Tech Trends: Week of 2/7/11
Windows 7 SP1
In what feels like forever, Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 has finally been released to manufacturing. It seems that few new features are being bundled with the update, but security and stability tweaks are abound. It’s interesting that it’s taken this long for Microsoft to come out with SP1; I’d like to think that the initial release’s large install base, coupled with SP1′s backend nature, means Windows 7 is headed in the right direction.
Touch(pad) me baby
Wow. This is quite beautiful. HP’s dropped official word on their tablet strategy, plus two new phones. Their flagship tablet, the Touchpad (previously known as Topaz), will be coming at an undisclosed price sometime later this year. It’s running WebOS 3.0 on a 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon, and totally eliminates all traces of Palm branding. In addition to the Touchpad, the Pre 3 and Veer were also unveiled, the former being a beefier iteration of the Pre 2, the latter being comparable to the Pixi at the size of a credit card. What really excites me are the possibilities for integration between HP’s tablets and phones; the ability to sync webpages by tapping the two together was *touched* on. I think HP’s really nailed the balance between design and functionality; outside of the iPad, this would now be my tablet of choice.
Sprint and Kyocera rock some dual-screen Android
For those of us who just can’t survive without email on one screen and a browser on the other, Kyocera’s Echo device promises exactly that. Announced by Sprint at an “industry first” event, the Echo sports two 3.5″ displays on top of a 1 GHz Snapdragon. It’ll without doubt have its fair share of bugs (Android 2.2 being one of them), but the concept is interesting. The idea of a dual-screen handheld’s been around since the days of the Nintendo DS, but has never been well-executed on a phone. I’m skeptical about the design going mainstream, but it’s serving a currently overlooked niche.
Nokia ditches Symbian
In a massive victory for Windows Phone 7, Nokia has partnered with Microsoft to offer the operating system across new devices. Even though I’ve never really been familiar with Symbian (and there’s probably a reason for that), I’m glad to see WP7 gain momentum like this. I’ve always been a big believer in the concept of the platform as well as its Metro UI, and really hope it takes off.
AOL goes shopping
AOL’s been doling out the cash the past few months, most recently in their acquisition of The Huffington Post. Outside of this particular deal, I’m curious to see what AOL will be doing with HuffPo, About.me, and TechCrunch; their entire strategy seems fairly disjointed. They rebranded a while back, but I’d like to see them drop a huge bomb with one brand-new integrated experience. Deep down inside, I guess I wouldn’t hate it if AOL succeeds. </oprahmoment>
Pandora files for IPO
This one’s been coming for a while, but I certainly didn’t expect Pandora to drop an IPO at this very moment. Coming right after LinkedIn’s offering announcement, Pandora’s looking to raise $100M from stock. They’re largely unprofitable at the moment, but both their impact on the music industry and their potential advertising reach should make for a compelling investment. I’ll definitely buy a few shares.
Smartphones beat PCs in sales
In a statistic that echos the future of computing, total shipments of smartphones just eclipsed those of PCs in Q4 2010 (100.9 vs. 92.1 million units, respectively). A quick walk through Best Buy is quite telling on this trend; all the innovation and rapid change is in smartphones and tablets – not PCs. Stating the obvious? Yes, but it’s still cool to see these predictions come to light.
Lusting after a Touchpad? Could you see yourself using a dual-screen Android device? Going to buy any Pandora stock? Hit me up!