The move is likely to put Amazon on the defensive and the e-commerce giant appears to have been either caught flat-footed or resting on its early Kindle lead. Many folks have noted that Apple's iPad is a dedicated e-reader killer, but let's exclude Steve Jobs & Co. from the picture. Even excluding Apple, Amazon looks a bit behind the curve on e-readers.
Update: (A response wasn't long in coming: A few hours later, Amazon reciprocated cut trimming the price of its Kindle to $189 from $259.) Consider the following:
- Barnes & Noble is using its stores for nook distribution and has integrated the device with its retail experience nicely. Barnes & Noble also inked a distribution deal with Best Buy.
- Sony's Reader franchise also enjoys broad distribution and hits multiple price points ranging from $169.99 to $349.99.
- Meanwhile, Amazon lacks a Wi-Fi only option and will run you $259. Amazon did do a retail distribution deal with Target and has only just started running ads to promote the Kindle. These ads also indicate that Amazon needs to promote the Kindle more. Before the nook, iPad and better competition, you'd never see Amazon promoting the Kindle in the back of Business Week and other magazines and on TV.
And now Amazon is going to look like its playing defense again. Amazon will have to cut prices. I've been researching e-readers for a few weeks now. The difference between the $259 price point and $199 is huge. At $199 and lower, you figure you can get ROI in a year while you ponder whether you want or need an iPad (assuming you primarily intend the device to be for reading). Sony with its multiple price points was gaining traction in my little buying/research experiment.
Now the nook may be back on the table. The Wi-Fi version's the current nook minus 3G will offer complementary AT&T hotspots and at $149 looks like a good deal.
The big point here is that Amazon's Kindle is off the table at $259-unless of course that price falls.
Simply put price matters, but ultimately Amazon needs to cook up Kindle 3 and quickly. If Amazon doesn't move the needle again on e-reader innovation it's going to be stuck playing a game where price is the only real differentiation.Read the full article at ZDNet.com.
Journalists have reported on the spread of the spill in print and video. As the anecdotal evidence of a mounting environmental disaster accumulates, the challenge of quantifying the enormity of the problem is made that much harder by the piecemeal nature of this developing story.
But now, several hundred miles above the earth, NASA satellites have been tracking the spread oil slick as it approaches the Louisiana coast and you can find many of those eye-opening photographs in our image gallery below.
The email read:
We were unable to complete the authorization process for your iPhone order. As a result, we had to cancel your iPhone order. To complete the purchase of your iPhone, please visit an Apple Retail Store or an AT&T company-owned retail store. We apologize for this inconvenience.
Sincerely, Apple Online Store Team
Last week, Apple and its carrier partner AT&T suffered through a glitch-ridden pre-order debut which had to be cut short in the face of overwhelming demand. Apple reported receiving more than 600,000 pre-orders while AT&T said that pre-orders for the iPhone 4 were 10 times greater than on the first day the iiPhone 3GS was available for pre-order a year ago.
Mac Rumors said that a manufacturing delay was preventing availability of the White iPhone 4 on launch day.
Delay or not, Apple continues to benefit from the intense early interest in its next-generation smartphone, as well as strong sales for its iPad tablet computer. Last week, the company's stock continued its tear, reaching an all-time high of $275, up around 30% for the year so far. The stock finished the week at $274.07
Here are a few other sources you might also want to check out:
The company says it's ready. But AT&T keeps giving its critics and its own customers reasons to doubt that it's on top of its game. On Tuesday, the AT&T and Apple websites were overwhelmed by customers trying to pre-order the new iPhone 4. Customers saw error messages when accessing the websites, and experienced long delays while trying to create or update their AT&T accounts.
Pre-ordering snafus aside, AT&T says that it's been upgrading its network to keep up with demand from current iPhone subscribers and to support a flood of new customers. It has also armed itself with new data plans that cap usage at 2 gigabytes per month to help curb heavy data usage.
In many ways, AT&T has been a victim of its own success. The iPhone, which is built for accessing the Net, has been hugely popular, attracting scores of new customers with each device upgrade. It's helped the company add millions of new customers every year since it was first introduced in 2007. But the iPhone has also created a tsunami of mobile data on the AT&T network, which has resulted in poor service for many iPhone customers throughout the country, especially in densely populated cities, such as New York City and San Francisco.
While no one doubts that AT&T is making good on its promises to upgrade its network and keep up with demand, the fact remains that it's fighting an uphill battle as growth in data usage outpaces its network expansion. In other words, building out its network is more like adding sandbags in a storm rather than constructing a dam. It's more about keeping up than changing the dynamics.
"The success of the iPhone has been a double-edged sword for AT&T," said Charles Golvin, a research analyst with Forrester Research. "Because iPhone users consume more data than any other smartphone customers, AT&T has been constantly learning how to manage heavy data usage on a cellular network. "
There's no question that the iPhone is still the hottest smartphone on the market. Tuesday's pre-order meltdown is a good indication that demand is high for the fourth-generation iPhone. And looking at figures from previous iPhone launches, it's expected that sales of the new phone will be strong.
During the first three days it was on sale last year, Apple sold more than 1 million iPhone 3GS smartphones. The original iPhone sold about 270,000 units during its first weekend in June 2007, while the iPhone 3G sold around 1 million when it launched in July 2008.
Of those sales, it looks like AT&T got a significant chunk. AT&T activated more than 2.4 million iPhones during the second quarter of 2009, which ended shortly after the device launched. Roughly, a third of the second quarter activations were for new AT&T subscribers.
The iPhone has become a cash cow for AT&T, and it's helped the company attract millions of new subscribers. But it's also come at a cost. Since the iPhone launched on AT&T's network, it's seen wireless packet data increase more than 18 times. Overall usage on AT&T's network grew 200 percent in 2009 alone. And the company is now servicing more than twice the number of smartphones as its competitors.
The flood of new customers and the increase in data traffic have put strains on AT&T's network, especially in urban areas. During the week in some sections of Manhattan nearly 70 percent of the phones active on AT&T's network are data-intensive devices, John Stankey, chief operating officer for AT&T, said during the company's fourth-quarter conference call.
In an effort to deal with the surge in usage, AT&T increased its capital spending budget to between $18 billion and $19 billion in 2010. It promised to use a portion of the money to upgrade its wireless and backhaul networks to handle the onslaught of new wireless traffic. This is roughly $2 billion more than the company had invested in the previous year.
The upgrades include the addition of 2,000 new cell sites. AT&T has also been adding three times more fiber links to existing cell sites than it had in 2009. This will increase capacity for the backhaul network that connects the cell towers to AT&T's main network. The backhaul portion of the network is a critical component to AT&T's network.
Last year, the company nearly completed its efforts to put more 3G traffic onto 850MHz spectrum, which will improve coverage and the quality of the network. It also completed the upgrade to HSPA 7.2, which as the name suggests has a theoretical download speed of 7.2 Mbps.
Later in 2010, AT&T is planning to upgrade the 3G HSPA network again. This time it will be upgrading to HSPA+, a standard that offers theoretical download speeds of 21 Mbps with actual download speeds averaging about a third of that figure. Eventually, AT&T will upgrade to a 4G technology called Long Term Evolution, or LTE. It will begin testing the technology later in 2010 with initial commercial deployments starting in 2011.
Unfortunately, for current iPhone users and those upgrading to the iPhone 4, the upgrades to HSPA+ and 4G LTE will not affect iPhone performance since these phones do not have these technologies embedded. That said, the HSPA 7.2 upgrade, 850MHz conversion, and addition of fiber links in the backhaul network will help alleviate some network congestion.
Analysts agree that AT&T is moving in the right direction with its upgrades. The only question is whether it is moving quickly enough.
"They are continuing to invest in backhaul and trying to migrate their infrastructure to HSPA+, which should give them faster network speeds and more network capacity," said Ross Rubin, an analyst with NPD Group. "But as Apple adds new capabilities to the iPhone, which attract new applications, it opens the door for greater data use."
The new iPhone 4 offers better screen resolution, a higher megapixel camera that records in high definition, a gyroscope, and faster microprocessors. These enhancements by themselves will not chew up more bandwidth than the existing iPhone 3GS, but the applications that will likely get developed using these new features could.
To help keep data usage in check, AT&T hasContinue »
NOAA said this was the first dead whale reported since the BP rig explosion. However, it noted that the dead whale was not found in oiled waters.
The carcass was badly decomposed and is believed to have been preyed upon by sharks while it was floating in the water for several days. Marine mammal experts will now try to figure out the location from which the whale carcass may have drifted.
"Sperm whales spend most of their time in the upper Gulf offshore area, live at depth in areas where subsurface dispersants and oil are present, and feed on deepwater squid, which may also be impacted by the oil and dispersants," NOAA said.
The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo typically concentrates on the games major publishers hope consumers will either purchase or put on their holiday wish lists in the coming year. While there's always a certain amount of hardware, in the form of controllers, accessories, and PCs, for the most part, this a show about software, not hardware.
The exception is when a new game console is launching, and over the many years I've attended the show, I've seen the launches of the Sega's Dreamcast; Sony's PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PSP; Nintendo's GameCube, Wii, and DS; and Microsot's Xbox and Xbox 360. That said, 2010 is the first year without a major living room console launch where I've seen almost all the attention focused firmly on hardware rather than software.
What made this year unique was the presence of both the Microsoft Kinect platform and the PlayStation Move, as well as Nintendo's handheld 3DS console. We'd all seen the Kinect (then called Natal) and Move before, but this was the official holiday season kickoff for both, with finalized names, details, and release dates.
Both motion control systems have their strengths and weaknesses, but I thought that Kinect especially had promise for home entertainment control, and the PlayStation Move provided the kind of precision and accuracy that core gamers would most appreciate.
The 3DS, at risk of being written off as a novelty in the era of me-too 3D, was a surprising success (at least in the small doses it was offered up to attendees), with eyeglass-free 3D that actually seems to work. While that's only a tiny personal screen for now, it makes those expensive, cumbersome active shutter 3D systems feel like a much tougher sell.
If the technology behind the 3DS holds up, it's really only a matter of time and scale before consumers expect all forms of 3D to not require glasses.
While these new hardware devices were impressive in person, they're all still a tough sell -- console add-ons have traditionally not succeeded (from the Sega 32X to the Xbox HD-DVD drive), and Nintendo fans may have upgrade fatigue after the DS, DS Lite, DSi, and DSi XL.
The second major reason this year's E3 felt like it was all about hardware, was that the software largely failed to impress. This left the field wide open for the Kinect, Move, and 3DS to steal the show.
I've already detailed the over reliance on sequels and spin-offs, many on a rapidly accelerated production cycle to feed the need for annual product installments. But, there were a handful of games in development seen either on the show floor or behind closed door that made my must-play list (and yes, most of them are sequels). In no particular order, they are:Continue »
In a prepared statement issued Thursday afternoon,, Jon Miller, the executive who has responsibility for MySpace for parent company News Corp., suggested that the resignation was related to Hirschhorn's personal desire to return to New York.
As many people know, Jason is like family to me, and as expected, he's done everything we asked of him and more. We're incredibly grateful for the passion and enthusiasm he brought to the company. And as I know Jason agrees, Mike Jones has done an outstanding job leading MySpace into its next evolution and is the right person to take the reins. There are no plans to bring in additional management.
All that may be true enough. Indeed, HirschornContinue »
Someone logging onto the Google Trends website at around 9 AM would have seen the phrase "lol n------". Many of the other terms were also unusually broad and not in keeping with the usual sorts of hot topic terms which appear on the page.
A spokeswoman said the company was "investigating reports of an unusual query appearing on Google Trends this morning" but had no further comment.
This would not be the first time a hacker manipulated the rankings, which went live in 2006. In in 2008, a swastika appeared as the top term. A week later, some wrote "f--- you google" in reverse.
The money came from a grant administered by the U.S. Department of Energy, which plans to analyze the data collected from the charge stations. Collectors will measure metrics such as energy usage as well as the length of time involved in the charging process. Volt owners who want to take advantage of the offer will have to agree to share their charging information with the data collectors.
So far, federal stimulus funds have helped pay for the installation of more than 15,000 home charge stations. Many Volt owners will likely choose to plug into 120-volt electrical outlets and charge their vehicles overnight. But Tony DiSalle, the Volt product and marketing director at Chevrolet, said that "for Volt owners who want to install a faster 240-volt charge station, we expect the Department of Energy project to save $1,000 and $2,000."
To encourage consumer purchases of electric vehicles, federal grants and other funds have been awarded to install more than 15,000 home charge stations. That total includes 4,400 home charge stations for Volt owners; 2,600 as part of The EV Project from ECOtality, and 1,800 as part of the ChargePoint America project from Coulomb Technologies.
The Volt is designed to drive up to 350 miles without stopping to recharge or refuel.
Though canines have a formidable sense of smell, it's still unclear how these dogs managed to come up with such accurate results. Before declaring a breakthrough in prostate cancer detections, scientists will need to replicate the results on a far larger scale, as LiveScience notes:
There is also the potential study design problem that the dogs might have been able to pick up subconscious cues from the researchers about which samples were cancerous and which were not. In research this influence is called the "Clever Hans effect," after a horse named Hans that, in early 1900s Germany, was claimed to be able to solve math problems, read and understand German, and other amazing abilities. Careful skeptical investigation revealed that Hans merely gave the illusion of being able to do these tasks; he was instead reacting to subtle (and unconscious) cues from his trainer.
If you're talking about BP, it means public contempt, investor rebellion and the increasing likely prospect of prosecution.
If, however, you're talking about Apple (and by association, its carrier partner AT&T), another standard applies. For these folks, it's pass Go and collect, well, a lot more than $200.
By now, you're likely familiar with the comedy of errors which attended the pre-ordering fiasco for the iPhone 4. After AT&T's servers failed on Tuesday to handle the crush of traffic, Apple cut things short as these two tech stalwarts got overwhelmed by the demand. To an outsider, it sure looked like amateur hour. How could they have been so unprepared? It looked even worse after reports circulated of glitches like credit cards getting charged multiple times and security lapses where customers could view other customer accounts
The Apple Store added that notation next to a glossy photo of the black version of the iPhone 4. It also disclosed that the white iPhone "remains currently unavailable for pre-order or in-store pickup." Earlier today, Apple pushed back the ship date from June 24 to July 2. Later on, it changed that to July 14.
This was a rare embarrassment for an image-conscious company that rarely suffers through public missteps. All this is likely to get quickly forgotten once the sales registers ring up. This morning Apple reported that it had received more than 600,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4. And AT&T said that pre-orders for the device were 10 times greater than on the first day of pre-orders for the iiPhone 3GS a year ago. (Best Buy said this afternoon that it is no longer accepting pre-orders.)
Watching the day's events roll out, Sam Diaz of ZDNet offered one of the best takes. If this were any other company, he correctly noted, this concatenation of fiascoes would be considered "a complete train wreck."
Consumers would be up-in-arms, demanding refunds, storming out of stores and swearing to not come back until these companies can get their acts together. But this is Apple - and that means that the truly faithful will 1) keep trying, no matter the obstacles thrown at them and 2) forgive the shortcomings the moment they get a confirmation saying the order was successful. And the beauty of it is that this can pretty much happen without the PR team in Cupertino even having to think for a minute about "spin control."
Proponents of that theory point to physical evidence left over from that epoch, such as nanodiamonds, which they say were formed by intense heat and are evidence of the impact.