prove that higher education is overpriced and unnecessary; that budding entrepreneurs are better off in building world-changing companies than in studying irrelevant courses in school.

    His effort proved to be a dismal failure. Some Thiel startups received big media attention and adulation — such as one that announced it would be producing caffeine spray. But none were the successes that had been promised.

    The Thiel Foundation quietly refocused its efforts on providing an alternative form of education to college dropouts, and several of its sponsored dropouts returned to school. That’s because there is no substitute for education. Yes, there are good alternatives to universities, but entrepreneurs need to learn the basics of business and management in order to succeed.

    Indeed, my research team found that, on average, companies founded by college graduates have twice the sales and employment of companies founded by people who hadn’t gone to college. What matters is that the entrepreneur completes a baseline of education; the field of education and ranking of the college don’t play a significant role in entrepreneurial success. Founder education reduces business failure rates and increases profits, sales and employment.

    4. Female entrepreneurs don’t have what it takes to cut it in the tech world.

    Women-founded firms receive hardly any venture-capital investments; they are almost absent in high-level technology positions; they contribute to fewer than 5 percent of all I.T. patents and 1.2 percent of open-source software programs. This is despite the facts that girls now match boys in mathematical achievement; that 140 women enroll in higher education for every 100 men; and that women earn more than 50 percent of all bachelor’s and master’s degrees and nearly 50 percent of all doctorates in the United States.

    Do female founders receive less VC backing because women are different? Not at all. Research by National Center for Women & Information Technology revealed that there are almost no differences in success factors between men and women company founders. Men and women are equally likely to have children at home when they start their businesses, though men are more likely to be married. Both sexes have exactly the same motivations; are of the same age when founding their startups; have similar levels of experience; and equally enjoy the startup culture.

    It’s also not that women can’t cut it in the rough and tough business world. Women-led companies are more capital-efficient, and venture-backed companies run by a woman have 12 percent higher revenues, than others.

    5. Entrepreneurship requires venture capital.

    Many would-be entrepreneurs write business plans in the hope of finding a venture capitalist to invest in them, believing that, without this funding, they can’t start a company. And that view reflected reality a few years ago. Then, capital costs for technology were in the millions of dollars. But that is no longer the case.

    A $500 laptop has more computing power today than Cray 2 supercomputers that cost $17.5 million in 1985. For storage, back then, you needed server farms and racks of hard disks, which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and required air-conditioned data centers. Today, one can use cloud computing and cloud storage, costing practically nothing.

    Sensors such as those in our smartphones cost tens of thousands of dollars a few years ago. Now they too cost a few dollars or cents. Entrepreneurs can build smartphone apps that act as medical assistants to detect disease; body sensors that monitor heart, brain, and body activity; and technologies to detect soil humidity and improve agriculture. And they can participate in the genomics revolution. It cost $100 million to sequence a full human genome a decade ago. It now costs $1,000. Genome data will soon be available on millions of people, and then billions — allowing entrepreneurs to research the causes of disease.

    There are similar advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and many other fields. These technologies too require no major capital outlays. Venture capital follows innovation. If entrepreneurs build new technologies that customers need or love, money will come to them. They don’t need to wait for venture funding to start.

    6. The tech world is for techies.

    A common belief is that startup CEOs need to be engineers. Bill Gates argues that liberal-arts degrees don’t correlate well with job creation and that the humanities should be defunded in favor of science, engineering, technology, and mathematics. In Silicon Valley, there is a general bias against liberal arts and humanities. It is very hard for an artist or an English or psychology major to break in.

    But note what Steve Jobs said when he unveiled the iPad 2: “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing, and nowhere is that more true than in these post-PC devices.” He taught the world that, though good engineering is important, what matters the most is good design. It takes artists, musicians, and psychologists working side by side with engineers to build products as elegant as the iPad. You can teach artists how to use software and graphics tools, but it’s much harder to turn engineers into artists.

    My research at Duke and Harvard looked into the educational backgrounds of 652 U.S.-born chief executive officers and heads of product engineering at 502 technology companies in 2008. We found that only 37 percent held degrees in engineering or computer technology, and that just two percent held them in mathematics. The rest had degrees in fields as diverse as business, accounting, finance, health care, and arts and the humanities.

    Critical thinking, communication, and scientific validation are skills that are in short supply in the tech world. And these are skills that are abundant in the humanities.

    Vivek Wadhwa is a fellow at the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, director of research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke’s engineering school and distinguished scholar at Singularity and Emory universities. His past appointments include Harvard Law School and University of California Berkeley.

    This post first appeared in the Washington Post.

  • (VIDEO) Microsoft Touts Computing Power of Xbox as Media Appliance
    Microsoft unveiled a slate of new programs for its Xbox gaming console at its NewFront event yesterday and several of shows provide user interactivity.   At the event, we spoke with Scott Ferris, GM of Video Advertising at Microsoft about the new slate, its anticipated appeal for a gaming-oriented audience and the opportunities for advertisers.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

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