Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sony's Netbook Game Changer?

A couple of days ago, we posted a wireless briefing on what's going on this week.  One of the notes we posted was about Sony's secret answer to the netbook.

Through and accident or otherwise, some information are now out.  Keep in mind that we don't have the compete picture just yet.  However, given what we've read online, this is quite something.

It remains what the rest of the missing information are.  Price, availability, battery life, and overall mobility performance.

  • Two models
  • 9.5" by 4.5".  To give everyone a bit of a perspective, the 
  • High speed wireless access - 3G, Wi-Fi
  • 8" Screen with 1600x768 LED - this is very good.  By comparison, most netbooks offer 1024 by 600.  We're talking about almost twice the number of pixels.
  • 1.33Ghz Intel chip - could be a slower Atom.
  • 60GB hard drive - 128GB SSD for the rich.
Of course, two very important details were left out:  price and battery life.  Over at On Apple, I've offered my opinions and gusstimation on what Apple's netbook solution is going to be.  Obviously, Sony has its own idea here.  Both Apple and Sony consider themselves to be the BMW and Mercedes of the computer industry respectively (or Mercedes and BMW...).  Obviously, my idea and Sony's netbook soluion here will allow both companies to command a premium and still compete on some level with the netbooks.

We'll know in January, possibly CES what Sony has cooked up for us.

Source:  Electronista

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Intel To Lock Out Nvidia From Atom And Netbooks

Let's hear from the legal mobile warriors on this issue.  According to Digitimes, Nvidia wants to offer the 9400M GPU with Atom to make for more powerful netbooks.  Netbooks capable of playing games and HD content.

You say that's great.  Me too.  Except that Intel is making sure that Atom is only sold with its own chipsets, meaning all those sucky integrated graphic processors.  Okay, sucky is too strong a word.  Intel's IGP works and if you know what it's capable of, there should be no complaints about it.  If you want better graphics, there are other solutions out there from AMD and Nvidia.

Nvidia is offering their own custom solution dubbed "Ion" which marries Atom with its 9400M GPU.  Such a combo would offer a great deal for mobile warriors.  Imagine playing a lot of today's games and HD video.  the 9400M first appeared in Apple's new Macbook lines in the fall.  So far, the Mac folks only have good things to say about it.

But without Intel's cooperation, Ion would not be possible as Intel made sure to remind netbook makers Atom and its 945 chipset (very very old) are married together.  No exceptions.

So, what now?  Well, Intel has been the subject of many anti-trust and anti-competitive lawsuits and complaints in the past.  I can't say this is where its headed and I can't say if Intel is doing the right thing or not.  Certainly, mobile users will be stuck with a slower graphic solution with Intel's 945 chipset.  But we are talking about netbooks here, not Alienware or Macbooks.

Still, it sucks.  Impact on mobile users?  Well, either Intel opens up or Nvidia says "fine, I'll go make my own chips.  See if I care".  Now, that could take a whole.  Years down the road if Nvidia designs its own CPU.  But it also means competition in the marketplace and could very well force Intel to get more serious about graphic cards.

Since Apple switched over to using Intel CPUs, it had been using Intel's integrated graphics solutions.  It was not until this fall the new Macbooks sport Nvidia's 9400M GPU and forgo Intel's X4500 offerings.

Via Digitimes , Gizmodo

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mobile Warriors: Mark This Day

For the first time ever, more laptops were shipped than desktops.  However, this should be an asterisk.

Like this: * netbooks.

With the growing popularity of netbooks due to its price, performance, and portability, the whole portable computer market rose 40% over the same period in 2007.  In my small circle of close friends, nearly everyone bought a netbook.

But more than that, low cost of entry (from as low as $250) seems to be a major factor in a lot of folks who normally may not have considered getting a full-size laptop to get a netbook.  That was the case with most folks I know.

Now, I have to wonder about the long-term impact of netbooks in the laptop makers.  I can see a lot of mobile warriors using their netbooks as their main computer.  If this is the case, the revenues and profit margins for a lot of companies will be have a measured impact.

iSuppli has upped their forecast for 2009.  I think this is certainly great news for mobile warriors.  It may lead to additional competition.  Now, I have to wonder if it will also lead to lower revenue growth as well.

Also, as we move into 2009, will the popularity of netbooks compel more wireless providers to bundle wireless services with subsidized netbooks?

Via CNet

Economic Stimulus For Wireless: Investment In The Future

Green tech.  Petro Independence.  Infrastructure.  Education.  Healthcare.  I heard broadband in there somewhere. 

Well, I have to say that I'm a bit torn.  I like to see wireless technology expanded more.  In my limited knowledge about "the last mile" about getting broadband into every  home in America, I am making the assumption that wireless technology would be cheaper than tearing up concrete and running wires. 

Still, the cost of the stimulus package I'm reading about on the Internet is mind-boggling.  I know the Democrats are trying to keep the stimulus package under the $1T.  That's right, folks.  One Trillion.  $1,000,000,000,000.  A thousand billion.  A million million.  One followed by two zeros.  So, they're looking at $750 billion at the low-end and trying to keep it under $850 billion at the high-end.  So, if that's going to happen, where does wireless technology and wireless broadband rollout fit into all this?

President-elect Obama has mentioned putting aside money for broadband deployment.  It figures largely into his education, healthcare, and other efforts to streamline the government.  And I applaud that effort but every telecom and cable lobbyists will try to get into the equation and end up making a mess of things.  I suppose it's the nature of the beast and the cost of doing business with the government involved. 

I just hope when the final bill comes across President Obama's desk in January, it's broadband, be it wireless or not, done right for mobile warriors, not telecom overlords.

Link:  Speed Matters, Ars Technica

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mobile Reading

A while back, Steve Jobs said America has stopped reading when asked about ebooks and Kindle.  Well, it appears that is not quite so true given the number of ebook readers and standalone ebooks that are available for Apple's mobile platform.

And it's only a matter of time before they appear on Blackberry's app store and Android Marketplace.  Even with the dearth of apps for Android, there are already a couple of ebook and file readers.

So, I'm wondering when we will see e-ink like technology for regular mobile phones and mobile devices like Blackberries.  

With tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of mobile readers world-wide, be it on the iPhone or others, it makes sense that some sort of LED screen should be made available for mobile devices.  Because right now, as popular as the iPhone is for reading (some folks have argued the Apple's app store may have sold more books than Amazon has with Kindle), the iPhone and iPod Touch's screen was never made for ebook reading because due to power consumption.

I've taken my iPhone for reading at Starbucks for a couple of hours.  It works well and there more than enough juice just for that.  But it certainly will not last days like regular e-readers.  The Sony reader can last through 7500 pages turned.  Kindle can "last days" of use.  I doubt the iPhone will last a day of reading.

Perhaps with publishers who seem to embrace ebooks more and more, mobile device makers will realize the importance of reading to mobile warriors.  And with respects to Apple's head honcho, it appears that people still do read.  A lot.

Link:  Wired

Quick Mobile News Bits and CES Expectations

Here's a couple of mobile news bits to keep in mind as we enter the new year.

The CES, Consumer Electrontics Show, in Las Vegas is merely a few weeks away.  For those of us who didn't find this year's mobile gear offerings too compelling, 2009 should be pretty good. 
Word on the street is that Palm will finally make a serious effort to retake the mobile market it once dominated with a new mobile platform and devices.  Also, it helped that they received an $100 million cash infusion that should sustain them.  Boy, this Cobolt thing better be good.

RIM also got in on a bit of news last week by announcing a great quarter.  I think they've regain their footing.  Watching out, folks.  And by folks, I mean Microsoft, Google, and others. 

Then there's Android news.  New features.  For sure new phones in 2009.  G2, get the idea.  I do wonder if Android will break out and get into the netbook market. 

Certainly Sony is getting into the hype and secrecy business with a new Vaio.  Folks seem to believe it's a netbook.  The only reason I'm putting this bit of info on Onxo is that it's not a rumor.  However, your speculation is just as good as anyone's at this point.  Netbook, Viao tablet (I hope!), or something totally different.  I'm hoping for a Viao with PSP capability.  And since I just mentioned it, I know that it'll never happen. 

We're likey to more information trickle out in the next couple of weeks leading up to CES.  With Macworld seemingly dead (largely because Steve Jobs will not be the keynote speaker), more attention should be on mobile offerings from other tech companies.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Encroaching on Nintendo's Turf

Can Nintendo afford to upgrade every so often while mobile devices like smartphones have a shorter upgrade cycle?  The reason I posed this question is because a lot of smartphones and mobile devices are now making gaming one of its main features or soon will be.

Granted that Nintendo has sold millions and made gazillions from its handheld devices dating back to the original Game Boy, I wonder if Nintendo needs to upgrade their devices on at least an annual basis or even shorter cycle given the encroachment of mobile devices like the iPhone and iPod Touch.

More and more, it looks like Apple is serious about making more out of gaming than anything originally though.  I don't see folks getting torn up between Nintendo's DS offerings and iPod Touches when they consider a mobile gaming device yet.  Not for a while.

Nintendo will do just fine if they want to make a device that is gaming first and other functions are secondary.  Nintendo fanboys are just as loyal and likely have a larger following.  If the legendary gaming giant continues to innovate and not take them for granted, they'll follow where Nintendo leads.

And Apple is not the only people Nintendo has to worry about.   While I can't say I have any clue where Apple plans on taking the iPod Touch (I've got a few theories), others like Sony and Microsoft with Apple on the consumer mobile phone front and that means they'll have to offer compelling gaming as well.

Nintendo's problem with Sony is that Sony has a legacy and it is well known world-wide for its phones and Vaio laptops.  Sony can leverage its mobile gaming offerings in ways Nintendo can't.  PSP2 is a bit far off still (according to Yahoo).  But can we expect an iPod Touch-like device from Sony that merges PSP or even creating a "Vaio Touch" with PSP gaming?  Wouldn't you love seeing one of those?

Microsoft could be closer to releasing something to compete with the iPod Touch and iPhone than Sony.  Nintendo doesn't have to worry about Microsoft moving into mobile gaming the way it has to worry about Sony.  For the most part, I'm not sure Redmond knows what it really wants to do.  Zune phone is a given.  Zune gaming is likely but it has to decide if it'll be Zune gaming or Xbox mobile gaming.  Do it wrong and it'll confuse the heck of consumers.

Bottomline for Nintendo is if it can afford for the coming mobile gaming war to come to it or strike out at it's competitors now before it becomes an issue.

Source:  Yahoo News

Note:  I've largely excluded RIM, HP, Dell, and Nokia in all this.  It'll be interesting to see how they can fit into the mobile communication and gaming platform debate.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wide-Spread SSD Deployment in 2009?

While many of us who watch Steve Jobs and Apple, among other companies and mobile characters, mourn the passing of an annual event where Mac faithfuls gather in SF for the Macworld keynote, it was at Macworld 2008 that Steve introduced to us the Macbook Air with a 64GB of SSD as its main storage.

Now, Apple is by no means the first company to put an SSD in its laptops.  XO and EEE PC all came out with SSD as their storage.  I think even Dell also had SSD options for its laptop lines.

Then 32GB and 64GB.  The 64GB option from Apple originally cost $1000.  Today, Apple is offering the 128GB option for $500.  Half the price and double the storage.  Now, Toshiba is offering a 512GB SSD option with 240MB a sec read and 200MB a sec write.  Oh, did I mention that its suppose to last over a hundred years?  I wonder what the warranty will be like.

Speed, sturdiness, and power efficiency are all why SSD will likely play in important role in future laptops and mobile devices.  Not only that, it's a backup option making its way into servers as well.  In recent tests by some blogs, the speed and power efficiency are not quite there yet but for studiness alone, it's worth it.

Besides, it's a natural evolution from regular hard drives.  With SSD prices dropping so fast, I'm willing to call 2009 year of SSD.  A cursory check of some online stores show a big drop in SSD prices.  Some are low enough (but nowhere near the price of regular HD) that it is an option for people who are data worth protecting.

Now, I'm not saying SSD drives will overtake regular HD in 2009.  But I certainly do see more SSDs offered as an option.  Besides, with the recession...anyway.

Here are just some examples:
  • 32GB - $75 and up
  • 64GB - $135 and up
  • 128GB - $249 and up
  • 256GB
  • 512GB - From Toshiba.  No price yet.  Samples will be available for testing in Q1.  
What do you think?  Is there an SSD in your future?

Via Electronista, Toshiba

Quick Thought On Mobile Gaming - Those clouds over the horizon may mean war

Over at On Apple, we find out that Konami is about to back up Apple's assertion that the iPlatform (iPhone, iPod Touch) is a serious gaming platform with 4 new games.  All legacy titles. 

Now, I don't know if Nintendo or Sony is quaking in their boots (I don't think they wear boots though) about Apple.  I doubt it.  Not yet anyway.

However, there have been rumors about PSP2.  Engadget just sort of poured some cold water on that talk.  Still, we know it's gotta be coming.  We just don't know if it'll be PSP2 or PSPhone, or both.  Okay we do.  But I have to wonder just how cool it'll be if it is the PSPhone instead of just PSP2. 

And how about Nintendo?  With DSi, Nintendo added features to the system beyond just gaming.  It sure took its time doing it but I'm sure more non-gaming features are due out.  And we also have to wonder if Nintendo will becoming out with a DSphone or it's happy with DSw (widescreen - I made it up just now).

Who else is left?  Redmond.  Zunephone is coming.  It's a matter of time.  And you're saying it's gotta have gaming too.  We agree.  Microsoft will be a bit more interesting.  It's got Zune, Xbox, and Windows Mobile.  It'll have to figure out how to balance between competing with Apple on the entertainment as well as the enterprise front. 

I'll get into the dynamics of a gaming war between these four later but one thing is for sure, the entrenched players, Nintendo and Sony, have a lot going for them but Apple and, possibly, Microsoft aren't folks you just brush aside.

Source:  Engadget

Obama And FCC - Test of Will on AWS-3

Generally one would think the new Obama administration will be more consumer friendly and as a Democratic apparatus, the new administration would be looking out for the little guy like Dave the Mobile Warrior.  In particular, I think President Obama would be more supportive of net neutrality and likely to support a national wireless network being pushed by the FCC.

I suppose we'll know the answer once we find out if Obama's FCC folks will allow the AWS-3 bandwidth to be put back on FCC's agenda for a vote after numerous lawmakers were ordered by their cronies to pressure the FCC chairman into putting off the vote.

So, we'll know in the next few months who the new administration is looking out for.  National interest or the interest of entrenched wireless providers.  

Just a reminder, the AWS-3 is 25Mhz of bandwidth that requires the winner to allocate part of the bandwidth for a free national network.  However, T-Mobile is protesting the move because it claim it would interfere with its own network.  I have to applaud FCC chairman Kevin Martin for going ahead with this until he was forced to put off the December 18th vote.

Martin is leaving so he's not going to force the issue.  Let the next guy deal with it.  And it'll be Obama's guy.

Other Onxo posts on this issue:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Economic Impact on 4G Deployment

Techworld has referenced a report that the global recession and competitive pressure from LTE will have a great impact on WiMax, and not in a good way. But I also wonder what kind of impact this will have on 4G deployment in general.

By and large, governmental stimulus packages from the $700 billion TARP fund, the pending $600 billion waiting for President-elect Barack Obama to sign in January, $600 billion stimulus from the Chinese government, and dozens of other ones from various nations are used mainly to prop up failing financial systems or stimulate employment through large scale infrastructure projects. I don't see many intended to lay out networks for wireless networks.

Maybe I just haven't heard about it. But roads and bridges are probably something more pressing than building out LTE, WiMax, or other 4G networks to politicians. Already companies are cutting back on upgrades and other expenditures if they're not already trimming their workforce. Next generation wireless broadband could take longer to come to your neighborhood.

Source: Techworld

Monday, December 15, 2008

Blackberry Storm - Where Are The Sales Figures?

I could have posted this on On Apple or On Android but I figure folks in those camps are just as galvanized and passionate about their mobile devices so I'm posting it.

Where are RIM's figures for Storm?  Why isn't Verizon saying how sales numbers are saving Christmas for its stockholders? 

I'm not insinuating anything here but the BB crowd can sure use good news right about now.  Initial sales for the Storm numbered between 100K-120K on the weekend it launched.  That's a very good number and it could pick up steam as the Holidays and Christmas rush is factored in. 

Still it would be reassuring to hear RIM or Verizon come out and do a bit more cheerleading.  I've seen the ads on television, Hulu, and other online avenues but if you do a quick google search, there isn't a lot of information from either companies.  RIM has repeatedly indicated they've added record subscriptions since the Storm debut but it isn't the same as saying 500,000 or 1,000,000 units have sold since.

Regardless, RIM remains the standard bearer in the smartphone segment of the mobile industry.  And it's making the right moves by hiring over a thousand new engineers during this economic downturn.  While others may be looking to shed the workers, Apple and RIM are doing the opposite.  RIM's hirings gives me confidence that they're looking at the long-run and not just a couple of quarters down the line.

I think this alone should be Crackberries a lot to cheer about.

Source:  Fierce Wireless, Unwired View

Note:  Still, a couple of numbers could be reassuring.  And also, I wonder if Storm is helping RIM expand their reach with consumers or is it merely cannilalzing sales of other Blackberries like the Curve or the Bold.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Former Soviet Republic First To Offer Mobile Voting

I've never been to Europe let alone eastern Europe.  So I don't know what conditions are like in Poland and the other former Iron Curtain satellites. 
And i doubt seriously that I'll ever be visiting any former Soviet republics but after learning about Estonia letting their citizens vote in national elections through their mobile devices, that just blew me away.
First in the world.  Certainly one for the history books (and Wikipedia).  Now, I've wondered often why we have not implemented such a system.  As a democratic society, this is the sort of thing that we want to advance, allowing for greater voter participation.
And not just for mobile voting but just good old fashion online voting through any computer, laptop, Blackberry, iPhone, or whatever mobile devices are on the market.
After all, we have people banking relatively safely online for years now and it simple makes sense that people should be able to vote at home, on the go, or wherever else they might be if they only have their mobile device with them.
Now, there is a sense of tradition on voting at a polling booth in the Sun of california, Wintery weathers of the Northeast, and the farmlands of the Midwest and I'm sure those polling places will continue to exist.  
But if you're looking for voter turnout, this is just the way to go.  Start the online voting two weeks before election to give the nation enough time to cast its votes.  Debate will continue as some folks will wait for the last minute as candidates and their running mates hope from swing state to swing state.  It'll only be better for democracy.
I am just curious if anyone has heard about mobile voting and, if so, how far along we are.
via Engadget 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

iPhone Still Missing Critical Features

Twelve (or is it fifteen by now) million iPhones in the wild and counting.  Not bad for a newcomer who only had their first mobile device on the market 18 months ago. 

Still the iPhone is missing some critical features.  Okay, missing but it has not dampened demand for it.  But I still wonder why it has taken Apple so long to bring something as simple as cut-and-paste.  So, what are these other features?

Well, MacDailyNews has a list of critical features that folks want (it's a poll) and I want to go through and maybe we can all figure out why its missing.
  • Spotlight system-wide search.  This is an easy one.  Security.  And there is no need at this time for such a feature.  You've got e-mails, appointments, contacts, and dates.  Well, maybe we do need it.  But given security reasons, Apple will not offer this feature. 
  • Native local storage.  Again, I think it's security related.  Plus there are 3rd party apps that open up online storage.  A bit of cloud computing if you will.  Eventually, it makes sense to get an mobile version of iLife and maybe access to MobileMe. 
  • Native voice-dialing.  It's coming.  Google has enabled voice-search so we know the capability is there.  It's more likely that Apple is saving this feature for a future upgrade so they can make a big deal out of it.
  • Turn-by-turn voice navigation.  It's coming.  Otherwise, the GPS would be pretty useless.  Honestly, I don't know why this is being held up.  Many GPS companies have expressed interest in providing apps for the iPhone.  I want to say it has to do with the battery power but I think it's more than that.  One, revenue.  Apple wants a piece of the piece beyond just the 30% of every GPS app sold.  Two, they could be working with car companies for additional integration with vehicle systems. 
  • Potentially power hungry features.  I'm lumping them together for this reason.  Bluetooth stereo headset and video recording.  Now, I'll come out and say I have no experience with wireless headsets but I imagine it'll take a bit of power that the iPhone really can't spare.  Video recording is in the same depart but I also tried Cycorder and it's just downright aweful.  We're better off carrying around a true HD camcorder.  It's what Steve would want.  I see bluetooth stereo headset but I don't see video recording from Apple.  Maybe third-party apps. 
  • Bandwidth-hog features.  MMS.  Apple fans are very creative (that isn't to say RIM or Windows Mobile fans aren't) and such a feature would very popular.  I want to say it's due to bandwidth alone but the feature is just too bland for Apple.  I have a feeling a similar feature will be jazzed up and closely integrated with MobileMe. 
Oh, and cut-and-paste.  Your guess is as good as mine.  You'd think it's one of the features the iPhone would have from day one.  But having seem some aweful implementations, I can see why Apple has not included this feature.  I like Windows Mobile's cut-and-paste implementation but not so much with the G1 and Android.  I've read theories and rumors of variant implementations but we'll just have to wait until it can be implemented easily and meets Steve Jobs' approval. 

What do I consider are critical features?
  • iWeb access to MobileMe webhosting for blogging.
  • Mobile office suite.  But it'll be useless until cut-and-paste is available.
  • Voice-command with shortcuts. 
  • 3-D interface that Apple looks to be developing.
  • Battery life.  We need the ability to change batteries.  Since this is not a wish Apple will grant us, we can only hope components will improve power usage.
  • iChat video. 
There are more but I don't want to be greedy.  So, to recap on why we have not see some critical mobile features on the iPhone.  Battery power, bandwidth restrictions, and Jobsian perfection.  I think those are the three main factors holding up services and features for the iPhone.  Eventually, it'll all work itself out.  I hope.

Via  MacDailyNews

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Netbooks Wipe The Floor With iPhones!

Netbooks rips Blackberry a new one!  Or how about this one:  More Netbooks sold than DS and PSP Combined!

No, I haven't gone off the deep end.  That happened a long time ago.  What I'm babbling about is a post originating from jkOnTheRun that has been picked up by the likes of MacNN and PC World, all very respectable .  Apparently, the tech blog found recent news days so slow that they have to pit two completely different products from different categories and compare their numbers.

And let's not forget that the comparison here is a whole segment of netbooks versus one product, the iPhone.  So, why do it?  Suffice to say, the explanation in the post doesn't make sense.  The fact that an explanation for this comparison is needed, well, you'll have to take a go at it yourself.

I think there is an explanation not mentioned in the post.  It stemmed from the last financial call when Jobs said the iPhone was Apple's answer to the netbook.  So, here are some things you should know.
  1. Don't believe everything Jobs say. 
  2. An Apple answer to the netbook is coming.
  3. An Apple answer to the netbook is coming.
  4. An Apple answer to the netbook is coming.
  5. Don't believe what Jobs say. The iPhoen is not a netbook. An Apple answer to the netbook is coming.
Even the comparison is flawed if you allow it. To make such an Apple to orange comparison, you still have to take into account the iPod Touch units. But you can't do that because Apple doesn't offer those numbers. Then you also have to take a look at the netbooks and see which ones uses SSD instead of traditional drives. Then you have to go further and see which one offers 3G connectivity.
And when Apple's answer to the netbook comes out, so what? I'm sure comparisons will be made but it won't be a netbook. Still, that is not going to stop folks from making comparisons.
Source:  jkOnTheRun 
Note: If such a comparison as JonK is allowed, they would need to take into account devices like Nokia's N800 and Archos devices.

Another note: This is the result of dearth of Apple rumors. Shame on MacNN for reporting it though. Better off reading the stars for Apple's future plans than to report on this.

Another note note: Read the comments on the original post. Most folks agree this was a bad comparison.

No Degradation Battery From HP In 2009

That's right. Not Toshiba or Sony.  HP.

Check it out.  A battery that doesn't start to degrade well into the third year of use, or 1000 charge cycles.  Apparently, HP has found some magic dust, sprinkled them on these batteries, and mobile happiness ever after.

Dubbed "enviro" (we'll forgive HP for this uninspring name), I do believe this to be a very impressive jump in mobility.  Haven't you tried to baby and condition your battery at times to improve or at least artificially extend your battery's life ?  Well, no longer.  A 1000 charge cycle versus the 300 charge-cylce batteries now will change the workg habits of a lot of mobile warriors.

So, what can the Enviro do?

  • 1,000 charges before the battery start to degrade. 
  • 80% charge in 30 minutes.
  • 3-year warranty or the life of the battery.
  • Cost?  Double?   Triple?  Nope.  A mere $20-30 over current batteries.
  • Technology from Boston -Power
  • HP is merely the first to offer this battery.
Impact:  While this new technology doesn't extend the battery life, it does porlong a battery's life.  And with the cost a mere 15-20% over current battery offerings that will go through the life of a laptop, you're talking about millions saved on battery replacement costs for businesses. 

Furthermore, some mobile warriors would be more like to be untethered to an outlet and more inclined to truly go mobile.  What I want to see next is a breakthrough that will allow for a battery to go on working all day.  
Via Crunchgear

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Android Netbooks

Let's make today Netbook Tuesday.  Well, it just so happens netbooks seem to be focus today.  In fact, it's a focus of a number of media outlets and blogs. 

And for all the right reasons.  Netbooks are generally cheaper than most laptops, light weight, run XP and most desktop applications, and low powered.  Personally, the portability and light weight was what got me interested in the XO to begin with. 

But Android-based netbooks would be something we've never seen before.  For the first time, an OS designed specifically as a mobile platform will power mobile and wireless needs.  Now, there is not much to speak of as we can see from G1. 

However, the potential exists for great devices and apps to come from using Android.  More at On Android.

Apple's Answer to $500 Junk and Netbooks

It's that time of the year.  Rumors on the next and greatest Apple device are getting going and should turn into a category 4 or 5 iHurricane by Macworld 2009 in January.  So far, it's an iTropical storm.

But over at On Apple, I've chimed in on what I think would be Apple's "not a netbook" netbook. 

It's a two-part post and part one has been posted.  It's all idle speculation on my part but it's in keeping with Cupertino's habits and spirits of going against convention.  I've called the new device that we ALL know is coming:  Access.  As in being able to "Access" all your life and data.

Let me know what you think.

Subsidized Laptops Come To The US

Want a netbook for $99?  For that and $60 a month for two years, Radio Shack, Acer, and ATT will offer you an Acer Aspire One with 3G access.  Not bad considering.

Onxo had said this was coming because it made sense and if you live in Britain, such deals has already been available for a while now. 

Now, this isn't cheap.  It's a hefty amount over the lifetime of the contract.  However, this is not meant for the average mobile warrior like you or me.  However for someone like Dave the Mobile Warrior who works in a professional web and programming development and needs access at any time and any where, it makes sense.  Again, it's for folks who need it.

But I'll make another prediction.  This rate will come down over time in 2009.  We don't have a lot of these types of bundles at this time.  Look for the other wireless providers in the US to follow in 2009.  Even look for additional tethering rates.  Then look for these rates to be challenged as WiMax become more ubiquitous (Sprint, I live in CA - waiting for you still).

It's going to be an exciting 2009.  Beyond that, how we'll just have to wait and see.  But I would not be surprised see these netbooks offered for free.  So, with AWS-3 and white spaces potentially coming online in 2010, things are looking up for mobile users.

 Source:  Engadget

Note:  Now, if ATT would just get up and offer the new Macbooks, I'll totally sign up.

Related Onxo Posts:

Monday, December 8, 2008

ATT's Ludicrous "I Have A Dream Moment"

Last week, ATT said they wanted an unifying mobile OS that would run all their mobile phones.  Onxo did not bother to post about it because my felllow mobile warriors would want to know what I'm smoking, where they can get some, and if ATT is smoking the same stuff.

Boy Genius Report has offered a clarification to their post.  Be that as it may, the motive behind ATT's goal for the one OS "to rule them all" remains the same as that of Mordor:  control.  Essential this is what they want:
  • Realizing that they have ceded a lot of control to Apple, they decided the only way  to get it all back is if they can force users to use one environment.  This goes the same for developers. 
  • With one OS that they have 100% control over, ATT  can dictate terms.  How to use it, what to use it with, and how much one can use it.
  • ATT can't be happy the hundreds of millions Apple is making off iTunes.  Execs at ATT are thinking that should be their money.    And $1 for  a song.  They want to chrage $2,  $3, or maybe $5 per song.  Like in the old days.  And why share anything with Blackberry.  Those user subscriptions should also be theirs.  It's their wireless network after all.
  • By being able to dictate terms to developers and content providers, ATT can ask for a piece of every pie sold through their network.  App sales.  Advertising.  Search.  You name it, ATT wants a percentage of it.
  • ATT has indicated in the past they should be the gate keepers to protect users.  Now, they are saying users don't want complications of high-end mobile devices.  Dude, what are these guys smoking. 
Clarification or not, one thing is clear:  ATT also realize this vision they are looking is impossible to realize.  Mobile warriors are savy, they have clear needs, and we don't want wireless providers to say what we can use or how we can use it. 

I'm grateful that iPhone and Android are here to stay.  I hope other handset makers and mobile platform developers learn from the last couple of years and stop capitulating to these wireless guys. 

Source:  BGR

Note:  To all Symbian fans out there, I'm sorry ATT mentioned you as their mobile plastform of choice for what they think are dumb users who don't want high-end stuff.  You should be wondering why.

Another note:  Apple is very limiting as well.  They are their own gatekeepers for the iPhone. 

Onxo Predicts Ten Androids in 2009

I'm not talking about the Commander Data variety.  I'm talking about the G1 and Google variety.

Engadget has a video sowing a new Android phone out of China.  There was another one demo'd last week.  But that isn't important.  What's important is that it's Google-linked mobile OS and it looks like it may be just enough to set the world on fire for the new upstart, albeit, a very very big upstart.

By all accounts, the G1, beta phone that it is, is doing very well and I'm sure Google, developers, and handset makers are learning a lot.  And I, for one, am looking ahead to G2 or G3 and seeing what OS improvements and designs.

As some of you already know, I'm still trying to like my G1.

So, 2009 could be the year Android takes off.  Not bad considering the competition.  What kind of impact will this have on mobile warriors?  It's difficult to say at this time.  A lot of Android models will simply be in China and we'll have to see the global appeal for phones that are sold worldwide.

I think we'll see at least ten with maybe 4-5 models sold in the US and the rest sold only in China.  In fact, I'm hoping those Chinese models will make their ways to the States.  From what I've heard about the iPhone developments due to the lack of Apple presence, I would really like to see the kinds of innovation out of China for Android.

Source: Engadget

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mobile Tip: Airsickness Bags As Mobile Stand

This comes from Macworld.

I'm very familiar with those airsickness bags you see with every seat on airline (I get car, bus, and train-sickness like crazy).

So, if you're not using them, use them as a stand.  Check out Macworld's suggestion.  What you do is make a cut-out wide enough to hold your mobile device but leave enough room so you can see the screen.  Then you hang it on the seat from front of you.  Now, you've got yourself a hands-free stand

It works great because even if the seat in front of you is pushed back, gravity will make sure the iPhone iPod Touch, or whatever video device you're using will be vertical.

Check out further instructions and pics at Macworld.

Note:  Here is another tip we found that you'll find useful in making an iPhone stand .

MacCandidate Will Also Be iPresident

World leaders who are democratically elected, be warned.  What laptop you use or what MP3 Pplayer you take to the gym may make or break your ascendency  to the presidency or whatever highest office that is in your land.

In the midst of a global recession, terror threats, and any number of dozens of political, economic, and environmental issues that President-elect Barack Obama and his transition team has to grab by the horns and hit the ground running on January 20th, apparently, just as important is assuring the American public and the international community that he was a Macbook candidate and will be an iPod President is just as important an issue.

So important is this issue that an Obama spokesperson has to come out and dispel a story that Obama jams with a Zune at a local gym in Chicago.

But if you think about it, Obama had openly talked about his family's Macbook during the campaign.  There's no reason why he would go out and get a Zune after that.

It's just amazing the kind of impact of a product that has sold 150 million units can have on Presidential politics.  History might be a bit different had Obama talked about using a Presario or Inspiron and Senator McCain's advisors had made him look more tech savy with pictures or video footages of the Senator with an iPhone and a Macbook Air.  Karl Rove uses an iPhone.  They could have used the Architect.

Note to future Presidential candidates:  just as you'll likely make the ethanol pledge when you're in Iowa and the rest of the Midwest, make sure you make the iPod pledge as well.

Source:  PC World

Apple Announcement For Macworld: We've Got Nothing (Go Home!)

Onox was right (unfortunately) about no new products outside of refreshes of existing Apple products.

I am going to say it now.  No new mobile product from Apple at Macworld.  We might see a refresh of the iPhone with lower entry prices for the 8GB at some later date.  We'll likely see a 32GB model as well.  That's about it.

However, we will not see a tablet, Macblet, iTablet, MacTablet.  Nor will we see anything new multi-touch hardware.

Here's why I think this to be the case.  This week, many Apple sites have reported (when they're not reporting about President-Elect Obama being a Zune user ) Adobe offering a limited presence at MacWorld 2009.  If you recall earlier this fall, Apple execs made a lot of buzz about new products and leaving no umbrella room.  Well, they sort of did that will the iPod line, they lowered the price of the entry Macbook, and will do so with iPhone early part of 2009, either through power prices or added memory capacity.

Now, Appleinsider is reporting a line of other companies not making their presence felt in at the January event (second most important event in January in my mind).  Why is that?

The economy for one.  But as AI mentioned in its post, many of those folks have already paid for the venue and, thus, cost should not be an issue.  Nor is travel expense given that companies like Adobe lives in the area.  So, what could it be?

Hence my guess:  no new products other than Mac desktop refreshes.  New Mac Pro.  New iMac.  Maybe new Mac Mini (or that Mac Hybrid that I wanted).  For any other company, that would be news in of itself but this Apple.  Two years ago, the iPhone.  Last year, the Macbook Air.  This year, nothing.

And let's face it, people are about mobility now.  Desktops don't get people excited like they once did.  Supposedly, attendance will also be down.  I'm guess people are thinking they won't see anything exciting at this year's keynote.

So, let's hope that I'm wrong.
Source:  Appleinsider

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mobile Tips From Google

Onxo has offered tips from time to time that make sense.  Battery tips are the most popular.  Security tips.  Also very popular.  Securing your password in the cloud?

But now, Google has created a mobile site dedicated to offering mobile tips.  And more than that, it's one tip a day.  So far, they've offered variants of search - sport score, shopping, unit conversions.  They've got one tip for the iPhone app that for voice.

Okay, it's very Google-centric and nothing mind blowing but it's stuff that's good to know.  And it's very good of Google to do this.  We'll highlight really cool ones if we come across them as Google offer them.

You can always search Onxo for our own tips or ones that we've linked.  So far, I think Google's conversion tip is pretty cool.  Oh, works on desktop Google searches too.

Source:  Google Mobile Tips

iPhone OS Displaces Windows Mobile Ranking But...

First, let me say I love my first gen iPhone.  Second, I am trying to like my G1 but in my previous posts, I think Google and T-Mobile suckered us into their beta program.  Third, more than anything, I'm a big mobile fan.

So, it's great to see that iPhone has indeed gain a lot of traction among mobile warriors.  Ten to twelve million (depending on how you figure - actual activations, users, or simply pushed into stores).  Very impressive no matter how you want to account for the number.

Still, I want to mention a couple of things before a long-term victory is declared by the Apple camp.  The mobile market is very fluid.  It doesn't change from day to day but quarter to quarter.  The iPhone 3G came at a time when there was not a lot of new competitors on the market.  A lot of the products from RIM, Nokia, or Microsoft were already a bit dated.  And for a time, there was no competition to speak of if you want to talk about touch-screen devices.  And to dte, there is no multi-touch devices like the iPhone out there.

Also, Windows Mobile 7 is still MIA.  I would love to see the iPhone go toe-to-toe with WM7, Storm, and Nokia's N97.  Perhaps we may still.  N97 will be out likely in June of 2009.  There could be a new iPhone by then as well.  Perhaps even Storm 2.  And WM7 should be just around the corner.

Then we'll truly see a slug-fest.  Just the same, the iPhone, as a new comer, is kicking a lot of sand in the eyes of the old guards, changing rules of the game, and really running ahead of competing products on the market.

Nokia still rank first 42.4% of the smartphone market.  Coming in next is RIM with almost 16%.  Apple is third with about 13%.  Only Nokia suffered a bit of a drop from 49% a year ago.

So, new innovative product.  Timing.  And missteps by competitors.  All helped to make the iPhone 3G a success.  What do you think?  How will the game be played out?

Source:  Cult of Mac, MacDailyNews

Impact:  Well, Apple's success in the mobile market has caught people by surprise.  Even more, the extent of Cupertino's reach is all the more daunting.  We'll see smaller launch windows between product refreshes, increase research and development for those who can afford it (Palm and Motorola doesn't seem capable of that now), and lower pricing.  Great for all mobile users.  My only fear is that we may also get a lot of crap as a result.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

iPod Shortage Comments

Right now, there are reports of iPod shortages.  It is indeed a surprising development given all that we've heard about MP3 player market being saturated and, unfortunately, ongoing economic contractions globally.

I want my fellow mobile warriors to understand that while this doesn't impact mobility directly, I just want to say this is one of those instances where we should sit back and wait a couple of days and see if additional iPods show up at Amazon, Best Buy, or Walmart.

Internet sites have been known to get ahead of ourselves and push stories that isn't necessarily true.  Now, in reality, this shortage could be just what it is, a demand for a very good line of products.  Or it could be something else going on.  Reading comments of some Apple-centric sites, some believe this is a marketing ploy by Apple.  Some believe it could be that Apple underestimating the appeal of the iPod line this Christmas.

For example, I took a look at Apple's online store and made a couple of calls to local Apple stores and there doesn't seem to be any shortage.  Some stores have more colors than others but the folks working there doesn't seem be panicking.  Apple's online store has all iPods (from shuffle to touch) all ready to go within 24 hours.

So there you have it.  I have a theory on the Amazon shortage though.  There is currently a deal with Audible that if you sign up for a full-year service, you can get a $100 coupon towards the purchase of an Audible-compatible device.  And just it so happens that all iPods are capable of playing Audible files.  Also, Amazon offers free shipping and no taxes to much of the country.

What do you think is going on?

Update:  It's available again on Amazon, Best Buy, Circui City, and Target again.  Walmart does seem to be out of them.  Crisis over.

FCC Free Broadband Vote on Dec 18th

First white spaces and now maybe AWS-3.  If you recall, we've dicsussed the importance of the coming vote on AWS-3 because of the mandate that the winner of the auction would be required to allocate part of the bandwidth to provide for a free national broadband access.

This has been the brainchild of the outgoing FCC chairman Kevin Martin.  It was first proposed back in 2006 and on December 18th, it may become reality if the outcome by the FCC is in our favor.  This has gotten Dave the mobile warrior very excited. So excited in fact, he had to send me a remind in the form of an USA Today article.

And we all should be excited.  Forget the fact that it's free broadband access.  It means millions of Americans who do not have or cannot afford) fast access to the Internet and the vast treasure of information will now be able to get onto the information superhighway that many of us have taken for granted.  Education, jobs, competitions.  Free flow of information to even more people.

Be sure to stay tuned for the results and the impacts.  I'll say this now.  The future impact should the FCC do the right thing will mean a great deal to the future generations.

I also want to say this issue has not made everyone happy, particular T-Mobile (read here for reasons why) and telecoms in general who are in the market for profit.  At the end of the day, it is about profit, not about subsidies.  I don't care for subsidies.  But it is about parity, and that is important.

Via USA Today

Related Onxo Links on this matter:

Android Update December 2008

I've posted an update on my G1 experience.

I don't want to call it a review because, in the traditional sense, it's not a review.  It's more of a progress report since Android is still growing and being fine-tuned (after all, Google gave Android Marketplace a beta label and felt it wasn't ready to yet).

It's a bit of a mixed bag.  I highlighted some apps, talked about what I think are good about G1 and lamented the fact that some things that I thought should have been ready in Android but aren't.

Go ahead to On Android and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

First, We Find Out Obama Uses A Blackberry And Now...

The last couple of weeks in mobility was dedicated somewhat to the subject of President-elect Barack Obama having to give up his Blackberry due to security reasons.  Makes sense.

While the Jobsian cult was not to happy to learn that the next President of the United States uses a Blackberry but at least they can take comfort in the fact that once he enters the White House on January 20th, 2009, he'll have to give it up.  No iPhone but no Blackberry either.

But now this.  Apparently, someone saw him at a Chicago gym.  Cool, right?  We all know he works out.  We also know he likes music.  Who doesn't? so he must have a MP3 player, right?  President Bush has an iPod.

Well...Apple fans, read no further if you don't want your heart broken by the man you elected to be the next leader of the free world.  You will not like what he uses as his MP3 player.  Macenstein has the details.

Note:  Well, at least we know Obama uses a Macbook or Macbook Pro.

Nintendo And Sony Should Start innovating

There are those wo believe that the iPhone will give the DS and PSP a run for their money.  I'm not sure that will happen.  It's possible but they are going after different markets.  Until games for the two gaming giants start showing up on the iPhone with regularity, the iPhone is still considered to be a nitch player in the casual gaming market.  That's just my opinion.

However, I will admit the danger for the gaming giants still exists that the iPhone or the iPod Touch may move into  a turf traditionally dominated by Nintendo since the orginal Gameboy.

Where is the danger coming from exactly?  From within Nintendo and Sony.  Nintendo's innovation heart is pumping pretty hard as is evident by its bestselling Wii and its unique controllers.  Sony is just going with power in PS3.  But on the handheld front, neither companies has done much on the last couple of years outside of comestic changes.

Granted the DSi has added a few features that are notable.  I'm specially impressed with the dual cameras.  Outside of that, the other features are simply catchups.  Am I right?

I'm sure we'll see something pretty cool with DS 2 and PSP 2.  Those models are coming.  Personally, iPhone gaming has awaken the mobile gaming hunger in me that I didn't know was there.  DSi is pretty cool but the iPhone is good enough to temper that hunger until DS 2.

For others sticking with their PSP or DS (I don't see many others going with DSi outside of no one will be getting it outside of Japan for a while), let's hope neither Nintendo or Sony won't be too long in coming out with the next generation of innovative mobile gaming less they don't mind people getting comfortable with iPhone and iPod Touch gaming.

And they better be very very innovative.  They should know that their fans are smart and will see through marketing fogs.

A couple of things I do want to see though.

  • I want to see innovation in multi-player gaming.  
  • Virtual worlds created just for mobile gamers.  
  • Wireless accessibility to the Internet and social networks.  
  • App stores that are easy to access like on the iPhone.  
  • Multi-sensory input and that's where the camera can come into play.
  • Take what the iPhone and iPod has done with multi-touch to another level.  
  • Video-conferencing during game play.
What would you like Nintendo and Sony to do with their next gen mobile gaming systems?

Note:  What I don't want to see is DS2 or PSP2 added with lame simple telephony.  

Nokia Drops New Devices For Holiday Seasons

A bit late.  Very late.  Nokia's N97 is looking like a winner, if an expensive winner.  And from the preliminary specs, we are looking at potential (dare I say?) Blackberry-and-Danger killer.   Haha, you thought I was going to talk about that other mobile device.

32GB of internal storage with additional memory slot.  Dude, this is one bad-ass mobile device.  And to top it off, 5MP camera, touchscreen (probably not multi-touch).  Going for about $700 in the Euro zone, it'll be available on the first half of 2009.  It's not something the iPhone, Android, Blackberry fans need worry about this certainly gives Symbian/Nokia fanboys something to cheer about finally.

Source:  Electronista

Note:  iPhone still the top.  Mobility is about simplicity and nothing beats the iPhone at this time.  However, Nokia's new device certainly come close to being the killer on paper.  We'll have to see how it really plays out.

Impact:  For mobile warriors of all favors, it is great to see Nokia in the game and strong.  Innovation, competition, and possibly lower price entries for sophisticated devices on 2009.  I love it.

Mobile Tip: Extending Laptop Battery from Mac OS X Tips

Alright, so the tip came from a Mac and Apple centric site but the underlying technology for laptop batteries is about the same for everyone.

We've done mobile battery tips on Onxo in the past and now, this site has given us one with clear explanations and how we can extend battery life.  You have no idea how much I baby my batteries.  From my Powerbook to the MacWind to my iPhone and G1.  Oh, and the XO too.

I've done a few battery and energy posts in the past and most of the time, it comes down the fact that batteries are not self-sustaining.  What do I mean by that?  It means after a few hundred cycles, your battery start to loose its original capacity.  There simply is no way to bring it back up to where it once was.    Retaining 80-90% of a battery's original charge after 300 or so cycles as most batteries are capable of doing these days is still quite good but I simply don't like to lose those minutes.  It just bugs me.

So, the best thing is to do what you can take care of your batteries, be it mobile devices like your iPhone or laptop.  Take a look at this worthy article.  A lot of the settings they talk about are for the OS X but there are similar functions on Windows too.

Via Mac OS X Tips

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mobility - Black Friday

On Black Friday, I woke up at 3am and go to Best Buy to rendezvous with a friend who knew what to do as far as shopping on the first official shopping day of the Holiday Seasons.  Instead, it was a crack team of my friend, his fiance, and little cousins who had scoped out the place (I should say places because they had other places to hit after that).

Me?  Totally unprepared.  Not even coffee.  Luckily, they gave me a peanut butter and cranberry sandwich.  But they were ready.  Ads.  Primary objectives.  Secondary targets.  In military and strategic sense, they ran a very tight and discipleined op.

But seeing what I saw that early morning, my friend's little special shopping operations team was nowhere nearly as sophisticated as some of the other ones.  What I was saw a bunch of mobile warriors with phones and laptops continually staying in touch with their "other team members" at Office Depot, Circuity, and God knows where else.  They looked up sites for pricing updates and latest deals.

I had my G1 and I dropped it twice.  Man, I have to say, it was incredible what mobile technology has enabled folks to do.  I wondered how the people with laptops were able to get online.  I'm guess through a wireless modem but there was also a Starbucks that sat in the middle of the mobile actions so it's also possible people were using ATT or T-Mobile's Wi-Fi hotspots.

Anyway, I'm impressed by how mobile devices were brought into these shopping missions.  I didn't get anything because, well, there was nothing I really need (however, lots that I want).  Maybe if I see a better deal the week of Christmas, I might consider something nice and small for meself.

Apple Should Prepare to Leave China (There Is Still Time To Execute Such A Plan)

At first glance, you might think that the title of this article is a clickbait considering that China is the second biggest economy in the w...