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The Slate

Oyster May Be the New Netflix

Oyster May Be the New Netflix

Many, if not all, have grown accustomed to the instant access of today’s technology. Theatres (1896), then TVs (1928), then VHS (1976), then DVD (1995), and then Netflix (1999). This is a basic, if not crude, timeline of the evolution of how we watched movies and shows. The instant streaming system of Netflix is a concept everyone is familiar with; and recently, the same concept was applied to a new medium: ebooks. According to Forbes, a new app just launched for the iPhone called Oyster giving users access to over 100,000 titles from four different publishers for only $9.95 a month. Created by Eric Stromberg, Andrew Brown, and Willem Van Lancker, the app also allows users to see what their friends are reading, makes recommendations, and even saves the last ten books users read. The iPad version of the app is expected to come out this fall.

Generations are now demanding their products to be even more sophisticated and even faster than ever. But which one is pushing the other, consumer demand or new technology? 

In 1998, no one was demanding an Internet service to watch whatever movie or show he or she wanted, whenever he or she wanted on their TV or computer. This is because the average person did not realize the power that the Internet possesed. At the turn of century, all that changed with dozens of original inventions. How did companies know the public would love these unprecedented devices? They didn’t.
Steve Jobs, one of the most innovative men in our time, designed his groundbreaking Apple products not around what focus groups concluded what consumers wanted, but around the idea he would personally want this product. It is with this frame of thinking that the world got Netflix, the iPhone, and the laptop. However, it is through the consumers’ current demand for these favorable technologies that we get “me, too, with a twist” technologies like Oyster. As novel as an idea Oyster is, a quick search shows most sites are comparing it to Netflix. There are still some fresh ideas coming out, but many are latching on to the tried and true. According to CNNMoney, there could be even imitators of Oyster like Amazon which already has the Kindle. This is nothing to be ashamed of as many innovations are those “twist” technologies. However, if there are only modifications to existing technologies, then there will be no room for something different.

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