Should Google and Microsoft Fear the Potential of Siri?

  • Tech analyst Tim Bajarin says both Google and Microsoft have been downplaying the significance of Apple’s Siri because they know it could seriously impact their core search businesses, especially as it gains access to even more online databases.
  • “You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone; you should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone,” Google mobile chief Andy Rubin told Walt Mossberg at the recent AsiaD conference.
  • Microsoft’s Andy Lees suggested that Siri “isn’t super useful” and added that the voice interactivity of Windows Phone 7 when connected to Bing harnesses “the full power of the Internet, rather than a certain subset.”
  • Bajarin counters that, “Apple has just introduced voice as a major user interface and that its use of voice coupled with AI on a consumer product like the iPhone is going to change the way consumers think about man-machine interfaces in the future.”
  • Siri is not just a voice UI, but a gatekeeper to natural language searching of online databases that may eventually make Apple the third major search company worldwide.

AsiaD Video: Peter Chernin Discusses Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and More

  • Peter Kafka interviews Peter Chernin in this interesting 11-minute video from the AsiaD conference.
  • “As News Corp.’s longtime chief operating officer, Chernin was instrumental in developing Hulu,” reports All Things D. “He explained why he wanted to build the video site — in part to compete with Google and YouTube — and why he thinks its studio owners should help it thrive today — in part to compete with Netflix.” Chernin also expresses his thoughts on purchasing Yahoo.
  • Chernin knew IPTV would be big, but didn’t want one dominant video distributor like YouTube. Thus, the studios got together to create Hulu, which today competes with Netflix.
  • Chernin believes online viewers will pay $2 per month for premium content. He talks about the future of video and creating something like a digital HBO.

Lytro Video Update: Light Field Technology Demonstrated at AsiaD

  • Yesterday, ETCentric reported that San Francisco-based start-up Lytro was getting ready to launch a new digital camera that could potentially be “the biggest technological jump since we started talking megapixels over 20 years ago…” (as suggested by All Things D).
  • In a public demo at AsiaD this week with Walt Mossberg, Lytro showed its innovative light field technology and camera that allows you to capture all the light rays of a scene and alter the focus AFTER the picture is taken.
  • The camera, which starts at $399 for the 8GB model, also offers the ability to view a scene in 3D. The Wall Street Journal post includes a compelling 17-minute video of the demo.
  • ETCentric staffer Phil Lelyveld submitted a related article that provides product and technical details of the consumer market light field camera.
  • “The camera itself is a square prism in shape, around 4.4-inches long and around 1.6-inches square,” reports Digital Photography Review. “Around two thirds of its length is bare anodized aluminum, which houses a 35-280mm equivalent, constant F2 lens. The rest of its length is coated in a soft, light gray rubber, in which you’ll find the camera’s three physical controls — the power switch, a shutter button and a slider that you stroke to zoom the lens in and out. All other interaction with the camera is conducted via the small, 128×128 pixel square touch screen that covers the rear face of the device.”