Coming soon: a wave of touch-screen devices

Remember when the iPod was introduced. The click wheel was surprisingly easy to use, and mobile phone manufacturers quickly caught on, introducing mobile phones such as the LG Chocolate VX8500, Samsung X838, and the Nokia 7380Now Apple with the iPhone and Microsoft with the Surface will spark a new wave of user interface technology, primarily for mobile phones and consumer electronics such as portable game consoles, personal digital assistants, and portable navigation devices.

The iPhone is not the first cell phone to have touch screens. 38 million or 4 percent of mobile phones shipped in 2006 had touch-screens. iSuppli projects this number to grow to 90 million units by 2012. But these touch screens are single-touch. Palm Treo and Motorola ROKR E6, use “resistive touch” technology. The iPhone, LG Prada, LG Chocolate, and the HTC Touch smart phone use an advanced touch screen, featuring “projected capacitive” technology. This technology doesn’t even need actual physical contact: such touch screens already detect the proximity of a finger from 2 millimeters away. Capacitive touch screens can work with feather-like gestures, while resistive touch screens requires the harder poke of a stylus or a fingernail, making capacitive touch screens easier to work with. Capacitive touch screens are also generally brighter.

What differentiates the iPhone and Microsoft Surface from others is the Multi-touch screen that can respond to multiple simultaneous touches and can be integrated with optical imaging technologies. For example, this can be used to resize a window by pinching or expanding two fingers on the touch screen. The multi-touch screen market is expected to grow at 30.8% from $112.9 million (2007) to $433.1 million (2012).

Find iPhone Apps easily with AddFone

Just over a month ago, the iPhone didn’t have much 3rd party application support:

Other issues that may limit uptake: iPhone is on a new operating system and has yet to form a developer community that can optimize the vast store of games, content and apps for the iPhone.

Well, things have changed quickly. So much so that there’s even an iPhone Application Directory developed by AddFone.

AddFone is an application that searches and catalogs iPhone applications. AddFone is accessible from an Internet Browser (including from the iPhone, which has the safari browser).

Anyone can add an application by providing the associated title, URL, description, and tags. A user can retrieve a list of applications by entering a search term.

Overall, this is a relatively straightforward and simple application that is easy to use. Expect many similar Directory apps to mushroom overnight.
Addfone iPhone Apps Directory

TV Advertising will grow, but who will eat the cake?

According to the USA Today, a recent report published by PWC is forecasting that traditional TV advertising sales will grow 4.5% a year to $46.3 billion in 2011. When you consider product placement revenue and fees that cable, satellite and phone services pay to carry a channel, network TV revenues could grow of 6.5% a year to $85.4 billion in 2011. Broadcast and cable networks have been reeling from dismal ratings because there are more channels to view (on average, a home gets 104), consumers are using DVRs to watch TV shows (DVRs are not counted in TV ratings, yet), and consumers are using the Internet (on a PC) more and more as a medium for Entertainment. For example, more and more viewers are using YouTube to watch amateur Internet videos from a PC.

Despite the ratings slippage for individual TV networks, TV viewing is actually up:

“We had a record year of TV viewing this past year,” says PricewaterhouseCoopers advisory partner Mike Kelley: “The online phenomenon has done a lot to bolster TV viewing because it allows people to interact with TV programs, to learn more about plot lines. We even have leaks about an upcoming episode of a program. While it can be viewed as a curse, it has also been a boon.”

So what’s going increase TV viewing? The Internet is becoming a bigger source of videos, but the following will increase TV viewership and even shift Internet Video viewing from the Computer to the TV screen.

  1. HDTV – With the high resolution and quality of HDTV, users will not just watch more TV, but also will shift to using the HDTV for watching Internet Video as well. PWC predicts that nearly 59% of homes will have HDTVs in 2011, up from 12.7% at the end of 2006. HDTV uptake will be propped up by falling prices and the FCC mandate to transmit all TV programs in high-def by 2009.
  2. DVR – DVR growth is expected to rise to 39% in 2011, up from 11.8% in 2006. With Slingbox and other DVRs, people have already started to record and watch TV, albeit with time-shifting or place-shifting (e.g. watch on mobile).
  3. Integration of Internet and TV and the Separation of the Set top Box – With Joost and Apple TV coming to a TV near you, the Internet Videos will be conveniently available on the TV.

As a result, consumers will be able to get TV/Video programming on a better screen, and be able to watch it at a convenient time.

The landscape for Broadcast and Network TV providers will change drastically, as players like Joost and Apple come in and swoop their viewership and advertising revenue. However, these same players will grow TV advertising revenue. Good news for content providers!

AT&T Video Share is calling! Will Users Answer?

AT&T Video Share AT&T debuted the first wireless videophone service in the United States. Don’t get too excited because this is not a full-blown video calling – the live streaming video feed is just one-way, and callers have to manually switch feed directions. Both users can see the Video Share while participating in a two-way voice conversation.

Currently, Video Share is only available in Atlanta, Dallas, and San Antonio. Starting late July, the service will expand to 160+ U.S. markets. At $4.99 a month for 25 minutes, $9.99 for 60 minutes, or 35 cents per minute, pricing is a bit hefty. Ultimately, Video Share will be accessible on all three of AT&T’s “screens” — the wireless device, the PC (CallVantage) and the TV.

The biggest drawbacks of Video Share are:

  1. Both users in a call have to have a phone that supports Video Share (currently only the Samsung A717, the Samsung Sync, and the LG CU500v).
  2. The Video Share feature has to be activated in order to use Video Share in a call.
  3. For Video Share calling, both users have to be within AT&T’s 3G network coverage.
  4. Questionable User Interface of having the camera on the front side, the backside, or available on both sides via a rotating camera, on the phones.
  5. Users are generally concerned about their privacy and don’t want the other side to know where they are at, especially on the go.

To top it off, video calling in other countries have not been successful. While some of these drawbacks will be rectified over time, concerns over privacy of users will limit Video Share to a few scenarios.

YouTube inspired Adult sites

It’s interesting how a good deed goes unpunished, or rather a good site goes un-copied. Here are some Adult Video sites that I was recently alerted to that bear very close resemblance to YouTube.

PornTube image

Below is the YouTube logo for comparison

YouTube image

They say imitation is the best form of flattery, but I’m not sure if YouTube will find these flattering.

PS. I have not included links to the sites out of decency. But, I’m sure you can figure those out 🙂

HTTP Takes back the Web

After more than four years of taking a backseat to peer-to-peer (P2P) applications, HTTP (Web) traffic has finally become the bandwidth hog of the Internet, according to data released by Ellacoya Networks, a leading provider of Deep Packet Inspection networking equipment. This study was based on usage data from about a million North American broadband subscribers.

Currently, HTTP (Web) is about 46 percent of all traffic on the network, while P2P applications amount for 37 percent, non-HTTP video streaming comprises 3%, and gaming takes up 2 percent.

This surge in HTTP traffic is spearheaded by video traffic. Traditional web page downloads make up 45% of web traffic and streaming video makes up 36% of HTTP traffic. YouTube alone makes up 20% of HTTP traffic.

Interestingly, now YouTube comprises 10% of all Internet traffic.

Accordingly to Ellacoya:

“The way people use the Internet is changing rapidly – from browsing to real-time streaming. We expect to see new applications over the next year that will accelerate this trend.”

The report is available here in PDF format.

Get your Spock On!

Spock is a personal search engine that helps users find and discover people. Spock already has more than 100 million people already indexed (just another 5900 million to go!), and is well on its way to building the broadest and deepest People Search Engine.

Spock is funded by Clearstone Venture Partners, a leading early-stage venture capital firm with prior investments in Overture, PayPal, NetZero, MP3.com, Internet Brands, and Opus Capital Ventures, another early-stage venture capital firm.

Spock is currently in beta and is offering private invitations to check out the service. You can get invitations at the following sites.

Hurry, the invites may be gone by the time you get there.

Blockbuster Goes Blu-ray

The battle for dominance in DVD formats made a big turn towards Blu-ray when Blockbuster, the leading US video rental chain, today chose the Blu-ray format over the HD DVD format.

Based on results from carrying DVDs with both the Blu-ray and the HD DVD formats at 250 retail stores, where demand for Blu-ray was “significantly outpacing” rentals of HD-DVDs, Blockbuster would now expand Blu-ray to another 1,450 stores. The original 250 stores will continue to carry both formats. A total of 1,700 stores will carry more than 170 titles in Blu-ray and only 250 stores will carry the HD DVD format.

According to this, Microsoft notes:

Asked about Blockbuster’s move, Microsoft said in a statement that, rentals aside, the HD DVD format leads Blu-ray in sales of standalone players and the number of high-definition movies purchased per machine, known as the “attach rate.”

Blockbuster didn’t rule out HD DVD in the long run.

Openads to focus on much needed features with $5 million investment

Openads, which offers open source ad server software for Web sites to manage their online ad campaigns, is a 6 month old company that spun out of London based Unanimis. While Openads itself is only 6 months old, the open source ad server software its developing is based on open-source phpAdsNew, which has existed since 1999. Openads will make money by layering services on top of the core software.

Openads is a very popular ad server with 25,000 publishers on 100,000 sites in 140 different countries and in 20 languages. Openads has approximately 30 ad networks. Apparently, this open-source ad server delivers 60-100 billion page views a month, compared to industry-leader DoubleClick’s 300 billion.

More importantly, Openads just closed a $5 million Series A round led by Index Ventures (who also funded Skype, MySQL, and Zend), with participation from First Round Capital, Mangrove Capital Partners, and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures.

With this round of venture funding, Openads will be able to hire a core team of developers and enable important features such as PayPal integration and Self Sign-up that users have been requesting for a while but weren’t the focus before the spin off.

Openads is democratizing the ad network, where any website or blog can host the ad server and serve adds, rather than a few companies (aka Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft) hosting adds to websites and blogs.

$5 million wont be enough to take Google head-on, but it’s a good start!

Happy Father’s Day Y’all

Happy Fathers day to father bloggers out there!

Remember to take time out from blogging to enjoy fathers day with loved ones!

I myself am a first time father (with a 2.5 month old daughter), so this is my first fathers day of sorts.

Enjoy!