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Rich Tehrani
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Consumer Electronics

Local: Where Apple Must Disintermediate Google

August 12, 2011

Disintermediation and disruption is fascinating – it is amazing to watch how a company can destroy an entire industry overnight. Case in point is my local florist who is now gone – the last time I saw her she said someone who understood the Internet should buy her store. I immediately thought of how futile an idea this wouldbe – Proflowers had bypassed the local florist to go directly to customers. I thought even if you could buy the store and not pay the expensive rent associated with the high-end strip mall the florist occupied there would be no way for the flower shop to last.

Cablevision Brings TV to iPhones and iPods

August 9, 2011



A few months back, Cablevision released an iPad app allowing consumers to watch hundreds of channels and thousands of video on demand titles. How successful was it? Well it was downloaded more than 200,000 times making it one of the major killer apps for the iPad. Now, the same app has come to the iPhone and iPod Touch. The only limitation of the software is it only allows you to watch TV in your home or as far as your home WiFi network extends.

Expert Opinion: Pandora is Less Engaging

July 28, 2011

For well over half a decade, radio has been a one-way medium allowing you to listen to a station or change it. Until Pandora and other streaming radio stations like Slacker and Spotify, radio spoke to you and you basically took what it gave you. If your favorite DJ got on your nerves or the music mix was not what you wanted, you had little choice.

Moreover, if you wanted to know what song was playing or to see the album art, you were stuck.

Living in a Post-OS World

July 28, 2011



Two of the major drawbacks to a perfect cloud-based existence where the browser serves all your needs are speed of remote apps/services and UI flexibility. It just so happens, two news items have coalesced recently to help usher in the post-OS world. You see, while the tech pundits debate the idea of a post-PC world, companies like Google are going a step further and hoping to get rid of the operating system on the tablet, PC, smartphone and just about any other computing device you use.

HTML5 is one of the primary drivers of the flexible new UI allowing truly customizable media to be shown to users.



Keep Bing at Microsoft

July 26, 2011

From a  competitive position, it would be major trouble to remove Bing from the deep pockets of Microsoft. Talk of the business being potentially sold to Facebook when that company needs to focus on fighting Google+ makes little sense. There are few other strong software companies beyond Oracle and Salesforce who I think could do a better job with Bing than Microsoft.

But like I said in May, Microsoft is doing as much as can be expected with Bing.

We know Marc Benioff loves Google so count them out of such a purchase - and Oracle, no fan of Microsoft or Google probably doesn't need the headache or the money-losing business as it is doing fine right now, thank you.

Microsoft has to continue to make Bing better while simultaneously forging stronger relationships with companies who are competing with Google. Facebook and Twitter are two obvious ones - perhaps LinkedIn is another company to work very closely with.

You see as long as Google is a dominant player in so many spaces, Microsoft can play the underdog position and work with all the companies they want.







GigaOm Tells You Why HTML5 Will Be Huge

July 25, 2011

It is no secret that HTML5 is important - the question is how big will it be? Word is out at GigaOm, that it will be huge - and moreover it is coming fast. Thanks to an article from Colleen Taylor, we also learn that Apple will have massive support for the platform. Moreover, Larry Dignan at ZDnet just wrote an article about how Amazon had to cave to Apple regarding in app purchases and how the only alternative for them and other companies is HTML5.

I couldn't be happier to see this activity around HTML5 as this is the week where TMC has launched its first ever DevCon5 event focused on HTML5 design, development and business opportunities.

TMC Dallas Video Interviews 2011

July 25, 2011

Recently I spent some time in Dallas doing video interviews with companies in the Dallas, Texas area and during the course of the discussions I was able to get a sense of where the markets have been and are going. The vast range of different opinions really comes together into a few themes.

They are simply that wages and turnover rates in India are skyrocketing meaning some jobs may be headed back to the US. This is offset by an interview with  King White of the Site Selection Group - an organization which helps companies decide which countries and states they should locate in. He tells us that states with higher taxes are less attractive and subsequently deter companies from opening there.

Sonos Adds PLAY:3, Lowers Price

July 20, 2011

As a happy Sonos customer, I was delighted to learn the company has added more content (Spotify to be specific) to its system and also added a new music player and lowered its price on the SONOS BRIDGE, a wireless device you can connect to your Ethernet port to enable wireless high fidelity music to be streamed throughout your home. The price has dropped from $99 to $49 on this device.

Moreover, the newly announced PLAY:3 is a $299, 3-speaker, 3-digital amp music player. It can be used in a monaural or stereophonic configuration.

The ZonePlayer S5 has been renamed the PLAY:5 and provides stereo playback in a compact unit.

At first look, the PLAY:3 is a great addition to the SONOS family as it allows a low-cost entry into wireless music playing but I am wondering if $600 for two of these isn't a bit steep. Still, I have to hear it and compare it to the S5 to give a more informed opinion.

Until then, the company has produced a well-designed video which will show you how the system works and how the new PLAY:3 integrates with it.













Metaswitch Thrutu iPhone App Lets Carriers Become Social Hubs

July 20, 2011

Earlier this year I came across Thrutu from Metaswitch newtorks - an application development platform allowing carriers to leverage rich social features and provide them as services to customers. In short, this is the exact sort of solution wireless phone companies need to try to keep their customers engaged and more importantly paying them.

Of even greater importance for service providers is being able to ensure that the contact database doesn't continue to get moved from the carrier cloud to the social cloud. By that I mean, consumers are relying more and more on Facebook and Twitter as their contact database making the carrier and the phones they sell less important.

Thrutu brings social features such as location, contact and photo sharing as well as prodding via a remote vibration (like Facebook's poke) and more via an API which developers can use to do much more.

I saw a demo of it working on Android phones and was impressed and as of this moment the company has released an iPhone version as well. As you may have guessed, you will be better off using such a service on a network voice and data can be shared such as GSM or in an area where there is WiFi and 3G/cellular.

Of course the question you have to ask is whether it is too late for carriers to basically reinvent social networks which are already dominated by the web giants we all know (and many love).







Off to San Jose, Interactive Airport ads and Boingo: I Love this Service

July 17, 2011

I flew out of JFK as was pretty amazed to see a new interactive ad format which consists of what you may consider to be a giant tablet on the wall allowing consumers to play games on it. I didn't get a chance to see the company behind the great idea but I did see engagement as there was one person on each of the ads I spied and people watching the person play.

Boingo set me up with an account years ago and even though I am not paying for it, I gladly would (please tell me the Boingo public relations doesn't work weekends  and read comments like this ).

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Boingo now works with GoGo Wireless - but you still have to pay extra to get access to internet while in-flight. Anyway - I didn't get charged and more importantly I didn't have to deal with the GoGo interface for logging on. I have found it to be a bit sluggish - I know, I am in a plane, what do I expect?



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