Techzone 360 Week in Review

By Tony Rizzo November 16, 2013

It's been a relatively peaceful week, though there are interesting things afoot as always. First and foremost, Apple's new Retina Display iPad Mini went on sale this week. It has been a quiet launch, and most of us know this is due entirely to the likelihood that Apple doesn't have enough of them to sell. The new mini has garnered a host of very positive reviews, the upshot of which is that the new iPad mini is now the best small tablet you can have. That is quite a bookend for Apple which, according to Walt Mossberg now also has the best larger tablet you can have, namely the iPad Air.

If only Samsung were in a position to copy them directly, think how far Samsung could go. If only it still could. This week Samsung and Apple began the revisit of the remedy/penalty phase in court to determine how much Samsung will pay Apple for initially copying its iPhone 3 designs. The interesting thing is that Samsung no longer denies it did exactly this. The company's own lawyers now say that, yes, it was true - Samsung did the copying. You know of course there is a "but" coming - and the "but" is that Samsung believes it was no big deal. Apple of curse has a whole different perspective. What do the numbers look like? Apple wants $379 million; Samsung is willing to admit it owes perhaps $28,000. Maybe. Samsung actually doesn't believe it did much wrong. Ah, if only that were true. We anticipate Apple collecting a sizable penalty.

Of particular interest for retailers this week has been the long anticipated holiday buying season that will begin in just a few short week. In fact much has been made about beginning "Black Friday" on Thanksgiving Day itself - that whole thing is absurd if you ask us, but crazy shoppers will not be denied apparently. In the meantime, once those shoppers make it into the stores those shoppers can look forward to retailers being armed with a next stage in the development of tech-based customer satisfaction capabilities. This time around it will all center on video and detailed analytics, with forward-thinking retailers sporting an array of powerful video-driven systems to demonstrate product use, direct consumers to special buys and monitor the gridlock that is otherwise known as "in-store run shopping."

Here's another interesting retail scenario that popped up this week. Intel - yes the semiconductor company - is going to open up some retail stores. Huh? Intel of course doesn't exactly have retail products to sell, though it does of course have a huge customer base of manufacturers who put its semiconductors and chipsets to good use across a huge array of products. Intel's first pop-up retail store opened in New York on Nov. 13 - just a few days ago. The Intel Experience Store will be joined by others in major markets such as Chicago and Los Angeles. It has bold ambitions but isn't it really a waste of money?

Google managed to get itself into the headlines this week with a couple of seemingly minor announcements that may never the less ultimately have an interesting impact on markets in general. First, Google has finally decided to give Nielsen and comScore a shot at reporting YouTube ad measurements. It is of course always a good thing to have independent measurements for such things and perhaps in anticipation of a possibly huge uptake in advertising on YouTube it is no doubt a very good idea to give Nielson and comScore access. There is nothing altruistic about it - it simply makes good business sense.

Second, Google has also decided to make an app translation service available to all Android developers, and that service became available this week. Why is Google doing so? Well, with Android playing within a large scale global market, it makes a lot of sense for Google to ensure that international apps that appear in its Play Store work well with Android devices across those global markets. App developers will be able to hire human translators to transcribe their apps into hyper-local dialects. The service is part of a toolbox of localization features that developers can take advantage of as they distribute their apps around the world through Google Play. It makes a ton of sense.

We'll wrap up with a couple of non-personal tech items. First, Tesla Motors apparently suffered a third well-publicized car fire incident. Tesla CEO Elon Musk made light of it, claiming that gas engine cars cause far more fires relatively speaking. But is this sort of comment something that will help Tesla or hurt it? While pondering Tesla's car of the future technology, here's something else to think about - it has been announced that 29 satellites (!!!) will be put into orbit from a "single" U.S. Air Force launch next Tuesday evening, November 19. ORS-3 is scheduled to head skyward around 7:30 PM ET from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at Wallops Island, VA, carrying a primary satellite designed to monitor space weather and 28 secondary CubeSat payloads. We find that amazing.

Have a great weekend!


Edited by Tony Rizzo

TechZone360 Senior Editor

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