Morning Tech Wrap: Apple, Blackberry, Twitter
Apple is planning to introduce a new smart TV set, Forbes’ Brian Caulfield reports. Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White wrote in a note to investors that he saw signs of Apple’s intentions to go beyond the second-generation Apple TV set-top box it introduced last year. White declined to offer details on what tipped him off specifically though. Market watchers have often speculated that Apple might one day enter the $100 billion LCD television market, but to date it has only introduced its $99 Apple TV, which CEO Steve Jobs describes as a “hobby.”
Meanwhile, Apple is testing a new tool for its Safari browser that would keep users from being tracked by advertisers, the Wall Street Journal reports. The add-on is included within the latest test release for Lion, an Apple OS only available to developers. The final, public version of the operating system is set for release this summer. The anticipated add-on, along with similar tools already included in the Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft IE 9 browsers, leaves Google Chrome as the only major browser provider not to offer a do-not-track feature.
Blackberry’s new Playbook is receiving mixed reviews. The newest challenger to Apple in the tablet market was described by The Associated Press as “strong,” and “well-priced” in a positive review this morning. “You need three things to compete with Apple’s iPad tablet computer,” Rachel Metz writes, “A gorgeous, easy-to-use device that people will love, a bustling app store and an attractive price tag.” The Playbook costs $499, the same price as the cheapest iPad. Metz adds that the Playbook, which features its own RIM-developed software, is “a pleasure to navigate.” Wired’s review of the device yesterday was altogether less glowing, reporting issues with low-memory when running multiple apps, flawed use of Adobe Flash and a glaring omission of e-mail, contacts and calendar apps. Both reviews do agree on one thing though, the selection of apps is a major setback. With roughly 3,000 available (compared to the iPad’s 65,000) and with popular apps such as Facebook, Gmail, Twitter and Angry Birds all absent, the tablet may only tick two of the three boxes Metz suggests are necessary to compete with Apple.
UberMedia is launching a new social networking service designed to compete with Twitter. The company, which has coded multiple Twitter apps, hopes to compete by eliminating some of the common problems associated with Twitter such as the 140-character post limit and accessibility for newcomers. Twitter, which has seen off competition from the likes of FriendFeed and Google Buzz in the past, released statistics last week showing that its users were sending 155 million tweets a day, TG Daily reports. The relationship between the two companies has been “particularly hairy” writes Lydia Leavitt, as Twitter shut out three of UberMedia’s apps in February saying they violated company policies.UberMedia marketing chief Steve Chadima wasn’t going to give anything away though, saying, “Our foremost desire is to continue to innovate on the Twitter Platform and bring more users and usage to Twitter.”
New research shows worldwide shipments of PCs fell in the first quarter of 2011 because of competition from tablets. Market Watch reports that despite both Gartner and IDC expecting slight growth, the release of the iPad had a big effect on the PC market. Consumers are either switching to an iPad or holding back from buying a PC at the moment, Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa said in a press release. “We’re investigating whether this trend is likely to have a long-term effect on the PC market.” IDC analyst Jay Chou went a step further, offering a word of warning to PC makers: “Good-enough computing has become a firm reality, exemplified first by mini notebooks [netbooks] and now media tablets.” The term “good-enough” is a phrase coined in the book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma” referring to a new, cheaper product usurping an entrenched one, being seen as “good enough” to attract massive users.