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Impact - A Blog by INM

Archive for 'February 2011'

    The Book is Not Dead and Other Take Home Messages from TOC 2011

    O'Reilly TOC Conference

    Last week I spent a busy couple of days connecting with the publishing community at O’Reilly’s Tools of Change for Publishing Conference in New York. It’s been a few years since we’ve attended this show, but with our recent surge in publishing related projects, I felt it was a great venue to hear what others were doing and what emerging trends we should keep our eyes on.

    The overwhelming message from the show was that “The book is not dead”. The format that’s been around for the past 500 years is not going anywhere. However, there are tons of new market opportunities around the book that publishers must begin experimenting with new business opportunities. What publishers need to keep in mind is their core focus and their business objectives. Technology providers are pushing publishers to quickly adopt new technology, in some cases, even before it is fully ready for mass adoption. A good example of this is the new draft specification for the ePub 3 standard that leverages rich elements based on HTML5 and CSS3. This standard does provide so much more for publishers, but there are significant limitations, as the functionalities of these technologies only really work in Safari or iBooks, which severely limits the publisher’s market. What publishers need to realize is that HTML5 is a continuum, that will roll out in progressive implementations and will take years for all features to be supported by all browsers. It’s a great direction but is still in its early days.

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    Competition Heating Up in the Tablet Market

    Tablet and iPad

    What a busy few weeks for major announcements in the tablet market. First Google announced Honeycomb, the latest version of its OS for mobile devices. Honeycomb is specifically designed to run on the larger tablet-sized screens adding a new level of support for multi-tasking, more elegant notifications, better home screen customization with a new 3D experience, and redesigned widgets. The OS also delivers big changes for the web browser, including tabbed browsing, auto-fill forms, bookmark synching with Google Chrome, and incognito mode for private browsing. The launch of Honeycomb makes the huge influx of Android-based tablets even more competitive against the iPad by adding the last layer of support and the necessary refinements to the OS to make it work well on tablets.  

    Just this morning, Google announced at the World Mobile Congress in Spain, that Android 2.4 will combine both Gingerbread and Honeycomb into a single OS. This simplifies things for users and makes for a more harmonious experience for Android users across their phones and tablets.  

    Google also launched the Android Market, a centralized web hub for accessing apps. In the past, Android users could only access the App Market through their device and some carriers even opted to link users to a proprietary store with their own selection of apps, which made distribution of Android apps across carriers complicated for developers and publishers. With the Android Market website, users can easily browse and share apps and can even push apps out to their device remotely.

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    Flattr: Finally a Novel Micropayment System

    Flattr logo

    Over the past few months, a marginal European social “micro-donation” site called Flattr has become so popular that it may very well determine the future of e-Commerce.

    The idea for Flattr was initiated in 2007, with the first release in August 2010. The initial idea was to provide people with a new way to donate funds to content publishers. Prior to Flattr, Paypal was the defacto standard but it really didn’t work well for small donations. With Flattr, you open an account and determine the amount you are willing to give away each month - usually a few Euros (there is a minimum of 2€). Then, as you visit websites and blogs that display a Flattr button, you click to “flatter” the author which gives them a “tip”. At the end of each month, your budget is spread across the websites on which you clicked the Flattr buttons.  For instance, if you happen to allocate 2€/month and only click on one Flattr button once, that site gets the full 2€. However, if you clicked on a 100 Flattr buttons during the month, each site gets 0.02€ no matter whether it was Financial Times or your neighbor’s weekend blog.

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