Monday, 9 July 2012

What I've been reading this week

I’m of the belief that participants in the TMT industry need to read widely in order to understand the present and future dynamics of the market. To that end, this post is a collection of the articles that have caught my eye.

This week: too many Cooks could spoil Apple’s broth, augmented reality unpleasant for HP, TF desperately hoping for new phone OS and Youview dinosaur finally squeaks

Digital media

American parents think that it’s best for the kids to be in 2-income family, but regret the impact on family time. It’s important to understand these lifestyle factors, as they will influence the type of technology and media that these parents will offer their kids in recompense. iPads make excellent babysitters.

UK ad spending is expected to show a 3.4% growth this year, easily exceeding flat forecasts for the rest of Europe. I remain very bullish about the UK economy as it’s emergence from the downturn will be fuelled by innovation and aspiration, not massive public sector spending.

I’m not sure this is all that impressive – 4Mn downloads for an augmented reality service offered by one of the world’s largest technology companies. My view is that more specialised apps like Blippar are the paradigm in AR and will remain so once head mounted displays become common place.

Bullish talk from Flipboard in response to Conde Nast pulling their content from the aggregator platform, but this has got to hurt. In my view premium content makers like Conde are much better off developing their own high quality platforms for rich published content.

Cost, not choice is the reason why US consumers cut the cord. Availability of online content is not a significant decision, which flies in the face of the long promised “TV revolution” espoused by Netflix. That said, many consumers seem to be reticent about reconnecting, so there’s probably some more work for the cable companies to do in packaging to convince them.

And, speaking of TV revolutions, here’s 2008’s revolution – Youview – the unneeded, overpriced, obsolete child of a consortium of underachieving Pay TV groupthinkers led by a 1980’s business dinosaur is finally with us. And priced at £299.99, I’m sure they’ll be flying off the shelves.

The ability to add tactility to content is an underused weapon in print’s arsenal. This Spiderman cover is worth checking out for its creativity alone.

Business models

Virgin are very pleased to have signed up 100,000 customers for their tube wifi service. And they’re shouting about it. And they’re deluded if they think that the reason people have signed up for it isn’t that IT’S FREE. Let’s see how many stay on after the Olympics...


Does the world need a new smartphone OS? Yes, according to Telefonica, who’re pushing Mozilla OS as that platform. They haven’t got a hope, as far as I’m concerned because by 2013 there will be a raft of Android and Symbian phones at $50. For their buyers they are one year purchases – such is the aspiration and social improvement in the markets they address – so absolute quality doesn’t matter so much. It’s the look that counts...,2817,2406593,00.asp

Ultrabooks are driving notebook sales – probably because the need for bulky things like optical drives are questionable in today’s world. The utility of the notebook is in its keyboard, universally compatible browsing software (Flash works!) and comparatively low price point. Oh, and portability – hence the article.

Superpower politics

This is one of those stories that now has so much momentum I’m beginning to think it’s true. Apple are apparently prepped to launch a 7” iPad to sit below the current HD one. On one hand, I can see how this would fit with the music player paradigm they’ve already played out successfully. On the other, I thought Steve Jobs hated the little tablet format. This would therefore be the first Cook product. Let’s hope the broth is okay.

Google’s Nexus is getting rave reviews. I can’t wait to get my hands on one!

It doesn’t surprise me that Apple are also involved in the increasingly hyped head mounted display market. This Wired article talks about some recently filed patents.

This is a poor article by the FT. Yes, Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has done well since its launch, shipping 10mn units, but that’s half of the iPhone 4S, which is nearly a year old and based on a 2 year old chassis. I worry about Samsung, tbh, as the S3 shows a remarkable lack of innovation in design or technology. The Android market is crying out for a design leader. I wish Nokia would reconsider their decision to be MS only.

Comscore’s latest US mobile data shows that although Windows has gained a whole 0.1% of market share, it’s Apple that is gaining the most ground in smartphones. Now that’s a real story, FT.

Neither does it surprise me that Amazon are updating the Fire for the Fall. The trouble is that they’ve so far failed to create a global product due to their reliance on content to generate margins. Why they don’t use a different pricing strategy outside the US and launch anyway I don’t know. It’s probably too late now.

Amazon need a smartphone to complete the trilogy of ecosystem, tablet and phone. Here’s more rumours about a forthcoming device.

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