Mark Zuckerberg has announced the new Facebook phone as you can see in the video above. The phone will be based on Android but it will be laid out differently with the home page of the phone being devoted to people rather than apps.
Let’s see if this takes off. Not everyone wants the world to see who is on their Facebook “favorites” list on their phone home page. I can see plenty of drama with girlfriends, etc.
I have to admit that I finally saw this promo video today, but it now appears that Google Glass will cost less than $1,500, so expect to see these things everywhere. It’s a pretty fair price for what looks like a revolutionary gadget. I think Steve Jobs would be proud, and of course pissed that Apple didn’t come up with this.
We’re taking a trip around the web to find sites with informative and entertaining app reviews. With the explosion of smartphones and social media, apps are now everywhere, and younger kids view them as ubiquitous as television. For the rest of us, it’s amazing how one app can make our life easier and completely change the way we’ve done something for years. Other are just fun as hell. We’re flooded with them however, so it’s always nice to get tips from experts around the web.
Still, Xbox Music is more than just about rebranding. Microsoft clearly intends it to be an all-encompassing effort. Users can download music a la carte like Apple (AAPL) iTunes, stream music a la Spotify, and listen to customized playlists in the same vein as Pandora (P). Early impressions cast the Xbox Music experience as “wonderful,” even.
The problem is that it’s only launching on Xbox and Windows * and won’t be on other platforms until next year. Still, Microsoft needed a new music service, and it looks like again they might have a good product based on copying its successful competitors.
The switch from laptops to tablets is accelerating, and this fall we’ll see an avalanche of new products like the Surface from Microsoft.
In some ways, the death of the laptop is being exaggerated. Most people who are getting tablet computers are also buying tablets. Sure, some people will replace their laptop with a tablet, and new consumers may choose a tablet over a laptop, but laptops will still be essential for most business people and students.
Still, you have to wonder what some companies like HP are doing. They risk being left behind as Microsoft bypasses them and they don’t have their own tablet solution.
The Kindle Single is not a promising name. It sounds like a new kind of prefabricated fire log, or a type of person you might meet on the dating service eHarmony — perhaps a lonely independent bookstore owner put out of business by Amazon.com.
Here’s what Kindle Singles actually are: probably the best reason to buy an e-reader in the first place. They’re works of long-form journalism that seek out that sweet spot between magazine articles and hardcover books. Amazon calls them “compelling ideas expressed at their natural length.” If I didn’t loathe the word “compelling,” I’d think that wasn’t a half-bad slogan.
I recently sat down and read 15 of these boutique minibooks. Most are blah; a few are so subliterate they made my temples ache. But several — like John Hooper’s reportage on the Costa Concordia disaster, Jane Hirshfield on haiku and Jonathan Mahler on Joe Paterno — are so good they awaken you to the promise of what feels almost like a new genre: long enough for genuine complexity, short enough that you don’t need journalistic starches and fillers.
Amazon hardly has a monopoly on this novella-length form. Digital publishers like Byliner and the Atavist are commissioning articles of this length that can be purchased and read on any e-reader, or on laptops or phones. But Amazon cherry-picks the best and is commissioning its own articles and essays under the editorship of the journalist David Blum.
It will be fascinating to see how this evolves, as I can see the attraction to these shorter books. This opens up even more opportunities for writers, and that’s a good thing.
After months of turmoil, HP seems to have made a sensible decision as the company announced it has reversed a previous decision to spin off the PC division.
This looks like a sound move, and new CEO Meg Whitman will probably earn some good will inside HP for this decision.
That said, paidContent is reporting that webOS is toast.
But the Guardian understands that HP is to shut down its webOS division, acquired for $1.2 billion in April 2010 when it bought Palm, and make the staff there redundant or shift them elsewhere inside the company. That could mean losses of up to 500 jobs as the business which created the short-lived HP TouchPad and smartphones is closed.
If true, this makes less sense. Cheap tablets have a future, and HP shouldn’t abandon these efforts just because they botched the initial TouchPad release.
Tom Friedman is usually very good at explaining the disruptive influence of new technology and the implications for the global economy, even if he isn’t the first (or second) to notice something.
The latest phase in the I.T. revolution is being driven by the convergence of social media — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Groupon, Zynga — with the proliferation of cheap wireless connectivity and Web-enabled smartphones and “the cloud” — those enormous server farms that hold and constantly update thousands of software applications, which are then downloaded (as if from a cloud) by users on their smartphones, making them into incredibly powerful devices that can perform myriad tasks.
The emergence of the cloud, explained Alan Cohen, a vice president of Nicira, a new networking company, “means than anyone can have the computing resources of Google and rent it by the hour.” This is speeding up everything — innovation, product cycles and competition.
The October issue of Fast Company has an article about the designer Scott Wilson, who thought of grafting the body of an iPod Nano onto colorful wristbands, turning them into watchlike devices that could wake you up and play your music. He had no money, though, to bring his concept to market, so he turned to Kickstarter, the Web-based funding platform for independent creative projects. He posted his idea on Nov. 16, 2010, reported Fast Company, and “within a month, 13,500 people from 50 countries had ponied up nearly $1 million.” Apple soon picked up the product for its stores. Said Alexis Ringwald, 28, who recently founded an education start-up, her second Silicon Valley venture: “I have many friends — they introduce themselves as ‘reformed’ Wall St. bankers and lawyers — who have abandoned conventional careers and are now launching start-ups.”
Some like Rich Kaarlgard have been describing this as the “cheap revolution” for years. Friedman is explaining the new developments in that area. We now have it all at our fingertips all the time. It’s a powerful and exciting development. Kickstarter is a great crowdsourcing example that thrives in this environment.
Friedman uses the column to contrast Wall Street and Silicon Valley. It’s a good read.
To say that Cisco misunderstands the consumer tech market would be like saying NBA players misunderstand what constitutes consent. The company decided just over a week ago to kill off the Flip video, a line of consumer camcorders that Cisco purchased for some $590 million. The key word there is kill, as in kaput – no more Flip. Cisco isn’t even going to try to sell the camcorder line to another company, and probably for good reason – there isn’t a company on the planet that would buy it. Instead, Cisco is simply throwing it away, along with 550 jobs as part of an attempt to refocus the company.
Cisco should have known better, too. For a company that has dealt with some level of consumer tech for more than 15 years (Linksys was founded in 1995), the Flip move was remarkably dumb. I would have loved to sit in on the meeting in which Cisco offered nearly $600 million for a product that had a very obvious expiration date in the very near future. How do you look at a company that keeps buying up smaller and smaller sensors and not think, ‘Gee, do you think some one will put this in a phone one day, fellas?’ As a matter of fact, let me lay this out for the neanderthals Cisco has running its investments – if you want to buy a piece of tech today, ask yourself whether or not it’s feasible to put that feature into a phone in the near future.
I wonder how the regulators will justify letting this transaction go through. AT&T wants to buy T-Mobile for $39 billion, so we would be down to just three major carriers in the United States. AT&T will become the largest carrier in the US, surpassing Verizon, but now consumers will have far fewer choices.