Apple could bring facial recognition to the iPhone, à la Android

You can bet if one major smartphone manufacturer develops a new feature, its competitors will follow suit. Apple has applied for a facial recognition patent, according to an application form published by the U.S. Patent Office. Looks like Apple is right on Google’s heels; in mid-December the Android 4.0 Galaxy Nexus was released, with the ability to unlock the phone by recognizing your face touted as a key feature.

Meet 8 families who are making kid-friendly apps

Families are launching their own apps. With ideas that spark in living room labs, moms and dads are capturing great ideas and turning them into digital playgrounds. In this post you will meet several Bay Area developers who were inspired by the children in their lives to invent modern outlets for creative play. Their goal is to emphasize the conversational and educational potential of mobile technology.

Blizzard makes $26M on World of Warcraft security authenticators [update]

Update: As pointed out below in the reader comments, these estimates are likely off by a sizable amount as they do not take into account the free Battle.net Mobile Authenticator. Users of the free app are entitled to the Core Hound Pup in-game pet (which was used to come up with the $26 million figure) just as users of the paid authenticator are, so it’s virtually impossible to calculate how much revenue has actually been made via this product. Sincere apologies for the misinformation.

Cool private companies: 3 business services for doing more with less

As a software securities analyst for investment banking firm Canaccord Genuity, Richard Davis spends 200 days a year on the road visiting companies. He goes to public companies such as Oracle and Salesforce.com, but he also visits up-and-coming software companies he thinks will go public in the near future. In his new column, Davis talks about some candidates he thinks may be ripe for the IPO class of 2012 or 2013.