Microsoft CEO candidate understands the danger

16 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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Vestberg living large at CES.

“It’s normally not given that the winners in the first phase are the winners in the second phase”, said Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson at CES last week. It might be that someone on the Microsoft board was listening hard, because the rumor of the day has Vestberg on the shortlist to be its new CEO, replacing Steve Ballmer, who announced his impending resignation last year.

Vestberg was talking about the challenge in front of Ericsson, which was an early behemoth of the mobile phone business, but has remade itself as it fell far behind in handset manufacturing and its infrastructure business lost ground as voice networks were upgraded to handle broadband.… More

Consumer electronics collapse into the mobile phone

12 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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Copernican model of consumer electronics.

Smart phones, tablets and wearable bits of networked silicon dominated the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, as the television was declared dead, high end audio and desktop computers were invisible in the flagship booths of major manufacturers and laptops were indistinguishably grey.

The week began with an analyst with the Consumer Electronics Association – the show’s organiser – projecting that smart phones, feature phones and tablets will, together, account for 45% of industry revenue in 2014.… More

The end of TV and the rise of the microwave oven will define consumer electronics of the future

10 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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Twilight of the gods.

“The TV has been challenged for the the last four or five years and, frankly, it’s on the way out unless they reinvent its presentation in the home”, said Peter Corcoran, assistant dean at the National University of Ireland. He spoke yesterday at a CES session sponsored by IEEE and focused on future technology.

“The TV needs to reinvent itself”, Corcoran said. The way to do that is to marry it to smart phones and tablets and make it a two screen experience.… More

Three ways for start-ups to cash in on the Internet of things

9 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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There ought to be an app for that.

“There is money to be made in the internet of things”, said Steve Brumer, a partner at 151 Advisors. “There is a vertical market, there is a horizontal market and there’s an ecosystem” that innovative entrepreneurs can tap into to make money. “There’s not one vertical that’s not touched by the Internet of things”.

Big companies might be building the infrastructure, but figuring out what to do with the data they collect is anyone’s game.… More

Yahoo CEO puts mobile first

7 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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Mayer steps out at CES.

“Mobile takes the things that Yahoo has excelled at, like news and mail, and puts them in your pocket”, said Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, as she walked onto the keynote stage at CES this afternoon and launched a mobile makeover of the company. “Mobile is all about growth”.

Yahoo now has 400 million mobile users every month, she said. And that’s not even counting Tumblr. On average, smart phone owners are spending five times as much time using their devices now, than they did three years ago.… More

Mobile innovation will continue to be the growth engine of consumer electronics

7 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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Left to right: Vestberg, moderately bright moderator Andrew Keen, Jacobs, Donovan.

Qualcomm’s outgoing CEO, Paul Jacobs, Ericsson’s CEO Hans Vestberg and AT&T mobile executive John Donovan sat down on stage at CES this morning, for a conversation about the “global innovation of mobile”.

The longest view ahead came from Jacobs. “One thing that’s cool and scary and at the same time is neuromorphic computing”, he said. Qualcomm is trying to reverse engineer natural brains – starting with insects and working up to humans – to build computers with high cognitive functions that operate on relatively little energy.… More

Intel CEO's vision for a post-Windows world

Time for Linux and kin.

“This is a consumer show, like it or not”, said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, as he gave his maiden CES keynote talk last night. Judging by what he said (and didn’t say), the consumer electronics world is built on Linux and Android. His focus was on wearables.

“They don’t integrate all the features you want, you still had to have something else with you”, Krzanich said about smart watches and other wearables.… More

Innovative technology and practical business plans win Showstoppers pitch fest

6 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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Could be standard lap top equipment soon.

A tiny, hand held projector that “can turn any wall into a touch screen” took top honors this afternoon at the second annual Showstoppers LaunchIt entrepreneurial beauty pageant at CES. Founders from a dozen start up companies gave five minute pitches to a panel of angel investors, who followed up with brief, but pointed, questions about business plans, pricing and, crucially, some kind of evidence that a market for their products and services exists.… More

Three trends to spot at CES

2 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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CES needs Bitcoin more than Bitcoin needs CES.

The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show opens next week in Las Vegas, with preview events beginning on Sunday and the exhibit floor opening on Tuesday. The show lacks last year’s changing-of-the-guard fascination, when mobile kingpins and rising giants held prominent places in keynote and featured sessions. Instead, it’s about reviving the brands that were shouldered aside in 2013.

But there’s always something new to see at CES, with three trends looking particularly interesting…

Wearables – CES exhibit halls promise to be packed with smart watches, eyeglass mounted video displays and cameras, and various other small, wearable devices – health and fitness related in many cases – that serve as smart phone peripherals or substitutes.… More

Santa Cruz becomes the place Silicon Valley wants to be

31 December 2013 by Steve Blum
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Sticking out like a surfboard in a cubicle farm, Santa Cruz has risen to the top of Silicon Valley’s hot spots for 2014. It’s a top 5 tech mecca for the coming year, according to Silicon Valley Business Journal, and the only one of the bunch with local culture that rises above strip malls, fast food and bad haircuts.

According to author Lauren Hepler

Hippie beach enclave no more? A gaggle of politicians, entrepreneurs and deep-pocketed investors want to diversify from Santa Cruz County’s $500-million-a-year reliance on summer tourism.