Till about an year back, Google was rumored to be buying lot of “dark fibre”. Made it feel as if we were talking of Voldemort – the dark lord.
We now have a intent – Google believes that Access is the next frontier that needs to be opened. And the plan is to deliver fastest internet connection through ultrahigh-speed service, offering lightning-fast access of one gigabit per second. Yes, Google now enters the ISP bandwagon.
For building the case in differentiation, Google emphasizes on broadband access speeds – making a case that the broadband speeds had levelled out since 2000.
Google Fiber’s ultra highspeed connections and television offerings are aimed at surpassing those of current providers, allowing users to search live channels, Netflix, YouTube, recorded shows and tens of thousands of hours of on-demand programming . Google Fiber includes more than 100 networks and costs $120 a month for a package of TV, 1 gigabit per second Internet speeds and 1 terabyte of cloud storage.
So now, Google takes one more important step to further its ambition of making the shift from a Search company to a Media company. More importantly it seems to be taking stakes at important pieces of the eco-system rather than being happy service -enabling the eco-system. Here’s disrupting the TELCOs!
With 25 million tablets selling of in Q2, 2012 globally, tablets could very well have arrived as the third device in the mobile stack – PC and smartphone being the first two devices. But do we find productivity yet on the tablets? Or would they always remain as consumption devices?
Tablets aren’t really new. They’re big PDAs. We do calendaring, note taking, alarms, and notifications on tablets — but so could a PDA, all the way back to the Newton. We’ve been using this kind of touch-based organizer for over a decade at the executive level (remember the clumsy tablets from Microsoft?). They’re coming into their own stride, but we still struggle with leveraging them for productivity.
Many IT professionals are wondering how tablets are going to affect the enterprise. We’re all trying to work out if, when, and how these devices are going to impact our work. However, I’m not sure we’re asking the right questions about these devices. Given that customized, purpose-driven appliances and tablets are the best answer to the ever increasing productization requirements, the case is still largely inconclusive. We (Marketers in general) are all over the place trying to figuring out how to leverage mobile platforms. We’re looking desperately for a use model. This lack of a definite conclusion reflects the entire industry.
The classic innovation and monetization syndrome is that if we don’t innovate and implement this exciting new technology, our competitors will — but don’t worry, they’re as uncertain about how to proceed as we are.
Coming back to the use cases of Tablets for the enterprises, I see two major tablet applications:
- Better mobile connectivity than PDAs. In particular, tablets are able to give a more feature-rich browsing experience and reasonable email communication. They also tend to work better with web apps like OWA than previous mobile devices.
- Ability to design and deploy custom native apps.
The trouble seems to be one of convergence and transition. We’re transitioning from a desktop OS, application-based, business productivity environment — Office, Outlook, PowerPoint, and local applications running on a traditional PC. We use server-based back office, HR, and business processes platforms. Those are behind on developing meaningful mobile options, and they don’t yet rival traditional desktop PC methods in features and convenience. The value add of having a mobile device is offset by the limitations, where it’s an option.
Another driver is the convergence of cloud technologies and mobile devices. Public clouds make enterprises nervous, private clouds lose a lot of the supposed benefits of public clouds, and IT seems reluctant about adopting any cloud. But mobile devices are cloud pods. They’re lightweight devices designed to buzz around the cloud — gathering, creating, sharing, or moving information. Storing my private music and movies on the cloud is one thing, and storing my critical corporate IP there is another. The personal digital assistant part of the PDA is becoming a reality with Now and Siri, but we’re asked to place a lot of trust in allowing a cloud to collect meaningful information about us. Without that, we can’t reap the benefits of these solutions.
The enterprise challenge is that these mobile consumer devices take away the granular control of a PC. Ultimately, things are still sorting themselves out for tablets in the enterprise. It’s still very difficult to see where these technologies might take us.
Maybe Microsoft may have a few answers!
Strategy Analytics – Global tablet shipments reached 24.9 million units in the second quarter of 2012 up by 67% from 14.9 million in Q2 2011.. Apple rose to 68 percent global market share, having shipped a robust 17.0 million iPads worldwide, its highest level for almost two years.
Apple continued to shrug off the much-hyped threat from Android and the iPad’s global tablet share is at its highest level since Q3 2010.
Android captured 29 percent share of global tablet shipments in Q2 2012, remaining static from 29 percent a year earlier. Global Android tablet shipments grew by more than half to 7.3 million units. Despite high expectations for companies like Amazon, Samsung, Acer and Asus, the Android community has yet to make a serious dent in Apple’s dominance of the tablet market. Unspectacular hardware designs, limited uptake of cellular models and a modest number of tablet-optimized services have been among some of the main reasons for Android’s mixed performance so far.
Microsoft tablets remain niche, but attention is turning to the upcoming Windows 8 launches.
Others such as Blackberry and WebOS seemed to have been consigned to history as the race for Technology leadership narrows down to the triumverate.
As against Android which has gone all out, Microsoft is reportedly pursuing the policy of “Less is more”. Microsoft is making a concerted effort to keep the Windows RT tablet market as uncrowded as possible and is forcing NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments to each choose only two OEM partners that will be allowed to develop Windows RT tablets at the launch of the new OS in October.
Lenovo and Asus are NVIDIA’s picks, Qualcomm opted for Samsung and HP while TI nabbed Toshiba. These five vendors will be producing ARM-based Windows RT tablets from October and come January, Microsoft lift the licensing restrictions on the operating system.
The interesting question and the notable omission in this list is Nokia. Now, wasn’t Nokia the blue –eyed boy for the Microsoft tablet? Or are we missing something?
A difference in V.2 gives insight into the (non) user-centricness of Microsoft
June 20th 2012: Microsoft unveils the Windows 8!
October 26th 2012: Reported Windows 8 commercial launch!
Kudos has to be given for the Windows Phone feature designers and engineers. They created a phone that makes you feel more connected to your friends and family. The Live Tile updates are a small thing but make a huge difference for gleaning information. All that work has been undone by the way Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8.
According to estimates by Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft 7 sold 3.5 million units. And all these 3.5 million users dont get any shot to Windows 8. These 3.5 million users are the real Windows Mavens – a readily available bank of users who had moved to Microsoft 7 inspite of options such as Android and Apple. There are reasons for these 3.5 million to be bitterly dissapointed. There is a reason to think that the choice in purchasing a Windows 7 was in vain. All they get is a shot at 7.8. The difference of V.2 here is more than just a number – it is an experiential change. It also shows that Microsoft still is all about technology and less considerate of the users and user loyalty.
As defined by Microsoft, Windows Phone 8 encompasses improvements that require better hardware, so old devices will not receive Windows Phone 8. Instead they will get the features compatible with their device and it will be called Windows Phone 7.8. 7.8 is not equal to 8. An engineer would appreciate the transparency. A general consumer will be disappointed. His trust is compromised. Would that be an improvement or platform fragmentation.
It shows that while Microsoft is thinking from a product perspective – putting out an outstanding product in the market, it really understands less of the 3.5 million users who are left out in the cold with only a minor improvisation in Windows 8.
Compare that to Apple, which establishes a general compatibility between its successive versions. What many dont know is while, not every feature in iOSx runs on the older devices, but Apple still calls it iOSx and users are happy that their device is running the latest OS.That is a significant gap illustrating how Apple knows how to present itself to the consumer compared to Microsoft.
So what is the difference between V0.2? Alienating the supporters of Windows phone 7 instead of cementing their loyalty for Windows Phone 8.
Even while Apple TV is on the horizon and Android TV as a commercial product is half baked, the open ecosystem that Android engenders throws up exciting opportunities and devices based around the TV experience. Smart enough as these solutions are not driven by the large CE companies and is rather developed by small start-ups.
The innovation and the wow is the departure from the rectangular TV boxes into dongle sized entities. The pocket-sized dongle connects to the HDMI port of any regular TV and converts it into a Smart TV. It’s basically a fully functioning micro-computer the size of a thumb which runs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) much like today’s latest smartphones. Throw in a keyboard along with the remote and any HD television converts into an Android tablet and the accompanying remote (which includes a keyboard on the back) allows users to interact with their television as they would an Android tablet.
So then, we see the birth of a new ecosystem around the TV set, which is no longer controlled by old school parties such as the CE manufacturers, the broadcasters and the TV distribution platforms, and not even by relative newcomers such as Apple, but by a whole herd of out-of-left-fielders. The UI and the usability could be a spot of bother, but then it would eventually catch up in the next quarter or so.
Profiling a few of the leading efforts on the Smart TV Sticks
Infinitec Pocket TV- Dubai based start-up dealing which show-cased Smart TV solution
Liquid TV – Italy based start-up’s USB dongle solution for coverting TVs into smart TV(Android TV)
Its economics stupid!
As of 2010, India has over 515 channels of which 150 are pay channels. According to Pioneer Investcorp, the Indian cable industry is worth 270 billion (US$5.39 billion) and is the third largest in the world after China and US. The number of TV homes in India grew from 120 million in 2007 to 148 million in 2011. Cable reaches 94 million homes with 88 million analog connections and 6 million digital ones, while DTH has commanded 41 million subscribers.
Every year, 100 million Indian homes pay for a bundle of cable channels. Like any bundle, it’s hard to see exactly what they are paying for. That in effect is somewhat the point of bundling — to disguise the true cost of the constituent items. Most of the users end up paying more money than the total worth of TV time they are watching. Imagine the working couples in Mumbai or Delhi who watch 4/5 (at max 10 channels) for an hour or two in the evening after they get back home from work. They pay the same money to the cable provider/DTH provider even for value packs just because their total cost of entertainment consumed is less. They are effectively cross subsidizing entertainment value consumed by a large family where the TV runs through the day for the people at home.
With advent of 4G and higher broadband access, content providers and TV providers have a unique opportunity to break down on the economics of TV viewership, make it more meaningful and interactive, focus on the right target segment of consumers (more band for the buck) and make users pay less (or pay more meaningfully) for the content they consumer. After all why should I pay for a Bollywood movie pack if all I am interested is in sports. In effect they can cut out content not required and cure the content consumed for much higher levels of viewership through many other personal devices such as Tablets or smartphones etc. Video streaming will eat away into TRPs as people would want to watch only their kind of programmes at their kind of times with mobility featured in.
The Internet is ruthlessly efficient at stripping cross-subsidies and allowing content to shine on its own. The Internet gutted the music industry. Print journalism has been forced to innovate or die — or, sometimes, both simultaneously — in response to the Web. The question isn’t really if the 4G data and the economic of unbundling will visit the television industry but when.
It does look like a fertile ground for TV service providers and Content providers. A melting pot for mergers and acquisitions.
At launch, iPhone was christened Jesus Phone and over the last 5 years, while there have been challengers to crown of the “World’s best smartphone”, iPhone has seen most of the challengers and challenges off. The list of iPhone contemporaries includes Moto Droid, HTC Evo 4G and Samsung Galaxy SII prominently.
However with every iteration, the Android army has gotten nearer to the iPhone so much so that Samsung Galaxy SIII is arguably a better device than iPhone4S. With a 4.1 upgrade, the Siri factor should also take care of itself (Google Now).
However, if rumours are to be believed the iPhone5 will do what it is expected to do. Raise the bar a notch higher for the Samsungs, Motos and HTCs to aspire for. Here’s how the iPhone5 scores over the Samsung SIII
1. Samsung will retain the screen edge with the massive 4.8″ screen. However to iPhone5’s credit, this is the first screen size upgrade to iPhone in 5 iterations in 5 years. Apple will thus graduate to 16:9 resolution, rather than the 3:2 currently.
2. It is rumoured that the Exynos processor, which powers the SIII will be the one that will power iPhone5 with a quad core.
3. In terms of design, Apple will hold the aces with a supposed Liquid metal which is quasi glass feel which in terms of touch and feel will be heads and shoulders above the Plasticy Samsung SIII
4. Perhaps the most earth-shattering change in the iPhone 5 is that it’ll reject the 30-pin connector used across iPods, iPads and iPhones in favour of a much-smaller (reportedly) 19-pin model. While a converter would be in scheme of things, this could momentarily create inconveniences for hardware/accessory makers in Apple stable.
5. Apple has sacrificed an increase in battery power to maintain the slimness of the machine. However one expects that it would still be higher than the 1430 mAh in iPhone4S
6. iPhone5 slimness quotient is worth raving. iPhone5 would cut the slimness quotient by a factor of 19% for iPhone 4S and 11% against the Samsung Galaxy SIII
7. In terms of pixel density, iPhone5(325PPI) would be 6% more richer than Samsung Galaxy SIII (305PPI) and 13% richer than iPhone4S(305PPI).
8. Last and final, rumours abound about 3D camera given the Apple patents around the same. While its a long shot, it is a dream shot. Hope Apple gets this through because the camera story needs to more than a linear progression into something more meaningful
Any bets on the Apple share price at iPhone5 launch? I would bet $700