Happy Cloud Taps the Cloud to Speed Up Video Game Downloads

Happy Cloud, a Cambridge, Mass. startup believes the key to accelerating online gaming of top titles is intelligent progressive downloads that leverage the cloud to make games playable within a few minutes. The goal is to make video game downloads as on-demand as videos on Netflix.

Qualcomm Buys iSkoot, Gains Smart Feature Phone Services

The Qualcomm Innovation Center today announced it has purchased iSkoot, a San Francisco-based startup that offers mobile application services primarily to feature phones. With the acquisition, Qualcomm can feed feature phones with data-friendly proxy services, RSS, email, VoIP functions, real-time notifications and social networking software.

Anxiety: A Lightweight Mac Task Manager

Looking for a simple task management app for your Mac? Check out Anxiety. It’s a lightweight to-do list app that can integrate with iCal and Mail. Unlike many of the more full-featured task managers, it’s relatively unobtrusive, taking up a tiny amount of screen real estate.

Vid-biz: JooJoo, YouTube, OnLive

JooJoo Revamps Interface Ahead of Launch, Adds Local Video Playback — and Changes Color; the device formerly known as the TechCrunch tablet plays back Flash video streams and local content stored on a thumb drive, supports H.264 HD and many other codecs. (Engadget)
New YouTube App for Windows Mobile and Nokia S60 Phones; the site’s new Mobile App version 2.4 adds a new interface that works well with larger screens, among other things. (YouTube Blog)

How to: Build Your Personal Brand on YouTube;
changing a few settings can help you improve your branding. (Mashable)
ISPs, Publishers and Academics Voice Outrage at Digital Economy Bil; plan to disconnect file sharers from Internet causes backlash. (Out-Law.com)
Donkey-Politician Vid Keeps two Azerbaijani Bloggers in Jail; Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli lost appeal against 2 and 2.5 year sentences that were motivated by them posting a satirical video online. (Ars Technica)
Your Interview with Prime Minister Stephen Harper; Canada’s prime minister follows Obama’s example by responding to YouTube questions. (YouTube Blog)
OnLive Streaming Video Game Service Launches in June With One Huge Catch; a $15 subscription per month on top of video game rental fees could turn many gamers off. (DVICE)
Can a Mouse Cut the Cable?; a New York Times piece on people ditching cable has analyst Bruce Leichtman musing that cord cutters are “really just a bizarre breed of people, usually in New York or San Francisco, who don’t watch a lot of television in the first place.” (New York Times)

Android Cupcake Starts Arriving

I am still waiting for the big Android update, Cupcake, to arrive on my T-Mobile G1 but word is trickling in that some lucky folks are already enjoying their treat. Reader Alvin has received his and is enjoying that soft keyboard that 1.5 brings to the table. Alvin sent along this photo to rub it in prove he has Cupcake and to show off that new keyboard:

Android 1.5 (Cupcake) On-screen Keyboard

Android 1.5 (Cupcake) On-screen Keyboard

Skype for iPhone to Be Released as Early as Next Week

Exclusive Heads up: A few months ago, I asked Skype CEO Josh Silverman when was he going to launch the iPhone version of the P2P voice and IM service that has now been downloaded more than 405 million times. He smiled and said, “Stay tuned.” And so we did. [digg=http://digg.com/apple/Skype_for_iPhone_to_Be_Released_as_Early_as_Next]
A tipster — a very reliable one — tells me that Skype is almost ready to launch that iPhone (s aapl) version, perhaps as soon as next week. CTIA Wireless, a large mobile industry trade event, kicks off in Las Vegas next Wednesday, so perhaps the announcement will be made there. I am working on getting more details, as well as screenshots of the service.  Read More about Skype for iPhone to Be Released as Early as Next Week

Mobile VoIP Startups Looking Beyond Cheap Calls

What do mig33, iSkoot and Truphone have in common? They are all startups that have raised gobs of money from venture capitalists. They all offer mobile VoIP clients. And now, all three are looking beyond plain vanilla voice services as they try and navigate the new, post-credit crunch economic reality.

These startups are realizing that in order to make real money they would need to create billions of minutes in calls to off-net services. It is a game only the biggest -– Skype (s EBAY), for instance –- can play. And even then, making profits isn’t all that easy. More than a few startups have died trying to play the low-margin minutes game. (Related post: VoIP – Dead or Alive?)

For these three , the sheer size of their VC funding — over $100 million among the trio — provides a cushion while they plot their evolution. Read More about Mobile VoIP Startups Looking Beyond Cheap Calls

iSkoot Reboots, Looks at a New Mobile Future

iskoot_logoWith its core functionality – Skype calling — getting commoditized, it makes perfect sense for San Francisco-based iSkoot to look at new horizons and reboot itself. With a technology underpinning that is more valuable than just a conduit for cheap calls, the company is transforming itself into a mobile platform that helps bring the web services common on expensive superphones to cheaper and more mass market phones. 

It is a smart and logical move – especially if you consider the mortality rate among VoIP-related startups. iSkoot is lucky to have the cushion of $32.5 million in funding from the likes of Khosla Ventures and Charles River Ventures while it executes its reboot. Read More about iSkoot Reboots, Looks at a New Mobile Future

Calliflower: A Complete Conference Calling Service

Six years ago, when I wanted to make a conference call involving five participants, Bell Canada wanted to charge me $0.55 per minute per participant, resulting in a $165 cost for a one hour call. All those participants had to be in North America and a conference call operator was involved. The moderator could try to “chair” the session but there were limited ways to actually manage who spoke. Any archiving of the session would rely on participants’ handwritten or typed notes.
Flash forward to today: iotum has analyzed the entire set of processes required for managing and moderating a voice conference call from scheduling and invitation to final archiving of the call for future reference. And they have researched today’s communications infrastructure, including web services and low cost voice connections.
They have executed on iotum CEO and co-founder Alec Saunders’ Voice 2.0 Manifesto. Today they are announcing the launch of their enhanced Calliflower Conference Call service – a fully interactive, complete voice conference call service that has been in beta for over a year.
Read More about Calliflower: A Complete Conference Calling Service

Why BlackBerry Storm Is An iPhone (and G-1) Killer

Having followed activity in the BlackBerry ecosystem over the past few weeks, I have come to the conclusion that BlackBerry Storm should be called BlackBerry Stealth. Why? With little media coverage, its forthcoming launch is the sleeper play in the smartphone market; it is poised to make major market penetration on its launch later this fall.