Saturday, 11 January 2014

What I've been reading this week

Digital’s a broad church and I think you need to read widely to get a sense of the changes it’s bringing. To that end, this blog summarises some of the stories that have caught my eye this week.

This week: apps flop at Christmas, Polaroid launch tiny and huge imaging products, PC on the slide, super-tech on the rise

Media

Sony announce the streamed games service that was presumably the idea behind their acquisition of Gaikai in 2011. In summary, from the summer, PS3 games can be streamed to Sony Playstations and TVs. An interesting idea, but I’m not sure how the games themselves will compare to those already available on tablets, smartphones and even smart TVs. http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/playstation-now-lets-gamers-stream-ps3-games-to-ps4-vita-and-tvs/0126467

Ace Metrix ranks the most effective TV adverts in the US last year – Google #1 - I include it here because I’m not sure how it works! I’ll try to find out… http://www.acemetrix.com/news/press-releases/the-search-is-over-google-wins-both-brand-of-the-year-and-ad-of-the-year-according-to-ace-metrix/

Technology

App downloads bounced up 90% over Christmas 2012; Christmas 2013 that bounce was only 11%. Further confirmation that the technology industry needs to find another champion now that phones and tablets have become (dare I say it) boring and mainstream. http://bgr.com/2013/12/31/2014-smartphone-sales-projection/

Steam is Valve’s open source take on the console gaming format. CES saw the announcement of 13 Steam consoles… here’s a rundown.
http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/features/game/3496291/13-steam-machines-unveiled-at-ces-2014/

Polaroid have recently ridden on the retro revival (check out that alliteration!). This 1” cube digital camera is an awesome little gismo. Is the future of the digital camera in these little niches? http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-01/07/polaroid

On a more modern note, Polaroid have also launched a sub-$1,000 4K screen. Going mainstream. http://advanced-television.com/2014/01/03/sub-1000-u-hd-tv-from-polaroid/

After a fortune in venture money and years of hype, I’m beginning to see the point of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Some of the demos on show in this article show how it could create a totally different gaming experience. Relatively niche, but very cool. http://www.techradar.com/reviews/gaming/gaming-accessories/oculus-rift-1123963/review

It was overshadowed by Michael Bay’s autocue fail, but the 105” Samsung Ultra HD screen that Samsung were trying to launch is still an unreal piece of tech’. So much want! http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-01/07/samsung-105-curved

Although 2014 won’t be the year of self-driving cars, they’re really not far off. As regular readers will know, I’m massively bullish on this technology to save lives and the environment. Here’s a tiny report that forecasts how self driving will penetrate the market over the next few decades. The numbers are probably pulled out of thin air, but hey ho. http://www.autoblog.com/2014/01/02/all-cars-autonomous-self-driving-by-2050-study/

Digital

Facebook acquires its first Indian technology asset, a small developer in Bangalore that specialises in mobile app optimisation. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25648118

PC shipments fell 6.9% in Q4, their worst decline in history… which leads the writer of this article to suggest that developing market consumers are skipping the PC in favour of tablets. I disagree with the use of ‘skipping’. Ultimately the PC form factor is the best one for working in the information economy. It is, however, a relatively expensive one and therefore the natural first entertainment computing device after the smart phone is the tablet. Tablets are below $50 in most markets, so they are very accessible to the emerging middle classes. http://www.mobile-ent.biz/industry/market-data/pc-shipments-drop-6-9-per-cent-suffering-worst-decline-in-history/042672

Typically insightful analysis of Pew’s latest Internet report on social networks. 73% of online adults use at least one; Facebook remains the most popular, with Linkedin a distant #2. Zuck’s not had it yet! http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/online/majority-of-twitter-users-also-use-instagram-38941/
http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/online/user-demographic-highlights-from-5-major-and-growing-social-networks-38939/

A third of Americans are ‘super tech’ adopters, owning devices in the majority of tech categories available. Just goes to show how addicted we are. http://www.gallup.com/poll/166760/three-own-array-consumer-electronics.aspx

This is a transcript of a superb speech on leadership. The reduction in the time that leaders have to think about problems is an increasing issue – we’re all expected to do more things, more of the time; always on, always connected. And yet the evidence is that we’re less effective when we do so. Something to think about… slowly! http://theamericanscholar.org/solitude-and-leadership/#.UsVTxdJdXVV

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