The Tablet War Is Moving To The Next Level. It Is Not Just A Game Of Interface And Content, It Is A Service Platform Game. It Will Be Google, Apple And Amazon.

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Idea Couture San Francisco was excited to sponsor and host the Tofu event last week. The Tofu Project is a nicely curated boutique program created by TokyoMango journalist Lisa Katayama and designer Tomo Saito that brings 10 of the most innovative young entrepreneurs from Japan to the San Francisco Bay Area for a 7-day design thinking and innovation boot camp.

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These isn't just another Silicon Valley-meets-Japan tour or incubator. It is not just a start-up meet and share, it is more of collaborative think tank where cool Japanese people and experts on Japanese culture from all different sectors gather together to re-imagine the future of Japanese innovation and globalization. I wish I was there. Here are some pictures to share.

A busy day driving to Waterloo for a several meetings and everytime I stopped at a book store I wonder how the tablet war will evolve in the next 12 months. The tablet war is moving to level two and there are only 3 finalists. Samsung and Amazon are the only two that are strategically qualified to play this game. Sony’s new tablet may have a small chance; if it does it will be domestically. Sony has been sleeping at the wheels and has no idea what the world is like.

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Amazon's forthcoming Kindle Fire tablet will be hurting the sales of iPad and put price pressure on Apple. They might end up having to reduce the price to keep shares. I don’t see any new features that can keep iPad ahead of the game or sustain the growth. Many will hold off the purchase of iPad for themselves or chose to buy Fire because it is a great alternative.

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Kindle Fire, launching next week at a price of $199. They are using a Gilette strategy of subsidizing the tablet and make money from content. Apple will never do that. And for the Nook, I am not sure. It is nicely designed and engineered product, a lot of good thinking on the UI level too but lacking a strategy to play this game. Yet the sales jumped 140% the first quarter due to overall demand growth.

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Amazon Fire will have a dual-core processor, a fast browser, a good display, and lots and lots of content. Preorder is already tracking to exceed a million. Amazon will build a big user base and leverage this to launch a service platform. They are not viewing the tablet as an eReader game like Nook, they see this one piece of a larger emerging strategy to go against Apple. Amazon just purchased a voice startup Yap few months ago, a technology that could transcribe voice commands into text. Amazon is quietly building out its voice-recognition service platform and will be competing with Apple Siri. That’s the next big game.