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We like to keep tabs on new and innovative ways that technology is being used, especially in Toronto. Here’s what caught our eye this week:
The Royal Ontario Museum has a new twist on an old (only 65 million years) species. As a part of the “Ultimate Dinosaurs” exhibit, the ROM has introduced an augmented reality app that compliments the structures inhabiting the museum. The app, which is compatible with visitors iPhones and iPads, allows users to see what dinosaurs looked like when they roamed the earth – their skin, eyes, and even their teeth! Using the app while walking around the exhibit allows for a more enhanced viewing experience, as visitors are able to see the dinosaurs move around.
(Image: Financial Post)
(Image: The Globe and Mail)
The app is available for download in the App Store here.
By now we’re sure that you’ve all heard of the daily-deals guru, Groupon. The company’s reputation for delivering your favorite goods at extremely discounted rates is now not only available in North America, but internationally too. Groupon has once again partnered with Xtreme Labs to bring you a world class application with international capabilities.
Groupon’s international expansion has already seen national roll-outs in 47 different countries including Thailand, Hong Kong, France, Germany, and Brazil just to name a few. Now you can get a discount to your favorite meal under the CN Tower, Eiffel Tower, or the Reclining Buddha.
While Groupon may have started with simple deals in your area, it has expanded its product offerings to Groupon Now!, Groupon Goods, and Groupon Getaways as well.
Not sure what the new features do? Read on to find out, perhaps you’ll save a few dollars if you pay close attention.
Groupon Now! is a great new way to find locals deals that you can buy and use on the spot. Using the GPS on your mobile device, Groupon Now! zeros in on your location, and finds deals that are happening around you right now. Here’s how it works: Joe notices a lack of reservations one evening at his restaurant, Joe’s Burgers. Joe can post an instantly redeemable coupon on Groupon Now!. Users with the app in the area can scope out his coupon, which will drive traffic into his restaurant. Now Joe will fill his empty tables and you get that delicious burger. Everyone’s a winner!
Groupon Goods features really great deals on some of today’s most innovative and high-tech products. Not just any product can be featured on Groupon Goods – the product has to be cool enough that Zack Morris would have owned it back in the day. So if you’re looking for something to wow your friends, Groupon Goods will have it.
Groupon Getaways is exactly what it sounds like. Get great deals on vacations to exotic and far-away places, or find a deal at a local hotel for your next ‘staycation’.
Whether you want the Goods, to Getaway, or you want it Now!, Groupon has it all. The best part? It’s all integrated seamlessly with your mobile device. Buy deals directly on your mobile device or tablet, then manage your Groupons by distance, expiration date, and purchase date. Download the app today, and let the deals come to you!
Here at Xtreme Labs, our team works hard throughout the day to consistently deliver the best products to our clients. Sometimes we like to take the idea of teamwork in another direction by letting off some steam in our very own games room.
This Wednesday, our games room was buzzing as we set up a ping-pong tournament to face off with our friends at Kontagent, who build data and analytics platforms for developers, marketers, product managers, and strategic partners. Xtremers do not shy away from a little friendly competition so we brought our “A” game with fast paced serves, returns, and some great trick shots to ultimately determine we were both the winning company, and Ping Pong Champion.
There were many close matches throughout the day, however, the final standing between the companies was Kontagent with 5 points and Xtreme Labs with 7.
Also, reigning champion Xtreme Labs employee Kenneth Yip was able to maintain his #1 spot for the second year in a row after defeating James Halpern 3:0.
A huge thanks to all who participated in the tournament, as well as those who came to cheer on their teams.
This weekend Xtreme Labs will be participating in the General Assembly workshops being held here in Toronto at The Burroughes building. We have a discount code to share with you!
General Assembly has offered our friends an exclusive 15% discount on ticket purchases for the workshops! Just use the discount code: xlabs
The Xtreme Labs family will be representing in a big way this weekend at the workshops that are designed to help network individuals seeking opportunity and education in technology, business, and design. Our very own Mike Stern, Eli Aleyner and Boris Chan will be presenting in a two different workshop about Mobile UX Design and Entrepreneurial Thinking. Fellow Extreme Startups’ Andy Yang will also be conducting a workshop titled “Intro to the Toronto Startup Community.”
We hope to see you there!
Think back to your childhood. Remember when your parents would reward you for cleaning your room, or helping out with household chores? But if you were watching TV, you’d likely be told to stop. Well you’re all grown up now, and times have changed. With Viggle for the iPhone, there’s a new way to earn rewards for watching TV!
Viggle is a loyalty program for television that gives people great rewards for checking in to the television shows they’re watching.
This app allows users to check into their favourite TV shows through the use of audio scrobbling. Each check in earns users reward points that can be redeemed for some of the coolest reward prizes offered by any app. Viewers trade in their points and choose from a variety of items and gift cards from places like BestBuy, Fandango, Burger King, Old Navy, Starbucks and a many more. Users redeem points right from inside the app, making the experience convenient, easy, and fun.
So, what is this Audio Scrobbling, anyway?
is an audio verification fingerprint tool. It’s used on the app to check into a television show that users are watching by taking an audio clip sample to verify the show’s authenticity.
The Audio scrobbling tool was the brainchild of Viggle and was the basis for creating the app from a development standpoint. Using the scrobbling tool, Xtreme Labs developed the Viggle app with the Viggle engineering team.
Key App Highlights:
•Viggle lets users know which shows have check-in bonuses
•Take real-time quizzes and play games from inside the app while watching your favourite shows to earn more rewards points
•Users can choose rewards right inside the app on their iPhone, or the website. From iPods to Starbucks cards, these are the rewards you want!
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•Users see an aggregated list of all relevant Twitter conversations about their favourite TV shows and can post their own comments from within the app
•Set reminders for yourself so you never miss a chance to check into shows to earn points
As a ground-zero startup, Function(x) came to Xtreme Labs to help them develop its idea for this amazing app. Through iteration and team work Xtreme Labs was able to help Function(x) realize its dream which is now Viggle. From idea inception to app launch to market, Xtreme Labs and Function(x) have formed a strategic partnership and continue to work together to develop its mobile strategy.
Monday evening marked a milestone on the Xtreme Labs Timeline. With a new presence in New York City, we made our big splash in the Big Apple by headlining Mobile Monday New York.
After weeks of strategizing, planning and hundreds of emails it all came down to 6:30pm on Monday June 18th, 2012. With the event located at the Times Center, steps from Times Square, we could feel the anticipation building as the pulse of the city quickened during the post work rush. As we prepared to open the doors at 6:30pm there was already a lineup half a block long down either side of the street; someone even said tourists were stopping to ask what was happening in there! At 6:40pm we opened the doors and the next half hour of mayhem was dedicated to signing everybody in to the sold out event. After the 200+ mobile enthusiasts donned their name tags there was some time to relax, have a cocktail, and start talking mobile.
When the lights dimmed and chimes rang to usher us into the theater, it was show time. After a quick intro from our Co-Founder, Amar Varma, we had three star-studded panels that covered hot topics and trends in mobile. By bringing together a diverse group of smart and knowledgeable individuals we were able to generate a higher-level discussion with industry leading players. Spurred on by questions from the audience, all three of the panels brought valuable insights to the table.
For our first panel, we dissected the extremely relevant issue faced by media companies today: how are individuals consuming more and more media on their mobile devices? There to defend, divulge and discuss the topic were three media gurus: Ashish Patel, head of Social Media at VICE Media, Dave Pinke, Product Manager for Mobile at Condé Nast; and Bill Riordan, Head of Product at Thomson Reuters. Moderated by a friend of Xtreme Labs: Mathew Ingram, Senior Writer at GigaOM, the discussion focused on how readership/viewership is changing, and the best way to engage your audience via emerging technologies.
Next up was our technical panel: Hybrid Apps: Myth or Reality. Moderated by our VP of Engineering, Farhan Thawar, the panel debated the opportunities available and the drawbacks of developing native applications on the OS, versus hybrid apps through the use of HTML5. There to discuss this trend with Farhan were: Mike Sommers, SVP of Product at Fn(x); Mike Finkel, Director of Web Product & Emerging Technologies at The New York Times; Matt Halpin, Senior Architect at Wireless Generation; and Sam Coward, a Software Engineer at Pivotal Labs. This heavy- hitting panel discussed how each type of app would affect consumer engagement, as well as how one type of app might be more applicable to one business then to the next.
Our last panel focused on how apps can either support, or star in your business model. On this panel was our very own Mike Stern, Director of Channel Partnerships; Kai Bond, GM at Hatch Labs; and Pete Davis, Director of Media & Publishing at Urban Airship. Moderated by Mathew again, the panel debated whether business models need apps, or if apps need business models. The panel also discussed how to monetize your app, the use of advertisement, and whether building an app with the sole intention of being acquired is a practical business model.
We owe a big thank you to all of the panelists we mentioned, as well as to Mathew Ingram, and finally to Mobile Monday New York for helping to facilitate such a great experience. Stay tuned for more Xtreme Labs events!
Every morning at 9:30, Bob Marley reminds all of us at Xtreme Labs that we need to “Get up, Stand up”. We all congregate on the 5th floor to discuss hot news in the technology industry, interesting facts or stories, as well as any announcements that need to be made. This way, all Xtremers are up-to-date on the latest information from the industry.
- Since going public, Facebook’s stock has been on a decline, its lowest point dipping just below $31. Currently, Facebook is facing scrutiny from the public, as well as facing lawsuits from shareholders.
- In April of this year, there were half a billion mobile Facebook users (more than 2x the number of iPhones ever sold). Also, with the addition of the App Store that was released on the website this week, mobile users will be even more engaged.
Kodak Patent Declared Invalid
We also were buzzing about the Kodak patent, “Method for Live View Display and Digital Camera Using Same”, that was declared invalid by a judge in the Eastman Kodak Co. vs Apple/RIM lawsuit on Tuesday.
- This meant that Apple and RIM both did not commit patent infringement, and resulted in the The U.S International Trade Commission ruling against Kodak.
- Since January of this year, Kodak has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
- The tablet is being co-developed by Asus, and according to rumours the plan is to initially ship about 600,000 units.
- Specs are currently not being reported, however the tablet is expected to sell for about $200 and is likely to be released in July.
- Apple has sold approximately 55 million tablets since the first iPad came out in 2010. Will the Google tablet be able to make a mark in the competitive tablet market?
- This came at an ideal time, as Yahoo hasn’t necessarily received the best press in the past week, due to Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson stepping down due to a false claim on his resume.
- The visually rich search software allows users to continue their Internet experience from other devices, customize a homepage, and use just one address bar for searching and typing a website address.
- Right now Axis is only available in the U.S but should be out to most other markets by the end of 2012.
- The Facebook Camera app allows users to shoot photos from their mobile devices, apply Instagram-like filters, and share with their friends.
- Users are also able to share single or sets of photos, as well as view their friends photos as a news feed.
- TechCrunch has outlined what they think are some features of the app that are better than Instagram, and others that don’t measure up.
Google Transparency Report Now Includes Copyright Requests
Finally, we discovered the Google Transparency Report will now be making public the number of requests that copyright owners and organizations send to Google requesting for infringed content to be removed; the domains that are being targeted are available online.
- Two years ago the Transparency Report project was launched to make public traffic to Google services around the world as well as a map detailing where Google gets requests for content removal.
- Since then, Google has been adding to the information that they are allowing all visitors to see. Google Transparency displays how many times governments around the world have asked Google to censor online content, as well as the number of requests made for data on users by governments.
- Before the most recent “Copyright” addition, the Google Transparency report added a section for information on their traffic patterns.
- Just last month, there were about 1.2 million copyright infringing pages that were deleted.
- The corporation that has made the maximum number of content removal requests from last month was Microsoft, targeting over 2 million URLs, and last month Marketly LLC was the top reporting organization.
- Google “[hopes] these steps toward greater transparency will help inform ongoing discussions about the appropriate scope and authority of content regulation online”.
- Now that there has been such a push for access to information online, as well as removal of unauthorized sharing websites, perhaps it is no coincidence that connected TV, and the use of such programs like Netflix is becoming more popular.
That’s what was hot last week at stand up. Stay tuned next week for another Stand up Round up blog post!
In today’s world of immediacy and convenience, no one wants to jump around from webpage to webpage for information they’re looking for. Time is everything and if we can eliminate a few finger “swishes” or “clicks” while browsing on our phones, we’re happy. It seems Bell figured this out by creating a solution for consumers. The launch of the brand new Sympatico Mobile site is the one-stop-tool for getting all the daily information and news on the go in one spot.
Serving a mobile-optimized experience for a wide range of devices like iPhones, Android Phones and BlackBerrys, Sympatico’s mobile web portal gives Canadians all sorts of news updates. Whether its Auto, Business, Finance, or Style news, Blogs, Celebrity gossip, weather or more, Sympatico brings it all to your mobile device.
Building out Sympatico mobile was a great challenge. With so many channels and Sympatico’s desire to offer a mobile-optimized experience for each of them, the Xtreme Labs team had to push the limits of its mobile web platform to offer the great experience. This was the key to success for optimizing the site.
The Xtreme Labs team built out new widgets that are now part of the platform including a slick weather module that provides long and short term forecasts.
Another feature that sets this mobile experience apart are the tied Sympatico channels. By tying them together using a grid navigation widget users can jump from one channel to another in a consistent way. Fewer finger strokes and information all in one spot!
To check out the new mobile site click here, or better yet check it out on your mobile device!
The Business News Network is now stretching its reach a little further to bring you the latest business news wherever you go. Xtreme Labs is proud to be part of BNN’s mobile portal, designed for today’s business professional on the move. Getting your fill of business news has never been easier.
Powered by XL Magic, BNN Mobile delivers on-demand clips for shows such as MarketSense, Headline, Market Call and Market Call Tonight. In addition, you can also find blogs by prominent BNN personalities and up-to-date schedule information.
Offering a streamlined experience on multiple devices including iPhone, Android Phone and BlackBerry, BNN mobile is your destination for business news. Check it out today by clicking here but we encourage you to experience it in your mobile web browser.
Creating a mobile website can be challenging. Here’s a simple breakdown of how to make your mobile website a success from a development-standpoint. The theme? Keep it simple. This is true for all development efforts but especially true on mobile. One of our resident mobile website experts breaks it down here:
- Keep the UI simple. Your device is a lot smaller than a desktop. You can only really lay things out vertically; so if you try to cram the same amount of information that you can find on a desktop page into a mobile device, your eyes and thumbs will get tired quickly.
- Keep the code simple. This applies to both the back and front end. When you need to make things behave differently to provide better support for a different class of devices, it’s a lot easier to change the behaviour of a simple codebase than something that’s over-engineered.
Staying connected is more important now than ever before. We keep in touch with family, friends, our social networks, emails and now our entertainment outlets too. These outlets need to be available on-demand and in real-time. So to the delight of many, including those belonging to a younger demographic, we’re pleased to inform you that MuchMusic, MTV and Virgin Live Mobile are now available on the fly in the form of mobile websites!
But let’s be honest; not ALL mobile browsing experiences are pleasant. Isn’t it annoying when it’s difficult to navigate an unfriendly website from inside your mobile browser? You have to deal with slow loading times, the unscaled photos and text, and not to mention the endless scrolling to find what you’re looking for.
Well Xtreme Labs gets this, so you can breathe a sigh of relief! The new MuchMusic, MTV and Virgin Live mobile sites offer their latest content to keep you up-to-date through a mobile optimized site designed for your mobile devices.
Now, all this info is great but you may be asking yourselves: “how did they do it?” What’s special about these mobile websites from a development perspective?
MuchMusic, MTV and Virgin Live Mobile were all built on XL Magic; our very own web platform. XL Magic truly is magical as it enables the sites to repurpose components, reducing time to market.
Here’s a breakdown to help you understand how XL Magic works:
- We built the framework for the mobile website.
- MuchMusic, MTV and Virgin Live teams plug in the content, make adjustments, easily change the layout.
- Content gets displayed.
XL Magic allows for easy site navigation, content display, and increased usability. For the user, this means the mobile websites are engaging, interactive, and a pleasure to use. You can focus on the content without the headaches of dealing with long loading times and scalability issues.
Here’s what you can seamlessly browse on your mobile device from MuchMusic and MTV:
- clips from the latest shows like New Music Live, MTV Live and more;
- movie and music news;
- fashion news highlights; and
- access to exclusive contests.
Virgin Mobile utilizes the XL Magic platform as well for excellent content display and to provide users with a seamless browsing experience. When users open their browser, Virgin Mobile Members see the latest and greatest content from MuchMusic and MTV and get access to exclusive Member Benefits.
Check out the mobile sites through the links below but in order to really appreciate them, we encourage you to experience them using your mobile web browser.
Remember when you were a kid in school and your teacher would ask: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Well some times there isn’t always an immediate answer so you should explore and learn about things you’re interested in to help make your choice a little more clear. This week we had the pleasure of hosting ten grade 12 students and their Computer Science teacher, Mr. Kelly, from Donald A. Wilson S.S. After seeing Premier Dalton McGuinty’s visit to Xtreme Labs in the paper Mr. Kelly knew his group of young developers would love the chance to see what app development in the working world is really like.
Farhan, our VP of Engineering, greeted and toured them around our four floors here at 69 Yonge Street. The group travelled all the way to Toronto from Whitby early that morning to see what Xtreme Labs is all about.
After a tour of our digs, they headed to our app lounge where we demoed some of our top-notch apps. All that coding is awesome, but there’s nothing like experiencing the final product that code creates.
Finally the group got some candid one-on-one time with five of our Agile engineers, Boris, Greg B., Hannah, Graham M., and Peter. Boris shared his inspiring “Stay Young, Live Different” talk with the group and other Xtremer’s spoke candidly about how they became developers and what it was like working at Xtreme Labs. After a pizza lunch and some Q&A, it was time for the group to head back to school.
Thanks for coming by Xtreme Labs Donald A. Wilson S.S!