Thursday, January 21, 2010

Apple ITab - 'There's a dock for that'

If 'There's an app for that' has been synonymous with the Apple IPhone, then the new tagline for the Apple IPad should be 'There's a dock for that'.

For some the Apple IPad will be their ereader. Fred Wilson just tweeted that he will likely mount it on his elliptical trainer. I have personally always wanted a WiFi enabled flat monitor to put on my kitchen refrigerator. When it is not showing the families shared calender, it might be my needed grocery list as bar codes flash in front of it from my fridge.

My Dashdock will mount it in my car...well you see where this is going. But what's really cool about mobile computing (I put this in the category, because it's really a 'smart' monitor) is what you can and will do today (that no one does yet);

My prediction is that within one year a combination of a smartphone and an 'ereader' type device will replace a desktop and or laptop computer for some. Apple IKeyboard coming next ....

Lastly, likely the most important item of news about the IPad is the repercussions it has for the Kindle. No- I don't think this is a Kindle killer, however expect Kindle 2.0 Powered by Android .....

What will you use your IPad for?

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

How to set the blinking clock on a VCR

Software developers - You have a problem. Having had my hand in product development (as a non-developer) while at RoboForm , ToneThis , Avant Browser I learned something about software developers. Most of them think in different terms than us (the consumer). This IMO is one of the biggest mistakes that startups make early on - no non techies involved with the product.

This became clearer to me yesterday in not one, but two software install experiences. My friend Steven Groves was over my house watching the Cardinals get slammed yesterday, and we were exchanging recommended apps for our Android phones. At some point, Steven recommended 'Bump' as a method to exchange business cards. While I do think Bump will be an excellent solution, I found it's productecture to be horrible. At some point in the installation, I accidently 'told it' that I was someone else (I tapped on one of my contacts when trying to teach it my profile). This is actually VERY easy to do when you are using a haptic keyboard. Further, Bump decided that it likes a gmail email address & profile better than anything else that you have. Final outcome? It took me a half-hour (as well as a total uninstall/re-install of Bump) to teach Bump who I am. Still have not been able to teach Bump that I do not want to use my Google (GMAIL) profile - but at least I won $5 from Steven when I bet him he could not correct that.

The second piece of software was MindMap. MindMap was given to me (It's not an inexpensive piece of software) by someone whom I had done some bizdev with years ago, who works with the company. I have always been impressed with the very cool looking Mind Maps created with it, and had been pumped to make my own maps. Regretfully, after several tries I just could not figure it out. While it seemed to me that the intuitive way to create a new 'box' within MindMaps would be to simply right mouse click (apparently Mac users don't do this), MindMap takes no advantage of context menus, and instead uses keyboard keys such as 'Insert' that I never even knew existed (again pointed out by my friend Steven).

Moral of the story here? Consider having real human beings along for the ride during your development process - not just software engineers. Consider also having a video (ie Youtube) of your product being used. Video is the new product manual.

You can discuss this with me further on Twitter here.
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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Google Superphone ( Nexus One) ramifications

I watched Google's media event today announcing their new Nexus One Superphone. There was one large surprise - That it will be available on Verizon spring of 2010. Make no mistake about it this is a HUGE hit to RIMM's Blackberry phone franchise.

The Nexus One (and other Android phones/devices) will keep Apple's Iphone honest. This is great news for consumers who have a love/hate relationship with Apple. By offering a competitive device (a better device in some regards), Apple will now have to speed up it's product roadmap that has always remained closed, and proprietary. Possible changes that might be forced on Apple include - Allowing for the consumer to add memory, and swap out their battery as wanted/needed. Better and more powerful camera. A faster and more powerful processor. Ultimately, I believe Apple will need to license their Iphone OS - or face the same single digit market share they have VS Windows in the PC space.

For Motorola, Apple Palm and anyone else in the Smartphone space - this is the 'first shot across the bow' in commoditizing the Smartphone space, just like low end cell phone space has become. With an Open Source OS platform (Android) product differentiation becomes more difficult. Going forward the only way for Smartphone hardware guys to differentiate themselves will be via faster processors, better battery life, better cameras.

For wireless carriers (Verizon AT&T TMobile and Sprint) - Android has nasty mathematical consequences. For the first time, your customer is not necessarily locked into your network. More importantly, Android will accelerate the "ramp" to Superphone devices - which are HUGE consumers of data - hence Bandwidth. The amount of *new* CAPEX to keep up will not mirror the new revenue streams as new Superphone users come online.

Now for the suckiness.... As a consumer, expect to see the Wireless Carriers to start implementing tiered pricing (no different than the Cable companies have). If your streaming music or video, or doing all those fun things that Superphones allow for - get ready ...Your bills gonna be a lot more expensive in a year. All you can eat data will be dead.

You can discuss this with Andy further on Twitter

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