When I first read about how Nokia seems to think “people don’t like touchscreen phones”, I thought they got it all wrong. People don’t like touchscreen devices which can’t be operated intuitively using your fingers (i.e. rely on a stylus). Now Nokia totally does an about turn and is embracing touch and “optical sensor” technology with open arms.
Good news for me they’re announcing this in the context of the CommunicAsia show. I’ll be around tomorrow, hope I get to see something interesting from Nokia.
The above was the title of a popular post on the Reddit frontpage today. In fact, there are two other stories on the Reddit frontpage right now (all in the top 10) taking a shot at AT&T. Is ANYTHING worth this sort of humiliation within a group of potential customers, more so if the group influencer’s like those that frequent Reddit or Digg? Apparently AT&T thinks so.
This was, of course, in response to AT&T’s decision to start sharing information on movie and music pirates with the MPAA and the RIAA. These pirates are also AT&T Internet customers, of course. AT&T seems to think this is a good idea because it will help them earn brownie points with the studions, and in turn get a share of the entertainment pie for its internet and phone business.
This, of course, is the worst example of groupthink and suit-talk possible. What AT&T did is betray its customers in the worst possible way, to the worst possible people. Anyone who reads technology blogs or visits popular collectives like Digg knows the reputation the RIAA and the MPAA enjoy.
Stuff like this does not fly today. I can’t wait for the bloggers to go crazy once the first lawsuits are served to AT&T customers. I hope some provider captures this golden opportunity by taking out ads on Digg, Reddit, Wired, Slashdot, etc. to the lines of “We’ll NEVER Sell You Out”.
The game changing news to come out of the computing world today is not the Microsoft tabletop computer, but rather the Palm Foleo. The idea is something that has been a pet project of mine for some time now, and Palm got it 70% right in my opinion. Ultraportable devices have been around for some years, with Sony making some amazing models, usually exclusively sold in Japan. As with all things geek, eventually the truly great ideas start trickling down into the mainstream. Let’s start with what I like about the device:
- Smartphone companion: So you can edit the same documents and share files, natural and instant syncing via bluetooth. Messaging inbox sharing and other goodies too.
- Selling this as a new class of computer. Not trying to do everything at once.
- Instant On! No waiting for it to boot up. Excellent. Very consumer electronic-ish and uncomputer-ish.
- Reasonable good price point: < $500. I would have knocked off a 100 more off the price, especially if you already have a Palm phone, but then I think the current price is still within limits of reason.
- Focus on the internet: Documents are mundane. The killer app for the Foleo is the internet. Connectivity over WiFi and bluetooth for (probably) using the smartphone as a modem means that you can always be online, anywhere.
What I don’t like about the Foleo focuses less on the specifications (full specs are yet to come out, really) and more on the positioning of the product.
- Runs Linux: I know i’ll get flack for this, but Windows still sell’s. Yet, they could twist this to their own advantage by not even calling the Foleo a “Laptop”, but rather a personal productivity device.
- Poor Battery life: 5 hours of juice when running WiFi might be a lot of a laptop user, but most subnotebook users get that much already with smart power management. I remember the old old (2001?) HP Jornada 720 used to get almost 9 hours of battery. Sure, the screen is bigger here and the connectivity options grander, but hey, 6 years is a lifetime in this business and they should be able to offer the same battery at the very least.
- “Laptop”: At the unveiling, some Palm personnel kept calling the Foleo a “laptop”. Is that the best they can do. They have laptops retailing at WalMart that are cheaper and faster, and you have laptops that are smaller (Vaio, etc.). They DO NOT want to go there with this. This is more like a supplement to your smartphone and full fledged desktop/laptop, a little device you can carry on trips/to meetings/to school so that you can remain productive on the go without carrying a heavy laptop around.
Palm needs as much good news as it can possibly get at the moment. But will the Foleo deliver the goods? Comments on the usual tech blogs have been bleak, but they usually tend to be so towards things aimed at the mass market (and not made by Apple). Anyways, the idea is to passionately appeal to 20% of users rather than be something 70% might consider maybe. Personally, I don’t think this is enough to save Palm as an independent company, but its definitely a step in the right direction after several false mis-starts (read: UMPC) in the ultramobile personal computing segment. Will be keeping an eye on this one.
I thought I knew what efficiency was, until I read about these guys. The dabbawalla’s are a six-sigma certified, extremely efficient delivery “service” based in Mumbai, India. Fans, allegedly, include Bill Gates and Richard Branson. They make 200,000 deliveries a day, picking up food from homes and delivering to offices around the city. It is estimated that they make one mistake in 6,000,000 deliveries, which I imagine is much better than FedEx. And they do it barefoot, sans education, vehicular transport and computers!
I am looking forward to meeting these guys on my India trip this summer.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you already know about the Apple iPhone, which happens to be the most anticipated launch of the year. A lot of ink (and bytes) has been devoted to the subject, so I’ll be brief:
- It’s way too expensive. $500! No way! The iPhone is not going truly mainstream until it drops to the 350 mark.
- Competitive market: Nokia, Moto, Sony, etc. aren’t going to roll over and play dead. This is not the mp3 player market of 2001, with little competition, catering to uber-geeks or those with patience for a big learning curve. Already, Sony has the excellent Walkman series of phones out there and Nokia has the N Series that is doing well. Video is supported on mobiles
- Innovation: With the iPod, Apple bought iTunes to the table.
- Teething problems: Did you buy a 1st Gen iPod? Neither did I!
Since it’s easy to bitch and harder to deliver, here’s something for Mr. Job’s to chew over:
- Aim this at the Video market. Let this be the only Widescreen iPod on the market, which makes Video an altogether more pleasurable experience. Release an unlocked version, without the WiFi and other fancy features (just Phone + Widescreen iPod) for those who don’t want to be tied into Cingular and want a simpler video capable iPod phone. Add more video content to iTunes and market this as the best (and sexiest) option to play video on the go. One more thing, the cheaper version should go for abt $550 unlocked and $300 with a contract.
Of course this is Apple and the iPhone will DEFINITELY sell out. But Apple seriously needs to do the above if it wants to get a large chunk of the market and not remain a niche player. Steve Jobs has said that they want 1% of the market by the end of the year, and they just might get it (thats 10 million phones), but the going will get harder after that unless they have a cheaper model which has a definitive advantage over other phones (video + iTunes).
I know I haven’t posted for a while, and I apologize. Been busy with a lot of things. But I am preparing something big for the near future, so bear with me a little while longer!
Meanwhile, I do believe in simple explanations and this graph, from alexaholic, seems to explain to me why Facebook will never fetch the kind of numbers people are throwing around. But dont hold me on that, I don’t want to pull a Cuban 🙂
Click to Enlarge
(It’s a simple graph comparing traffic on Facebook and Youtube for the last 6 months, facebook in blue, youtube in red, in case you still don’t get)
XuQa.com, the social networking/online “real” game site I previously blogged about, is having an online amateur Poker challenge on the 28th. Everyone is invited to play and the (total) prize is a cool 8 grand (10 winners), sponsored by PartyPoker. Not a bad for a lazy days work. Click here to get in on the action. Membership and admission is free.
If youre playing, drop a comment here. I might catch you at the tables.