For the first time ever, Apple introduced two phones of different sizes at once. This is a huge deal for the company which kept the original phone screen size until the iPhone 5. The good news it is potentially easy to decide between the two devices – based upon what you do most.
What makes the decision a bit easier is the fact that Apple makes no iPad smaller than the mini which does not fit in suit or pants pockets. Interestingly a seven-inch tablet like the Google Nexus will fit in either. Point being, there are many people who will say, "I don’t need a large phone because I have a tablet." While this is a logical point, the reality is, you don’t always have the tablet with you because it is another device to charge and of course carry. In other words, this post is most useful for the person who doesn’t have a tablet or other computer handy at all times.
Working: In my opinion the iPhone 6 is too small for serious work. It is fine for things like texting, quick emails, minimal web browsing, etc.
The 6 Plus is better device for accessing documents and spreadsheets because the screen real-estate is far greater and instead of Retina HD of 1334x750, you get Retina HD of 1920x1080 which is 1080P. You also get better battery-life which is important for power users who get lots of email. Winner: iPhone 6 Plus.
Gaming: If this is your thing, you likely want the biggest screen – that means the 6 Plus. Other than portability there is no benefit to the iPhone 6 for playing games of any kind. Winner iPhone 6 Plus.
Exercising: If you spend a lot of time in the gym or outdoors, the 6 Plus is a pain to deal with as it is 6.2 inches tall. How do you strap it to your body? Does it go around your arm? Clip to the curve of your waist? Possibly not as it is potentially too big. Will it attach to the lower back like an old Sony Walkman? Winner: iPhone 6.
Driving: If you spend a lot of time in the car, you want a phone which allows quick one-handed operation. The iPhone 6 Plus has a neat trick that allows you to bring the items at the top of the screen lower for easier one-handed operation. Actually both phones do this. This feature is great for driving as the other hand is hopefully steering but the 6 Plus is still awkward to hold without two hands. It is a bit too big. Winner: iPhone 6.
Video: If you live in FaceTime or Skype then the 6 Plus is your cup of tea because of the better screen and longer battery life. Winner: iPhone 6 Plus.
Poor eyesight: Obviously a larger screen with better resolution would theoretically mean a better viewing experience. For websites this makes perfect sense. However, the reality is that the iPhone 6 actually has larger and easier to read fonts when viewing email and even when browsing using the Reader mode. It seems counterintuitive but the iPhone 6 Plus is treated as a tablet when in landscape mode meaning much of the screen is taken up by your email list and not as much space is left for the body of the email. As crazy as it sounds, for people with poor eyesight it’s a draw – in many cases the iPhone 6 is actually better! Winner: neither.
Social Acceptance: Let’s face it, the iPhone 6 Plus is a large phone and taking pictures with it, holding it up to your ear and carrying it in tight-fitting clothes will all be socially awkward. At least for now. In a year or so, people may get used to it. You know, kind of like we are all used to wearing our clothes inside-out and backwards thanks to the bands of the nineties.
Conclusion: If you use your phone for video, web surfing, work where you may need to see graphics, designs, PDF files, etc., you need an iPhone 6 Plus. Moreover, you should be aware that you will likely always want to use the device with two hands. In other words you will lose some single-handed functionality but make up for it with increased productivity when using both hands.
If you are still unsure, another way of deciding is to determine how many hours you spend performing many of the various tasks above. If you spend most of your time working, the 6 Plus is for you. Are you all about exercise or spend hours in your car in stop-and-go-traffic? Then consider the 6. If battery-life is the most important issue, go with the 6 Plus.
Whichever phone you choose, be aware that the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the Note Edge have superior screens in resolution and quality compared to either iPhone 6 model. These two Samsung devices almost made me defect to Android for my primary device. You may want to look at all four of these devices together before making a final decision. See my post from yesterday to learn more.
Copyright Communications and Technology Blog - Tehrani.com
I find if you write about Android or Apple, you are often a target for people who will flame you on social media for being pro-Samsung/Google or Apple. Actually I am not pro-anyone... I use Android, iOS and Windows 8 - often all within the same hour.
Having said that, many people in my office are iPhone users and it seems a casual survey of them shows almost all have decided to take the plunge and buy the iPhone 6 Plus which is likely one of the tallest phones you will find with any frequency. Its 6.2 inches tall in fact!
It's funny really, many people who have ordered it are actually scared that the phone is too big. Personally I have probably been the most vocal person around regarding the need for such an iOS device (since 2011) and now that I ordered it, I wonder how on earth I will attach it to my waist when running. Any tips are appreciated.
Having said that, I saw the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge recently and the screens on these devices are absolutely breathtaking. I have to say they are the best screens I have ever seen on a phone by far.
Not only that but the Edge is an amazing device because the rounded portion functions as a separate display and has its own UI meaning you can scroll through apps and other information just by swiping the round part of the screen. What's more, it feels very natural to do so and it is actually pleasing to the finger.
To illustrate further, you can be looking at your home screen and at the same time see a stock ticker on the curved part of the screen. You can then swipe the curve and see the weather, news of the day, favorite contacts, etc.
Moreover, the Note 4 can be placed in a pair of Gear VR glasses that Samsung sells meaning it has yet another function.
Yes, the iPhone 6 is even taller and yes, the 6 Plus has the approximate screen size of a Galaxy note II and yes, iOS 8 is much better than iOS 7. But really, much of what Apple has done is catch up.
In the past, Apple told the Android community that it knew best. It offered a taller, not wider phone with the introduction of the iPhone 5 which in a way told people who asked for a wider phone that they didn't know what they needed. Only Apple did.
But now, Cupertino has made it obvious that it will listen to customers and "borrow" much more from the Android community as needed.
Android users will tell you that many of the new "breakthroughs" that Apple is touting like NFC have been available on their devices for years. And yes, they are absolutely correct. But for with these new 6 models, Apple users who like iMessage and use iCloud get better hardware to connect them to the ecosystem they know and oftentimes love.
But this month really belongs to Samsung when it comes to innovation. They have screen resolutions which are far superior to even the iPhone 6 Plus, better cameras (front and rear) and they offer an innovation via a curved screen that will prove much more useful as developers start to embrace it.
Apple on the other hand has more or less copied. This doesn’t mean Apple won’t sell a zillion new devices as a result, it just shows that post-Steve Jobs that the company seems to be saying, we can copy some of the other guy’s ideas without damaging our company.
This is a huge deal because it means the OS wars will get far more competitive over time as companies will hopefully spend less time litigating and more time innovating. And those innovations will get "emulated" by the others over time.
Today, Larry Ellison announced he will step down as Oracle CEO, handing over the reins to co-presidents Mark Hurd and Safra Catz, who will now report directly to the board. In the late eighties/early nineties I was a database programmer here at TMC and had to decide between Oracle and Informix – two of the more popular relational databases at the time. I made the decision to go with Informix because Oracle was in the middle of an SEC investigation relating to how the reported forward earnings.
At the time, companies were far more siloed… A database company was a database company. What Oracle was able to do under the vision and leadership of Larry Ellison is nothing short of staggering. They changed the way software companies operated.
Instead of partnering with other software companies, they acquired and acquired and acquired.
They showed a single-function database company could go from one small segment of the market to owning not only much of the software space but with the Sun acquisition, they showed they could sell hardware successfully as well.
Now Oracle is in just about any business you can think of from marketing automation to cloud to session border control.
Oracle isn’t perfect – it is very big which means it is tough for them to move quickly. But what they have shown is they can acquire a massive number of companies and integrate them better than just about any company out there – they have been even more successful at M&A; than Cisco which is saying something.
To use a sailing analogy which I think is apt, Oracle has had a lot of wind in its sails thanks to the competitive environment. As the number two software company to Microsoft for much of the time, Oracle seemed to get away with a lot of mergers that might have otherwise been deemed anticompetitive. In other words, there was tremendous benefit to living in the shadow of Microsoft. Especially when it seemed they virtually acquired the entire CRM space in the late nineties and beyond.
Larry Ellison showed companies that they could expand in an almost limitless way and in the process keep customers happy and make employees and shareholders wealthy. He is a man of vision and should get more credit for what he has done. I wish him well in his new role as CTO and executive chairman of the board.
I've been on the road in Vegas and California over the past ten days or so. Here are my thoughts.
The Venetian Rocks
First off, the Venetian has remodeled its rooms and they are amazingly comfortable and some of the quietest ones on the strip. Interesting coincidence, I ran into Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands, the owner of the Venetian while I was in Vegas at lunch.
Moreover, the in-suite WiFi in the Venetian is blazing-fast, some of the best you will find in any hotel. Very impressive. Perhaps my only complaint about the hotel is there is a step between the two portions of the suite which I am sure has led to lots of falls.
No Plastic Bags for you
Heading from Las Vegas to San Francisco is really an interesting change as California passed a law some time back outlawing plastic bags. Not a law to try to promote economic growth or to increase hiring but target #1 is the lowly plastic bag – poor bastard.
I had the opportunity to go to a grocery store more than once and each time I looked for my old-friend, the plastic bag and then remembered… He was nowhere to be found. At Safeway, one of the supermarkets out there, I ended up paying 10 cents for a very large paper bag instead . I am sure this is great for environment but it’s certainly a pain in the rear for shoppers.
Tech can beat traffic
Many people out in the Valley complained about the traffic. Other than just after a bubble burst or a financial crisis, this is a normal concern for that area. I have to thank Waze for navigating me around 101 when needed to get me to my meetings on time. It was a real champ.
Thanks 24 Hour Fitness
Speaking of champs, thank you 24 Hour Fitness… You have been there for me in LA and now northern California. My experience with this gym has been great, the workers are well-trained, the facilities are clean and of course they are always open.
Like it or not, you’re investing in GM
Getting back to traffic, when I landed I had the option of changing my rental car to an electric for an additional daily fee. I considered it – because I wanted to try it out. The car that they offered had a range of 70-80 miles though. This is likely something Hertz shoul dhave volunteered but didn't. I had to look it up. Moreover, it was a Chevy... A Spark. I of course had some qualms about renting a car that GM makes based on many of their past issues.
Interesting thing about the company… Their cars got so bad over the years that the American consumer didn't buy enough of them to keep them in business. So the federal government stepped in to bail them out – basically forcing people who didn’t want to buy their cars to pay for them to stay in business. Credit goes to Andrew Wilkow for this observation BTW.
Having said all that, the design of many of the new Cadillacs and Corvettes is quite impressive – even worth considering if you get past the ignition switch lawsuit.
Electrics make sense in California
I really never had an electric car so I wasn’t sure how the charging works. I knew I would be driving more than 80 miles and had no clue where I would charge it. It turns out that many of the places I visited had spots in the front of the building for electric cars and even some chargers. I wasn’t sure what the protocol was though – what happens if you are low on power and all the chargers are taken?
Its worth mentioning an electric car allows you to drive in the HOV lane as well – a nice plus to minimize traffic depending on where you live.
Lots of Green PR
Another interesting thing about California is how much PR is dedicated to conservation. I saw numerous billboards about how the airport is saving water or how a company is saving electricity, etc. It is so counter to the east coast where we don’t consider these things as often.
This gets me to hiking… California trails such as those near and including Hazelnut Trail in San Pedro Valley Park are manicured, taken care of and designed with, for the most part, flat walking paths. There is more attention paid to these little details out there.
On the way out to the west, JetBlue had no Fly-Fi WiFi but on the way back, they did and I actually saw (ookla) download speeds of between 4-14 Mbps and this cost me $9 per hour. I am not sure if this is a good relative price or not considering the entry-level service is free but it is very impressive nonetheless. Having said that, the WiFi did cut in and out a few times making it less reliable than GoGo – at least on this flight.
Speaking of new tech… The Valley is abuzz in new energy and excitement as always. There is so much investment money though that incumbent players are having to deal with many competitors who aren’t concerned about making money. This is a problem I last saw during the dotcom days. Experience tells us these sorts of business changes – where something other than profitability drives investment, tend to end badly.
Still, there is a ton of innovation and lots of opportunity and I can’t wait for my next trip out there on or before I got out to WebRTC Expo November 18-20.
Last night, GENBAND hosted a gala premiere at Ruby Skye in San Francisco for its official Kandy launch - the transitional solution from the communications hardware company which positions them as a seller of cloud-solutions. The point of the event was two-fold... Establish the brand Kandy into the minds of attendees who consisted of the media, analysts, customers and partners and also to show off the partner ecosystem which is beginning to flourish.
The company seemed to nail it on both parts - the extravagant event was not inexpensive and it was choreographed perfectly. Many attendees told me they couldn't believe the investment. To me, this shows the importance of Kandy to the company.
At one point in fact CEO David Walsh took the stage and explained that Kandy was in development for over a year but the company didn't release it until it was ready.
There were numerous demos... Some focused on ecommerce and collaboration as well as screen-sharing. My favorite however was Toy Genius where I witnessed a remote-agent interacting with a potential customer. She was then able to push promotional videos of products she thought the customer would be interested in to a tablet. At that point she could even fast forward the videos as needed and even add items to the customer's cart. Doug Mohney covered Toy Genius recently - it's worth a read.
At the same kiosk there was a medical demo (pictured above) which prompted the patient to place their finger in a device which checked pulse and blood-oxygen levels. From there it used AI to ask questions from the patient and if needed started a two-way conversation with a medical practitioner. The medical person could also push videos - instructional ones to show the patient how a drug might interact in the body or even show a procedure which the patient should engage in at home.
GENBAND obviously has high hopes for Kandy and the event was certainly more evidence of this fact. Now it is up to the ecosystem. We'll see how it develops and expends the company's communications vision in new and exciting ways.
This is part of a more bewildering law Penal Code 630-638 that seems to be designed to make it exceedingly difficult to do business in the state.(a) Every person who, intentionally and without the consent of all parties to a confidential communication, by means of any electronic amplifying or recording device, eavesdrops upon or records the confidential communication, whether the communication is carried on among the parties in the presence of one another or by means of a telegraph, telephone, or other device, except a radio, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison, or by both that fine and imprisonment. If the person has previously been convicted of a violation of this section or Section 631, 632.5, 632.6, 632.7, or 636, the person shall be punished by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
The challenge for business owners is they need to record calls for many reasons such as quality control and government compliance. Now, it is potentially illegal to record such calls without the consent of the caller.
Then there is the importance of keeping a record of all calls for the caller's own protection. A defense from sexual and other forms of harassment for example.
I spoke about this issue with Don Palmer, CEO of SIP PRINT and he told me that the law primarily affects outbound calls and was passed early last year. I asked him about inbound calls and he said you need to have an auto-attendant to tell people all calls will be recorded. The question I posed was what if a caller calls and hears the greeting but doesn't consent. He said it may be that by continuing the conversation you are consenting but this could be a legal grey area. You may see this as an opportunity to call a lawyer to be sure you are on the right side of this law.
The lawyers love this law... TMC recently reported that Bass Pro Outdoor World has been added to other companies such as Applebee's and Capitol One which are part of a class-action suit relating to this law which has resulted in a $6 million dollar settlement so far.
Here is the challenge for such laws... You are a collections company making a phone call to collect. You tell the recipient of the call that staying on the line will result in their consent regarding the call being recorded. If the person does not consent, they can hang up. So how exactly does one collect from a person in this situation? Friend them on Facebook? Twitter? Drive to their house?
Then there is compliance - many of these regulations (HIPAA, SOX) require all calls to be recorded. If you are a stockbroker calling a client to discuss their portfolio and they don't agree to the call being recorded (think Martha Stewart sounding like a lion roaring underwater) there is no way the call can take place. The client would have to drive to the office to make the transaction happen.
This reminds me - in countries like Iran, stocks are bought and sold not generally electronically but over a cup of tea with the other party. It seems California, the source of much of the world's advanced technology has plunged some of the state's business transactions into the third-world.
You may recall a commercial for Faberge Organic shampoo from decades back where the person using the shampoo said when you like it and try it, you tell 2 friends and so on. This is the exact idea which came to mind when I met with Lara Albert and Olly Downs of Globys. They told me recently that the company made some Social graph augmentations to their Globys Mobile Occasions solution. These contextual marketing platform advancements help carriers increase their understanding of the viral impact of social interactions.
In fact the company found that when a person purchases a SIM card for a single-use application such as a temporary number associated with an eBay or Craigslist ad, you can reduce churn by crediting the customer’s account before the balance runs out. As a result, what happens is the social sphere increases as the phone is used more often and as a result, more people have this phone number. This then makes the number stickier and more difficult to abandon.
The slide below shows how a person's network expands over time and as a result of an increased balance on their account. (This test was done in APAC)
Of course the company’s platform can be used in more ways beyond this – it can group people together based on purchasing propensities and also can measure social influence. In other words, it can help determine that a low-usage customer is responsible for helping make purchasing decisions for 50 or more family members.
A few of the latest trends in tech are big data and marketing automation… Globys straddles these two disciplines nicely allowing carriers to generate more revenue from their customer base. In the process, it can help them grow nicely through the viral power of social sharing - 2 friends or more at a time.
“From the moment you get up in the morning, you start to make decisions and I believe people love to engage through asking questions and getting answers,” said Bruce Hendrix, CEO and cofounder of Saepta, a new company with a focus on providing quick and easy surveys to the masses. The company’s website in-fact seems to be a social media hub for opinions.
While taking surveys isn’t new – people have been doing this for years, Saepta wants to differentiate itself by providing short and simple ones which are powered by social media and are transparent. They believe they have easier-to-build surveys than the competition and their ability to quickly share and even embed them sets their solution apart from other services. The key it seems is to not have a survey with too many choices.
One of the reasons the company was founded in fact was because Twitter surveys are typically awkward. According to Hendrix, often they request you respond to question XYZ with a hashtag such as #XYZno or #XYZyes. Obviously this isn’t a visually appealing way to tally results.
Compared to the competition, the company wants its surveys to be transparent and honest says Kihn and as a result they have technology which minimizes the ability to vote repeatedly. In other words, a single person can’t click on the same selection over and over to skew results. In my testing, the system worked well but I was able to fool it once (and thus vote twice but not more) by logging out.
Content is king said Greg Kihn as he went on to describe this as a powerful benefit of the platform. In short, it builds user-generated content through quick and efficient surveys which can be used to provide laser-targeted content. Moreover, this is the exact sort of information your audience should be interested in.
Who is Greg Kihn, well, I didn’t know when I was on the call because, apparently I either don’t pay enough attention or I got too caught up in my prior meeting to prep effectively for the most recent call. He is a musician that I listened to and liked back in the day… I just didn’t remember him as well as I should have. Thanks to Google and YouTube, I now recall he sang the Break Up Song and Jeopardy among others. He is referred to by the company as their celebrity “Saepta Emissary”
This of course explains why he was a bit more gregarious and outgoing than a typical PR person I encounter on such calls (Many times they are recent college grads who just learned to sleep without a night light.)
OK, I am now officially embarrassed.
Kihn went on to say content is now more fun than ever – he then discussed how he uses Saepta to generate more interest on his blog.
How simple is it to use? I set up an account and even posted a question while I was on the call with them. It was that easy to do; Only took a few minutes. I then shared it. Check it out below.
You may be wondering who should use such a service. The reality is virtually everyone. Use it to query customers to see if they want a new product or service you're thinking about rolling out. Use it in HR to determine if your workers want a change to benefits. Use it to discuss current events with your followers.
Here is the amazing thing. I posted a survey with the following question:
With the latest Home Depot breach and those at Target and iCloud, etc, do you feel companies don't care enough about security?
The answers I offered were:
- They could care less.
- The hackers are smarter than they are.
In a few hours a commenter PCComf said the options are bad. After a brief reflection period, I agreed and added:
- They care but not enough.
Once I did this, the survey numbers reset and started over, which makes sense and backs up the transparency argument the company made in one of the few calls I had with them.
Its worth pointing out Saepta works with Facebook, Twitter and other social networks as well as blogs and emails so it is platform independent.
Content marketing is becoming crucial and quick and easy surveys are a rapid way to generate quality content that search engines and users crave. Imagine the possibilities – a company can find out if customers think that orange sneakers will be trendy this fall or that super-tall iced lattes will be a hit in the summer. Really, the potential for using the surveys is unlimited and for right now they are free to use. Expect more freemium features over time.
At TMC’s Wearable Tech Expo event this past summer in NYC I had a chance to meet Katy Kasmai who heads up UbiTech, the company behind the Google Glass Hackathon in New York. This next event takes place September 6-7, 2014 – basically next week and has a bunch of prizes associated with it such as $1,000 from Augmate for an enterprise supply chain application.
The price is $25 per person and the event is at WeWork Park South.
I had a chance to interview Katy at the Wearable Tech Expo conference where she explained how she got involved with this market and went on to talk about some important points regarding Glass and associated applications.
Just as the iPhone helped turn phones into application-centric devices, Google Glass looks like it will be the product that makes many of us want to wear smart glasses. Just like with any device, once the killer apps come along, we wonder how we ever lived without them.
Hackathons like this will no doubt spawn some new and exciting applications which will make smartglasses that much more more indispensable.
Some of my early conversations about the M2M and IoT space with carriers had them explaining to me how they love these growing markets because they allow their legacy networks to be utilized to generate additional revenue. In addition, M2M products didn’t come with customer service costs associated with retail customers.
Fast forward some years and the case is now being made that it is smarter to roll out M2M and IoT solutions on LTE networks. The reason? Basically, legacy networks eventually get mothballed and when they do your sensor network may need to be upgraded. This can be a colossal pain in the rear so it is obviously better to plan a bit more upfront and have less headaches down the road.
For many years I have met with Altair Semiconductor and they would explain their position on the future of networks. They believe 4G LTE only chips are the way to go.
Here is my history covering the company... If you go far back enough - they were once focused on WiMAX chips - in 2008 and in 2009. Then when LTE won the war, they refocused and touted wins in 2013. Earlier this year they told me IoT will be an important part of their future.
The company certainly has done well with its LTE strategy and based on this track record, their ideas are certainly worth consideration. Here is my interview with Eran Eshed from the recent ITEXPO M2M Evolution event in Las Vegas where he details the company's vision for success in the M2M and IoT spaces.
What would you do if you started to Google your name and Google was to suggest you complete the query with the word scammer, fraud or crook?
While Google contends with lawsuits around the globe relating to autocomplete suggestions which are deemed libelous, one has to wonder if it isn’t possible to easily set up a campaign to smear anyone or any company. Google argues that features like autocomplete can’t be libelous because they utilize an algorithm which uses information from Google+ and user searches.
The obvious question which hasn’t been addressed however is if one can get away with fraud in the advertising business, why not in the autocomplete business? In fact if you have networks at your disposal which are responsible for manually clicking on search results and ads, you can bring these same assets to bear when pulling off autocomplete fraud.
Moreover, automated botnets could be used to assist in such an endeavor.
The point here is whether the “algorithm defense” should be allowed if the data is at best imperfect.
This question will have to be sorted out by courts and if you are interested in learning more, check out this article about how the legal system in Germany, Italy and Hong Kong have addressed the Google autocomplete libel issue already.
I reached out to Reputation.com to get their take on this issue but couldn’t immediately get a response from their PR department. It is vacations season after all. I then decided to reach out to Carrie Majewski (pictured) who heads up TMC’s ContentBoost division to get her take. She has this to say, “When it comes to protecting your brand against an auto-complete smear campaign, your best line of defense is to have a fully-baked content marketing strategy. Compelling custom copy is your first weapon against negative brand chatter. If you inundate cyber space with insightful, thought leadership-worthy content pieces (i.e. blogs, videos, white papers), you increase your likelihood of positive phrases being associated with your brand in the auto-complete query.”
What Carrie suggests makes a lot of sense but puts the onus on each of us – company, person, etc. to ensure we are pushing out lots of positive information about ourselves to minimize the chances that someone can target you through autocomplete fraud. Likewise for negative Yelp and other reviews of your establishment. Just as importantly, there is bound to be negative and positive information relating to everyone and every company. Very few people haven’t done something at some point which they don’t want shared publicly. Once again, pushing out the good is the best defense for now. Perhaps one day, it will become easier for people around the globe to delete data from Google’s autocomplete database.
BTW, the Content Boost team is utilized by many companies in the tech space - we are the back-end of their social media, white papers etc. We even write many stories which you read as contributed stories on other industry sites!
It's not just tech companies though, we work with organizations of all types. Once again, here is a sampling of what they do... Hope you enjoy.
The Acer Aspire Switch 10 two-in-one touchscreen tablet/laptop may be the ultimate device for students and consumers. In short, it offers all the good of a PC meaning you can run full Microsoft Office applications like Word and Excel and at the same time it is a touchscreen tablet which can be used for media consumption. It runs Flash so all the challenges many other tablets have with this Adobe creation aren’t a problem. It is fast. Much faster than you would expect from a device that starts at $350. It is infinitely configurable as a media consumption device as the tablet inserts into a keyboard both front and rear-facing and can also be used in a tent configuration.
There are drawbacks… The laptop has on 2 GB of memory but in tests of opening many apps with 10+ browser tabs open, this didn’t prove to be a problem. The tablet is heavier than the keyboard which means the device can tip backwards on occasion. The $350 price gets you only 32 GB of storage, $400 gets you 64 GB but you can insert a USB drive in the keyboard, a Micro USB drive in the tablet and/or a Micro SD card to add more memory. Having said that, hours of research haven’t shown me how large a capacity Micro SD drive the device will support but one commenter in a forum said they used a 128GM model. The company did not respond to my request for this information – I will update if they do. It’s also worth noting there are myriad cloud services you can use for extra storage as well – including one Acer provides.
Battery life is another issue as real-world testing pegs it in the 5-6 hour range (the company claims 8). Moreover, the screen does need to be on a very bright setting to be easily read meaning you may not get away with dimming the screen to extend battery life.
When compared to an iPad or Android tablet or even a Chromebook, this device wins in most every case where productivity is needed. The reason is, you get full Microsoft Office with all the keyboard shortcuts which make you that much quicker at working. The iPad version of Office is extremely limited and Google Docs still aren’t at the level of polish as what Microsoft delivers. Moreover, on an iPad you could pay up to $100/year for the honor of using Office since you have to purchase an Office 365 subscription. Moreover, this is a recurring annual fee. On the Switch, Office for Home & Student is included.
It’s worth noting there are far fewer apps in the Microsoft App store as opposed to Google or Apple. This is in a large part offset by the ability to run all websites – those with Flash included.
This brings us to competition with a laptop.
The Macbook Air is a premium laptop for education but if a user is familiar with Windows, there is a learning curve which is required for what many believe is an easier OS to navigate. It’s also expensive at a starting price of $900. To make up for the premium, there is tight integration with iOS which is great for FaceTime and iMessage users.
The downside is no stylus or touch support on Macs.
Windows 8.1 is not perfect… It is like having a computer with multiple personalities. Perhaps though, this is the point. For many productivity apps you can use it as a Windows 7 machine but when you want to use touch apps, you can access the app store and take advantage of a different interface. It isn’t that unlike what many people do when they create documents on a laptop and then take a break to play Angry Birds on a phablet or tablet.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about this device is the price. The computer can come bundled with Office Home & Student and starts at $350 meaning you are paying only $210 for a full-powered touch-enabled 10” laptop/tablet/hybrid which runs Flash and Office applications. The weight is also amazingly light at 2.6 pounds and the tablet is just 8.9 mm in thickness (thinness?). The iPad Air is 7.5 mm thick and costs $599 for the 32 GB model. Add another $100 or so for a solid keyboard which means you are paying the equivalent of Acers.
Even if you can afford a $900 Macbook Air, by the time you factor in software, you can buy almost three Aspire Switch 10s! Some might say there is just no justification for spending the extra money for the Macbook unless you must have the longer battery life. Ditto for the iPad Air. Moreover, if this is truly a post-PC era thanks to Apple, then doesn’t that mean touch interfaces have won out over non-touch? Why would a non-touch computer need to cost so much more?
There are a few other things to point out. Asus really invented this category with its T100 Transformer device which is similar, has a bit better battery life but doesn’t have all the viewing and configuration options. I anticipate Asus will have a Switch killer in the near future. Also, the processor the Acer uses is the Intel Atom Z3745 processor (1.33GHz/1.86GHz w/Burst technology), not a core i3 or Core i5, etc. If you are a processor snob or plan to do video editing then this could be a deal breaker for you. Then again, if this is the desired use-case, you should be looking at another class of machine anyway. But as a consumer device – for the kitchen table, for grade school, high school or even college, this a great product.
If you are thinking about using it in your office, the downside is Outlook 2013 is not included and would likely suck up too much memory to make the device as useful. The included email client does work fine and if you are a user of Gmail or another cloud service, this may not be an issue.
Very few products made by Acer were real breakthroughs… The company has generally been a conservative tech producer. While the Aspire Switch 10 isn’t very revolutionary, it has helped change the value proposition for the entire tech market. I truly believe that the Chromebook, Ultrabook and iPad space should take a hit because this device exists. It’s that good and offers that much of a value.
A few weeks back Dan Borislow passed away from a heart attack after a soccer game. Dan gave me one of the most gracious interviews I ever had. It was years back and I remember it like it was yesterday. His passion for what he was doing was like few others and you could see he was one of those people who could almost will themselves into success.
As CEO, he was a pioneer in popularizing MagicJack to the masses through ridiculously low pricing and controversial infomercials. He was truly a visionary in the IP communications market and brought low-cost communications to many millions around the world. Dan too was controversial as he has been said to "never sugar-coat anything."
As far as my relationship with him goes, he was a fantastic person and great to deal with.
RIP Dan Borislow, you will be missed and remembered. Here is more about his unfortunate passing.
While speech-technology has come a long way, we still haven’t entered the world of Star Trek reruns where the computer can do truly useful things through voice interactions. A big step in the right direction comes from a new app from N.L.P. LLP called HER. Yes, Siri works well for many things but if you tell it you want to buy an iPad Mini with Retina Display, it tells you to check out Apple.com which isn’t the best mobile experience if you want to buy something quickly.
The company’s website is humans-first.com but in the app stores the app HER is listed as being from N.L.P which stands for for natural language processing. The company bases its innovative app on its own ColdSmoke SaaS platform which maps natural language to web services APIs. They also provide a Software Developer Kit (SDK) to quickly bring new NLP-based apps to market.
In testing, results were generally good. When I first asked to purchase an iPad Mini with Retina display I immediately got to see iPad Minis from Amazon.com. Subsequently the same query sent me to Best Buy and showed me iPad Mini cases and accessories. Then again, this is what could happen when you search on the site of Best Buy or Amazon using a keyboardl. I just wonder how the service nailed it on my first try.
How to book a flight with HER
Searching for a hotel in Vegas worked flawlessly. Still, we aren’t talking “Star Trek” or “Jeopardy” smart as when I asked for the most expensive hotels in Las Vegas, it returned the same results as my initial search.
Quite often, one service excels at a specific task while another isn’t as good. For example, some mapping apps are more accurate than others due to their up-to-date database while others are better at showing traffic alerts.
HER (Google Play, iOS) is something you should consider putting on your list of apps to try when you want to make a hotel reservation or buy something on the go. As it evolves, I hope that one day it will be a service that truly reminds us of Star Trek.
This is the first opportunity the world will have to meet him. If you run a data center or manage telco operations or deal with the back-end of a HFT operation or CDN, you'll want to be there.
Likewise for media, analysts and bloggers.
Hope to see you at the conference.
Tuesday, August 12, 10:45-11:30am.
Related tags: fiber mountain
With an aging population around the world, the potential for strokes, falls and other medical problems which leave a person unable to reach help, only increases. As a result, the need for a device you wear all the time – something small and light increases as well.
This category of product in fact is likely one of the first in the M2M space otherwise known as IoT.
I recently had a chance to try out the Securus eResponder Mobile Personal Emergency Response System, a device name which apparently is designed as a filter. If you can remember it, you likely are young enough not to actually need it.
But joking aside, falling - breaking a bone and being stuck, is no laughing matter and many of us, including me, have family members who have suffered through such a problem.
My job, as a reviewer was to try it out and see how well it worked.
Based on the T-Mobile network, the device allows instant connections with a central office which can help you through emergencies. In my testing, I left it uncharged for weeks and occasionally pressed the panic button to see what would happen. I always reached someone immediately, told them there was no emergency and tried to get off the line quickly so people with real emergencies could get through. Call quality was great and it was loud enough for someone who is hard of hearing.
The pendant is about as small as an ice cube and perhaps lighter and is shower-safe... No, I didn't shower with it. It can last up to two months on a charge according to the company – although mine didn’t last quite that long.
User information is stored in the call center which is helpful. They always mentioned my name when I connected. In addition, to help responders, users can provide emergency information like allergies, medications, preferred hospitals, and lockbox entry codes as well as five emergency contacts.
The biggest challenge with the device may be there is no way to tell how much battery life is left. Instead, the service itself is designed to alert you through email or phone if battery levels are low. In fact, eResponder automatically collects battery level and cellular strength every 24 hours.
Below is an email you might receive if the battery is low as well as a look at the battery report from my device.
In a world where everything of value is to be connected to the internet, devices like these protect some of the most important assets we have… Our loved ones.
BMW is working to build a charging network and unlike Tesla who is using proprietary tech, they are utilizing the SAE Combo 1 plug inlet that American and German automakers have adopted for quick charging. Using this system, a battery will reach 80% charge in 30 minutes which is still way too-long when compared to gas. Still, if you believe electric cars are the future, then the proprietary versus open debate will likely be important to you. Typically it is the open system that wins.
Expect adapters to eventually be available to plug any car into any charging station. For now though it seems you'll have to hope the charging station near you, works with your particular vehicle.
Here is an excerpt from a related article on the matter from Wired worth reading:
The 24 kilowatt BMW i DC Fast Charger, developed with Bosch Automotive, can charge the i3’s battery up to 80 percent in 30 minutes. Compared to other chargers on the market, the BMW version is quite small: 31 inches tall, 19 inches wide and 12 inches deep. It weighs just 100 pounds, light enough to be mounted without reinforcing the wall or pouring extra concrete.
“It’s more or less standard technology,” says Cliff Fietzek, BMW North America’s manager for connected e-mobility, just in a smaller package. The tradeoff is the lower voltage (24kW instead of the 50 or more other quick chargers offer) and a slightly longer charge time. Fietzek says the reduced weight and cost are well worth it.
That’s because a broad charging network is key to BMW’s long-term plan to sell electric cars; developing a lightweight, cheap charger is the way to do that as quickly as possible, says Rob Healy, BMW’s EV infrastructure manager. That’s true even though the i3, with a claimed range between 80 and 160 miles (depending upon whether you get the internal combustion range extender, which makes the car something like a Chevrolet Volt), is meant to be used for daily commuting, not long distance trips. While most owners will charge overnight at home, its reassuring (and convenient) to have the option of charging on the road. “The visibility and availability of public chargers really helps from the customer perspective of range anxiety,” Healey says.