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E-Commerce

Blackberry Playbook Price Drop to $299 Crashes Servers

January 3, 2012


Blackberry has just reduced the price the Playbook to $299 regardless of model – meaning you can get a fully functional tablet which allows you to see Adobe Flash and HTML5 as well as cameras on the front and back and up to 64GB of memory for a great price. I have reviewed the Playbook and think it is a solid tablet. New apps come out for it all the time but compared to Android or iOS there will always be less variety. Moreover the lack of a native email app is a drawback which has taken a long while to fix.


Zennstrom Onto Next Big Thing: Wrapp

January 3, 2012

Niklas Zennstron is on to the next big thing – the intersection of mobile, social and local – by investing in a new company called Wrapp which allows users to send gift cards via social networks. In a nutshell, you see it’s a friend’s birthday on Facebook and then send a gift card. They receive an email and the store scans it.

The twist here is companies could potentially offer free gift cards for sending, allowing you for example to send someone $10 which the store would in theory book as a referral fee/coupon meaning this fee becomes a marketing/customer acquisition cost.

Some E-Books Now Cost More than Paperbacks

December 15, 2011

Its a staggering concept really - e-books don't need to be printed or shipped and aside from the cost to transmit an electronic book on a wireless M2M network to a non-WiFi Amazon Kindle reader, distribution is a matter of very small bandwidth and cloud charges. We're talking a fraction of a penny or so.

So hearing that electronic books are in some cases more expensive than their print counterparts is a bit surprising. Turns out Apple pushed the major book publishers to set retail prices as opposed to charging a wholesale price and letting book discounters set the price based on market demand.

This is why books on the Kindle have escalated in cost from $9.99 to $18.99 or even more.

Obviously convenience is a factor as not having to lug physical books is a great benefit as is being able to have various devices sync and allow you to continue reading your book on any reader you choose.

But this story is more than one of increased convenience manifesting itself into higher prices - or free markets at work. Turns out Steve Jobs didn't want to compete on discounted book pricing with Amazon so he lobbied book sellers to set retail prices for e-books.







Mood Detection Software Coming

November 29, 2011

Apple to Become Mobile Payment Leader this Week?

November 1, 2011

According to MacRumors, we can expect Apple to soon evolve retail beyond what it’s already done with its leading edge and clean store designs. The next step for Cupertino is allowing customers to make purchases in-store via the company’s free iOS app. An email you receive will be proof of the transaction and can be shown to store employees so they know the purchase has been made. Another source says the functionality is on its way November 3rd and will only be available to iPhone 4 and 4S users.

How eBay's X.commerce Benefits Merchants

October 18, 2011

Last month I discussed X.com, an app store for commerce from eBay and the news of the release made me really want to attend the company's recent event where they demonstrated it live. Alas, I had other shows to attend at the same time on the opposite end of the country so I missed it. Thankfully, Charles Nicholls, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of real-time analytics company SeeWhy was there and his guest post regarding the event is below. One point I will make briefly is aside from the PayPal integration - I love the fact that merchants can use this new platform to quickly integrate their inventory into the eBay marketplace.

Identity Management is the Decade's Killer App and Facebook Knows it

October 17, 2011

How long before we hear the TSA say, "Boarding pass and Facebook ID please?"

Have we gotten to the point where Facebook has become so dominant as an online identity system that is going to enter the real world with business cards which can be read via NFC and RFID. Well according to a new Facebook trademark application the company seems to have huge ambitions in the offline world and one can easily see how a Facebook ID can become even more secure than a government issued identification card.

And for that matter, it is only a matter of time before such a card could be used as a payment system competing with credit card companies and banks.

Identity management is this decade's killer app and Facebook knows it... Once you have information on who a person is and it is authenticated, you open up the world of secure commerce. Couple this with location and you have a powerful security mechanism which could be used to ensure your Facebook charge card can only work when it is in the same location as your phone for example.





7-11 as Universal Shipping Hub?

September 7, 2011

The US Postal Service (USPS) like the federal government has major financial problems and talk of laying off tens of thousands of postal workers and cutting back delivery days to five a week abounds. You have to ask yourself, why on earth does the post office need so many offices? They can close down a large percentage with minimal inconvenience and will likely be forced to do so.

In situations where the USPS still needs limited operations, it should take a page from Dunkin Donuts who locates stores in gas stations presumably to save money.

Amazon is rumored to be opening up kiosks in 7-Eleven stores where customers will be able to buy things and have their packages delivered. And this got me thinking...



Web Transparency Aids Outage Victims After Irene

August 30, 2011

Over the last decade, social CRM has given companies a voice on a 24x7 basis – if they so choose. Companies which once were impossible to extract information from will now gladly answer questions via Twitter for the world to search and see. Nowhere is two-way flow of information more important than in the post Hurricane-Irene outage where millions on the east coast have been affected.

With a heavy reliance on well water, northeast electricity outage victims suffer not only from dead-gadgetitis but they also can’t even take showers or flush their toilets.

ITEXPO West 2011 Austin Highlights

August 23, 2011

Before all ITEXPO events I do a final proofread of the show directory and this one may be the biggest ever at 132 pages with tabs (just doing our part to support the economy). We will post a PDF version soon so you can see what’s in it but until then, here are some highlights that caught my eye:

Keynotes & Exhibits Tuesday, September 13th at 9:15 AM we have Ian Pennell from Cisco and at 4:30 PM-5:30 PM we have keynotes from Siemens and IBM followed by a Grand Opening Networking Reception sponsored by Interact from 5:30-7:30.

Wednesday, September 14th at 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM we have keynotes from Polycom and DHL followed by exhibits from 11:00 AM- 4:00 PM. Then at 4:00 PM there is a Cocktail reception sponsored by Rackspace Hosting and at 4:45 you could win a pair of mountain bikes from Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop - an Austin Institution ( I am told).

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