Also: Inside the mind of Hulu's interim CEO; Did Mailbox cost Dropbox $100 million?
One part of the problem appears to be that check-ins, the cornerstone of Foursquare's early growth and its traditionally main source of data points, are no longer what they used to be. A year ago CEO Dennis Crowley said Foursquare was noticing more people using Foursquare but not checking in. In fact, as the company has doubled its user base to 30 million people in the last year, growth of check-ins appears to be flat: today, Crowley says Foursquare sees 5 million check-ins per day, but that's also what the company said a year ago. For some, the novelty may have worn off of game-play elements, like getting badges and points — part of a wider trend for challenges in app gamification.
Has 'Veronica Mars' ushered in a new era of movie development? [THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER]
Three days into its campaign, The CW drama-turned-movie has shattered several crowd-funding records: fastest Kickstarter project to hit $1 million (4 hours, 24 minutes). Highest goal ever set in the 4-year-old website's history. And 10 hours after its launch on Wednesday morning, the proposed Veronica Mars movie became the fastest project to hit that $2 million mark. As of Thursday night, it had received more than $3.2 million in pledges, with 28 days to go.
The astounding achievement—especially for a show that averaged just under 2.5 million viewers during its 2004-07 run—has injected new life into the possibility of reviving other cult favorites. But can other shows follow the trail that Veronica Mars has now blazed?
An exclusive look at Andy Forssell's vision for Hulu [FAST COMPANY]
"At certain point once you're spending hundreds of millions of dollars on content, you face a point where you realize this is great, we're getting really good stuff. But do I spend $2 million on several seasons of some show from the '70s that was pretty good, and there are people that love it, there's nostalgia, or is the smarter choice to go back and talk to a creator, a creative person who was in here last week, who we know, who has this idea that's not getting made. And at a certain point you'd be crazy not to start to speculate a little bit there… and that's one thing that perks up our ears. When we hear something doesn't fit.
"Then you end up with some small piece of content that can only be seen on Hulu, that's interesting for differentiation purposes. Most of what we do will be stuff that you can continue to find elsewhere. But if you can have that kernel of stuff that people love, that speaks to an audience and is something that they wouldn't find somewhere else, then that has a lot of appeal.
As part of a planned revamping, Lenovo tapped dozens of departments across the world to put new ThinkPad prototypes into the hands of average people -- people from all walks of life and strewn across a variety of cultures. Then, they watched and logged the feedback for a total of 18 months, chipping away and retooling the final product. The company didn't invest more than a year of research to polish up a single machine -- it's putting those findings to work across the entire range. While the machine that debuted at Engadget Expand will be the first to showcase the fruits of that labor when it ships in April at a $949 starting point, I'm told the siblings and cousins that follow will boast similar marks.
There are also some solid component upgrades: A next-generation, 1.9 GHz quad-core processor with integrated LTE modem (for the U.S. market), a 5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display with 441 ppi density and Gorilla Glass 3, 2600 mAh battery, 2 GB of memory, 13 megapixel rear camera and 2 megapixel front facing camera. All flavors of Wi-Fi — including the new 802.11 a/c standard — are supported as is Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, GPS/GLONASS, HSPA+42 and LTE. The Galaxy S 4 also has an IR blaster in it, so you can use it to control any television set that uses an infrared remote.
With this hardware the device seemed peppy and responsive, even though it doesn't yet have the final software version installed. The phone easily handled a burst of 20 camera shots without breaking a sweat. And the display is outstanding from every angle; colors aren't over-saturated as they were on some Samsung phone displays over the past few years.
Loren Brichter, a high priest of app design [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]
Mr. Brichter was the first developer to create or help popularize app features such as pulling on a touch screen to refresh a page, panels that slide out from the side of a screen and the "cell swipe," which is swiping to uncover a list of hidden buttons.
Developer Loren Brichter says he is irked by apps that have menus that pop up or collapse on themselves because the interactions aren't real.
Those actions are now standard features in many popular apps, becoming part of the daily routines of millions of people. The "pull-to-refresh" feature, which Mr. Brichter built in 2009, is woven in software such as an app made by content-sharing site Pinterest Inc. and the mail app from Apple Inc.
Mailbox cost Dropbox around $100 million [TECHCRUNCH]
We had been hearing that Mailbox was raising money, piquing the interest of Andreessen Horowitz among others, which is why today's news that the company sold to the harmoniously named Dropbox didn't come as a surprise. Sometimes an acquisition is the easiest way to raise resources for growth — especially when you're tackling as expensive a problem as email. And have a six-figure wait list.
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Also: Why HP should have listened to its CFO; is Foursquare overvalued?
HP should have listened to its CFO [FORTUNE]
As Fortune wrote in its May cover story How Hewlett-Packard lost its way:
"...with no warning to Apotheker, Lesjak made an impassioned case against the acquisition before the board. "I can't support it," she told the directors, according to a person who was present. "I don't think it's a good idea. I don't think we're ready. I think it's MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Nov 21, 2012 5:30 AM ET
The secret to populating an unpopular smartphone platform: cash incentives
A nice piece of reporting by Jenna Wortham and Nick Wingfield landed on the front page of the New York Times Business section Friday morning, two days before the launch of the Nokia Lumia 900.
When free phones and promises of prime real estate on the Windows Phone app store wasn't enough to get reluctant developers to write software for the new MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 6, 2012 7:41 AM ET
Fortune's curated selection of tech stories from the weekend. Sign up to get the round-up delivered to you each and every day.
* In a first for Apple (AAPL), the Cupertino-based tech giant published the results of a study reporting that it had "created or supported" 514,000 American jobs. Abroad, Apple says it has created almost 700,000 jobs. (Apple via The New York Times)
* Shares of Yelp, the local business reviews site, climbed 64% Friday MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Mar 5, 2012 3:30 AM ET
Fortune's curated selection of newsworthy tech stories from the weekend. Sign up to get the round-up delivered to you every day.
* Google (GOOG) chairman Eric Schmidt told the U.S. Senate antitrust committee that the iPhone 4S's voice assistant, Siri, poses a "competitive threat" to his company's business. Confessed Schmidt: "Apple's Siri is a significant development -- a voice-activated means of accessing answers through iPhones that demonstrates the innovations in search." (Apple MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Nov 7, 2011 3:30 AM ET
Cloud computing is clearly here to stay. But these factors could make the transition a bumpy one.
FORTUNE -- Earlier this week, portions of Amazon's cloud computing service crashed, impairing Foursquare, Netflix and Instagram as well as millions of users. While service was quickly restored, it marked the second major incident of its kind in the last six months -- and that is raising concerns with some.
Putting parts or all of MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Aug 12, 2011 1:02 PM ET
Who is Seth Priebatsch? How did his tiny company, based on turning life into a video gaming experience, wind up with a $100 million valuation?
FORTUNE -- As I walked through the front door of SCVNGR in Cambridge, Mass., a $100-million company that makes location-based apps to rival Foursquare and Groupon, a painted canvas of the cover of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" greeted me. Standing beside it was the the man MOREChadwick Matlin - May 2, 2011 5:00 AM ET
The exact feature that was supposed to be Amazon EC2's strength -- reliability -- is what failed and brought the cloud low yesterday. Still, cloud computing isn't going anywhere.
By Dan Mitchell, contributor
FORTUNE -- The snafu at Amazon's EC2 hosting service on Thursday, which knocked several big web sites out of service, is being called a "black eye" for the cloud-computing business -- a "we told you so" moment, according to MOREApr 22, 2011 10:24 AM ET
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Amazon's EC2 cloud service crashed and continues to be problematic for some companies and services that rely on it. Affected businesses included Foursquare, Quora, HootSuite, SCVNGR, and Reddit, the last of which is still in "emergency read-only mode" due to what it's calling a"degradation" with Amazon. Company engineers are still working MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Apr 22, 2011 8:45 AM ET
A curated selection of the day's most newsworthy tech stories from all over the Web.
At CES, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed the company's plans to expand its motion-based Xbox 360 Kinect controller, which has already sold more than 8 million units, beyond gaming. Users can expect hands-free navigation of Netflix and (finally) Hulu Plus, as well as body motion capture for a new feature called Avatar Kinect, which will map the MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jan 6, 2011 8:45 AM ET
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