Posts tagged tech
I’ve read six or seven articles about Lenovo’s purchase of Motorola (for 2.9 billion dollars) but not a single one shares, what I think, is the most obvious point. This is Lenovo’s entry point to owning the business smartphone market in the US.
BlackBerry’s departure from relevance has left a power vacuum for the de facto work device (yes, even after all these years) and this is where Lenovo wants to position themselves - every employee at every major company is given a laptop and a phone. Lenovo wants to be the one company providing both.
Lenovo is already the “number one PC company in the world for large business and the public sector” and their ThinkPad is a legendary “work computer.” With businesses as their primary customer it doesn’t take much of a leap in logic that they’d want to sell other things to their customers. Phones are a no brainer.
Lenovo already sells a ton of phones. They’re in fourth place globally with no footing at all in North America. What’s the best way to break into a highly competitive market? Buy someone who is already competing.
And that’s exactly what Lenovo has been trying to do. They tired to buy BlackBerry very recently and to me, tipped their hand that they want to focus on business. Lenovo wouldn’t have looked at BlackBerry if they wanted to make a dent in the consumer market. The BlackBerry brand has never been relevant to consumers but has (until recently) been a mainstay for the white collar at work.
So, Lenovo didn’t buy BlackBerry but instead bought Motorola. Probably a better move since the Motorola name doesn’t immediately evoke a company floundering.
I see no reason why big companies, with thousands of employees, would go anywhere else. Giant companies rotate out laptops and phones every few years. My girlfriend works for one of the big four accounting firms and recently had her work computer upgraded. She went from a 3 year old ThinkPad to a new ThinkPad (still running Windows 7). And she’s eligible for a new phone when her contract runs out at the end of the year.
A Lenovo that owns Motorola will now be able to deliver both, ThinkPads and phones, to companies who buy devices by the gross. Thousands of employees all rotating through 3 year laptop cycles and 2 year phone contracts.
Lenovo can own the business sector in two easy steps:
1) Make devices cheaper for companies that buy laptops and phones together.
2) Bake in some software that will allow IT to to easily deploy and update their applications on desktop and mobile.
Game over. Lenovo wins.
This is the same thing many people, myself included, thought HP was going to do with the consumer market when they bought Palm. Buying a laptop for your kid going to college? For another $100 add a TouchPad. For $50 more add a Pre on contract.
HP had all the retail connections anyone could want. It was just a matter of bundling those devices together in a compelling way. But I guess HP couldn’t see the writing on the wall and, well, we all know what happened to Palm.
I don’t think Lenovo is going to miss this though. Their attempt to buy BlackBerry shows you exactly where their head is. They want the business market, not the consumer one. And they are poised to take it over.
Earlier this month Nintendo drastically cut its sales forecasts for the fiscal year after they missed their targets during Christmas. This sent everyone with an internet connection into a tizzy suggesting that Nintendo could make buckets of money releasing iOS and Android games and that they should pull a Sega and exit the hardware market (Kotaku wraps it up nicely, thanks Kotaku).
Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata addressed this by saying, “It’s not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone.” I couldn’t agree with him more. Nintendo needs to be Nintendo. They need to make great hardware and make great games for that hardware.
So, while people are yelling for Nintendo to abandon their hardware business they’re not seeing that Nintendo has 10.1 billion dollars in the bank. That’s enough money to allow them to coast for decades.
It’s undeniable that Nintendo doesn’t have the marketshare or the mindshare they had at the start of the last generation. Their new console didn’t grab the hearts of the everyman the way the Wii did, but there is still a way for Nintendo to continue to be Nintendo and, perhaps, return to the top.
I have a four point plan:
1) Nintendo needs to pull a Microsoft and start paying developers to develop for their platform. It’s exactly what Microsoft is doing on Windows Phone, and slowly, it’s working.
Nintendo should be actively pursuing indy developers and spurring games creation for their devices. Have ‘dev days.’ Pay for companies of all sizes to release their titles on your platform. Create tools that make it easier to develop. Start earning back that developer trust.
2) Abandon the Wii U. Make it a “hobby” if you want (the way Apple made the Apple TV a hobby for a few years). Sony and Microsoft are using off the shelf parts for their new consoles. Use the same ones. Release modern hardware and price it the same as the PS4. Yes, you’re going to get called out for releasing a “me too” box. But you need to do that. If you can put an Wii / Wii U emulator (or really, all the hardware the way Sony installed an entire PS2 in the PS3 at launch) that’s a bonus. We’re expecting this console cycle to last 8-10 years again, so even if this was released in 2015 it would still sell for six years.
Thirty years ago today, Steve Jobs did something he would go on to do many times over: He strode onto a stage and introduced the public to a product that would do its damnedest to dent the universe.
Here is, probably, the main thing worth remembering about the launch of the Macintosh: The soundtrack Apple chose for the moment of the machine’s introduction was, hilariously, the theme song from Chariots of Fire.
But here are a few more things to remember as the Mac marks its 30th birthday.
That grin on Steve Jobs’ face. You can tell when he’s pleased with himself. Happy birthday Mac.
Kim Dotcom just announced the name of his new political party. They’re the Internet Party. And, as with everything Kim does, he’s going to throw all his resources at it and it’s going to cause a stir in New Zealand.
The Internet and The Mobile Web
The internet is divided and it has been for some time. Even though it’s now 2014, there are still two very distinct internets. There’s the regular web we all know on computers. The internet we see in Chrome, or Safari, or Internet Explorer. And there’s the mobile web. And it’s really unfortunate that these two things can be so different. That there even is such a thing as the “regular” internet. That I have to differentiate. That anyone differentiates.
I would like to say that it’s one group of people causing the problems, but it’s everyone and most of it makes no sense. We keep hearing the same thing repeated over and over “the mobile web is the web.” Just a few weeks ago Google chairman Eric Schmidt said,”the trend has been mobile was winning; it’s now won. There are more tablets and phones sold than personal computers. People are moving to this new architecture very fast.”
Yet Google’s own products do not show parity on the web and on mobile, within apps or on mobile sites. If you visit m.youtube.com it is impossible to find an embed code. You click the share button, but the options are just for links. The YouTube app yields the same results. I can share on Google +, Twitter, Facebook, Email, but can’t find an embed code if I want to share it anywhere else.
The share options on a computer are much more robust and I have the option to get the embed code, if I so choose.
Not that getting an embed code would help me on Tumblr. On Tumblr’s iOS app you don’t even have the option to embed a video, even if you could find an embed code. You can only upload a video directly to Tumblr. I’m sorry Tumblr, but no one wants to use your video player.
Hulu is another odd bird. I pay for Hulu Plus (I don’t have cable and I like watching TV shows on my Xbox). Yet, sometimes when I want to watch a show it tells me that it’s “web only.” Huh? So Hulu doesn’t think an Xbox is the web. I can get Twitter, Facebook, Skype, and most importantly Hulu, but it’s not the web. And I need to use a laptop to access the content I’m paying for.
Never mind that sometimes videos are just not playable on mobile devices. Once US Weekly once told me to read one of their articles on a computer.
I do wish I was kidding. Nice to know that 524 people liked it though.
And just this week NHL.com wouldn’t let me watch highlights on my computer, but I was allowed to watch them on the NHL’s GameCenter iOS app. The pop over wasn’t asking me to log in it wanted me to upgrade to the next tier. I already I pay for the lowest level of GameCenter so I can listen to the radio broadcasts of Ranger games on my phone - a feature that’s completely free at NHL.com.
These are just a few of the issues that form the great divide that is the internet and the mobile web. Mobile citizens are still deemed second class, even when the Chairman of the largest internet company declared mobile has won.
As a user, and often times as someone paying to see content, it’s incredibly frustrating when there is any kind of disparity. Why I can watch a NHL highlight on my phone and not on my computer is absolutely bonkers. And it makes me want to murder.
I don’t really know how to fix this problem going forward. The only thing I can think of is for any developers to read this and implement any functionality in on your website or on the desktop version of your application, put it in your app, and vice versa. Because as long as the little things like a lack of embed codes exists the New York Times will double bill you to see certain parts of their content digitally.
Quick note: I’ve tried to write this article a few times, in 2011 and again in early 2013, but stopped because I felt like it was too long. It pains me that 3 years later it’s still an issue.
What a crazy, insane, minigame inside the biggest news week for tech.
Instead of the usual mix of old hands and greenhorns, WIRED’s crew is comprised entirely of CES veterans. Which means that covering it would be, like, easy for our team. Easy, that is, if we didn’t intentionally make things harder. So we’re not letting them use computers.
This year at CES, our core crew of reporters can use only their phones to cover the show—this includes any text, images, video or audio content they create. No DSLRS, no laptops; no fancy compact-system cameras or iPads. Just phones. (Our photo department reserves the right to swap out terrible images; you’re welcome.) We’ll call it our CES
Mobile Challenge Smartphone SuperchallengeSmartphone Thunderdome. And to make it more interesting, no two reporters will use the same brand of handset–or even the same platform. We’re giving each of them a different rig and pitting them against each other in a winner-takes-all blogging smackdown.
I was working for the video team at The Verge and covered CES 2012. It was crazy, insane, and I have no idea how anyone can do it without a laptop. If only to see what happens, I’m definitely going to keep an eye on Wired this week.
I look forward to the editorials following. Especially, “My CES with a Blackberry Z30”. Oh, and I’m definitely rooting for the Lumia 1020.