Archive for March 26th, 2009

The e-book family grows: introducing Samsung Papyrus.

Thursday, March 26th, 2009 by Giuseppe Piersantelli

We talked about the electronic book hype and Amazon Kindle case in this blog some weeks ago (1, 2 and 3). Now another big player enters the e-book market with a brand new product. Samsung Papyrus , equipped with a large touch screen display and an onboard dictionary, will be distributed in Korea this summer but the Korean manufacturer is already evaluating other markets, such us the U.K.


Papyrus’ business model has not been disclosed yet.

Wired reminds us that the e-book is becoming a quite crowded segment with many players involved and a good numbers of electronic books available in addition to Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader: the list of e-books is quite long and impressive.

The increasing interest towards the electronic books, after many attempts and announcements but no successful products during the last years, can have two meanings:

  1. the consumer electronic and the content industries are (slowly) making attempts to shift from a value chain model to an ecosystem model: as previously written, an e-book is a good example of an ecosystem of many players contributing with hardware, software, content, connectivity, services and so on.
  2. this time could be the right time for electronic books: previously perceived as geeky gadgets, they are currently becoming a bit more pupolar among readers and non-techno geek.

Again, from a carrier’s perspective, the point is: how to drive the adoption of ebooks and monetize the traffic generated by content downloading? Are there business models alternative to Kindle’s? Which additional services could be driven by the e-books?

Gaming consoles: towards a new ecosytem?

Thursday, March 26th, 2009 by Giuseppe Piersantelli

Microsoft XBox, Sony Playstation and Nintendo Wii are currently sharing the gaming console market and dominion, with quite similar functionalities (although HD is available on PS3 only), Internet connection (DSL subscription required) and business model.

Usually, gamers can buy new games in stores and join on line multi party gaming by accessing the Internet. Some additional content is available on the Internet, too. But basically, the optical discs remain the core format for getting new games.

If XBox and PS are usually preferred by hard core and shoot’em-all gamers in search of strong emotions, Nintendo Wii is a god example of family oriented platform, with a miriad of relaxing, non violent games suitable for kids and parents. The Japanese firm is actually trying to build a gaming ecosystem by shipping dozens cool accessories like the steering wheel (a 9 Euros plastic ring) and the FitPad (a plastic pad you can jump on) plus the wireless Internet connection which enables widget display and content browsing.

Apart from this, the gaming consoles are keeping their mature, consolidated business models. Nevertheless, things are changing, out there.

Computers are becoming smaller, more ubiquitous, cheaper and more powerful; DSL and mobile broadband (HSDPA) connections are getting faster and faster. New players are entering the gaming consoles business shifting from value chains to ecosystems. Palo Alto based On-Live is delivering HD quality games to laptop and desktop computers over a 1,5 Mbps broadband connection. The next week, Brazilian gamers will have the opportunity to try Zeebo, a new console with a native 3G connection and no disc player — games are streamed, not stored on optical discs.

Even if it’s not easy to challenge the 3 giants, the two mentioned products are a clear signal that something is changing in the profitable business of videogames. In an ecosystem perspective, gaming title could be sold as services and new players could face new business opportunities. Telecom operators could play a relevant role by providing their customers, both fixed and mobile, with bundles of gaming, services and connectivity; or rather, the price of connectivity could be included in the videogame price or paid by the videogames developers.

New and more exciting business scenarios are possible. Fact is, also the consolidated world of videogames is on its way to change. The point is to be a part of the change and not just a videogamer.

Digital Shadow

Thursday, March 26th, 2009 by Roberto Saracco

I am working in a group tasked to imagine scenarios for Internet in 2020. I have prepared three of them and I would like to share some parts with you to get your feedback.

This is the first one, the digital shadow, a shadow of our experiences made by all those bits that we create in our daily activities. I’ll break it down in three pieces, to make it easier to digest.

Part 1: My cell phone is…me

My life experiences are mirrored in bits. Everywhere I am going, whatever I am doing, or just experiencing, creates a stream of bits that can be captured easily, stored and processed. It is not, yet, like the science fiction tale of bits being my “self” but surely they are now a most accurate diary of my life, as ever there has been one.

Unlike the diaries of the past, it takes me little effort to trace my life so that I am, most of the time, oblivious of it. As I used to be oblivious of the fact that any incoming call, any outgoing call left the trace of the number calling or called in the memory of my cell phone. Now my cell phone memory exceeds my capacity of understanding, it is measured in TB and that is but a part of the overall capacity at my disposal. The real number is more likely in the order of hundreds of TB, but who cares about the exact number since 10 TB is more than enough to store all my life’s bits.

Thanks to the storage capacity I have in the palm of my hands the actual conversations I took on my cell is not recorded in the cell phone, so that I can listen to them, replay some parts, search for some sentences and some “meaning”. Some cell phones come with the option of recording any surrounding sound so that also what I am saying and hearing in my day is captured and stored.

The “number” used to call has disappeared, replaced by a description of who I called, complete with his picture, occupation, list of other occasions I interacted with him and, of course, the actual conversation that took place. I can use this as a hook to pick up what happened after or before that. It is a tangled web of my personal experiences.