Autodesk Snaps Up Socialcam for a Cool $60 Million

3D design powerhouse Autodesk has purchased startup Socialcam for $60 million in a deal that is expected to close in the third quarter that ends Oct. 31, 2012, according to a release from Autodesk.

Socialcam has only been on the scene since last year, but its technology that provides mobile social video capture, editing and sharing app and service has proven to be very popular with users. It is estimated that the platform has 54.7 million users. Top rival Viddy has half as many users and had a valuation of $200 million, at least at one point.

The move and the price both come as a bit of a surprise. While Autodesk has expanded from its core of delivering high end software for 3D modeling and architectural markets into entertainment, many had been predicting that Socialcam would go to Facebook, Google, Microsoft or one of the other major players in the social networking space.

Also the price was much lower than figures that had been tossed about when Facebook made its surprising purchase of Instagram for $1 billion. After that people were tossing around the question of what company would be the next Instagram, and the two most popular choices were Viddy and Socialcam, with an expectation that the winner’s valuation would skyrocket also.

Autodesk said that the move was due to the changing way in which its customer base was approaching their tasks, using cloud computing, mobile apps and social media for design purposes. The company said that video is a very good medium for communications and sharing of ideas and projects.

The first step will be to ensure that it supports and maintains the existing Socialcam customers, according to Autodesk. From there it seeks to scaling the platform and expanding its existing tool sets so that it can expand the technology into new and existing markets for Autodesk.

Viddy Lands $30m in Series B-Is it the next Instagram?

Viddy, an increasingly popular mobile video app developer has closed an impressive round of funding with a deal that raised $30 million from industrial investors, a sum that matches its 30 million registered users.

This is the second round of funding with Viddy closing its Series A last February after raising $6 million in a round that was led by Battery Ventures and included Qualcomm and Greycroft Ventures. The funding came from a number of high profile venture capital companies with New Enterprise Associates, Goldman Sachs, Khosla Ventures, and Battery Ventures all contributing to the current round.

The company said that the additional funds will be used to help it grow by hiring additional engineering talent, develop additional products and expanding its offerings overseas.

Viddy is one of the leading players in the mobile video market, fighting with rivals Socialcam, Klip and Mobli for the crown, but with this type of funding interest it seems likely that more will enter the field or at least seek to raise the level of awareness for their technology.

Currently the company’s app is only available for Apple’s iPhones and even with only that segment of the market its appeal is very strong, with an estimated 30 million users, a tremendous achievement for a one year old company.

The comparisons to Instagram are growing, and speculation has the company’s valuation at anywhere between $200 and $340 million, depending on what time of the day you look. There is no doubt that a technology like this would be very nice as part of a larger overall offering from Facebook, Twitter or even something browser related like Bing or Google.

Friday Grab Bag: Look at Android 4.0

Major League Baseball makes Two Moves- Hate them Both
MLB has made moving to the American League a condition for the purchase of the Houston Astros by Jim Crane, a deal that was unanimously approved by baseball owners The team will move in 2013 and so there will be two 15 team leagues, with interleague games starting at the beginning of the season.

The second move is the creation of two more Wild Card spots for the playoffs. Ohh boy, I will be on the edge of my seat waiting for that one game playoff between the wild card teams before the real playoffs begin.

I guess Selig wants this as his legacy prior to his long awaited retirement. I thought turning a blind eye to a decade of steroid usage and then crying crocodile tears was enough of a legacy for the man.

A good look at next generation Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich technology
The good folks at Slash Gear have uploaded a walk through on some of the latest features that will be included in the new Android 4.0 operating system that is just now reaching users hands. The operating system has a range of features that will continue to create a clear differentiation between it and Apple’s iOS technology.

The first feature highlighted is the Active Voice Diction feature that greatly enhances an already existing feature of the phone. It allows for pauses from the speaker and types out what you are saying as you go along.

Another feature is the Face Unlock and unlock to camera. This technology allows the phone to automatically unlock when it views a preregistered face. There are still issues to this and it can be deactivated by the user. The device will also have a quick method to unlock the camera so that you can quickly take photos. Head on over and see all of their coverage of ICS.

Klip Raises $8min Series B Round-App Popular with Sports Fans?
Klip, a startup app developer that is creating an iOS App that enables users to capture, share and view mobile videos has closed its Series B funding round after raising $8m led by Benchmark Capital with Matrix Partners and Klip founder Alain Rossman also participating. This brings the total funding for the company to $10m.

The company, which launched its first App in September, will now have Bruce Dunlevie of Benchmark join Josh Hannah of Matrix Partners and Klip Founder/CEO Alain Rossmann on the Board of Directors.

The program has a range of automated features that allow users to easily record, ports and resend klips. Video can be easily accelerated for a quick look. In an interview with TechCrunch, founder Rossmann said that the use of hashtags is very important especially among sports fans where its use is very prevalent.

A solid look at Tebow’s Throws

The ever solid Football Outsiders takes a look at how Tim Tebow has progressed as a NFL quarterback this season. Tebow baiting has been growing as a popular sport and this appears to be one of the few well researched pieces on his games.

One thing that leaped out at me was the amount of time between snap and throw, which in the Miami game was 4.4 seconds but declined every week and was 2.5 seconds by the Kansas City game five games later. It also breaks down his results according t how long he holds the ball. I would love to see a chart like this for every NFL quarterback.

PCWorld Writer Claims not too late for Windows Phone-Or Not.
A recent column by Tony Bradley in PCWorld talks about why it is not too late for Microsoft to establish Windows Phone 7 as a serious player in the smartphone arena. While acknowledging that it is late to the market he sees positives from the company.

Bradley lists the ability to take advantage of the Microsoft ecosystem, to seamlessly integrate with that ecosystem and that Microsoft, by scrapping Windows Mobile and developing Windows 7 from the ground up helped it integrate new features that will differentiate it from its rivals.

For a counter point look no further than PCWorld columnist Joseph Fieber who wrote a week earlier that Windows Phone 7 is too late and has missed the boat. Not yet having had the opportunity to try Windows Phone 7 I am staying out of this one.

A Last Laugh-Password Edition

PCMag has released a list of the 25 worst passwords. Does anybody really use 123456? Aside from my Dad?