Samsung's Problem Is Not Android's or Google's Problems

Source:  Forbes.

Samsung is not doing well.  It has not done well since the Galaxy S5.  But to put things in perspective, most mobile companies other than Apple would love to be in Samsung's position.  Who would not want to make billions a quarter instead of losses or simply breaking even?  Still, it is what it is and Samsung's flagship devices are not doing it for the Korean tech giant. 

On the high-end it's being hit hard by Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and getting creamed by Chinese brands and other similiarly featured and priced Android devices on the mid to low end segment of the mobile market. 

Some would go as far as to say that this on the whole is an Android issue.  I respectfully disagree.  Android is doing just fine if you're on Google's pure OS - Nexus continues to lead the way, if not in sales, in demonstrating just what Android is truly meant.  Sure, it's fully featured with Google apps but that is what Android is.  For others who use Android and add their own apps like Samsung, they simply are not adding anything that the rest of the market isn't doing.

Sure, there is Samsung's own mobile wallet but it is not doing or offering anything that is not already available with Google Wallet. And between the two wallets, which will you be more likely to use?  The native Google option or the one Samsung bought to compete with Apple Pay that Samsung did not develop or think through thoroughly to differentiate. 

Samsung and other Android device maekers' problem is the "me, too" syndrome.  And this is the perfect time for Google to go hard with the Nexus brand just as it is launching its own wireless service here in the United States.  It proves that innovation is alive and well on the Android ecosystem, provided that you're in the Nexus ecosystem. 

WTO Reject Origins In Meat Products

Source:  Market Watch.

It's strange that the WTO rejected US requirements that meat packaging include information on origin of the meat, where the livestocks are born, raised, and slaughtered.  In response, Congress is working to remove such requirement.

Canandian and Mexican meat producers had contended that this US labeling requirement discriminates against their livestocks.  And American ranchers are in support of it.

How about the consumers?  It's likely consumers in the US would love to be as informed as possible.  Perhaps, meat companies that are willing to go through with the rejected labeling standards should be able to command a premium since consumers would know where the meat comes from.

Those who applaud peeling back this requirement in the US obviously includes the North American Meat Institute while consumer-advocacy groups saw the WTO ruling as another example of multinational companies working to weaken US regulations meant to protect consumers.

Regardless of which sides you fall under, this is perhaps an opportunity for a meat processing/packing company to continue with the current labeling requirement to charge a bit more for their product and pad their margins.

Social: Public Threats On Social Networks Not Smart

Source:  CNN.

Let me just start off by saying that threats in general are stupid.  On a personal level, if you have to resort to them, well, you've failed.  That's what this woman did. She made a threat against white officers, get this, on Facebook for the whole wide world to see.

I understand there is a lot of emtion and anger with the police beatings and shootings.  Heck, I run through my mind from time to time what I should say an do when I see a police car.  If he or she (or they) pulls me over, keeping my hands on the steering wheel with the window rolled down a bit.  Smile and be courteous.  Just like you would be with everyone else. 

And what happens after that, well, that's that.  I'm not going to run, cuss, or get out of my car unless ordered. The police have places to go (was gonna make a joke about donut shops but there are not that many around anymore) and I've got places to go.

So, there are better ways to address grievances.  I know that it's easier said than done but not impossible.  But threatening the very people that in general believe in protecting and serving the public is not the right way to go.  The vast majority of the police officers are good decent folks like the rest of us.

Virgin EV Against Tesla, Apple Likely To Go At It Alone

There is plenty of chatter that Richard Branson is up there with Elon Musk as far as space goes but Branson is missing something Musk has and is considering getting into that game:  electric cars.  That in and of itself isn't news.  What I had originally though of, for all of ten seconds, is that maybe Virgin should partner with Apple.  But the more I think about it, the more I believe Apple will likely go at it alone - no deals with Mercedes, MBW, Telsa, or anyone else.

After all, the most likely partner Apple is likely to go with is Telsa and we already know from the poaching war that it is not going to happen. 

However, Branson's entry into the high-end electric car market should be a welcoming move for auto lovers.  Competition.  And that is what Telsa lacks even as it continues to innovate.  And while a Virgin challege is good, it won't be like the kind of competition and disruption that Apple can bring. And the Apple way is what will likely end up with Apple doing it on its own.

Imagine in 4-6 years when Apple, Telsa, and Virgin's electric cars are all going up not just against one another but the offers from traditional auto makers like BMW - beautiful sleek and fast cars that run 400+ miles on one charge powered by a green power grid. 

Of course, for a fact, only Tesla and BMW are major players in the electric car market.  Apple's entry is still just a rumor and there is just as much as chance as we'll see an Apple car as likely not.  Short answer is no one knows despite all the smoke from Cupertino. 

As for Virgin, Branson's musing about Virgin's entry into the auto market are just a few off the cuff comments.  Nothing more.  Not even a whiff of smoke.

But we can dream of the possibilites, can we?

With 2015 Macbook, Apple May Mark a Turning Point From Intel In Favor of Its Own Chips

It's like 2015 is going to be remembered as the year when Apple set in motion for its in-house developed chips to replace Intel chips in Macs.  This started with Apple using a relatively underpowered, by today's standard, Intel chip in the new Macbook as the much anticipated iPad Pro wait in the wings to be introduced with an updated iOS 9 more suitable for power users.  And this iPad Pro will sport a brand new A-series chip with comparable computing power but a longer battery life than the Macbook.

In fact, the iPad, since the very first iPad introduced by Steve Jobs, have a longer battery life than most of the Macbook variants including this 12" Macbook.

One can assume, then, that Apple will allow this new Macbook battle it out on the market with the iPad Pro.

More at On Apple.

Social: Interesting Article from BBC About Limo Drivers On Oscar Night

This post from BBC talked about the thousands of limos and other vehicles used to chauffeur stars and other "important" folks around Los Angeles on that all "important" night for Hollywood.  As someone who has lived in LA and taken these things for granted, I found the post interesting.

The closest Hollywood related events I've been to are premieres, especially those in Westwood by UCLA.  Streets would be cordoned off for blocks depending on how bit the movie is and who will be there.

Of course, that was nothing like the award shows like the Oscar.  I could not imagine what it would be like to be a part of something like that, either sitting in traffic because of that or someone like a driver who is an integral part of that.

Already, LA traffic is pretty bad.  Those of us who have lived here most of our lives know to avoid those areas.  What I found interesting is that the Hollywood Bowl (wiki) is essentially turned into a limo parking lot.

I imagine dispatchers at these limo companies use technologies akin to those used by air traffic controllers to keep track of drivers, routes, arrival times, etc.