Long (and kind of long winded) profile of cloud data service Dropbox and its co-founders, Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, posted over at Wired.com. The most interesting bit to me was at the very end:
And even further in the future, they hope to expand the pool of devices that can talk to each other — basically eliminating your computer as the middle man. A point-and-shoot, they think, could ship pictures directly to your television and family for big-screen viewing — even before you board the flight back home. “Soon you’ll walk into a Best Buy or Fry’s and you’ll see that little box everywhere,” says Houston. “This is the first time I will see my photos or play my music in my living room and it’s not going to be a science project.”
-Wired.com, December 22, 2011
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Apple's anti-competitive patent war seems most focused on markets where the iPhone is weakest, Zach Epstein points out:
Whether or not competing products do in fact infringe on Apple’s patents, Apple may have another reason to attack its rivals so aggressively in France and Germany: the company is losing ground. New data from Kantar Worldpanel released on Thursday shows that while the launch of the iPhone 4S was a huge hit in the United States and the United Kingdom, smartphone users in key markets like France and Germany were seemingly not as impressed with the handset.
-BGR, December 22, 2011
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Seth Godin consults his Economics 101 crystal ball to see where ebook prices are really headed. He is assuming rational behavior by publishers to maximize revenue -- I'm not sure that's a certainty.
In a market where the marginal cost is close to zero, prices tend to race to zero as well. Except…
Except when there are no substitutes. If you want Elvis Costello to call you on the phone and wish you a happy birthday, he can charge you whatever he wants, because even though it costs him very little, you have no alternatives. If you want Elvis, well, there’s only one. Take it or leave it.
So our analysis begins with the notion that there will be at least two price points for ebooks.
-Domino Project blog, December 20, 2011
A datapoint about fast sales of Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet out of the gate -- this report just covers November and the Fire wasn't delivered to customers until the 15th.
Millennial Media's November Mobile Mix report found that the number of ad impressions on the Fire grew at an average daily rate of 19 percent, slightly outshining the growth of the first iPad in early 2010.
"We're not just seeing millions of impressions, we're seeing a monthly run rate of hundreds of millions of impressions," said the report of the Fire.
-CNET News, December 20, 2011
Apple scored an incredibly narrow victory over HTC in the ongoing smart phone patent wars yesterday, though you wouldn't know it from some of the more overblown coverage. A ruling from the U.S. International Trade Commission will bar the import of future HTC phones that violate a piece of a patent Apple owns about converting a phone number into a variety of actions - that little menu that comes up with choices like call, text, add to contacts. Three other patent claims were rejected.
Sometimes lost in the fact that hundreds of thousands of patents have been issued which are possibly related to smart phones is the incredible narrowness of many of the filings. Sounds like Apple's victory here will be rendered irrelevant by a minor software change.
HTC just revised its statement on the case, saying that Apple's patent covers only a "small UI experience" and saying it will be completely removed from HTC phones "soon." We'll see how quickly that happens; any changes would have to first be deemed compatible with Android by Google and then approved and pushed to customers by HTC's carrier partners.
-The Verge, December 19, 2011
And that's without even getting into the fact that this is just the kind of software implementation of an obvious feature that should not be patentable in the first place.