Excitement ran high for tablets today in wake of the iPad 2 announcement. Meanwhile, interest in smartphones is as high as ever. The post-PC era is upon us. We’ve made the case that these mobile devices are just part of a larger whole: the mobile cloud. Companies like Google and HP want to sell cloud services to mobile users.
But there’s a big problem with that vision, and that’s the mobile bandwidth bottleneck.
As smartphone and tablet adoption spreads, more bandwidth-hogging services are springing up. On the consumer side, there are services like Hulu, MLB.tv and Netflix. But it’s not just consumer apps that will suck up bandwidth. Cisco is pushing mobile video for businesses with products like mobile versions of WebEx and its new unified communications app Jabber. Its forthcoming Cius tablet is all about mobile video conferencing. Apple’s FaceTime will surely be a contributor to video conferencing bandwidth as well.
But how will carrier networks handle all this data?
Red Monk’s Stephen O’Grady graphed how his bandwidth use skyrocketed after he started using Netflix Watch Instantly in January:
O’Grady was grandfathered into AT&T’s unlimited data plan, but that plan isn’t an option for new customers. Now AT&T’s largest data plan is four gigabytes for $45 per month – it costs $10 per gig over that. O’Grady graphed what his mobile usage would cost him on various carriers if he hadn’t been grandfathered into the unlimited plan:
The cost of mobile data for devices other than smartphones is even worse.
Until this problem is solved, the mobile cloud will be significantly hampered. O’Grady highlights the business opportunity for developers to build apps to monitor and manage bandwidth consumption. But that’s just a bandage. Carriers need to solve this problem, and solve it quick.
In response to AT&T’s bandwidth caps, Fake Steve Jobs compared the iPhone to Meet The Beatles:
Now there was a lot of demand for that record — so much that the plant that printed the records could not keep up. Now here’s the lesson. Do you think the guys who were running Capitol Records said, Gee whiz, the kids are buying up this record at such a crazy pace that our printing plant can’t keep up — we’d better find a way to slow things down. Maybe we can create an incentive that would discourage people from buying the record. Do you think they said that? No, they did not. What they did was, they went out and found another printing plant. And another one and another one, until they could make as many records as people wanted.
Sadly, instead of taking Fake Steve Jobs’s advice, other carriers have followed suit.
I’m not one to ask “Where’s my flying car?” I’m just happy to have clean water and to live in a world that hasn’t been decimated by nuclear war. But assuming we take care of bigger problems, like global warming, I can’t help but wonder if future generations will be asking “Where’s my mobile cloud?”
Yesterday the “ban hammer” struck one of the best known parody accounts on Twitter, @ceoSteveJobs. The account, well-known for its pithy and biting Apple-related tweets, had over 460,000 followers when GeekSmack first reported that the account had been suspended.
The account has likely angered its share of Apple fan boys and company execs, but it’s not the content of the messages that (necessarily) got the account in trouble. Beginning January 1 this year, an “online impersonation law” went into effect in the state of California, banning people from assuming someone else’s identity online in order to defraud or harm. Several commentators have suggested that the fake Steve Jobs account may have run afoul of the law or that Twitter received a “valid report” complaining of infringement.
More likely, it simply ran afoul of Twitter’s Terms of Service, namely “Parody, Commentary, and Fan Accounts Policy.” You are allowed to create parody accounts on Twitter, but only within certain guidelines.
In a nutshell, you need to make it clear that the account isn’t the real person’s. Although the @ceoSteveJobs did indicate in its profile that it was a parody and most people recognized it as such, the account was cited in a Daily Mail article this summer, making it appear as though Steve Jobs was admitting that antenna problems would force an iPhone 4 recall.
Twitter’s guidelines for parody accounts say that the username should not be the same as the subject of the parody. They should have a qualifier like “not” or “fake.” The profile name, similarly needs to say “not” or “fake.” And the bio should say “This is a parody.” The phony Steve Jobs account only complied with the latter.
Even if you follow these recommendations, Twitter’s guidelines say that it can still ask you to make “further changes to bring the account more in line with these best practices. Accounts with a clear intent to deceive may be permanently suspended.”
Twitter wouldn’t comment on this specific case, although it does appear that the account is functioning again today. It’s under a new name, however – @fakeCEOSteve. The timing is excellent, as I’m curious to hear what Fake Steve has to say about the new iPad 2.
Stoobalou writes “Dan Lyons, who has been lampooning Apple’s Steve Jobs for many years, has posted his last item as Fake Steve Jobs and signed off. Lyons, who has been impersonating the messianic Apple supremo in the notorious tech blog since 2006 and even managed to maintain his anonymity for quite some time, despite being a well-known tech hack, has parked his vitriolic pen for the last time.” Most people expect FSJ to return if RSJ does.
theodp writes “TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington reports that a California bill criminalizing online impersonations went into effect on January 1st. ‘There has to be intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud another person — not necessarily the person you are impersonating,’ explains Arrington. ‘Free speech issues, including satire and parody, aren’t addressed in the text of the bill. The courts will likely sort it out.’ So, Fake Steve Jobs, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?’”
A few weeks ago we hinted at some of the personalization tools that Los Angeles based startup Gravity would be unveiling. Today they’re launching Twinterest – a tool that creates an interest graph – a list of things you probably love – based only on looking at your twitter stream.
To use it go to Twinterest and authorize it to access your Twitter stream. You may find it does a pretty good job of suggesting things you like. Mine includes Virgin America, “slap fight” (no idea), Facebook, American Express (hah), Google Voice, Andy Rubin and Spotify. Also, Daniel Lyons, aka Fake Steve Jobs.
You can help Gravity refine your interests by re-categorizing or removing any interests that don’t quite fit. For now this is just for fun. In the future, tools like this can help show you more interesting content and ecommerce items.
Update: Oh! That’s the slap fight stuff. Very funny. Who doesn’t enjoy watching a slap fight, I guess.
g0dsp33d writes “Fake Steve Jobs, the alter-alias of Newsweek’s Dan Lyons, is calling disgruntled AT&T users to protest comments from AT&T’s Ralph de la Vega that smart phone (specifically iPhone) usage is responsible for their network issues and his plan to end unlimited data plans. The post, dubbed “Operation Chokehold” wants AT&T customers to use as much data service as they can on Friday, December 19th at noon. While Fake Steve Jobs is notable for its satire, many Twitter and Facebook users seem to be rallying to its cry. It is unclear if there will be enough support to cause a DDOS.”