Print a photo from a camera phone? The Wall Street Journal reports on marketing campaigns by Hewlett-Packard, Fuji Photo Film, Canon, and Kodak to convince people to print the photos stored in their cameraphones. The article notes that
Sales of camera phones outstripped stand-alone digital cameras for the first time in 2003. This year, research firm IDC expects 186.3 million camera phones to be sold, more than double its projected 68.8 million for digital-camera sales. That means phone makers such as Nokia and Samsung Electronics Co. have displaced traditional camera manufacturers as the biggest makers of digital cameras.
The polite folks at the WSJ don't say the campaign is stupid, but I will. I can't think of anyone who prints out a photo from a camera phone. You might share them on a photo sharing service. These companies would have as much success running a campaign encouraging people to retun to faxes.
LCoS chips were so promising a technology for big-screen TV. The sure thing, really. Which is why Intel, Philips, Hewlett-Packard, and Toshiba all made big bets on it. Texas Instruments went its own way with DLP and rear projection TVs made with its chips are making headway against the plasma and LCD flat-panel TVs. This will be the year the price for the big screens, say 42-inches or more, get close to $2,000. Still sounds like a lot? That's the same as a $450 color TV cost in 1965. Keep an eye on TI this year.
Newspapers have watched their classified sections shrink as online grabs the market. The local San Francisco Chronicle barely ekes out a four-page section some days. That's important because classified were once the bulk of a newspaper's revenue.
Today, Yahoo said it was starting a local job search marketplace. Internetweek reports, "The new service is in response to Yahoo's experience that more than half of all businesses prefer to only look for job candidates that live nearby and know their business, the Sunnyvale, Calif., Internet portal giant said. The job-advertising service will cost companies between $39 and $275 per listing, depending on geography and the number of listings purchased. "
Every media outlet is lamenting a weak Christmas selling season. (Important note: What the media means by that is that the rate of increase is not as strong as expected, not that there was an actual decline in sales.) The New York Post, though, has a different version of events and it bears watching.
Most of the retail sales numbers you read are based largely on chain store numbers and those are, of course, dominated by Wal-Mart, which is not having a great season. The numbers exclude several categories that have shown strong growth this holiday season, such as online, home improvement, consumer electronic and luxury retailers. Moreover, and this is key, the numbers don't count the sale of gift cards, which will account for at least $54 billion in sales this year. (Read this for some inside baseball on the cards.) The marketplace has shifted and the statisticians haven't kept pace with the way we now shop.
One wonders why these dating services are still money magnets, but SiliconBeat notes that VCs "Sequoia and Kleiner may use their various overlapping portfolio investments to push alliances in new directions." But it offers no other insight.
The folks at Mars have now made it possible to print (nearly) anything on your M&Ms. Go to their site, pick a color, and type out a message. Yes, it has a censor, and the kids at BoingBoing have already had their dirty fun. Gift boxes (2oz.) for $4.25 and a less impressive 8-oz. sack for 9.49. So that's, what, $34 a pound. Not bad. Mars is getting Teuscher champagne truffle prices for M&Ms.
It still looks like this idea of mass customization is in the experimental stage. Many companies have tried it, Levis or Dell, for example. But is is hard to think of a company that has stuck with it because it has been an overwhelming success. (That is, a profit center, not a promotion.) The technology is clearly here. But the mass market hasn't quite caught up.
Also up on the B2 Website today, Matt Maier's interview with Ron Garriques, president of Motorola's handset division. Motorola's been phenomenally successful with the RAZR. It hasn't had a hit like this since the StarTac and was pretty much regarded as a dying giant. New CEO Ed Zander has clearly perked the place up. But what's next? Garriques sheds a little light on that in Matt's Wireless Report.
How does Apple fit into these plans? Well, it's certainly about more than just the iTunes client. With Apple there is a whole ecosystem that we find attractive. They have lined up a system for making music easily available, a service for getting music when and where consumers want, a share of mind with consumers, as well as the iTunes client. Expect to see additional announcements with Apple in the near future.
For some time now, B2 feature writer Om Malik has been pushing the idea that the cell phone is the next platform and all evidence says he is right on the money. Music on the phone is the next big thing, he says in this week's Converge Sense column on the B2 site. But he warns that we should hold our horses. There are lots of reasons that it may take as long as three years before the phone replaces the radio.
It is tough for me to imagine that happening in the next 12 months. Take into account the physical limitations: storage on cell phones, the network buildout road maps, and other digital-rights management issues. I think it will be at least 36 months before we can expect music on the phone to become a mainstream product. The current generation of wireless networks is not ready for the load that music streams would add to the infrastructure. The speeds are still slow and the coverage is spotty.