The iPhone Competitor That Works Like Amazon

For the past few years we Apple watchers have been treated to a daily beating from the technorati elite, market prognosticators, and media gurus of how Apple is doomed because every smartphone and tablet maker sells cheaper products.

Last year’s darling of the industry was Samsung. This year Samsung’s profits have collapsed at the hands of yet another, newer darling of the industry, Xiaomi, a four-year-old company from China which blatantly steals designs from Apple, and sells the cheapest of cheap smartphones and tablets, mostly in India and China.

Xiaomi is a private company that is growing quickly, valued by some at $10-billion (vs. Apple at about $640-billion), but has yet to provide a return on investment or a profit of substance. In fact, last year Xiaomi recorded a meager $56-million profit. That’s about one-third of what Apple earned in a single day.

Doesn’t that make Xiaomi much like Amazon? A rapid growth company that’s intent on spending investor money to push market share, but doesn’t have a plan in the works for profits or long term sustainability. The Apple critic conglomerate puts up Xiaomi as the example of a company that, David and Goliath style, will fell the Cupertino giant. In a year or two. Soon. Someday. When the company leaves China for the rest of the world. Any day now. Just wait. You’ll see.

That sounds much like the excuses we’ve all heard about Amazon through the years.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi now is banned in India for theft of intellectual property, so that’s likely to put a dent in the company’s world domination plans, which, oddly enough, don’t seem to include countries with tougher intellectual property laws.

Here’s the problem when the technorati elite, market prognosticators, and media gurus push cheap knockoff manufacturers to a higher-than-earned profile in the smartphone and tablet industry. They never really make it to the top. Just like Amazon never became anything more than a big online bully, a huge retailer that sells everything, but nothing at a profit. Just like Amazon, Xiaomi’s business model is only sustainable as long as there are investors willing to prop it up. The business model of cheap at any expense is not sustainable under its own weight.

In the U.S. it’s been Wall Street that both pushed and propped up Amazon. For Xiaomi, a single investor owns nearly over 75-percent of the company, an owner obviously hoping that marketshare growth will result in a sweet buyout offer from a major industry competitor a few years down the road.

Meanwhile, whether it’s personal computers, smartphones, tablets, applications, or retail outlets, Apple retains the marketshare lead in the only category that matters. Profit.

Microsoft Update Blunders Out Of Control

Larry Seltzer tracks a list of recent update blunders from Microsoft.

This isn’t the first time I’ve brought this up. In Summer of last year Microsoft had buggy Patch Tuesday updates three months in a row. There had been others that year, some of which crippled systems.

Some of the most recent issues struck our office in Manhattan, including updates to Microsoft Word, and problems with Exchange and Outlook. But Apple doesn’t rise above issues with updates, either as this recent piece by Gordon Kelly points out.

iOS 8.1.2 isn’t the major fix users still plagued by ongoing iOS 8 problems have been hoping for. iOS 8.1.1 released in November fixed bugs for many users, but swathes of users remain affected by issues ranging from crippled WiFi (a main support thread for this is now over 93 pages long), Bluetooth bugs stopping connection to headsets and car kits and chronic battery drain. In this context Apple’s decision to address a ringtones bug first will no doubt cause anger, regardless of whether it is low hanging fruit.

Android updates are notorious for bricking phones, so it appears that updates are a problem everywhere.

Beers American’s Don’t Drink Anymore

I love a good, cold beer, but haven’t seen a few of these in years. Alexander E.M. Hess:

While the last few years have been difficult for many large brewers, they, too, have been introducing new products that combine well-known brand names with new concepts that appeal to consumers. In recent years, Anheuser-Busch has introduced Bud Light Platinum, a higher alcohol content beer with a sweeter flavor; Bud Light Ritas, a margarita-inspired malt beverage; and Shock Top, its own take on craft beer. As of last year, these three brands had captured 2% of the overall beer market.

The list does not match the title of the article because all of those on the list commonly are available for purchase, but sales are going down.

  • Miller High Life
  • Miller Light
  • Budweiser
  • Milwaukee’s Best Light
  • Milwaukee’s Best
  • Miller Genuine Draft
  • Budweiser Select

My favorite is Michelob Ultra chilled to the point just below ice slivers.

Why Apple Doesn’t Care

A close friend pointed out that Apple TV is lame, neglected, and as close to abandonware as a tech company product can get. At least, when Apple TV in its current incarnation is compared to the likes of Google Chromecast, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV Stick. He was right, of course, but I had two simple replies.

The first was ‘One word– AirPlay.’

The second was, ‘Apple doesn’t care.’

AirPlay is typical Apple, and, frankly, at least for me and many others, worthy of the price of admission all by itself. AirPlay works so much better than the clumsy, cumbersome, and somewhat similar options from other add-on TV boxes, but it’s almost as if Apple uses AirPlay as a filler feature, tacked on to mask the minimal channel selection, and the fact that Apple TV, though a hobby, isn’t exactly catching the television industry by surprise and hasn’t caught the fancy of the great unwashed TV viewing masses.

Why not?

Apple doesn’t care.

Why not?

The first thing to understand about Apple TV is where it fits in Apple’s scheme of things. It’s a hobby. A profitable hobby, but total sales numbers and profits don’t amount to much more than a rounding error on some spreadsheet in the Cupertino HQ.

The second thing to understand about Apple TV is how the TV industry works, vs. the music industry, and why Apple was able to dominate on one, but barely scratch the surface of the other. There’s no money in selling TVs, so don’t expect Apple to go there. The money is in content production, distribution, and advertising, and Apple TV can distribute but not much more than that.

The third thing to understand about Apple regarding Apple TV is the company’s patience. Apple has the wherewithal and discipline to wait until market conditions and technology mature appropriately so the company can leverage current products and new technology to its advantage.

What some may view as Apple’s inattention or neglect of Apple TV; as more proof the company isn’t innovating as much, can also be viewed as extreme discipline as the company gears up to make a splash in an industry that’s long overdue for some kick-butt changes.

So, does Apple care about Apple TV? Yes. And no. Apple probably makes more money with Apple TV than competitors, but none of the products in that industry segment are catching anyone’s hair on fire, so maybe we should give Apple the benefit of the doubt, and simply suspect they might be working on something that is far better than what we can buy for $99 or less.

The iMac is a mature product line, but who was expecting a 5k Retina display with that price tag? Apple tends to surprise us with something new and different every year or so. I’m waiting.

Who Says iPad Air 2 Is The Best Tablet?

Android Police:

The Air 2 is reliable, predictable, and very fast. iOS still has some tablet experience apps lacking Android equivalents, too, and while Android tablets do have some advantages (like a better Gmail app BY FAR), the iPad remains a no-brainer for me. If it’s my money being spent on a tablet, I’m going to buy the one I know is going to live up to a standard of quality – the iPad has been the gold standard in tablets since it was unveiled, and that hasn’t changed. I don’t see it changing any time soon, either.

Ouch. Or, rather, bravo!

What ‘Back to the Future: Part II’ Got Wrong

Jordan Zakarin tracked down what we have in the 21st century vs. what ‘Back to the Future’ predicted would be here.

A company called Arx Pax launched a Kickstarter to finance development of a new magnetic technology that, among other things, would make possible a semi-functioning version of the hover-boards featured in Back to the Future Part II.

So, no overboard at Target, yet. What else?

  • No Mr. Fusion
  • No Flying Cars
  • No Self Adjusting, Drying Jacket
  • No Holographic Movies
  • No Cubs Winning the World Series

No one predicted Apple’s resurrection, either.

15 Best Burgers

Everyone has a list of something. Here’s a new one for best burgers from Liz Childers. Only one New York burger joint on the list, the Bowery Meat Company in the East Village.

Walking To The Apple Store

I work in Manhattan, just a few blocks from Apple’s flagship retail store. I live in Brooklyn, not far from Williamsburg which gets an Apple Store next spring. NYPost:

The tech-products powerhouse has signed a long-term lease for a 20,000-square-foot store at 247 Bedford Ave. at the corner of North 3rd Street, brokerage community sources definitively revealed. It will be Apple’s long-awaited first Brooklyn location… The two-story brick structure, a few blocks from the Bedford Avenue L station, is getting a whole new look, featuring dramatic, arched windows, to be completed in April 2015.


I’m Not The Only One Who Thinks Google, Facebook, And Amazon Are Getting More Creepy

Here’s Apple’s CEO Tim Cook and his description of how Apple can be differentiated from other technology giants.

When an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product.

Obviously, Cook’s statement was aimed at the likes of Google, Facebook, and to a lesser extent Amazon, but the clarity is pure Apple.

Apple has hundreds of millions of customers and works diligently to satisfy their needs. Google and Facebook’s customers are advertisers. Though financially successful, there’s an obvious misalignment going on; a strange conflation of user, customer, and product, sufficient that executives from Google, Facebook, and Amazon don’t want you to know about, and will defend any attempts to publicize it, up to and including the spread of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD).

Facebook’s Zuckerberg:

A frustration I have is that a lot of people increasingly seem to equate an advertising business model with somehow being out of alignment with your customers. I think it’s the most ridiculous concept. What, you think because you’re paying Apple that you’re somehow in alignment with them? If you were in alignment with them, then they’d make their products a lot cheaper.

See the problem? Zuckerberg is defending an indefensible position, conflating customer and user and product in an obviously creepy way. That got me to thinking about how modern technology giants, in this case Google, Facebook, and to a slightly lesser extent, Amazon, have disrupted the once clear differentiation between users, customers, and products.

In other words, Google, Facebook, and Amazon are becoming more creepy. I wonder why.

Google’s former CEO and adult supervisor, Eric Schmidt:

There’s such an overwhelming amount of information now, we can search where you are, see what you’re looking at if you take a picture with your camera. One way to think about this is, we’re trying to make people better people, literally give them better ideas—augmenting their experience. Think of it as augmented humanity.

Creepy, no?

Facebook is in a similar position. The company tracks who you are, where you are, what you say, who you say it to, what you see, and can aggregate all that information to form a profile about you which is then sold to advertisers, Facebook’s real customers.

Amazon’s position is slightly different, but equally creepy. Amazon’s customers buy from Amazon, but Amazon tracks who you are, where you are, what you view, what you search for, why you buy, when you buy, and aggregates all that information to form a profile about you so it can better serve you by trying to sell you more products in tune with your wants and needs.

Amazon’s two latest technology gadgets are the new Echo and the smartphone flop, Fire Phone. Both devices can listen to what you say, store that information so Amazon’s profile of you grows, perhaps more accurately every day. Why? To better serve you more products to buy.

To a growing extent, Google, Facebook, and Amazon have reached a point where their pervasiveness and public goal is as obvious as the title of the short story by Damon Knight, ‘To Serve Man.’

That brings up another question. Are the co-founders and executives of Google, Facebook, and Amazon– Paige, Schmidt, Zuckerberg, Bezos– merely 21st century descendants or perhaps proxies of the Kanamit race?

Facebook Frustration

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg needs to keep a PR flack nearby at all times.

A frustration I have is that a lot of people increasingly seem to equate an advertising business model with somehow being out of alignment with your customers. I think it’s the most ridiculous concept. What, you think because you’re paying Apple that you’re somehow in alignment with them? If you were in alignment with them, then they’d make their products a lot cheaper!

Facebook’s honcho was responding to Tim Cook’s view of customer vs. user:

When an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product.

Somehow Zuckerberg hasn’t figured out the difference between customer and user. Colleague Ron McElfresh differentiates the two.

Zuckerberg implies that Facebook users are customers (within the Facebook advertising business model). He’s wrong. As a Facebook user, you’re a user, not a customer. Zuckerberg wants to keep you happy so you’ll continued to use Facebook which gives the company something to sell to advertisers, but don’t mistake his response or argument for reasonable logic. It is not. It is self serving.

I can understand why Zuckerberg is so vain. After all, he’s worth billions, his company has no debt, over a billion users (not customers), and it’s profitable. So, everything he thinks or does must be correct, right?

Keys To Go

I bought a keyboard for my iPad Air. It’s the Logitech Keys To Go. Very thin, very light, modestly priced and feels much better to type than it looks (similar in looks to Microsoft’s Surface Pro keyboard), and fits inside my iPad’s neoprene case with ease. James Kendrick has a good review:

The Logitech Keys-To-Go has a layout like most laptops, so keys are exactly where you expect them to be. Spacing between keys is good. The keys you expect to be slightly bigger than the others are just that: the Delete, Return, Shift and CAPS LOCK keys. Unfortunately, there is no indicator LED to show when CAPS LOCK is activated, a minor quibble.

The Cut, Copy, and Paste functions are activated by pressing Fn-X, C, and V, respectively.

The top row has the expected iOS control keys which include Home, Search, and media controls. There is a battery key for checking remaining battery life. I take a lot of screenshots for work so I was pleased to see there is a dedicated key for doing that. There is also a key to take you to the multi-tasking overview, which is very handy.

Well done.

A $200 Chromebook Killer

Is it any wonder why Windows PC customers refuse to pay for higher quality PC hardware? It all runs Windows and prices start at about $200, including this HP model which aims to be a Chromebook killer. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes on the why:

Once upon a time netbooks led the way when it came to cheap notebooks. They gave people a low-cost mobile platform to do work on, and they came with the familiar Windows operating system.

But then netbooks sort of died away – partly because they were a bit rubbish, partly because the cost of the Windows operating system kept the price high, and partly due to pressure from smartphones and tablets. Then Google entered the arena with Chromebooks. These didn’t run Windows, but as more and more people switched rich apps for web apps, they worked.

And the how.

The $200 HP Stream 11 is the perfect device for someone wanting a small, low-cost Windows-powered device, as long as they are aware of the limitations that come from spending only $200 on the hardware.

$200 gets you:

  • 11.6-inch 1366 × 768 display
  • Windows 8.1 with Bing 64-bit
  • 2.16 GHz dual-core Intel Celeron N2840 CPU
  • Intel HD graphics
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 32GB of storage
  • 8 hour battery life (HP data, real-world testing suggests it is closer to 6 hours)
  • Office 365 Personal

After checking online, I couldn’t find a five-year-old MacBook Air with 2GB of RAM for less than $400. I wonder who really is getting killed with these ridiculous prices? Chromebooks? Or, Windows PC notebooks?

Apple, Amazon, Failures, Hubris, And The Death Of Humility

All successful companies make mistakes. In fact, failure is one route to success. Apple and Amazon seem to have take different routes to success, with the former turning mistakes into riches, while the latter turns mistakes into the basis for continued hubris; the type of arrogance which kills humility.

Apple in the Steve Jobs and Tim Cook era has a few notable public failures. The Cube. Anything to do with cloud services. Other issues include Antennagate, Mapsgate, Bendgate, and the like, but overall, Apple’s hubris in the 21st century has been exceeded by unparalleled financial success. Tim Cook’s Apple also displays a new openness and a touch of humility.

What of Amazon?

The world’s largest online retail store is headed by Jeff Bezos, an executive whose reality distortion field seems to extend only to investors and Wall Street. Bezos launches gadgets Steve Jobs style but without the same charisma. After a decade of poor financial results and mounting losses, Amazon faces more online competitors than ever, still struggles to produce even meager profits, and launches gadgets which fall flat in the marketplace.

How does Bezos respond?

I have made billions of dollars of failures at […] literally. You might remember or Kozmo. None of those things are fun. They also don’t matter. Companies that don’t continue to experiment, companies that don’t embrace failure, eventually get desperate.

One could also argue that those companies which embrace failure all the time also become desperate. How else can you explain Amazon’s poor selling Fire Phone? If ever there was a gimmicky, desperate product, Fire Phone is the poster child, merely one of many Amazon projects which have yet to turn a profit (Amazon refuses to say how many Kindle devices are sold each quarter, how much money the increasingly expensive cloud services lose each year, or when the corner will be turned).

According to Bezos and Amazon executives, Fire Phone wasn’t a failure or a mistake. It was simply a pricing issue. Bezos seems to be saying, ‘Come back in a few years and we’ll see how it’s doing then.’ Uh huh. Right.

Quarter after quarter, year after year, Amazon loses money while Bezos continues to hoodwink Wall Street into believing that gross profits are being plowed back into the company to fund future growth and prosperity, which, year after year, is predicted to be just around the corner. Here’s the problem. Amazon is huge, yes, but many more nimble online retail stores prosper in spite of Amazon’s imposing presence, turning a profit and competing well against the online house of cards that Jeff built.

Bezos hubris seems to know no bounds. The company is going deeper into debt, and Moody’s has downgraded Amazon to just over junk bond status. If the proof is in the taste of the pudding, Amazon is leaving a bad taste with investors this year. The shine is off the Shinola. To win back the confidence of investors, Bezos hubris should be replaced with a touch of humility. Or, match the hubris with financial results that look like Apple Inc.

To quote Dizzy Dean, “It ain’t bragging if you can do it.” Apple can do it. Amazon cannot.

The Proximity Lock

Jack Miller with a look at handyLock, the free Bluetooth proximity lock for your Mac.

Install handyLock on your Mac and Pair it up with Bluetooth on your iPhone (also works with Android devices, iPad, et al).

Use the sliders to control the lock distance from Closer to Farther away, and the reaction speed from Faster to Slower.

Otherwise, that’s it. When you and your iPhone get up and move away from the Mac, handyLock senses you’ve moved and locks up the Mac until you return.

Two things come to mind. First, it’s free. Second, why isn’t it a part of iOS and OS X already?

Top 10 Ways To Spot An American While Abroad

I travel to Europe about four times a year and make an effort never to eat there what I can eat in New York. Sid Lipsey on the easy ways to spot an American.

It doesn’t take a red, white, and blue suitcase and a T-shirt reading “God Bless the USA” to flag someone as an American — especially in a foreign airport. We Yanks tend to stick out. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing; we love it when people walk up to us when we’re traveling overseas and ask, “Are you American?

But a lot of times, they don’t even have to ask.

Here’s why. The spoiler alert!

  • They make a beeline for McDonald’s.
  • They’re in sweatpants.
  • They’re wearing baseball caps.
  • They make fun of where they are…
  • …that is, if they even know where they are.
  • They try to cut into the security line.
  • They strip in the security line.
  • They call it a “security line.” (vs. a ‘queue’)
  • They think that asking for things loudly is more effective…
  • They’re drunk.

I’ve seen all 10.

Semiconductor Children

A sad story aimed at Samsung but I suspect other manufacturing entities are equally suspect. It’s HuffPost so take it with a grain of salt.

Over the past few years, Samsung Corporation has faced a number of troubling allegations about the health of some of its workers in the company’s home base, South Korea.

Former workers and their families, along with labor activists, have said that conditions at the company’s semiconductor factories have led to higher occurrences of illnesses such as leukemia and other cancers among former semiconductor workers.

Some photos NSFW.

Apple, BlackBerry, And The Dead Cat Bounce

Admittedly, I’ve never tried this to see if it works, but the dead count bounce theory is a simple notion applied to the financial world, but with obvious applications elsewhere in business.

The term “dead cat bounce” is derived from the idea that “even a dead cat will bounce if it falls from a great height.”

That’s the general thought behind the dead cat bounce, so how is it defined for businesses trading on the stock market?

The standard usage of the term is: A short rise in price of a stock which already suffered a fall. In other instances the term is used exclusively to refer to securities or stocks that are considered to be of low value. First, the securities have poor past performance. Second, the decline is “correct” in that the underlying business is weak (e.g. declining sales or shaky financials). Along with this, it is doubtful that the security will recover with better conditions (overall market or economy).

My Mac features a Dashboard Widget with stock prices for a number of companies I follow, including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Yahoo!, and, yes, BlackBerry. Because the profit train keeps rumbling along, Apple’s stock price continues to explore all time highs.

Even Microsoft, without the albatross CEO, Steve Ballmer, has recovered nicely from the 10 year flatline, though I’m doubtful the Windows and Office maker has a profitable transition in the works from desktop and notebook to cloud and mobile, but that’s another story.

Yahoo! under Marissa Mayer continues to do well. The stock and the balance sheet, not the business. As to Google and Amazon, the bloom is off the rose, the shine is off the Shinola, as both companies have major problems venturing beyond their core business. While Google is massively profitable, the company is not diverse, has a string of product and investment failures, and remains what it has always been– an advertising company. Amazon doesn’t fare well, either, as Wall Street has grown impatient with a decade of few profits to show for all the effort and investment.

What of lowly BlackBerry?

The past dozen years or so tell the tale. BlackBerry’s glory years were mostly pre-iPhone. Once Apple’s flagship product began to dictate the smartphone marketplace, BlackBerry suffered almost as much as Nokia, and substantially so in recent years.

BlackBerry Stock

BlackBerry’s stock price is nearly double from a year ago, and up somewhat from earlier lows in 2014. Is this the dead cat bounce? If so, it’s not much of a bounce, despite a steady stream of public relations announcements recently about new security options for the enterprise and a willingness to play nice-nice with iOS and Android. The dead cat bounce may have been nearly two years ago when BBRY traded in the mid-teens.

So far, the stock market isn’t buying what BlackBerry is selling. I lost count, but it looks as if smartphone buyers are not willing to spend enough money to bring the company back from lives it has lost already. If the cat is dead already, a bounce won’t help investors much.

Crazy Math

How many of the new Apple Watch will the company ship next year? A UBS survey translated to 24-million units.

UBS surveyed 4,000 people and estimated Apple would sell about 24 million Apple Watches next year based on the number of compatible iPhones in use. (The Apple Watch is an accessory to the iPhone. It can’t work independently.)

Most people surveyed (70%) said they already owned a regular watch but would still buy a smartwatch.

This is fantasy and what happens when spreadsheets are used without adult supervision.

We also may never find out how many watches Apple sells. On its latest earnings call, the company said it would lump the Apple Watch sales into a miscellaneous category along with gadgets like the Apple TV and iPod. But if the watch has a strong opening weekend, you can bet Apple will come out with a braggy press release the following Monday with some real sales data.

I don’t think so.

Hackers, Ransoms, And Movies

Variety with details on Sony’s problems with hackers.

At least five new movies from Sony Pictures are being devoured on copyright-infringing file-sharing hubs online in the wake of the hack attack that hobbled the studio earlier in the week.

Look for more hackers to demand ransom money in exchange for a company’s servers being released from their control.

In the attack on the studio’s corporate systems Nov. 24, an image of a skeleton appeared on company computers with a message that said, “Hacked by #GOP,” with the group behind it calling itself “Guardians of Peace.” The message threatened to release “secrets and top secrets” of the company. Currently being investigated is a connection between upcoming Sony movie “The Interview,” and North Korea.


Showing Off

It’s what Amazon does when financials are anemic and stock price gets hammered because the online giant can’t figure out how to make a profit while many competitors have. Natalie Gagliordi:

The e-commerce giant unveiled Monday the technology at the heart of its eighth generation fulfillment center — in short, there’s a lot of robots… Most notably is the Kiva robot, which looks sort of like a hockey puck on steroids and has the ability to shuttle upwards of 3,000 pounds of merchandise throughout the expansive fulfillment centers. Amazon says it now has more than 15,000 Kiva robots operating across its fulfillment centers in the US.

Despite gimmicks like Fire Phone and robots in the warehouse, Amazon still can’t find a way to make money online.

Google’s Pie-in-the-Sky Dream Products vs. Apple’s Products That People Actually Use

Google and Apple spend untold billions each year on what is termed research and development. R&D What does each company and their users and customers get for such vast sums?

Apple’s Steve Jobs was the master of focus and argued with Google’s Larry Page that his company was unfocused and doing too much. Page responded.

It’s unsatisfying to have all these people. If we just do the same things we did before and not do something new, it seems like a crime to me.

That makes sense.

In other words, according to Google’s CEO and co-founder, the company has all these riches from search engine advertising, why not put them to use to find the next great thing to impact people’s lives. It would be criminal not to invest those riches in a way that benefits humanity. After all, Microsoft’s Bill Gates has devoted tens of billions to help people.

Fair enough.

What has Apple done with the company’s tens of billions of riches? Do Apple products let the blind see? Does the iPad help people to learn? Does the iPhone help us to communicate better, and keep informed? One can make that argument with ease, and the end result is that Apple’s products and hundreds of millions of customer help to push humanity forward. How so? Products in the marketplace that are actually used by people to enrich or improve their lives.

What of Page’s lofty goals for Google?

Android, like iOS and iPhone, has improved how people use their smartphones, and to a lesser extent, improved inexpensive tablet devices. Search engines and advertising remain Google’s bread and butter but are less impressive uses of technology to help the great unwashed masses of humanity.

What Jobs and Page were talking about, though, were futuristic product concepts, of which Google has many, and where Apple seldom speaks. There’s Google Glass. The self-driving car. Contact lenses to monitor diabetes. A spoon which stays steady in shaky hands. Loon, the balloon powered internet. And many, many more conceptual products, technology ideas which take up R&D research money but which are not translated into products that masses of people can actually use. Google+ doesn’t count. Google may be more massive than ever, but how do those products qualify as something new that impacts mankind in a positive way?

In other words, Page’s lofty goals to try something new are commendable, but the end result has been much the same old Google. As Google’s search engine and Chrome browser are on the desktop, Android, likewise, is an advertising machine. YouTube is an advertising machine. Most public facing Google products have users, not customers. And those users have their personal information culled, extracted, and processed for Google’s real customers– advertisers.

For all the public relations fluff and lofty goals for products that someday one day could impact mankind for the better, Google remains what it has always been. A technology driven advertising machine that turns people’s information into cash that enriches the lives of Google’s employees and little else.

How does that compare and contrast to Apple’s Jobs inspired laser focus on products that can actually be used by customers? Therein lies a notable difference and distinction. Apple turns ideas into products that can be used by people. Google turns ideas into conceptual products that fill the pages of PR releases but, thanks to the short memory of readers and mass media, never see the light of day and are seldom heard of again.

$4,000? Tonino Lamborghini 88 Tauri

A Lamborghini for $4,000? Yes, but it’s not a car. From Phone Arena:

Meet the Tonino Lamborghini 88 Tauri, a device that will reportedly hit the shelves soon. Well, frankly said, its design won’t appeal to just anyone, but just like super cars, the “hardware” under the hood matters the most. The Tonino Lamborghini 88 Tauri is rumored to come a quad-core Snapdragon 801, running at 2.3GHz, the respectable amount of 3GB of RAM, a 5-inch 1080p display with an oleophobic coating and an accurate 10-point touch panel. A 3,400mAh battery at the back promises to keep the lights on for up to 1,000 hours in standby mode. A 20MP rear camera and an 8MP front-facing selfie snapper have also been thrown in the mix. Android 4.4.4 KitKat will be the OS of choice for the device.

No pricing yet, but the Tonino Lamborghini Antaras sold for $4,000. Makes the iPhone 6 Plus seem like a bargain.

Unsold, Unwanted, Unloved

That describes Samsung’s moribund Galaxy S5. Ewan Spence:

Forty percent of the manufactured Samsung Galaxy S5s are reportedly still in warehouses around the world (reports The Wall Street Journal). While Samsung was confident that it had a hit phone and increased production by twenty percent, the S5 has sold 12 million units; four million units less than a year-on-year comparison with the Galaxy S4

Meanwhile, two months after the iPhone 6’s release, lines form at every Apple Store every day, and online sales are back ordered.

America’s Unhealthiest Fast Foods

That Americans eat too much fast food and too little healthy food is not exactly a secret. The Daily Meal lists these meals as the worst of the worst.

When you’re perusing the menu board at your favorite fast food joint, it’s generally fairly easy to tell which items are unhealthier than others. If something’s loaded with cheese and bacon, it’s unhealthy. If something contains several burger patties (or one “monster” one), it’s unhealthy. If it’s got fried chicken in it, it’s unhealthy. Unless you’re looking to add some more plaque to your arteries, we suggest going with something a little healthier.

The Top 5:

  • Hardee’s-Carl Jr’s 2/3-pound Monster Thickburger
  • Burger King Triple Whopper
  • Subway Footlong Big Hot Pastrami Melt
  • Wendy’s 3/4-pound Triple with Cheese
  • Jack in the Box Sirloin Cheeseburger with Bacon

What? Nothing from McDonald’s or KFC?