Posts Tagged ‘making’
Amazon offers a range of hardware, including its Kindle e-readers and tablets, but now it’s looking to expand the line with two new smartphones and an audio-only device that streams music, according to the Wall Street Journal. The phones include a high-end one with a glasses-free 3D screen, as well as another about which details were not included in the report, which presumably would be a more traditional design.
Amazon has been rumored to have been working on a phone for a while now, and the recent hiring of top Windows Phone evangelist Charlie Kindel also raised alarms that Amazon might be in the smartphone business soon. Natasha wrote about how Kindel had previously discussed Android’s fragmentation problem, and how it provided opportunity for other players to step up and innovate. This could be what he’s attempting at Amazon, and these devices might be part of that project, although nothing about its plans have been officially revealed as of yet.
The rumored 3D device is said to use some kind of retina-tracking technology to present a holographic image that’s viewable without glasses, and that hovers above the screen. It sounds a little like a gimmick to be honest, especially considering how CE devices with 3D have fared so far, like the 3DS, which recently has downplayed its 3D capabilities in recent marketing. Other phone makers, including HTC and Sony, have also dabbled with 3D displays on phones, all of which have essentially failed to make an impact.
Lately, however, a lot of companies have been creating hardware which doesn’t necessarily have an immediately apparent niche. There’s the Chromebook Pixel, for instance, as well as Google Glass and rumors of the Apple smart watch. There’s the Acer Aspire R7 more recently, too, all of which essentially point to a need to have a big, splashy marquee product that isn’t necessarily the hottest consumer device.
Amazon’s other phone could be the more mass-market play, and the dedicated audio player sounds like it might want to become the iPhone of the streaming music generation. WSJ says that some of these devices might launch as soon as in the next few months, though there’s no guarantee that they won’t be shelved, so 3D screens could also just be something Amazon is testing internally.
We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment and have yet to hear back, but will update this post if they provide any official comment.
“The One isn’t just the best smartphone HTC has ever made — it can legitimately lay claim to being the best smartphone ever produced by anyone.” That’s GDGT’s Peter Rojas speaking about the HTC One. Rojas isn’t alone in this opinion. The HTC One is a phone nearly universally loved by the Internet. The display, the size, the build quality, even HTC’s Android skin is nearly, well, perfect.
But even a perfect phone might not save HTC.
HTC released its March revenue figures today: lowest quarterly net profit since the company started selling products under its own brand in 2006. Revenue fell 37% to NT$ 42.8 billion from NT$ 67.79 billion, ringing in below the company’s February guidance of NT$ 50 billion to NT$ 60 billion. And the stunning One is one of the primes reasons for the slump.
The HTC One was announced on February 19th, ahead of the handset onslaught from Mobile World Congress and the Samsung Galaxy S4 debut. We were instantly in love with the device, raving about the look at feel after playing with it for just a few minutes. HTC was back, we thought.
HTC has long made quality handsets. The One is not a stark departure from the company’s track record. The company’s tag line has long been quietly brilliant. And that properly described HTC. The company rarely touted its achievements like Apple or Samsung, preferring to let its products, as they say, do the talking.
Ever since the Windows Mobile days, HTC has churned out impressive kits. The Touch Diamond, Touch Pro, even the original Android handset, the G1, felt like something special. Made out plastic, sure, but put together in a way that felt solid and above its price point.
As Android matured, HTC keep producing top-tier devices. At the time, Nexus One, EVO 4G, and the Droid Incredible seemed to state that HTC was always going to be the top Android brand. HTC kept the course, perhaps to a fault, and in 2012, outing the original One phones in the One S, One X and One V. Yet again, these were very nice handsets, but failed to capture the same sort of attention as their predecessors, largely living in the shadow of Samsung’s more-widely available Galaxy S II & III phones.
Benedict Evans, telecoms and technology analyst at Enders Analysis, made a fantastic point speaking to The Guardian. “HTC has a scale problem. Last year at this time both it and Sony launched great new products, and they went nowhere. Everybody is saying that the HTC One looks nicer than the Samsung Galaxy S4, but without the marketing and sales and commission budget, it can’t reach enough people. Making lovely bits of hardware is a necessary, but insufficient, condition in this business. Now it’s getting into a vicious circle where it has to cut back its marketing budget to get its cashflow under control.”
HTC was paying attention, though. The ONE was going to be different. It packs the best of HTC’s design and engineering and hit the market well ahead of competitors. The HTC One was supposed to launch worldwide in the middle of March, just a month after its unveiling.
That didn’t happen. But this did.
While the HTC One suffered numerous delays caused by a short supply of parts, Samsung announced the Galaxy S4 on March 14th. If the ridiculous announcement is any indication, Samsung is going to throw everything behind its latest smartphone. Expect a massive media blitz as the Galaxy S4′s Q2 launch window approaches, likely downing out any paltry marketing planned for the HTC One.
HTC has never been good at marketing partly because for the longest time the company didn’t have to. HTC used to make white label handsets, allowing other brands, such as Verizon and AT&T, to slap their logo on the devices and sell at higher margin. Most of the memorable marketing campaigns for HTC devices have come from the carriers rather than HTC.
If HTC wants the One to sell like gangbusters — and after today’s financial news, they need it to do so — the company will need to elevate its marketing efforts to a completely new level.
The HTC One launches in the States on AT&T and Sprint on April 19th. It’s hitting T-Mobile (and maybe Verizon) later. On AT&T and Sprint, it’s priced right with the 16GB available for $ 199 on a two-year contract (it’s only $ 99 on Sprint for new customers). It’s the best Android device available right now and for the foreseeable future. I would take it over the Galaxy S4.
HTC likely threw its entire company behind the HTC One. Pick one up. Try it. Feel it. The phone is closer to perfect than any other phone previously made. However, a perfect product has never been a guarantee of success. Like Benedect Evans said to The Guardian, while the HTC One might be a collection of lovely bits of hardware, that’s not enough alone.
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In heartbreaking news, Disney is shutting down video game developer/publisher LucasArts after its acquisition of it and LucasFilm last year. The company was known for some of the best graphic adventure games the world has even seen, including: Maniac Mansion, Loom, Day of the Tentacle, Sam and Max Hit the Road, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, the entire series of Indiana Jones point-and-click adventures, and every Monkey Island, to name a few of my favorites. The company has also made virtually every Star Wars game to date, but has decided to cancel development of both Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313 to focus on a business model that revolves primarily around licensing the rights for other companies to make Star Wars games instead of creating them in-house. Oh, I’ve got one — it’s called, ‘Fly This X-Wing Straight Up Mickey’s Ass’. It’s rated T for Teen because it’s really just a mix tape of me cussing. I may even release some DLC.
Thanks to Pyrblaze, Lisa, Skamodongo, Doombah and Mr. Q., two of which sound like rejected Super Mario enemies. Hopefully this thing turns out for the best.
Title pic via DeviantARTist NessD
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After rumors swirled that Panasonic was considering putting a stop to production of its well-regarded plasma HDTVs later this year, the company announced it will stay in the business. President Kazuhiro Tsuga revealed a three year growth plan for Panasonic to focus on batteries and entertainment systems for cars, as well as environmentally friendly housing developments. It will also streamline the number of departments by allowing each division to handle its own products from development to release. The beleaguered TV unit will stay, as Tsuga said it will consider walking away only as a last resort. Additionally, Chairman and former CEO Fumio Ohtsubo will retire in June. Some analysts believe Panasonic will still need to lay off workers if it’s to turn things around, but we’ll have to wait and see how Tsuga’s plan comes together.
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Hon Hai Accuracy, additionally called Foxconn Innovation, has reported its incomes for the year and notched a net income of $ 3.2 billion according to the Financial Times. The majority of familiar as the production muscle behind Apple’s iPhones, iPads and so forth, the Taiwan-based producer beat expert predictions on high margins for those products. Its subsidiary, Foxconn International Holdings, is the world’s biggest cellular phone maker and produces gadgets for business including Nokia and Motorola, but suffered a bottom line of $ 316.4 million. As a result, some are worried about Foxconn’s heavy dependence on Apple as a consumer going forward. Still, the company is supposedly continuing a strategy to enhance upright integration, by producing the parts for gadgets and not just putting them together– we’ll see if anybody notices modifications in the end product anytime soon.
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Idea that Dell get out was a done bargain? Well, the Blackstone Group and investor Carl Icahn plainly do not think so, with the Wall Road Diary reporting that both have gotten in touch with the committee of Dell’s board just before Friday’s shutoff deadline. The would-be bidders are reported to be working on their real offer quantities, and at the same time getting them 4 more days thinking time. Reuters states that Blackstone’s tentative offer is already in, according to sources, and at this time the business is yet to comment. Regardless of a recent downturn in revenues, Michael Dell surprised lots of when he announced his purpose to buy back the eponymous firm in a handle Microsoft for $ 24.4 billion. So, if the creator thought he had the keys to the old estate back, he may just have to wait a bit longer.
Wall Road Diary, Reuters
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Amidst Apple iWatch rumors and Google Glass sightings, it would appear that Google is actually working on its own smartwatch to be paired alongside connected Android devices. According to the Financial Times, Google’s Android arm will be the team working on the device, as opposed to the X Lab division, which handled Google Glass development.
The wearable computer market is heating up quite rapidly. Alongside Google’s Glass project, a number of smaller OEMs have launched Bluetooth-connected smart watches to work as a companion to the smartphone.
Fossil has a well-crafted MetaWatch, InPulse has the hot-selling Pebble smartwatch, and there are even a handful of quantified self devices that measure your daily activity. There’s the Nike FuelBand, the Jawbone UP, and the Basis to name a few. Add to that an Apple competitor in the iWatch, and a Samsung smartwatch to boot, and it only makes sense that Google has a watch in the works.
Google Glass takes wearable computing a step beyond the basic wrist watch. However, the rate of adoption will almost certainly be lower than that of a watch or a smartphone since the experience is such a huge change in the way we interact with digital content and our world. A smart watch, on the other hand, would feel a lot more like using a really small smartphone, and that familiarity makes the watch a great bridge between smartphones and computational headsets.
Google didn’t comment on the speculation.
However, there’s a patent owned by Google and filed in 2011 for a “smart watch” with a “flip-up display.” It would appear that the patent also provides for a touchscreen experience.
The question isn’t really if Google will build a smart watch. As small OEMs and big competitors around it flood the market with wearable smartwatches, Google will likely need to join the fight. However, it’s unclear what exactly that will look like? Does a flip-up display look like a flip phone?
From the patent filing, the “flip-up display” seems to work like a digital pocket watch, showing two displays when open and a single display on top when closed.
However, just because Google filed this patent, it doesn’t mean that Google’s Android smartwatch will look anything like it.
On the software side, Google has already proven that it can develop for new forms of computing, such as Google Glass. Even some of its already-released apps like Google Now and Field Trip seem like they would fit in swimmingly with a smart watch. Plus, we can’t forget that the acquisition of Motorola has left Google with a rather sizable hardware team.
Brand Loyalty: Guy Gets A Netflix Tattoo, Netflix Gives Him A Free Year Of Service (Making It All Worth It)
Twitter user TheRealMyron got this Netflix tattoo on the side of his stomach and tweeted it to Netflix’s account, and the movie-streaming giant awarded his loyal fandom with a free year of service. A whole year! Keep in mind Netflix wasn’t holding a contest or anything, Myron just got the tattoo because he loves the company and “Netflix is a lifestyle.” Just like swinging. Some other gems from his feed:
Netflix tweeted me retweeted my Tattoo and gave me a free year tonight there is noway you can’t believe in Netflix gang now it’s a movement
@netflix I’m so excited I love Netflix can I get a follow back also
There is so many strangers in my mentions about this Netflix stuff lol they don’t understand the life
@netflix follow me back pleaseeee
huff post said they want to do a story!!!!!!!!!
i just got asked to do a story on web cam i dont think i have a web came here
who has a web cam?
I have a webcam, Myron. Come over and you can do the interview from my place and then you can show me what this lifestyle is all about. I’ve had Netflix for years, but I didn’t know I was part of a MOVEMENT. Also, we should totally get some jackets and hats made with a catchy slogan to celebrate your victory. I’m thinking ‘Netflix For Life’. “But I only got a year.” Yeah….maybe if you got another, even BIGGER one.
Thanks to Big Dave, who’s getting a Ferrari tattoo this weekend. Good luck with that.
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Because I don’t know why, Ferrari is going to manufacturer a million-dollar, 863-horsepower gas/electric hybrid supercar called the *drumroll please* LaFerrari. *womp womp* Wow, and I was this close to putting my name on the waiting list.
The LaFerrari has more power than the McLaren P1, it’s also a hybrid made entirely of carbon fibre, it will do 62 mph under 3 seconds, and they will only make 499 while already having about 700 orders.
Who cares about how fast it can do 62MPH, how quickly can I get it to 88MPH? I’m asking for a friend and not me who totally doesn’t have a flux capacitor and no this isn’t a picnic basket full of dinosaur-sized condoms behind my back. They’re, uh, weather balloons.
Hit the jump for more pictures and and a video of the thing zoom around that gave me a boner even though I tried to fight it.
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Caddisfly are a species of moth-like insect that, when in their larval stage, spin a web of silk and attach whatever materials they have around them to it for protection before climbing inside to pupate. So you know what French artist Hubert Duprat gave them? A beret, baguette, and zero deodorant. “The French hate you enough as it is, GW.” Fine, he gave them a bunch of gold and jewels. These are the resulting protective cases they made. Not bad, but I don’t think of any of them are going to make it as jewelry designers. “Wow, first the French, now you’re making fun of insects — you must feel pretty good about yourself.” I knooooow, I just can’t help it — it’s a coping mechanism. “For coping with what?” You — HAHA! *drops smoke bomb, runs in a circle because I can’t see anything, smoke dissipates, you kick my ass, curtain falls, I return moments later for my final bow* Come on, nobody’s throwing roses?! What about panties? Last call — boxers and briefs. For the love of God, somebody just toss me a sock.
Hit the jump for a video of the little buggers doing their arts and crafts thing.
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