If you are a fan of the digital comicbook marketplace Comixology, you are probably also aware of the highly limited nature of how you can interact with your purchases. That is all changing, sort of, now that Comixology is
part of the Amazon family. Starting now, some titles will be available with a DRM-free backup, in both PDF and CBZ formats.
Unfortunately, the DRM-free copies will not be available for all publishers or all titles. The publishers can decide if they want to participate, and which titles they will offer this way. So far, the list of publishers is: Dynamite Entertainment, IDW Publishing, Image, Monkeybrain, Thrillbent, Top Shelf and Zenescope, with more to follow, according to Comixology. If you have purchased anything from one of these publishers that will be available DRM-free, you will receive an email informing you of your new capabilities.
So, what does this mean for consumers? It means that, instead of having to read your within the confines of the Comixology apps or website, you can now read these select titles whenever and wherever. For example, if you have a Windows Phone, your only option is to read your purchase on the web, as there is no app for the platform. This means that if you are without service on your device, you are totally out of luck. With the DRM-free download, you can read it right in the PDF viewer on your phone.
The topic of DRM is a sticky one, however. On the one hand it protects the content creators from pirating of content, enabling them to continue to create further works. On the other hand, especially in cases such as Comixology, it can greatly inconvenience legitimate customers; sometimes to the point of no longer being customers and, instead, looking for the pirated content. If you are so limited in your capabilities that you must interact with content you have purchased through a platform you might or might not have access to at any given point, it could certainly drive a legitimate customer to extreme means.
It will take a long while before the big guys, Marvel and DC, even consider DRM-free content. It might work out for the smaller publishers, though, as new customers might decide to check out their work simply because of the DRM-free nature of their publishing. It could be an interesting new day for comics.
It might just be time for Amazon to begin focusing its offerings. Since the company was originally founded as an online bookstore, the company's product and service offerings has grown tremendously. Whether you're looking to purchase books, shoes or flour, you can probably find it on Amazon.com.
Today the company also offers tablets and phones and streaming video and cloud computing - all very divergent from what made the company successful originally. The success of this divergence tactic is beginning to show up in their stock, and not in a way anybody would want.
After announcing a $126 million loss in the second quarter of 2014, the company's stock price dropped dramatically. How dramatically? Almost 11% in after hours trading. This is mostly due to a huge swing in operating profitability. Last year the company had a $79 million gain in for this quarter; this year they ran a $15 million loss. All of this on higher sales.
Now the company does not exactly breakdown where its profits and losses come from. In fact, Amazon has been very good at hiding their cloud numbers. This would certainly indicate that the company is having trouble making their AWS cloud services profitable.
How could this be? Microsoft Azure cloud services match Amazon prices almost penny for penny, yet Microsoft is seeing profit in the Azure division. Perhaps it has to do with what the companies are good at. While Microsoft is good at building enterprise development tools, Amazon is good at selling products to consumers. This could very well be a case of just because you can doesn't mean that you should.
NVIDIA really wants to make something of its SHIELD line of Android-powered gaming devices. First, the original handheld has received almost no consumer buy-in. Last week we learned about their plans for a television streaming device which will require a tremendous amount of costly hardware.
This week NVIDIA is launching its second product in the family, the SHIELD Tablet. This device appears to be designed to sit above the SHIELD Portable and this, as of now unannounced, streaming device. It is even possible that the Tablet is the unnamed streaming device.
As with the Portable you can play Android games and stream games from your PC. You also have the ability to connect the tablet to your television and play in console mode. Using the additional controller you can truly play any compatible game on your television. NVIDIA was even prepared for latency, using Wi-Fi Direct instead of Bluetooth for the controller. This decreases lag from 20 milliseconds to just 10.
As for the tablet itself the specs are pretty nice. 8-inch 1920x1200 full HD screen. Front facing stereo speakers. 16 or 32 GB of included memory with a micro SD slot that supports up to 128 GB. And last but not least NVIDIA's Tegra K1 mobile processor.
If you're in the market for a high end Android tablet, or you're looking for a way to stream some of your games from your PC to your television, this might be one to consider. If you're specifically in the market for Android gaming, this device might be overkill for you.
One of the biggest trends in mobile right now is health. The category ranges from wearable technology to being able to talk to your doctor via mobile app. It is the perfect intersection between mobile and wearables, so much so that one of the largest marketplaces at CES is health tech.
That marketplace may get more complicated if the Federal Trade Commission's Commissioner Julie Brill has her way. It turns out that she, like most of Washington, is afraid of change. Her biggest fear is that the use of data collected through health applications might be able to accurately assess reality.
Now I know what you're thinking, "Isn't that what the health related data is supposed to do?" To that I say, of course it is. Brill fears that the accurate analysis conducted on this data that we have willingly given to the application might lead to negative consequences.
Brill's example of what she is concerned about is from Target. Using sales information the store was able to predict the pregnancies of some of its female customers. Now this kind of analysis does not take a genius organization, nor does it require any health related to data. If you purchase on a Target credit card prenatal vitamins, Target can probably guess why you made the purchase.
Brill has taken it upon herself to lead the FCC's charge to review consumer privacy in this "new and scary" technology. She is particularly concerned with compliance with HIPAA regulations. I might have urged her to read the HIPAA regulations before she made these comments in public however, as they refer specifically to two medical offices transmitting information between one another. They do not at all regulate the transmission of information to or from a consumer.
Hopefully the FTC, which has no jurisdiction in this matter, will back off and leave the decisions on who someone decides to share information with up to the adults deciding to share that information.
Back in May, Variety reported that
Google was in talks to buy Twitch for $1 billion. Well, as it would turn out, the rumors and reports are shaping up to be true. Google and YouTube are lining up to shell out over $1 billion for the up-and-coming video game streaming service.
As we've talked about in the past, Twitch has been doing
exceptionally well as of late. Awards, records and overall success has come to the Justin.tv subsidiary and the company has been growing at a rapid pace. Google, on the other hand, really hasn't done much in the past couple of years and restrictions placed upon content creators have become more and more frustrating.
As of right now, we don't know very much about the deal or when it will all go down except that the contract signing in imminent. What is clear though is that initial Twitch investors will be making back a lot more than they put in, which should put smiles on many faces at the top of the ladder. No company has commented on the matter.
If you really think about it, the deal makes sense for both parties. YouTube has faced severe pressure from competitors like Twitch, Vimeo and DailyMotion, so simply acquiring one of the most successful brands shows that Twitch is obviously doing well, and that Google respected the brand enough to pick it up. YouTube's Live streaming service has not picked up enough steam to merit any threat to those offering live options either.
For Twitch, a lot of good can come out of this, too. Twitch has had less than stellar streaming and content requirements, with the most recent mishap being the
PS4 Playroom debacle. But content creators have been able to use copyrighted music, in-game cut-scenes and other material all without punishment. YouTube Content ID system being implemented on Twitch streams could cure that problem.
Of course, there are those who are completely opposed to this acquisition, and their concerns are understandable. YouTube has been notorious for terrible buffering issues,
false copyright claims and unwelcome changes. No amount of acquisitions would change those outstanding issues.
What do you think of all this? Is Twitch going to lose its luster and focus? We want to know in the comments section below.