Today’s warm-up day. The tech press get to loosen up their typing fingers and talking heads waxing prophetic about a couple of new mobile devices that, in all likelihood, nobody will be talking much about three to six months from now.
Today must be “news about phones that you will never use” day. Very slow.
— Sammy the Walrus IV (@SammyWalrusIV) May 14, 2013
First up is the Nokia Lumia 925. A friend of mine who got a pre-launch review sample described the 928 as “The Hottest Lumia Yet.” No doubt – it’s thinner and lighter than the 900/920/925 and is done up in an aluminum casing and not full plastic. And the 925′s camera promises to be even better than the excellent imagers already out on current Lumias.
But the 925 is a Windows Phone device that’s launching in the US as a T-Mobile exclusive. Which means that while the US tech press may heap praise upon it, and it might do something minor for Nokia’s global bottom line, it’s not going to move any needles stateside. None.
More interesting is the BlackBerry Q5, an entry-level BB10 device that pairs a 3.1′ touchscreen to a full QWERTY thumbboard. The candybar device is earmarked for emerging markets which, coupled with the long-overdue announcement that the BBM messaging platform is embracing Android and iOS users, could actually do BlackBerry some good. BB10 devices aren’t selling anywhere near the volume necessary to compete with Android and iOS in the States, but the new operating system has been well-received, and BB still maintains a strong customer base in India and parts of Asia.
A cheap, solid smartphone running a modern platform could do well in markets that can’t financially support the iPhone 5s and Galaxy S 4s of the world. Opening BBM to allow Q5 owners to communicate with folks on multiple platforms across the globe is a huge value-add for those cash-strapped markets, too. At least on paper.
And hey, the Q5 comes in colors, too! At least we’ve got something lively to look at for 23 more hours before Google I/O takes over the tech news cycle.
Many thanks to the good folks at HTC PR for loaning me this one. I’ve had it for half a day now and so far I really like it. What First gives up to the flagship One in terms of ultra-premium design and features it makes up for with a super hand-friendly size, minimal but colorful look, and solidly mid-range attributes. And as @kmail21 put it just now on twitter, “stock android with LTE. The elusive unicorn lol.”
Also, 99 cents on contract and it’s so dead easy to turn that FB Home nonsense off.
Author, journalist and entrepreneur Damon Brown (@browndamon) signed up for a 30 minute chat about his new book. We said we’d talk Boston Marathon reporting if we had any time left over. 74 minutes later, we managed to solve the mysteries of social networking, google glass, online privacy, the human brain, and self-promotion.
Damon’s really smart and interesting; you should listen to this one.
More Damon: http://www.damonbrown.net
I really like the new graduation pool party Galaxy S4 tv spot. I can’t quite say if it’s a “good ad” or not because I’m not sure who Samsung really wants (or thinks it needs) to buy its new phone. The most memorable Galaxy S3 ads appealed to hipster tech junkies to cool to be iSheep and parents who liked to trade home videos of all sorts between phones. Stands to reason Samsung was pushing last year’s model on 20somethings and tech-savvy Gen Xers. This time around it’s more like teens and slightly behind curve 50 year olds, or so says the GS4 ad.
Whatever the target demo, the spot is funny, does a great job of highlighting the device’s standout features in a real-world setting, and takes the requisite jabs at iPhones and the seemingly clueless who use them. And it’s also got that just vaguely bizarre vibe to it that’s become a trademark of Samsung Mobile TV spots over the past 18 months or so.
Much better than the absolute waste of time that was the Unicorn Apocalypse campaign.
LAS VEGAS–We’re live at the Venetian Ballroom, moments away from the unveiling of the long-awaited new phone platform from Palm.
10:54 a.m. PST: The consensus sentiment here is that Palm needs a home run if it is to compete with the likes of Apple and RIM.
10:55 a.m.: In very un-Palm-like fashion, the company has managed to keep a tight lid on the details of what it has in store, making this one of the most dramatic moments of the show.
11:00 a.m.: It’s a swank room with a video playing on a giant video wall amid dim lights. Chairs are mixed in with wood end tables stocked with Smartwater and another fruity water called Function.
11:02 a.m.: Speech starting. Ex-Appler Jon Rubinstein, Palm’s executive chairman, takes the stage. “Some of you are wondering what I am doing here at Palm.”
- Ina Fried, CNET
Palm stole the show at CES 2009, but ultimately collapsed under the weight of trying to scale up fast enough to compete with iPhone and the other then-big boys of the cutthroat mobile market. Rubinstein, who had taken over has Palm’s CEO in ’09, left his post at HP early last year after HP bought Palm and decided to abandon webOS hardware and open source the software. For all intents and purposes, he’s been out of the mobile scene since. Or had been until today, when he joined Qualcomm’s Board of Directors. Kara Swisher, AllThingsD:
For Qualcomm, the selection of Rubinstein to join the board is something to watch, as he is the second exec from Silicon Valley to be tapped by the company recently. In March, Qualcomm hired tech investor Laurie Yoler as SVP of business development, making her “responsible for augmenting existing business relationships in Silicon Valley, as well as developing new strategic business opportunities for Qualcomm in the region.”
Rubinstein has even more experience here and is also familiar with a range of mobile efforts over the years, some of which were successful and others not so much, from his work at Apple, Palm and then HP. He is also a board member of Amazon.
Qualcomm’s chips are in tons of mobile devices right now; their Snapdragon line is best-known for powering high-end phones like the new HTC One and US variants of the Samsung Galaxy S4. Will be really interesting to see what, if anything, Ruby brings to their table.
SNL’s portrayal of Google Glass’ awkward head gestures and sometimes unresponsive voice commands is funny to watch, and frankly, not that far off from what it’s actually like to use Glass.
Started, and nearly finished, Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother over the weekend. Great book – a young adult techno-thriller about government security run amok in a not so distant post-post-9/11 future. If you’re interested in the future of the Web and technology at large, Cory’s work is well worth checking out.
At any rate, this passage stuck with me for whatever reason – likely because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the future of reporting, publishing, and consuming “news”:
“So now what?” I said as we wound down. I’d talked myself dry and I had a terrible acid feeling from the coffee. Besides, Ange kept squeezing my hand under the table in a way that made me want to break away and find somewhere private to finish making up for our first fight.
“Now I do journalism. You go away and I research all the things you’ve told me and try to confirm them to the extent that I can. I’ll let you see what I’m going to publish and I’ll let you know when it’s going to go live. I’d prefer that you not talk about this with anyone else now, because I want the scoop and because I want to make sure that I get the story before it goes all muddy from press speculation and DHS spin.”
Here’s a nice, simple definition of journalism: You go away and I research all the things you’ve told me and try to confirm them to the extent I can.
How much of what you read online – sites, blogs, Twitter, and everywhere else – and watch online and on TV today will fit that definition? How much do you care whether it does or not?
The separate but related vectors of those two answers is plotting the course for the future of “news.”
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