By Debra Kaufman
September 28, 2020
Amazon announced new smart home devices during its fall hardware event last week, including an expanded Fire Stick collection, redesigned Echo speaker lineup, and Ring in-home drone. Amazon is also launching its Luna cloud gaming service, and introducing Car Cam and Car Alarm to Ring’s lineup. Alexa’s capabilities have expanded, from being able to read books to children to a new security feature, Guard Plus, that can detect sounds around a user’s house and trigger dog-barking to scare off intruders. In times of COVID-19, said Amazon head of devices and services Dave Limp, “our homes have become our offices, our classrooms, movie theaters and more.” Continue reading Amazon Unveils Devices for Gaming, Autos and Smart Home
Veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg has been writing a weekly personal technology column since 1991, first at The Wall Street Journal, and then at The Verge (for which he serves as executive editor) and Recode (where he is co-founder and editor-at-large). As he retires his weekly column, Mossberg takes one more look at how consumer tech has evolved over the last three decades, “and what we can expect next.” Specifically, he addresses “The Disappearing Computer” as we enter a new world of ambient computing, in which personal computers start to fade into the background. Continue reading Mossberg Retires Weekly Column, Talks Ambient Computing
By Debra Kaufman
January 19, 2017
Streaming TV is now mainstream, with even cable and satellite subscribers paying for services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. Television networks also make their fare available for streaming via apps or smart TVs. But the typical streaming service model — whereby the subscriber doesn’t pay for a fat bundle of disparate channels and a DVR — is changing. Dish Network’s Sling TV and AT&T’s DirecTV Now, nominally streaming services, offer bundles of TV networks delivered in a linear fashion, just like cable or satellite. Journalist/author Walt Mossberg is concerned by the change. Continue reading Mossberg Questions the Direction of Streaming TV Services
By Debra Kaufman
April 27, 2016
Vox Media, parent company of politics site Vox, sports sites SB Nation, and technology site The Verge, is about to launch Circuit Breaker, a blog about gadgets. Circuit Breaker will publish news and gossip about technology products and primarily live as a Facebook page, not a separate website, says The Verge’s editor Nilay Patel. The idea of a blog devoted to gadgets is a throwback to sites like Engadget and Gizmodo that, in the early 2000s, focused on smartphones and then broadened to become culture sites. Continue reading Vox Media to Launch Circuit Breaker Gadget Site on Facebook
By Rob Scott
June 15, 2011
Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher of The Wall Street Journal hosted the D9 (D: All Things Digital) conference May 31 to June 2 in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The annual event featured compelling interviews and demonstrations from an array of top media and technology executives representing companies such as HP, Twitter, AT&T, Nokia, Netflix, Disney, Adobe and many more.
The D conference was established in 2003 by columnists Mossberg and Swisher as an annual showcase for technology innovators and big names from the worlds of business, entertainment and occasionally politics. This year the title was “D9” (indicating its ninth year). The conference is known for hosting influential heavy-hitters and its somewhat exclusive nature. Typically, attendance is limited to about 500 guests.
ETCentric readers were quick to forward relevant news items and announcements that emerged during this year’s show. The following is a collection of links to articles and videos submitted by our readers, accompanied by their comments:
D9 Video: Eric Schmidt Highlights
- Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook are successfully exploiting global platform strategies.
- Challenge working with entertainment companies since taking content from scarcity to ubiquity.
- Also need to deal with disintermediation and piracy. On privacy, Google will remain a place where you can do anonymous searches. And committed to insuring you have control over information they have on you.
- We’re seeing the consumerization of IT that will lead to the death of IT as we know it.
- There are not sufficient resources to develop for more than the two largest players: Google and Apple.
- Search is moving from link-based answers to algorithmically-based answers using artificial intelligence.
- Concerned about a balkanization of the Internet, which will lead to an Internet per country.
- If you’re concerned about security, use the Chrome browser and use a Mac.
Google Shows Off Its Groupon Killer, Launching Tomorrow
- Video of Eric Schmidt’s demo of Google Wallet and Google Offers.
- Google is not charging a processing fee but is taking a share of the offer.
- Credit card companies are willing to upgrade the POS terminals to get benefits of higher security.
- Lookout Groupon, LivingSocial, etc.!!!
Groupon CEO Andrew Mason on Google, Clones and Hubris – But Not on an IPO
- CEO sees Groupon evolving in three phases so far: One – the Daily Deal, Two – Personalized Deals, and Three – a technology company where they become more integral to a person’s daily life (i.e. wherever they are and whatever they want to do, they can get a deal right now based on the inventory of available deals).
- Could you use Groupon to sell media?
D9 Video: Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky on Windows 8
- 95 percent of how the world gets on the Internet is through Windows.
- Windows 8 will be a “modern” rethink to enable PCs and tablets to satisfy “things they say are solved in an iPad” and still bring all the benefits of Windows.
- Video demo of Windows 8 showing touch-based UI (can still use mouse too), live tiles.
- Targeting 2012.
D9 Video: Fanhattan Demo
- Free video discovery app Fanhattan launched at D9 this week.
- The iPad app serves as a directory and discovery engine, sourcing reviews and ratings from Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, while organizing related content from the likes of YouTube, IMDb and Amazon.
- Also shows pre-release version running on an Internet TV which is capable of creating a branded movie page in this case for Pirates of the Caribbean.
- It connects to iTunes, Netflix, Hulu and the ABC Player to view TV and movies.
- CNET review: “This free iPad app sounds simple–it finds stuff about movies and TV shows you want to watch–but the depth of the content, utility of what the site does, and clarity of the interface just puts this app on a different level than anything else I’ve seen.”
D9 Video: Hewlett-Packard CEO Leo Apotheker
- WebOS will be available to other companies and enterprises for their own use.
- Goal is to create an end-to-end ecosystem that figures out on a single device in the Cloud whether you’re doing enterprise or private work.
- HP can create a large ecosystem of printers, PCs and tablets amounting to 100 million devices a year itself. They hope to interest others as well.
D9 Video: Reed Hastings Highlights
- On Netflix’s virtuous cycle: the more content they get, the more members they get and they can pay more for content.
- Consumers want all the new stuff but that’s very expensive.
- At $8/month, they’re a compliment to the new stuff.
- The news stuff will remain pay-per-view since has higher margin for content owners.
- Can grow from 24 million subscribers currently to capture Internet TV and tablet viewers plus a share of the 5 billion active mobile phone users worldwide who like video.
- Need to stay innovative.
- Focus on talent density, which is the fewest number of talented people.
D9 Video: Twitter CEO Dick Costolo
- Took three years to send the first billion tweets. Now sends a billion tweets every SIX days!
- There are over 600,000 developers who have downloaded over 900,000 API tokens.
- Will look to TweetDeck (recently acquired) as the professional UI.
- Rolling out a native photo sharing app, relevance sorted search results and web intents which allows you to add a Twitter client into your website. 80 percent of advertisers using promoted tweets renew.
- Advertisers are experiencing very high engagement rates (VW’s ad: 52%).
- Focused on success of business, not IPO.
DARPA – The Coolest Agency You’ve Never Heard Of: Regina Dugan at D9
- Regina Dugan’s DARPA t-shirt says “Impossible, Improbable, Inevitable” which describes the progression of their programs.
- Developed Internet, GPS, stealth, night vision, UAV, MEMS technologies.
- DARPA’s Mission is the “prevention and creation of strategic surprise.”
- Encourages programs to have the big success.
- So that means they can’t fear failure. Fear of failure is the limiting factor.
- Talks about growth in need for cyber security, new computing architectures, explosive detection system.
D9 Tech Demo: Inkling
- Inkling reinvents the college textbook for the iPad that is both interactive and social.
- Rather than paying $200 for a book, you can buy it a chapter at a time for far less cost since the content is not re-sold like a physical book.
- See impressive video demo.
By Rob Scott
April 29, 2011
The new G-Slate tablet from LG (sold by T-Mobile) was launched last week as the first tablet in the U.S. using Google’s Honeycomb software (Android 3.0 for tablets) to offer 4G speed and 3D video. With an 8.9-inch screen, the G-Slate offers less viewing area than Apple’s iPad 2 and the Motorola Xoom, but more than the Samsung Galaxy Tab and RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook.
The greatest challenges for the new device may be how to compete with the highly successful iPad — and how to differentiate itself from the other Android-based devices currently on the market. In his WSJ “All Things Digital” column, Walt Mossberg suggests that the G-Slate aims to be different in three major ways: by offering 4G cellular data speeds, enabling 3D video creation and viewing, and featuring an “in-between” screen size as compared to current offerings.
In his review, Mossberg found the performance to be on par with the Honeycomb Xoom, but overall not as good a choice as the iPad 2 (especially in terms of price, size and weight). And regarding the 3D functionality, he writes, “The 3D feature, which requires the use of 1950s-style colored glasses, seems like a parlor trick to me.”
Mossberg reports that the biggest selling point of the G-Slate is the 4G speed, but adds that the current problem with all Honeycomb devices involves a lack of “tablet-optimized third-party apps.” It’s tough to compete with Apple in this regard, considering it already claims 65,000 tablet apps.
Mossberg’s bottom line: “The G-Slate isn’t as good a tablet as the iPad 2. I’d only recommend it for people who want the higher cellular speeds, or who prefer Android.”
By Rob Scott
March 6, 2011
In this video interview from San Francisco, Wall Street Journal “Personal Technology” columnist Walt Mossberg provides his first impressions of the new thinner and lighter Apple iPad 2, premiered by Steve Jobs at an invitation-only event on March 2.
New features worth noting include front and rear-view cameras, a thinner form factor than the iPhone, faster graphics, and dual core processors. It seems that Apple addressed the shortcomings recently targeted in advertising by its competitors. Mossberg comments that Apple did enough to stay ahead, but suggests they’re not going to claim 90 percent of the market share like they did last year due to the sheer volume of competing tablets this time around.
Mossberg comments on Apple’s focus on content creation, as opposed to content consumption, which the company hopes will change the way some consumers see the device. He also suggests it is a big deal that Apple has been able to maintain its $499 price tag for the new version. (The Wi-Fi versions start at $499 for a 16GB model and $699 for a 64GB configuration, while the 3G iPads are priced from $629 to $829.)