Sprint’s WiMax Bet

The Economist writes:

On August 8th Sprint Nextel, the third-largest wireless operator in America, announced ambitious plans to build a new network, based on an infant technology that melds broadband-internet access with wireless communications at a low price.

The company aims to use the technology, called WiMax, to create a market for linking devices to the internet that today are unconnectedeverything from digital cameras and music-players to sensors and household appliances. This will let people do things that are now technically difficult or prohibitively expensive, such as mobile video-conferencing or managing a building’s lighting online. The new service will compete not only against mobile operators, but with telephone companies and cable firms that sell broadband. The choice of WiMax threatens the firms that dominate today’s third-generation wireless market. It is an important victory for its chief backer, Intel.

Ozzie’s Vision Challenges

Dana Gardner writes:

The only way that Microsoft could do that with an economic probability of success over a long period of time would be to go up against Google and the media establishment and win a significant growing portion of the global online advertising pie, with which to subsidize the cost of the platform and “middleware” ecology Ray is describing.

By using the revenue from ads, Microsoft would offer the lowest-cost super service platform charging its users and datacenter operators open source prices and perhaps make its latest vision work. Problem is there’s Apple, Google, the media companies, the developers, the carriers, Madison Avenue, and all the content and services creators the actual people and businesses that both produce and consume content now who may have a different vision, and are already well on their way to building it without all that much need for Microsoft’s help.

Information Therapy

The Healthcare IT Guy blog has an essay by Dr. Aniruddha Malpani:

The reason the healthcare system today is sick is because it is so doctor-centric. The best way to heal the system is by putting patients at the center of it; and the most efficient way of doing this is by allowing patients to own their PHR – personal health records. The web allows us to provide everyone with a free PHR; and this is a major business opportunity, as healthcare undergoes a dramatic change over the next few years. PHRs are likely to be a major catalyst , because they will allow patients more control over the healthcare they receive. Patients are the largest untapped healthcare resource and armed with a PHR, they wont feel so powerless any more !

Information Therapy ( The right information to the right person at the right time to help make better health decisions) can be powerful medicine.

What information do patients want ?

* To choose doctors and treatments with good outcomes
* To communicate effectively with doctors
* To know what the doctor should do

Mobiles and PCs

News.com discusses which has had the greater impact over the past 25 years:

The cell phone, according to well-known IBM software developer and blogger Sam Ruby. Though his represents just one opinion, Ruby made a strong case for why the cell phone outstrips the PC in terms of effect on the world.

“It’s killing the landline; it’s killing watches; it’s changing the camera business; it’s changing the TV industry, the music industry,” Ruby said Monday at the New Paradigms for Using Computers (NPUC) 2006 workshop at the IBM Almaden Research Center here.

“It’s destroying the pay-phone industry. It’s hurting the hotel industry and putting the squeeze on universities,” he said during a talk titled “Teenagers on the Go.” To highlight the future stability of the device, he added, “Teenagers love the cell phone.”

TECH TALK: Mobile Internet: The Incremental Web

To make the mobile internet a reality, one has to look at two webs the reference web and the incremental web. Think of the reference web as the one that has already been created for the PC world and for which Google has become the window. This web has been created for the big screen of the PC. The incremental web is about the present and future it is the real-time web. This is the web which will be increasingly built more for mobiles because it is a device through which access can happen anytime and from anywhere. Suddenly, it makes sense to create real-time information because there are users with two-way devices which can access this information with near-zero latency. I think of the incremental web as being about now, near, new.

The challenge for building the mobile internet is two-fold: repurposing the existing reference web content so that it looks good on the small screen of the mobile phone, and providing a capability for accessing the incremental web. The former can be accomplished by transcoding as many mobile proxy servers and browsers do. They take the existing sites and make them much more readable for the phone. But the reality is that as sites created for access on a PC become richer (because our PC browsers have more capabilities), making these sites accessible on a mobile phone will be harder, not easier. But it is important that this web is not invisible to mobile users this is, after all, our existing library of information.

The exciting part is going to be about enabling the incremental web because that is where the mobile shines through. This is a world which will be increasingly created out of RSS and microcontent. It is a world centred around publish-subscribe. Users will have the tools to publish easily. Those interested in this content can set up subscriptions just like we do for blogs in RSS aggregators (also called feed readers). In a sense, RSS is made-for-mobiles. Its ability to deliver incremental content can enable relationships between content creators (publishers) and consumers (subscribers). The mobile is a device on which our tolerance for spam is zero considering the limitations on screen size and the fact that we will be paying for the downloaded data. This is a world which will, therefore, be built not around search, but subscriptions.

The interesting thing in emerging markets like India is that the reference web has barely been built. So, we can think of doing it right keeping both mobiles and PCs in mind as potential access devices. This will mean keeping websites reasonably simple so that they are viewable on mobiles also. It will also mean focusing more on the incremental web where the tools for both publishing and subscribing are already there (think RSS aggregators). The elements are there but they need to be aggregated to make it seamless for businesses and consumers.

Tomorrow: Imagine

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