October 10th, 2010
A year ago I would have been harsh on a new Windows Phone OS. I was harsh in this post.
In April 2010 I saw a very early stage Windows Phone 7 prototype and I said to myself “the whole idea sounded bad, now it looks terrible”.
Microsoft challenge was to start from a blank page. Forget Windows Mobile, WinCE and even Windows to re-create a different user experience based on what was learned from iPhone and Android.
The very first device Microsoft handed out to me for testing purposes was a huge brick, barely functional. My partner Pierre-Olivier Carles needed a phone for a few days and I decided to let him try ‘the phone of the future”. Let’s keep it nice and just say he wasn’t convinced
In the meantime, Apple and Google were upgrading and updating their OS considerably adding speech to text, turn by turn navigation, better applications, new features…I was even more perplex on Microsoft’s strategy.
I was wrong. Wrong to under-estimate the power of a world leader in Operating Systems, best software company of all times.
Few days ago as part of our Device Agreement we received a pre-production unit which has nothing to do with anything you have seen before. It’s snappy, reactive, user friendly, reliable, well presented and integrates the best of Microsoft.
I’m not sure if Microsoft will grab the smartphone market. But they did a wonderful job in a short period of time under huge competitive pressure.
95% or so of computer owners are using Windows, 99.99% of all users are using Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), and 90% of the enterprise world is running Exchange mail server. Well if you are one of those users, this phone is for you.
Native integration of Office Suite makes DataWiz/DocumentsToGo looking almost ridiculous. Outlook native integration with Exchange will ease the life of millions of users.
Admittedly I’m not one of those. But let’s not ignore the vast majority of users because we live in a bubble where Apple rules.
Apple and Google have almost zero experience in gaming unlike Microsoft Xbox solid success. WP7 fully uses Xbox Live so players can stay connected to their favorite games. Gaming + Enterprise might be the winning combination.
I’m not sure how much money Microsoft is investing to conquer the phone segment but last Thursday I was face to face with Steve Ballmer and I felt an incredible energy around Windows Phone 7. It’s not a side project – with all the risks attached. Microsoft will use all of its influence to convince manufacturers, distributors, publishers, and users that Windows Phone 7 is a winner.
I have a feeling that Microsoft is going after Google and too bad if Apple is on the way.
Below a short video of a pre-production unit. What do you think?
Tags: bizspark, Microsoft, pocarles, steve ballmer, testing, windows phone, xbox
Posted in android, Apple, google, iPhone, Microsoft, Technology, Telecom, World | 1 Comment »
August 25th, 2010
Today Google announced the integration of Google Voice into Gmail allowing users to place and receive phone calls from their computer from any place in the world to the US for FREE.
One of the targets is to make Google Voice accessible to all users (meaning outside the scope of Google) with an horizontal approach ranging from Mobile phones to Web based applications and device dependent applications as well. Google Voice has been available for Blackberry and Android phones for over a year. But they never could make it to the iPhone. The application went live for a few hours before Apple’s executives decided to remove it from the app store raising a Valley drama on Twitter and Facebook.
Google asked the FCC to look into Apple’s motivation, Apple replied, FCC sent a few letters, AT&T denied any implications…bottom line: nothing happened. In a world where technology is evolving around time, FCC has failed to do its job.
Worse, I believe FCC integrity is challenged by its dependance to regulatory fees mainly paid by carriers and manufacturers e.g. AT&T and Apple. I see an urgent need to reform FCC processes to adapt to 21st century technology pace.
Here is an imaginary open letter from Google to FCC regarding Apple’s Rejection of the Google Voice for iPhone Application.
Tags: android, Apple, att, Blackberry, carriers, craig walker, google, google voice, iPhone
Posted in android, Apple, Blackberry, Gmail, google, iPhone, Legal, TechCrunch, Technology, Telecom | 1 Comment »
August 18th, 2010
HTML5 is not the new Flash although for video playback it might be a better solution (or not). But developers have constantly praised Flash for gaming. I’m not saying Flash is perfect, nothing is perfect and there is always place for improvement.
But the acceleration of hardware miniaturization, the abyssal growth of smart mobile devices, the potential explosion of tablets and the furious competition between Apple and Google (soon Microsoft will join) makes Adobe a key player in this war.
Google –unlike Apple- has decided to work with Adobe on integrating Flash on their proprietary operating system Android and certainly Chrome OS. Their strategy lays before us on multiple announcements issued by Mountain View’s giant in the last week.
At least 5 different Google’s units – YouTube (largest Flash network), Android, Chrome browser, Chrome OS and Google TV have made deals with Adobe. Hard to believe it’s all happening without top level corporate talks between both companies.
Adobe’s market capitalization has dropped 30% since Steve Jobs has openly called Flash an insecure, CPU killer, crash-inducing add-on. A $5bn insult – thanks Steve.
Revenues are also on the downside from $3.5bn in 2008 to $2.8bn in 2009.
Google’s market cap is 11 times Adobe’s and would give the search engine company a nice entry in the mobile gaming playground.
Adobe can’t expect a lot as all deals are based on offer and demand. Apple will obviously not make any bid; Microsoft is too far behind in their mobile road map and will bet everything on Xbox/WP7 synergies.
So who else can afford a $15bn GI Joe?
Tags: adobe, android, chrome, chrome os, flash, ipad, iPhone, steve jobs, youtube
Posted in android, Apple, Economy, google, Microsoft, Technology, Video | No Comments »
August 4th, 2010
The procedure takes less than 5 minutes. You don’t need a computer. Just your phone and a data connection (wifi strongly suggested).
Open Safari and go to www.jailbreakme.com, unlock the slider and leave the magic take place.
Follow the on-screen instructions. Once rebooted, your device should show a new icon Cydia.
Open Cydia – choose “user settings” when prompted, wait for the refresh
Search for Ultrasn (search icon is on the lower right of the screen).Ultrasn0w should appear. Select the app, install it and let your iPhone reboot.
That’s it. Done. Your iPhone is now unlocked.
Tags: devteam, iPhone, jailbreak, sim unlock, tmobile, unlock, unlocker
Posted in Apple, Geek, iPhone, itunes, Technology, Telecom | 5 Comments »
May 31st, 2010
A lot has been written about the iPad and the printing industry. Recently Fred Wilson wrote a post explaining why he doesn’t like the idea of a mobile application but would rather read content on Safari.
His demonstration has some strong point for a power-user but certainly not for the masses. The whole conversation reminds me of the controversy about iPod and music.
Yes, I would basically agree that reading content on a browser is more convenient for me. But reality proves that monetization of digital content via web is complicated.
Apple has created a value added chain of services from publishing to distribution. It’s easy to buy and use.
Newspapers over the world are facing their worse crisis ever. It’s the end of an era. And however we look at it, printing news on paper in 2010 makes no sense.
So will the iPad save the newspaper industry? I think it will. Web content will be limited to headlines, forums, past editions, but premium content will be distributed via apps.
The basic recurring argument saying people won’t pay for content because they can find fresher news freely on the web is just ridiculous. No one buys a newspaper for fresh news. Newspapers are here to bring a deeper, better understanding of the raw information. I don’t think Fred Wilson buys The New York Times to find anything new. He cares about the analysis, the vision brought by journalists and experts.
iPad distribution of newspaper solves many problems:
- production cost [printing]
When it comes to market ipad/iphone study I turn to my mother. She discovered emails 2 years ago and never wrote a letter since. Same for the iPhone, which never leaves her sight. iPad has dramatically change the way she reads news and this is just the beginning. I bet newer devices will upgrade the digital experience to unprecedented levels.
Apple brought to the masses what the web failed to provide. SECURITY. My mother feels more secure buying an app online than walking to the newsstand down the road. And that, my friends, is the reason why I believe app stores will succeed.
The ability to pay for your digital content in ONE place, all in one click of a button is magic. Until the web can fix compatibility problem, offline reading, payment options, reminders, push notifications and much more, mobile applications will rule.
Tags: app store, fred wilson, ipad, itunes, mobile apps, new york times, Newspapers
Posted in Apple, Content, ebook, Geek, iPhone, Labotec, Newspapers, Technology | 34 Comments »
May 27th, 2010
I’m not a big sport fan. Actually thinking about it, I’m no fan at all. My circle of interest is limited to family, faith, technology and very little time left for other distractions.
One of my guilty pleasures is watching movies during long flights. Mostly for its soporific agent. Very rarely can my body stay alert until the very end word.
Invictus is one of those movies. A movie transcending actors into players, script into documentary.
Short pitch: Morgan Freeman plays is Nelson Mandela. The story focuses on the end of apartheid in South Africa and how rugby helped in reunifying the country together. Mandela had the perception sport could bring blacks and whites into one homogenized group of supporters. He was right; sport is not about race, religion, skin color but about performance.
Captain of South Africa’s rugby team played by Matt Damon comes from a family of white pro-apartheid activists that slowly understood the need to change. The movie gives a short glimpse of what was the process of re-unification after the apartheid. Clint Eastwood left the violence aside to focus on 1995 victory of South Africa during World Rugby Cup.
France had its Mandela moment after they won 1998 World Football Cup. I remember that night on Champs-Elysées when people were kissing, hugging and cheering all together. La France Black-Blanc-Beur literally Black, White and Arab was born.
My first visit to Johannesburg was in 1982 as a kid, it was a disturbing experience. I was horrified. Years later I came back in 1990 and things seemed even worse. Hopefully my last trip there in 2001 was a much different experience although poverty and discrimination are still dominant.
Movie has been out for a while. A must-see.
“I’m the master of my fate, I’m the captain of my soul” says Mandela. Food for thoughts.
Tags: apartheid, eastwood, freeman, invictus, mandela, movie, rugby, south africa
Posted in movies, Politics, Religion, Uncategorized, World | 2 Comments »
April 20th, 2010
In french we have a nice expression “l’arbre qui cache la foret” literal translation ‘”the tree that hides the forest’. Icelandic volcano is a big tree planted right in front our eyes to hide a much larger problem: airlines gigantic losses.
Earlier today Air France made an announcement claiming a 35M Euro loss per day due to the ash cloud. Share lost 5% on french sotck market – enough to call for a bail out by European Commission.
Bunch of crap. Of course there was an eruption, and safety should prevail. Extreme weather conditions is a cause of force majeure and does not oblige airlines to reimburse any of their customers. Their only obligation is to re-schedule flights. So when they say losses- they mean loss of income. Quite different.
Volcano is to airlines what the mad cow disease was to meat producers. A savior.
Air France is poorly managed and like in the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s they seek for Government monies. How convenient.
Public bail out means us – tax payers. Expect to see a ‘volcano tax’ very soon on EU airfare. After all they have it all figured out – 20 euros per ticket and they break-even.