by Jin Kim
Nokia engineers had been developing the Android phone before Microsoft struck the €5.4 billion ($7.4 billion) deal last September to buy Nokia’s handset business and license the Finnish company’s patents. It hasn’t been clear before now whether Nokia would move ahead with the Android phone, expected to be introduced at the Mobile World Congress industry trade show starting Feb. 24.
It looks like Nokia will fork Android, similar to what Amazon did:
The Nokia phones will differ from most other Android smartphones, and won’t access some Google-developed features or Android apps from the Google Play storefront, said the people familiar with the matter.
But Amazon had something unique to offer: access to the largest online store. I’m not sure there’s something as unique Nokia has to offer. But maybe Nokia is targeting the entry-level smartphone market where it will be mostly used to call and text. A simplified Android OS with solid hardware could be a combination that could sell.
The Nook was its answer to the Amazon’s Kindle. Barnes & Noble tried making a Nook e-reader, and a Nook tablet that competed with the iPad, and the Kindle Fire. It was a bold, and aggressive attempt to fend off the rise of Internet companies that were destroying booksellers.
Internet companies that were destroying booksellers. Yarow’s wording is interesting in that Amazon is a bookseller; Amazon also happens to be an Internet company. And Amazon is hardly being destroyed. I guess Yarow was referring more to Apple, an Internet company destroying booksellers like Barnes and Noble. I don’t think the success of Internet booksellers equals the demise of physical booksellers. I miss my local Barnes and Noble bookstore. My kids miss it too. Amazon hasn’t replaced the experience of going to a B&N bookstore. Nothing has.
I can’t stop wondering: What if Barnes and Noble focused only on developing a fantastic iPad app that allowed downloading cheap/free digital versions of the physical books you bought at the brick and mortar stores? And what if the B&N iPad app allowed unlimited free browsing of e-books when you’re connected to WiFi at a B&N brick and mortar store? Just like with real books. Groupon-like discounts at physical locations? Free use of iPads — tethered and limited to the B&N iPad app — on WiFi at B&N stores? Sign-able e-books? E-book signings at B&N stores? A significantly discounted used book section where you can buy and sell used books? There are so many possibilities…
Don’t ask customers what they need, but observe how they behave and what makes them happy or sad. Then assess what people could do. Think about what they will notice, and what they will remember.
To do this right a company needs to hire people who have expertise in psychology, anthropology, game theory, etc. and have them work together with those who have traditional skills such as industrial design, UI design, software engineering, etc. The person who manages this hodgepodge of people will need to be somewhat of a renaissance man who knows something about almost everything.
Well, Sony has certainly been doing interesting things. A 1-inch sensor in a pocket camera? Never been done. A premium superzoom? Nobody else is doing that. A full-frame sensor in a coat-pocketable body? Unheard of.
Interesting, yes, but if Sony squeezed that 1-inch image sensor found in the company’s excellent RX100 compact camera inside an Xperia smartphone, I’d be thoroughly impressed. I’d also be severely tempted to ditch my iPhone as my primary camera.
Samsung is being challenged by lower-cost competitors; the company’s average price per phone fell by $30 last year, and its share of >$400 phones slipped from 40 percent to 21 percent. This kept up Samsung’s volume – they now account for one in three smartphone sales – but the result was their first profit decline in nine quarters.
Apple had the exact opposite problem: the iPhone’s average selling price jumped from $577 to $636 quarter-over-quarter, and was only down $6 year-over year. Apple also increased its share of the >$400 market from 35 percent to 65 percent. Growth, though, was meager: a mere 7%, despite the addition of NTT DoCoMo and a much earlier China launch for the iPhones 5S and 5C as compared to the iPhone 5.
I can see Samsung’s top end Galaxy line being compared to Apple, but not the other models geared for customers who want the cheapest money can buy. If I were to choose between the two problems I would pick Apple’s problem of selling to those with more disposable income, those who value design thinking, and those who are generally more loyal to brands.
Amid reforming its TV arm (and splitting it into a stand-alone entity), it’s going to sell its PC business and VAIO brand to Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), with the final deal set to be done by the end of March 2014.
Following a comprehensive analysis of factors, including the drastic changes in the global PC industry, Sony’s overall business portfolio and strategy, the need for continued support of Sony’s valued VAIO customers, and future employment opportunities for personnel involved in the VAIO business, the Company has determined that concentrating its mobile product lineup on smartphones and tablets and transferring its PC business to a new company established by JIP is the optimal solution.
Oh well, there goes the second best PC hardware brand when it comes to design. A design so good Steve Jobs was willing to put OS X in Sony’s VAIOs.
Apple already controls the hardware, the OS (iOS/OS X) as well as the iTunes/App store platforms. Right now they control the entire customer experience, except for the way content is delivered to their devices. Since Apple does not own the last mile they won’t be able to have complete control, but having their own CDN would give them more control and security than they have now.
Sounds good to me.
Sony is in talks to unload its sluggish personal computer operations to investment fund Japan Industrial Partners as it tries to shift focus to smartphones, The Nikkei learned Tuesday.
Apple’s iOS was born of OS X. OS X was honed on Macs. The two are inseparable: a strong OS X leads to a strong iOS, and vice versa. The symbiotic relationship does not end with code; more iPhone sales means more Mac sales, and the other way around. Focus should not be on a particular product category. Focus should be on people: how they live, how they play, how they work.
My first Macintosh was the Color Classic, about eight or nine years after the first Mac came out. I think it was the cutest Mac Apple has ever built. Cute because it was so tiny. And the color CRT screen was nice. I was a student at Cal at the time and it was just a few years before Mosaic, so all I did was word processing, email (via an external 14.4K baud modem), and a lot of Yahtzee! Wish I had kept it.
On January 24, 1984, Apple introduced the Macintosh. And with it a promise that the power of technology, put in the hands of everyone, could change the world. On January 24, 2014, we sent 15 camera crews all over the world to show how that promise has become a reality.
From sunrise in Melbourne to nightfall in Los Angeles, they documented people doing amazing things with Apple products. They shot over 70 hours of footage — all with the iPhone 5s. Then it was edited and scored with an original soundtrack. Thanks to the power of the Mac and the innovations it has inspired, an effort that normally takes months was accomplished in a matter of days.
What’s notable about Apple’s 30 year anniversary video is that it was shot entirely on the iPhone 5s. Lately I’ve been thinking maybe I need a proper — meaning expensive — camcorder to record video. Just last night I was doing some serious research on Blackmagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera. That little Super 16 digital film camera can take some serious videos, but it also requires considerable work. I’m sure I would greatly enjoy the final results, but how often would I take it with me? How much of the footage would I actually spend time and effort to color grade? And would I have enough time and energy left to do what’s required to share it with family and friends? The answers are probably going to be: not often, not much, and not a whole lot.
The best camcorder is the one you have with you, the one that gets color right as you’re recording it, the one you can edit right in your camcorder, and the one you can share with your family and friends right there and then. And that’s most likely going to be my iPhone. And if I want to do something a bit more fancy with the videos I capture, I can do that fairly easily with iMovie on a Mac.
Compared to the 1984 Apple commercial the ‘1.24.14’ video isn’t nearly as epic, but it beautifully demonstrates how much you can do with an iPhone and a Mac, today.