Not from a design perspective, but from an end to end solution perspective.
Lost of noise today around Cisco entering the server market, some here and here.
Just as Apple loves to own the end to end experience by making specific hardware to fit their design needs while powering their software they pride themselves on writing and bundling with their devices.
This approach is a tough one, but very fruitful if you can pull it off. By entering the server market Cisco moves closer to owning the end to end “experience” of data, services and applications moving around the worlds pipes and datacenters.
Cisco dominates the high end router/switch market. By optimizing their network gear to run extra efficient with their server gear that is a pretty nice value proposition for groups looking for plug-and-play capabilities. You basically end up with a bunch of hubs and pipes that move the data and apps around to virtualized containers sitting in the servers/nodes.
My big question is how will all of this fit into their living room strategy?
Mavericks is supposed to kick off tomorrow here on the west coast. The annual surf event has been waiting for the right conditions and a pacific storm has been pushing a huge swell our way over the past couple days.
Speaking of swells, seems that two of the video streaming startups, Kyte and Ustream are getting ready for a big push with some new announcements and most likely some new years growth.
TechCrunch is posting that Ustream will be releasing a new iPhone application that will allow users to stream any Ustream channel direct to their devices. Michael gives the good idea of wathcing the inauguration via Ustream if you are out and about and can’t be near a television. If Ustream can get some serious content partnerships going it will make a nice solution somewhat putting them inline with place shifter Sling minus the hardware and DVR.
Speaking of content partnerships, Kyte has a HUGE one just being announced. Billboard is announcing that Kyte and UMG are partnering up to stream content over Kyte’s system. Universal alludes that its artists will be using Kyte to communicate in a more personal way with their fans showing behind the scenes clips they are recording. If Kyte has similar success to that of SayNow it should mean a chunk of new users to their site.
Maybe Kyte and SayNow can partner up, one providing the video and the latter providing the audio/sms.
Seems even Qik has some news tonight. They are sponsoring an online show at Sundance with streaming various people peroforming tasks over a 24 hr period. It is being organized by Aston Kutcher.
The title is a bit dramatic after going through one of their editors, but basically Microsoft is really kind of silently mounting a solid standing in the living room by battling on two fronts, one direct to consumers with Xbox, the other via the service providers and Mediaroom.
Getting around to some CES posts finally after 4 days of non stop Vegas action. My first CES post will be about the Palm Pre which is probably number 1 or 2 on the list of exiciting things introduced at the show. Lets get to it.
First, let me say that I have two friends at Palm, one on the hardware team, one on the software, and they have been uber jazzed on the device and OS for the past 6 months. They are not the type of people to get over exicited about technology or “drink the kool-aid”, so I knew what they have been working on has to have been something worthwhile to the marketplace. After visiting the Palm meeting room on thursday for some experience with the device the results actually exceed my expectations.
I have been working with wireless technology since 1999 on the application side. I wouldn’t go as far as Scoble dramatics saying the Pre made me cry, lets just say it gave me goose bumps and made me happy I have been holding out for purchasing a new device even though I am not the biggest Sprint fan.
You could tell the Apple influence from Rubenstein with the invite only meeting room that was decked out and designed very nicely to provide a complete experience down to the wood panels they used on the base of the overhead projectors.
They had four demo stations set up with overhead projectors outputing to TV’s. I took some video and pictures of various pieces that stuck out most and are posting them here.
First up is a demo of the contact management/usage experience. The way they are trying to include social type functionality and represent a single contact with data points from various inputs (demo shows phone, outlook, facebook) is a nice touch:
The next piece that stuck out was the calendar. Following suit with the contacts management you can manage and view calendar items from various inputs (demo shows phone, outlook, google). The user experience is very well thought out. They know they provide a somewhat smaller screen so they created an “accordian view” for calendar space that is not occupied with any items:
In the final video you see some general user experience shots including the fantastic ribbon feature from the gesture feature. The addition of touch/gesture from the bar below the display is a great new introduction of usabitlity for the handset market:
Again, some follow up posts on things Palm needs to do to step it up on for their WebOS but while I am still on cloud 9 with the first experience let me touch on the things that stand out and what makes it dificult for all the other players:
First off I am not going to include Symbian, Windows or Linux Mobile, or any homegrown OS’s here.
I don’t mean to be mean, but between the idiots online and two gentlemen I experienced in the Palm meeting room who said Palm should have chosen Perl for their app creation people are off their rockers if they think developers won’t flock to this. The MAIN thing they need to worry about is getting the devices and OS in front of people. They still haven’t mentioned other devices that might come out in the first year OR if they will provide the OS to other CE manufacturers. If any sort of traction is gained thousands of apps will be created is the shortest timeframe compared to Apple and Android. Again.., sorry for calling people idiots, but anyone who compares programming Java or Objective C to html/js/css should not comment about anything engineering related ever again.
The Apple fan boys can talk smack all they want but the iPhone, besides being fantastic, IS a large device. I long for the iPhone Nano.., anything that is about 20% smaller than the current device. Palm has solved this with the Pre by having a smaller device, full touch screen and the slide out key pad to satisfy the RIM fan boys.
Reasons why Apple should be worried:
1) Full touch screen and slide down keyboard. Apple wont go there. RIM, Android phones and Palm own this combo. You can say it doesnt matter but any device smaller than an iPhone makes all softkeys tough to work with, just look at the new LG devices.
2) Applications running in the background. Apple better get on this quick. Android and the rest do it. Becuase the WebOS is entirely browser based every app is esentially run as a tab or a page, thus allowing them to run a large number of apps concurrently while maintaining performance.
3) User Experience and design. For once Apple has been trumped by someone on these items. The the gesture feature and card experience, not to mention the Touchstone charger (it is awesome) are a step up. Even if Apple releases new updates to software and hardware before the Pre comes out that match this (and they wont), they will be branded as copiers.
4) SDK cannot compete except for 3D graphics and games. Some might argue, but I dont think this is too big a deal right now when it comes to “the masses”.
Reasons why Google should be worried:
1) Palm, like Apple currently owns the stack end to end making it impossible for others to fully compete. By owning the hardware and software the user experience can rise to a whole new level as evident with Microsoft announcing this week they are going to cut out a good amount Windows Mobile devices to limit the number of CE companies they have to work with.
2) The experience and smoothness is just plain better. I have used all three devices (Pre, iPhone, G1) and the G1 is by far the worst experience. The animations are pretty slow and the initial browser is shite. Android runs multiple apps at the same time but again a slight slowness/lagging in the experience blows.
3) Again, the SDK cannot compete given a solid deployment of WebOS units.
Ok.., enough Palm fan boy action for now. I have other posts to write before getting to the things I DONT like about the Pre and WebOS as well as stuff they better include in the SDK.