Monthly Archives: June 2011

Is an iPhone Lite Even Possible?

The new iPhone 5 due this Fall is getting the majority of news time lately. But, what’s flying under the radar is the “iPhone Lite“, a cheaper and affordable iPhone designed specifically for consumers in developing countries.

At this point though, discussing specific features would be purely speculative. But, in terms of how to keep costs down, what could the iPhone Lite lose? Industry insiders say that a cheaper shell and overall construction and losing internal memory altogether could do a lot.

So, the question is, will the iPhone Lite come to America, or focus on China and other still developing countries? And, if launched in America, the iPhone Lite is priced equivalent to Android models, could Apple’s market share regain the lead once again?

Can Amazon’s Tablet Make a Mark in the Industry?

At this point, we shouldn’t even be calling them tablets. They’re iPads. Apple makes them. And everyone else makes copies.

So, we’re not going to try and get you overly excited about Amazon’s new venture into this space. Although, it is intriguing. Rumors are that Amazon will launch its own tablet as soon as this August, anticipating up to 4 million units sold by the end of the year.

Just like the Kindle is a natural product for Amazon as the world’s leading e-book seller, as Amazon ventures further into online streaming, a tablet PC makes sense. The question is, will Amazon become one of the leaders in online streaming purchasing? Perhaps that’s their real goal, and this product is just designed in support of that larger goal?

But, as long as the iPad stays awesome, it’s hard to see this Amazon tablet happening like Amazon hopes.

Delta Airlines Uses Twitter to Improve Customer Satisfaction

A couple years ago, when social media started taking off, the common business maxim and encouragement for joining was something to the effect of, “Your customers are talking about you regardless if you’re there or not. With social media, you can listen and respond.”

Most companies, intrigued by this idea, jumped on the social media bandwagon, but simply used the services to shout their traditional marketing message, rather than listening.

Delta Airlines is doing something very different with their @DeltaAssist Twitter account. This account is specifically used to address Delta customer concerns in real time, knowing full well that this channel was going to be used to hear people who are overwhelmingly angry. Today, Delta ranks #1 in Twitter activity for airlines. One, because of their immediate response to tweets. Two, because they encourage open frustration. They don’t hide from problems. They learn from them. And we should all learn from Delta.

Google Reminds the Fatherless its Father’s Day

On Father’s Day, Google did something pretty cute. If you logged into your GMail account, there was a little Google reminder to “Call dad.”

Cute, no? Here’s the problem. Many people don’t have fathers. Some were abused by their father. Some recently lost their father. And they didn’t find this “cute” at all.

There’s a risk behind doing stuff like this. I’m not sure I would have thought about the negative consequences of such a seemingly harmless gesture. But, you can bet Google will think it through next time they have another “cute” idea, and stick to changing their daily Google Doodle, which, since unpersonalized, can’t be taken too offensively. It does bring up another question of Internet privacy, though. For a company who is thought to know so much about us, how far away are they from knowing which of their users has a live and caring father or not?

Do You Want Google and Facebook to Try Being Psychic?

It’s another case of personalization vs. privacy. So, which side do you support? And by that, of course I mean, do you want Google search and Facebook feeds to use the information they have on you to provide you with “filtered” content?

In their opinion, they’re making your user experience better. Google knows the kind of sites you use for research. They know you prefer Wikipedia results to content farm sites. Facebook knows you interact with certain friend’s posts more than others. So, what if they just went ahead and automatically adjusted your results based on your usage?

Personally, I love that they do this. Others feel differently. They feel like this “filtering” isn’t their choice. And their solution is to provide users with control options to determine what kind of “filtering” they prefer.

Could Better Content Make Us Watch Less of it?

Streaming video consumers watch less TV. That’s the takeaway from Nielsen’s latest report. And it comes as a bit of a surprise.

Until now, streamers were thought of as the glut consumer. They just couldn’t get enough. But now, it looks like streaming video users are replacing their television viewership altogether – which brings up an interesting question that until now would have sounded ludicrous.

Does better content make us watch less of it? In other words, does great content make us more picky. For instance, with a 1-channel television, you’re watching whatever’s there. With 100 channels, you get to browse and be picky. With unlimited options, browsing becomes impossible. And could it actually limit our streaming content intake?

Yahoo AppSpot Enters App Game Google-Style

Yahoo wants to be the app aggregator of the mobile Web, and have built Yahoo AppSpot to do just that.

Right now, when you’re looking for new apps, what do you do? Do you jump on to your phone’s app store? Quickly scroll down the “best selling” chart and see if anything looks interesting? Or you learn about new apps from friends, only to search and search to no avail to find the same app available on your mobile operating system?

Yahoo AppSpot hopes to help make finding new mobile apps easier. Search by title, category or interest and you’ll receive a comprehensive list of apps sorted by popularity, price, user rating and operating system.

Plus, AppSpot makes recommendations for you based on the other apps you’ve downloaded in the past. For a company that doesn’t seem like its doing much in terms of new innovations, this might actually be one that catches on. At least, I’m not familiar with something similar. And it could definitely be useful.

Cyber Warfare: The Evolution of the Suicide Bomber

You watch the movie, “The Patriot”. You see both sides standing in lines. Taking turns shooting each other. Fighting like gentlemen.

And you think to yourself, “What a bunch of morons!”

Warfare has evolved since then. Once our enemies learned that their own defense systems were no match for the biggest militaristic country of all time, they resorted to human shields and suicide bombing. It’s barbaric. And it’s brilliant. So, what’s next in the evolution of warfare? Many people believe it will be cyber warfare.

Data breaches against big commercial entities are terribly common nowadays. There are thousands of simply brilliant computer hackers, who we have just recently seen, have the technical prowess to break into the CIA with ease. These individuals can hide under anonymity. There is no real hierarchy. No leader. So, what do you do with that? How do you defend yourself? Same thing we did with suicide bombers….which is… not figure it out quite yet.

Is LulzSec the New Anonymous?

Move over Anonymous. It used to be that whenever something was hacked, we turned your way. Gave you blame or credit.

But now there’s another. LulzSec. These Internet pranksters seem more excited about causing “Fight Club” style mayhem then promoting the cause of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. But, just like Anonymous, it’s hard to classify the entire organization. Because the organization is simply an aggregate of individuals with individual ideals. Some like hacking into Facebook accounts and changing profile pictures to disturbing imagery. Some like hacking into major online databases and publicizing their work.

And just like mainstream media outlets aren’t publishing cartoons of Muhammad just to prove they believe in free speech, they’re largely leaving LulzSec alone. It’s hard to blame them.

Can Online Education Ever Be “Free” Education?

With federal and state budget crises raising up the voices of people calling for higher education becoming “free”, this brings up an interesting dilemma. Because, government subsidizing the costs of higher education isn’t “free” obviously. But, we’re actually closer to “free” education than we’ve ever been before. You can jump online and learn how to do nearly everything. Free tutorials that are easy-to-follow and detailed. You can learn how to design websites. How to program. But more than tech skills, universities are now beginning to release the comprehensive audio and video of lectures from entire courses. Now, you wouldn’t get “credit” for doing college this way. But, it’s becoming easier and easier to  learn online the same things for free.

And while schools like the University of Phoenix have led the way in for-profit online education, organizations like the Khan Academy are pushing free versions of high-quality educational content. So, how long will it be until an individual is able to get their undergraduate degree completely free online, and more importantly, it be recognized as valuable by a hiring manager?