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Google Glass: Are we ready for wearable computing peripherals?

I think the technology and the consumer are mostly ready. The society, not so much.
Pros:

  • Wearable computing peripherals are convenient since they don’t occupy your hands and usually stay at the ready.
  • Wearables can enhance your ability to capture and review your experiences.
  • Each wearable peripheral can stand alone to add something to your experience depending on what environment you’re entering for the day (hiking day vs. working day)
  • Wearables can work together in an cumulative or even additive way, giving us more information about our daily habits and experiences.
  • They’re geeky!

Cons:

  • People will be uncomfortable with being monitored by others, especially by video capture.
  • Lots of time will be wasted reviewing all the new personal data logs.
  • Social media will be further overloaded with data about others.
  • Expensive wearables may be vulnerable to theft.
  • Dead batteries become the norm.
  • They’re geeky!

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First Look: Sony PlayStation 4. Any Game Changers?

ImageSony held a special conference last night to introduce the new PlayStation 4. I think the most notable thing about the conference is that they failed to actually introduce the console. Sony didn’t show the console hardware and they didn’t announce any pricing or availability. I’m not really sure they even confirmed the name or anything. After all, Sony’s webpage simply says “PlayStation: See the Future” and directs Twitter traffic to the #playstation2013 tag
So, what did we see that matters?
There’s the mundane and expected:
  • Lot’s of studios working on great games.
  • x86 chip, 8GB RAM, huge hard drive, etc.
  • Camera.
  • Social gaming network
There’s the Questionable:
  • Can’t play your old Playstation games, streaming only
  • Touchpad on the controller – bad location and what’s the point
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There’s the New and Notable:
  • DualShock 4 controller finally gets some curves and comfort.
  • Continue games on PS Vita portable console (if you have one)
  • A “Share” button right on the controller
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I Spotted One Experience Delight:
  • I love the instant Suspend and Resume from a power key on the DualShock 4. That definitely reflects modern computing appliances like smartphones and tablets, but it is not a game-changer by itself.
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I hope there is much more to come from Sony on this generation. I don’t think instant on/off is enough to stand out. I do understand that the serious console gaming market is really about the games. Sony is delivering in that area and the games looked impressive. Still, they held out on showing the console design itself at the Introduction. Why?
Images from Sony and Kotaku.com

Amazon to hand out some serious coin

Amazon announced their new virtual currency, to be called Amazon Coins earlier today. Coins can be used to purchase apps, games and in-app items for Kindle Fire. They also pledge to give away “tens of millions” worth of the coins starting in May when the new service/product launches. See Introducing Amazon Coins.

I think it is smart for Amazon to provide another way to ease the purchase of content in the Kindle Fire ecosystem. Also, I imagine that they will give Coins away with purchases of Kindles and probably with lots of other goods, too. It will be interesting to see where Amazon ultimately goes with this, but here are some of my initial ideas.

Fire Halo Effect
I could see a small kick-back on purchases whether you have a Kindle or not. Soon enough, you’re going to want to have a Kindle so that you can cash in all of your earned Coins. Could be a serious draw for the ecosystem. I know that I spend a fair amount annually with Amazon. If they give me a small percent of credit toward virtual goods on their platform, it could make that seem more attractive.

Coins Aren’t Real Money
I also believe that they will make it easy to buy Amazon Coins or give them as gifts or in-app incentives. Once real money is translated to Coins, Amazon wins! You will spend it at Amazon on virtual goods giving Amazon an easy 30% commission. Also, you’re likely to have some residual coins drawing you back to add or earn some more. Finally, it seems much easier to spend virtual credits than real dollars and cents.

Kindle Everywhere
Could it also be a way to create more loyalty to their virtual goods over time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Amazon Coins accepted for Kindle Books or AmazonMP3 to be read and played on other devices, like Android phones and tablets or Apple iDevices. Could be a great way to create lock-in for their virtual marketplace. This would build loyalty toward their marketplace and not just the Fire device portfolio. Amazon’s devices have been created to support their “Long Tail” marketplace, not the other way around.

Drop Some Coin for Anything
Another obvious extension of this would be to allow Coins as payment for all kinds of goods. Want something shipped to your house? Amazon Coins could be a great way to get me to choose Amazon for real-world goods also.

What Did Facebook Miss?
Before I close, it’s worth noting that Facebook failed in their attempt to create a virtual currency for their apps and games. They ultimately abandoned Facebook Credits and just returned to national currencies. This may partly explain why Amazon has defined Coins narrowly for now and will offer only in the USA market at launch.

I wish them luck and can’t wait to see how this develops. Any other ideas or thoughts? Comment below!

See also: http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/5/3955202/why-amazon-wants-its-own-currency

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