Archive for the ‘mobile marketplace’ Category
I’m going to have to start naming this “Mobile Monday.”
Because on Mondays, it seems like there’s always something of import to occur within the mobile space.
I guess one could say that for every other day of the week, and maybe it just seems more notable to me on Mondays.
In today’s case, it was Yahoo’s announced acquisition of Summly, a mobile app that has a unique algorithm which helps summarize news stories and which was started by a 15 year-old programmer, Nick D’Alosio. The Summly took Apple’s “Best Apps of 2012″ award for Intuitive Touch capability.
So of course the first thing that will happen post acquisition is that the app will be REMOVED from the App Store starting today.
Does that seem counterintuitive or is it just me?
Kid writes app, app receives a gazillion downloads, Yahoo buys app, makes kid rich, Yahoo removes app from App Store.
Only in the tech industry.
The idea, of course, being that someday soon the capabilities of Summly will find themselves embedded in other Yahoo apps. Yeah, and I’ve got some great swamp land in south Florida that I’d like to show you.
On the topic of mobile, nobody’s ever really created a good mobile Bluetooth keyboard that’s portable and, preferably, folds up…and I’ve tried just about all of them…Kickstarter, anyone?
But I am VERY happy with my new daskeyboard keyboard, which I’m going to tell you all about now.
When I’m working at home, it’s like hearing a machine gun emanating from my office (They don’t call me Turbo for nothin’, and it mostly had to do with my typing speed…How else would you expect me to be able to generate all these blog posts!?)
I saw daskeyboards for the first time last year at SXSW, but I was able to contain my credit card. This year, I decided to jump in headfirst.
With a discount, I was able to get the daskeyboard Pro Model S for about $100, and though that might seem like a lot for a keyboard, when you spend as much time every day in front of a computer as I do, it seemed like a pretty good investment at the time — and that turned out to be the case.
Remember those original IBM AT and XT (and later, PS/2) computers where you could use those clickety-clack Model M keyboards? Well, daskeyboard has reinvented that PC keyboarding past, and you can now go clickety-clack at 90 words per minute with the lightest, softest, but clickiest touch you can imagine.
Only this time, you can do it on both Macs and PCs, and you can do it all in black.
Anybody watch that Samsung Galaxy S4 launch last night on the Webcast from Radio City Music Hall in New York City?
Well, the latest episode of Smash it certainly was not. I think the entire show could probably have used a dramaturg, but hey, what do I know? The last show I saw at Radio City Music Hall was Iron Maiden sometime around 1985.
But, if Samsung doesn’t exactly have a handle on the number of the thespian beast, they certainly do seem to have learned how to make smartphones.
Once I got past all the drama last night, I was ready to shell out a few hundred bucks to move back into the smartphone camp (I’m currently carrying an LG feature phone from Verizon, because unlike most people, I actually still use my cell phone to TALK to OTHER HUMAN BEINGS.) I currently depend on an iPod Touch 5th gen for most of my tablet computing (news consumption, email, calendaring, shooter games, travel, etc.)
But at some point, I’m going to create my own harmonic computing convergence and try to come back to one device.
Of course, the price point for an unlocked Galaxy S4 will likely require a second mortage, and that’s if you can even find one.
So I’m also keeping an eye on the downmarket players like BLU Products, a little known player from whom I recently ordered an unlocked feature phone for $35 that I now use as my bat phone.
BLU is introducing a whole slate of new smartphones in April, entitled “Live View,” “Life One,” and “Life Play,” all of which will allegedly be sold unlocked on Amazon and range between $229 and $299.
The Life View model will include a 5.7-inch display (bigger than the Galaxy 5 at 5 inches), a 12-megapixel rear/5-megapixel front camera, 1GB RAM, 16GB of expandable storage, and also a 2,600Ah battery for those lonnngg plane rides to Bangalore.
I imagine that phone will be “good enough,” and you can learn more here on Engadget.
What’s apparently not good enough for Google is having an RSS reader. It was just announced that Google Reader was going to be taken out back to the Google woodshed and shot, as of July 1 of this year, a resultant casualty of Google’s annual “Spring Cleaning.”
To whit I ask, couldn’t they have found something less useful to “clean?”
Not to pile on, but this is a really dumb move for Google, if not for the bad PR value alone (and there’s been plenty of that). Google Reader was a beloved product, if only by the niche social digerati — you know, all those massive influencers with a big social media megaphone.
For my money, it’s a jaded move — Google’s not making any money off Reader, and RSS feeds are notoriously difficult to measure, so why not bury it in the Mountain View backyard? On the other hand, it would be nice for them to keep a useful tool that helps we bloggers keep our blogging sanity, and Reader does/did? just that.
C’est la Google vie…I’ve turned to Feedly online and on the iPod, and Reeder on the Mac, to assuage my soon-to-be Google Readerless existence. So far, I’m digging the newspaper-ish like layout. I just hope I can learn how to add and subtract feeds as easily as I was able to on the Google Reader cloud.
As for my post-SXSW-partum depression, the sun’s shining in Austin and I plan to get out and play some golf this weekend. But I’ll just say this: For me, Best SouthBy ever. I saw a lot of great speakers and sessions, talked to a lot of cool and interesting people, consumed some of my native city’s great food and drink, and enjoyed myself all the way around.
And for those of you who made it to the IBM party at Haven Saturday night, well how about that? Definitely NOT your father’s IBM.
The bar she has been raised.
One of the memes that seems to be jutting out from the first hours of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas centers around this notion of the “Smarter Home,” and IBM has jumped in head first.
Earlier today, IBM, STMicroelectronics, and Shaspa announced a collaboration to tap cloud and mobile computing for manufacturers and service providers to provide innovative ways for consumers to manage and interact with their homes’ functions and entertainment systems using multiple user interfaces such as voice recognition and physical gestures for a smarter home.
Yes, it looks as though we’ll finally be able to do something more productive with our appliances and air conditioning systems than simply yell at them!
A “smart home” brings networking functions together, creating a gateway that connects a television, computer or mobile device with smart meters, lights, appliances, plugs and sensors within the home as well as services from outside. Parks Associates forecasts that more than 8 billion devices will be connected on the home network by year-end 2015.
In Las Vegas this week during CES, the three companies mentioned will demonstrate a TV linked to ST’s Home Gateway, running software from business partner Shaspa, and connected to the IBM cloud.
Through sensors, the system can monitor home parameters such as temperature, carbon dioxide level through a wireless or batteryless IPv6 network, or human motion within the home. The data can be communicated to a smartphone or tablet via a wireless router. I
n this way, the homeowner can offload much of the home management to the cloud and interact with the system using event and time-based preset scenarios.
The companies anticipate that this initiative could allow consumers to use any device capable of running apps to manage a variety of personal activities such as viewing their home’s energy consumption; controlling security, heating and lighting systems; activating home appliances such as washing machines; monitoring health and assisted living conditions; or engaging in e-commerce.
Sony Bravia, Let The Pizza Guy In!
For example, a person with limited mobility could gesture to the TV to unlock the front door, turn up the heat or check vital signs. This project represents the future of electronics technology as sensing devices and equipment seamlessly respond to user needs and requests, emulating the way humans sense their environment.
In this project, ST’s Home Gateway and Shaspa’s embedded software acts as a bridge between the home and cloud services provided by the IBM SmartCloud Service Delivery Platform, which gives electronics manufacturers a cloud platform to manage smart devices and rapidly introduce new consumer services.
The gateway, based on a STiH416, provides the physical connectivity, provisioning and management middleware, application protocols, and interfaces for connecting and controlling the “Internet of Things.” The connected-home System-on-Chip runs software including Linux and a service management system compliant with the OSGi industry standard.
The infrastructure for the gateway-cloud service operation is provided by Shaspa’s GUI and application software.
Going Mobile In Your Living Room
IBM Worklight, in combination with the Mobile Interface of the Shaspa embedded software, is the mobile application platform that enables end users to control and manage their homes from their personal devices. The mobile platform is used to build the application, connect the app to all the sensors within the home, and manage all events that take place.
IBM software such as MQ Series and Worklight helps transmit the data to mobile devices. Data captured in the cloud supports the discovery of new insights through advanced analytics.
“Smarter buildings are an essential part of the journey towards a sustainable world, and this building-to-cloud system shows that connected living is becoming possible today,” said Oliver Goh, Founder & CEO of Shaspa. “This secure, scalable offering with be the enabler for ecosystems, enabling the fast creation and deployment of value-add services.”
The idea of an intelligent home that uses technology to enhance the lives of its occupants is far from new; in fact, it was a major theme in the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. We are now in a position to realize the intelligent-home dream with systems that feature scalability, interoperability and security built-in from the start. This requires collaborations among leading players across the ecosystem.
The demo will be shown at two venues near the Las Vegas Convention Center: A private, invitation-only suite at The Encore Hotel (ST) and The Venetian, exhibit meeting room 2405 (IBM).
About IBM Cloud and Mobile Computing
Mobility is fundamentally transforming the way people live, work, play and make decisions. As the first new technology platform for business to emerge since the advent of the World Wide Web, mobile computing represents one of the greatest opportunities facing organizations.
With an array of solutions that connect, secure, manage and develop the networks, infrastructure and applications that run the growing number of devices. IBM is enabling governments and industries to reinvent their business and reach customers, employees, partners and other constituents in completely new ways.
You can learn more about IBM’s Mobile Enterprise solutions here.
IBM has also helped thousands of clients adopt cloud models and manages millions of cloud based transactions every day. IBM assists clients in areas as diverse as banking, communications, healthcare and government to build their own clouds or securely tap into IBM cloud-based business and infrastructure services.
IBM is unique in bringing together key cloud technologies, deep process knowledge, a broad portfolio of cloud solutions, and a network of global delivery centers. For more information about IBM cloud solutions, visit www.ibm.com/smartcloud. Follow on Twitter @cloudchat and on our blog at www.thoughtsoncloud.com.
It’s that time of year. Google has released its 2012 Zeitgeist, telling us what’s on the minds of the world’s searchers.
Facebook, not to be out done, has released the Facebook Year In Review, ”a look back at the people, moments and things that created the most buzz in 2012 among the billion people around the world on Facebook.”
Now, go and ask folks what they think about Facebook’s everchanging privacy controls, and we’ll see if the Facebook Year In Review gets soon revised.
But I’m actually more interested in a big report from a small, but growing networking software and social business upstart located right here in Austin, Texas.
Spiceworks connects 2.2 million IT professionals with more than 1,300 technology brands, and offers its IT management software through a novel ad-supported model. In turn, it claims to “help businesses to discover, buy and manage $405 billion worth of technology products and services each year.”
Spiceworks just released its semi-annual “State of SMB IT Report,” a collection of statistics, trends and opinions from small and medium business technology professionals from amongst their community.
This December’s study is the seventh edition, and claims to “keep the pulse on the happenings of small and medium business IT professionals and IT departments.”
First, I’m just happy to discover they still have a pulse.
The National Federation of Independent Business’ “Small Business Optimism Index,” which is reported monthly, indicated in its November report one of the steepest declines in its history. In fact, it has reported a lower index value only seven times since it first conducted its monthly surveys in 1986.
The Index dropped a full 5.6 points in November, bottoming out at 87.5 (In 2000, by juxtaposition, it was well above 100), indicating something was rotten in November. The Index’s own Web statement suggested “it is very clear that a stunning number of [small business] owners…expect worse business conditions in six months,” and that nearly half are certain things will be worse next year than they are now, with a head nod to the looming fiscal cliff talks, the promise of higher healthcare costs, and the “endless onslaught of new regulations.”
Chicken Little, the SMB sky is falling!
Clouds, Virtualization, And Tablets Are Driving The SMB IT Spending Bus
But fear not, the SMB adoption of new technology is riding to the small business rescue, or so suggests the Spiceworks SMB IT study.
The headlines? Though IT budgets are on the rise in the SMB, hiring new staff is at a standstill. But for those still standing, in the last six months, SMBs adopted tablets and cloud services in fast-growing numbers.
Here are the four key findings:
- Tablet adoption keeps its momentum and nears smartphone levels. Hardware maintains the lion’s share of IT spend in the SMB.
- Adoption of cloud services spikes; desktop virtualization shows strong potential. (Can you say “Go long on VMWare??”)
- IT budgets reached their highest point in the last three years, while hiring freezes are up.
- BYOD is still a hot topic, though IT pros are split on the issue.
Diving down a bit, on the subject of tablets, 53 percent of SMBs now support tablets on their network, making them almost as popular as smartphones at 59 percent.
Cloud services are now used by 62 percent of SMBs, up from 48 percent in the first half of 2012.
With respect to IT budgets, they’re on the rise, averaging $162K, up from $152K in 1H 2012. But only 26 percent plan on hiring IT staff in the second half.
And on BYOD, whlie 14 percent fully embrace the trend, 32 percent say it works well for some devices, but not for others. Digging deeper, I discovered that smartphones led with 81 percent BYOD support, while tablets only garnered 62 percent.
And somewhat ironically, there’s more support for BYOD in much smaller organizations (defined here as less than 20 employees) than larger ones (50 percent in those above 250 employees).
I would encourage you to go here and register to download the full report, but the top line is this: If you’re an IT vendor looking for budget flush at the end of 2012, desktops, laptops, and servers are certainly low-hanging fruit, with tablets bringing on the most growth.
And on the software front, be on the lookout for disaster recovery and storage solutions (an IT mainstay through downturns), cloud-based solutions, and virtualization software.
Whatever you do make, just make sure you make those new purchases with “Gangnam Style” — and if you have no idea of what I’m referring to, see above with regards to the 2012 Google Zeitgeist!
If you’re interested in gaining some insights into the upcoming holiday retail madness, you need to mark your calendar.
This coming Monday, November 19th, the IBM Smarter Commerce team, in partnership with Direct Marketing News, will host a Twitter chat.
Featuring IBM’s holiday retail analytics prognosticator, Jay Henderson, IBM’s Enterprise Marketing Management Global Strategy Program Director, and Richard Feinberg, Purdue University’s Professor of Consumer Sciences and Retailing, the Twitter Chat will be held Monday from 1:00-2:00 PM EST via the #smartershopping hash tag.
Allison Schiff, web editor for Direct Marketing news, will moderate from the @DMNews handle.
The topic? Key retail holiday trends, ranging from online sales to mobile and social trends, which Jay has already predicted will become even more dominant this holiday shopping season.
No need to line up outside your Apple store, or navigate the mobs at your local Wal-Mart.
Just open up your favorite Twitter client and follow the online retail mob into the far reaches of all things holiday shopping.
Jay’s already pulled out and dusted off his holiday shopping crystal ball in a post for the IBM “Building a Smarter Planet” blog.
In it, Jay posed some key questions we might just expect to get some answers for in the coming chat, such as whether or not mobile shoppers will continue take the lead this holiday season, and whether or not they’ll expand their use of social media.
Jay also mentioned that the latest IBM Retail Online Index for Q3 showed renewed growth with overall online sales increasing by 3.1 percent over the second quarter.
But to keep those numbers growing, Jay writes that consumers will expect personalized shopping and tailored promotions this holiday season, and those retailers “who can deliver an easy, integrated and personalized shopping experience both in-store and online” will be the ones who cash in on holiday cheer this year.
Follow the conversation Monday starting at 1:00 PM EST at #smartershopping
As a prelude, check out my interview with Jay at IBM’s recent Smarter Commerce Summit in Orlando, Florida, where Jay explained how marketing is in chaos and some of the course corrections retailers can make to adapt to this rapidly-changing consumer-centric world.
You won’t find me waiting in line today at the Apple store for an iPad mini.
I know many of my friends and colleagues expected I would be there, if not today waiting in line, then shortly thereafter.
Boy, do I have a surprise for them.
I’m not going to buy an iPad mini.
I bought the 5th gen iPod touch instead.
That might seem like crazy talk coming from me, but after lugging electronic devices on my back and around the globe for a number of years, I’ve concluded smaller is better, at least for me.
I had the first gen iPod touch, probably my first completely “portable” mini-computer, and I loved it so.
I tried to revive it recently, and of course it seems dog slow now, and a number of the apps couldn’t be upgraded.
But when I thought about those things I really used that device for most — reading, email/calendaring on the road, watching news/videos, playing games — the iPod touch 5th gen just seemed like a much more suitable device for me.
There are some key differences between it and the iPad mini. First, the mini is bigger (7.9 inches), no doubt. So if screen size is key to you, then you certainly have to take that into account.
Remember, for me, smaller was better.
Second, the touch has the same processor as the mini, the A5, and having tested it out in the store, it was plenty fast for the things I wanted to do.
Third, though the screen is smaller on the touch, it IS a retina display, which has to be the most gorgeous screen you’ve ever seen. So, even though smaller is better for me, it’s also crisper in terms of what’s presented on the screen.
And, it fits easily in a coat pocket, back pocket, pretty much anywhere.
And because it supports Bluetooth 4.0, I can easily attach a foldable or remote Bluetooth keyboard and set to work on some serious business right there on the airplane tray without the hassle of someone slamming into it with their seat back, which has happened to me with laptops and a first gen iPad more times than I care to count.
As far as set up is concerned, now that I’m using iCloud, it’s about as simple as you can get. After an initial set up, I synched up with my iCloud account and most all my apps moved over no problemo. I did have to re-enter many of the account IDs/passwords for things like newspaper subscriptions, etc., but if that’s all the trouble I was going to have, no worries.
As for the 5th gen touch, I’ll just say its ridiculously light (so much so I’m afraid I might break the thing, and I’ll be looking for a solid hardshell case like an Otter just in case!), the display is gorgeous (although I haven’t yet played any games), and faster than greased lightning. The battery life is expected to be some 7-8 hours running video, so I have no worries about it fulilling my needs while traveling (maybe save for LONG international flights).
I explain all this because the best device is the one most suited to YOUR individual use case.
Think long and hard about what you want and need to do with the thing, then go survey the market and find the right device.
The latest and greatest new new thing like the iPad mini is always fun, but you want to make sure it fits the bill before you hand over any of your own to pay for the thing.
BLOGGER UPDATE: File this one under the “As If Anyone Will Really Notice” Category, Jimmy Kimmel on Apple’s New, New Thing (Thx, Hans!)
It’s a big day in tech, all the way around.
We’ll continue our mission to “Think Big” here in Las Vegas at the IBM Information On Demand 2012 event.
We’ll also get a glimpse into how big the mobile market is becoming as Facebook announces its earnings after the bell later today.
But of course, one of the biggest stories of the day has to do with the downsizing of one of our favorite tablets, the Apple iPad.
Rumors abound about the new iPad “Mini,” which I very look forward to referring to as my “MiniMePad.”
If you’re using an Apple device (including an AppleTV), you should be able to tune in to watch the announcement live starting at 10 AM PST.
If not, there will be shortage of bloggers out there giving you the blow-by-blow.
Why am I so interested in the Mini iPad?
First, Apple set the bar for tablets with the original iPad, which I still use to this day.
Second, the smaller form factor is raising a lot of questions about price. Can Apple afford to take down the price from $499 to the $200 range, especially when their iPod Touch is still priced at $299 (the last time I looked…I can’t look this morning, as the Apple store is down getting busy for the Mini introduction).
I’d say the question more is, can they afford not to? Like the early browser wars, this is a market AND mindshare battle. iOS and Android are lined up for a full cage death match, and if Apple’s to maintain its market share lead of 69.6% (as of Q2 2012), they’re going to have to compete aggressively on price.
The new Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDs are coming in at under $200, and while I doubt that’s a price Apple can match, they’re going to have to strive to stay somewhat price competitive, figuring the Apple premium could be worth $100 per unit or so.
Third, the original iPad was the starting line of the shift away from desktop-centric technology, and as Microsoft attempts to come into this market with its Surface tablet, a key question emerges: Can Apple continue to entice productivity hounds away from the Microsoft ecosystem, despite the advent of the Surface, and stay price competitive in a burgeoning competitive market?
As for me, you might ask, will I buy one? I’ll never say never. The iPad has become a full-on personal entertainment and productivity workhorse for me, an elegant blended use case of both the personal and the professional.
I watch movies on the thing, I use it for blogging and broadcasting, I play games, I do email, I read books, I hold conference calls. There’s not a lot I can’t do on it.
So, I can easily justify the upgrade, and I’d love to get a faster iPad, but like with the original, I may wait for an initial software upgrade so Apple has the opportunity to work some of the kinks out.
Then again, I may not.