Google Analytics to measure value of social media with new Social reports

Google unveiled a new set of Social reports today within Google Analytics.

The Social reports will connect social media and business metrics for precise measurement of a social channel ‘s value. It is notoriously hard for marketers to measure social media’s value, because activity occurs both on and off a website. For example: Social media is growing in popularity and in brand websites, so it has become an epicenter for people to purchase or convert.

“Since social media is often an upper funnel player in a shopper’s journey, it’s not always easy to determine which social channels actually drive value for your business and which tactics are most effective,” explained Group Product Manager Phil Mui on the Google Analytics Blog. “But as the social industry matures, marketers and web analysts need true outcome-oriented reports.”

More information is available below.

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Sony unveils Xperia neo L with ICS for China market

Sony unveiled the Xperia neo L MT25i in China today as its first smartphone to ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

The Neo successor packs a 4-inch 480-by-854-pixel display, 1GHz single-core Snapdragon MSM8255 processor with Adreno 205 graphics, 512MB RAM, 1GB of internal memory, MicroSD support, 5-megapixel camera with 720p video recording and LED flash, VGA front-facing camera, and a 1,500 mAh battery.

More information is available below.

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Microsoft and Purdue University study: Ads in free Android apps waste 75 percent of energy

Ad-supported apps in Android smartphones are an immense energy suck.

According to a Purdue University study (PDF), which—interestingly enough—Microsoft helped research, third-party advertising in free Android apps deplete 65 percent to 75 percent of an app’s energy. The study said more than 50 percent of energy used for serving ads occurs during the “3G Tail.” In other words, energy continues to dole out after the process requiring power completes.

The researchers analyzed the energy squandering of 21 Android and Windows Mobile apps over a 3G connection, but the study only highlighted five Android apps (Angry Birds, the Android default browser, Chess Free, MapQuest, and The New York Times).

More information is available below.

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HTC One V coming to Virgin Mobile for $200?

According to a report from PocketNow, HTC’s 3.7-inch One V that unveiled at MWC in Barcelona last month will launch on Virgin Mobile for $200 in “late Spring.” We already knew the device would more than likely come in under the $200 price tag, because it is the more budget friendly option in the line of three new devices displayed by HTC at MWC. The One V packs a 1GHz processor, Android 4.0 (with Sense 4.0), a 3.7-inch WVGA display, 512GMB of RAM, and 4 GB of onboard storage. It will also come with Beats Audio and a 5-megapixel camera when it launches later this year.
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Hangout with Mitt Romney: Google+ offers GOP presidential candidate Hangout series

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will host a Google+ Hangout today as the first in a series of GOP presidential candidate Hangouts.

“In American politics, there’s nothing quite so frantic or fast-paced as a presidential campaign,” announced Google+’s Head of Community Partnerships Steve Grove on the page. “Google+ Hangouts have made that a little bit easier, providing new ways for politicians, political organizations, advocates and campaigners to connect directly over video to share information online.”

More information is available below.

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The No. 1 app on Android and iOS is OMGPOP’s ‘Draw Something’

Pictionary-like drawing game “Draw Something,” developed by OMGPOP, has quickly become one of the hottest mobile apps for both of the industry’s leading platforms. A few days ago, the developer told TechCrunch it reached 25 million registered users, 10 million active daily users, and close to 1 billion paid ad impressions every day. That is just over 5 weeks after launching. With even more press following reports that Zynga is in talks to acquire developer OMGPOP, the app is continuing to climb app charts in both the App Store and on Google Play.

Currently the app sits at No. 1 in both stores as the No. 1 Top Paid and Top Free iPhone app in the App Store, and the No. 1 Top Free app on Google Play. The app is also currently the No. 1 Top Free iPad app in the game category and in the Top 5 of many other charts in over 80 countries. It looks like the company might get picked up by Zynga, which is not surprising, because a gain of 3.5 million daily users over the last week saw Draw Something take over Zynga’s “Words With Friends” as the most popular Facebook Connect game, according to AppData.

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4.6-inch HD Droid RAZR Fighter pictured

Engadget shows us something it pulled from Chinese language forums:

What you see on the right is called the Droid RAZR “Fighter,” and it has a 4.6-inch 720P display much like HTC’s 4.7-inch One and the 4.65-inch Galaxy Nexus.

You will note that it does not have physical capacitive buttons, instead opting for the ICS-y soft buttons. That allows Motorola to push the screen further toward the edges, which is something we complained about in our review.

The smaller bezel and lack of physical buttons allows Motorola to break out a much bigger screen without increasing the footprint…much.

Other probabilities: LTE on board, lots more graphics power, and Ice Cream Sandwich.

Hopefully the Google buyout of Motorola cuts through the blur, but as with all Verizon phones, you will expect that Verizon will have its way with ICS.

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New iPad’s A5x chip beats out Tegra 3 in many benchmark tests, but not all

When Apple launched the new iPad on Friday, it did so with a new dual-core A5x processor and quad-core graphics inside. During the product’s unveiling, Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller talked about the new chip noting that it provides four times the performance of Tegra 3. Nvidia was quick to question the slide displayed by Apple onstage (pictured right), which did not provide any specific benchmark data. We now finally have some solid benchmark tests courtesy of Laptop Mag that provide us new insight.

For the benchmark tests, Laptop Mag used an ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime, which is powered by Tegra 3, and put it up against the new iPad in GLBenchmark 2.1, Geekbench, and browsers’ benchmarks with Sunspider and Peacekeeper. In its last test (video above), the publication did a side-by-side subjective gaming performance test to try to spot any noticeable differences between the same title running on both devices. Here is what the publication found:

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Google VP, Apps & President, Enterprise Dave Girouard leaves to form upstart.com

As first reported by Venture Beat, and later announced on his Google Plus page, Google’s Vice President of Apps and President of Enterprise Dave Girouard is leaving Google after eight years to form a startup called “Upstart.com.”

It’s true. After eight wonderful and life-altering years, I’ve decided to leave Google to pursue my own adventure. I owe a lifetime of gratitude to +Larry Page +Sergey Brin and +Eric Schmidt and so many others at Google for giving me such an incredible opportunity. I don’t know if I’ll ever match the learning experience I’ve had here, but I’m going to give it one hell of a try!

In recent months, I’ve thought a lot about the younger generation; about the opportunities and challenges they face in navigating their careers and life choices. The result is www.upstart.com, which you’ll (hopefully) hear a lot more about in the coming months.

Thanks to all of you who have made my Google experience so wonderful!

I had the opportunity to interview Girouard a few years ago when I was at Fortune, and I found him to be extremely grounded and dedicated to the apps mission. Make no mistake, as far as apps and enterprise are concerned, Girouard was the pioneer at Google having manned the helm since its inception.

Other rising executives like Amit Singh, who came over from Oracle a few years ago, will continue to the rapid growth that apps have seen over the last eight years. Read more

Rumor: $150 Nexus tablet a ‘done deal’ without quad-core Tegra 3

A new report from Android and Me claimed a “senior employee at a supply chain company” in the United States confirmed Google has an ASUS-built Nexus tablet currently in the works, which we have previously heard rumors on. The 7-inch tablet was rumored to launch by May, and today’s report claimed it could launch for as low as $149 without the expected quad-core Tegra 3. Unfortunately, we do not get much more information from the report, but the source apparently said the tablet in question is a “done deal”:

The ASUS MeMo 370T that was revealed at CES has been scrapped after Google contracted with ASUS to produce their “Nexus tablet.” Earlier reports said the device would retail for $249-199, but we are now told the target price is $149-199. The quad-core Tegra 3 version that was previously leaked is no more. Other than the 7-inch display, no additional information has been provided on the specs.

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Apple rejected this Android app because it is too much like Siri

The last we heard, Apple was working with developers of Siri alternatives such as True Knowledge, the developers behind “Evi,” to iron out similarities between the app and the iPhone 4S‘s flagship feature. Apple is quick to warn developers who are submitting Siri-like apps not to mimic native features of the OS. Apple wants an app’s features to remain “distinctly different from the iOS behaviors and interfaces to avoid causing user confusion.” Developer Sparkling Apps reached out to let us know Apple rejected its latest app submission called “Voice Answer,” with Apple telling the developer the Wolfram Alpha-powered alternative is “too similar to Siri.” The good news for Android users is the developers have decided to release an Android-only version on available Google Play now.

Apple is not flat-out rejecting all Siri alternatives/competitors. Sparkling Apps already has an app called “Voice Ask” on the App Store that sits in the top charts of the Reference category. Evi remains on the App Store as well. However, the Voice Ask app employs the same True Knowledge database as Evi. While Apple did not offer a specific reason for why the app was rejected, it is possible that Apple is more inclined to reject Siri-like apps using Siri’s Wolfram Alpha knowledge base. Unsurprisingly, the developers instead decided to release Voice Answer as an Android-only app on Google Play.

The app provides spoken answers, optional keyboard input, and configurable items stored in the app’s memory. According to the developer, Voice Answer’s “speech recognition works better than that of Siri, especially with foreign accents,” and the app includes a chatbot called “Eve” that you can teach answers. While most of these features are also baked into Evi, it is unclear exactly why Apple is working with some developers to coexist peacefully with Siri, and then flat-out rejecting others without discussion. Fortunately, the app did not have any issues making its way onto Google Play, and it is even marketed as the “Voice Answer- just like Siri.” We told you in January about the number of Siri clones hitting the market with the release of Evi for Android. The Voice Answer Android app is now available on Google Play for $3.99, and the developers promised that support for messaging and email is on the way.

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