Archive for April, 2009

Cutting the Cord on Big Bell Dogma

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Two months ago I participated in eComm. What a great event! (Thanks Lee!)

My talk was on “Cutting the Cord on Big Bell Dogma.” I think it’s a pretty compelling

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story. You can check out the video here and the slides further down in this post.

Russ

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Mc Guire’s Presentation at eComm 2009

View more presentations from eCommConf.

Observations: Carriers – April 30, 2009

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Standard disclaimer: don’t take from my selections, ordering, headlines, etc. any indications of the

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interests or plans of my employer (if you do, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed when they don’t play out.)

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Now playing: The Housemartins – Johannesburg

Observations: Services – April 30, 2009

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Standard disclaimer: don’t take from my selections, ordering, headlines, etc. any indications of the interests or plans of my employer (if you do, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed when they don’t play out.)

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Now playing: Jill Phillips – Hosanna

How Mobility is Changing the Book World

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Two recent stories provide two different perspectives on how the Kindle is radically changing the book business. The revolution the Kindle unleashes is almost entirely driven by having Sprint’s wireless networking seamlessly integrated into the device and the business model.

First, the user perspective, from Pete Peterson:

I’m the sort of person that typically reads four or five books at a time. Depending on my mood I might pick up Hugo, Buechner, Lewis, Berry, or maybe even Barry. This presents a sizeable problem to a man that travels often and has to weigh the packing of his suitcase against the weight of the many books he’d like to have with him along the way.

The Kindle did away with that problem in one swift stroke. It lets me have a quarter of a million books at my fingertips no matter where I am. That’s because included in the purchase price of the Kindle ($250) is access to Amazon’s Whispernet 3G network that allows you to purchase a book wirelessly, from the Kindle Store’s library and download it in about thirty-seconds flat.

That means that when I’m sitting in a restaurant talking to a friend and he recommends a book that I can, right there, on the spot, pull my Kindle out of my backpack, buy the book, and be ready to read it without ever leaving the table.

Now I don’t go to the bookstore without it. This makes bookstore owners want to put out a hit on Kindle-carriers, I’m sure. But wait, just because I buy a book on the Kindle doesn’t mean I won’t buy a hard copy later. I will certainly still pick up a hardcopy of a book, even if I’ve already read it digitally, simply because I want it on my shelf.

So the Kindle undoubtedly simplifies the buying of books but what about the reading of them?

Remember what I said about a book being about much more than just the words on the page? I was wrong. I was wrong and it seems so obvious to me now. I haven’t yet read a book on the Kindle and wished I had bought the physical book instead (although I have thought that I would like to go buy a physical version much in the same way that movie geeks love to buy a special edition DVD.) A book is about the story. It’s about communication. I love cover design, and paperstock, and the feel of a unique book in my hands just as much as anyone else, but when it comes right down to it, when it comes to the reading, all that other stuff disappears into the background. What matters is the story.

Meanwhile, author Steven Johnson wrote a comprehensive and forward looking view of eBooks for the Wall Street Journal, touching on some of the business implications to flow from the Kindle:

Every genuinely revolutionary technology implants some kind of “aha” moment in your memory — the moment where you flip a switch and something magical happens, something that tells you in an instant that the rules have changed forever.

The latest such moment came courtesy of the Kindle, Amazon.com Inc.’s e-book reader. A few weeks after I bought the device, I was sitting alone in a restaurant in Austin, Texas, dutifully working my way through an e-book about business and technology, when I was hit with a sudden desire to read a novel. After a few taps on the Kindle, I was browsing the Amazon store, and within a minute or two I’d bought and downloaded Zadie Smith’s novel “On Beauty.” By the time the check arrived, I’d finished the first chapter.

Aha.

I knew then that the book’s migration to the digital realm would not be a simple matter of trading ink for pixels, but would likely change the way we read, write and sell books in profound ways. It will make it easier for us to buy books, but at the same time make it easier to stop reading them. It will expand the universe of books at our fingertips, and transform the solitary act of reading into something far more social. It will give writers and publishers the chance to sell more obscure books, but it may well end up undermining some of the core attributes that we have associated with book reading for more than 500 years.

The book industry has been Mobilized. Will your industry be next?

Observations: Devices – April 23, 2009

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Standard disclaimer: don’t take from my selections, ordering, headlines, etc. any indications of the interests or plans of my employer (if you do, you’ll undoubtedly

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be disappointed when they don’t play out.)

Observations: Services – April 23, 2009

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Standard disclaimer: don’t take from my selections, ordering, headlines, etc. any indications of the interests or plans of my employer (if you do, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed when they don’t play out.)

Pssst… Sprint opens APIs on feature phones

Friday, April 17th, 2009

I think it went largely unnoticed, but a couple of weeks ago, Sprint announced it was completely opening most APIs for Java-based feature phones (starting with the new Instinct S30). Previously, only those in Sprint’s Professional Developers Program had access to this part of the SDK.

The move is intended to enable much broader development of apps with capabilities similar to what folks have been developing for smartphones, including:

  • Multimedia: recording audio, playing media files such as MP3 songs, streaming content and using the camera to take pictures
  • Messaging: sending and receiving messages
  • Bluetooth: establishing connectivity to send/receive data with peripherals
  • Contacts/Calendar: reading and writing to contacts/address book, and reading and writing to events
  • File Access: reading and writing to the internal file access on the handset

What do you think? Is this a big deal, or not?

(Click here to start developing with these APIs.)

McGuire’s Law featured in Telephony cover story

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

I’ve mentioned a couple of articles from Telephony stemming from an interview I did with Kevin Fitchard. Well that interview specifically was for a much larger piece Kevin was developing for the cover story of the print edition of Telephony that was released in time for CTIA, the industry’s largest annual event.

Obviously, all of that was a couple of weeks ago, but I just got around to reading the whole piece. I was pleasantly surprised that the article was largely built around my interview. You can check out the entire piece here: Wireless 2025: A look at wireless in the year 2025.

Here are some of my highlights:

  • Kevin opens the piece by repeating two of the five trends I called out to him (plus a reference to the drive to 4G, which obviously we are leading at Sprint): “Today
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    we’re witnessing a new revolution in which wireless has come to signify data services as much as voice. Over the next two years, the first 4G networks will emerge, pairing mobility with true broadband for the first time. The handset has begun to evolve from a mere phone into a miniature multimedia computer, and portable and mobile devices with no voice capabilities to speak of have started connecting to the wide-area cellular network.”

  • My comments are the first and most extensively used in the piece. About half of the article is directly taken from the engaged discussion Kevin and I had several weeks ago.
  • Kevin almost perfectly quotes McGuire’s Law of Mobility in introducing me: “the value of any object, application or idea increases relative to its mobility.”
  • He goes on to provide examples as proof (I didn’t provide him with these): “The principle can be applied to almost any scenario: A famous work of art that is moved from one museum to another can be viewed by more people, thus increasing its aesthetic value to the whole world. A computer, a phone, even a business becomes more useful the less it is physically constrained.”
  • The article also benefits from great insights from others prominent in the industry including my old friend and Sprint co-worker Matthew Oommen, Vish Nandlall, carrier group chief technology officer and distinguished member of the technical staff for Nortel Networks, Henry Tirri, head of the Nokia Research Center, Håkan Eriksson, chief technology officer for Ericsson, Vanu Bose, CEO and founder of Vanu, a pioneer in SDR base stations, Prabakhar Chitrapu, principal engineer for Interdigital Communications, and Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility.

It really is an interesting read. I recommend you check it out.

Observations: Uses – April 15, 2009

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Standard disclaimer: don’t take from my selections, ordering, headlines, etc. any indications of the interests or plans of my employer (if you do, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed when they don’t play out.)

Observations: Openness – April 13, 2009

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Standard disclaimer: don’t take from my selections, ordering, headlines, etc. any indications of the interests or plans of my employer (if you do, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed when they don’t play out.)