Another day… another company stuffed into Facebook’s (FB) ever-growing stable of tech innovators.
This time, it’s Finland’s ProtoGeo – a small outfit behind an app called Moves.
It’s a free fitness app that uses the sensors in smartphones to track a user’s exercise, daily activity and other useful information, like the number of calories they’re burning. It’s hugely popular, too, with more than four million downloads for both iPhones and Android phones.
For ProtoGeo and its 10… (count ‘em)… 10 employees, the Facebook deal represents the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Now, we’re not talking about the insane $19 billion that Facebook paid for the WhatsApp messaging service back in February. But despite details of the purchase not being disclosed, you can bet that those 10 employees will make out pretty darn well from the deal.
For Facebook, it’s applying arguably the easiest go-to strategy for big tech firms looking to enter new markets – buy a smaller innovator. Calling Moves an “incredible tool for people who want to better understand their daily fitness activity,” it offers Facebook an easy route into this fast-growing market. And another set of customers to pursue in terms of targeted advertising.
For its part, ProtoGeo says Moves will continue to run as normal.
Speaking of on-the-go technology…
Now Boarding… How Smartwatches Will Get You on a Flight
You’ve no doubt heard plenty of hype about smart glasses and smart watches. Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MFST) are all in the mix here, trying to come up with the next blockbuster wearable device.
I’ve discussed Samsung’s flawed strategy with its Galaxy Gear smart watch here before. In its rush to the market, the usually excellent company botched the design and functionality of the device and priced it far too highly.
The company seems to be adding functionality to the device on the fly.
Its latest concept is a collaboration with Spanish airline, Iberia, to use the Galaxy Gear 2 as “wearable boarding pass.”
The companies say that when it comes time to board, passengers just need to present their pass on their watch and stroll on to the flight.
We’re already able to do this with our smartphones (for example, with the iPhone’s Passbook app).
Try again, Samsung. This is nothing more than a new wrinkle on an existing idea.
The Dumbest Decision of the Week Award
From the “Government Sticks it to Consumers” Files… California just issued a truly baffling decision.
The state Senate just shot down a bill that would mandate so-called “kill switches” in all smartphones sold in the state.
What’s a kill switch? Well, as the name suggests, it’s technology that basically “kills” a phone if it’s stolen, thus rendering it useless to the thief. You simply tell your carrier to flip the switch, and it’s inoperable.
The bill was introduced as a response to rising smartphone theft. Consumer Reports says 1.6 million smartphones were stolen in the United States in 2012. And almost one in three robberies now involves smartphone theft, according to the FCC.
Naturally, the frequency is much higher in big cities. It stretches to 50% in New York and San Francisco, and a whopping 75% in Oakland, California.
Once stolen, those phones are easy to transport and resell – particularly to foreign countries, where already-expensive iPhones and other models are even pricier. It’s a pretty lucrative business for thieves.
So you’d think that a kill switch bill would pass with no problem, right? I mean, it’s logical. Cut off the ability to resell phones and theft should drop.
Well, as you know, logic often doesn’t apply to governments.
The bill required 21 votes to pass, but fell just short in a 19-17 tally.
So 17 politicians apparently thought this isn’t worth signing into law.
San Francisco District Attorney, George Gascón, railed against the decision: “With their ‘no’ vote, 17 members of the Senate chose to protect billion-dollar industry profits over the safety of the constituents they were elected to serve.”
Quoted on ZDNet, he turns his attack to mobile providers: “Carriers are rejecting a technological solution so they can continue to shake down their customers for billions of dollars in [theft] insurance premiums.”
New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, stands alongside Gascón as a supporter of a kill switch bill.
But just because lawmakers can’t do what’s required, phone manufacturers are set to pre-empt them. Mashable reports that Apple, Samsung, Google, and Microsoft have already said they’ll start building the technology into their phones by July 2015.
Logic does exist. You just have to look to find it!
Have a good weekend,