Thursday, January 05, 2006

JupiterResearch: Michael Gartenberg at CES

Michael Gartenberg at JupiterResearch writes a series of short posts based on his observations so far at CES. First he comments on Some Trends to Watch at CES. Regarding mobile video, Gartenberg thinks "consumer interest is there, the question is will they pay and how much." Another trend he notes is:

All the geek stuff goes mainstream starting now. Moving content around the home and place shifting out of the home will start to be mainstream. Look for lots of solutions to make this real. Look for lots of things that won't work with other things.
He does note the Apple factor and warns:
Lots of conversations about how Apple will be displaced. Lots of alliances among folks who normally hate each other to combat Apple. Most will fail. You don't create an alliance based on the premise of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Relationship advice, if you marry someone, do it because you love them not because the two of you share a common enemy.
Gartenberg also comments on the launch by Palm and Verizon of the Treo 700. He thinks this is "big news for MSFT and Palm that they were able to get this out in a timely manner." His initial thoughts on the device are:
Now that there's an EV-DO device it looks like the new Treo is still king of the smartphone hill and at the moment, it's best implementation of Windows Mobile 5 that I have seen. (this will get more interesting when the Q ships later this year).
As a former Treo owner, I'm interested in the device, but lack of built-in Wi-fi will probably be a deal killer for me. Plus I've seen some mixed reviews of the device from Mossberg at The Wall Street Journal and Pogue at the New York Times. Granted, these guys are probably reviewing from a Palm user perspective so the inherent problems in Windows Mobile (i.e. email sync, et al) are more readily apparent. Since I'm currently using Windows Mobile on my Audiovox SMT-5600, I've gotten use to the quirks. I'll wait until I can get my hands on one before passing final judgment.

Next Gartenberg updates info on the recently announced Vongo and Urge mobile content services. He states:
Looks like the only portable devices that will work with the service will be portable media center 2 devices. V1 and other MSFT plays for sure devices will not play, that's for sure. Good news is the Toshiba device looks pretty cool and might give the iPod a run for the money if someone would bother to evangelize and market the message. This is way to fragmented still. The STARZ news was yesterday, the device news came today along with some more details about Urge. There's some really cool stuff going on but the consumers are not hearing the whole message.
I guess that's the problem, information is being released in a vacuum without enough details. Hard to see a cohesive launch strategy among the pieces of info that explains the benefits to consumers.

Lastly, Gartenberg reports that Slingbox is "announcing mobile suppport for WIndows Mobile devices." Gartenberg has been testing early builds and he says "this thing rocks even in beta." He concludes:
It works well over EV-DO based devices but I've run it on Edge networks with ok results too. This is pretty disruptive stuff. Hard to see why I'd pay for Mobile TV when I can access my TV and DVR from anywhere. Very, very slick. Look for more platforms soon.
As has been noted many times in the past, consumers are cheap. Why pay when you can get exactly what you want for free. The Mobile TV folks and carriers must be scared right about now. Disruptive indeed...