Do you want fries with that?

Engadget reports:

Guess what? It's yet another rock bottom sale day for Toshiba's HD-A3 HD DVD player. This time it's Amazon serving up the HD-A3 with 7 HD DVD titles and free shipping for just $129. The deal combines the extended 5 HD DVD "perfect offer" with Warner Bros' 300 and Universal's The Bourne Identity HD DVD titles thrown in for kicks. That's two extra discs and $21 less than the official $150 dealio. Crazy, we know.
Can you smell the desperation in the air?

Just about hidden by the announcement of the latest release of Google’s iPhone client suite, was this amazing statistic: over the Christmas period Google received more hits from iPhones than S60 users.

In Google betting big on mobile market,’s Elinor Mills writes:
On Christmas Day thousands of people opened up boxes with something cool and functional inside and wasted no time logging onto through their brand new iPhones.

As a result of those gifts, the number of global queries to Google's search site from iPhones surpassed the number of queries from people using market-leading Symbian-based phones for the first time. Google calls it the "Christmas cross-over."

That is huge given the fact that the number of iPhone units shipped is tiny compared to the number of Symbian-based phones out there. The cross-over only lasted a few days or so, but it shows the impact the iPhone is having on the telecommunications industry and provides a glimpse into its future market potential for the Web.

"It's about usage, not just units," Vic Gundotra, vice president of mobile and developer at Google said. "The data proves that people are using the browser on the iPhone."

Maybe the countless millions of Nokia smartphone users tend to be more likely to use a computer when at home than those with iPhones? Perhaps the burst in traffic was from proud iPhone users enthusiastically showing off it’s potential to friends and relatives? Even taking these factors into account, the impact this incredible “rush” to the mobile internet could be enormous.

Miguel Helft spells it out in Google Sees Surge in iPhone Traffic for the New York Times:

The data is striking because the iPhone, an Apple product, accounts for just 2 percent of smartphones worldwide, according to IDC, a market research firm. Phones powered by Symbian make up 63 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, while those powered by Microsoft's Windows Mobile have 11 percent and those running the BlackBerry system have 10 percent.

It’s no surprise to learn that Google’s development team have been working at fever pitch to produce the slick, approachable and visually stunning iPhone-only applications. Miguel paraphrases Vic Gundotra:

Google, which developed the first version of Grand Prix in six weeks, is introducing a new version on Monday, just six weeks after the first one. That is a speed of development not previously possible on mobile phones, he said.

It has the feel of a gold rush to me: both exciting and a little edgy.

Why so?

Given the prospects of future growth, how will Google allocate their terribly clever people between projects for the iPhone, the Symbian family and presumably Android? Neither interview with Google’s Vic Gundotra contained a hint of current or future S60 development. And only the vaguest: "This app will work great on Android."

I’d been hoping that later this Spring Google would reveal some gorgeous S60 mashup of SocialStream, GoogleTalk and Jaiku with a smattering of MyLocation thrown in for fun. Or maybe even a sexy java version of Grand Prix but now I’m beginning to wonder what’s in store for us S60 hordes.

Somebody tell me to pull myself together?

This is really great news -- fancy the most popular mass-market (read: downmarket) comic in the UK evangelise cutting edge, mobile technology?

I'm hardly suprised that major companies are falling over themselves to get on board. Are News International producing all this inhouse or are there some superheroes lurking behind the project?

New Sun service merges print with mobile video

The Sun newpaper’s new mobile content service has achieved early success with around 11,000 users registered so far.

The barcode-based technology enables users to scan their mobile phone over pages of the newspaper, which in turn uploads relevant information onto the device. For example, a football fan could read a match report and use the technology to upload video highlights of the game.

Readers must download a piece of software onto their mobile to use the service, but new Nokia handsets come with it pre-installed. The application uses a barcode technology called QR (quick response) code.

It is thought that 3 has so far been the most active network in the uptake of the technology, with Orange also known to be interested. 

Ian Samuel, group head of mobile advertising for News International, said: ‘There is an educational process that needs to be done. In the next few months we’re looking to do another pull-out (supplement in The Sun) to further inform people on how to use QR codes.’

The Sun hopes the service will help to boost printed editorial and advertising content in the publication, and help print to become a more profitable medium.

The format has already proved popular with advertisers
 - Ladbrokes, Sky and Twentieth Century Fox have already signed up. The Sun is looking for more advertisers and says the service has generated significant interest from other parties.

From Mobile Today


Now we know that an album can still be very successful despite widespread (and encouraged) filesharing. I hope Trent Reznor, and more especially, the RIAA/IFPI) are listening carefully...

Radiohead top UK album chart

Thom Yorke proved right about physical 'artefact'

Radiohead's In Rainbows has climbed straight to the top of the UK album chart in the week following its physical release on CD and vinyl, apparently proving frontman Thom Yorke right in his assertion that fans want a tangible "object".

The album was released online last October on a "pay-what-you-like" basis (ie, generally nothing, according to reports), but Yorke last week dismissed the idea of not backing a net release with a hard copy as "stark raving mad".

He said: "We didn't want it to be a big announcement about 'everything's over except the internet, the internet's the future', 'cause that's utter rubbish. And it's really important to have an artefact as well, as they call it, an object.

The object in question is either a bog-standard CD or a deluxe "diskbox" containing In Rainbows on CD and two 12-in vinyl disks, plus an "enhanced" CD, lyrics, digital snaps, and other goodies - all for £40. The downloadable version of the album is no longer available. ®

Source: El Reg

Blue MonsterSteve Hodson notes Robert Cringely’s prediction that Steve Balmer (as well as Bill Gates) will leave Microsoft during 2008 with some enthusiasm:

All I can say for this one is I sure frikken hope that of all of his crystal balling that this one actually comes true. I don’t care if he flunks out on every other one as long as this vision of Ballmer comes true - and it couldn’t happen soon enough.

Ballmer has become a blight on Microsoft and the sooner he takes a long walk off of a short pier all the better for the company. Now while Robert didn’t want to go out on a limb and complication the law of averages for this prediction by suggestion who would replace the sweating doofus I have two possibilities that could really make things interesting.

Steve Clayton

Hugh MacLeod

Chances of happening - slim to none but damn it would sure make for an interesting company in the aftermath.

I guess that either of the guys would probably present the company in a better light than Ballmer. Maybe Hugh’s Blue Monster will end up as the official Microsoft emblem!?
Now that would be a sight!

Source: WinExtra

Will the iPhone lead to the mass-adoption of the mobile internet?
Online usage of the iPhone (as detected by websites) seems to be doing very well but I have difficulty seeing anything like the US adoption rates being mirrored here in the UK.

Google has predicted that the Apple iPhone will be the catalyst for mobile internet to open up in 2008.

The search engine also expects that the collapse of so-called walled gardens on operator portals to accelerate usage further. It will bring its Android project to the market next year, with ‘openness’ for developers the key.

Speaking to Mobile, Shannon Maher, a senior director at Google, said: ‘2007 has been a big year for the emergence of the mobile web. The highlight of the year has undoubtedly been the iPhone, with its combination of search, mapping, images, and videos integrated into the communications capability of a phone, proving that the right combination of a well-engineered device and reliable services can deliver an exciting new set of experiences to consumers.’

He added: ‘For us, the most exciting part of the iPhone is the experience of browsing on a mobile phone, enabled by it's compliance to web standards. The Safari browser on the iPhone has enabled new ways of delivering and consuming data on a mobile device.

‘Twelve months ago, very few people were talking about openness in mobile; now it's difficult to pick up a newspaper without seeing some mention of it. That trend looks set to continue in 2008. We think that this is important for innovation, and will ultimately benefit the users of mobile services.’

‘One last exciting point that continues to be proven out is the effectiveness of highly targeted advertisements on mobile devices. Poorly targeted ads are spam and will not be accepted on a device as personal as a mobile phone. However, when targeted and relevant, advertising is a key piece of information that can improve the user experience greatly. Our initial trials in this area have shown, for instance, that a well-targeted search ad for a local product or service is likely to be precisely what the user wants when conducting a search on a mobile device, and, as such, are extremely valuable to the user and the advertiser.

‘We believe mobile devices represent the future of the internet, and the field is still nascent. There's still a lot of unrealised opportunity in the mobile internet.’

Source: Mobile Today

O2 enjoyed a major spike in iPhone sales in the week before Christmas, after disappointing sales from the much-hyped 9 November launch.

Most stores are believed to have missed iPhone targets by some distance, with a typical-sized O2 store selling just one iPhone per week. However, that appeared to change in the final seven days, with O2 staff reporting a big upturn, with many stores selling one per day, and even more in large city centre stores.

One O2 source said: ‘It seemed like people started buying them even if they were already in a contract, especially as they realised they wouldn’t start being billed until they registered online.’

O2 staff said that despite the moderate interest there was a much lower percentage of returns on the iPhone than had been anticipated.

Carphone staff were less bullish on iPhone sales, reporting plenty of interest in the device, but with a very low rate converting into sales, with the price tag being the main stumbling block.

One Carphone staffer said: ‘The iPhone was poor. We work in one of the bigger stores in our area and only sold one or two over the Christmas period. Our target last week was to sell 36 and we only sold one.’

A price cut is rumoured to be taking place in the coming months to bring the cost of the iPhone down from £270, or an improvement in the tariff to give more value than the 600 minutes and 500 texts for £45 currently offered.

Source: Mobile Today


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