Sony introduces “Bloggie Live” at CES

By Steve Morgenstern

Just because Flip left the pocket camcorder business doesn’t mean people don’t want small handheld recorders that shoot high-def video. Sony adds a new twist to the concept with the Bloggie Live model introduced at CES; it has built-in Wi-Fi and allows users to broadcast their video live over the Internet.

Bloggie Live weighs a perfectly portable 5 ounces, sporting a 3-inch touch-screen display. It records full 1080p video along with 12.8 megapixel stills. With 8 megabytes of built-in memory, you can store 75 minutes of high-def video before off-loading to your computer. There’s also a built-in LED light for shooting in low light, and a stereo microphone. Using the Bloggie is point-and-shoot simple – no manual controls to fiddle with, and automatic face detection to keep your subject in focus.

The major missing feature is an optical zoom lens – you can use 4x digital zoom, but that always hurts image quality.

The design and construction are first-rate. The curved back feels good in your hand, and there’s a flat bottom that lets you stand the camera up on a table for hands-free shooting.

The major departure from previous Bloggie models is the addition of Wi-Fi, allowing wireless uploading direct to Facebook and YouTube. If you set up an account with Qik Video (a Skype service), you can even stream live video to friends and family. Streaming video is limited to VGA resolution, but the camcorder stores a full-res copy in memory for uploading later if you choose. Invited viewers can even comment on the video while you stream, and their comments will appear on the Bloggie screen.

The Wi-Fi connection also lets you download video files from the Bloggie to your PC or Mac without hunting for a cable (there’s also a flip-out USB connection if that’s more convenient).

Bloggie Live is not a cheap purchase at $250, but the convenience and spontaneity of a Wi-Fi connection is certainly an appealing option for sharing your travels with friends and family.

Samsung Galaxy Note to hit US via AT&T

After creating headlines in many regions across the globe, the Samsung Galaxy Note will finally be landing in the U.S. through AT&T. Arriving with 4G LTE capabilities, the expansive smartphone will come drenched in shades of ceramic white and carbon blue to choose from.


The flight across the Atlantic has seen the Galaxy Note being endowed with a 1.5GHz dual core processor as opposed to the chip clocked at 1.4GHz with which the handset was seen retailing in regions worldwide. The other details on the spec sheet more or less remain the same wherein, this Gingerbread slice boasts of a 5.3-inch HD SuperAMOLED display along with 16GB of onboard memory. Plus, the external storage space can be expanded up to 32GB with help of a microSD card.

“We welcome the Galaxy Note to the U.S. and are pleased to expand on our popular Galaxy family of premium products,” states Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile. “The innovation in this product including the capabilities of the S Pen continue to show Samsung’s leadership in bringing cutting edge design and features to our customers.”

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Besides integrating a 2500mAh battery within its 146.85mm x 82.95mm x 9.65mm chassis, the device sports a stylus which has been dubbed the S Pen. It also offers HSPA+ as well as EDGE/GPRS connectivity for users who take to globetrotting. The company is even making available accessories such as the Desktop Dock, Galaxy Note S Pen holder kit and Flip Cover case designed for the phone.

There has been no word official word on  the Samsung Galaxy Note release date and price details; but it has been reported that it  will be sold in US for $549 by unlocked and $200 for locked device

Google Maps goes Analog in Clever CES Ad

Google Maps gets the low-tech treatment in a new ad that imagines the app as the classic Labyrinth game.The online video spot, the first for Google from San Francisco ad agency Venables Bell & Partners, uses a wooden gyroscopic structure to help two players navigate a blue ball. The camera follows the ball as it discovers restaurants, checks into a barbershop and then, finally, goes bowling.

The video was timed to coincide with CES and highlights capabilities on Google Maps like indoor maps, the ability to rate restaurants, create custom maps in Mapmaker and view traffic. A very similar animated videocreated by another agency, B-Reel, is designed to promote a game for Google Maps that’s expected to hit Google+ Games next month.

The Most Popular American Companies in China

The primary reason, it is often argued, that China is an important market for many large U.S. companies is that its population has doubled since the early 1960s. But the whole picture is actually more complex than that. China’s real appeal to American corporations is that the huge population growth has been coupled with a sharp expansion of the middle class. As a result, the Chinese market probably will become more important to consumer goods and technology companies in the next few decades than the U.S. is today.

1. KFC
> Market share: 40% (Yum! Brands)

KFC has become a sensation in China. Since the first restaurant opened in Beijing in 1987, the chain has grown to more than 3,200 locations in 650 cities, according to Bloomberg. McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD), the second most prominent fast food chain, operates 1,100 locations. McDonald’s commands only 16% of market share, while Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM), which owns KFC, has 40%. KFC is so hugely popular that the company’s target is to increase its number of restaurants in China to 20,000. China accounted for 29% of Yum! Brands’ measured-media ad spending and 36% of its worldwide revenue in 2010, according to Ad Age. While McDonald’s restaurants in China have an almost identical menu to those in the U.S., KFC offers local patrons a number of more familiar dishes, such as Chinese-style porridge for breakfast.

2. General Motors
> Market share: 12.8%
> Competition: BYD, Toyota

General Motors passed Toyota Motor (NYSE: TM) in the first half of 2011 to become the largest automaker in the world. It is also the top-selling brand in China. GM’s presence in the country is still expanding. In the first half of 2010, the company sold more vehicles in China than in the U.S. for the first time ever. At that time, China accounted for a quarter of the company’s global sales, according to the New York Times. Since 2000, the company’s market share in China has grown from 3.4% to 12.8%. Last year GM sold more than 104,000 LaCrosses, one of its most popular models in China. GM operates in China through joint ventures with a number of Chinese companies, such as SAIC Motor.

3. Microsoft
> Market share: 99.3%

Microsoft dominates the PC operating systems market in China. According to web analytics company Baidu Tongji, the company has about 99.31% of market share. Apple’s Mac OS and Linux have virtually no representation. Due to rampant piracy, however, Microsoft only makes a fraction of the revenue it would make if everyone in China bought software directly from the company. Nearly 80% of PC software is pirated in China. According to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the company’s revenue in China will only be about 5% of what it is in the U.S., despite almost equal sales of personal computers in the two countries, the Wall Street Journal reports.

4. Boeing
> Market share: 52%
> Competition: Airbus, Embraer, Bombardier

Boeing currently has more than 50% share of the Chinese market for commercial aircraft, according to Forbes. The company’s presence in China most likely will increase in the coming years. Air passenger trips in China have increased 16% from 2010. Boeing expects the aviation market in China to more than triple over the next 20 years, requiring an increase of about 5,000 planes valued at $600 billion. Boeing and China have a two-way relationship. According to Boeing-China President David Wang, speaking to CNC World, “China is already Boeing’s biggest customer outside of the United States and Boeing is the largest purchaser of made-in-China aviation parts and components.”

5. Nike
> Market share: N/A
> Competition: Li Ning, Adidas

Nike is China’s leading manufacturer of sportswear. It is followed in market share by Chinese company Li Ning, which holds one-third of the market, and Adidas, although some research puts Adidas in second place. In June Nike reported annual revenue of $2 billion in Greater China, according to Reuters — double the amount made by the company in 2007. Although Chinese companies currently hold a significant market share, they are locked in heated competition to keep up with the expansion of foreign rivals. Concerning sportswear in China, HSBC noted in a report that, “Local brands will lose more market share to imported brands over the next 12 months as the former struggle with inventory issues, while the latter benefit from consumers trading up.”

6. Coca-Cola/Sprite
> Market share: 61.5%/26.9%

Sprite is the number one soft drink in China, with 26.9% market share, according to recent data from Nielsen. Sprite’s manufacturer, Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), holds a total 61.5% share of the soda market. It is followed by PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), which has 29%, according to London-based researcher Euromonitor International. Coca-Cola currently has more than 40 factories in China, and it plans to invest $4 billion in bottling plants and delivery trucks over the next three years, according to Bloomberg.

7. Procter & Gamble
> Market share: 55% (all P&G hair care)

Consumer goods company Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) has a firm grasp on 55% of China’s market for hair care products, including shampoos and conditioners, according to China Daily. Its best-selling product is Head & Shoulders. “Last year,” the paper reports, “P&G announced it would invest at least $1 billion in China over the next five years and also launched an innovation center in Beijing with an investment of $80 million.” There is huge potential for growth in China. As of 2009, per capita spending on hair care products in China was only $1.79 a year, according to Datamonitor Industry Market Research. Research firm RNCOS says the hair care market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.5% by 2013. P&G may not realize its maximum potential profits for some time, however. Another China Daily article states that the “Chinese government has asked P&G and Unilever to delay their raising prices in China, because Beijing is determined to keep soaring consumer prices under control.”

8. Intel
> Market share: 14.9%
> Competition: Samsung, Hynix

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) is the world’s largest semiconductor chip maker by revenue. China accounts for more than one-third of the world semiconductor market. It therefore makes sense that Intel is the leading semiconductor supplier for China. According to PwC, Intel had 14.9% market share as of 2010. In that year alone, Intel made nearly $20 billion in revenue in China. This was an increase of more than 26% from 2009, when the company was also the market leader. For the second quarter of 2011, PC shipments in China grew to 18.5 million, according to IDC, surpassing the U.S. for the first time.

9. Starbucks
> Market share: 70%

Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) is the world’s largest coffee chain by sales. In China, the company has a nearly 70% market share, according to Euromonitor. Things are poised to get even better for the coffee company. “Coffee sales climbed 9% [in China] last year to 4.6 billion Yuan ($694 million),” the Wall Street Journal reports. Starbucks currently has 450 stores in mainland China and has plans to open a thousand more. In 2010, the company finalized an agreement with the Chinese province of Yunnan to establish its “first-ever coffee-bean farm in the world to cater to a rapidly growing population of coffee drinkers in China,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

10. Apple
> Market share: 51%

While Apple effectively has zero presence in China’s operating system market, its smartphone market share is not bad — fourth in the country, according to Reuters. But the company really shines in China’s tablet market. According to consulting firm iResearch, Apple’s iPad has a market share of 51%. Lenovo and Samsung are in second and third place, with 13.8% and 9.8%, respectively. A whopping 80% of consumers who are considering buying a tablet say their first choice is an iPad, reported TabTimes. According to Apple, the company’s China sales for the quarter ended June 2011 increased six times from the same period the year before.

Douglas A. McIntyre, Charles B. Stockdale

Read more: The Most Popular American Companies in China – 24/7 Wall St.

WSJ: Kodak Preparing for Bankruptcy

Eastman Kodak Co. is preparing for bankruptcy in the “coming weeks” in case efforts to sell its patents fall through, the         Wall Street Journalreported on Wednesday.

The photography and imaging equipment company has long struggled with revamping itself as a technology company amid advancements in digital cameras and photo sharing.  Shares of Kodak have closed under $1 for 30 consecutive trading days, the Journal reported.

Kodak has cut global staff to 18,800 from a peak of 145,300 in 1988. Jobs at its headquarter in Rochester, N.Y. were cut to 7,100 from 60,400 in 1982, according to the Associated Press.

The company is in discussions with potential lenders for $1 billion in financing to keep it afloat during bankruptcy proceedings, sources told the Journal.

Christopher Veronda, a spokesman for Eastman Kodak, told ABC News the company had no comment, “as it’s our long-standing policy not to comment on market rumors or speculation.”

If the company does file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it would operate normally and try to sell its 1,100 patents through a court-supervised bankruptcy auction, the Journal reported.

On Tuesday, Kodak disclosed the New York Stock Exchange warned the company’s shares could be delisted unless it gets its finances in order in the next six months.

The company has been called Eastman Kodak Company since 1892 under George Eastman , who tinkered with film and photography machines. In 1888, the word KODAK was registered as a trademark for a camera that could be used by a larger market, according to the company.

I really hope they can get it back together soon.

Goldman Sachs: Sell Yahoo

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) recommenced its coverage of Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) with a Sell rating and a suggested price target of $14, citing deteriorating fortunes of its core business, even though it sees value on the company’s balance sheet. “While there is significant value on Yahoo’s balance sheet, we don’t expect management will be able to unlock it to shareholders’ benefit before Yahoo’s core business deteriorates further,” Goldman said in its analysis.

The internet has seen a 5% rise, year-on-year, in global minutes/user, whereas, in contrast, Yahoo has declined 5%, with usage down in its key segments such as search, mail, and entertainment. According to Goldman, search is a vulnerable area for Yahoo, even considering Microsoft’s one-year extension of its minimum revenue per search guarantee

Kodak Shifts Focus, Zooms In On Commercial Printing


The photography pioneer Kodak has been dogged by bankruptcy rumors, its stock has tumbled, and its cash reserves have shrunk. But the company says it expects a strong fourth quarter as it fights toward profitability in 2012.

The New Kodak   

“We expect a very good fourth quarter,” said Kodak CEO Antonio Perez.

“All four of our digital growth businesses will expand in the fourth quarter,” Perez said.

But none of those are camera businesses. Kodak even recently sold off its image-sensor division, reportedly for a couple hundred million dollars.

Kodak has long been in the process of a painful transformation that’s seen tens of thousands of Kodak workers in the Rochester area lose their jobs.

When Perez talks about the company’s “digital transformation” and the “new Kodak,” he’s talking about four growth businesses in particular — three of which serve the commercial printing industry.

Perez says, “They will be the nucleus of the new Kodak. “In short, Kodak is becoming a company that makes high-end printing equipment — not a consumer staple whose brand once rivaled Coca-Cola’s in global ubiquity.

Mark Kaufman, an analyst who follows Kodak for Rafferty Capital Markets says: “This is an important quarter,because they’ve actually started to make some inroads in getting the cash on the balance sheet.” Kaufman expects Kodak to finish up the year in relatively decent shape.

An upcoming patent sale could net the company billions. Several of Kodak’s massive, $3 million printing presses will come online in Asia. Once they’re up and running, they run exclusively on Kodak inks and print heads. Kaufman even says a seasonal surge in movie film and catalog printing creates an inflow of cash.

“If you really think about who the end users are,” Kaufman says, “[they’re] more businesses than individual consumers.”

Of the four pillars of the “new Kodak,” only one — desktop inkjet printing — is consumer-oriented.

So long yellow film boxes…


Linked In Factoids – Part 2

180,000 publishers are now using Linkedin's


80,000 publishers are now using Linkedin’s “Share” button

Pan Am Series – On the way out?


ABC’s November 18 order of one additional episode to freshman drama Pan Am stands. Back then, the network opted for a one-episode back order to the 1960s drama, bringing the first-season run of Pan Am to 14 episodes, but producer Sony Pictures TV didn’t accept the offer right away. The negotiations between the sides stretched into the holiday weekend and were still in full force yesterday.

To help shore up a full-season order, Sony added Steven Maeda as showrunner a month ago. In the end, the studio took ABC’s original offer and will produce one extra episode. This morning, one of the show’s stars, Karine Vanasse, tweeted that the cast and crew have “received THE call” and that “Pan Am is only coming back for one more episode after Christmas.”

As ABC stated back on November 18, it will make final decision on the fate of the show beyond its first season in May. On ABC’s midseason schedule, Pan Am is being replaced by new dramedy GCB on Sundays 10 PM beginning in March


Linked In Factoids – part 1

Linkedin gets more than two new members per second



Currently up to 135 million members, from 90 million at the end of 2010

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