Tag Archives: Motorola

Songs in the key of Technology

Yesterday saw an article in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/03/pixel-2-google-apple-iphone-htc-pixel-2-xl), with ‘what does Google need to do if it wants to beat Apple’s iPhone?‘ which is one way of looking away from what is actually happening. You see, with the opening part on how Google ‘could become big player in smartphone-making with acquisition of part of HTC and forthcoming Pixel 2 launch’ is merely the front for something a lot bigger. You see, for a year Huawei had an optional advantage towards Google whilst the one advantageous player (read: Apple) wasted their time on iteration and presentation, perhaps only partially on innovation and marketing the hell out of an event that will happen in December (read: the iMac pro). Now the gap is closing and with the HTC part Google has stepped into the space where it can compete with Huawei on an upcoming £30-45 billion market. A new market that is about to happen. Whilst everyone is playing with themselves on how some of these people are ‘rulers of the universe‘, or so they think, Google now is moving on the inside track to take that market and at least three niche markets, which will give them a long term advantage. You see, Apple might be number one, the largest and the richest, but the danger of the number one is that you need to make sure you comprehend what numbers 2, 3 and optionally the player in position 4 is doing and Apple seems to have lost track of that part. Now they are in a place where they lose one edge and as such they might remain number one, but the players in position 2 and optionally the one in the third position will be closing the advantage gap that Apple had and had been making them complacent in their actions. Now, we will wait, living on conjecture and gossip as we will get to live with 15 months of movement below the surface of the waters. For those on the sidelines, it will be like watching a submarine race, a real spectator sport (read: not really). Now we get to the accusation in regards to what Samuel Gibbs is writing about. With: “it can pull off the one thing other Android smartphone manufacturers have struggled with: differentiation” it is staging that Google is not differentiated, which might be true to some respect, but in another regard he fails to see what truly matters to the millions of users. It is actually very simple: “To give the people, the users what they desire”, so basically something pretty amazing at an affordable price. We see his claim of ‘homogenous sea of sameness‘ (it does sound cool though) whilst these same styled writers seemed to price Apple for consistency for the longest of times. What he fails to see is that this homogenous ocean creates users, users that know what they are getting and they know the value of Android (well many seem to do that). So after the age of VHS, MSDOS and MP3, where it was to get as many people as possible to adapt a standard, it suddenly becomes about ‘being different‘? No, that is not the way it is played! You see, the market Tata lost, the market Apple ignored and that same market that Huawei is waking up to, is the one that is now almost within the grasp of Google and it can potentially grow the value of Google not overnight mind you) up towards a growth of 40%-70%, that is almost unheard of and we have not seen such spectacular growth since Windows 95 was introduced. That is the key of technology that we are about to face and ballads will be composed to those creators when it hits us all.

In this I equally oppose Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight. With “The Achilles heel of Android at the moment is that software updates take forever. Unlike Apple where it controls everything, you’ve got to go through the device manufacturer, and be approved by the network operator, which means it takes ages to get services and experiences out there.” He knows that he is (as I personally see it) misinforming you. All the Android hardware makers have used Android and then tweaked it for their optimisation. So when the new versions came, we all had to wait, because these makers preferred to sell new phones, not update old ones. In addition the workforce needed to truly test new android versions and test and update all the elements were not in place either. As I see it, Samsung, Motorola, Huawei and other Android facilitators should all be regarded the same and as I see it, people like Ben Wood know that, they literally can’t ‘not know’ it. So as we see the hidden Apple tweet in their story, they are missing on the fact that Android, or perhaps we would soon call it Cyborg (or Android plus) will potentially crush Apple as it goes past the stratosphere. In this, how do I know it? Well, to be honest I cannot say that for certain, yet the lull in the patent registration department is a little less loud. So it might still come, but with the time lap we see under those conditions, I would speculate that Apple is already slow, too slow to that punch, which gives the larger players (Google and Huawei) now an edge they have not had before.

So as I see the end of the article with “In doing so the Pixel could also be Google’s stake in the ground. A demonstration of what the best of Google can really do that is as much a statement as a product”, it seem like a filtered version of what we might be seeing after the Pixel 2 comes. The grounds are already starting to shift, the question becomes who will attend the changed surface and which of these players are ready to show what the other players were too slow or even worse nowhere near to address. There will not be any ‘defection’ or people dropping there IOS device, yet the growth that comes is almost a certainty, which will vocally set another motion. That changed motion would be: “Every IOS user has an Android device, but not every Android user has an IOS device”. The moment that happens, and it is a realistic shift, it is at that point that the people in the higher echelons start realising that believing ones marketing and moving the borders of true innovation are not the same thing. Going for a market with a Pro device priced at 40% more whilst not giving the people that much more power is not innovation, it is iteration, an expensive lesson that Apple might end up learning the hard way. I wonder if I end up being proven wrong. We are less than 18 months away from that moment.

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Non iudicium tuum

This telling is a little overdue. You see, when you are looking at one aspect, when the aspect is blended into the frame, it tends to be a larger puzzle to decipher where the colours have ended up. You see, when you start the painting, you work with blue, yellow and perhaps a little red. So before you know it, you have in addition purple, Green, Orange and at times brown appears. Yet, how much of yellow is in each of the blends? Do not think it is a black and white path, it is tainted in contrast and the one trying to decipher it all is in the largest of dangers by letting his or her ego speak in the extent that the amount of yellow that made green is used. It isn’t always science, it is at times art. This is the path of intelligence analyses and whomever is pointing its finger at a mere correlation table of SIGINT (or Business Intelligence) will for the most never have a clue what got themselves into that number and they end up painting themselves into a corner, the deadliest of actions in any given analytical equation.

So when I initially got to the fact that the foundation of the Huawei revenue was down 4.25%, I was looking at the base of it. You see, like the blending of colours, Huawei is also getting blended. Samsung would be the strongest indicator why their profits are up by a fair share. In addition as Apple disappointed to the smallest equation is an equal measure of the impact, yet Google is about to hit the revenue ball out of the park with the Pixel and Pixel XL, where it now seems that filling the initial US and UK orders is no longer feasible, the demand for this communication jewel is crushing all expectations raising the bar by a sizeable amount, something we have not seen since the early days of the Apple iPhone.

You see, in July the Financial Times reported on operating margins shrinking, even though revenue surged 40% (for Huawei), the quotes aren’t too ‘informative’, you see the answer isn’t always easy when a brand is global. Yet this quote will help “But while revenue surged, picking up from 30 per cent growth in the same period last year, Huawei’s operating margin shrank from 18 per cent to 12 per cent, the privately owned company said on Monday“, yes the revenue went up by a lot, mainly because over the previous year Huawei was very aggressive offering the P7 at such discounts that in its league it was almost the only choice to make. Other models were sold at very sharp prices, giving shoppers clear reasons to select something that seemed too good to be true. The rest at the Financial Times is pretty spot on, but incomplete. (at https://www.ft.com/content/12a427e2-5232-11e6-befd-2fc0c26b3c60).

It is the next quote I have an issue with “Sabrina Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer, predicted the strong sales would continue through the year: “We are confident that Huawei will maintain its current momentum, and round out the full year in a positive financial position backed by sound ongoing operations”“, as stated before, people are getting more and more clued in on what is required in a smartphone, as they went the way of Samsung and others in limiting what was available the market is slowing down for them, it will slow down faster and faster as they ignored to comprehend their mobile customers. The lesson Apple knew and Google comprehends at presale is the reason that the Huawei and other markets will slow down even further. Don’t get me wrong, they will still make a profit, but their mobile share will take a hit (when we exclude the Samsung shift). By listening to the wrong analysts and not realising that their production path could have been optimised by not giving in to fragments, the margin was kept low. This is a choice you can make, and it comes with consequences.

Huawei is following Microsoft, Motorola, Sony and a few others in this. And as we see the news in the corner on how others are following the P9 dual lens, they are all ignoring the main element in all this, it is storage plain and simple! That is, for the consumer users, in addition, when we see Ericsson dive deep down into a 94% drop, we need to consider the quote that IT News gave (at http://www.itnews.com.au/news/ericsson-profits-plunge-94-percent-439317) “Acting CEO Jan Frykhammar was confident Ericsson could fight back, noting it had faced a similar situation in 2007-2009 when it was waiting for demand for 4G technology to kick in“, you see, ‘waiting’ is the issue, you either take the lead and jump or let the revenue slide by, that was the consequence. They gave up the mobile smartphone a long time ago, as there was no way to compete with the market. In addition, Ericsson has been dropping the ball on a few telecom fronts.

I think it is relatively safe to state that there is a lull in the Telecommunication market (in general). The final quote “Our result is significantly lower than (what) we expected, with a particularly weak end of the quarter, and deviates from what we previously have communicated regarding market development,” said acting Ericsson CEO Jan Frykhammar” this sounds like an answer, yet it is not.

Is he showing that he had no way to forecast what the market was doing?
Is there no correct focus on ‘market development’?

The Ericsson case is showing us that there is more than one issue. In the same state we have to see that Huawei is a lot more than just mobile phones, as it is with Ericsson, yet as I personally believe it to be, some places aren’t thinking through, at l;east not to the extent that they should be thinking it through. They are trying to get back to the ’98 time when they were getting rich by selling concepts. I see it as backward thinking. Ericsson states on their website “Opportunities in 5G! We asked 650 executives from 8 industries how they use communications technology today, which use cases are likely to dominate their industry, and what business reasons are driving them to move to 5G“, which is not untrue, but as we see the PR machine waking up 4 years early on the biggest opportunities that are eligibly coming, whilst there are still 4 general meetings and as I see it no less than 8 shareholders meetings, so focussing on the now is extremely essential (don’t you agree?), this is why Ericsson got to drop 94%, the ‘now’ is not covered and we only have yesterday’s technology to compare it to. If you wonder about 5G, look here:

https://5g.co.uk/guides/what-is-5g/

what-is-5g-euroWhat is important is “Huawei is planning to launch the first 5G pilot network with its partners in 2018. Interoperability testing is to be completed in 2019 ahead of a commercial launch in 2020. Ericsson is planning to demonstrate 5G at the Winter Olympics in South Korea (as is Samsung) and at the World Cup in Russia, both in 2018“, this sounds nice, and it actually is, but consider that the devices that need to be there are not created yet, so they are dealing with old tech that is soon no longer interesting, whilst todays needs that shows clear forward momentum thinking is not shown by either and relying on 32GB mobile devices is definitely not it. So the consumer at present is looking at buying at least 2 more mobiles in the next 5 years, so having one now that last 3 years is a massive requirement as I see it. In addition, lowering the upcoming threshold is an initial requirement. The image on that page, shown here, is the first step. The image shows two elements. In the first we see ‘smart mobility‘ and ‘smart wearables‘ in the second we see ‘domotics‘ and ‘Entertainment, apps beyond imagination‘. This gets us now back to ‘Viewpoint to a point of view‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/viewpoint-to-a-point-of-view). Google wasn’t just ‘on the ball‘ they are now leading the game and are the new game deciders in the field where everyone wants to play. In that presentation on Google Home they showed to be active in all four elements, and they are now leading in at least two of them. That is the part Huawei ignored. And as so called 2018 G5 partners they had the option to lead the field, they just decided not to do so. By using the initial Apple approach, the Pixel and Pixel XL offer the 128 GB solution for $150 more. Meaning that your phone could last you until 2020 and only when the 5G requirement is actually needed, the current Google solution will give you some of what 5G is supposed to offer, so you will only be upgrading the centre of the hub of your domotics, namely your mobile phone. The rest will most likely already be there, so that is why we see the shift.

So is my view tainted?
It is!

I look at a lot more elements than the consumer will, yet in all this, the consumer is already getting exposure to these elements and as such we see a level of contrasting within the consumers choice that we haven’t seen before, that elements needs to be taken into account as well. Whasun Jho who has published works regarding building Telecom markets. As he sees it and I agree we see a contrasting in the Telecom markets where we see the growth of facility based competition versus service based competition, I believe that the second is only a field of combat if your hardware isn’t up to specs to deal with the wave that will follow over the next 5 years, so in that Huawei, as I stated in the past had the option to grow the market to rule as they went with sharp competition in 2015, they now gave it away by seeking margins instead of overpowered ruling through superior options. In my view as we see where limitations were the only options, it was about competition between providers of the same or similar services (in Australia Telstra versus Optus) and by giving in, they are now losing market share that I stated is a base drop of 4.25% and could rise to 11% before Christmas, almost literally depending on the power of Google’s devices as accepted by the global consumers. In this situation, it is not a given that Google would switch to a Software As A Service path, but by offering the path on corporate whilst leaving the consumers with open and negligible costs, the image as shown implies that ‘smart’ elements and ‘domotics’ will give us Google at number one, with a massive advantage for the longest of times, that is, unless the players change their ways and right fast. Because when proven to work, customer loyalty will soon be the most important metric in this telecom shift. Samsung gambled and got hit hard, yet they are not out. One burning battery does not stop a company the size of Samsung and a lot of burning batteries makes for a fun roasting of Marshmellows (pun intended).

So here we see the use of colours. Which colour is what is not a given and does not matter, what matters is what the consumers and what the corporations need, in the next 3-4 years it will all be about what will last longer, not some hardware as a service that requires annual replacement. Ericsson shows us what happens when you are not proactive on the ball and there will be the licking of wounds for some time there, in addition, as we see the mobile iteration (Experia Z to Z5), actions that I call to be an iterative market that has no chance to survive. sweetening deals like a couple of movies has no place here as I see it, it seems like a quick fix and it is, yet in that Sony has made that mistake a few times too often and Huawei should have learned from those failures. They were all options that could have been avoided and it will hurt Huawei, yet in all this they too are not down or out. Just a little bruised as I see it. So we will see a market that will shift over the next 4-6 weeks. Yet in the end there is no certainty on how matters are impacted. What is clear is that the Telecom market will shift in a massive way, those who do not shift with that market are most likely the players that will not make it to 2019, an extreme prediction, yet will I be wrong?

Consider what the market is trying to imbue to us between 2017 and 2021/2022. As per 2018 you should only consider a device that will last that initial transition (software without the 5G speed), and the one after that will have the speed if you want to play on that level. So buying with clear common sense could save you $1000-$1800, that is for most people serious money, for those relying on a new plan with a new phone, you better remember that soon such a solution might not be that easy to get, or that cheap. The Telecom providers will remain facility based competition, yet the market we swim in is more and more becoming service based, so we need the right device that can deal with this and for telecom companies to keep on playing a ‘this will do for a year‘ isn’t thinking forward, or at least just limited short term. A game we cannot go along with and there are enough people to realise this danger, which is what is pressuring the Huawei market as I personally saw it.

There is more to all this, but a market that revolves on ‘We decide your choice‘ is not a choice, it is a limitation, something that Google is building awareness on by showing us what is possible and then offering the overkill device for a mere $150 extra, like Apple did, but Apple didn’t come with the shown benefits of actually showing us that part. As you realise that you already knew most of these elements as you YouTubed your way through the internet universe, consider the options your phone don’t allow for at present. There is no reason to suddenly update the phone at present, but you should realise that these limitations will hinder you in the future and realising what you need in three years is more and more important in today’s mobile market. It is something you only need to be aware of at present, when the shift comes you will be ready with the right phone and with the options to do it all (without getting pushed into spending $1000+ overnight), as well as the option to keep your movies, your photos, your Pokémon’s, as well as whatever the domotics apps universe brings to your mobile.

 

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Challenging fruit

There is an old saying: ‘An Apple a day, keeps the doctor away‘, which could be regarded as correct, or at least as something that is not wrong. These are essentially two statements that depending on your way of life is either more or less correct. Yet, in technology it is a lot less correct, mainly because our health does not have a chance to survive if it comes with the daily cost of $679 a day.

You see, the fruity side of mobile phones is not really an issue when we look at the IOS side of things (aka: the iPhone world), it is quite another when we look at the Android side of things. Even though this was last Wednesday’s news. There have been a few things that required digging and it has been a little bit of a chase. The article was not the first one I saw as I was watching the Google event at 04:00 (as stated in a previous blog). The article ‘Pixel is a direct challenge to Apple – and a referendum on Google‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/05/google-pixel-phone-market-apple-iphone), was on my mind, but so were a few other items.

The article raises a few issues, some of them are not entirely agreeable from my point of view, so let’s deal with them.

Some do get monthly security updates, but others get Android version updates sometimes years after Google releases new versions, creating so-called fragmentation that makes it harder to develop apps and services” is the first quote I have an issue with. For this I need to step back to one of my earlier smartphones. The Motorola Razr-V. Now, when I bought it I though it was an amazing phone. I still have it, it still works and it is in a drawer somewhere. When I bought it 4 years ago 1GB was ‘da bomb’. I had 4GB storage, so I was happy as can be. I had one update, which was from Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) to Jelly Bean (4.1) at some point and still, all was fine, just a little nagging need for RAM. What happened was what always happens, we need more storage and we need more RAM. Yet it was not the only thing that was an issue. You see, this model would not support Kit Kat (4.4) and now we had ourselves a horse race because we saw more and more news regarding security flaws and the essential need to have android as updated as possible. Now we get to the issue with the quote: “sometimes years after Google releases new versions“, which is not that correct. You see, the makers of phones did not consider upgrades to the OS, for the mere reason that they prefer to sell a new phone instead of upgrading your old phone, when the phone is deep within warranty it is one thing, however after that passes, the seller tends to not care and getting the new system vetted and fitted requires resources and a serious amount of them. So Motorola came with a notice that it would not be possible to update this model beyond KitKat. Now, because it was a cheap deal and I had actually not considered that updating the Android OS would be a biggie, I ignored it, and it was just one of those few lessons you tend to learn the hard way the first time around. You see, I am an Android user for a reason. As Apple advocated a device that can do a million things, and it can call people, the Android was the opposite. It was a phone that could do a lot of additional things. With Android the phone remained the centre, not the apps (as I personally saw it). The issue is more than semantics, I felt it was a state of mind, which is why I prefer Android (whilst not hating the iPhone).

Now with my feelings regarding safety and security, I believe that it is very important never to be more than 2 versions old, so as I am on Lollipop, it is essential for me to get a new phone capable of Nougat. Those on Marshmallow should decide for themselves if they want to wait another version before getting a new phone. In light that the average functional phone is over $600, that rule becomes a lot more important, also knowing that you are buying something that will need essential replacement after 2 years makes it even more important to find the right device and especially at the right price. This is why I have been hammering on systems with 64GB storage and at least 2GB RAM (3GB preferred). The fact that the makers are withholding these devices, whilst they are available, angers me. This is because the Telecom companies love a consumer forced to upgrade on an annual basis. What they fail to realise that our budgets are not as wide as their need for coke and hookers (if we believe the NY marketing needs, so the entire greed philosophy falls away. So when I go to the shops now, I expect a Nougat device, or a Marshmallow version at high discount. When a shop offers a Sony with a 2 year old operating system at $900 (Lollipop, aka Android v5), they have obviously lost their minds! Now this is the part that matters in the case of Sony. They call it ‘The pioneering 4K smartphone‘, as well as ‘Sony’s next-generation camera technologies in collaboration with Sony’s Alpha engineers‘ and then they promote it, whilst not updating the phone with an operating system that is less than a year old? And only this month, will they come with a previous version of Android (Marshmallow, aka Android v6). Now, this falls in line with the quote from the Guardian, the issue I have is that if they had their ducks in a row, the phone would have been in the shops with Marshmallow (v6), with the option to update to Nougat (v7).

It is my suspicion that the service oriented devices have not caught onto the need to have a more generic framework oriented approach. I touched on it in my article ‘Chicks for free‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/03/31/chicks-for-free/), where I touches on SaaS in March 2015, as well as the advantage Huawei gave to its customers by being competitive in price and hardware. They had cornered a nice chunk of market in just one year. Parts of all this were also discussed in January 2015 (https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/15/exploiting-mobile-users/). So the issue has been around long enough for the market to adjust, they just decided not to do that. So for Google to come with the Google Pixel (XL) makes perfect sense. Although, from my point of view, $1400 for a device that might initially not last beyond 2 years is still a hard pill to swallow. Apart from the retired groups who are out of cash and comprehension of the technology, we are now facing a growing group of people where the risk of malware exposure goes up tenfold. So the precedence to slam the mobile market is very appealing.

I do not believe that Google is the bad guy here, I believe that our comprehension of accepted support is changing. Let’s take the new Pixel. For one, the marketing was perfectly done and so far from cheap Telco page to Forbes, they are all wildly enthusiastic. A fair point of view, especially as I (from my needy point of view) found just one flaw. Now, there is a side that is not yet known, however, if Google delivers on the statement ‘Two years of OS upgrade from launch‘ as stated, meaning that your Google Pixel will support the installation of Android v9 (whatever that candy name will be, I vote for ‘Liquorice’), then the Pixel will be a steal at twice the price. Meaning that your $1400 should last you 3-4 years, twice the current expected lifespan, easily making it the only choice as an Android phone.

I have an even bigger issue with the quote “Francisco Jeronimo, market research firm IDC’s research director for European mobile devices, says: “Many people care about updates. They recognise that getting the latest update is about getting something better, unless they’ve got an old phone. But it’s about how easy it is to do. Going online and finding an update is something most will not do. If you present it as a notification, as Apple does, then most will jump on board.”“, in this I state that it is my personal believe that Francisco Jeronimo didn’t give the right ambiance to this spin. I have presented evidence that this issue has been known and was visible for the better part of 3 years. Old phone or not, the issue has been limitation of hardware and now that the players realise that the gig is up, they are likely to go into some form of blame mode, whilst their own approach should have changed years ago. The fact that brands like Oppo and Sony are selling what they call state of the art today with a 2 year old OS is just as big a joke, especially if it doesn’t come with the clear notice that an upgrade is available. If I need to give it a name, I would call it the annual update Telco requirement is pushing back and most people are willing to switch providers on a moment’s notice if needed. So Google went Fruity, looked at Apple (it has its own model of OS) and from that point of view, the power of a dedicated mobile became apparent. So now we see that for a mere $150 extra, we get a phone that is not 32GB, but 128GB. So only the dedicated silly would not get that, mainly because logic suggests that Android v8 and Android v9 will all be larger than the previous versions, as could logically be deduced. So not getting storage constraints over the next 3 years makes perfect sense, even if you have a minimal amount of apps. In this case it is not the 10 apps I have now, it is the notion that over the next 3 years I might get another 10-20 apps, as well as a few thousand pictures and knowing that storage will not be an issue, that peace of mind is very important, the moment you get hit by the limitation, it will make sense.

So as Google is challenging that fruity named competitor Apple, it needs to adjust its own model a little bit too. You see, there is a reason why corporate clients still rely on Blackberry. It is the one market Apple has not been able to penetrate, once Android does that, if will be able to shift its interests to another field of data gathering (I mean client instigated data gathering) and data encryption interactions, fields that Apple was not able to surpass Blackberry in, Google has a fair chance at changing that field, with Google now entering layer 1, they have a complete layer coverage allowing to take on the industrial strength enterprise security that Blackberry is famous for, which would give Android the push into the areas where critical security issues are the number one need.

The reality is that this would take at least one additional android upgrade before they enter that field, which have giving Apple the time, but not the engineering skills or the architecture to compete with Blackberry on that level. With this I imply that Apple by keeping to its consumer market views, it ignored a corporate side, or so has create the potential to rule the market, whether it will depends on what they do next, but they have been off to a great start.

The final quote is one that the article has dealt with already “Jeronimo says: “With the Nexus, Google attempted to bring the best device running the latest version of Android, but couldn’t give priority to one of the tier two manufacturers that were interested in making it when you have companies like Samsung and Huawei leading the market. It meant Google struggled to differentiate with its own device when its partners were already making very good devices that were good value.”“, it still requires a little extra and the element that is kept silent is the one I dealt with in ‘The smokescreen of a Smartphone War‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/09/30/the-smokescreen-of-a-smartphone-war/), you see, making a version and then making it not an option in Australia reeks. It reeks of Telco managed collaboration, the article stipulates why I feel that way. Now that Google blows storage apart with 128GB for $150 should show those two brands and a few others too, the stupidity of their actions. Huawei had an advantage by offering the 64GB, now that is a no no, it seems that Google can make a massive change, what was once a 0.2% market has the potential to become a 10% market in the next 12 months, which would be a growth that is unheard of. A market Huawei decided not to engage and now Google has voiced it will offer options that I would have considered overkill and not essential. Google seems realise that it does not matter whether the person prefers 64GB or 128GB, by offering them 128GB at a 64GB price is a winner in everyone’s books and it shows the consumer that 32GB might be good for nana and grandpa, the rest should just go big at the additional requested fraction more. In that regard the entire model race with two price additions, one for size of screen and one for size of storage is in my view brilliant (I will give credit that Apple had this approach already).

Which leaves us with the last speculation, no matter how we see 2016, with the changes of 2017 we see that Google is entering a new innovative phase of connectivity. Android devices like Google Home, might seem like a party trick, but the reality of Android devices and the option to connect them is more than a fab, the world presentation blew me away and where it matters, your Pixel could become the hub in all this, music on that little boom box, whilst streaming the pics to your TV. For the mere giggles in me, the device (an entertainment unit), which Microsoft promised the Xbox One to be and not delivered. Google now presents and delivers an actual entertainment system whilst not promising it. It is just too funny for words.

So whatever path you take, whether IOS or Android, just make sure it delivers long term what you need, if you do that, you will remain happy with whatever choice you make and that is what truly matters in my humble opinion.

 

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Lack of vision

It is nice to see something else than the collapse of Greece, ISIS in Tunisia or one or two other things that have covered the front page in the last few days. Although the abuse I got from my statement “Greece is no longer for billionaires, many multi-millionaires can now afford to buy that country” has been hilarious. You see, it is all about vision. I foresaw some of the issues now in play months ago, I can also see the events as some of the status quo players are panicking as they need a solution, or lose a lot more than they bargained for. All that is almost a given. The media is looking at ‘sexy’ articles from economists on how austerity is wrong, but none of them are looking at the accountability a nation has, whilst not keeping its budgets in order is equally hilarious.

You see, the status quo people are all about continuation of THEIR needs.

This all links to the article ‘Twitter to co-founder Jack Dorsey: ‘We don’t want you’‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jun/22/twitter-dont-want-jack-dorsey), it is a week old now, but for some reason it had escaped my view. It is a decent article by Alex Hern, not just because of the way he wrote it, but the consideration given in there gives us another view that is the consequence of ‘lack of vision’.

In the article we get the quote “The Committee will only consider candidates for recommendation to the full Board who are in a position to make a full-time commitment to Twitter”. This is an interesting quote to have from a board, especially as Jack Dorsey is one of the co-founders of Twitter. The wiki quote “The first Twitter prototype, developed by Dorsey and contractor Florian Weber” gives us another insight. Jack boy was at the heart of the birth of Twitter and this board is now stating that they rather have a full time commitment person. So as Jack is not the person they want, let’s take a look at the vision that Jack build.

Because of an issue one of Jacks friends had, he came up with another idea in 2008, it founded a company called Square. Even though Square is not doing too well, I personally think that this could be turned around. In my personal view competitors of Square have been having a go at this, because of the threat they feel. Square is a sound idea, I reckon it has a decent future if someone with international Gravitas (read: massive brass balls/boobs) gets involved. Even though Business insider has been a little too kind on Jack Dorsey (comparing him to Steve Jobs is a little bit of a stretch), it is clear that this man has vision.

In my view the quote “According to Nick Bilton, author of Hatching Twitter, that first ouster came because he didn’t spend enough time in the office, leaving work “around 6pm for drawing classes, hot yoga sessions and a course at a local fashion school”. “You can either be a dressmaker or the CEO of Twitter,” the company’s co-founder and Dorsey’s successor as chief executive, Evan Williams, reportedly told him, “but you can’t be both.”

On one side there is the idea that the speaker has a point, the other part is that the speaker needs to be a civil servant and not much more. This would reflect on Peter Currie, the chair of the committee, it seems that he was, or he knows where that quote came from, whilst he is identifying a permanent CEO, he seems to be missing the point. Being a 60 hours a week workaholic does not make the quality of work better. It just gives you grey hairs a lot faster, without the benefit of yummy moments whilst they changed colour.

You see, Jack Dorsey is one of those people who needs the additional things like hot yoga and additional fashion lessons because his next idea could be just one course away. One simple conversation, an interaction with for example a nurse trying to fathom the hammock for her little girl and jack could suddenly get that next golden idea, which is likely to benefit both Square and Twitter. For those board members (read: Evan Williams), let’s not forget that some people get their golden idea’s in other ways. It seems to me that from what I have seen, Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams are opposites to a larger extent. If Jack Dorsey is seen as another Steve Jobs, than Evan Williams should be seen as the next Bill Gates. They are totally opposite and whilst the board is trying to figure out which alpha designer they should side with, it might not be a bad idea to find a way to make it work with both. Having two visionaries in your flock is beyond extremely rare. I personally side with the Jack Dorsey’s. I have no business pattern no set discipline, other than my dedication to get the job done. Beyond that my mind wanders on other venues, trying to solve that next puzzle. In that view I saw that hiring specific people for Square could solve their customer service part. Consider the quote from Gigaom (at https://gigaom.com/2009/12/01/jack-dorsey-on-square-why-it-is-disruptive/) “My view is that Square (or something like Square) is going to disrupt the businesses of companies such as VeriFone and Symbol, a division of Motorola that makes point-of-sale devices. Verifone makes a $900 wireless credit card terminal vs. Square, which runs on a $299 iPod touch“.  Yes, this 2009 quote is industrious in shape, size and concern. Whilst places like Verifone are sitting on a business model that does work, Square revolutionised the idea overnight, basically, small business owners would have a tread stone of growth whilst avoiding all kinds of initial investments. Square is that golden idea the interaction of technology and innovation. That is at the heart of vision, how to make it all work differently!

What will be the next vision?

Consider these quotes: ‘People Want Safe Communications, Not Usable Cryptography‘ and ‘76 percent of consumers were not very satisfied with technology’s ability to make their lives simpler‘. There is a market, its consumer base is greying and they need a simpler solution that gives them access without heartburn of an instant stroke after a dozen error messages. The need for simple interface software, but with a range of options is a desire for literally the young and the old. The young because they don’t comprehend, the old because they don’t want the hassle. In all this, markets that are reason for powerful growth and Twitter is in the thick of it. Which means having both Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams is a good thing. If the G-spot of financial advisors is a growing customer base, than the revolution of both Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams, could spell an age of loads of financial orgasms, so as we cater to an evolving mass of people, one cannot have too many visionaries in one building. In all this there is the hardware that changes and the software that grows, whilst the media remains hungry. In all this, vision is the key to unlocking the universe where we live in.

So when we see the quote “Project Lightning is one: the new feature sees Twitter taking an active editorial role during live events, seeking out the best content both on and off the network and embedding it in a dedicated section of the social network’s app“, with the mentioned similarity to Snapchat’s Live Stories, we have to consider that Twitter is now entering an iterative state where it follows ‘other peoples visions‘ to grow its base, in all this I state that catering to the eccentricities of both Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams might be the solution to come up with something new, making Snapchat follow the new Twitter ideas, not the other way round.

So in this we see the need for vision, not to applaud the lack of it.

This we see in the article ‘How same-sex marriage could ruin civilisation’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2015/jun/29/same-sex-marriage-ruin-civilisation-science), please do not worry, there is a link in all this!

Let me start saying that as a Christian, I do not care! I think any person should find the happiness that they feel they deserve, if that is in a same gender relationship, than that is just fine with me. Finding happiness is already rare enough, having it denied is just utterly counterproductive. You see, someone Facebooked Leviticus 20:13 the other day “If there is a man who lies with a male, he should be stoned“, the fact that the US legalised marijuana the same time it legalised gay marriage is just slightly hilarious when you consider Leviticus. It is all about looking differently at things.

Which is not the view the Guardian article had by the way. Now we get the quotes “Constant exposure to rainbows could mean people can’t see colours as well, and this could be disastrous. How will they know when to stop or go at a traffic light? Or which wire to cut when defusing a bomb?“, which some would call ludicrous, because we can always appreciate colours, only the colour-blind have a predicament, so they will not pass military service requirement, which means they will never defuse a bomb, as for the traffic lights, they can see when the top, the middle of the bottom light is on, which means there is no impact on that either, a science article loaded with half-baked truths and inconsequential arguments. This is how we should see some boards of directors. Their fear of requiring a status quo is now possibly hindering progress.

We need to move forward by innovation, by doing something different, because stimulating the brain is the cornerstone of innovation. For people like Evan Williams, it seems to be narrowly focussing on something related, which is fair enough, for some people that makes a difference, for people like Steve Jobs and Jack Dorsey it is to get exposed to a field of events as wide as possible. It is not entirely unlikely that Jack will attend a course in Biomathematics only to come up with a new biometrics concept that will ensure data security for the next generation. All missed because a board of directors has an issue with what they called ‘dress making’.

You see, I find their stance slightly offensive, it is for that same reason I have been so harsh on Ubisoft. After it made its billion, it moved deeper into business models, which is a bad thought, I understand it from a business point of view, yet consider that video games are art. A business model will decrease the chance of failure, yet in my view it equally destroys the option of ‘exceptional’, the line between ‘genius’ and ‘murky’ is pretty thin. I listened for too long to corporate short-sightedness only to realise too late that they were clueless to begin with. People fixed on PowerPoint presentation de-evolving from ‘status quo’ to ‘getting by’.

And my evidence? Ubisoft has not produced any revolutionary game with a 90% plus rating (truly revolutionary games, not what their marketing calls revolutionary) for some time. The next evolution in games is mostly coming from the independent scene, those pushing forward on their own, remoulding a view and bringing true originality. Examples of this view is Mojang (Minecraft), Campo Santo (Firewatch), The Chinese Room (Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture) and Hello Games (No Man’s Sky), there are more, the larger players have been slacking in titles and in quality of games. They forgot to take a leap of faith, whilst relying on business models.

We see this more and more, considering that Elder Scrolls online has had massive delays, than the PS4 community gets “it’s even worse considering some cannot play on the games release date“, which is after a year delay. I came up with a sequel to Skyrim early 2014, no online, no multiplayer, just an option to make millions of gamers happy. It took me three hours to get the first idea, a few more hours to put part of this to paper. In addition, I randomly designed a new game in my head, no business model can correct for this. Is that it? No, I came up with a new concept for the game developing of RPG games. It remains in my head because I am a decent database programmer (as well as data cleaner and so on), but I am not really a programmer, which gives me a slight disadvantage. I will work it out sooner or later (likely later as I am finishing a law degree).

So I feel for Jack Dorsey and I am on his side. In the end, Jack will come up with another golden idea which will bring him millions, I hope he does that. That board of directors is another matter, these people seem to get the quorum to hold on to status quo and they will also have a person to blame when issues go south. This is at the core of my resentment of ‘the business model’ in the field of creation. It depends on what was and cannot truly value that what has not been made yet.

It is a lack of vision that drives us into extinction, not time. Because time makes us old, vision makes us wise.

 

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Spooky Spooky Mobile

Spooky Spooky Mobile
Hacking thyne own file
Upload and Download
And as you have your chatter
I met a Telco
That would not give its data
So I took their servers
And gave it a little patch
(Goosy, Goosy, Gander)

Yes, when we look at the article ‘US and UK accused of hacking Sim card firm to steal codes‘ (at http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31545050) I seem to resort to nursery rhymes. There is method to my madness, just as my madness could be regarded as methodical (to the smallest degree). I read the article with other eyes, perhaps you did too? The first part is seen here “The Intercept alleges that the hack organised by Britain’s GCHQ and the US National Security Agency (NSA) began in 2010, and was organised by operatives in the “Mobile Handset Exploitation Team”. Neither agency has commented directly on the allegations“, now, I will continue on the premise that this fact is true (not whether it is correct). In 2010 there was still a massive hunt for this bearded dude underway named Osama something or other. For this part I need to take you on a side trip ‘Banking Giant HSBC Sheltered Murky Cash Linked to Dictators and Arms Dealers‘ (at http://www.icij.org/project/swiss-leaks/banking-giant-hsbc-sheltered-murky-cash-linked-dictators-and-arms-dealers). The issue might be ‘news’ now, but it had been known in the intelligence industry for some time. After 2008 several individuals with additional limitations on moral and ethics were willing to assist the grey area of free trading in setting up funds. This group had ALWAYS existed, greed is such an easy tool to grow under, yet, the fact that some would be willing to be the money orchard for terrorist organisations is decently novel. 2008 had made many hungry so some would be willing to get at what they wanted, more money. A problem that has existed for a long time, so the premise to get access to mobiles so that possible lines of communications would be uncovered make perfect sense.

The trail goes further, you see, most people have a contract, or stay with the same provider for years, this not an issue for the hunters. You (roughly 99.99993243% of the mobile users) are not an issue, but how to find the rest? Hope on some random lucky draw? Governments rely on income from lotteries, not rely on getting a price in that same way. So getting a hold of ALL Sims is a much better solution. It made perfect sense. Do I like it? I actually do not care, I lead one of the dullest mobile lives and I believe that some people must be hunted down. So to go all out on ‘Yes’, hunt them down and ‘No’, you cannot monitor me, seems to be both hypocrite and sanctimonious all in one package. In addition, I tend to not break the law, which makes it even easier. So let’s get back to the article!

The next part is seen here “A Gemalto spokeswoman said the company was unable to verify whether there had indeed been a breach, and highlighted that other Sim manufacturers could also have been targeted. She added: “We take this publication very seriously and will devote all resources necessary to fully investigate and understand the scope of such highly sophisticated techniques to try to obtain Sim card data””, so we see two parts, one that the known provider is not the only provider, were they all targeted?

Linked to this is: “Eric King, deputy director of the campaign group Privacy International, said the NSA and GCHQ had “lost sight of what the rule of law means and how to weigh what is necessary and proportionate”“. This sounds nice in theory, but after taking a look at the Privacy International site, I see him as (only) slightly sanctimonious. all this on surveillance and SIGINT (the Five Eyes group), yet, they have ZERO visibility on the issue that I have on the exchange of data on a global scale by large corporations and how people are almost lulled into a sleepy state of just agreeing with it all, not to mention the other versions of the Lenovo ‘Superfish’ instances that we have not seen brought to daylight yet. It seems that governments are not allowed any options, whilst the propulsion of greed from large corporations and their data remains uninhibited by using the ‘US-EU Safe Harbor Framework‘ (at http://genomebiology.com/2014/15/8/430), when we consider the quote “A multinational seeking approval must submit its global policies and practices to a ‘lead’ EU data protection authority (DPA) – typically in the country of its European headquarters. Once the lead DPA gives its ‘stamp of approval’, a mutual recognition scheme among most EU member states facilitates approval by other relevant DPAs. To date, over 50 corporations have received BCR approval” When we see the list (at http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/document/international-transfers/binding-corporate-rules/bcr_cooperation/index_en.htm), we see NOVARTIS, which gives us a direct link to Natixis (and the massive amounts of links that they have). Ernst & Young and Motorola among others, so how can one satellite locations allow indirectly to move data across other borders, or make them accessible for query? Is it not interesting that Privacy International has not been looking at that (as far as I could tell), so do you see the issue I have with their ‘statement’?

Linked to the ‘alleged’ sim code heist is another article. This one is a lot older. It was from July 2013 and called “Millions of Sim cards are ‘vulnerable to hack attack’” (at http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-23402988), so, yes, when we see the quote “Karsten Nohl has said he has found a way to discover some Sims’ digital keys by sending them a special text message. He warned criminals could potentially use the technique to listen in on calls or steal cash“. So, yes getting the data from the sim makers directly would make a lot of sense (an ergonomically terrific solution), but this method might be less visible. So why was another method used. Now we get back to the beginning: “US and British intelligence agencies hacked into a major manufacturer of Sim cards in order to steal codes that facilitate eavesdropping on mobiles, a US news website says“, which News website? The fact that this news is followed by “The Intercept says the revelations came from US intelligence contractor turned whistle-blower Edward Snowden” gives another pause. What is actually happening? It seems to me that the Snowden stamp is making us chase ghosts (pun intended), but overall I see less and less reliability in these ‘spectacular revelations‘ and the press does not seem to be asking the questions they should be asking. The investigations that they should do, do not seem to be done. The ‘revelation‘ is made and then we see one party line response from GCHQ “However GCHQ reiterated that all its activities were “carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate”“, which is now linked to this, but there is no evidence that this has actually happened. The subtitle ‘Full investigation‘ seems to be a header without a factual link. That subtitle ends with some group shot and the by-line “Experts say that the alleged hack is a major compromise of worldwide mobile phone security“, is that actually the fact? Would phone security be compromised? It seems to me that the 2013 is a much larger threat to phone security and Google stopping its continued development to anything before Android KitKat is just an additional cause for alarm, how did the alleged government activities create more danger? It seems to me that the BBC has not illuminated parts that should have been illuminated. When we see “The UN’s telecoms agency – the International Telecommunications Union – said that it would now contact regulators and other government agencies worldwide to ensure they were aware of the threat“, is also an issue. When we consider the UK issue of telecom caps and the fact that nothing has been done for years, can we dimensionally see that awareness of the ITU could be regarded as a similar demure step is a valid question, yet the current article does not reflect on the earlier issue. The end of the latest article gives the one part that is important as I see it “But perhaps this latest leak has done more to highlight how a single company is in control of millions of people’s private data“. So was this an actual leak, or did someone figure out a possible issue with current technology and they added the ‘Snowden’ link to give it a little more fear. The last part could have been done by any decent technologist, no MIT degree required. So what about the one time mention of ‘a US news website says‘? Who was it and how come that this media courtier, depending on visibility is reduced to 5 words, which seemed a little odd to me from the very first time I read the message.

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Exploiting mobile users

Is it not amazing that in an age, where we all move into areas where things getting cheaper and cheaper, we see that mobile phones is the one article that remains into the top priced push. Yes, when you move to the post office, or to some ‘budget’ place, the only ‘cheap’ phones are the ones that are the ones that are basically in the bottom part of functionality, phones that have less than 6 months of decent quality usage before Google pushes for more updates, more android and the applications will add towards the maximum RAM.

This is my situation, I got a new phone in 2012, I needed a new one, and the one I bought was ‘decently’ priced at $299. I never regretted buying it. It still has a good screen, I have one game and a few applications, yet over the last two months the push has shown that when I have more than 2 apps running (including the dialler) the lag, the jittery screen, it all starts getting slightly wobbly, so I lock the phone, unlock it, remove all apps except the one I need and it all works fine again. Yet, my phone needs replacing not due to the hardware, but purely due to software. Looking around has been quite the revelation.

Looking at those options, I see that the $99 phones are less and less useful (specifically the smartphones). So as I started to dig, I am seeing a new change. If you want to find the price of a phone, it is often harder and harder to get clear pricing, more important, we can find less and less about how prices were and how the prices devolve.

Is it not strange that there is such an abundance of buy now places, but less and less information on the devices, the price and how long these articles are set to be for? The mobile is the new field for the technological armistice race and there are too many parties willing to make certain that the people cannot be properly informed. You see, this field has evolved for control. In the 90’s and the decade after that, it was relatively simple to get information on what graphic card one needed, which soundcard would be best. But not unlike the gaming industry, the information places are given less and less information. Is it not strange that Ubisoft (a gaming company) did not give a testing sample of Assassins Creed Unity weeks in advance? Especially when literally billions are riding on it? This is at the core of the issue, at the core of some ‘technology’ pages that are less and less information, more and more ‘typed’ marketing, not for their readers, but for the prospective buyers of the product. The media has been changing more and more and many readers remained asleep whilst reading. I must admit that the last description might not be accurate. Many will not realise this faltering until they are confronted with the fact of change (not unlike me).

If you’re looking for a console you can Google ‘PS4 price console’ and you will get pricing information on the very first page, even price drops, all localised. For mobiles it is a jungle out there and no matter how many ‘suddenly’ appear, when you want to look for that actual good deal (like the ZTE ZMAX) you will suddenly find that no one has such a good deal in stock (finding a decent site is also a challenge). They have cheaper (ad therefor useless) smartphones (I will dwell on that shortly) and of course the really ‘up to date ones’ which are not that much better than a ZTE, but will cost you 275% – 450% more. It is all about the money in the end!

You see those who choose Android (like me), will now learn what the cost of alleged abandonment is. (at http://www.zdnet.com/article/google-stops-providing-patches-for-pre-kitkat-webview-abandons-930m-users/), we saw early this week that Google is now stopping the update of the older versions. This means that as we see the headline ‘Google stops providing patches for pre-KitKat WebView, abandons 930 million users‘. This includes the bulk of the people who bought their mobile before Q4 2013. What a fine android web we weave!

You would think that it is a simple matter for updating, don’t you. Well that is not entirely correct. In my case Motorola was pretty decent in giving the information, however, when I press system update, it tells me that I am up to date, so I cannot get beyond 4.1.2 Android. This is now at the heart of several problems.

Who knows what version they are on and more important, when we consider the following text from ZDNet “In other words, the next time a researcher or hacker finds a way to exploit WebView on pre-KitKat Android, Google won’t create a patch for the vulnerability itself. However, if anyone else builds one, Google will incorporate those patches into the Android Open Source Project code“, more important, as long as this is not fixed, an increasing population will be at the mercy of forced upgrades through buying new phones outright, or chaining themselves to a new contract.

There are two sides. In fairness, should Google keep on fixing their ‘flaws’ ad infinitum? Yet on the other side, if my 2 year old mobile is now a security risk, what on earth am I paying for? More important, in this economy we would keep on paying premium just to be connected? The math does not balance out towards the need of the user. So are we witnessing a start from smartphone, back to normal phones? Let’s face it if smartphones are charged to your account and after that abandoned to this extent, what should we do?

Some will push for Apple, but there to some extent, the danger is changed, not necessarily removed. A normal phone will less likely have these issues, or change to the new player. Even though the brand leaves (from past events) a bitter taste in my month, Samsung has taken a new direction with their mobiles called Tizen OS. The following parts are known at present “It is Linux-based platform built from Nokia and Intel’s ditched MeeGo“, open source means many views, so perhaps better patches. The fact that it is Linux based is not bad either. The fact that Tizen is using HTML5, it means that we will get a wave of content that is state of the art, slim and memory efficient (no flash needed). You can look for yourself to some results (at http://www.creativebloq.com/web-design/examples-of-html-1233547), so it seems that the new road that Samsung is taking is also changing the perception that they are getting. From these upgrades, Samsung could evolve from ‘player’ to ‘top contender’. It will definitely bring the fire to the ankles of Apple, which is never a bad idea.

Tizen is not new or just a gimmick, it had been announced before and more important, it has been in development for years, yet with the Google decisions and with the issues that mobile users might be facing sooner rather than later, the timing for Tizen is pretty good and Samsung could benefit greatly, they will get additional benefit as people realise that patches are no longer coming for their less new mobiles, which will hurt consumer confidence.

If you have any doubts then the clarity from Greenbot.com should help. “Google drops Lollipop on November 3rd 2014,  if you have the right device“, which makes us wonder, do I have the right device? “Maybe you don’t have a Nexus phone or tablet. Well, then the situation gets a little murky. If you have a phone purchased in the last year, odds are good that you’ll get an upgrade to Lollipop…eventually“, which gets us, what if your phone is older than one year? Then what? Which gets us the last part “Manufacturers like Samsung, LG, HTC, and Motorola have promised swift updates (typically within 90 days of release) for top devices, but those have to go to carriers to be tested before release, too“, knowing I am ‘up to date’ with my version ‘4.1.2.’ does not inspire confidence! How many people asked questions about versions of Android when they bought their phone? I am a technologist and I never gave it too much thought (other than that I wanted an Android phone). Now, it seems that my Motorola is will remain on Jelly Beans (4.1.2) and now, we have ourselves a ball game, because as this unbalanced approach is pushed from both the desire to remain free (not chained to a provider) and as the life cycle of a mobile phone is now in danger of staying under two years due to the Google changes, we now see the need to not just chastise Google, but to make it clear (actually demand) that consumers are properly informed on the limitations that they are buying at $300, if we regard that patching is done to undue the lacking security of a product sold, we get a new game where the consumer must be informed clearly in a shop regarding the purchase they make.

A costly jump that might not have been needed! This year will bring changes to the mobiles and the shops selling them, I wonder if Google considered that, or perhaps they never cared. Especially when the people get told that they will not face any issues, if they had a Nexus phone (Google’s mobile). Samsung is not without options either, as they progress towards ownership of Blackberry, they might drill into a new mobile market that revolves around data and communication security, which is another mobile hot potato, and it instantly gets them huge chunks of the financial sector for reasons not here speculated! Tactically both Google and Samsung have made brilliant moves, for the consumers not the worst move but likely a costly one this year!

Will you remain in a Google mind or move to Tizen?

Will Eva choose to try the Apple in the end?

Time will tell!

 

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Billion dollar blame

Some do it quick, some do it with conviction, some take a life time and some don’t experience it at all. You might want to guess on what naughtiness I am talking about. It is simple negative profit in a firm. Some seem clear, some are to be expected and some are just plain ignorant.

We could rephrase them as the alphabet, like A is for Airline that’s lost in the queue; B is for banks, who lost more than a few. But then, that nursery rhyme would get boring real quick. The issue is not Tesco, not as we read in Bloomberg: ‘Bank of America Lost $2.7 Billion in a Maze of Accounting‘, it is simple overreaching. First the car industry, now the mobile industry is getting hammered. It would be fine to just blame Apple, who does have a stake in this, but in the end the true culprit is what I call ‘lack of vision‘.

Sony is downgrading its profits to far below zero. It is projecting a loss of 2,140,000,000 at the end of the current financial year. So we are talking about a loss so big, I personally believe is that those ‘idea-illogicals’ are still with their heads in the pre-recession era, they keep on believing that the old ways still work. Guess what! That time is gone, the financial institutions and banks changed that game forever.

The electronics empire initially forecast a $466 million net loss by the end of the current financial year, but has now informed investors that the projected loss has been revised to $2.14 billion. That is the budget for a small nation, so how is Sony still around? Well, that is not about that part of the equation, but it is an interesting question to consider for the future. The biggest issue is with their mobiles and we should wonder how they are currently surviving. I have nothing against Sony mobiles, I have had Nokia mobiles, I have Sony mobiles and mobiles from Ericsson and currently I use a Motorola. The entire mobile market is plummeting, Apple is doing fine, but overall they are likely to see a peaking of profits too.

Why?

Well, like those in the car industry, the people behind them are just not too clued in. They listen to ‘experts’, ‘analysts’ and from there they think that they comprehend their customers. They get market research, get 1000-2000 responses, weigh the hell out of the data and they consider that they have the knowledge.

Guess what, it does not work that way!

True investigation takes more, takes longer and takes actual preparation. Some half-baked set-up, which is quickly designed on Monday, live on Tuesday, data collected up to Thursday and reporting on Friday can work for some parts to get a general idea, but in the end, you will not get the ACTUAL wisdom you need. And guess what, it is not just Sony doing this; there are a few other larger players. Apple, Alcatel, BenQ, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Siemens and Sony Ericsson et all. All of them have several models; most of them are not that cheap.

To this I add two facts. The first one is the economy. It has been 10 years when the 2004 crash came, that hit many people, then the 2008 crash that turned a massive amount of people over the brink of poverty. In that decade the consumer lost close to 21% of purchasing powers. In that decade, the bulk of all people lost a job, or was retrenched at least once, was forced to live on a frozen income, whilst prices of food and housing kept rising and many are not dealing with their debt, so that part is also hanging round their necks as an anchor. The consumer markets ignored that part and now they see the fallout, a fallout that could have been clear to them for at least 3 years, so the writing is not just on the wall, it is a massive neon billboard that was ignored by those who should not have done this (at http://www.cnet.com/au/news/sony-forecasts-2-1-billion-loss-this-year-due-to-its-smartphone-business/)

There is additional ‘evidence’, which is seen here in the quote “The Company blamed the ‘competitive environment of the mobile business.’ Sony has been hammered by competition and an inability to find distributors in key markets such as the US“, I consider that to be a statement of falsehood. Why?

Well, that is always the real question. Consider the list I gave earlier. Siemens has lost a large share, Ericsson lost it as it united with Sony (the company in question), Alcatel was never the largest party in this and neither is Siemens. Huawei is relatively new and several smaller ones do not make the list any more (like NEC), so overall Sony should have consolidated its visibility, but it did not and neither did Nokia. Apple, Samsung and HTC grew, yet overall Sony should not have lost THAT amount, which means that there is more. I blame the over flooding and iterative consumer model as one reason, such a model cannot be sustained if you cannot grow the customer base and that part is currently diminishing and will keep on diminishing for another 2 years. We can no longer afford a new mobile or car every year, in all honesty, we never could, but that part is mainly the result from the pushed idea of ‘ego’ and peer pressure.

The second quote that gives the ‘frying pan’ and ‘the fire’ expression is: “While its Xperia Z3 flagship is making its way into the US through T-Mobile“, many consumers have had enough of being held over a barrel by telecom providers, the ‘new’ mobile is less and less an incentive to hold on to a solution, that side only works for business customers and they too are shopping in the margins. The final quote is “companies such as Google and Microsoft are laying out plans to broaden their reach into the emerging markets with more affordable smartphones“, that group is now targeting the ACTUAL consumers that are available. Huawei had an advantage there, but they are quickly losing that advantage as they emulate Samsung and HTC more and more.

You see, in this day and age, mobile makers have been pressing the ‘exclusivity’ option just a little too long and now the towers break down. You do not have to believe it, but not unlike the car industry, we do not need 7 models with 22 configurations. That image is created by advertisers, finding people telling you that ‘choice’ is all about ‘individuality’ whilst they try to sell that same package to millions; it is a fake concept as I see it. Yes, we want some choice, but the consumer driven industry took that way over the top. That same issue we have seen in mobiles for some time now and the bigger players, coming with half a dozen models are now finding that they are selling ‘hot’ cakes from a fridge in a place where there is no electricity. So why the ridiculous amounts of ‘add-ons’?

Apple avoided most of the issues by having one phone in 3-4 options, where memory was the choice. We do not need 8-12 models, having one phone, which does most, would suffice. Then we get the issue with price, smaller models cost some, or need a ‘contract’, in my eyes it is an interaction of pimping and harlotry for customers, but who is who is not clear to the consumer. Consider that many do not have $800 for a phone, yes we get options for cheaper, but many providers offer a lot less at that point, whilst a generic cheaper phone would be the solution to many, brands are ego pushing the more expensive models at any given opportunity. Although Huawei seemed to have nailed the market, they seem to slowly start making the same error the others are making. Consider that Huawei offered a 4G phone for less than half the price (unlocked and free of contract) than many other providers, so why would we pay twice the price?

Let’s not forget that many providers are no longer delivering a reliable mobile. If it has android than it is likely that the phone is forcing Google search down our throats, whilst forcing people to store all data on a Google account, so that they can copy the data. Apparently there is a way to switch that off, but the result is implied to be so disgustingly customer unfriendly, that we are starting to wonder whether criminal charges are in order. Now, my Motorola suddenly got ‘enhanced’ buttons at the bottom, where it seems that there is a software overlaid button that FORCES me to Google search. How was that MY choice?

So, in the age of data, the market will soon belong to the mobile maker that will respect the customer and BY DEFAULT, let the person choose what they want to do with their data, photos and other smart phone parts. This is all linked, because where confidence dwindles, people are less likely to choose a smart phone and more likely to go back to the old days of the Nokia 1100 (with silver LCD screen, offering voice and SMS only, oh and it avoided bank security for a little while).

It is my firm believe that if big boys like Sony, Nokia and others want to turn their market around, they will need to take time to ACTUALLY learn their customers’ needs and not force corporate choice as customer wishes down the throats of these consumers. For example, instead of 19 Nokia Lumia models make 4 with one extra landscape option. If you only need 5 models, you can simplify the process, down production costs, distribution complications and get a better return. It is just a crazy thought, but what do I know. I thought that the Lumia was gorgeous, but I am not paying $935 for a phone, not in this age of theft and pickpockets, especially as phone insurances are getting less and less affordable. Sony should consider that same idea. Do you think Apple was lazy? 2 phone models, each with three memory options, which means two models each with three memory chip options. NO! Apple foresaw the complicated BS that others face and as such they have more than a small corner in the market. This is odd as the main component for a phone is its battery and Sony has always had superior battery technology, so Sony should have been the number one choice, but alas, that is not the case, so why do we see a contender with a superior key part run a market at minus 2000 million? Beats me, but someone is clearly asleep at the wheel.

Of course, I admit that I am oversimplifying the entire issue, but am I so wrong? I do not think so. I will admit that I missed a few issues in this, but as Sony is at minus a lot and others have a dwindling market, I feel that I am onto something. I am also certain that people have had enough of data collection and these mobile players to use their consumers as off the books revenue piggy banks, the first one to change the wheel on that process might end up owning the market. For those who would ‘ignore’ that path, remember that no matter how ‘valuable’ that data seems to be, once the customers walk away, you end up without data and without people using your product. Sony has the option to bounce back, but that window of opportunity is small and quickly getting smaller as Google and Microsoft are tapping into their own worlds. Sony might have not have that many options left and they forgot the one lesson Miyamoto Musashi instilled upon them almost 450 years ago: “If you do not control the enemy, the enemy will control you”, they forgot this lesson as well as the fact that ego is as much an enemy as an actual opponent, especially as ego is not regarded as an enemy until it strikes after which it gets named Hinan!

 

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