Weekend news roundup

28 Jun 2010

A quick glance at some of the technology stories breaking in the weekend papers.

Schmidt: Windows, not the iPhone, is the real target

The Guardian carried a fascinating transcript and analysis of a conversation with Google CEO Eric Schmidt in which he intimates he is hoping Windows mobile developers will jump ship and develop apps instead for the Android platform, which is now shipping 160,000 phones a day from various manufacturers, like LG, Samsung, Motorola and Sony Ericsson. The undercurrent, says Guardian tech writer Charles Arthur, is that Google can only capitalise on mobile advertising once it gets Android to a specific market share. It seems like that it has already crossed it, since it’s by all accounts bigger than Apple in smartphone share in the US (and may even be challenging RIM, though still some way behind Nokia). “The thing about Android is that anybody can use it. Android in many ways is better than Windows because it’s free, rather than Windows, which had an ever-increasing price point. So anybody can build on Android, and it’s free,” Schmidt opined.

Riddance of red tape to boost start-ups

The Sunday Independent reported good news that entrepreneurs and start-ups will be delighted to hear – Enterprise Minister Batt O’Keeffe is preparing a blitz against the mountains of red tape that threaten to strangle Irish businesses and swamp out entrepreneurs. Last week, the minister pioneered an urgent bill through Cabinet, aimed at giving relief to companies suffering from bureaucracy in both imports and exports. The Customs Consolidation Bill has set up a one-stop shop enabling businesses to cut through vast mounds of paperwork that have hamstrung their activities amid recessionary conditions. In the report O’Keeffe said: “My attitude is that if there is red tape interfering with the profit margin we must put a stop to it, without damaging proper company practices.”

An ‘appy’ tale of two brothers who doodled to the top of the charts

The New York Times reported on two brothers who have created what is so far the most No 1 app to be downloaded for the new iPhone 4. In early 2009, Igor and Marko Pusenjak, two brothers originally from Croatia, decided they wanted to build an application for the iPhone that would enable them to make extra money on the side. They set out to build a game that included a rabbit jumping up a screen trying to collect carrots. They soon realised that a collection of doodles they had sketched out to test the game were visually fun. And so Doodle Jump was born. On Friday, the two brothers announced that Doodle Jump, which sells for 99 cents in the iTunes store, has now sold more than 5 million copies. Although Apple doesn’t disclose competitor numbers, the brothers believe this is the first iOS4 application to reach the 5 million- download mark. Igor Pusenjak said in a phone interview that the success of the game has far surpassed the brothers’ expectations. “I remember a moment of frustration when we were selling only 20 or 30 copies a day,” he said, “then we made it into the Top 25 apps and we’ve been there for almost a year now.”

Scammers scoring highly in World Cup

USA Today reported that internet scammers are taking full advantage of the fact that the World Cup is assured of high visibility across the planet through mid-July. Symantec says 25pc of all global email spam is now related to the World Cup. Creative email spammers are getting the gullible to buy fake tickets, fake drugs and bogus designer goods using the soccer tourney as the initial attention grabber. And in a variant of the infamous Nigerian 419 scams, some are even persuading victims to wire cash to supply electricity to light soccer pitches to be used in World Cup matches. “Right now, spammers are reliant on the massive wave of excitement and expectation that typically surrounds an event like the FIFA World Cup,” says Paul Wood, senior analyst at Symantec MessageLabs. “Riding this wave, spammers get the attention of their victims by offering products for sale or enticing them to click on a link.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years