Introducing Tech.pinions Insiders

A few weeks ago we invited readers to give Tech.pinions Insiders a preview. We got great feedback and we were excited by the level of interest in this service. We are now officially launching our Insider subscription service to the public.

Our goal is to have our readers be our customers and provide them with the best exclusive columns, analysis, reports, multimedia, and more. The Insider service allows our columnists to go deeper and be even more opinionated on a range of industry subjects for an audience that desires more quality content from Tech.pinions.

Tech.pinions Insiders have their own Insider page where we can feature specific new Insider posts. Once logged in, Insiders will see new Insider-exclusive articles on the homepage as well whenever they return to our site.

We started Tech.pinions with a focus on quality not quantity of daily posts. Our goal remains to emphasize and bring quality long-form content and columns on the tech landscape back to the industry. Tech.pinions Insiders lets us continue to deliver quality content but to do so more frequently for those who value it.

We have a number of new features for Insiders, from short story narratives on the history of the technology industry, to deeper tech journalism and reporting, as well as industry reports unique to Tech.pinions.

We look forward to serving you.
– The Tech.pinions Team

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Our New Look

Many of our regular readers may have noticed something different with our site this morning. We have upgraded our look. This is the first major redesign of Tech.pinions since we launched the site in June of 2011. The goal was to eliminate as much clutter and all un-necessary design elements in order to put the focus on the columns. Our goal was to simplify the reading experience to focus on the content and I think we did just that.

Another goal was to make a better experience for mobile devices. I am particularly fond of how the site looks on iPad (and other tablets of course). We have a great team of designers working with us and we will keep building upon this new experience to continually bring new features and functions to the site.

As always we love to hear from our readers so we appreciate any thoughts and feedback on the re-design. We are always in search of new features to add so ideas are, of course, always welcome. Goal number one for us is to cater to those who find reading our long form editorials valuable and provide them with the best content and experience possible.

Tech.pinions started with a simple idea: Create a credible destination for long form opinion commentary about the technology industry from seasoned industry professionals. Our new design and many of our upcoming features will continue us down that path.

Opinion Cast: Are Phablet’s For Real? Should Apple Make One?

This week Shawn and Ben discuss Ben’s column about the Galaxy Note 2. Ben goes in to more depth on his thoughts on Phablet’s and what they bring to the table in terms of an experience. We also explore whether or not Apple should get into the large phone market. We tried to stay short and sweet and kept this one to about 15 minutes.

For more context as well read Ben’s article on the Galaxy Note 2.

You can also subscribe to our opinion cast in iTunes here.

The Opinion Cast Round Table: Blackberry Its Past and its Future

This week the topic of choice is about RIM. Our Tech.pinion columnists get together for a lively discussion about Blackberry, the company formerly knows as RIM. We explore how they got to where they are and what they need to go forward. Can they do it? Listen to find out.

You can also subscribe to our opinion cast in iTunes here.

The Opinion Cast Round Table: Apple and Wall Street’s Distorted Expectations

After a somewhat surprising and somewhat predictable day stock wise for Apple post earnings, the Tech.pinions team share their thoughts on Apple’s earnings. We hit topics like why Wall Street is so backward, what this means for Apple going forward, whether or not Apple is doomed, and the greater picture of the PC industry at large.

As always, we would love any comments or feedback on our Opinion Cast. We want this podcast to be valuable to our readers so please let us know things you like and what we can do better. Also, if you get a chance please rate it in the iTunes store. Enjoy!

You can also subscribe to our opinion cast in iTunes here.

The Opinion Cast Round Table: 2013 Predictions and CES

Steve, Tim, and Ben discuss their tech predictions for 2013 and give some insight into this years CES. We are looking forward to an exciting 2013!

As always, we would love any comments or feedback on our Opinion Cast. We want this podcast to be valuable to our readers so please let us know things you like and what we can do better. Also, if you get a chance please rate it in the iTunes store.

You can also subscribe to our opinion cast in iTunes here.

New Years Resolutions for the Tech Industry in 2012

We thought we would recommend some new years resolutions for the tech industry at large for 2012. Some of these are company specific and some are general.

From Patrick Moorhead

Tablet OEMs: Invest what it takes to create and market something dramatically valuable, demonstrable, and most of all, differentiated. The answer to that lies with the usage models. The solution should solve a non obvious problem or open up a new way of having fun. Don’t immediately dismiss ideas just because they didn’t work before or because the resources don’t appear to be there. Take some risks and partner on the gaps you cannot afford. The other option is a money losing price war with the iPad or the Kindle Fire.

Consumer PC OEMs: Start adding incremental value over and above a convertible tablet or docked smartphone or there may be a much smaller PC market in the future. Leverage the larger design (versus tablets) to house better hardware components which when paired with the right software create new experiences. Think effortless and accurate personal video face tagging, 99% accurate speech command, and dictation, the highest possible quality video communications, in-home PC game streaming to phones and tablets, etc. Forget about the past of what new usage models sold and what didn’t sell, because those solutions were half baked.

Social media companies: Two different social models exist, “broadcast” and “personal”. Services like Path, while more intimate, are still, broadcasting somewhat randomly to an audience that may or may not see something or may not even be relevant. In real life, there are an infinite number of “micro-circles” that exist with varying levels of context. Companies need to grasp this concept of “personal” and build tools to leverage it.

From Steve Wildstrom

For RIM: work to salvage your enterprise customers’ investment in BlackBerry Enterprise Server infrastructure even if you can’t save their investment in BlackBerrys.

For PC OEMs: Stop trying to imitate the Mac Book Air. Ultrabooks can’t win that game on price or design. Show some creativity of your own.

For tech bloggers: Stop chasing page views by running uncritically with every Apple rumor, notated how silly, unlikely, or old.

From Ben Bajarin

For PC OEMs: Stop innovating in the rear view mirror. Simply trying to make MacBook Air clones is not a strategy that will yield much fruit. A friend and colleague Rob Enderle once told me that when Toyota was grabbing market share from GM in the late 70s, GM simply tried to reverse engineer Toyota cars. Which meant that GM was making great 1970’s cars in the 1980’s while Toyota was focuses on the future GM was focused on the present. Create value, experiment, try things that are new and most importantly create a vision for your products future.

Create Feature of Value: Focus on finding and creating features that your target customer base find valuable. It is important to know what your customers want or what kind of technology innovations you can create that solve real world problems for consumers or make every day tasks easier and simpler to accomplish using your technology.

From Peter Lewis

Resolved: Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish. And, as Scott McNealy says, Stay Nervous.

Resolved: In 2012, the tech industry must make computer and data security its No. 1 priority. Accelerate the use of biometric log-ins for computers and mobile devices.

Resolved: Vote against any Congressperson who votes for the House’s Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) or the Senate’s even-more-evil Protect IP Act (PIPA).

Resolved: We don’t say we’re e-writing someone, or e-calling, or e-reading. So let’s stop calling it e-mail and e-books and e-commerce, et cetera.

The Top Tech.pinions Columns of 2011

As we bring 2011 to a close we thought we would share the top five most popular columns of 2011. Even though our technology opinion column based website is only 6 month’s old, many of our columns made it around the webosphere. So here are the top five Tech.pinions columns of 2011

1. Why Google Should Buy Motorola
At the time, we simply wrote a theoretical analysis of all the reason why Google should buy Motorola and the benefit such an acquisition would bring to both companies. Turns out five days later, Google did actually purchase Motorola.

2. Why Google and Microsoft Hate Siri
Siri’s potential impact on search is the subject of this column. The potential impact to Google and Microsoft in terms of search is analyzed as well. This was also the most commented on article of the year.

3. Why We Witnessed History at the iPhone 4S Launch
History isn’t made every day. Seems like the past few years have been history by themselves. Looking at some of the ways Siri could impact the future as an inflection point for today.

4. Nuance Exec on iPhone, 4S, Siri, and the Future of Speech
A great interview with Vladimir Sejnoha, chief technical officer of Nuance, as well as some analysis and commentary around the subject of voice and artificial intelligence.

5. Apple Will Re-Invent TV
A deeper look at how the television transforming into a platform, to deliver rich software and services, will lead to its re-invention.

There they are, the top five most read columns of 2011. Other than our very timely Google and Motorola acquisition suggestion, it seems like Apple was yet again a hot topic in 2011. Looking forward to seeing what 2012 will bring!

The Tech.pinions Predictions For 2012

It’s fun to make predictions. Luckily none of us are in the predictions business but it’s fun to analyze, speculate, and simply hope for interesting things to come prior to each new year. This year, rather than have each of our columnists write a number of predictions we decided to have each submit two. So below for your reading pleasure is our bold proclamations for the technology industry in 2012.

Peter Lewis

1) The existence of the Higgs Boson, also known as “the God particle,” finally will be confirmed in 2012 as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva ramps up to full power. Not to be confused with the Higgs Boston, which confers Mass. to Beantown – I’d love to take credit for that line, but The Onion beat me to it – the Higgs Boson is a theoretical subatomic particle whose existence would take humankind a step or two closer to understanding the very nature of matter, the mysteries of space and time, and the future of the universe, which could come in handy in case you’re trying to decide whether to buy or rent. This very tiny particle will be the biggest science story of the coming year. At the very least, it will justify the estimated $4.4 billion cost of one of the largest and most complex pieces of technology ever built, not counting Windows Vista.

2) This was the year of Big Data and Cloud Computing. Next year will be the year of trying to actually move Big Data through the Cloud at useful speeds. Scientists in 2012 will achieve a breakthrough in sustained data transfer speeds on wide-area networks, paving the way for government and academic transfer rates approaching 100 gigabits per second. Unfortunately, you’ll be very old, or perhaps even up in the clouds yourself, by the time such speeds are available to personal computer and mobile device users. In theory, you’ll be able to download the entire Library of Netflix in 14.4 seconds, but. In practice. Your movie. Will. Download. And download and. (Go get a cup of coffee.) Download. Like. This. On the bright side: I predict that the average broadband speed in the United States in 2012 will finally catch up to the average broadband speed in South Korea in 2002.

Tim Bajarin

1) Netbooks will make a comeback.
In 2011, netbooks fell out of favor with consumers as tablets became the hot mobile product. The education market is still interested, though. If vendors bring out netbooks that look more like Ultrabooks but are priced between $299 and $350, these types of products could strike a nerve with consumers again. Of course, they would have lower end processors, a shortage of memory, Android as the OS, and could even just ship with the Chrome Browser on it.
Although they may only be a small part of the PC shipment mix, I believe there is still real interest in a lightweight, very low-cost laptop. While Ultrabooks will fit the bill for those with more cash on hand, a fresh generation of netbooks could find new life at the very low-end of the laptop market.

2) Ultrabook-tablet combo devices will become a big hit.
Ultrabooks with detachable screens that turn into tablets could be the sleeper hit of 2012. Also known as hybrids, the early models of this concept used an illogical mixed operating systems; Windows when in PC mode and Android when in tablet mode. But by the year’s end, both Windows 8 for tablet and Windows 8 for laptops will be out and these hybrids will be completely compatible. I expect to see solid models of this type of hybrid by quarter four.

Patrick Moorhead

1) Smartphones and Tablets erode PCs even more than expected
Smartphones and tablets will disrupt consumer PC sales even more than anyone predicted. The “modularity effect” will start to engage where smartphones and tablets, when wirelessly connected to large displays and full-sized input devices, can replace a PC for basic usage models. That sefment of consumers will be willing to pay even more for their smartphones and even less

2) Auto check-in subsidized phone or service launched
The first phones with private “auto check-ins” for stores, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, malls, and gas stations will be launched in exchange for an additional $49-$99 subsidy. Competitive deals and loyalty benefits will be presented to the consumer based upon where they are checking in. The auto check-in will only automatically be shared with the company providing the subsidy and not be public, unless the consumer decides so. The phone will be marketed to middle-income, younger consumers who are willing to trade privacy and advertising for cash.

Steve Wildstrom

1) A major professional sports league will do a deal with Microsoft for over-the-top streaming of live games via Xbox. This will be a major step in breaking the iron triangle of content owners, networks, and cable/satellite distributors and will increase Microsoft’s lead over Apple and Google in streaming content.

2) The U.S. government will conclude its antitrust investigation of Google without bringing any charges. The EU, however, may take a harder line, so Google won’t be out of the woods.

Ben Bajarin

1) Google will sell the Motorola hardware division. When I wrote back in August about why Google should buy Motorola, I didn’t intend it to be a prediction. Even though a week later they actually did buy Motorola. For me it was more of a theoretical analysis of what I thought Google should do and what would be best long-term for Motorola. Given that the patents are what Google is claiming is most valuable to them, once the acquisition is complete and the active lawsuits are settled, Google can legally sell the hardware division and still keep the patents for future protection. If Google truly wants to maintain good relations with their customers, it behooves them to get rid of the Motorola hardware business.

Although, I wouldn’t sell this business until 2013 if I was Google. Just in case their current partners like HTC and Samsung for example begin to shift their loyalty to Windows Phone or even perhaps webOS. This would inevitably hurt their market share and could lead them to go the vertical route, which they would need to Motorola hardware division to do.

2) Google will launch a Chrome based tablet, probably called the Chromepad. It will be priced at $99 and only be used for browsing the web and web services through Google’s Chrome OS. It will be highly disruptive and usher in the era of low-priced, web and web app only connected tablets.

BONUS Far Out Prediction

I’d like to throw in a bonus wild prediction. I think it would be great and completely re-shape the broadcast and over-the-top TV landscape. Microsoft will buy DirecTV and integrate it with the XBOX 360 and all future US-based XBOX’s going forward.

From all of us at Tech.pinions, Happy Holiday and have a great New Year’s.

Tech.pinions: The Podcast – Week of Sept 19th 2011

Welcome to the first installment of the Tech.pinions Podcast. Tim Bajarin, Steve Wildstrom and Ben Bajarin opine on the latest technology industry developments for the week of September 19th 2011.

We talk HP’s firing of Leo Apotheker and appointment of Meg Whitman as CEO. 7 min 10 sec
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First reactions to Google’s senate committee hearing. 6 min
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Initial thoughts on Windows 8 and what Microsoft needs to do going forward. 4 min
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Speculation and insight on Amazon’s upcoming tablet launch.6 min 58 sec
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Listen to the whole thing in one sitting. 30 min

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