Monday, November 21, 2011

Kindle Fire comparisons

I think a lot of the reviews and analysis of the Kindle Fire are missing a key comparison.  Although the iPad, GalaxyTabs, and Xooms of the world are relevant, equally relevant (and perhaps more so) is the iPod Touch.

Like the Touch, there's no cellular connectivity.  Like the entry-level Touch, it is 8GB.  Like earlier generation Touches (which sold fine), it lacks a microphone, camera, etc.  And its screen is far bigger.

And so, for a lot of people who wanted apps (games) and media (movies/TV), the Fire will be an attractive alternative.  I don't think this matters much for Apple today.  Perhaps with a deeper pool of users built on this first Fire, a larger Fire will present a real alternative to the iPad.  At the same time, so long as the Fire concentrates on being a delivery system for Amazon-sourced content (and so leaves off features that work for apps but not for content - such as a front-facing camera), they may simply co-exist peacefully (and, by further fragmenting Android and, in any event, "unconcentrating" it, make it harder for an Android competitor to the iPad to succeed).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chrysler resurrected

If Chrysler really does turn around and become a successful manufacturer for a meaningful period, I wonder if it is because Chrysler, out of nearly all other manufacturers, is very much a hit-driven company.  More specifically, they have often sold style in a mass market which, like most mass markets, is generally geared towards efficiency, reliability, etc.  And thus, control by an Italian group, from a country that manages to sell goods based more on emotion than data, could be the perfect fit for success.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

japan-style deflation

Was deflation the cause or the symptom of the weak economy?  I suspect it was more a reinforcing symptom but that, even without deflation, the economy would still have been moribund.  Just thinking about QE2 and its purported goal of avoiding deflation (rather than pumping up asset prices, especially housing and equities).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

batman themed lego sets

Lego stopped making Batman themed sets a while ago (2006-2008).  It's hard to find good information on why they stopped.  I thought of this because the website for the upcoming (October 2011) LegoLand in Florida has the following:  "Studio Store – Visit this store to pick-up all your favorite LEGO licensed products, like Clutch Powers ... Star Wars™ and Batman™".  If this doesn't just mean the videogame or t-shirts, it could be a sign that there will finally be new Batman sets again.  I know some people who would be very excited about that.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Startling that there seem to be three relatively full-fledged civil wars going on in the middle east - all either in or directly adjacent to large oil producers - and yet no sense of impending doom or panic.  Am I missing something?  For example, not to see conspiracies, but that these are somewhat regulated conflicts where the ending is both preordained and better for the west?

Friday, May 13, 2011


Probably need billions but, if there were a silver bullet product to work on, it would be the creation of a very small electric or similar powerplant that could be swapped in for the existing engine in a car.

google bet

I made a (modest) bet this week that google does not want to be a search company.  Rather, Page and Brin have very large goals that they are using search to finance.  And, eventually, from all of the different efforts the company makes, it will come up with another disruptive leading product.  That could only have been financed from the outsized profits from search.  The efforts on self-driving cars, space elevators, and machine translation all point towards using the freedom that comes from improbable amounts of money to break rapidly through barriers to next generation technologies.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Intellectual Property and China

Perhaps it is cases like this (Huawei sues ZTE for infringement) that will lead the way to a maturing perspective on IP in China.  Not "us vs. them" but rather an evolution to creating enough value that it is worth protecting.

Friday, April 8, 2011


I need a new Blackberry.  I use an iPhone as well but, for typing, I still like the blackberry.

I keep up with what's going on with the iPhone (not that hard, 5 models in total over 4 years, I guess) but not Blackberry so I went to  I think a nice symptom of RIM's problems is that their website took forever to open.  Lots of spinning circles while I waited for something to load.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

iOS App Updates

It would really be nice, as an addition to app-by-app and "update all", if there was a batch update option.  Could simply be check-boxes next to each app that, upon choosing one or more, changes "update all" to "update selected".  I really hate updating one app, going back to the app store, waiting for it to reload, going back a page to the list of new updates, selecting, approving, and then doing it again.  And again.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

future iPhone

iPhone 5, iPhone 6, etc.

Whenever I ask or am asked "what can Apple possibly add to the iPhone", there is usually silence.  I don't have any great ideas and haven't heard very many (kickstand! barometer!).  But, to see what sticks to the wall, here's what I've got:

1) barometer/thermometer.  why not?  they are simple and potentially useful.
2) infrared.  probably not because it feels like a fast disappearing technology but there are a bunch of potential apps that would come out in days, if not hours, if this hardware were built in.  If apps are the lifeblood and distinguishing feature of the iOS ecosystem, adding a $1 transmitter seems like a good idea.
3) back touch panel.  This is tricky because it creates a huge device fork but there are many instances, particularly for games, where touch on the front screen is a problem (impedes the view, etc.).  Cases would also be a big hassle.  But there are lots of times I feel that it would be nice to touch the back to indicate an input.  It also makes one-handed operation easier.  And it would truly make the device "touch".
4) pressure sensitivity.  Again, this really takes touch to another level.  And creates a whole set of intuitive gestures.  And a big device fork.
5) feedback.  Creating resistance, a sense of softness, etc. could be super powerful.  Cases would be a big problem again.  As would device fork.

Just noodling.

iPad 2 sellouts

iPad 2 is apparently sold out and there are only limited shipments coming in.

Although this is a high class problem, it is still a problem - there are customers who want to give Apple money but can't because there is no product available.  And so, I wonder: did Apple push the launch date of iPad 2 to defuse other tablet threats ahead of being able to produce adequate numbers?  Demand doesn't seem much higher than expected (in accordance with analyst estimates).  So it can't really have been a surprise to shift 500k-1m units.