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What's in YOUR Briefcase?

Category: Andy Marken's blog Published on Monday, 14 March 2011

Probably.  But it's an easy fix. One line of dialogue. 'Thank God we invented the... you know, whatever device.'” – Jeff Megall, Thank You for Smoking, 2005, 20th Century Fox

You can Never be Too Good Looking, Too Slim, or have Too Much Storage

Ours is a typical American/Silicon Valley family – two early adopters, two chasm straddlers.

Our inventory includes -- four notebooks, three smartphones/one feature phone, one iPad, two looking, three 500GB external HDs, 2TB home storage, various other PC/CE devices

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project reinforced the fact we can be home now and then and that it’s not just the new, hot, sexy on-the-go gadgets.

Smartphones, tablets (O.K., iPads) are on everyone’s gotta’ have list; but they aren’t the Alpha-Omega for folks.

Nope.  If you’re a typical alpha male or female, you have an array of gadgets and a gotta’ get list for the rest.

Source:  Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project

Multi-Device Guy – Whether you’re marketing smartphones, desktop/portable computers, music players, tablets, you name it…that’s your world.  But real people out there have devices – multiple devices – they live, work, play, relax with.  Each is great…if only they would talk/work together.  

But the camp followers – fanboys/girls, stock touters, “others” -- swear that the Jobs’ machine has reshaped a couple of industries…phones, tablets, computers, OSes, music/video/print content, home/office/gotta’ go way of life.

Jobs repeated Nick Naylor’s observation, “It's that I'm not after you. I'm after them.”

Granted, the iPhone shook up/revitalized the smartphone arena.

Eric Likes it Too
It did so well that his great old friend over at Google decided he’d take a stab at it too.

Granted, his phone died on the vine, but his Android OS attracted everyone that they’d take a whack as well.

Jobs opened a little store in the clouds and everyone followed suit…smartphone sales are outta’ sight and going to get even better.

Source: Informa Telecoms & Media

Half Full, Half Empty – Smartphones are doing well in the marketplace, but they are still only beginning to take off…there’s a lot of room for growth.  The POT (plain old telephone) and featurephone still account for over 80 percent of the worldwide market which is over five billion subscribers.  Some even cheat with a feature/android phone for calls and iPhone for the other stuff.  Next big thing?   Cyberattacks.

RIAA loves him for all that great work.  

All the guys/gals who had dreams of selling a gazillion apps thought what a great guy he was…O.K., so only a few made a couple of bucks.

He looked at all the markets he wanted to tap and shouted out BR’s statement, “The rest of you people go slam your brains against your desks until something useful comes out!”

It worked so well, Jobs now has the Walmart of apps!

Service providers are delighted because since his unit is still a rotten phone – don’t kid yourself it isn’t AT&T’s fault and you’ll find out when all those Verizon Kool-Aide drinkers jump on line -- folks are downloading just about everything and spending hours on their devices.

Spit, Polish, Magic
Then, he took the 10-15 year old tablet made it something new, spectacular…voila -- the iPad.

It may look like an iPhone on steroids, but lots a folks swear it’s a computer.

Their rationale?  Well, you can’t make a call with it (ooppss, bad analogy).

But still, you can web surf, work on documents/presentations, move photos around.

So engineers/manufacturing folks hunkered down and at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) you’ll see no less than 80 tablets...suddenly a new/hot computer category emerges.

Projected Tablet Sales

Source:  IDC

Next Big Thing – Probably no one paid more attention when Apple introduced the iPad than the major producers of smartphones and notebook/netbook computers.  Dozens rushed out announcements on their “killers” and by the end of Q1, you’ll have a dizzying array to choose from running Android or some flavor of Windows and in a wide range of features/prices.  It’s one more device you’ll carry with you…whee!

They’re a good solution for a lot of things people wanted.  According to a Forrester study they filled a need:
-          Phone doesn’t meet my needs – 58%
-          I like to look things up online when I’m on the go – 48$
-          I miss the iNet when away from home, work – 41%
-          Phone screens are too small to do things besides calls, messages – 60$
-          Laptops are too big/heavy to take everywhere with me – 24%

Then, Jobs’ refreshed the Mac and people thought it was much better than everyone else’s netbook that the iPad was going to kill anyway.

He mumbled something about this was the way computing is going to be now.

A couple of brilliant stockbrokers got so brave as to say, “Hey lump all of his stuff together and Apple’s No 1 in PC sales!  That should kick up our brokerage fees.” 

Kitchen Sink – How did Apple “suddenly” become #1 in computers?  Simple, the lines of what is/what isn’t a computer are blurring.  Smartphones, tablets, notebooks, netbooks are all computers…more powerful than your desktop of a few years ago.  People are increasingly packing up, using them all.  You don’t leave home without your phone.  You have your notebook with you when you need to do real work.  The in between “awkward” times are ideal for a tablet.  What’s in your pack?  

Makes sense…it’s a fantastic, tightly knit ecosystem.

Jeff Mergall sized up the situation and said, “Indiana Jones meets Jerry Maguire.”

His ecosystem is so much better sounding than walled garden and you have to admit, the devices play nicely together.

How My Garden Grows – You might almost think there was some dark, devious plan to slowly bring consumers into the Apple flock so they’d never leave.  Whether it was the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad you first touched, first used, Jobs slowly enticed you into his walled garden/ecosystem.  Fortunately, some of us still resist the temptation.  

They all have some key things in common:
-          Instant on performance
-          Long battery life
-          Light, sleek
-          Semiconductor memory

Sure, the iPad/iPhone user would like more than 32GB storage but the delta for a 64GB unit was huge!

Of course, the smartphone users in the family have two 32GB cards in their devices; but still, you’re talking $80-$100 for a 32GB SD card.

Our Checklist
Nevertheless, a tablet is great for personal and business usage so the two of us are still looking have our specs already in mind:
-          10, maybe 12 in screen
-          SD card slot
-          USB slot

No, the USB slot isn’t for a keyboard – the screen keyboard takes a little getting used to, but it works really well.

No, with the USB slot you can easily plug in an external HD and today’s drives are nearly as rugged as an SD card and a lot more rugged than the smartphone or tablet!

Oh, and another 500GB drive?

About $60!

There’s a big spread between chip memory cost and HD cost and only a guy who charges a premium for his products would be willing to cough up that much money in good times or …bad.

NAND vs. HD – Semiconductor storage has a lot of unique features/capabilities that make it ideal for a growing number of device applications.  There are a few things the technology doesn’t have – ultra-low cost, ultra-high storage capacity, ultra ultra-high production capacities.  The best designs are a balanced use of the two storage solutions for optimum price/performance. With Steve banishing HDs in a Flash (like that play on words?) the ROW (rest of the world) came to the logical conclusion…HDs are a dying storage medium.

Steve couldn’t be wrong!

But he borrowed from Nick Naylor and responded, “I didn't have to. I proved that you're wrong, and if you're wrong I'm right.”

O.K., so he once hired a sugar water salesman, but come on…

He blew past some facts:
-          Last year, we had .8ZB (Zetabytes) of stuff – a Zetabyte equals one trillion GB!
-          Chip producers figure they can knock out 33.5 trillion MB if they really hump (of course, Apple has orders in for about 40+% of their capacity, so the rest can fight over the scraps)
-          Memory folks have had a tough time balancing between oversupplies/shortages so profits have suffered (O.K., they’ve been red)
-          HD folks, with all their capacity per unit, have a tough time keeping up with demand
-          Hybrid HDs (memory on the front end and capacity in back) are darned fast, very economic

O.K., so let’s say you really wanted to put all the stuff in your house on memory.  That sounds reasonable.

What’s 2-3 TB of storage among family members?

Ignore the House – A groundswell of sentiment that chip storage will kill hard drives ignores the fact that the family lives in a multi-device home that shares information, data, content – yours and theirs.  Households often have 2TB of stuff lying around and the volume continues to grow…some too precious, too private to be trusted to others.  

The kid wasn’t smart enough to be a neurosurgeon anyway.

Of course, he looked at us like Joey Naylor did and said, “Please don't ruin my childhood.”

Score Some Storage
So we pounce on a couple of extra TB desktop drives and a few of the compact, sleek, rugged 500GB units…fantastic.

The problem is, even if we throw all of the storage devices/technologies together we’re not “quite” at a Zetabyte capacity…total.

 If storage production folks only had to worry about meeting consumers’ needs, they might be able to keep pace with the new stuff.  But the big storage users are businesses, governments, others   The devices have enabled us to create, repurpose, share, duplicate, enjoy, store a couple of Zetabytes of stuff and storage requirements continue to soar.  

In fact, IDC notes that we’ve producing, replicating, copying, sharing, storing, shifting about twice as much content as we have storage…thanks, Steve!

Wait…bet he thought about our content dilemma.


Another 500,000 sq ft server farm is about ready to go on in North Carolina and looks like another one is planned “next door.”

Huge Store House – Tucked in the rolling hills of North Carolina, Apple has opened a 500,000 sq. ft. server facility with plans for a second unit to follow “shortly.”  It’s not their only massive farm and it joins operations run by Google, Amazon, IBM, Oracle, you name it who offer storage services for businesses and individuals.  Cloud storage clearly sits on the ground.

What is it?  

OMG, look at those storage racks.  Mile after mile after mile of…HDs!

So much storage, Nick Naylor observed, “It'll make you believe in God.”

Think he’s gonna’ rent out cloud services like IBM, Amazon, Google, MS, Oracle or the rest of the big guys?

Well, he did kinda’ tell you way back when he introduced the iPhone…

Hey, He Told You – It wasn’t that Jobs didn’t tell you in advance that his innocent little company was out to change a few businesses.  The trouble is, most industry players figured that One Infinity Circle folks were only looking at making another great product, not restructure the way the content industry – books, newspapers, music, movies, TV – did business.  Who knew???

Can’t wait to see what similar “solutions” the rest of the folks offer.

Parallel Universe
It won’t be the same, of course.

More ports/slots…more apps…less cost.

More capacity?  Maybe; but if not, external HDs are inexpensive and they’ll take all the beating our smartphone and soon-to-have tablet will take.

Looked at the kids with Nick Naylor and he commented, “You're too young to understand.”

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