Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bad news for Apple? Samsung now the leader in Smartphone Sales does this translate to Tablets?

A recent post in Business insider postulates that recent gains in Android Smartphone handsets and Samsung’s taking of the market share crown from Apple is bad news for Apple. Will this trend translate into the same dynamic for tablets?

This may be overly pessimistic. Apple still has huge “network” effect advantage over Android. After all, what type of connector is in your car or hotel room clock radio? Android? Does Android even have a standard adaptor? No it has an iPhone connector.
As one who is in the digital publishing industry, I constantly think about the dynamics and future market share of the iPad versus other tablet platforms in particular Android and at some point in the future Windows 8. So what were the factors that lead to Android’s success in the smartphone market and will that success lead to the same share in Tablets.
When Apple launched the iPhone, they picked an exclusive carrier in each of the major markets. In the US AT&T was the exclusive partner. This led the other smartphone vendors and wireless carriers to scramble to find a competitive solution. Google who was concerned that iOS, RIM and other platrofrm could be a block for Google services, smartly developed their Android platform and provided it under an “open source” model. The initial version of Android was hardly competitive to iOS but it was a good start. Google also smartly created Android Market as market for app developers to deploy their applications. A little now fact, is that Google shares most of the revenue received in Android market with the carrier who has deployed the Android device. Thus helping the carriers to have additional incentive to get behind the Android platform. This set of market forces created a virtual alliance between the smartphone vendors and the non Apple exclusive carriers. As we all know, there are significant switching costs with changing wireless carriers. If I walk into a carrier’s store and see a device which is close to the functions of the iPhone, has the reliable network and billing I’m accustomed to, I may just stick with it. Yes I want an iPhone, but these other factors are enough to get me to stick with my current carrier and onto the Android ecosystem.
Will this dynamic persist with Tablets? My argument is no. Tablets are sold much more through retail channels with WiFi only or even if it has 3G or 4G functions, these services are often not activated. Most people who purchase a Tablet do not want another monthly data bill. You are almost always near a WiFi zone, and if not you can usually use the existing smartphone you have as a mobile hot spot. Adding this all up, the carrier channel and subsidies do not appear to be playing a significant role in promoting and selling the tablets. Therefore the tablet will need to compete on the merits of its ease of use, price ecosystem brand etc. As of now, these factors have favored Apple. I believe over time, this will equalize, but it is going to be a harder path than the predictions of 50% market share the analysis were predicting when Android tablets first entered the market. I don’t think they correctly factored the distribution prowess of the carriers in their projections.
I’ve written prior about Amazon’s approach to the tablet market and I think this is a potentially successful strategy to outflank Apple but this should be thought if differently than a generic Android Tablet.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Amazon Kindle Fire

Much has already been written about this but my take on what I believe is an effective strategy.

Amazon has leveraged masterfully off of their strengths and did several flanking maneuvers to both Apple and Google. First, they only took the open source Android code, they don’t have any of the Google Mobile suite services built into the product therefore they didn’t even need to talk to Google. They then built a custom user interface, which early reports seems to have been executed very well. Having built up their own Amazon App store for the last 6 months or so was clearly in preparation for this. So now they have a viable App store that is also not dependent on Google. As Amazon has large number of ecommerce customers already they arguably are in a better position than even Android Market. They were also smart in not taking Apple on head on. All of the recent non iPad tablets have been struggling in the market. Over time they their share should improve. But as of now, they haven’t had a significant enough price advantage nor a large enough ecosystem to take on Apple. Amazon is almost in the unique situation of being able to subsidize the product. While Amazons app ecosystem isn’t as strong as Apples, they have enough in terms of content services and enough apps that the lower price point can help push this through. In all very well done by Amazon.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Outstanding Popbox preview on Revision 3

This just popped today on revision 3. Check it out

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Popbox launch at CES Unveiled on Jan. 5th

We are very excited to see the response to our CES Unveiled it was an outstanding event. We are all tired and losing our voices. We have a day to rest before our nonstop meetings at our Hilton Suite at CES starting on Thursday morning bright and early.

A couple of the posts that we like are below.

Some of the quotes form the press with links below

Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat named the Popbox a winner in his roundup of winners and losers from CES Unveiled

Aaron Barr of Marketing Daily included Popbox in a CES roundup saying, “[…] 2010 may be the year in which Internet-connected television finally breaks through. Companies such as D-Link/Boxee and Popbox were already displaying their wares -- which allow for Internet- and home-networked video to be displayed on televisions[…]”

Darren Murph of Engadget said, “We were able to swing by and take a look at the product [Popbox] tonight, and we've got to confess -- it'd be a pretty stellar add to any home entertainment setup. The box was small, light and stylish enough, and the actual user interface was drop-dead simple to navigate.”

Rachel King of ZDNet noted that she thought most of the buzz from CES would come from e-book readers and tablets, but after seeing the Popbox and the Boxee Box, changed her tune, saying, “E-book readers and tablets are being pegged as the top gadget developments of the year, but maybe there’s room for more buzz in the set-top box arena, with the upcoming release of the Boxee Box and now this [Popbox].”

Lee Bains of Switched said, “Heading into this year's CES, we all speculated that we'd see a lot of variations on 3-D TV and streaming TV. In the Popbox, Syabas has brought the latter to our attention in full force. The Swiss Army knife of streamers, the Popbox can pull HD video, CD-quality audio, and even your buddy's Twitter feed from off the Internet and into your living room[…]”

1/6/2010: Popbox HD hopes to simplify streaming content – CNET

1/6/2010: Popcorn Hour Introduces the Popbox – AV Club House

1/6/2010: Syabas introduces consumer-oriented Popbox media player – Krunker

1/6/2010: Winners and losers at CES opening reception: Popbox, Inada human “glove” chair, more – VentureBeat

1/6/2010: At The CES: Waiting For The Other Shoe To DropMarketing Daily

1/6/2010: CES 2010, Day 0 Summary – Zatz Not Funny

1/5/2010: Popcorn Hour Has New Media Streamer – the popbox – GeekTonic

1/5/2010: Syabas Popbox hands-on – Engadget

1/5/2010: Syabas Introduces Popbox, Supports Netflix – The Review Crew

1/5/2010: Popbox settop box unveiled –

1/5/2010: CES 2010: Sybas Announces $129 Popcorn Hour Successor – Small Net Builder

1/5/2010: Syabas Popbox Digital Media Streamer – Gear Patrol

1/5/2010: Syabas unveils open-platform Popbox, streaming movies and social media for $129 – ZDNet

1/5/2010: Popcorn Hour PopBox: hands-on snaps –

1/5/2010: CES Unveiled: A First Look at the Tech of 2010 – Switched

1/5/2010: Syabas Unveils the Popbox HD Network Media Adapter – eHomeUpgrade

1/5/2010: Syabas' Popbox Media Streamer Looks Great – Gizmodo

1/5/2010: Popbox Set-Top Box Challenges Roku, Boxee – XBIZ Newswire

1/5/2010: $129 Popbox Aggregates Online Content, Streams Media from Home Network – CE Pro

1/5/2010: Network connected Popbox brings 20 web services to your TV – Pocket-Lint

1/5/2010: Syabas Launches $129 "Popbox" OTT Device – Interactive TV Today


1/5/2010: Syabas Unveils Popbox For Retail – TWICE

1/4/2010: Popbox Media Streamer – HDTV Reviews

Come check it out at

Monday, December 21, 2009

TV of Tomorrow Conference

As COO of Syabas, I’ll be speaking at the TV of Tomorrow show in San Francisco on March 3rd and 4th. 2010.

this is a great show where we will discuss how the internet is dramatically changing the shape and economics of TV production and distribution. It looks like a great lineup please attend if you can.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Over the top or into the snare? Will true over the top take off?

If you have been watching the developments, Comcast, Time Warner and other Cable MSO’s have been experimenting with pseudo over the top services. What are they doing? They are starting to offer many of their premium programs over the internet, with a catch. You must be a subscriber to the MSO’s service and authenticate with your subscriber account to access the content.
This is in direct contrast to true over the top services like Hulu, Youtube and many of the content sites like and Who will win?
Based on the recent Emmy nominations, it seems possible that both will coexist. Many of the top Emmy awards are going to the premium subscription channels, such as HBO. Hulu doesn’t offer this today. So unless you are willing to do without streams to this content, or are willing to pirate it the industry will probably settled down into a multi-tier coexistence. However, second to HBO is some “basic cable” channels. Hulu does indeed offer many of the non subscription services. This also doesn’t mean that Hulu or indeed HBO couldn’t offer a subscription service “over the top.”
Could this dynamic help push Hulu, CBS and other true over the top service to embrace over the top delivery to the TV such as Popcorn Hour? Not on its own, but it is one of the many compelling forces that will help drive over the top providers to offer there solution, truly open on any consumption scenario. I for one believe in the next two years or so, you will see a service like Hulu deliver to the TV. If they don’t want to follow their siblings in the music industry they will come.