New iPod Nano will be more ‘nano’ than ever

iPod Nano comparison.Do you remember your reaction when you saw the first iPod Nano commercial? Those two hands fought over something that seemed, at the time, ‘impossibly small.’ By today’s standards, that first Nano would look commonplace – some people might even mistake it for a new iPhone. All signs point to a Nano announcement at this week’s Apple event, and from all the leaked pictures and accessories, we know it’s going to be small.

This picture, which comes from Apple Insider, shows an old Nano up against a render of the new, touchscreen version. There have been some concerns raised about controls – that screen is awfully small to comfortably navigate your music library. Apple could be headed toward an inline control system, similar to that of the iPod Shuffle. Personally, I hate the idea. I want to be able to use my own headphones without worrying about a stupid control dongle.

From the looks of things, I’d say Apple also scrapped the crappy little camera it added to the most recent generation of the Nano. Thank god. That thing was the laughing stock of Flip SD owners everywhere, to say nothing of all the portable HD handcam owners of the world.

Microsoft dumping piles of money on Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone 7Just how much money does it take to elbow your way in between Apple and Google in the mobile market? Remember, you’ve also got to beat back RIM while you’re at it, and hope none of those three develop anything you didn’t expect. Got a number? Is it in the billions? That’s what Microsoft may be betting to make Windows Phone 7 work.

According to TechCrunch, Microsoft could spend into the billions on development and marketing for the new mobile platform. It’s a huge figure, made to look even larger by the estimated expense of marketing the Droid series of Android phones.

The $100 million Goldberg estimates that Verizon, Motorola and Google collectively spent on marketing helped turn the Droid line of phones into a serious stable of competitors against the iPhone. (Compare that to Google’s fizzled Nexus One launch, where the search giant pinched pennies on marketing.)

To spend 10 times that amount could be either a great idea or the world’s worst gamble. Microsoft has completely scorched consumer bridges with its previous mobile offerings, none of which will transition to the new system very smoothly. Even with a billion dollars behind it, Windows Phone 7 could be too late.

iSkin Back-to-School contest offers $1000 in prizes

iSkin BTS Contest

I’ve covered some iSkin products here in the past and been very pleased with them, so I’m happy to pass along the news about this upcoming Back-to School contest from iSkin. By entering your name and the school you’re headed for in the fall, you could be eligible to win up to $1000 worth of iSkin products to furnish that new dorm room.

Here’s what you win:
- Apple iPad 64GB 3G
- iSkin Vu for iPad
- iSkin silo Messenger Bag
- iSkin Eartones
- iSkin Cerulean RX

That’s a hell of a prize package if you ask me. The contest is only available to US and Canadian residents.

Streaming costs Netflix 10 times less than mailing a DVD

Netflix StreamingNetflix streaming is just about the greatest thing around (yeah, it’s better than Hulu) for video content. The interface is clean, easy to use, and the selection is good enough for my $10 a month. Streaming has also saved Netflix a whole lot of money.

To stream a movie in HD costs Netflix around 5 cents, 3 cents for standard def. That’s it. Now granted, that doesn’t account for licensing and all that, but it sure as hell beats the pants off sending things through the mail. That cost could even go down as more competitors enter the back-end market responsible for supporting the Netflix streaming system.

My question – why aren’t more things available for streaming? If it’s so cheap, that extra revenue could be kicked back in part to studios for freeing up more streaming content. Everyone wins.

Source: Business Week

Google Goggles is coming to the iPhone

Google Goggles.It seems like I get asked this question nearly every time a tech challenged person sees that I have an iPhone. “Do you have that app that lets you look stuff up by taking pictures of it?” The first few times it took a while to figure out what the inquirer meant. Now, I answer before the sentence is done – Google Goggles? Sadly, no.

It’s not that I want GG all that badly. From a functionality standpoint, it’s not all that great. It does have great wow factor, though, so I was thrilled to find out that the camera-powered search would be coming to the iPhone this year. The app has been Android-only since release, but Google will be developing a proprietary app for the iPhone, not just some crappy port.

From here, it’s just a matter of getting it to work all the time.