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Consumer Electronics

Nexus Q: Google's Lateral Move into the Home Entertainment Ecosystem

June 28, 2012

There has been massive speculation regarding Google’s decision to purchase Motorola Mobility. Many, including the author believed this move was primarily driven by patents but it is becoming clear that even if this was the case, the search leader has looked to Cupertino as a guide and decided it too needs to be a hardware company building out ecosystems. Yes, Google, a company which makes most of its revenue via auctioning ads - having no brick and mortar stores, is getting beaten in terms of market cap and sales growth by Apple, a company which relies on malls and physical stores for a good part of its revenue.

Google obviously thinks it can take Apple on and while most of the tech sphere is focusing on the company’s Nexus 7 tablet, I find it only mildly interesting.

Surface Tablet: Microsoft's Desktop Hail Mary

June 19, 2012

If you are Steve Ballmer, going to the mall and walking by an Apple Store loaded with people buying tablets, music players and phones which don’t run his software has to be as pleasurable as preparing for a colonoscopy. He further has to hate the fact this once left-for-dead enterprise not only has a larger market cap than Microsoft, it has helped usher in what many people call the post-PC era. That one’s really gotta hurt.

Even Google is doing hardware

As Predicted: Apple Pays Less For Components and Charges More for Devices

May 31, 2012

I recently had a chance to use the Nokia Lumia 900 and at the local AT&T store here in Norwalk, CT – the device sells for just $49.99. The phone is gorgeous and powerful and is cheap. If you order the phone online in fact you pay $99 so in select stores you get a 50% discount. If you call the same AT&T store, the automated system even tells you about the Lumia 900 before you are able to speak with a live agent.

Why Facebook Needs a Phone

May 29, 2012

Facebook as the dominant social network is becoming the replacement for the phone. Nowadays in fact it is fairly common to use Facebook as the primary way to stay in touch with others – especially among those under 30. The point here is that the phone is becoming the Facebook communicator.

And with mobile adoption continuing ta a blistering pace – many people have multiple mobile devices in fact, Facebook should be sitting pretty, right?

Turns out Cisco Cius Can't Compete With the iPad Either

May 25, 2012

Company after company is learning what most of instinctively know already – competing with Apple head-on is like trying to tackle a freight train with your bare hands as it is barreling down the tracks in your direction. Amazon with its Kindle Fire competed on price and used its services to subsidize the device. Other tablet makers are finding it virtually impossible to compete without such advantages.

Disruption Targets Currency Exchange Kiosks

May 25, 2012

Technology has resulted in massive margin compression among industry after industry. Retailers have to struggle to make money to pay their brick and mortar overhead while consumers routinely see and touch the merchandise in their store while buying it online simultaneously. A coworker in fact detailed how he saved $30 on an iPad case buy using eBay on a computer from the Apple store he was in.

But the retail story isn’t a new one – we wrote stories at TMC in the nineties about the death of brick and mortar and certainly the loss of Circuit City was in-part caused by competition not only from WalMart and Costco but Amazon.

Yahoo Reinvents Mobile Browser with Axis

May 23, 2012

Yahoo has taken the mobile browser and improved it dramatically by integrating search and allowing users to view results rapidly without the need to open page after page. While Google allows similar functionality on a desktop what Yahoo! has done here is put the results of browsing up top where they should be. And with the simple swipe of a finger a user can scroll through pages after page to see the site they are looking for.

If you take the best parts of Google Instant and the now defunct visual SearchMe bowser and put them together with some added features you get Yahoo’s Axis.

Sonos SUB Expensive but Convenient

May 22, 2012

Sonos makes a great WiFi-based sound system allowing wire-free sound in any room in your home. The only problem with this strategy is that Apple and its AirPlay wireless streaming system is a peripheral competitor and when you go up against Apple well, let’s just say bad things happen to your company. So it makes sense to expand into areas which allow you to live within the Apple ecosystem.

Sonos hopes the leading-edge design of their latest SUB speaker will make customers shell out a very high price and show it off.

CableWiFi: Cablecos Offer Free Roaming on 50k+ WiFi Hotspots

May 21, 2012

If you happen to be a customer of Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications or Time Warner Cable, there is some really good news in the form of an official sharing agreement of WiFi spectrum allowing customers of any of these cable companies to gain access to the WiFi networks of any of the companies.

In Norwalk, Connecticut or Cablevision country, you could drive a few dozen miles in one direction and run into a Cox Cable jurisdiction and a few dozen miles in another direction gets you into Time Warner territory. Of course your situation may vary but it is great to know that as you travel around the US you will have access to lots of access points which were once off limits.

In April, 2010 some of these providers stuck a similar deal but to date I have never been able to successfully use WiFi belonging to the other providers - just Optimum WiFi provided by Cablevision.

Perhaps I will have better luck with the new network which has the SSID of CableWiFi. In a perfect world - you log onto this network and use it as you roam this vast country we call the U S of A.

The best news is as 4G providers start to become more restrictive on their bandwidth use, WiFi networks provided by the cablecos will come to the rescue meaning consumers will have to think long and hard before switching from cable to telco-based service home broadband.

Could Verizon and AT&T counter this offer with their own "bundle" of wireless and landline service? Yes, absolutely.









Gadgets to Have Integrated Welcome Ads Soon?

May 18, 2012

If ads on the Kindle Fire Welcome Screen are successful, others will follow



There are a few things which are well known about Amazon’s Kindle Fire. First of all at $199 the company either loses money or at best breaks even depending on which analyst you speak with. We also know the version of Android the device runs is unusual as Amazon has its own proprietary shell around it.

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