My daily readings 11/19/2009

  • tags: iPhone, Droid, Review

    • This is a huge point, and one that often goes overlooked in reviews. For the past 10 years, Apple has really only done one thing, over and over: they’ve taken something we thought worked fine, and then simplified the hell out of it while maintaining the feature set. That’s exactly what they did to the idea of the smartphone with the iPhone, and it turned the damned market on its head.
    • Two thousand plus words later, you might be a bit sad to read: Nope. But I wouldn’t recommend the iPhone over the Droid, either – and that’s the Droid’s real win here. This is the very first phone in over two years that I would consider carrying for day-to-day use instead of my iPhone, but that doesn’t mean I would recommend it whole heartedly to everyone.
  • tags: no_tag

    • But hold on. There’s just one problem. Android, an open source operating system, must avoid the fate of J2ME, an open source mobile applications platform. Open source is great, until everyone splinters off into their own world. That’s what happened to J2ME, and a number of frustrated Android developers are now saying that there is a risk Android will follow the same path.
    • We’ve spoken with a number of high profile Android application developers. All of them, without exception, have told me they are extremely frustrated with Android right now. For the iPhone, they build once and maintain the code base. On Android, they built once for v.1.5, but are getting far less installs than the iPhone.

      And now they’re faced with a landslide of new handsets, some running v.1.6 and some courageous souls even running android v.2.0. All those manufacturers/carriers are racing to release their phones by the 2009 holiday season, and want to ensure the hot applications will work on their phones. And here’s the problem – in almost every case, we hear, there are bugs and more serious problems with the apps.

    • First of all, the compatibility between versions issue may be overblown.
    • But if developers are forced to create and maintain multiple versions of their apps for various devices, Android may be in trouble. The whole idea of Android is to let app developers build once and let users install on any Android device. Right now, it’s not a certainty that will happen.
  • tags: Google, Android

    • There won’t be any negotiation or compromise over the phone’s design of features – Google is dictating every last piece of it. No splintering of the Android OS that makes some applications unusable. Like the iPhone for Apple, this phone will be Google’s pure vision of what a phone should be.
  • tags: no_tag

    • The Google Phone may be a data only, VoIP driven device. And Google may be lining up at least AT&T to provide those data services for the Google Phone, says one person we spoke with today.

      Users could still make calls just like a normal phone, of course. The calls would just be over the data service instead. In fact, this is the exact vision Google proposed back in 2007 when they were bidding on the FCC auctions for the 700MHz spectrum.

      Google can even issue phone numbers to users via Google Voice. In fact, I’ve already ported my mobile number to Google Voice, and Google has plans to roll out that feature more broadly. Google Voice can also handle the VoIP function for the phone.

    • Our sources at AT&T have confirmed that they’ll sell data-only plans to customers who bring in BlackBerry and Windows devices, and strip out the voice plan. They won’t do this with all devices – you can’t get a data only plan on the iPhone, for example. But AT&T is open to data-only customer relationships.

      Will the Google Phone be data/VoIP only? Right now we only have one thin source for this. But we’re continuing to dig.

  • tags: Browser, IE9

  • tags: no_tag

    • Speaking as a former founder of a video games company, I think that this kind of thinking is inherent to the entire industry and it is killing it. The inspiration clearly comes from the movie industry where admittedly, you don’t make a movie in small iterations. As it stands now, triple-A titles have to make it to the top ten to be profitable due to extreme development costs which drives up marketing prices which in turn drives up the price of the games to the consumer. This spiral is really bad for the industry. I think that indie and small developers will take over most of the market because they do much smaller and more frequent releases.
  • tags: no_tag

    • As many of us recall from our civics lessons in school, the United States is a common law country. That means when judges issue opinions in legal cases, they often establish precedents that will guide the rulings of other judges in similar cases and jurisdictions. Over time, these legal opinions build, refine and clarify the laws that govern our land. For average citizens, however, it can be difficult to find or even read these landmark opinions. We think that’s a problem: Laws that you don’t know about, you can’t follow — or make effective arguments to change.
  • tags: no_tag

    • “full text legal opinions from U.S. federal and state district, appellate and supreme courts”

      If it’s actually comprehensive, this is a very big deal. I don’t know how LexisNexis Westlaw are going survive now that Google is giving away a huge chunk of their services.

      (Of course, this stuff has always been technically in the public domain; and much has even been online in disparate and badly organized sources.)

  • tags: no_tag

    • I think Google probably has created more value for more people than any technology firm in the last decade.

      I also really admire Wal-Mart. An example: I pay $50 to ship money between Japan and the US, which is fairly competitive for international wire transfers from first world financial institutions. Wal-Mart wanted to offer financial services to Mexican immigrants to let them ship money between the US and Mexico. They said “Screw it: this is going to cost $2.99. Until we find a way to lower the price.” They impress me with their relentless, all-consuming, borglike quest for improved efficiency, which I think does wonderful things for poor people. I wish all businesses I deal with had Wal-Mart forever nipping at their heels. (For example, I wish they could bring that pricing pressure to bear on my behalf for financial services.) I know, I know, I’m supposed to feel class-based superiority to their customers and pretend that their $12 China-made shirts are grossly inferior to my $100 China-made shirts… but I’ve never been good with that sort of mental gymnastics.

    • De Beers

      Convincing people they need a carbon rock through a brilliant marketing campaign (“A Diamond is Forever” named best advertising slogan of 20th century by Advertising Age). This slogan convinces Americans and global consumers to change their courtship practices; that it is completely normal and expected to spend 2 months salary on a diamond engagement ring as a symbol of love.

      Another ad urged consumers to hold on to family diamond Jewelry as heirlooms. This cutoff the aftermarket of diamonds and increased the market power of the firm.

      De Beers then artificially keeps the prices very high. These carbon rocks aren’t rare in the natural world. The company restricts supply through a cartel system. Less than 200 companies are allowed to buy from the firm.

    • What makes a business good?

      To me, there are multiple inputs: profitability, efficiency, building value for customers, ethical behavior, innovative-ness, leadership, brand.

      Companies like Swoopo / C4G are really profitable, but they score very low on everything else (except perhaps brand). They prey on people’s stupidity, which can be really good for a smash and grab type operation (high profitability over a short time), but I don’t see them being sustainable in the long run (could be wrong on this — anyone know how long C4G has been around?)

      Companies like Apple are 2nd tier to me — their strength is in leadership and branding (they aren’t bad in the other areas, but they aren’t really that innovative except for form factor).

      My all star list has companies like Amazon on it. Started as a bookstore, now is one of the leading providers of cloud services (in addition to everything being sold there). They put a huge investment early on in infrastructure, which was a really interesting tactic that looks to be paying off.

    • Any business that disintermediates (cuts out the middleman).

      Amazon, DELL, eTRADE, etc.

  • tags: no_tag

    • 6 points by enoren 2 days ago | link

      “I also agree with this tweet from Dustin Curtis: ”I have never heard an entrepreneur say ‘I wish I had launched my product later.’””

      I am sure Cuil would disagree with this, however their problem was more mass marketing too early and having too big of an audience for their effectively Alpha release.

    • That assumes that a later release of Cuil would have done any better. My assumption is that an even buggier release much earlier would have indicated that there was no market for what they were offering, and saved their investors $x million dollars.
    • There’s a subtle but important difference between “the market isn’t ready” and “there is no market”.
  • tags: Startup

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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