Thursday, September 29, 2011

Amazon launches $199 Fire tablet

Amazon dramatically increased the stakes in its ongoing battle with Apple for digital media supremacy, officially launching its long-awaited, Android-powered tablet device as well as new Kindle e-reader devices. The Amazon tablet, dubbed the Kindle Fire and priced at $199 (compared to $499 for Apple's cheapest iPad), effectively gives consumers a single, portable point of access to digital media initiatives including the Kindle e-book catalog, Amazon Appstore for Android, Amazon Instant Video and Amazon MP3, with all content backed up in the cloud.

The Kindle Fire integrates with the Amazon Web Services platform and enables consumers to leverage free media offerings included within Amazon Prime, the $79 annual service that also offers unlimited two-day shipping on all products sold and processed by the e-commerce giant, excluding items offered by third-party sellers.

Unlike Apple, which relies on content from its iTunes digital media storefront and App Store to boost sales of hardware like the iPhone and iPad, Amazon is looking to the Kindle Fire to stoke consumer interest in its premium digital media ambitions. "For 15 years we've been building our media business and it's become a $15 billion a year business," said Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos during Wednesday's media event, stating that the company now offers more than 100 million feature films and television programs available to buy or rent.

In addition, the Amazon MP3 storefront touts more than 17 million songs, some priced as low at 69 cents. Kindle Fire also heralds the launch of Amazon Silk, a new browser promising to accelerate the mobile web user experience by caching and compressing data and images. Living both on the tablet and Amazon's own EC2 servers, Silk promises to consume less bandwidth than other tablet browsers, translating to faster page and multimedia load times. The Kindle Fire does not feature 3G network access, instead relying exclusively on Wi-Fi connectivity.

Apple eat your heart out... The $199 pricing is certainly a killer price and it will definitely eat into Apple's market dominance on the tablet segment. With the Amazon content bundled in, its definitely a great offering and more importantly affordable.

Check out the TVC on Fire below :


Apple confirms iPhone launch on Oct 4th

Apple has finally ended speculation about the unveiling of its much-anticipated new iPhone model, sending out invites yesterday for an event on 4 October taking place at its HQ in Cupertino, California. However, while Apple’s invitation offered an opportunity to “talk iPhone” it did not explicitly mention the new iPhone 5.

Apple may not unveil a new model, but several new versions of the current one (iPhone 4), possibly one designed for the Chinese market or a new low-cost version. On the hardware side, the new iphone is expected to feature incremental upgrades in processing power, camera quality and very possibility a slightly larger screen size.

It will run surely be running Apple’s new iOS5 software, which includes new cloud and messaging features. I reckon shipping will begin within a few weeks after the announcement.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Guess who are paying mobile games?

According to a latest stats provided by Flurry, a mobile analytics firm, its the younger people who are playing most on freemium games but its the older guys who are paying for them.

Flurry's stats are based on tracking 20 million players across more than 1.4 billion sessions in these games. It found that 13-17 year-olds account for 22% of the time playing freemium games, but only 5% of the spending. Meanwhile, 18-24 year-olds take 32% of the time but 16% of the spending. Who's stumping up for all these virtual items then? That'll be older gamers. 25-34 year-olds account for 29% of the time spent playing these freemium mobile games, but 49% of the spending. Meanwhile, 35-54 year-olds take 14% of the time but 28% of the spending.

These dynamics are actually pretty logical, as Flurry explains. If you play many of these games a lot, you are less likely to need to pay, since you can earn rewards and advancement through the gameplay itself (for example, virtual coins in a game like Tiny Tower). Younger people with time to play are therefore less likely to need to pay.

And older folk? 24 – 35 year olds presumably have more disposal income, but less time, due to work and family demands. This combination makes them less tolerant to engaging in 'the grind' but also better positioned to buy their way out of it. They play less often, but make quicker progress by simply spending."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Samsung is hedging its business by extending its tablet line to include Windows OS

In not such a surprising move Samsung is preparing to expand its tablet-computer lineup by using a new version of Windows OS as its products built around Google's Android OS has come under legal attack from Apple Inc. On top of that it makes commercial sense for Samsung to hedge its business with Google's recent acquisition of Motorola.

The move is expected to be announced at a Microsoft developers conference in California next week though representatives from both Samsung and Microsoft declined to comment. The development was reported earlier by the Korea Economic Daily newspaper.

Tablets are a relatively tiny business for Samsung. Analysts estimate that Samsung shipped about two million tablets in the first half in comparison to a total 140 million shipped on handsets. Apple shipped 13.9 million iPads in the half. A double betting for Samsung is commercially sound than relying solely on Android, this will give them a greater bargaining power over Google's Android and the smaller market share Window's mobile OS and of course expose them to a broader group of customers.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chinese search engine Baidu launches its own mobile OS

Chinese search engine Baidu has launched its long-anticipated mobile OS, revealing it to be a heavily modified Android version. The search-centric OS, Baidu Yi, replaces many of Android's in-built Google services with Baidu app alternatives.

Baidu will supply its own maps, reader and music apps, and provide its Shen Bian service to stand in for Google Places. The music app will likely integrate with Baidu's Ting licensed music download service.

As with the competing platform launched by Alibaba last month, Baidu's OS utilizes cloud storage, backup and sharing capabilities. It will also provide single sign-in integration with Baidu accounts, and come complete with its own app store.

Baidu had been rumored to be planning the OS and to be using a modified version of Android for some time, but had refused to provide confirmation.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Apple's Safari is the No.1 mobile/tablet browser

Apple's Safari dominates worldwide mobile/tablet browser market share according to the latest data published by web analytics firm NetApplications.

Safari, the default browser on all devices running Apple's iOS powers 52.99 percent of mobile browsing as of August 2011, more than double its nearest competitor, Opera Mini, at 20.77 percent. Google's Android browser follows at 15.73 percent, trailed by Symbian (5.83 percent), BlackBerry (2.90 percent) and Opera Mobile (0.58 percent).

Although Android far outpaces iOS in regards to worldwide smartphone market share, controlling 48 percent of the global market compared to iOS's 19 percent according to Canalys data published last month, NetApplications' research examines both smartphone and tablet web activity, giving Apple a major edge.