Techzone 360 Week in Review

By Tony Rizzo January 05, 2013

Well, it has certainly been a hectic three weeks. In fact three weeks ago we were looking ahead to the holidays and now…poof…they are over. It all happened so suddenly we hardly had time to notice it all. We're now ready to settle in and look ahead to an entire new year of exciting technology both for consumers and for the enterprise, and it promises to be a crazy year.

We'll get to our collection of resolutions and predictions in short order, but first we'd like to cast our vote for craziest start to the year, which goes to MonkeyBrains for its decision to use crowdfunding to score a little publicity for itself, with a "Crowdfunding Gone Wild" theme of sorts. How about a request for $325,000,000? Who knows, perhaps they'll even get it.

Our second favorite "most crazy" is the idea of Intel getting into the cable TV biz. Intel announced back in 2011 that it was forming (and did form) a media group dubbed Intel Media - initially, we believed, to work with other companies such as Google toward launching Intel chip-driven TV content products. Intel Media has stayed under the radar, though in March 2012 Intel also announced that it would work on its own TV content delivery service - which most of us duly noted but which we also more or less dismissed as just a dream. Is it?

Our third favorite "most crazy" is more of a culmination than a beginning, with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) finally wrapping up its antitrust investigation of Google. Two years, millions of dollars spent, all for the equivalent of handing out a parking ticket with very little of consequence to show for it all. The FTC looks to have certainly given Google a happy start to the New Year. What exactly did the FTC and Google settle between them? Not as much as they should have in our opinion. Following the almost two year long inquiry, the FTC decided that Google was not in violation of antitrust laws when it comes to Internet search practices.

Two companies that have not started off on the right notes for 2013 are Microsoft and Barnes & Noble. Microsoft's damnably dumb Surface tablet strategy - at least that is our opinion of it, has not served the company well. How many Surface RTs did Microsoft sell? Three million? Two million? No…it's probably closer to 700,000, a truly lousy number. It's no way for Microsoft to start off the New Year.

Meanwhile, it has been a true Christmas nightmare for Nook sales at Barnes & Noble. Some of us recall that Microsoft also took a financial stake in the Nook and Barnes & Noble. It certainly makes us wonder - Nook segment sales this holiday season were reminiscent of Scrooge’s troubling dreams in the classic story “A Christmas Carol.” It was as if retail “ghosts” haunted Nook-related products at the bookseller, with recent numbers showing sales dropped significantly during the holiday shopping period between Thanksgiving and the days after Christmas.

While Microsoft and Barnes & Noble sort through their holiday tablet slumps Apple and the Android folks will be celebrating, with a record breaking 50 million iOS and Android devices activated and an amzing 1.76 billion mobile apps downloaded! What a Christmas Week! On Christmas Day itself, 17.4 million iOS and Android devices were activated. This is a record all on its own, but the rest of the week proved worthy of Christmas Day.

Leave it to ABI Research’s Competitive Assessment of Mobile Application Storefronts to try and sort out not only who owns the best storefront, but also to find a way to actually quantify this and provide a comparative measure. ABI has done so, though its findings are not likely to prove all that earth shaking. Apple's App Store was rated Best in Class but Microsoft's is now Most Innovative. If only Microsoft could apply this good fortune to its Surface strategy! What else did ABI discover?

Finally, after a long bit of anticipation, Facebook has begun testing its new Voice over IP (VoIP) feature, which will allow users to make phone calls on the Facebook Messenger smartphone app. The system will be tested initially by Facebook users in Canada, and depending on the response to the new feature, the company will make changes and tweak the service before releasing it to the wider (worldwide, to be exact) Facebook community.

Before we jump into our collection of predictions and resolutions for the New Year, let's point out for the last and final time that as far as we can tell, the world did not end in 2012. An asteroid did not hit the planet, the earth’s core did not stop spinning and the zombie apocalypse did not occur. But that does not mean that we are out of the woods just yet. We live in a dangerous world and we face threats of all kind each and every day, especially in cyberspace. But - though the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse was averted, will 2013 still bring a Cyber Apocalypse?

2013 Resolutions and Predictions

We started our own resolutions this year with the following: We're going to enjoy a much higher percentage of gourmet dinners this year, and we're going to ensure that we drink many more vintage wines this year. They come with a very high degree of confidence on our part that we'll get them right and that we'll keep them as well. But we have a few more resolutions/predictions that are directly related to mobile technology. And no, we do not have one that says we are finally going to make sure we have all of our mobile passwords properly enabled.

Unlike our resolutions, most New Year’s resolutions typically range from saving more money and pumping the iron a little more frequently and aggressively at the gym to further strengthening your patience or eating healthier. But, what about for technologically savvy individuals who crave innovations to simply survive these days, what should they strive for in the New Year? Here are some special thoughts on what mobile New Year's resolution should hit on.

And finally, but far from least, we've assembled seven key social media New Year's resolutions. Research shows that you’re more likely to achieve your resolutions if you write them down and have support. Google launched an interactive resolution map on its 2012 Zeitgeist website, with resolutions categories including Love, Health, Career, Finance, Family, Education, Do Good and Other for people around the world to share their New Year’s resolutions. While we use social media to share all of these resolutions, there are some things to think about when it comes to the social sites themselves and how we do or do not take advantage of them. Here are some social media resolutions for 2013.

Happy New Year to one and all!

TechZone360 Senior Editor

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