Author Archives: Michael Gartenberg

Michael Gartenberg is a partner at Altimeter Group. His weblog can be found at gartenblog.net. Contact him at Gartenberg AT gmail DOT com Views expressed here are his own.

Why there is no Zune Phone

Why there is no Zune Phone

The big news out of Barcelona this week was Microsoft’s announcement of Windows Phone 7 Series, the heir to Windows Mobile and Microsoft’s platform of choice to evolve their mobile strategy. With a UI that's looks very familiar to users of the Zune HD, I think Microsoft has done an excellent job re-inventing their mobile strategy. It's clear they are no longer playing in this market, they're playing to win. It's also clear that this year will be a major inflection point for mobile and Microsoft has gotten off to a good start, much better than what we've heard so far this week. The key will be execution and delivery on the things they've shown us this week. You'd think that would be enough for most folks, but it's clearly not. It seems there are some out there that are still looking for more.

Continue Reading

When the PC is a Toaster

When the PC is a Toaster

It hasn’t been that long since Apple announced a computer that was more appliance than traditional PC and we’re still feeling the shocks. It was a “closed” system and the digerati panned it. Some said it would hurt future generations who would lack the tools to tinker and program. Others decried a new metaphor for dealing with information as too limiting and toy-like. Universally, it was agreed that it was way overpriced for what it offered to the market. Now you might think I’m talking about the introduction of the iPad a few weeks ago. Actually, I’m referring the introduction of Macintosh in 1984.

Continue Reading

Is the mobile browser relevant?

Is the mobile browser relevant?

I think it started with the iPhone and Safari, combining the power of a Webkit browser and a mobile phone for the first time. Later adopted by Nokia and Google among others, the mobile browsing experience has improved in leaps and bounds over the last three years. Today, vendors offer to deliver the "real Internet" to devices but I’m not certain that the "real Internet" is what matters for mobility.

Continue Reading

Who wants to be the Home CIO? Not me, please

Who wants to be the Home CIO? Not me, please

The PC has come a long way since it entered the home. Going from a disconnected device with little connectivity, it has become one of the core focal points for the digital home. Household PC penetration is on the rise with many homes having two PCs, and it's not uncommon for some to have three to or more. With the rise of lower cost laptops and netbooks, the average age at which a child receives their own PC is getting younger and younger each year. This growth of the PC within the home is not without complications and more consumers are growing frustrated as the proliferation of PCs make management, configuration and support a new and unwelcome household chore.

Continue Reading

Blu-ray: “The Best is the Enemy of the Good”

Blu-ray: “The Best is the Enemy of the Good”

It's sometimes a challenge to understand how arguably better technologies often lose out to things that are inferior. We've seen it time and time again. The problem is that consumers are often not interested in the "best" technology but are more than satisfied with that which is "good enough". These days, a good example would be to look at Blu-Ray and how it's being adopted by consumers.

Continue Reading

Nexus One takes Android just one step closer to the masses

Nexus One takes Android just one step closer to the masses

It's been an interesting week, despite CES 2010 running in Las Vegas, two of the most talked about stories have been Google's news of the Nexus One with final price and availability and the reports of Apple planning an event to make a major product announcement. I'll save the Apple discussion until at least the invitations go out so instead, I'll keep the focus on the Nexus One. I've had a chance to spend some hands on with the device and it's pretty impressive.

Continue Reading

When Less is Sold as More

When Less is Sold as More

I recently dined at a fancy restaurant here in NY with some friends and was surprised at the rather miniscule portions that were served. "Less is more" I was told and in this case it proved to be correct. Less was definitely more if we were talking about price. In terms of filling, however, less was most certainly, well, less. Fortunately there are also cheap, late night burger joints where more is just more.

This experience comes to mind as I'm looking at a new phone from Sony Ericsson called the Xperia Pureness, that takes a page from the "less is more" playbook. The phone sells in the US at places such as Saks Fifth Avenue for $990 US. Yes, that's not a typo, this is a $990 phone. As Sony Ericsson puts it "In an increasingly complex world, an innovative phone is honed down to the essentials. Xperia Pureness is free from excessive features, leaving an exceptionally simplified mobile experience. Talk. Text. Time." Yep, the theme of the Pureness is "talk.text.time" and when SE says that, they mean it pretty literally.

Continue Reading

Personal Television is a little blurry for now

Personal Television is a little blurry for now

In a world that's short on all sorts of resources from oil and gas to water, recently we've been asked to cut down our use yet more. Last week, Ralph de la Vega said heavy users of music over data on the AT&T wireless network were bandwidth hogs, that 3% of smartphone users were using 40% of his capacity and frankly, we need to all cut back just a bit. Spectrum is among the few things that they're not making any more of and, with more users than ever, it's going to be hard to come up with the capacity needed to keep everyone happy. One solution to this is to shift some of the capacity off of current networks and come up with new broadcast models for content distribution. The folks at FloTV have done just that. The service has been around for a bit, mostly on handsets from AT&T that carry support for the service. In a reverse trend the FloTV folks have gone from the phone to creating a dedicated device for the service.

Lala and the Shift from Apps to Services

Lala and the Shift from Apps to Services

Over the weekend, news broke from both the NY Times and Wall Street Journal that Apple had purchased the online music service Lala.

What's Lala? A little background. Lala's been around for awhile, gone through iterations involving free online listening before settling in on a hybrid model. First. Lala lets you listen to any song you currently have on your PC that it matches to its database (a concept based on the idea of music fingerprints and a digital locker that goes back to the early days of mp3.com) and upload any song you may have that they don't know about. Once completed, you've now got access to all your music any place there's a computer with a web browser and an internet connection. There's also an additional model that lets you listen to any song for free but only once. After that the song must be "purchased" and can only be streamed from the web but not downloaded to a computer or any other offline device.

Continue Reading

Four Reasons to Buy the Nokia Booklet 3G

Four Reasons to Buy the Nokia Booklet 3G

Nokia's first PC (as opposed to the phones they refer to as multimedia computers) got a lot of hype when it was announced and is getting a lot of mixed reviews from folks who complain mostly about price/performance and that you can get better specs in a netbook for less money. After spending some time with a Booklet 3G, I'm once again reminded that there's more to a purchase than speeds and feeds, and that value, much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. So I'm not going to discuss the relatively slow processor or hard drive. We can agree that the Booklet isn't a speed demon. It is, however, how a good PC experience should be and that's worth paying for in my opinion.

1 2 3 4 5