Today in Tech: A peek at the next Kindle Fire?
Why Amazon’s purported smartphone is launching a tech war; is the death of cash imminent?
The next iteration of the Fire will be thinner and lighter than the original. It will also have a built-in camera and a much-improved display. And, more importantly, developers familiar with the device have been instructed to build their apps for a display with a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, which is a bit different than the 1024 x 600 display of the current Kindle Fire.
The Amazon smartphone launches tech’s costliest war [BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK]
It must seem so tempting to flirt with making your own hardware. Partly this is motivated by fear. Google has been a self-interested steward of the Android ecosystem, the software that will likely power phones by Amazon and Facebook. The search giant aims to highlight its own services on its devices, with prominent links to its music, video, and e-book stores, not to mention its Google+ social network. Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg must be terrified by the notion that Larry Page—and Apple’s Tim Cook—could stand between them and their customers. So they call up Foxconn, ask to see their best designs, and have engineers cook up a version of open-source Android to run on their devices.
The death of cash [FORTUNE]
These are telltale signs that the mobile-payments revolution has arrived. But what the glowing profiles of [Jack] Dorsey — he’s often compared to Steve Jobs — and the breathless predictions about your phone replacing your wallet don’t tell you is this: Changing the way Americans pay for stuff is going to be really hard work. For starters, retailers and their partners will have to offer mainstream shoppers some pretty sweet perks to get them to replace a swipe of a plastic card with a tap of a phone. Then there’s the chicken-and-egg problem: Merchants don’t want to upgrade pricey point-of-sale terminals so that they can work wirelessly with smartphones unless e-wallets become mainstream, and e-wallets won’t become mainstream until consumers can use them just about everywhere.
Tech companies leave phone calls behind [THE NEW YORK TIMES]
Voice calls have been falling out of fashion with teenagers and people in their 20s for some time (text only, please). But what is a matter of preference for the young is becoming a matter of policy for technology companies; phones cost money, phones do not scale. Besides, why call when you can use Google, or send a Twitter message?
The design for three Galaxy tablets doesn’t infringe Apple’s registered design, Judge Colin Birss said today in London in a court fight between the world’s two biggest makers of smartphones. Consumers aren’t likely to get the tablet computers mixed up, he said. The Galaxy tablets “do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design,” Birss said. “They are not as cool.”
Five key Ted talks [THE NEW YORKER]
As many media companies trading in “ideas” are struggling to stay afloat, TED has created a product that’s sophisticated, popular, lucrative, socially conscious, and wildly pervasive—the Holy Grail of digital-age production. The conference serves a king-making function, turning obscure academics and little-known entrepreneurs into global stars. And, though it’s earned a lot of criticism (as I explain in the article, some thinkers find TED to be narrow and dangerously slick), its “TED Talks” series of Web videos, which so far has racked up more than eight hundred million views, puts even Emerson to shame.