The iPhone 4 Dominates Flickr – What This Says About The Future

News broke yesterday highlighting the fact that the iPhone 4 has become the most popular camera in the Flickr community. There are many ways to look at this information. We could point out that in April the iPhone 4 was slightly below the champ at the time in the Nikon D90 and simply two month’s later it is the current king. We could also look at how in another two month’s the iPhone 4 will have a commanding lead in terms of Flickr camera popularity.

I however am more interested about what this information tells us about the future. Continue reading The iPhone 4 Dominates Flickr – What This Says About The Future

Do Consumers Want Tablets or iPads?

John Paczkowski, over at the All Things D blog, wrote an interesting article titled “Consumers Don’t Want Tablets, They Want iPads.” I encourage you to read it, it was a good read with some good statistics from Bernstein Research on tablet brand awareness and form factor preference. In terms of where the market is today i’d have to agree that mainstream consumers are highly in favor of the iPad over other tablets. The question is will this always be the case or will the market even out, and if so when?

Paczkowski’s theory, as stated in the opening, is that the tablet market is currently similar to the original MP3 market. All though Apple didn’t invent the MP3 market they re-invented it and controlled much of its growth. Consumers preferred the iPod to all other MP3 players, mainly due to Apple’s ecosystem. Apple is in the driver’s seat with tablets currently because again, all though they didn’t invent it, they re-invented it. The Apple ecosystem is uniquely positioned to continue to keep them dominant in the tablet category.

There is however a fundamental difference between the iPad and the MP3 player. The MP3 player was for the most part of its maturity cycle a feature centric device. Meaning it generally did only one thing well, play music. The iPad and tablets at large are computers, which are general purpose not specific function devices, meaning they do many things well.

This difference creates the market opportunity for fragmentation once it matures. I liken what will happen in this market to the current automobile market. There are many choices that cater to a wide variety of consumer choices. This is what happens when a market reaches maturity.

The tablet market is a maturing market, not a mature one. Therefore in the beginning there will be fewer market leaders and less choices until the market matures. Consumers will choose the market leader to get their feet wet with the new product and use it to help them decide their own preferences and desires.

The real trick will be for Apple and others to create “sticky” experiences with their ecosystem. This will keep consumers vested and committed to a specific hardware, software and services solution. Vendors who don’t do this well will likely face the chance of consumers switching or at least considering to switch with each buying cycle. If a vendor creates enough depth with their offering, getting consumers committed to their ecosystem, then there will be less of a chance they will switch with each buying cycle.

To say that people (mainstream consumers, not early adopters as there is a difference) want iPads not tablets is correct for the time being. We could have easily said the same thing 3 or 4 years ago that consumers want an iPhone not a smart phone. However the market has developed and is quickly maturing making fragmentation a given.

I’ll bet 3 years from now the tablet market will look different, with more choices and more mature products from iPad competitors. The question will remain whether consumers will buy.

Is There A ChromeBook in Your Future?

The answer is probably not. However, if I were to ask you whether or not a browser based computer was in your future, the answer would be most likely.

I say this with confidence because it seems nearly inevitable that the client server paradigm of browser based computing will become a reality, at least to some degree. Therefore, whether the device looks like a notebook or desktop PC as we know it today, or comes in the shape of a tablet, hybrid, smartphone, smart screen, or something else, its going to be cloud connected and cloud dependent.

The degree said device depends on the cloud to function may vary by type of device, type of consumer, type of use case and more. Yet its clear the cloud will play a much more central role in the minute to minute functioning of personal electronics in the future.

Still, there are two things standing in the way of a fully functioning cloud computing reality, which are networks and software.

The Network Challenge

Even as 4G gets off the ground it’s still clear, we are no where near where we need to be for a pure cloud computing to truly hit the mainstream. Which means hardware will have to make certain trade-offs as manufacturers integrate more cloud computing capabilities. Offline caching being one of the primary trade-offs.

If we agree that 4G will be the first broadband technology to usher in cloud computing, then we still have a few years to wait. If you look back at the 3G adoption cycles it took just over 3.5 years for 3G to hit a critical mass of nationwide availability and device support.

Assuming 4G follows a similar path, as is likely, we are still a few years off from having total nationwide availability and device critical mass.


If you don’t have software, you don’t have hardware. Without software all our devices are basically paperweights. However, what becomes interesting in this cloud computing paradigm is where the software originates. Today much of it originates natively, stored on our hardware. Our operating systems are “installed” and our applications are “installed.”

In a cloud computing paradigm where software sits in the cloud you will not install software you will access it through the Internet. It will already be there ready for you to use. The browser will be the mechanism that gives you access to the software of your choosing.

Accessing Internet based software solves quite a bit of software development issues. Developers won’t have to pick and choose which platforms they write software for because the Internet becomes the universal software development platform.

Therefore web standards like HTML and JavaScript become the software language of the future.

In this reality there is no such thing as apps that are available on one device or one platform that are not available on another.

In this reality every device that can connect to the Internet and has a CPU strong enough to process web standards, has access to the depth and breadth of Internet software.

Thus, again placing the importance back on the browser to be current and innovative. This leaves not only Google, but Apple, Microsoft and even Mozilla in strong positions if browser based computing becomes mainstream.

For software developers this is as exciting as it is important. For consumers and their hardware this is an equally exciting reality, we simply don’t know it yet.

The Wii U is Interesting, But How Unique is it?

The Wii U is addressing the question of how a secondary smaller screen could be used in conjunction with a larger screen to play interactive games. This is a very good question, one that I have thought about for the better part of 10 years. Sony made some interesting attempts at this concept with their PSP and its connection to the PS3.

The big picture concept is that many games could benefit from the addition of a second screen allowing a player to utilize as a part of the game experience. An example would be with a racing game, being able to use the second screen to view your rear view mirror. Or during a game like Splinter Cell having the ability to use the second screen for your gadgets that let you see under doors or stick video cameras to the wall.
Continue reading The Wii U is Interesting, But How Unique is it?

BusinessWeek for iPad Review: Best Magazine App So Far

I’ve been using the Bloomberg BusinessWeek iPad App for about a month now and I have to say I prefer it hands down to reading the physical magazine. Mostly because BusinessWeek did not simply try to re-create the BusinessWeek experience on the iPad, instead they re-invented it.
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2012: A Year of Innovation?

One of the things I look at in order to get an idea of what the next years worth of innovations will bring is the semiconductor industry. Given what I am seeing from the various ARM vendors like NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Marvell and TI as well as from Intel and AMD, I am encouraged.

The primary industry that stands to gain from new semiconductor innovations is the mobile industry. Namely the hot category of tablets and smart phones. That is not to say that the PC will be left out, for example Intel brought attention to the concept of “Ultra-Books” at this years Computex.
Continue reading 2012: A Year of Innovation?

Apple’s iCloud Will Be Great for Families

As the dust has settled from Apple’s WWDC Keynote and iCloud announcement, I have taken some time to reflect on the full implications of iCloud. One of the conculsions I have reached is that there is not just a great deal of value for individual consumers but also for families.

iCloud will be the glue that ties all of a consumers Apple products together. What’s more is that it will be the glue that will tie all of a families Apple products together.
Continue reading Apple’s iCloud Will Be Great for Families

Microsoft Has A Chance to Compete With Windows 8

It’s way to early to count Microsoft out. Just look at history. Microsoft has a fighting chance with Windows 8 because they are Microsoft. We can argue and debate whether they understand the consumer. Or whether the market has passed them or not but the simple truth is they are still a force in the computing landscape.
Continue reading Microsoft Has A Chance to Compete With Windows 8

Will UltraBooks Make PCs Interesting Again?

I ask this question specifically because this is the question those who make PC’s are asking. In particular this initiative to make the PC relevant again is being driven by Intel and in part by AMD. This sounds rather silly because of course the PC is still relevant, the fact of the matter is the PC has become boring.

PC’s are mainstream and there isn’t much interesting about them these days. Consumers are familiar with them and understand what they are and what they are good for. Consumers are more interested in learning about things like smart phones and tablets to which they are still in discovery mode with.
Continue reading Will UltraBooks Make PCs Interesting Again?

Apple Retail is Key to Their Competitive Advantage

Apple has several things I consider to be keys to their competitive advantage. Fundamental advantages that when you study become clear differentiators as well as roadblocks for Apple competitors. However if I were to prioritize, their retail strategy would be near the top as a key to their competitive advantage – here is why.

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HTC Flyer: To Stylus or Not to Stylus

I want to focus the thoughts of this article purely on the HTC’s implementation of a stylus on their Flyer 7″ tablet. When Steve Jobs said “if you see a stylus, they blew it,” I believe he meant that if a tablet or computer required a tablet for navigation and input it has failed. To this I would entirely agree.

I believe the stylus alone should be viewed as an accessory, not something the tablet experience depends on. I believe HTC understands this and all though the implementation isn’t perfect it is still by far the best stylus implementation to date.
Continue reading HTC Flyer: To Stylus or Not to Stylus

Blue Yeti Pro Review – Great to Use and Look At

Let me start off by saying I have a thing for microphones. I am not exactly sure why, since I rarely use them. I don’t do much personal podcasting but I do contribute to several.

What I mostly use microphones for are VOIP calls, acoustic instrument recording and vocal recording- all just for fun. Those use cases were the the primary ones I tested. The Blue Yeti Pro let’s you connect VIA XLR through a powered amplification source or VIA USB. Most of the microphones I use, I plug in VIA XLR but in this case I wanted to test the USB audio quality. The Yeti Pro boasts recording at full 24 bit rate and 192 khz sample rate. Inside the housing to capture audio is 3 Blue-proprietary 14mm condenser capsules.

To test I ran a series of audio quality tests so let’s start with audio quality.
Continue reading Blue Yeti Pro Review – Great to Use and Look At

The Amazon Tablet Opportunity Could Be Huge

I have fielded a lot of questions recently regarding the rumors of Amazon making a tablet of their own to bring to market. Right off the bat there is enough data out there to support this rumor, so I am certain Amazon is bringing a full featured tablet to market.

I make the distinction of full featured tablet because of the rise of the term “feature” tablet. The current Kindle as well as the B&N Nook Color are examples of feature tablets. A feature tablet is a tablet that focuses just on certain features like e-reading, navigation, gaming etc. Where a full featured tablet is a more general purpose than feature specific device.
Continue reading The Amazon Tablet Opportunity Could Be Huge

Will Low Radiation Phones Be A Selling Point In the Future?

There has been mounting media over the past few years around whether there is a link to cell phone radiation and a possible cancer risk. The latest WHO (World Health Organization) report that was recently released issued yet another warning that there may be a link to cell phone radiation and brain cancer. Which leads to an interesting question: Can low radiation levels be sold as a feature of cell phones in the future?

My guess is yes. In the very near future, I would not be surprised if we begin to see more labels on these devices clearly stating how much radiation (SAR levels) they produce. I would even venture a guess that there will be consumers who will take the radiation levels of a cell phone into consideration as a part of the decision making process. Some consumer may be more concerned about the radiation levels than others but tradeoffs will be made based on what the consumer cares about.
Continue reading Will Low Radiation Phones Be A Selling Point In the Future?

The Android Opportunity – Core Apps

Google’s Android operating system has proven itself a growing force to be reckoned with as adoption rates among manufactures and consumers continue growing at considerable rates. I feel that Android 2.1 has finally reached a point where it is ready for the mass market. I’ve also had the opportunity to use a Nexus One with the next release 2.2, AKA Froyo, for the past two weeks and have found it even more ready for the mass market and perhaps even the enterprise.

Android continues to advance in virtually all areas and compared to Apple’s iPhone OS, it represents the only really viable alternative, for now. As I pointed out in my last article The Fate of Windows 7, Microsoft is way behind this curve, and even if they were caught up at a pure OS level, they are still at least two years behind on the the app ecosystem. Conversely, Android is well behind Apple with the core apps.
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Why Apple Has a Strong Competitive Advantage

One of the primary things about being an effective technology industry analyst is that I have to clearly communicate our perspectives about the technology industry as a whole to my firms clients. This requires more than just the regurgitation of information as we gather it in the field. It requires explaining more fundamental elements of what is happening and why. It is because of this that we seem to get one question common to many of the companies that we speak with and provide services to. That question is: “Why is Apple doing so well and what can we do to compete?”
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