Latest industry insights

Google getting in on the game?

As if there weren’t enough games consoles on the market currently, it look likes there may soon be a new player joining the party: Google. A rumour came my way this week courtesy of the WSJ (Wall Street Journal) that Google is gearing up to launch a games console based on the Android OS. So it looks like, Sony PlayStation 4, Micrsoft Xbox One and Nintendo Wii U can look forward to yet more competition soon. Interesting timing indeed, not least given the recent release of Ouya, a kickstarter financed handheld console and integrated controller which is running Android and offered at a sub $100 price point. With over 100,000 games currently available for users to access via the Google Play store, Google certainly appears to be in a potentially strong position to leverage the console opportunity. Admittedly, its games are not necessarily as elegantly crafted as their counterparts and it will be interesting to see if the current casual gaming with the emphasis on pick up and put down play currently experienced within the mobile market will translate well to a wider view format and context of use e.g. home users sitting in front of a TV screen. With Apple also rumoured to have a console currently work in progress, competition can only hot up. Game on, definitely not Game over.

Look who’s 5…

It was a sense of in trepidation that Evernote first came blinking into the public spotlight in late June 2008, having previously spent some months in the utter protection of a private beta programme. Since then, Evernote has grown to become a robust and well-adjusted five year old. Within a year of launching it toddled quickly to over 1 million registered users, escalating to 10 million by the ripe old age of 3. Five years on from launch, Evernote can count of 65 million users worldwide and provides gainful employment to over 300 employees. A public offering is widely anticipated within the next few years too. Many happy returns Evernote!

Courting Digital

If you were asked to name one aspect of life which is steeped in tradition and retains a heavy reliance on paper based processes, the courtroom could be one area which springs to mind. If so, you may be surprised to learn that all this looks set to change in the next few years. A wide-ranging plan entitled ‘Transforming the Criminal Justice System’ will see the courts and Crown Prosecution Service turned into bastions of technology, a move described by Justice Minister Damian Green that would transform the courts system into a ‘modern public service’. It is also mooted that this will extend to enabling members of the public to keep track of their case online and get direct updates from police on how their case is progressing. Given the current economic climate, the £160 million investment set aside to realise the transformation has been causing eyebrows to rise in certain quarters. Promises of greater efficiency and reduction in paper usage (did you know the system currently ploughs through 160 million sheets of paper a year?!) feature at the forefront of the case for switching to a digital driven process. Of course, the number one issue rests with concerns around security and contingency planning in the case of system outage. Case adjourned!

Microsoft looks to take 3D printing mainstream

Whilst looking to fix some of the functionality issues with its current Windows 8 OS, version 8.1 will also feature in-built support for 3D printing. With 3D printer prices falling steadily, Microsoft is clearly looking to put itself at the forefront of a future mainstream market opportunity, if and when the time comes. Microsoft certainly has great potential in this field, not least given its healthy relationships with a range of hardware vendors. Keeping them sweet will therefore be high on the priority list to make this opportunity a future success. Obviously software vendors are the other important part of the equation, but the lure of potentially lucrative commercial opportunities should be more than enough to help to draw in new software applications to support a potentially burgeoning future market. Price points and perceived user value accompanying this, will be key in determining if and how quickly the initial mainstream consumer market initially forms and grows over time. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

Are you ready space commerce?

Finally, you’ve heard of eCommerce, but are you ready for space commerce (or S-commerce as I like to call it). Yes, it’s the thing of the future, but the future’s closer than you think, at least according to Paypal. Apparently, space commerce will be integral in supporting the future market for space tourism. Ebay-owned Paypal, will be partnering with SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and the Space Tourism Society to work jointly on this initiative. Paypal will be searching for investors via a crowd-funding campaign, it will be launching on FundRazr to support its future research activity. There’s truth out there and here’s the proof… PayPal to launch inter-planetary payment system (CNN Money)