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February 20, 2013

Technology News Briefs — Feb. 20, 2013

Google Stock Closes at Record Price

Google’s stock  closed at $806.85 Feb. 19 — a record high for any technology company.

The search engine company’s stock has skyrocketed 14 percent since the beginning of the year and may just continue its upward trend amid news reports that Google is in the process of constructing a number of stand-alone stores to give consumers a hands-on experience with its growing number of devices.

The company “hopes to have the first flagship Google Stores open for the holidays in major metropolitan areas,” according to the original 9to5Google report Feb. 18.

According to The Wall Street Journal, only three other companies currently have higher-priced stock than Google: Berkshire Hathaway’s Class A shares, Seaboard and NVR.

Google seems to be riding a financial high of late. The firm surpassed analysts’ expectations when it posted its 2012 fourth quarter earnings: revenues of $14.42 billion — a 36 percent increase over 2011. In fact, the company made more than $50 billion in revenue in 2012, also a record.

Apple Leader of the Revenue Pack

Apple took the largest slice of the revenue pie in the U.S. in 2012 beating out all other technology companies, according to new data from NPD.

Apple nabbed 19.9 percent of consumer electronics revenues, up 2.7 percent from 2011 while Samsung revenues rose 2.3 percent from seven percent to 9.3 percent.

HP placed third with 8.2 percent, a dip of 0.7 percent since 2011. Sony experienced an even larger dip from 5.7 percent to 4.4 percent in 2012. Dell rounded out the top five, dipping 0.6 percent to three percent.

Despite the rise in revenue for Apple and Samsung, overall sales in the American consumer technology industry declined to $143 billion, down two percent.

While the popularity of Smartphones and tablets soared, notebook computers, flat-screen TVs and desktop computers fell.

Tablets enjoyed a 42 percent upsurge in 2012 and Smartphone revenue grew by 25 percent. Notebook computers dropped nine percent, flat-screen TVs dipped seven percent and desktop computers 11 percent.

Celly Raises $1.4M for Emergent Networks

Celly, a social media startup, has raised $1.4 million in funding to bring emergent social networks to classrooms, organizations and community groups via their Smartphones or tablets.

Celly makes use of  a communications platform that in many ways mimics Facebook and Twitter. Organizers start lightweight, private social networks, known as “cells,” that members can join in seconds from any device. Users communicate using 140-character messages, a la Twitter.

“Cells grow to any size while maintaining coherent group discussions since moderators keep conversations on-topic and free of chat storms, oversharing, and cyberbullying threats,” reads a press release. “Finally, cells act as social building blocks that stand-alone or link together to form networks that adapt to the size, shape, and sharing policies of any organization. This keeps data secured in private, autonomous groups, yet empowers teamwork across organizations.”

So far, people have created more than 20,000 cells on the platform. It is available on Android and iOS.

The funding round was led by Oregon Angel Fund (OAF) with participation from Upstart Labs, Portland Seed Fund and individual investors.