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Ultrabook

What the Auto Market can Teach us about Mobile

August 14, 2012

Have you ever heard from someone that they don’t like Starbucks coffee but they like the experience at the store so they go in, sit down and buy the coffee? It is quite a testament to the world’s largest coffee chain that they are able to lure in customers who don’t like their premium-priced primary product but are instead attracted to their comfortable seating areas and atmosphere replete with cushy couches and free WiFi.

The point here is people buy things for subtle reasons they may not consciously realize. But how you may ask does this translate into tech and cars?

Can Discounted Hardware Compete with Apple?

July 10, 2012

Microsoft Store in Danbury, CT


Global Apple stores are brimming with traffic with municipalities tripping over each other to get Apple to open stores in their areas. At the same time, the Microsoft Store in the Danbury Fair Mall in Connecticut had a fraction of the foot traffic of the nearby Apple Store this past weekend according to fellow TMC blogger Tom Keating. The good news for Steve Ballmer is Tom likes the layout of the Microsoft store better. These are his exact thoughts:


My next thought was, "It's better." The Apple Store has this clean simplistic design with lots of white and clear plastic, but it lacks the fun factor and has this almost cold, hospital, sterile-like atmosphere.

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

Intel Finally Gets Mobile?

May 17, 2012

Intel is selling its computers quite nicely into PCs and servers and although we are in a so called "post-PC era" people keep buying computers by the tens of millions. The long-term challenge is in-part ARM, the instruction-set architecture which is being turned into highly efficient chips used in most mobile devices.

The challenge of course for Intel is the typical one of disruption from below. An example is how RAID allowed inexpensive and less reliable hard drives to replace larger disks in the market.

Likewise, the ARMv8 64-bit architecture application profile was defined two months ago and at some point soon we will see these chips in the field. Moreover, expect them to rapidly go multicore if not initially.



Ultrabooks Finally Get Needed Attention From Intel

May 4, 2012

Intel is running a new ad touting the long-lasting Ultrabook which has hours of battery life. And while I applaud Intel for finally acknowledging this category needs marketing I am still at a loss. You see battery life is one of the features which makes a MacBook great and so is the wonderful design. We all know Ultrabooks exist almost exclusively so PC makers can compete with Apple.



So this being the case why do all the Ultrabooks except the ones from Asus and possibly Samsung look like absolute crap?



Is the Post-PC Era a Myth?

April 16, 2012

The way one should interpret the term "Post-PC" is "after PC" - implying that the world has changed from era to the next. Sarah Perez at TechCrunch does an admirable job of laying the case for what she calls the Post-PC era or alternatively - "PCs Everywhere" which I agree isn't quite as catchy.

In her article she discusses how Apple sold 37M iPhones in Q4, 15% of the official PC market is made up of tablets (mostly iPads) and Apple is now the leading "PC" vendor. Moreover smartphone shipments last year hit 487.7M while PC shipments hit 414.6M and the smartphone growth rate is 63% versus 15% for PCs.

So one would imagine once again that the phrase "Post-PC" means that there aren't going to be more PCs sold.

Gary Kim writes on IP Carrier that while global tablet sales are growing at 98% YoY for 2012, the PC market is expected to increase 4.4% and will increase to 10% in 2013.

The catch is - and there is always a catch, that most of these sales will be in emerging markets and will be for more portable computers - laptops, ultrabooks, etc. Kim makes the argument however that tablets may be 42% of total PC sales by 2016 - a staggering percentage.

The trend is clear however that portability and style trump virtually everything else when it comes to the tech space.









A Contrarian View on The Apple/Foxconn Labor Situation

April 5, 2012

A few weeks back when the New York Times wrote a story regarding workers making iPhones and other devices in China who aren’t being treated very well, I wondered, this is a story? In other words, is there a person on the planet who doesn’t know that working conditions in China are far worse than they are in the US?

And I absolutely respect the right of the New York Times to run such a story – I just think it shows a broader agenda of being anti-capitalist, and anti-business. After all, we in the US have been buying Chinese products made by people in poor working conditions for decades.

Samsung Galaxy Note Shipping at a Million a Month

March 28, 2012

Samsung did something unusual recently when it launched its Galaxy Note line of tablets starting at 5.3" and growing from there to a 10.1" edition which was unveiled at MWC 2012 in Barcelona. What was perhaps most unusual was the hybrid nature of the smaller device, allowing it to be not quite smartphone and not quite tablet. The challenge with such a design is that you have potentially created a Jack of All Trades and Master of None or basically a tablet too big to be used with one hand and too small to be used effectively with two hands.

To some degree I see the smaller 5.3" model appealing more to men because well men don' generally carry handbags. Point being you can fit the smartphone which could have been conceived by Lane Bryant in your pocket and have ample surface area to work on.

Then there is the smart pen or S-Pen which allows special functions to be evoked like screen copy and more - expect new apps to take advantage of the S-Pen capabilities according to the company.

So think about it - with the Galaxy Note line, Samsung designed not only a new form factor in hardware but also brought back the stylus - the exact same pointing instrument which Steve Jobs and Apple thought wasn't necessary.

Now it is way early to proclaim these devices a massive and lasting success in the market because the marketing push the company has been making is extraordinary.







AirWatch Highlights MDM in a Post-PC Era

March 8, 2012

Yesterday Apple CEO Tim Cook showed a chart of how the iPad alone is selling more unites than PCs from any other individual vendor. This is an amazing achievement when you consider the iPad is a few years old and that HP swallowed up Compaq making it the largest vendor in the PC market. Of course with so much device proliferation the question of mobile device management or MDM has to rear its head. As this market is so crucial I am happy I had a chance to sit with Alan Dabbiere the charismatic Chairman of MDM leader Airwatch at MWC 2012.

Logitech Zagg iPad 2 Keyboard: Do You Need a Laptop?

February 14, 2012

A few months back I was in Boston interviewing a number of companies in the tech space and just before one of my interviews I was reading about the Logitech Keyboard Case by ZAGG for iPad 2 and I was intrigued. I thought having a real keyboard connected to the iPad 2 was a great pain reliever for my fingers which ache when hitting glass repeatedly but I worried the addition would limit my ability to use the tablet while standing. Quite often in my office I find myself using the iPad and I figured a fixed aluminum keyboard would make this practice cease.

Owen DeLong of Hurricane Electric is an iPv6 evangelist but I found him equally good at evangelizing why I needed a bluetooth keyboard from Zagg for my iPad 2.

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