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14 posts from January 2006

CES Day Three

Is Google’s latest announcement of the Google Pack really newsworthy? Heck, is it really even a “product”, or nothing more than a collection of freebies/trials you’ve been able to download individually before this announcement?

We computer book publishers often get criticized for pouring shovelware like this on CDs, but now it’s a new, exciting product from Google? I don’t get it, but maybe that’s because I’m tired of walking the floor and ready to go home.

CES Day Two

The item I was most interested in seeing today is the soon-to-be-released ebook device called Sony Reader. I admit I was skeptical about it before I even got to see it. There have been too many failed attempts at ebook devices over the years and this sounded like the next one in the parade. Although I don’t think it’s going to set the world on fire, I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw.

First of all, the Sony Reader form factor is thinner and lighter than previous ebook devices. I’m not sure how to best describe it other than by saying it just felt right, like an ebook reader should.

All the details aren’t out yet, but it sounds like Sony might make the same proprietary mistakes they’ve made in the past. For example, it appears that they want to be the content distributor for the Reader. When you think of buying a book, do you really think about going to I don’t.

It’s hard to beat the readability this product offers. My eyes have aged with me over the years and although I now have to use reading glasses from time to time, I found the Sony display as comfortable to read as a typical printed book page.

It looks like Sony is going to offer the Reader initially in two different versions, one at $400 and the other at $500. That’s way too expensive, even for most early adopters. Sure, I know prices will come down over time, but if they’re really on to something here they’re leaving the door open for someone else to come in and undercut their pricing. If they want to capture a significant portion of this potential market, they need to figure out how to sell this for less than $200, better yet, less than $100.

I’m also disappointed that it’s a monochrome display. OK, I guess that doesn’t matter much when you’re primarily using it to read novels, but why not think bigger? When I held the Reader in my hands today I thought, “wow, it would be great if I could have all my magazine subscriptions, newspaper subscriptions, books, etc., loaded on this.” I don’t want to be reading all those magazines in black-and-white, though.

In short, this one has some pros and cons, but I think Sony is heading in the right direction.

CES Day One

Due to a couple of meetings and some other business I had to tend to, I only wound up spending a few hours this afternoon at the show. Here’s what caught my eye:

Digital video devices/players – Everywhere you look there’s yet another plasma TV or portable player. The most impressive: Panasonic has a 103” plasma screen that’s so lifelike it’s unbelievable.

Satellite radio – Sure, it’s yesterday’s news in many respects, but XM and Sirius keep trying to leapfrog each other. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I prefer the XM portable players over Sirius’s newer S50 product. XM has a new product due to come out shortly which should put them back ahead of the S50. If you Google either of these, you won’t find much out there yet, but keep an eye out for the Samsung Helix and the Pioneer Inno. They’re both everything the S50 has to offer and more – based on what I saw, they’ll be the first truly portable satellite radio devices (e.g., no more stupid looking antennas to wear).

Mark Cuban – I’m a fan of his blog and it was a hoot to bump into him at the show. He’s truly a nice, normal guy…who happens to be worth billions, of course. A colleague of mine was kind enough to take my picture with him. I hope to get it from him and post it shortly.

Naked Conversations – The Book is Published!

Back in October I mentioned that I got my galley copy of this exciting new book, Naked Conversations, by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. Today, as I was heading out for CES, I was able to stop by the office and pick up my very own copy of the finished product. I read the galley copy weeks ago and I give the book high marks.  (Yes, I know, I'm biased...) I’m looking forward to seeing it in stores soon. More importantly, I’m anxious to catch up with Robert and Shel here at CES to see if they’d be kind enough to autograph my copy.

With any luck, I’ll have some down time over the next few days to share my thoughts on what I see here at the show… In the mean time, congrats to Robert, Shel, Jim Minatel and the rest of the team that worked on this gem.