Thursday, October 14, 2010

App Inventor Experiment - Advanced Tutorials Ahoy

With Maria flying through the basic tutorials (when time permits), she has completed the first of the advanced tutorials Mole Mash. After a few hairy moments like understanding why one global variable was being assigned to the other and the purpose of assigning a value to a global value that never changes, she was at the end of her tutorial staring with uncertainty at the extra activities. Oh yes dear readers, you heard correctly, not only must she work through the tutorials but she must also create solutions to the extra exercises at the end, and of course, all without help.

After some frustration, head scratching and me fighting the almost overpowering urge to rip the keyboard away from her and do it myself, she had completed the extra activities and was playing her first self created Android game. Unfortunately it was at that point she started to promptly shut up be quiet so she could beat the hell out of the poor defenceless mole.

Now onto some concerning observations. I am starting to witness some troubling changes in the participant. It is my observation that with every successful tutorial she completes her head size increases in size by a small fraction. Even more of concern is that the participant has starting to consider herself as an Android developer. Recently she has even gone to such lengths as to verbalize such a thing. I suppose this was likely to happen eventually, but in such a short time period? Maybe I should stop this before her head becomes so big that she can no longer fit through doors.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

T-Touch Tab - Telstra Steps Into The Fray

In the last couple of weeks Telstra has announced it is gearing up to step foot into the oncoming tablet war. Jumping on the back of the iPad frenzy it hopes to cut itself a piece of the market.

According to representatives, the T-Touch Tabs release will be close to that of the Galaxy Tab, which is arguably a good strategic move considering the T-Touch Tab is much more reasonably priced at around $299.

The big question is, will it be successful?

To try to answer that lets start with what Telstra has in it's favour.

The Network

It's undeniable that Telstra has the most extensive and reliable network reaching all over Australia. When people join the NextG network they know that in all but the most remote places they will have reliable internet access and a strong signal. Played right this should be a boon for Telstra's chances. The T-Touch Tab paired with a generous data plan should see the become a solid consideration.

Existing Customers

The other strength Telstra have is its existing customers and potential discounting. If customers can receive an extra discount for adding a T-Touch Tab onto their plan it may be the subtle push Telstra need to point them in the T-Touch Tabs direction. It may even sway some companies to pick up a few discounted tablets for trial.

Unfortunately, at least in my mind, that's as far as Telstra's advantages go. Now lets address some of the difficulties they will have walking into the oncoming war.

Customer Support

The first difficulty I see is Telstra's image and their track record in the area of customer support. It's no secret that Telstra has been on the receiving end of public customer complaints for quite some time. This however, becomes a considerable disadvantage when selling general consumer technology, even more so when you're competing against Apple and Dell who not only have a solid customer service reputation but also have a good head start. Consumers want to be sure that when things go wrong they can rely on the support of the company to get things right again. It will be a tough ask for Telstra to convince customers it is up to the job.

The Stand Out Factor

The other problem Telstra is facing is the stand out factor. Apple has been extremely successful in riding the cool factor. Love or hate Apple they know what the majority of consumers want and they provide it very well. Telstra's doesn't really have that and I honestly doubt Telstra's ability to come up with anything that has a promising wow factor. I'd love to be proven wrong but I think in the end the T-Touch Tab will be lost amongst the umpteen other tablets coming onto the market.

Final Thoughts

The tablet market is pipped to be saturated with many tablets coming to the market at around the same time. Telstra will be competing with companies who have long pockets and are veterans when it comes to competing in the general consumer technology market. Whether Telstra can be competitive in this market is unknown. One thing is for sure, they have a tough fight ahead of them.