HP Forms Mobility Global Business Unit, Proving Again HP Needs A New Business Naming Unit


Will the TouchPad ride again? HP apparently just internally announced a new division focused on mobile within the Personal Systems Group. This new team, named in HP’s traditional jargon, Mobility Global Business Unit, is essentially responsible for getting HP back in the tablet fight.

Details are still a bit light. This word comes from a leaked memo obtained by the The Verge. The memo says in part, “With this move, we are building on our commitment to re-invest in mobility via dedicated leadership, focused research and development, amazing new products and a growing suite of applications and services.” It sounds like HP is finally getting serious about tablets.

Once upon a time, HP simply purchased Palm to lead the company into the mobile arena. But that $ 1.2 billion purchase didn’t work out in terms of hardware. After initially committing to double down on webOS, the company launched the HP TouchPad, a quality tablet that never had a chance thanks to its high price and lack of developer support. However, with the purchase of Palm, HP acquired 1,500 of Palms patents — it’s likely HP is ready to build upon the foundation laid by Palm.

This new unit will initially focus on consumer tablets, but will eventually grow and expand into new categories and segments (smartphones?), says the memo. The group is under the PSG, which is headed by Toddy Bradley. However, HP turned to Alberto Torres, ex-executive vice president of Nokia, to lead this new unit. Torres previously led Nokia’s MeeGo effort. Torres is also currently the vice-chairman of Bang & Olufsen, a high-end audio company that prides itself on forward-thinking designs. And HP needs all the design help it can get.

HP also currently has a tablet nearing release. The memo notes that tablet, along with the existing notebook teams, will in the PC unit and under the leadership of James Mouton. Or, put a different way, the good tablets will come later.

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Source: OnLive Found A Buyer, Cleaned House To Reduce Liability Prior To Acquisition (UPDATED)


We’re hearing from a reliable source that OnLive’s founder and CEO Steve Perlman finally decided to make an exit — and in the process, is screwing the employees who helped build the company and brand. The cloud gaming company reportedly had several suitors over the last few years (perhaps including Microsoft) but Perlman reportedly held tight control over the company, apparently not wanting to sell or share any of OnLive’s secret sauce.

Our source tells us that the buyer wants all of OnLive’s assets — the intellectual property, branding, and likely patents — but the plan is to keep the gaming company up and running. However, OnLive management cleaned house today, reportedly firing nearly the entire staff, and we hear it was done just to reduce the company’s liability, thus reducing employee equity to practically zero. Yeah, it’s a massive dick move.

OnLive hit the gaming world hard when it launched in 2009. Promising playable games there were lag free, OnLive moved gaming to the cloud. The service took some time to gain traction but finally hit its stride last year with the addition of several top-tier titles. It was rumored in June that even Microsoft considered buying the company. Some even thought OnLive would be a good fit within Sony — until Sony bought OnLive competitor Gaikai last month instead.

“Sony Computer Entertainment will deliver a world-class cloud-streaming service” Andrew House, president and group CEO of SCE said last month. Sony paid $ 380M for Gaikai, a cloud gaming company with nearly zero brand recognition. OnLive could have gone for a lot more.

For an upstart cloud gaming service, OnLive has done relatively well for itself. The company initially outed only one cloud gaming console, but quickly embraced others. The software works with most Android tablets, ships preinstalled on Vizio TVs (and its new Co Star Google TV), and is available for the iPad and computer desktops.

We reached out to OnLive for comment but the company will neither confirm nor deny the claim. All the PR rep was willing to say was that the aforementioned Vizio Co Star launches today. The company also would not comment on the layoffs but Martyn Williams tweeted seeing OnLive staffers leaving their office carry boxes. These people likely just lost their jobs and equity prior to OnLive’s exit.

Update: OnLive provided TechCrunch the statement below. Like earlier reports suggested, it sounds like OnLive Inc. was dissolved and a new company, OnLive Inc 2 or something of the sort, will continue in its place and is likely backed by new investors. The statement indicates that “a large percentage of OnLive Inc.’s staff” will be hired by this new company, which will then hire more people. But there’s no word on if the original employees completely lost their equity. No matter how OnLive spins this move, it’s still looks shady to me.

We can now confirm that the assets of OnLive, Inc. have been acquired into a newly-formed company and is backed by substantial funding, and which will continue to operate the OnLive Game and Desktop services, as well as support all of OnLive’s apps and devices, as well as game, productivity and enterprise partnerships. The new company is hiring a large percentage of OnLive, Inc.’s staff across all departments and plans to continue to hire substantially more people, including additional OnLive employees. All previously announced products and services, including those in the works, will continue and there is no expected interruption of any OnLive services.

We apologize that we were unable to comment on this transaction until it completed, and were limited to reporting on news related to OnLive’s businesses. Now that the transaction is complete, we are able to make this statement.

TechCrunch » Gadgets

Japanese Tape Dispenser Cuts Tape To Desired Length


If you were told you could listen to the radio at a reasonable level in your cubicle and that you were going to be allowed to keep your stapler, this is probably the tape dispenser for you. The T-EM50 by Kokuyo will spit out tape at pre-determined lengths again and again, ensuring a perfect piece of tape every time.

Why would you need this? I suppose if you want to save tape or need a specific length for closing envelopes. Otherwise, this kind of absolute precision seems like a bit of office overkill. However, considering some Japanese ballpoint pens cost $ 57, it’s clear that the land of the rising sun is definitely serious about their supplies.

The T-EM50 costs about $ 200 and will be available in September.

via Press Release via Akiba

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OnLive Responds To Layoff Reports: No Comment, But OnLive Is Not Dead


Reports are hitting that OnLive, the cloud gaming service, laid off the majority of its staff today. Apparently the staff was called in for an all hands on meeting this morning and was promptly shown the door — or something like that. According to Mashable, some staffers could be rehired for the company’s next venture.

We reached out to OnLive’s head of Corporate Communications who promptly replied: “I have no comment on the news other than to say the OnLive service is not shutting down,” he said.

Since OnLive has yet to confirm the layoffs, it’s unclear exactly what’s happening with OnLive. The cloud service could theoretically continue as is with just a skeleton crew. If built properly, OnLive might just need someone to sit in front of a server log and watch for errors. However, if the reports of layoffs are true, then it’s likely OnLive is coming to the end of its life.

OnLive was founded in 2003 by Steve Perlman but made headlines with its cloud gaming service in 2009. At the time we asked if OnLive was on crack? There was no way it could work. But work it did. In fact OnLive grew into a legitimate gaming system since its launch.

The timing of the layoffs is strange, too. OnLive just helped Vizio launch the Google TV Co-Star. With OnLive, the Co-Star seemed like a legitimate set-top box. Without Onlive it’s just another Google TV box.

OnLive does more than just gaming, too. The company launched OnLive Desktop at CES 2012, which gives the iPad and Android tablets access to a remotely hosted Windows Server 2008 desktop.

We’ll update as the story develops.

TechCrunch » Gadgets

This Could Be The Samsung Galaxy Note II


Is this the Samsung Galaxy Note II? It shares the same lines as the Galaxy S III. It also shows a home button very similar to the S III. The top-mounted sensors are in the same place and the screen is as gigantic as expected. But at this point it’s hard to say.

Samsung is expected to launch the successor to the wildly popular Samsung Galaxy Note sometime this year. The first version went on to sell a whopping 10 million units. An impressive feat considering that the phone is rather huge. With a 5.5-inch screen and stylus, the Note dwarfs the iPhone, making it look a toy from a past generation but some say it’s just too big. Still, the numbers do not lie. People love it. Well, at least 10 million people loved it enough at one time to buy it.

The next version will be a big upgrade. If this picture is any indication, it will have a screen around the same size. But inside, Samsung will likely turn to its quad-core Exynos platform, a SoC that’s very capable. The original Note wasn’t exactly sluggish, but the new version will probably silky smooth. Plus, if the phone launches later in the year, there’s a good chance it will rock Jelly Bean rather than Ice Cream Sandwich.

IFA is right around the corner. Samsung could reveal the phone as soon as August 29th, but the international rollout could take place later in the year.

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