TED, iPhones, app stores and Xbox

Over the weekend I discovered the TED application for my iPhone.  For those not familiar with TED, it’s a conference in the states that focuses on Technology, Entertainment and Design.  Speakers are invited to talk for 18 minutes on subjects important to them.  There are a huge range of speakers and subjects, from Bill Gates to JJ Abrams.  There really is some fascinating stuff there, its that’s well worth a look.


So anyway, I found this iPhone application and spent a few hours on Sunday watching some of the talks.  It struck me what a great idea the application was.  It’s roughly the same content as the TED website, but it just brings the whole thing together in a single app – another good example of software and services. 

Whilst it’s great having this on the iPhone, after a while I did begin to wonder why I was having to watch on a small screen held in my hand.  Why couldn’t I use my television?  Of course I could hook it up to my PC and use the web site, but that’s a lot of hassle and I’ve already got an Xbox there.  Surely I should be able to use that?  It would beat the usual repeats of Friends that seem to make up Sunday afternoon TV during the F1 off season! :)

I couldn’t of course, there’s no app for me to use.  But there should be, not just for TED but YouTube, maybe the BBC iPlayer.  Perhaps a host of other tools that people are used to on the iPhone.  MS are missing a trick here I reckon.  At the moment there’s a huge amount of Software + Services (an MS terminology) innovation happening on the iPhone.  It’s really good stuff, but the device is somewhat limited by the fact it’s a phone.  MS should be making the XBox into the home equivalent.

The XNA Creators Club already goes some way to allow home-brew games, written by the community and published on XBox live.  So the basic infrastructure is there.  They have a well developed development environment (though how suitable it is for non-game applications I don’t know) and a delivery and billing mechanism though XBox Live.  App Stores seem to be the next big thing in the mobile world, but I reckon they could be equally important elsewhere.

I’m using XBox as an example here as I have one, but the same would also apply to the PS3 or Wii – indeed I believe you can already use the iPlayer and YouTube on both.

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