Monthly Archives: June 2011

HP might have a shot…

Been saying for some time that I think HP might be the only one with a chance to bust into the tablet ranks with something competitive. It won’t be RIM – the playbook stinks and is a big waste of time for RIM since while they work on that their core business is falling apart. Android might be crushing it with phone sales but the tablet stuff looks lacking so far in comparison to the iPad.

However HP sees the reason to control the stack, just like Apple, and given the WebOS assets coupled with their ability to control hardware – HP could ship something compelling.

http://www.fastcompany.com/1762959/hp-touchpad-webos-ipad-ios-android

The latest news might be the smartest move yet – Apple clearly is not behind Facebook with their Twitter move and Facebook might be looking for a chance to back someone else in the tablet arms race.

Looks like they just did with this news – http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/27/facebook-tablet-app-hp-touchpad/

It is pretty smart of both HP and Facebook since FB would love to upset Apple a bit and HP would love to have the jesus app to pull people in. We shall see…

Tidbits from the edge…

I have the great fortune of working a bit around the globe and for now I am back in the states for a while. Always fun to be back and enjoy America! Had a nice Friday night with work friends and close friends in the city. Just finished a weekend with mom and dad in Carmel area visiting my lovely grandmother. Had some good food, a cruise of 17 mile drive and saw some old areas I lived as a kid. Always makes me feel nostalgic and a tad bit older. 😉

Walking around San Francisco I feel like things might be on the verge of getting better but yet there are still so many empty spots and apart from the tech industry I still think there is a large air of uncertainty hanging over the economy at large.

What I am continually reminded of though is just the general lack of customer service that I am spoiled with in Asia. Sure – at times Asia can smother you with service to the point you are shooing service people away but I must admit that there is a genuine sincerity with the service in Asia. I miss it.

In Friday I was in a bar where most of the bottled were hard to see. When the bartender asked for my order I said I wanted a Bourbon but was not sure what kind they had. She snapped at me to tell me that I should know what I want when I order. Okay. Wow. Thanks for being so helpful – I guess I forgot I am just a lowly customer.

Then on another day a friend of mine and I swung into the timbuk2 store. We both just felt that the guy waiting on us was very curt and not all that helpful in telling us the options, colors and if something was for order or was in stock. He wasn’t rude but it just felt like we had to tease every factoid out of him. In Asia the guy would have politely gave us the options and would have worked, gently, to bring us to a sale. I mean we were both thinking of spending money on a bag that we probably don’t need and is not the best priced kit but yet we kind of wanted one. We both left without buying a thing. Hardly a good sales guy.

I have other examples but I don’t want to harp on this but I feel like Asia has a slight bit of an edge when it comes to customer service across most channels and I must admit – I love it.

Apple WWDC meme

You can read this first since I have been saying the same things for a while when it come to phones.

The battle lines are being drawn between RIM, the shell of Nokia, Android and Google. That’s it. I really don’t see HP being able to circle back to make a difference at this point. They can try but the stakes are getting high. Everyone always talked about RIM and their BBM lock-in – which is amazing for emerging markets and cuts out carriers out but now with iMessage Apple makes it very easy for users to switch to iOS from RIM. RIM should port to all devices to see if they can hold onto a lock of some sorts but not sure it would help.

My biggest takeaway from today’s keynote – which when I woke up I went to Apple.com, hit play, airplay and watched it on my bigscreen – was that Apple sees their vision as going deep for users who buy the vision. Meaning they want to give people who use Apple products more reasons to stay on Apple products. They also showed those who are not on Apple products that it all just got easier, cheaper and better. It’s that simple.

Gruber also nails it with this:

This is a fundamentally different vision for the coming decade than Google’s. In both cases, your data is in the cloud, and you can access it from anywhere with a network connection. But Google’s vision is about software you run in a web browser. Apple’s is about native apps you run on devices. Apple is as committed to native apps — on the desktop, tablet, and handheld — as it has ever been.

Google’s frame is the browser window. Apple’s frame is the screen. That’s what we’ll remember about today’s keynote ten years from now.

This is a fundamental difference to some extent but I also think Apple makes using the web better as well. I am not a fanboy but I am someone who values my time and my experiences dearly – Apple gives me the best option when it comes to my laptop, phone and tablets – now they added making the cloud work for me. I have not seen it yet but it looks like the music thing just got easier and the general syncing abilities look extremely useful.

Add to this the app updates that make using the cloud more seamless and it appears my day to day work/life routines get just a little less stressful. Sure – things like dropbox, evernote and many of my go to tools are still valuable, but now it looks like email, file syncing, revision history and many useful features that will make my hours on the laptop/phone/tablet better as well.

So in my opinion Apple is going deeper which given their market value seems to be working.

On the social/user identity front we all know that Apple done helping Google. Now it would seem Apple sees Facebook as being too cozy with MSFT so that only left Twitter as a partner for social/identity. So today Twitter was kingmade. Let’s see how that goes.

Lots of little companies were possible obliterated today as well – let’s monitor the fallout.

My Phone Report Card

I wrote this sometime back and so far is is mostly still on target:

http://www.nokpis.com/2010/05/08/the-mobile-web/

Now check this Asymco index out:

http://www.asymco.com/2011/05/26/a-new-mobile-phone-market-index/

I love the notion of an all encompassing index. Nice work Horace.

Update:

  • Apple is killing it anyway you slice it.
  • Android is huge but you have to track the handsets – not the movement. Still more money to be made in iOS for now.
  • Nokia continues to slide. Nokia is now just an arm of MSFT anyway.
  • I said RIM will start to wane – they have now leveled off. Which means it is downhill from here on out.  As I said before and will say again – RIM needs to sell. MSFT makes the best suitor.
  • MSFT – I didn’t see the Nokia thing coming. I figured RIM. Maybe RIM and Nokia together is the only way MSFT gets relevant again? Oh and I did say Balmer needs to go. Now everyone is saying that.
  • PALM/HP. Still see nothing interesting here but lots of hype+.

Let’s see how this plays out but I still carry a RIM (work) and an iPhone 4. RIM is still good for typing, emails, and IM type things. Address Book and email rock on the iPhone. I only click on links in on my iPhone. I wish there was a RIM setting to disable links – yes browsing on the BB makes you want to punch yourself for clicking on the link.

iPad 2 kills them all.

laterz

If it smells like fish…

Okay so Groupon is planning to IPO:

Don’t expect profits anytime soon: Groupon hasn’t turned a net profit in any of its first three years of operations, including a net loss of $389.6 million in 2010.

Then you read stuff like this:

So a company that owes $230 million more than it has, and appears to be burning through $100 million or more a quarter, is using money raised from later investors to pay back early investors?

And then this:

That last part is particularly interesting, and entirely true: according to the filing itself, two of the company’s co-founders — serial entrepreneurs Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell — used Groupon’s winter funding round to cash out shares to the tune of $451 million.

And to top it all off:

Groupon’s S-1 lists many risks. But the biggest risk of all is that local businesses will realize that they can’t afford to give away the store and consumers will realize that the national deals aren’t deals at all.

Bernie Madoff should have focused on the Internet instead.

Book :: Tokyo Vice – An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan

Due to the iPad I have been reading more it seems than normal. I think it is that I find it easier to carry around my iPad than to remember to pack a book or two. So when I find myself having time, rather than surf the web or work, I am tapping on the Kindle icon and  reading a book.

I just finished, Tokyo Vice. Loved every bit of it. It could be that it is real, it is about Japan and it is slightly seedy. Maybe it is all of these together that I enjoy. Parts of it remind me of my time in Bangkok. There is a book in there somewhere.

Anyways. This is an enjoyable read and kind of pulls back the covers on Japan a bit. Awesome.

Being Grateful

I try to get out and run or walk to work – usually doing my best to power my own transportation. During those self-powered jaunts and walks to work I usually consume a podcast or two. It varies from the nerdy stuff, to celeb stuff to npr like stuff – one I tend to keep up with is fresh air. Not every episode since I find some incredibly boring or very US centric but usually every other episode I find a winner. I also run a month or so behind cause I have too much to do.

One of the last episodes that I listened to was this one.  A father’s quest:

When he was 8 months old, Walker Brown was diagnosed with cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome (CFC), a rare disorder that left him with severe cognitive, developmental and physical disabilities. By the time he was 3 years old, his father says, his medical chart was 10 pages long.

Now 15, Walker wears diapers and an apparatus on his wrists that prevents him from hitting and scratching himself. Developmentally, his age is between 1 and 3, and he will require constant care for the rest of his life.

“He can’t speak,” his father, Ian Brown, tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “He can’t do a lot of things — he can’t swallow, so he’s fed through a tube. We don’t know how well he sees or hears. We know he sees and we know he hears, and I think it might be getting a bit better, but because he can’t talk, he just has no way of rationally communicating — so we spent a long time trying to figure out other ways to connect.”

Stories like this quickly smack me upside the face to remind me how good I have it. I am healthy, my family is healthy and I have a good time. Not saying Ian Brown does not but I know he has much more in life to deal with then I do.

I get stressed over the PPT (keynote) I need to finish, the tickets I need to book, the long lines at the Jakarta airport and lamenting the inability to get a cab in Singapore when it rains. That kind of shit. I have and will experience more tragedy in my life and I might be diagnosed with cancer next week but I also know that I am incredibly blessed.

Most of us are and we need to live our lives knowing how we good we have it.

Ian’s book, The Boy in the Moon, is out and I am tempted to pick it up if only to remind myself of my fortunate life.

peace