Friday, October 31, 2008

Why is Motorola so Stuffed?

Motorola announced frighteningly bad results yesterday. Market share, revenues and earnings each caved in. Once the leader of the mobile handset space, they now struggle in 4th place on an anaemic 8% world share.

What went so wrong? Design darling - design. Not since the Razr, launched earlier this century, have they managed to produce any kind of a handset hit. Fashion and design are the key components to the consumer electronics space and Motorola failed on both counts. Frightening. The rest is history. 

Their new CEO, recently drafted from Qualcomm (who are not exactly known for their consumer design skills), announced that their future will rest on 3 operating systems - one of which is not surprisingly Google's Android, the latest mobile O/S pin-up.

O/S's are important but design is more important and until Motorola gets back the flair for edgy, sleek, bold, black or silver, ice cool handsets they will keep sinking. Shame - they should have been the Apple of the cellphone space. Too late for that - iPhone.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Asus and Intel Jump on Crowdsourcing Bandwagon

Asus (don't even think it) have decided to jump on the crowdsourcing bandwagon by allowing consumers and designers to help them design their next generation of PC's. Crowdsourcing is the latest cool thing on the Internet, whereby a site gathers a network of volunteer designers to help them design their future products - groovey.

Threadless do it for t-shirts, letting a crowd of graphic design design their t-shits online which they then manufacture and sell on - yep, online. Smart cookies. Sites have popped up using crowdsourcing to design car stickers, clothes and more. Asus' attempt, in partnership with Intel, is the latest spin and if you wanna have a go at designing their next PC go to I'm tempted to say these jocks could do with the help. Apple - not!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Motorola Bets On Google's Android

Motorola have decided that their survival strategy will hinge upon Google's Android. Nice one for Google - race on for Motorola. Given T-Mobile's decision to move early with HTC's version of the Android - excitingly named G1, they will have to get their's out fast and differentiate hard.

Apparently the Motorola Android will have a similar look and feel to the G1 (yawn) but with a social network spin. i.e. they'll hook directly into Facebook and MySpace. Big surprise.

Motorola's gonna have to be a boatload more design-driven with their Android phone to reverse their fortunes. Think iPhone sex appeal, not G1 functionality. Form over function dudes - not the other way round.

Linkedin Launches App Store

Linkedin has gone live with the Web's latest app store! Developer platforms and app stores are the latest Web 2.0 rage across both the fixed and mobile Internet. And Linkedin wants in.

Being the buttoned down, older man of Web 2.0 Linkedin has decided to go with a closed developer platform a la iPhone. Which means those of you wanting to develop the first nude-office-party-photo-competition-app might struggle to get in. Shame.

In the mean time serious app developers should get going and you may even be able to charge for more serious/profound/branded apps. Ooh - money. Mind you Linkedin users will only be allowed to download a total of 15 apps on their page. App gridlock? Na, Linkedin platform constraints.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Windows Azure - 'I'm not a PC'

Now that Microsoft have officially announced the launch of Windows 7 and come to the executive decision that 'I'm a PC' - proving why Stevie gets the big bucks - it's back to business and up for something completely different. Windows Azure.

The new operating system and app development environment that screams 'Who Needs a PC?', because, isn't it all just up in the air? Well, sort of. Actually it's stuffed into Microsoft computers in innocuous data centers scattered across Kansas or Missouri or wherever. Meaning Azure may just work better than your PC alone. Do theirs run Vista?

At the least this all proves that Microsoft are as confused and confusing as ever when it comes to explaining new technologies. 'I'm a Mac!'

I'm a PC - Promise!

Microsoft have today announced the launch of Windows 7 - the next version of the troubled operating system aptly named given the number of years taken to get from the last version of Windows that actually worked to this release.

They also plan to spend 7 squared million on advertising it and promising that 'I'm a PC'. Yep, we buy that one. I don't think anyone's gonna confuse you with a Mac. But no confusion about who's the new leader of the desktop/laptop pin-up stakes. And it's not Microsoft.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Digital Big Bang Shockwaves behind Meltdown?

The Digital Big Bang is on us. Between 2010 and 2012 we will all feel profound reverberations from the network ripple effect stemming from unfettered, ubiquitous broadband connecting PC's, TV's and cellphones.

But are early digital big bang rumblings already evident? After all, the recent and unprecedented global bank collapses could not have occurred without digital communications and exchanges to market the hi-tech instruments so rapidly and pervasively throughout the world's financial system.

Now the global, instantly available digital media universe, that surrounds and pervades our every moment, has the entire planet simultaneously frozen to their morose stories of global depression. Surely leading us into a broader recession than previously possible.

And, perhaps most dramatically of all, a young, inexperienced, black candidate from Chicago is about to become the next US President. Made possible mainly thanks to his awesome Internet fund raising and support gathering machine.

And who said the Digital Big Bang is not already upon us. Web 2.0 is just the tip of the iceberg.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Typepad's 5 - And?

Typepad is 5 years old! And it should act as a reminder for how far the now mainstream media blogging model has come in such nano-time. Because if you look at the world's top 10 most visited blogsites, not only do they possess reach that travels further than most national newspapers, but they are all less than 5 years old.

Typepad and Google's Blogger are the carriers, birthplace and initial platform of choice for nearly every leading blog. And the worlds largest, such as the Huffington Post and TechCrunch are probably worth $100 million plus to some media conglomerate that needs digital sprucing - after all look how CNET duped er sold to NBC.

So thx Typepad, rock on SixApart and good luck to the next generation of bloggers. Consider yourselves forever fortunate you weren't blogging on Typepad or Blogger Version 1 - those were the days. Not.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Android's G1 Hits the Street

Yesterday Google's first Android phone went on sale at T-Mobile stores in the US moving Google gracefully onto the mobile chess board. The early reviews are good and if you are one of the tens of millions of Gmail/Googe Apps/Google Search users this one could be for you.

The G1 looks similar to Blackberry's about to launch Storm, forcing Blackberry to scramble out their app store to stay in touch with Android's - that's the real competition. The smartphone space now looks likely to be dominated by Apple, Blackberry and Google - leaving Nokia... Yep, dangling. So who's gonna buy Blackberry? (Microsoft). Mmm.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

EveryZing Launches MetaPlayer

Check out EveryZing, a media indexing company, which has just launched a media player that lets people search for spoken words within videos. Cool.

The media player is aptly, unexcitedly, called MetaPlayer and is provided to EveryZing customers alongside their other back-end tools. Stay with me. On sites that support it (first up Dallas Cowboys), folk will be able to type in a query in the video player and see where on that video (and other videos on the site), the term entered comes - they can then jump right to that spot.

Nifty, neat and a useful segue to another interesting Euro-tech company we'll be covering next week - textic. Movers in text to speech.

Squace Squeeze into Mass Market Cell Phones

Seeing as we've been focused on the mobile space the last few days, with a particular slant on the high profile Smartphones, we thought we'd mention a company that has recently bounced off our windscreen - Squace.

Expect TechBoard to unearth many more such Euro-tech jewels now that we're centered out of London. Squace is a classic new generation Swedish mobile play. Great, nifty technology gathering rapid, below-the-radar-screen traction.

So Squace appear to have squeezed the benefits of the iPhone and next generation mobile UI's into mass market, mini-screen devices. They have invented a nifty square and grid approach to mobile UI's that is catching on.

Even small screens can handle 50 plus squares, each one click away from a contact, web link or more and all just another click away to sharing any of your Squace links (squares) with whoever. If these guys can do (for mass market devices) just a fraction of what the iPhone has done for Smartphone data usage stats - they could be in for quite a ride. We'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blackberry Storm iPhone

Ever since Apple launched the iPhone, Blackberry have been working on the Storm - appropriately named as their iPhone killer. Specs are now out - pictures available and Vodafone/Verizon lined up with Apple-like exclusive deals to take it to market. The Storm's got the iPhone bells and whistles - full touch screen, media mania, almost real Internet and app store en route.

Will it work - will they roll back the Apple wave? Probably not. But they should hold their own as Apple dig in and grow the smartphone pie for everyone by taking it to mass market, fashion conscious, middle class consumers around the planet. Whether the iPhone can nudge into the corporate (Microsoft) market remains to be seen. Blackberry should still dominate this category.

But, the iPhone continues to be the Smartphone pin-up to own and the Storm looks unlikely to shake that. And if Apple change the smartphone game again next year as they did in '07 - then Blackberry will be chasing again. With the Horn?

7 Million iPhones

Apple just announced that they sold 7 million iPhones in their latest quarter. So, in 5 short quarters Apple have gone from a complete standing start in the mobile space to a quarterly run rate approaching 25 million iPhone sales per annum.

Analysts will pour all over these numbers because they probably prove the following:
- Apple will sell over 10 million iPhones in Q4,
- Apple will sell over 50 million iPhones in 2009,
- Apple could sell 100 million iPhones in 2010,
- Apple is set to overtake Blackberry as the No1 smartphone vendor,
- speculation will now go into overcharge re an iPhone Nano and iPhone 4G(?) for 2009,
- every other mobile phone vendor and their dog will launch iPhone killers with full touch screens and the real Internet,
- Apple will be forced to change the game again next year with the iPhone 4G/Nano,
- the iPhone will drive the next wave of halo effect overcharged sales of apple laptops and computers,
- even more folk will kiss Jobs' ass.

Does the Blackberry Storm have a chance? Maybe not, yet, quite... almost.

Monday, October 20, 2008

TechBoard Connects From London

TechBoard shifts the tech and digital media scene - now centered in London, with a view on the world. We want to end 2008 examining technology and its effects going into the next decade - the 'digital big bang' era. With Convergence the overarching theme.

Convergence of everything from PC's to TV's, phones, cars, games machines and beyond. Convergence of people, culture, economy and invention. Convergence of design on everything and the tech industry as a whole finally blending with the 'creative industries'.