Songza Brings Its Core Feature, Concierge, To Android

Jordan Crook studied English Literature at New York University before entering the tech space. Prior to joining TechCrunch, Crook dabbled in mobile marketing and mobile apps as well as doing device reviews for MobileMarketer and MobileBurn. Crook is fascinated with alternative energy production and greentech. She is now a writer for CrunchGear. ? Learn More

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Songza has long been one of my favorite music apps, and as an iPhone user, I’ve had access to all the latest and greatest features within it. But as I’ve mentioned the app to various friends and such, I’ve learned that Android has been missing out. But no more.


Songza’s core feature — Concierge — is now available within the Android version of the app. The update is now live, so if you’re interested in checking it out, go ahead and download the update.


Concierge, if you aren’t already familiar with it, takes all the work out of finding the music you’re looking for. Rather than hunting through the Genres or Activities tab, Concierge knows what kind of device you’re on, your preferences, and combines that information with the day and the time.


So for example, on Saturday late at night, Songza will offer up activities like a Sweaty Dance Party or Getting Naked, whereas the service will offer up something like Working Out or Summertime on a Tuesday afternoon. After filtering that activity, you’re a click away from a playlist.


But Concierge isn’t the only thing coming to Songza’s Android app. The company has also revamped the app to be completely compatible with Android 4.0, meaning that the same look and feel of the ICS UI will be present on both 4.0 devices and earlier.


Past that, Android users will be able to control volume and other settings from the lock screen and/or headphones as opposed to opening up the app.


Songza just recently launched an iPad app, which was featured in the App Store, and saw over 1 million downloads in ten days. Clearly the service is picking up even more momentum.

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Songza is a free streaming music service that has expert-made playlists for every occasion and makes it easy to find the right one, at the right time. Headquartered in Long Island City, NY, Songza is built by the team that founded crowd-priced MP3 download store AmieStreet.com in 2006 from their dorms at Brown University. Songza is available on the web at www.Songza.com and as an application on the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire and Android platform.


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CEO Elop Hints Nokia Will Be 1st To Windows Phone 8, Weighs In On China And Android

Ingrid is a reporter for TechCrunch, joining February 2012, based out of London. She comes from paidContent.org, where she was a staff writer, and has in the past also written freelance regularly for other publications such as the Financial Times. Ingrid covers mobile, digital media, advertising and the spaces where these intersect. When it comes to work, she feels most… ? Learn More

windows-phone-8

Nokia’s Q2 earnings out today reflect the big challenges for the handset maker amid what CEO Stephen Elop calls the “ferocity” of competition from Android and Apple, but here’s a clue to one interesting development: he closed off today’s analyst call with a hint that Nokia will be the first handset maker to produce a smartphone on the future Windows Phone 8 platform from Microsoft.


Asked at the very end of the call if Nokia would make the first phone for Windows Phone 8, Elop would not answer directly, but said: “One signal [of what is coming] is that on the number of occasions when Windows Phone 8 has been demonstrated it has been on a Nokia device. We have a close relationship that is unlike what anyone else has with Microsoft.”


The comments were made in the context of Elop defending Nokia’s relationship with Redmond. Another analyst had pointed out that while it looked from the start like a very cozy friendship, more recently Microsoft has been announcing new products in mobile, seemingly with little regard for Nokia (Surface, anyone?). Steve Ballmer has said as much himself by touting how Microsoft worked with a variety of device makers.


Elop says no way: “We have established a preferred position with Microsoft in partnership — and also contractually,” (last part slightly ominously, IMO). He also noted that in fact Nokia “ourselves have been encouraging others to participate in the Windows Phone ecosystem, which needs energy, investment and hardware work because of the ‘ferocity’ of the competition with Apple and Android.”


And back to that contract: “We have an important relationship and dependency on Windows Phone [but] they have a dependency on us as it relates to the location partnership.” Microsoft uses Nokia location data, which comes in large part from its $8 billion Navteq purchase. These days Nokia’s location division yields very small returns compared to devices (just €283m in net sales on a quarter that saw €7.5bn in total net sales).


Other highlights from the call:


Patents. Elop has said it before and he’s mentioned it here again. The company is losing a lot of money as it continues to shift its product base over to Windows Phone (and hope that eventually lots more consumers bite). So its assets are coming into play big time. The company has a patent portfolio worth about $6 billion, which will likely be used as part of his strategy of “looking at other things to generate cash.” Also included will be more real-estate sales, which you might also read as possible further plant closures.


Confusion/frustration with Windows Phone 8 from Windows Phone 7 users. As you may already know, there is no upgrade path from one generation of the OS to the next. One analyst asked whether Nokia planned to “reward current Lumia purchasers with upgrades” to WP8 handsets to avoid some of that disappointment.


Elop didn’t answer that directly but noted, “Owners of existing devices do have upgrades and updates coming including some WP8 features like the start screen.” He also noted that since the WP8 announcement Nokia has actually noticed an uptick in the activation of Lumia devices.


He also said Nokia will continue to sell WP7 devices even after WP8 gets released and shipped. It will use this, it seems, as part of a segmentation strategy, most likely for targeting emerging markets: “You can achieve lower price points and do things [around] that.”


He also, unsolicited, decided to compare the WP7/WP8 situation to Android. “The last numbers I saw [on Android] were that north of 60 percent of devices sold were three versions older than the current OS. By and large those are not upgradeable, and yet sold the right way, there is clearly some volume. It is not the case that sales change, so we have to manage the cohesion of the platform well.”


On China and Nokia totally losing its leadership there to Android. Elop: “China is a unique market…where subsidized Android devices have gained a lot of momentum [at a time when] we were not in a position to offer [competing] devices with subsidies.” He mentioned the Lumia 610 — but frankly trying to stand one device up against a tidal wave of competing models seems to have only worked so far for one handset maker: Apple.


On carriers and the third ecosystem after Apple and Android. “This continues to be a very strong part of the conversation all over the world. In the U.S. for example it’s coming up and it is something we will continue to use going forward.”



Nokia is a Finnish multinational communications corporation. It is primarily engaged in the manufacturing of mobile devices and in converging Internet and communications industries. They make a wide range of mobile devices with services and software that enable people to experience music, navigation, video, television, imaging, games, business mobility and more. Nokia is the owner of Symbian operation system and partially owns MeeGo operating system.

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Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is a veteran software company, best known for its Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software. Starting in 1980 Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM allowing Microsoft to sell its software package with the computers IBM manufactured. Microsoft is widely used by professionals worldwide and largely dominates the American corporate market. Additionally, the company has ventured into hardware with consumer products such as the Zune and…


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Twitter Turns Toward The Masses, Gets Serious About Reach Beyond iOS & Android With Latest Mobile Update

Billy Gallagher is a writer for TechCrunch. He is also the president and editor in chief of The Stanford Daily. Billy previously worked at The Stanford Daily for two volumes as a managing editor of news. He has also worked in sports and staff development at The Daily. In March of 2012 the Friends of The Stanford Daily awarded him… ? Learn More

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Twitter finalized a major overhaul of its mobile site today aimed at users on feature phones and older browsers. In a blog post, the Twitter design team wrote that they built a “lighter-weight, faster client that looks and feels like twitter.com and our mobile apps.”

The new site is much cleaner and is very similar to the browser and app interfaces, allowing the company to deliver the best version of its product across more platforms. This comes on the heels of yesterday’s release of new Twitter mobile apps for iOS and Android.

The results of Twitter’s nine week project brings mobile support to thirteen different browsers for thousands of different devices. On the blog, the team writes about working to provide users with a “consistent experience on any device.” The new site can scale from screens as small as 240 x 240 pixels up to desktops. In an effort to accomodate slower networks and different browsers, the site is optimized for browsers with javascript turned off and offers page sizes that are up to 63% smaller than the old version.

Some of the devices Twitter used for testing

After studying how people were using the mobile site, from analyzing how often they Tweeted to how often they refreshed or loaded more Tweets, the designers sketched on paper and jumped into testing and tweaking versions. The team says they tested the mobile site on over 300 different devices. They noted that new features, such as JavaScript support and enhancements for widescreen, are coming soon.

Correction (3:03 PM): An earlier version of this story stated that “Twitter announced a major overhaul of its mobile site today.” Twitter actually announced this change in May; today, Twitter announced that it has been fully rolled out and released statistics and information about the new mobile site.

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Google Affirms The Nexus 7′s Main Fault With This Adorable Commercial

nexus 7

The Nexus 7 is a fantastic tablet — for the price. To me and many others its only downside is lack of built-in wireless data connectivity. It can only connect to the internet’s tubes through WiFi.

Google apparently agrees. I won’t spoil the cute commercial but let’s just say the dad isn’t using a WiFi hotspot to entertain his son.

With WiFi hotspots, phone apps, and USB modems, there are a ton of ways to feed a tablet or computer wireless data while on the go. But none are as seamless or efficient as a built-in solution. Requiring another device adds another potential point of failure.

Still, even though the Nexus 7 is only WiFi-only, it’s still an amazing tablet that’s totally worth its price. But I wouldn’t buy it. I’m spoiled by a Verizon iPad and, before it, a first-gen Xoom. I simply cannot imagine owning a tablet that requires another device to connect it to the internet. I mean, I really don’t want to bring my phone along on a camping trip, but a tablet is a must-have to keep the kids entertained. What else are they going to do camping? Get dirty and have fun? Pssh. It’s Kingdom Rush time!

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Adfonic: Android Tops iOS As Most Popular Platform On Global Ad Network; iPhone, iPad Still Top Devices

android-v-iphone

Android is now most-used smartphone platform worldwide, and that swing is being reflected in other areas like mobile advertising. Today some numbers out from Adfonic indicate that in Q2, Android accounted for the majority of mobile ad impressions on its network worldwide, with 46 percent compared to iOS’s 34 percent of impressions. This is the first time Adfonic says it has recorded Android being more popular than iOS. In that, it joins other big ad networks like Millennial Media and InMobi, which both noted Google’s OS overtaking Apple’s earlier this year.

 

Adfonic’s Global AdMetrics Report is based on 4,000 rich-media campaigns run monthly for brands like Samsung, Warner Bros, eBay, McDonald’s, Groupon and Google, reaching 200 million mobile unique users monthly over 80 billion ad requests. The company notes that today’s Android popularity is a near-mirror switch from the quarter before, when iOS took 45 percent of traffic to Android’s 38 percent. The only region where Android has yet to dominate over iOS, Adfonic says, is South America, and overall iOS lost marketshare in every region. The U.S., on the other hand, has seen the most drastic flip:

 

 

In Q1 in the U.S., Android and iOS were nearly level, with just four percentage points separating Android’s 46 percent to iOS’s 42 percent. This last quarter, iOS dropped down to 30 percent while Android shot up to 63 percent. Given that the U.S. is leading the charge with smartphones, this could potentially be read as a bad sign for Apple in the months to come — although the launch of a new iPhone will likely change the balance once again.

 

And that’s because this is not just a story of platforms but of devices — and for Apple, it’s still winning massively where that is concerned. Adfonic notes that taken as individual devices, Apple’s are still proving to be the most popular — by quite a long shot.

 

The iPhone accounts for 26.5 percent of all impressions among all the smartphones on Adfonics’ network. Although that is a decline of eight percent on the quarter before, the runner-up device, also an iOS handset (the iPod Touch), is only at 5.2 percent (also a decline). Samsung and Blackberry round out the top five, and both actually grew their market shares, albeit from a small base.

 

The same story appears in tablets, where the iPad accounted for almost 54.8 percent of all traffic. Again it’s a decline, this time of 12 percent, but still comfortably ahead of number-two — in this case the Kindle Fire from Amazon with 6.6 percent of impressions and growing.

 

That could also be a testament to how well the Kindle Fire might perform in the long run: the device is still only available in the U.S., and yet it’s still ranking as the second-most-popular worldwide for ad impressions (and, hence, content usage) on Adfonic’s network.

 

 

Taken together, Android and iOS accounted for 80 percent of Adfonic’s global ad inventory — a pretty stark statement, once again, of how dominant these two are together at the expense of Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Symbian and the rest. This is as much about attracting advertisers to buy ads on attractive devices as it is about consumer popularity. Paul Childs, CMO at Adfonic noted: “iOS and Android smartphones and tablets have the most compelling user interfaces, comprising touchscreens, geolocation features and attractive displays. They are fulfilling their tremendous advertising potential to show engaging ad formats, such as rich media.”

 

Adfonic’s extensive report (which you can read in full here) also covers a lot of detail on successful verticals, the difference in ad performance by gender and other metrics. One notable graphic that caught my eye was this one on impressions based on different verticals, which shows that music is currently having the biggest pull for advertisers, taking 39 percent of all ad spend on its network; technology ads were the second-highest at 28 percent. In terms of publisher channels, sites and apps in the entertainment and lifestyle categories are seeing increases in their ad requests, while games, social networking, and news/sport/information all saw declines.

 

Global mobile advertising marketplace, Adfonic, enables advertisers to run display advertising campaigns across mobile sites and applications, reaching an estimated 200m mobile unique users, and publishers to monetise their mobile traffic. Advertisers can run performance, rich media and video ad campaigns to drive direct response, increase consumer engagement and build brand awareness. For publishers Adfonic offers access to top brand campaigns, high fill rates and competitive eCPMs. The SDK version 2.0 for iOS and Android includes MRAID support for…

 

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