Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Newsweek Wants Bigger Longer (Maybe Uncut too) Batteries

I ration.  I admit it.  I wish I don't have to but I don't have a choice.  If you have a 3G device like the iPhone or G1 and you go nuts on it, by lunch, you're looking to charge up like a guy left on a desert island looking for dihydogen monoxide (DHMO) (it's water).

It's like Newsweek says, battery is the weakest link in a mobile device or any device for that matter. Our devices are smaller and faster.  Smarter and closer every year to perfect mobile convergence of life and functions.  And all these innovations and advancements are taking pace at a rapid pace year after year.

And yet, battery improvement takes place at a crawl.  It's a good thing the USS Enterprise runs on a warp engine and not batteries or else Scotty would have ran up to the bridge long ago and put Kirk out of his misery for all the time he called down to engineering for "more power".

Millions are are being invested in battery technology and that can't happen fast enough.  What do you want out of battery power?  I know what I know.  It's a bit idealistic and naive I think but I'm going to share it with all mobile warriors.

  • Ideally, 24 hours of heavy use.  But realistically, I'll settle for 10-12 hours.  And I'm not talking about dimming, turning off this and that to stretch hours of battery.
  • Allow me to truly be mobile.  If telecommuting means going to the local coffee shop or anywhere else for half a day, I want my laptop to be running during that period if I can't find an outlet.  Now, I know HP and Dell has laptops that has 12-24 hours of battery life.  No.  I want this for all laptops and mobile devices.
  • It has to be cheap.  I wouldn't consider current laptop batteries cheap but I do hope cost will be on par with current batteries.
  • Fast charging.  Maybe with a new chemical cocktail, this is possible.  
I hope battery research will be a part of the new administration's agenda.  It would go a long way in moving technology forward.  Maybe if there is a bailout for the motor companies in Detroit, some dinero can go towards that end.


Here is the link .  Good read.

Vehicle-Mobile Device Integration

I know nothing about cars.  As a mobile warrior of that nature, I’m not.  But recently, with the ubiquity of mobile devices, one would assume there ought to be more integration between automobiles and mobile devices.
Here’s what I like to see:
  • Remote control through voice – stereo, lighting, locks, calling, etc.
  • Apps to monitor car performance – allows you to monitor your fuel usage, oil change, temperature, battery level, and other indicators to help you keep an optimal car.
  • Integration with the mobile device’s entertainment system like what we can currently do with the iPod.  However, I would like to see tie-ins with other devices.  Perhaps, there can be a way for car systems to access music of video libraries and play it off storage media.
  • Tethering using mobile device's always-on Internet connection as most vehicles do not have Internet access at this time.
  • When the day arrives where most vehicles have onboard wireless Internet, it can serve as a router for mobile devices.
  • Integrated gaming for the little ones.

One other thing I like to see with such an integration is if the device has a GPS navigation system, it can be paired with the type of vehicle you drive and navigate not necessarily the shortest route but one that is most efficient in terms of fuel, traffic, and other road conditions.  This would take it beyond some navigation systems that may help you plot routes based on the places you need to go. 
Anyway, what else would you like to see in terms of vehicle-mobile gear integrations?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Accessories for Travelers

TUAW has come up with a few items for travelers, or as I like to call it, mobile warriors.

It's a bit limited.  I spoke about the solar chargers and possibly solar backpacks.  I think there should be among the items that mobile users should carry with them at all times. Truly, if millions of us all over the world use solar or wind to charge our gadgets like iPhones, DS, Blackberries, and netbooks, I certain there could be a significant reduction in carbon footprint collectively.

Anyway, love to hear what you use and recommend.  We are currently compiling a list of mobile gadgets and accessories that will help mobile users through all kinds of situations.

Meanwhile, check out  TUAW's recommendations.  Also check out Camerahacker and Gearhack for tips and articles.  They've got a few on practical mobile articles.

Microsoft To Compete With iPhone

You're saying it already does with Windows Mobile.  I agree.  Windows Mobile is a very big platform.  Successful?  Well, that's up for debate.  The mobile landscape is always evolving and Microsoft i probably feeling a lot of heat from increased competition (but who isn't).   And we've been predicting that such a situation was likely including Microsoft developing its own mobile device.

Given the changes in the last year (iPhone, more folks developing smartphones for consumers), no longer is Windows Mobile good enough to satisify both the business world and consumers are the same time.

A while back, we said Microsoft warranted watching because everyone was very focused on RIM, Nokia and Apple.  We also said we should watch what Microsoft would be doing for this Holiday Season but our silliness got the better of us.  So, 2009 is definitely a year to watch.

Here's the thing.  MIcrosoft has to make their mobile plstform fun.  I'm not talking about having games and eye-candy customizations.  I'm talking about getting mobile warriors to want to carry it around and use it and make it a part of their daily lives.  Blackberries has the e-mails and messaging, while the iPhone has web-browsing, iPod-features, and generallly friendly UI.

Microsoft has tons of experience with UI and it also has experience with consumer electronics like Xbox and Zune.  Onxo definitely see Microsoft developing a mobile platform that can combine the best of the Blackberries and the iPhone.

So, folks, we are only confirming old news.  Just like the digital music realm, Microsoft has figured out that it can't simply develop a platform and let others do as they please with it.  Like the Zune, Redmond is getting their hands dirty once again to against smaller but more nimble foes.  If you want something done right, you'll just have to do it yourself.

My bet is we'll see something spectacular, provided this new Microsoft mobile device is not handicapped by wireless providers.

Source:  The Inquirer (Must Read)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Traveling With Mobile Devices

I haven't posted or shared anything for the last 2.5 days.  And for good reason.  A good friend's bachelor party and an annual event with friends from my UCLA days.  Go-cart racing.  Dinner with a bunch of hockey buddies.  Visited old haunts in Westwood.  Lots of video games.  Poker games.

I drove in all about 350 miles from Friday night till Sunday evening.  Slept over at friend's houses and kept watch on sick friends from alcohol.  In between, I had access to electrical outlets to charge my MacWind and G1.

I wasn't not concerned with the iPhone because there was no SIM in it to drain power.  I've turned it into an iPod Touch since switching over to using the G1.

With me was my trusty Hymini.  It's been a long while since I've talked about that.  Essentially, it's a wind and solar charger that lets you charge cell phones and lower power mobile devices.  What did I learn?

  • 3G isn't ready for prime time.  It's fast.  I love it but I don't love the lack of day-long battery.
  • Turn off 3G when there isn't a need for fast Internet access.
  • Edge is good enough.  Even when using navigation, EDGE was fast enough to update Google Map to show me where I'm going.
  • Need a secondary battery.  I will be picking up another G1 battery soon.  I'm not sure they even sell it.
  • It's good to have a car charger with USB interface.  I don't carry one.  I had the Hymini with me.
  • A solar charger is a very good investment.  Be it a portable charger or a messenger bag with a solar panel.  I think I will be picking one up this Christmas.  I had been holding out for one that can also charge a laptop as well.
  • And in an emergency, your laptop can also serve as a charger for your smartphone or cell phone if your mobile device can be charged through an USB plug.
I had a blast.  But I'm also glad the weekend's over and we've got a short week coming up.  As far as mobility goes, this was walk in the part in terms of getting juice for my mobile devices.  It's really gotten me thinking about energy independence and trying to do it as green as possible.

I'm sure there are a lot of mobile warriors much more efficient and knowledgeable in this area than I am.  I hope you would be able to share with everyone your tips, gears, and how to increase energy efficiency for mobile gears.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Movie

Today's movie is soething quite different from what I normally post.  No SNL or ppolitics.  No Comedy Central.

This is a clip with mobility involved.  Specifically, it's from the company that made the iPhone app, Ocarina, a flute.  And it's on the app store for only 99 cents.  I tried it a couple of days already.  Stopped only because the battery gave out.





If you're interested in seeing what else they've done, check out their company page.

Note:  Anyone know if a flute is actually this easy to learn?

Is Apple Afraid of RIM's Storm?

That's the questions asked at On Apple.

CNet is saying that Apple released the iPhone 2.2 update on the exact same date that the Storm goes on sale is proof that Cupertino is afraid of RIM and its new Blackberry.

I think Apple, as well as anyone else, should always be concerned about the competition.  Scared?

You be the judge.  Please read at On Apple.  Love to hear what you think about it.

A Bit About iPhone 2.2 Update And The Craze It Generates

Impact on Mobile Warriors:  None unless you're an iPhone users. And if youare n iphone usser with ATT, then there is no impact on you except the upgrades you'll get.  Increase stability, better browsing experience, and the ability to download podcasts over Wi-Fi or the provider's wireless network.

Now, for mobile folks not aware of the cat-and-mouse game played between iPhone hackers and Apple, every update provides an opportunity for iPhone users on the iPhone Dev Team to undo the locking work done by Apple's iPhone software team.

Essentially, every update means hackers on the iDT would break Apple's locking scheme (not really locking depending on how you think about it.  Okay, it sort of it) but also Apple would undo whatever the iDT did previously.

In a way, you have to short of think of Apple as the underdog here.  Just a bit of history.  When the original iPhone came out 18 months or so ago, it was only available in the United States during the initial year.  However, more were sold than was actually being used on the ATT network because people were able to unlock them for use on other networks like T-Mobile in the US and whatever GSM networks else where around the world.

There was rumors that a million unlocked iPhones were sold in China alone.  I knew someone who is a broker there who has one.  Others gave them out to clients as sort of a status symbol.

Now, with the iPhone 3G, there really is no way to unlock the newer iPhones via software, although they might be close (the original iPhone can be easily unlocked).  And the need for jail-breaking has greatly diminished with the introduction of the app store and apps in general.  However, the jail-break community is still going strong and offers many apps that Apple will not allow on iTunes (tethering apps quicking comes to mind).

Anyway, just in case you're wondering all the craze on the blogs today, this is why.

Note:  iPod Touches can also be jail-broken as well.  No need for unlocking there.

Old Laptops At Work

My Dell Athlon died yesterday.  Rather it was the HD and I haven't had time to go pick up another one.

It's weird bring my old Powerbook into the office for this purpose.  It's been here before but mostly it served as a Photoshop emergency than a workhorse for the day.  So far, it works great.  I'm having printing issues that I should be able to resolve that.

I thought I bring this up because Chieh over at Camerahacker also brought in his old Sony Viao to use as a terminal.

I think old laptops that refuse to go away (and because of the attachments we sometimes develop with our mobile companions over the years) can still be put to good use.  The only reason I've decided to "retire" my Powerbook at home is because of the quality of the LCD screen.

Today, it's pumping out spreadsheets via numbers and cranking out e-mails just as efficiently as my dual-core sitting to the side now.  I might even do a little Skype.

If you've got any suggestions on what to do with older laptops, please feel free to drop a line.  Eventually, I will fix the Dell but I think I be keeping my Powerbook at work permanently.

Note:  Luckily, just before my work drive died, I backed up everything except for a day's worth of e-mail.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blackberry Storm - Reviews Are Out

I'll put together a few links that will tie as much of the reviews I can find on the Internet together.
Two things to keep in mind with online reviews.
  1. Favorites - some reviews will play favorites.  I'm not accusing anyone of blatant bias.  For example, people on iPhone sites will be used to its quirks when it should be an issue but doesn't mention it in its reviews.
  2. Some reviewers are not users.  They send a few days at most with a device and sits down in front of their Macbooks and set to provide their best opinions - I've owned the G1 for a month now and I've avoided providing an in depth review until I've had the time to vet it properly.
So far from what I've read, things aren't good when Blackberry-centric sites are cautioning the same things I've mentioned above.  Usually, fan-sites jump right into the fray if reviews are glowing.  After looking through some of the more objective ones, the conclusion seems to be one of the best Blackberries ever on the market but more work is needed via updates and Storm 2. 

Now just the same, if you are interested in the Storm or any other mobile devices, my best advice is to go down to the local stores and spend some time with it.

Yahoo! T-Mobile And Glue - We're Down, Not Out!

Yahoo seems to be on our minds lately at Onxo.  And for good reasons.  Pretty much everyone, not users, are dumping on them.

But just to prove everyone wrong, Yahoo comes charging out with three announcements this week so far.  First, we know Yang is out.  He did what he thought was right for Yahoo and in a perfect world, I agree.  Alas, while I'm hopeful we'll get there some day, the world is far from perfect.  Yahoo needed vision and Yang did not provide one.  Yahoo needed a partner and Yahoo walked away from Microsoft.

All is not lost.  This is huge.  Yahoo made a deal with T-Mobile USA (apparently T-Mobile's international ops as well) to become the default search engine on T-Mobile's phones.  A great coup consider T-Mobile launched the G1 along with Google last month. 

That was the second announcement.  The third announcement is Yahoo! Glue.  What is it?  It's their new search result implementation.  It provides users with text, images, and other results like videos all on one page.  I think it can work well of novice users who are looking for the latest and most commonly searched items.  More at Yahoo's search blog.

Will I be using this?  Sure, I'll give it a try.  It's limited now and Yahoo will need to move fast to increase searchable topics to get folks interested and hooked.

Impact:  So long as Yahoo remains in contention, it's all good for mobile warriors.  In fact, they are doing better than Microsoft.  More competition, the better.

Note:  A Yahoo-Microsoft partnership for mobile search might make sense.  I would use Microsoft's engine at the back end and Yahoo's front end.  Yahoo's UI seems to be more user-friendly and consistent.

Source: Yahoo! Glue, WSJ

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yahoo: If not Redmond, who?

Why buy Yahoo now when you can keep saying you don't want to buy Yahoo and drive the stock down further?  Heck, tomorrow, Steve Balmer should just say deal even for search is off the table.  See what that does to the stock then.

Interestingly, Yahoo is not alone in being hammered in recent days.  I've professed that I'm not stock guy.  I suck at picking stocks but I can see Yahoo go even lower just because the economy simply isn't doing well and Yahoo investors trying to get out before the stock price goes even lower.

But Yahoo continues to be a premier brand as far as users are concerned.  Excite?  Infoseek?  Lycos?  Along with these three search engines, Yahoo helped usher in the Internet era but only Yahoo stands (I had picked Infoseek to remain an important part of the Internet).  And with a big presence in mobile Internet, it stands to gain a lot because of its name recognition and services that just work.

Plus, Yahoo has a lot of International presence especially in emerging markets.  Yahoo also has international partnerships that involve assets it owns. 

So, if Microsoft is no longer interested in Yahoo, who would be rich enough to make a bid on Yahoo?  Private equity?  HP?  Apple?  A Chinese company? 

Yahoo is getting cheaper by the day and someone will pull the trigger.  Maybe everyone is waiting for it to go down a bit more yp see if they can snatch up the company at a price tag closer to $10 billion rather than the $20 billion right now.  If someone like HP and Apple takes over Yahoo, they would be able to do it with cash and billions left to spare.

At the end of the day, Yahoo needs a direction.  A vision.  A takeover would be good in that sense.  (I did not like Microsoft's takeover reasons.  I think playing defense against Google will never work).

Source:  CNet

Impact:  I think mobile warriors are not going to be affected by any kind of deal Yahoo makes.  We may see some Yahoo services get gutted but Yahoo is already doing that on its own. 

Another Note:  Yahoo is set to make a decision within 6 months.  Why so long?

Blackberry's Future

I've said this before and I'll said it again.  In the smartphone market, the guys to beat are the Blackberries.  The numbers last quarter with the units sale was an issue of timing rather than a trend.  So far as we know.

And even when Blackberry units overtake the iPhone in the fourth quarter, as it would likely to do, what will the finances be at RIM?  In a perfect world, as I like to envision it, if you're making money, everyone should be happy.  In the cut-throat financial world, you have to make more and more and more...

You get the idea.  So, even if RIM does sell more units, costs associated will go up as they've indicated.  Subsidies, advertising, more research and development, and other expenses associated to bring a product to market will go up.  Hence, lower margins.

Wall Street doesn't like lower margins or hints of it.  But it is out.  Even Apple.  But Apple artfully spinned it and said it is because they want to make sure there is "no umbrella room" for their competitors.  Analysts and fans bought it.

So lower margins and profits for investors.  Not to their liking so what is RIM to do?  Well, a few weeks ago, there was talk about a buyout by Redmond.  Rumors but entertaining just the same.  But does it make sense for RIM to look into it?

I don't know but I do point to this:  Yahoo.

Who do you think would be the best fit for mobile warriors for a takeover?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mobile Convergence: China And India Has It Right

I've been pushing for added mobility and wireless broadband access on Onxo since I can remember, heck, even before I started working on Onxo and sharing my thoughts with my fellow mobile warriors.

It seems like others have the right idea, in this case, China's China Mobile and China Unicom and Indiea's Bharti Airtel.  According to CBS Marketwatch, these three giant telecoms are banking on strong mobile growth for their future.  And the growth is going to come from mobile Internet and the mobile devices to handle their native mobile users.

Now, this is great.  I'm pushing for mobility and wireless broadband and Internet but being in the US, I'm happy to see things rolling along with WiMax and White spaces but I hope more will be done and more can be done.

Early, I posted about President-Elect Barack Obama's transition team and who are involved.  I've known for a while there is a heavy Silicon Valley presence.  I hope this bodes well for mobility in the next four years (eight for folks counting on a second Obama term).  However, tech visionaries does not necessarily make a great CEO (Yang) or good policy makers.

Having said that, I'm glad China and India continue to push a national agenda in the midst of global economic pains (I don't know what to accurately call it).  Here are some facts from the article:
  • Lower inflation rate outpaced by disposable income means more telecom, Internet, and mobile uses.
  • Lower calling rates.
  • Economy of scale - 737 million users by 2012 in India alone - more than twice the US population.
  • Understands the meaning of mobile convergence - I think we do in the US (Western world) but we're just going about it differently.  
  • Feels even in a recession, mobile users will continue to keep on using mobile services that they find indispensable.    Onxo has posted about what consumers will least likely to give up due to financial constraints.  Mobile services was among the last mobile warriors will give up.
I think while we continue to fix our financial system and other problems plaguing our nation, we nevertheless have to keep an eye towards the future.   Anyone who has knowledge of what is going on in Russia, the Middle East, and other regions as far as mobile devices and mobile convergence is concerned, please let me know.  I love to hear about it and share it with our readers.  All mobile warriors stick together.
Source:  CBS Marketwatch 

Netbooks: Android Can't Be Far Behind

We all know this, right?  When Google announced that Asus would be joining the Android effort, I think most people thought "netbook" instead of "handheld".

Smart move as far as Onxo believes.  In the past, we've mentioned that if all these thousands of apps can be translated onto a laptop or desktop in a virtual environment, it would increase the foothold of whatever the mobile platform as well as dramatically increase developer interest as they would gain millions of customers in an instant if their apps were to be allowed to run on Windows or Macs.

So, the issue is when Android will appear on a netbook and not if it'll appear on a netbook.

I've used the G1 for months now and I can say it has a lot of potential but there is nothing the Android can do that the other platforms can't do or do better.  People like to compare the iPhone to the Android.  I say go take a look at the app store and the comparison ends right there.  Right now, there simply is no comparison between the two with the quality as well as quantity of the apps available for the two platforms.

And given the "beta" status of Android, that isn't likely to change until well into 2009.  It would make sense for Android to be made available on netbooks and as a virtual environment on other operating systems for the apps to thrive, thus generating buzz among users and excitement among developers

I'm willing to go on record now and say that this will happen and that Google should be surprising us with a couple of new initiatives in 2009 that will made Android fans like myself very very excited.

Note:  I've got a MacWind that I'm very happy with.  I am looking forward to an AndroidWind as well.

Mobility Future Under Obama Administration

Things should be good under an Obama Presidency as far as wireless is concerned, right?

I don't know.  Washington politics.  Who really knows.  So today, let's take a look at those advising the President-Elect and try to see where we go from there.

First, if you didn't already know, is Google's involvement.  A lot of you will argument that is not an accurate statement.  No?

Google is a vision as well as a business.  And Eric Schmidt is one of those folks with a "vision" of how the world should be, or at the very least, how the technology can be used to serve the world.  Furthermore, Sonal Shah, head of Google's Global Development Initiatives, has been tapped to be involved with the Obama transition team.

These folks are not just going to check their opinions at the door of the the Oval Office.  They're being asked to serve by providing their opinions and visions.

Now, there is a balance as well.  There are tech insiders who served with telecoms that should provide a two-sided tale for whatever President-Elect Obama wants to hear.  But the emphasis on technology heavy-weights is a clear shift from the last eight years (to be fair, we have had a lot to deal with in the Bush administration).

The hope is that whatever wireless and technology roadmap is implemented, it is implemented well and on a bipartisan basis.  We're likely to see a lot of initiatives in the first 100 days but I'll be  happy with a more competitive wireless field to start.

Note:  We'll get into the other characters to help us gauge how we'll get to the promise land of ubiquitous mobile broadband.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Office Coming To the iPhone

MS Mobiles reports that the iPhone will be getting Microsoft's Office through Safari.  Conceivably, it'll also work on the iPod Touch (I wonder if it'll work on other web-kit based browsers like Android's browser).

This may be a big step forward in giving the iPhone another feature to make it a more viable mobile platform for business.  What's interesting is that this is coming from Microsoft.  However, MS Mobiles lamented the fact that web-based Office to the iPhone before Windows Mobile(not sure how they came to that conclusion).

Regardless, any development of this nature is good for everyone.

Another issue to take note is even after iPhone's app store is out, development on web-based applications are still going strong as is evident here.  Eventually, Office will likely work on other web-kit browsers, Opera, mobile Firefox, and Window Mobile's browsers.

Right now, no word on when it'll happen.

Source:  MS Mobiles

Note:  I disagree with MS Mobiles' assessment that Office working on the iPhone is a blow to WM devices.  WM devices already have native apps that work very well.  In my opinion, it's better than most other mobile platforms.  Again, I don't understand how they came to the conclusion that web-based Office is coming going to be available on Windows Mobile.

Another note:  Mobile Burn reports a web-kit based browser is coming to Windows Mobile.  That may even things up a bit.

Another note note:  You can go to Microsoft's info page for more information.  There is no indication that web Office isn't coming to IE on Windows Mobile.

Mobility: Creating Our Own Internet With Wi-Fi Routers

I have limited technical skills beyond being able to set up my own Wi-Fi network, implement adequate security measures, and that's really about it.  For a while now, I have talked to friends about how Wi-Fi works and if it is even possible for myself to implement island networks.

What are island networks?

Let me give you an example.  When we were kids, we used to live close to each other.  My neibhbor's kids and my brother went to the same schools.  The neighbor in the back have kids as well.

We would get together to play and like any other kids, at have to go home at the end of the day.  So, being the most imaginative, I said we should create our own telephone with the string and paper cups.  I had big plans.  We would connect our system with other kinds on the block.  Obviously, it barely worked.  I had no technical skill s as a child and the other kids were not as excited about it as I was.

But imagine if it worked.  Not, let's take come back to 00's.  Wi-Fi instead of stringed paper cups.  If multiple Wi-Fi routers are linked together, can you conceivable create your own Internet?  I can see multiple uses for just such a system.

There could be an assortment of private and commercial applications for this.

What do you think?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mobile Gaming: Nintendo May Not Be Worried About Industry Challenges

Everyone will saying gaming is about quality and not about quantity.  Well, some quantity too.  But this is something Nintendo knows and this is why Wii has done so well.  Make a quality game system and people will follow.  It's the same for the DS and back to the original NES.

Then Sony came along and tried to get into the mobile gaming secgment with the PSP and I think it has done well with a more powerful gaming  experience in terms of graphics and expandability.

Recently, a newer version of Nintendo's handheld, DSi, available initially only in Japan is an answer to lower ales and quite possibility to differentiate itself from PSP.

Onxo being a place for mobile rants and an American-centric focus can't help but bring in a little about the iPhone or the iPod Touch.  I'm sure eventually, RIM and Microsoft will be getting into the  mobile gaming arena.  Still, I don't think Nintendo is really too concerned about these new upstarts.

Nintendo has always been an innovator.  Dual screens.  Wii's controllers.  And they stick to their guns when they have to.  Cartridges.  Leaving out DVD playback function because it would get in the way of Nintendo's game experiences.

With the recent campaign by Apple to push the iPod Touch as a mobile gaming device, you have to wonder, I have, if Nintendo has anything to worry about?  And it is an effort by Apple to move into the hearts and minds of gamers that Apple is serious about games.

Apple does have the app store on its side with a couple thousands of games.  More games than the DS and PSP libraries combined as they like to spin things.  Trust me when I say they are not exaggerating and umber will most certainly grow.  Plus, the iPhone and the iPod Touch features pretty impressive hardware at that.

But in the end, I can't say that Nintendo has to worry about anyone else, including Apple for a while.  For gamers, it still comes down to quality.  And Nintendo with its smaller library of games than Apple or other mobile platforms,  including Windows Mobile, has depth and a traditional gaming experience that folks have come to know and expect from the gaming giant.

That's not to say the situation won't change.  Others will get better at producing quality games with depth and Nintendo will need to innovate to differentiate its platform from all the rest.

DSi  is okay but I can't wait for DS 2.  Personally, I'm betting on something really special from our Japanese gaming overlords.  What would you like to see from Nintendo's future handheld system?  Me, I'm looking for more social features like video chats and general mobile computing features like e-mails, texting, and browsing.

Note:  DSi's pricing is a bit disappointing.  But it is Nintendo, so I suppose it should command some premium.

Another note:  I would love to see Apple and Nintendo collaborate on a project.

Friday Movie

This week's Friday movie comes early.

It's been a long week, for me at least.  But this is really funny.



Make sure you come back this weekend for more updates and ramblings!



Note:  Where do people find the energy and time to do all this?!  But I love these videos.  It's SNL caliber.

Mobility: MeBeam (Second Night)

Yesterday, we spoke a bit about video chats.  Video conferencing sounds so professional and we mobile warriors are like mavericks (you'll only see his word used once.  Now.  that's it), than corporate types.

So, video chats.  We tried mebeam last night again.  This time, we've got a couple of more folks.  Again, what it is is a Flash based video chat with up to sixteen feeds per room.  This is how easy it it.

  • No 3rd party software to install.  Runs off Flash (unless you consider that to be it).
  • Almost any webcam (set to USB video - at least on the MacWind)
  • Browser-based (again, no 3rd party software) - IE, Firefox, Safari
  • Does have voice but we didn't like it much.
I'm going to try it at Starbucks today if I get a chance.  This is what I'm getting at. If you need this blog long enough, you know what I mean.  It works anywhere with an Internet connection.  

And I advocate its use as much as possible and I want every mobile warrior to add this to their arsenal as part of his or her 21st Century skillz.  

If we try it again tonight and you're interested, you can join us.  I'll post the room tonight or this weekend.

Note:  We used Skype for voice because MeBeam's implementation just isn't quite there yet.

Another note:  Any other services you like or recommend, let me know.  Any suggestions for video chats, let me know as well and we'll share it with everyone.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mobility: Using MeBeam

In continue the previous post about video chats, I found chatting using oovoo's function to be buggy and limiting.  We finally got it to work but there is a lot of improvement they still need to make.

Anyway, this was on the MacWind.  We also tried iChat but not everyone has a Mac so we decided on another solution.

MeBeam.

It's a video chat app that using a browser and Flash.  I know a mobile warrior who doesn't like Flash so this isn't for everyone.  But guess what?  I love it!

I had up to 4 mobile warriors including myself and one other individual all the way in Asia.  Supposedly, my video was not as good as others because of my lame upload speed.  I'll try to rectify that when I get a chance to call my ISP for an upgrade.

Anyway, you can have up to 16 simultaneous windows and video feeds.  With four feeds, it worked well.  I don't know about 16.  Anyone with that experience?  Love to know what it's like.

Sound was okay so we abandoned it and went with Skype for voice.  I'm sure we'll try it again tonight if not soon.  If anyone wants to join us, I'll post the room and we can chat away.

I'm tell you, my fellow mobile warriors, video chat is a habit we need to develop.  21st Century skill, my friends.

Mobility - We Need To Make Video Chat A Habit

In my quest to see the feasibility of my MacWind and the amount of productivity I can get from it, I've been trying a lot of true mobility tasks.

Now, the Wind is a netbook.  Not a regular notebook.  It is a fact that I recognize in using it but I want to see how far I can push it despite running Leopard quite handily for day-to-day tasks.

So we've been trying some video conferencing on our netbooks.  As you may well know there are choices for video chats.

  • IM services - AOL, Yahoo, and MSN have been around for a long time in offering services.
  • Gtalk - just this week, two days ago in fact, you can now chat with your contacts right out of the browser in Gmail.
  • Skype - You do know it does more than offer chats, IM, and Skypeout to regular landlines, right?
  • Others - definite a lot more but it depends on your cup of tea in this matter.  But you get my idea.  Mobility has never been easier.  
  • iChat - on the Mac, it is the default IM program and the video chat is very smooth.
  • Oovoo - still in beta but has tons of 
On a Mac, iChat works best for me as more and more people I know start using Macs or install OS X on Intel -based systems.  But we tried something different last night.  I'll get into it in the next post.

But you see.  IM is fun.  Voice over the Internet is more fun.  But video chat is much more funner.  Not to mention productive if applied correctly.

This is the way things will go.  Even future generations of mobile devices like the iPhone, Blackberries, or Google's Android will sport video chat capabilities.  That's a no-brainer declaration.  So, make using video chat, whatever service is employed, simply makes a lot of sense.

Already, students are using it to share information and conduct study groups.  We've said this before at Onxo and we finally have the tools and bandwidth to make it happen.

I'll get into our experience on MeBeam next but I would love to hear stories of how regular mobile warriors use video chats.

Mobile: Get Ready for the Storm on November 21st

Yahoo News is reporting Verizon will unveil and begin to sell Blackberry's first full touchscreen mobile device, Storm on November 21st for $199.

How does this impact mobile warriors?  Competition, competition, competition.  At $199, it is a very great entry price but definitely not the cheapest among smartphones.  But it may make up for it in features and when the Blackberry's own app store opens later in 2009, it will add even more value.  However, by then, we may be speculating about Storm 2.

Also with $199 as a starting point, a knowledgeable public, and a sagging (to put it kindly) global economy, we may find ourselves with prices lowered sooner rather than later.  This would be accelerated if RIM competitors find themselves in difficult positions as a result of Storm's surge.

Note:  Notice I failed to mention the iPhone.  Storm deserves to have the media's attention all to itself for a bit.  After all, Blackberry is still the company to beat despite Apple selling more devices in the last quarter.  One quarter does not make a trend (still, quite impressive).

Source:  Yahoo News

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Netbook: Race To The Bottom - Next Stop $200

That is correct.  When the XO from One Laptop Per Child started, all the rage was how we were going to see XO running all day long that would cost only $100.  Well, that certainly fell short.

Sorry, I had to vent.  But now, Asus promises $200 EEE PC in 2009 and I'm more inclined to believe this one.

Should you get one then?  Definitely, my fellow mobile warriors.  If you don't, well, okay.  But at $200, it's quite a steal when it happens.  But I can't tell wonder about this race to the bottom.

I've got two concerns.  First is the $200 price.  Great for mobile warriors to be certain.  But you have to also wonder about how this will affect the whole market including companies that make them.  And it is certainly going to affect the laptop segment of the market as well.

The second concern I have is the quality of the screen.  I love the LED on my MacWind and I'm sure others do as well.

We'll just have to see where this goes.

Note:  I am still waiting for domestic (US) wireless providers follow their EU counterparts to bundle netbooks with wireless services.  It's a no-brainer.  Why aren't they doing it already?

Gaming: Why Developers Like iPhone And iPod Touch Gaming

In the past, folks have lamented about the fact that Apple gave lip-service to gaming but never really put forth the effort to make Macs true gaming capability.  Not so with their mobile devices.

With iPod growth (still growing) near saturation as some analysts would have us believe, adding gaming as a feature would potentially entice users to upgrade their iPods.  And there have been a slew of posts in the last few days about gaming on Apple's mobile platform.

Here is just a summary of why developers like the platform:

  • Distribution - developers love the App Store.  Not just game developers but everyone.  You load your product and instantly gain access to tens of millions of customers worldwide.
  • Costs - none associated insofar as disks, packaging, shipping, etc. that is typically associated with other mobile gaming platforms like DS and PSP.
  • No need for distribution channels.  Once the game is finished, simply send it to Apple.
  • Barrier to entry is on that you need a great fun game.
  • iPhone SDK that makes the lives of developers easier.
  • Powerful graphics than DS and PSP and with features like accelerometers.
  • People will be carrying around an iPod because of its easy-to-use interface and social familiarity.  Having it be able to play games in a plus.  There is no need to carry a secondary device solely for gaming.
I have to say that gaming is not up to the standard of the DS and PSP.  I'm just being honest here.  The gaming depth just isn't quite there yet.  However, that is likely to change and I look forward to the day with the iPhone receives parity in terms of game releases as the DS and PSP.  


Links:

Shopping This Fall - Pricing

This is not a direct concern to just mobile warriors but shoppers in general.

In the last few weeks, we've all noted a sharp drop in crude prices and just as much of a drop at the pumps. There are a couple of reasons for this.  Early in the year when gas prices were near $5 in some places (thank goodness we came close in LA but did not cross it), folks started shying away from driving and took up public transportation.

Maybe you also noticed prices at the supermarket has gone up as well.  Well, now that prices are down now, much much lower, people  have gotten used to not having to drive as much.  I love to see $2 a gal prices (after taxes of course) but I don't know if that'll happen.

Now, electronics for this Christmas and Holiday Seasons?  I put this out there because in my industry, we watch crude closely.  We have seen raw materials drop like a big stone.  We're seeing not a snowball effect.  We see big boulders dropping in the last couple of months and may well continue through the first quarter of 2009 if the economy doesn't pick up.

I was talking with a co-worker about our situation and I got think about consumer electronics.

So, back to electronics.  Right now, there may be a lot of computers, laptops, and HDTV made in Asia and shipped to the US when things were expensive.  Now that raw materials are dropping and shipping costs are down, what happens to those electronics with higher costs?

Plus, even with costs dropping, businesses are not picking up orders like before for two reasons I see.  One, we're in the middle of a recession.  At least on Main Street, it feels like it.  Two, costs are still going down and businesses are thinking why order now when it'll be cheaper next month.

Anyway, I think if we pick our timing right, we can still get great deals.  Amazon, Target, Walmart and Best Buy (BB lowered their financial numbers today) still have financial targets to meet and they'll have to compete really hard for shrinking consumer dollars.

A Rasmussen report survey showed 66% of consumers will spend less this year than last year.  Why it doesn't say how much less, it may simply mean consumers are going to be more picky.

Anyway, if you know how we can all collectively stretch our dollar this winter, please share it with us.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Netbooks: Booting Up In Under 3 Sec

2.97 Sec to be exact.  That's what The Inquirer is reporting Lineo, a Japanese company specializing in embedded Linux software, has done just that.

To do this, Lineo loaded about an 18MB Linux system on an ARM chip.  Even more impressive is that they achieved a compressed image in 3.17 sec.

That's faster than my iPhone or G1.  Heck, I think it's faster than some not-so-smart cell phones.  When will we see this on our netbooks or laptops?  Well, not sure.

However, The Inquirer did get into what others are doing.
  • Asus sues "Express Gate", loaded with an embedded Linux and web browser system, on all it's motherboards.
  • HP and Lenovo uses a similar system called DeviceVM Splashtop.
  • Dell has it's Dell Latitude On that runs on an ARM chip.  
  • Toshiba and Intervideo will have their own Linux boot for quick startups.
So, there you have it.  Less than three seconds.  
Impact on mobile warriors:  Keep in mind that these are Linux systems.  And I just don't know how this will figure into purchasing decisions by consumers in general.  For more experienced mobile warriors, a system with quick startup time may be enough to win them over.
Factoring in Microsoft:  What about Microsoft?  Provide folks with the choice, they'll like go with XP.  Still, Microsoft does have a lot of work to close this startup gap and put more distance between itself and its agile Linux competitors.  People are becoming less and less reliant on all things Microsoft as more computing and mobile tasks move into the browsers and onto the cloud.  
Source:  The Inquirer

MacWind Update: Keep it?

Dave the Mobile Warrior informed me last night that he may get rid of his MacWind.  I was curious to find out why he would do such a thing.  It was his idea that we get the Wind and install OS X (we own our copies).

So, I'm a bit torn now.  Folks, what should I do?  I truly do like the new Macbooks and the 13" LED are just what I was waiting for.

Anyway, I want to run some benchmarks on it before I do get rid of it or something.  We got it on eBay with the live.com 30% discount.  So, the cost came out to about $350 which isn't bad for the configuration. The same Wind was on Amazon for $480 at the time. (Sounds like Dave the Mobile Warrior might do well under the Obama plan...hmm...)

The thing is that it's a not real Mac.  So, there are quirky workarounds that has to be employed to get it working the way it should.  The mic doesn't work so you need a Bluetooth or USB headset.  The Wi-Fi works but through a 3rd party utility.  Otherwise, you'll have to get some specific wireless card that OS X recognizes.

I like it because it's light and small.  I just have an issue with real estate.  It's a nice toy.  That's pretty much what I have say about it.

So, what do you think?

iPhone Gaming: App Store Is The Secret Ingredient

When I first started playing games in the iPod nano, I thought, "okay, it could be sort of fun.  From time to time.  Waiting in line like I'm doing now".

But a lot has changed for Apple's gaming plan.  The realization that gaming could be a killer function for Apple's mobile platform was likely surprise and have been in development for a long time.  As with anything Apple does, the planning was very deliberate.

In the past, I've outlined how gaming on the iPhone was not ready.  By that, I mean to become a serious gaming platform to compete with Nintendo's DS and Sony's PSP.

Here are a couple of new features or efforts I think the iPod Touch would need to compete:
  • Camera - Nintendo's new DSi with its double cameras open up new possibilities as far as caming goes.  Not only that, new ways to communicate with other gamers for online games.
  • I'm not sure Apple will let buttons get onto the iPhone or the iPod.  I don't see it happening.  But someone needs to come up with a better scheme for interactive gaming with the speedometer and the touches.  Let's just say at times, it's not ideal in some gaming situations.
  • Parity.  Games on the iPhone needs to have the same depth as its mobile competitors.  Think of 
  • More first tier games.  I'm not talking casual games from THQ or EA.  I'm talking about iPhone ports of games that are also on the DS or PSP.  
  • More sports games.  
I've also indicated a lot of big gaming studios are probably on the sidelines waiting to see how big of a gaming push will the iPhone/iPod Touch platform be.  If anything, the only thing that is likely hold them back is Apple's track record in the past on gaming.  I think Apple should, if they haven't already, create a team that is dedicated to helping developers with games.  
Already, I think we can conservatively say there are about twenty to twenty five million iPhone or iPod Touches in the market.   Perhaps even as high as forty million by the end of 2008.  Now is the time to bring Sims, Animal Crossing, more Sega, and Madden to the App Store.

Monday, November 10, 2008

iPhone Updates: What Happens After Year Two?

How do you like them iPhones?  Pretty good?  With each OS update, we get more features.  And for free.  Gotta love that.

What happens after the second year of ownership?  What about it, you ask?

That's what I want to know at On Apple.

iPhone More Reliable: Lots of Grains of Salt Needed Perhaps

I have to agree with CNet when it took issue with the iPhone as being more reliable than Blackberries.

Truly, for better or worse, depending on which camp you support, I would like a survey of corporate mobile warriors, specifically those who switch to the iPhone as their mobile workhorse, whether on their own or because of their IT department.  A lot of them would have had experience with Blackberries or Windows Mobile devices, two platforms with more time in the corporate domain than the iPhone has.

Now, features-wise especially if we talk about Web-browsing and its entertainment value, the iPhone has pretty much everybody beat.  But app crashes is an issue Steve Jobs promised to fix and, maybe Apple has, but crashes are still frequent.  My share of crashes was lower than everyone else's and I haven't noticed much of it except for Safari.

Recently, my mom's iPhone simply won't launch any 3rd party apps while she was overseas and it was quickly fixed after I sync her iPhone when she returned.  In that sense, her reliability was not that great.

Then there is still the issues with 3G connection and speed.  I like to know what people say about that as well.

Let's see what folks from corporations have to say after taking the iPhone for a spin.  I think they'll like it but probably will have a few suggestions for Apple as well.

Link:

  • CNet doesn't think the iPhone is twice as reliable as the Blackberries.
  • Mobilecrunch - study between the iPhone, Blackberry, and Treo - battery is surprisingly not an issue for the iPhone.

Early New Year Resolution For Handset Makers: Need Decent Cameras on Mobile Devices

I never cared for camera much on mobile phones.  I think they're great to have but it is hardly used at all because of the limitations.  Then we have ones from Sony and Samsung that really merge mobile phones with quality camera functionalities.  Still, I didn't give it much thought.

Until last night.   I was at the Lakers-Rockets game last night.  We were close to the floor.  Great seats.  I brought along my G1 with its 3MP camera.  Boy, I wished I had a real camera with me.  Unfortunately,  the shots I took were dismal at best.  You can't blame G1 or other cameras on cell phones.  It was not meant to take pictures the way standalone cameras do.

As tall and big as Yao Ming and Andrew Bynum are, there was nothing the camera could do about it.  I doubt it would have been better on the iPhone which I didn't have with me.

Anyway, I'll be adding a good camera functions to the mobile convergence.

Mobile Update for November 10, 2008

Last week, we saw a busy few days with the Election and the forecasted blues that came with it.  Fear not, with the infighing on the GOP side, it is a sure sign that 2012 has already started.

The most dramatic news was the FCC's approval of white spaces use.  Here are some information on the matter:

For the days other headlines, please visit Mobile Digerati.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Barclays Capital Agrees With Onxo on Apple's Netbook

We've speculated in the last on Apple's move into the nebook arena.  It'll be a netbook that's not a netbook.

What are you talking about?  It's just not like Apple to follow what everyone else is doing.  We think it'll be a large form iPod Touch and, if we're lucky, with wireless broadband like 3G.

Head on over to On Apple for more.

Friday's Movie

Friday's movie was a bit late.  It was a long and exciting week.  We had two elections.  One for the 44th President of the United States and leader of the free world.  The other was FCC's white spaces approval for wireless broadband use.

Now, it's the weekend and here this Friday's clip.  It's an interesting clip that is different from the SNL flavors that we selected in the last few weeks because of the election.  This one came from Dave the Mobile Warrior.



Anyway, enjoy and have a great weekend!

Mobile OS War

What does Canalys say about the OS shares?

In previous posts, we examined a bit the unit ranks from Canalys' report, originally reported from CNet.  Now, let's take a look at the mobile OS shares.

 
 This tells a slight different story than the units sold as reported.  Let's get into Microsoft.  with an impressive 42%, the growth rate still pales when compared to RIM's Blackberry OS shipment growth at 83.5%, nearly double that of the WM.

For Apple, because the data is skewed because of timing and market reach of the iPhone 3G.  And last year's figure for Apple was mostly confined to the US market.

However, more worrying sign for Microsoft is the growth of Linux, a choice apparently mobile warriors found more palpable than Windows Mobile.  The situation will only exacerbate by Android's introduction in the 4th quarter even if it confined to the US and UK.  And with Motorola throwing in their lot with Google's Android in the coming fiscal year, Android may find itself among one of the ranked OS in forthcoming surveys.

However, we know that Balmer has confirmed existing development on Windows Mobile 6.5, a welcoming piece of news if there is one.  Even if WM 6.5 has no new features but simple house-cleaning, the incremental upgrade will keep Microsoft in a strong position until Windows Mobile 7 is released in late 2009 or 2010.  But Microsoft cannot afford any more delays.

Most worrying-some is Symbian's 12% drop.  But we need to give some time to the open-source effort and see if it takes hold.  Even now, all eyes are Android, another open-source effort.  It is telling that Motorola picked Android over Symbian.  Says a lot and others, especially Chinese device makers, are going with Andoid.  Nokia is cash rich.  It's time they spend some of it to promote Symbian.

Do we need to say anything more about the iPhone?  No.  Interest is continues to be high and may grow as the dominant mobile device with telephony functions rather than a smartphone like others with computing functions.  We'll see how it goes head to head with the Blackberry family, specifically Storm next quarter and the one after that.

Other related Onxo and Web Posts:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Quick Updates on Microsoft Mobility

I've said before, Microsoft has to continue to make a lot of noise even if it doesn't have new products on hand to keep newcomers, iPhone and Android, and new products from old friends, Bold and Storm, from dictating the discussion and occupying the hearts and minds of mobile warriors.

Again, I point to Palm as what may happen.  But that's not likely with Microsoft.  I like Redmond and over the years, they have driven innovation, albeit awkwardly.

So, it's great news to hear that Microsoft is working on Windows 6.5, whatever that is.  I'm just guess here but since no one knows what 6.5 is and what features it will include, it is likely to hold Microsoft loyalists over until WM 7 in late 2009 or 2010.

But this scares me a bit. If 6.5 comes out in the middle of 2009, we're not going to see version 7 until well into 2010.  By then, iPhone 4.0 and Android 3.0 will be around as well.  Let's look down the road, my friends.  I'm guess what Microsoft will eventually go the route Apple did with OS X for the iPhone by stripping out as much as they can for the mobile version.

Then this is this piece of information that I had to read and reread, clear the cache and see if it was still on the web.  What is it?  When pressed, Balmer was very candid about Apple's use of Webkit and "may look at that" while they march onward towards IE 8.

In case you don't already know, Webkit is the Web rendering engine behind Safari and mobile version of Safari on the iPhone.  It is also being used by Nokia and Google's Chrome.

And lastly, a while back, we all learned Verizon Wireless, after going through a few rounds with Google on the 700Mhz spectrum auction and the FCC, has decided to make Google the default search engine on their phones.  I guess that was not 100%.  Oops.

InfoWorld's post was about a WSJ article.   Neither Google, Microsoft, and Verizon Wireless cared to comment on the matter.  So, VW has not made their decision on who to use.  With Microsoft, VW supposedly stands to get more from the deal.  Regardless, I have to agree with Profession Keith Hylton of BU School of law.  This is competition and ultimately, consumers win out.

However, I have to wonder about the motives of the eventual winner.  How much control does VW get as a result as well?  I'm almost certain there will be a provision in the final agreement that will allow VW to define what "open" is and lock consumers out from true competition.

WPA Security Cracked

It was bound to happen.  And it was good while it lasted.  The British Computer Society was reported by Internet News that BSC researchers have cracked WPA securities.  And it was one in less than a quarter of an hour.

However, there is some good news.  What was cracked was the TKIP (I have no idea what it means) part of WPA and WPA2 while the AES (nice, which I happen to use) has not been cracked (but in time I'm sure).

So, make sure you go home and find out which of the two you use.

Link:  Internet News

White Spaces - What It Means for Mobile Warriors

Yesterday, Onxo talked about FCC's decision to open up white spaces for wireless broadband access.  You're asking:  what does it matter?  It is just another wireless network like 3G and EDGE.  Also, like Wi-Fi.  Well, here is the fantastic news.
  • Another option.  Will no longer beholden to wireless providers with ancient biz practices.
  • Accessibility.  Convenience.  Innovation.  Whether you live in the cities or rural parts of the country, you will have an option for wireless connectivity.  It will also for wireless providers to compete in areas where they don't deem worthy of providing access to.  
  • In the beginning, not even lower prices but over time with competition, we may be looking at White spaces services competing with 3G, LTE, and WiMax.  
  • In due time, we will also see competition with the devices that support the different segments of the wireless market.  
  • In due time, we will also see devices that let mobile warriors access one network to another without having to buy a brand new network card or mobile device.
PC Mag did a nice article about white spaces and I suggest you head over and read about it.  Just so you know how fast this is moving, Dell has already indicated it will add wireless receivers to future laptops that will be able to access wireless Internet through white spaces services.  HP, Microsoft, Motorola, Dell, and Google are among the lead proponents of white spaces.
White spaces is everywhere.  And that is what so cool about it.
  • We already know it does video.  We can see greater and faster video communication.
  • Use it like you use your Wi-Fi now.  In fact, you already know this but the fact that it can go through walls will make it one of the better wireless network deployments.  
  • If you are out in the middle of nowhere, you may be able to set up a wireless hub that uses white spaces.
  • Though not initially as cheap as DSL, it's competitive to those of wireless broadband for 3G.  However, costs may go down if there is an ad supported business model.  You don't think Google is doing this out of the kind of its own heart do you?  It's a corporation, and by nature, it has no heart.  
  • 50-mile radius per access point.  How far does your current Wi-Fi network go now?
So, when can we expect this new magic?  According the PC Magazine, demo on 2009 and finished products in 2010.  
Links:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Canalys Data Summary: Smartphone Shipments 3RD Quarter 2008

In the previous post , I mentioned CNet reporting on new smartphone data from Canalys.  I broke up the post because the previous post was something about the post itself.   Now, we'll get into the actual report itself.

What does the data from Canalys say about units shipped?

  • Smartphone shipment rose 28% in the 3rd quarter over last year.
  • 39.9 million units shipped.
  • Nokia retains pole position to be followed by Apple in distance second.  Nokia took a hit in its marketshare as well.  But all things considered, Nokia held its own.
  • The market is huge.  Onxo always believe there is enough room for multiple players to grow.  However, Microsoft has to start firing on all cylinders to maintain the status of a major competitor in the market.  Or else, remember Palm? 
  • RIM came in 3rd but new devices may allow it to capture the silver in the 4th quarter.  Apple has but only one device.
  • When it's all said and one, Nokia and RIM should gain shares are their new products are launched and have had a chance to reach intended markets.
I don't find Apple's 5X shipment increase all that important due to lack of previous metrics to make comparisons.  We need to see how it does once the iPhone distribution has settled.  Last year, the iPhone was only sold in the United States.  By the end of the year, it will be sold in about 70 countries.  Regardless how the data is interpreted, Apple hit a grand slam first time at bat.  And it did so again the 2nd time around.  Unfortunately for Apple, its reputation for innovation leaves it very little room to fall short.  To continue the baseball analogies, even a triple could be viewed as failure.
Here's what we need to look out for in the coming quarters:
  • Blackberry numbers may be skewed since it will have additional devices on the market.  I really want to see how the retention rate is for RIM.
  • HTC's 4th quarter number and beyond are very important.  Why?  Android.  
  • More specifically, which platform is doing well.  We know Apple's iPhone OS made a great splash but how will Android fare a couple of quarters from now?  
  • How low will Windows Mobile go?  It grew 42% but its competitors grew faster, including Linux.  It is in danger of being made irrelevant if folks latch onto other platforms currently with all the momentum.
  • How will iPhone's sales be affected by new mobile devices?  And how will iPhone's sales affect adoption of new competing models?
  • Can Apple sustain market share with only one model?  If not, perhaps subsequent drops in future quarters may point to Apple release more than one model of iPhone if they want to satisfy the different needs of mobile users.
Next post, let's look at this report from the OS angle.  Visit CNet and Canalys for more details.

Netbook, The New Craze: Can it Save Christmas?

Any other year, this would be a great Christmas and Holiday Seasons.  Jack Frost is safely behind bars and Homeland Security is keeping tabs on the Grinch.  Alas, we are in deep doo-doo as far as the economy goes.

But there a small bit of hope.  I'm not talking about the wave of hope President-Elect Obama is spreading.  Believe me, he's gonna need all of it back for his first term.  No, I'm talking about the netbooks.  Can it save Christmas?

Well, I've been encourage folks to try the live.com/ebay deal that let's you save 20-30%, depending on the week.  And given the interest in the power these little guys have, Asus and MSI selling container loads of these, it's almost a crime not to have one.  And it seems a lot of people are looking at netbooks to supplement their mobile computing needs or using it as their main computers.

When the original EEE PC came out, it was something an oddity.  A subnotebook that did not cost $3000 the way a decked-out underweight Viao would cost.  However, Asus's first netbook was lacked the horsepower and didn't go easy on the battery.

With Intel's Atom chip, things are more different.  My MacWind runs 4.5 hours per change on a 6-cell battery as with most models in its class.  And prices are dropping.  Taiwan has dropped prices to clear inventory and due to competition.  And just today, Engadget (via Wired, Liliputing) reports Best Buy is selling a similar model for $350.

I suspect Dell, HP, and Asus will follow with similar price drops of their own.  Gizmodo is also reporting Acer's netbook starting at $350.  So, if you're looking for a mobile device that has power and goes easy on the battery, seriously consider a netbook this Christmas.

Normally, I might be pushing the iPhone, Blackberries, or the Macbooks.  But the netbook deserves heavy consideration and it's worth.  But I don't know if it'll save Christmas.

Note:  I really suggesting going down to the local tech superstore like Best Buy to try out these things before jumping in.  The small screen takes some getting used to.

Link:
  • Gizmodo - Acer deal
  • Wired - Best Buy Deal - it's a 3-cell battery model.  Still, not bad.
  • Engadget

Smartphone Shipment Worldwide Ranking

CNet has posted information produced by Canalys on smartphone shipments in the last quarter.

What's interesting in the post is the focus on the iPhone.  But given focus on Apple's mobile device in the last few months and the hits it'll generate from Apple folks, I suppose it's a smart move on their part.  So, iPhone, iPhone, iPhone...and Blackberries!

Now, how does impact mobile warriors?  Frankly, the numbers say nothing other than that if you make a good device, people will buy it no matter the hype you can generate.  The music player market is not as sophisticated as the mobile device market.  Hence, the users are also more knowledgeable about features and what devices can do what.

And it looks like the iPhone has what folks are looking for.  Oh sure, the hype helped too.  It's Steve Jobs and Apple after all.  But let's be fair.  The iPhone 3G is one pretty fine mobile device.

Here is a pic I lifted off Canalys of the ranks:

Nokia has the largest share of the market but it's growth may not come until next year when it has more devices on the market that can compete with Android, Apple, and RIM devices.

Visit CNet and Canalys for more details.  I'll follow up with pertinent data for those who don't want to go through the whole thing.

White Spaces Approved: Next Step

You may know by now that a smaller kind of history was made on November 4th.  The FCC voted to approve use of white spaces for wireless broadband use over heavy lobby by oppononents who usually have a lot of clout with the FCC and Congress.

Not to be deterred, the commissioners unanimously approved the unused air waves for mobile use.  The plans for its use can start after Feb 2009 when analog TV signals end, with only digital signals roaming about.

This is fantastic.  If anyone who reads this blog knows, I'm for competition and giving wireless providers less control and stimulating innovations.  Not just technologies but ideas as well.  So, what are the impacts of such a move?

I'll be back later today to talk about that.  Meanwhile, know this.  This is truly "change" mobile warriors can believe it.

Link:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bigger Batteries - The Way to Go?

A third-party nine-cell battery for my MacWind would provide me with 6.5 hours of continuous battery use.  Do you think I should get it?

The MacWind I've been talking about lately weights in at about 3 pounds. That's with the 6-cell battery.  It provides me with about 4.5 hours of juice per charge and I find that adequate. But then the debate is whether the weight is more important or adding a little weight but gain 50% of battery life is worth it.

Right now, I would have to choose between the standard 6-cell configuration or a 3rd party 9-cell battery.  In time, I think we'll get more choices given that mobility is increasingly important to a lot of mobile warriors and the ability to work without worry about finding  an outlet is very important.
 What do you think?  With the live.com deal and eBay , I can get it for a good price now.  I've included the link if you're interested.  MSI forums has more info about it.  I guess I will let those intrepid early adopters go through a couple of charge cycles before deciding.

Mobility In President-Elect Barack Obama's Administration

The Obama Campaign used text messaging to inform supporter of his Vice-Presidential choice. The campaign made use a number of Web 2.0 tools like Facebook. There is even an iPhone app for the campaign.

As much as President-Elect Obama has won the youth vote by the wide margin he did, the campaign made used of texting, e-mails, and the Internet to stay in touch with supporters and the general public, making it easier to connect with people. I don't know. I'm simply drawing from the voting data and how his campaign was run. But the public is very Internet savy as they go online to read news, conduct fact-checks, and simply on top of issues.

Now, that it is over, Obama promised to stay in touch with the American public through the same tools his campaign used in the last two years and whatever new technology or applications turn up during his Administration.

Mobile and other technologies will be instrumental in how President-Elect Obama continues his dialogue with the American public and the world at large during the transition period and after January 20 (Inauguration).

Whether you supported his campaign or not, Barack Obama is going to be our President and the leader of the free world. And if the use of technology will made the government feel closer and made the phrase "government for the people, by the people" more literal, I'm all for it.

I would love to see more use of video conferencing. I think John McCain's town hall meetings were very good. I hope it is used more by our public leaders and broasted. Even the weekly Presidential Radio Address can be broadcasted over the Internet.

I mean if CSPAN can do it, why not our government? What other technologies do you think the government can use to connect with the people?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mobile Voters: Free Stuff For Just Today

Hope everyone's doing well today.  For those still waiting in line to get your vote in, hang in there.  You're doing terrific.

Here are some things you can get for free after you vote:
  • Free scoop at Ben & Jerry's between 5 and 8 p.m.
  • Free coffee at Starbucks if you voted.
  • Free donut at Krispy Kreme if you mention promotion.
  • Free chicken at Chik Fil A possibly.
So, it might be cutting it a bit close for you folks on the East Coast but for everyone else, you've got plenty of time.

I just have a question:  How are folks' mobile device battery doing if you're waiting in line all day?  For those who are nearing the end of your battery life:
  • turn on airplane mode to save energy.
  • dim the screen.
  • turn off everything that you can like Wi-Fi and GPS.
But do that only after you've read this post.

Note:  For the Starbucks coffee, you do not have to vote in order to get a free coffee.  They offer it to everyone who asks for it.  I'm going to announce that I voted anyway.

170K DSi Sold Over Two Days

Macworld is reporting Nintendo sold 170K DSi over two days in Japan.  An impressive figure by other terms but I wonder if it should be higher.

However, Nintendo and retailers may be limited by units available and not necessarily lack of interest in the latest DS model.  I suppose Macworld is trying to say the DSi did not receive the kind of coverage the DS originally received.

However, Macworld has never been accused of biased I think.  But if they were comparing it to the iPhone 3G launch by Apple and Softbank in Japan, then they're right.  The press coverage is nowhere near what the iPhone launch received.

Nevertheless, 170K is impressive in a country already saturated.  I think most folks like myself are waiting for DS 2.  Sales overseas, like here in the US, is not scheduled until well into 2009.

Source:  Macworld

Note:  Go to 1Up for detailed comparison between DSi and previous models.

For daily wireless headlines important to mobile warriors, please visit Mobile Digerati.

I Voted!

Okay.  Folks.  I voted.  I was like 10th in line.  Something like that.  I took some pics with my iPhone which I'll upload later.  I got to my polling station around 6:45 am. 

Anyway, I met an old guy in line.  Richard.  Cool dude.  65+ and still working.  Has his own biz and all.  He's what America is.  Generous, good outlook on the future, and sensible. 

Met another guy but forgot his name but he looked disappointed when he found out I was drink a carmel hot chocolate from Starbucks.  He's a straight-up coffee guy. 

Anyway, Richard gave me a coupon for coffee at a local coffee shop.  How cool is that?  And that reminded me.  Starbucks will offer a free coffee tomorrow to all voters.

Anway, go vote, my fellow mobile folks!

For daily wireless headlines important to mobile warriors, please visit Mobile Digerati.

iPhone Jail-Breaking Blocked by New Macbooks

CNet is reporting that Apple's new Macbooks will not recognize a jail-broken iPhone.  That is because it uses a custom-iTunes.

How is it accomplished?  Apparently, if you put the iPhone into the DFU mode, the Macbooks will not recognize the iPhone.  Educated guess by CNet and Gizmodo is iTunes.

So the irony is that it might still be possible to jail-break via Windows or an older Mac.  But you have to give it to Apple.  iPhone-Dev Team, your move...

Link:  Cnet

Mobile Tip: Vote!

Alright, folks.  It's November 4th.  Those of us in the US, make sure you go vote today.

It's 6:30am in LA and I'm off to wait in line.  I'm five minutes from work and one minute from my polling station.

In the meanwhile, Mobile Digerati is updated with today's mobile headlines.

Be sure to check back for today's FCC vote on white spaces.  Wish the FCC chairman a lot of luck!  And regardless if who you vote for, go if you are able.  It counts.  As the folks in Dixille Notch, New Hampshire has spoken .

Note:  In case you're wondering, it is Democratic Presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama of Illinois 15 and Republican Presidential nominee Senator John McCain of Arizon 6.