Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

The Amazon Empire

Got a nice link (thanks @goertsch) for a good presentation covering Amazon’s vast retail empire. Most interesting and always fascinating is that basically Amazon is a classic retail store but was the only one which really understood what eCommerce meant nearly two decades ago. Second, Amazon is focusing on the customer first. I am now more than a decade a very happy customer protected and supported against delivery or quality obstacles by Amazon. Third, Amazon is fully automated with a high profile real-time inventory management, one of the first which worked. Also they secure their customer data with care (Sony, here you can learn how it is done).
Amazon is currently expanding to all forms of digital content, in the media always a bit in the Apple/Google shadow, but will finally come out as winner because producers can earn money and customers by cheaper and in higher quality (compared to iTunes/Google Music & Books).
What I think Amazon may should do in the future is to extend the long tail to small, existing, physical existing stores and help them to sell their products location aware using the Amazon brand. Amazon can provide more services and higher trust and honesty than eBay.

Ps.: And please Amazon, Kindle V4 should have a Mirasol display 😉

Experiences with an iPad 2

Having bought a iPad 2 mostly for the reason to replace the normal printed journals, the experience with an iPad is a mixed one. First the hardware: although the overall build quality is high, the buttons on the sides are looking and feeling cheap. But two other things are really bad from an usability standpoint: one is the highly reflecting surface (whoever “invented” glossy displays should be banned from any product design for life), the other is the bevelled edges which make the socket for the sync/power cable a mechanical nightmare, wondering how long it survives. The display itself suffers a bit from the low resolution; otherwise it is definitely very good. The iPad survives up to 7 hours without recharge, that’s the best I have seen from mobile devices so far (besides all Kindle’s). It is heavy, so not really an eBook reader but this does not matter on the breakfast table.
More important for me in any case are the Apps providing more or less sufficient reading quality for most of the magazines. The ones from the Heise publishing group are working as expected, the only downside so far is that the pages are simple images (no interactive content or links) and that Apps very often have a rendering issues (like not drawing the navigation bar on but instead somewhere near it). Despite the low screen resolution, you can read the page without scrolling (anti-aliasing could be better). Besides Le Monde Diplomatique and Technology Review, which also work with images, all other content is provided via PDF, best viewed for text by Stanza, although GoodReader is a great PDF viewer too (if graphics or images are more complex). Interesting was that Apps, like the one for the magazine Cicero are in the App Store, but you cannot use it any more.
All other news sources like BBC, TED or Al Jazeera have their own Apps which work great. Twitter and my preferred RSS reader Pulse are also available, so no complains here. Most interesting, Microsoft’s Skype has no distinct iPad App so far. The default Calendar was quickly replaced by the MUJI Calendar App. One thing which really provides a lot of value for the iOS devices is if you own a Synology device. For one thing, streaming music is as easy as installing the App, the other big advantage is that your Printer becomes AirPrint capable! Oh, and opening PDFs directly from the Synology NAS makes live a lot easier.
Interesting on a live iOS device is that notifications do not work (most of the time, or only if your App run in the front) and they crash often, very often. If you look into the logs, either because a network issue or low memory (ok, our CMC Markets App is also a bit heavy on this ;-)).
All in all I’m not dissatisfied but I think Apple has to improve hardware and software quickly to keep up with the android developments. And as eBook reader, the Kindle will rule this year too.
Oh, and Internet Radio and iTunes U (best thing Apple has done) become now a lot more comfortable to listen too …