Thursday, December 21, 2006

Skype duo at it again!

First they brought us illegal file sharing and proved that Internet lawsuits can abound. Then they rattled global telecom companies with almost free Internet telephony for the masses.

And if you believe the latest hype the Skype duo are about to shake the world of Internet TV/video (hasn't YouTube already done that?) with their latest and greatest venture bizarrely named The Venice Project. I guess they like gondolas.

OK, so their company nomenclature leaves much to be desired, but you've got to hand it to the two Scandi's, they sure know how to create hype, cash and intrigue. The latter obviously fueling the first two like gas on flames.

As Google's real asset is their massive on-demand platform that serves up everything from search to real-time word processors, the Kazaa kids core invention is file-sharing, legally or illegally. First they applied it to digital music, then telephony and now Web TV.

In the first two instances the industries they attacked are still reeling from their affects even though with digital music a la Kazaa they ultimately let iTunes take over the show.

So what next I hear you say? How about Web books? Na. What about consumer software? Na. Bandwidth sharing? Nope, Fon's already done that. Mind you they have invested in them.

Maybe The Venice Project will be it and like so many filthy rich and slightly egotistical (don't they always go hand in hand) businessfolk they will become media barons on the back of it. Hey, if Branson can do it... And no investors here. Their own company with their very own wads of cash bank rolling it and two plucky fingers to Ebay.

Murdoch move aside.

Can two techies really create the next CBS? Maybe. And if so, now is as good a time as any. Watch out Google and Yahoo! Hello real Web TV - I hope.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Will the mobile Internet ever take off?

With this planet gradually moving towards 3 billion mobile phone users, it is time to ask whether the mobile Internet will ever really happen.

If you talk to the telecoms and tech industry they are all resoundingly positive. "Isn't the mobile Internet already a given?"

If you talk to the average user you hear an entirely different story. "I just use my phone to make calls."

Will the mobile Internet ever become reality?

Well, maybe, but certainly not before a few things happen:
1. Smartphones become a big selling category (and the devices get smaller/lighter).
2. Mobile phone operators give up their walled gardens and become access providers and not access monopolizers.
3. Hi-speed, next generation 3G (called HSPDA) becomes widely available.
4. Compelling mobile Internet applications take off. Not including texting, email, music or games downloads. (Come on Google et al!)
5. Mobile Internet browsers become more sophisticated.

The above barriers should all be removed by 2010, but ultimately it will be up to the industry to excite and entice us consumers. Maybe Apple will do it with their soon to be launched iPhone. They sure shook up the once equally unexciting digital music market.

What a shame for the mobile phone operators if they need a catalyst like Apple to shake the mobile Internet into shape.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

All my friends are switching to Apple!

As 2006 gradually winds to a close, like a drunkard idling home after closing time, I am becoming aware of a year end trend. And no, I have not been drinking.

Lots of my friends are talking about switching to Apple computers for their home/personal life. Added to that, whenever I am in a public place (cafe, airport, library etc) I get approached (after being spotted using my Apple MacBook Pro) for advice on switching.

I switched over to Apple ten months ago as soon as Apple moved to Intel chips and I have never looked back. Now granted, I am a writer, photographer and film maker and as a result in the sweet spot of Apple users, but I have to say that switching to Apple today could be a no-brainer.

You get all the benefits of Apple hardware, support and media oriented software and services AND you can still run Windows. Plus Microsoft Office for the Mac is great and compatibility issues seem largely in the past.

Connecting your iMac to an iPod and the iPhone (starting in January), then sharing music, movies and more across Apple's AirPort Express and iTV swiftly and easily turns your home into a C21 media hub.

With the added benefit of Apple Stores which provide free advice and tech support I am not surprised that so many people are switching. And the new Intel Dual-core chips make any Apple lightening fast.

Where will it all end? I could even imagine Apple getting a 20% share of the US PC market. From there its anyone's guess.