Taap.it Reaches $2.4 Million in Transactions

Taap.it, the geo-aware classified mobile app that launched at TechCruch Disrupt in late May, has experienced impressive growth in the last two months.

They’ve seen $2.4 million in transactions cleared through their online marketplace

With the Taap.it iPhone (and Android) app, sellers post a picture of the item they wish to sell along with embedded geo-data. Buyers search using distance and keyword parameters.

The focus here is, of course, on local business, and the assumption is that delivery and payment can be handled without any messy third-parties—perhaps the whole transaction can be settled at the local coffee bar.Continue reading

Sunday Afternoon at a NJ Hackathon

There were all the signs of a long weekend of coding at the Converge Coworking space on the Kean University campus (Union, NJ). Stacks of empty pizza boxes, coffee cups, wireframe sketches scattered on desks, and developers staring at screen emulators on their MacBooks.

New Jersey Mobile Meetup was concluding its first hackathon, and I had arrived just as the iPhone and Android warriors were chowing down on one last hot meal before the final presentations.

The winners of this contest would gain serious boasting rights, and some Twilio and Odesk credits to be used on future projects.Continue reading

Samsung Tab: Good Reviews (with disclosures)

While you were asleep this morning, Samsung officially launched Tab, its 7″ Android 2.2 tablet at the IFA show in Berlin.  There’s lots of coverage from the likes of Endgadget, PC World, TechCrunch, Huffington Post, etc.  Some are calling it a larger version of the Samsung Galaxy S, which to my mind is a compliment.

Last month, Dr. Smartphone and I went to Samsung’s retail store in New York City to visit with the Galaxy smartphone.  We both came away feeling this was the device to give Apple’s iPhone a smartphone inferiority complex. We were completely blown to pieces by its fluid video playback of Avatar.  It also seems to me that the Tab will  be breathing down iPad’s virtual neck over the next few years—1024×600, 1GHz Cortex A8,  HD replay, and many of the same Hub apps as the Galaxy.  Supporting both  2.5G GSM and 3G HSPA, Tab will be released in Europe first, and then ultimately the United States.

The reviews were very positive, and I think the excitement is entirely warranted.  What struck me was that many of  the reviews disclosed the writer’s travel expenses had been paid for by the show’s organizers or Samsung themselves. This is clearly a consequence of the  FTC’s new guidelines on “material connections.”Continue reading

The AT&T-Verse

Waves of bad news coming out of AT&T recently stand as a reminder of what life would be like if the crown was restored to this former monarch.

First there was the iPad security escapade wherein a group of hackers fooled a very insecure AT&T web form to display email addresses of iPad owners. Then the pre-order web meltdown in which customers for Apple’s iPhone 4  were faced with an AT&T back-end order entry system that stopped working. Then there’s the customer who received a terse cease-and-desist voicemail response after he emailed AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson to complain about the new caps on data—Zappos’s Tony Hsieh is probably smiling and FedExing a copy of his latest book, Delivering Happiness, to Randall.

Add to this brew the usual problems with AT&T’s 3G coverage (see TechCrunch’s  wireless frustrations) and barely acceptable customer service, and you’ll get a pretty good sense of how telecom was delivered in the Middle Ages (circa 1970s) when AT&T and the Bells were the only games in town.

And to rub salt into our wounds, AT&T is threatening to cut off investment in its U-verse/IPTV cable rollout if the FCC doesn’t reconsider its reclassification of cable broadband as Title II telecommunications.Continue reading

AT&T’s New Pricing Plan

Perspectives from David Pogue (New York Times) and Stacy Higginbotham (Gigaom) are a good starting point to understanding what data caps, pricing tiers, and tethering charges imply about the state of wireless competition (less than thriving) and profit expectations of a big carrier (“greedy”).  The money quote from Pogue after the jump:

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Last Night’s NYC Tech Meetup

I was lucky to get one of the few seats that suddenly became available for what I had thought was a sold-out  New York City Tech Meetup. I assume Spring fever infected a few early RSVPers. Anyway, I grabbed the opportunity, and took the train into Manhattan.

It was worth it. These events—it is my second— are a little bit of a grab bag. In my mind, the theme last night could be described as  quirky.  My impressions were  heavily colored by RandomDorm, the college video chat service, and stickybits, the bar-code-the-world company.  I think both will find their markets, but I just have to process them a little more before I can say anything else.

There’s one that stood out and was familiar as the sound of a batter swatting a ball. The start-up is  GameChanger, and they have a free iPhone app (Android and Blackberry planned ) that lets the zillions of school coaches score their team statistics in real-time.

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