Monthly Archives: August 2012

Why Siri Can’t Read (Your Mind)


Think your smartphone’s smart now? Sure, it can tap the resources of the internet to answer virtually anything you ask. But what if it could predict what information you needed? Better yet, what if your phone understood you well enough that it could offer up information you didn’t even know you needed. Now that would be a smart phone! You’ll have one someday–and sooner than you might think.

Consider this: There’s arguably no single person, no one thing that spends more time with you than your smartphone. Because of all our time together, these devices have a unique opportunity to get to know us better–maybe even better than we know ourselves. Up to now, though, they haven’t really tried.

Why not?

What our phones lack is contextual awareness, an ability to identify and filter the salient information from that data storm and present it to us, unprompted, at a time we’ll find it useful. Give our smartphones a way to track all that data and a set of tools to analyze it and we’ll be well on the way to realizing the dream of truly smart phones.

A slew of companies are laser-focused to enable context awareness. Your smartphone will be context aware – and sooner than you might think.

Read the entire column on

Why Siri Can’t Read (Your Mind)2019-12-19T15:57:59+00:00

Making Laptops Sexy Again


When people are on the go, they don’t want to carry more than two personal electronic devices: one in the pocket and one in the bag. When a third device crops up, it’s because it addresses a shortcoming in one or both primary devices.

I’ve been saying this for more than a decade, as InformationWeek‘s Patrick Houston noted in his recent ode to the not-dead-yet PC. I believed in the two-device maxim when PDAs thrust their way onto the scene. I believed it when portable navigation devices began selling. And I still believed it as Apple prepared to bring the first media tablet to market.

These days, though, amidst the persistent flood of tablet shipments and pessimistic PC forecasts, I’ve had to defend my little two-device maxim like never before. Are we temporarily out of balance? Or is this the start of a new normal?

Read the entire column on

Making Laptops Sexy Again2019-12-19T15:59:57+00:00

The Death of ‘Open’ Isn’t Just Amazon’s Problem


The ongoing land-grab by Apple, Google and Microsoft doesn’t just impact Amazon, as I explained in my post, The Death of ‘Open.’ It threatens the livelihood of anyone who wants to court customers on the internet.

A collection of retailers, including big-box brands like Wal-Mart and Target aren’t willing to cede control of mobile payments to Google Wallet. So they’ve joined forces to establish their own mobile payments alternative, as reported in today’s Wall Street Journal. The effort is called the Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX.

This is just the start. Watch for more initiatives like this from companies who don’t want to be an after-thought when we’re shopping from our smartphones and media tablets.

The Death of ‘Open’ Isn’t Just Amazon’s Problem2019-12-19T16:01:23+00:00

Does Intel Have an Inside Track at Amazon?


If Amazon isn’t working on a proprietary operating system for tablets and smartphones, then it risks losing its dominance in retail sales to Apple, Google and Microsoft. I explain why in “The Death of Open” (which was picked up this week by InformationWeek, by the way).

Intel could have a leg up on its competitors by pairing its mobile silicon with MeeGo, the company’s nine-lives OS designed for tablets and smartphones. As it happens, no one’s making much use of MeeGo. Not long ago, that worked against Intel. But now that the platform vendors all appear poised to go it alone, a spare OS lying around could be just the thing Intel needs to win Amazon’s business.

Speculative? You bet. But think about it: who else could offer Amazon a turnkey proprietary platform today?

Does Intel Have an Inside Track at Amazon?2019-12-19T16:04:51+00:00