Coming soon in technology…from the big guns

31 07 2006

I figure it’s about time to do some tech previews of the biggest and best tech companies out there. Earnings were announced and some where happy while others were very sad. This means, however, that the road ahead is extremely important. The back to school season and the holiday season are probably the two greatest times for consumer electronics and you know that after all of the competition this year, each company is going to put their best products out there. So let’s begin.

Microsoft

We all know by know that they have this product named Zune. I had blogged very early on that there were rumors that an iPod “killer” was on its way but it was simply that – a rumor. Steve Ballmer of Microsoft confirmed last week that the Microsoft product Zune is very real and is going to be a huge product in the market. A picture of this is shown below:

Here is my take on the Zune product. I think it’s going to be very difficult for Microsoft to initially gain a lot of traction in the market. I think the pricing that they set this at will really determine how many people will gain attention. Even the iPod took a long time to gain attention among the young demographic. I remember when I first got my iPod in June of 2003, I had to explain to people back then what an iPod does. Here are some other issues that the Zune player can face:

  • With so much traction in the market, Apple users are generally tentative to move not only to a different mp3 player, but also a different software. It is because of iTunes that the iPod has been so successful and transferring those songs to WMA format will be painstaking and time consuming
  • WiFi and mp3 enough of a value proposition? Without full scale wireless access, ultimately it can be a bit useless. I guarantee you that 2 iPod generations from now we will see a wifi ipod
  • There will always be competition in the marketplace – the key is how the dominant player will react. If Apple plays its cards right, we should see this just like Apple is in the PC market….ironic isnt it..

Expected Date: November 14th (according to MSFT sources)
Apple

Since we’re talking about Apple – we might as well see what’s on their roadmap. Apple usually comes out around this time (right before people begin to purchase their back to school accessories) and announces a huge new product. Last year it was the iPod Nano, two years ago it was the announcement of the click-wheel..etc…etc. So what about this year? What does Steve Jobs have up his sleeve? Well initial reports indicate that we’re going to see either one of two things. An advancement of the iPod nano (which wouldn’t be that cool), or an iPhone. The photos circulating around the internet are all fake and design oriented, but the idea is pretty close. I wonder if they are going to team up with Motorola at some point since they did with the SLVR and ROKR phones.

I doubt the iPhone will actually look like this but it seems like it would logically be a slider phone. The problem with phones, however, are that Apple right now is probably cutting some deal with a phone provider (Cingular most likely) to put it on the market. This means that you would have to purchase a phone plan in order to buy the phone which would make it difficult to sell at the Apple stores. Additionally, I must say that this will probably be a GSM phone (obv) but the slider functionality (which would make the most sense) would be interesting. Hopefully they announce it soon…

Expected date: Before School Starts (Late August – Early September)

Google

Honestly, these guys announce something new almost every week that it is really tough to figure out what they are going to do next. This summer we saw some very large products get launched and some more which are slated to be released soon. As the summer started, we saw Google Spreadsheets launch to a moderate audience (still in Beta). After that, Google Checkout launched and was coined as the “PayPal killer” which obviously didn’t happen. Just last week they launched google traffic which gives you real time updates of traffic which can be accessed through your phones as well (really cool btw – best google product I’ve seen yet). I really think that Google has become extremely dominant in one thing. Releasing a product frequently, getting relative traction in the market, and then ultimately finding it’s niche in the middle of the market. With the exception of search and arguably maps, google product have done okay. Gtalk was recently said to have 44,000 users….versus AIM which has over like 300,000.

So what’s next? Well today, they began to offer Google Writely, a word processing software which is able to be modified online and saved online. You can sign up for an account now…*I already did*

Expected Date: Google Writely in beta now…like every other one of their products..


Conclusions

There are a lot of cool products coming out and I’ll be blogging soon about some of the other companies and their roadmaps, including eBay, Yahoo and YouTube…

Just my $.02

–SD

Dell blowup count: 3 to date

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5 responses

1 08 2006
Samir

Oh man, I’d be so excited if Apple came out with an ‘iPhone’ (they I hope they come up with a cooler name)–and I wouldn’t be that surprised either. The WorldWide Developer Conference is coming up and I’m sure they’d have to tell developers about a new phone operating system so that they can start making apps for it. So while the phone may not come out immediately, I think we’ll here something about it next week…I’m keeping my fingers cross, I really want a new phone…

1 08 2006
Happy

I think you’re right about the difficulty Microsoft will face introducing the Zune line. It’s going to be very hard to do something so original to the whole idea of an mp3 player for happy Apple customers to consider switching. Given that Microsoft does have an honestly good product to sell, I imagine it’ll be something like what happened w/the video gaming industry–Microsoft’s initial venture into the market probably won’t see much gains but w/in a few years they may pose a decent threat to the dominant player.

1 08 2006
such1213

I agree with you Happy – I think that we’ll see MSFT start slow and have some early adopters pay a premium price but when they are forced to bring prices down, we should be able to see much more of a competitive landscape than we see right now with MP3’s.

2 08 2006
Taps

I don’t know about you guys, but the iPhone sounds the most appealing. The Zune will have to compete with what should be an updated iPod, hopefully with WiFi capabilities and a full touchscreen…but the iPhone would be really interesting. I personally like the flip version (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5qGn7kIkMA) instead of the slide…looks more sleek…

31 12 2006
blaadje

Thanks for this great post, it was just the missing info that ui was looking for, for my study

Thanks

Blaadje

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