Watch till the end.
Watch till the end.
I was over at GigaOm and came across a post from the man himself. It was about the new calendar sync application from Google for BlackBerrys. Just to give you a quick background here, Google has been rapidly releasing mobile applications for the BlackBerry platform, for its favorite services. So they support GMail, Search, Picasa, Maps and News. They launched these services in early December.
So the calendar sync impresses me the most. They have smartly integrated the native BlackBerry calendar with the Google Calendar in a bi-directional fashion. So any entries added to the Google Calendar online shows up on the handset within the native view and anything added within the native view is updated online.
This is the third and final part of this series. If you haven’t read the first two, check them out here:
The news around GPhone has heated up in past few weeks. There have been several reports of Google working with wireless carriers like T-Mobile and Sprint. WSJ even reports that the announcement can come as early as Monday.
So it will soon be evident as what Google has in store for us. Until then we can speculate. So in this final post of the series, I look at two major components of the GPhone ecosystem, the “Application Ecosystem” and the all important “Revenue Enablement”.
This is the second part of my three part post on the GPhone. If you haven’t read the first part, please go read it here. This post takes a deeper dive and analyzes the possibilities around Messaging, Media and Productivity applications. Remember these are simply my analysis, as if I was building the phone. This is no indication of how Google may do it. Surely, I hope that I end up being pretty close to their thought process.
So without further ado, let’s begin with the Messaging.
It goes without saying that Messaging is such an important function of our Mobile lifestyle. Pretty much all mobile devices attempt to innovate and improve the messaging offerings. SMS, MMS and Email are commonplace now on all phones. That is not to say that they have become simpler or intuitive. Any typical off the shelf phone offers multiple modes of messaging and involves a decent learning curve. It does get complicated for a mainstream user to navigate through this.
In my opinion, the GPhone can improve mobile messaging by leveraging its exemplary messaging portfolio.
Most of you know about Google throwing in the gauntlet in the wireless game. I have extensively covered some of that in this blog. Read the first four posts here:
Now things had been going hunky dory for Google. FCC had accepted two of four Google’s demands and most of the blogosphere was pretty happy with the results. However as one can expect, the big boys of wireless weren’t quite happy with the results. AT&T reacted with strong words. However Verizon the true veteran in this space had other ideas.
Verizon with its barrage of lawyers and access to unlimited knowledge of wheeling and dealing in the wireless space sued the FCC itself. They weren’t happy with the two options around open devices and open applications (surprise surprise!). As usual they want to lock the devices and offer limited access to the consumers.
Google has been pretty disappointed with these moves and has reacted strongly on their blog. RCR Wireless is also accusing Verizon of behind the scenes lobbying. All this has many worried and it seems like FCC may end up revising the rules. Google is standing by their views and are in constant conversations with FCC. Google has also claimed that if they win the auction from FCC, no matter what the rules say, they will open up the devices and applications.
Verizon who I had covered recently as the rejuvenated company, is looking as the bad guy in all this. Given their moves and public statements I am sure they aren’t making any friends. Certainly not Google.
I am definitely in favor of open policies. After all we the consumers here in the US will suffer if these rules aren’t changed. Frankly we live in the “third world” of wireless and will continue on that path if the incumbents had their way…
I finally know what I want for this Christmas. No not the iPhone or the iTouch, but iCache. Well if you are planning to buy me a iPhone, I am not going to stop you
iCache is a device solving a problem, which has been around for a while and no one has figured out a good way to handle it. In this day and age most of us carry multiple credit cards and customer loyalty cards. Every retailer I go to has some sort of a loyalty program, which I end up taking up for its benefits. Even if it doesn’t have any monetary benefits, some retailers mandate a card (like Blockbuster and Costco) for normal transactions.
Now if you are like me, over time you must have collected 8 to 10 cards. This is after I tried consolidating last year using my drivers license. So my wallet has gotten bulky and quite frankly has become a pain in the a**.
iCache has solved this in a really smart way. They have developed a really thin device which smartly stores a generic card with a magnetic stripe. Using their service, one can load all existing credit and loyalty cards. Then they can use their intuitive menu to select the card they want to use at that moment. The device temporarily enables the generic card’s magnetic stripe with the data for the card you selected.
Sprint for past year or so has been chasing the WiMax carrot. The carrier has been facing huge subscriber churn issues since its merger with Nextel. Many think that WiMax would be its savior. WiMax is a key wireless technology, which will allow true broadband speeds (in multiple mbps) to be delivered over the air. The technology is critical as it will enable further reach than typical cable or DSL infrastructures.
Sprint who is spending billions in the WiMax network officially announced its brand name yesterday. They will launch this service as “XOHM” (pronounced as zoam). The website went online late last night with basic service information.
So why should you as a consumer care? How does this impact you? Let’s look at some of the elements of this service, which will potentially have some social impacts.
First it was the Mechanical Turk and the Elastic Computing Cloud. People didn’t pay much attention. Then Mr.Bezos introduced the S3 (Simple Storage Service). It was one of the best services to come around in quite some time for the startup community. It was (and still is) the cheapest storage solution available with absolutely zero upfront costs. Check out this conversation between Arrington and Bezos. Om Malik also reported that how the startups were adopting this service.
Amazon also launched Alexa, which has become the defacto service for measuring web ranking and traffic analysis. I dont think I have to mention the popularity Alexa has gained since its launch. Now on August 2nd, Amazon added a new service to its quiver, the Amazon FPS (Flexible Payment Service).
Continuing its commitment to Web Services, Amazon has launched this service primarily for developers. This is a very flexible offering, which will allow developers of any eCommerce web entities to creatively offer various payment options. Frankly PayPal is getting old and slow. With PayPal there are many hard set rules, which do not offer developers much control. In addition using this service allows developers to leverage the 69+ Million Amazon users who have immediate payment access by simply using their credentials. (more…)
Over the past few weeks I have posted about how Google rising to create its own network for a “Any Device, Any Application”. Although related, this one is not the next in that series.
Earlier today, I was reading John Dvorak’s article on MarketWatch about Google Sprint partnership and what it means to other big boys. We already know of Google’s big move with the FCC and its open ambition to become a big time wireless player. This move has ruffled AT&T’s feathers to some extent, drawing out some interesting public statements.
Now Google and Sprint have formed a partnership around WiMax and are planning a range of services. Sprint already hurting after its merger and losing some of its tech savvy customers to iPhone. We can easily bet that Sprint would be looking for an iPhone killer. Something which can reinstate its image as the most technologically advanced carrier.
Few days back I wrote about the rise of Google as a network provider and their offer to the FCC. Read it here.
This is the second installment of the article. Continuing on their path of strategic moves within wireless, they made another announcement today. Google is partnering with Sprint to deliver WiMax services
On the first glance this doesn’t look much as the press release only mentions that Google will offer search services on the WiMax devices. However this is just the begining.
Last year a coalition including IBM and Cisco won the contract to deploy WiFi network over all of bay area. They are planning to blanket around 1000 square miles.
Current plan seems to offer various levels of services. Starting from ad based free services to standard and premium packages. Obviously premium offering high speed connectivity.
Check out the video from KQED QUEST.
I like the fact that the local authorities (Police, Fire, Paramedics etc) will get to use this technology, which can be utilized in various devices thus enabling them with latest information at all times.
Testing in few cities will begin in end of 2007 and actual construction in 2008. I am just hoping that they cover Santa Cruz pretty well.
Checkout the flying saucer design for the ultra eco plane for the CleanEra project. The recently formed project is playing with ideas around greener modes of air travel, aiming to reduce 50% less CO2 reduction than other jets.
They claim that such designs could reduce carbon emissions and noise levels by, at most, 10 to 15 percent.
Check out the article at LiveScience for additional info.
I am just excited to see such a cool design. Doesn’t hurt that it is aimed at the greater good.
This past week Google threw the gauntlet down, challenging the big boys of wireless to rethink how they operate their business. FCC is conducting one of the biggest spectrum auctions (700 MHz)allows the operators to enable new broadband like services.
Typically the Big Boys would purchase such spectrum and pretty much operate it with similar restrictions as we see in their other services. Google has been watching this space very closely for sometime now. Last week instead of lobbying for its advantage, they stepped into the conversation in a big way.
Google in its efforts to represent the common user offered a commitment of $ 4.6 Billion for the spectrum if all its requirements were met. These requirements clearly represent the interest of the common user. Google requires adoption of open platforms:
Yes you heard it right, Social Operating System. Let me explain.
In May Facebook organized its F8 conference in San Francisco, attended by around 800 developers. Mark Zuckerberg (the 23 year old CEO ) mentioned that today’s social networks are closed environments and Facebook wants to end it.
End, they certainly did. FaceBook launched a very comprehensive API program for 3rd party developers and services. Typically services expose high level APIs to get access to user data and preferences. 3rd parties can write to those APIs and extract data for their services.
For example a service like Plaxo 3.0 accesses APIs from GMail, Yahoo and LinkedIn to collect user information to offer integrated contacts and calendar management (check out the video). However one cannot use Plaxo’s integrated contacts or Calendar from Google, Yahoo or LinkedIn. Integrations are typically one way and offer some form of integrated experience. However there are very few examples of bi-directional deep integrations. Such deep integration would offer unparalleled experience to the users and not to mention the stickiness / loyalty it brings to the table.
At first I was surprised (pleasantly) to find how small and thin the form factor was. Somehow it looks bigger in all the apple promos. Once I fired up the device, the user interface was a knock-out. I think they have really nailed the User Interface on this thing. The touch interface sensitivity is just set right and the reaction of applications is just right. The whole thing just flows.
At that point I was ready to buy it and switch from my current carrier. However I decided to play with it a bit more and decided against it. Here are some short-comings from my point of view:
I decided to wait until they launch a 3G version of the device (I guess probably Q1 next year).
Althought quite frankly I am still very impressed with the device. I do believe when people call it the “Game Changing” device. Apple has actually compelled other OEM’s in the market to get down and rethink their devices. I am expecting some real great device launches in the next 6 months, which will give the non apple fans some really great choices.
Although I would be really really surprised if any of them did better than Apple. Anyways as of now I am done with all the iPhone news and looking forward to some other key announcements. Hope to see some soon.