In the complaint filed today in federal court in Washington, the U.S. is seeking a declaration that Dallas-based AT&T’s takeover of T-Mobile, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE), would violate U.S. antitrust law. The U.S. also asked for a court order blocking any arrangement implementing the deal.
“AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low- priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market,” the U.S. said in its filing.
A big win for consumers in this decision, and a blow to AT&T’s aspirations to attempt to buy their way to better service and more customers. Along with the FCC’s concerns about the merger, Ma Bell could find itself fighting on two fronts before too long.
I’ll admit that I’m a convert to the ribbon for more task-specific applications like Excel, but this has no place in Windows Explorer.
What pains me the most is that they wrote a blog post about their arrival at this solution as a result of user research, and then they blatantly ignored the results of their own data, chosing to focus on the menu bar as a source of command point entry instead of where people are really going: context menus.
As a sort of continuation to my recent post on the rise of Thunderbolt as a connectivity platform, I’ve been thinking a lot about what “docking” means at the present moment, in terms of mobile devices and usability.
In the (admittedly very recent, and perhaps still current) past, connecting a portable machine to a docking station was a very cumbersome and proprietary process, involving a docking station that was specific not only to the brand of machine you were docking it to, but often a specific model. This obviously presented problems when implemented on a larger scale, and even in my workplace today, attempting to find legacy support for these docks and the machines they support has proven to be a significant challenge.
So this begs the question: why do we even bother? Why not just have a desktop for your desk, and a laptop for the road? Aside from the prohibitive cost involved, there has always been the struggle to synchronize files and activities across platforms and workspaces, thus creating the need for distinct environments based on the resources immediately at your disposal. Cloud-based services (such as Dropbox and SugarSync) have come a long way to solving the ever-present problem of keeping files and other “soft” applications at arm’s reach, but what about hardware?
To answer that question, we have to look at how most people utilize a docking station. Most docks contain a myriad of ports: Ethernet, DVI/VGA, S-Video, any number of USB ports, and perhaps even a parallel port. A common complaint when using a portable machine is the lack of screen real estate and connectivity options when at one’s desk; by this measure alone, it would seem like a docking station would fit the bill perfectly. But in practice, it doesn’t always feel like a desktop environment, but rather some amalgamation of portable and desk-bound (almost transportable).
The reason we still feel somewhat semi-disconnected from a true desktop experience (and in turn, why I still feel the desktop has a role to play in the modern computing space, despite decreasing market share) is because users naturally break down their computing tasks by environment, as well as by objective. Docks attempt to approach the problem as one of scale, and thus make the laptop or other portable emulate the appearance of its larger sibling. But the reality of it is, there are times when users actually prefer to work with the smaller/slower/less versatile hardware because it accomplishes a particular task more easily or in less time than another option.
This explains why people will choose a tablet or smartphone over a laptop (even when both are within arm’s reach) for web browsing on the couch; the environment associated with sitting on the couch is one that is generally assumed to be more entertainment (and thus content-consumption) based, and these devices provide the path of least resistance to those activities. But it doesn’t have to be simply web-browsing; I frequently check and move files on my network attached storage drives with a smartphone application because it is simpler than pulling out a laptop, logging via WebDAV or SSH, and checking the files that way.
So what does this mean for docks? I think Apple’s Thunderbolt-enabled display gives us a glimpse at where the market for dockable devices is going. At first glance, the basic principle appears the same: ports on the back of a dedicated display. But if we look beyond that topical application, and think about what could be added, the possibilities begin to look more promising. The idea of a single universal connection (Thunderbolt) serving as an output to a number of other connectivity options would eliminate the need for a proprietary piece of hardware to serve as a gateway. In addition, a discrete video card integrated into this display such as the solution being proposed by Village Instruments, could help to bridge the gap between desktop and portable activities by providing the extra horsepower when you need it most for desktop-bound tasks such as photo and video editing.
Granted, the Thunderbolt display is still very expensive for what it is, but it represents a hint at what the future could hold. As other manufacturers jump onto this concept and drive the price of components down, I believe this will only become more common and we will reach a point at which we will no longer have multiple machines for different tasks, but rather one machine able to adapt to the different environments we find ourselves in as part of computing on a daily basis.
I usually give a great deal of thought before adding any new RSS feeds to my stable, but this article alone was enough to seal the deal. Great writing.
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.
Like the company he led (and will continue to serve), Jobs’ resignation is simple, direct, and true to purpose. Whatever happens to Apple shares bears little significance to peoples’ perception of Apple as a company. Cook has been running the show since January, and will continue to exploit Apple’s strengths in the supply chain and marketing.
That being said, I doubt we will ever see another individual who will have more of an impact on the consumer-facing side of computing. Onward and upward.
Sprint Nextel Corp. will begin selling the iPhone 5 in mid-October, people familiar with the matter said, closing a huge hole in the No. 3 U.S. carrier’s lineup and giving Apple Inc. another channel for selling its popular phone.
Long overdue for Sprint’s 52 million subscribers (any one else surprised how large their user base was?). It’ll be interesting to see how this effects Android sales on Sprint over the next few quarters, and whether it will mirror the phenomenon we’ve seen with Verizon.
So it looks like in the wake of HP’s big news about WebOS, they’ve decided to have a fire sale of their TouchPad tablets, reports indicate that they’ve been going for as little as $100.00 the 16GB version. Provided you go through the proper song and dance, it looks to be doable online via HP’s own site (update: they’re sold out now).
I went and checked my local Best Buy this morning, and a manager informed me that they received an email from corporate telling them to send back all of their remaining TouchPad stock to HP, so that may be a sign of future restocks at HP’s own site.
…does it make a sound?
In the wake of surprising news that HP was planning to spin off Personal Systems Group (PSG), its hardware division responsible for making it the largest seller by volume of PCs in the world, the computer maker has decided to end development for its WebOS platform, along with the Touchpad tablet and the Veer and Pre smartphones.
The initial reactions to this news have been characterized by disappointment among WebOS supporters at the swift disposal of HP $1.2 billion purchase of Palm just 16 months ago, with WebOS serving as the key acquisition that would allow them to make their mark in the mobile space.
What followed was the immediate speculation regarding the fate of WebOS as a platform. I particularly think that the entire OS should be open-sourced; it seems a shame to squander such a well thought out platform simply because of poor corporate management. If it was set loose on the public at large, it could become the linux of the mobile market; with different points of entry depending on aptitude and interest, all backed by a robust community support system.
One thing is for sure, in its current state it will be anything but number one plus.
“In eight short months we’ve introduced our 4G LTE network to more than half of the U.S. population, while continuing to offer the nation’s most reliable 3G network coast to coast,” said David Small, chief technical officer of Verizon Wireless. “This matters to millions of Americans because they can take advantage of faster 4G LTE speeds both at home and when they travel throughout the country – today and in many more markets to come this year. Each new market and expansion is significant as it brings us closer to delivering on the promise to bring our 4G LTE network to more than 185 million Americans by the end of 2011.”
Take note: this is how you roll out a next generation mobile network; piece by piece, with consistent updates on your progress. Now if we could just get around the fact that this larger pipe will be bottlenecked by paltry data caps, we’d be all set.
Arguably one of the other big pieces of news that got lost in the Googlrolla acquisition. From the looks of it, Samsung is going to keep elements of CyanogenMod out of their Android builds for now, but if they just packaged it and rebranded it as the newest version of TouchWiz, I bet they would knock one out of the park.