from Summit Notebook:

SanDisk’s Eli sings the Blu-Ray blues

The flash memory business may be suffering its worst slump ever, but SanDisk CEO Eli Harari is carving tombstones for other businesses.

The No.1 endangered technology, Harari said at the Reuters Global Technology Summit on Tuesday, is the Blu-Ray DVD. Because the discs don't work with smartphones, which consumers are increasingly using to watch video, Harari says their days are numbered.

He did not give a time frame for this extinction, though he did note at one point that the average period of time it takes for a new technology to render an existing technology obsolete is five to seven years.

Floppy discs, once a standard component on PCs, have been replaced by flash-based USB drives. And photographic film for cameras has become a fading memory since the advent of digital cameras.

Of course, SanDisk has been striving for several years to make inroads in the market for music CDs, offering prepackaged tunes on its flash memory cards, but CDs have yet to disappear.

RIM tops iPhone with consumers in Q1

In a rivalry that should only grow more heated in the months to come, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry Curve moved past Apple’s iPhone in the first quarter to become the best-selling consumer smartphone in the U.S., research group NPD said on Monday.

RIM had three of the top five best-selling consumer smartphones in the period, with the Storm at No. 3 and the Pearl at No. 4, NPD said. T-Mobile’s G1 ranked No. 5.

NPD credited a “buy-one-get-one” promotion by Verizon Wireless for the Curve’s push past the iPhone.

Apps take center stage at Apple event

As Apple events go, Tuesday’s iPhone 3.0 operating system preview at the company’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters lacked┬ásome of the panache of┬ápast Apple gatherings. Although the iPhone’s software update and new kit for application developers are undoubtedly important and closely-watched, they don’t quite stir the imagination in the same way as the launch of a new gadget or computer.

The event did provide a showcase for plenty of nifty new iPhone features, and the company trotted out a number of developers to demonstrate the remarkable applications being designed for the smartphone.

One of the highlights was a musical interlude by Ge Wang, an assistant professor at Stanford and the co-founder of Smule, which makes the Ocarina app for the iPhone. The hugely popular program allows users to “play” the iPhone like a musical instrument by blowing in the device’s microphone. Dr. Ge gave a brief demonstraton on stage to a healthy round of applause.