Next weekend, just a couple of days after the dust of the primary campaigns will have settled, national media attention will return to Texas as Austin is turning into party central for the annual South by Southwest Festival (SXSW, March 7-16). SXSW Interactive, added in 1994 to the music festival, has evolved into one of the most influential tech conferences in the country and beyond. While somewhat geeky in its first years, SXSW Interactive is now considered a must-attend venue for big tech players (Google, Microsoft, Seagate, etc. all have a strong presence at the show), start-ups, creative agencies, software … Read more
We're kicking the series off with Manoj Kothari, founder and managing director of Onio Design, one of the leading design and innovation consultancies in India. A graduate of IIT Bombay and the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, Manoj orchestrates trend research, strategic consulting, and design management practice at Onio. Manoj … Read more
It's got the oddest-looking keys we've seen since the triangles of Nokia's "Prism" line, but not because of their shape--it's their positions, divided into two circular number pads. Then again, maybe it's not really classified as a phone at all; Toshiba is marketing the G450 in the U.K. as a 4-in-1 gadget that performs as an MP3 player, USB … Read more
Back in October a North Carolina start-up called Lumenlab caused a bit of a stir when photos of its "Q" were making the rounds, depicting an awfully fetching uber-machine that boasted a 42-inch 1080p HDTV and a fully integrated PC with a terabyte of storage. But little else was known about the mystery box.
Now the company has posted some actual specs--including the price: $10,000. So what does ten grand get you? All of the above, plus 4GB of memory, an overclocked Intel Quad Core Qx9650 processor, and an overclocked XLR8 GeForce 8800 Ultra graphics card with &… Read more
As the evolution of the Apple TV shows, the digital television market isn't just about picture quality. The real fight, as has been predicted for the last decade, is for control of the living room in general.
Germany-based Loewe apparently knows this well and is responding with a new line of multimedia TVs with screens of 32, 37, and 42 inches--with a European flair for design, naturally, in piano black, chrome, or white. Its "Connect" line offers " high-definition viewing, wireless connectivity, internal storage for your music, films and photos and connections for hooking up mobile devices … Read more
Earlier this year, I expressed skepticism that the iPhone would be able to break the convergence rule: historically, consumers have preferred devices that do one thing well over devices that combine multiple equally important functions. (The big exception being the personal computer.)
Some figures released today by retail researcher NPD suggest I may be wrong. Of the 38 million phones shipped to U.S. consumers last quarter, 50% of them were able to play music. That's up from 25% in the previous year.
Doing some quick math, it appears that the iPhone made up about 6% of all music-capable … Read more
Can you call a concept a cultural phenomenon if different people conceive of it at the same time? Within the past few months, three publications have come to similar conclusions. The digital media agency Avenue A | Razorfish released a study called "Fast Forward: Designing for Constant Change." It consists of thirteen essays as well as research exploring how consumers' digital media habits are changing, and how this affects the design of user experiences and brands. The key take-away is: Today's online users are forced to adjust to constant change in increasingly volatile rich media environments, and they … Read more
A comment in my article about Amazon.com's MP3 download store took me to task for picking nits about aspects of the service, especially about the quality of the usage experience. Fair enough--one man's nit is another person's show-stopper. But when it comes to convergence--hardware, software and services all coming together as they do in digital music, for example--it's taking care of those nits that are crucial to delivering satisfying music. Good enough is just not good enough unless you are happy being an also-ran.
Why? Because convergent systems are tremendously complex--both to create and potentially … Read more
Way back in the dark ages--before cell phones, reality TV, or social networks--there was big iron. In those archaic times, computers were actually used for computing, as opposed to watching porn or idiotic video clips. The computing giants of the day included IBM, Digital Equipment, Unisys (the marriage of Sperry and Burroughs), Data General, and Wang Laboratories.
The transition to personal computing and networking changed all that. IBM and Unisys survived by refocusing on services. The others didn't fair so well. Markets change. Companies that change with them survive. Those that anticipate change do better still. Those that resist … Read more
We don't work with numbers much, which is a good thing for a variety of reasons, so we can't get too excited about a mouse with a built-in numeric keypad. But someone must, because this is the second one we've seen lately--the first being one that looks like a miniature George Foreman Grill.
This one from Japan's Sanwa doesn't have the plastic cover but would probably suffice as long as the buttons aren't too sensitive; otherwise, it could make your work a living hell. Either way, it seems that $57 is kind of high … Read more