Programmer crowdfunds work to improve Chrome image support

How much does it mean to you to have good-looking images when using Chrome on your Retina-display MacBook or your high-resolution Android phone?

Programmer Yoav Weiss hopes Internet users' collective answer is at least $10,000. He's launched a crowdfunding effort to sponsor his development of the "picture" element in Chrome, a new feature that's instrumental to the idea of responsive images on the Web.

"Yeah, we're running a crowdfunding campaign to add a feature to an engine," Weiss said on Twitter on Thursday. "Never done before, but hey, we're here … Read more

How Moov plans to deliver nearly $1M worth of wearables by July

It took only 90 minutes for Moov, makers of a watch-like fitness wearable, to hit its crowdfunding goal of $40,000. Two weeks have passed since then, and Moov is already to date the most successful crowdfunding fitness campaign -- of which there are many, on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, attempting to serve up a better Jawnone or Fitbit or Nike FuelBand that tells us how to fix ourselves and not just what's wrong.

Preorder sales now near $1 million, equating to more than 16,000 devices the startup says it will deliver by July. A second, even larger batch … Read more

How Prelaunch taps preorder fervor for gadgets and more

Look at the word "crowdfunding" -- there's no avoiding that the phenomenon is about raising money, and for a wide range of purposes.

Still, cash is but one of the three C's of crowdfunding. The others are coverage (that is, publicity) and community. All three components are interconnected. The more cash you raise, the more coverage you'll likely garner, and the larger your community will grow, which should help in raising more cash.

If the coverage and community sound as though they would provide benefits to product development outside of the world of startups, it'… Read more

Artist seeks crowdfunding for normal-looking Barbie

I'm sorry, but Barbie's never really done it for me.

It's not Barbie's fault. It's that every woman I've met who tries to look like her always seems to exude a certain asensuality.

I am fascinated, therefore, by the attempts of Nickolay Lamm, who has decided to create a realistic Barbie.

Artist and researcher Lamm asked himself a simple question: "What if fashion dolls were made using standard human body proportions?"

Indeed, that's the headline for his crowdsourcing campaign to bring his prototype average-looking Barbie to market.… Read more

Kickstarter pledges surpass $1 billion; half pledged in last 12 months

Crowdfunding giant Kickstarter has reached a new milestone.

Total Kickstarter pledges have surpassed $1 billion, the company announced Monday. The total came from 5.7 million donors, and half of the sum was pledged in the last 12 months alone. In Kickstarter's first month in April 2009, its users raised nearly $3,900.

Kickstarter, along with competitor Indiegogo, have become funding places of choice for inventors, entrepreneurs, and anyone who has an idea they'd like to make a reality. So far, Kickstarter has cemented itself as the leader in crowdfunding.

In addition to announcing its milestone, Kickstarter said … Read more

Back for more: 3 Kickstarter second-try gadgets

Crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter have been helpful to many consumer device companies in getting their prototypes onto the mass production runway to retail sales. As the platform's history advances, we are seeing a number of companies that have run successful campaigns return to it with improved or updated versions of their initial campaigns.

Here are a few high-profile examples of companies that are once again courting the crowd.

HiddenRadio2. The first iteration of the HiddenRadio Bluetooth speaker lit up Kickstarter. Its campaign blew past its goal of $150,000 and raised almost $1 million. But although the HiddenRadio … Read more

Researchers reveal the language of Kickstarter success

If you want your Kickstarter to succeed, it appears there are some definite do's and don'ts when it comes to phrasing. According to a new study by Tanushree Mitra and Eric Gilbert of Georgia Tech's School of Interactive Computing, the language you use can be pretty indicative of whether or not you'll get your funding.

The pair analyzed more than 45,000 Kickstarter campaigns launched since June 2012, 51.53 percent of which were successful. Controlling for categories (some of which are more successful than others; you're more likely to have a successful campaign in design than fashion, for example); the presence of video; funding goals; social media; and pledge levels, they were able to compile a dictionary of more than 100 phrases that they say can more or less accurately predict success or failure. … Read more

Kickstarter's year in review: 3M people pledge $480M

What company could claim to have helped launch satellites into space, brought US rappers to North Korea, been part of powering up the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, and resurrected the TV show Veronica Mars? Kickstarter, of course.

This crowdfunding platform came out with its stats for 2013 on Wednesday and the year proved to be the company's best to date. In all, Kickstarter saw 3 million people pledge $480 million on projects posted to its Web site. That means $1,315,520 was pledged per day, coming out to $913 a minute.

According to Kickstarter, those millions of … Read more

$5.7 million later, 'Veronica Mars' movie trailer is here

The Veronica Mars movie project set the standard for film crowdfunding when it obliterated its $2 million Kickstarter goal and racked up $5.7 million in pledges. I was one of the 91,585 backers. "Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas has been faithfully updating us for nearly a year on how the film is progressing. Now, the trailer is finally here.

The movie itself is scheduled for nationwide release on March 14, but the official trailer took a bow last night and is now up on YouTube for all to enjoy.… Read more

What we loved and hated about the 2013 smart home

The CNET Appliances team has tested a whole bunch of stuff for you this year, from the surprisingly capable SimpliSafe home security system to the extremely disappointing Infinuvo CleanMate QQ5 robot vacuum. Hopefully our reviews have come in handy. And while we're excited about CES 2014, we're also feeling a bit nostalgic about the products we reviewed in 2013. So, here's a brief look back at the year in home appliances -- what worked, what didn't, and everything in between.

"Smart" large appliances

Several manufacturers introduced new ways to incorporate "smart features" … Read more