Monday, April 28, 2008
The worlds best Shalafafel.
I was recently in Israel and after a bit of convincing I got them comfortable with an excursion to a street side falafel place. One of the most important things with food is authenticity and that my friends does not correlate with price. Authenticity does correlate with passion. We set out to experience the best of middle east, well Israel, well Tel Aviv, well this street corner. The point is that street food is all about the moment, the weather things that take place around. It is the most multi sensory food experience. I am really happy I was stubborn as we had a great lunch and our host were happy. The place was buzzing with people all wanting to tone their Sharwarma them self. I had a crazy mix of Shawarma and falafel hence the crazy title. What makes street food so amazing is the built in fear factor of getting a tummy ache, this adds to the sensory experience. No pain no gain. Thanks for showing the place a great memento.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The dongle revolution
For the first time in the history of mobiles the industry has cracked a key problem: selling more than one thing to users. Welcome to the dongle revolution, the real growth of mobile data. The Dongle is the familiar term of a 3G USB modem. Dongles come in key two sizes: matchbox and gum packet size. The small command a premium. I hope the manufacturers primarily Huawei understand to start segmenting the dongles. Learn from the past, give us colour covers, dongles with storage other nifty functionality. TV was introduced recently good move. After some research I picked 3’s very price competitive and stylish offer. This is one offer I use in UK. They offer free roaming in their own networks. Installing the 3 dongle was a breeze on my Macbook Air, I was online in about 2 minutes from out of box. It was a bit tight to fit into the Air usb, so I carved a bit on the cover on the modem and that did the trick. I typically get around 512kbps adequate for rich surfing and voice Skype, but not enough for decent Skype video. On the train to Oxford, last week, it was clearly slower, but I got the job done. I do not think it can be seen as a replacement for fixed broadband. In general I think 3 has again managed to package up an offer of real value. I earlier blogged about the Skypephone, which I really like. In Sweden 430.000 dongles were sold in 2007. Rumours from operators in UK is that they cannot get enough of them. I see no reason that this market would not explode. Small cheap dongles + Flatfee + good networks + advertising will fuel this business into meaningful growth. In Indonesia there are reports that there are now more mobile broadband users than fixed broadband users. Long time ago Indonesia was the number one texting country and one of the ones with highest smart phone penetration, so if history teaches us anything follow Indonesia. I have gone through the mobile offers in UK and Finland the market where I spend most time. In UK it is that 3 has the most consumer friendly offer. Vodafone sells on speed, which to me is dumb, as speed on mobile broadband will be a disappointment, as consumers can only compare it to fixed and it will be slower than office Wi-Fi or home Wi-Fi. Does Vodafone think we consumers are morons? I simply do not see how they can win with that proposition. I suspect Vodafone is having the best network. Vodafone is the only one offering a roaming package, but I still think it is too expensive. It is more expensive than hotel use model, meaning you use free Wi-Fi around town and then get the Wi-Fi at the hotel. T-Mobile, who did such a good job with the Web ‘n’ walk Max but their offer is offputting: too much for too little, I would steer clear of them. O2 came out with an offer including Cloud Wi-Fi roaming last week, but only for existing customers. My favourite offer of mobile broadband comes from Elisa in Finland, who offer 384kb for €9.90 per month for a 18m contract. True unlimited, with a fair use ‘speed reduction’ for abuse. This sounds cool to me, you do not loose the right to use it, you only loose speed if you are abusing it. Here is what I would like to see as a consumer. Give me 384kbps for €9.90, use a trottle to manage abuse. Then sell me speed upgrades when I want more speed. Finally give me €9.90 per day roaming, again coupled with speed upgrades, on roaming I accept some fair use cap, ensuring that I can do everything except P2P file sharing. With speed upgrades I mean pay more for more bandwith like on fixed broadband. As the market evolves, one can segment further into use classes, if one starts to experience network problems, that can be coupled with different best effort schemes. Market is not ready for 1GB limits. It id such an abstract volume that consumer do not understand it. Start with familiar concepts like speed. For Huawei and others give me a ‘speedometer’ on the dongle, to help me steer my activities. My advice to Nokia is to get into the dongle business quickly it is not a commodity, it is your best gateway to the PC SW business, there is a great chance to design some great value add SW for it. SanDisk, king of mobile memory, get into the dongle game, there is added value for you as well. Let the revolution begin.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
A new superb Lego house kit.
The Lego Creator team has again brought out a great kit, the Beach House (4996) this time a house in yellow grey with a black roof. Featuring the classic Velux roof windows another Danish invention. I asked Karen if this lit is for girls or boys and she said it is for girls. Her arguments were that it featured lots of flowers and house interior elements. My view is that it is great for any age or gender. The instructions are great and Karen 6 has no problems following them. looking back at the past kits the progress has been nice. What I would like to see is a Creator mini series around everyday things like furniture, pool kit, three kits anything allowing to decorate the cities. My assumption is that this series would appeal to grandparents wanting to gift Legos.