Monthly Archives: October 2008

Two out of Three Still Choose Spouse over Blackberry

A few days ago, Sheraton announced the results of a survey they commissioned on the work habits of today’s professionals. Some of the findings:

[…] the vast majority of people (84%) say they check their PDA’s just before going to bed and as soon as they wake up, 85% say they sneak a peak at their PDA in the middle of the night, and 80% say they check their e mail before morning coffee. A whopping 87% of professionals bring their PDA into the bedroom, and in what may or may not be a related finding, more than one-third of folks surveyed (35%) say if forced to choose, they’d pick their PDA over their spouse!

I double checked to make sure the report was not issued on April Fools. The study does not provide information either of what time of the day (or night) the survey was taken, or whether respondents passed any drink test. Maybe a Mail Goggles test should have been run before accepting answers…

It is not in the report, but I am sure a high percentage would admit they also hide from their spouses to check email furtively during weekends and holidays. Isn’t that kind of cheating? 

With the impressive Blackberry Storm (the first one with a touchscreen) just announced, I am afraid American couples’ life is only going to worsen.

On a less ludicrous note, the report also highlights the freedom that these devices provide:

New technology continues to transform the way we live and work with 85% of U.S. professionals surveyed said that because of new technology, they feel compelled to be connected to work 24/7 and 81% say they work harder than they did five years ago.

[…] 85% say that PDA’s and cell phones allow them to spend more time out of the office and 79% believe they can be just as productive outside of the office […]. Most people feel that technology gives them more quality time and flexibility with family and friends (84%) and 77% say their PDA helps them enjoy life more.

Blackberries and other smartphones with mobile email are great productivity tools and have really changed our life for better (addictions aside). The truth is once you get used to Blackberry, you can not leave without it. Well, isn’t that the definition of addiction?

Mobile Internet Platforms: Do we need a different Web for Mobile?

Mobile Mondays dedicated its latest event in Madrid to Mobile Internet Platforms, where my good friend Alex Romero from Yahoo! presented their vision of Mobile Internet.

Mobile Internet is finally coming. Unlimited data plans and high speeds (HSDPA, EVDO) are finally enabling it. Although most 3G data traffic is still associated to Wireless Broadband, new devices as iPhone and Android are making the mobile web experience far better than ever before.

So with full browsers in the handsets, is there anything specific about Internet in mobile? For many developers of mobile apps for Android, iPhone, Symbian, Windows Mobile or Blackberry the answer is yes. If usability is important for any application in a computer, in a handset, usability is crucial due to limitations such as a smaller display, or less comfortable inputs (text or navigation). In smaller devices any click saved makes a difference. That is why applications for mobile must be smarter and be context aware (know about location, user profile, friends in social networks, time of the day, weather, personal agenda, you name it), so that clicks can be saved.

Yahoo! oneSearch is an example of a different approach to Search, specific for Mobile: Provide relevant answers instead of web links.  Do the examples in the oneSearch picture above save clicks? Would you use oneSearch on your iPhone, even if you can fully search in its Safari browser?

A Talk from Ray Kurzweil

The video shows a keynote of inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil in February 2005. Despite being more than three years old, his insights remain as valid as ever.

Some of the points Mr. Kurzweil makes:

  • Most new inventions fail only because of wrong timing. Not all enabling factors will be in place when needed.
  • The price of Google stock in three years, or which wireless standard will win, can not be predicted.
  • The cost of a MIPS or a MB of data transmitted wirelessly in 5 years can be quite accurately predicted.
  • As the power of computing grows new applications will emerge to benefit from it.
  • In 2020 there will be no computers as we know them today. They will be embedded into other systems, including our body.
  • In 2020 computers will be able to record and reproduce emotions our nervous system.

In summary, when searching for the next breakthrough application always consider what future we are facing, what kind of computers we will have in the next 5-10 years, and more importantly what kind of problems will all this bring.

Focus on solving the problems of the future by harnessing the power of the computers of tomorrow. Becomes Disruption Matters

A few weeks from its first anniversary, becomes Disruption Matters.

The change in name stresses the increased focus this blog will have on technologies and ideas that are transforming our World. And few areas are changing it as fast as the Communications Industry and the convergence of Telecom, Internet, IT and Media.

According to Wikipedia:

A disruptive technology or disruptive innovation is a term describing a technological innovation, product, or service that uses a “disruptive” strategy, rather than an “evolutionary” or “sustaining” strategy, to overturn the existing dominant technologies or status quo products in a market.

Disruptive technology (and later disruptive innovation) is a concept coined by Clayton Christensen, and widely extended in the industry after Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma.

Disruption is about creating new markets, either with discontinuous technology or with disruptive business models, and sometimes with both. Skype, the iPod, Amazon Kindle, and even the iPhone are examples of disruptive innovation, not just based on technology but also on new business models with a great product packaging.

Disruption is creating and destroying whole industries at its fastest pace in History. It deserves attention. Disruption matters today more than ever.

Are Handsets with a TV Tuner Killing MobileTV?

LG launched a few months ago the LG HB620T, a mobile phone that includes a TV tuner for DVB-T, the most extended standard for terrestrial digital TV. Many analysts predict that this kind of phones will kill broadcast mobile TV standards such as DVB-H/SH or proprietary MediaFlo. Why do you need a standard for mobile TV when you can already have regular TV in your phone?  Leaving apart that DVB-H/SH technology is fit for mobile (limited battery, processing, authentication with SIM card) the answer is because it enables Pay-TV.

One of the advantages of DVB-T is that it is already available in many countries offering a wide number of channels free-to-air. And this is good news for users and for Mobile TV too. Educating the customer to new services is always the most challenging part of new technology adoption.

Free TV on the handset is the mandatory first step for Mobile TV to take off.

Cable, IPTV and Satellite Pay-TV did not succeed well after we all had first a TV set in the living-room. For Mobile TV, DVB-T on the handsets is the best thing that can happen to get users familiar with TV on their mobile phones. Once there, it will be less disruptive for users to pay for premium channels for which DVB-H/SH and its OMA BCAST smart card or DRM profiles will be required.

iPhone Rocks or a Rock?

A funny, different view of the iPhone found though webtown. Although the iPhone only outperforms the Stone in the touchscreen, why does it still rock?

Leave aside the iconic cool factor (which matters a lot). It is not about the number of features, but about having the key features with a simple, fast and engaging user experience.

Who cares about MMS, when you can send emails easily? Apart from making calls, the iPhone is about listening to music, watching videos and above all a rich online experience: web, email and mobile apps. And mobile apps are about location, always-on and being connected.

To avoid the online experience to be ruined by a nasty data bill is why Apple has forced telcos to sell the iPhone tied to unlimited data plans. Focus on the core and remove any show-stopper to deliver a complete experience.

Video calls, video recording on iPhone?… it will come. MMS and memory cards, forget it. MMS is almost dead. And why a slot for memory cards if Apple is going to launch a new generation model each year. Before you need to expand with a memory card you will be buying the next model.