Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wi-Fi Of America (like Voice of America)

Voice of America.  Radio Free Europe.  Yeah, during the Cold War.  And today? Wi-Fi of America?  

I'm talking about using wireless technologies to help people in nations where they don't have unfiltered access to the Internet and information in general.

Some United States Senators, including former Presidential candidate John McCain, is looking to provide a boost to Iranians who were on the streets protesting what they thought was an election stolen from them by the ruling clerics and incumbent government.

Some senators, mostly Republicans, have thought President Obama's response to the Iranian situation was weak and the White House did not provide enough oral support to the protesters.  I'm not here to get into the politics here but it could be a reason why these Senators are looking to outdo the White House and are looking to help protesters gain access to cellular and mobile Internet services.

Measures include making it more difficult for Tehran to jam services and other means to help avoid censorship and prying eyes of the government.

Gizmodo spoke about using drones to provide wireless Internet access but I wonder if larger measures could eventually come out of Congress and the skunk labs of clandestine organizations that will eventually create a 21st Century version of Voice of America to help spreading information or at the very minimum, help people gain access to information or spread information.

Source:  Gizmodo, Raw Story (AFP)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mobile Tip: Updated Info On Extending Battery Life

Battery life is the bane of a mobile warrior.  Achilles Heel of a daily mobile computing experience.  So we wait and hope that a scientific breakthrough in battery technology.  So far, we're always two to three years away.  Then next year rolls around, it's still two to three years away.

Well, while we hold our collective breaths, there are some things we can do to help our mobile devices function longer to serve our mobile needs.

Some are adjusts that we can make to the devices themselves like lowering the brightness of the screen.  Others are more behavioral.

You can always search Onxo for our mobile tips that are scattered throughout.  Since this summer, many folks are taking that revolutionary step towards a smartphone or mobile device like the iPhone and Pre, we've updated the battery tips and including them with older ones we came up with previous.

More at Onxo Mobile Tips.

Palm's Synergy App - Potential For 3rd Party To Duplicate Its Functionalities

I think Palm's Synergy is one of the best thing to happen to mobile market since the iPhone swept through the mobile market.  

But alas, iPhone's interface, while beautiful, intuitive, and simple, can use a little synergy of its own.  Admit it as I have, I would love to see that on my G1 and iPod Touch.  I'm sure a few Blackberry fans too.  

HTC has the Touchflo but it is no way nearly as compete as Palm's solution.  

So, why can't someone create an app to duplicate Synergy's functions and abilities to bring in together data from different sources all at once?  On the iPhone, the Yahoo app does a decent job of bringing in Twitter and Facebook.  It also allows users to add accounts from Hotmail, AOL, and Google.

There is even a page to aggregate special interests that I want to put together on one page.  In all, the Yahoo app has a tabs for features, news, interests, and connections.  With connections, Yahoo offers the option to allow the user to connect to an assortment of social sites like MySpace.

So, why not just use something like Yahoo app.  Well, it doesn't work as well as Synergy.  The potential for Yahoo's app is there but there is no guarantee that is the direction Yahoo is looking to go towards.  Google has its web apps and even on Android, you're only really allowed to use Google's apps.  Apple's own MobileMe does nothing even close to what Palm's Synergy can.  And as with Apple, you won't know what they've got up their sleeves until they unveil it.

So this leaves third parties to come in and offer apps to mobile platforms that offer seemless data (rss feeds, contacts, calendar), messaging, and e-mail integration in one app.  Right now, the best bets where a Synergy-like app will come from are from the likes of Yahoo that can leverage its properties or IM apps that aggregate various accounts by going further with other forms of data.

Friday, June 26, 2009

CNN: Jackson dies, almost takes Internet with him

According to CNN, once news of our beloved singer for all ages, Michael Jackson, has passed on, the Internet was besieged with requests with searches and information about the King of Pop.

Though not a lot of the requests were mobile, imagine in two year's time, five years, or ten years when hundreds of millions more people are on their mobile devices all requesting the same information.  Whether it is election results, disasters, or some historic event unfolding, people used to do their best to get a radio or television set.

No longer.  You grab your iPhone or Blackberry and you start googling or fire up the browser to see what CNN.com has.  Here's a taste of what happened yesterday when news of Michael Jackson broke.  
  • Between 2:40PM and 3:15PM PST, users experienced a slow down accessing Google News.
  • Around that time, my Twitter access slowed, messages weren't getting in or out.  Twitter.com finally posted a note that they were overloaded.  I got the whale page.
  • TMZ.com, site that broke the news of Jackson's death, went down several times.
  • CNN.com reported 5X increase in traffic.  LA Times was not accessible for a time.  The Times had reporters on the ground supposedly twittering and send in reports.
  • Wiki was updated with Michael Jackson's death date less than an hour after he passed.
  • Mashable.com reports 30% of tweets were about Michael.  In fact, a local news anchor in Los Angeles said at one point, 50% of tweets were about Michael Jackson.  That one I found difficult to swallow.
I'm sure Internet traffic increased dramatically for other news outlets as well as IM chatters.  I'll be interested to see the statistics for mobile access in the coming weeks.  

So just imagine 10-50X more mobile traffic in the coming years.  

Source:  CNN

Note:  I can see why the puny wireless providers are so afraid of giving their users unlimited access to their networks.  They are just afraid to admit they care more about profit than about services they promise to deliver.

Sprint: Let's Fight

War!  Alright!  Pre versus the iPhone.  And you know what that means?  We mobile warriors win at the end of the time.  Don't think that competition doesn't have to do with the iPhone 3G going down to $99.  If not for competition, I doubt Apple will be offering the 3G version when they can very well push the 3GS.

Hey, Blackberry fans, you feeling left out?  I don't understand why Sprint decides you're nobody since RIM just sold 8.1 million Blackberries.  Windows Mobile folks, c'mon.  Let's hear from you as well.  It's war!

Lots of questions to be answered in the coming days.  Can Apple afford to stay stubborn and not allow folks the freedom of multi-tasking in the name of preserving battery life?  After all, can't Apple simply allow users to turn on or off multi-tasking?  This is the main point that Sprint and Palm is holding up as the advantage over the iPhone (again, neverminding the battery life).  

If anything, Blackberry and Windows Mobile folks have more to worry about than the Apple camp.  The Pre, while does some things better than the iPhone (I am in love with Synergy), is still no iPhone killer.  And it offers a lot of opportunities for other mobile platforms to claim that mantel.  In all honestly, who really cares if there is an iPhone killer or not.  The iPhone doesn't dominate the market and dominating the 99% of the media doesn't actually translate into 99% of all sales.  

I have to wonder about the thinking behind this ad.   It is stupid of Sprint to take such a direct jab at Steve Jobs and company.  Maybe they didn't hear but Jobs got a new liver.  A new lease on life.  Time to reflect.  And Steve's got $30 billion in the bank to really put a hurt on anyone who dares to do this kind of thing.  This is corporate mobstermanship here.  It's totally legal to bury the competition with money.  

In six month's time, Apple can drop the iPhone 3G down to $50 and the whole market will get rearranged again.

But again, I'm loving this.  The WebOS is a very compelling implementation and I'm looking for others to follow.  As for pricing, that's sure to have the hardware makers going back to their bean counters trying to figure out just how much lower they can go to preserve their margins.  At the end of the day, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Palm, and RIM fans win with new innovative devices and lower prices.  

I am so glad there is room in the mobile market for so many players.  Sorry, I left out Nokia, didn't I?

As with each platform, it has its own strengths and weaknesses.  Smart-ass campaigns aside, I think mobile users (especially those who read Onxo, On Apple, and On Android) are smart folks and should not be taken for granted.  We want easy mobile computing and data with the swipe of a finger.  We want to play games.  We want to listen music and watch videos on bright and sharp screens.  We want unrestricted use of mobile Internet connection.  We want apps that are walled by the hardware maker's warped and self-serving perception of mobile Eden.  We want longer battery life and slick designs.

Keep those principles in mind and no matter what platform, it will have a nice segment of the mobile market all to itself.  So, keep warring!

Can There Be One Dominant Player In The Smartphone Market?

When people think about the OS market, it's Microsoft.  When people think about MP3 players, it's iPod.  There's no question about that.

When people think smartphone, you probably get quite a different picture.  And it matters who you  talk to.  Blackberry.  Windows Mobile.  Symbian.  Am I leaving anyone out?  Hmmm....probably.

Palm's newly minted CEO, Jon Rubinstein, believes there can be multiple winners in the smartphone and mobile device market.  It's an assessment that many folks including myself also believe in.

There was a time when Palm had the whole PDA market to itself after Apple withdrew with the Newton all the while people begged Jobs to buy Palm.  Of course that didn't happen.  Today, Palm is struggling to be relevant in the mobile market.

As for Apple, it'll be years before we know if the iPhone has enough attraction and Apple has the ability continue to innovate ahead of its competitors.  We know Apple has planned years ahead.  Nevertheless, iPhone exclusivity deals will keep Apple from an encore performance with the iPhone as it did with the iPod.  It's likely that if Apple will dominate a market outside of MP3 players, it'll have to be a market of mobile devices it creates all to itself.  For now, Apple will have its followers.  A good number to be sure but nothing like the iPod market.  But Apple products tend to generate a loyal following.

RIM likely has the best chance to be a dominant player in the market along with Nokia.  The problem is both of these companies lack the passion it once had.  Nokia with the cell phone market and RIM with the smartphones.  Without reasons for mobile users to stay loyal to these two brands, they will continue to find users looking else where for their mobile needs.  However, if either of these two companies do find that spark of passion to truly innovate, watch out, folks.  Nokia has the best name recognition but RIM is looking to make a big move in China.

That leaves Android and Windows Mobile.  It's hard to say at this point for these two wild cards.  Wild cards?  Because we know so little about how Windows Mobile 7.  We don't know if Zune will be included in the mix or not with Windows Mobile.  Has Microsoft found a cohesive mobile strategy?  We know Android is cheaper in terms of licensing but it seems to lack focus.  Google and its superfriends have had only one Android device, the G1, on the market.  There is also talk about Android in netbooks.  As far as I'm concerned, Android needs more work and until Android 2.0, anything else is beta.

So perhaps, Palm's CEO has is correct.  There will be many winners in the mobile market and there's will be not one super dominant player in the market.  Still, the potential is there for one or two companies to make a move to put a hurt on its competitors.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Glimpse Into Mobile Reporting

Perhaps, we got a glimpse in to the future of reporting news.  When Michael Jackson's untimely death was announced, the local, as well as national and international, media flocked to UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, CA.

With Dave the Mobile Warrior monitoring the airwave, he noted, as did one observant local reporter, many reporters were filing their reports wireless via their Blackberries and iPhones.  Furthermore, the more famous reporter personalities were reportedly twittering updates and what was going on in the crowd.

Could be this how future reporting is going to be like from now on?  Very likely and it'll grow in sophistication.  As news networks like CNN encourage viewers and online readers to send in video and their personal reports, it is quickly becoming an experiment that reporters and news men and women are likely to follow.

Most folks carry a mobile device or smartphone equipped with at least 2MP camera.  Even some such as the G1 and the new iPhone 3G S are capable of recording decent quality video that can quickly be uploaded to networks or sites like Youtube.

In fact, Youtube revealed just today that mobile video upload increased 1700% in recent months and just 400% since the iPhone 3G S with video capability debut last weekend.

But more than just hardware technology, applications like Twitter will only become more prevalent as tools to bring break news and providing headline news to millions of subscribers.

There really no way to saw just how far the news media will embrace new technology.  As a matter of fact, the news media is usually steps behind more savy users and only after months, even years, of use does the media figure out just how they can use new technologies for their advantage.

There is hope that the media as a whole is more tech savy now.  It isn't uncommon for a portion of a news broadcast from CNN or local news to guide viewers or readers to chatrooms, tweets, emails, and online videos.  Even now, the Los Angeles news channel, KCal 9, is asking viewers to join their live broadcast in chatrooms.

As far as mobile tech goes, there is much more growth and evolution for reporting and getting news.  Just as Palm Pre has Synergy to combine texting, contacts, and calendars from across different platforms, it isn't inconceivable for the inclusion of twitters and special news feeds to be incorporated.

In fact, newspapers encountering difficulties in acquiring or just retaining eyeballs should look to a Synergy like technology that will allow them to get their materials to mobile users.

For my fellow mobile warriors out there who are thinking of journalism or have thought about it at some time in your lives, with mobile tech, it's never too late.  You just need a good scoop.

Note:  Michael Jackson's death came as a shock.  Despite his eccentricities, his music brought joy to millions and his influence crossed boundaries, industries, and ages.  Heck, he helped me launched my singing career.  Ahem...my "singing in the shower and no one can tell me to shut up" career.  I can't sing if my life depended on it for real.

Another note:  When news broke, Twitter was overwhelmed for a time.  That has not happened for a while.  Not even during the swine flu or the Iranian elections coverage brought Twitter to a crawl.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Another Mobile Use - Creating Art

This is news some time ago but I've just seen the video of how Jorge Colombo used an app called Brushes on the iPhone to create last month's New Yorker cover.




It just shows how much mobile creativity and computing has come in the last couple of years.  There's a short video of how Jorge created the cover at Onxo Gadgets.  


What's amazing is that we're only scratching the surface of what the creative mobile society can do with their mobile devices.  I'm more than certain that we'll see more amazing things in the coming years.  

Intel and Nokia Gets Serious With New Mobile Device

It never ceases to amaze me what pressure and, frankly, threat to your existence can make you do.  In some instances, the route to the inevitable can be quite painful to go through and excruciating to watch as the party involved is unable or unwilling to see what's happening.  I might be talking about Motorola's mobile business.

With Intel and Nokia, they took a look at Motorola and decided that was how they wanted to end up as far as their mobile business was concerned.  Intel still has the server and computer chips but well, Nokia lives off the handsets.  Nevertheless, Intel's move into the handheld market has not been quite as roaring as their CPU where folks like Samsung and Texas Instruments has a bigger role.

Today, Intel and Nokia decided enough was enough and decided tocollaborate in crafting  a new market by creating a new mobile device.  So far the pact involves the following areas:
  • long-term partnership in chip architecture and software
  • mobile applications and wireless Internet access
  • open source mobile Linux projects
  • previous work includes Intel's forthcoming mobile chip "Moorestown".  
Implications for Mobile Warriors like you.  We will see Moorestown product in 2010.  They appear headed for the smartphone and mobile device classes.  While I hope we won't have a repeat of the useless Mhz (then Ghz) wars, we will likely get a lot of chatters about calculations the chips can do all the while using as little power as possible.  

For a while, I had thought things were going to cool down with the CPU war going no where but now with renewed interests in mobile devices, we can see great things in the near future.  

What's in this for Intel?  Getting Nokia to use your chips is huge.  It was like when IBM used Intel's chip in the personal PC.  Well, sort of.  The whole chip and memory ecosystem is a lot more complex today than it was in the late 70s.  Suffice to say, the mobile handheld business will benefit greatly with Intel's efforts.  And you never want to count Intel out of any chip business.  Qualcomm, Samsung, TI, and maybe even Apple are pouring billions into the mobile device market, with this announcement, Intel and Nokia are simply saying they still around.

So with their survival at stake, Intel and Nokia decides its best to innovate rather than hide their heads in the sand.

More on the deal at CNet.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Steve Jobs: We Sold 1 Million iPhone 3G S In 3 Days

Today, Apple's Steve Jobs announced in a press release that Apple has sold over 1 million iPhone 3G S in just three days (including the pre-orders - I'm sure that helps a lot in terms of accessibility). And one more thing, Jobs added, "I'm back".

Okay, he didn't but Apple's press release said that as it mentioned him as the CEO.

You always have to read between the line when it comes to Apple. For mobile warriors who likes to keep scores, Apple also mentioned over six million iPhone 3.0 downloads. The interest thing is that Apple made no mention of regular iPhone 3G sales during this past weekend. Very interesting indeed.

Having said that, Apple sales usually get bumps like this and level off. iPhone sales, with their expensive contracts, has yet to reach the levels achieved by the iPods. I really want to know how Storm 2, the plethora of new WM devices, T-Mobile's second Android phone, and Pre will do in the coming months.

Here is Apple's full release:

Apple Sells Over One Million iPhone 3GS Models iPhone 3.0 Software Downloads Reach Six Million

CUPERTINO, California—June 22, 2009—Apple® today announced that it has sold over one million iPhone™ 3GS models through Sunday, June 21, the third day after its launch. In addition, six million customers have downloaded the new iPhone 3.0 software in the first five days since its release.

“Customers are voting and the iPhone is winning,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “With over 50,000 applications available from Apple’s revolutionary App Store, iPhone momentum is stronger than ever.”

The new iPhone 3GS is the fastest, most powerful iPhone yet, packed with incredible new features including improved speed and performance—up to twice as fast as iPhone 3G—with longer battery life, a high-quality 3 megapixel autofocus camera, easy to use video recording and hands free voice control. iPhone 3GS includes the new iPhone OS 3.0, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system with over 100 new features such as Cut, Copy and Paste, MMS*, Spotlight™ Search, landscape keyboard and more. iPhone 3GS customers get access to more than 50,000 applications from Apple’s revolutionary App Store, the largest application store in the world where customers have already downloaded over one billion apps. iPhone 3GS offers twice the capacity for the same price with a 16GB model for just $199 and a new 32GB model for just $299.** And iPhone 3G is available at the breakthrough price of just $99 for the 8GB model—a huge milestone for the high end smartphone market

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I Have A Wireless Dream

I was meeting up with my cousin at a local mall for dinner last night and I got there earlier so I can spend some time to myself and enjoy the cool afternoon.  It was an outdoor addition to an existing structure.  There was music, water fall, and folks like myself enjoying the evening.


I pulled out my iPod Touch to access the mall's open Wi-Fi network.  I was able to access the Internet near the rear of the new setting but not front.  And the front was the waterfall is and I rather liked the scenery.  So I ended up using my G1 to surf the Web through the 3G network while I listened to music on my iPod Touch.


But really got me going on the need for a blanket wireless network that works for all mobile devices no matter where you are or which device you use.  Over at Onxo Mobile Society, I got more into the issue of the coming day when  mobile devices without cell contracts are the norm and we'll be able to access the wireless network as freely as we do now at home, in our offices, or hotspot locations to do as we choose.  Surf the web, watch videos, stream music, etc.  


Most importantly:  NO GATEKEEPERS!


Source:  Onxo Mobile Society

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Movie - Astronauts Messing Around

Here is this week's Friday movie (clip).  Again, I do this on the blog because at my old work, we used to take off on Fridays to watch a movie if we get our work completed on time.

In that tradition, I'm continue the practice whenever there is a clip I think you would like to watch (we didn't go watch a movie every Friday.  Some weeks, there are no new movie even worth skipping work for).

This week's clip is from the International Space Station where an intrepid astronaut, and I mean intrepid because he agreed to go on camera for it and might effectively end his spacefaring career, demonstrates the kind of fun you can have in zero gravity.

Enjoy and be sure to visit us over the weekend for more mobile updates here, tips, mobile issues, and mobile Apple updates.



First Seen on Gizmodo

PreCentral.net Provides Pre Tips On PDF

If you've got a Pre or know someone who does, point to Precentral.net for the latest information, news, and tips.

It's one of the better sites for Pre I've seen.  To top it off, they're offering their tips (some) in PDF format for Pre mobile warriors to download.

Link is here.

From what I can see, it's got the most basic information that a new Pre user needs to know to operate their Pre efficiently.  There are two things about this.  You'll need to be a registered member of the Pre forum.  It's a small step to take considering the PDF file you'll be getting and able to contribute to the forum.  

So, go already.  Oh, you're wondering what the second thing is.  It won't help fill up the Pre app store with apps.  Sorry.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

AT&T Says Its For Net Neutrality (Provided They Can Define What "Neutrality" Means)


"ATT has also publicly supported the notion that these Net Neutrality rules should also apply to wireless Internet access. In fact, Jim Cicconi, senior executive vice president of legislative affairs for ATT, said as much during a panel discussion hosted by a Washington Post reporter in November."

This was taken directly  from a CNet News post questioning ATT's role as our mobile gatekeeper.  Oh, don't worry. Our fellow mobile warriors who subscribe to Verizon Wireless are also subject to the same treatment. Essentially, the wireless providers believe our mobile access is open so long as the wireless providers have a say in how we use it and what we use it for.

How anyone can say their company, ATT in this case, is for net neutrality but chooses how subcribers use thei network and which apps they can use on the network is just outrageous. The MBL app can stream games over 3G but iPhone users can only view video from their Slingplayer app over a Wi-Fi network. And, the TVU, TV.com, and OrbLive apps run freely all over ATT's 3G network.

Considering that smartphone users pay more than  regular cell phone users, it stands that we expect more. Gatekeepers be damned.

It's my hope that this this nonsense ends when the 700Mhz network comes online. In short the FCC had stipulates that the new network would have to be open. While I am always hopeful that wireless access would eventually be open and neutral, it won't be because our self-appointed gatekeepers didn't try their hardest and dirtiest to keep that from happening.  

Via Cnet


Note:  I am glad CNet has given this issue a look. I hope new news outlets will continue to keep an eye on this and press the wireless providers for answers and not their focus group approved responses.    

Iran Censorship: Just One Part Of A Potential Future Cyberwar

Hackers dodging the hands of governments and police agencies has been going on since, well, "WarGames".  In all seriousness, any time there is new technology put to use, there was always a segment of society who for one reason or another try to use it for purpose not intended or in ways that may be consider criminal.

But today, with the Green Movement of opposition leader, Hossein Mousavi, in Iran, mobile and Internet technologies couldn't be more valuable as a means of communications and setting up rallies.  Which is why the government of current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sought to clamp down on access to information wherever they may come from.

Perhaps you've read an article or two about the importance of Twitter and Facebook as weapons against Tehran's draconian. Media in the West has painted a portrait of the young tech savy followers of Mousavi.  Supporters of Ahmadinejad certain have some geeks within his ranks but there is no disputing how technologies are being employed in political campaigns and movements (ask President Obama about his Presidential run) and possibly a successful Iranian revolt against ruling class.

One area where there has been no mention is virtual worlds like Second Life or games such as World of Warcraft.  Couldn't players also enter these realms and use them as a tool to exchange information?  

Here's a good CNN article about the valiant efforts by the protesters to exercise their free speech.  Since the crackdown, the government were met with efforts by folks outside of Iran who set up virtual tunnels (proxies) to allow Iranians to cover their tracks or at the very least, avoid having their IP addresses tracked.

The article did point out that the information and photos coming out of Iran has dropped noticeably.  One of the efforts people on the outside can help is to adjust their locations and local time to match Tehran's local time, thus, providing more false-positives for Iranian agents to track.  At the same time, protesters can help themselves by switching to a location and time zone other than Tehran's.  

Here's a not-so-veiled effort at a shameless plug, Chieh Cheng, a good friend and operator of Camerahacker, a popular digital and video site for enthusiasts, and I have been using Cirqo, an online IM and chatroom site, that's always on and "instant" as far as updates go, is willing to serve as an outlet for anyone who wishes to share information about the Green Movement (or anything else for that matter).  

We've also have a Twitter copycat called "MeBlog" that works like Twitter and when linked using Tweetfeed, posts on Meblog will appear on Twitter.

Also try Friendfeed as well.  And if there are other efforts to curtain government efforts like those of Iran or China, please share them with us.

Note:  I discussed with some fair-minded folks about the possibilities about an Iranian Tiananmen.  We decided with camera phones, some with video capture capabilities, practically everywhere, the government should pause before using deadly force against the freedom movement.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mobile Tip: Watching NBC Videos on Smartphones and Mobile Devices

If you've got an iPhone, iPod Touch, or G1, you're in luck.  I'm guess it'll work with the Pre.  Probably the Blackberries.  Here goes.

Point your mobile browser here:  NBC Mobile.  You can watch many videos including full episodes.  It was a sweet discovery and I'm glad to be sharing it with you.

For other mobile sites that offer videos for your iPhone or G1, go to Onxo Mobile Tips.

Note:  I don't know if this works for all smartphones.  I assume this will work with the Pre because its browser is based on Webkit, the same used in the iPhone and G1.  But I think it has more to do with H.264 video support.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Palm's Options

There's been a lot of talk about the Pre and how it is Sprint and Palm's hope to collectively gain marketshares in their respective market strike a blow against their competitors.

By all estimates, Palm sold about 55,000 Pre before they ran out of stock.  Before Apple's WWDC keynote when new iPhones were introduced and due to go on sale on June 19th.  Still Pom will have nearly two weeks all itself (assuming the $100 price drop of the iPhone 3G doesn't stunt demand for the Pre).

Still, Palm faces an onslaught of competition beyond the iPhone as other mobile device makers gear up for their summer lineup.  I'm talking about Storm 2 and G2 (G1 is likely to continue to be available, with a price drop being likely).  Windows Mobile 6.5 should also get into the mix with great momentum (however, any excitement is likely confined to WM loyalists until WM 7 comes out in 2010).  Though I've only been able to find one phone, ATT and Samsung's Jack (for $99 with contract).  It'll ship with 6.1 but upgradable to 6.5.

There will be a lot of debates about Palm's future and what path they should take.  I think mobile warriors all over should pay close attention as this may change the mobile landscape, how mobile providers operate, and pace of innovation and 4G network deployment.

There are facts and developments at Palm that you should know about:

  • Jon Rubinstein has been appointed the CEO of Palm.  He's likely to bring further Apple-like changes to the company.  This might compel Apple to double its effort to innovate the iPhone platform to try and put more distance between the iPhone OS and the Pre WebOS, which many bloggers and tech watchers determined to be the closest challenge to the iPhone (Blackberry OS and Windows Mobile dominates the market in terms of marketshare).
  • Palm has many former Apple engineers who helped with the Pre development.  Rumblings of poaching from Cupertino exist but there is no way to affirm or deny this fact.
  • Palm engineers are offering advice to the new executive team.
  • Palm is likely to be availabe on other networks in 2010.  Verizon first.  Perhaps there may be GSM models in the works for ATT.
  • You'll read blogs about Palm buyouts, Palm's options, and more whether Pre's success will continue as it faces newer and updated mobile devices and smartphones.
  • Windows Mobile 7 should be available in the first half of 2010.  By then, the WebOS will be at least six months old.
  • Palm has expressed interest in expanding the WebOS beyond the Pre.  No firm statement beyond a vague comment has come from Palm.  There is speculation about the WebOS in the Centro while others have offered suggestions along the line of licensing WebOS to third party phone makers.
Fierce Wireless has offered a simple post on Palm's options.  Simple being the operative word since the same applies to RIM and Apple except Palm isn't in as strong a position.  Onxo will start a series of how Palm should deal with its future, who might be interested in a buyout, and the likely competitions Palm will face.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Test Drive the Pre A Bit - Lives Up To Hype

I got to spend some time with the Pre at my local Best Buy.  Over all, I am impressed with the Pre.  The design is very unique and takes a little getting used to.  The pictures on the Internet does not do it just, for better or worse.


I have an issue with the app support at launch and that's going to be critical.  And with the iPhone 3.0 and iPhone 3G's lower price at $99, G2 and Storm 2 on deck, the Pre will be competing in a very crowded market.


I've provided more notes at Onxo Gadgets and some recommendations on what you should do if you're in the market for a smartphone.  Overall, Palm knocked it out of the park but it was going up against last year's smartphones like the Storm and G1.  And even last year's iPhone 3G is very impressive, possibly for years to come.  


More Pre impressions at Onxo Gadgets

LTE Is 4G but 3G Still Dominates And Is Growing

Either through me or others, you probably heard about how the Japanese are living in mobile heaven.  Their whole lives revolved around their cell phones.  Some folks have more than one in Japan.  They watch TV on it.  They surf the web on it.  They pay for their transportation with their mobile phones.  Well, you are saying we do that now, except for the paying for public transportation part.

I thought the mobile providers like Docomo and Softbank are running on 5G or 6G networks by now.  That turned out to be not the case.  In fact, Japanese mobile providers are in the same boat US providers - looking to provide LTE in 2011 or 2012.  Softbank subscribers will not be able to count on LTE access until 2013 at the earliest.

Having said that, while a lot of insiders and bloggers are looking to LTE, there is a lot of life to 3G left.  Only 11% of the global wireless subscribers are on 3G.  And by 2013, that will go up to 28%.  That sounds about right given in the US, ATT is struggle to keep up with demand upgrading to a higher speed while T-Mobile's network launched in late 2008 is still being built out.

Oh, and WiMax is ahead with 9 networks deployed worldwide, mainly in Asia.  In the US, Sprint and Clearwire are in a race to get their networks up and running before Verizon Wireless gets the ball rolling on LTE in the second half of 2010.

The figures and network deployment are from an e-mail summary.  For the full report and $3,995, you can get it here.

So, we're in a good shape in the US, right?  All things cool in Asia since they live in a mobile mecca?  The Middle East and Eastern Europe are looking to WiMax.

Not quite.  If you've been with me in the last year, I've called out the wireless providers, particular American ones, who want to be our "mobile gatekeepers".  What they want is to nickel and dime us to death.  And as is their business model, they're trying to milk every single penny out of their network before having to upgrade.

I just think they're evil.  For mobile warriors who disagree with me, I respect that and understand the other side of this argument.  I just think these guys are just using excuses to hinder open access and innovation.  I'm not big on government intervention but this is one area where I like to see some FCC actions.

Wherever you are when you read this, education, science, and commerce are increasingly reliant on wireless technologies.  The faster your region, or here in America, can deploy affordable wireless access to the masses, the quicker and better a society can be prepared for the future.

Just a thought.

As it stands now in the US, ATT is looking to upgrade its 3G network to 7.2Mbps and eventually 21Mbps. Sprint and Verizon seems content with their current deployment.  Verizon will get going withe LTE in the 2nd half of 2010 while Sprint is working on WiMax.  T-Mobile is currently digesting its brand new 3G network so I'm not hopeful they're even thinking about a 4G network.

Note:  Think EDGE is dead?  There are two 2G networks currently being deployed somewhere on this planet.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

ATT Is In Trouble - VW And T-Mobile Should Capitalize

ATT was booed at Apple's WWDC 2009 during the keynote.  Why?  From the iPhone user perspective, ATT will not be able to deliver critical network functions that are key points in Apple's new iPhone 3.0.

When the Apple-ATT partnership started, things couldn't be better for the two parties.  But with 3G network issues and now the letdown with network support for the new iPhone, things couldn't be worse for ATT.

And ATT will be forced to trying and keep its iPhone exclusivity as a defensive measure (More at Onxo Gadgets).

So, what is next for the wireless giants?  First, let me be clear.  I detest these wireless providers for the way the treat us so I don't care whether they get screwed over by the handset makers or by each other.  So, it is obvious that the other guys should do what they can to disrupt the Apple-ATT alliance.

For now, it seems like ATT and Verizon Wireless seems to be focusing in knocking Sprint out of the game.  First Verizon's CEO made a public statement that VW will get the Pre in six months (which Sprint denied but Palm has not said a word).  Then this Monday, Apple launched the new iPhone 3G S at $199 (the Pre is $299, $199 after rebate) and placed the original iPhone 3G at $99.

But it's also a perfect time for VW to go after ATT by trying to get Apple out of its camp.  And VW can do that by bring LTE to the market in a timely manner and convince Apple not to extend its iPhone exclusivity deal with ATT.

After all, conventional wisdom is that the subscribers tolerate ATT only because of the iPhone.

Then there is also T-Mobile USA.  Apple already deals with T-Mobile, the parent company.  Perhaps, T-Mobile USA should be doing what it can to capitalize on any rift between Apple and ATT.  If Apple wanted to bring the iPhone to another network in the US, T-Mobile is obviously the easier route to go. And Apple has said that it doesn't like CDMA.

If Apple does offer the iPhone 3G with T-Mobile, there are hundreds of thousands if not millions who would jump ship and go with T-Mo in a heartbeat.  At $99.  At $149.  Even at $199.  If this were to happen, for once, T-Mobile (my current network) can put the hurt on ATT and Verizon Wireless at the same time.

Note:  I did leave Sprint out of the equation.  Sprint isn't GSM nor is it Verizon.  Sprint's strength will lie in how quickly it can get a national WiMax network to as many major cities before Verizon's LTE network has time to mature.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wireless Networks May Benefit From Global Economic Recovery

With the oil back above $70 a barrel, the Saudi makes a $100 million investment in Wimax.  Could this just the beginning as credit, the economic conveyor belt, starts to flow again?  It was not as if everything suddenly came to a standstill.  Many cash-rich tech companies continued to spend and make money in 2008 and so far in 2009.

But as oil and commodity prices begin to recover and cash starts to go to resource rich regions like the Middle East, Russia, and South America, it stands to believe that technology spending in these nations will start again.

Of course, we won't know how fast economies around the world will start growing at sustainable rates to support these wireless adventures but one thing is certain.  The world is relying less on the US and European markets as emerging economies continue to do well, especially those that rely on commodities.  They will continue to invest heavily in technology, in particular, wireless networks as their demands increase.

Whether it'll be LTE or WiMax, Intel, Samsung, and other companies that make chips and components to support these networks stand to gain from these wireless expansions.

Beyond wireless needs, the emerging markets collectively may pull the global economy out of the recession as their commercial needs increase.

WWDC And Pre Launch - Has Anything Changed?

E3 in Los Angeles last week.  This was followed by the Pre launch last saturday and Apple's WWDC today where Apple unloaded a plethora of news and new technology for its mobile and Mac platform.

But has things really changed in the mobile market for the average mobile warrior?  Did we really see new and exciting innovation from Apple and Palm?  Don't get me wrong.  I'm excited about the iPhone 3G S and the potential competitive pressure Palm's Pre can provide.

I can't shake the feeling that there's been a reinventing of the wheel or simply making the wheel easier to use.  Don't make sense?  More at Onxo Gadgets.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

T-MOBILE HACKED! (MOBILE ALERT!)

THIS is very hot.  Spread it around.  According Phandroid, T-Mobile was hacked.  Personally, I'm no too concerned about T-Mobile's internal data being stolen but I'm concerned about the subscriber information that may also be taken and for sale to the highest bidder.

I just got off the phone with T-Mobile.  The guy I spoke with said he's been at work since 2PM EST and his front page (I'm assuming they've got some kind of a bulletin they can go to to find information) has nothing about this.  This is a similar claim for readers and bloggers who have spoken to T-Mobile.  If there is an investigation going on, it's understandable that T-Mobile is cooperating with authorities (I'm sure its competitors are also cooperating as well).

For fellow mobile users who are T-Mobile customers, just be aware  and if we hear more, we'll let you know about it.  It's a matter of time before official word from T-Mobile comes.

How legitimate is this claim?  Well, I'm not a server guy, programmer, or remotely involved in the business, just an mobile fan.  But according to a post in insecure.org and some readers, the claim seems very real.

Via  Engadget, Slashdot (More details here)

Note:  I have a G1 so...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

On Android: Cupcake Onscreen Keyboard Use

Over at On Android, I've updated my user experience with Cupcake and I focused on the onscreen keyboard.

Go on over and see if the new Android OS has made things better for G1 users and how it compares to the iPhone's input scheme.

It's the Battery, Stupid

It's a play on the quote of James Carville but the idea is the same.  Onxo is a mobile computing and entertainment blog.  We talk about wireless issues and products.  And this topic here fits perfectly.

For mobile warriors, you'll know what I'm talking about and I've written dozens of posts about battery issues.  Tips on extending your iPhone's battery life.  Tips on reconditioning your laptop's batteries.  What mobile users should do when traveling or being away from the outlet.

Now, Daily Wireless is reporting that Intel has fallen short of their sale target for MID - mobile Internet devices.  So far, approximately 30K has been sold, just south of the 200K units that Intel had optimistically hope will be moved.

So, what happened?  Prices.  Competition from price-dropping laptops.  Not being cool enough.  Netbooks.  It's arguable that one reason or another affected MID adoption. It's like a combination of many factors.

On the whole, battery life is likely the biggest reason for MID's dismal sales.  You have a mobile device that promises to allow you to do many computing tasks with entertainment values.  What good is it when it only runs 2-3 hours per charge?

In the next post, we'll introduce you to the next generation platforms that Intel and others are pushing to improve on speed and battery life.  Intel's Moorestown quickly comes to mind as the ARM chips that Apple, Qualcomm, TI, and others are betting on.  Intel's next MID-class chips are suppose to improve battery life from about two hours to about five hours.

Good but is it going to be good enough?  Mobile warriors, what do you think?  Personally, the wet dream device should allow for days of use with one charge but we're probably decades away.  Right now, I'll settle for anything closer to 8-12 hours.  Yeah, in the past, I've asked for a full-day of heavy use but I'm getting older now and I have to realistic, right?

Still, I can't wait until the newer generation MIDs and tablets to be made available.  Hopefully, it'll be gone right with respect to the battery life.  Not being tethered to an outlet will have a great impact on the mobile computing crowd.

Via Dailywireless

Note:  To Apple's iPhone, Palm's Pre, Windows Mobile, and RIM's Blackberries, you guys have a great opportunity to fill this gap.  MID and tablets are likely to remain a nitch market until the mobile society evolves sufficient enough to move from away from laptops.

Another note:  The netbook is a good intermediary from the laptop to tablets but we're likely years (a decade?) away before tablets serve to be the majority's mobile computing device of choice.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pre Reviews - Links Available

It's time already. Some lucky folks with great number of readers, smarter I suppose, got their hands on Palm and Sprint's Pre before everyone else.

Engadget and Gizmodo both come out with their reviews at just about the same time. I guess it was probably some sort of embargo placed on them.

Anyway, the gist is that WebOS is very impressive though work needs to be done. It's pretty much the same story for the iPhone OS in the first year and Android 1.0/1.5 now. The app store is a bit bare given the beginning of the Pre but Palm needs to get more folks excited about developing for the Pre.

The hardware, according to Boy Genius Report and the two above mentioned reviews, feels cheap. Wow, I thought the G1 felt cheapy. And the Pre was worse. Of course, not everyone can come out and hit a grand slam Apple did with the iPhone. Still, it's the first gen Pre. Still, this is Palm's shot at getting back into the smartphone game. It may well be Palm's last shot.

Both reviews have different takes and worth reading to see whether the Pre is for you or if you just want to read and see if your current phone or mobile device measures up.

As for the competitive landscape in the mobile market, a lot will change in the next couple of months. Pre will go on sale this Saturday while Apple will come out with the next iPhones soon (late June/early July) and T-Mobile is slated to put G2 on the market around the same time frame. Windows Mobile 6.5 and RIM will follow after that. It's great to see so many of these guys trying for our hard-earned money.

In conclusion, the Pre is exciting and I'm looking forward to see if I can get my hands on one to play with soon.

Here's a CNet video review worth watching.