Lots 'o home theater companies are creating iPhone apps to control their own company's components, but what do you do when your TV is a Panasonic, your Blu-ray player an LG, your receiver a Denon and you have a Roku...
Almost as unbearable as the tease of Sarah Palin's maybe run for the presidency has been the ongoing "it's coming" tease of Sony-Ericsson's PlayStation phone, the Xperia. We're been playing into S-E's hands, reporting on every dropped hint and sighting for more than a year, the last time in October.
This week in Orlando the wireless industry's hoi polloi and hoity toady will gather for the twice-annual CTIA exhibition (why the entire consumer electronics industry manages to squeeze its business into a single CES but the cellphone people need two shows is one of those "why is Kim Kardashian famous" mysteries — but I digress). I could postulate on what the major handset makers will do, but we'll know for sure in a few scant days — and so will you. Or, do a Google search on "Mobile World Congress 2011 new phones" to get a glimmer of the goodies likely to be launched this week. Maybe I've been doing this too long, but I'm getting a bit cynical about significant further cellphone innovations. Over the next six months or so, well be seeing more dual core phones to follow the Motorola Atrix (perhaps some that also will serve as the core for a laptop accessory like Atrix), and a lot more LTE phones, and a few of both — perhaps the iPhone 5, for instance. But there'll likely be no revolutionary technology breakthroughs at CTIA, which begs the question: Have we reached the cellphone Peter Principal? Are all the great cellphone breakthroughs taken? Let's discuss.
"Have you seen the lines at the box office!" exclaimed Roger De Bris, the FAB-ulous director of the play-within-The Producers, Springtime for Hitler. "It's an avalanche! It's a torrent! It's the biggest hit on Broadway!" Well, not Broadway literally, but the iPad 2 is producing lines, sell-outs and now shipment delays in the face of nearly unprecedented sales. When I sauntered to the Apple store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan at around 4pm last Friday afternoon to buy mine, I was shocked to find the line had snaked completely around the block. Why was I shocked? iPad was available in literally 10 times the number of locations than last year's original, but the lines were still longer this time. Why the avalanche and torrent? I have a theory!
While ordering my weekly supply of bagels and lox at my local kosher-style deli, Andrew, one of the managers with whom I am acquainted (we're fellow Met fans, God help us) asked me an odd question. He'd heard about the new iPad 2 and wanted to know if any of the other tablet PCs he had heard of were "better." Over the next few weeks and months, the tech and mainstream media will try their best to answer that question. They'll make a big deal how this tablet is less or more expensive than iPad/iPad 2, how it's got better or worse this or that specs, more of this or that input jack, that it does X or Y better or worse, how the operating systems are easier or harder or more or less intuitive, etc. This is all nonsense. You cannot compare the iPad to any other tablet. Find out why after the jump.
My excitement, as you can tell by the lack of an exclamation point above, is surprisingly muted. Given the rampant speculation and build up, I kinda know what iPad 2 will be packing, and it doesn't thrill me. Maybe it's because suddenly I can't metaphorically walk two feet on the net without tripping over some new tablet announcement and I'm just sick of the whole stupid subject — a year ago everyone laughed at Apple's folly, a year later these bandwagon-jumping soon-to-be immensely disappointed morons think they're each going to sell 10 million units. Maybe Apple will surprise us with something unexpected like it did in a bad way with a non-LTE Verizon iPhone 4, with a minor interim iPad 2 update with a major upgrade delayed until the fall. Maybe Apple will happily surprise. Maybe. But mostly maybe it's because I'm afraid, as Snoopy once cynically mused, my anticipation may exceed the actual event. Maybe. But what maybe appears on the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts stage in San Francisco next week to me isn't as important as who maybe appears.
There have been some weird news reports this week about how Apple now wants a 30 percent cut of any goods sold from within an app, or that developers have to sell their goods through iTunes with Apple taking 30...
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly — rarely does one dip into the territory of the other. These remote-controlled fish do both: they swim to get airborne.
In the TV business, a hit TV show is said to "jump the shark" when it can no longer sustain the qualities that made it a hit in the first place, and so resorts to some sort of weird stunt in what is usually a failed effort to maintain fading ratings. This week, the cellphone business may have jumped the shark with two bizarre events. Last week, Sprint unwrapped the Kyocera-made Echo, a cell phone designed somewhat like a trundle bed. Echo looks like a thicker version of a regular slab cell, but the top 3.5-inch screen top flips up and over and clicks alongside a second 3.5-inch screen pancaked underneath to create a single 4.7-inch square screen with an eighth-inch bezel seam in the middle. One program can be run across both screens as if it were a single display, or each screen can run a separate, independent program. Then, today (Friday, February 11), and tomorrow, T-Mobile will give anyone who signs a two-year deal any phone in the store for free, including the carrier's $100 4G models. That's right — competition in the cellphone business has gotten to the point that T-Mobile has been prompted to actually give away its phones. These are unlikely to be isolated retail or product "jump the shark" incidents. We're sure to see more cell strangeness as the World Mobile Congress convenes next week in Barcelona, a potential Shark Week sans the Discovery Channel cameras, which we'll explore after our own jump.
4G. 4G, 4G, 4G, 4G. 4G4G4G4G4G4G4G4G4G4G4G4G4G4G4G4G4G! Tired of hearing about 4G yet? You better not be, because the 4G onslaught has only just begun....