Posts Tagged ‘TechCrunch’

AOL Acquires TechCrunch

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Earlier this afternoon I saw a post on Twitter that I was not expecting. TechCrunch has been acquired by AOL. My first thought was that this was disappointing news. AOL already has Engadget, which means AOL now owns two of the most reputable technology blogs.

I enjoy the differences between Engadget and TechCrunch. I read them both regularly, and even rejoice in private when I “scoop” either of them on this blog. I’ve only done it a few times, but still, it’s always fun. Nevermind the fact that nobody notices.

I really enjoy the TechCrunch atmosphere and am concerned that AOL can only muck it up. Michael Arrington seems to think otherwise. He is confident that things will remain the same. I hope so.

When I think of AOL, I am always surprised that it still exists. The service was always a joke, but succeeded through some brilliant marketing, which included spamming every mailbox and grocery store checkout with the software on a CD-ROM. There was even a recent scandal about AOL employees making it hard for customers to quit, even demanding respect for compliance with a cancellation request. I had thought that AOL had ceased to be relevant in a world of DSL, Cable, and even satellite internet. The fact that it is still out there making acquisitions says something about its staying power.

I hope TechCrunch does retain the freedom it claims it will retain. It would be a shame if anything changed. You can read about why TechCrunch sold to AOL here, straight from the horse’s mouth.

JooJoo

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

The e-Reader Wars

Its time now to check out one of the smaller guys. The JooJoo is not an e-Reader any more than the iPad is, so it will be interesting to see how it fares against the Sony Readers and the Kindle. There is the added bonus of a bit of a scandal, but more on that later.

Let’s start with the specs:

  • 12.1″ Widescreen Display
  • 1366×768 Resolution
  • Wi-Fi (802.11b/g)
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • Webcam
  • 4GB solid state memory
  • USB
  • Microphone/Speakers
  • 3.5mm Stereo Headphone jack
  • 1080i video
  • Runs Flash and Java

Just knowing what’s in it makes the JooJoo a decent competitor to the iPad. The widescreen display stands out, as do the webcam and Flash. For all these perks, there is a downside. JooJoo runs on its own OS. There was a rumor floating around that it only sold 50 pre-orders as well. Not good news for what could be a really good product.

The JooJoo was once known as the CrunchPad. It was touted as an iPad competitor, and was priced between $300 and $400. There was to be built in 3G, and a number of other pretty impressive features. Then the CrunchPad was no more. At the end of November, 2009, TechCrunch announced the end of the CrunchPad. According to TechCrunch, Fusion Garage broke their contract and forced them out of the equation. Lawsuits ensued, and in the mean time, Goodbye $200 CrunchPad, hello $500 JooJoo. Fusion Garage moved forward with the product, renamed it JooJoo, and added a couple hundred dollars to the price tag.

This is cause for a significant dilemma. Assuming TechCrunch’s version of events is correct (and at present I have no reason to believe otherwise), there are ethical implications involved in purchasing the JooJoo. If they are really guilty of stealing the product from their partner, can a consumer in good conscience purchase the device? Most of the consumers will be unaware of the problem, but those that do may be inclined to think twice. Even if the lawsuits weren’t a problem, Engadget reported what they cleverly described as Bad JooJoo. There were reports of some trouble people were having canceling their pre-orders. At one point JooJoos support team instructed the user to send very personal banking information in order to get the refund. Not something a legitimate company, or at least a business savvy company would do. It may very well have been one person’s mistake, but considering the overarching scandal, it makes one wonder.

Now that we have discussed some of the issues, is it a worthy iPad competitor, or staying true to this series, is it a viable competitor to an e-Ink based e-Reader? Based on specs alone, the answer would have to be yes to the iPad part, and maybe for the e-Reader. There isn’t an indication that reading an e-book will be worth attempting. It is billed as an internet device, without really mentioning the e-book market. I assume at some point they might try to integrate the Kindle software like the iPhone, but that assumes the JooJoo OS can support Kindle software. Again, based on specs, this should be a pretty fun device. There is a lot of baggage attached to the JooJoo though, so if your conscience allows, go for it. I think I will pass.