Thunderbolt, on an iPhone 5?

Update — It sounds like the iPhone 5’s “Lightning” port may not be a true “Thunderbolt” interface. So far the info on Lightning has been extremely vague. Thunderbolt is a 20 pin interface, Lightning appears to be a 10 pin interface.  No one really knows right now.  Apple claims it is an adaptive interface.  Perhaps it can support USB 2.0 signals and a subset of the Thunderbolt interface.  The USB “adapter” may simply align the power and data lines to the Lightning interface.  USB has 2 power lines and 2 data lines.  Lightning has 8 data lines.  Perhaps it can operate with a variable number (2-8) of data lines.  I wonder if they can support 

Siri may infringe old Excite patents

I was watching this Bloomberg video the other day featuring Shawn Carolan, the venture capitalist who backed the Siri electronic personal assistant startup then sold it to Apple. His was the closest I’d heard to a technical explanation of how Siri works and it surprised me because it sounded a lot like technology I remembered from years ago at Excite, the long-defunct search engine.  Please look at the video and then meet me in the next paragraph.  The part that excited me (no pun intended) is about four minutes in.

Okay, he said they used linguistic techniques to map blocks of words against 10 possible domains of expertise to figure out what the heck you are asking Siri to do, with the real […]

By |January 14th, 2012|2012|73 Comments

For Mobile OS's, Three's a Crowd

I was speaking recently at a software company very interested in mobile apps. One of their concerns had to do with which operating systems to support.  Should they do them all?  Just a couple? My advice was that three’s a crowd.

Technical markets tend to divide like bettors at the racetrack where five percent win, 10 percent break even while 85 percent lose. Turning these numbers on their head and applying them to mobile OS revenue, IOS (iPhone, iPad, iGizmo to be named later) will generate 85 percent, Android 10 percent (because it is Open Source and free) leaving only five percent max for mobile OS number three, which could be Blackberry or Windows Phone 7 […]

By |December 20th, 2011|2011|93 Comments

Been there, done that: Private label newspaper tablets make no sense

Metropolitan newspapers in Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore and other places, seeking to survive, are embracing tablet editions to the point of marketing their own e-readers, most of which seem to be Android tablets. It’s a noble effort to avoid extinction but I’m here to tell you it won’t work. Private label tablet computers are a bad idea for newspapers.

The reason I can make this statement with such conviction is because I once tried to do it myself. The year was 1993 when I convinced International Data Group (my employer at the time) to create an electronic magazine about Microsoft. We called it Microsquish.

The magazine was intended to be distributed weekly in PDF format over this new […]

By |August 9th, 2011|2011|83 Comments

The enemy of my enemy

Nortel Networks, the bankrupt Canadian telecom company, came that much closer to disappearing completely yesterday with the cash sale of its portfolio of 6000 patents for $4.5 billion to a consortium of companies including Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion (RIM), and Sony. The bidding, which began with a $900 million offer from Google, went far higher than most observers expected and only ended, I’m guessing, when Google realized that Apple and its partners had deeper pockets and would have paid anything to win. This transaction is a huge blow to Google’s Android platform, which was precisely the consortium’s goal.

Google is the youngest of these companies and has probably the smallest patent portfolio, most […]

By |July 1st, 2011|2011|216 Comments