Category Archives: Tech Companies

Nokia app store passes one million downloads a day mark

Brand Republic:

Nokia‘s Ovi application store is now attracting one million downloads a day around the world, the company has claimed.The store was launched in May last year, allowing the handset manufacturer to join the progress in apps being made by rivals such as Apple and by Google’s open source Android platform. Ovi Apps include Ovi Maps, as well as business tools and games.

To put a little context around that, Apple is currently running at about ten million downloads per day, from an installed base significantly lower than Nokia.

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Amazon caves in to Macmillan, pouts and sulks

Macmillan E-books – kindle Discussion Forum:

We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan’s terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books.

Someone should tell them that companies which have a monopoly over their own ebook-reading hardware and use DRM to tie books to that platform really don’t have a lot of a ground to be pouting over “monopolies”.

Andy Ihnatko sums up the difference between iPad and Android

Otherwise, the release of the iPad marks a classic battle between two philosophies:

Is it better to have a device that is loaded with bullet-pointable features?

Or is it better to have a device that has a shorter list of specs … but which does everything right?

That’s not a loaded question. It’s the key difference between the Android and iPhone operating systems. It’ll also define the difference between a netbook and an iPad. The former looks great on paper. The Apple product looks great when you’re actually trying one out firsthand.

A nice summary from Andy.

Posted via web from Technovia Notebook

Translating Google

Jeff Jarvis fires off a couple of questions in an apartment in Davos to the Googlers. Here are Eric Schmidt’s answers, with some handy translations from Google-speak.

Schmidt:

Phones: Will they have a tablet? “You might want to tell me what the difference is between a large phone and a tablet,” Schmidt said.

Translation:

You bet. No way will we allow those fuckers in Cupertino to leverage Quattro Wireless into our turf. No fucking way.

Schmidt:

How will they make money on phones? “Not to worry,” Schmidt said. “We do not charge for Android because we can make money in other contexts.”

Translation:

We will leverage our massive monopoly in online advertising to cross-subsidise mobile handset development. By the time the DoJ notices what we’re doing, hopefully the competition will be dead and we’ll rule. There’s no way we’re giving Apple, Microsoft, or anyone else the chance to undermine our ad sales. I studied the Microsoft playbook, and it worked for them for 20 years. Why not for us?

Schmidt:

“In the last year, Chad managed to figure out a way to make money using partners and their video content on YouTube,”

Translation:

Chad’s going to charge for content and stick it behind a paywall. You can do that if you have premium content. That’s What Google Would Do, Jeff, we just forgot to tell you that bit before you wrote your book.

(Photo by World Economic Forum)

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Tumblr is Apple, Posterous is Google

Why Tumblr is kicking Posterous’s ass « PEG on Tech:

“The answer is as easy as it is counter-intuitive: Tumblr is a New York company and Posterous is a Silicon Valley company.

Or, to put it another way: Posterous is an engineered product, while Tumblr is a designed product.”

This perfectly encapsulates the difference between Apple and Google’s approach to design. At Google, product development is engineer-led, as you can see from the spartan search page, the crazy experiment that is Google Wave.

At Apple, product development is design led. Engineering is beautiful, but it serves the design rather than being pasted on top of the design.

I’m a massive fan of the approach to design and blogging that Tumblr takes. If I was starting to blog today, what I’d start with would look an awful lot more like Tumblr than WordPress.

(Incidentally, if you want to follow me on Tumblr, you can do so here. What I tend to post are shortcuts, small quotes, pictures… the kinds of things which don’t merit a full post here, but which I think are worth drawing attention to because they are interesting, or lovely.)

(Photo by laurenmarek)

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HTC Google Tablet: Dead

Remember that rumoured tablet PC that HTC was developing for Google, running Chrome OS? According to an HTC executive, it’s dead.

Channelnews Australia quotes Anthony Petts, ANZ Sales and Marketing Director for  HTC as saying that all development on the unnamed tablet has ceased, and that the company will be concentrating on mobile phones for the foreseeable future.

Who’d have predicted that, eh?

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Google finds out retailing is harder than it looks

It looks like Google is finding out that being a retailer selling hardware is a bit harder than it looks:

“Google is being inundated with complaints about its Nexus One phone. The touchscreen smartphone was launched on 5 January and can be bought direct from Google and used on almost any phone network. But confusion over who should answer customer queries has led many to file complaints on support forums. Many people are unhappy with Google only responding to questions by e-mail and are calling for it to set up phone-based support.”

Of course, that’s even if customers are sure who they’re supposed to be calling:

“If you buy a Nexus One manufactured by HTC, directly from Google’s Web site, and use it with T-Mobile’s wireless network–who do you call when you have a problem? Google is only accepting support requests via e-mail, and users are getting bounced between T-Mobile and HTC as neither seems equipped to answer complaints, or willing to accept responsibility for supporting the Nexus One.”

One of the reasons that I was convinced that Google wouldn’t be stupid enough to try going into the business of selling its own-branded phone was exactly this: it has no support infrastructure, and no real experience of customer service:

“Google doesn’t have the infrastructure or experience to support a sizeable consumer hardware project. It has no support system, no outlets, no distribution – in short, none of the things that what would be a major hardware launch actually requires. Neither does it have any experience in consumer hardware products.”

The bit that I got wrong was underestimating Google’s hubris – it was, in fact, stupid enough to try selling its own-branded phone via its own website, supported by itself.

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Fred Wilson’s brave mobile experiment

Fred Wilson did something brave: he dictated a blog post using the voice recognition system on his Nexus One, and posted the unedited results. It was, to say the least, less than stellar:

“I am dictating this blog post via my google phone. I’m doing its name is a test to see how easy it is to do something like this. I don’t plan on taking my blog posts in the future very often what is pretty neat that you can do this”

Remember how lampooned the Newton’s pen input initially was? This is worse than Newton v1.0 quality. It’s also about three generations behind the current starte of the art in voice recognition (Dragon Dictate is really good these days).

But more importantly, those who are placing a lot of emphasis on the Nexus’ voice recognition ignore a lot of the culture of mobile phones, and how it is different around the world. In Japan, for example, talking on the phone in public transport is not just frowned upon – it will get your told off (politely!). Talking to your phone to dictate something is going to be similarly frowned upon.

Even in Western countries, talking to your phone in a public place is starting to be unusual. How many people text or email on their phones, rather than call? Do you think you could speak a blog post in Starbucks? And what would a coffee shop sound like if all those people working on their laptops were dictating to their phones instead?

(Image via Daylife)

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Today’s Apple Tablet dumbness: Step forward, The Apple Blog

How to put this? Oh yes, “the stupid, it burns”.

Liam Cassidy has used his magical gift of clairvoyance and decided that a product about which no one knows any concrete details is better than a product which has been publicly demo’d for 30 seconds. And he’s managed to write 845 words of detailed analysis on why these pixies are better than those unicorns.

Liam, I hate to break it to you: but you know nothing about either product. That’s “know” in the sense of “actually know”, not “think”, “have an opinion about”, or “need to write a long post to get my monthly pageviews up, otherwise I won’t hit my targets and will get fired.”

(Image from nDevilTV)

Idiot post of the day – The Roundup

I’ll keep updating this one as and when they come in. And boy, are they coming in. With the honourable exception of David Pogue, everyone seems to have lost all their critical faculties, journalistic skills, and in some cases basic ability to write English sentences which parse.

First up, Max Tatton-Brown, in his post entitled “Why the Nexus One is not ‘just another Android phone’“, which he begins with:

“Okay, let’s make this clear: The Nexus is just another Android phone.”

It isn’t just another Android phone. But then it is! OK. But it’s from Google, and they play a canny, long-term game which leads to success:

“Furthermore, Google are notorious long-game thinkers. They gradually manoeuvre their way around the industry, insidiously implanting the importance of their products into your everyday lifestyle. It’s viral. For example, Wave. I’m not writing this on Wave, therefore many will be eyeing it up as a bit of a flop. Nonsense, look at the next few years and then we’ll talk.”

Yeah, they’re great at the longterm. I mean look at the success of Lively. Or how they’ve defeated Twitter with Jaiku. And how Orkut has beaten off on the threat of Facebook. Google Video was so successful that who remembers YouTube? Google Notebook is now where everyone stores their notes.

And I’m still playing Dodgeball.

Meanwhile, even the BBC is getting caught up. Maggie Shiels begins her post with:

“Google has said it is defending its online advertising empire with the launch of its own brand mobile phone.”

She then goes on to quote not one but SIX people to confirm this.

Only one problem: None of them work for Google. I haven’t read a single quote from anyone at Google saying it is selling the Nexus One to defend its ad empire. Certainly, there is no such quote on this story.

When I was writing news, my editor would have knocked seven shades of shit out of me for saying that someone said X without a direct quote which said X, preferably in the next paragraph.

More idiocy, no doubt, to follow. I’ll just update this post shall I?

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