Archive for September, 2010
A new survey from the Pew Internet research group says that applications on cell phones don’t mean a thing to the vast majority of Americans.
Of all cellphone owning adults, Pew says 29% are using apps. More important for cell phone owners is taking pictures, text messaging, emailing and a number of other activities.
While this is an interesting chart to consider, it’s important to note that the behavior of smartphone owners will be different than the behavior of all phone owners. It’s also interesting to note that Apple’s whole iPhone marketing campaign is based on what you can do with the phone’s third party apps.
We suspect this chart will look a lot different in the next few years, as smartphones gain in popularity and people become more comfortable with apps.
Yes, you read that correctly. The fevered dreams of crime scene investigators up and down the country are being brought to reality by Adobe, with just a single extra lens and some crafty software knowhow. Basically, a plenoptic lens is composed of a litany of tiny “sub-lenses,” which allow those precious photons you’re capturing to be recorded from multiple perspectives. The result is that you get a bunch more data in your image and an “infinite” depth of field, meaning you can toggle at what distance you want your image to be focused after the act of taking it. These plenoptic lenses are inserted between your shooter’s usual lens and its sensor, though commercialization is sadly said to still be a fair distance away. Never fear, you can get hold of a video demo much sooner than that — you know where it’s at.
Adobe shows off plenoptic lenses that let you refocus an image after it’s taken (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 23 Sep 2010 14:17:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Just in case a throwaway mention of a streaming-only subscription for US customers wasn’t enough, an agreement adding plenty of recognizable content from NBC to its Watch Instantly service might help Netflix distract from a recent string of PR gaffes. Starting next week, cable shows from the media giant’s stable like Psych, Battlestar Galactica and others, episodes from the most recent seasons of NBC shows including The Office and 30 Rock will be available. Not good enough? Why not throw in every single season of Friday Night Lights and Saturday Night Live, with new eps of SNL added the day after they air for the next three years. Seems like a win/win to us, with many hours of new content for Netflix while NBC cashes a fat check for old seasons of Monk and Law & Order:SVU — as much as we love Tony Shalhoub as a neurotic private investigator, those DVD boxed sets just weren’t moving like they used to. The only question left is whether HD streaming for any of these is on deck, until we hear back just check out the full press release after the break.
Netflix, NBC Universal content deal brings Battlestar Galactica, SNL and more to Watch Instantly originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 24 Sep 2010 06:16:00 ED! T. Plea se see our terms for use of feeds.
These are the top 100 web brands—from computer companies to search engines to social web sites to porn sites—ordered by color. Apparently, the “top brands within categories tend to use similar color palettes.”
I don’t see the tendency myself, but I don’t care. Rainbows are pretty! [Colourlovers]
Digg Hold onto your hyperthreaded horses, because this is liable to whip up an angry mob — Intel’s asking customers to pay extra if they want the full power of their store-bought silicon. An eagle-eyed Engadget reader was surfing the Best Buy shelves when he noticed this $50 card — and sure enough, Intel websites confirm — that lets you download software to unlock extra threads and cache on the new Pentium G6951 processor. Hardware.info got their hands on an early sample of the chip and discovered it’s actually a full 1MB of L3 cache that’s enabled plus HyperThreading support, which translates to a modest but noticeable upgrade. This isn’t exactly an unprecedented move, as chip companies routinely sell hardware-locked chips all the time in a process known as binning, but there they have a simpler excuse — binned chips are typically sold with cores or cache locked because that part of their silicon turned out defective after printing. This new idea is more akin to video games that let you “download” extra weapons and features, when those features were on the disc all along. Still, it’s an intriguing business model, and before you unleash your rage in comments, you should know that Intel’s just testing it out on this low-end processor in a few select markets for now.
Intel wants to charge $50 to unlock stuff your CPU can already do originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 18 Sep 2010 18:21:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Fine purveyor of TV ratings Nielsen has just found another way to monitor your home — an official ABC app that uses the iPad’s microphone to figure out exactly what you’re watching (whether live or recorded) and offer interactive content on the fly. Pop-Up Video, anyone? Nielsen says the app uses the same audio watermarks embedded in most every US television show to do its thing (and thus doesn’t, say, record your household conversations) so there’s some serious potential for the concept to spread beyond My Generation, the single show it’s been announced for so far. We’ll just kick back and wait for the responsible parties to figure out we’d rather play interactive Jeopardy than figure out the size of that salacious margarita. Because, like, OMG, right? Video and press release after the break, app available free at our source link.
ABC app eavesdrops on your TV to synchronize interactive content using Nielsen tech (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 18 Sep 2010 19:42:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Morgan Stanley notes that notebooks’ year-over-year growth was negative for the first time ever this August. They have gone as far as saying that “tablet cannibalization”—chiefly by Apple’s (AAPL) iPad—is at least partially responsible.”
That growth is negative doesn’t mean that notebooks are not selling anymore. We don’t even know if the pattern will continue in 2011, although chances are that it will. But there is a pattern now. Actually, the pattern has been there for a while. Back in 2009, the Wall Street Journal was reporting on how companies like Verizon were replacing on-the-field laptops with Blackberrys. By the end of that year, they had switched 12,000 laptops to smart phones.
The news now is that the retail laptop market is not growing anymore, confirming that trend. In fact, growth has been steadily decreasing since March—even while new, faster, cheaper laptops have been introduced since then. The incoming September numbers show another 4% decrease. That’s one of the reasons why manufacturers like Dell, Samsung, and HP are racing to get their own tablets in the market before Apple becomes unstoppable in this new computing world. If you think that HP wasn’t thinking about this trend when they bought Palm, you are seriously mistaken.
It’s just evolution
So, are tablets the end of the laptop? Perhaps it is too early to tell now—even with the loud and clear numbers—but yes, yes they are. Eventually, it will happen. New computing formats have been replacing old computing formats since the beginning of the information era.
Just a few years ago, some people couldn’t believe the desktop market was going to become stagnant. But it did, and today many people only use laptops. Just like when people couldn’t believe that the command line was going to be replaced by the Graphical User Interface.
The same will happen with tablets.
Laptops will not disappear. Not now, not right away, and maybe not ever. Like the desktop, they will survive for years on different industries and enterprises. Eventually, however, I’m sure they will vanish completely except for a very few specialized niches, just like they have disappeared for many workforces who have moved from traditional computer platforms to smart phones.
So what will happen with the keyboard, you ask? I can’t type on a tablet! Well, I write for a living, so I understand that concern. I know I will keep using keyboards until new input methods replace them.
But now think about the immensity of people who, unlike you and me, don’t touch a keyboard at all or touch it just barely, to send “hey, see you at 5! LOL! xxxooo” mails or write Facebook messages or chat with contracted words and emoticons. Think about the majority of people who, outside their work offices, never touch and don’t want to touch a keyboard. Think about the huge number of blue collar workers who don’t use computers in their work, who just depend on their phones to communicate. Think about the increasing number of office workers who have moved from desktops and laptops to their smart phones. And in addition to all those, think about that big majority of consumers who don’t give damn about computers.
For those people, tablets are indeed the future. Because that’s really all they need in their digital lives: A way to easily get their entertainment, communicate with others, and access their memories. And as tablets evolve, connecting to cameras, camcorders, smart phones, printers and AV systems, becoming hubs rather than just the end of a chain, that future will come even sooner than expected. Gene Roddenberry was right. [Fortune]
Well, the iPad is about one half of a laptop — both in its form and functionality — so it makes perfect sense that it’d chop laptop sales by 50 percent. We might be pulling your leg, but Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn isn’t. The dude in charge of the yellow label empire has told the Wall Street Journal that his company’s internal estimates indicate the iPad has eaten up as much as half of laptop PC market demand. In response to this perceived trend toward more portable gadgets, Brian’s outfit is rearranging its inventory to include more e-readers, tablets and smartphones for this holiday season, while slimming down its selection of desktops and HDTVs. Moreover, new demo zones will be set up in-store to allow people to experience the wonders of Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony’s Move motion-controlled gaming solutions. So it looks like the future’s coming, whether we like it or not.
While smartphone security is an issue that’s close to our hearts (being only a few feet away, in our pockets), security group Mocana shows that soon, smartphones will only make up a small fraction of all the connected devices.
The data, taken from analyst projections for 2009-2013, might not be exact, but it does serve to illustrate that once everything is connected to the internet, that’s a whole lot more security to worry about. Someone getting into my connected kitchen appliance doesn’t concern me too much; someone getting into my house’s smart grid connection—well, that does. [Moncana via Dataviz.tumblr.com]
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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