Apple’s Fight Against Flash Just Got A Lot Harder

March 10, 2010

The battle keeps raging and we all wait and speculate as to whether Apple will indeed keep up the fight and not support Flash on the iPhone/iPad. Well, their fight just got a bit harder for two reasons;

#1 According to Mike Chambers (Abode Principal Product Manager for developer relations for the Flash Platform) Microsoft is working with Adobe to support Flash on Win 7 phones and

#2 Flash is running beautifully on Android, and it’s not a simple game it’s Tunevision, a very impressive jukebox in the palm of your had. NewTeeVee has a nice write-up and I’ve re-posted the demo video below.

The real significance here is three-fold:

1. Flash is running beautifully on the iPhone’s #1 competitor, and in the plans of another

2. Flash is running well

3. Tunevision is running in the browser! That means develop once, not a version for Android, Apple, RIM

Of course, we’ll have to wait until Flash 10.1 is officially released and can get our hands on it but if nothing else, it makes the argument that Flash is a mobile lag a lot harder to make.


The iPad Will Support Flash and Multi-Tasking…

January 28, 2010

I will change the web...or just sell you books! Photo: AFP/Getty

…it just has to. Yesterday Jobs and Co. presented the iPad as the ultimate web surfing device; something that will change the way we interact with the Web. That’s great! Can’t wait to go to all my favorite sites and let my fingers do the talking…movie sites, rich magazines, amazing design studios, and games! I’ll be able to touch and move my way around all my favorite sites and applications in a flash….ya, Flash…

All the great creative, visual effects, online movies, and virtual goodness we enjoy? Mostly all Flash (sorry Silverlight). It’s all over the Web and without it we’d mostly have just text and pictures, want to go back to that? Flash brings the web to life…and it’s coming to mobile in a big way this year.

Here’s my theory, when the iPad ships it will support Flash and Multi-tasking…and so will the iPhone…for three reasons:

1. You can’t enjoy the Web without it

2. Android, Blackberry, and Nokia will all support Flash this year. The iPhone will support Flash or be left out of the party (plus developers will get on the iPhone with Flash CS5 anyway)

3. Everyone wants to multi-task on their computer and increasingly on their phone. Android supports it so iPhone has to.

Multi-Tasking is a must-have. Do you listen to music on your computer while surfing the Web? Do you have e-mail, a browser, and a document open at the same time? We all do, and we will want to do the same thing on our beautiful iPad. With the iPhone you’re mobile and usually doing something ‘at the moment’. Sitting on the couch with your iPad means you want to be able to do a few things and not only have one app open at a time. Any sane person knows that multi-tasking is a must have, and my bet is the iPad will support this for sure.

The distant future might see promise in HTML5 and the web moving away from plug-ins, but it’s not a gauranteed bet – remember how DHTML and VRML were supposed to change the Web? IS Flash really just a plug-in when it’s on 98% of computers out there? Plus, we need to get away from system dependent technology. We went through this with the early browser wars when you had to develop for Netscape or IE or Mozilla, and now we have the same thing on mobile. That’s got to change. We want to develop once and go everywhere (Flash isn’t the only way to that but it will be the easiest).

….or is it really all about just selling books?

There’s only one reason I can think of that the iPad won’t support Flash or Multi-tasking…Apple only cares about sell books. Reading is a dedicated activity (you don’t multi0task when you read). So, could be that the real big announcement yesterday wasn’t the iPad, it was iBooks. Remember, Apple’s game is to make it easy for you to get content across all their devices; Macbook, iPod, iPhone, iPad – doesn’t matter. Device money is great but the content brings in the mountains of recurring cash.

By most accounts, iTunes dominates as the place to get (legal) online music and TV programs. The next biggest thing is books and magazines. All the hoopla about being the ultimate web surfing device is great but it might be that the focus is really to own and make money from more of our cultural activities…music succeeded, TV failed (Apple TV), books is the next big prize (games will follow).

So, well find out in April if the way we use the Web is really going to change or if the iPad is really a land grab to sell books. I hope it’s the former because it really would change our digital lives.

What do you think? Take our poll…


Google Buys AdMob. What Took So Long?

November 11, 2009

admob_googleBloggers and tech watchers are all a buzz today with the news that Google has acquired mobile ad leader Admob. Great move for Google and a massive congrats to Omar and the AdMob team. They’ve built up quite an impressive business in a few short years; not only becoming the largest mobile ad network, but also amassing an amazing amount of data on how people are using and engaging in mobile applications.

As noted by Forbes, Google now has access to a ton of competitive data that will bode well in the mobile platform war just heating up with Apple. I’m not discounting AdMob’s ad business but if it was the ads Google wanted then why did they wait so long to make the buy? I remember attending Dealmaker Media’s Under the Radar Mobile conference in 2007 where Omar pitched Admob to an audience of eager web heads and a panel of investors. If I remember correctly, one investor remarked, “if you can grow this you’re perfect acquisition bait for Google”. Grow it they did but Google didn’t previously step in.

AdMob has grown leaps and bounds, even making its own acquisitions to maintain it’s mobile ad leadership position. I often wondered why in such a hot space they hadn’t been acquired either by Google, or better yet, by Microsoft. Why wouldn’t Redmond step in and get a leg up by acquiring a company serving billions of mobile ads?

AdMob is located literally 20min down the road from the Googleplex. Their ad platform takes a lot of queues from AdWords. Perhaps Google played supportive big brother to Abmob’s success behind the scenes? Here’s my far fetched theory; Admob grew the business on venture money and lots of skill and technical aptitude, and possibly benefited from mentoring by folks at Google. When it got to a point that the ad business was mature enough and the data valuable enough, the acquisition was a understood formality. Microsoft, Yahoo, etc. new of the close relationship and knew that any approach would be rejected outright. Crazy?

Well, no matter what the facts are Admob is a great success story on it’s own and now a very valuable business, data, and team for Google. My conspiracy theories aside, congrats to all involved.

 


TVEverywhere: I’m Not a Dumb Pipe

November 1, 2009

tv-everywhereA lot is being written recently about TVEverywhere, the initiative being led by Comcast and Time Warner Inc. to provide the same great programming we enjoy on our TV sets online, but on a subscriber basis; if you’re a cable/telco subscriber than you can get the same programming online through the respective company portals. If you’ve never heard of TVEverywhere check out NewTeeVee’s write-up. Comcast is actually calling their effort OnDemand Online and along with TW have begun trails.

This is a big initiative. Real BIG. It’s difficult enough for a large complex company (like a cable or telco) to implement their own authentication, single sign-on, or video asset management and supply chain system (trust me, we’ve done it), but to do it in conjunction with another big industry player? Summon the rabbit foot. I’m not saying it won’t happen; on the contrary I believe it definitely will. It’s the last stand.

It started with torrents, then pirated video on YouTube, then legitimization through Hulu – but the operators are still left out in the cold. All efforts to provide the programs and movies we know and love over the web, have been what are called ‘over the top services’; content and services provided on the web running on the network we call the internet. The network (read web) is provided to us by the Internet Service Provider; usually your local cable or telco provider. We pay them for access but they don’t get a cent from what we actually buy or watch online. It’s the same thing as paying for utilities; you power company doesn’t get a cut of the light bulb you buy at the store. You power company is the ‘dumb pipe’. Today’s cable/telco are fighting not to become a utility. TVEverywhere (or similar efforts by Verizon and AT&T) will either make the pipe smart or dumb.

The promise of TVEverywhere is that you get online what you already pay to watch on TV. But will it work? Whether legal or not, the fact is you can find almost any TV show or movie online or on a P2P network. The number of people canceling their cable service and simply watching online grows daily. With the ability to simply connect your computer to your TV, or stream directly to your TV, it’s a great way to save $50-$100 a month. If I want to go all legal then I can go to the ever-increasing content catalog at Hulu, licensed content on YouTube, or even directly to network or cable channel websites (I can watch a lot of Seinfeld on TBS.com) – all ‘over the top’ services where studios publish direct to consumer, bypassing network providers. People are canceling their cable/satellite services; they can get content without them. But, it’s a pain.

People are inherently lazy. Some of us actually like working, some go to the gym regularly, and some climb mountains; but the vast majority want things nice and easy (it’s the reason the drive-thru was invented). We don’t want to search the web for our shows; we want to turn on our TV and get everything easily.

The promise of TVEverywhere is that Advertiser and programmers will maintain their existing business models, and for consumers get what we want online. It’s a bet that:

(a) The vast majority of people are not all web savvy, connect my computer or stream directly to my TV geeks

(b) Studios won’t all flock to Hulu

(c) Advertisers will continue to value the 30 sec TV spot more than anything online (which is the reason for (a))

(d) The basic paradigm of new content fueled on advertising dollars will stay the norm (because of (c))

Can you imagine a world where all content we have is paid for with money generated by online ads? I don’t think that $25 CPM is going to pay for the new season of 24. Hulu is doing a great job of monetizing content but I submit that the reason studios can afford to monetize on Hulu is because they’re making the real money on TV. Without TV, Hulu can’t survive.

TVEverywhere is a good bet by the ISPs to drive traffic to their own online portals instead of other services. The promise is that there won’t be a cost to existing subscribers; idea being that with more traffic, the portals will become a cash cow of advertising dollars. Provided they can get through the operational and tech hurdles to can make it happen, there are two opportunities to really realize success:

1. Lower subscriber fees so that people will be less incented to go ‘over the top’ for content

2. Offer an online-only subscription. Even in the event that the paradigm changes and the majority start going online to watch, the big ad dollars will follow

The wild card is still the cost of bandwidth, and the ability for ISPs to make costs viable. Net neutrality concerns aside, ISPs could hamper competing ‘over the top’ services by requesting they pay to have their service streamed on the good part of the pipe (i.e DOCSIS 3.0). You want to use our pipe and take our customers? Pay me.

How things shake out will depend on the same group that always has the last say:  Us. Where, how, and when we get our video will shape the future of the industry. You’ll be able to get your movies everywhere, so keep the popcorn hot and take your pick.


Sensidea is Proud to Sponsor Mobile Money Canada

October 17, 2009
Mobile Money Canada

Mobile Money Canada

Sensidea is excited to announce sponsorship and participation in Canada’s first conference dedicated to Mobile Finance, Mobile Money Canada taking place Tuesday, November 10 2009 in Toronto, Canada.

Mobile Money Canada is the first event focused exclusively on showcasing and building the Mobile Money industry in Canada. Mobile Money Canada will be held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on November 10, 2009 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.   The event will bring together mobile network operators, financial institutions, consultancies, and mobile money solution vendors, to discuss, debate, and develop strategies to accelerate the growth of Canadian Mobile Money.

“Mobile is definitely the platform driving innovation in both commerce and content. The banking sector will realize opportunity in mobile money banking, payment, and money transfer, while ICT and interactive companies can look to mobile advertising, content delivery, commerce, and blending the virtual and physical worlds with augmented reality applications. Overall, when it comes to mobile we’re at the tip of the iceberg” says Jaafer Haidar, Managing Principal at Sensidea.

Sensidea is a participating sponsor and Mr. Haidar will be moderating a panel discussing the challenges and opportunities on mobile advertising and commerce.

Mobile Money Canada brings together executives from across financial services, investment, and ICT for a jam packed forum of insightful information, dialogue, and the ability to network and connect to industry leaders, veterans, and selected solution providers, such as Sensidea, helping companies understand and deploy effective mobile strategies and solutions.

Find out more about Mobile Money Canada or register at http://mobilemoneycanada.com/


#Mint CEO Aaron Patzer: Must See Video For Start-ups!

October 9, 2009

Mint went from inception to $170 Million exit in two years. I’d say that qualifies CEO Aaron Patzer as someone that can drop some knowledge on those aspiring to follow in his footsteps. At the Juice Pitcher event hosted by TheFunded.com and Vator.tv he did just that. There is no turn-key plan for business success; building a business from idea to success is a journey and what works for one company might not work for another, but Aaron provides some very valuable guidance at a detailed level not usually shared.

Congrats to Mint on all their much deserved success! Here’s the must see video and key highlights from Vator News. Enjoy!

Raising Money:

  • Phase 1: Once you have a mature idea, raise $100,000 from friends and family to build a prototype
  • Phase 2: Prototype complete, raise $1 million and launch an alpha into the market.
  • Phase 3: Once you have some traction, raise $5 to $10 million to scale up.

Phase 1 Expenses (1st $100,000):

  • Founders: $30,000/year
  • Engineering 1st hires: $30,000-50,000/year
  • Office: $400/cube/month
  • Tech: $10,000
  • Legal: Deferred payments for 0.50 – 0.75% of company

Phase 2 Expenses (seed round):

  • Salaries: $50,000 – $90,000/year ($450,000/year for 5 people)
  • Overhead: +20% ($100,000/year)
  • Legal: $25,000 + $2,000/month ($50,000/year)

Phase 3 Expenses (Series A)

  • Salaries + Overhead: $200,000/year/person
  • COGS: many one-time expenses add up to about $150,000/month
  • Legal: $10,000-$50,000/month

Calling all Innovators..Where Are You?

October 5, 2009

wright_bros

We were in the midst of a surprisingly harsh recession; homes lost, jobs gone, and funding for innovative young companies harder to find than an educational moment on MTV. But for all the doom and gloom there was one silver lining – desperate times give rise to the next big thing. So, what have the next generation of great web entrepeneurs been up to? Looks like not much.

Above all else, during this recession us Digitalians (those that live and breathe everything digital…yes I made up a new word) have been overexposed to three products – Facebook, Twitter, iPhone. Nay a day passes that we’re not inundated with how much FB is potentially worth, CNN, Oprah, or other celebrities professing that they’re all about the Tweet, or find that yes indeed there is an app for that. Don’t get me wrong FB is a fabric of the social generation. Twitter is a new(ish) way to communicate. The iPhone, well it simply changed the mobile landscape and ushered in the mobile as a viable computing platform. But, where are the great ideas that usually crawl out of the rubble of recession?

90′s recession = Netscape and the explosion of the Web. 2000 bubble burst = Google, Social Networking.  2008 = iFart?

The problem is that ‘platform’ has replaced invention. Instead of young minds thinking about changing the world, it’s all about making the next app which sadly is either a port of existing web tools or something so ridiculous you’re left wondering why it’s named one of the Top 20. Almost everyday we talk to would be entrepeneurs about their big idea. They’re going to do something amazing; something that’s never been done before! Are they going to end poverty, make your job easier, life better, or finally rid the world of Paris Hilton? No, it’s the next great (insert platform here) app!

Honestly, how many Twitter apps do we need, and is replicating a popular video game for the iPhone really innovative? If your business depends on someone else’s great idea then sorry you’re no Thomas Edison.

To emphasize the point, at the just passed TechCrunch50 conference, a place that promises to showcase 50 of the most innovative start-ups from a crowd of thousands, expert panelists wondered where are the guys that want to change the world and the top prize was awarded to a company that is essentially an evolution of a solution that has been around for years.

So, we’re calling on all aspiring minds. Change the world! There are some smarty pants working on some pretty cool stuff. We need more! Develop your iPhone apps, connect on FB, and chat mindlessly on Twitter, but someone out there has to be working on what’s next. We can’t wait to see what the real inventors are up to.


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