Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What Will Change Mobile in 2010?

We're less from 40 hours away from a new year. As Steven Colbert like to call it "oh-ten". For the mobile world, we are set to be dazzled with new features..

2010 Will usher in new mobile advancements that goes beyond e-reading or being able to surf the Web while talking at the same time. New and creative (sometimes weird) uses of your iPhones, WM or Android smartphones, or Pres, will allow you to do more than ever on your mobile devices.

Three areas I am particularly focusing on and I think they will forever change how we deal with each other, interact with our surroundings, and get information.
  • video conferencing - we've already know vid talk exists just like books were there before Kindle.  But a device or two ought to make it easier for people to do this in 2010.
  • live video streaming - peer-to-peer or broadcasting via apps like Qik
  • augmented reality - yes, this will have broad appeal in 2010.  More than that, I'm predicting a wikipedia model or crowd-sourcing will take place.  
Why not ebook readers? Frankly, we've seen it all pretty much with Kinde and Sony eReader in 2008, and the Nook in 2009. Nothing fancy that eReader or the Nook added to the Kindle. And as excited as folks are about Apple's forthcoming tablet, unless there is something radical about it, it really provides an extension to existing mobile computing functions.

What else do you think are new mobile apps or technologies that we are likely to be excited about in 2010 that will forever change society?

A Word On Tech Rumors - Nexus One and iTablet

I love rumors as much as the next mobile warrior.  As you know here, Onxo doesn't talk about rumors but we're okay in blatant, even wild, speculations.  And right now, folks in the Internet are going nuts over Apple's iTablet and Google's Nexus One.

Fine, I just want to tell everyone to enjoy the holidays and the new year celebrations along with a healthy diet of tech rumors.  But come next Tuesday when Google's press event unveiling its own Android phone and then again on January 26th when Apple's likely to unveil the iTablet, be prepared for some indigestion.

First, Google's going to show the world on January 5th what Android 2.0 and its own hands at mobile design can produce to change the world of mobile computing and experience. That much we know is a fact.

But last night, rumors started flying around about pricing and contracts and I can tell you a lot of folks are going to be disappointed come Tuesday. See, before that, along with others, I was really giddy over the prospect of Google changing rules of the mobile market the way Apple did with the iPhone and now it is beginning to look less like Google's going to be doing much of that.

I remain hopeful that the latest disappointing rumor is merely an attempt to mislead the public and we'll still be wowed. Honestly, $530 for an unsubsized Nexus One and $180 for a very restricted voice and data plan from T-Mobile isn't going to wow people next week.

Now, for the iTablet. Haha, jokes on us if Steve Jobs wakes up on the morning of the 26th and decides the iTablet (or iSlate) isn't good enough for him and uses the 26th event to talk about the great Christmas Apple just had and walks off the stage and leaves his minions to introduce the next Macbook update.

That is the reality of Apple rumors. It takes one guy to start speculating (like us but someone more influential) and for the rest of blog world to catch fire. I've got my own iTablet speculations but I always make sure people know that. For some tech folks, they like to report what they talk about to Wall Street guys as if they've seen the Apple tablet. You know as well as I do that Wall Street guys mostly take their cues from the blog guys. And when the analysts simply talk out of their behinds, they're almost always wrong about Apple.

So, I simply want to put a dose of reality into all this going-ons. I love to see Nexus One at $99 with no contract running on Google's secret white spaces network supported by ads. I love for Apple's iTablet to be 10" running OS X as well as iPhone apps for 15-18 hours of rigorous use while weighing in at 1 pound or less with iChat video and VOIP while giving me the option to watch streaming video from iTunes. All for $500.

Chances are that a majority of that ain't gonna happen. Nevertheless, I insanely hold out hope. Heck, I still believe in Santa, it's just that he doesn't visit me because I've been naughty.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

iHologram: 3D Depiction Beyond Gaming Implications

It'll be a while before we see true 3D holograms the likes of Star Wars but even without lasers and mirrors, simulated holograms can be created. On the iPhone that is. iHologram is an app for the iPhone but certain, this can be achieved on other mobile devices as well.

With the iPhone 3GS' compass, the iPhone can display realistic 3D images of moving objects. This enables the user to see the object from a variety of angles. Of course, I wouldn't go as far as to call this a hologram as the app's title would like us to think. Nevertheless, this is a clever use of the built-in compass.

Having said all this, it would be prudent for hardware developers to include chips or digital compasses in their future designs. Yeah, I'm talking to you, Sony and Nintendo.

More than that, an intelligent camera capable of pasting together images will allow a multitude of applications.
  • Doctors can see 3D images of patient scans.  I'm think of when Apple (or others) come out with its tablet.  Apps like iHologram with multitouch support can allow a physicians to see very detailed images of, say, a brain scan by zooming in and out.
  • An architect or real estate agent can provide detailed of home or buildings
  • Military commanders can look at the battle field from various angles for tactical informations on troop movements and supplies.
  • When the time comes, perhaps Hollywood can allow the audience to watch movies from a variety of perspectives, providing the view a deeper level of emersion that a 2D screen will never be able to provide.
Those are just a couple of examples.  I'm sure you can think of more.  For now, simply be amazed by what a couple of clever developers are capable of coming up with.

More at Macrumors.

Qik: Live Video Streaming For Mobile Warriors

Qik. I like you to meet the company that’s going to be on the forefront of mobile video streaming. And it’s not just ordinary stream I’m talking about here.

With the Qik app for the iPhone and Android devices, any mobile warrior can become a broadcaster.

Qik has been around for a bit now but it was only recently when Apple allowed Qik to stream live video from the iPhone app that it has suddenly gained a lot of attention in the media and blogs.

For instance, I was able to provide a live stream from my iPhone 2G tethered to the G1 via Wi-Fi Tether and show off a couple of minutes of video from last night’s dinner to a friend overseas.

There is a wide range of implications for this new mobile app. Forget citizen journalists providing near instant updates with still pictures, now folks can report on news right from their mobile device.

How about for folks who can’t make it birthday parties and weddings? No problem if someone at the event is kind enough to provide some live video of the vow or candles being blown out.

The video quality for Qik was good enough consider where we are today with streaming technology and I’m confident that we’ll get to play with better quality videos as mobile devices become apt at handing the load and wireless speed improve with additional 3G upgrades to 7.2mbps or 4th generation wireless. Keep in mind that I was streaming through a tethered iPhone over 3G.

But there is something that I have to come back to: battery life. Wow, did Qik kill my battery on the iPhone. It wasn’t the app’s fault. It’s a fact of life, you know? If live user-provided content are to make inroads, battery life has to improve vastly. I’m going to try this weekend to see what kind of battery life I’ll be able to get out of this.

I’ve got an external battery glove for the iPhone and I’m also able to stream directly from the G1. And I’ve got an extra battery for the Android phone.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Kindle 3.0: Apple iTablet Killer

That's right. Forget the Kindle killer from Apple. Obviously, Apple's forthcoming iTablet can kill the Kindle with ease. No doubt about it. The Kindle 2 and the DX are mere ebook readers. And not even out (nor is there concrete evidence that it exists), the iTablet is already being dubbed to be the ereader that any serious book reader will need and then some.

You know, the Kindle killer. Well, I submit the following: Kindle 3, an iTablet killer.

Alright, it's not likely but it's not out of the realm of possibility. First, Kindle has a wide following if you believe Amazon that it is the most gifted item ever in its store. Second, it's got a wide lead on anything else on the market.

The original Kindle was lame but Kindle 2 did get enough folks onboard. With Kindle 3, with more features, than the original Kindle and Kindle 2, it ought to get even more folks interested in digital reading and the thousands of Kindle owners to upgrade.

So what features will Kindle 3 need in order to stop the iTablet in its tracks:

  • Color - the iTablet will have color and the Kindle needs it as well
  • Touch - needs touch.  The iTablet will support Apple's famed multi-touch features
  • App store - will need to support apps.  also, allow users to order Amazon items directly.
  • ePub support.  Get rid of DRM
  • Long Battery life - needs to exceed iTablet's own battery life rumored to be in the mid-teens of hours.
  • Something to match the iPod Touch models.  Maybe 3-4 inches.  Call it "Kindle Mini"
  • Needs better wireless support - bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and better data plans.
  • Needs a full browser
  • Needs to have Google apps or something along that line to match MobileMe
  • Launch its own cloud services for the Kindle.  

You're going to say "a lot of these features are things that the iTablet will have and Amazon is simply playing catch up". Well, you would be correct in a manner of speaking. However, I think that simply by keeping apace with iTablet, Amazon should manage to shift some of the craziness to the Kindle and establish it as an alternative to the iTablet.

Look at RIM. Even with the iPhone craze, Blackberries as a whole still outsell the iPhone, albeit with some clever "buy one get one free" deals.  I am betting if Amazon creates a viable counterattack to the iTablet, it can use the momentum Apple's tablet creates for its own use.

And Perhaps with Kindle 4, Amazon will really be able to establish the Kindle brand as a tablet that also reads books.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bing-flavored Android and Yahoo-Skins

Bing-flavored Android? That’s what I’m talking about here. With Google coming out with its own phone, the Nexus One, I wonder if its partners won’t feel jilted by this move no matter now much assurances that Google might have offered on that front.

So, I’ve got a solution for Motorola, Verizon, Samsung, and others. Replace Google’s webapp services with those from Microsoft or Yahoo’s offerings. Perhaps Microsoft isn’t necessarily going to be satisfied with this solution but Yahoo ought to consider given that of the three big search engines, only Yahoo has no mobile platform of its own.

If you think about it, it absolutely makes sense and it’ll help Microsoft or Yahoo gain a foothold in the mobile market. So far, Google continues to make inroads into mobile search very much the same way it did with the desktop OS. That isn’t to say that Google will dominate mobile the way it is doing with traditional search but why make it easier for Google?

Where did I come up with this? Bing on the iPhone. I have been using the app for a while now and it’s much better than what Google’s app is capable of. And it looks good too. This also goes the same for Yahoo’s iPhone apps.

Thank Google for making Android available and app and hardware developers mix things up a bit with Bing and Yahoo services.

As for Yahoo, I’d go further and leverage its expertise in building webapps and widgets and craft its own skin for the Android. I love to be able to immerse my mobile experience with Yahoo’s plethora of services.

I think until Microsoft’s WM 7 gets into the game, the battle for the mind-share will be about the iPhone, Android gaining momentum in the market, and RIM’s push in the mobile consumer market. So, Android’s innate customizability provides developers another aspect with which to differentiate themselves from others.

And at the end of the day, we mobile users win because of the added choice for search and other services on a platform that is dominated by Google. We’ve often seen what happens when a company takes consumers for granted.

Christmas Movie Clip: Toy Story 3

Here is this week's movie clip.  It's the upcoming Toy Story 3 that'll debut this summer.

I can't wait for the movie!  Everyone, have a great mobile weekend!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

eBook Reader Not For Everyone - My Nook Opinion

eBook readers are another class of mobile devices but a very limited one. I think there are many folks who are in love with the Kindle and other forms of readers like the Sony Reader and the newcomer, Nook. But for what it is, it's quite limited. Here's why.

For mobile warriors like myself who are somewhat also power users, an ereader with its obvious singular function is not going to satify all the other mobile computing needs. Anyone who buys an ereader will know that. Argument closed. But keep in mind that these readers also have wireless connection with mobile service providers. Personally, I think it's just a shame that these devices with dedicated wireless connection are limited to one function.

The Kindle has a rudimentary browser with limited access. The Nook, which I am fortunate to have in my hand, is based on Android, Google's mobile OS, and, yet, all that power is wasted. For instance, the Nook limits me to browse the election of books in Barnes and Noble's ebook store. Where are the apps? Where are the Google web services?

I think once avid readers have had their fill of these readers, ereader developers will need to move to the next step and offer other functions to these reader that will allow users to do more than just read.

  • I want to be able to check e-mails. 
  • I want Facebook and other social access so I can share thoughts on books with other readers.
  • I want basic Internet access.
  • I want Google webapps.
  • I want multi-touch - it was maddening to trying to press the e-ink screen thinking that I could just touch the selections I want.  I took a while to get used to the fact that I'm limited to the 3" color screen on the Nook.  It was like when I got my G1 and I was constantly trying to do the pinch gesture that I had been used to on the iPhone.
Eventually, these readers will gain enough functions where the link between this class of mobile devices and that of an emerging class of mobile tablets will be blurred.  In fact, I'm hoping that Apple's forthcoming tablet will be the first step towards that. 

A note on the Nook:  Man, is that thing slow.  I love the design and the black and white screen for reading is just superb.  But navigation is just painful.  There ought to be an update in the next week or two.  We'll see if things changed.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Movie on Onxo: Jack Bauer Versus Santa

This is this week's Friday movie (or clip).  I love the show "24".  And Jack Bauer rocks.  Having said that, here's a great inventive clip of Jack "having a conversation" with Santa.

Have a great last-weekend-before-Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bing on iPhone - Preview of Windows Mobile 7?

Microsoft released an app that allows iPhone users to use Bing, bring the three major search engines to Apple's mobile platform.  Boy, this is awkward, eh?  I want to be in the room when his guys came to his office and told him that they have to make an app for the iPhone and it'll be Bing.  

Well, it means the mobile search war is now engaged.  Google, by default, is running the mobile search show as it resides on nearly ever major platform.  Not counting Android devices, Google is the default search engine on the iPhone's mobile Safari.  Including those with iPod Touch, 80 million iPhone and iPod Touch users rely on Google for their searches.  

I'm not sure Bing coming to the iPhone is a big deal at the moment but it does mean that Yahoo and Google cannot take the iPhone platform for granted.  And I'm sure we'll see Bing on other platforms in short order.  And for mobile users, this is fantastic.  

Personally, I deleted Google's app months ago.  It was static and it doesn't offer me anything more than what I can get on Safari.  Yahoo's app was more engaging, offering social networks, news, and mail.  With Yahoo, you feel like you've got the whole portal experience on an app.

And what of Bing?  At the home page, you get a very nice interface that reminded me of Pre's own looks.  It was uncanny.  At the top is the search field and at the bottom are options for news, maps, movies, images, businesses, and directions.  

As you can see from the image, this isn't a simple mobile Bing search wrapped an app. The following are more images of searching.  I think the image search is awesome.  

It's promising and Microsoft really can design a good app if it really wants to.  Imagine what's coming for Windows Mobile 7 if Microsoft can do this for the iPhone.  Google, time to step it, man.  

Now, the question is whether Bing will be on Android.

Note:  Keep an eye on this.  Google's the new boogy-man as far as old guard techs are concerned.  Don't be surprised seeing Microsoft and Apple cozy up a bit on certain fronts.  I'm serious about this.  

Killer App Idea: Every Mobile Platform Needs Dedicated Social Network

For those of you mobile warriors who spend a lot of time on the game consoles, you'll know about the communities that Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony created for online gaming, communicating, and buying contents.  You know, like "Xbox Live" or Nintendo's use of "Mii" figures.  So, I ask you all this:  can that experience be brought over to the mobile world?

Suppose Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony duplicate that for the Zune HD, DSi, and PSP.  I think that can go a long way in helping them gain or solidify their place in the mobile world.  Also times to mind is Apple and iTunes.  

More than just gaming, I like to see mobile platforms create a dedicated community that exists on the smartphones or mobile devices, it can create a more loyal customer base.  Such a community can go beyond simply selling, chatting, or tweeting.

Other online society networks like Facebook or MySpace can be invited to participate.  And much like the way Facebook works, dedicated platform social network can allow companies to participate and interact with the base.  I'm sure if Apple offers companies the opportunity to introduce new products and services to the generally cash-rich Apple fans, they'll jump at the opportunity.  

In owning a dedicated social network in a mobile device will enable platforms to own a larger control of their users' mobile experience.  But I say "control" with an asterisk.  Screw this up and it can end badly.  Mobile platforms needs to make sure they provide the best possible experience because they competing with others in the market.  

For instance, Blackberry Messaging is cool but I think it can be a lot more than that.  RIM ought to add a social component a long the line of Facebook or Twitter or simply incorporate them into a larger app.  More than that, RIM needs to be an active participant as well.  RIM can help its tens of millions of users discover new apps, use the Blackberries in new ways.

On Android, I like to see Google make Wave a center of the Android experience.  Right now, it's floundered a bit.  Not much going on but there is a huge potential if Google can make it work.  

Microsoft can Zune all the mobile devices.  Perhaps, we'll see a closer integration with the Xbox Live experience.  To be frank, the Xbox is the only successful consumer-oriented endeavor in a long time, if ever.  It ought to be something Redmond leverages.

Just as Apple has been doing with iTunes.  I imagine with iPhone 4.0, we might see something along that line.  Apple has been doing this with iTunes newsletter and on twitter and facebook where they actively push ideas and suggestions to users.  But that's not enough.  Apple needs to allow iPhone and iPod Touch users to interact with one another by sharing tips, experiences, music, and apps with each other.  Apple can take it a step further by offering some of MobileMe's services like e-mails for free to iPhone and Touch users.  It's the only way I see this working.

As companies become more involved with their users, it may help foster a more intimate mobile experience.  I'll make this prediction now:  More companies will utilize the the app concept to create new opportunities to introduce new products to users, get feedbacks, and, ultimately, foster a better relationship with its customers.  You know that bands use it promote their music and stay in touch with their fans.  And recently, ATT released an app that allows iPhone users to report their network issues.  As basic as ATT's app is, it's a step in the direction I'm advocating.

So, why can't the mobile platforms do this as well and enable a richer mobile experience?  

Mobile Summary

There's a lot going on in the mobile market.  And by market, I mean it in the broadest sense.  eBooks, netbooks, smartphones, OS wars, and pitch battles between wireless providers.

As you might know, Apple and Google worked together for many years, especially since the iPhone came out.  While I am certain they still work together on some things, the relationship between the two cash rich tech giants aren't as rosy as it once was.  However, I have to state the following:  no one knows for sure just how far apart the two companies have become.  Maybe a bit.  Maybe a lot.

If I had to put money on it, I'd say war is coming.

Then there's the Kindle versus Nook battle.  Well, it's not quite there yet since Kindle is on its 2nd generation hardware while Barnes and Noble is having issues filling orders.  But given the response Nook is getting, I'm looking forward to additional innovation in this market.

In the long run, eBook readers can not survive as standalone or one-dimensional device.  Why?  Because on the horizon are tablets like Apple's iTablet (or whatever it'll be called and, yes, it's coming) and potentially devices based on other mobile platforms will be on the market in a short while and the only way the Nook and Kindle can be relevant is if they become more like tablets.

As for netbooks, I have a love-hate relationship with it.  I like my MacWind but for the most part, it's just a Hulu machine while the demands of my mobile computing require a full-sized laptop.  I'm hoping in 2010, there will be a subclass of netbooks that have better quality build and more advanced specs from Intel.

As for our wireless gatekeepers, ATT and Verizon Wireless have been going at it for weeks now on Prime Time television.  It's all rather childish but it makes great drama.  VW laid claim to having the biggest 3G coverage while ATT claimed to have the fastest 3G network that allows the user to simultaneously use the phone and access the Internet.

And speaking of wireless networks, we've got a first in LTE network deployed.  TeliaSonera launched its LTE network, the first of its kind, in Oslo and Stockholm.  Hats off to these folks.  But I have to point that WiMax has a larger customer base at the moment.  While I'm waiting for LTE access in the US, 3G is still the big dog in town or almost anywhere else in this planet and we should see much improved in upload and download speed shortly.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Google's Phone Is Real And It's Called NEXUS ONE

I hesitate to call it the GooglePhone or gPhone because anything with Android on it is a mobile device with telephony functions.

With that said, you might know by now that Google unleashed upon its workers the official Google phone. There is a lot of vagueness that about it so far.  I am hoping to get my hands on it (I know folks in Google).  But so far, the hype is real.

I repeat: all the hype you're reading about the Google phone is real. It's awesome. It's a good iPhone substitute.

Here's what we know:

  • Fraking awesome!
  • It's officially called Nexus One
  • When this is released, we won't know if this is the form factor it'll come in.
  • It's Unlocked!!!  That means T-Mobile, ATT, and other GSM networks will be able to use it.  I don't get quite how the different in frequencies used by networks will allow the device to take advantage of the 3G networks.
  • Nexus One is already being logged on multiple sites.
  • Runs on Android 2.1

Personally opinion?  I'd drop my G1 in a heartbeat and pay premium for this.  Wait, I'm gonna want to know about the battery life and then decide whether I need to get one or two extra ones because I'll be using the hell out of it.

Another thing I like to know is what the insides are.  What CPU is being used and what graphics capability does it have.  I'm not looking for PSP caliber but I want to be able to use all the candy-eyes without any slowdown or lags.

Having said that, yeah, I highly endorse getting this when it's out.  I'm not big on the Droid because of the keyboard but this is a totally differently creature, the Nexus One.  It looks like the HTC Passion as much folks have pointed it out.  It was already the one I've been eyeing for a long time.

So what is the Passion?  It's a 1Ghz Snapdragon CPU with a 5MP camera, 3.7" screen, scroll wheel, and with all the bells-and-whistles that comes with a modern mobile device these days.

So, why is google offering this now?  It's called eating your own dog food.  And this is on a massive scale.  Here's Google's official word on the matter:

At Google, we are constantly experimenting with new products and technologies, and often ask employees to test these products for quick feedback and suggestions for improvements in a process we call dogfooding (from "eating your own dogfood"). Well this holiday season, we are taking dogfooding to a new level.

We recently came up with the concept of a mobile lab, which is a device that combines innovative hardware from a partner with software that runs on Android to experiment with new mobile features and capabilities, and we shared this device with Google employees across the globe. This means they get to test out a new technology and help improve it.

Unfortunately, because dogfooding is a process exclusively for Google employees, we cannot share specific product details. We hope to share more after our dogfood diet.

There you have it.  You interested in upgrading your Android phone now?

More at the following sites:

I do have one major concern.  While I applaud Google's entry into the mobile market, I am concerned about what this will do to the Droid (meaning VW and Motorola), Samsung, and all the rest who will have to compete with not just the rest of the market but now with Google.  I suppose we'll know in due time.

Meanwhile, I am looking forward to Nexus One in 2010.  Also, look for a lot of back-and-forth between tech pundits, Apple and Google fans, and dumbass Wall Street analysts who will chime in on the matter.  Be sure to come back for the opinions from On Android, a real user from day one.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weddings and Going Mobile

Going to the wedding. Normally, I can't say I am fond of these things. But this is family. I will have usher duty and a lot of catching up so I will be kept busy.

Nevertheless, I've charged up my G1 and iPhone just to make sure there is enough juice to last me through the day.

I got a preview at the rehearsal dinner. I was seated with folks I was not familiar with. There was a time when I would be bored out of my mind. No longer.

I kept writing these little mobile stories because I want to document these subtle changes.

For my fellow mobile warriors, we might be old hands at this with our smartphones like Blackberries and iPhones but for many still, they have not had the mobile experiences we have gone through.

The most exciting thing is that we are only scratching the surface in mobile computing.

Will update via twitter when I meet a cute girl.

Note: I will probably suggest to the wedding planner about using mobile tech to help her coordinate her events.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gizmodo Wants the Apple Tablet To Look Like This (Me, too)

Here's a fake video of the Apple tablet. I repeat: FAKE. And like Gizmodo, I want it to look and do all those fancy things you're about to see.

And it's more than just a bigger iPhone.

Have a great weekend. Hopefully, someone will pick up on this and trying to make this tablet work.

More at Gizmodo.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mystery Light Above Norway - Secret Mobile Travel?

Here's a video of a mysterious light spiral that was capture above Norway.  If you look carefully, there simply is no way of knowing the origin.

The prevailing theory is that it's a rocket that went out of control.  Video examinations seem to indicate it was Earth-origin than anything else.  Having said that, it doesn't necessarily mean it's a rocket.  My theory?  Someone's trying to open up an atmospheric portal.

Haha, okay.  Sorry.  I'm a big science fiction buff.  It's about time something like that actually exist right?  Anyway, what better way to cut through space than to create a short cut via a wormhole or something other multidimensional portal?

Anyway, here's the video.  Take a look for yourself and love to hear what you think this might be.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ordering Food Mobilely

I just order a pizza with an app through my iPhone. Seriously, this is awesome. Food!

I have ordered things from Amazon and ebooks but this is the first time I have ordered something to eat.

So I was thinking. With better organization, it's possbile for a wireless protocol to be created, with maybe the help of credit card companies or Opentable, to allow more restaurants to gain a wider pool of eaters by allowing them to serve customers more efficiently.

More than just ordering online or making dinner reservations, patrons can choose what they like to order ahead of time. Perhaps even days ahead.

This will serve everyone well. Food can be cooked even before a customer arrives. This can help some places deal with the wait and the crowd. Also, it helps restaurants better manage what they need to stock up in terms of food, thereby, potentially reduce waste.

What do you think?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Losing Wireless Unexpectedly

Losing access to wireless Internet, SMS, e-mails, and social apps unexpected, and what do you get?

Well, that was what happened tonight when we went a theater that was two stories underground.

It was a very nice theater. I loved it and appreciate the friend who took me. Yeah, that was the new Gold Class Cinema in Pasadena, CA. That was the only picture I took worth posting.

But down there, no signals at all. Doesn't matter if it's VW, ATT, Sprint, or T-Mobile. There was a lot of comments about it. A few rushed up the escalator to get in one last text or call before the movie started.

But it was definitely worth being out of touch for a bit given the first class service you receive there. You're at the movies anyway, right?

Here's the interesting thing. 24-40 Seats per theater. You have your own reclining chair that puts Picard's command chair to shame. Even if you could use your mobile device, you were not going to be able to bother anyone because you seated so far apart from someone else. Drinks and food included in the ticket price.

But see, it was the expectation of being able to use your iPhones and Blackberries (again it's iPhone and Blackberry because I didn't see any other type of phone there) and not being able to that made everyone say a word or two about it. I simply started playing my games until the movie started.

Imagine other situations where mobile users addicted to their wireless access suddenly isn't able to for a long period of time. I think our brains have been accustomed to looking forward to getting that wireless fix.

It's almost like a drug.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mobile Forefront - Social Engagement and Innovation

I've sent a lot of time reading about gadgets and how we're changed by them.  I am excited about what's going on and I can't wait for the next breakthrough gadget.  Is it going to be Sony?  Will Microsoft's Windows Mobile 7 create another tsunami the way the iPhone did in 2007.  Or will Nintendo say enough and really change mobile gaming once again?

That's what a lot of focus has been on but I was given a small glimpse of what mobile technology is really about when a friend visited who also works in the tech industry bit seems very excited about what mobile is doing for people who are willing to take advantage of it and how it can socially alter how we communicate, work, and play.

I was shown a number of things and I was wowed and a bit worried because there are just so much information out there.  But mostly, excited.

When Eric Schimzit was asked about what Google plans to do with the billions in cash that they've got, his answer was a standard one.  What was the answer?  He believes Google needs every single dollar they can make now because they can't determine what tomorrow will bring and what form their competition will take shape.  Will it be a known foe or what he worries about most:  a fast moving startup that will change the Internet in ways Google has not thought of or unable to counter.

I think we're seeing a lot of that.  The vanguards of tech and the mobile sphere with the exceptions of one or two companies really are excited but also very afraid of the future in the mobile market.

One of the areas that is moving really fast is the social Web and mobile apps.  Everyone is talking about Facebook and Twitter these days but there are dozens more apps out there that are gaining a lot of steam.

Just ask Myspace what is going when only a few short years ago, they were the hottest Web property.  It was only four years ago when News Corp felt the need to buy them out for $850 million.  Four years is a mere blink of an eye in the realm of Web 2.0.  Now, Myspace is no longer growing as it once.

And here's what I learned tonight.  iPhone and it's 100K-strong app store is just the beginning.  Android-Chrome OS duo will continue to evolve.  RIM will try find their mobile path as is Nokia.  Microsoft will try to gain any sort of momentum and it may eventually figure out that it needs a vision for an increasing mobile society.  But all that doesn't matter.

New methods for social engagement maybe what determine where the mobile market is headed and the only way to keep up is relentless innovation.  It's not only technological innovation.  It's also about social innovation.  And in my book, there is no clear winner today.  There might well never be one.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mobile (And Maybe Budget) Tip: Go to AlternativeTo To Find Software

This site is called AlternativeTo.  It's a site offers users alternatives to software for Mac, Linux, and Windows based on something a bit more unique.  User experiences.

In their own words:

We have one mission: helping you find the right software for your computer or mobile phone. To do this we wanted to rethink the whole process of searching for apps. No more browsing through categories with long lists of crappy software.

Based on our users recommendations we list great alternatives to the applications you want to replace. By joining the site you can participate in the process of making these recommendations better, so please join in!

Think of this as a wiki for softwares and it largely speaks volume about what experiences users have with a particular application based on what they recommend rather than just a top-down review of an application.  You can be sure I'll be coming back here again and again as I try avoiding costly applications in this economic downturn.

Also, be sure to always see if there are open-source alternatives to any applications that you need.  For instance, definitely give Openoffice a try if MS Office is priced a bit out of your budget.  Gimp for Photoshop.

Advise:  bookmark AlternativeTo.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Average Is A Good Thing

Apparently, being average is a good thing in the wireless industry. For instance, ATT said that having 30% of your calls in New York dropped is about right. Without picking sides, I wonder of this is a good thing or not.

That means there are wireless providers with worse drop calls than others on the market.

But just for the sake of disclosure, what exactly is ATT walking about. National average is one thing but what about the average by area? SF. LA. What about the suburbs?

But does anything less than 99.99% of calls going through something that just is impossible to achieve.

Anyone know what the percentage of drop calls are in other areas outside of NY and countries?

I bring this up now because over the weekend, someone asked if I still used my landline. Apparently, they tried reaching me but couldn't for a whole afternoon. I got calls but I kept getting noises and other anomolies.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Minn Senator Looks To Limit Early Termination Fees

Corporate consolidation is as natural as the Earth circling Sol.  That's the best analogy I can think of in such a short while.  Banks do it.  It's why we've got the too-big-to-fail policies.  (I'll let you poder whether those are good policies or not.  It's above my paygrade to worry about that.)

It is the same in the telecom industry.  We've got 4 major players in the US, Verizon Wireless, ATT, Sprint (who goggled up Nextel), and T-Mobile.  These guys got there where they are because of buyouts and such.  FCC allowed them to do it and so be it.  And while competition is still pretty good, it was not like it was 10 years ago.  You've still got regional players.  This is still much better than the cable industry.  There, virtually zero competition.

There is competition for market forces to do its things.  So, why is Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota trying to legislate how much anyone can charge for early termination?  Poll numbers not looking too rosy, perhaps?

Here's where I stand on these terminations.  I think they're bad for business.  BUT!  But, I understand why they're needed.  The fact that the termination fee is the same one month into the contract versus fifteen months into the contract is stupid but it's the nature of the beast.  It sucks.  However, some carriers already prorate termination fees.

But competition there is and if folks don't like it, they can go to another carrier.  Verizon recently hiked their early termination fee from .  Fine, you'll never see me with a Droid because of that (plus I don't like Droid's keyboard.  Do better on that, Moto).

Again, I've got mixed feelings about the way termination fees work but I hope the market will sort it out without protection and meddling from lobbyists on both sides of the issue.  The legislation under consideration, may be a politically good move, also stipulate terms and disclosures.

What do you think?

More at MocoNews.

Wi-Fi Christmas - Everywhere You Go (Eventually)

I like what’s going on in the wireless realm these days.  There’s a lot going for us mere mortal but dedicated mobile warriors.  Whether you’re a hockey or soccer mom, programmer in Asia, office manager drinking espresso in a Paris cafĂ©, or just like me, a gear lover, we have more choices than ever of hardware to choose from.

More importantly, I’m beginning to feel a lot more confidence about our wireless access situation.  I’m talking about blanketing whole areas with Wi-Fi so that people will go and be able to use their mobile devices or smartphones.

Because it’s the Holidays in the US, I like to go out.  I enjoy the cooler air, decorations, and music.  The crowd.  Like the song says, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Now, what’s better about it this year?  Wireless access.  Starbucks.  Checked.  Airports, Google’s got some of them covered.  Bookstores like Borders and Barnes and Noble, right, free Wi-Fi for everyone. Even some small mom-and-pop coffee shops and diners now offer free Wi-Fi access.
I think business owners are now just wising up to the fact that wireless Internet access is as indispensable to their patrons as the restrooms, free water, and a good old-fashion smile.

Where else should offer free Wi-Fi to drive traffic?   How about the following places:
  • Fast food places like MacDonalds – Wi-Fi with those fries?
  • Car dealerships – oh, man. The waiting.  People can spend half a day there.
  • Tech stores like Bestbuy – of course!  You sell tech!  What’s gadgets these days without Wi-Fi?
  • Supermarkets – I’m not kidding.  I study at a local Pavilion.  They’ve got a deli, Panda Express, Jamba Juice, and a Starbucks.  But no Wi-Fi.  Why not?
  • Malls – to continue to be the hangout place, free Internet is essential to drive foot traffic.
  • College towns – this is a non-starter.  Wireless access should be required for any educational institution whether you’re a 36K strong campus like UCLA or a 1,000-student body community college.
  • Theme parks – Disneyland had no Wi-Fi.  Steve Jobs is the largest single shareholder of Disney.  I wonder if he knows the Happiest Place on Earth has no free Wi-Fi.
  • Office parks
Where else do you think we should have Wi-Fi access?  More and more it's beginning to look like a Wi-Fi Christmas for some businesses but more should follow.  

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...