songdroid

Smule has been churning out scores of popular music-making iOS apps for years now, but they’ve been notoriously gun-shy about bringing those apps to other platforms.

As of today though, that streak has finally come to an end — the company has just released their auto-tuning Songify app into the Google Play Store.

Originally developed by Khush (whom Smule acquired toward the end of last year), Songify turns user-recorded speech into surprisingly listenable songs by tuning those voice inputs to go along with preset background music. The iOS version peaked at #1 on Apple’s Top Free Apps chart shortly after its launch in July 2011, and Smule now hopes for similar success as it expands into new territory. Read the rest of this entry »

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Over the past six months, the folks at OpenSignalMaps have been keeping tabs on the devices that have been downloading their network monitoring app, and so far they’ve recorded downloads onto 681,900 separate Android devices in 195 countries. Now they’ve taken all that data and splayed it out for all to see, and it highlights rather nicely how big a headache fragmentation can be for developers.

For the most part, the results are as you’d expect — runaway hits like Samsung’s Galaxy S II was the most represented device among the 3,997 distinct models they spotted, and Samsung Android devices were far and away the most widely used. What really gets me is how many other devices and brands fill up the rest of that list. Seriously, if you haven’t yet, go look at it. Mouse-over some of the smaller blocks, see if there are any brands or devices that ring a bell.

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Just after the markets closed on its first day of public trading, Facebook amended its S-1 with a complete prospectus detailing how much stock each underwriter got to sell. Morgan Stanley, the lead-left bank, received 162.1 million shares ($6.15 billion worth) followed by J.P. Morgan with 84.8 million ($3.22 billion), and Goldman Sachs pulled down 63.1 million shares ($2.4 billion).

Just after the markets closed on its first day of public trading, Facebook amended its S-1 with a complete prospectus detailing how much stock each underwriter got to sell. Morgan Stanley, the lead-left bank, received 162.1 million shares ($6.15 billion worth) followed by J.P. Morgan with 84.8 million ($3.22 billion), and Goldman Sachs pulled down 63.1 million shares ($2.4 billion).

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Facebook has just acquired mobile commerce startup Karma, which makes apps for gifting friends and family. The terms of the deal are undisclosed but 16 employees of the startup will be joining Facebook. The purchase will help Facebook build up monetization prowess on mobile platforms — an area that it had said it’s admittedly weak in. The price was not disclosed.

With the deal, Facebook gets two extremely experienced leaders in building and monetizing mobile apps. Karma’s chief executive Lee Linden and its co-founder Ben Lewis were behind Tapjoy, a company that became a huge force in distributing and making money from mobile games. Both he and Lewis were product managers at Google and Microsoft. Linden and Lewis have known each other since they were kids and have been building companies together for a couple years.

Note: This was a real product acquisition, not a lower-priced, talent-based one. Karma had done one venture round with Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, Felicis Ventures and the CrunchFund. The sense that we’re hearing from social product industry sources is that Karma will get Facebook’s 901 million users at its feet and more power behind building partnerships with other brands.  It’s not clear whether Karma will be left alone to run autonomously like Instagram or whether it will become a Facebook-branded product. Last year, Facebook acquired an early group messaging app called Beluga and turned it into Facebook Messenger. Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft, just like Apple, usually runs a major back-to-school promotion every summer that is meant to give students (and their parents) some extra incentives to buy a new computer. The company’s just-announced back-to-school deal for the U.S. and Canada is pretty much the same as last year’s. A year ago, Microsoft gave students who bought a new PC and Xbox 360 and this year it’s doing exactly the same.

There are some differences to last year’s program, though. This time around, Microsoft isn’t just partnering with Best Buy in the U.S., but also with Dell.com, Fry’s Electronics, HPDirect and NewEgg.com (its own Microsoft stores, of course, will also honor this promotion. In Canada, students can buy their PCs from Best Buy, Dell.ca, Future Shop, Staples and The Source.

The program is scheduled to start on May 20 in the U.S and May 18 in Canada. To be eligible, students need to buy a Windows PC worth at least $699 ($599 in Canada).

Apple vs. Microsoft

Apple also used free products like an iPod touch as an incentive for shoppers. Last year, however, it switched to handing out $100 gift cards to its digital stores instead. Apple usually announces its annual back-to-school promotion in June.

By the end of last year’s summer promotions, some analysts noted that Apple handily beat Microsoft 8 to 2, with around 80% of incoming students opting for Macs instead of a Windows machine. This year, Microsoft hopes that Ultrabooks like the Samsung Series 5 ULTRA and the Dell XPS 13 will make students think twice about buying a Mac.