You Don’t Have to Be CableTV’s Bitch. Options Abound!

The poor television networks and cable. In one of the seminal points of the evolution of online-video-to-television and mobile, the networks are putting legitimate near-term business desires and needs above consumer demand and innovation. You could view recent moves — like blocking GoogleTV and Hulu’s paid app with ads — as strength and discipline. Avoiding threats to their lucrative cable TV partnerships. Or you could view all of this as a tragic flaw — not dissimilar to the music industry’s early failures in the dawn of digital distribution.

CableTV and networks are preserving their cash cows. But not for long.

It’s the perilous curse of any comfy industries that is reticent to let high-potential new revenue streams and consumer demand cannibalize their cash cows … and it’s the cart blanche for startups that produce new models to meet consumer needs.

But guess what? You have a choice (see options below). Ironically, I have Verizon FIOS servicing my home as I write this blog entry, and the company is updating its offering to provide more for less (less expensive additions, faster broadband and soon web-via-TV). Still, the cable-TV box is quickly dying (see WSJ). The FTC is making it harder for CableTV companies to force its own boxes on people, yet most of the “unwashed masses” don’t know they have other options. It amazes me that most people are oblivious to the fact that the CableTV box and the DVD player are the least interesting things that can feed their HDTV.

Meanwhile, Hulu is also slipping: yesterday I was about to download the Hulu app on my iPad, until I saw that it had one of the worst ratings I’ve yet seen on iPhone/iPad apps! Apparently the “Generation I” isn’t keen on the subscription charge plus commercials, and Hulu is missing the opportunity to develop an ad-supported wide “anytime, anywhere” distribution of network content without intermediaries. In a similar flub, Google TV is being blocked by networks and Hulu, because they’re no doubt rooting for a network-friendly cable alternative that will take forever and suck. But they’re counting on it stopping a “great migration” away from monthly cable.

You can’t blame the networks for wanting to charge for content, which is the very basis of a very fair $99 AppleTV model (where consumers pay “ala cart” to rent specific television shows, and it’s commercial free HD content without a subscription). But the “one to watch,” in my opinion and others, is Netflix’s evolving model, a fixed-price (as low as $8) “all you can eat” movie rental service which is becoming much more generous and easy, as viewing options rapidly expand from DVDs by mail to desktop, Roku, AppleTV, Netflix, some DVR and DVD players, and iPhone. We don’t even bother with those red Netflix envelopes by mail, and our days of visiting Blockbuster are completely over. Sometimes we accidentally pay $5 for Verizon’s “on demand” movies, only to discover they’re part of the free Netflix library to which we subscribe!

Hulu’s bi-polar approach, driven surely by networks and not by Jason Kilar, the company’s smart, flexible and customer-oriented CEO. Kilar has created a site designed first for viewers, and offers advertisers novel ad options (like allowing viewers to view one trailer instead of multiple in-stream ads, or giving consumers the choice of what ad they view). But Hulu also has to protect its content partners, who aren’t keen on anything that threatens the addictive income they fetch from cable providers.

Just like smart phones exploded in the past 18 months, the online-video & television merger is just entering “the tipping point.” It appears the emergence of GoogleTV has everyone innovating in desperation. So what should you do?

Like the boys from Prison Break, set yourself free. You have options to escape the restrictions of your cableTV provider.
  1. Join Netflix for if you watch more than 2-3 movies a month. It’s the most cost-efficient and easiest way to watch movies because it’s “all you can eat” on a fairly decent library. To enjoy it beyond the laptop, you’ll want a $99 AppleTV or $80 Roku. The quality is fantastic, and it’s easy to use.
  2. Google TV has folks scared. And scared industries innovate.
  3. Unless you don’t mind the horribly slow and counter-intuitive cable boxes, you may still want a TiVo. It’s frustrating to pay TiVo a monthly subscription (around $15)  and still pay your cable provider maybe $5 for a card allowing TiVo to read the signal. But TiVo is the gold-standard for easy interface, and sells refurbished boxes. Even better, there’s one you can rent, which helps you avoid the one-two pain punch of a purchased unit plus subscription. TiVo, like most new Blueray DVDs and retail DVRs, also offers Netflix and other services (like Amazon and Blockbuster, for when Netflix doesn’t stock the latest movies).
  4. Keep your eye on CableTV box alternatives: AppleTV, GoogleTV and all of the new BlueRay DVDs with advanced options. You’ll find there’s far more for your HDTV to enjoy when it’s not plugged into that archaic cable box, but most of us accept these dumb boxes without question. As I learned recently from Cluetrain Manifesto author Doc Sears, the manufacturers of these boxes will attest the fact that the cable providers “dumb them down” for various reasons, not the least of which is preservation of a dying business model.
  5. Finally, if you hate watching television via a hot laptop, you may be a candidate for an iPad. It’s small, it streams Netflix well, and it’s a good bed/couch option if your spouse is watching Nancy Grace and you want to avoid getting a TV lobotomy.
My wife watches Nancy Grace, and I'd rather hear our pet pig squeal (or watch something smart and funny on my iPad with scream-canceling headphones)

AppleTV vs. iTV vs. Roku vs. TiVo vs. WTF?

The iPin is AppleTV's latest model, and it's smaller than a grain of rice but 32.5% larger than Plankton from Spongebob.

I’m a long-time advocate of the AppleTV, and intrigued enough by the iTV that I’ve got one on route. So what’s the difference, you ask? First check out Ryan/NewTeeVee’s coverage of AppleTV vs. Roku vs. Boxeee. Liz/NewTeeVee provides more in-depth coverage of the AppleTV/iTV.

So there’s no iTV. It’s just a new version of AppleTV, where the price of the unit was slashed in third. At $99 you won’t likely find a smoother interface to stream your content… assuming it’s as user-friendly and fast as AppleTV’s earlier model (around $300 with some room for storage).

We like the lower entry price making it an impulse buy, and the 99-cent rentals of television shows we miss — despite our best attempts via TiVo or the vintage DVR you’re using because you’re the cable company’s little bitch.

Until now we were buying assloads of missed television shows at twice that price ($1.99), and that’s a bit bloated for a 23-minute show (but certainly fair for an 45-minute show). We’re talking about decent HD, no stupid pre-rolls, an easy interface, and easy purchasing via the credit card Mac has on file. And for 95% of the shows we bought, a rental would be fine.While we’re not happy to see episodes costing $2.99 to own now, we’re hoping that our old AppleTV enjoys a software upgrade that makes it a new one. Otherwise we feel screwed. Except “The Office” and a few other shows, we don’t need to own in a reasonably priced “on demand” word. Wait that’s a drop quote.

We don’t need to own in a reasonably priced “on demand” word.

I find it perplexing that the unwashed masses are only beginning to adopt these things. We’ve got a Roku that’s not used often except for occasional Netflix viewing. The TiVo is the primary device because it plays live Verizon Fios without subjecting us to the horrible Verizon machines… TiVo also allows us to “subscribe” to YouTubers like “Obama Girl” and “Rhett & Link” and “The Onion” and “College Humor.”

Maybe I’ll do a little video demo when I get the new AppleTV because I read Scoble’s tweet that we can use our iPad as a remote to the new AppleTV, something that didn’t seem very easy with the old one.

Bottom line:

  • AppleTV is different in two ways. Cheaper unit ($99 not $300), and now you can rent all that television you missed or if you’re still not paying for access to premium channels because you’re a cheap bastard like me. Wait that made no sense. I’m probably paying more by buying these shows.
  • More choices (in hardware and vendor/price options) means a more confused marketplace but more attention by the mass market. Only one or two will survive, and you’re going to be getting lots of questions from your parents in the next few years. At least there’s no flashing 12:00 to worry about.
  • I’d predict that these will be mainstream by the fall, but I’m a bit gun shy making that prediction a 5th year in a row. I can’t even remember how I hedged this subject in my book, which is coming out in a week or so.
  • If I talk about my book too often, please tell me. I have seen authors do that, and it’s revolting. If I’m walking around with spinach in my teeth, you’d say something right?
  • How the heck did Netflix secure its space in this evolution? We thought they’d be Blockbustered.
  • It doesn’t bother me that only two people read my blog carefully.
  • Seriously- give me one good reason NOT to have a friggin’ Roku/Netflix/TiVo/AppleTV in your house? Sure it’s a few more devices and subscriptions, but we think this Onion spoof on Blockbusters is a reality now. When’s the last time you rented a DVD?
  • Is anyone else feeling like YouTube has gone WAY to far with the pre-rolls lately?

Uploading Video to YouTube Via Phone: iPhone vs Palm Pre

Here’s my wife and I testing her iPhone (AT&T) against my Palm Pre (Verizon) to see which one could shoot and upload best to YouTube. Turns out my Palm Pre failed to post after an hour, so I had to do it manually. Her iPhone compressed the video, and had it live in minutes. Winner: iPhone.

Play them both at the same time for some interesting perspective…

Palm Pre (unclenalts). Slightly better quality, but never uploaded from phone… had to use laptop.

iPhone (wifeofnalts): Compressed and not as sharp, but it worked.

AppleTV & iTunes Dissintermediates Cable? Bigger Than Balloonboy Story.

Wowzer. Your’e going to want to read this post, because it’s hot news. And because I put some effort into some seriously solid metaphors that damned well better be scraped by some bigger bloggers.

For years I’ve been bitching and moaning about Apple not putting its little heart into AppleTV (instead of screwing with these ridiculous iPhone toys and their petulant little “apps”).

stevejobsfeces

And all the while, the little Steve Jobs may have his eye on dissintermediating cable television. Fast Company provides some saucy news, and sources “All Things Digital.”

But this isn’t about the AppleTV, idiot. No it’s not about software or hardware. Apple is basically envisioning a $30-per-month iTunes television offering, which would give networks new reach via 100 million iTunes users. And that means you, like the 100 million iTunes users, would start watching shows via Apple both on your computer and (via some box) that big-ass monitor you call a Plasma or HDTV.

Do I need to repeat that? Television shows when you want, and on whatever damned screen you want. Oh, and a gentle reminder that technology companies will control your fate more than telephone, cable, publishers and networks (never mind that whole AOL/Times Warner hickup).

Alas, it’s hard for me to envision a scenario where cable companies don’t start tossing fecal matter like angry apes. But it’s a game of chess, not the beloved “toss-the-feces” we’d play at birthday parties. If Disney, as an example, slept with Apple… what could the angry ex (cable companies) do? They can’t very well drop Disney. And since Disney’s move would be the “tipping point” this all needs, Disney gets to set the terms. Girl, you know those Mickey Mice could nibble up an Apple like Piranha to a cow.

Fundamentally the broadcast networks have to decide whose bitch they want to be. Cable television or Apple’s.

If the music industry feels that iTunes was a good thing (additive revenue that didn’t exactly kill radio or CD sales entirely), then maybe the television networks go the same route. And to keep Apple “in check” they can replicate the terms via Hulu, YouTube or even some genius that manages to build a television-manufacturer standard.

The bottom line, however, is the train already left the station. I’m an example of a fast-follower (not early adopter), and I’m spending more each month on $1.99 television episodes than I am on a cable bill! I loath Verizon’s interface and on-demand library, and persist only because my wife likes depressing news and Nancy Grace, and my kids need their Nick Jr.

To be fair, I’m discovering I liked the control of “lean forward,” but I want to lay down on the couch and bed too. Love my TiVo, but it didn’t catch any fresh fish (like during this damned Fox Fringe hiatus), I dive into AppleTV and try out a new show… maybe buy a few episodes or a season pilot because $1.99 ain’t a bad price for 45 minutes of some boob-tube love making. I’m less often surfing YouTube’s most-popular list because it’s just a sad reminder remind of how much better Sxephil, Shaycarl, CharlesTrippy and ShaneDawson are than me. Last night me, Charlie and Grant and me did start a YouTube binge that began with Edbassmaster, then progress on a downward spiral that culminated in farts and babies. But then we jumped back to paid episodes of Angry Beavers. Damn that intro is hip.

Speaking of YouTube, those trained monkeys better get their own poop in palm. They’ve cornered the market on searchable video, but this is a bidneth model that can move faster than ad-supported web video. I think this crap (you know the kids are saying that now like it means nothing anymore) is bigger than the Balloonboy story. Except the Falcon hiding in the attic and puking on CNN might just be… Comcast, Verizon and other cable providers. I predict Hulu maintains its relevance if this shakes out, unless Apple iTunes makes itself incredibly easy to purchase and view via both web and those BIG ASS televisiony-like monitors. Hell in a few years, maybe we don’t even know or care where our video content comes from.

Yeah- I even think this story might be bigger news even than last night’s AppleTV upgrade:

“WTF? A vertical menu?” he says, tossing his mini white remote that has been chewed to near obsolescence. Fade to black.

Online-Video Changed Forever Today: Google/YouTube Takes on iTunes & Cable TV

Organize the world’s information. That was the initial mission of Google, so I have found it ineresting that the company has taken significant steps (like buying YouTube and launchin Knol) to host and distribute it.

You see, there’s a big difference between organizing information for easy search… and actually hosting it with ads

In a non-trivial move, YouTube today announced that it’s offering a new pay-for-download service (using Google checkout, of course) which allows viewers to buy and download select creators’ videos. 

YouTube launches download for pay

While this may not seem like a significant move, it’s actually the start of a major threat to Apple’s iTunes and other cable and phone providers — as well as any comany that charges flat or variable fees for video distribution.

Content owners will participate (I know I will when invited) and viewers will use it (and I know I’ll buy select content). Then, friends, Google/YouTube is just one step away from making my AppleTV and Verizon Fios obsolete… it just needs to create or sanction Google player boxes that allow us to surf from my television set without the monthly fee of a cable service. And based on Android, that’s not far away. It’s content ala carte… just the way I’d like it.

I currently live on my Apple TV because I like surfing YouTube and Apple’s easy navigation for buying TV shows and movies. I’ve bought more movies and television shows in the past two months than in the 3 years prior. The Verizon Fios highspeed boxes, by contrast, are horrible, slow, and cost me a cursed monthly rental beyond my regular plan. So I long for the day I can return these boxes, and go web only. Of course I still need cable service for my kids, and for access to whatever select television shows we watch regularly (almost never live). But many of these shows are now available on Alec Baldwin’s Hulu.com, which could be accessed with an AppleTV-like box.

I can’t believe there’s a device for viewing web video on my TV available at Best Buy for $199.00. There will be in 2010, and there are some limited devices here reviewed by DeviceGuru.

Manufacturers I beg you… work with Google and create the killer Cable TV busting device. Consumers will love it, content creators will get wider distribution and revenue, and we can stop pretending we need Comcast or Verizon television. Sorry, I’m not a big fan of middle men that get greedy with high fees, poor service and rented boxes. And I trust Google to run all of this reasonably — at least more than I do my cable or phone service.

Naturally, a competitor would ensure that Google doesn’t have a complete monopoly on web distribution, but I’ll let the FCC worry about that.

Verizon Wireless Botches “Candid” Viral Video Attempt

Time to test out your “is it real or fake” instincts. Watch this video where a random Verizon caller is surprised when that Verizon Wireless “Can You Hear Me Now” guy shows up with an army of Verizon people personifying the Verizon network.

Is it truly candid, or is our “victim” an actor?

  • Shaky camera
  • Genuine surprise and laughter from victim
  • Natural crowd reactions

Mercy, this looks like an amateur prank. This guy’s been punked by a big corporation with the world’s worst logo. Yey.

  • So, um, how’d they get a lavaliere microphone on the victim?
  • Isn’t Verizon lucky that one of the first things out of the victim’s mouth is, “it’s the network”? Yeah- That’s probably what I’d say to a friend, if a bunch of people in construction hats started following me. “It’s the network,” I’d say. I’d probably then work up a gag about reduced call drops and virtual tributaries that allow for ad/drop multiplexing of subrate traffic.

Lesson learned? This would have been a clever bit, but don’t dupe the viewer. Either the joke’s on the victim (the call recipient) or the joke’s on the bystanders (which would have been funny on its own). But this one makes me feel like the joke’s on me.

People are often trying to encourage me to mock a “candid” video, and even if you have a great actor like this guy (who laughs convincingly, which is extremely hard)… you can’t get away with the crunch because the crunch always gives you away.

Verizon Wireless Surprises Customer – Watch more free videos

Is Yahoo TV Closing or Widening Chasm Between Online Video & Television?

Yahoo TV Verizon sponsoredWhich online-video site is mostly likely to be part of the bridge between television and the Internet? You can fault the model, and question it’s sustainability. But Yahoo TV is well poised to leverage its partnerships with Verizon and TiVo to start serving its bite-sized video content via television sets equipped with broadband boxes.

Take, for example, Yahoo TV’s “Prime Time in No Time,” a show hosted by Frank Nicotero that recaps the prior evening’s television shows. It’s interesting on at least two levels:

  1. It appeals to TV junkies. I’m not sure there’s a market for general prime-time recaps (since audiences tend to form around tighter niches). But it’s clearly targeted at TV viewers who maybe need some hand holding to start consuming via Yahoo’s mini-TV play. With some prime time promotion, I can see this audience growing.
  2. The ad model is interesting. Verizon gets a brief intro (not a preroll that I noticed), some banner wrap-arounds, and even a logo tucked nicely in the host’s corner frame. It’s dominant without being obtrusive.

Yahoo Menu No Amateur VideoSo we’re still in the infancy of the “TV and online video” collision, which is clearly going to take much more time than we hoped. I’m far less interested in television administered in once-a-day pills (instead of intravanious drips). I find the more fascinating side to be the amateur creators gaining broader exposure than they currently get (assuming they’re good enough, and have consistent content that appeal to steady audiences even if relatively small).

While YouTube is still better poised for the latter, Yahoo comes at the web more like AOL: looking more like TV on the computer than web video as most consume it now. So we see less and more polished content, but fairly superficial interaction between the content and its audience. It’s still “one to many” unlike the magic of online video “many to many” play.

It’s Amazon not eBay.

As an example, one of my few popular videos on Yahoo has 90K views but just 90 comments. While one in a thousand comment on Yahoo Video, most of my YouTube videos get 1-2 percent of viewers commenting. My Mac Air spoof got 27K views with 13 comments, while the same Mac Air spoof on YouTube got 374K views and 1564 comments.

Typically the initial online successes are “pure plays” and not an offline entity moving in. This is true with almost any industry: gaming, retail, travel and media. But it will take a few failures along the way. YahooTV is bringing TV and online video ever so slightly closer together — even if it ends up being a log over the river.

Note that Yahoo Video (the quasi amateur section) still exists, but it’s not part of the primary menu on Yahoo. In fact, I almost gave up in my search for it, so it’s not likely drawing in many Yahoo users (Alexa won’t let me isolate http://video.yahoo.com/ from Yahoo.com, so I don’t know how it’s fairing). The featured videos seem to get paltry views relative to YouTube features, and even the Yahoo Video Awards blog post has just 35 comments 4 days after announced (by contrast, most top 100 YouTubers get that kind of views and interactions within an hour of posting).

P.S. Updated 3/27: Check out what InsideOnlineVideo has to say about Yahoo.

The Devil is in the Device: How We’ll Consume Online-Video Via BoobTube in 2008

old_tv_set_rc.jpgI’m going out on a limb here, but I predict that independent web-to-tv boxes will be (albiet perhaps temporary) an inevitable part of the pending collision between our television sets and Internet. We’re past that debate about whether TV or online-video will prevail. There will be a hybrid model, and quite frankly I can’t wait to consume my online-videos with the ease of TiVo surfing. I just don’t watch television anymore and the cable and telcom providers have made that an easy withdrawal.

Months ago, I would have bet that cable and telcom monoliths could successfully dominate this space with their own connectivity, equipment, and customer base. But Verizon’s latest release of its Fios TV video interface has convinced me of otherwise. It’s rather hopeless, and we should expect nothing more.
Despite continued investments by cable (Comcast) and telcom (Verizon) providers — which includes fiber and expensive capital —  they’re going to be dissintermediated in the short term. Sure they’re winning customers with competitive bundled deals for cable, phone and television. And they have a built advantage because we want a turnkey solution and it’s hard to bypass them unless you want a satellite. But they’re big, slow, and focused more on securing their market position than innovating.

Fios TV SucksWhile the bundling (phone, TV and internet access) is quite economically tempting, the television ‘user experience’ is what real-estate agents call functional obsolescence– it’s a deal breaker. For the past year I’ve suffered through Verizon’s slow, counter-intuitive, buggy and frustrating television interface and would have canceled long ago but for my wife and kids’ desire to watch news and children shows. A few weeks ago, Verizon rolled out an entirely new interface, which is prettier but almost as convoluted. Comcast, last I checked, wasn’t much better. I miss my delightful, buttery TiVo experience, and have two TiVo units depreciating because I can’t figure out how to get them to play nicely with the Fios-mandated Motorolas. And I’m not willing or able to pay a third recurring fee: a TiVo service fee, in addition to my monthly TV bill and rental equipment toll. If only I could just dump the Motorola and pay Fios a cable fee alone.

You see, Fios TV forces me to rent a Motorola media box (actually, I could rent a digital converter, but that doesn’t cost much less per month). I rent two of these stupid units (living room and bed room) and they communicate with each other like Hollywood stars in their 3rd month of marriage.

I expect a cable bill. But a monthly “rental toll” for a mandated unit is reminiscent of Ma-Bell charging $5 a month to my grandparents for a “model T”-like rotary phone (which everyone seems to overlook until the parents die, someone has to clean up the estate, and the children discover they’ve paid thousands in years of renting a phone that could have cost $2.99 at Walmart).

appletv.jpgMeanwhile, I almost tossed my AppleTV months ago, but have recently been spending a lot more time using it. It cost about $300, there’s no recurring fee, and the interface is getting better. I can enjoy any video I download or import as an MP4 (and my handy VisualHub takes care of the conversions for videos I download elsewhere). More importantly, it’s how I’m beginning to consume a lot of my YouTube videos.

On the negative side, iTunes has its share of limitations: a paltry video-purchase selection via the iTunes store, a ridiculous rental service I won’t soon use again (after a “Live Free or Die Hard” expired before I ever started watching it), and this baffling confusion of trying to synch media across various iPods and Mac accounts.

And frankly, I’m quite sick of being deprived by Mac of sharing or viewing my purchased videos and movies– legally, across my own digitalia.

ant farmThat makes me so angry, I’ve starting to resort to getting movies via other mischievous means. Last night I even fell for a Google text ad that boasted a $35 one-time “free movie downloads for life” scam. For my impossible-to-refund fee, I received a special log-in website, password and instructions… which basically provided me a link to LimeWire (a free p2p tool). Caveat emptor I suppose. I was reminded of when, at the age of 9, I bought a “remote-control ghost: flies as high as 100 feet” from a comic book ad. Eight weeks later I received a white plastic bag, a balloon, and 100 feet of string. Even Sea Monkeys and the Ant Farm were better deals.

But something promising occurred quietly in the past week. AppleTV pushed out an upgrade, and now my YouTube viewing is slightly closer to the experience of watching videos via YouTube.com directly.

Initially, YouTube viewing via AppleTV provided a fraction of the experience permitted on YouTube. I couldn’t even look at my subscriptions or sort recent videos by creator. This limited YouTube interface is part of the reason I dumped my iPhone after two weeks (AT&T’s poor connectivity was another reason). But now I can at least go beyond watching the top YouTube videos of the day. I can view a random subset of my subscriptions (for odd reasons, they only let me peer into my first dozen or so, which is a bit constraining when you’ve subscribed to 800 people).

If you’re not a YouTube addict, the AppleTV makes less sense, and Apple won’t soon penetrate the market with these units unless they improve the interface further, renegotiate failed content deals and partner with electronic manufacturers or bring down the unit price.

So what’s ahead in 2008?

  1. First, AppleTV needs to start embedding ads. As a creator, I’m not getting profiting from viewers using AppleTV and neither is Apple or YouTube yet. If Apple wants to leverage near ubiquitous high bandwidth, thereby circumventing or coexisting with cable/phone providers, it’s going to have to find an ad-supported model first.
  2. Watch for similar boxes that are inexpensive and provide access to online-video via television. I still haven’t opened my free Sling Box so maybe that’s a step in the right direction?
  3. If the programmers and networks (CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, etc.) were more organized, they’d cooperate to build a model that could dissintermedia cable and phone monopolies (or at least develop a media-friendly model that offsets the power of these dominatrix-like “last mile” providers. But that’s unlikely because the media companies hate each other, and monopoly legislation would hamper it.
  4. Instead, watch for a startup (whatever happened to Joost?) that creates something similar to the AppleTV experience: elegant, content rich, ad supported and no mandated monthly fee initially. They’ll share ad revenue with media companies or amateurs and create inventory that piques the interest of advertising networks.
  5. Once a few of these independent boxed units establish a base, they can begin charging a modest monthly fee. Heck, I’d pay AppleTV a few bucks a month just to ensure I can view YouTube without the current restrictions. How am I to choose between Lemonette, Renetto
  6. Naturally, the electronic manufacturers are trying to squeeze into this space, but it’s not a play built for either a phone company or consumer-product electronic manufacturer. The interim winner will be one that — ala Apple with its recent offerings — puts the user experience above all else.
  7. There are probably other players creeping into this spaces of which I’m not even aware. Know of any?