Sony Remote Monstrosity
Engadget got a sneak peak of the Sony/Google TV remote control. It’s either hideous, or simply an internal prototype used for them to develop with. I wish it was the latter, but bet it’s the former. Over on the Stage Two blog (I’ve been doing a lot more blogging there recently, it’s not just us pushing client work, give it a read!) I go into specifics of what’s wrong with it, and also tangible steps on how to improve it.
Early Revue Reviews
Saw a quick hit on CrunchGear today, I’m in complete disagreement with everything they say that makes it “good”. My highlight nitpick is their closing remark: “As we said before, the real initial value will come from the camera that Logitech is selling for video chats on the TV.” The real value of a $299 device is that you can hook up a $149 camera to it to do video chat? Really? That is going to move the needle on Revues? Hint: no way.
Elsewhere, my friend Harry calls it the Swiss Army Knife of Internet TV products. I’d say that’s a great analogy, but follow up with my biggest concern: the TV is the one place we don’t want something like a Swiss Army Knife. See, those Knives are handy to have around in a pinch, but in every way fall short of being really useful for a long period of time. Yes, it’s cool to have a philips head screwdriver in your back pocket when camping, but I wouldn’t put together IKEA furniture with one, that’s when you need the actual screwdriver – aka the single purpose product that works really really well.
I’m maintaining my position that Google TV 1.0 is not ready for consumer primetime, and neither the Sony nor Logitech solutions are compelling to the mainstream. Sorry to my friends who work at those companies, but this just isn’t what it needs to be for a big win.
I saw one of those big flashy attention-grabbing headlines today “Android Most Popular Operating System in U.S. Among Recent Smartphone Buyers”. Beyond my general disdain for Android (though I will freely admit the HTC Incredible running Android 2.2 is leaps and bounds ahead of my old Eris, but still has lots and lots wrong with it – for another time), I hate headlines like these. What would be MORE interesting? What is the popularity of Android specifically on AT&T? That’s at least apples-to-apples comparison (pun fully intended). Of course Android is going to hit the top spot, this is inevitable, not interesting.
Now what would be interesting? Well, since this is arguably all about a landgrab for developers to adopt platforms, how about an analysis that talks about which platform is making the most money to developers? Until Android/Google makes the process of buying (and selling) apps easier for everyone, the money is still flowing to Cupertino.
The newest version of Netflix for iPhone enables watching the movies on a TV, rather than on the phone itself. Very cool, nice novelty feature. But when I see a phrase like “Who needs an Apple TV now?” I get reminded of how often people in the industry aren’t thinking these things through very much (no offense to the author of that particular blog post). To be clear – a phone, even an iPhone, does not replace a TV dedicated device, now or ever. Wrong device for the wrong purpose.
What if you need to make a phone call mid-movie?
What if your phone runs out of battery?
What if your phone drops the signal (apparently those iPhones are known to do that from time to time)?
What if you want to put the movie on, then sit 8-10′ away from the TV, and, say, pause or rewind the movie?
Congrats Foundry Group!
Just wanted to take a second to congratulate Brad, Ryan, Jason, and Seth at Foundry Group for raising their latest fund! I’ve had a long history with the guys and a lot of their investments, and since they are one of the few VCs who love the consumer gadget space, wanted to give them a little shout out here. Keep up the great work, and keep finding the cool gadgets!