Monday, July 12, 2010

The Future of the Internet: Net Neutrality

Manish Mamidanna of Scatter Tech writes a complete argument (The Future of the Internet: Net Neutrality) on net neutrality covering the deficiencies with the ISP, but he does not make a case for legislated net neutrality. We have been living under de facto net neutrality for years. There have been almost no instances of violation except for a few cases where the appropriate legal remedies were applied. ISP in the U.S. do not block content and they allow us to use any type of equipment we wish. ISP employ traffic management when required so a few excessive users do not completely degrade access for the rest of us. There are several cases where the network becomes saturated with traffic during peak hours so users start seeing long latencies that affect voice and video. By limiting those users cranking up P2P during peak times, all users enjoy a pleasant Internet experience. The ISP are adding bandwidth to their networks but not fast enough to keep up with demand. Even if we had unlimited bandwidth, traffic management is still necessary. Access bandwidth is limited whether it is DSL, cable modem, or mobile. The place I want the ISP to innovate is in offering greater bandwidth and the ability to prioritize services. The ISP got is right that all bits are not created equal. We need to be able to say which content is more important to maximize quality of experience. I want the content providers to innovate on how content is delivered. More competition between ISP and access providers will keep the net neutral. If any legislation is required, it is to prevent any legislation blocking the building of competitive access networks. Making profits is not evil and neither ISP nor content providers should not be vilified for trying to do so. It is these profits that spur the innovation and jobs that Manish would like to see. Our economic system is based on private companies providing the products and services we need. It sounds to me like he is advocating the Venezualean economic system. Once again I go back to driving ISP competition. Two or less providers does not make a competitive market. A true free marketplace would be where there is more access competition because legislated net neutrality will actually hurt those same people Manish thinks it is trying to protect.

Friday, July 09, 2010

More Evidence That You Can't Stop That Demand for Bandwidth

VeriSign's Project Apollo to increase their root domain infrastructure to meet a surge in Internet bandwidth of 1,000 is further proof that the future demand for greater bandwidth is real. This and other empirical data is contrary to the results published in the National Broadband Plan and touted by incumbent service providers. Consumers' consumption of more digital content will only increase as they access 3D and high definition content. The tying together of the power and communications infrastructure will consume even more bandwidth. What we are missing is access to greater speeds for the connection to the consumer.

in reference to: VeriSign's goal: Bump up internet bandwidth 1,000 times | Emerging Tech | ZDNet UK (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, July 02, 2010

Palm Will Live On at HP

NEW VIDCAST: A Message to the Palm Developer Community from HP PC on Vimeo.

The interview of HP CTO Phil McKinney by two of Palm's developer relations team reassures Palm owners that HP will continue to invest in Palm devices and WebOS under the HP umbrella. Palm will continue to exist as a subsidiary of HP in their mobile products division and Jon Rubenstein will continue to run Palm with responsibility for WebOS. It is clear that HP has other ideas for WebOS beyond just smartphones into tablets, slates, and even printers.

HP is demonstrating their support of Palm in several ways. They have lowered barriers for developers to submit apps to the App Catalog by eliminating their $50 fee for App Catalog submission.  Now even casual developers like me may finish and submit and app.  McKinney offered to provide free Pres to the first 1,000 employees that develop WebOS apps. He said that the response was overwhelming.  They are investing in WebOS development to get it on par with Android. A new release will fully create a protected sandbox for PDK applications such as 3D gaming, and Flash is eminent.  Hopefully we will seen updated API for the phone, sound, and camera so we can have voice search, visual voicemail, Skype, and video chatting.  I would expect that GPU acceleration will be coming as well.  Ars Technia, Engadget, and other sites have rumored that HP will release a WebOS slate this fall with WebOS-enabled printers not far behind.  Let’s hope that HP leverages the Touchstone for the slate too.  HP’s CTO hinted at both items in his interview with Ben and Dion. 

One of Palm’s greatest weaknesses, due to lack of budget, has been in marketing.  After CTIA two years ago, Palm lost mind-share.  I’m sure that Palm blew a ton of money on the “spooky lady” ads, but they have not been successful in raising the visibility of the phones or WebOS.  Needless to say, Palm's marketing has been very anemic. The modest success they have enjoyed has been through mainly through the carriers that sell their phones. It is almost as if the people running the channel program were disjoint from the marketing people. Palm had the opportunity to retain mind-share before Android, and they failed to do so. Their limited number of devices and carriers at that time allowed Motorola, Google, and HTC to obtain greater visibility.  Palm has a very loyal following that they failed to capitalize except for the development community.  They failed to convert all of the Treo users to Pre and Pixi users as they left for Blackberries and iPhones.  Positioning of the Pixi was a bit off too.  Instead of pidgin-holing it as a “soccer mom” device (which it is), they needed to expand it as a starter smartphone for kids and baby-boomers that are just buying their first smart phone.  I still contend that Palm should have hired me for their marketing, but that’s another story. 

Palm restarted their marketing and awareness campaign about the time of the HP announcement.  Their $1 million Hot Apps contests are a great way to excite the development community, and their advertising is more Apple-like.  Even though the Treo market has evaporated, HP needs to win-over Blackberry users for corporate use.  HP has already started down this path by adding the Pre and Pixi to their SMB store and marketing it as a no-brains enterprise device.  The next step is to create public awareness for WebOS devices.  Think eco-system HP.  If I have a Pre then I would want the slate so my apps can run on it as well.  Now if I could take a picture on my Pre and print it directly on my WebOS printer wirelessly or make a movie on my slate and store it on my home server to watch later on the TV and simultaneously send it to YouTube, I would not even need to interact with my PC unless I wanted to edit the video.  These examples are the easy ones that can lock customers into HP products and develop that loyal following similar to Apple. 

As the largest computer manufacturer in the world, HP has the clout to be just as visible as Apple and Google. The first place to start is by winning over the geek community with demos of new WebOS features and devices.  Build that grassroots support through the geek community first then building to carrier excitement by demonstrating some of these applications through HP Labs.  Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint, is out touting his HTC EVO as the world’s first 4G phone.  Get Verizon to really push a LTE-capable Pre2 before they get locked in to Motorola, and do the same for a couple of international carriers.  Show the vision and sell what you have today, but keep the vision based on reality that the common consumer can relate.  Let's hope that HP starts putting some of that creativity to work to demonstrate the beauty of WebOS. Now the battle for mobile OS will be interesting to watch.

in reference to: HP CTO Phil McKinney sits down with Ben and Dion | (view on Google Sidewiki)

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Elimination of Discounts May Spur Fiber Deployments

Frank Simone has a point here. Carriers utilizing these discounts are using the legacy network to boost their bottom line. Why put in fiber when they can bundle a few copper pairs to provide 10 Mbit/s at $13 per pair typically? The price hike will impact SMB the most when carriers like Covad, IP5280, and Integra Telecom boost their prices. We cannot continue to milk our copper infrastructure indefinitely. Solutions like open-access municipal networks are an alternative.

in reference to: NoChokePoints Coalition Slams AT&T for Rate Hikes (view on Google Sidewiki)