I think Amazon is definitely a potential player in services, Kim; their Silk positioning gives them an entree. The question is whether they're prepared to go beyond browser augmentation. One thing to watch is whether they do a 3G version of Fire. Without it, things like LBS may be problematic for them because they could cover people only in hotspots.
Isn't there now another competitor to set alongside Google? Amazon seems to have got the message very clearly that we're now in the business, not of devices, but of services. And with its extensive cloud holdings it seems well placed to deliver services - especially valuable retail opportunities - from the Amazon Cloud direct to a range of appliances, including but not restricted to the Amazon tablet.
What do you mean we are not going to have Dick Tracy watches? I was looking forward to that. Actually, some of the devices envisioned in fiction have been achieved. The only thing no one seems to have bothered with is a shoe phone. It had a rotary dial, as I recall.
It's seemingly unlike them, Nicole; they've been so innovative recently. It makes me wonder whether they understood the appliance space in particular but not the market in general, particularly when it was their action that brought all this about!
Ah, thanks so much for the response Tom. I completely see your point now, and I agree that this is hardly an innovative effort in an area where Apple should seek to emerge as a dominant player. Disappointing, indeed!
Sure thing, Nicole. The iCloud is a backup site (like Live) and also provides Live-like synch, though obviously to more device types since Apple has a broader portfolio. It's including cloud apps like Google's Apps does. Thus, it's really not offering stuff that's all that different from competitors. Like Google Apps, iCloud seems to be working to provide "productivity" or personal computing tools online for appliances. Like Live, it seems to be looking at media and content enhancements to online services. Again, nothing that different. The cross-point to me is that Microsoft saw Live as a way to get a foothold in the online world, Google sees Apps as a counterpunch against Microsoft, and Apple seems to see iCloud as a little of both those things. Apart from everything else, you can't counterpunch with two different opponents!
I think that Apple has to think outside the iTunes box for services, Mary. As mobile devices (that obviously Apple pioneered) proliferate, we build them into our daily lives and in doing so we open markets to new service ideas. They have that "locate friends" service now, for example. I think that it's those kinds of services that the iCloud has to offer and not just content upload and storage and sync, or sales, or whatever. Amazon with Kindle Fire introduced the notion of the cloud as a kind of browser assistant. Apple needed to do that, and more, and that's what I think they missed in their announcement--not just iPhone 5.
Excellent point on the emphasis -- or lack of proper emphasis -- in Apple's announcement. Cloud service should be a priority for Apple now if it wants to sustain its momentum. But isn't it limited by content providers' issues, such as unresolved copyright problems, etc.?
The whole Amazon.reader debate is a double-stupid. It's stupid to think that there's any e-book buyer who doesn't know Amazon's URL, and it was stupider to let ICANN launch the whole free-form TLD initiative to start with.
YouTube's move to a partial pay-for-view model could help relieve a dearth of good new content but it could also complicate debates in many parts of the world over payment by content providers for delivery of their material to customers.
That's what Larry Page said on Google's earnings call, referring to the conjunction of mobile and the cloud. Well, let's chart it then! We need to be thinking about an Internet where 90% of our traffic goes to 70 destinations within 40 miles of us.
Facebook's Graph Search may face some profound challenges and risks, first, because Facebook users haven't been thinking of their posts as product reviews; and second, because Facebook will now have to contend with the social-network equivalent of SEO "gaming" of results.
EU operators are considering joining up to create a pan-European network to reduce competitive overbuild and cost. This might lower costs and focus operators on higher-level, more interesting services.
Apple is falling further behind in the smartphone space but it looks as if Google is falling behind in the tablet world, and that may be the most important device in the mobile market. But there's still time for Google to catch up.
The Amazon smartphone rumor and the Apple mini-iPad rumor show that the mobile device giants think they have to be in all the device spaces to win. Why? Because the cloud can create an ecosystem where every device can cooperate to support the user, and if you don't supply all the devices you miss out on the total value.
Mozilla's Firefox OS could be a major advance in building smartphones and tablets with a more cloud-friendly and open interface, but there are still questions of performance and security that will have to be managed.
Verizon's one-data-plan-for-all-devices could revolutionize mobile data by making it practical to have multiple devices share a plan, and thus encourage users to cellular-equip all their portable appliances.
To date, smartphone apps have only been able to work with 50Meg chunks of information. Well, recent technical advances have been able to boost that number to 4Gbytes. Consequently, developers will be able to work with more complex data types. But will wireless networks be able to handle the additional traffic?
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