What the Amazon Tablet Needs to Succeed

Amazon Tablet Rumor

The most talked-about Android tablet is one the manufacturer won’t talk about: Amazon’s upcoming device, which our columnist Tim Bajarin profiled recently. Bajarin is right: if done right, this tablet could be really disruptive, and Amazon has the best chance of any company so far to do well. Research firm Forrester says if Amazon succeeds, it could sell millions.

By coming into the tablet market later than some major competitors, Amazon can learn from their experiences. It can borrow from the Barnes & Noble Nook Color, the Kindle, and the best of the other Android tablets out there—while finally, hopefully, adopting a somewhat subsidized (but carrier-free) pricing model that frees it from competing dollar-for-dollar with the iPad.

Here are seven things I think the Amazon tablet really needs to take off.

A $249 price: Android tablets so far haven’t been able to compete with the iPad at the $500 price point, but there have been surprisingly brisk sales of low-priced, low-quality tablets. The $99 HP TouchPad also sold like gangbusters, but that was a fluke; HP lost a lot of money on that sale. If Amazon comes in at $249—the same price as the Nook Color—with a superior product, it will create a new market.

A one-handed design: Amazon’s tablet almost has to be seven inches, because you need to hold it in one hand while reading. The design should be focused on one-handed use—for instance, rather than being flat, the tablet could move its center of gravity towards the side being held in your hand.

A truly great screen for reading:Most tablet screens aren’t optimized for reading. They’re too bright, which is tiring on the eyes; they’re too reflective, which makes them hard to use outdoors; and they’re too power-hungry. Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color, the Amazon Tablet’s major competitor, does a decent job. But what we really need here is something like Pixel Qi, Qualcomm’s Mirasol, or another variety of transflective LCD.

The Honeycomb OS: Google’s Android guru, Andy Rubin, says Android 2.3 isn’t appropriate for tablets, yet low-end tablet manufacturers insist on continuing to put the phone-centric OS on their devices. The Amazon tablet must run Honeycomb, Google’s true tablet OS, out of the gate.

Amazon Appstore for Honeycomb: The way Amazon gets to $249 is by leveraging Amazon services, making tablet owners buy Amazon music and store files on Amazon Cloud Drive and hopefully sign up for Amazon Prime. Fortunately for Amazon, Google’s Android Market for Honeycomb is broken and hard to use. A well-run, Honeycomb-centric Amazon AppStore would not only supercharge Amazon’s tablet, it could be a winner on other Android tablets as well.

WhisperNet: Amazon already has deals with Sprint and AT&T to provide wireless coverage for Kindles. The company can extend Whispernet to its own tablets. Amazon should offer some limited coverage—for instance, using Amazon’s own services—for free, and then a reasonable selection of prepaid service plans. That gives the tablet 3G coverage without the carriers interfering with sales and updates.

Stability, smooth performance and feature completeness: This should go without saying, but it can’t in the frustrating world of Android tablets. The tablet must come with all of the features it’s promised with at launch, unlike the Motorola Xoom. It must be fast enough to perform smoothly, unlike the Pandigital Novel. And it must not crash.

via What the Amazon Tablet Needs to Succeed | News & Opinion | PCMag.com.

Biggest Collapse In Future Consumer Expectations … Ever

The Is The Way The Hopium Ends: Not With A Bang, But With The Biggest Collapse In Future Consumer Expectations… Ever

The charts below demonstrate the 6 month change in the 6 month forward looking Consumer Confidence outlook: in other words, this chart measure just how deceived US consumers have been by hopium consumption 6 months ago compared to reality now. In short: 2011 has been the most disappointing year for Americans in history. Whether it is due to excess hopium consumption or not… well, it is not irrelevant.

via ZeroHedge.

Science getting settled … the reality of global warming

Lawrence Solomon, National Post
Friday, Aug. 26, 2011

New, convincing evidence indicates global warming is caused by cosmic rays and the sun — not humans

The science is now all-but-settled on global warming, convincing new evidence demonstrates, but Al Gore, the IPCC and other global warming doomsayers won’t be celebrating. The new findings point to cosmic rays and the sun — not human activities — as the dominant controller of climate on Earth.

The research, published with little fanfare this week in the prestigious journal Nature, comes from über-prestigious CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, one of the world’s largest centres for scientific research involving 60 countries and 8,000 scientists at more than 600 universities and national laboratories. CERN is the organization that invented the World Wide Web, that built the multi-billion dollar Large Hadron Collider, and that has now built a pristinely clean stainless steel chamber that precisely recreated the Earth’s atmosphere.

In this chamber, 63 CERN scientists from 17 European and American institutes have done what global warming doomsayers said could never be done — demonstrate that cosmic rays promote the formation of molecules that in Earth’s atmosphere can grow and seed clouds, the cloudier and thus cooler it will be. Because the sun’s magnetic field controls how many cosmic rays reach Earth’s atmosphere (the stronger the sun’s magnetic field, the more it shields Earth from incoming cosmic rays from space), the sun determines the temperature on Earth.

The hypothesis that cosmic rays and the sun hold the key to the global warming debate has been Enemy No. 1 to the global warming establishment ever since it was first proposed by two scientists from the Danish Space Research Institute, at a 1996 scientific conference in the U.K. Within one day, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Bert Bolin, denounced the theory, saying, “I find the move from this pair scientifically extremely naive and irresponsible.” He then set about discrediting the theory, any journalist that gave the theory cre dence, and most of all the Danes presenting the theory — they soon found themselves vilified, marginalized and starved of funding, despite their impeccable scientific credentials.

The mobilization to rally the press against the Danes worked brilliantly, with one notable exception. Nigel Calder, a former editor of The New Scientist who attended that 1996 conference, would not be cowed. Himself a physicist, Mr. Calder became convinced of the merits of the argument and a year later, following a lecture he gave at a CERN conference, so too did Jasper Kirkby, a CERN scientist in attendance. Mr. Kirkby then convinced the CERN bureaucracy of the theory’s importance and developed a plan to create a cloud chamber — he called it CLOUD, for “Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets.”

But Mr. Kirkby made the same tactical error that the Danes had — not realizing how politicized the global warming issue was, he candidly shared his views with the scientific community.

“The theory will probably be able to account for somewhere between a half and the whole of the increase in the Earth’s temperature that we have seen in the last century,” Mr. Kirkby told the scientific press in 1998, explaining that global warming may be part of a natural cycle in the Earth’s temperature.

The global warming establishment sprang into action, pressured the Western governments that control CERN, and almost immediately succeeded in suspending CLOUD. It took Mr. Kirkby almost a decade of negotiation with his superiors, and who knows how many compromises and unspoken commitments, to convince the CERN bureaucracy to allow the project to proceed. And years more to create the cloud chamber and convincingly validate the Danes’ groundbreaking theory.

Yet this spectacular success will be largely unrecognized by the general public for years — this column will be the first that most readers have heard of it — because CERN remains too afraid of offending its government masters to admit its success. Weeks ago, CERN formerly decided to muzzle Mr. Kirby and other members of his team to avoid “the highly political arena of the climate change debate,” telling them “to present the results clearly but not interpret them” and to downplay the results by “mak[ing] clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters.” The CERN study and press release is written in bureaucratese and the version of Mr. Kirkby’s study that appears in the print edition of Nature censored the most eye-popping graph — only those who know where to look in an online supplement will see the striking potency of cosmic rays in creating the conditions for seeding clouds.

CERN, and the Danes, have in all likelihood found the path to the Holy Grail of climate science. But the religion of climate science won’t yet permit a celebration of the find.

Financial Post

LawrenceSolomon@nextcity.com

- Lawrence Solomon is executive director of [external] Energy Probe and author of The Deniers: The world-renowned scientists who stood up against global warming hysteria, political persecution, and fraud.

First of two parts. Next week: The end of the global warming debate.

To see the striking graph that the journal Nature withheld from its print edition, click [external] here.

via Lawrence Solomon: Science getting settled.

Thomas Hoenig (Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President)

Inquiring minds may wish to play the Bloomberg Interview With Hoenig

The opening part of this interview is a bit of cheerleading for the Fed, not started by Hoenig, but by Bloomberg’s Michael McKee.

  • Crises vs Problems: “Crises are dealt with in the moment, problems are dealt with in the long run. We have a problem. It’s time to look to the long run.”
  • Overnight Crises Far as the Eye Can See: “If we do not turn to the long run we will be dealing with overnight crises as far as the eye can see. “
  • On Monetary Policy: “We need to provide an environment where people can make decisions, where price signals mean something. We can’t do it all. Monetary policy is a tool that can’t solve every problem in America or the globe today. The Sooner we turn our attention to to the long-term the more adequate will be the solution.”
  • On Stable Prices: “There is nothing inconsistent with stable prices and full employment. Stable prices is a necessary condition for that [full employment] and when you get away from that you introduce instability into the market.”
  • On Full Employment: “Full employment follows a stable monetary policy and a stable fiscal policy. That’s an outcome, not an input”. Michael McKee “Can you target unemployment with monetary policy?” Hoenig “No, I don’t think you can and I don’t think you should.”
  • On Savings Rate: “One of the things in this country we have don’t for two decades now, we’ve consistently consumed more than we produced. That is not sustainable. We had a savings rate that was allowed to go to zero, that is not sustainable.”
  • On Policy Choices: “So what are the policy choices going to be to over time allow our economy to become rebalanced, to produce more, to better balance ourselves with the rest of the world?”


This was a stunning interview, far better than anyone might have ever hoped for from a Fed Governor. Bernanke should listen, but he won’t. Congress should hear, but they won’t. Obama should listen but he won’t either.

via Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis: Fed’s Hoenig Says “Fed Can’t Do It All, No Reason for Operation Twist to Work”, Focus Should Shift to Fixing U.S. Fiscal Woes.

Axel Merk Remains Bullish on the Euro

“We believe this crisis is very real [and] won’t be over tomorrow, next month or next year,” he says. “There is no silver bullet.”

Still, Merk takes solace in the efforts being undertaken in Europe both at the sovereign and individual bank levels. While “ugly, chaotic” and painful in the short-term, he believes this process will put the eurozone on steadier footing and bolster the euro.

The euro looks particularly good to Merk relative to the dollar as he sees few signs the U.S. is seriously tackling its long-term deficit issues. Thanks to the Fed’s efforts, Treasury rates are artificially low which is giving U.S. policymakers a reprieve from making tough choices.

While the Fed continues its policy of money-printing and quantitative easing, “the eurozone is on the other side of the trade,” he says. “Printing and spending less money will cause a lot of pain but it will give you a stronger euro. “

via Europe’s in Crisis But Axel Merk Remains Bullish on the Euro | Daily Ticker – Yahoo! Finance.

Microsoft Looks Very Attractive Before The Windows 8.0 Release

It seems that nobody loves Microsoft (MSFT) anymore. A pile of bad decisions and no breakthrough products over the past several years have kept the stock moving sideways since March, 2003. At that time, the stock was trading at $24.67, basically the same closing price as yesterday at $24.72 (08/23/2011). This is a seven-year ride of the stock going nowhere, making it the best example of a value trap in recent history.

via Microsoft Looks Very Attractive Before The Windows 8.0 Release – Seeking Alpha.

The Greatest Trade of All Time (Kevin Bambrough)

Kevin Bambrough runs Sprott Resource Corp (SCP.TO), one of my favourite investments

 

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08/23/11 On its way to becoming the world’s greatest superpower, the United States pulled off some truly remarkable trades.

Two notable transactions come to mind and were both outstanding bargains.

  • The Louisiana Purchase (purchased from the French)
  • Alaska (purchased from the Russians)

For a mere $15 million, America instantly doubled its size with the 1803 purchase of the Louisiana territory. Sixty-four years later, oil- and mineral-rich Alaska was obtained for a paltry $7.2 million. Even adjusting for inflation, the combined value of these deals in today’s dollars would be very small. However, these two transactions pale in comparison to the greatest trade of all time, one which remains ongoing.

via The Greatest Trade of All Time.

and his punchline is:

History has shown us that fiat currencies always suffer the same fate and eventually become worthless. Despite this fact, we continue to exist in a purely fiat world clinging to the promise that this time will be different. It is hard to predict exactly when people will awaken from this mass delusion in faith-based assets. But, it is certain that in these times it is wise to avoid gambling your wealth in faith-based assets when the system that you must trust has a clear history of being untrustworthy. We therefore advise you to question your faith and know what you own.

Michael Pettis: Long-Term Outlook for China, Europe, and the World; 12 Global Predictions

Remember that the process of adjustment is a political one. We all know someone has to pay for the massive adjustment countries like Spain must make. The only interesting question is about who will be forced to take the brunt of the payment – workers in the form of unemployment, the middle classes in the form of confiscated savings, small businesses in the form of taxes, large businesses in the form of taxes and nationalization, foreigners, or creditors.

Deciding who pays is a political process, and because the stakes are so high it will be a very bitter process. This means, among other things, that politics will degenerate quickly.

 

To summarize, my predictions are:

  1. BRICs and other developing countries have not decoupled in any meaningful sense, and once the current liquidity-driven investment boom subsides the developing world will be hit hard by the global crisis.
  2. Over the next two years Chinese household consumption will continue declining as a share of GDP.
  3. Chinese debt levels will continue to rise quickly over the rest of this year and next.
  4. Chinese growth will begin to slow sharply by 2013-14 and will hit an average of 3% well before the end of the decade.
  5. Any decline in GDP growth will disproportionately affect investment and so the demand for non-food commodities.
  6. If the PBoC resists interest rate cuts as inflation declines, China may even begin slowing in 2012.
  7. Much slower growth in China will not lead to social unrest if China meaningfully rebalances.
  8. Within three years Beijing will be seriously examining large-scale privatization as part of its adjustment policy.
  9. European politics will continue to deteriorate rapidly and the major political parties will either become increasingly radicalized or marginalized.
  10. Spain and several countries, perhaps even Italy (but probably not France) will be forced to leave the euro and restructure their debt with significant debt forgiveness.
  11. Germany will stubbornly (and foolishly) refuse to bear its share of the burden of the European adjustment, and the subsequent retaliation by the deficit countries will cause German growth to drop to zero or negative for many years.
  12. Trade protection sentiment in the US will rise inexorably and unemployment stays high for a few more years.

via Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis: Michael Pettis: Long-Term Outlook for China, Europe, and the World; 12 Global Predictions.

‘You Need This Dirty Word, Euro Bonds’ (George Soros)

i don’t agree with a lot Soros says, but his thoughts are a clear roadmap to what politicians are being pressured towards … but even if they succeed in creating these EuroBonds,  for how long will German citizens willingly fund Greek/Spanish/Italian generous social security? or how will those countries react to Germans dictating which social policies are allowable? either way this is going to get ugly

Billionaire US investor George Soros on the plagued euro: "The politicians have not really tried to fix any crisis; they have so far only tried to buy time."

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REUTERS

Billionaire US investor George Soros on the plagued euro: “The politicians have not really tried to fix any crisis; they have so far only tried to buy time.”

In a SPIEGEL interview, billionaire investor George Soros criticizes Germany’s lack of leadership in the euro zone, arguing that Berlin must dictate to Europe the solution to the currency crisis. He also argues in favor of the creation of euro bonds as a way out of the turbulence.

via SPIEGEL Interview with George Soros: ‘You Need This Dirty Word, Euro Bonds’ – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International.