All Articles Tagged "mobile"
The struggle continues for BlackBerry, which has decided that it’s not going to sell the business, but rather will raise $1 billion in financing.
Fairfax Financial Holdings, the company’s biggest shareholder, announced today that a deal to take over the troubled mobile company for $4.7 billion has been scrapped after money for the transaction became hard to come by. Instead, Fairfax says it’s now going to kick in $250 million towards the $1 billion fundraising goal.
In addition, the company is also replacing Thorsten Heins, BlackBerry’s CEO, and installing John Chen, the former head of tech company Sybase, in his place. Heins had only been head of the company since last year.
Just last month, BlackBerry announced a second quarter loss of $965 million. And in September, the company laid off 40 percent of its employees (about 4,500 people). The company says that poor sales of the new Z10 device caused the losses.
The Wall Street Journal reports that efforts to speak with companies like LinkedIn about a sale yielded no results. And many of the Z10 phones went unsold.
USA Today predicts that this is the last gasp for BlackBerry, which saw its stock drop 16 percent this morning on the news. Citing a lack of excitement from investors, customers, and even tech reviewers, the paper says that it’s just a bad situation for everyone.
Does it sound like the end of the line to you?
Don’t worry, says BlackBerry. The struggling Canadian company has written an open letter to customers saying it will not go out of business, reports The Los Angeles Times.
BlackBerry published an open letter as part of an all-out media campaign designed to ease nervous customers’ worries that the company will go under.
“These are no doubt challenging times for us and we don’t underestimate the situation or ignore the challenges,” the company wrote in the letter, which it posted on its website Monday. “We are making the difficult changes necessary to strengthen BlackBerry.”
The letter was also published in 30 newspapers around the world. In it, BlackBerry says users have “no doubt seen the headlines” about the company. ”And speaking of those dramatic headlines, it’s important that we set the record straight on a few things,” it said.
Customers have reason to wonder about the state of the company. There was recent news that BlackBerry had struck a tentative deal to be bought by a Canadian insurance company for $4.7 billion. “That led to a separate filing by BlackBerry’s co-founders, Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin, that said the duo might finance their own takeover,” reports The Times.
And last month BlackBerry disclosed it planned to lay off about 4,500 employees, or about 40 percent of its workforce. It has been reeling over the loss of nearly $1 billion in its most recent quarter.
On top of this, Apple reportedly has been recruiting BlackBerry’s employees.
“Despite all that bad news, BlackBerry said in its letter that it has substantial cash on hand and a balance sheet that is debt free. It plans to restructure, with a goal to cut expenses 50%,” reports The Times. (Bit of a sidebar: See how important it is to be debt free! When the going gets tough, having no debt will keep you going.)
BlackBerry added that customers “can continue to trust us to keep your communication safe and private” and noted that it recognized iOS and Android devices have become more popular in the workplace. The company announced it was working on a solution to help businesses manage all the different platforms “seamlessly and securely.”
But the company knows it can’t please everybody.
“Yes, there is a lot of competition out there and we know that BlackBerry is not for everyone,” the letter said. “That’s OK.”
Springtime is here and with it comes flowers, sunshine… and technology? While you might not automatically associate technology with the outdoors, there are several ways that tech innovations, gadgets, and websites can help us make the most of spring. Read on for 10 ways you can enhance this season with tech!
Social Media Advisor Cheryl Contee Shares Says African Americans Must See Themselves As Digital Creators
Cheryl Contee, a co-founder of Fission Strategy, works with nonprofit organizations and foundations to improve their digital outreach: blogging, tweeting, Facebook, and more. Contee describes the company as “specializing in social media for social good,” and was founded in 2008. She works with organizations like the One Campaign, Define American, Amnesty International, and Zynga.org.
In addition to her work as co-founder of the Jack and Jill Politics blog, she is active in the digital space, on Twitter, and moderated a recent Social Media Week Panel on multicultural mobile consumers.
MadameNoire spoke to Contee about her work with nonprofits, trends in social media, and how the black community is active on social media and mobile devices.
MadameNoire: Why did you decide to start Fission Strategy? Why is it important to get nonprofits to use technology to their full advantage?
Cheryl Contee: I co-founded Fission as a business, as a for-profit, which would keep us focused and structured on innovation, to provide specialized, tailored services for nonprofits and foundations. Nonprofits don’t always have the same budgets, but certainly they have an advantage in this new arena, where individuals are so empowered through social media and can use their voices, use their networks, and use their technological savvy to inspire others around a given cause. They aren’t selling laptops or soap or football tickets, but they are selling ideas and inspiration.
MN: What are some nonprofit organizations that you work with, and what are they doing in social?
CC: Moms Rising is doing an incredible job. They do tweet chats with the White House, and they have an incredible passionate and engaged membership. During the election, we worked with OurTime, which works with young people, and we were able to get voter registration widgets on the Facebook pages of folks like Lady Gaga, Will Smith, Will.i.am, Jess Alba, Eva Longoria, and Trey Songz. We also worked with Tumblr to have the same online voter registration widget. Overall, that ended up driving more than 300,000 registrations, which is the kind of difference-maker that we try to achieve.
MN: I saw you moderated a panel during Social Media Week about multicultural mobile consumers. How do you see the African-American community using mobile more or differently than the general market or other demographics?
CC: Certainly, there are lots of different stats on this, but social media use is really heavy for African Americans. Pew Internet had a study out last year that said that something like 25 percent of online African Americans use Twitter and 10 percent use it every day. That’s a real dominance when you think about the millions [of Twitter users]. And that’s at least twice the rate of whites. A lot of people are using Twitter on their mobile device, either through apps or text messaging.
MN: And is it only about using social media on mobile devices, or are text messaging campaigns and mobile advertising still intriguing for nonprofits and corporations as they try to reach multicultural consumers?
CC: Any technology that is accessible via mobile is something that is important.
When you look at mobile advertising, there are some great numbers that came out Nielsen that show that, when you look at mobile ads, minorities are more likely to see them and click on them and to actually consider those. It’s a really useful way to stretch your ad dollars and make the most of your ad dollars.
[Editor's Note: During the Social Media Week Panel, Monica Bannan, VP of product leadership at Nielsen showed stats about mobile advertising. After seeing a social media ad, 18 percent of African-Americans shared that ad, 29 percent "liked" it, and 18 percent went on to purchase the product. This is compared to 13 percent of whites who shared the ad, 24 percent who liked it, and 12 percent who purchased a product.]
MN: Beyond the mobile trend, what else are you seeing with regards to the black community when it comes to social media, and what technologies are you focusing on for the next year or so?
CC: Certainly, we’re working to understand the power of Tumblr and Instagram, which is more integrated into Facebook, and having the notion of photo filters and hashtags attached to photos. We’re paying attention to that trend and the shift in the market. And again, a lot of these trends and innovations are actually driven by a change in consumer behavior around mobile devices. We are really trying to pay attention to that.
What is key for African Americans going forward is to see themselves not just as powerful consumers—African Americans are more likely than some other groups to own smartphones, to use social media, to use advanced internet—but to see themselves going beyond consumers to become creators. That’s the future of careers, the future of our economy and the future of prosperity for our community. We need to take our demonstrated tech savvy to the next level, launch our own companies, and create products that other people find useful.
As we slowly crawl toward spring, you can turn to technology to help you get in shape, get organized, clean the house, and more. Half of all African-American cell phone owners have downloaded a mobile phone app, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, and as far back as November 2011, mobile app usage surpassed mobile browser usage. So here are nine apps and websites that can help you do a bit of self-improvement this spring.
Facebook unveiled a redesigned news feed today that included more and larger photos, greater prominence for video, and reorganized content that combines status updates and other info. Alongside these changes, users are being given the reins to better control the appearance of info on their feed pages.
Comparing the news feed to a “personalized newspaper,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during the news conference today that, “We believe the best personalized newspaper should have a broad diversity of content. It should have high quality public content from world renown news sources and locally and socially relevant updates from family and friends and the people around you.”
The Wall Street Journal includes a number of photos from the feed, noting that it appears to be taking cues from the mobile interface. (Mobile is a big part of the company’s strategy.)
It also draws from Instagram, which the company purchased for $1 billion last year, “focusing [on] larger visuals while still having a level of interactivity.” Those who would like to incorporate content from places like Pinterest will also be able to do with greater ease and flair, says the Journal.
The redesign, BusinessWeek says, is also meant to attract more advertisers. Facebook, remember, is a public company and though it is the most popular social network in the world, there’s recent data showing that young people are splitting their time a little more between Facebook and other networks like Snapchat. Also, there’s recent research from Pew showing that more people are taking Facebook breaks.
“When we talk about digital, it’s increasingly mobile. Mobile is no longer an add-on,” said Monica Bannan, kicking off the Social Media Week panel, “#Mobilecultural: How To Reach the Emerging Social, Mobile, and Multicultural User,” on Thursday evening.
Bannen, VP of mobile media for Nielsen, presented new data from the company that showed higher smartphone penetration among multicultural consumers, with 68 percent of blacks owning a smartphone compared to 74 percent of Asians, 68 percent of Hispanics, and 55 percent of whites. Social media, she noted, dominated time spent on mobile devices, and blacks also spend 82 percent of their time on a smartphone in mobile apps, rather than on a mobile web browser.
After using the data to set the scene, moderator Cheryl Contee, partner and co-founder of Fission Strategy, opened the discussion to the panelists: Diana Valencia, SVP of multicultural communications at Porter Novelli; Adrian Carrasquillo, producer and social media strategist at NBC Latino; Marcus Ellington, director of ad sales at Interactive One; Manny Miravete, US Hispanic industry manager at Google; and Lateef Sarnor, head of multicultural marketing at AOL.
Hosted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the group hoped to help the audience understand the shifting landscape, Contee said, and learn about “strategies to use as businesses and organizations help take advantage of this changing landscape, engage more successfully with these audiences, and creating the best content for these audiences.”
“One-third of our audience is coming to our sites from smartphones,” said Interactive One’s Ellington. “It’s so important that every program we do has a mobile element tied into it.”
And Carrasquillo took that a step further, highlighting the important connection between mobile, social media, and video: “Multicultural users like social and mobile and video and digital, so my next question is, ‘How will we reach them and how will we speak to them?’”
Google’s Miravete spoke about how consumer packaged goods brands are doing a good job of connecting with mobile users, particularly in partnership with retail stores, bringing a local element into the equation.
“Brands should be thinking less about silo-ing their social media approach or even their mobile strategy,” said Sarnor. “You should think about which platforms make sense for your brand. Listening and understand your audience will help dictate that strategy. There is a huge opportunity for brands around mobile and reaching audiences.”
“We’ve found that multicultural consumers go first to social media to get information, mostly on fashion and technology,” Valencia said. “Additionally, they are more likely to talk about a brand, or a specific item or piece of clothing, than just referring to something generally.”
All of this mobile-specific outreach is important for connecting with all consumers, but especially multicultural consumers, based on the data from Nielsen and other research companies. Just this month, Pew released its Demographics of Social Media Users 2012 report, which found that 68 percent of African-American internet users are on social networks, a higher percentage than whites (65 percent), but less than Hispanics (72 percent).
Additionally, in November 2012, Pew reported that 60 percent of African-American cell phone owners use their phone to access the internet, compared to 52 percent of whites and 66 percent of Hispanics.
As these multicultural segments show a propensity to use their mobile phones more often and for social media-type activities, Carrasquillo noted that it’s not enough to have content at their fingertips—it has to be good content.
“They don’t want a second-rate experience just because it’s niche,” he said. “We’re trying to elevate the conversation.”
How have you seen marketers and brands use mobile outreach to connect with you? Do you embrace it or is it annoying?
Behind the Click: Natalia Oberti Noguera Opens the Pipeline of Angel Investing For Women Philanthropists
Hey everyone! We are back with another profile, and for those who are interested in money — from smart investments or building a business — read on!
Investment and the images of women of color may not be synonymous, but if Natalia Oberti Noguera has her way, that will change very soon. Natalia is founder and CEO of Pipeline Fellowship, an angel investing boot camp for women philanthropists. The Pipeline Fellowship works to increase diversity in the U.S angel investing community and creates capital for women social entrepreneurs. This is key as women seek to balance the tech industry. Natalia is a game-changer in this area and has some major insight to share!
Name: Natalia Oberti Noguera
Current Occupation: Founder & CEO, Pipeline Fellowship
Favorite Website: Twitter
2013’s Ultimate Goal: Add #morevoices to the table.
Quotations that govern your mission, inspire you, and are just awesome:
When you do the right thing, it may not pay immediately, but it does pay. –Luz Urrutia
Powerful leadership is about understanding that you belong there. –@CarlaHarris
[I]f you don’t have a seat at the table: Bring Your Own Chair. –@midyaponte
People think #feminism is just for women. No fool, feminism is for everybody. –@aminatou
Twitter Handle: @nakisnakis
Madame Noire: Where are you from, Natalia, and where did you attend college?
Natalia Oberti Noguera: I’m half-Italian, half-Colombian. My father used to work for the UN, so we moved around quite a bit while growing up, primarily in Latin America (Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras, Dominican Republic). Summers were often spent in the United States, as my maternal grandmother used to live in Pennsylvania. I went to Yale for college and double-majored in Economics and Comparative Literature.
MN: What were you doing in your career before you started the Pipeline Fellowship?
NON: I built a network of women social entrepreneurs in NYC from about six women to over 1,200 members within two years.
MN: What events led you to start Pipeline Fellowship?
NON: Having the same conversation over and over: “It’s so hard to secure funding as a for-profit social venture.” [It] inspired me to launch the Pipeline Fellowship.
MN: What have been the results to date for the organization. Why do you feel its important to have Pipeline in place?
NON: In 2011, only 12 percent of U.S. angel investors were women and only four percent were minorities, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. The Pipeline Fellowship works to increase diversity in the U.S angel investing community and creates capital for women social entrepreneurs. Since running our first angel investing boot camp in April 2011, the Pipeline Fellowship has trained fifty women and has expanded from New York City to Boston, as well as San Francisco, and plans to head to Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Pipeline Fellowship alumnae have gone on to invest in their third and fourth startups, as well as launch accelerators and angel groups.
MN: Since you focus on women and diversity, I’d love to know if you felt you’ve ever been challenged due to gender and race. How did you handle it? And what might your suggestions be for other women facing similar situations?
NON: Last year, I was invited to judge a tech startup demo. Judges were asked to sit in the front row and that’s where I found myself when a guy told the guy next to him — loud enough for me to hear, however not directly addressing me — “I thought that only the judges were supposed to sit at the front.” I turned around and said, “And what makes you think that we’re not judges–because we’re women?” My approach is to call out -isms. As an LGBTQ Latina, it can get tiring. However, after hearing Ruth Simmons, former President of Brown University, mention how important it is for us who speak up to continue to do so because others in the room might not realize that they have the right to do the same, I understood that burning out isn’t an option. If you’re wondering how to handle a situation, remember:
Some conversations are uncomfortable but also necessary. They are so uncomfortable because they are so necessary. –Molly Lambert
As Black History Month kicks off, it’s important to not only recognize the African Americans who have impacted history and created the inventions of the past, but also those who are diving in and making changes today. Check out these 10 great black innovators who are developing educational mobile apps, disrupting how the police force works, encouraging other tech entrepreneurs, and more.
Oh you BlackBerry… Trying so hard but still in so much trouble.
Research in Motion has renamed its app store BlackBerry World, dropping the App from between the two words. According to Mashable, it’s a rebranding by the company that seeks to acknowledge the music and video content that it will offer with the new BlackBerry 10 mobile platform that’s just days from launch.
According to ZDNet, the BlackBerry 10 aims to bring “excitement” back to the mobile world, with “leaked” images showing a new interface with a new design. The video in the story (it’s in German with a few subtitles) talks up some of the things that the speaker says are improvements upon the iPhone, but it looks a lot like the iPhone as well. The advancements will likely convince those that are still fans of the BlackBerry to upgrade. But the key to regaining market share will be convincing those that have moved on to Android or Apple devices to switch.
Perhaps conceding that it has done better in the area of software than design, there’s word that RIM might be willing to license the software to devices produced by other companies.
“But before doing anything drastic, [RIM CEO Thorsten] Heins said, the company will wait to see how the company’s own devices running BlackBerry 10 perform in the market,” reports the Los Angeles Times. Are you interested in the new BlackBerry 10 device? Would you be more interested if the insides of the BlackBerry were in another device?