Friday, May 21, 2010

Choice, according to Google

I've been following the latest announcements from Google I/O and reading responses from across the web to the news about Google TV. It's definitely a compelling product, and should provide some drive for the rest of the industry to get their act together.

For the record, I'm a self proclaimed Google fanboy. I've been preaching Domain Apps since they launched. I truly believe Google is building the foundation of the future of the web, and doing so in a relatively open and flexible manner. Shit, this post is even running on Blogger...

But something about how Google has positioned the TV product doesn't sit right with me. Maybe it's the smug tone of their announcements, or the statements about how they're different from Apple, or the dire warning about an Orwellian future (seriously?).

Frankly, what they're talking about doesn't sound a whole lot different than what's already on the market today. Here's a rundown of the details, in case you missed them...

  • Buy a TV from Sony exclusively -or- Buy a set top box from Logitech exclusively
  • Buy these devices at Best Buy exclusively
  • Get a DISH subscription (only with a DISH subscription do you get the full features of the Google TV experience)

So let's recap...
  • 2 device manufacturers, but only one for each type of device
  • 1 place to buy all the hardware
  • 1 TV subscription service to get all available features

Here are the issues I have with this arrangement:

  • Hardware: I haven't been interested in Sony hardware for 5 years. Maybe this will change that, but I don't have a lot of confidence. Back in the day I used to love them (I even still own a 10-year-old Sony CRT that sits in the basement currently, and still works great), but Sony products seem to suffer from the same 'brand tax' that plagues Apple. (Logitech, on the other hand, I love. I have a Harmony remote and other Logitech devices, so this could be a saving grace.)
  • Place of Purchase: Best Buy? Personally I hate setting foot in those stores. The service is poor and the employees aren't what I would consider 'knowledgeable'.
  • Satellite TV: I'm a Comcast subscriber, for a few simple reasons. First and foremost, they carry the Portland Trailblazers basketball broadcasts. There's no other provider who can show 70+ games out of the Blazers season. I know this isn't something that Google has control over, but there's no way I'm taking DISH over my home team. They also provide what I consider to be pretty good Internet's not perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than DSL.

Can someone point out the choices here? Because I'm having a hard time finding them.

Here's some real choice...
A Mac mini plugged into my TV running Boxee or Plex. Or maybe MythTV on a Linux VM. I guess I could give Windows 7 a shot on a different VM, or in Boot Camp. Or maybe I'll just use a web browser and go where I want, when I want....or maybe...

Oh sorry, was that too many choices?

How long until Google buys Canonical?

There's been a lot of news recently about Google TV, Android, the Chrome browser and mobile ads. So where's all the news about Chrome OS? Makes me wonder if the team is having trouble with the myriad hardware configurations they might want to support.

Could an acquisition solve all the problems and bring in a strong, stable OS that's already built on many of the foundations and principles Google already preaches?

I'm just sayin'...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

CE-Oh-no-he-didn't!: Sony's Sir Howard says 'when you beat Apple, you're dominating'

So Sony sells well in their home country of Japan, and that means they're dominating? Interesting logic. Considering the iPhone is the best selling smartphone in Japan, with 1.7 million units sold in the last year, I think they have some catching up to do.

From Engadget:
CE-Oh-no-he-didn't!: Sony's Sir Howard says 'when you beat Apple, you're dominating':
Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer has always been delightfully direct, and he didn't hold back at Google's I/O conference: talking about Sony Ericsson with Eric Schmidt during the Google TV launch, Sir Howard noted that the Xperia X10 is the best-selling handset in Japan, and that 'when you beat Apple, you're dominating -- it's the new definition.' Strong words from a gadget titan -- we'll leave it to you to debate their veracity.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Clicker Launches HTML5 Interface for Watching Online TV in the Living Room

After reading this I can't help but think that Google's TV play will be based around Chrome and not Android...

What's an Internet TV anyway, other than a big monitor with a network connection and a browser? I've had a Mac mini plugged into my TV since they were PowerPC machines, and the experience has only gotten better along the way. It's definitely an area where Apple has missed the boat...although they may be building their own right now. I'm basically waiting for a 42" iMac that can leverage the App Store and that let's me use my iPhone, iPod or iPad as a remote.

Clicker Launches HTML5 Interface for Watching Online TV in the Living Room: "

clicker_logo_nov09.pngClicker, the Web service that aims to be the TV Guide for Internet television, just launched at Google I/O. is a new HTML5-based interface for Clicker's programming guide that is optimized for the '10-foot viewing experience' on a big screen in the living room. Google chose to highlight Clicker during today's I/O keynote because of its innovative use of HTML5 to create an easy-to-use interface that gives its users access to a large catalog of online video.

Twitter Expects Hundreds Of Advertisers This Year

Hundreds? Lol.

I still think Twitter will need to come up with a real business if they want to survive. As it stands, there's no compelling reason to continue to use what amounts to a feature of a more robust social application.

Twitter Expects Hundreds Of Advertisers This Year: "Twitter plans to have hundreds of advertisers using its new ad system in the fourth quarter as the company ramps up plans to become a self-sustaining, profitable business."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

iPad vs. Kindle: The race to the middle

I've been saying for over a year that this is the battle to watch...

It's effectively a race to the middle, with the Kindle starting from the low end and the iPad coming from the high end. At some point they reach near parity in features and functionality. In the end it's going to come down to apps and content...

Amazon Beefs Up Its Kindle Team to Take on the iPad [Kindle]:
Nick Bilton flags a surge of job openings at Amazon, all for the Kindle team. Word is that Amazon's working on a touchscreen color Kindle, and if anything, this hiring spree shows that they're not screwing around: They're gathering software engineers, new QA staff and apparently talking to game publishers about games for the platform. This wouldn't be a Kindle 3, it'd be a Kindle tablet. More »

How Adobe can win the Flash fight

John Gruber points to a post today advocating Adobe make a version of Flash Player available to the jailbreak community here. It's an interesting idea, but I'm not sure it would make much of a difference.

I really think the only way Adobe can really win this is by making Flash truly open source. It's time to give back to the web community as a whole. This would really change the face of the conversation, and signal an all out attack on the principles that Apple has been pushing.

Adobe, haven't you made enough off of Flash over the last decade to now hand it over to the web community that made it what it is today? This wouldn't stop you from creating the best authoring tools, although it would certainly create additional competition for you...and your $700 application.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Is Facebook the new smoking?

With the number of people talking about quitting, following a year in which Facebook use was in some cases called an addiction, it seems we may have our first major site with a broad social stigma.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hey Adobe! Your propaganda is transparent...

No one is telling developers that they can't use Flash. And your attempts to paint Apple as the villain in this campaign are misguided.

Mr. Jobs gave you the best advice for your business and products. Stop focusing on controlling the platform. Instead, build the best products you can for working with open formats and standards. We're coming to the end of an era in that respect, and the world is moving away from your model.

The web is a platform. We don't need a platform on top of it that is controlled by a single entity. If you think that's exactly what Apple's doing, you're wrong. Apple leverages open formats and standards to integrate the web on their devices. The only thing Flash leverages the web for is to deliver proprietary media files to the end-user. 

In case you didn't know already, wikipedia makes it pretty clear: "...multimedia embedded in this way is either unavailable or notoriously difficult to access for those without the Flash Player." That pretty much says it all.

The real disservice you're doing is to your customers. You're creating a platform battle where none is needed. You should be shepherding your customers through these times of change, and empowering them by providing access and guidance in how to transition to these new standards. By doing so, you endear yourself to the audience and make yourself into an invaluable and trusted resource (rather than a necessary evil).

Do you see the difference?

Nice design though...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mac Rumors: Next iPhone to Record 1280 × 720 HD Video?

Mac Rumors: Next iPhone to Record 1280 × 720 HD Video?: "

John Gruber: Mobile phones are obviating the Flip class of pocket video cameras.

Correction: Mobile phones are obviating digital cameras.