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When Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPad it was hailed as a content consumption device. Most of the people that I know that own a tablet use it almost exclusively to consume content, not to create it. Despite the heavy emphasis on consumption, publishers have struggled to get smartphone and tablet owners to pay for content on their devices.
This struggle between publishers and readers is as old as the Internet. The Internet set a new standard for content with most websites publishing articles for free with ads lining the sides of the website. Eventually publishers used paywalls to force readers to pay for a subscription or a one time fee to read an article in its entirety. Readers who had become accustomed to free content moved on to other sources or looked for ways to get the article for free. The iPad was supposed to be the medium with which publishers would be able to charge for content again, but as Jason Pontin of Technology Review explains, the cost of app development and limited reader response made the iPad an illegitimate messiah of publishing.
Pontin concludes that since the iPad and Newsstand failed to attract subscribers, the web must be the future of publishing, not apps. I’m convinced that Pontin is wrong. Publishers made two vital errors with digital publishing: first, apps should not be treated as a magazine replacement and second, people shouldn’t be forced to pay for content that they don’t want. If publishers and Google can work together to correct these errors, together they can save digital magazines and newspapers. (more…)
To say that I love technology would be a bit of an understatement. These are all of the smartphones that I have owned or currently own: HTC Touch Pro2, HTC Droid Eris, Motorola Droid, Motorola Droid 2, iPhone 4, HTC Droid Incredible, iPhone 4S, Palm Pre 2, and HTC Trophy. One Windows Mobile phone, one Windows Phone 7 phone, four Android phones, two iOS phones, and one webOS phone. I grew up playing the NES, Sega Genesis, Gameboy, Playstation, Playstation 2, and now the Xbox 360. I’ve owned a Dell Dimension laptop, an iMac, a Dell Vostro 220, and an ASUS eeePC. At work I use a MacBook Pro running OS X on one desktop and Windows Server 2008 R2 on the other desktop.
It’s not just that I own a smartphone or that I grew up with computers; I love technology. From the lists above you can also tell that I don’t just love a certain company, I love all sorts of technology. With my own hard earned money I’ve purchased expensive devices on and off contract. I work with Macs and PCs every day at work. I play casual games on my phone and heavier games on my Xbox, but every once in a while I think about breaking out the PS2 to relive the glory days of Cool Borders 2 with my brother or hogging the PS1 to play through Final Fantasy VIII (which is better than VII, of course).
Having seen how much time and money I’ve invested into all sorts of technology, you can imagine how frustrating it is for someone to tell me that I don’t understand technology or that I’m a fanboy of one thing or another. Not only do I spend much of my free time writing about and playing with technology, but I make a living working on computers. Like every human I have preferences, but I’ve still worked with a variety of devices from sundry companies. (more…)
The battle to dominate the mobile market has never been about smartphones. Android, iOS, and Windows Phone are attempts to use the most personal computers ever made to lock users into one ecosystem. Google is using Android, an open ecosystem, to lock users into Google apps and services.
When you’re on top, there’s little reason to innovate. Based on the latest numbers, Samsung gained 26% of operating profits so far this year. Some have gone so far as to say that the only real competition between smartphone manufacturers is between Samsung and Apple.
Yesterday Samsung revealed the Galaxy S III, the latest version of the very popular Galaxy line of phones. While the Galaxy S and Galaxy S II have been major devices for the past two years (hence Google’s continued partnership with Samsung on the Nexus line of phones), the Galaxy S III looks like a me too device that doesn’t stand out on its own. Personally, I wasn’t impressed with the Galaxy S II, but I think the Galaxy S III is a joke compared to the competition. (more…)
Lately Business Insider (BI) has been announcing the imminent death of Android based on iPhone and iPad sales, reported disinterest in the platform by developers, and upset manufacturers. According to a handful of their writers, Android is poised to lose market share to both iOS and Windows Phone. Is the end near for Android?
While most of us hate the litany of lawsuits that have become commonplace in the tech industry, one positive result has been revelations from emails, recorded transcripts, and testimonies that would have undoubtedly remained under wraps. Without the Skyhook lawsuit we wouldn’t have nearly as many details about the Android device approval process. Apple and Samsung’s lawsuit pressured Apple to reveal that despite Steve Jobs’ nuclear reaction to Android as a product, he was willing to offer a licensing deal to Samsung (probably because Samsung provides so many parts for Apple).
Like the legal battles that preceded it, the Google/Oracle lawsuit has revealed more details about both companies. For example, apparently Oracle considered entering the smartphone race by buying RIM or Palm. The more troubling revelation to come out of this lawsuit came from none other than Google’s CEO, Larry Page: “I believe Android was very important for Google. I wouldn’t say it was critical.”
Since the iPhone, many manufacturers have tried to mimic Apple’s design by releasing black slab after black slab. Some phones in particular, like the HTC Droid Incredible, were more similar to Apple’s design than others. Most manufacturers have made little to no effort to make their phones stand out with hardware (with the exception of strange gimmicks like the Continuum’s second screen), instead opting to differentiate with software. While some manufacturers seem to believe the only way to differentiate and get noticed is through software customizations, other manufacturers like Nokia have tried to pursue differentiation through hardware. I believe that hardware can make much more of a difference in connecting consumers to their devices than software can.
You hear a chime, see a pop up notification, and feel a buzz. Someone just sent you an email and your phone, computer, and tablet are notifying you. Despite all of our technology, notifications continue to oppress the senses of those who use multiple devices. Sure, it’s great that something like an email will disappear from your notifications once it has been read (thank you, ActiveSync), but that doesn’t stop things like chat notifications or calendar alerts.
To make matters worse, most of the innovation we’ve seen in notifications has been to make notifications more accessible, not devices more aware of the user. We’ve seen devices like the TouchPad and the Pre3 (may they rest in peace) promise to push notifications to each other, but at the end of the day notifications still appeared on both devices. At some point, clearing notifications becomes a new chore, making users feel like their devices are actually hindering them from getting things done. (more…)