Here are some stories I'm following for you:
* Microsoft has, at last, released its new Windows Phone 7 cell-phone platform. The company suffered quite a bit of humiliation with some of its recent mobile offerings, but early reports seem generally and surprisingly favorable. It has completely redesigned its mobile approach, a must if it hopes to compete in this ever more volatile market.
* The move toward integrating the Internet with TV has accelerated as Logitech, Sony and other vendors are releasing their Web-connected devices. There will be no more hotly contested business than the trend toward interactive TV, as it offers a huge untapped market.
There are several approaches and devices emerging, and it's fascinating to see just how many different ways businesses are approaching this new digital frontier. While many of these are promising, I think it will be a while before we see anyone take a lead in this area.
* The Adobe corporation is probably having better days after Facebook published its experience comparing Adobe Flash and an HTML 5-based player. You'll recall from recent columns that the upcoming HTML 5 Web specification offers video features that would make Flash unnecessary, a definite blow to Adobe.
Zdnet.com quotes the Facebook blog as saying, "While we tested this new player on other mobile browsers, we found that Flash still outperformed their HTML5 video implementations." It's likely that HTML 5 will eventually be an excellent video platform in itself, but this post shows that it has a way to go until it can be relied on completely for multimedia.
* The Internet continues to cut into local retail sales, and merchants are struggling to find ways to compete.
Recent news from Amazon won't make them happy in this regard, as the company has released an Apple iPhone app that scans bar codes of products in stores and takes the user to Amazon to compare prices on the item. The customer then has the option to purchase from Amazon.
I suppose I feel two opposite ways about this. I love the ability to use the Web to find great deals, but the last thing we need to do is to sabotage local merchants who pay local taxes and support the community in other ways. This is a double bind indeed.
I recently set up a social networking system for a local company who has taken this issue on in a big way. Rather than let themselves be outdone, they have innovated using social media to create a sort of ecosystem with their customers, making buying from them very attractive. This is the future of local retailing, creating value in every transaction and supporting customers at every turn. This applies also to bands, bloggers and anyone wanting to make sales or have an impact on a customer base.
* Finally, good news from the micro-blogging service Posterous. They've released an Apple iPhone app that allows you to update your Posterous blog, Facebook, Twitter and other social accounts via the Autopost feature in the app.
This includes pictures and video, an amazing offering. I think mobile blogging will be a huge trend, and this makes it so simple, assuming it works correctly.
The quickly evolving and increasingly more powerful mobile devices will make such offerings very valuable over time. The cell phone has been called the next computing platform for some time, and any feature that can be added from the desktop is always welcome.