It's deja vu all over again ... Anyone else remember the CueCat, back in the heady days of 1999?
(I think people with wireless internet connections at home and an iOS/Android device to select stories on are going to read the news on their tablet or smartphone, not some hunk of dead tree. And the stink of flawed business models with high startup costs that nevertheless manage to get enough funding to start shipping hardware is familiar from the last time round on this merry-go-round ...)
Aggregating all this social data into new and interesting forms is going to be a big deal, in my opinion. Look at Flipboard. That's an amazing program. Would some people like to have their Flipboard printed and handed to them over morning coffee? I would. Is it practical, considering the iPad can also sit next to you at breakfast? Not really.
This is just a little novelty item that will probably sell just fine. Like Chumby.
Meanwhile it doesn't give the user anything useful that they can't already read on their smartphone, does it? So what is it for? It's not a substitute for the existing multifunction printer. It's an inferior substitute to the existing RSS reader or equivalent. There's no value proposition I can see for the consumer, so they must be looking at some other source of income, which means there must be some value proposition for the information suppliers. But what is it?
They're selling physical products for more money than it costs them to make. That's the business model.
I could see companies giving these away to employees for free, just so we can get closer to the Corbin Dallas universe:
I'm not sure how you can compare that to CueCat? Which was a full fledged company.
Berg's product looks like a proper, developed version of what Ian made, and does many of the things that were talked about as possibilities when he showed it at at couple of events.
Does it have a massive market? No. Does it have a niche market where Berg can make some money back? I think so. Did Berg see this as a fun internal project to see what's possible and can the ideas it sparked be used by some of their clients? More than possibly.
Berg have a decent following in the crowd of people who might buy something like this. It's not going to make them a fortune, but they're bright people and I'm sure they don't expect it to. It's just as much an advert for what they can do as it is a product in it's own right.
Tom Taylor's Microprinter was a sort of prototype for the ideas therein: http://tomtaylor.co.uk/projects/microprinter
I wonder how true the replacement with the "social media breakfast" is, though.
I can also imagine it being useful to carry backup info (appointments, addresses, travel details and codes etc) just in case you find yourself in an area with no phone reception.
I have way to many bookmarks/read later/todo-websites,apps etc. In the digital media that is, computers etc.
Then again I don't have a smartphone and I think the iPhones lockinfo solves this problem for me. I just need to have things set in stone where I look 1000 times a day.
But I much prefer physical media.
(...Sorry about the snark. The product actually looks pretty fun. It's just that use example shown on the landing page isn't necessarily the best.)
If this product succeeds, it will be through tapping that cultural association with a world of flying cars and other high-tech impracticalities.
Hopefully they will have some sort of API to go along with