We’re going to take Android away from Google
That is the big highlight quote from this article in the Wall Street Journal about Cyanogen. CEO Kirt McMaster said just that. Knowing only that, the logical response is, ‘Good luck with that!’ But is there actually reason to think this is a real possibility? Could Cyanogen actually compete with Google as more than a niche/hobbyist offering?
In a word, yes. It is still a bit of a longshot. Google is, after all, still Google. They have all the resources, and plenty of incentive, to keep the status quo. But that Wallstreet Journal article also contains another interesting bit of news. In a recent round of funding, one of the investors in Cyanogen is Microsoft. That certainly alters the perspective, doesn’t it?
What Cyanogen really needs in order to compete is to be the shipping OS on more phones. The average user is just not going to go through the hassle of replacing their Google version of Android with Cyanogen. Being able to point you your pal Microsoft can only help when those deals are being negotiated. They already have a few such deals. If this latest round of funding means the skids are greased a bit as they work out more and bigger deals, then what we are saying is, they’ve got a shot.
The internet, and how we use it, are both fascinating things. It is in a constant state of flux. Things come and go. What was the standard yesterday, may be forgotten tomorrow. And you never really know what that next big thing will be. The information superhighway is littered with the bones of once great services and applications (Posterous, twitpic, Google Reader). Of course, not everything just shuts down. Some services continue on, a shadow of what they once were (Livejournal, Myspace).
The current leaders in the social space are easily twitter and facebook. But you have to assume that it is at least possible that they could suffer this same fate. What could be next? Have a look at ello. facebook has been having a bit of a revolt over their recent announcement that they are going to start shutting down accounts that are not using real names. This is particularly problematic for performers, who have an account under a stage name. It seems to have been a bit of a perfect storm for ello, as many people are now heading there to at least give the service a try as a facebook alternative.
As you can see in the screenshot of my account up top, it is very minimalist. There is no advertising. And they are clearly marketing themselves as the anti-facebook. Here is the pitch you’ll find on their website before you sign up:
| Your social network is owned by advertisers.
Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.
We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.
We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce and manipulate — but a place to connect, create and celebrate life.
You are not a product.
It is a noble idea. And it is easy to see how people that are growing ever-more annoyed with the antics of facebook would embrace it. The fly in the ointment, as always, is whether or not it will be adopted en masse. Google + is great, but I rarely use it because it just doesn’t have the user base that facebook does. The people and organizations I want to interact with are not there. Now, we wait to see if ello can crack that particular nut, or if they are just another interesting idea that comes and goes.
HP and Google team up for Chromebook 11
The latest Chromebook looks like a winner. HP and Google worked together and came up with a super-bright IPS display, an ultra-portable weight of just 2.3 lbs, and a price point under $300. That last bit is especially interesting given that this new unit was based off of the very expensive Pixel. The rest of the specs, while not groundbreaking, look solid. You can see all the details at the official sites from HP and Google.
Oddly enough, the thing I am most excited about is the charger. Finally… someone did the most logical of things. The Chromebook used the same Micros USB charger as the majority of Android phones. Chances are, unless you are an iPhone user, you already have these scattered around your world. One at home, one at work, one in the car… One less dongle to wrangle is always a plus.