Friday, June 29, 2007

Can You Hype Me Now?

Picture of iPhone 6:00 P.M. CDT and I am no where near an AT&T or Apple Store.  I am sure that there the Apple Fan Boys in Boulder are going crazy right now with their new iPhones.  Other bloggers are going nuts right now with live reports (link and link) from the lines at these stores.  What is sadder is the thousands of people watching the streaming video of people standing in the lines.

I will be so glad when the hype dies down next week and the tech news returns to normal.  Maybe CNET's Buzz Out Loud can go an episode without mentioning the iPhone.  I love gadgets and bleeding edge technology as much as any geek, but the hysteria and hype surrounding the iPhone is more than a Grateful Dead reunion.

I have to extend my admiration to Apple for their marketing and design efforts.  These guys understand the concept of the whole product.  The iPhone builds on the lessons learned from iPod to redefine what we consider a cell phone. I just received my first iPod a few months ago so I can wait until the second generation of iPhone.  The iPhone has some limitations that need to be addressed before I will buy one:

  1. The price needs to come down considerably.
  2. The battery should be user replaceable.
  3. Open access for third party developers including Javascript.
  4. Greater memory for programs and data.
  5. MMS support.
  6. Better voice quality.
  7. Available on other networks like Sprint and Verizon with EV-DO support.

Until they fix these issues, I'll stick with my Samsung A900.  I may have a long wait.

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Finally...Some Common Sense Out of Our Government

Wednesday the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a report called "Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy" recommending that policy makers take a hands-off approach to regulating the Internet.   The report states that the Internet is becoming more competitive, not less; therefore, Congress should let it flourish by not attempting to regulate it.  It cautions lawmakers that their legislation could cause unintended consequences no matter how well intentioned that the legislation may be.

Although it took them 169 pages to say, "No new laws," they came up with the right conclusion.  I have stated in previous blogs that most laws end up plagued by the Law of Unintended Consequences.  So why draft new laws to regulate something that is working well for our economy.  Now the FTC confirmed it.

I would actually like to see a communications company add a differentiated service just to see if the market accepts it.  My assumption would be that third-party VoIP providers would jump at the chance to guarantee a specific quality of service.  If the service fails to catch on, then capitalism works.  It is a non-issue and the Internet survives.

My fear is Congress will ignore this report and take up net neutrality again in the fall session.  Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) is the likely candidate to propose such legislation with the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).  They always think that they know what is best for us and firmly believe that capitalism is flawed.  Let's hope that cooler heads in Congress will heed the FTC's cautionary tale and leave the Internet alone.

TelecomTV - TelecomTV One - News News Blog

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Google To Acquire GrandCentral

TechCrunch reports that Google is in acquisition discussions with GrandCentral.   You may recall that GrandCentral is the company that provides one number with find me/follow me capabilities.  I switched my business number to it several months ago and I have seldom missed a call as a result of it.  I have been tempted to start using it for my personal number as well because of its rule-based engine.

In my last blog article about them, I suggested that GrandCentral integrate with Skype.  A combined product would detect presence, execute a rule, and ring the appropriate phone(s) and/or computer.  Contacts are easily integrated from Outlook without time consuming importing.  You can even decide whether you will let someone chat instead of calling.  Apparently Google saw the value in GrandCentral to add value to Google Talk.

GTalk suffers from the me too syndrome.  There is no compelling reason to use them other than integration with Gmail.  GrandCentral could give GTalk the value to cause users to switch.  Google can add features to detect presence or availablity from Gcal before deciding which phone to ring or send the caller to voice mail.  Voice mail could be played on any phone or in Gmail.  Users could even optionally publish their number with Goog411. 

Purchasing GrandCentral is a great move on Google's part, but bad news for Skype users.  Is there a chance of EBay coming to the rescue?

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