Making HVAC sexy

The folks over at Nest Labs are doing something truly innovative and even sexy in the field of HVAC.  Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (or HVAC as it is called by insiders) is responsible for keeping most of the U.S. civilized in the dead of winter or during the sweltering heat of summer.  It is also responsible for roughly half of the average household’s energy expenditure in a given year – roughly $1,100.  If you’re like most people, the thermostat is your interface point for more than 99% of your interactions with your HVAC system. Those interactions range from putting the system on permanent “hold” (a recent Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study found that as many as 50% of households are set this way) or trying to program it using a kludgy interface that conjures painful memories of trying to set the clock on the VCR in 1983. Continue reading

Google unwraps Ice Cream Sandwich

Android Ice Cream SandwichThere are some titles you simply cannot resist when they present themselves to you, regardless of how corny or overdone.  After some months of feverish anticipation, Google released their Android 4.0 operating system dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich. Continue reading

Apple’s age of entanglement

“Entanglement” is one of the proverbial holy grails to which businesses aspire in their customer interactions.  Essentially it is simply a snappy way of describing a deeply integrated relationship that makes it difficult for customers of a given business to leave for a competitor.  In the business-to-consumer world tens of billions of dollars are spent annually to attract customers and the trick then becomes retaining them. Continue reading

Watch the Apple iPhone event – live!

Watch the Apple iPhone event – live! || “Apple iPhone 4S / 5 event live blog LIVE” http://ow.ly/6NdKH

In a two-hour event this morning at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters many people had expected the tech giant to unveil a completely new version of its adored iPhone.  The company spent the first 55 minutes recapping their overwhelming success over the past several months and years, as well as unveiling several new features that will be in the new version of their mobile operating system (iOS).  Critics and fans alike halfheartedly clapped their way through these announcements as most of them had been unveiled at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.  When the moment had finally arrived to unveil the new iPhone it was not the iPhone 5 but rather a 4S that was revealed. Continue reading

Amazon announces new Kindles

In a press conference this morning, Amazon officially announced their new tablet – Kindle Fire.  Months of speculation – including this post by yours truly – have led up to this release by the online retail and services giant. Continue reading

HP and RIM do Apple a favor and deliver a blow to Android

HP and RIM do Apple a favor and deliver a blow to Android || “iPad, PlayBook Squeezed Android Tablets: IDC” http://ow.ly/6vhti

Apple iPad 2I’ll keep it short and sweet.  Tablet shipments grew by 89% in Q2 2011 to a total of 13.6 million units and the (insanely) popular iPad 2 accounted for 9.3 million or 68% of the market.  Android had enjoyed some pretty impressive growth over prior quarters (34% in Q1) but came in with a modest 26.8% this time around. Continue reading

Will near field communication open a Pandora’s box?

Will near field communication open a Pandora’s box? || “iPhone Users Are About to Be Screwed Over” http://ow.ly/6unOu

If there is a senior statesman among technology writers in the PC era, John Dvorak is it.  He’s often been wrong in his predictions (“The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘mouse’. There is no evidence that people want to use these things.” San Francisco Chronicle, 1984) but he’s also been right on the money quite often. Continue reading

Apple wants its iPhone 5 back. Now.

As most of the Internet-connected world no doubt knows an Apple employee has lost another iPhone prototype in what can only be called a quasi-clever marketing plot stunning coincidence.  The folks over at Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco have “been handed” a copy of the new ad created by the Apple marketing department to help motivate the individual currently in possession of the missing iPhone to return the priceless device. Continue reading

Does anyone not have an iPhone?

Does anyone not have an iPhone? || “Apple to ship 86 million iPhones in ’11, researcher says” http://ow.ly/6n1Pg

The real story with this chart is not the impressive sales volume or year-over-year growth of iPhones but rather the triple digit growth projections for Android manufacturers Samsung, HTC, and LG.  Sadly Motorola is not expected to benefit from the “all boats rise with the tide” adage that seems to apply to the other Android handset manufacturers.  I wonder if Google made the right decision in moving to acquire them – they risk alienating the “big three” and pick up a luke-warm hardware business in the process (yes, yes … I know most people say the move was all about the patent portfolio).

Amazon Kindle: the rumors are true

Amazon tabletAccording to MG Siegler at TechCrunch (who has apparently seen and played with) the new Kindle by Amazon is a very different device than prior versions and will very likely rock the Android tablet market to its foundation.  Here are the quick-and-dirty details of the upcoming device:

  • 7″ back-lit color touch screen (no e-ink)
  • 6 GB of on-board storage
  • Uses a highly customized version of Android
  • Features the Amazon app market
  • $250 price point (which will likely drop to $199 when a degree of market penetration is achieved)

Given the recent success of the $99 TouchPad fire sale that has caused HP to produce a swan song final run of the device, Amazon’s price point is certain to garner a lot of interest.  In fact, industry analysts and journalists alike (including yours truly) are predicting a “race to the bottom” among other major Android tablet manufacturers (i.e., Samsung, HTC, Motorola, etc.) that will likely cause Amazon to capture a large slice of the market.  The $250 price point is expected to be lower than the cost to produce the tablets but Amazon is expected to make up the difference (and then some) through purchases of books and applications.

Personally speaking, I am very curious about this device since I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the Kindle having first spurned it as yet-another single-purpose device (here and here) in a world driven by convergence.  Once I spent more time with it I was impressed by its elegance in delivering that purpose – much like the early iPods.  Only time will tell whether this will truly turn the Android tablet market on its ear or not but I am pretty confident that the product team on Beacon Hill knows what they’re doing.

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