Archive for the ‘Gadgets’ Category

Startups in trouble – Revver, BlueDot, Vizrea, Exbiblio

December 20, 2006

Just as we end year the 2007 that has seen highest amount of funding in emerging technologies since the boom time, few of the startups find themselves in troubled waters. Revver, Blue Dot, Vizrea, and Exbiblio are few of the companies which have seen people leave or are forced to cut back on their staff and spending. High cash burn rate, low returns from existing products and plans, and the inability to continuously innovate to fend of competition are few of the reasons.

According to Adage, Revver, the video sharing site that does revenue sharing with content producers, today announced that 2 of its 3 co-founders along with several support staff have left the company. The management push that seems to have come from Revver VC, has brought in 3 new key members. Kevin Wells has joined as chief operating officer, who previously was a consultant to commercial aviation tech start-up Naverus. David Armitage has joined as Senior VP-advertising sales, and Angela Gyetvan has come in as VP-marketing.

According to John Cook, Bluedot and Vizrea, both venture funded companies founded by ex-Microsoft guys, have cut back on their staff. Bluedot, the social bookmarking+networking startup, has laid of 4 people from its team. Vizrea mobile-pc photo sharing company had to let go 8 people from its team of 16. I had tried Vizrea when it had launched and found it pretty unimpressive comparing it to the number of other startups offering similar services.

Last month Netherlands based Exbiblio cut down its team of 17 employees to a core of about 5 to 8 full time employees. Exbiblio team has been working to add an interactive dimension to the way we read paper documents. Guys at Exbiblio have been developing hardware and software side of a product that includes a pocket scanner that can capture a string of words from a paper document and also let you record a voice annotation along with the text. The scanner doubles up as a flash drive to save your scanned content. Idea is great, but the only problem is that it is taking more time than expected.



Sony to stream movies to PSPs

December 18, 2006

Sony is planning to launch movie download service for PSP owners. Sony has been selling movies on UMD discs for quite sometime now, which has failed to catchup with the consumers. Netflix one of the biggest movie rental service doesn’t carry/plan to carry movies on UMDs, and same is the case with others.

So instead of letting Apple and Microsoft take the lead in the movie downloads to portable device markets, Sony will being streaming movies right to the PSPs. I wonder why it took so long for Sony to realize the strength of its own WiFi enabled device that has superior colors and bigger screen compared to video iPod. However the limited capacity(4GB) of MemoryStick that can be used in PSPs can affect the uptake of the service.

There is no news about pricing and how the movies will be made available in terms of Sony trying to setup its own web site and service or ponying upon Amazon UnBox or MovieLink to make the movies available for download.


Pre-order Presto – Photosharing for baby boomers

October 12, 2006

Starting today you can pre-order your Presto HP-Printing Mailbox which is priced at $149.99. Presto enables people to send email, photos, and content to family and friends who don’t have a computer or Internet connection. HP-Printing Mailbox automatically transforms emails into beautiful layouts for printing. Presto based out of Mountain View, CA is a well funded startup. Till date they have closed 2 rounds of funding, receiving $10 million from Kleiner Perkins and Clearstone Ventures in Series B and Series $1.2 million from Kleiner Perkins in Series A.

Presto is trying to target the service at people who either don’t have access to Internet or find the whole process of internet-email-attachment-printer-printing too complicated. I will say this is nice product given the fact that we have high number of baby boomers and their parents that really need simpler technology make the photo sharing process easier.

In order to use Presto, you will have to buy Presto HP-Printing Mailbox, as mentioned above, and sign up for the Presto Service which will costs $9.99/month or $99.99/year. Typically you will send the HP-Printing Mailbox to your family who will have to hook it up to a telephone line. After that you are all set to email photos to your family. As soon you send an email from PC or mobile phone they are processed by the mailbox on the other end. Presto service can handle multiple photo attachments to the email. While printing the content from the email, Presto will set the subject of the email to be the title for the photograph and appropriately arrange any other text contained in the email according to the template chosen by the sender. Presto also provides the ability to create a list of people who can email photographs to you Mailbox, which effectively takes care of any spam or junk ad concerns.

Presto Serivce and HP Mailbox will be available at,, and from next month. I think Presto will make a great gift this thanksgiving shopping season for lot of people.

Presto Mailbox Pre-order