Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Morning Brief: Low cost Nook could put downward price pressure on Android tablets; Al Jazeera's Parvaz released

If it's true that Barnes & Noble has scheduled event week to announce a new lower priced Nook with touch controls then this create more pressure on new Android tablets to lower their prices. And that may be a problem for them.
By introducing the iPad at such a competitive price (as it has turned out) Apple has set the upper end of the price scale, Android tablet manufacturers are struggling just to meet those prices, let alone beat them. As a result, some are having to tout features that their tablets have that Apple's tablet does not – and there aren't many of them, Flash capability being the most obvious.

Most observers I've read expect B&N's new low priced Nook to be monochrome, which makes it more a competitor to the Kindle, but one has to realize that many consumers still see the new tablets as eReaders, while others see them as replacements for netbooks. In reality, the iPad is in none of those categories, while able to fulfill most of the functions of both. To beat the iPad manufacturers will have to have a complete, easy to understand ecosystem that includes an easy to use UI combined with the apps and media consumption features found on the iPad – otherwise price ends up being the only differentiator, and that is where B&N appears to be heading.

In the race to drive traffic to news and tech sites, it is becoming increasingly common practice to rewrite the stories of others, avoiding to claim originality at all (for obvious legal reasons) and then at some point at the end link back to the original source.

Business Insider does this all the time; in fact, they've created a strategy to Tweet the stories they find interesting driving people to unrelated stories, but with the desired link at the top.

Today's example is this one about a recent survey by Digital Research. Brad Chacos, writing on MaximumPC reacts to the research stating that while corporate managers may be buying tablets like crazy they appear to have no idea what their actual tablet strategy currently is. Fine, I suppose, but it would be hard for me to disagree since he doesn't include a link to the survey.

Gizmodo then picks up the story, rehashing the basic idea, then gives MaximumPC credit at the end with a link. 9to5Mac then picks up the Gizmodo story and the cycle continues. Only the 9to5Mac story has an embedded link where it uses the words "Digital Research survey" – did they find the original survey? No, it is a link back to the story that started it all at MaximumPC (but 9to5Mac credits Gizmodo as the source).

I like to call this new form of modern journalism aggreplagiarism – a combination of aggregation and plagiarism. No one complains because it is the new norm. Websites need ever greater amounts of traffic in order to boost their numbers. Creating vast amounts of original material is simply too hard and so we have a new form of aggregation.

I don't really have a problem with aggregation, it is the hiding of it that bothers me. Jim Romenesko, I think, is a good example of how it should be done.

Speaking of Romenesko: the story that leads his feature right now is the good news that the Iranians have released Al Jazeera reporter Dorothy Parvaz.

In a Morning Brief last week that Google ate, I noted that Parvaz had been detained in Syria and then handed over to the Iranians. Parvaz had apparently entered Syria on an expired Iranian passport and so the Syrians (they said) deported her to the country of the passport's origin.

Parvaz holds triple citizenship status: Canada, the US and Iran.