Tag Archives: amazon

Amazon’s AutoRip!

amazon_autorip

Amazon just announced a very cool new service that will enable cloud access to any of the CD’s you’ve purchased (some limitations) from them.  When I think back through the decade+ purchase history, this is considerable for me.  I can’t believe it took this long to even get this going as they’ve been able to validate purchase for a long time and have had a cloud streamer for a while as well. I’ll have to really check this out out to get a feel for how it really works.

Meanwhile back in 2004 … 

via The Verge

 

Samsung’s Likely Big Year

MG Siegler has solid POV on the potential for Samsung this year. I don’t normally quote this much, but for context …

Not only is it bigger than Apple from a revenue standpoint, it’s almost twice as large as the three other “horsemen” combined ($190 billion versus what should be about $100 billion for Amazon, Facebook, and Google in 2012). And unlike Amazon and Facebook which make little or no profit, Samsung is hugely profitable. $12 billion in profit for 2011 should move closer to $20 billion in 2012. That’s not a ton compared to Apple ($55 billion in profit in 2012), but it should be roughly twice as much profit as Google pulls in for the year.

But let’s forget the money and go back to Android. Samsung is so important and deserves a place with the other horsemen because it is the most important piece of the Android ecosystem beyond Google. And it seems that the company is at least exploring the possibility of taking a step back from that ecosystem, or hedging its bet. That could be the story of 2013.

Imagine Samsung, with 40 to 50 percent of the Android market, breaking away to focus on Tizen. Or perhaps more realistically, imagine Samsung forking Android for its own purposes while exploring the Tizen possibilities. Not only can the company afford to do it, there may be several incentives to do so.

Amazon is closing in on its own phone running a forked version of Android in a similar manner to its Kindle Fire tablets. The first iterations of that tablet weren’t great, but they’re getting better. And because it now has its own forked Android app store, Amazon is going to be in control of the entire ecosystem. Samsung has no such control if it remains a loyal Android partner.

Maybe it’s okay with that, but Samsung must be looking at how profitable Apple is as a result of its total control. Shitty mobile skins only give the illusion of control, Samsung needs to control the full stack. And given its position of power, the company has the leverage to do that if it chooses to.

And it’s not just an offensive imperative, it’s a defensive one too. Google continues to say the right things publicly about maintaining distance from its Motorola unit with regard to Android. Of course, it says this with the Google X phone project well underway. A true Google phone.

Perhaps it’s a project meant less to scare Samsung and more to fight back against Google’s true bane: its carrier partners. Or maybe it’s Google hedging against Samsung’s position of power. It doesn’t matter. The Google/Samsung relationship is starting to show signs of strain, and they’re only going to get more pronounced — exhibit A.

Beyond mobile devices, the hot topic for 2013 is the future of television. Most of this is focused around Apple with a little bit reserved for Google’s TV projects. But it’s once again Samsung that is already the leader in the space. Sure, it’s the old school (shitty margin) television space, but why doesn’t anyone think that Samsung can translate its success in smartphones here as well? It simply hasn’t really tried yet.

Perhaps that’s another part of the Tizen equation. Or maybe a forked Android will find its way here as well. But Samsung has a huge head start on Apple, Google and everyone else.  via TechCrunch.

Bloomberg’s report on Samsung’s desire to launch Tizen-based handsets to push away from Android is definitely interesting.  The initial product is apparently going to NTT Docomo in Japan which means we’ll have to wait here in the US.  Should Samsung decide to release a Tizen varient of the Galaxy IV later this year, most (Samsung) consumers would probably consider it the next generation Galaxy rather than focus on the operating system.  If Samsung can successfully migrate their existing apps and deliver against some of the core Google bits they are going to have a winning hand.  This is far from simple or a sure thing …

The future of TV is a big deal. While everyone is waiting for Apple to reveal their solution, Samsung already has massive scale, huge profits to accomodate risk (like Apple) and an existing ecosystem of devices along with a brewing selection of branded apps.  Now, it’s been pointed out more than a few times, that the current Smart TV market is a complicated mess and it’s also likely to be massively expensive to get the ala carte services we all want.

This week CES will reveal some likely candidates … let’s hope they aren’t just based on speeds and feeds … we need some connected systems here to make it all work and work well.

When the cloud works

I’m just starting a vacation with my family in an area with fairly limited connectivity. This isn’t a bad thing in fact it’s quite nice on many levels. The house we are renting has an incredibly slow but functional Internet connection which is essentially a satellite point to point from across the lake.

We’ve rented the same place a few times and this year found an AppleTV here which I’ve logged into for streaming music to the stereo, (very) slowly browsing Netflix and as I’ve just realized / remembered streaming a good portion of our home music collection via iTunes Match. We’d beamed some Spotify earlier while prepping dinner but it’s quite nice to have access to what’s yours as well. This is the first time I’ve connected my iTunes account on a new / random AppleTV and it’s quite excellent to see it in action.

At this point only Google an Apple offer such tightly knit systems. Amazon has much of this to provide as well but like Google lack the tightly connected hardware like AppleTV – even in its current hobby state – to make things this simple. Now that I’m logged in we can easily (bandwidth limits aside) stream “anything” on our collection purchased or not. The only restriction with Apple’s solution I’ve encountered is they do not sell an advanced package to upload / sync very large collections. Google Music seemed to enable my collection to upload but it’s nowhere near as easy to stream on a stereo here – or at home.

These services and general consumer knowledge of them are still pretty limited in use – compared to the more mainstream use case of an iPod plugged into a stereo though it’s not a hard concept to grasp … I’d love to even see guest access pop up as a feature … I guess that’s part of the Nexus Q when that makes a return. Could be an interesting fall …

My Kindle is dressed in leather and ready for bed

M-Edge Executive Jacket

That’s about as racy a headline as I could think of for the Kindle, and though it might grab your attention!  I picked up an M-Edge Executive Jacket and e-Luminator on Matt Miller’s recommendation and know immediately this was a wise move.

M-Edge Executive Jacket

If you have one, you know the Kindle’s case is lame.  It only holds the device on one side and it can easily slide out and fall if you are not paying attention.  I tend to only keep my Kindle in the case for transport and read with it removed.  The M-Edge Executive Jacket may serve the same function though without risk of the Kindle falling out and with considerable style.  The e-Luminator light is a paired accessory that as you might expect illuminates the screen and lets you read in low to no light situations – something that is basically impossible without an external light source.  The light slides into a pre-made slot in the case which is an excellent touch.  The battery is  an A23 (first one I’ve seen) and is reported to last for hours … I’ll let you know if it’s not something you can count on.

I’ve got some more pictures on flickr if you’d like to get a feel for how the Kindle is covered when the case is closed.  So far so good!

Thinking Kindle

kindle

Recently I’ve been traveling quite a bit and really thinkng about the Kindle.  I like that I can get magazines as well as books as I go which would make always having something to read a non-issue.  From the rumors I’ve been reading there does not appear to be a new device coming this year … aside from the EVDO-only access point (will not work outside the US) I can’t think of any true negatives.  Sure the form factor is a tad wonky and the screen is not backlit, but it basically works like a book and comes in a reasonably small form factor making carrying it in my briefcase a pretty simple addition.

I have a trip to San Diego for DEMOfall leaving this weekend, and while the Kindle won’t be able to make it for tomorrow or Saturday, I could have it shipped to my hotel for the return trip …