DigitalOutbox Episode 55
In this episode the team discuss Antennagate, Windows Phone 7, Times Paywall and Xbox Kinect.
2:04 – Anttenagate
– Featured on Top Gear
– Consumer Reports can’t recommend it
– Worse, Apple deleting numerous threads in support discussions about this
– Not the first time this has happened – horrible way to treat customers
– Rumours that in the face of this, it HAS to be recalled
– “It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I’m okay with that,” said Kevin Turner, Microsoft’s chief operating officer, in a keynote speech at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), which runs through Thursday in Washington, D.C.
– But I don’t know of anyone, anywhere returning the iPhone or saying their call reception is worse
– PR disaster
– 4.0.1 released – new formula for reception bars, taller and fatter now
– Surely a phone works or doesn’t? Do bars matter?
– Press Conference
– Started with the iPhone Antenna Song – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKIcaejkpD4
– Then – Steve Jobs – “You know . . . we’re not perfect.”
– 3 million sold in 3 weeks
– This problem isn’t an iPhone problem – it’s an industry problem
– Apple spent $100 million in testing facility
– Also affects Blackberry, Android, Nokia
– (see http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2010/07/17/can-you-make-your-current-phone-lose-signal-depending-on-how-you-hold-it/)
– ‘Jesus, it must be a lot of users complaining about this’ — So what percentage have called AppleCare? 0.55% Just one half of one percent.”
– “In the early days of the iPhone 3GS return rates were 6%… below the average, we were happy with that… so for the iPhone 4? You think half the people must be returning their phones with what you read online… well it’s 1.7% — less than a third of the 3GS returns.”
– “Even though we think the iPhone 4 is superior to the 3GS antenna… it drops more calls per 100 than the 3GS. We’re being transparent. So how many more does it drop than the 3GS?” “This is hard data… the iPhone 4 drops less than one additional call per 100 than the 3GS. Less than one.”
– The first part is the software update, that fixes the way the bars report and other bugs, that’s out now. Second, people said the bumper fixes everything… ‘why don’t you give everybody a case’? Okay — we’ll give you a free case.”
– “We’re going to send you a free case. We can’t make enough bumpers. No way we can make enough in the quarter. So we’re going to source some cases and give you a choice.” Refund if you’ve already bought one
– “And if you’re not happy, you can bring the phone back. We’ll give you a full refund within 30 days. No restocking fee. We want to make everyone happy, and if we can’t make you happy we’ll give you a full refund.”
– Summary – Yes, it’s a problem but not exclusive to the iPhone however people don’t care as we can’t make enough to sell. We’ve had less returns than our previous bet selling phone which no one complained about. Still, we love our customers and we want to please them – they have been asking for a free bumper so they are going to get one.
– Expert in PR strikes again?
– iPhone 4 perspective: .55% in this case is 165,000 complaints. 1.7% returns is 51,000 phones, +1 per hundred is at least 30K dropped calls.
– Tabloid journalism or the press getting their own back?
– Nothing better than kicking the big guys
– I love how most of the tweets I’m reading that are negative are from non iPhone 4 owners
– And what of those PR experts that said a recall was the only solution. Looking pretty dumb now.
18:18 – Windows Phone 7 Preview
– No caveats now: Windows Phone 7 is a waste of time and money. It’s a platform that no carrier, device maker, developer, or user should bother with. Microsoft should kill it before it ships and admit that it’s out of the mobile game for good. It is supposed to ship around Christmas 2010, but anyone who gets one will prefer a lump of coal. I really mean that.
– Seeing the UI in action across several tasks, not just in a highly controlled presentation, shows how awkward and unsophisticated it is
– And it’s not just the UI: Under the hood, Windows Phone 7 rests on creakingly old technology that the main competitors have all moved past.
– I was appalled, flummoxed, and stupefied by what I saw and the answers to the questions from the 15 or so developers in the audience. Also, it should be noted that minuscule attendance and the utter lack of passion in the room spoke volumes about Windows Phone 7’s ultimate fate as well. By comparison, about five times as many people attended a session on WebOS.
– The bottom line is this: Windows Phone 7 is a pale imitation of the 2007-era iPhone. It’s as if Microsoft decided in summer 2007 to copy the iPhone and has shut its developers in a bunker ever since, so they don’t realize that several years have passed, that the iPhone has advanced, and that competitors such as Google Android and Palm WebOS have also pushed the needle forward. Microsoft is stuck in 2007, with a smartphone OS whose feature checklist might match that era’s iPhone but whose fit and finish would look like a Pinto next to a Maserati.
– Engadget preview
– Much more positive
– Idea’s are half baked which is a big risk for MS
– Gizmodo agree – a good, really good – raw components to build a great smartphone
24:10 – Wired predicts the iPad
– “The next iMac attac promises new lollipop laptops, a more serious series of professional machines, and a wireless handheld dubbed the iPad”
25:27 – Broadband Britain Delayed
– The government has dumped a commitment to deliver universal access to 2Mbit/s broadband by 2012.
– The culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said this morning that the previous government had failed to allocate enough funding to meet the schedule.
26:38 – The Times Paywall
– report from the web analytics firm Experian Hitwise that showed that two thirds of the Times and Sunday Times web traffic had melted away after the paywall went up at the beginning of the month.
– If true, better than expected by Times management who expected 90% drop
– But then this afternoon a site called Beehive City had some figures that may have made the champagne go flat at the Times. According to the site, just 15,000 people have signed up to pay for access to the papers’ two websites – and don’t forget that there was an opening offer of £1 for 30 days.
– Beehive City says more than 150,000 registered during the free trial period but it appears that only a small minority then opted to pay. The Times won’t confirm these figures, so why should we taken any notice of an obscure website?
As an aside…..
– BBC ‘rip off’ in perspective: licence fee = £2.80/wk (for TV, radio, websites). New Times paywall = £2/wk (for two websites).
32:36 – Amazon – EBook Outsells Hardcovers
– Amazon.com customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books—astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months.
– Bezos again: “The growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189.”
36:33 – Google Remains in China
– China consider Google’s latest tweaks satisfactory and have renewed their operating licence that lets them operate within the largest internet market.
– The “tweak” was basically to stop automatically forwarding from the chinese to the HongKong domain and instead have a manual click through.
– In reality, it doesn’t mean that Chinese citizens will get un-censored internet – the Chinese firewall prevents actual access to sites it doesn’t like but Google at least offers uncensored results.
– In a statement, Google made it clear that although it’s abiding by Chinese law, it’s not censoring.
“The products we are keeping on Google.cn (Music, Translate, Product Search) do not require any censorship by Google,” the company said in a statement. “All other products, like Web search, we are offering from Google.com.hk, and without censorship.”
38:21 – Terrorist Takedown
– Blogetery.com shut down – closing some 70,000 blogs – without notice by it’s ISP following FBI contact related to “links to terrorist material” and an al-Qaeda “hit-list”
– Platform owners/users given no notice.
– “The posted material, in addition to potentially inciting dangerous activities, specifically violated the BurstNet acceptable use policy”
41:26 – Jolicloud
– Web-Based Jolicloud OS Reaches 1.0
– OS is now completely built on HTML 5
– pre-dates Google’s forthcoming “Chrome OS” by well over a year
– ability to run both Web-based applications alongside traditional desktop apps like Skype
– provides access to files previously stored on the computer’s hard drive prior to the Jolicloud upgrade, so you don’t have to worry with backing up your files and photos before making the switch. (Although you should, just to be safe). In the future, Jolicloud plans to offer tools to move these files from the computer’s hard drive to the cloud prior to the upgrade, during the setup process
– 700 apps available in included App Centre
– Thanks to the OS’s Web-based nature, if you choose to install Jolicloud on multiple machines, your settings will remained synchronized between the devices as to how your apps are organized, which you’ve installed, which you’ve deleted, etc.
43:49 – Xbox S and Kinect Prices
– Sell out on launch day
– Retailers struggling to get new stock
– Restrictions form MS or a big hit?
48:03 – Old Spice Goes Viral
– Kinnect + Kinect Adventures = £129.99
– Console (4GB) + Kinect + Kinect Adventures = £249.99
– Pricey! £99.99 should have been the one to aim for…maybe thats the cut down price for next year
– No official date but expect November
– A great little utility to make a bootable USB installation of Windows.
– Needed to re-install Windows XP on a Netbook and this utility turned a horrid process into a breeze. (The alternative online process given required 3 separate utilities, many many steps and was command-line driven…)
– Great strategy game
– iPhone only but universal version in development
– Graphics and audio are top notch
– Like Risk but better
– iPad only
– A few maps and modes but it plays very well
– Multiplayer but only local – shame