Weekend news roundup

5 Sep 2011

A trawl through technology news coverage in the weekend’s papers, including reports that Apple’s design guru Jonathan Ive has no plans to leave any time soon, Amazon aims to redesign e-commerce as we know it and Sony is bringing 3D photography to 2D devices.

Apple’s design guru still on campus

The world collectively held its breadth almost a fortnight ago when Steve Jobs stepped down from the CEO role. But don’t worry, the company’s design guru is still in the house. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Jonathan Ive isn’t going anywhere.

Known as “Jony” to friends, Apple’s London-born designer-in-chief packs a spectacular track record – think iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad – that reflects the magic many find embedded in the gadgets that have made Apple the most valuable tech company in the world. In Jobs’ wake, Ive more than anyone else may define the way Apple creations look and feel in the future.

“Jony Ive has been endowed with this very powerful sense of ownership over the Apple design ethos, and as long as he’s there, Apple’s in good shape,” said Scot Herbst, a Silicon Valley product designer who did extensive work on Hewlett-Packard’s (HPQ) touch-screen desktop computer. “Steve Jobs was great at formulating a single vision, but he wasn’t some magical seer. Apple is loaded with talented people, and Ive is one of the best.”

It’s unclear whether the end of the close collaboration between Jobs and Ive – who creatively seemed to finish each other’s sentences and together share 200 patents for their work – will mean the eventual disruption of one of the most seductive product lines in history.

Sony brings 3D to 2D devices

The Telegraph reported that Sony Ericsson’s new top-of-the-range mobile phone will be able to take 3D panoramic pictures using a standard 2D camera, the company has announced.

By taking multiple images and then stitching them together, the Xperia Arc S will be able to simulate 3D on any appropriately equipped 3D television, the manufacturer said. On the phone itself, pictures will only be viewable in 2D.

The device is based on Google’s Android operating system and will be released from October in the UK. Sony Ericsson also claims that it runs 25pc faster than its predecessors, the Arc, because of a faster, 1.4GHz processor.

The Arc S includes a 4.2-inch screen and the camera definition is 8.1MP. Any 3D images are viewed by connecting the phone to a 3D TV using the HDMI output.

Take 5 paid around €10m for DRG

According to the Sunday Business Post, Take 5 Solutions paid $10m to buy Colm Grealy’s Digital Reach Group, netting the company and its investors a seven-fold return on their investment from the sale of the company to the American firm.

While terms of the takeover have not been disclosed, Take 5 Solutions is understood to be paying in the region of $10m (€7m) for DRG. Grealy founded Digital Reach Group two years ago. The business specialises in mobile internet services, including developing websites and apps and selling online advertising.

DRG has received €1m in backing since its foundation. Half of that funding came from Pageant Holdings, the private investment firm that also has stakes in Xtra-vision and IT entertainment firm Zamano. Enterprise Ireland and DRG’s founders have each invested €250,000 in the business.

Amazon to redesign

Amazon.com Inc. is testing a major redesign of its website, an overhaul that could refashion the way people shop on the world’s largest online retailer, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The changes are expected to make Amazon’s site easier to use and to navigate on a tablet computer, said online commerce experts. Seattle-based Amazon is expected to introduce a tablet computer in the coming weeks, people familiar with the device have said.

Amazon spokeswoman Sally Fouts said in a statement that Amazon started testing the new design last week.

Meet the man who tweets revolutions

The Guardian had an interesting story on Andy Carvin, social media strategist for US public service broadcaster NPR. Carvin insists that the introduction on his Google Plus profile – “I tweet revolutions” – is a joke, but nevertheless that’s what he’s famous for. Armed with TweetDeck – the power Twitter user’s app of choice – and a thoroughly curated group of reliable, enthusiastic and well-informed Twitter users, he has become known for his mastery of aggregated and verified real-time news through Twitter. And that’s no mean feat on a platform still dismissed by many as a gimmick that trivialises information into uselessly short sound bites.

News organisations have become increasingly fascinated by Carvin’s experiments as the value of insight, and the expertise required in aggregating and filtering information on social networks, has become more apparent. When Libya’s uprising boiled over two weeks ago, Carvin surpassed even his own record by tweeting nearly 1,200 times in 48 hours. But that statistic is misleading, he explains. “If it’s a big story that’s playing out over a couple of days then those tweets are going to add up. But the number of words actually written is certainly less than you’d get on a live news broadcast.”

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