Archive for the ‘Tech – Palm’ category

eBooks Search Milestone

December 30, 2008

Five of the ten terms that have led people to this blog (at WordPress) today are eBook-related:

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This has special significance because this is the holiday gift-giving aftermath.

I’ve already seen stats in search for this blog this week that show an incredible number of people got either an iPhone or iPod Touch as gifts. The number towers over those for the Sony Reader — but the Sony Reader has not given up the fight yet and has made a consistent good showing.

Dying dinosaurs of print: You better heed this milestone and amp up eBooks to Setting 11 in 2009.

eBooks And Pricing: No Argument Now!

December 27, 2008

I was going through my LifeDrive memos and came across a Stephen Levy column from Newsweek that nails the argument for lower-than-print pricing of eBooks.

This column is from 2004 — four years ago!

FORECAST: SONG COSTS MAY FALL LIKE RAIN
MEMO TO MUSIC LABELS: LOWERING PRICES WILL GET YOU MORE SALES

This is the key point:

This summer [2004] provided a clue to further harnessing the force of digital nature. For three weeks, Real Networks tried to lure new customers by slashing prices to 49 cents a song and $4.99 per album. Since Real paid the full royalty load to the labels (almost 70 cents a tune), the company lost money on every transaction. CEO Rob Glaser says that the company did get new customers, but here’s the real news: Real sold six times as much music and took in three times as much money.

This reflected the experience of Audible, which sells audiobooks on the iTunes Store. Working in conjunction with publishers and Apple, Audible offered some online titles at a fraction of the normal price. One of those buyers was me — I had been thinking of getting a David Sedaris audiobook to entertain my family on a summer drive, but balked at paying $11 for something I might play just once. After I got an e-mail informing me I could get it for $2, I snapped it up. Audible CEO Don Katz says the featured books on that single e-mail were downloaded at 60 times the previous rate.

Emphasis added by me.

Let me hammer down the point.

Audible was selling an audio-eBook. It sold at sixty times the previous sales rate once the price was slashed.

Let me run some math, and I’ll use simple numbers because math usually gets me in trouble!

An eBook at $10.00 with a 10% royalty, one copy sold = $1.00

OK, that’s the “normal” rate of sale.

Now let’s do the Audible price cut numbers.

An eBook at $2.00 with a 10% royalty, sixty copies sold = $12.00

Which would a writer rather have? A guarantee of $1.00 per copy with an increased risk of piracy?

Or sixty copies sold at a piracy-prevention price that makes him twelve times as much money than expected sales?

I will keep hammering this point home again and again, dammit.

I want to walk into a printed bookstore and witness this conversation:

Shopper 1: “Oh, this book I want to buy!”
Shopper 2: “Me too. But it’s cheaper as an eBook for my Sony Reader!”

That is the Marketing Point for eBooks, the one that will drive hardware sales and then increase eBook sales exponentially:

If you buy it as an eBook, it’s cheaper.

Remember: eBooks are not like music. People will listen repeatedly to a song. But people don’t read an eBook over and over again. Once it’s been read, people want to buy something else.

And the resistance to eBooks is not as strong as anyone believes. See Vox Populi: eBooks.

2009: Dawn Of The eBook

December 22, 2008

Opinion: Will 2009 be the year of the eBook?

Will 2009 see mass market adoption of electronic book readers such as the wonder that is the Sony Reader?

For those of us on TechRadar that have had the pleasure of living with a Sony Reader in 2008, we can only hope that the coming years will see these wonderful gadgets find their ways into the hands of the millions of avid readers worldwide.

Robert McCrum, respected literary editor of The Observer, is also a huge fan of the e-book, posing the basic (but fundamentally vital) question this week: “will people carry on buying books?”

“Framed like that, it’s a no-brainer,” writes McCrum.

And:

While TechRadar largely agrees with McCrum’s assertion that e-readers are currently “the kind of gizmos the trade will use to lighten its load (literally)” and that “the reading public has yet to make the switch” he is surely bang on the money when he claims that “the iPod moment” for books, while it has not yet occurred, is on the near future horizon.

Emphasis added by me.

Ironically, that “iPod moment” is now very unlikely to have anything to do with book-banning Apple!

The upcoming wireless Sony Reader will be a move towards that.

But I’m also keeping my eye on Palm too.

And who knows what Asus will do, if anything? Let’s not forget the impetus for the original EeePC was to empower kids with an inexpensive computer. Could Asus do a US$99 eInk (or Pixel Qi) ePub-capable eBook reader? (And at $US99, would lack of wireless matter?)

Things aren’t settled hardware-wise yet.

But bring on those ePub eBooks anyway!

Stanza Reader: Not Just iPhone?

December 17, 2008

Here’s a tantalizing tweet:

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Apple’s Marketing Blunder Of 2009

December 16, 2008

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Apple CEO Jobs absent from Macworld lineup

With clarification and more details:

Apple Announces Its Last Year At Macworld, Steve Jobs Not Delivering Keynote

Hey, no one has to tell me the economy is total shit.

But this is huge mistake.

It telegraphs:

1) No Big New Product (goodbye, iPod Air/iPod Touchbook!)

2) It crushes the spirits of all Apple/Mac lovers

3) It leaves the field wide open for Palm to dominate the spotlight in January

Palm!

Can you imagine the near-maniacal exuberance that’s taking place in Palm HQ right now — as they realize they now have a clear field? As all those worries evaporate about Apple crushing their CES unveiling?

Here’s the reaction from Twitter … look at the progression!

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It hit The New York Times!

And then the Big One:

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Meanwhile over at Palm HQ:

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The Media Spotlight will be all ours!!!!

Palm: Revenge Of The Nerdi

December 15, 2008

There’s been some recent activity here at the blog nerve center of Mike Cane 2008 …

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… something new has appeared on our radar:

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That sent us into Alert Status:

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And I’ve sent out my blog operatives to investigate:

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And they’ve returned with a remarkable tale.

Ever since I published a certain post, a worldwide — if not galaxy-wide — memo was issued from the pen of Ed Colligan himself, with one overarching Imperial Directive —

Make Mike Cane do this:

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Actual image from memo circulated by Ed Colligan himself!

Ever since Colligan strangled the life out of the Foleo

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… he has been …

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You see …

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… at Palm have noticed something about the Internets …

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While most other companies have looked at social networking with this myopic view:

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Palm has seen the Internets create …

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… something …

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… other companies …

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… have dismissed as a mutant …

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… but that Palm wants to woo …

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… a new kind of human being …

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… raised by and in symbiosis with the Internet.

MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Friendfeed, Flickr, Qik, UStream, and on and on and on are the nodes this human feeds on — and into.

This phenomenon was evident back in the early 1980s, when it was discovered that the income brought in by CompuServe’s CB Simulator interactive chat program towered over everything else. Back then, live chat cost money for every hour of use. Yet people used it like an addictive drug.

Everything else today is nothing more than that, writ large.

Once Elevation Partners came on board to shake up things, the Palm coding wizards departed to their secure areas …

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… one to create a Scalable Operating System and one to create Social Applications …

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… and each labored with one goal:

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… to create the axis upon which all of the Internets will spin!

When Nova was finally shown to Colligan …

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… he was heard to loudly scream …

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You’ll be Dumbass of the Year for 2009, Mike Cane!!!!

What I have in my favor is not thinking what everyone else is thinking.

Everyone out there thinks the first Nova device will be just another cheap-ass phone:

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You eejits! You think Palm poured its last drops of blood into something it’ll have to give over to a dumbass phone carrier to approve?

Besides, this is a kick-ass killer scalable social operating system.

Why waste the last shot on a stupid phone that will have to compete against the iPhone, the G1, and all the rest?

Palm has something …

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… hot.

You don’t waste that on a phone. Only Apple can get away with that.

Palm would have to defend itself in a fierce marketplace …

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… so the best strategy is to avoid that.

Instead what Palm will offer first is …

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… a sexy mini-tablet. In line with its beginnings.

And it won’t be a netbook or a net tablet. It will be a Social Tablet.

Ed says:

“People’s work and personal lives are melding,” Colligan says, adding that Palm is aiming for the “fat middle of the market.”

Emphasis added by me.

It can be tethered with an existing cellphone. It will also offer a SIM slot. Note that carriers have no problems with Windows XP-based netbooks, so a sexy tablet would be a Go too.

And the beauty of that strategy is, as Palm sells jillions of this beast, it can dangle the cellphone model before the carriers and gain easy adoption and approval. And there will already be a ton of apps available for it.

What people tend to forget too: Palm helped to pioneer eBooks.

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It was the original Palm Pilot that gave birth to Peanut Press and Fictionwise. A mass-market for eBooks had not been possible until then. This will again make Palm a factor in eBook sales. (Note that well, dying dinosaurs of print — a color touchscreen eBook reader!)

But how can all this be possible with Palm’s limited funds?

Don’t underestimate the financial wizardry of …

fredanderson

Fred Anderson, formerly of Apple, who knows …

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… how to arrange financing.

This is a big play and Palm intends …

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… to rake it in.

Palm has assembled a team with a grudge. Against the entire industry. They are all determined not to go to their graves with the epitaph, “My best work was for done a company before Palm.”

And of course, they have that grudge against me too:

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We’ll make Mike Cane bite off his tongue!!! Hahahahaha!!!

And yet, I still get the final word. This blog drops dead on December 31, 2008. I won’t be with a blog during January, when this all debuts. There won’t be a prominent place for me to post my severed tongue.

Of course, a slight leak could help things along.

Sony Misses Major eBook Opportunity?

December 12, 2008

Sony’s First Touchscreen Walkman Revealed

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Sony is set to debut a new 16 and 32GB drag and drop Walkman during CES 2009, according to trusted inside sources. This will be the most advanced music, video and photo Walkman music player ever released by Sony to date. While it was revealed before to Wired that Sony’s new Walkman would have Wi-Fi capabilities, we have now learned that Sony’s new Walkman will also be touchscreen and WQVGA. The touchscreen will not be the usual LCD, but a brilliant three inch OLED with a contrast ratio around 10k. OLED display capabilities in terms of color reproduction are far beyond the average LCD, which means 100% color reproduction across a wider viewing angle.

Emphasis added by me.

Here is what makes me angry:

Additionally, there will be a Youtube icon on the main screen that will allow full access to the website – search, pause, FF/RW included very similar to Youtube access on the iPhone/iTouch.

Wait. This is a WQVGA OLED screen with a CPU powerful enough to do YouTube video (and MP4!) — and there’s no Sony eBook software built-in?!

That doesn’t make any sense to me.

Both the BBeB and ePub file formats support reflowable text. The screen size doesn’t matter, they’ll work with it.

Sony is trapped in Western Union thinking here. Western Union famously turned away Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, thinking it was in the telegraphy business — instead of the business of communication.

Sony is trapped in thinking eBooks = Sony Reader. No! It should be eBooks Everywhere. (By the way, Sony, do you bother to bundle the eBook Library software on all desktops and notebooks? Why not?!)

Here was a way for Sony to advance eBooks and to provide an immediate alternative to the wireless abominable Kindle — and it’s been lost.

Why not offer it as a future downloadable upgrade?

Since this will have a built-in web browser and WiFi, people should be able to access Project Gutenberg and other sites that offer web access to eBooks and could read that way.

But a major opportunity has been missed here!