Mike Becky

Tag Archive for ‘Michael Arrington’

HP to Acquire Palm ➝

HP has announced that they will be acquiring Palm for $1.2 billion.

From the press release:

HP and Palm, Inc. today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which HP will purchase Palm, a provider of smartphones powered by the Palm webOS mobile operating system, at a price of $5.70 per share of Palm common stock in cash or an enterprise value of approximately $1.2 billion. The transaction has been approved by the HP and Palm boards of directors.

The press release also mentions that current chairman and CEO, Jon Rubinstein, is expected to remain with the company.

I see this as a good move for both companies. But, I am still a little worried, this could easily be poorly executed. What keeps me hopeful though, is this little bit from MG Siegler’s interview with HP’s senior VP Brian Humphries in which Humphries says:

WebOS is the best-in-class mobile operating system. Our intent is to double down on WebOS.

The biggest mistake HP could make is to not use webOS for all of their handheld and tablet devices. There has already been word from Michael Arrington on TechCrunch that HP has canceled their Windows 7 tablet. Arrington mentions ChromeOS as a possible replacement OS on similar future tablets from HP, I truly hope this isn’t the case, webOS would be fantastic on a tablet. HP needs to use every resource at Palm to its fullest extent, not doing so would defeat the purpose of this acquisition.

Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s Recent Privacy Settings Change ➝

Mark Zuckerberg talking with Michael Arrington about the recent change in default privacy settings on Facebook:

When I got started in my dorm room at Harvard, the question a lot of people asked was ‘why would I want to put any information on the Internet at all? Why would I want to have a website?’

And then in the last 5 or 6 years, blogging has taken off in a huge way and all these different services that have people sharing all this information. People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that’s evolved over time.

We view it as our role in the system to constantly be innovating and be updating what our system is to reflect what the current social norms are.

So now, a lot of companies would be trapped by the conventions and their legacies of what they’ve built, doing a privacy change for 350 million users is not the type of thing that a lot of companies would do. But we viewed that as a really important thing, to always keep a beginner’s mind and think: what would we do if we were starting the company now, and starting the site now, and we decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it.

The recent policy change that he’s speaking of was quite a shocker to anyone who paid attention to it. If you were a Facebook user that hadn’t changed any of their privacy settings, when you were prompted regarding the new privacy settings, Facebook would default to letting everyone view your photos, status updates, friends, groups, etc..

I completely deleted my Facebook account a few months ago and am happy I did. I don’t want any part in a website that treats my personal information so carelessly.

Facebook allows you to “deactivate” your account but they make it a little more difficult to permanently delete your account. To permanently delete your account visit: “http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account

(Via Valleywag.)

Google Gives ‘Google Phone’ to Employees

TechCrunch reports that Google has given out unlocked Android 2.1 “Google Phones” to some of its employees.

Several Google employees have confirmed on Twitter that they had received such a device. Google employee Jason Howell had this to say about it:

The new Google Phone runs on HTC hardware. I saw it w/ Android 2.1. Homescreen has new visual enhancements like animated desktop wallpaper.

Google product management VP Mario Queiroz has confirmed that Google has given devices out to their employees in a recent post to Google’s official mobile blog.

We recently came up with the concept of a mobile lab, which is a device that combines innovative hardware from a partner with software that runs on Android to experiment with new mobile features and capabilities, and we shared this device with Google employees across the globe.

It’s not just Google employees confirming the devices existence. John Gruber of Daring Fireball has found the following user agent string in his web site statistics which he believes to be the Google Phone:

Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.1; en-us; Nexus One Build/ERD56C) AppleWebKit/530.17 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/530.17

The device is said to be released in January of next year and identifies itself as “Nexus One” in its user agent string. The device is unlocked but uses T-Mobile’s 3G band, so those who use it on AT&T will be stuck on EDGE.

In terms of handset features, we know that the device is thinner than the iPhone, uses a Snapdragon chip, has a high resolution OLED display, two microphones (one on the back to reduce background noise), and voice to text for dictation.

Google’s head of Android development, Andy Rubin had previously disputed rumors of Google building Android hardware. Although this is true (since HTC is building the hardware) Michael Arrington was pretty close to the mark when he claimed that Google was building Android hardware back in November.

Update 12/12/09: Jessica E. Vascellaro reporting for the Wall Street Journal:

Google Inc. has designed a cellphone it plans to sell directly to consumers as soon as next year, according to people familiar with the matter. The phone is called the Nexus One and is being manufactured for Google by HTC Corp., these people said. […]

The Internet giant is taking a new, and potentially risky, approach to selling the device. Rather than selling the phone through a wireless carrier–the way the bulk of phones are sold in the U.S. today–Google plans to sell the Nexus One itself online. Users will have to buy cellular service for the device separately.

Google selling their own branded handset could alienate other handset manufacturers and cell carriers but in the end I think it is worth it. I think having at least one completely Google controlled device on the market is good for Android as a whole.

But, I’m sure Verizon and Motorola are particularly upset — I think the future of both companies relies on Android — this news of a Google branded device is just a slap in the face.

Update 12/17/09: Engadget‘s Joshua Topolsky has written up a great piece regarding what we do and don’t know about the Google Phone. Kit Eaton writing for Fast Company has rundown the hardware specifications.

Update 12/20/09: tnkgrl Mobile managed to get some hands on time with the Nexus One. There’s a lot of new details here but some of the more interesting bits are that it’s faster than the Motorola DROID, has no multitouch support in the browser or in Google Maps, and the trackball can be used to focus the camera.

Update 12/26/09: Engadget claims to have the full tech specs on the Nexus One along with information regarding its release. From Chris Ziegler’s article:

Unfortunately, it sounds like you’re going to need to cross your fingers (or pull out that eBay emergency stash) to get one out of the gate, because we’ve got some intel here suggesting that it’ll be available only by “invitation” at first. Our tipster doesn’t have information on how those invites are going to be determined, other than the fact that it’s Google doing the inviting.

Gizmodo‘s Jason Chen managed to get some hands-on time with the Nexus One. Here’s what he had to say about the device’s speed compared to the DROID and the iPhone 3GS:

When comparing the three phones in loading a webpage over Wi-Fi, the Nexus One loaded first, the iPhone 3GS came in a few seconds later, and the Droid came in a little while after that. This was constant throughout many webpage loads, so it’s indicative of something going on inside with the hardware.

I ran all three through a Javascript benchmark engine for some quantifiable numbers, and while the results were similar between the Nexus One and the iPhone 3GS, the Droid still came up at about 60% of the other two. Surprisingly enough, Mobile Safari on the iPhone scored better on the Javscript benches than the Nexus did, even though the Nexus was able to pull down and render actual web pages faster.

Update 1/6/10: Google Nexus One

Fusion Garage Announces the JooJoo Tablet ➝

JooJoo Tablet

Keeping in mind that Arrington didn’t file for the CrunchPad trademark until November 17, 2009 (the same day he claims to have received the email from Fusion Garage CEO), on Monday Fusion Garage announced the JooJoo Tablet.

We’ve heard their side of the story and, the way they tell it, the device was already in the works when TechCrunch published their post about the idea. They also claim that Michael Arrington and his crew made zero contributions to the project.

The device boots straight into the browser (much like Google Chrome OS) weighs 2.4 pounds, has only one physical button, boots in 9 seconds, it has a 12.1-inch capacitive touchscreen, and 5 hours of battery life. Pre-orders of the device start on December 11 with a price tag of $499 (not exactly the $200-300 we were hoping for, but that price was truly unrealistic).

Engadget had some hands-on time with the device in which they revealed that it does have Bluetooth with support for external keyboards, mice, and headsets. In their hands-on video Rathakrishnan demoed playback of 1080p video from YouTube which Engadget’s Ross Miller described as “smooth.”

Previously:
12/4/09:
Fusion Garage Will Reveal CrunchPad Details This Monday
12/1/09: The CrunchPad’s Bizarre Ending

Update 12/12/09: TechCrunch has filed their lawsuit over the CrunchPad (now JooJoo) tablet. They’ve published the filing on the aforelinked piece along with some additional thoughts from Michael Arrington. I still haven’t decided who I believe in this whole situation, I can see both sides happening and honest, I don’t know who to believe.

If you’d like to hear some more about the JooJoo tablet and Fusion Garage’s side of the story, Engadget’s Joshua Topolsky had a discussion with Chandra Rathakrishnan, a video of which has been published on Engadget.

Update 12/12/09: Not only are pre-orders now available (due to litigation, pre-order at your own risk), but Fusion Garage has released more press shots of the device and announced the JooJoo Stand.

Update 12/20/09: Dan Frommer reports for Silicon Alley Insider that Fusion Garage has responded to Michael Arrington’s lawsuit. Long story short: Michael Arrington is a liar.

In another interesting turn of events, Fusion Garage is violating PayPal’s terms with their JooJoo tablet pre-orders. From PayPal’s terms:

You also agree not to use your PayPal account to sell goods with delivery dates delayed more than 20 days from the date of payment

Fusion Garage Will Reveal CrunchPad Details This Monday ➝

Patrick Hoge of the San Francisco Business Times reports that the company that screwed Michael Arrington on the CrunchPad, Fusion Garage, will be holding a video call with reporters and industry analysts on Monday.

Chandrasekar “Chandra” Rathakrishnan, founder and CEO of Fusion Garage, will speak to reporters and demonstrate “the device” both in a video call and in private briefings scheduled for later Monday at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco, said Megan Alpers of San Jose-based McGrath/Power Public Relations.

I’m sure we’ll hear their side of the story.

Meanwhile Michael Arrington claims that Fusion Garage still hasn’t returned any of his calls or emails. Arrington has published two letters from their law firm to Fusion Garage regarding the imminent litigation.

What I find odd about this whole situation is that, if the CrunchPad was indeed just three days away from launch, wouldn’t it be likely that any other “inventor” of such a device would just publish specifications, images, and maybe even video of the device, before Fusion Garage even had a chance to move forward? I don’t think anyone should buy a device from someone who paints such a dreary picture of the future of his product. He hasn’t even mentioned the idea that it could eventually be released.

His initial post regarding this ordeal was entitled “The End Of The CrunchPad.”

Previously:
12/1/09:
The CrunchPad’s Bizarre Ending

Update 12/10/09: Fusion Garage Announces the JooJoo Tablet

The CrunchPad’s Bizarre Ending ➝

CrunchPad

Michael Arrington says that he and his team got screwed by Fusion Garage just a few days before they planned to debut the device. Fusion Garage wants to cut Arrington out completely and sell the device themselves.

Arrington’s team plans on filing multiple lawsuits against Fusion Garage and he hopes that “the legal system will work it all out over time.”

It seems that James Kendrick was right when he claimed back in April that the CrunchPad “may not ever appear on the market.” His reasoning was incorrect though, Arrington did have everything in line, until he was screwed by his manufacturing partner.

The CrunchPad is dead. I never planned on buy it, but I’m still a little disappointed.

Previously:
11/17/09:
The Current State of the CrunchPad
7/31/09: CrunchPad Specs Revealed
4/14/09: James Kendrick Claims CrunchPad May Not Happen, With No Evidence

Update 12/4/09: Fusion Garage Will Reveal CrunchPad Details This Monday

Update 12/10/09: Fusion Garage Announces the JooJoo Tablet

Michael Arrington Has Heard That Google is Building Android Hardware ➝

Despite Google’s head of Android development, Andy Rubin denying such rumors, Michael Arrington believes that Google will be building their own branded phone that they will sell directly through retailers.

Arrington says that most of his sources have “unconfirmed information” but he believes that the device is coming. His sources say that it will be coming early next year and will be produced by a major phone manufacturer (maybe LG or Samsung) but will only have Google branding.

Either Andy Rubin is a liar or Michael Arrington is totally wrong, I’m currently leaning towards the latter.

But, it is in Arrington’s followup piece where he could be getting a little closer to something I could believe.

But there may be another way Google will argue that they aren’t “competing with customers” by launching their own device – technically, it may not be a phone.

The Google Phone may be a data only, VoIP driven device. And Google may be lining up at least AT&T to provide those data services for the Google Phone, says one person we spoke with today.

The concept is simple, you just pay for a data plan. Your phone number and voicemail would be provided by Google Voice, while your calls and SMS messages would go over IP. You would no longer pay based on how many minutes you need per month, just a low cost data plan and you’re out the door.

I just don’t know if the US carriers would go for it. They are so concerned with their network, I doubt they would be on board with anything that would bring in less profit and more data usage.

Previously:
10/31/09:
Google Has No Android Hardware Plans

Update 11/30/09: Gizmodo’s Mark Wilson is citing a “trusted source who’s seen it with their own eyes, the Google Phone ‘is a certainty.’”

The Current State of the CrunchPad ➝

On the latest episode of the Gillmor Gang, Michael Arrington shot down recent rumors that his CrunchPad project was nearly dead.

During the show Arrington said the following:

The CrunchPad’s great actually, it’s actually steamrolling along. everything’s good, that stuff about costs being too high, was — I don’t know where it came from — actually costs keep coming down we’re just we’ve been working entirely on software for the last month trying to make it perfect to get it to market. So, it’s going great, should be big news on that shortly.

When asked how it will do against Apple’s tablet he said:

I’m not going to answer the question directly, I’ll answer it in a different way.  Apple builds perfect products and I think that I will probably buy a number of their tablet devices. From what I’ve heard and I think that it’ll be amazing. I actually wish Apple would build a much higher end tablet, with the MacBook Air hardware, and you know it’s so thin they could get a duel core architecture into a device that thin, it’d be amazing. I think their going to go a little lower end but our device is going to be a significantly less expensive device. It’s going to sell for somewhere between 3 and 400 dollars, it’s going to be a web only device, it only has browser, you can access the web with it, hulu, youtube, gmail, etc. I think it’s just going to be a different market segment. If you were to put the two devices next to each other I think that, maybe with the exception of the fact that our screen is going to be bigger, our screen is 12 inches, as far as I know theirs isn’t, I think you’d probably say “yeah the apple device is better,” but it might be at least twice as expensive and maybe more. So I think we’ll have a nice market segment.

Arrington also says that the device’s cost remains “in the high two hundreds” and that there is some “soft-revenue on the device in sponsorships and things like that without impacting the user experience.”

I’m excited about this tablet because I really want something with a bigger screen to surf the web on while I’m sitting in the living room. I don’t usually mind browsing the web on my iPhone but sometimes I want a bigger screen.

This is just further evidence that James Kendrick had no idea what he was talking about.

Previously:
7/31/09:
CrunchPad Specs Revealed
7/5/09: Michael Arrington Forms CrunchPad Inc., Hardware Coming Very Soon
4/14/09: James Kendrick Claims CrunchPad May Not Happen, With No Evidence

Update 12/1/09: The CrunchPad’s Bizarre Ending

Update 12/10/09: Fusion Garage Announces the JooJoo Tablet