Has any other product ever become the number 1 seller on Amazon after it was discontinued?
If you thought this webOS fire sale weekend couldn’t get any crazier, think again. Best Buy has made an about-face and is now selling the TouchPad, limited to one per customer. Meanwhile, reports on Twitter and our tipline suggest that some of HP’s servers are starting to buckle under the load of new TouchPad activations.
I’d love to see the sales charts for the TouchPad since HP dropped the price like a stone. They seem to be flying off the shelves everywhere, which suggests they’ve flooded the market with upto 245,000 new tablets.
Of course, here in the UK, the best price you can get the 16GB Wi-fi model for right now is £349 - “Save £50.00” - what do they take us for?
That title is not garbled. Fujitsu did not announce the release of its Windows Phone 7 handset today, but instead its Windows 7 phone. All of a sudden Microsoft’s naming system is a bit of a mouthful, isn’t it? The phone will be released on July 23rd.
The handset, named the F-07C Mobile Phone, runs a full, complete build of Windows 7, and can be, according to the Fujitsu copy, used “as a PC.”
It’s really painful to watch these huge companies flailing, trying to stay relevant by breaking into the mobile space, and doing it entirely wrong. Stick with the enterprise guys.
Maybe things will work out with a better management head at the helm, to really give webOS that “scale” HP promised, whilst Rubinstein pushes ‘product innovation’.
Or maybe not.
From Google’s perspective this is obviously a good move, they’re rebranding Blogger and Picasa as Google Blogs and Google Photos respectively, apparently as a big push to “unify its brand” ahead of the launch of Google+. I think it’s terrible though, on the same vein of Google trying to “unify its brand”: people want to be part of a brand.
Maybe not in the beginning, but now i’m sure one of the big things that brings people to Flickr is the name. It’s known as that huge beast of a photo sharing site, and if you want to share photos, you obviously go there. What Google have done by rebranding Blogger and Picasa is null the brands behind them. ‘Google Photos’ and ‘Google Blogs’ might do just fine based on their large existing user base to make people want to be part of that, but there’s less of a pull.
Having a brand like Picasa is good, there’s a name to it - you can ask “Are you on Picasa?”. Instead now people will be asking “Are you on Google Photos?”, and the average Joe will have no idea what they’re talking about, they might even assume you’re talking about image search! People want to be associated with a brand, and being associated with a search leviathan like Google doesn’t exactly tug at the heart strings.
I well and truly love the design direction Google are going in, since the launch of Google+, we’ve seen a reboot of the interface for Google search, GCal and now Gmail as well. What Google are producing are elegant web app’s which people will want to use, that people will get pleasure from looking at for the first time, rather than an archaic looking app thats redeemed by its functionality - anybody that has tried Gmail will tell you its a great service, better than Hotmail at least, but design like this is the icing on the cake, and it’s very much appreciated on my end.
Fascinating teardown of the new Thunderbolt cable from Apple by iFixit revealing that the true value might be closer to the $49 price tag than anyone expected. The cable contains “a total of 12 larger, inscribed chips, and tons of smaller electronic components”. I’m not an engineering type but I still find the teardown’s like this intriguing and I’d love to hear the first estimates of what the cable costs to make. People have an expectation of Apple that they overcharge for cables and peripherals, but it’s already been reported that the inclusion of Thunderbolt could cost as much as $100 to add to hardware.
I might be the only one who doesn’t think this is good for HP. It’s not that i’m against them licensing the OS, I’m all for that, and I’m a big fan of webOS, but I think they way they want to do it - wanting to have a strong relationship with a single manufacturer, rather than being “one of 5 or 6 OSs” - is short sighted and won’t pay off as they hope it will.
HP already have a huge amount of reach, and if they can’t make webOS succeed on their own, getting one other company distributing webOS with them won’t make a difference. They would be relinquishing control: for a deal like that of Microsoft and Nokia to be made in the first place they would have to hand over a lot, and although it sounds like HP actually want another company to shape webOS with them, too many cooks spoil the broth. Having two companies controlling the vision and progress of the OS I feel could really damage it.
It’s been proven by RIM that going it alone in this market now is a hard slog, Apple contradict the rule, but the reason for that is that they have an ecosystem, something which HP have in terms of hardware big time: they’ve got phones, tablets, with netbooks, printers on the way. They simply haven’t gained the traction (or the cool apps) to make people buy into that ecosystem though. For HP to maintain complete control of the OSs progress but hand it over to manufactures for the distribution side would be a great thing for consumers, manufactures would really have to compete on hardware.
If HP were to licence webOS though, i’d like to see them mimic what Microsoft did with Windows Phone 7 - finding a middle ground between Apple and iOS and Google with Android. Having several manufactures working with them to push the OS could do wonders to put traction and numbers behind it, so that webOS is something people want to own and developers want to build for. Of course, Windows Phone 7 hasn’t gained a huge amount of traction from doing this but webOS is a really phenomenal experience, people really do like it, it’s just that the scarce lack of hardware is hard to love. Because that’s where they’re hitting a brick wall. webOS is awesome, and once people use it they love it, getting it in the hands of those people is the hard part, and the only way to get past that is with multiple manufacturers.
Twitter is looking to start placing ads into users timelines, reports the Financial Times. The publication cites ‘people with direct knowledge’ of Twitter’s plans that the company will begin placing “promoted tweets” into the main stream of user’s Twitter accounts.
In addition to placing ads right into the stream, other options that are being considered include a local deals option that would rival Groupon. This would pull information from user conversations and trends to offer limited-time offers. Twitter is also looking at introducing enhanced profile pages for brands and giving advertisers the ability to pre-schedule Tweets, a feature that many Twitter clients already feature.
Adam Bain, Twitter’s head of revenue, and other executives, have been meeting with potential client firms at the Cannes Lions event this week.
Hopefully Twitter have finally figured stuff out, and it sounds like they’re doing it in a fresh new way by integrating deals right into the service, leveraging all the geo-tags and information we post about ourselves every day to provide relevant offers and valuable information. Not only will it help pay for the service, but I think it might actually improve upon it. It’s also rumored Twitter will start adding sponsored tweets into the timeline, probably the most popular suggested method of monetization from people. It does feel slightly hypocritical to start including sponsored tweets in the timeline when they made the move last year to ban app’s from injecting paid tweets into a timeline on any service that leverages the Twitter API, although they did say from the start that promoted tweets were to be included right in the timeline eventually and of course they have to make money somehow.
We have announced Promoted Tweets. These tweets will exist primarily in search and then in the timeline, but in a manner that preserves the integrity and relevance of the timeline. As we have announced, we will use innovative metrics like Resonance so that Promoted Tweets are only shown when they make sense for users and enhance the user experience.
The mention of Resonance is also interesting, I think it would be interesting and conceivable for the aforementioned ‘local deals’ to be the sole ad’s featured in the timeline as they’re about as relevant as you could get and would actually build on the user experience rather than being an annoyance. I’m actually interested to see what Twitter come up with as their big monetization plan, because damn it they need one. If all else fails I guess they could try a lemonade stand.
The Clear Black AMOLED display is truly a sight to behold, with stunning viewing angles, a curved Gorilla Glass front, and some pretty excellent (for AMOLED) performance out in the sunlight. We compared it side by side with a Super LCD-equipped Incredible S and the N9 more than held its own. The screen is easily one of this new phone’s great strengths, though we’d argue the intuitive UI, responsiveness, and eye-catching industrial design are pretty high up on that list too.
I’m actually in love with the hardware design of the Nokia N9, although I think the colours devalue it the unibody polycarbonate and curved screen sound amazing, the polycarbonate is the same colour all the way down as well, I don’t know if this is a common feature of polycarbonate but it means scratches won’t be as noticeable which is interesting and thoughtful. I would have preferred if they had opted for an aluminium unibody but admittedly the design suits the more colourful OS which I’ll get to in a second.
From the demo the UI and animations in MeeGo look silky smooth. The OS looks really fresh, swipe to navigate is a proven concept with iOS, Android, although Ben Brooks has already raised concerns in his latest post:
Lastly they interface works in a way that a swipe from the left or right edge into the middle will put you into an app launcher or switcher — which is great, right up and until the point and iPhone/Android/WP7 user comes along and tries to “swipe” through their pictures only to find that it keeps kicking them to the homescreen.
What I got from the demo video was that if you swipe from the very top or side of the display, the multitasking or swipe function will be initiated, if you swipe within the interface you will be interacting with the app itself - be it the browser or Photos. I think it’s doubtful you’ll ever mix the two interactions either as it seems you use the top of the screen as a run up to initiate the multitasking swipe, we still don’t know if this changes in practice though if you were viewing photos in landscape orientation. I think there’s still a lot we don’t know about the functions of the OS and creases in the UX that Nokia need to clarify and/or iron out - such as multitasking and swiping and which function takes priority in normal use. All in all though the multitasking interface looks nice, very expose esque incorporating pinch to zoom and close all, it also seems better implemented even than Apple’s previous beta implementation. App switching by swiping vertically looks elegant and easy to pick up as well.
The main app that was actually demoed during the video was Camera, the UI for it looks great, I really like the ‘softness’ of the icon and UI design in general with curved edges to everything which they’ve gone with, it looks like its been inspired inspired by what Nokia have done with Symbian Anna, the look and feel of it looks like it goes perfectly with the poppy hardware. The camera itself looks solid as well as we can expect from Nokia, an 8MP 16:9 widescreen sensor producing some damn nice pixels. The only thing I was left wondering about the camera is does it have a shutter button though? It’d be wasteful if it didn’t and a missed opportunity.
The demonstration of how MeeGo works with NFC connectivity stuff is really great as well, seamless and user friendly and integrated into the Music app, again though I think Nokia need to clarify where they’re planning to go with this, obviously with NFC the phone has potential to be your eWallet which would make it a lot more compelling.
Obvious the gaping hole in MeeGo is apps, from the demo it looks like Facebook and Twitter will be available for it at launch, i’d like to see what they look like. Beyond that i’m worried that no-one but the huge players and really passionate dev’s are going to produce apps for MeeGo with the limited and cloudy roadmap which has already been pronounced dead, I think it could still be promising though - I don’t expect 4000000 apps, just a handful of good ones (such as Twitter and Facebook which we’ve already seen). Another reservation I have with MeeGo though is actually the iconography; all the icons look similar, which doesn’t make for a great user experience sometimes, yes so do iOS’ I guess, but I own a Nokia and I can vouch that the way the icons are designed makes them hard to distinguish at a glance. Even the guy appears to pause momentarily to locate the camera icon during the presentation.
The N9 does make you wonder why the company has opted against MeeGo for its primary platform, it’s a solid phone and a beautiful OS that still has a little to go. MeeGo still has a development roadmap but the MeeGo team have been put to work on the ‘next disruption’ in the mobile space. I think it would have been good for Nokia to actually have control over the direction of their primary OS, but they decided to go with Windows Phone 7, probably as a play by Elop, my feeling is that they’ll come to regret it in the long run but i’m sure getting millions from Microsoft sweetened the deal.
A huge achievement for Apple, and completely deserved.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will be meeting on Monday in Singapore to vote on its expansion plan for domain names. I’m not completely sure how I feel about this, there are obvious pro’s and con’s, if the notion is approved we’ll apparently be seeing domain suffixes “in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts” which would cause massive fragmentation and confusion. It’s also going to be a matter of branding, with companies applying for their own extensions including Canon:
A group of entrepreneurs in Las Vegas is vying to operate a “.Vegas” suffix. They have the city’s endorsement and consider “.Vegas” a way to unify local merchants, entertainment venues, residents and even businesses beyond Sin City.
Former professional hockey player Ron Andruff is working with international sports federations to bid for “.sport.” He expects sports leagues, teams, athletes, equipment makers and fans to want websites with a suffix that defines them better.
Big business will stake claims, too. Printer and camera maker Canon Inc. plans to apply for “.Canon”. Trade groups for bankers and financial-services companies are working together to explore bids for “.bank”, “.insure” and “.invest” for their member companies.
Again I think it’s going to be messy and confusing and not done at all in the best interest of the end user, this is going to be a complete matter of branding and vanity where the company wants to have even more control over their product. If the notion passes I don’t think the Internet Corporation will approve suffixes tastefully, it will just be about the amount of money they are getting for it, we’re going to see a flood of crazy new cumbersome domain names. Typically you could guess a domain name by adding ‘.com’ but if this becomes a trend they’ll be no chance of that happening. Those days are over.
Update: After finding out about this I was at least hopeful thats we would see some cool domain names come out of it, however the latest revelation is that it will be useless to the average person as well, like if Myke Hurley wanted to get my.ke, the application fee is $185,000, and if you’re successful you’ll have to pay $25,000 yearly after that. Obviously this is a money grab by the ICANN, and will be exclusive to large businesses unless you have money to throw around. This just proves that this isn’t in the best interests of internet users in the slightest.
Since Google’s Inside Search event i’ve been trying to figure if the new Google search stuff is groundbreaking or just convenient. With five new additions to Google search on the desktop and on mobile it’s obviously a great improvement but it’s still left me feeling a little cold.
Without a doubt, image search seems insane - allowing you to perform a Google search with and image, I can’t figure how it would work in practice with a genuine use case though, typically when you have a photo, you took it, so you will know a decent amount about it, more than Google will. All I can entertain is the idea that it will help you identify “mysterious creatures” as the demo video suggests. It would be great for identifying animals, places, people you can’t remember the name of, however Google reports that it simply ‘compares pixels’ and works best with things well documented on the web1, personally I think it’s a bit of a gimmick with no really useful purpose, will it make people use Google over Bing? Hell yeah, like I said it’s a gimmick but it’s not particularly blowing my mind.
One thing that really made me smile was Google Instant for Mobile:
Google is launching Google Instant for Mobile, which is very similar to Google Places, but right on the Google Mobile homepage. The next time you’re out and about, simply launch Safari and visit the homepage to access location based shortcuts that’ll help you find food, drink, fuel, and more with simple tap based navigation. The results are integrated with Google Maps, so you can location based results closest that are ranked closest to you. On top that, you’ll have access to phone numbers, reviews, and directions from a pull down menu under each result.
This sounds and looks slick, to find locations around you, you don’t even have to type, it looks similar to what Microsoft is doing with Bing on Windows Phone 7 with local results, it allows you to get in, get out and things done quicker. I think thats really what we need in the mobile space and is awesome to see Google pushing it. As another addition to Google Mobile search they’ve also made it easier to “to build longer, more complicated searches” which basically allows you to build on your existing search with suggested phrases to refine it, again adding to the get in, get out and things done quicker style that Google Mobile search is going with it means you can simply tap to refine your search rather than spending time typing.
Everything else just feels like a convenience, Google also announced Voice Search on the desktop which seems strange to me, it obviously works well on Mobile devices because you’re mobile, but on a desktop when you’re going to be using the keyboard and mouse a second later anyway, it feels out of place. They also announced Instant Pages:
Instant Pages can get the top search result ready in the background while you’re choosing which link to click, saving you yet another two to five seconds on typical searches.
Although Instant Pages may be a technical feat, it just makes you get places quicker and users wont even pick up on it unless they’re told explicitly it’s Google doing it: they’ll just think its their internet connection.
I respect Google for innovating and releasing this stuff that will put them ahead of Bing, and I really want Google to be “the third half of my brain” but Instant Pages, image, and voice search aren’t doing that for me. I would love to see them keep innovating on mobile search and I think thats where Google can grow in terms of search intelligence, knowledge and logistics with them knowing where you are and what you’re doing, and I know they’ll get there in the end, but i’d prefer it now.
For example, a famous building like the Eiffel Tower would bring up other photos of the Eiffel Tower. ↩