Foodspotting and Yelp has new restaurant-finding and review competition: Chewsy

One of the best examples of how mobile devices are changing our lives is Foodspotting (my account is here). What does this do? It lets you see photos of meals taken near you as a way to find new restaurants. I find it more compelling than Yelp or Google as a way to find new restaurants to try. It also is a good way to capture your own meals as a historical record of what you eat.

Now a new company, Chewsy, comes along that says “well, Foodspotting is pretty cool, but it’s missing some things.” Here you can hear co-founders Chaitanya Sareen and Trevin Chow explain what Chewsy does. First, it’s only on iOS for the moment (they are planning on coming to other platforms) and they just released a new version this morning, that makes Chewsy much more social than it was previously.

The biggest difference from Foodspotting you’ll notice about Chewsy is that it has reviews on the photos, which helps you communicate with your friends whether a dish actually was good or not or totally sucked. These reviews were written by other Chewsy members. One problem: many towns don’t have many photos or reviews. It shows the chicken and egg problem many app developers face and why I still find I start up Foodspotting more times than Chewsy, but Chewsy is improving as more people try it and put reviews in.

Anyway, these two apps are changing how I find restaurants and it’s great to see competition so that both are pushed to add new features to make dining out even better for all of us.

Is Nanosys' awesome new screen technology gonna be in iPad 3? I hope so. Wow.

When Nanosys CEO Jason Hartlove pulled two iPads out of his bag and turned them on one looked like when I first saw my first Kodachrome slide while the other looked muddy and crappy in comparison (I pulled out my own iPad and saw my screen looked muddy and crappy in comparison too). The new one was clear, beautiful, stunning, with richer colors than I had ever seen on a screen before.

“Is that the new retina display?” I immediately asked him.

“No, it is not a higher resolution display.” My eyes were telling me otherwise.

“What the f*** is going on here then?” I asked him. He calmly explained what Nanosys did and why they own 400 patents on what they were showing me, which they call Quantum Dot Enhanced Film (QDEF™) . 400!

This technology is so important Economist magazine just wrote about it (and they don’t write about startups very often). Even better, it’s designed AND made in the USA! For once Silicon Valley is seeming like Silicon Valley again.

Unfortunately you can’t really see the difference in the screen very well. Why? Because you are watching this video on an old crappy Dell, or a Macintosh, or an old-style iPad.

When Nanosys starts shipping its screen technology later this year our lives will change forever.

Every screen in your life will look dull and lifeless compared to a screen with Nanosys technology in it.

Now, let’s go through the business advantages:

1. Does not take more battery life.
2. Does not increase cost.
3. Does not require a new display architecture to push out more pixels or a GPU that is four times as fast to support more pixels.
4. They can make craploads of it.
5. They have patents up the yingyang so are gonna be the only game in town for a while.
6. This company is real and funded by the best VCs in the business. They also just won best new display technology at the Society for Information Display conference a couple of weeks ago.

If you watch one video of mine, watch this one. It’s awesome tech and I can’t wait to have it in all my screens. Unfortunately we gotta wait for Steve Jobs to bet on it big time.

I can just see the iPad 3 launch. We all know Apple is going to put in a double-pixel display (my sources have been talking about that for months now) but when you see this technology you’ll know just why the next displays are so freaking good on colors, too.

Vacation brain food

One thing I try to do on vacation is “tune up my brain.” Bill Gates taught me this because he’d take a stack of books on vacation and read them. On my vacation, just concluded, I read most of Inside the Plex, by Steven Levy. A book about Google. It is an awesome book and I wish I had Steven’s talent. Since I don’t, though, I needed to tune up my brain and see what I could learn by hanging out with some awesomely smart people.

First I visited Stephen Jones. He’s a famous restaurant designer. I always love talking with him because he thinks about materials and light and how people entertain themselves in a whole new light. This conversation didn’t disappoint as he talks about China and a variety of topics.

Then I visited Dan Meis. He’s a world-famous architect who designs sports stadiums around the world. You’ll know his work if you see a baseball game in Seattle’s Safeco Field or a basketball game at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. I always am inspired by how big he thinks, which is why I started the conversation asking about something small he designed lately. Of course he switched the topic to discussing what he’s working on now: a soccer stadium for a future World Cup in Qatar.

The next week I visited Vizio (you already saw that visit in a previous post) to learn more about 3D, then visited Oakley to learn more about the latest in 3D glasses (hint: they are selling far better than they expected, I learned from execs there, which shows that 3D TV is indeed taking off, just not with the tech press). While there I got a good look at a new custom printing technology they built, which shows how custom products can be in the future.

If you were watching my wife’s Facebook feed you’d know that we got lots of beach time, along with time at LegoLand and Disneyland too. Great times and my brain is buzzing with new ideas to bring back to my work at Rackspace.

Has the tech industry forgotten users? We are in an insider bubble

You know when I read David Heinemeier Hansson write that all he needs is 10 apps I believe we’ve all lost our minds. Then I look at Techmeme and see all the insider baseball and nothing about real users and I realize we have indeed lost our minds.

See, people keep talking about a bubble. What they usually mean is “oh, my gosh Color got $41 million and LinkedIn stock is nuts.” Wrong bubble to worry about, though.

The real bubble is we’ve stopped understanding users.

See, this is why I took the family out of the valley on vacation. We visited Disneyland and Legoland. I watched how people used their phones. Apps rule.

Not everyone is ignoring users, though. I talk every day with developers who study user behavior.

For instance, AppStoreHQ studied its users and found that apps do indeed matter.

Turns out that if you STUDY THE DATA which DHH didn’t do, you learn that the long tail of apps is very important. Here’s some findings:

“Well, these users actually installed 20,100 distinct apps! Seen another way, among these 5,000 users, on average, they each had over 4 apps of which they were they only user. Out of the 20,100 apps, over 19,000 were installed by fewer than 250 users (5% of the sampled users).”

To continue the trend, GigaOm reports that apps are used more than the Web. Maybe this is why DHH is so anti-app. After all, his whole career is based on building websites and technology to build such (he was the guy who invented Ruby on Rails).

Nielsen says that DHH is wrong by 4x. They report that the average iPhone user has 48 apps loaded. “Heavy” users, like me, have 300 or more.

See, I met a lot of average people at Disneyland. I noticed that most of them were carrying Smartphones. iPhones and Android and RIM, etc. When you talk to these “normal people” they are VERY app centric. Many had the various apps for helping navigate lines at Disneyland or Legoland on their phones. And even if they didn’t have apps loaded, they were quite aware that some phones have lots of apps, while others don’t.

Over and over I understood why people buy certain phones over others. They don’t want to appear stupid. Even if they aren’t going to use many apps themselves. They want to have a phone that has lots of app potential.

I saw this on the retail counter at my camera store in the 1980s. I sold lots of Nikon cameras because that’s what the pros used at the time. Of course only 1% of my customers would ever use pro features of a camera, but they wanted to have the ABILITY to use those pro features. They often avoided “idiot cameras” which only had automatic features.

Or, look at car industry. Do you aspire to own a Toyota Corolla or Prius? Most people don’t. They’d rather have a big block Mustang or an Audi R8 which can do 200 mph. Thing is you’ll get a ticket on 280 for doing more than 80mph, so for most people this extra horsepower is wasted.

But humans don’t want to appear to be idiots. Which is why they won’t buy a system that only has a few apps available and is why the Nokia phones are DOA in most places in the world (I’d argue all places, because we’re all so connected on Twitter and Facebook now).

That all said, look at Realtor.com. They make a great app for tablets and mobile phones to help you buy a home. Of course they are going to support all platforms. Why? Because there’s enough economic activity to make that important for them.

Get the CTO of Move.com off camera, though, and he starts admitting he uses an iPhone and iPad and that their best work is done on the best two platforms. Note that he didn’t show me a Nokia or a Windows Phone 7 device in the video demo.

Over and over when I meet with developers I see this scenario play out. Developers are actively betting on Android and iOS and not much else.

Will users bet against the developers? My career experience says no.

By the way, for your iPhone I’ve made a list of my must have apps. I have more than 100, not 10. Anyone who uses only 10 apps is very weird, since they use 1/4 as many as the average user. DHH, get with the program!

Why Android will gain HUGE tablet marketshare later this year

Today I took a brief break from my family vacation to visit Vizio’s and Oakley’s headquarters down in Southern California with my friends Marc Ostrick and Sam Levin to get up to date on the latest 3D technologies from both companies. But while there Vizio pulled out their new Tablet and it shocked me what I thought of it (I’ve hated the Android tablets so far, when compared to iPad 2).

Mark Ostrick, of eGuiders, shot this video (you should follow his YouTube channel). Sam Levin does a cool gadget podcast for app freaks at AppMinute.

I finally had someone explain to me why Android will gain huge marketshare this year in the large-screen tablet wars (aka where iPad is dominant). It took USA’s #1 TV manufacturer, Vizio, to do it. Why didn’t Google have them on stage to show this off a few weeks back at Google IO?

Anyway, here it is: a $350 capable tablet is coming. Coming in July, they told me (and I believe them, they don’t want to piss off the retail chain in the United States because they are #1 in large screen TVs).

Why is this huge? Because it doesn’t compete with iPad. At least not head on.

“What is Scoble smoking,” you are probably asking yourself.

Well, see, people who will buy an iPad will buy an iPad and won’t buy anything else. Count me in that group. I don’t care if Larry Page gave me $10,000 I’m not switching off of an iPad. At least not this year.

But, there are a whole range of uses that don’t need an iPad, but need a good tablet.

For instance, let’s say you are outfitting a school with tablets and all you need is a good web browser at a very low cost? Vizio wins here. Apple doesn’t.

Or, say you are a restaurant and need to put a tablet at every table with a menu on it? Vizio wins here. Apple doesn’t.

Or, like we just saw at Oakley’s headquarters, let’s say you are building a custom retail experience where you can order custom sunglasses. Are you going to spend $500 on an iPad when a $350 one from Vizio will do? No way. Vizio wins. Apple doesn’t.

Get it? This is how Android will take over the marketshare battle in tablets. There are more of these uses than the ones people use iPads for. After all, how many schools need tablets? A whole lot. How many custom retail establishments need tablets? A whole lot. How many manufacturing machines need tablets built into them? A whole lot.

Thanks to this single tablet I can now see how Android is going to get the market share numbers it needs to get developers excited.

But don’t call it an iPad competitor, OK? At least not until there are a ton of great tablet-based apps, which there aren’t today.

Some more things I saw at Vizio today?

1. A look at latest 3DTVs (this is the same one they loaned me for my home studio to develop 3D content on and test out).
2. A look at new 21:9 aspect-ratio TV designed for movie buffs.

Anyway, just a brief break from my vacation, be back on Monday with more tech stuff.

I'm on vacation, check out these cool tech startups

I’m on vacation until June 20th. Say hi if you see me on a beach in Santa Monica or Laguna, which is where we’ll be hanging out.

In the meantime, last night I uploaded a bunch of videos for you to enjoy while I’m gone. I will make a best attempt to really stay off the Internet (I know I’ll fail, but I am going to try).

Twenty Feet lets you know more about your social media stats; I love Twenty Feet. Every morning it sends me an email and lets me know if something weird happened in my stats for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other places. For instance, did more of my videos get favorited than usual? Did more people subscribe or unsubscribe than usual?

Twimbow brings color to social media; Twimbow looks a bit like TweetDeck, but look again and you’ll see a colorfully different approach! By using colors you can uncover tweets and status messages from people and brands you care about. Here Luca Filigheddu, CEO of Twimbo, shows me what it does and what his philosophy is behind social media clients.

Intuit opens up platform to outside developers; Alex Barnett, group manager for developer relations at Intuit, shows me their new platform for developers to build functionality into Intuit’s products. ZDnet wrote more about it here. This is called “Intuit Anywhere,” a series of widgets and data services that connect QuickBooks Online data to applications outside of the company’s marketplace.

ShopKeep brings an iPad-based Cash Register to life (and Web, and Mac and PC); Are you a small retail store? Do you need a better cash register? Well, ShopKeep.com visited me yesterday and showed me their new system and explained why it works better than other PC-based cash registers. Plus, they have one that works on your favorite devices. Learn more at http://shopkeep.com/

Microsoft Business Intelligence “Power Pivot” tool for looking at Tweet data; Bruno Aziza of Microsoft’s Microsoft’s Business Intelligence group recently filmed me for BI TV at http://www.microsoft.com/bi/en-us/Community/Pages/BITV.aspx Here I turned the camera on him and he is showing off a free tool for looking at data from Tweets and business meetings inside Excel. Get it at http://www.powerpivot.com/

In-depth look: Genwi app creator for iPhone, Android, and iPad; Do you want to easily create apps for iPhone, Android, and iPad all at once without much coding experience? Lots of businesses do. Here I get an in-depth look at a very useful tool, Genwi with CEO PJ Gurumohan. Learn more at http://isites.us/ and follow them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/GENWI_iSites

Trend Spottr finds trends in your tweets; A real-time analytics service that identifies & curates the top trending content from Twitter and Facebook for any search term or topic of interest. Here Mark Zohar, CEO, shows it off to me. Really useful for Twitter freaks like me! Follow them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/trendspottr

Big Live: fostering real-time interactions around content; Producers of online video content are always looking for ways to get their audience more involved and more engaged beyond just leaving comments. By leveraging the social network, Big Live is providing a solution that fosters real-time discussion among audiences.

Why Nokia's Elop is wrong about mobile sales: users aren't idiots

Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop, still isn’t quite understanding why Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 isn’t selling. He thinks it’s about hardware.

“Windows Phone scores better than Android and iPhone with consumers, but OEMs are doing their best work for Android. For Nokia our best work will be for Windows Phone. You will see waves of families of devices that deliver on the promise of Windows Phone 7,” Elop said in a keynote at the Open Mobile Summit in London today.

Here’s the deal. It isn’t about hardware. It’s about apps and the professional VC-backed app developers are actively ignoring Windows Phone 7. Not to mention that even the apps I’ve tested that are on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 7 generally aren’t as good on Windows Phone 7.

Users are not idiots. They buy use cases, not hardware.

Now, lots of people love to argue with me saying apps don’t matter. But they do. And if you say they don’t then you are betting that there’s a huge market of idiots out there who don’t care about apps. Hint: that market is shrinking all the time.

Think about it. If you buy a phone and then you sit next to someone with an Android or iPhone, and they show you all the apps they are using that you don’t have, won’t you feel like an idiot? Of course you will.

Now, to the point. I’m going on vacation. I’m testing out a Windows Phone 7 device (a Samsung model) and an Android device (a new Verizon Droid X2). First thing up, who has the best Disneyland apps? iOS, of course with Android coming in strong too. Who has the best restaurant apps, like Foodspotting or Chewsy? iOS of course with Android coming in strong too. Windows Phone 7? Not even in the same ballpark. Shall I go on?

So, until Microsoft figures out how to get professional app developers (hint: they are mostly venture funded because that’s what it takes now to hire a team of six developers, like what Instagram has) excited about its platform it will continue not selling, no matter how shiny the hardware is (and, hint, Android’s hardware is pretty damn good, that’s not my problem with that platform).

Here is a hint. Recently Finland’s “Y Combinator” came and visited me. They call it Startup Sauna. Not a single one of those companies showed me a Windows Phone 7 app. Not a single one, and these are Europe’s best developers from Nokia’s backyard. You should have heard what they said off camera. It was stunning. They are betting their companies on iOS and Android and if you care about the apps these startups are showing off, that’s the platforms consumers will bet on too. Unless you think they are idiots.

Don’t believe the Finnish developers? Visit my YouTube Channel. I have more than 700 videos up there. Count how many professional developers show me Windows Phone 7 apps. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I did, three. Out of 783 videos. And that’s not counting the additional 245 videos we’ve uploaded to Building43’s YouTube account (not a single Windows Phone 7 app over there).

Here’s the Startup Sauna videos:

1. Here founder Kristo Ovaska explains the program and what they are doing in California. You can follow Kristo on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/KristoOvaska

2. This company is Fund Friends which is a game that helps you with your investments http://www.fundfriends.se/ and here the founder Mikael Andersson shows it to me.

3. FutureFul shows me a new kind of way to discover news and information about topics you care about.

4. http://www.campalyst.com/ is a social media analytics software that measures conversions and ROI for your company’s social media campaigns. Here’s how it works.

5. Guntis Smaukstelis, CEO, of Mighty Fingers, shows off his new real-time game engine, which builds HTML5 games. Pretty cool stuff. Learn more at http://mightyfingers.com/

6. What’s better than Red Laser? Scandit, which is one of the companies that visited me with Startup Sauna, a Finnish startup incubator. Here Samuel Muller, CEO, shows me the app and explains how it competes with other barcode scanners on iPhone, Android, Symbian, and PhoneGap platforms.