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OLPC and the "Innovator's Opportunity"

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the saturation-one-twenty dept.

Displays 64

viralMeme sends in a piece from OLPC News featuring a video interview with Pixel Qi's Mary Lou Jepson. The interview goes over some of the improvements in the company's extremely power-efficient screen technology that will show up in the next generations of the OLPC. The article links a video side-by-side comparison among Pixel Qi, Kindle, and Toshiba R600 displays in sunlight and in shade; Pixel Qi is arguably more readable than Kindle, and in full color. Jepson refers to Clayton Christenson's 1997 classic The Innovator's Dilemma, explaining a seeming paradox in high-tech: why companies that listen to their customers aren't the ones that innovate. According to the article it's mainly because "the next big market isn't with your current customers. It's with a vastly larger group of would-be users who couldn't afford your previous products, or couldn't carry around the huge devices of previous generations." Jepson says, "The cool thing about the Pixel Qi technology is, you know, poor kids in Africa got it first... It's the classic Innovator's Dilemma."

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Niggerbuntu (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29629971)

HOW TO BE A WORTHLESS, VILE, AMERICAN YARD-APE!!!!
  • Slink around, shuffling your feet and bobbing your neck like the lazy retard you are.
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  • Overcharge customers at Taco Bell and pocket the difference.
  • Drive your car while slouched so low that you can barely see over the wheel (gangsta drivin').
  • Get a job under affirmative action. Then sit around all day pretending that you earned the position and that the other co-workers respect you. Whenever you fuck up, scream "racism!" & hope you get enough Generation X liberals in the jury.
  • Never, I mean NEVER, take any responsibility for your actions. Always blame others including Asians, Latinos, Mexicans, and especially Whites for your sorry ass stupid lives.
  • Be sure to get a dog, tie it up in the cold and mud and neglect it until it dies. Then start all over again. Cash must be used because you long ago fucked up your credit and checking account.
  • Cram 5 generations into a two room government apartment and still be able to neglect your kids.

Then you too can be a true nigger, and anyone who finds any fault with anything you do is automatically a racist. They don't dislike what you do and wish you would do something better with your life, nor do they wish you would realize that other people exist and should be treated with respect. No, they're just racists who hate you because of the color of your skin, and everything bad in your life is their fault. You nigger.

Not a paradox (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29630099)

"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."

You listen to your customers because they mostly can't articulate what they want. But you do have to understand their needs.
The OLPC is a stupid idea, because it's based on the assumption that the needs of poor kids in Africa are unique.

The first company that realizes the obvious, and sticks a power efficient screen in an ergonomic form factor, ignores all Microsoft attacks and bribes to make it run 7, and makes it almost disposable cheap... ...will have a product that the whole world will stampede to buy.

Re:Not a paradox (4, Interesting)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630559)

Yeah I disagree with the article's assertion you shouldn't listen to your customers. You should listen to your customers, but do so understanding most requests aren't for what they're asking for, it's for a more fundamental desire. And it's up to the innovator to determine what that is.

"I want a faster horse." "So you want to be able to travel further faster?" "Yes." "Ok how about a cart that travels as fast as a horse and go several hundred miles without stopping to rest, would that satisfy your desires?"

"I want a brighter backlight."
"Why do you think you need a brighter backlight?"
"Because I can't see the screen in direct sun."
"Ok would a screen which reflects light and is readable in all lighting conditions satisfy that need?"

It's always helpful to deconstruct your customer's or client's feedback into outcomes or objectives instead of technical specifications. And if they ask for something specific it's usually a good idea to define whether they really want that in specific thing or there is some specific attribute of that thing that think is unique to it.

The Innovator's Dilemma (3, Informative)

Unoti (731964) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630773)

You should listen to your customers, but do so understanding most requests aren't for what they're asking for, it's for a more fundamental desire...

That's fine. But the Innovator's Dilemma is a wholly unrelated to that form of customers not knowing what they want. Here is an excellent introduction to the Innovator's Delemma [businessweek.com] . The article talks about the rapid changes in the hard drive industry over.

This article isn't about customers not knowing what they want. It's about how over time, who your customers are can radically change as brand new markets emerge. For example, hard disk business with mainframes was all about cost per megabyte. But in the new desktop computer market, the criteria by which things are judged is totally different than just cost per megabyte. Overall cost for the unit is more important, and physical size. A mainframe customer wouldn't be interested in a drive that costs more per megabyte but is smaller and has an overall lower price per unit-- but a desktop customer would be interested. The topic of the article is that if you exclusively listen to your customers without contemplating how the world is changing, you can sink yourself. Same situation with the newspaper industry: over-focus on existing markets and existing business lines can cause you to not see the opportunity in emerging markets, as the Rocky Mountain News [scribd.com] learned.

Re:The Innovator's Dilemma (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631251)

Eh? Hard drives come in 2 normal standard sizes.

You pick one if buying for a desktop, and another if buying for a laptop. Then buy based on cost by MB.

SSDs have made this slightly more complex, but you can easily see it with them: The main reason why everybody didn't switch to a SSD yet is that the cost per MB is too high.

Re:The Innovator's Dilemma (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631503)

You might have missed the time scale of the OP's topic. NOW drives come in 3 sizes (more or less) but I remember hard drives of all sizes, not just 5 1/4" platters either.

Re:The Innovator's Dilemma (1)

cas2000 (148703) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631615)

The main reason why everybody didn't switch to a SSD yet is that the cost per MB is too high.

not for me, it isn't. as Unoti said in the post you're replying to, it's the price of the unit. i'd quite happily buy one of the high-end Intel (or equivalent) 64 or even 32GB SSD drive as my boot/OS drive if the price was between AUD $100 and $200 rather than over $600 (32GB) or $1000 (64GB).

For the OS drive, i *really* don't care about the size or the cost per GB for this purpose - my OS (debian) can easily fit into 15GB, even with hundreds of desktop apps installed...for a server, it can easily fit in a GB or so. and for a laptop, 32 or 64 GB would be enough for the entire system.

Re:The Innovator's Dilemma (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632287)

My friend, 10 years ago, that 15 Gig was much, much more expensive. Please don't mistake the surplus drive space available this year to the economic and social forces that applied a decade ago, or which funded development of the latest round of Terabyte platters.

Re:The Innovator's Dilemma (1)

cas2000 (148703) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632781)

does that make any sense in your native universe? it certainly makes no sense here. i try to be tolerant of bizarre alien thought processes but there is a limit.

Re:The Innovator's Dilemma (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#29634001)

I apologize, sir or madam, for being unclear. Using tools like Ubuntu for operating systems, you're in a sweet spot right now where the difference in price for a 20 Gig or 250 Gig drive is nominal. If you were doing something like, say, running your own in-house Bittorrent and FTP site for downloaded music (as a recent engineer at work admitted doing, and I had to slap his wrist for using our bandwidth for downloads), the price/Gig would matter much more. (He had 2 Terabytes on 2 external drives he kept plugging into his laptop at work: I wanted to kill him for sucking up all our limited external bandwidth at that site.)

For the OS itself, you're quite right that the unit cost dominates. But to see the price/cost/performance tradeoffs played out in more detail, look at laptops capable of running your Ubuntu, where the prices are higher and have more effect.

Re:The Innovator's Dilemma (1)

crispin_bollocks (1144567) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631633)

Ever seen a rack mount hard drive for a HP3000?

Re: I have... (1)

Douglas Goodall (992917) | more than 4 years ago | (#29633333)

When Gary left Digital Research with Tom, they were mastering the first encyclopedia on a CD. They were using a VAX to create the CD image, and it took two washing machine sized hard drives to model the target CDROM. Things have come a long way since then.

Re:Not a paradox (3, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630793)

It's always helpful to deconstruct your customer's or client's feedback into outcomes or objectives instead of technical specifications. And if they ask for something specific it's usually a good idea to define whether they really want that in specific thing or there is some specific attribute of that thing that think is unique to it.

The thing about that is that you have to talk them into the idea that what you're offering is *really* want they want, not what they already think they want. Which takes some marketing and salesmanship savvy. If people have made a decision ( " I need a brigher backlight" ) it takes a lot of work to get them to change their position.

Re:Not a paradox, but a better design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29633821)

Yeah I disagree with the article's assertion you shouldn't listen to your customers. You should listen to your customers, but do so understanding most requests aren't for what they're asking for, it's for a more fundamental desire. And it's up to the innovator to determine what that is.

"I want a faster horse." "So you want to be able to travel further faster?" "Yes." "Ok how about a cart that travels as fast as a horse and go several hundred miles without stopping to rest, would that satisfy your desires?"

"I want a brighter backlight."
"Why do you think you need a brighter backlight?"
"Because I can't see the screen in direct sun."
"Ok would a screen which reflects light and is readable in all lighting conditions satisfy that need?"

It's always helpful to deconstruct your customer's or client's feedback into outcomes or objectives instead of technical specifications. And if they ask for something specific it's usually a good idea to define whether they really want that in specific thing or there is some specific attribute of that thing that think is unique to it.

You did not comment on the suggestion to use the "deconstruct function" to dump Microsoft support and personal ID spy ware tags to emerge the better, more secure platform" from the "tag along market" [TAM] into the larger "all consumer market" [ACM] space.

The consumers in the ACM space are all new customers, want, can afford, can use, need the functionality of the "better platform", and expect secure platform interaction with both the news and entertainment space and the person to person communications space.

The elements of that platform need to be functionally equivalent to, but independent of, a name branded Operating System support. Additionally it must be disposable, secure from personal id, and auto self emergent into the "installed based" space.

Re:Not a paradox (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 4 years ago | (#29633921)

I agree with you. However, a company needs to do more than just translate its customer's needs as well - it has to have a vision of its own.

I have to deal with a software vendor at work which gets this completely wrong. Whenever we sit down and ask them what they're working on, we get the question "well, what would you like us to work on?" Oh, and usually it comes along with an implicit understanding that we'll have to pay them to work on anything at all (over and above software upgrade subscriptions).

I appreciate that a company wants to know what I think. However, if a company just wants to be my software development outsource provider, I can probably find cheaper options. Innovative and successful companies listen to their customers, and then they build a product that they feel will sell well (even if nobody has asked for it).

Re:Not a paradox (4, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630869)

Can we drop the whole 'microsoft killed the OLPC' thing? The more extreme OSS advocates did far more damage to the devices success than MS ever did with their belief that making a device as Open source as possible (apparently Africa is full of 10 year old kernel programmers) was far more important than getting it into the hands of as many kids as possible. The second signs were shown that having the device open source played second fiddle to more important concerns, the device was viciously attacked by these people.

People in the west were screaming to buy this product but negroponte refused to sell it to the west. Selling them at a slight markup could have funded charitable donations, as well as drive the prices down. When he did offer it for sale, it was with a stupid 100% markup for which you could, by then buy a much more powerful eeepc and have money left over.

Re:Not a paradox (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 4 years ago | (#29634765)

Can we drop the whole 'microsoft killed the OLPC' thing?

But they and Intel did, didn't they? I would actually say that their 'marketing efforts' in several countries was questionnable under the FCPA.The other thing that shafted it was the initial failure to sell it in the west. Heck they could even have given the marketing to Fischer-Price (the colours were about right).

The OLPC was not about shipping a PC, rather than a multi-purpose enabling device for access to education. Sure Sugar is eminently hackable but simply the ability to mesh network and to work as an electronic book was something special and to be able to do so in countries that are very unfriendly to conventional laptops.

Re:Not a paradox (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631589)

"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."

It's just as likely they would have told you:

"I don't want to shovel all that shit.
"I don't want to build a barn and hire a boy to stable, feed and maintain a horse."

"I'm a country doctor on call.
I can't be spending half an hour hitching up a buggy."

"I'm a farmer.
I need a practical tractor for field work. Something with a PTO for a harvester or baler."

The first company that realizes the obvious, and sticks a power efficient screen in an ergonomic form factor, ignores all Microsoft attacks and bribes to make it run 7, and makes it almost disposable cheap... ...will have a product that the whole world will stampede to buy.

The XO had confirmed sales of about 1 million units before being modified to run Windows and MS Office.

3 million XO laptops running Windows and Office are being distributed to rural India. The first mass deployment of the XO in Asia. US-based outfit to distribute three million laptops to poor rural kids [thaindian.com] To rub salt in the geek's wounds, the deployment is being sponsored in part by Google and Red Hat - and Linux scarcely rates a mention.

The world didn't stampede to buy the Linux Simputer. It didn't stampede to buy the Linux netbook.

You could argue - with a touch of malice, to be sure - that it will be the geek who gets trampled this time around the track as well.

Re:Not a paradox (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631943)

The world is stampeding to by the BSD based iPhone though. They like the shiny interface. The difference is marketing.

The sizzle and the steak (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29634193)

The world is stampeding to by the BSD based iPhone though. They like the shiny interface. The difference is marketing.

I doubt that a bare 1% of the iPhone market knows or cares about the *nix roots of the OS.

But you are quite right to say that they care about the iPhone's UI. That is where they spend their time.

They also care about the iPhone app. [apple.com]

That it comes with the Apple stamp of approval. That is clearly and attractively presented to the iPhone shopper.

This is where branding and marketing can reap huge benefits.

FOSS began as a development model.

To many it has become an ideological, religious, or political commitment.

The door that slams on the Seventh Day Adventist is often open to the Fuller Brush salesman.

Too often what FOSS is not is a market-oriented product that can stand on its own as best-of-breed.

That is where the geek's contempt for the "shiny interface" comes into play.

 

Re:Not a paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29631729)

The OLPC is a stupid idea, because it's based on the assumption that the needs of poor kids in Africa are unique.

Whoever said anything about OLPC being for Africa?

Re:Not a paradox (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29633717)

A man who goes to a hardware store to buy a power drill doesn't really need a drill. He needs holes. The customer is always right.

Does anyone really actually give a shit about this (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29630123)

anymore? In the classic Innovator's Opportunity, netbooks have pretty much rendered this thing completely useless. They do pretty much the same thing(are actually better in some areas), for about the same price, sans all the smugness.

Re:Does anyone really actually give a shit about t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29630307)

Hey, it's the weekend on /. I'm on my 4th Yoo-hoo, I think I might reboot the server just for fun (tee-hee), and I'm looking for someone to play some DukeNukem3D with!

Re:Does anyone really actually give a shit about t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29631475)

I'll start up a DN3D server and wait for you to log on. My hostname is: 2130706433

PixelQi isn't (just) about OLPC (4, Informative)

schwaang (667808) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630393)

According to the interview, Pixel Qi are still supporting OLPC, but they aren't designing just for -- or even primarily for OLPC any longer. It is neat that kids in Africa were the first market for the new display technology, but we're going to see the newer Pixel Qi stuff in commercial netbooks long before the XO-2 is out, most likely.

The newest stuff does full color in direct sun, and apparently the generation after this will cut power consumption by a bunch.

Re:PixelQi isn't (just) about OLPC (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29630473)

The newest stuff does full color in direct sun, and apparently the generation after this will cut power consumption by a bunch.

Yes, and if you believed everything that Mary Lou Jepson has been saying over the past year or so, we should have seen Pixel Qi screens in laptops/netbooks by now. And yet there still hasn't even been an announcement of a device that will use the screen in the semi-near future. I'm sure it will come eventually, but I don't exactly expect it to live up to the hype that it's been getting, especially since the only one that's really hyping it up is Mary Lou Jepson.

Re:PixelQi isn't (just) about OLPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29630763)

You can watch the full-sun demo video, no hype necessary.

Re:PixelQi isn't (just) about OLPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29631315)

I've watched the video. It looked fairly washed out. Yes, it's better than regular LCD, but exactly how much better remains to be seen. Remember that that was also only A SINGLE prototype. For all we know, that's all they've ever made. And again, if you listened to what she was saying, these should supposedly already be in laptops and netbooks by now. But I understand it's very convenient to ignore the rest of her message. I don't suppose you're still waiting for Duke Nukem Forever, too, are you?

Re:PixelQi isn't (just) about OLPC (2, Interesting)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632177)

To hell with netbooks.
The real market for this will be automobile dashboards.

Re:Does anyone really actually give a shit about t (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630489)

You have a point, but I'm not sure if the original (laudable, perhaps naive or misplaced) aims of the original OLPC project were just about the hardware.
Since it's /., let's use a car analogy; Electric cars, (100% ones, not hybrids), will require significant changes to infrastructure. For that matter, so will fuel-cell ones.
That part of the OLPC project somehow got lost in the 'wow - we're gonna make a better mini-PC and OS' debate...

Re:Does anyone really actually give a shit about t (1)

Varkias (631272) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631613)

Speaking of smugness ... *ahem* I find this fascinating, especially the part about making LCD screens easier for reading and watching video while increasing battery life. When she mentions that the increases to battery life will start coming next year it makes me wonder if Apple is working with Pixel Qi on their rumored Mac Tablet.

Re:Does anyone really actually give a shit about t (2, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#29633347)

The sad part is OLPC could have cornered the netbook market before any of the competition knew it existed. It is so obvious that OLPC should have released a consumer version (say in black with slighty modified specs and form factor). It would have sold by the shit ton and helped fund the educational arm.

Instead OLPC twiddled its thumbs and Asus, Acer and others stole the market from right under them. I still think OLPC could salvage something by doing a commercial variant. After all, it still has some advantages over the competition, not least of which its designed for kids. Lots of parents would buy an OLPC for their kid if they could walk into Toys R Us and buy one off the shelf.

Re:Does anyone really actually give a shit about t (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635017)

I absolutely agree. It is possible to find laptops that can be taken outside, say Panasonic's Toughbooks - not at all cheap. The market is a niche because it is aimed at people like the military or the largest construction companies. Unfortunately, they are a tad expensive to be used for many other outdoor persuits like field research.

A commercial OLPC for adults that was aimed at the low-end of the Toughbook territory, in other words, a hardened netbook would have been extremely successful for all kinds of low-end commercial stuff like data logging etc or even more general outdoor use.

As for kids, why not just a partnership eith Fischer Price or something?

Uruguay (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630175)

Here the laptops were finished to deploy in all public (and a few private) schools of the country last month afaik. Not sure in how much other countries was so widely deployed. But for having "the perfect" ebook device with most school children it still don't look like is being taking advantage of that fact around here, or at least is a bit too slow yet, and i mean both from the public/education sector as from the private one.

If only we could get these with a decent CPU... (4, Interesting)

mellon (7048) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630261)

One of these screens with a low-power ARM CPU motherboard would be a really sweet geek laptop. It seems like that could hit a price that would be attractive to a lot of people while performing well enough to actually be useful. But all we're hearing from Pixel Qi at the moment is silence, and I'm betting the first laptop to come with this screen, if one ever does, will have an Atom CPU and run Windows. I wonder if Pixel Qi would be willing to sell these in hobbyist quantities... :'}

Microsoft feels that pain: "we want XP not Vista" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29630637)

In order to get adoption of Win7 they're including an "XP Mode". Sometimes your existing customers don't want innovation because what you made before is "good enough".

Re:Microsoft feels that pain: "we want XP not Vist (2, Informative)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631407)

"XP mode" just lets you run older programs for which the developers haven't cranked out a Windows 7 patch/version yet. It's not like you can just dual-boot XP and ignore you have 7 or something.

Re:Microsoft feels that pain: "we want XP not Vist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29631995)

Point is they're doing it different than Vista for a reason.

Re:Microsoft feels that pain: "we want XP not Vist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29638581)

Well, Microsoft fucked up with Vista. To their credit Microsoft looked at the reasons Vista wasn't being adopted and decided to fix them. I guess that means they added in XP mode (but only for business versions) for compatibility with older software, they should have done this in Vista but didn't. XP mode just lets customers who want to upgrade but have apps that only run on XP to upgrade. I don't think it's going to do much to get people who are happy with XP to upgrade.

Re:Microsoft feels that pain: "we want XP not Vist (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632999)

The funny thing is that this is on topic because the Innovator's Dilemma is strongly based around people thinking that things are good enough and an innovator cutting back in the overshooting areas and instead focusing efforts on either the price or other areas (or even both). The netbooks are an example of where laptops were overshooting the customer and the smaller machines brought benefits through their size, the incumbent companies brushed it off as weak crap but the customers didn't really need more than that. Meanwhile the netbooks are growing in capability and eating into the full sized laptop market.

Re:Microsoft feels that pain: "we want XP not Vist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29637935)

That's an interesting take, it's like the scaling-back of capability (resulting in benefits of lower cost, longer battery life, and "good enough" functionality) *is* the innovation. That may be true of a Dell mini (aside from any extra effort to make things smaller), but for the OLPC there was certainly other innovation on top of that (the display, mesh, UI, security model, etc.).

Re:Microsoft feels that pain: "we want XP not Vist (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29638083)

Yes, there's always another innovation involved. Whether it's a new business model or a new technology, it's usually something that further reduces the cost or massively increases the product's appeal (think Wii motion controls). A crucial part is that the innovation must look harmless to the incumbent by performing pretty badly compared to existing products by the old metrics and going where the incumbent doesn't WANT to go (telephone vs telegraph, the telephone was seen as inferior and unfit for the telegraph's customers at first).

Then the incumbent will not fight and instead cede markets that are contested until the challenger takes up a dangerous amount of marketshare. Then the incumbent usually counterattacks by attempting to co-opt the invention. If the asymmetry of motivation is properly in place the incumbent will not be willing to really deliver what he perceives as an inferior device and we see cramming: The incumbent attempts to build the innovation into his existing product (perfect example: Sony Sixaxis controller, motion controls crammed into a controller shape that did not compromise its old functionality one bit while the Wiimote was designed to be easier to wield in one hand) instead of designing something new and entirely fit for the challenger's market. The incumbent's steps make the most business sense from his perspective but the inevitable result is that he is marginalized while the challenger eats more and more of the incumbent's market.

It fails if the asymmetry of motivation doesn't exist, if the incumbent has no reason to avoid the primary values that the challenger is pushing, a suspected example here is the Flip vs the iPod, Apple sees the value in a really simple camcorder and thus will not fail to offer the key values that the Flip's customers are looking for.

The funny thing is that the incumbent will be perceived to be too big to fail and when a recession comes along that tends to break the shaky financial situation of disrupted incumbents they often end up bankrupt.

Re:Microsoft feels that pain: "we want XP not Vist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29638467)

I have a feeling this template gets more complicated when the innovation involves cross-domain (for lack of better word) involvement - like the way the iPhone depends on both Apple's hardware/software platform AND AT&T's network. I'm not thinking yet of a specific scenario that fits this innovation-incumbent-assymetry, but I know the iPhone seems to *want* to innovate past what AT&T perceives as good for itself.

A not well thought out idea in that direction: technologically, it's ridiculous that text (SMS) messages cost separately when an all-you-can eat data plan is already in place. The iPhone could certainly use data to gateway those messages at no cost to the user (at least in-network) and no strain (maybe *less* strain) on AT&T's network. But AT&T sees gold in the old pay-per-text paradigm from before data was available.

It would take heavy leverage on Apple's part to get AT&T to allow the iPhone to gate SMS over data at no charge to the user. Yet the user can Skype IM for free. Something is "wrong" there.

Other big "cross-domain" complications come from government involvement. The EU's idea of antitrust V. Microsoft e.g., or net neutrality (which could be looked at as trying to un-complicate a scenario like the iPhone+AT&T one).

And then you have the recent example of Saturn's demise, where their innovation was to be like the parent company's real external threat, Japanese manufacturers. So it was hampered from within. (GM is^H^H was big enough to have conflicts under the same roof, with the incumbent portion undercutting their own effort to address an innovative threat.)

Food for thought...

Pernicious OLPC (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29630813)

Please, please look at http://perniciousolpc.wordpress.com/ and comment.

Hard figures (4, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630947)

I've read lots of vague new stories about this over the past few months and seen lots of videos but I'd like them to just release some proper technical specs without having to parse a collection of transcribed press releases and watch dull 10 minute videos.

how much exactly does a screen cost at each size?
Resolution at each size or DPI?
response time?
Power usage in W?

Re:Hard figures (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 4 years ago | (#29633767)

We can infer this from the video:

Cost - must be comparable with normal LCDs for Acer to be interested in it.

Resolution - the netbook shown looks to be at least 1280x960, maybe more. Look at the size of the task bar and icons.

Response time - the video shows page flipping to be almost instant, probably limited by the CPU more than the screen.

Power usage - unknown, but presumably good if they are comparing it to a Kindle and using it in the XO.

Can we cut the crap and just deliver the screens? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29631103)

I'm not interested in your philosophy. When can I buy your product without jumping through OLPC's hoops?

Argh, time-wasting videos (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631939)

These videos are excellent examples of why the internet shouldn't move to be video based.

I don't mind having an additional video, but for the love of all that is decent, create a decent article around the video's contents first that we can all read quickly, without the "sorry, my home lab is a bit crap" filler that wastes time.

Re:Argh, time-wasting videos (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#29633449)

I think it's a learning process. Just because people now don't know how to edit a snappy video doesn't mean that video is a dead end. Back in 1996 people didn't know how to design readable website, now those people are banned to myspace and the rest has either taken an active interest in web design or learned to work within standard web page conventions that have emerged since. Add to that things like an outline on the progress bar like in the TED videos, and most of the problems are solved.

Add closed captions (accessible to search engines please) so you can do without sound and you're on your way to video articles that are as useful as text.

There's an innovator's opportunity for you.

Re:Argh, time-wasting videos (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29634811)

To me, it's not just the quality of the video, it's that I would rather read than watch. A video is more passive, harder to follow, harder to grasp and remember details (at least for hard concepts or complicated issues), and takes a lot longer than reading. Pictures or videos added to illustrate a point in the article is fine (like showing a side-by-side comparison of screens), but I don't want to watch a lecture, I want to be able to read the information, skim through it if I choose, and take my time where I need to.
YMMV

Re:Argh, time-wasting videos (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29638051)

Yeah, that's exactly what I want.

Never mind the people that can't watch videos at work (even during lunchtimes, etc) due to the audio aspect.

Any innovators need a C++ programmer? (-1, Troll)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632157)

I will work for U.S. minimum wage, but I'm also highly skilled! I have 10 years of C++ as a hobby with demo code on request. Before that I coded for over 10 years in Basic. My email is: James_Sager_PA@yahoo.com. Subject: C++ Programmer

Re:Any innovators need a C++ programmer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29632365)

Enjoy your spam.

Old news (2, Insightful)

stasike (1063564) | more than 4 years ago | (#29633483)

You forgot to tag the article as "old news".

We have seen all those videos long time ago.

Re:Old news (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#29633509)

Well we haven't seen it but if this is as old as Your Highness seems to imply, then we would like to know when the video was made.

Now off with your head!

So has anyone seen these screens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29633529)

Is an olpc really easier to read a book on than a kindle screen?

LCD sub-pixel layouts, RGBW (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29634745)

I was recently looking into LCD sub-pixel layouts, and found that there are more than just RGB columns [alienryderflex.com] . For one, there's the same arrangement, but with every other row shifted horizontally by 1.5 sub-pixels [wikimedia.org] . This improves things because the spacing between like-colored sub-pixels is similar, no matter what direction; with columns, vertically they are right next to each other, while horizontally they're 3 sub-pixels apart. Others put twice as many greens [ias.edu] . There's even RGBW [diycalculator.com] , that adds white into the mix, to increase brightness and efficiency.

But the problem with all the alternate geometries is that you don't have pixels in a normal grid, so it seems that most computers will always be stuck with the sub-optimal grid arrangement. But for custom devices where there isn't lots of legacy software, they can use new arrangements. Things like cell phones and portable games fall into this category. It's very similar to the processor architecture issue, where personal computers are mostly stuck with x86, while others can use things like ARM, MIPS, PowerPC, etc.

Maybe this isn't exactly the "inventor's dilemma", but it reminded me of it.

Dead pixels (1)

kriston (7886) | more than 4 years ago | (#29636791)

I'm hoping the screen has improved enough to eliminate those annoying dead pixels.
I avoided my new G1G1 XOPC after the novelty wore off because of the dead pixels in full-color mode. They don't appear in reflective mode.
Why don't we pass a law that all laptops should have reflective mode?

Headache (1)

Fengpost (907072) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642429)

So, I presume this new LCD won't give me a headache after 12 hours looking at it?

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