26 posts • joined Wednesday 3rd February 2010 16:29 GMT
Re: You know what this is, right?
Wait until the fanbois arrive, claiming all that Samsung can do is copy!
Isn't Nokia Microsoft's best friend any longer?
Wow, hadn't we expected Microsoft to give this to Nokia as part of their partnership? Amazed that Nokia didn't negotiate this as part of the Microsoft platform switch. Microsoft is obviously happy for Nokia to go bust and then to buy the elements it wants. That burning platform looks a bit hotter today.
If form factor is all that matters, the poser who will almost certainly buy the original design, an Air. If battery life matters, as it does to most, the purchase will be something else, Apple or Wintel. I might be wrong, but the pricing seems all wrong as does the basic premise. I can't see these selling in volume at all at this price and Apple's new competitive pricing looks as though it will strangle these to death at birth. My guess is that these will also suffer terrible depreciation, which makes them a bad investment too. These need to come in much, much cheaper.
Step backwards from Dell
This is mentalist pricing from Dell. Okay, they'll discount it, but Dell must surely recognise it is playing catch-up and fighting for its life. No Ethernet, no HDMI, no SD card, 1366 x 768, glossy? You must be joking. This thing is a bit thinner, but I bought an i5-2430 Vostro v131 with Ethernet, HDMI, SD card (still annoying it juts out a bit), same resolution but matt and better battery life with a three year on-site warranty for less than £400. My guess is this i7 will run so hot you won't even even be able to use it on your lap.
This pricing and specification reminds me of Xerox on the long road to Chapter 11: "Oh, we're a much bigger brand than HP'; 'We're only £200 more expensive', 'Who wants scaleable fonts or PCL V?', 'We have a superior salesforce', 'We own the corporate market' etc. etc. Dell needs to compete incredibly aggressively on price and specification in the laptop market or they are dead, but, like Xerox, the US-Marketing buzzword bingo speak will probably get in the way until it is too late. Dell needs to be better and cheaper than Apple to succeed and this is more expensive and worse (or certainly not better). The Microsoft tax will probably kill Dell in any case but this looks like suicide.
But what they are actually do is undermining their attempts to differentiate and add value, as the consumer refuses to pay for value added features which aren't going to be properly supported (i.e. why buy the 'twice the price' version (which has much, much better margins than the base model) if it will be obsolete after less than 12 months?). So, the consumer buys cheap, vanilla panels from anywhere and adds media boxes from elsewhere, and LG, Sony and Samsung become reduced to commodity margins - which is exactly the opposite of what they want. The same has has happened in the phone market - consumers are willing to pay a premium for an Apple device due to image, residuals and decent software upgrades, whereas the rest of the market, excepting Samsung to a degree, has trouble even getting cost price for their devices (e.g. Nokia and Sony are selling their phones for less than they cost to manufacture).
Re: Who can "Root" TV's, like Cell Phones?
You'll be amazed at what you can do to Samsung TVs. On my C-series it took about 5 minutes and an old 2.5" USB drive to give it digital recording and the ability to pause live TV. Depending on your expertise and your model you can add all kinds of stuff and turn your TV into different models, regions, etc.
I'm no fanboi, far from it, but Apple rolled out a lot of stuff that Sony, Samsung or LG would have withheld to encourage product replacement. As far as I can remember, Apple supports old devices until they simply can't hack it any longer, which generally has been about three years (though obviously Apple can't give devices hardware capabilities they never had). Compare this with Sony, Samsung and LG. Samsung regularly abandons devices within twelve months (Galaxy Tab, last year's TVs, etc.) Sony was slated for its failure to update devices and it appears that its mobile division has learnt a belated lesson, but TV hasn't. LG has, in my experience, a habit of releasing very capable hardware with appalling, not fit for purpose, software, and not even attempting a bug fix, never mind new capabilities. I've never bought Apple because I don't want to be trapped in its yard, but I might have done differently if I'd known how well they would support existing customers and the impact that would have on residuals and longevity. It isn't just because the phones are pretty (and the 4 ain't). You're right about added functionality as the reason to upgrade, but if the hardware is capable of what you want Apple gives you software upgrades for free. That is a big plus.
I have the same issue with my Samsung C650. Samsung aren't putting Netflix on it in the UK, even though the US has it. It is just annoying, as I can use the XBox instead. I paid less than £300 for the 37" C650 so I'm not hurting. But, would I ever pay a premium for a 'smart' tv? Nope. As you said, plenty of HDMIs and a high quality panel is all that is needed, with a five year guarantee from John Lewis. Then buy a decent media box for less than £100 or a Revo box for less than £200, which can be given to granny or the kids when an upgrade is required. Now the TV manufacturers don't genuinely compete in the standalone media box market at the moment. The first one that does will sell a lot of panels if it offers the best product plus integration with its own TVs (even if it is only remote compatibility, smartphone apps and the fact that folks like stuff that matches).
What makes me laugh is that Samsung and Sony still haven't acknowledged throughout their labyrinthine and organisations that one of Apple's key differentiators is that it does keep on updating its consumer electronics, which increases customer satisfaction, residual values and market share. I've got mates still using four or five year old Apple phones. How many people are using four or five year old Samsung or Sony phones, never mind the even worse support from the other big player in TV, LG? I thought Sony had learnt a lesson when it announced it would update all its 2011 phones to ICS, but once again one bit of Sony learns while another bit fails.
Has anyone ever met any nice employee of Google UK?
Just a question, because I never have. I've met nice people who have worked or work for Microsoft, IBM, even Oracle occasionally, but never Google. Does Google UK have an HR policy that excludes nice people, or have just missed them? Everyone I've ever met who worked or works for Google UK has been a complete wanker: an arrogant and charmless cross between an autistic techie and the worst kind of Yellow Pages salesperson. How come?
Phones like the Xperia Arc S are excellent to use, competitively priced (i.e. much cheaper than either the Samsung or Apple equivalents), get great reviews and have a premium brand (i.e. Sony). Frankly, I don't understand why Sony/SE has such a small market share. Either SE can't produce in volume or their marketing is utterly inept. Can someone please enlighten me?
...it is only 1,000 times. I thought it would be more than that.
AlertMe is half-baked home automation
Home automation never took off in the days of building yourself a computer with a soldering iron, and it isn't going to now. First off AlertMe attempted a half-baked and expensive self-install burglar alarm, which was expensive, unreliable and wasn't suitable if you had pets, but which allowed users to turn their lights and tvs on and off by remote control. It certainly didn't seem to be a big seller and, judging by its support forums, even the beardie-weirdies who appear to have been the only purchasers weren't happy with it.
When that failed, Alert-Me decided to try to ride the green wave by repositioning the same flaky technology as an energy management system, with the useless home automation capabilities as its unique selling point. But you can buy the useful bit just as cheaply elsewhere, and ever since the days of the Nascom ordinary people haven't wanted, needed or bought the ability to turn their lights and televisions on and off by remote control.
The are two common factors in both business models. The first is a greedy attempt to extract an overpriced recurring fee for little more than a web interface. I am sure the Cambridge Angels love what the recurring charge does to the long-term revenue projections, but others are, and will be, less greedy and offer more. The second is an astonishing ability to raise funding using the latest fads as a cloak for what is really still the same old home automation concept. You won't buy their stuff, but if you have a half-baked start-up and want to raise cash these are the guys to call.
Why do MBAs feel they have to announce stuff? Because that is all most of them can do...
Why didn't they just put the PC business quietly up for sale? Now it is going to be trashed, as staff and customers vote with their feet and competitors carve it up for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Why didn't they just reduce the price of the tablets and phones? Now, unsupported and undermined, they won't be able to give them away? Couldn't HP have sold that business, which it paid a lot of money for not that long ago, too?
Wait until this new joker wastes so much money he'll be forced to sell the printer division, which is where the real money is made. HP will need to keep most of its salespeople, accounting and support staff, designers, distribution network, etc., with their associated costs, for the server and printing businesses, even if it gets rid of PCs and mobile/tablet lines. With moves like this it will hang onto the dross and all the good people will be preparing their CVs right now, so they can move to competitors and cannibalise not only the PC business but the server and printer businesses too.
Someone wrote about MBAs. The main problem with MBAs is that they can't keep their Mediocre But Arrogant mouths shut. I've got what is laughingly called a 'top school MBA' and I remember doing a Harvard Business School case study on New Coke. It is widely regarded as a classic case study, where Coke did launched a new formula which its market research showed consumers preferred and would help keep Pepsi under control. It was a disaster. I simply asked 'Why didn't they just change the formula but keep the recipe change a secret - it is a secret recipe after all?' This was treated with amazement, and all the staff said it had never been suggested before. MBAs, the ultimate in style over substance, can't do much more than make announcements, never mind think. So they announce bloody everything. Like here.
DSG = Internet free zone
I, rather stupidly went into Currys recently with £250 burning a hole in my pocket. I was quite interested in the well-reviewed Advent Tablet DSG sell exclusively, which must be a fluke. But I'd read the screen was a bit dodgy and opinion was divided on the iPlayer performance, so decided to take a look. I thought, by now, they must have wifi for testing computers. Surely.
"Can I connect to the internet to see how this performs?", I asked the salesgirl who looked so rough she would probably be turned down for a job as a chugger.
"Of course you can, it will just say 'Page not found'".
WTF I thought. "So, you still don't have wifi? How can people evaluate your technology products?"
"But you can see how the browser performs, you just won't see the page, it will say '404 Page not found'" she replies. I was actually quite surprised because '404 error' was the most impressive display of technical knowledge I had ever encountered in a DSG employee.
At that point I gave up, but I had to ask: "Starbucks sells coffee but has wifi. MacDonalds sells burgers but has wifi. How can you sell computers, routers, etc. but not have wifi?"
She replied with more truth than she knew: "But they have wifi as a service. We don't offer services"
Exactly. If you want any kind of service, don't visit a DSG shop. Why did I go in?
Google's monopoly on search advertising is massive and damaging.
Just look at the impact of local media in the UK. Revenues now flow via tax havens to California with Ireland saying 'thank you very much' to the VAT. Google's corporation tax payments are negligible. Competitors cannot compete with Google's market and technical dominance - even Microsoft, with its billions, cannot compete - if you've ever compared both the capabilities or coverage of Bing/Adsense and Google/AdWords you'll know exactly what I mean.
What is the public benefit derived from Google does sucking advertising and tax revenues from the UK to California? Yes, Google executes its business model brilliantly, but so would five Googles, all competing, innovating and reducing prices. Maybe even a British or European Google?
Google is a tax on the web and industry (plumbers, nurseries, retailers, banks and many other businesses all fund google) and UK plc does not see any meaningful amount of that supernormal revenue stream. Those gargantuan profits are paid by all of us, the money doesn't come from nowhere.
Now, in the time until break-up, the French establishment have had an interesting idea the UK should consider. A specific tax on internet advertising. Watch Google's lobbyists go crazy. Google is a big, dangerous 21st century Yellow Pages, but Yellow Pages is all it is.
You can leave free of penalty and keep your phone
Yes you can. The phone is yours to keep.
T-mobile is in breach of contract law, the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, its own Terms and Conditions (30 days notice - not - epic fail), and Condition 9.3 of its General Licence from OFCOM under the Telecoms Act.
You don't need its permission to leave - it is your right. Just tell T-mobile to stuff it.
I did this last time T-mobile tried this, took them to court and won. I kept my phone and collected a cheque for £430.
T-mobile's behaviour is as unreasonable as you deciding you will pay 1/6 the amount each month. And a judge will see it that way too.
You need to ring them
T-mobile sales on 0800 9565057.
To avoid the T-mobile voicemail charges use the much better and free hullomail. Google it or download the app when you get an Android phone.
You can read much more about the £7.50 deal here:
I, and many others, might have switched to Orange had the tariffs and data allowances been sensible, so they really have shot themselves in the foot here.
Also note that, if you can take in an NHS/Local authority payslip into an Orange shop, Orange will give a £20 discount on the phone (some other organisations are included too).
Don't have to use Orange
You can unlock the San Francisco for free - there is a code generator in the public domain. Else you can pay £1 on ebay. So, do what I did and choose another operator which charges sensible prices - e.g. T-mobile - 600 minutes, 500 texts, unlimited landlines and 3GB internet on 12 month SIM only contract for £7.50 per month. Or, if you don't want to use it as phone, and can live with a maximum of 384Kbps and 1 gig per month get a PAYG SIM from T-mobile and buy a six-month internet top-up for £20.
PS San Francisco is so much better than the other phones, so review flawed, particularly in relation to the amount of RAM and the OLED high-res screen. And going to a decent Orange-free ROM is a fifteen-minute job for a Reg reader.
Heaven knows why Microsoft and Google get such a beating in the mainstream press when Larry Ellison is one of the most odious individuals to walk the face of the Earth. Microsoft may be incapable, but it at least tries to innovate, at which Google is rather successful. Oracle successfully seeks monopolies and then squeezes - innovation is the opposite of what it is about. The purchase of Sun looks increasingly inspired from the perspective of Oracle shareholders, but depressing in the extreme for all others. The influence that Oracle has been able to bring to bear on the once mighty IBM is the greatest illustration.
Then again, Oracle's monopoly will be lazy, and provide others with the opportunity to innovate, particularly on the mobile platform, where Oracle's plans are deeply flawed. Maybe Google is rich and brave enough.
Charlie Dunstone is no fool
He picks the right opponents. First he picked BT - hardly an athletic business adversary.
Now, he picks a fight with Dixons Store Group - hardly the UK's most popular business.
With BT, even when Dunstone totally underestimated demand and cocked up operational delivery, he has still built a massive business.
I imagine it will be much the same with Currys and PC World. Crucially, it is not only the consumers who hate DSG. The PC and electronics businesses do too. They won't be able to wait to give Kalm's old empire a good kick in the goolies.
Any user of the advertising tools provided by Microsoft will tell you they are vastly inferior to those provided by Google. Complete muppetry by Microsoft. The tools feel like they have been written by a couple of clueless graduates to me.
One of the reasons Microsoft succeeded in the OS space was because they paid attention to the needs of developers. The search equivalent is advertisers and what was provided was pants in comparison to Google.
I hate the Google search monopoly but Microsoft is not going to succeed like this. Okay, it might have improved in the nine months since I last looked, but the fact that I've spent thousands on search advertising in the meantime says it all.
Oh, I just went for a look, and adCenter (crap name too) won't support my browser of choice. Talk about turning away customers. Brilliant!