So Google's about to start selling digital books. Oh God, really? How? Why? Not now... please!
I hear readers scream out.
A few short months after Sony launched the Sony Connect service and device, intended to do for books what Apple has done for music (right...), Google seems in on the game too.
Does this mean that we are finally ready for the online book revolution? Not on your iPod! The world is about as ready to devour digital novels as they would swig digital M&M's.
Lets face it, there is not one compelling reason to switch from paper books. They are portable, cheap and easy to read. Digital readers are expensive and about as easy to read as Tolstoy.
Plus, people still enjoy building libraries and showing off books on coffee tables etc.
Is there any justification for the digital book? We think not, or at least not until someone cracks low cost printing that produces good looking in-house/in-copy-store versions. A photo printer for books.
I could well see buying a digital book to archive permanently so long as I could print out a sexy looking version whenever I needed it (for less than buying it in the store). And if I could even choose my own dust cover design? Well, now I'm getting mildly excited.
2007 looks set to deliver two hotter than hot tech trends/realities.
First up will be the battle for video over the Internet and our very own living rooms. Help!
Expect Microsoft and Apple to dominate. Microsoft using video games and the XBox as their Trojan horse while the company formally known as Apple Computers will ride the popularity of iTunes to inject Apple TV's into the back of countless TV's.
Video over the Internet will continue to be dominated by Google (YouTube), MySpace, AOL and Yahoo (who may be forced to merge or get swallowed by Microsoft). iTunes will be the only destination to make any money. DVD sales will go the way of CD sales - down the toilet!
The second most sizzling sector of 2007 will be mobile - finally!
Not because cellphone users will approach 3 billion or because more than 1 billion handsets will be sold. Neither will it be thanks to the gradual and painful roll out of 3G et al speedier networks. It will not be thanks to mobile Internet killer (Bill) applications or mobile TV.
It will be thanks to two impending and growing threats to the inflexible and stagnant mobile phone companies - Wi-Fi and Apple's iPhone. The one-two from a competing network's unending proliferation and power plus a computer company's real deal product will jolt the rest of the industry into untold innovations and partnerships.
The mobile phone operators will finally open their networks to the real Internet and stop hogging their highways. As a result consumers will no longer get ripped off or disappointed. The mobile Internet will become a reality and mobile network providers will realize that if the only let go they will make money out of this game. If not - bye, bye revenue growth.
All in all 2007 looks quite exciting. Particularly if you're Apple, Google, News Corp or Disney. The rest will scramble. Some successfully and some not. Enjoy the ride.
Apple yet again rocked the tech industry by simultaneously and synchronously shaking up both the mobile space and our living rooms. All with just two products; the iPhone (unless of course Cisco have their way) and the Apple TV. How 'du jour' is that?
Enough to ensure that Apple's shares shot up while mobile handset makers throttled down. Microsoft's remained as flat as a pancake/Zune on its back.
And I was about to go and buy a video iPod - no longer. How many others will follow suit?
Apple's decision to call their new PC/Mac to TV set top box the Apple TV as opposed to the iTV presumably means that one day they will create an all in one intelligent TV with the Apple TV embedded.