01/07/2013

Michael Birch re-acquires Bebo for $1m

Michael Birch originally founded Bebo and sold it to AOL for $850m on May 19, 2008 making him one of the most successful UK entrepreneurs with his wife. AOL then sold the ailing company to Criterion Capital Partners in June 2010 for around $10m.

Birch then rejoined company as a strategic advisor on December 9, 2010.

Birch today announced on twitter that he has re-purchased the social media site for $1m.

Though the site has been left behind other social media sites like Facebook, Birch can maybe bring it into the forefront again and do something clever with it.

Plastic Logic joins forces with Cambridge University Graphene centre

Graphene is the new wonder substance that could replace silicon for a new generation of integrated circuits and other devices. It is also much more conductive than steel and stronger.

Plastic Logic are leaders in the field of flexible e-ink displays (both colour and monochrome) which use their organic thin-film transistor technologies.

Cambridge Graphene Centre investigates the science and technology of graphene, carbon allotropes, layered crystals and hybrid nanomaterials.

With this collaboration, Plastic Logic have donated large scale deposition equipment to support the acceleration of manufacturing scale-up of developments on graphene which will then: -

  • To develop graphene as a transparent, highly conductive layer for plastic backplanes, used to drive unbreakable Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) and flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) displays; a market forecast to be worth $40bn by 2020 (IHS 2013).
  • To develop novel transistor structures with graphene-like materials as the active layer, delivering a step change over the device performance currently possible on plastic, while retaining the ultimate flexibility of the devices.
  • Leverage Plastic Logic’s expertise in the industrialization and volume manufacture of electronics on plastic, exploiting the commercialisation of graphene for flexible electronics. This will include key high value segments in the developing new market for flexible plastic sensors, forecast to be worth $2.2bn overall in 2020 (IDTechEx 2011).

The UK is a world leader in graphene research and this could push the UK into the forefront of usable technologies actually using it.

Ofcom make more spectrum available

Ofcom, the Super regulator that looks after (amongst other things) radio spectrum allocation has made the bands 870-876 MHz and 915-921 MHz available for use by short range devices (SRDs) and radio frequency identification (RFID) use. This is in-line with European (CEPT) policy. The bands are commonly used for RFID tags in the US.

Ofcom will hold a further consultation in Q4 2013 after CEPT publish their work on interference in these bands and will then publish the draft technical requirements and the full license exemption statement by early 2014.

Ofcom is also making the 24 GHz (21.65 to 26.65 GHz) license exempt for Short Range Radars (SRRs) for automotive use, in line with EU policy. Devices have been allowed to use this part of this band (24.25 to 26.65 GHz) on a temporary basis (since 2005), which was extended to the full 21.65 to 26.65 GHz in 2011. The regulations came into force in June 30th 2013.