The Crippled Philosophy

If you take a good look at the consumer electronics market, you might start to notice a new management and marketing philosophy: releasing crippled products into the market as if it’s normal.
By crippled I mean with less features that it should logically have, because the brands present these products as the state of the art or top of the line, which in either case, demonstrates that the brand technological know how is way behind by market standards and the marketing division sells it as the worlds best thing or the brand marketing division is a bunch of stupid egocentric bastards and think that the consumers will buy any bone they will throw at them after releasing a crippled product just to cut on production costs.

In this last month we have two very strong examples: Apple and Sony. These two companies or brands if you want, are known by their technology advances in most of their products, Sony has been a video game console powerhouse and Apple the cutting edge on computer systems, but with their last products they left the world in a state of surprise, unfortunately not for the better reasons.

Lets take Apple’s example first. Apple TV is supposed to be some kind of media center but the first mistake is that is not a self sufficient device, meaning it needs to connect to another computer to get the contents. Now this is plain stupid because the Apple TV runs Mac OS X, it has wi-fi and a hard drive, so basically is a computer, how come Apple didn’t make it a self sufficient device? Why can’t I use iTunes directly on a Apple TV, shop and download directly from it? Decisions. The second mistake: HD. Although Apple claims that the Apple TV needs an HD TV to work, it has been proved otherwise. Apple goes leaps and miles to market the HDTV compatibility but then fails to deliver HD content from iTunes. This can change in the future but still the product is limited to a 40 GB hdd, so don’t expect to fit your entire collection of HD movies in there. As if this couldn’t get more awkward, even the friggin HDMI cable is not included, so Apple is releasing an HD device, meant to function on HDTVs that comes without and HDMI cable… go figure. Still, it’s a good product, it will sell but not as much as it would if it had a bigger hdd, expansion ports and self sufficiency.

But the worst case is Sony. Sony management and marketing divisions have been killing great products and signing the downfall of the company with a roll of crucial mistakes being the first mistake the lack of support and development for the PSP. The PSP is a great product, if it had been developed by Nintendo it would be the best gadget ever made because Nintendo stands by it’s products, they really make an effort to support the consoles with new games and gadgets, giving a strong image and personality to it. The PSP was made and abandoned by Sony, left to the unknown future of third party support. In Japan, the PSP market doesn’t compare with the rest of the world, most of the big accessories (GPS, Photo Camera, etc) don’t even get to be released in the USA and Europe as well as great games that don’t get localized and are sold only in the country of origin. The media features are limited to the UMD movies, there’s no store where the users can buy TV shows, movies or music, the game demos can be counted by the hand… all this in a two year old console that should have matured by now.

The second mistake and more crucial is, with no doubt, the european PS3. This machine is an offense to European gamers, they should write on the box “Playstation 3 Special Sucker Edition“. Besides the product release being plagued by the most stupid and inappropriate advertisement campaign, the product it self is really crippled. The first time I watched Sony’s PS3 ads, I couldn’t believe. Who in the right mind will associate that to a gaming console? A whole bunch of lunatics in a sort of hotel in a chaotic scenario, is there a hidden message there? To me, that looks like a metaphor of how Sony is being managed. The ad sucks big time and it gets your attention but not by the best of reasons. Bad publicity is not always good publicity… As for the console, Europen gamers who want a PS3 pay more and get less, we pay 599 Euro against the $599 in the USA and get a PS3 without the Emotion Engine, which, in case you don’t know, is the core of the PS2 and what insures that the PS3 runs PS2 games… except for the European version where that feature is implemented by software, a PS2 emulator. This means that the performance and compatibility when playing PS2 games won’t be the same as the other PS3 counterparts. All this by paying more! It’s really irresistible…
Adding to all this, the PS3, which besides being a console is supposed to be a Media Center as well (thus the BlueRay drive and media features), comes with a 60GB hdd (at least in Europe we only got that version) but still the Playstation Network doesn’t sell movies or music being the downloads limited to games, demos and movie trailers. As usual no HDMI cable bundled 🙂

But there’s an exception to all this. Enter Microsoft. As usual, taking advantage of other companies weak spots, this time as hard as it might take me to acknowledge, Microsoft heard the consumers. They announced today the Xbox 360 Elite, a black Xbox 360 (like users were always asking for) with a 120 GB hdd, an HDMI port and new and new HD content offerings on Xbox LIVE. Microsoft is killing two birds with one stone, not only it shows that they are listening to the gamers by releasing a console with a bigger hdd than the PS3 (they also include a few extra accessories), they also step on Apple’s turf by adding HD movies from Warner and Paramount (something iTunes dosen’t have) and new content from other publishers, demonstrating that they are right now the top choice for the media center market… and they even included the HDMI cable.

This shows that consumers aren’t stupid, we lacked the information in the past, but now the Internet gives us more and more information on technology than before. The Crippled Philosophy doesn’t pay nowadays, there’s always someone listening to what consumers want and delivering it in the right time.

[tags]Apple, Apple TV, Sony, Playstation 3, PS3, PSP, Nintendo, Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox 360 Elite, HD, HDTV, HDMI[/tags]

Geo Tag Photos With Sony


sony_gps.jpg

Found it via Engadget, the GPS-CS1 uses time and location recordings to geotag your photos. According to the article, the GPS session (time stamp, longitude and latitude) is downloaded to the PC and syncronized with the photos, all this using the supplied GPS Image Tracker software.


map_image04_lg.jpg

My opinion: it might be handy, but paying $150 just to geotag photos is a little bit expensive IMHO. I’m yet to see a nice digital camera with GPS integrated… meawhile let me dream.

[tags]Sony, Geotag, GPS-CS1, GPS Image Tracker, Photo[/tags]

Portable Gallery

[tag]Portable Gallery[/tag] was established to exhibit fresh creative talent from the Nordic region. In an increasingly [tag]mobile[/tag] and [tag]digital[/tag] environment we want to be on the forefront of portable art solutions by creating the first Portable Gallery. Portable Gallery will continue to research, experiment, develop, and create portable exhibitions together with innovative creative talent from the Nordic region: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

[tags]PSP, art[/tags]

Nintendo unveils Wi-Fi dongle

Nintendo just announced the Wi-Fi dongle that will allow DS (and maybe Revolution) owners to play online. It’s USB and only compatible with Windows so far.

More details here!

[tags]Nintendo, Nintendo Wi-Fi, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Revolution, Wireless[/tags]

Nintendo WiFi

Nintendo WiFi website launched today. Coming in November, Nintendo WiFi promisses WiFi connections to DS players and future Revolution owners. Rumors say it will be free but no one really knows for sure until November.

[tags]Nintendo, WiFi, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Revolution[/tags]

Mea Culpa

In the last few days, I’ve been away from my usual “routine”. My after hours have been taken by a small giant named Sony Playstation Portable, or PSP as you wish.

You can describe it in a short sentence: It’s incredible! You have to play with it to believe. Forget all the photos, all the reviews, everything you have been told. PSP is more than a console, it’s a full featured portable media center, the “walkman” of the 21st century.

I’m not an early adopter, meaning I tend to wait and see how new technology behave months after being launched to public. I love to try new tech but when it comes to investments I’m very careful.

If you keep an eye on my blog, you know I was tempted to get an iPod, mainly to replace my broken Creative Jukebox 3… Being able to carry all your music library is great, but something made me “look” to the PSP.

I never understood all the hype with small media players, like the nano or the shuffle, all they can offer is portability, and ranging from 1GB to 4GB… not much compared to 20GB, so the 20GB iPod was my main target, WAS until I tried a PSP. I felt the same tingling feeling I had when I got my first Gameboy back in the 90’s. I’ve changed my mind in a snap, the power of a PSP is awesome. You got to see the LCD screen to understand what I’m saying, it’s so clear, better than much portable dvd players around.

I had to rethink it all again. Being able to play games, music, videos and photos in a huge screen was much more than the iPod could offer me and it was cheaper. So, after some thinking I made my mind and I got one (actually my girlfriend helped saying that my mind was made and asked me what was I waiting for).

Fnac had only a few games, so I grabbed Wipeout Pure (hoping that the old Wipeout spirits could return after the flop that Wipeout Fusion was) and a UMD movie to experience the PSP movie features. I got Steamboy, an Anime title from the director of Akira.

I got home, unpacked and powered the beast with the demo UMD that comes bundled with. It asked me to upgrade my firmware to 2.0, and so I did. After the firmware was upgraded it was time to check the demos. Music clips, Spiderman 2 trailer and trailers from the launch games. Once again the image was superb, the Spiderman trailer has better quality than the .mov available from the movie site.

But enough from the demo UMD. Wipeout Pure was calling, I popped in the UMD and it was bliss! The graphics, the video, the techno tracks, it was all there… Then it came to the game itself. My God, the 3D is so fluid, the playability was back from the old Wipeout days.

After a few races, I played the “hack the PSP” game. I’ve explored all the menus, all the settings, configured it to connect to my wireless router (and it failed using WPA encryption, had to use WEP) and surf time was up!

The PSP browser is great, with some cool features like resizing modes, and you can even use a mouse like pointer with the analog stick… Sony had it all planned.

I’ll have to end this post, it’s getting to damn big, but not before saying something:

If you are planning to buy a PSP, do it! If you aren’t then think about it seriously. You won’t be disappointed.

[tags]PSP, iPod, Wipeout Pure, Steamboy, consoles[/tags]

Google expected to build campus at NASA

Google expected to build campus at NASA Ames.

This thing with Google is getting big…

[tags]Google, Nasa[/tags]

Weekend Full

Well, this weekend was “different”…
Friday I forgot my two cell phones at the office and didn’t go back to get them, meaning no phone calls for me since friday night. I tought that I was going to feel a little bit “naked” but no, everything went fine. Guess I’m not depending from my mobiles as much as I tought. I’m glad I kept a Moleskine with a few phone numbers just in case, and that helped alot.

I spent the weekend at my girlfriend’s house meaning, no technology whatsoever, no blogging, no surfing… just checked my mail and that’s it, a peacfull weekend without almost any tech. I had alot of time to think about the PSP vs iPod issue… and I made my mind. The reasons I’ll explain in another post along with a small review of my new… PSP!

I dropped down on FNAC and got a PSP, Wipeout Pure and Steamboy (UMD movie). When I arrived home, I updated the PSP firmware to 2.0, charged the battery and played Wipeout. I’m speechless… I made the right choice. Now I’m going to configure it to access my SMS router and surf the net with all the confort of… my bed 😀 (after I watch Steamboy that is).

Stay tuned for the review and some photos.

[tags]PSP, Playstation, iPod, Wipeout Pure, Steamboy[/tags]