Posts Tagged ‘Problem’
Microsoft’s Corporate VP for Windows Julie Larson-Green was at WIRED’s Business Conference today, and she was put on the spot when asked by interviewer and WIRED Senior Editor Michael V. Copeland about the apparently sluggish start for Windows RT. RT’s failure is a consumer education problem, according to Larson-Green, since it’s very different from what’s come before.
Windows RT, for those unfamiliar or confused by the new familial breakdown of Windows following the introduction of version 8, is a lightweight version designed for ARM-powered devices (vs. x86, the architecture which full Windows OS runs on), which doesn’t offer access to the full suite of Windows software. According to our own Matt Burns, that has resulted in a big app gap, and made the Surface RT essentially a glorified web browsing tablet, which sounds like something different from a simple matter of properly framing the product.
“I think we have some work to do on explaining it to people because it’s different,” Larson-Green said. “They’re just so used to Windows meaning backward compatibility in all the programs that you use today. I use Surface RT as my main computing device, I connect to a corporate network using my virtual smart card and VPN when I need to, Office is already on there [...] it’s just a simpler experience and then the Surface Pro has the flexibility if you want to work on the details.”
“I love my Surface RT,” was a common refrain from Larson-Green even into the Q&A, who later characterized it as a device for casual consumption mostly, especially filling a niche for “weekend” use. Even the dual nature of her defense of the Microsoft tablet shows that it still needs work at Microsoft itself in terms of fleshing out its role in the consumer ecosystem, which probably isn’t helping the company properly explain its purpose to the buying public.
The Surface RT is estimated to have sold only around 1 million units total since its launch late in 2012, far under its reported initial estimates of 3 million or so. Other OEMs have balked at the RT line in the meantime, with Acer waiting on launching its RT slate until at least Q2 of this year.
In unfamiliar hands, a familiar breaking news tool can wreak havoc.
For the past 12 hours, much of Twitter’s information torrent surrounding the Boston manhunt has been powered by a familiar source. The only problem is, it's in unfamiliar hands.
For local beat reporters, police scanners are one of the oldest and most reliable tools of the trade, serving as both an early alert system and a virtual ride-along. Now, thanks to a host of easily accessible livestreaming scanner sites and mobile apps, access to this stream of information is everywhere, turning anyone with an internet connection and a Twitter account into their own central dispatch and inundating social streams with false and potentially dangerous information.
It's a disturbing trend that seems to be a new reality in the online age of breaking news. Numerous false reports from police scanners surfaced and were refuted during Hurricane Sandy, and Monday's bombing brought about a rash of disturbing and unconfirmed scanner reports in the marathon's chaotic aftermath. Scanners are a patchwork of unconfirmed information, being relayed by on-the-ground sources using, more often than not, an abundance of caution and broadcasting information without verification.
False scanner reports like this one from Monday’s bombing were all over Twitter:
Tech's most fickle users are also its most important. So how do the biggest social networks keep them coming back?
Teens have always been the backbone of tech’s early adopters crowd, plucking new technologies from obscurity and hurling them into the mainstream consciousness, using them in unexpected (and often better) ways, and minting the fortunes of developers and entrepreneurs in the process.
The seemingly inexplicable success of social apps like Snapchat or Tinder is, more often than not, explained by the teen demographic, any new app's most devoted and capricious user group. Yet as quickly as these services rise, victory can be short lived — teens, armed with short attention spans, discard stale technology with little remorse.
It's this latter prospect that weighs on the minds of larger, more established tech companies. Facebook, whose success was built on the backs of a massive network of teens and young adults, must now grapple with its mainstream status and the user apathy that comes with such overexposure. In a recent survey of 13 to 18 year olds, 61 percent of teens chose Tumblr as their favorite social network. Facebook, with its billion-plus users, came in second with 55 percent of the teen vote. Results were similar for young adults 19 to 25, with 57 percent choosing Tumblr as the top social network. At the risk of oversimplifiying, it would appear that Facebook — a place where you're now as likely to run into your grandmother as you are your friends — is no longer cool.
It's a troubling thought not only for Facebook, but for any social network that bleeds into popular culture. And it prompts the question: how does an app or a social network grow without alienating its early-adopting core? BuzzFeed approached these social networks to find out how they're grappling with their teen problem.
As you might imagine, it's a delicate subject. None of the social networks we talked to offered up numbers on teen usage, in some cases treating the data as one would treat proprietary financial information (for Facebook, a publicly traded company, sharing teen usage numbers would qualify as a legal disclosure), Snapchat couldn't be reached for comment while Twitter declined to comment altogether. Facebook issued a generic response telling BuzzFeed, “we are gratified that more than 1 billion people, including enormous numbers of young people, are using Facebook to connect and share.”
The company was a bit more forthcoming in this year's annual report where it noted:
We believe that some of our users, particularly our younger users, are aware of and actively engaging with other products and services similar to, or as a substitute for, Facebook. For example, we believe that some of our users have reduced their engagement with Facebook in favor of increased engagement with other products and services such as Instagram. In the event that our users increasingly engage with other products and services, we may experience a decline in user engagement and our business could be harmed.
Instagram similarly noted that teens “represent an important subset of our 100 million monthly active users.” The company’s stock answer affirmed that they “find teens value Instagram as a medium for both expression and connection” but refused to divulge any specifics as to how the company continues to court the teen demographic.
Tumblr, the de facto teen social network cited its celebrity and vertical (politics, music, etc) outreach, varied post formats, and meetup culture as reasons for its success. It also touted the annonymitiy of Tumblr's platform and lighter emphasis on follower counts, as compared to Twitter. “Even if your mom is on Tumblr, you don't have to follow her and since there's no requirement to use your real name. You don't even have to know that she's on the site,” Tumblr's Danielle Strle told BuzzFeed.
Google says Plus is able to rely on the expansive, preexisting Google network and product suite to draw in younger users, though a recent third-party report shows only three percent of females and six percent of males under 18 are active users on the network. “We have a lot more work to do to futher integrate and realize the power of our network,” Google Plus VP of product Bradley Horowitz said of the site's potential. Google's problem, though, is an issue of integration into the larger Google machine. “What teen doesn't use Gmail, Chrome, YouTube, Google Maps, or search? It's not as if we're sitting here saying, 'how do we get teens to use Google products?' It's about how we can continue to provide utility,” he said.
For those without Google's infrastructure, manpower, and bank roll, keeping teens interested isn't a matter of brute force (though it's unclear if Google will be successful). “The currency of the network is very important with teens,” 21 year old mobile app developer and founder of Kiip, Brian Wong said. “Which is why creating subbrands and experimenting with a product that looks fresh is so important.”
Twitter and Facebook seem to be following that advice. Twitter rolled out Vine, a separate video app last year, which (at least for now) seems to go out of its way to separate itself from Twitter. Likewise, Instagram rarely acknowledges Facebook's ownership and works hard to remain a standalone product in its users' eyes.
And then there's the very real and nebulous concept of simply “staying cool” among teens. Wong uses the social dating app Tinder as an example of of an obscure product that penetrated the teen social dynamic. “Teens don't really care if a piece of technology is owned by a big company or if it's publically traded. Nobody knows Tinder was started by a serial entrepreneur with a background in advertising. They care that it made digital flirting acceptable without feeling weird.”
It boils down to a problem that, unfortunately for tech companies, can't easily be solved with an algorithm. “In the end,” Wong said, “it's about what's cool to talk about without getting made fun of.”
More Problem For Mobile Maker HTC As Haptics Company Immersion Puts on Restart Patent Litigation & Push For Damages
As if smartphone maker HTC doesn ’ t have enough to bother with in an Android area so saturated with Samsung-branded hardware it ’ s driving HTC ’ s sales back to 2010 levels. However now the Taiwanese business is dealing with the prospect of needing to hand over for damages if haptics company Immersion gets its method. Immersion, which counts Samsung among the licensees for its “ touch feedback modern technology ”, had actually been content to remain a UNITED STATE suit against HTC — in order to await the completion of an International Trade Commission investigation into whether HTC has been infringing a few of its patents. However, provided HTC ’ s recent performance in the mobile area, Immersion has decided this method is not appropriate and today said it plans to request the stay of its lawsuit to be raised — so that it “ may prosecute its claim against HTC for damages right away ”. The ITC action was originally set up for “ last determination ” on October 28, 2013 — after which Immersion might have been able to secure an exemption order against HTC preventing infringing gadgets being imported into the United States. However with HTC ’ s fortunes in the doldrums, Immersion reckons it could get a better outcome via the U.S. Area Court path, where it could win damages, attorneys ‘fees, and potentially injunctive relief.” Offered HTC’s current performance in the mobile market, we believe an exclusion order preventing HTC from importing infringing devices would not be an impactful win, and we are turning our energies to seeking damages for past and recurring shipments of infringing gadgets,” noted Immersion CEO Victor Viegas in a statement. Immersion filed its initial problem against HTC (as well as Motorola)with the ITC on February 7, 2012, affirming infringement of 6 U.S. patents relating to using
haptics innovation — namely: 6,429,846(“the ’846 patent “); 7,592,999(“the’999 patent “); 7,969,288(” the’ 288 patent “); 7,982,720(“the’ 720 patent “); 8,031,181 (“the’181 patent”); and 8,059,105( “the ’105 patent” ). A multi-year license for Immersion ’ s haptics technology signed by Samsung last week consisted of a patent license covering
“ Samsung’s prior and future use of basic kinds of haptic results, often described as Basic Haptics, in its smartphones and various other mobile devices ”, according to the company. Immersion, which was established back in 1993, says it has more than 1,300 issued or pending patents in the U.S. and other countries.
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Welcome to The Verge: Weekender edition. Each week, we’ll bring you important articles from the previous weeks’ original reports, features and reviews on The Verge. Think of it as a collection of a few of our favorite pieces from the week gone by, which you may have missed, or which you might want to read again.
BlackBerry Z10 review: a new life, or life support?
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The Wii U’s launch was a bit rocky, to say the least. Missing features, promised TV services and slow-loading, day-one firmware updates left Nintendo fans frustrated and disappointed. The company is still cleaning up the mess too, announcing that it will push two additional software updates to fix the console’s slogging load times. A quicker console will certainly be welcome, but the Wii U spring updates are missing an opportunity to close a rift that divides Nintendo from its loving customer base: how it handles digital content ownership.
Ever buy an Xbox Live game? You probably know that purchase is tied to your Xbox Live account, and will be available on any subsequent Xbox you purchase. Not in Nintendo’s world; Kyoto’s digital sales are tied to the gaming hardware, not the user’s account. It’s been a soft spot for Nintendo gamers for some time now, and the Wii U was the company’s chance to make amends — except it didn’t. Like its predecessors, the new console locks content to the device it was originally purchased on, imprisoning digital purchases in a physical cage. The Wii U takes content confinement a step further with its support for legacy software, providing a near-perfect example of the folly of Nintendo’s content ownership philosophy: the isolated sandbox of its backwards-compatible Wii Menu.
Leader is revealing a brand-new auto kit for the iPhone 5. The CD-IH202 is a $ 50 kit that includes an iOS app and 2 cable televisions; a two-meter “automobile grade” HDMI cable television and a 17-pin to USB cable. For various other systems, Leader will offer similar kits for $ 100 that replace the HDMI with a VGA cable television. In addition to that you’ll likewise require to choose up (or carry to your automobile daily) a Lightning to USB cable television in addition to a Lightning digital AV adapter. It works with 13 Pioneer 2012 and 2013 systems, and will enable you to play and control Pandora net radio as well as promoting regional playback of music and videos from the iPhone 5. If you’re pleased to buy 3 cables and an adapter to link your iPhone to your auto, Pioneer’s brand-new kits will …
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Kickstarter is a location I consistently rely on for hardware add-ons, mainly because I ’ m commonly tired by the winners being placed out there by the general yield of hardware makers. However all too often lately, I locate myself encountering a problem, one that seems native to the island to the Kickstarter way of doing things: add-ons I back are frequently ineffective by the time they ship.
Instance in point: I obtained my Une Bobine today (pictured). It ’ s an articulating iPhone fee and sync cable television that ’ s durable enough to hold the iPhone 3GS, 4 or 4S aloft so that you can use it as an additional screen with your computer setup, without having a dock or additional stand nearby. It ’ s cool, and it works well. But I backed it in June, very few weeks prior to the concept of a redesigned dock connector started getting passed around the internet. So generally pre-ordered in June, and it showed up in September, simply in time to be made out-of-date.
That ’ s in fact a relatively fast turnaround time for a hardware Kickstarter project, and I compliment Une Bobine ’ s group for remaining primarily on track and delivering a strong item. But it ’ s an essential, non-trivial issue with the Kickstarter model and unit add-ons, one that ’ s occurred in the past and will certainly occur again, with things like the Geode from iCache (delivery was originally approximated for April, now states iPhone 5 version will be readily available, however more problems anticipated), the Syre (a Bluetooth iPod nano watch situation that won ’ t work with/is unneeded for brand-new iPod nano with inbuilt Bluetooth), and possibly worst of all, the Orbit ( dual suction cup iPhone stand that probably won ’ t work with the aluminum backing, and was expected to ship in December of 2011).
Did I discuss the hundred or so docks, clocks and even more that are created to be used with the 30-pin port? Cause there are those, too. Here ’ s a thing like that, and an additional, and yet an additional one. All of these had shipping dates that were a lot earlier than now, so individuals might reasonably have anticipated to obtain some use from the things before modification came. The finest amongst them are now offering upgrade roads for people transferring to iPhone 5, however not everybody is doing that. And as always with Kickstarter, there are no assurances.
Upgrade cycles for individual electronics are getting shorter, not longer, with Samsung the most remarkable to begin stepping up the rate with which it releases new tablets and smartphones. Apple ’ s on a rather rigid annual system, but even that ’ s too short a period for a lot of small makers simply getting started with the complexities of constructing a supply chain and production procedure.
Lots of will certainly say that I ’ m simply too eager to update my devices, and that ’ s true, I ’ m the edge situation example of a very early adopter. But who do you think is making use of Kickstarter to pre-order interesting new accessories? Most likely not the same individuals who are happy to choose up an iPhone 4 practically three years after it was initially introduced. Kickstarter really adds an entire new measurement of “ early ” to the idea of early adopter, one that can easily very accurately be called on the bleeding edge of new tech.
If I count up how many items I ’ ve backed have in fact shipped, and then take that number and subtract the ones that my main hardware has actually outpaced, it makes me extremely sad. On the additional hand, Kickstarter is not a shopping center; it ’ s a financial investment platform that carries fundamental danger. However consistently running into problems with items that are out of date by the time they ship could have a long-term, net adverse impact on backer appetites, not to mention the problems it produces in terms of developing lasting customer relationships. Bottom line, this is a serious problem that project planners would do well to take care of up front, with clear plans for what takes place when an item feels dated prior to it also arrives.
Kickstarter is a place I regularly turn to for hardware accessories, mostly because I’m often bored by the safe bets being put out there by the general crop of hardware makers. But all too often lately, I find myself running into a problem, one that seems endemic to the Kickstarter way of doing things: accessories I back are often useless by the time they ship.
Case in point: I received my Une Bobine today (pictured). It’s an articulating iPhone charge and sync cable that’s strong enough to hold the iPhone 3GS, 4 or 4S aloft so that you can use it as an additional screen with your computer setup, without having a dock or other stand nearby. It’s cool, and it works well. But I backed it in June, only a few weeks before the idea of a redesigned dock connector started getting passed around the web. So basically pre-ordered in June, and it arrived in September, just in time to be made obsolete.
That’s actually a relatively fast turnaround time for a hardware Kickstarter project, and I commend Une Bobine’s team for staying mostly on track and delivering a solid product. But it’s an essential, non-trivial problem with the Kickstarter model and device accessories, one that’s happened before and will happen again, with things like the Geode from iCache (delivery was originally estimated for April, now says iPhone 5 version will be available, but further delays anticipated), the Syre (a Bluetooth iPod nano watch case that won’t work with/is unnecessary for new iPod nano with built-in Bluetooth), and maybe worst of all, the Orbit (dual suction cup iPhone stand that probably won’t work with the aluminum backing, and was supposed to ship in December of 2011).
Did I mention the hundred or so docks, clocks and more that are designed to be used with the 30-pin connector? Cause there are those, too. Here’s a thing like that, and another, and yet another one. All of these had shipping dates that were much earlier than now, so consumers could reasonably have expected to get some use out of the things before change came. The best among them are now offering upgrade paths for people switching to iPhone 5, but not everyone is doing that. And as always with Kickstarter, there are no guarantees.
Upgrade cycles for consumer electronics are getting shorter, not longer, with Samsung the most notable to begin stepping up the pace with which it releases new tablets and smartphones. Apple’s on a pretty rigid yearly system, but even that’s too short a period for a lot of small manufacturers just getting started with the intricacies of building a supply chain and manufacturing process.
Many will say that I’m just too eager to upgrade my devices, and that’s true, I’m the edge case example of an early adopter. But who do you think is using Kickstarter to pre-order exciting new accessories? Probably not the same people who are happy to pick up an iPhone 4 almost three years after it was originally introduced. Kickstarter actually adds a whole new dimension of “early” to the concept of early adopter, one that can very accurately be described as on the bleeding edge of new tech.
If I count up how many products I’ve backed have actually shipped, and then take that number and subtract the ones that my primary hardware has outpaced, it makes me very sad. On the other hand, Kickstarter is not a shopping mall; it’s an investment platform that carries inherent risk. But consistently running into issues with products that are out of date by the time they ship could have a long-term, net negative effect on backer appetites, not to mention the problems it generates in terms of building long-lasting customer relationships. Bottom line, this is a serious issue that project planners would do well to address up front, with clear plans for what happens when a product feels dated before it even arrives.
Staying in Brooklyn, NY (the place where plan deliveries go to die), I know far better than anyone the struggle of failing to see a bundle, tracking it down, and then taking a trip nonetheless long it takes to rebound said package. It ’ s so a lot of a pain, in fact, that I frequently provide up the second I see that “ Sorry we missed you ” sticker label.
But a business fresh from Y Combinator‘ s Summertime 2012 class is prepared to disrupt this mayhem with a clever little box, a BufferBox. It ’ s a bit like Amazon Closet, where you have all your Amazon plans shipped to a reasonably advantageous place as an alternative of missing them. However, BufferBox deals with all of your bundles (UPS, FedEx, USPS, and Amazon).
Right here ’ s how it works:
After joining BufferBox, you ’ re offered a certain address– you will certainly utilize this address every time you intend on receiving a plan. As soon as the delivery shows up, BufferBox will certainly deliver you an e-mail with an one-of-a-kind PIN, with which you can easily uncover your BufferBox and walk off, bundle in hand.
BufferBox then takes a cost for every parcel delivered through their system. “ Integrated stores ” will certainly deliver a BufferBox circulation channel direct from their own ecommerce sites, and at that point the price to the retailer boils down to shipping volume. The consumer pays absolutely nothing. On the additional hand, users purchasing through non-integrated merchants can constantly sign up for a BufferBox of their own, and pay $ 3 per parcel.
According to originator Mike McCauley, Amazon ’ s Closet program poses the greatest risk competitively, however he in fact sees it as a benefit.
“ They opened a whole new market for us due to the fact that they have 30 percent of the commerce volume, ” McCauley stated. “ The other scattered 70 percent don ’ t have the order volume to validate building a network of kiosks. ”
“ In that way, we ’ re kind of like an open platform. ”
The roll-out has already begun, beginning with Union Station in Toronto, Canada. (The BufferBox people are largely from the University of Waterloo.)
The group has plans to expand into 100 new places, featuring benefit shops, supermarket, and transit stations within Toronto, which should increase their potential user base to around 7 million customers. Perfect practice for a roll-out in the Big Apple.
BufferBox has actually also signed an arrangement with Walmart ecommerce to give individuals the option of having package deals delivered to a BufferBox instead of their front door.