Opinion

Can Apple Keep its Cool?

If you're reading this article on the go, pause for just a second and take a look around. What phones do you see people using? The iPhone? An array of Android devices? The business man's Blackberry? Chances are you're seeing quite a mix of all three and them some (and let's not forget the poor…

Opinion

Amazon Adds More Apps for Kindle Fire and Consumer Interest is High – Is It Time for Apple to Start Worrying?

Amazon today announced that its new $199 Kindle Fire, which will go on sale next week, will feature apps from Facebook, Netflix, Rhapsody, Pandora and Zynga. Several thousand more apps will follow next week. Until now, there really wasn’t much of a market for tablets, there was really only a market for the iPad. Clearly, that’s changing very quickly, though. With Amazon and Barnes & Noble getting into the market, their cheaper (and smaller) tablets could hurt Apple’s position as the dominant tablet player.

Opinion

Kindle Fire: A Minor Threat to the iPad, Major Threat to Other Android Tablets

Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet runs Android, has a nice screen, is fast, cheap ($199), features an innovative browser, and – thanks to being an Android tablet at heart – offers support for thousands of apps out of the box. I doubt, however, that it’s a major threat to the iPad. The tablet manufacturers that should be very worried however, are those who are also in the Android business, including Barnes & Noble with its $249 Nook Color. The reason for this, I think, is Amazon’s superior ecosystem and the low price.

Opinion

As Music Gets More Social, is Apple Getting Left Behind?

When I opened Spotify on my desktop this morning, a pop-up informed me that “Spotify Loves Social” and that I should discover “great music with [my] friends.” To get started doing just that, all I had to do was click “Get Started.” Spotify also conveniently pre-checked the opt-in to Facebook’s new Open Graph feature. I’m not sure most mainstream users will understand that opting in to the pre-checked Open Graph opt-in means that all their listening data will not just be forwarded to Facebook, but that their friends will likely see everything they play on the Facebook ticker as well. As Spotify now forces its users to have a Facebook account, chances are quite a few people will sign up for this “service” unwittingly.

No matter what you think about this, though, it’s clear that the future of music is social. Facebook has partnered with everybody who is anything in this business, including Spotify, Slacker, turntable.fm, iHeartRadio, MOG, SoundCloud and Rhapsody. The one exception: Apple.

Opinion

Want to Join Our Private Beta? Pay Up

A small but growing group of startups now makes its beta testers pay to join their private betas. “Paid beta” used to be a derogatory term for software that was shipped too early and with too many bugs. Now, however, companies like Mightybell and Cabana have decided to use small payments as a way to keep their beta programs small and focused.