Cringely on Video Distribution

Robert Cringely writes:

The poster child for television 2.0, it seems to me, is a company like Grid Networks, which might be a new name to you. Like Bit Torrent, Grid has built a peer-to-peer distribution system. Like Mike Homer’s Kontiki, Grid has married Digital Rights Management and a business model of sorts to its Torrent-like distribution system. But unlike most of the others, Grid (no, I am not an investor but thanks for asking) most approximates what my Mom thinks of as TV.

Kontiki has been around for a long time, and are definitely first mover in the market. They adopted a subscription model (RSS+P2P=Video), but for that the videos have to be downloaded in entirety, and there really is no “browse, click, watch” functionality in their system (at least yet). It is certainly better than waiting 2 days for NetFlix at the mail box, but it’s just not quite user friendly enough in my opinion.

Grid’s system, on the other hand, accomplishes two things from the end-user perspective: it is point, click and watch; and it is very very high quality. Using p2p, they can afford to send 1.5Mbps – 2Mbps video over their network because it costs the same as sending 150Kbps-200Kbps video. I was shocked by the video quality, watching a DVD-quality movie at Starbucks on my notebook computer with virtually no waiting.


Technology Review writes about GigaBeam’s technology:

Although the technology is wireless, the company’s approach — high-speed data transferring across a point-to-point network — is more of an alternative to fiber optics, than to Wi-Fi or Wi-Max, says John Krzywicki, the company’s vice president of marketing. And it’s best suited for highly specific data delivery situations.

This kind of point-to-point wireless technology could be used in situations where digging fiber-optic trenches would disrupt an environment, their cost be prohibitive, or the installation process take too long, as in extending communications networks in cities, on battlefields, or after a disaster.

MySpace and the Blogosphere

Jeremy Wright writes:

MySpace is Bigger Than Blogging: There are more nearly as many MySpace accounts as blogs (about 30M vs about 100M. More of them are started every day than blogs (about 250,000 vs about 100,000). There are more posts per day being made on MySpace than on all blogs combined (about 1.5M vs about 1.4M).

MySpace is Accelerating Faster Than Blogging: Considering it is much newer than blogging, this should be obvious. While it is currently smaller than blogs, at the current rate of growth and acceleration, it will be larger than blogging by this summer. That is ALL of blogging.

MySpaceers Network. Fast: It isnt that unusual to find MySpace accounts with thousands of connections. While many (outside of MySpace) might think that these connections are useless, the truth is that they represent the ability for networks to form quickly, and when graphed they do show that certain people are more likely to connect nodes and groups of nodes than others.

Adobe’s Engagement Platform

Knowledge@Wharton interview Bruce Chizen:

Knowledge@Wharton: Let’s start with the basic question: What was the primary motivation behind the acquisition of Macromedia?

Chizen: Flash.

Knowledge@Wharton: That simple?

Chizen: The combination of [Acrobat’s] PDF [file format] and the Adobe Reader with Flash’s SWF [file format] and the Flash Player enables us to create an “engagement platform.” Think of it as a layer or a vehicle in which anybody can present information that could be engaged with in an interactive, compelling, reliable, relatively secure way — across all kinds of devices, all kinds of operating systems. If you look at the success that Adobe has had with Adobe Reader and the ubiquitous nature of that client combined with what Macromedia has done with the Flash Player — especially on non-PC devices — that puts us in a position that is probably better than anybody else’s.

TECH TALK: 3GSM World Congress 2006: The Event

The 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona was another event (after DEMO 2006) that I would have liked to attend but could not. I have aggregated reports and comments from multiple sources to give an overview of what went on there.

962 companies and over 50,000 visitors. That captures the scale of the worlds premier mobility-related event. Mobile phones having increasingly become the centerpiece of our digital and connected lives, and the 3GSM event is a reflection of that. There are over two billion mobile phone users worldwide. Last year, over 800 million mobiles were sold.

ZDNet captured the essence of the 3GSM announcements:

Convergence has been one of the hottest buzzwords in the mobile industry for several years. This week, the 3GSM World Congress saw compelling evidence that once-rival technologies can work together, and that the world is moving fast towards an all-IP environment.

CSR is making good progress towards merging Bluetooth and Wi-Fi onto a single chip, but it’s Nokia’s decision to add Wi-Fi to its 6136 phone is a stronger indication that the landscape is changing.

Most exciting of all is the multi-operator alliance for instant messaging services. IM will force the industry to embrace convergence, and will also make it face up to issues such as open standards.

The Wall Street Journal had a 3GSM News Tracker. Among the items that caught my attention:

Beijing Buzz: Participants at 3GSM were buzzing with the likelihood that China will issue third-generation mobile licenses as soon as the first half of this year. Equipment vendors such as Siemens, Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia are eagerly awaiting the development, which is expected to unleash up to $12 billion in spending on new equipment. Siemens and Nokia executives at 3GSM told Reuters they expect a decision by June. Many executives have cited the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a key time constraint, since China would like to have cutting-edge mobile systems in place for the global event it hopes will showcase its arrival onto the world stage.

Game-Device Duet: Opera Software will supply Internet browsers for Nintendo’s popular dual-screen handheld game device, the Norwegian company’s chief executive said. “This is the first time we have provided a browser for a game device,” Opera co-founder and Chief Executive Jon S. Von Tetzchner told the Associated Press. Nintendo has sold more than 13 million of its Nintendo DS devices, combine dual screens, touch screen, voice recognition and wireless communications capabilities. Mr. Von Tetzchner said users will now also be able to surf the Internet with both of the device’s screens by using the Opera browser inserted on a card into the machine’s Wi-Fi slot.

Handset Venture: Nokia and Sanyo Electric said they plan to set up a joint venture to develop and manufacture advanced mobile phones using the CDMA standard. At 3GSM, Nokia Chief Financial Officer Rick Simonson said his company will take a minority stake in the venture, which will merge the companies’ CDMA units. The venture will control about 20% of the world’s CDMA market, rivaling current leader Samsung Electronics of South Korea, the companies said. Mr. Simonson said the new partners complement each other: Nokia has no meaningful presence in the Japanese market, but has a good position in Brazil and India, whereas Sanyo is very strong in Japan and North America.

Sub-$25 Target: Texas Instruments says it will soon start supplying mobile-phone producers with a single chip that powers an entire entry-level handset, saying those GSM handsets might sell as low as $20. “We are targeting the $25 and low-$20 price range” for handsets that contain the chip, TI’s chief of wireless chips, Gilles Delfassy, told Reuters. “We will ship millions in ’06, hopefully tens of millions,” he said.

New From Nokia: Nokia unveiled two new mobile-phone models, the 6131 and the 6070. The 6131, which has a folding design, features a camera, Bluetooth wireless technology, email support attachments, a memory-card slot and audio messaging. The 6131 is expected to sell for about $330. The 6070, which is expected to cost about $115, features a camera, radio, audio messaging and email. Both handsets are expected to start shipping in the second quarter.

Tomorrow: Mobile IM, VoIP and IMS