I think this wireless thing is going to be big

This was a week where so many things broke that I am having trouble keeping track.

Amazon Fire

Amazon announced the much anticipated Amazon phone, called Amazon Fire. I had made a case for the business use of an Amazon mobile device (see Amazon may add smartphones to Bezos’ deep game against… everyone), but it seems like that’s not the focus at the present, even if that changes downstream. There was no mention of Amazon Workplaces, file sync-and-share (other than consumer-focused photo storage), or any other business applications. At present Amazon’s Fire seems a pure-play consumer device, strongly tied to the Amazon’s Prime commerce model.

But we heard a great a great line or two, when Jeff Bezos made his case for trying to break into a market dominated by Apple, Samsung and others:

I don’t want to judge before all the facts are in, but I think this wireless thing is going to be big. If we go back in time just five, six, seven years, we’re talking about different players — Nokia, BlackBerry and others. Things change very rapidly in this area.

Blackberry earnings

John Chen, the CEO of Blackberry, had some good news to report, posting a profit of 4 cents a share for the last quarter. Revenue declined only 1%, to $966 million, and cash rose by $429 million to $3.1 billion (mostly due to real estate sales and tax refunds). Chen has been steering the firm towards a new run at being an infrastructure play for the Internet of Things. At least he seems to have slowed the bleeding.

Blackberry announced last year that Blackberry 10 phone would be able to use apps developed for Android, but that wasn’t an easy task for users, to say the least. But Blackberry has announced that in the fall, a new version of the OS will support downloading og apps from Amazon’s app store, which will make the whole process a lot simpler, although it’s not clear what is to be done with apps that are incompatible with Blackberry phones.

Box Rebounds

The word is that Box, the file sync-and-share company, is back on track for its planned — and stalled — IPO, and the rumored efforts to find a buyer have been shelved. The market conditions have shifted, such as the successful IPO of Zendesk in May.

The company has been laying out cash at an alarming rate, however, and is said to be considering an additional $100 million investment before the IPO in July or August. Box raised $100 million in December on a valuation of $2 billion, and $150 million in January 2013. Altogether the company has raised $412 million.


Adobe released a new suite of apps and some very interesting hardware. The hardware: a stylus, called Adobe Ink, deeply optimized for the iPad, and a digital ruler, called Adobe Slide. These are the final names for prototype called Mighty and Napoleon, previously. Together, Ink and Slide support designers trying to render drawings on the iPad. As part of that, Adobe has created two apps:

Adobe Sketch — a free form drawing app with Behance’s portfolio network integrated in the app, and which is Ink and Slide aware.

Adobe Line — the second app takes advantage of the Slide device in creating straight lines, as well as French curves, two point perspective, and other drafting staples.

Adobe also released Photoshop Mix, a new iPad app for image mixing, and Lightroom Mobile, adding new capabilities for editing images. The company also released Creative Cloud for iPad and iPhone, a new client app to access the cloud-based service, and 14 new versions of Creative Cloud desktop application.

Adobe has pushed very hard and fast to become a cloud company, and this is perhaps the biggest upgrade, moving the company from a desktop footing into the new world of mobile. The Ink and Slide hardware is perhaps the biggest shift in that regard.

A few weeks ago I met with Mike Gough, Adobe’s VP of Experience Design, and we talked about the development of Ink and Slide. In particular, he told me about the degree to which Adobe engineers had to get down in the weeds on iPad fundamentals to make it possible to draw fine lines in Sketch and Slide, because iOS wasn’t really designed to handle the degree of fineness that Adobe wanted to achieve.

It seems like Mike and Adobe got to where they wanted to.