The cloud wars will pick two camps against each others: on one side, advocates of applications running on the desktop; on the other advocates of applications running in a browser.
Brighthand reports about a new piece of software that allows to make calls using a Pocket PC and a Wi-Fi card. This is an interesting development that could turn Wi-Fi into a very disruptive technology for the mobile phone industry and may explain why companies like T-mobile are placing bets on the phenomenon, covering themselves in case other revenues (from regular mobile phones) were to evaporate. At $30/month, Wi-Fi service can currently be seen as an expensive toy for the mobile worker. But if you consider the possibility to make phone calls for the same price, the price seems low. Compared to most cellular phone programs that offer a few hundred or thousand minutes every month for roughly the same price, the idea of unmetered service could represent a huge growth opportunity for anyone offering a hotspot. However, the issue will then become one of available bandwidth. As more and more hotspots are added, the pervasiveness of Wi-Fi makes the possibility to bypass the phone network more real. The next step in that evolution would be for the Wi-Fi protocol to include some kind of mechanism to check the strength of signal. If you think of the cellular phone system,…Read More
Back when they came out, I said that tools like Tivo and Replay could change the face of television watching. A couple of years ago, I assumed that game boxes would be the new home media center. What I missed, though, was the end run that Tivo was doing around the game companies. With yesterday’s announcement that they would offer connectivity to computer platform, Tivo is placing itself square in the middle of the convergence world. Their strategy is simple: focus on the core engine and use the PC as a storage area. It is braindead simple logic. The Tivo box comes with a big hard drive but it is mostly filled with TV programming. Alternately, the box does not need to provide web surfing as attempts by companies like AOL and Microsoft have failed in that space, probably bringing on the realization that most people don’t want to surf on their television sets. Thus, Tivo leaves the download of music to computers for now. The reason I am saying for now is that I expect them to eventually offer a more widespread network connectivity set in the future. However, they realize that most Tivo users are probably already computer…Read More
Today’s announcement about Cisco’s acquisition of Linksys is one that leaves me scratching my head a little. What is the logic behind this? Could this represent a change in Cisco’s strategy? Or is it a realization in the part of the networking equipment vendor that its future may not be enhanced by moving into the now heavily depressed telecommunication field. Let’s imagine for a second what this could do in the long term. First of all, by acquiring Linksys, Cisco gets a strong foothold in the small office/home office market as well as the hobbyist/consumer market. Why? Largely because this is where Linksys’ strength is. What Cisco gets out of this is a new source of revenues in a market it has had troubles getting into. The announcement that they will not change the name of the company and will let it run as an independent unit seems to point to that end. Second, it provides Linksys with strong support in enterprise sales. Linksys has been getting into the enterprise largely through the back-door, with employees installing cheap wireless routers in offices. Now, with Cisco’s backing they can get into the enterprise as part of a more complete solution. The…Read More
Last week, I was in France for a short vacation. During that time, I got a chance to talk to people locally and get a better idea as to what was going on within the Internet market in France. Here are a few observations based on my understanding of what is going on. Strong Growth France had been a leader in terms of establishing an information society but was starting to get trapped by its legacy Minitel tool. The Minitel was introduced in France in the late 70s as essentially a precursor to the web. The service allowed users to read online versions of magazines and newspapers, shop in online catalogs, chat, play games, and have access to every government office. In the early 80s, Minitel penetration became so high that the government-owned phone company decided to drop printing of phone books and move that service to the Minitel. Fast forward to the late 90s. France is still on the Minitel and the Internet has gotten wide acceptance in the United States. At that point, Internet penetration in France is sluggish as few people see any value in it. As a result, the French government issued an ambitious plan to…Read More
This week, Microsoft launched the Xbox, a new gaming system that takes the Redmond giant into another market. Today, Nintendo is unveiling the GameCube, their new entry in a battle they have fought with Sony for many years. With these new gaming stations entering the market, a new war is starting and in the end, it is a war that may change the way we all watch TV, listen to music, get movies, or play games. As many of you already know, the game station is a small box that attaches to your TV and on which you can play video games. However, the firepower of new generation boxes now on the market is now equivalent or higher than that of most computers. The main logic behind this was that gamers wanted a more realistic experience and crunching 3D representation in an ever-changing environment required more and more processing power. Playstation 2 opens the gate Last year, Sony introduced the Sony Playstation 2, a new gaming system that included a built-in DVD player and a 3D graphic engine that made computer video card look ridiculously outdated. At that time, Sony admitted that their goal was to go beyond games and…Read More