Europe has already forced Google to propose a "Forget Me" function for those who want to opt out of the standard "Forge Me" treatment. So the ideal of that other pervasive, blue, big brother may not be totally dead yet.
More tasteless blog spilling from the maker of blogules. Here, mobile is the crime.
Unlike for the 2012 edition*, I decided not to attend SDF 2014 with a "Press" card, but to remain in the audience... which still leaves opportunities to chat with innovators, particularly when they are launching impromptu roundtables at the cafe**, like Alan Mycroft, the enthusiastic father of Raspberry Pi who succeeded in bringing fun back into computer science and students back to both schools and playgrounds. Needless to say, Mycroft wishes Korea's education system were less destructive for creativity.
By the way: this country would be a much better place if failures were recognized as an indispensable component of innovation. In the wake of the Sewol tragedy more than ever, we must learn how to learn from our mistakes, instead of just firing people before they accumulate experience.
And let's not deter those who are willing to try, or turn down a 15 year-old because he's 15 year-old. Let's keep in mind that at that ripe age, Jack Andraka invented his 3-cent cancer detector:
|Andraka also called for a democratization of science papers, which should be available for free - knowledge as a human right - twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/469346406327529473|
|1982, Korea's maiden internet network (the first outside the US). Meet its father, Kilnam Chon, at Seoul Digital Forum. twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/468913159601152002|
Since I've been asked by a good friend what to make of the recent 'post-6-P.M. e-mail ban' in France*, I may as well share my two cents with you.
This agreement between two trade unions and two business federations was signed on April 1st, but is more serious than presented in foreign media, and part of a wider re-negociation of the old "Forfait Jour" framework, a specific working hour plan for executives in fields known for abusive work hours (see Article 4.8.1 "Temps de repos et obligation de deconnection" in the 'Avenant Forfaits Jours'**). This new right to be 'disconnected' during off-work hours is limited to executives in the fields covered by the two signing federations:
Facebook added Oculus VR to its portfolio.
The star product is the Oculus Rift headset..
"The Next Big Thing Is Almost Here", that's how Samsung Galaxy S5 is announced on Samsung.com US:
|This Tizen ain't the world heavyweight champion yet|
With 450 M active users of one of the most pivotal services - messaging, WhatsApp is already an interesting catch for Facebook. But the best thing about WhatsApp subscribers is that in order to keep the service after the first year, they must pay a fee. Only 99 cents a year for now, but on a messaging platform, you can plug in an infinity of free or paid apps.
Over the past weeks, Samsung buried the hatchet with Ericsson, before signing cross-license agreements with Google, and then Cisco, days after a similar deal between the last two (note that Google sold Motorola to Lenovo in almost the same breath, but this is not about hardware - Big G keeps the bulk of the patent portfolio).
Samsung and Google concluded in their press release ("Samsung and Google Sign Global Patent License Agreement" - 20140127) that "there is more to gain from cooperating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes". A clear memo to Apple, and food for thought - and juries - ahead of the next bouts in court between Suwon and Cupertino.
|"Samsung and Google are showing the rest of the industry that there is more to gain from cooperating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes". Follow my eyes...|
Very disappointing first day at CES 2014: the long awaited (see "Rise of the Nork Zombies") "Frankenstein Android" and "Headtop iBrain" didn't show up so far.
Following last year's trends*, wearable gizmos keep popping-up, and the screen war between LG and Samsung didn't abate. Now TV giants are not only flexing their muscles, but their screens as well. And if we've already seen "bend it like Koreans" on handsets, with a 85 inch TV, that's quite something:
OK, not as flexible as to wrap you up like a piece of bulgogi in a sesame leaf, but that's a good start.
Nothing distruptive in DreamWorks' DreamTab (not flexible, but for kids who like to move it move it), just another example of how classic smart devices have become commodities:
|Vuzic V720 video headphones|
|Razer Nabu: not a wedding ring, but a smartwatch that does ring|
|LG Lifeband Touch: earn it, burn calories|
Harald Haas was in Seoul recently, as one might have expected doing some Li-Fi evangelism.
|pureLiFi's moto? |
"Light becomes data"
(which also reads
"data becomes light")
So Vivendi and SFR shall demerge, and Vincent Bollore replace Jean-Rene Fourtou at the helm of a group more centered on media and contents.
Officially, the idea is to raise the value of both entities by focusing each one on its core business, but demerging also paves the way for separation, and Vivendi presents a bride as pure as possible by keeping the telecom participations it failed to get rid of (Brazil's GVT and Poland's PTC). Maroc Telecom could be sold to Etisalat on time for June 2014 and the shareholders' meeting expected to confirm both the demerger and Bollore's triumph.
So long for Jean-Marie Messier's old dream of convergence? At least, that's the end of Fourtou's last hopes of controlling Bollore, a man who managed to take over with only 5% of the shares*, and who's not exactly known for centering on core businesses: Bollore Group is (among many other) into media, plastics, logistics, palm oil, real estate, electric cars and(!) coal.
This group badly needs a clear long term strategy, but if he's a bit more daring than Jean-Rene Fourtou, Vincent Bollore is not much of a visionary entrepreneur either. Arnaud de Puyfontaine has been drafted from Hearst to manage the core media and content activities, but can he inspire the group, and can the group handle the months ahead, very tricky at the financial and managerial levels?
* his son Yannick led the sale of Bollore Media to Canal+ that brought the bulk of these shares. Now 33 and head of Havas (also a Bollore company), Yannick Bollore is married to a niece of Martin Bouygues, a key rival of both Canal+ and SFR (TF1, Bouygues Telecom...). Note that President Nicolas Sarkozy, a known friend of Bouygues and Bollore, did his best to undermine Canal+ (a rather liberal channel), and even invited Qatar to launch beIN Sport in France (now 1.5 M subscribers thanks to its spectacular aggressiveness in sports rights)...
The mercato is over, and while Vodafone-Verizon clinched a long expected Tottenham-Real Madrid-Garreth-Bale kind of deal, Nokia and Microsoft ended their 1990s rivalry at Intertoto Cup levels.
EUR 3.79 bn for the business units, and EUR 1.65 bn for the patents: that's all Nokia mobiles and their 32,000 employees are worth today. To add insult to injury, the buyer is generous. Microsoft would have dreamed to do just that a decade ago but today, the move sounds like a bitter defeat for two former foes years of decline had already brought close to each other (to the point Nokia's CEO - an aptly named Mr Elop - came from Redmond).
Blackberry should follow soon, but even that won't save Windows Mobile OS. Microsoft will have to leave its incredible shrinking comfort zone, slash royalties, or why not go Home, like Facebook did (a much cheaper mode of diffusion for blue screens).
Of course, the move doesn't disrupt in any way the ecosystem. It only puts more pressure on Steve Ballmer's successor. Google can rest for a little while: these days, neither Apple nor Microsoft seem to have a clue, and software-wise, Samsung remains a gnome. So no major challenges in the short term except themselves, regulators, or a new alternative popping up out of the blue (China could do that, but trust would be an issue).
Skype has turned 10, but where's the hype?
Skype has replaced Windows Live Messenger, but where's the innovation?
Skype has been commoditized, ebayed, microsofted, ballmerized.
The success story has turned into a stupid cash cow, as boring as Windows.
The Estonian start-up into a global PTT of VoIP challenged by smarter, faster players.
At least Steve Ballmer is at long last about to launch a massive product out of Microsoft's comfort zone: himself.
So Tim Cook hired Yves Saint Laurent CEO as Apple's VP of special projects.
So nothing changes: Paul Deneve already knows the company, he used to work there. And it's not about future lines of products (we didn't need Snowden to learn about iWatch, the smartwatch market is already crowded*, and smartwear has been in the air for a decade and a half), but about the future of a brand in mature markets where smartphones, tablets, smartTVs, smartwatches, smartaccessories and smartwear have technologically become commodities.
|Long time no see! Reminds me of the Pinault-Arnault web / telecom / luxury wars of the nineties!|
Up to 150 Mbps? Not bad for a mobile network. That's twice the speed of my old 4G, and we call it 4G LTE-Advanced.
SK Telecom just announced* a launch for July in Seoul, a world first at the commercial level. Russia's Yota did do something last december, but the Korean operator has the handset to go with the network: the Samsung's Galaxy S4 LTE-A.
On SKT's T world shop, this SHV-E330S_32GR sells for KRW 954,800 (USD 826):
Okay, Smart TV sells. And the all-inclusive, app-enabled Samsung or LG devices are serious competition to the more or less usual plug-ins (set top boxes, Apple TV & co). One thing keeps bugging me: you don't replace your TV as often as you do with other devices, how to make sure your TV remains smart? Isn't it more important to have screens that can interface smartly with more intelligent devices? Aren't smart screens more important than smart tvs?
Let's see how Smart TV and smartphone leader Samsung tackles the challenge. You can bet these guys will do anything to remain leader at the crux of both devices.
First, your hardware's getting smarter, and innovations keep coming, like motion control and language recognition, which Samsung packages as "Smart Interaction" (here on an Australian commercial):
To tackle the fear of obsolescence, Samsung proposes the Evolution Kit. It works a bit like Nissan Leaf batteries at the software level: you find Smart TV cool, but it's still a young market, and you want to be sure that you're not buying a young dinosaur, that you won't have to change the whole car because your battery is from the wrong generation. You need a double promise of simplicity (kit) and future-proofness (evolutivity): we'll make sure that you're always up to date, that you've always got the best set of Smart features, so don't worry, and just enjoy. This "Evolutionary Husband" ad is not very creative either, but you get the idea:
From couch potato to cloud potato, just plug and play dumb.
Mark Zuckerberg, who's doing a pretty good job at following Bill Gates' footsteps, reinvented the blue screen with Facebook Home.
The meta-app (embedded in HTC First for proof of concept) basically puts your Android experience in the background - nevermind the mobile network operator, that fabled 2G hero. And Google already faced a win-back surge from manufacturers, Samsung leading the way with a suite of me-too apps on time for Galaxy S3*...
Even if only 5% of hardcore mobile Facebook users switch to this "Virtual OS Operator" Facebook Home, that's going to have a significant effect, including for key partners. For instance, Bing's performances will significantly improve in all fields: search engine, mapping, translation, value aggregation... remember how Google Maps caught up with Daum Map and Naver Map within months in Korea?
|Feeling blue? Seeing red? No green robot around?|
I just stole this laugh from Steve Chen ("mind if I send you back to YouTube?" - I consider his laugh as a "no", so here he is, back on YouTube):
Chen was invited to the 2013 Asian Leadership Conference (organized by Chosun Ilbo in Seoul), where he told his already rich (in every sense of the word) story.
According to him, the main reason why so few Korean start-ups make it to the world stage is that few have a global reach in mind in the first place, and that (a trait shared by many other countries) very few people are ready to "take the jump". I would also blame the weak SME ecosystem, with chaebols sucking out way too much value at the earliest stages of emerging technologies and innovations.
Chen started AVOS Systems with fellow YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley. They are reviving delicio.us, which they purchased from Yahoo!, and launched Zeen (social media - DYI magazines), an interesting revenge of traditional media in our paperless, always-on world.
In Barcelona, the hunt for the next killer app after Lionel Messi has started again, but for the moment, Mobile World Congress 2013 delivers at the hardware, OS, MNO levels. Vintage stuff.
Adding more flesh to its recent CES promises*, Mozilla decided to disclose** an impressive starting lineup for Firefox OS:
Remember that old 3D classic "Avatar"? Now Navis can say "I see through you" instead of "I see you" on Hisense's latest see-through 3D TV.
CES 2013 is all about screens, and it starts on your wrist. I wonder if Amazon will try to sell haikus on this mini ebook reader:
Remember last year, when KakaoTalk celebrated its 10 millionth user (see "Kakao Talk of the day")?
Well, 1000 days after launch, the Korean player claims 70 M users in 13 languages, with daily averages of 27 M users, 43 mn per user, and 4.2 billion messages. Even if Skype remains far ahead with its 280 M users (and the support of Microsoft* - whatever that's worth nowadays), Kakao Inc. has already become a global phenomenon - maybe level 5 on Gangnam Style scale - , and remains as ambitious as ever.