Beyond Copying Tech

Techdirt writes: “There are plenty of things that go into being able to innovate and build a successful product — and simply copying someone else’s technology is often a small part of that (and usually not a particularly good strategy). Patent protection only protects that aspect of copying (business model patents are another issue completely), but if they’re supposed to encourage innovation, and the technology is only a small part of innovation, then the incentives are mis-aligned. The market can reward innovation without needing government monopolies and protectionist policies. The trick is to continually innovate, not just in the technology, but in the quality, the service and the brand as well.”

iPhone and Web Browsing

Baris Karadogan writes:

The problem statement is as follows: The web experience on handheld devices is awful. It really is. People are scared to surf the web on a handheld.

The causes of the problem are, in order of severity: 1) Small screen size 2) Lack of a powerful browser that can run common internet plugins such as Flash, ActiveX, toolbars etc. 3) Low bandwidth.

Enter Apple. First, they wait until EDGE and 3G is imminent and solve problem 3, low bandwidth. Secondly, the reality distortion zone, makes Apple put OS X on the iPhone. That solves problem 2. Whatever file format that works on your MAC (or PC) now works on your phone. No need for the “lite” versions of technologies. You have a uniform browsing experience. This is already huge.

Then comes the two main design innovations. First, make the screen bigger by eliminating the keyboard, that’s phenomenal. Second, put the killer UI where a “double-tap” blows up the part of the web page you are reading. You can also do the “pinch move” and blow up sections you need and go back and forth. This is the design solution, it is elegant, and looks like it works. All of the transcoding, reformatting, wapping and all that technological gunk is blown away as if they were made of dust. This is the power of design. What an army of technologists couldn’t solve by technology, Apple solved by design.

Gates vs Jobs

Nicholas Carr compares the two:

It was interesting to contrast Jobs’s presentation with the one Bill Gates gave at CES a day earlier. Thematically, Gates’s was a replay of his keynote at last year’s CES. He’s still pitching a “digital lifestyle” that nobody wants.

Gates wants to sell platforms. Jobs just wants to make tools.

Jobs, in fact, couldn’t possibly be more out of touch with today’s Web 2.0 ethos, which is all about grand platforms, open systems, egalitarianism, and the erasing of the boundary between producer and consumer. Like the iPod, the iPhone is a little fortress ruled over by King Steve. It’s as self-contained as a hammer…In Jobs’s world, users are users, creators are creators, and never the twain shall meet.

Mobile UGC

Russell Buckley writes:

On the day that Ad Age declares the consumer their Agency of the Year citing such brilliance as the Mentos & Diet Coke video (check it out if you really still havent seen it), it seems only appropriate to highlight that Mugcon (Mobile User Generated Content – anyone think of a better acronym?) is going to hit phones big time this year.

Got your My Space page? How very, very, very 2006. 2007 is all about creating your own mobile space, with your own mobile web page. Not to mention creating your own Java magazines – I hotly tipped Tocmag back in June, which was received with some scepticism in your comments. Late last year, theyd had over 1 million downloads based on nothing more than a little viral marketing over a few months. Its going to get a lot bigger for those guys, I promise.

Other Mugcon stuff is creating your own wallpaper, ringtones, forums or posting your photos via ShoZu or on mobloguk.

TECH TALK: 2007 Tech Trends: India: 4. SaaS for SMEs

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is not a new idea. In its avatar as application service providers (ASPs), it has been around for more than five years. Just like the previous three ideas the Internet, the mobile Internet and network computing. Just because it is an old idea that may not have worked in the past does not in any way mean that it will not work in the future. The timing has to be right. Think of Search in the Internet next it rose and fell in importance from 1995 to 1999, until Google got it right back. Today, search is the primary revenue driver on the consumer Internet.

SaaS is about making software applications available over the Internet. All software and data is centrally stored. Users need to just connect over a browser to use these applications. In the past couple years, Ajax and Flash have helped make for rich Internet applications which provide almost desktop-like performance. All one has to do it see the consumer applications from Google and other companies to get a feel of the potential.

In India, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been slow to adopt technology. Today, they can no longer afford to be left behind. Business is growing rapidly for this sector as a whole as local demand and exports power their expansion. In this scenario, they have to invest in IT. This is where SaaS can come in.

Salesforce.com has demonstrated the power of SaaS. But the pricing is on the higher side for users in emerging markets in India. The opportunity in India now exists to create the local equivalent of Salesforce.com. Until now, broadband connectivity to SMEs was a challenge, but that is now going away. It is now possible to get reasonably priced access from multiple telecom providers.

In India, SaaS will have to be integrated with mobile phones from day one. This is because business users are already likely to have data-enabled mobile phones. This tight integration along with the use of Web 2.0 technologies can help Indian SaaS providers build the next-generation of applications with a possibility of taking these out to markets outside India also.

In fact, SaaS in India will not be limited to just the enterprise applications. It will also extend to collaboration. It is possible to imagine that in SMEs, the only need within the organization will be for a thin client with a browser. Everything will be the server and integrated with the mobile phone. We are not yet there, but 2007 will see the first steps in this direction.

Tomorrow: Local Content

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