Hardly any touch screen PCs are being bought, so the world is breaking into a small number of successes: growing number of touch-oriented smartphones and tablets, stable numbers of keyboard + touchpad laptops, and a falling number of keyboard + mouse desktops. Strangely, PC manufacturers continue to over estimate people’s desire for oddball hybrids and touch laptops.
from the article
Acer and Asustek this week said touchscreen laptops championed by Microsoft Corp. haven’t made as a big a splash with consumers as previously estimated.
"Our first wave of Vivobooks was not a success," said Asustek CEO Jerry Shen at an investor conference Friday, referring to the company’s line of touch notebooks. "We are working very closely with Microsoft and Intelin an effort develop game-changing devices to launch in September.”
Mr. Shen said Asustek also plans to “attack” the nontouch notebook segment in coming months, as many customers still aren’t willing to pay extra for a touchscreen.
Acer and Asustek have pushed heavily into the low-cost tablet market this year to try to counteract the consumer preference shift away from laptops, but so far it isn’t clear whether sales of their Android tablets, which sell for less than $200, can offset the sales decline of more-expensive laptops.
Acer Chairman J.T. Wang said the company is shifting its product mix away from the traditional Windows system “as soon as possible,” with its percentage of devices running Google Inc.’s Android or Chrome operating systems to grow from about 10% this year to as much as 30% next year.
Asustek, which sells under the brand Asus, had up until this spring managed a better performance than many PC industry peers, partly because of a partnership with Google to make the popular Nexus 7 tablet. The sales helped boost Asustek ahead of Kindle-maker Amazon.com to become the No. 3 tablet maker behind Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.
But even with the success of the Nexus 7, Asustek is now struggling. After the release of the second-generation Nexus tablet, Asustek was hit by a crush of inventory of the first generation, as well as poorer-than-expected sales of Windows RT tablets, analysts said. Windows RT is a version of Windows 8 geared to work with ARM mobile-device processors.
Touchscreen laptops, which PC makers initially saw as their defense against threat from the mobile advance, haven’t taken off.
I expect that we’ll see a huge surge in Android and Chrome laptops, and the near-term collapse of Windows. It will be Apple OS X and iOS v Google Chrome and Android, and maybe Ubuntu as a distant third, starting with smartphones.
Microsoft continues to move away from a commitment to its own OS and hardware platforms. We’ll be playing Xbox games on iPhones in no time.
Perhaps no coincidence this is announced a week before the rumored reorg in Redmond?
What sort of progress has been made in Apple’s new approach to design since Jonny Ive has started to influence the software side of things? Not much, yet.
Jessica Lessin, Apple Design Teams Get Cozier
Some suggested that in Apple’s next mobile operating system, Ive is pushing a more “flat design” that is starker and simpler, according to developers who have spoken to Apple employees but didn’t have further details. Overall, they expect any changes to be pretty conservative. For the past few years, Apple has unveiled versions of its mobile operating system in the summer.
Design is one example of the increased “collaboration across hardware, software and services” that Apple said it was aiming for when Cook pushed senior vice president and mobile software chief Scott Forstall out of the company last year.
The move united Apple’s Mac and iOS software teams under senior vice president Craig Federighi. Change in that new group is happening slowly.
Federighi has indicated to some employees that he plans to keep the Mac and iOS engineering teams separate for now, one of the people said. There is lots of overlap between the two groups, such as two teams working on calendar software; whether the two would be combined after Federighi took over both was a big question among employees in the division, the people close to the company say. One of the people said that some employees are expecting further reorganization of the two groups this summer.
Sounds like we should look at the next round of calendar software to see what ‘flat design’ means. At the very least, can we get rid of the dumb skeuomorphs, like leather and stitching? Here’s a mock-up:
I managed to get invited to Orchestra’s Mailbox launch — if you try to sign up today there are 433,636 people waiting — and the app kills. It implement the email triage I have been doing with external task management tools like Asana and Todoist for years. And it’s so fast because of the gestural interface.
Here’s ‘swipe left to snooze email’ —
— which leads to a second screen where you can quickly assign a day when the snoozed email should be returned to your inbox from the Gmail archive. Yes, it only works on Gmail accounts, and only runs on iOS, at the present time.
My bottom line from the piece at GigaOM Research:
Inbox triage has long been a necessary chore, but Mailbox makes it simple and intuitive. My bet is that Mailbox will be an enormous hit, and will become one of the apps that define and confirm the new gestural UX that we are moving into so quickly. Also, I am sure that all other email clients will knock off the principles of email triage à la Mailbox. I envision a browser version of this working PCs in combination with Leap Motion, but it’s killer as is, and for people on iOS devices it will quickly become the default mail client of choice.
Go read the whole post, if you want.
PS Apple should buy them immediately.
Rich Williams, the manager responsible for the horrible, horrible iOS Maps app, has been shown the door by Apple’s SVP Eddie Cue, following the sacking of Scott Forstall last month.
He apparently was unwilling to formally apologize for the app. In another time and place he would have been asked to cut open his stomach with a meathook.
Jennings pulls together many rumors pointing toward a touchscreen Chrome OS hybrid tablet/laptop designed and developed by Google.
If the Android/iOS one-two punch is a precedent, the emergence of a Chrome OS laptop/tablet is more of a threat to Microsoft’s push on Surface than Apple. And the Surface looks like it’s heading nowhere, according to Piper Jaffray’s Black Friday stats.
An alternate universe – Marco Arment
Here’s some insight from an industry executive who works with both companies, and suggests that you’ll increasingly see YouTube take control of all its apps, for the reasons discussed above: Ad dollars and user experience. “YouTube [has] decided they didn’t want third-parties building apps,” says my source. “Their strategy has changed. They want to control their destiny more.”
So, YouTube is doing exactly what Twitter is doing: they will undo the ecosystem of third-party apps, talk about a ‘consistent user experience’, and pocket the ad revenue.
Marco Arment doesn’t actually say that Microsoft Surface or Windows 8 smartphones are doomed, but he cuts to the chase pretty fast: Microsoft is in real trouble because they are starting with next to zero apps, and app developers — like Marco — have migrated off Windows onto Mac:
Marco Arment via Marco.org
By 2005 or so, most of those developers were working on web apps. The web was the platform for that kind of work for most of that decade.2
And during that decade, almost every such developer I knew switched to the Mac if they weren’t already there, partly because it was better for developing web apps.3
That’s one of the biggest reasons there was so much pent-up developer interest in the iPhone before the App Store opened: these consumer-product developers were all using Macs already. As the dominant consumer platform shifted from the web to apps over the last four years, most talented consumer-product developers built products for their app platform of choice during that time: the Apple ecosystem.
Many Windows developers were upset that iOS development had to be done on a Mac, but it didn’t hurt Apple: the most important developers for iOS apps were already using Macs.
But the success of Windows 8 and Windows Phone in the consumer space requires many of those consumer-product developers, now entrenched in the Apple ecosystem, to care so much about Windows development that they want to use Windows to develop for it.
How likely is that?
Anything’s possible, but that’s going to be an uphill battle.
Actually, I don’t think that anything’s possible. But Microsoft might be able sway some developers by subsidizing development of critical apps, as reported by Bijan Sabet. I don’t think that will be enough.
I have used — occasionally — an clever app called DisplayPad, a tool with components running on the iPad and my Mac. The reason I bought it was to be able to use the iPad as a monitor for my Macbook Air when away from the office.
In the office, I have a 30” Cinema display, which I have become habituated to, and I usually leave Twitter open on the Macbook Air screen, and do everything else on the 30”.
This morning I was thinking about my travel next week to the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston, and I thought I’d check on any updates to DisplayPad. I found that, yes, the version I had on my Mac wouldn’t work with the current Mac OS X version I have running, Lion. So I upgraded.
I decided to run it with the 30” monitor plugged in, although I thought wouldn’t work. But I was wrong. In preferences for displays, I now see three monitors:
I don’t think I will actually operate in that mode in the office, but it’s cool that it’s possible.