20090528

New Money Search Engines : BING.com, Zune HD

When Microsoft talks innovation, it tends to sound like deja vu all over again.

BING is not the latest alarm notifying a blue screen but the name of Redmond's latest philosopher's stone / quest for the Holy Grail / shoot'em all kill app : a search engine meant to compete with Google. Not at the user experience level but at the announcer experience level, judging by the teaser (maybe "trailer" is more appropriate) released on
bing.com, where contextual advertising stars from every angle. The actual URL where you can enjoy this short movie is decisionengine.com, which may lead you into thinking that you won't be looking at things you don't want to find, only at relevant bits of knowledge for sound decision making. Comparing prices, sorting URLs by categories... that kind of totally "unknown" features. The main news here : Live Search is still alive.

ZUNE goes HD. It remains a music / multimedia player, but now you can also play games, and even surf the internet. FM radio, which proved successful on the first version, becomes HD radio. The screen becomes a touch screen. And as if to prove Zune failed on the core promise (competing with iPod and other sexier devices), Microsoft added familiar and sure bets from its roster (Windows CE). Zune synchronizes with Xbox, and the brand could become Microsoft's central video and multimedia content platform to compete with more successful stores.

Zune is not the iPhone killer. Bing is not the Google killer. But Microsoft intends to remain a killer.



"
Microsoft confirms Zune HD coming this fall"
"
Zune HD will be a music player, not a super-device"



20090526

Nokia's Ovi Store - a follower-leader

Embarrassingly too late, Nokia decided to open its online Ovi Store globally. Or to revive the buzz around it.

About two years ago, I had some doubts about OVI's ability to counter Microsoft ("
OVI, a Door facing Windows"). But since then, it also left Apple snatch the bulk of a market it was supposed to rule (the App Store recently celebrated 1 billion downloads). The mobile phone leader definitely lost his mojo a couple of years ago.

Yeah... I know there's this coopetition between the Scandinavian King and MNOs, who prefer a hyper hype partner taking a bigger cut, but on a pie customers want to pay for.

Luckily for Nokia, there's always AT&T, ever the enthusiast for MVNOs and other pipe-fillers. For a Texan, anything coming from Finland must be cool.

S60 does have a cool factor, after all. 50M users can't be totally wrong. What if they decide to turn what they saved by not chosing iPhone into more apps ?



20090505

Big Screen Kindles and Papyrus

Kindle DX joins Amazon's Kindle family. It's bigger (9.7 inch screen), smarter (screen rotation, 4 GB memory), and of course pricier ($ 489).

Comfier too, if you want to read magazines, newspapers, documents with images. But not that much if you intend to carry it everywhere. This one will probably remain at home most of the time, and may not even make it there if you already own a tablet PC.

I expected something more disruptive. Say a really big screen, for real newspapers... the foldable kind of Kindle. Technology is there, but short term marketability remains another story... Keep an eye on Amazon labs for that one.

Anyway, this newcomer will make such competitors as the Samsung Papyrus look smaller. But a no-frills, no-connectivity, A5, half a GB memory ebook reader can succeed if it comes at half the price.


The CNET video on Kindle DX :



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