Monday, May 30, 2011

Android Mobile Warriors Are Web Hogs And Blackberry Market Share Slide May Have Stopped

Here are some interesting facts about the mobile platforms and what the mobile users of each platform are doing with their smart handset.  The information are provided by Nielsen.  The takeaway for me is that Android users are downloading more music than I expected.  That's pretty awesome given the perception we are given about Apple's iTunes dominance.
  • Android dominates the market at 36% followed by Apple at 26% and Blackberry at 23%.  Looks like the second half of 2011 could be an epic fight for second between the Canadian company and Cupertino.  
  • Android users are wireless Web hogs.  It's not difficult to imagine that since Android has ran up quite a bit of ad impressions during this time.  The average Android users use 90 MB more data than Apple at 582 MB.  Surprisingly, WebOS users are not too far behind at 448 MB versus iOS users at 492 MB.
  • iOS users download quite a bit of music but Android users spend 23% of the bandwidth doing the same thing.  That's a lot of music for a platform that does not have its own music store.
  • iOS users spent a larger percentage of their data downloading more apps via wireless than Android.  However, there are reports that for developers, Apple's mobile users could be more profitable for them than Android users.
  • WP7 ahdn Windows Mobile has  1% and 9% of the market share respectively.  It is not great but definitely a good launching point for Microsoft should its deal with Nokia pay off.  
  • Interestingly, Palm OS still has 1% of the market share.  
The biggest surprise for me is iPhone and the lack of growth.  Keep in mind that the iPhone gained an additional carrier in the US.  And as everyone knows, Verizon is the biggest carrier in the US.  If anything, by adding an additional carrier, Apple has managed to keep the iPhone sales in line with Android sales, since neither platform grew.  

Right now, I eagerly look to the 4th quarter of 2012 when just about everyone will bring their best to the market:
  • RIM will release new Blackberries powered by their newest OS.
  • Microsoft's next Windows Phone 7 update, Mango will give it a lot of features that puts WP7 devices on par with current Android and iOS devices.
  • Google will merge the smartphone and tablet OSes into one unifying OS much is Apple has done with its own mobile platform.  
  • Apple's anticipated iOS 5 should bring new features that could set itself apart from its competitors while, hopefully, close the gap with Android where it is the weakest
In a way, this post is a summary of the smartphone and mobile device market.  What we've seen so far is a fight to a stalemate.  Depending on your perspective, it could be good or bad.  RIM held ground while Apple has at the very least stunted Android's growth while not doing much beyond that.  And for HP and Microsoft, there is hope for them yet as this market is clearly one that is growing and has plenty of room for more competitors.

Sad Tablet Displays At Staples, Best Buy Could Be Why Only iPads Selling Well - Oh, iOS App Dominance Helps Too

I had to go to a few Office Depots and Staples today because I needed to print out a few post sized prints, four feet by seven feet.  Each store had almost different printers.  While there, I had a chance to look at the tablets that each are selling.

Let me just stick with Staples.  I saw posters for the Xoom and Playbook.  So I got distracted and decided to find the tablets first.  I had never seen a Playbook before and I was looking forward to it.  Well, I saw it after having to walk through half the store to find it.  It was virtually like that in most stores.  And worse than that, no tablets were working!  

Three of the Staples stores had both models.  But in two of the three stores, neither the Xoom or Playbook could be turned on.  I glanced around for help but there was no one interested in helping me.  Typically, at an Apple store, you get one or more of the retail people ask if you need any more within thirty seconds of being in the store.  Then at the 3rd Staples store, the Xoom was on but had apparently suffered some kind of kernel problem or something because it was frozen.  No buttons work.  The Playbook turned on and then decided to turn itself off.  

Now, I know that there are a lot of complaints about lack of native Honeycomb apps for Android tablets.  The Playbook suffered similar complaints but more.  However, if Google and its camp is going to trying to sell tablets and compete with the iPad in these kind of retail environment, they can forget about it.  The same goes for the Playbook  I have no doubt that RIM had seen initial success with the Playbook sales but it is hard to see a sustained effort.  

Apple needs competition and the presence of Android tablets and Playbooks, soon to be joined by HP's Web OS Touchpad, might be enough to make every major tablet platform innovate but if Apple's competitors want to take sales away from the iPad, they're gonna need to do a better job of it  Don't be surprise if someone decides to open up an Android store to compete and better compliment Android sales effort.  

Back On iPhone To Lock Unlimited Data Plan

I am back on the iPhone to lock up wireless data plans for which ever carriers I decide to go with.

I don't think I'll be going with an Android device ad my next phone anymore. It had become way too complicated a platform to use.

And with most carriers grandfathering plans these days, I think it's a good idea for me to lock things in while I can.

I am on T-Mobile's 3G plan now. We also have Verizon's unlimited plan. So I guess I am set. Not way I am going with AT&T and Sprint isn't going to alter it's plans any time soon.

Should the iPhone come to all the carriers this summer/fall, I would be good to go.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, May 28, 2011

In A Major Disaster, Maybe Two Wireless is Better Than One

I just completed a disaster preparedness class sponsored by the local fire department in my city. It was one created by FEMA to help citizens prepare for disasters and to be able to help assess situations. One of the things I came away with was how big of a role that mobile tech can play in all this.

In a situation of downed telephone lines, it might not be all that big of a deal for me since I hardly use my landline anymore. Most people don't. We rely mostly on wireless services.

What the instructors told us is that we texting might be a good way to get and receiving information since the bandwidth is less than if we were to try to make phone call.

I think that makes a lot of sense.

At the same time, I also think that having services from two different network providers might also be a good thing. If one tower happens to be down in an earthquake, the cell tower from another service might survive.

I've got WiMax from Clear with my iSpot. I've also got phone service via T-Mobile (for now). So for me, there is a bit of a redundancy should I need it.

Hopefully, things won't get so bad that both services stop working.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Friday, May 27, 2011

Would Apple Invite International Coverage for the WWDC Keynote Just For Demos And Previews?

Apple is inviting a lot for foreign journalists to the WWDC in San Francisco beginning on June 7th.  What's interesting is that we've known for months that there will be no new hardware introduction as it has been in previous years.  After all, the World Wide Developer Conference is about developers and software.  So why the hoopla over OS X and preview of the next iOS?

Well, it's hard to say.  It is not inconceivable for Apple to trying sneaking an iPhone in there.  But I highly doubt that.  Having just made that point, if Apple is trying to drum up world-wide coverage of the keynote speech (no one knows who's giving it so far), it better be much more than just about the next Mac OS Lion and what's going to be in iOS 5.  

And it definitely better not be just an intro with a bunch of demos.  That is not worth a trip across the pond or across the Pacific from Australia.  After all, it's not like they'll be going to LA or NY. This is San Francisco after all.  Right, not much going on there.

However, if Apple is to sneak in the next iPhone, that definitely would be something.  That's my pony wish with Santa and Easter Bunny all roll into one.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Japan, Open And Free Society (Not Like China), Considers Requiring Solar Panels On All Buidlings - Why Can't We Do The Same?

Japan is considering a mandate that solar panels on all buildings by 2030.  That's less than two decades away from now.  I'm sure everywhere else in the industrialized world that by 2030, we'll also see a lot of solar and probably other renewable and conservation technology on and in the buildings.  Still 100% is remarkable.  And here in the US, with just as open a society as Japan, just as democratic if not more, and with a larger economy, our government does not seem to have this kind of a mandate.

Why not?  Is Washington so polarized that if one side is for something, the opposition is for exact polar opposite?  As a moderate to leaning right, I don't get why the GOP, who supposedly is strong on national security, insists in taking the country down the old energy path.  That's right, petroleum from the Middle East where they are one or two revolutions away from disrupting that life line that our great economy depends on.

And even as the military, who the GOP presumably supports, is working harder than the government to go green. You would think that the GOP controlled house would take notice.  But this is not an indictment on the Republicans lack of vision when it comes to energy (drilling for more oil alone is not going to make us less dependent on OPEC).  The oil lobby is so powerful that even repealing tax credits the oil industry proved unpopular among US senators.  

So, this isn't about the Republicans.  It's also about the Democrats from oil and coal producing states. Rather, we have one of the more forward-looking Presidents in a long time and even he is unwilling to make such declaration as to require all federal buildings be self-sufficient.  I'm not even saying President Obama should mandate all buildings in the US require solar panels.  Just some.  Heck, right now, I'll just settle for the White House to run only on solar.

And keep in mind that, yes, this is Japan, one of our closest allies in the Pacific, not draconian China could just as well mandate.  Had the post where I got this information said it was Beijing doing this, I would not have batted an eye.  This is Tokyo.  I know that the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster had a role to play in this but I reckon this was probably a route Japan will have to go down eventually.  

On May 20th, Vice-President Biden declared that the United States will lead the next chapter in energy revolution. While that is true today, that position is continually being challenged, not necessarily from abroad but from within by those who would have us remain in a growing Dark Age of yesteryear's energy ecosystem.

More at CNet.

New Windows Phone 7 Update "Mango" Has What It Takes To Go Against iPhone And Android

This is a very interesting day indeed as Microsoft outed the next Windows Phone 7 update.  Multi-tasking and more social friendly features are coming our way. 

 

What's also interesting is that Microsoft confirmed Nokia mobile devices running Mango is in the works.

 

What this means for the mobile landscape is anyone's guess right now.  It really depends on when Nokia gets their WP7 phones out on the market.  I'm gonna go ahead and say that they will be rushed out on a limited release in Nokia's backyard where home field advantage might still mean something.  If it does come out around the Holidays, it may have to contend with a newly released iPhone (4GS or 5) and whatever else Google has coming with an Android update that features Honeycomb UI.

 

What I'm interested in seeing if this will reverse Nokia's fortunes and, if so, at Apple or Google's expense.


Now, we'll have to see if Microsoft can actually deliver the update on time. That itself is the trickiest part of all.

 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Google Retail Stores Some Day?

Not that Google has to, but could they eventually set up their own retail stores to help sell Android gadgets and Chrome OS netbooks and whatnot should there be a surge in Microsoft's Windows Phone sales that takes down Android a notch or two?

 

I know this is highly unlikely.  However, I would not be surprised if Google does partner with HTC or others to do this.  Google may even go at it alone.  Start off with a couple of flagship stores and see where they go from there.

 

This will be especially true if Chrome OS doesn't take off or Google screws up the eventual Android and Chrome OS integration and sales sag. 


At this point, I'd say it's 50-50 this will happen.  I mean Google opening retail stores.  Then again, something either happens or it doesn't.  So, 50-50 sounds about right. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

PC Market Is Big Oil Companies As Tablet Market is to Green Tech Revolution

Finally, I’ve found a way to merge two topics I find a lot of interests in and maybe this will be an awesome click bait. Nah, I’m kidding (but not really). So, I have been reading a lot of posts of late about how the iPad really isn’t cannibalizing PC sales but rather that consumers are holding on to their old PCs older. Hey, that could be what’s happening and it go a long way in explaining why both HP and Dell are both experiencing a slow-down in the consumer PC market. It would definitely explain why Acer’s netbook market collapsed, people simply are very very satisfied with the netbooks.

This would go contrary to the earlier reports that the iPad sales, along with other tablets, are hurting netbooks and low-end laptop sales.

Here’s where I’m gonna to go “freakanomics” on you. People are definitely holding on to their personal computers, desktop or laptop, longer. And the reason is because many folks have bought a tablet and find that they can do most of what they do on their PC and don’t see a need to upgrade just yet.

Obviously, there will be deniers. PC-birthers who USA Today said were like global warming deniers. Let’s call them “tabniers”. Well, the tabniers are out in force.

Hence the title of this post. The companies that sells PC, like HP, Dell, and Lenovo are like big oil today, BP and Exxon. It’s my opinion, that they hold onto what’s making them money, their cash cow, but have little or no plans for tomorrow. When the oil runs out for the energy companies or when demand for PC shrinks to the point it makes no sense to make them any longer.

Sure, HP has Web OS and I applaud their thinking. Dell is going with Android as is everyone else but they really have no idea why they’re doing it. There isn’t an organic feel to their gears. It’s like they’re coming out with tablets because they are afraid what not to and, yet, they don’t seem to get why people want the iPad to begin with. Don’t believe me? Just look at the promotions when the Touchpad comes out. See if HP give is equal marketing with its PC products.

And we know that Dell says almost nothing about the Streak. Look at its sales. If Dell really gets the tablet, it would use one of its existing laptop brands like Insperion instead of creating a a brand new one with arguably, a different naming scheme than they the’ve come up with in the past. The problem is no one recognizes it and if Dell thought “Streak” would be cool and “down” with the younger market, well, then they’re the only one.

All the old PC companies, HP probably has the best chance to make a splash in the tablet market. And even they are moving too slow. In about a year, we may well be talking about the Kindle and Nook tablets along with the iPad. Let me tell you this. The people buy Kindles and Nooks are from the older generation. And if you think consumers are holding off on buy or upgrade their PCs, you just wait until the boomers stop buying PCs and opt for Barnes and Noble’s offerings.

Note: For my click-bait post, I will talk about how big oil can survive the green revolution (not the one going on in Iran) and the first one to be the Apple of old energy will eventually dominate the world. See, click-bait.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

iPad Provides A More Intimate Experiences Between Computer and Owner

Intimacy.  That is the word that is put to the personal computing experience the iPad has brought to mobile computing and entertainment.  And while the iPad cannot get more intimate than the iPhone since it doesn't fit in the pocket of our jeans, the fact that it can do much more while it sits on your laps.

It's on the moment you need it and it can easily take you through a work day or on a flight.

I'm not sure that people, even iPad owners realize what's going on.  Their relationship with their iPads is vastly more different than with their laptop or smartphone.  

I thought of this while I was looking at the original MacIntosh.  The very first one. The boxy thing with the smallish screen in black and white. Yeah, that one.  It was computing on a vastly different even than the Apple II or the IBM PCs around that time.  

The new UI with the mouse as the controller gave users a level of control that was not achievable.  And through the decades after, the experience has largely been the same with Windows or Mac OS.  

That all changed with the iPad.  Apple took that intimacy shared between user and computer onto a whole new level.  And the iPad is a little more than a year old.  We are only scratching the surface of what the iPad can allow us to achieve.

If anyone wants to compete more effectively with Apple, they need to realize this first.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Apple's MobileMe Down For Some; Doesn't Bold Well for iCloud

MobileMe mail is down for some folks and Apple has acknowledge that.  So far I haven't seen anything worse than the number of refrehses that I have do do on a daily basis.  Still, this can't be a good thing for Apple.

There's expectation, rumors about iCloud notwithstanding, that Apple will revamp it's cloud services.  

So, this late into the game with WWDC just weeks away does not give me confidence that Apple has its cloud issues licked.  

More at Macnn.

Apple Should Worry About Kindle And Nook Tablets More Than Xoom or Tab

As tablets goes, it's iPad.  Don't let anyone kid you.  Xoom isn't selling well and the Galaxy Tab might have a market in South Korea where Samsung is headquartered but that's it.  Playbook?  Yeah right. Not even on the market for a month and there's already a recall. However, Apple's tablet dominance could be coming to an end if Amazon and Barnes & Noble can get their tablet plans off the ground.

Amazon will soon unveil a new family of Kindle branded products  I reckon there'll be new e-ink readers as well as Amazon's flavor of Android tablets.  BN has done well with Nook Color and we'll see their second generation effort at the end of May.  What makes these two ebook sellers different from the other hardware companies?  And how can they succeed against Apple where other tablet makers have largely fail?

Well, the first evidence of this is this. Angry Birds have been downloaded 1 million times on just the Nook Color alone.  And they got the app store not too long ago.  And since the Nook Color gamed more tablet abilities, I've seen interest in the NC peaked.  

On top of this, Amazon has its own Android app market that, in my mind, is better than the Android Marketplace.  Why is that?  It's more curated than Google's effort and less so than Apple's App Store. And I think BN will follow the same idea.  Between the stores managed by Amazon or BN and Google's, I'll take the Kindle and Nook store any day.

And that's another thing.  The Kindle and Nook app market will be smaller than the Google's app store but most users won't care about that.  It's about feeling safe and, ironically, it could make it easier for users to find the apps they need.

Look for Amazon to leverage its music and video empire as well.  

So yeah, I think Apple needs to worry about these two companies. Which is why I think both the Kindle and Nook apps will soon disappear from Apple's app store some time this year.  Because later, both Amazon and BN will not only be Apple's ebook competitors but also tablet foes as well.

We Need To Support Turkish Protest Against Their Government's Internet Filters

Right wing in less government is one thing but when it comes to try tell people what to do or think (we've got lots of those in the US too), it's definitely something we need to watch out for and fight against.  

Anyway, the Turkish censorship scheme is to take efforts very soon in August.  From the Mashable post, which isn't all that clear, there is a recognizable pattern of slowing putting the squeeze on things.  And there is fear that this is Ankara's way monitoring its citizens.

Anyway, if folks knows a way of voicing support, let us all know.  Because other governments are watching to see if they can do the same thing. Even Western ones.  For better or worse, that's life.

More at Mashable.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

7.1% Mobile Users Use Location-Based Services: Deals Are Needed For Loyalty And Increase Use

I suppose I ought to count myself as among the 7.1% or nearly 17 million mobile warriors in the US who check-in from time to time. No longer do I check into a place if I happen to visit it to use the restroom or grab a quick cup of coffee at Starbucks.  While this Bloomberg post has taken the data from comScore with a more positive spin, I've come across other articles that are more negative.  17 Million users, I reckon most are casual users, is not a big enough market to try to cater a service towards.

The thing to take away from all this is deals, deals, deals.  

This really sums it up. And without it, these check-ins will start to get old and become nothing more than a mobile fad worthy of maybe a few passages in the history of mobile.  See, I hardly check into a Starbucks anymore unless is a new one in a far-flung city.  I mean checking into Starbucks, which is where I happen to be now, means nothing.  I go often enough to the nearest Starbucks but not nearly enough to displace whoever the mayor is.  And how many more coffee badgets can Foursquare offer me?  But give me deals and I'm all over it.

I think Foursquare and the other services out there are missing an opportunity.  They've got a big enough user base that they can leverage their for business opportunities much like the way Groupon and LivingSocial do.  Heck, if I'm the CEO of Foursquare, that's what I'll do tomorrow.  Set up a tech team as well as a procurement team to set up my very own Groupon.  

After all, Facebook is who they all have to contend with.  Facebook has the hundreds of millions of users, which dwarfs Groupon and Foursquare.  It also has a growing (if it is disconcerting...you know, not a care in the world about the privacy of its users) check-in use.  And it is getting into the local deals business.

So, it is only only imperative that Foursquare and others like it consider doing deals that enhance their use, not to mention a revenue stream that has proven to be very lucrative.  

More at Bloomberg.


What Are You And I Doing On Our iPad

A survey took a snap shot of what iPad users are doing on their Apple tablet.  The gist is this:  we consume and consume.  In all likelihood, we have evolved into a different kind of coach potatoes.  A digital or mobile variant of it.

The top activity we do on our iPads is surf the Web.  Love Apple or not, Apple had done in incredible job duplicating the desktop browsing experience and ported it over to the mobile experience.  While the native mobile Safari on the iPad lacks some of the bells and whistles of the deskop version, for 90% of what you need to have a seemless Web experience is there.  And before, you get into Flash, ask the Android folks, not devotees (I wouldn't ask you take anything an Apple fanboy say either), and you'll know that Flash isn't quite there yet.  It's not Google's fault.  It's Adobe.  

The second thing we do a lot of on our iPads is socialize.  In this day, "socializing" means tweeting, checking or update Facebook statuses, or sending messages back and forth with friends/family.  Surprisingly, this category is put into one of its own. I would have thought that they fit in with the Web browsing experience.  After all, I don't use a separate app for Facebook on my Macbook Air.  However, I do use an assortment of apps for Twitter.  

Others is the next biggest category but I'll get into that later.

The next two groups are close enough for me to call it a draw.  Gaming and watching video.  I get why the two are separated but I think they give developers a clearer picture about their development, what to develop, and how to market their apps.  I think it's okay had the survey takers put the two together into one category.  It's entertainment.  

This is a great start but I think something might be missing.  What about business use?  It is possible that some of the Web browsing, e-mailing, and the "other activities" should more appropriately be put into a productivity category.  However, the fact remains that iPad or tablet use is largely non-business related.  It is possible that over time, we will see higher tablet adoption in enterprise.  It is only a matter of time before productivity gains a bigger share of tablet use.  

Another category I like to see surveyed is tablet use in education.  And not just as education in general but how iPads and tablets are helping teachers and students become more engaged in the classroom as well as the learning materials.

More at TUAW.

Another Network Breach: This Time Fox

While I don't think this is a targeted attack against the News Corp empire, it's the second time in less than a month that its network was hacked and employee information stolen.  Seriously, in this day and age?!

Are you kidding me?  We entrust our information to business entities with deep pocket to create networks and, at the very least, make sure they do everything they can to safeguard them. Now, I know there is no such thing as a foolproof network and, yet, this is not happen to everyone but to some.  

If anything, I think this is an issue of human error that should have caught the security hole that allowed hackers to infiltrate them and steal information.  

There is a twist to this.  The hackers in this incident did have some grudge against Fox.  Well, then again, aside from The X-Files, The Siimpsons, and still on the air Fringe, Fox really doesn't have a lot to offer and Foxnews alone is enough to piss off a lot of people. 

More at The Inquirer.

Note:  Frankly, I think Foxnews is wonderful. They are fun to watch and I catch it here and there when there really is nothing to watch on TV.  Don't get me wrong.  As far as I'm concerned, they don't do news but they are the complete opposite of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  They try to be a serious news network that makes shit up.  And they do it night after night.  Folks, that takes talent.  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Solar Used To Sterilize Med Equipment, Cook Food

A new solar apparatus has been created to use the sun to heat up water to create steam. This steam can be used for sterilizing equipments, medical apparatus, or to cool food.

As I understand it, this applies the same concept that is used on solar ovens. We tried it once weekend. I built a crummy version but it worked.

This new autoclave device can really help in situations and places where electricity is scarce or unreliable.

Harnessing the power of the sun is ageless. We all know that solar and other renewable power sources is key to cleaner environment and, one day, will wield us off the current energy sources that produce green house gases.

In first world conditions, we don't worry about cooking oil, having clean water (unless you live in a fracking zone), or electricity. But these same renewable tech should be given equal considerations in helping third world nations or far off villages with their basic and medical needs.

This new implementation by Rice University is called the Capteur Soleil.

There is no mention how soon this tech will reach those who needs it but soon the better. And hopefully, sooner.

More at Earthtechling.

Eli Could Have Gotten A New iPhone If Stargate Universe Wasn't Cancelled

As you know by now, if you're a Stargate or SG-1, Stargate Universe was wrongfully cancelled after two seasons.  The idiots at MGM not withstanding, I hope it lives on in some form, other media.  Maybe even a TV movie.  However, I'm gonna assume one this.  Had there been a season 3, Eli Wallace, could have received a new iPhone or iPad 2.

See, the fictional Department of Homeworld Security could have established another Icarus base.  It potentially would have been a unidirectional trip.  That means the Milky Way could dial the Destiny but not the other way around.  That means at the very least, the Destiny could get supplies.

That means Eli could get a new iPhone 4, or iPhone 5.  Heck, the crew could be supplied with tablets of their choice.  iPads, I reckon, will be the choice that many onboard the ship will make.  

Anyway, like I said at the top, it's unfortunate that MGM decided to cancel the series and SyFy did not fight harder for the series.  TV/Movie execs are just as spineless as music execs, on the same level of politicians, never willing to make the though choices.  There, I got my shot in.

It would be nice to see today's mobile tech play a bigger role in the fictional universe.  Obviously, we've seen Dells used on SG-1.  That's unfortunate.  But as far as fan fiction goes, we own it and I'd say we should give the crew of Destiny new iOS devices as well as the Thunderbolt Macbook Pros.

Link: Stargate, SG: Universe, Gateworld (no, I will not provide links to MGM or SyFy).

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tablet Users Prefer Digital Reading Over Print; Laptop Users Don't

We iPad users prefer reading out our LCD screens over print media by a large margin.  Well, that's not exactly right but it's one interpretation.  By that line of logic, that's 94% of us.

52% of us think digital reading is better than print while 42% thinks digital and print media are about the same.  I think this is something that publishers all need to heed.  Textbook as well as book publishers on down to magazine publishers should understand just how quickly their industries are being transformed in a matter of about a year since the iPad came onto the scene.

I still have books that I like to buy when I head out to Borders or Barnes and Noble.  I like the feel of having a book in my hand.  Nevertheless, I do a major of my reading on the iPad.  And with an estimated 60 million tablets expected to be sold in 2011, the publishers who have not figured out the revolutionary changes taking place, and that's a lot of them, they need to get their acts together or else, they will go the way of the dodos.  

Also, laptop users are not as impressed with digital reading as their tablet counterparts.  So expect more mobile warriors swithc over to the iPad or other tablets over laptops in the coming years.

A bit more at Teleread.

Kindle Tablet: Impact and Specs (PART 1)

Amazon is going to release a tablet that is likely going to be under the "Kindle" banner.  Now, I don't know what the actual specs of such a device is going to be like but we can venture a few educated guesses and speculate on the impacts of Amazon's move into the tablet market.

Hardware.First, I want to suggest that we might see an Android 3, Honeycomb, based Kindle.  It's not a big stretch if you think about it.  Honeycomb is the only version of the Android OS sanctioned by Google for tablet use  And so far, they are almost all based on Nvidia's Tegra 2 chips with a 10" screen.  There will be Kindle specific apps that are not found in the regular Android Marketplace.  We can expect cloud services that are tied into Amazon's music, video, and store.  

Beyond this, your guess is as good as mine.  Perhaps, Amazon might have their own webapps like e-mails.  Certainly, the digital music locker will be a main feature.  

And since Amazon is going to be new a this, I expect it to partner up with a wireless provider or two.  If true, I expect the partner to be AT&T.  And who will built the Kindle tablet?  My top suspect is Samsung.  In fact, the Kindle tablet could be a partnership between Amazon and Samsung with the latter playing a bigger role than just the manufacturer.  

We might see a 7" version.  In fact, it's very likely this will be the case.  Barnes and Noble's Nook Color is around the same size and costs only $250.  Amazon will be competitive in this area.

Whether it'll be a 7" or 10" Kindle tablet, I would not be surprised if Amazon tries to keep the cost down with advertisements, similar to their back-and-white Kindle with "special offers".  

I know this  What we will not see is a hybrid e-ink and LCD screen.  

So, what's your best guess?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sony Doesn't Have A Prayer To Be Android King

Sony was one of the best consumer brand in the world.  It still is up there but when you think PC, TV, or phones, you think Samsung.  And now, it looks like Sony wants to embrace Android in a bit way.  Maybe even be king.  No way.  Not gonna happen.

Right now, Samsung and HTC are top sellers of Android phones.  Sony really is no where near them.  Still, this post suggests that Sony is doubling the number of Android phones suggest that Sony will try to be near the top.  Here's the problem.

Sony was Apple before Apple was Apple.  Sony commanded a premium.  It was innovative.  It was efficient.  Nowadays, it's just one of the brands out there fighting for our hard earned money.  And there are plenty of other places we can go to buy what we want for the best value.

In the past, Sony commanded respect and, therefore, can price their goods at a premium.  Not so anymore.  It's a nice move to have a layer on Android for Playstation games but it's very gimmicky.  Other than that, Sony does not have anything that stands out from the crowd.

The only way Sony can return to the top and regain its former form is to truly innovate and not be a "me too" profile.  It should have been the one to have bought Palm and try to leverage Web OS with all its potentials.  It should be shedding businesses that are a drag on the company and focus on areas where it can work off of and innovate.

And it needs to listen to its customers.  Sony does not have a visionary within its ranks so it has no choice but to seek direction from the marketplace.  Sony is no longer a place where it can visualize where the market should be taken or innovate and design products that consumers don't know yet that they want.  

However, it doesn't have to be.  It just has to figure out a way to stand out.  Just as Motorola learned, with Droid, it's just one of the boys and it's why it is working on its own OS.  Even Samsung has its own mobile OS that its supporting.  Sony would be wise to follow a similar strategy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chrome OS A Threat To Apple? Not Even Close

Chrome OS netbooks are coming from Google's usual partners, Samsung and Acer.  Lots of buzz about this.  $20 A month rental for school and $28 for businesses.  But why would you?  I think with Google, these products are perpetual betas and you run the risk of it not working out as planned more than most other products.

Do you seriously want to take the chance with your future with a browser-based netbook?  Your education?  Your business?  Take your pick.  so, no, I don't see Chrome OS as a threat to anything or anyone.  Not a threat to Apple.  Not even Microsoft.

Still, it's good to see Google put its hat into the PC market. The competition between Apple and Microsoft is fierce but, you have to admit, it's bland.  Google's taking computing into a different direction and that's gonna make Apple think differently.  

Not a threat but for Apple fans, Chrome OS can only mean great things coming out of Apple.

Toys R Us Solar Installation to Provide 5MW of Power, Imagine if Larger Retailers Do The Same

A New JerseyToys R' Us store is going to get a 5MW solar installation  It's a fantastic first step.  Of course, the giraffe guys are not the first to be doing this.  Walmart, by my reckoning, did this with a few of their stores a while back.

Still, imagine if all the large retailers install solar panels on everyone of their roofs.  Let's assume that each will have a similar 5MW capacity.  

Between, Costco, Walmart, Sears, Kmart, Toys R Us, Whole Foods, Home Depot, and Target, they've got close to 10,000 locations.  That would mean more than 45 gigawatts of power generated from solar alone.

Not a big dent but it would be a nice re-jump-start and serve as a reminder just how much further we need to go for our power needs.  If all these guys get involved, it would do wonders for the economy of scale for solar industry.  Hey, I'm okay with wind turbines too.  Any renewable energy implementation that'll help us cut back on foreign petro needs works for me.

There is a lot of attention of late about the US military providing the drive for renewable energy innovation and eventually we as consumers will benefit from the first-moves made by the military.  But businesses in the US can do just as much if not more.

More at Tree Hugger.

VISA To Get Ball Rolling On Mobile Payments This Fall

Looks like VISA is taking the initiative and setting up an NFC payment network.  Hey, someone has to and as I've mentioned in the past, it would likely take VISA or Mastercard to get involved to move things along  

What is also cool is that VISA should get a lot of banks onboard and has a few tricks up its sleeve that might make it easier for people to trust it.  After all, security and privacy is going to be a big big issue from now on.  

What will it potentially involve?

  • Multiple payment systems.  It does not necessarily have to be VISA credit cards.
  • dynamic authentication for security purposes.
  • NFC abilities on credit cards.  It means you don't need a mobile or phone.  This could also mean that any device with NFC capability without phone functions, like iPod touches, can be used to make mobile payments.
  • Services to be available on the fall for the US and Canada - why not Mexico?!
  • Can involve opt-in deals for merchants.
Two things I like to add.  Social networks and privacy.  I'm not a big Facebook fan with regards to their privacy.  I like to see social network aspects added to the NFC network that VISA is creating here or anyone else who might develop their own.  

Groupon, LivingSocial, Gowalla, Yelp, Foursquare should also be involved one way or another.  Even Twitter.  However, privacy should be the most important aspect of social functions and NFC.  It ought to be opt in and just because a consumer wants a deal doesn't mean that he or she has to give up their live stories to anyone.  Otherwise, you can forget about it.  

Pretty excited about this.  Big time.  This is one of the first networks and I'm sure we'll hear from other credit card companies, the mobile device makers, and banks.  Just the beginning.

More at Electronista.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mobile Basket Case: Motorola Can't Be Happy With Android And/Or Google Today

Xoom is supposed to be the flagship effort to tabletize Android, Android 3.0 or Honeycomb.  And by all accounts, Motorola has done a fantastic job with the hardware.  As for software, that's Google's department.  And with any version one (or version two or version three...) of anything from Google, you're in beta territory.

Still, the review for Xoom, despite Google's unfinished version of Honeycomb, has been positive, much more so than those for RIM's Playbook.  And Xoom hasn't done too badly in the marketplace despite limited distribution.  

However, Motorola cannot be too happy with Google today.  Why?  Instead of going out Xooms at its Android conference today, it gave out Samsung's tablets.  And not to the 7" Galaxy Tab that has been on the market but an unreleased 10-inch tablet! 

Xoom suddenly became yesterday's news as Google embraces its newest bestest friend, Samsung.  And why not?  Samsung, by valuation, is the biggest multi-national company with a deep pocket to help Google in its march towards mobile dominance.  HTC, the first company to come out with an Android device, still doesn't have anything that can compete with the iPad.  Again, Xoom has done well.

Still, regardless of Motorola and HTC's best effort, it's nothing like the 3 million+ preorders (worldwide, shipping and not sold) for Samsung's next Android device, the Galaxy S II.  The Galaxy brand has the potential to rival the iPhone in name.  Certainly has in South Korea, Samsung's home court.  

So Google embracing Samsung's tablet as the best hope against the iPad make a lot of sense.  Nevertheless, Motorola execs are probably fuming right about now. It's no wonder they are working on their own OS.  


Today's Good And Bad Google Announcements

Here's a summary of what I think about Google's Android announcements  Short and sweet.

Google is doing a lot of things right in creating an ecosystem that can sustain the Android realm.  

  • Music locker, though without labels' blessings
  • Android OS will no longer have a forked roadmap but will come together much like Apple's iOS
  • Though Google claims Android to be "open", it's not.  That's good.  As a consumer, we want Google to take charge and buy devices that play by Google's rules.  It's the only way we know our Android devices will work properly.
  • Google TV getting apps.
  • New USB support for peripherals.  We can be looking at an Android console soon.
Here are a couple of things that Google did not do right by Android.

  • Nothing on the privacy front.  Seriously, all those viruses lurking around and privacy violations
  • Came up with an update scheme that doesn't work.  It's a smoke screen to make Android appear "open".  Announces two-year guarantee upgrade.  But subject to the device being upgradable.  
  • Android still not as easy to use as the iPhone. UI seems bland on the smartphone still.  
  • Nothing on fragmentation and this will turn off developers. Nor anything in piracy either.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

iPad Sneaks Into Top Floor Of Corporations

I don't work for a company that has a top floor.  We only have one floor but my boss has an iPad.  And more and more, he is realizing the potential of having a light 10-hour mobile device with wireless connection that allows him to work and play no matter where he is in the world.  You could do that with a laptop but when you're the CEO and president of a company, having to start up a laptop with a 3-4 hour battery life just doesn't have the same appeal and ease of use as what the iPad brings to the table.

And thought I've already got my own iPad, he is also looking to spread the tablet love to the rest of the company.  We're a small company and that's just us.  Companies many times bigger are virtually doing the same thing.  Hundreds of iPads are being adopted by one company while another with thousands are being deployed.  

Whether it's iPads, Xoom or other Android devices, or RIM's Playbook, it's an opportunity for everyone.  And hardware aside, apps optimized for tablets are also changing the way we work.  

The main thing is that productivity will benefit greatly when information are just a few touches and swipes away.  

While our company doesn't have apps that we develop in house for easy access to our data, what apps are available are working for us.  I'll getting into another post about what apps my boss uses to help him with his work.  The bottom line is that for someone who isn't all that into computers, he sure loves his iPad 2.

Mobile Initiative Coming From VISA - Next Week

VISA is looking to make a huge splash in the mobile payment sphere in a big way next week.  At least that's what its CEO said during a financial call. How big?  I'm guess it's bigger than the one that AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon ambitiously tried to create before scaling it back, even before its launch.  

Only time will tell when, not if, we will start paying for things with our mobile devices.  What of AMEX, Mastercard, and Discover? 

I was always curious about how the wireless providers could have came up with a payment system without involving the credit card companies.  Even if the likes of eBay (with Paypal), Google's Checkout, or even Apple's database of hundreds of millions of credit cards, they would all still have to go through the credit card companies.  

I envision VISA creating its own protocol or API that would allow developers and device makers to use of NFC abilities that more and more smartphones will support.  Maybe there won't be a splash from VISA.  We are looking at a move from a bunch of credit cards in our wallets to a bunch of credit cards in our mobile devices.

Still, I'm pretty excited.  

More at RCR Wireless.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Space Shuttle Delay Shows We Need A Newer Robust Launch System

As nostalgic as it is to see the 2nd to the last shuttle launch is, I'm not sure I'm going to miss it.  Another delay.  I look forward to the day when we can launch something into space without much consideration for weather and that the equipment and the launch vehicles are robust enough so that we won't have to have thousands of people working on one launch.

In fact, I want those same thousands of NASA scientists and technicians to be launching multiple vehicles in different parts of the country on a more regular basis.  Or, these same workers could be working in the private space sector doing the same thing.  I don't know when that day will come but I certainly hope it'll be sooner rather than later.  

Yes, the space shuttles are a reminder to the enthusiasm for space exploration.  That was then.  What does the future hold?  It's hard to say.  I'm beginning to think the public is confusing exploration with launch telescopes, robots to Mars, and make sure we have a web of satellites for our TV and Internet.

I loved it when President Bush announced that we would go back to the "moon and beyond".  Of course, it was more about sound bites.  I knew that.  But it was still nice to dream.  

With the Chinese working hard to catch up to the US and Russia, I think America always needed a challenge, staying ahead of everyone else, I don't know what is.  

More at News.com.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

iOS Making More Money For EA…than DS And PSP Combined?!

According to EA, it's mobile revenue is $70 million while DS and PSP pulled in $28 million and $16 million respectively.  Not bad right?

It's hard to say since the margins can vary.  EA probably makes more from DS and PSP sales considering how much more expensive those games are but it more than makes up for the smaller margins on mobile sales through volume.  All in all, not a bad quarter.

Now consider this.  Apple's popular iOS devices, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, dominates the app store revenue with about 80% of the market.  Taking a bit of a leap and extending that to EA's mobile revenue, Apple's ecosystem could be helping EA generate $56 million of total mobile sales.

That means the iOS platform is taking in more sales than DS and Sony combined!  

Of course, this is just some fuzzy math I'm throwing out there but I am pretty sure I am not that far off.  Without knowing the margin, we won't know if developing and selling games for the iOS is more profitable than for dedicated gaming devices.  Still, with the explosive growth that mobile is experiencing, not only will mobile revenue dwarf handheld gaming revenue, but mobile profit will eclipse those generated by DS/PSP many times over.

More at TUAW.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Should The Media Be Talking About the SEALs So Much?

If we know the identity of the shooter who put Osama Bin Laden's sorry ass out of his misery, I'll among the tens if not hundreds (even billions) of people who want to buy the guy a beer or two.  Reminds me of Jack Bauer.  My friends, who are 24 fans, and I actually joked that it was Jack who did it.

And jokes aside, should the media be talking about the SEALs and talk about where they're based and such?  Team Six.  They're my heroes but reporting where they are stationed and where they train, I just don't know.  Or how about a local report that says where they go eat?

I really appreciate what these guys did.  They're humble warriors.  The best of the best.  And they put themselves in danger time and time again.  I just hope the media is more careful about these reports. Just make sure they're not put into more danger than they put themselves into on our behalf.

Here's a most from WP that profiles what the kind of soldier who sent Osama to hell.  A nice article that doesn't reveal more about the SEALs than it has to.

Streaming Videos And iPads Caused TV Ownership Drop First Time in 20 Year

Neilsen reports that TV ownership has dropped from 98.9% to 96.7%, the first drop in 20 years.  They gave two reasons: poverty and technological changes in how we consume content, specifically, the NYT article mentioned laptops.  

I think I've got another couple of reasons that are more important.  Streaming video and tablets.  It's no accident that this drop came now and not earlier or not change at all.  We've had other recessions in the past 20 years and that has not changed TV ownership as dramatically as this 2% change.

While Neilsen is right about streaming videos as a cause, it's not just due to laptops.  Ask the netbook makers and other PC makers being thrashed by the iPad.  And yeah, though they won't admit it, the iPad, with 75-80% of the tablet and mobile media device marketshare, has changed how we consume video with its greater portability than laptops and its awesome 10+ hour battery life.

So don't be surprised if we continue to see a drop in TV ownership in the next few years.  But don't worry, that percentage of TV ownership will only drop to a point - big screen HDTV will still be the number source for media consumption.  The real question to ask is if tablets will outnumber TV in households.  

And the answer to that is obvious, at least, to me.  So, it's important for the studios to begin to consider new deals and models that will cater to a growing mobile audience that might spend more time watching videos on tablets and smartphones on the go than in the living room.

More at NYT.

How I Found Out About Osama Getting What He Deserved, AP Told Me

It was Sunday when the Americans and much of the Western Hemisphere learned about Osama Bin Laden getting what he deserved.  This is one of those events in our lives that we will always remember where you were when you found out.  I was at home when I started up the browser and shocked to read about it.  This was a day that many of us would not think we'll see.  At least, now that I've read up on how the special op went down, not in the way that was so dramatic.  

Like I said, I was at home but it was earlier when my AP app on the iPod touch informed me that the President will be making an address.  This was around 1900 PST.  Yeah, President Obama wanted to talk to Americans on a Sunday night.  This could not be good.

When I got the notification, I was in my drive way on the way to go get dinner.  I immediately went back into the house to grab my mobile hotspot just in case I needed to read up on what's going on.  

Went to the supermarket, got food for the week as well as dinner.  Came home.  Along the way, I got a couple of more notifications from other apps and e-mails. Then around 8:30, stuff started going crazy.  Texts, e-mails, calls.  Even a FaceTime chat with my uncle and aunt about it.

After that, the President addressed the nation from the White House to confirm it.

Is this how we are going to find out about breaking news from now on?  Push notifications?  For many of us mobile warriors, I reckon that to be so.  I don't watch much television and I catch up on my video on Hulu.  News I get each morning on the Web.  Ordinarily, I don't use my Macbook unless I want to tweet or update my blogs  

Had I not have my touch with me, I probably would not have known about this until Monday morning.  

Sunday, May 1, 2011

FBI Agents In Cyber Security Have No Adequate Skills

One out of three FBI agents assigned to work on cyber intrusion or similar cases lack the necessary skils in networking and other counterintelligence for a list of variety of reasons.  

This conclusion was initiated by the Justice Department inspector general.  While there are courses offered by the FBI to help agents acquire the necessary skills, agents did not have the time to complete the training.

And just as disturbing is the information sharing that are restricted at times.  According to this audit, a NCIS investigator had requested information on a hacker but the FBI did not provide the information - excuse was need-to-know policies that was put into place.  However, the NCIS said the level of sharing depends on who at the FBI they make the request for information.

I don't know about you but I find this kind of thing very disturbing.  I guess I'll keep an eye out on this to see if things change.  It is still incredible to find such reports in the aftermath of 9/11.  Reports upon reports, hearings and hearings, and other investigations, and pissing contests still exist.

More at MSNBC.