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Consumer Electronics

The Fiscal Cliff Could Kill Super-WiFi

December 13, 2012

One of the most amazing turning points in technology advancement has been the US Government’s decision to allow unlicensed spectrum to be used in the form of WiFi. Instead of taking the short-term gain of revenue via spectrum auction, it was released for free for everyone to use. As a result, cable companies can compete wirelessly with 4G providers and they need no private spectrum to do so.

The point is, unlicensed spectrum has truly revolutionized technology and productivity. Think this through – even the companies who sell “competitive to WiFi” 4G service are benefiting from WiFi. Consider carriers often wheel in large-scale WiFi equipment to sporting events and other venues because of cellular capacity issues.

Voxeet Shows the Future of Conferencing - Stereo and 3-D

December 12, 2012

About eight years ago I held up DiamondWare as a shining example of what communications should be – HD, stereo and 3-D. Nortel later purchased DiamondWare and integrated it into its Project Chainsaw initiative which allowed avatar-based communications. Then these assets were sold to Avaya as part of the Nortel bankruptcy. I am fairly disappointed that this technology never went mainstream.

Michael Robertson's New Dar.fm

December 11, 2012


Michael Robertson is one of the most interesting people in the tech world having burst onto the scene during the dotcom days with the launch of MP3.com which allowed users to store their CD collection in the cloud. Now a commonplace concept, at the time the record labels weren’t sure what to do about the company so they defaulted to what they do well, suing the startup into oblivion. Of course it didn’t help that Napster was popular during the same time and brought major attention to how new technologies were robbing record labels and artists.

Talk about being a visionary.

In Windows 8, Microsoft Has a Winner

December 5, 2012


Samsung has a winner with its Microsoft Windows 8 powered ATIV Smart PC Pro 700t (XE700T1C, a device which is part Ultrabook and part tablet in one. I consider it to be the perfect combination of both worlds, allowing users to do everything they need with a single device. There is no longer a need to wait till you get to a secondary computer to do “real work” as this one does all the things you might need. It has a full array of ports allowing you to plug in a memory stick or hard drive.

Sonos Adds iOS iTunes Playback

December 5, 2012

If you have a Sonos streaming stereo system and you download your music to a PC in your home then it is fairly simple to get access to all your stored music throughout your home. If however you download music to a PC which isn’t connected to your home network or directly to an iOS device you weren’t able to stream this music through your Sonos components without a wireless dock designed for an iPod or iPhone to plug into.

Sonos has just updated its software allowing your iOS devices to stream their music to your Sonos components over WiFi. Wireless iTunes Playback is compatible with the iPhone (3GS or later), iPod touch (4th generation or later), or iPad (2nd generation or later) running iOS 6 or higher and works with DRM-free music in MP3 or AAC format.

While this all sounds great in-theory, after updating all Sonos components throughout my home and updating the Sonos App on a 4th gen iPad and iPhone 5, get an error trying to stream music from either device.

11 Reasonably-Priced Tech Stocking Stuffers & Hanukah Gifts

December 3, 2012

If you’re looking for some reasonably priced stocking stuffers and Hanukah gifts for the kids or adults who have never grown up, you might want to consider some of the following. I just bought at least one of each.

Boogie Board $34

This is a reasonably priced gift for an electronic whiteboard which doesn’t need batteries.

WebRTC Conference & Expo Kicks Off

November 28, 2012

I am at the WebRTC Conference & Expo here at the South San Francisco Conference Center and the mood at the show is positive. What I have heard over and over from telecom equipment vendors, call center vendors and software vendors is that WebRTC is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the telecom space.

At a cocktail party sponsored by Google and Plantronics many people told me that the handset players are in trouble while the headset vendors have a great opportunity. This of course explains why Plantronics has taken such an active role at this conference and in this space.

I will update you with more as the event progresses - here are some photos of the show for your viewing pleasure - The person at the podium is Phil Edholm who has partnered with TMC and Crossfire Media to host this conference.


 






Mobile Profits are Skyrocketing as 67,000 Are Laid Off

November 15, 2012

Mobile is not your father’s tech space.

 

Over the past two years, profits from the top eight mobile vendors has risen from $5.3 billion to $14.4 billion for a whopping increase of $9.1 billion and all this while over 67,000 people have been laid off in the technology. How is this possible you ask? I posited a similar query two months ago regarding Corning’s shares losing value – even while they supply Gorilla Glass to much of the booming mobile market.

Why Apple Needs an iLane Bryant Phone

November 7, 2012

It may seem obvious that Apple needed to offer a smaller iPad now but when I suggested the idea in November of 2011 I received criticism from many who thought Apple didn’t need to “dilute” its product assortment of iPods and large iPads. Steve Jobs also disagreed with me but as Henry Blodget points out, Steve was wrong.

And this was a rare misstep for Jobs who showed a God-given ability to know what consumers want across various industries -before even they did.

The challenge however for Apple remains the same as the one I pointed out when I first tested the Motorola Droid X.

The reason Apple lost the PC war had to do with the open nature of the PC market – where competition led to a huge price/performance advantage for computers based on the Microsoft operating system.

A Little Heavy Chrome

November 1, 2012

Google has a new heavy metal-based TV commercial which has a Halloween undercurrent. The ad touts the $249 Samsung-made Chromebook as being smaller, better on batteries and good for “scaring off viruses.” It goes on to discuss its lack of phantom files and crashes. Although the video has had under 100,000 views I can see it going viral and perhaps adding a zero to that number.

What is unclear is how much demand there will be for a cloud-based laptop which seems to ape the look of an Apple computer at a fraction of the price.

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