Friday, 17 August 2012

Nexus 7 review: the best $200 tablet you can buy

DNP Nexus 7 review
In 2008, when the Eee PC was revolutionizing the computing world and driving every manufacturer to make cheaper and smaller laptops, Sony washed its hands of the whole thing. The "race to the bottom," the company said, would profoundly impact the industry, killing profit margins and flooding the market with cheap, terrible machines. Sony was wrong, its stance lasting about a year before joining the competition with its own VAIO W.
Four years on we're buying better laptops than ever before and, with the netbook class now more or less dead, that downward competition seems to have shifted to the tablet front. A flood of cheap, truly awful slates preceded Amazon's Kindle Fire, the $200 tablet from a major brand that looks to have been the proper catalyst in plunging prices. The latest challenger to enter the competition is ASUS, partnering with Google to create the first Nexus tablet, a device that not only will amaze with its MSRP, but with its quality. It's called the Nexus 7, it too is $200, and it's better than Amazon's offering in every way but one.

Pussy Riot Trial: Feminist Punk Band Guilty Of Hooliganism, Motivated By Religious Hatred

MOSCOW — A Russian judge found three members of the provocative punk band Pussy Riot guilty of hooliganism on Friday, in one of the most closely watched cases in recent Russian history. The judge said the three band members committed hooliganism driven by religious hatred and offending religious believers. The three were arrested in March after a guerrilla performance in Moscow's main cathedral calling for the Virgin Mary to protect Russia against Vladimir Putin, who was elected to a new term as Russia's president a few days later. They face a maximum seven years in prison. The sentence is to be handed down later Friday. The case has attracted international attention as an emblem of Russia's intolerance of dissent. It also underlines the vast influence of the Russian Orthodox Church. Although church and state are formally separate, the church identifies itself as the heart of Russian national identity and critics say its strength effectively makes it a quasi-state entity. Protests timed to just before the verdict or soon afterward were planned in more than three dozen cities worldwide. Prosecutors have asked for three-year sentences, down from the possible seven-year maximum and Putin himself has said he hopes the sentencing is not "too severe." Celebrities including Paul McCartney, Madonna and Bjork have called for them to be freed, and protests are planned around the world Friday. Before Friday's proceedings began, defense lawyer Nikolai Polozov said the women "hope for an acquittal but they are ready to continue to fight." There was a heavy police presence around the court building in central Moscow, where hundreds of protesters and band supporters were gathering. Even if the women are sentenced only to time already served, the case has already strongly clouded Russia's esteem overseas and stoked the resentment of opposition partisans who have turned out in a series of massive rallies since last winter. The case comes in the wake of several recently passed laws cracking down on opposition, including one that raised the fine for taking part in an unauthorized demonstrations by 150 times to 300,000 rubles (about $9,000). Another measure requires non-government organizations that both engage in vaguely defined political activity and receive funding from abroad to register as "foreign agents."

Trulia Goes After Zillow’s Real Estate, Files $75M IPO; Now Has 22M Monthly Users

Trulia, the online real estate listings giant, has now publicly filed an IPO of up to $75 million — effectively confirming reports from the end of July that the company had already filed for an IPO privately. The company’s S-1 also provides an update on the state of the business, showing some encouraging signs of user growth, but declining revenues and growing losses, too. It says that as of June 30, 2012, it has 22 million monthly unique visitors, up from 5 million in June 2009; and paid subscribers — its primary source of revenue — have also grown massively. They’re now at 21,544 versus 2,398 two years ago. But not all numbers are going up: revenues in the last six months actually dipped compared to last year: $29 million today versus $38.5 million a year ago. Meanwhile, net losses are growing: they’re now at $7.6 million ($6.2 million last year). Trulia, which has picked up $33 million in VC backing, is looking to public markets to raise significantly more money to better compete against its bigger rival Zillow. Its $29 million in revenues for six months puts Trulia at about half the size of Zillow at the moment in terms of sales. The latter company reported in Q2 that it had sales of $27.8 million for the quarter. It also has 33.5 million monthly unique users at the moment. Both companies, which offer listings but lots of new technology to better search those listings, are going after a market that has been in the doldrums for the last couple of years. In Trulia’s case, it offers mobile apps and supplements listings data with local information on schools, crime, and neighborhood amenities to provide unique insights into each community, as well as a social media bent, letting users contribute local information. It says it’s had 5 million unique user contributions to date. The private filing at the end of July is possible because of a provision in the JOBs Act, which lets companies with less than $1 billion in revenue to file without listing publicly with the SEC. Reuters points out that this lets the companies “sidestep” some reporting requirements. It also means that companies can avoid scrutiny if they decide to withdraw the IPO. Seems that Trulia got the all-clear internally and with its financial advisors, which include JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank; hence the public filing today. More to come.