3 Smart TVs pitfalls

There are a few pitfalls to avoid in SmartTV.

The first is for TV manufacturers: It is really painful when you switch on your TV set to have a nice message ‘Please wait. Downloading new firmware…’, because when you switch on your TV usually it is to watch a program and usually it is right now! The firmware update should happen when you switch off your TV. Unlike a laptop you are not in a hurry to move your TV. I don’t like either the Windows update process when you want to switch off your PC and already late for an appointment. But that’s another story.

TV firmware

The 2 other main pitfalls are for CSP.

A TV is a video first device. So when you land on the home page of a service a video should fire at once and maintain the user in a soft lean back experience.

The last one is the click experience. It is tedious to navigate a page with just 4 arrow keys. The end user should be able to navigate using a minimum of click and if possible in a single page. The loading of page takes 1 or 2 seconds which is a time end user aren’t used to anymore. So when designing your service use the colors buttons but not the red one which is reserved for HbbTV services.

Red stars (still) rising

I was very impressed by ZTE and Huawei progress a year ago.

> red stars rising

ZTE seems to have moved to the phase 2 of their plan: establish their brand in the market. Here is a poster in Paris’ metro promoting the ZTE latest devices: the affordable Racer II and their current flagship device the Skate.

ZTE poster in Paris Métro

ZTE poster in Paris Métro

The claim is not ground-beaking “Smart Phones for Smart People” as the poster itself but there is a will to establish the brand.

Next phases will include create some compelling and proprietary service offer and a ZTE user experience. As they are moving at a very quick pace I wouldn’t be too surprised if it happens in the next 18 months.

Google giving up Open Source?

Android is an open-source project,” Google VP of Engineering Andy Rubin told BusinessWeek. “We have not changed our strategy.”

Nevertheless access to Android 3.0 aka Honeycomb is reserved to a few selected manufacturers: Motorola with its Xoom tablet and some others coming soon. But Android 3.0’s public release doesn’t seem to be close.

The rumor goes that Google is blackmailing manufacturers on Android 3.0 to regain control of the platform. To be able to use Android 3.0, manufacturers have to sign a “non-fragmentation agreement” that will stop them to put a UI on top of Android and a manufacturer’s application market. To put it in a nutshell, this will stop manufacturers’ differentiation.

Mars Attacks

Alien to replace the Android robot mascot?

With it repeated statement that Android is still an Open Source platform, Google looks like one of the aliens in the Mars Attacks film. All the aliens are shouting “We come in peace” while shooting at every human they cross. Speech and action have never been so far from each other. Kwak! Kwak! as the aliens say in their language.

2011: the multi core race

2007 /2008 has seen every manufacturer competing on the memory embedded into their devices. It was a time where the more memory had a device the better. MicroSD and Qualcomm Snapdragon put an end to it: 2009 /2010 has seen the GHz race. If your device chip wasn’t beating above 1GHz it was just a piece of plastic junk.

The new trend for 2011 is multicore. Nvidia is evangelizing the whole industry about the beauty and benefits of multicore technology with straitforward graphs like these:

Multicore benefits

Multicore benefits

and the more cores you get, the less your chip consumes power:

multicore power consumption

multicore power consumption

This is the trend for 2011, watch out for CES ans MWC, as every chipmaker and device manufacturer will announce dual and quad core mobile devices. Until the next trendy feature: 3D screen?

2011: the Tablet wars

Next year will see the Tablet wars. Every manufacturer or OS vendor is preparing its Tablet for 2011. Apple, Dell, Archos, Toshiba, Samsung have launched their first device and are working on the next. LG, RIM, HP, … are polishing their “iPad killer”.

There are 2 main battlefields as of today:

  • the 5-9 inches with embedded 3G
  • the 9+ inches

As the fight will rage next year some small and smart competitors will start to search for niche markets. The most probable niches to surface will be:

  • tablet embedded into a sound system
  • tablet embedded into a fixed phone

Here are two pictures to foster your imagination:

pure soundsystem

Pure Sensia

OpenPeak

OpenPeak ProFrame

What will be the OS ? I think Android has some very serious chances as it is free, well known, has a lot of apps, and manufacturers can find a lot of technical ressources.I won’t bet on Windows, whatever flavour, as manufacturers will most probably prefer to keep their margin than giving # $20 to Microsoft.