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Geospatial Tech: An Important Next Frontier

I first came to understand the vast impact that “geospatial technologies” will have on all of us (think GPS systems hard-wired into computers, chips on packages and mobile applications) when I read Howard Rheingold’s Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. Apparently, leading edge publisher, O’Reilly also thinks this trend is important because they just had a conference called “Where 2.0”. If you want to catch or tune into this wave, I recommend this in-depth perspective about the current state and future potential of location technologies. It’s the transcript of an interview with Tim O’Reilly and Nathan Torkington.

Apple: the iPod Company (sales rock on)

No longer the Mac company, Apple may now be “the iPod company.” They shipped 7 times as many iPods in the last quarter at the year before, almost 6.2 million units, and only 1.2 million Macs (even though Mac sales did well too and represented more gross revenue). Read the Bloomberg report

Understanding Apple’s Intel Announcement

Apple’s announcement that they would begin producing Macs using Intel chips rather than IBM PowerPC chips is something of an earthquake, or a tectonic shift for the world of personal computing. It is perhaps best explained in simplistic terms as bringing the Mac software community into a more connected and less isolated place (of course, this will take place over time, over the next couple of years). The best analogy that I read (including some more dweeby analysis) was by ZDNet’s John Carroll who compared the change as being from the isolation of the Azores to the connectedness of Manhattan In other words, Apple will still be an island, but there will be lots more ways (bridges and tunnels) to make connections with other kinds of software and computers. This opens many doors for new possibilities in the future, including less expensive Macs. Right on.

Sony & Cingular Ready Next Gen Hi-Speed Wireless Net

Wireless computing is poised to expand beyond the limitations of Wi-Fi hot spots with next generation Enhanced Data GSM networking built into Sony’s new VAIO T300 ultra portables. Verizon will be next with it’s implementation of 3G. Some folks say that the immergence of a true wireless network–think computers with the reach of cell phones–will have an even bigger impact than the advent of the Internet.

In fact, if you haven’t read it, Howard Rheingold’s book, “Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution” makes quite an astounding case for the signifigance of ubiqitous wireless computing, from chips on cereal boxes to all kinds of GPS-empowered devices. The new wireless network is not something to be underestimated, in my not so humble estimation.

More info about the new VAIO and the various new wireless networks here.

PDA’s Are Alive & Well Thanks to Wireless Email. Windows CE and RIM New Leaders

Despite techno-hype rumblings that smart phones are going to smash the PDA market, research analyists at Gartner reported that PDA’s had their best year-over-year quarter ever: “Worldwide PDA shipments increased 25 percent to 3.4 million in the first quarter of 2005 compared with a year ago — the best first quarter ever for PDA sales. The market was led by 84.3 percent growth in Western European PDA shipments. The U.S. market fell to 39.1 percent of worldwide shipments.”

The bad news for palmOne was that their market share got significantly smaller–shrinking over 26% from 30.5 to 18 percent–although they are still the leader in terms of total PDA units shipped. At the same time, RIM, the makers of Blackberry’s, grew over 75% to blow right by palmOne, increasing from 14.8 to 20.8 percent marketshare. Windows CE-based PDA makers like HP and Dell also saw significant growth making Microsoft the #1 PDA OS, with RIM now 2nd. (See chart).

Note: These stats do NOT include smart phones like the Treo 650 and others.

Google Maps’ Satellite View: Even Better!

I forgot to mention (because I missed it originally), that Google Maps also has a satellite view with the same zoom and drag/pan functionalities as the map view. In fact, you can toggle directly between the map view and the satellite view. Awesome! http://maps.google.com