Archive for July, 2007

Can the iPhone change the face of the U.S. mobile-phone industry?

Can the iPhone change the face of the U.S. mobile-phone industry?The iPhone is far from perfect, but it has potential to change the U.S. mobile-phone market unlike any smart phone/PDA/cell phone I’ve used.

Whether you like the iPhone or not isn’t important. What Apple has done is succeed in wresting an unprecedented amount of control from a carrier — in this case AT&T — in designing the device, determining its applications and mindset of use, and how to price the phone and service. At a minimum, the iPhone could impact future design for all phone manufacturers as they offer more features and functions — and a new platform — based on the way people are living their digital lives. At the extreme, the iPhone could inch the powerful carriers in the U.S. mobile-phone industry to update their 1980s business models, sort of like what the iPod is doing to the music industry.

Apple, Nokia, and Google are already working toward breaking down barriers.

Continue reading »

BBC's iPlayer and the Windows DRM monopoly

BBC iPlayerWith the BBC’s Internet TV service, iPlayer, set to launch in open Beta tomorrow, the public service broadcaster is facing mounting criticism because the application runs on Windows-based computers only. An e-petition on the UK government’s own website is calling for the iPlayer to be made compatible with computers running the Mac OS and Linux, and has so far collected over 10,000 “signatures”, prompting the BBC to reiterate its claim that a version which supports other operating systems will be made available “as soon as possible”.

Continue reading »

Five Microsoft "digital lifestyle" flops, and why they failed

Five Microsoft “digital lifestyle” flops, and why they failedWhen it comes to companies, there aren’t many bigger than Microsoft; they have over 75,000 employees in over 100 countries and more than $50 billion in annual revenue. While Microsoft’s product focus is definitely software, they do compete in a number of other markets such as gaming consoles, consumer hardware like mice and keyboards, and media and content such as MSNBC. Less visible is the product experimentation that goes on at Microsoft. You’re more likely to hear about Google employees tinkering with ideas and side projects (thanks to the company’s “twenty percent” time) but the fact is, Microsoft employees are a creative bunch.

You’ve likely heard all about the successful experiments. Not just the “big bets” as Gates likes to call them, or the interesting things that happen at Microsoft Research, but projects that almost never made it to market, like J. Allard’s Xbox. But what about the flops? As our exploration of Microsoft’s Internet TV initiatives proved, the company is certainly not afraid to experiment, taking the good with the bad. And Microsoft has had its fair share of bad. Let’s look now at some of the company’s more interesting “digital lifestyle” flops.

Continue reading »

iPhone resources are everywhere

leaflets.jpgOne thing about the iPhone. After nearly a month on the planet, there are already hundreds — thousands! millions! — of aggregators, blogs, critic and user reviews, tips and tricks, hacks, applications, podcasts and video podcasts about the little phone that could.

I’m overwhelmed. I’ve been on safari, hunting resources on the iPhone, and I’ve collected a few links and applications of interest along the way.

This list, like others I’ve seen, is far from complete as new sites and applications are added daily. Please feel free to jump in and add your own favorites to the comment section.

Here goes.

Continue reading »

Joost claims 1 million users

Joost logoJoost co-founder, Niklas Zennström, has revealed that the Internet TV service now has one million Beta testers, and is on track to fully launch by the end of the year. Speaking at a Skype press event, Zennström also acknowledged the challenge of scaling the peer-to-peer video platform, and stressed that the company’s main priority was ease-of-use.

While the numbers are impressive — as Mike Arrington notes, that’s a lot of Beta testers — the way the application has been marketed through a viral invite-only strategy, combined with a disproportionate amount of media coverage (compared to rivals such as Babelgum), I’m not that surprised that they’ve persuaded 1 million users to sign-up. However, trying the application once, and actually using Joost as a regular source of ‘television’, are two completely different things. My experience, and anecdotal evidence from friends, is that there simply isn’t enough compelling or unique content available yet (especially in Europe) to warrant regular use. To that end, it may well be that the chosen launch date won’t be based on technical considerations, but on securing enough new content to satisfy a major marketing blitz.

iPhone review — one month in

iphoneTiVo, front-loading washing machines, Nike shoes, the Xbox. All are products someone, somewhere has looked forward to buying and using. Yet I don’t recall people weighing in on the features and functions of these, or any other product, as loudly and as passionately as they have with the Apple iPhone.

This is due, in part, because people have a love-hate relationship with their cell phones, which they carry with them every day. And because they use their phones daily, features and functions are of interest, especially when it comes to the iPhone.

After nearly a month of use, I take a look at some of the features and function of the iPhone, noting what I like and dislike, and weighing in on issues people are talking about.

Continue reading »

8 Internet TV apps in 8 weeks

8 Internet TV apps in 8 weeks | last100Since we launched last100, just over eight weeks ago, I’ve been obsessively trying out every Internet TV application that I can get my hands on. To assist some of our newer readers, here’s a quick recap of the Internet TV apps we’ve profiled so far.

Note: Many of the following applications offer very different features and solve different problems. This post isn’t designed to be a product comparison — because it would be like comparing apples with oranges — but instead serves as an overview of some of our coverage to-date.

Continue reading »

Is the iPhone the most emotional product of all time?

Is the iPhone the most emotional product of all time?During the last month — or the last seven months, really — I’ve been wondering: Is the iPhone the most emotional product of all time?

Think about it. Forget the Apple-is-or-is-not-making-a-phone speculation that circulated on the Internet before Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in January 2007. Since then, conjecture hit a boil quickly and has been bubbling ever since, reaching a fevered pitch with traditional media, bloggers, Apple lovers, Apple haters, Treo/Blackberry/Nokia cell phone users, even bystanders on street corners, offering spirited opinions before it was for sale.

iPhone crowds at the Apple store

When the iPhone was released on June 29, the frenzy didn’t die down, it just headed in new directions — real reviews; in-depth analysis, lists of likes/dislikes; what the iPhone was missing; where Apple went wrong; comparisons with smart phones; tips and tricks; hacks; “app” lists; and the ever-present “bug” report.

Continue reading »

Sky News now "pay-as-you-go" on Jalipo

Sky News now “pay-as-you-go” on JalipoThe UK-based 24-hour news channel, Sky News, has announced that European viewers will now be able to access its content on the ‘pay-as-you-go’ Internet TV service, Jalipo (see our review). The News Corp-owned channel joins other news organizations including BBC World, EuroNews and Al Jazeera, who have all struck up partnerships with the web-based Internet TV service, since it launched earlier this year.

Rather than charging a subscription fee or funding content through advertising, Jalipo content is viewed in exchange for J:Credits, the company’s own online currency. Jalipo’s strategy hinges on the idea that micro-payments are the key to getting Internet users accustomed to paying for content, in an attempt to emulate the success of ring-tone sales or SMS text-messaging, for example.

Continue reading »

Five UK Internet TV offerings compared

This is a guest post by Ryan Jarrett. Ryan is a UK-based IT consultant and blogs regularly on digital content.

The BBC will launch their long-awaited iPlayer this Friday, which has the potential to change the way television is watched by the masses. In this post we examine what the iPlayer is promising, the BBC’s future developments for TV over the internet, and how rival networks are competing for our bandwidth.

Continue reading »