Famigo Pre-Loaded on Samsung Galaxy Note 4

FamigoFamigo, an educational mobile app company, is now pre-loaded on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, one of the most anticipated Android devices of 2014.

The Note 4 ‘phablet’ is the latest device to feature Famigo pre-loaded. Other devices include Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4, Galaxy Note Pro, HTC One M8 and LG G Flex. Famigo’s partnership with device manufacturers underlines the company’s commitment to provide the best available education and child approved entertainment to as many families and schools as possible.

“The Note 4 promises to be one of the most popular and exciting Android devices of the year,” said Famigo CEO Q Beck. “With Famigo pre-loaded on the Note 4, parents won’t be the only ones to enjoy the phablet’s bigger screen. Kids can access curated apps, games and videos to learn and play anywhere, anytime. As more devices make their way into the classroom, the Note 4 will also be an excellent option for districts seeking to incorporate one-to-one learning experiences or bring your own device initiatives.”

Famigo solves the problem of limited mobile options for children. It provides families easy access to the best available educational entertainment, with unique security features that make the mobile experience safer. Kids can choose from thousands of videos in Famigo TV that are sorted by age range, as well as access educational apps and games. Parents can use an optional child-lock to make the Note 4 a safer space for kids to learn and explore.

Children can use Famigo both inside and outside of the classroom, maximizing the benefit of the platform’s specialized educational content.

The pre-loaded version of Famigo is now available exclusively to AT&T customers in-store and online through AT&T’s website.

Famigo Pre-Loaded on Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Famigo Announces New Mobile Content Lineup, Partnership with Mobile MUM

FamigoFamigo, a company providing safer experiences for children on mobile devices, today announced it has formed a strategic partnership with Mobile MUM, a provider of premium video content and educational apps for kids. Collectively, with the assistance of the developer community, Famigo can now ensure families, telecom carriers and OEMs have access to the newest child appropriate content available for mobile devices.

“Our partnership with Mobile MUM, as well as our continued focus on collaborating with the developer community, are important steps toward our goal of acquiring the widest variety of premium mobile content available for children”

Under the partnership, Famigo-approved premium content is now available for children to stream and enjoy using the Mobile MUM player on smart phones and tablets. New programs include: ‘Dino Dan,’ ‘Cat in the Hat,’ ‘Sid the Science Kid,’ ‘The Wiggles,’ ‘Mighty Machines,’ Jim Henson’s ‘Pajanimals’ and more.

Famigo provides families, telecom carriers and OEMs with a ‘one-stop-shop’ for the enjoyment of family media.

“Our partnership with Mobile MUM, as well as our continued focus on collaborating with the developer community, are important steps toward our goal of acquiring the widest variety of premium mobile content available for children,” said Q Beck, Co-Founder and CEO of Famigo. “Famigo is more than a media platform – we want to offer a compelling mobile media experience for kids. There is something very powerful about being able to pick the best shows that you know are child-approved, and handing the device to your child to let them enjoy with complete confidence.”

Famigo is also announcing an updated subscription-based pricing model: for $7.99/month, subscription users get all the video they want plus 5 – 7 curated apps (approximately $20.00 worth of content) based on what they play in Famigo. Further reducing ‘discovery time’ for new content, parents can download new apps directly from the Famigo app.

“Working with Q and the team at Famigo made perfect sense for Mobile MUM because we are both committed to providing the best in mobile video content that entertains and educates children,” said Tim Capper, Mobile MUM president and chief creative officer. “With this agreement, Famigo can now use our platform and expansive library of child-approved programming. Together, we are significantly enhancing mobile content experiences for children.”

Famigo Announces New Mobile Content Lineup, Partnership with Mobile MUM

AVAI Announces New Version of AMP

AVAI Mobile Solutions, based in Austin, has announced a version of its AMP™ mobile application content management platform for the enterprise market. AMP enables enterprises to avoid the high cost and risk associated with custom app development and versioning by leveraging a proven platform as a service.

“We are announcing AMP Enterprise to address a very clear need among mid to large enterprises for a scalable yet customizable mobile app development platform which eliminates the need for custom development on every project,” says Rand Arnold, CEO of AVAI Mobile. “AMP Enterprise is an extension to our popular Cloud-based AMP™ solution already being successfully used as a development platform for our channel partners.”

According to a Q1 2013 Mobile Enterprise Report from Appcelerator, 44% of enterprise respondents surveyed said they plan to develop between 2 – 5 apps in 2013, while some plan to build as many as 20. The report notes that largest obstacle facing Enterprise is a scarcity of mobile development resources.  AMP provides 80% of the solution, dramatically reducing the custom development required. Using AMP means enterprises can fast start mobile apps without having to hire a team of expensive programmers, or outsource mobile development.

AMP is available as a licensed platform allowing customers to host on internal servers, or bundled as a cloud based Platform-as-a-service (PaaS). Because AMP comes as a pre-built platform with easy customization tools, mobile apps can be created in a fraction of the time – and for significantly less money – than the average custom-developed app.

“AVAI Mobile’s AMP Platform allowed us to communicate the latest updates of our products and specifications more efficiently with our team and partners,” says John Hewson, Residential Solutions Marketing Manager for Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.

AVAI Announces New Version of AMP

Icon Delivers A Business Card That’s As Digital As You Are

Icon.me card

Personal brands have been around forever. It’s just that we used to call them something else. Like famous people, or celebrities. But in the era of Tweets, Likes and LinkedIn requests, the idea that everyone can build a brand has caught on. While some of the consumer-facing activity in the internet sector has lost some sizzle, there’s still room to innovate. Icon’s Kent Savage is betting the old-fashioned business card is the right piece to build around.

“It’s just flawed the way it’s used,” he told me over the phone. Savage and his partner Matt Hovis describe their service as a “digital business card for the modern professional.” But hanging out a digital shingle is just part of the lure. For years, we’ve relied on walled networks and Google to serve up our online profiles. And that’s been an exercise filled with mostly crossed fingers.

“We looked at all the different systems and focused on the best way to pull a representation of someone’s online profile,” said Savage. “We then deliver that through all the touch points”, he added.

Savage says there’s no turnkey solution that builds on the notion of a “smart” business card. While there’s topic-driven aggregators like Twylah and personal pages from About.me, there’s a few things Icon does differently.Curating content you actually want people to see is one of the nicer things. So you say you don’t like that story or quip sucked in from your Twitter feed? Hit the “X” button and it’s gone. That’s something Icon’s competitors, namely About.me, aren’t doing today.

“About.me is just a big head-shot with an about section,” said Savage. “Where it falls short is a utility for being well suited for today’s communication.” With its fancy, magazine-like pages, and fine-grained control, the company is already seeing its community grow organically.

Commonality Engine

In addition to Icon’s aggregation and curation capabilities, the company also built what it calls a “commonality engine,” a part of the platform that addresses the buzz around the social graph. When it sucks in your Twitter followers and other social connections, Icon’s built-in analytics kick in to show you what you have in common. Based on that data, a word cloud is generated from keywords and topics extracted from Tweets and other social streams. Savage also mentioned the company is planning a search feature so you can find your buddies as they come online.

“We wanted to update the art of personal outreach and contact exchange, while maintaining what was once important about business or calling cards – a degree of formality and presentation. Our product suite helps people present their professional persona in the strongest way, while also growing their personal brand,” added Savage.

He and Hovis say they started the company in June 2012 with $500K in Angel Funding and are poised to receive a Series A round commensurate with the current roll-out. So head over to Icon.me and grab your profile. Just in time for SXSW.



Icon Delivers A Business Card That’s As Digital As You Are

Former Edgar Online Founders Ready To Disrupt Again With 9WSearch

If you wanted to start a company based on the financial markets, Austin might not be your first choice. Technically, for 9WSearch CEO Susan Strausberg, it wasn’t. “My husband and I picked Austin to start a green-oriented business, but it took a little longer than expected,” said Strausberg.  “So we went back to our roots and started 9WSearch.”

Those roots run the deepest in financial services, and with Strausberg’s track record in the industry, it probably doesn’t matter much where she sets up shop.

“We’re creating a new paradigm for the presentation and consumption of financial information,” said Strausberg. In the mid 1990’s, she had similar aspirations as the co-founder of Edgar Online, whose model accelerated as the SEC mandated that information had to move online. This time, it’s another ruling that’s proving to be a catalyst.

In 2009, the SEC ruled that companies would have to provide operating data in an easy to use format, opting to push forward with the eXtensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL. That opened the floodgates for 9WSearch and others. Now companies had a standard to work with, making the development and delivery of specific apps and services much easier. Strausberg says the XBRL mandate, coupled with the fact that between eighty and ninety per cent of companies have a basic commercial or industrial classification, 9WSearch can create a curated view of company data and financials.

“We can create a custom template that gives our clients a tailored view of a company’s core information,” explained Strausberg. Her team has already accomplished much of the heavy lifting, so templatizing a business sector or company profile is a snap says Strausberg. They’ve essentially cleaned up some of the finance-speak and distilled the data down to simple and understandable terms, something 9W likes to describe as “actionable intelligence.”

Co-founder and CIO, Marc Strausberg, says there are more than 18000 tags that were approved under the XBRL mandate. So while the delivery is standardized, there’s still a big challenge fitting all the terminology into a standard taxonomy.

“The reality is many of the descriptions don’t add a lot of value, and what 9W does is surface the items that have value to an end user,” said Mr.Strausberg. He gave the example of an energy company that might be reporting on the success of its exploration efforts. “If we have 200 oil and gas companies and can whittle things down to “dry holes,” we’re saving people a significant amount of time,” he added.

Its filtering and curation expertise is really where the company is banking on separation from its competitors. Although finance is one of the largest silos on the web, mobile access to this information is severely lacking. Both founders also say they plan to involve their early freemium customers in the process of determining what the marketplace will want. In addition, 9W currently has basic social media capabilities, with the ability to share across most social networks.

On the customer front, 9W says it doesn’t have one ideal segment, but there are some obvious ones. Knowledge workers inside corporations should be easy pickings as 9W launches, especially as the company adds vertical product sectors.  It also wouldn’t be a stretch to see LinkedIn, Salesforce or other B2B software providers take a serious look at its portfolio. Salespeople, HR managers and certainly the C-Suite are used to buying and integrating content for the business. The difference in 2012 is the modularity of those content assets. You don’t need to buy the whole package from a media company, just the niche you need.

“There’s a gigantic shift in the way people will use information and most of us aren’t educated in the fine points of finance,” said Strausberg.

Neither are most businesses.

Former Edgar Online Founders Ready To Disrupt Again With 9WSearch

Mobile Apps or Adaptive Design?

Mobile development companies are sprouting up like wildfire, and one of the most common questions I receive surrounds referrals for companies that can make mobile apps. We all know, use, and seemingly want to build apps today. But I wanted to foster discussion around trends and mobile web.

Do you think the future is in more apps, or mobile web using HTML5 and responsive (adaptive) design?

HTML5 has incredibly powerful capabilities, and many features of HTML5 are supported by modern browsers even though the standard has not yet been officially adopted. Combine that with responsive design principles, whereby a web page adapts itself based upon the size of the browser (see 5o examples here) and you get a pretty compelling argument for mobile web vs. apps.

  1. Apps are an island. They don’t integrate with anything (except maybe a map and dialing the phone).
  2. Apps have to download upgrades all the time, while mobile web is always using the latest version.
  3. A single code base would seemingly be more desirable than multiple code bases for all sorts of mobile platforms.

What is the future of your mobile design efforts?

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Mobile Apps or Adaptive Design?

Mobile and the Austin Chamber

mobileTech Tuesday, by Steve Guengerich

Tech start-ups, at least in my experience, have a notoriously conflicted relationship with traditional business networking groups, like our city’s Chamber of Commerce.

The conflict comes because, on the surface, what each needs from the other is hard to come by. The Chamber needs financial support (membership fees, etc.) and volunteer time – both of which start-ups can ill afford.

Conversely, the tech start-up needs targeted access to early adopter customers and very specific, often highly skilled and experienced, people – neither of which is really the Chamber’s core business per se’.

However, the nurturing of a local/regional ecosystem that accommodates the needs of both can be highly mutually beneficial. And in that regard, I have to hand it to the Greater Austin Chamber’s Technology Partnership as it works to foster such an ecosystem.

Led by Susan Davenport, the Technology Partnership is a virtual organization started a bit over a year ago by the Chamber to develop a strong vision and strategy for our technology sector.

A central understanding by the Technology Partnership is that the Austin tech economy has shifted away from a manufacturing core towards that of a technology innovation sector.

In the Technology Partnership’s words “the implications for this shift affect every aspect of the known factors contributing to high-tech business location decisions, including but not limited to the following:

  • Access to Capital
  • Support for Entrepreneurial Development
  • Quality of Place
  • Established Technology Infrastructure
  • Educated and Talented Workforce
  • Presence and Accessibility of Research Institutions
  • State and Local Commitment/Supportive Policies”

To ensure that the Chamber’s efforts are appropriately directed to address these factors, the Technology Partnership has formed several special interest groups (or SIGs) for areas like Life Sciences, Gaming and Mobile, among others.

Since early this year, a number of founding execs from various mobile companies in Austin have met together, with Chamber reps, to talk about our position on the priority of these factors, as well as our companies’ individual needs. To their credit, the Chamber hasn’t placed a “must be a paying member of the Chamber to participate” roadblock to the mobile start-ups that have attended these meetings.

The dialog and networking has been great. At the very least, it has provided a constructive forum where, in my view, smaller companies that have struggled for attention from the traditional business establishment are able to share more about their hopes for their companies and our city. And, in that way, it’s an effort that has already generated a nice ROI.

If you’d like to know more about the Mobile SIG or the other Technology Partnership components, Aisha Javed has been a contact for meetings and information.

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Mobile and the Austin Chamber

Evernote in Austin

The popular Evernote is coming to Austin.

A few weeks ago, I met with Rich Warwick, Evernote’s new vice president and general manager for Austin products, where I learned that Evernote was going to open a development lab in Austin, and that they will be aggressively looking for developers here in town. Mobility & Mac are core-focus of the Austin lab. I, being a mobility person, was pretty excited about the news: 1) I am a fan of Evernote, 2) they are opening a dev studio in Austin, and 3) a core focus of the Austin lab is Mobility! Awesome.

Today, Evernote went public with their Austin plans; see story (Statesman). The Startup company has been growing:

“We’ve been really expanding like crazy at Evernote, adding four or five people a week for the last couple of months,” said Phil Libin, Evernote’s CEO. “We started this year with about 45 people total. We’re going to end the year with about 130. The plan is to do it again next year.”
The company has about 11 million users.

Note that both Rich and Evernote’s CEO Phil Libin are no strangers to Austin; during the early 2000’s they spent their time at Vignette.

On August 31st, they will run an Evernote Meetup at the W. If you are a mobile app developer and curious about joining the Evernote team, you should attend the meetup and also see their current job postings in the new Austin Studio.



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Evernote in Austin

Tech Elephant Mating Fosters New Mobile Species

mobileTechThursday, by Steve Guengerich

What a week, huh? First Google buys Motorola Mobility. Then, slipped in there quietly, Time Warner Cable buys Insight.  And finally, HP announces that it’s getting out of the PC business, ceding mobile to Apple and letting Dell battle Lenovo and the other APAC manufacturers for what’s left of the laptop business.

Not much air left for announcements like the reportedly $40 million acquisition of the UK’s largest coupon site by Austin’s Whaleshark or, for that matter, strategic but tiny-by-comparison deals by companies like my own, Appconomy, which completed the acquisition of mobile, West-coast-based commerce company, Yoohoot Media.

The week reminds me of a very prescient slide that Mary Meeker, she of KPCB, used in the summation of a slideshare deck published in February of this year.

Her slide, more aptly titled than my post, addresses technology wealth & destruction cycles. The illustration highlights that new companies often win big in new cycles while incumbents often falter.

Personally, I’m encouraged by the opportunity that these cycles yield in new ideas, solutions, and (ultimately) the products and services that take hold and carry us forward to a better way of life.

In my last post, I wrote about the greater Austin accelerators and related resources that serve as the breeding ground – to draw from the title – of new ideas and companies in our community. To stretch the metaphor just one bit further, we’ll soon have a mating season of sorts upon us for new ventures in the Austin area as well.

Some of the highlight events of the Fall 2011 season, where exciting new companies are spawning, include:

There’s no doubt that big changes are afoot in the software, hardware, and communications. It’s as exciting a time as ever to be a participant in these fields. We’ll look forward to seeing you at some of these events and others in the coming months.

As always, please add your comments, programs and events in a reply, so we can highlight other programs as well.

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Tech Elephant Mating Fosters New Mobile Species

Mobile Development

There’s no doubt that mobile is hot. At a recent Austin Tech Happy Hour I saw some folks from Mutual Mobile. These young kids fresh out of UT have created an incredible mobile development company. Someone had told me that they currently employee about 165 people, and they’re looking to hire another 100 people before the end of the year!

I get lots of email, and meet tons of people who all want advice on mobile, are looking for mobile developers, and want to get into the game. So I’ve tracked down a deal for you. It’s a video series titled, “Learn to Develop iPhone & iPad Apps in 4 Weeks.”

The course is taught by Bess Ho, who is quickly becoming something of a silicon valley legend given her ability to take business folks (with zero programming skills) and have them build real functional apps in less than 6 hours. She teaches at places like Hacker Dojo, but if you can’t make it to a class she’s put together an awesome version of her course for AustinStartup readers. It retails at $250, but we’ve got the hook up with 60% off making it $99 for this week only. Enjoy!

Mobile Development