PayPal, one of the fastest growing startups in the world, turned into a lumbering giant after eBay acquired it in 2002. Though it still processes billions of dollars in online payments across the globe, it risks being upended by startups like Stripe, Square and others which are offering better technology as well as better service than PayPal. PayPal has been trying to play catchup in the last couple of years, and its latest acquisition – Card.io – may help it increase its market share in mobile payments.
It announced that it has acquired Card.io earlier today. Card.io is a startup which enables developers to capture credit card information using a smartphone’s camera. PayPal was using its service to power PayPal Here, its competitor to Square.
It will presumably use Card.io’s technology and team to build better mobile payment solutions, and grab a bigger piece of the rapidly expanding mobile payments pie.
It will also keep the current Card.io technology available for use to developers. By joining PayPal, the Card.io team gets scale, while the former gets talent and a better shot at retaining its place as the market leader in mobile and online payments.
The terms of the acquisition haven’t been disclosed, but the amount is likely to be small.
via PayPal Blog
Google and Asus may be turning a healthy profit on the Nexus 7 Android tablet after all. The Google Nexus 7 is one of the best and cheapest Android tablets to date, and was launched last month at Google I/O 2012. It is priced at $199 for the 8 GB version and $249 for the 16 GB version, and comes with some impressive hardware running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
When it was launched, everyone assumed that Google and Asus might be selling each tablet either at break-even levels or making just a tiny profit on each tablet, just like the Amazon Kindle Fire.
However, a recent iSuppli component teardown of the Google Nexus 7 suggests that they might actually be making a decent profit on each unit sold.
According to the IHS iSuppli analysis, the 8 GB Nexus 7 costs nearly $151.75 to build, while the 16 GB Nexus 7 costs around $159.25 to build. This means a neat profit margin of around 24% on the 8 GB variant and 36% on the 16 GB variant.
This means that Google or Asus are definitely fighting off the domination of the Apple iPad to gain market share, but not at the expense of their profit margins. It also means that should Apple choose to launch an iPad Mini, it could launch a similar tablet with higher margins given its excellent economies of scale and Tim Cook’s operational genius. Apple could also easily charge a premium and price its iPad Mini at around $299, ensuring a much juicier margin.
Facebook seems to be looking at yet another avenue — social banking — to generate additional revenue. It is apparently working to enable users to access banking features like paying bills, transfer money and access checkbooks through its platform.
By integrating standard banking features within its offering and tying up with banks and other financial institutions, Facebook could not only become a more intimate part of its users’ lives thus boosting engagement on the platform, but also generate additional revenue eventually.
Facebook is working with Australia’s Commonwealth Bank for an initial rollout, and will soon enable its customers to make payments to their friends and contacts and also offer a more social experience.
Though there might be some privacy and security issues which would need to be ironed out, social banking could be a huge hit and become one of Facebook’s major revenue engines. Facebook could take a cut off each fund transfer or each bill payment as a convenience charge.
Given its massive user base of more than 900 million monthly active users, even if a small fraction start transacting regularly, it could mean a significant source of cash for Facebook, which currently relies primarily on socially targeted advertising to make money.
Samsung may be working on a Windows 8 RT tablet, which will be unveiled following the launch of Windows 8 later this year. Samsung is already the largest Android tablet maker, and has hedged its bets with several platforms in the smartphone space.
It seems to be looking to do the same in tablets; hence the investment in a Windows RT tablet.
Windows RT tablets are expected to compete with the Apple iPad and other Android tablets and would be much cheaper than devices running Windows Pro. They would be powered by ARM processors, and would be much more power efficient than standard x86 tablets. Samsung’s Windows RT tablet will feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors.
Microsoft recently unveiled the Surface, with two variants running Windows RT and Windows Pro. By raising the benchmark for its tablets, Microsoft may have made a wise move that would force its hardware partners to compete with each other to create better tablets that could possibly challenge the mighty Apple iPad.
The tablet space is heating up with Google launching the Nexus 7 Android tablet recently and Apple reportedly working on a cheaper iPad Mini.
If I had to bet on any single manufacturer to take on the iPad, it would be Samsung. Stay tuned; we’ll keep you updated with Samsung’s every move.
The recently launched Google Nexus 7 has received rave reviews and is possibly the best budget Android tablet to date. It is priced at just $200, and competes directly with the Amazon Kindle Fire, which held the crown of the best budget Android tablet until a few weeks ago.
However, Amazon is currently working on the successor to the Kindle Fire, which will supposedly be able to compete with the Nexus 7 in a much better way.
Here are some interesting rumors about the Amazon Kindle Fire 2:
1. It will be thinner, lighter and faster than the original (No shit, Sherlock.)
2. It will sport a camera, and will come with a much better high resolution display, possibly 1280 x 800 pixels, same as the Nexus 7. That should give it a much higher pixel density and improve the display quality immensely.
The more interesting part about Amazon’s tablet is its digital ecosystem, which Amazon has been working hard to expand.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire 2 will compete not only with the Google Nexus 7, but also the rumored Apple iPad Mini (if it does launch), as it will be priced in the $300 range.
Facebook may be working on a new jobs board feature, according to a new report by the WSJ. It will essentially act as a job postings aggregator and make them available to Facebook users.
With this move, Facebook is trying to leverage the power of social to enter the job search market. Instead of cutting off popular job search apps like BranchOut and JobVite on its platform, it is going to involve them in the new service. The new job board may directly compete with LinkedIn.
It’s not one of Facebook’s core focuses for now. It could initially be used just to drive user engagement on the website. However, if it eventually takes off, it could generate a sizable amount of revenue for Facebook, as recruitment solutions are a huge market.
While it is expected to be a standalone section of the site initially, it may be integrated into a user’s News Feed going forward.
Given Facebook’s massive user base, this could be the greatest threat LinkedIn has ever faced. Even apps like BranchOut and GlassDoor on Facebook have amassed a sizable user base in a matter of days due to the inherent virality or connectedness of the network. Since this is Facebook’s own baby, it could be reasonably expected to do even better.
As expected, the launch of the Google Nexus 7 tablet has sparked off yet another series of rumors about a low end tablet by Apple, also known in the tech press as the iPad Mini.
There have been a lot of rumors so far about the fabled iPad Mini, which Apple will supposedly launch to reign supreme over the entire tablet market, by grabbing even the budget segment from the hands of Google’s Android.
The new rumors suggest that the iPad Mini is already in the works, and will sport a 7.85 inch Sharp IGZO display panel, which supports Retina display resolutions.
Apple will price it in the $249 to $299 range to compete with the likes of the Google Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire. It is supposed to be unveiled later this year, but we would take this rumor with a pinch of salt.
Apple has already managed to almost perfectly optimize its production processes for the iPad. We expect it to drop prices on older iPads to target the budget market rather than launching new variants.
With each new iPad, Apple just drops the price of each older variant by $100 or more. That might be the best way to maintain a consistent experience across devices while ensuring minimum fragmentation. It also enables Apple to maintain its high margins by minimizing costs.
And rest assured, Apple will never take a hit on each unit sold, like Google or Amazon. It doesn’t need to.
Kodak, the once great but now bankrupt camera giant, has stated that a U.S. bankruptcy court has approved its bid to auction off the bundle of patents it has despite efforts by the likes of Apple to derail the sale by claiming that it has rights over some of them.
“The Apple and FlashPoint claims are baseless and Kodak will still seek dismissal on summary judgment in July. Today’s ruling provides a court-approved process allowing buyers to acquire the patents free and clear of all ownership allegations, regardless of the status of the dispute with Apple and FlashPoint at the time of closing,” said Timothy Lynch, Kodak Vice President and Chief IP Officer.
Kodak filed for bankruptcy some time ago, and is hoping that a patent sale will generate a significant amount of cash. It has nearly 700 patents related to image capture, processing and transmission technologies for digital cameras and smartphones, and some other 400 patents related to image analysis and manipulation tools.
Kodak’s business was largely disrupted first by digital cameras and then smartphones, as it failed to keep up with the times.
The patent auction will close next month, and should provide enough ammo for the next round of battles in the ongoing patent wars. We expect the auctions to see interest from major technology companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Google and others.
Now that its sales have dropped, it seems that Nokia seems to be focusing on other ways to increase its revenue. It is apparently going after Google’s new Nexus 7 tablet, claiming that it infringes on certain patents owned by the withering Finnish giant.
According to Nokia, neither Google or Asus have licensed its patents related to the IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi standard for the Nexus 7.
“Nokia has more than 40 licensees, mainly for its standards essential patent portfolio, including most of the mobile device manufacturers. Neither Google nor Asus is licensed under our patent portfolio. Companies who are not yet licensed under our standard essential patents should simply approach us and sign up for a license,” said a Nokia spokesperson.
Google has priced its Nexus 7 tablet starting at $199. If licensing costs increase, Google may have to either increase its pricing a bit, or take a hit on each tablet sold, along with Asus.
Nokia is unlikely to drag Google or Asus to the court or seek an injunction on the sales of the Nexus 7, but will request the companies to license its patents instead.
According to a new report by Digitimes, HTC and Facebook may be working on a new Android smartphone which will be fully customized and integrated with Facebook’s services.
The new Android smartphone by HTC will apparently have a platform exclusive to Facebook, and will offer deep integration with Facebook’s functions and features.
While Facebook has always denied that it’s working on a phone, it may be seriously considering a branded device with partners, given how important its mobile strategy is in terms of growth potential.
HTC had launched two Facebook enabled smartphones earlier — the HTC Salsa and the HTC Chacha — but both of them were relative flops.
Facebook could be working on its own fork based on Android, just like Amazon or Baidu, both of which modified Android to create their own custom devices.
In any case, I don’t really see that point in Facebook trying to build its own smartphone, if it is. It should rather focus on building some really great apps for all major mobile platforms.