Thursday, November 08, 2007

Google Phone

I have spoke many times of my thought regarding Google being undervalued.

This past week we saw Google run up because of rumors and some facts about the new Google O/S for Cell Phones.

The Frenzy led to many articles trying to discount Googles greatness.

some liks the one here at InformationWeek highlighted the fact that good applications and agood O/S on a mobile is not the problem but rather the network. Though the network is rather slow and needs improving there is a lot an O/S could help and this is where I think Google is on the cutting edge.

I think the greatness of Google is that they understand the users needs and the network constraints. I think they will be taking advantage of low speed networks and high quality programming enabling a super user expereince even on EDGE. Where Apple failed Google will win. Even on the iPhone the google maps works well as it was chopped up to work on Edge. I don't thing moving to 3G is the solution, I think learning how to move data over the slow network is where it at.

I have been a frequent user on my Cell Phone of the adapted for Mobile; Google's search page, Google's Froogle price comparison and Google maps. These apps worked as fast and as well as on a desktop. If this is an indication of whats to come on Google's Cell Phone then the world is in for a great suprize and the devices will be sold like hot cakes, I can't wait.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

eBay Skype over?

Following my post in 05 eBay announced a few days ago writing off their investment in Skype. I still don't understand why they bought it in the first place and even more surprised they didn't take advantage of its features. The only thing I saw was some buyer with a Skype-Me button. Why did eBay not use Skype for adverts. Why didn't eBay create live voice/skype based auctions. Any many other things they could have is very odd to me.

The real question here is the future of Skype. eBay writing it off is not only in order to establish a base line with share holders who had already wrote it off in their minds, it is also somewhat of a vote of no confidence in the product. This together with the fact that eBay hasn't used any skype related features and the exist of the founder of skype puts in questions in my eyes the future of skype. Yes it is hard to imagine a company with 220 million users and 7 million simultaneous ones fades away, but, it is possible, look at icq.

what are your thoughts?

here are some interesting ones

Skype Buy: A Mixed Bag for eBay

By John P. Mello Jr.E-Commerce Times Part of the ECT News Network 10/12/07 4:00 AM PT
eBay got several things right with its $2.6 billion buy of Skype, according to Gartner. One of them was the realization that communication applications could be used to reduce friction in online business transactions. Nonetheless, the Skype buy was premature, the research firm maintained.
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Online marketplace eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) paid too much for the Internet phone service Skype , but its head was in the right place when it made the buy, according to a report released Tuesday by a major technology research firm.
"eBay's September 2005 acquisition of telephony vendor Skype was overpriced by any direct measure: technology value, user base and revenue," writes David A. Willis for Gartner (NYSE: IT) , of Stamford, Conn.
"However," he adds, "eBay was correct in its vision of interconnecting the worlds of business applications and communications capabilities."
Hit to Bottom Line The Gartner report comes on the heels of eBay's announcement this month that its books will be taking a US$1.4 billion hit in its third quarter, most of it due to writing down the value of Skype, which made $90 million for eBay in the company's second quarter.
That write-down could be a positive thing for eBay, contends Tim Boyd, an analyst with American Technology Research in Greenwich, Conn.
"The market has been discounting the Skype acquisition ever since eBay made it," he told the E-Commerce Times. "It's been a negative overhang for the company."
With this write-down, he continued, eBay is finally admitting that they overpaid, cleaning up the remaining costs of the deal and moving on.
A phone call to eBay by the E-Commerce Times asking for comment on the Gartner report and the Skype write-down was not returned.
What eBay Got Right In its report, Gartner cites several things that eBay "got right" with the US$2.6 billion buy of Skype. One of them was the realization that communication applications could be used to reduce friction in online business transactions.
However, the expected synergies from the Skype buy never materialized, according to Boyd.
"Part of eBay's initial justification for the purchase was that it would reduce friction between buyers and sellers on the platform," he explained. "I don't think it's had much of an impact on that.
"Most of the sellers that I've spoken to have implied that they don't have time to talk to every buyer who's interested in their items so they don't offer a 'Skype-me' button on their listings," he added.
Indeed, Gartner maintained that the Skype buy was premature.
"The market was not ready to adopt Skype as a means to integrate commerce," it says. "Users see its service as an inexpensive or free calling option, not a means of accelerating their business as an eBay buyer or seller."
Growing Demand Another "got right" by eBay, according to Gartner, was its recognition of the growing popularity of integrated communications among Internet users.
Skype subscribers are doubling annually, Gartner reports, and the service claims 220 million subscribers with more than 7 million of them frequently on line at the same time.
"Many are attracted by cheap or free voice calling," the report observes, "but many also appreciate the convenience of instant messaging client integration, conferencing capabilities and other productivity applications."
Not Worth $2.6 Billion Gartner also points out where eBay went wrong with the Skype deal, such as what they paid for the technology.
"As similar acquisitions have proven, Skype's basic technology could be purchased elsewhere for 1/100th of the price," Gartner maintains.
"Is Skype a viable entity, is it a valuable?" asked Will Stofega, research manager for VoIP services at IDC in Framingham, Mass.
"Yes," he told the E-Commerce Times. "Is it worth $2.6 billion? Probably not."
Flat Support Nevertheless, he argued that eBay hasn't done much to build its value since it purchased the technology.
"There hasn't been any real effort to take control of this thing and put some wheels under it so it becomes a premiere piece of software," he said.
"That's what it really is," he continued. "You can talk about it being a service, but at the end of the day, it's a piece of software that resides on a client somewhere.
"Getting that client onto mobile phones, onto PCs and into the enterprise in a legitimate way is something that could really start to energize the product," he opined.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

unlocking the iPhone's true potential

The Wall Street Journal published an article today stating Apple has warned against hacking and unlocking the iPhone.

Apple Inc. warned users that they can permanently damage their iPhones by modifying the cellular phones to work on unauthorized wireless networks, a move that could diminish a potential threat to Apple's iPhone partnerships with carriers like AT&T Inc.

In a statement, Apple said it has discovered that unauthorized iPhone "unlocking" programs cause damage to the device's software that could make the phone "permanently inoperable" when users install future software updates from Apple. The Cupertino, Calif., company said that any permanent disabling of iPhone that stems from the installation of unlocking software isn't covered on the product's warranty.

In fact Apple should be grateful that the user community has hacked their device. There is no way the Locked version Apple is selling in the USA through ATT will ever make it in Europe or in Asia. People in countries where GSM has been mainstream for well over 15 years have been used to using their cell phones in a way that will make them very frustrated with the iPhone. From my experience with an iPhone here are the things that are missing.

MMS, that’s right, though the iPhone has a nice camera you can’t send the pictures to anyone nor can you send or receive a contact via sms.

SMS, a very low level version that doesn’t even let you forward SMS’s let alone copy and past. There actually is NO copy and paste functionality at all in the iPhone.

Application download and install, on the locked device you can’t really install anything, and better yet there is only room for four more icons, thanks to hackers there is a way to install as well as page up and down. But the locked original version does not let you, gone are those days when the Telephone company was able to sell you a game to download……….

Bluetooth, does nothing other then connect to a head set and even that in a very limited fashion, no BlueJacking, no file transfer or even using the iPhone as your Laptops gateway to the internet.

Changing SIM cards on the locked device it virtually impossible something that totally contradicts the O2 core policy of not selling any SIM locked phones.

Ringtones are a massive pain, virtually impossible to used your one or even an MP3 file, something every other phone could do. Instead Apple try to force you to convert a song purchase from iTunes to a ring tone. If not for hackers this market would be gone.

O2 and T-Mobile should pay attention and ensure all these are fixed before rolling out the devices in their respective markets.

I think Apple should embrace the efforts made by hackers and enhance their device with the new hacked features or better yet open source the iPhone. After all at $299 with no contract Apple is still making a mint.

What are your thoughts?