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Social Networking Based Top 10 Lists

Since February 2010 Top10 has been a destination for creating and sharing a top 10 list of just about anything you’d like. The basic concept has been a great success so far – in the first three weeks that their Spotify app was available their end users created over 12,000 Top10 lists. The site is particularly popular in Great Britain, breaking into a top 15,000 Alexa ranking there.

Self described as a “social recommendation platform” Top10 enables you to curate a list of your “top 10” of something and share it with your followers on Twitter and your friends on Facebook. Taking the concept a step further, the lists are then combined into lists that show the collective opinion of all of the site’s users. So when creating a top 10 list of your own, you’re essentially casting a vote for a crowdsourced top 10 list. When creating your list you can tag other users to give them a hat tip or you can simply “remix” someone’s existing top 10 list to suite your opinion.

Headquartered in London and with around 9 employees, received $3.5 million in Series A funding in September 2011. They are still lead by their three founders, Alex Buttle, Tom Leathes, and Harry Jones.


Make Your TV a Little More Social With Zeebox

You didn’t expect your TV to go without a social network, did you? No? Didn’t think so. Zeebox is the blend of social networking and watching TV. From your mobile app you can check on what your Facebook friends are watching and naturally let them know what you’re watching as well. If you’re watching the same program on TV, you can chat with them about what is happening on TV. In addition to the social aspect of Zeebox, Zeebox also enables you to purchase the content you’re watching through the app store. This is an excellent way to enable end users to immediately acquire content without the need to search for it or remember to do it later.

Zeebox is presently only fully functional within the UK, but it is available worldwide. Outside of the UK users will have limited functionality like the inability to use the built in channel guide. Zeebox will be rolling out their product worldwide in early 2012.

Zeebox is based out of London and was founded in February 2011. They have grown to 30 employees and are still lead by their founders, Anthony Rose and Ernesto Schmitt. The company received an undisclosed amount of Angel funding in June of 2011.


Dolphin Browser by MoboTap Enters the Browser War

As certain as death and taxes, the browser wars will continue so long as the Internet continues to exist.  MoboTap was founded in March 2010 and is throwing their hat in the ring as another browser developer, although interestingly they develop their browser exclusively for mobile users.

MoboTap boasts that over 10 million users use their Dolphin browser on their mobile devices.  It can be downloaded from the App Store and from Android Market.  It is the first and only gesture-based mobile browser, making it easy to use by communicating with the browser through gestures like swipes, taps, and even physically moving the device.

The browser is add-on ready and the Dolphin developer network has created over 60 add-ons.  The browser can be run on Android or Apple mobile devices and works on both phones and tablets.

The browser features all that you would expect from a modern browser including bookmarking, tabbed browsing, a “smart” address bar, and the ability to switch between the browser version of a page and the full version that you’d find on a desktop or laptop.

MoboTap was founded in March 2010 and in July 2011 received $10 million in Series A funding from Sequoia Capital and Matrix Partners.  MoboTap has a self-reported 100 employees and is based out of downtown San Francisco in the SOMA district.


Custom Mobile App Solutions Save Clients Money

When Mobquity was founded by Bill Seibel and Scott Snyder a little over a year ago, they envisioned a company capable of provisioning custom mobile solutions designed from the ground up.  Mobiquity designs, creates, and implements mobile applications that help save companies money and help deliver a better product to their client’s customers.

Last year Mobiquity worked with York Hospital in Maine to create a mobile app to help their clientele find doctors, schedule appointments, and pay their medical bills.  The app can tell you the waiting time in the emergency room and help you refill prescriptions.  You can even use the app they developed to get advice from nurses.

For the New York Post, Mobiquity helped make the transition from news print to on screen news through the development and deployment of an Android app made for tablets that could deliver the news to the Post’s audience through the Android tablet of their choice.

Mobiquity acquired $5 million dollars in Series A funding at the end of March 2011.    In September of 2011, Mobiquity acquired Cambridge, Massachusettes based KMDM, which now operates under the Mobiquity name.

On January 27th, 2012 Mobiquity named the very experienced Michael Bayer as their CFO.  Michael joins Mobiquity after spending time with and TaskRabbit.


Enterprise Level Java Hosting on the Cloud

Hosting Java applications has long been a reasonably elusive goal.  Oftentimes when searching for a Java hosting provider the option is to have something unreliable but inexpensively acquired, or to develop a large, reliable infrastructure but at great cost.  Hosting vendors often use just a single implementation of Java that may or may not work the way you need it to.

Enter: cloudbased Java.  The concept is pretty simple: host Java on a cloud, make it as flexible as possible, and reduce hosting costs.  As a PaaS (Platform as a Service) Cloudbees enables the end user to develop and host their Java application on a reliable always-up platform designed explicitly for Java hosting.  You can develop your Java on the same environment that you use for production, helping eliminate any problems with the transition from in-house development to outsourced hosting.

Like many other cloud hosting vendors, CloudBees implements a payment system based on what resources you actually use.  Because CloudBees uses this payment method, their customers can be sure that they are not overpaying for their Java hosting.

CloudBees also boasts an impressive resume of customers including Alcatel-Lucent, Digg, Intuit, Cisco, Yale University, and Netflix.

CloudBees Inc. was founded in early 2010 and with 14.5 million in funding it maintains a presence in the United States, Europe, and Australia.


Micropayments Make Their Way to the World of Social Media

Micropayments, financial transactions that involve very small dollar amounts, have been recognized as one of the top technology trends to watch for in 2012. Flattr is at the head of this trend, having launched in 2010 as the first micropayment system devoted exclusively to social media. The team behind Flattr recognized that traditional web site donation systems had only limited success in revenue generation due to the inconvenience of taking the time to login to a payment system (usually PayPal) in order to make a very small donation. Flattr was designed to simplify the way that users support content creators.

Rather than having to make a donation at each web site that they want to support, Flattr allows users to pay a monthly flat fee that is then divided amongst all of their chosen web sites. As a user “flattrs” additional web sites, their fixed fee does not change, only the amount allotted to each content creator changes. Flattr is not designed to completely replace a web site’s existing revenue streams but rather to complement them. Flattr can be added as an additional income source to web sites already generating income through banner advertisements and user donations. Flattr is an ingenious way of building community between users and creators by allowing for the simultaneous sharing of both love and money.


“Frictionless” Mobile Payments?

Sixty years ago when Diner’s Club introduced a card to allow customers to pay their restaurant bills on credit, credit cards, which had been around for decades, came into popular use. Since then, the use of hard currency has further declined as debit cards and online shopping have continued to change the way that consumers transact business.  In 2008, Zong, the brainchild of founder David Marcus, was launched and consumer commerce is once again being revolutionized.

The concept behind Zong is simple – instead of needing to provide your credit card to make a purchase, why not have a system that enables you to use your mobile phone number? As cell phones are now ubiquitous and just about anyone with a credit or debit card, also has a cell phone, wouldn’t it be easier to seamlessly link your credit card or bank accounts to your mobile phone number? Instead of having to enter 80 characters of information in order to use a credit card, using Zong is as simple as clicking a button, entering your mobile phone number, receiving a secure PIN and then entering that online to verify your transaction.

This year Zong became part of the PayPal family of services so look for more online retailers to begin offering Zong as a payment option.


Just What Is Augmented Reality, Really?

The concept of “augmented reality” has become popular in the past five years as companies such as Metaio, Total Immersion and Layar have launched platforms designed to provide consumers of digital technology with an “augmented” interactive experience. Augmented reality is, essentially, the successor to virtual reality, which became part of the technological lexicon in the early 1990s. While virtual reality effectively replaces the material world with a digitally-created world, augmented reality is designed to take our sensory perceptions of the material world and enhance them with computer-generated input.

ARNav, a Polish startup that was chosen as one of the sixteen finalists in LeWeb’s 2011 Startup Competition, uses augmented reality technology along with OpenStreetMap data to simplify navigation. The ARNav app for Android, which is now in its beta-testing phase, provides users with a lighted path to their final destination. The confusion that often goes along with using two-dimensional maps is eliminated as users experience the space around them with a guided interface. Imagine visiting a city for the first time and having arrows and laser-like virtual gates plotting your course step-by-step to a museum, park, café or other nearby point of interest. What GPS technology did for drivers, ARNav does for pedestrians.

Visit ARNav to sign-up for exclusive access to beta test the ARNav app.