tisdag, maj 29, 2012

Konka - the new Apple of China?

I'm so happy and amazed to be living in these times; they are the truly most amazing times ever!

Remember back, way way way way back, in 2007 when Apple launched the revolutionizing iPhone? Yeah!
Now five years later we are so bored with the new versions of iPhones and Android based shitphones that we don't even have the time to read all the reviews. Of course it's still a novelty with a new version but it's not revolutionizing to hold a new iPhone or iPad, for goodness sake my daughters and their friends have these "killer machines". Duh.

I won't go into my rant on how old Android is as OS (blah blah Java mobile, Savaje, J2me blah blah), how nothing new have really come into iOS since 2010 and the lack of any kind of exciting apps released lately. If you say Instagram I'll push my Kiev 60 down your throat.
I'll be talking about Chinese smartphones and the fantastic market they are creating as we sleep.

Konka (is that really a good brand name??? it means bankruptcy in Swedish slang...) just launched their smartphone initiative by investing €50M into a new factory that will build approx 7 million smartphones the first year; you're saying "that's not much, even a loser like Sony /SonyEricsson sold +32 millions last year" and I'm saying: -"You've seen nothing yet!"
Btw, I get this Nokia feeling looking at the logo... you too?

Anyway, they are starting to build smartphones in their own factory this year and what a coincidence they got a contract with China Mobile too...
China Mobile Announces TD-SCDMA Handset Tender Winners

Remember, Apple started with computers, went on to laptops, then mp3-players, smartphones, pads and now TV. Konka started with TVs (which I believe is stoooone dead) and goes into smartphones; will we see laptops and computers from Konka? Wouldn't be surprised and they wiill be....

Cheap. And Good.

Yes, that is the main difference but it's like my grandmother said 15 years ago "quality and price has no connection anymore".

You're thinking "well China is China and that market takes care of itself" but I would put it "China is China.
And they will take care of you.

I wouldn't be surprised if my kids and their friends would be surfing on a Konka device in 2-3 years.

But I'm 100% sure it will be rebranded. In Scandinavia at least.

Clash of the location patents

I subscribe to a patent service that sends regular updates on patents from interesting companies and areas of interest. Even if it's not the most joyful reading of the week I tend to be inspired by the pure energy that is put into the applications; lot's of fantasy and words put together to try to outpace time and competition. Almost like an immortality game.

I've followed the patent troll discussion for years and I agree its a menace to society though I have a hard time seeing another system taking its place; what would we do if there wasn't a patent system?

The long time problem is the competence of patent lawyers, they are the real problem both on the applicant side and the patent system approval side. Even if the approval side is supposed to be "objective" they let stuff slip through that shouldn't even reach the wastepaper basket.

What are those people thinking and are they not part of everyday life?
Well well.

The update today was especially interesting for location of mobiles and any context of that you can imagine. First I want to cite Ebay and their patent Application 20120129553 on "Location-based services":

"Provided herein are methods and systems relating to location-based services such as providing a geofencing, outputting location-based information on a mobile device, varying transmissions to and from a mobile device, and providing location-based alerts. More specifically, a method can include receiving a selected location on a mobile device, monitoring a current location of the mobile device, determining when the current location of the mobile device is within the geofence, and initiating an action on the mobile device associated with the geofence and the selected location."

Which got me to think about the patent that Where got in Dece 2010:

"Provided herein are methods and systems relating to location-based services such as social networking, providing demographic information, tracking mobile devices, providing business information, providing an adaptable user interface, remotely effecting a change on a portable electronic device, providing a geofence, outputting location-based information on a mobile device, varying transmissions to and from a mobile device, providing location-based alerts, verifying transactions and tailoring information to the behavior of a user."

Of course this is only the abstracts and there are thousands and thousands of words more, but as an amateur reading this I get a sense that we are talking about the same thing right? The words location-based services, geofence and mobile device kind of lead the way.

Then using terms like "initiating action on the mobile device" is similar to what is described by Where as alerts, transactions, information and effecting a change on a portable electronic device (which I assume can be covering a mobile phone:-)) seems like the same?

Well well.
Both are approved so the good thing is that anyone that wants to get into this mess can be sure that any law suit on any party would take years to settle and wouldn't be possible to solve as there are most likely no living creature that can separate who owns what which is a sure sign for All Square.

They got some good ones this week. Look at this patent approved:

"Location information is used to build a database of locations having associated audio, video, image or text data. In some implementations, a device includes a touch-sensitive display and collects data associated with a geographic location of interest. The geographic location of interest can be displayed on a map using an indicator. A touch selection of the indicator provides access to the data through an interface displayed on the touch-sensitive display. One or more locations of interest can be displayed and grouped together by an attribute."

Hmm, feels pretty solid but I imagine there are +5 that carries the same things? Even in the same email update I get this from RIM that seems to be still doing some heavy patenting...:

"Shared image database with geographic navigation"

"There is disclosed a method and device for operating an image database shared by a plurality of users. In an embodiment, each image captured by a user and stored in a shared image database is associating with the geographic coordinates of the location at which the image was captured. A search engine for the image database is configured to accept geographic coordinates as a search criterion for locating at least one captured image stored in the shared image database. The images having location coordinates within a predefined range of geographic coordinates is displayed to the user."

Crossover? Looks like it.
So the story of patent clashes goes on, and on, and on.

onsdag, maj 23, 2012

Privacy in private

The 3rd Location business summit Europe in Amsterdam has come to an end today; very few would argue that there has been groundbreaking news and intellectual talks on privacy concerns with new ways to position smartphones and their users.
The problem is not really that positioning technologies are used in smartphones, the problem is that I as a user can't control it, what to share and store as the manufacturers are eager to bundle the mobile OS with the data collection of where I'm using the smartphone.

They all do it, Apple, Google, Microsoft, RIM, Nokia even if Google keeps the data for the Android users away from the manufacturers that exchanged their need for a cheap OS with the users privacy and Nokia has no control over WP7 and a shrunken number of Symbian users still alive. But the fact is that they all do it. Fuck up our privacy.

This is all we can accept as there are no alternatives unless you want to use a feature phone without apps or build your own smartphone (which I believe is just a year or two away).

But this is not the worst part of it. The real problem begins when you are getting sick or old and needs safety.
Then the booming market of healthcare apps and services steps in and wants to use smartphones to connect 
their devices to, monitoring through the apps with sometimes superaccurate positioning in place (what room, 
floor, etc) and this is when it becomes creepy for real.

I say let us be private and control our privacy. Of course this cannot be trusted to the ongoing masters of reality,
so we need personal positioning devices, very much like the old GPS with Bluetooth that you had to buy some
6-8 years ago if you wanted positioning with your mobile, but this time it should be able to position you indoor or
outdoor, accurate down to a meter and You should be in control of what services You share your positioning

måndag, maj 21, 2012

The need for superb location while making innovation

Sitting in Nässjö waiting for a connecting train. I've never been here before so I looked it up on google maps to see how the urban landscape looked and it looks really good.
It fits into my vision of that the great innovations are made in great environment for innovation, I stretch it to that the superb location for innovation is setting the height of innovation.

A couple of days ago Fred Wilson wrote a short piece on the Evolution of startup hubs, a good summary of How to Look at Location as the core of monetizing innovation and innovative startups; to make some reference to the pure geographical input based on my empirical studies (yeah I'm scientific:-):

- One hear a lot of complaints on the weather from startup people in Boston but rarely from people in startups or visiting startups in SF area, ergo the Cali is a leading location over MA.
- To increase innovation companies like Microsoft, HP, Intel, Google, Apple and now Facebook build designed campuses to get the mojo working; and it works (unless some mid level management steps in and destroys the good vibes as they did at HP etc etc); ergo a campus looking like an enchanted forrest, a white castle or a Battlestar Galactica resource center brings big points to the awesomeness to the innovation height.

SO looking at the Swedish hubs just makes me cry.

Stockholm/KTH - I wouldn't even call it a hub. What is the latest innovation that came out of that place?
Chalmers - better but where is the vibe, the campus looks like something a deranged architect came up with while trying to design a nightmare.
Lund/Ideon - don't make me laugh, the Spaceship goes Ikea design sucks and the lack of any kind of nice vibe was lost or never found; it's fragmented, hostile and worst of all there is nothing else than a commuter bus every 20 min if you don't drive a car (and you shouldn't, it's 2012)

I will continue to comment on this matter very soon, stay tuned!