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Consumer Electronics

Jobs, Ritchie & Galvin Dead but not Forgotten

October 14, 2011

As TMC's Peter Bernstein says, the rule of threes seems to be in effect. First we lost Steve Jobs who transformed the music, movie, computer and mobile markets and next we lost C programming language and UNIX OS creator Dennis Ritchie. The third death was that of Former Motorola CEO Robert Galvin who oversaw the creation of the first "large-screen" (19-inch), transistorized, cordless portable television and the first cell phone among a slew of other important innovations.

As I mentioned yesterday, the C programming language was the fourth one I learned after BASIC, Pascal and PL/1 and what made it unique was its infinite flexibility. All of a sudden a programmer could create dynamic arrays of pointers in a program instead of relying on fixed variables.

Should We Define 4G Before the Government Does?

October 13, 2011

Every few years the American people elect politicians who say one thing to get elected and do another once in office. Conflicts of interest, scandals related to campaign contributors, tax evasion and other related issues have made us numb and political ethics is a phrase you may have just read now for the first time.

But of course politicians being politicians need to help the people - at least that is what they say they want to do. One of the latest focus areas is 4G - what exactly is it? My company TMC runs a show on 4G called 4GWE (Feb 1-3, 2012 in Miami) so this topic is of great importance to me.
 
In a recent story on TMCnet sister site TechZone360, there is a fascinating article which begins as follows:


Today, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), top Democrat on the U.S.






iOS 5 Update: Steve Jobs Rolling Over Already?

October 13, 2011

I understand the title of this post may be insensitive and nothing could be further from the goal of this piece. In fact, if anything, I admire Steve Jobs so much that I feel this entry needed to be made in order to honor his memory.

The question which our industry is asking today is how could Apple screw up the iOS 5 update so badly - literally a week or so after the death of Steve Jobs? I realize of course the two incidents aren't related but one has to wonder if all those devices that Steve keeps in his office wouldn't have have had a hiccup or two - causing him to sound the alarm bells that this upgrade was not ready.

As I mentioned earlier today - I went into the upgrade cautiously and an iPhone 4 was upgraded without a hitch but an iPad 2 crashed, giving me the error message below. I sent an email to my IT team and they suggested rebooting and retrying - apparently there are cases where an upgrade had to be performed four times to get it to work.



I was lucky.







At Metaswitch Forum 2011

October 3, 2011

I presented at two sessions today at Metaswitch Forum 2011 and both focused on wireline trends in the market. The general theme of this conference so far has to do with how carriers can compete in a world which is rapidly becoming mobile and social. Metaswitch for it's part has been busy improving it's platforms allowing carriers to take back control of business relationships with their customers.

Interesting takeaways from this session is a discussion being led by Anusha 'Ash' Nirmalananthan of Metaswitch where she is dissecting some social network activities in Facebook and Skype and exposing areas of exploitation for carriers.

She says, innovation and differentiation are crucial for carriers going forward.



Selling your Privacy Evolves with Amazon Silk Browser

September 29, 2011



Amazon's new Silk browser bundled with its new Kindle Fire will leverage it's own servers for browser proxying meaning that all the websites you surf will go through the company's cloud-based servers. Although browser proxying is not new, it has been used in the Skyfire and other browsers. Its general benefit is allowing web sessions to speed up and providing mobile browsers access to content incompatible with the browser - such as Adobe Flash.

TMC's Tom Keating has more on the privacy concerns and after reading his thoughts I realize just how fast product subsidization is evolving. You see yesterday I explained Amazon is subsidizing its tablets via Amazon Prime and cloud-computing services but now it seems Amazon will also have access to the sites you browse allowing its suggestion engine to to potentially use this data to better target products which suit your interests.

While privacy advocates may be up in arms, the reality is we sell our privacy for free services virtually every day when we use popular web portals, online email and a slew of other services such as browser toolbars.





Amazon's Subsidized Tablets Borrow from Wireless Carriers

September 28, 2011

Will any margin remain in selling standalone computing hardware?

I want to bet against Amazon - not because I don't like the company - I most certainly do. But because coming out with a new line of tablets to take on Apple is not turning into a successful strategy for the rest of the tech world. Both HP and RIM are feeling pain - even though I might add the Blackberry Playbook is a very solid tablet.

When Amazon released a slew of devices today from $79-$199 I was concerned that this is yet another case of a tech company going up against Apple and getting slaughtered. It is worth pointing out however that the HP tablet didn't really start selling until the price was dropped to $99.

But back to Amazon - I didn't think the original Kindle would be very popular and I was wrong.





Slowly, New York Subways get Cell Service

September 23, 2011

GSM customers rejoice, finally you will be able to use your cellphones in the subways of New York. As someone who has gotten lost navigating my way around down there, I am grateful this day has finally come. AT&T and T-Mobile customers will be the first to enjoy this new service which will be a godsend for tourists who like me aren't that familiar with how to get around the tunnels crisscrossing the Manhattan underground.

According to the New York Times:

The pilot program will introduce cellphone reception to the C-E platforms at 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue and three other stations along West 14th Street: the A, C, E and L platforms at Eighth Avenue; the F, M and L platforms at Avenue of the Americas; and the Seventh Avenue station that serves the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 lines.

Sadly, the project was stalled due to financing issues - lets hope we see coverage throughout the entire New York subway system and soon.




The Bittersweet Pandora HTML5 Update

September 21, 2011

Bittersweet only if you use Apple iOS devices.

As a huge fan of HTML5 and someone who is even involved in putting on  DevCon5 conferences covering the space I was thrilled to see the new Pandora HTML5 interface. Likewise I was disappointing to see I couldn't run the Pandora HTML5 environment on an iPhone browser natively and thus sidestepping the Apple iTunes App Store.

The look of the new Pandora based on HTML5


I have a request out to the company to see if there is an Apple limitation at work here or whether the company has intentionally hampered the app on iOS. As most of us know, playing media on the iPhone requires using their embedded player so my educated guess is there is an Apple issue here.

And before I posted I walked down the hall and tested the new HTML5 site on Erik Linask's Android-based smartphone and guess what. It worked flawlessly.








Twitter Tightens SMS Ties with Photos

September 21, 2011

Twitter's 140 character limit was actually a limit of SMS messages applied to the world's most successful microblogging service but in the last few years, Twitter use has migrated to apps on smartphones and web browsers. Today the company sent a reminder to the world that yes, you can tweet via SMS as well. In fact you can now include photos in an SMS message and have it update your account.

At the moment this functionality is limited to AT&T, Verizon and Cellular South in the US as well as Orange in the UK, Vodafone Italy, Rogers Communications in Canada, VIVA Bahrain and TIM Brazil.

Here is more information from Twitter and a list of short and long codes used to address your SMS messages.

Hat tip Phone Scoop.





AT&T Responds to DOJ - What They Missed

September 9, 2011

AT&T responded to the DOJ regarding the blocked T-Mobile USA acquisition saying that the proposed merger would be good for consumers as it would allow AT&T to gain access to T-Mobile spectrum allowing their call quality to improve and the number of dropped calls to be reduced. This in turn they argue would lead to lower prices. Ma Bell 2.0 continued to explain that the wireless business is fiercely competitive which has resulted in lower prices over time.

The interesting takeaway here is that there is nothing new being argued.

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