Friday, July 31, 2009

Projecting Power: Future GPS Will Draw Less Power

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, battery, battery, battery.  Can't say enough about it.  I'm always looking to the day when mobile devices truly last a full day's worth of work, use, and fun.  That day, unfortunately isn't coming for a while.  See, new technology generally are a few years away before they're ready for application in real life use.  Since we have not heard anything in the last 4-5 years, that means we're still waiting for a breakthrough announcement in battery technology.

But humans are natural problem-solvers.  CNet News is reporting that a new GPS platform will draw less power than the one in use today, thereby, indirectly extending battery use.  Of course, if you're like me, you simply turn off GPS, or anything else for that matter, when you're not using it. 

For the new GPS scheme, it will draw power in the 50-500 microamps where today's GPS chip draws power in the milliamps.  For a few hours of use, it adds up.

Is this enough?  Well, we won't know if there is going to be an observable difference in a day-to-day use but I think with faster and more efficient chips, OLED screens, wireless chips (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, radio, 3G or LTE) that also draw less and less power, perhaps all of these factors working together can extend battery life in terms we can measure.

Given what Apple was able to achieve in their Macbook Pro line by extending battery life by about 30%, I am hoping more efficient components and creative layouts of battery and the circuitry in the mobile devices and smartphones will be able to achieve the same measurable increase as well.

Sources:  CNet News

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Amazon Sued For Stealing Books, And High School Kid's Homework

A couple of weeks ago, we reported how Amazon stole from Kindle owners books they lawfully bought from Amazon.  You say that Amazon didn't steal anything because they reimbursed the owners.  It was at worst a breach of privacy.  And I consider what they did theft.

Now, Justin Gawronski, a high school student, is suing Amazon after they deleted his copy of 1984 by George Orwell.  When they did that, notes he took were also erased.  Gone.  Nada.

For all the apology, I don't think Bezos can explain this away with an apology.  I hope more folks go after Amazon for this infraction.  It's is just wholly unacceptable.

The suit is asking for damages and to prevent Amazon from ever doing something like this ever again.

I honestly believed situations can be handled correctly but with Apple screw over developers, Amazon stealing and breaching privacies, there really is no recourse for the average consumer.  Had Amazon explained what happened, I'm sure Kindle owners will understand.

Source:  Onxo, Engadget

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wi-Fi Blanket: Will It Ever Happen?

The kind of Wi-Fi blanket I'm talking about means you can reach into your pocket, take out your Wi-Fi enabled device and just connect wirelessly to as you're walking down a street.  Probably a big business street.

Right now, I can down into a mall, an office park, or restaurant, and there are usually three to five access points.  Unfortunately, not always accessible because they're protected by wireless security measures like WEP or WPA.

This week, BN in conjunction with ATT will allow free Wi-Fi access at its bookstores.  And now, the New York Public Library will have a dedicated room with Wi-Fi access.  There's already Wi-Fi access at my local libraries and some local coffee shops.  Still, with my iPod Touch, I'd have to go from spot to spot in order to access the Internet.

I'm fine with that.  However, it is 2009 and if I'm walking through the busy streets of New York or downtown Seattle or San Francisco, I think it's time we mobile warriors expect to find open Wi-Fi AP's pretty much anywhere that has a lot of foot traffic don't you think?

Whether you're walking on the Vegas strip or the streets of Westwood in Los Angeles where you get big throng of people, it makes sense for wireless providers and the local governments to allow patrons to access the Internet through Wi-Fi access points rather than cell towers where overloading can take place.  It takes the load off the towers.

Remember last week, we talked about the solar flowers Toyota displayed as part of their Prius campaign?  Okay, I doubt cities will go that far but in true, it makes a lot of sense to create a blanket of Wi-Fi access points in the business parts of the city, if not to increase productivity and convenience, how about driving traffic to the sake of the local businesses?

Maybe they'll want to chip in the cost of creating such a localized network?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

RIM Sells Soul To Verizon To Compete

The title of Yahoo's tech article "Verizon Debuts VCast App Store, Partners With RIM" isn't what mobile warriors can except when the time comes to actually using it.


I can't believe this to be the case.  RIM shouldn't be in bed with Verizon or any other wireless carrier this way.  RIM has its own app store, Blackberry App World, and, somehow, it sold its users to the leading wireless gatekeeper and for what?

I am not sure this is good for mobile users in the long run.  Verizon Wireless talks a nice talk but so far their actions don't jive with their words.  In the past, they spoke about having an open network but actual practice says otherwise.

Just so you know, VCast App Store will be the default app store on all smartphones sold by VW.  Users will have to add other app stores on their own if they don't wish to use Verizon's.  What does that say about VW's definition of "open"?

Didn't the federal government as well as others around the world sued Microsoft for using its position to push IE on computer makers and, thus, users?  What exactly is VW doing differently?

You can bet that when the iPhone finally makes it onto the VW's LTE network, Apple will be operating its own app store.  Otherwise, there you won't see the iPhone there.

And right now, Blackberries are all that VW has that's holding the line against ATT.  Other than the fact that people don't like ATT.  So RIM should have been in a stronger bargaining position.

VW said its app store promises greater visibility and traffic.  No, duh.  It'll be the only store allowed when the phone is sold to the user.  VW said it wants to differentiate itself from other app stores.  What's the point?  It's the only store allowed unless the users figure out how to add other stores.

Oh, RIM, what are you doing to us?

Source:  Yahoo News

BN To Offer Free Wi-Fi Access

There was a time when folks were saying that brick-and-mortars were dead because of the competitive pressures brought on by the dotcoms.  

This is one example of one of many that is adapting and fighting back and it involves wireless tech.  Barnes and Noble, BN, is now offering free Wi-Fi access at all its book stores in a deal signed with ATT.  This an an effort in bring added attention to its new ebook initiative.  

So that leave you, Borders with your locked T-Mobile access points.  Needless to say, this is a great beginning for wireless anywhere.  Borders will have no choice but to follow as will local and chained coffee shops if they want to drive traffic to their stores.  

Just a plug for Wi-Fi and ebooks a bit.  BN doesn't have a physical challenger to the Kindle yet but ebooks are available on PC, Macs, iPhones and iPod Touches, and other mobile phones.  Also, if you have an iPhone or get your broadband at home from ATT, you automatically have access to ATT's managed Wi-Fi network (finally something positive to say about Ma Bell).

GV App Rejected: ATT Flexes Muscle With Apple's App Store

The prevailing theory around the blog realm is that ATT forced Apple to reject the official Google Voice application.  Of course, there's plenty if anger and blame from mobile warriors to go around here.

It doesn't matter if you're an iPhone fan or not.  The simple fact is wireless providers are redefining what "open" means and Apple is using the lame excuse of the app confusing users as a reason for GV's rejection. 

For whatever reason, GV app works with Blackberry phones on ATT's network and nothing was said about this.

I'm sure Apple went back to Google to ask them for a watered-down version a la Skype.  I'm hoping Google sticks to its guns and say "go frak off!" and is now proceeding to develop the webapp.

If you think about it, this actually plays into Google's hands.  As Google try to push Chrome OS, it truly takes the control out of the hands of ATT, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and others.  So on Onxo, you'll begin to hear a double dosage about Chrome OS and other webapp developments.  

ATT, dumb, dumb, dumb...and shame on Apple for not asking its partner "why is it that it is okay for the GV app to be working on the Blackberry and not on the iPhone".

This is why ATT is so screwed once their iPhone exclusivity runs out.

Source (too many to mention on this subject):  Engadget, TechCrunch, DailyTech, Gizmodo

Note:  Once again, this is Apple rejecting Google's official Google Voice app for the iPhone, not a 3rd party development.  Look for a jailbreak version on Cydia pretty soon.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hybrids - Mobile Users Should Consider It

With the oil crisis in 2008 and the resulting sky-rocketing gas prices looming in the background of the global economic recession, I'm glad progress is still being made on the green front.  Specifically, Toyota is still trying to take the Prius to the next level.

On top of that, in the world's first ever ship of its kind, The Auriga Leader will be carrying over the US those awesome Priuses.  What makes it so unique is the vessel will generate 40kW of power with its 328 solar panels for ship uses, thus, reducing load on the engines.  The effort is a $1.68 million solar system Toyota contracted for it's own use.

To top it off, these hybrid cars are made in a plant that has its own array of solar panels capable of supplying half of the plant's power needs.

Going for the triple play, the new Priuses will also have the option for solar roofs to help the car's cooling systems.

I like to think that Onxo readers are generally pretty green and thought you might appreciate knowing this.  I think in an indirect manner, hybrids with solar panels is another push towards better and newer technologies that has the potential to help even mobile tech.

I like to be able to see those solar panels on hybrids also serve owners on other ways.  Charging stations for mobile gears.  Perhaps even allow for mobile wireless stations to allow Wi-Fi access at some point in the future.  And with incremental advancements in battery technology and greater solar efficiency, it's possible for these hybrids to provide power to the engine since most of the time, the cars are sitting in parking lots or driveways.

Source:  Guardian

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Financial Times: Apple's iTablet Out This Christmas

There's a lot of rumors about Apple's iTablet and I've made fun speculations about the specs the device.  However, I've avoided regurgitating rumors since they come from questionable sources.  Loving reading them anyway.

However, when the Financial Times bring it up, I'll give them  the benefit of the doubt, particularly, because of the specifics they have been able to provide.

The main thing is that FT.com says the iTablet (or whatever Apple wants to call it) will be out in time for the Christmas shopping season.

We'll see...and there are a lot of information that have been left out.  Such as the hardware specs, wireless connectivity, size of the storage, which OS it will run, and, most important of all, battery life.

More at On Apple.

Friday Movie: Stargate Universe

Okay, it's Sunday...got my time a bit wrong..late.

Anyway, this is this week's clip.  It's from the new SyFy series, Stargate Universe.  For SG-1 and Atlantis fans, this is a far different and appears to be a darker take on the Stargate realm.

And for the most part, I'm loving it.  Can't wait for its debut this fall!



When they cancelled SG-1, fine, it was a long series and needed to move along.  When MGM and SyFy cancelled Atlantis, that was a wrong move.  I'm hoping they make it up with Universe.  And they'll have mobile gears.  Not the types we use but much cooler.

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Biking For Mobile

I'm gonna be heading out for a long bike ride around town. Maybe even hop on the train and head out further. But as always, my main concern will be battery life for my G1.

I'm requesting help from anyone who might know of anyway to turn pedal-power to electricity for a small mobile device like a smartphone or mp3 player.

I came across this site, Convergence Tech, that offers similar to something what I'm looking at but in a smaller package if possible. Hopefully, it'll offer a USB or cigarette lighter input.

There are tons of information on the Internet for stationary bike generators. Some come prebuilt while there are DIY options.

For now, I think the easiest option is for me to carry around an external battery with a solar charger.

Note: I know its possible for bikes to generate power for a headlight. I suppose it's possible for that energy to be converted and stored in a portable battery unit.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mobile Tip: Tweaking Browser Plug-Ins To Save On Battery Life

Here's a quick mobile tip I heard while I was running and listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Powerpage.

It's so obvious.  You can turn off your browser plug-ins when you're running your laptop or netbook off the battery.

I only heard it tonight so I'll give it a go tomorrow and let you know if it makes any difference.

More at Onxo Tips.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Webapps And Switching Between Platforms

I was digging for updated information on Windows Mobile 6.5 today because I haven't heard a whole lot about it.  It was Samsung's new WiMax device which still runs 6.1 that got me looking into it.  We're just mobile tech nuts at Onxo.

I use both an iPhone and G1 and I've also got an iPod Touch.  I love the apps that are available for Apple's mobile platform and since I can use it on the Touch, I'm free to choose whatever mobile device to use to satisfy my other mobile and telephony needs.

A few years ago, switching between platforms can be a pain since each phone or smartphones have their own personal or calendar implementations that made it difficult to migrate information around.  Today, it couldn't be easier.  How is that possible?

Webapps.  Especially with social sites like Facebook offering mobile version of their site and robust mobile versions of Google's apps, I can pretty much pick up any device with a decent Web browser and log in to whatever site I need.  

What's more, this is only a small piece of cloud computing.  Yeah, you might have heard a bit about that.  Over time with Google pushing Chrome OS and Microsoft doing its own thing, it'll only be a matter of time before mobile computing on browsers become ubiquitous and a normal process of our lives.

Still, app stores aren't going to go away like Google predicts.  There are still tons of issues to be worked out with Web computing that standalone apps just do better.

Note: Seriously, where the heck is Windows Mobile 6.5?  With HTC possibly going 1/2 of its lineup with Android and other device makers going with Google's mobile OS, Microsoft seriously may be facing a lot of uphill battle here.  Frankly, I'm getting a bit anxious here.  Perhaps Redmond will come out with a WM-Zune-Xbox Mobile combo in 2010.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More Americans Use Wireless Internet Than Ever

One day, a majority of the people will access the Internet with their phones.

That seems like a very broad but safe prediction. A couple of years ago, that might seem like a "future" that is years if not at least a generation away. Well, that day is here.

According to the Pew Research Center, 56% of Americans have accessed the Internet wirelessly. When I started this blog, the "mobile warriors" I referred to were an exclusive club of folks who was always ready adopt the latest in technology. I continue to believe that to be the case but there are a heck of a lot more of us these days.

And that's a great thing.

Though it took a whole research outfit to find out, they realized it had to do with devices like the Blackberries and iPhones.

There are a lot of interesting facts in the report such as 69% of Americans are using their cell phones for texting, e-mailing, directions, and sending pictures. It's very typical use. But more Americans in 2009 than 2007 when Pew last looked at wireless Internet use for true wireless Internet.

What's important to note is these behavioral changes in society. Perhaps, more people will look to their mobile devices as their gateway to the Internet rather than the PC, maybe even the laptop.

It's time we start looking at mobile computing and wireless Internet in a different light. Rather than something to be viewed as exclusive to a few who can afford it, it ought to be made more readily accessible to more people.

I'm not suggesting government involvement or price control. But as a society, we do have to make accessibility and affordability a priority.

It is an issue that impacts education, the economy, and national security. It's one big basket of issues. And wireless is a very powerful weapon at the end of the day.

Source: MSNBC

Mobile Tip: Using Stopify (From Anywhere In the World)

Thanks to Dave the Mobile Warrior for point this out.

Spotify is a music stream service in Europe and right now, it available in some countries like Britain.

As Techcrunch called it "a fully stocked iTunes".

You can stream music and it does a full library of music. Unfortunately, the rest of the world in general will have to way. But there's a hack, or rather, a back way around being in the wrong part of the world.
  1. head over to this proxy site
  2. find a UK postal code. London's a good place. You use this site for it.
  3. copy and paste this url "https://www.spotify.com/en/get-started/" once you're at the proxy site. Keep in mind that there are a lot of ads on that page. Given the service we're getting, it's not a big deal. Go ahead. Click on an ad or two.
  4. Once you're in, you it's a 30 seconds signup procedure. And that's where you need an UK postal code.
Enjoy.

Source: Techcrunch

Lynx (Text-Based Browser) For Mobile Platforms

A lot of time, I just want to be able to fire up the browser and find
the information I want quickly. No nonsense. A lot of sites offer
mobile versions of themselves but they're still a minority. On my
Macbook, I have the option of using Lynx, an old old text-based
browser.

And at times, I go beyond just browsing for only information I want.
I just browse with it. Why? Because I simply see only the
information I want because it's all text. And every time I use it, it
brings me back to the old days of computing on the Apple II or DOS
before the days of graphic user interfaces like OS X and Windows.

Now, if only someone can develop an standalone app for a smartphone or
simply create a webapp and duplicate what the text-based browsing
experience Lynx provides, there will be thousands of not millions of
mobile warriors who will appreciate this.

Not to mention all those Unix and command-line devotees who will love it.

And yes, I would pay for it. I've bought a lot of games for the
iPhone and almost no non-game apps. This Lynx-like app I will buy and
I'm sure many others will as well.

So, if you want to get rich, go work on it now!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What Is Going On With Pre Sales?

TechCrunch posted some information from a research group JNK Wireless Consultant iGR on the state of Palm Pre sales. Then the outfit compared it with data from iPhone 3GS sales.

You can go there and check out the post if you like and decide for yourself if you agree with the numbers or not. Frankly, the numbers do seem a bit low. I've seen some number as high as 50K a week in the latest week. I think the right thing to say is that the numbers are actually somewhere in the middle.

Regardless, I had thought the Pre would be giving the iPhone a run for its money before tapering off a bit. I can only think of a couple of reasons why Palm is not doing better.

One, a lot of former Palm fans were Apple fans. There were tons of calls for Apple to buy Palm in the early years of Steve Jobs' second coming. Obviously, that never happened. It was also fresh in folks mind that Jobs had killed off the Newton. And now, more of the ex-Palm devotees are now iPhone fans.

Second. Timing. Look, it's not hindsight here. I was wondering why Palm launched so close to the WWDC when Apple was going to be talking about the iPhone 3.0 and possibly was going talk about the next generation iPhone which turned out to be the 3GS.

For folks who are not familiar with Apple events, they usually run about 90-100 minutes. The WWDC keynote a week after Pre went on sale was closer to 110 minutes. Guess what they used that extra 20 minutes for? Right, the iPhone 3GS.

I know Palm and Sprint pre-announced the back in January the Pre and promised to launch in the first half of 2009. But while they did keep that deadline, they ran right into Apple who was already pissed off Palm's former Apple execs.

Third. Sprint. Okay. This one I don't get. Folks seem to think that Sprint is a sinking ship. Well, aside from the fact it uses CDMA and has recently outsourced its network to Ericsson, I have always heard good things about it from folks I know who use Sprint. Nevertheless, blogs and the media has decided it Sprint has a subpar network. That being the case, subscribers may be shying away from the Pre because of Sprint.

So, what can Palm do? It looks like things should be looking up from this point on. Verizon has publicly said the Pre will grace its network in 2010 and at last one other WebOS device may make its way to ATT. Plus, Palm will likely make more deals with international carriers in the coming months.

Still, competition will be though. Apple, RIM, Microsoft, and Nokia will be looking to undermine any push that Palm try. Even though Palm's been in this business longer than most, it must feel awfully like the new guy in town.

And it's a very very rough town at that.

Source: Techcrunch

Will Google Ever Debut gPhone or gTablet? It'll Have To

I definitely think so.  If HTC and others can do well enough with their own Android phones, then Google is likely to sit back and let Android progress without any hardware from Google.

However, a gTablet is very likely given the stake Google has put behind Chrome OS.  And tablets aren't necessarily something Google's traditional phone partners are likely to get behind.  At least, not the way Google would like it done.

If that's the case, Google is more likely to introduce their gTablet.  And more so if no one else shows interests.  

And they would have to do it for two reasons.  While Google is pushing Chrome OS as a natural fit for netbooks, it risks being "type-casted" as a low-end and no nonsense OS that is only good for e-mailing and browsing the Web.  After all, Chrome OS is being positioned for the future where webapps is all that mobile users will need.  Whether that actually happens to the degree Google foresees, only time will tell.  With netbooks considered limited in capabilities, associating Chrome OS with it can paint it in a bad light.  

The other reason is Apple will be attempting to create a market all to itself:  A 10" tablet powered by iPhone OS runs on a combination of Webapps and standalone apps connected to iTunes.  Google will need to move into this market to compete or at the very least, make sure its wireless mobile vision comes true.

And if white spaces networks (More on white spaces) ever come to pass, Google will need to have devices running on it and netbooks will not be enough to compete against Apple's almost certain to be popular iTablets.  If it can convince someone like HTC or Archos to create gTablets, all the better for Google.  

Google is watching the Android space closely.  Learning from it.  The key will be Android and Chome OS adoption.  Standalone apps versus webapps.  If Google can't make the case for Chrome OS and webapps, it will have no alternative but to enter the hardware market.

Personally, I love to see gPhone or gTablet.  Given Google's traditional support for open source and open protocols, it can really make huge waves in the mobile hardware market if done correctly.  

Bottomline:  If Google wants Android and Chrome OS done right, it'll have to do it itself eventually.  I'm betting a gTablet is more likely to happen.

Note:  I don't want to portray this as an Apple-v-Google post.  So far, I've not seen any mobile device that has evolved sufficiently beyond traditional laptops other than the iPod Touch.  Perhaps, we'll see a whole host of such devices soon.  There are some.

Archos devices are nice but limited.  Nokia's N tablets hasn't really caught on.  I'm hoping that Zune with the new Windows Mobile 7 will really shake things up in 2010 but it's not certainly that Microsoft has the vision to look beyond short-term marketshare gains at this time.

BN Gets Back Into eBook Market; Kindle Can't Catch Break

Last week, we reported how Amazon stole back some books it sold to Kindle owners. It will come back to haunt them. Believe me. It's not the kind of news that you want if you're trying to promote your ereader to the masses.

Well, that just got more difficult as Barnes and Noble just announced their intentions to get back into the eBook market that it had started but abandoned because of demand and, though they will never admit it, higher ebooks prices than what users pay for traditional books.

And prices will be what count for most folks I know and especially in a recession. Even the rich and super rich as affected so it says a lot for poor folks like us. So, Kindle's recent price drop is a good start (now starting at $299), it'll need to go lower when Barnes and Noble along with ereader partner,

Right now, go to BN's eBook site and it'll tell you to come back Summer 2009. Well, the press release helps explain why it's summer and we've seen nothing yet. So, what are to expect? Keep in mind that BN bought Fictionwise who bought eReader.com earlier. So, there's been a lot of activities in the eBook market.
  • 700,000 books - world's largest ebook store - to reach 1MM shortly
  • 700,000 public domain books from Google.
  • Works on Macs, PCs, the iPhone platform, Windows Mobile, RIM smartphones
  • Upgraded version of ereader software coming. Free books as well.
  • BN app for the iPhone includes ability to buy products directly from BN.com
  • Support for ePub e-book standard. This is most excellent.
Great. What does that mean for mobile readers? Competition to start. Not just on book prices but also hardware. BN entered into a deal with Plastic Logic to use its reader.

Kindle and Sony eReader has had the market all to itself and while it's good to see the Kindle's price drop, it is still much considering it main function to to serve as a digital book reader. The DX is nice but at $489, only the select few can afford something like that.

ZDNet article writer said it best. He had been planning on getting an iPod Touch until this announcement. He was not thinking about getting a Kindle. Why? Because an iPod Touch can do more than let the user read books. More than that, he neglected to say it has something to do with the price of Kindle.

But we're all assuming that BN's reader will be priced competitively. If not, who cares? We've got mobile devices and smartphones to use. As long as BN and Amazon start hammering each other on ebook prices, I'm cool with just that.

Note: I had also been planning on upgrading my iPod Touch later this year when the new model comes out with the iPhone 3GS' internals. What I'm waiting for is the fabled Apple tablet. Absent that, BN's reader jumps ahead of Kindle given the prank that Amazon pulled last week.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Toyota Offers Solar-Powered Wi-Fi Access

As part of their campaign to push the 2010 Prius, Toyota "planted" giant solar flowers that what mobile warriors can only dream of: free Wi-Fi access and serve as a charging station for their mobile gears. These solar mobile access stations are modeled after the solar roof tops of the Prius that will offer additional power to the hybrid vehicle.

According to the Design Blog, the flowers will fan out across the nation after first being seen in Boston. But it really does seem to offer a different take on Wi-Fi and mobile access. With the cost of solar power dropping over years and the need for added bandwidth, it makes sense for corporations and municipals to look into these mobile stations as a mean to bring access.


I have been out and about a lot in the last three months and there are tons of places where I see these solar Wi-Fi stations can be placed. It's likely these stations will go away once the Prius campaign is over. Too bad because Toyota or others can really use this opportunity to revolutionize mobile computing.

Restaurants. Coffee shops. Malls. Office buildings. University campuses. The possibilities are just endless. More than that, if the telecoms get into this, they can offer revenue sharing with cities upon which to place these mobile Wi-Fi stations. What with the wireless bandwidth already strained, this can go a long way in alleviate the wireless pressure by switching mobile devices and smartphones to Wi-Fi when they pass within range of these solar flowers.

Yes, I've dotted "solar" through the post. It's off the grid, too.

Trying To End ATT (And Other Wireless Providers) Bashing

I'm trying to enter this week with positive posts about mobile use and wireless developments.  Last week, I did post more than the normal share of "wireless providers are evil" articles.  So I wanted to move away from that.

But when I came across this post, I just had to share it with you.  It's another ATT post in a negative light.  What's more, it appears a gathering storm of unhappiness from iPhone users that may finally be the undoing of ATT.

What's sad is that ATT thinks iPhone users will put up with anything.  They're wrong.  One day, they'll realize it but it'll be too late for them.  That's the sad part.

There, it's done.  Please visit Daily Finance for their ATT-sucks post.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Google: Webapps Is the Future

App stores are numbered. Soon, they will go the way of the dinosaurs and only webapps will exist. That's Google's position on mobile, and, perhaps, even for desktop OS.

When the iPhone came out, Steve Jobs said developers can create for the iPhone. Webapps. There were grumblings. A lot of grumblings. The Safari, then and now, simply could not support the level of sophistication and graphics that the native iPhone apps now have.

But webapps are the future. Do I agree? Sure. After writing about it over at On Android, I decided to give Apple's webapp directory another look. I picked out a few that allow mobile warriors to be substantially productive and even have fun as there are many Web-based games.

I suppose the main issue is timing. When will webapps truly mature to the point that allow users to feel comfortable spending the bulk of their mobile computing within a Web browser. And can webapps as well as native apps co-exist? Perhaps what Google failed to address is how will developers be paid for their apps on the Web?

Currently, there are not too many consumer oriented Webapps that charge users for use. I've downloaded tons of games from the iTunes app store. Can such an experience for free and especially paid games be duplicated within the browser as it relates to the cost of purchasing the game?

I'm sure there are tons of people out there with the right pay-grade who are thought all this through or are in the process of working it out. Until then, games, utilities, or productivity apps, I think it wise for folks to start getting used to treating their browser as a platform.

Source: On Android

802.11g Still Ahead of 802.11n Until 2010

I can understand folks upgrading from b to g since the older wireless protocol is pretty old now. The switch to g for most people was a no brainer since it offer greater flexibility and greater security.

As it was with any wireless protocol, there are folks who would upgrade first even before the protocol has been properly ratified. But from some reason, blogs and the media has been more 3G, iPhones, and waiting for LTE/WiMax to come to us. So there has not been a whole lot of home wireless networks.

It wasn't until lately that I began looking into routers that support 802.11n as I began looking into streaming video from one computer to another. Even then, 802.11g works just as well with The Daily Show streaming from my Mac Mini to my Macbook while the Slingplayer did its thing on another laptop.

But eventually, I'll want to stream HD quality video and 802.11g might no be enough. But I was surprised to learn that g still has not overtaken n in terms of sales and that would not happen until 2010. And with the economy in the shape it is in, I don't see many folks upgrading unless they absolutely have to.

Here is In-Stat's $3500 report offering the following summary:
  • Total Wi-Fi chipset revenue will pass $4 billion by 2012.
  • Set-top boxes currently have the largest adoption of Wi-Fi in non-portable consumer electronics applications. By 2013, shipments of Wi-Fi-enabled TVs, however, will exceed shipments of Wi-Fi-enabled set-top boxes.
  • Although there have been draft n/802.11n shipments in most markets for some time, we will see the first shipments of draft n/802.11n-enabled portable CE equipment in 2009. These shipments will be dominated by personal media players. Digital still/video cameras will make up the majority of the remaining of draft n/802.11n-enabled portable CE equipment shipments in 2009.
  • In 2008, Wi-Fi chipsets in mobile handsets grew by more than 51%. By 2010, In-Stat anticipates that this category will consume in excess of 20% of total Wi-Fi chipset shipments.
So, more TV will have Wi-Fi for streaming video. I guessing it'll have to be HD quality. This is accompanied by mobile devices and even cameras to upload videos and pictures. Also to support this assertions, Sprint and Verizon recently decreed that all their handset sand mobile devices must ship with Wi-Fi access.

While it has always baffled me why wireless providers previously kept Wi-Fi access off their phones, I am glad they've had this change of heart. My guess is that with more and more mobile warriors using their handsets for Internet access, the wireless providers are finding their networks more strained than ever before. Their best solution is to offload those traffic to Wi-Fi networks when possible.

In fact, according to Wired, ATT bought Wayport for $275 million to expand their Wi-Fi network by 10k hotspots.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Kindle No More!

Yesterday, I corresponded with Dave the Mobile Warrior about getting a Kindle this fall instead of going through my annual iPod upgrade or even waiting for Apple's tablet.

And today? Amazon has effectively made it so that I will not buy a Kindle or books through the Kindle app for the iPhone unless this policy is changed?  What policy is that?

How about offering some common courtesy and privacy?  According to the NY Times, Kindle owners of certain books woke up this morning only to discover that they were gone!

Apparently, the publisher requested that they be removed after deciding that they no longer want to offer it.  This is a seriously major WTF!

Imagine if this were to happen on Windows?  A developer coming into your PC and uninstalling an application because they no longer want to offer it.  Or just about anything else you buy from a store or online and they send someone to come over and take back what you paid for.  Imagine Apple breaking into your iPhone to take back you paid for apps.  

A mobile device, PC, or any other electronic device with storage is the private domain and should not be violated in such a way.  Amazon screwed up.  Thievery was committed in this case even though there was a refund.  An authorized entry was made without the consent of the Kindle owners.

Back to the iPhone app example.  If this behavior is tolerated, any mobile device makers can pull this kind of stunt as well.  Imagine an app developer providing a free app that is wildly popular.  Then it requests the device maker or the wireless provider go into your Blackberry, Pre, or iPhone to delete the app.  Then the publisher can say, if you want it back, pay up.  

Privacy was violated.  Here's the irony as NY Times pointed out.  The books rescinded?  That's right.  Orwellian classics, 1984 and Animal Farm.

This is just bogus.

Source:  NY Times, Gizmodo

Verizon Wireless' App Store Concerns

One of the thing that makes the iPod-iTunes dynamics so successful is the easy of ease and the whole ecosystem that was created as a result. Apple masterfully duplicated this effort for the iPhone platform along with 60K-strong app store that recently saw 1.5 billion downloads.   Since, many have announced their own app stores and have just begun to offer it to their users.

Pre, Android, and Blackberry all offer their own app stores (some more apps than others).  This will be joined by Windows Mobile soon.  But it's Verizon Wireless that really has the attention of handset makers and app developers if not the general public.

By announcing that they will be the sole gatekeeper of all apps, VW has effectively locked out other competing app stores in an effort to reap in profit, control contents and access to their network.  Sure, VW will allow users to add their own app stores but that's not the point, is it?

VW would like its users to believe that it can create a better user experience than anyone else.  Let me see if I get this right?  VW believes it can develop a better ecosystem than the folks who design the mobile platforms.  VW whose interests lie in making sure it can nickel-and-dime its subscribers for texting, charging higher rates for music, and restricting what folks can do with their phones?

This is also the same VW who has stated that a restricted wireless access will provide a better experience for users.

Suppose in bizarro world, Apple gave up app store control to VW.  And in the interest of optimizing profit, VW will sell spaces to developers to promote their apps.  This increases costs that will certainly be passed along to users.  On top of that, the thousands of developers who don't have the resources like the big guys will be at a distinct disadvantage.  Fart apps aside, hundreds of apps on the iPhone were discovered because of a fair and open app store (for the sake of impartiality here, Apple needs a lot of work on their app store still).

I do hope that device makers revolt against this sinister effort.  But I am not hopeful.  Competition in the mobile market is fierce.  Some platforms might kowtow to VW for access to the tens of millions of users with an increasing number of them opting for smartphones and mobile devices.

Of all the platforms, WM and Android will likely be a part of VW's effort.  Microsoft really don't care about where users get their app so long as they are using Windows devices.  Android is an open source OS so VW can do as they wish.

The main issue is here Blackberry and Palm.  BB will likely follow Microsoft but they're facing a lot of competition.

Palm is one platform in particular that I hope will not allow VW to dictate what it can do with its apps.  Of all the mobile platforms, Palm closely resembles Apple in that it needs to exert a level of oversight its platform, hardware, and development.  And WebOS is a relatively new system that will take time to develop.  Any intereference from VW can stymie that effort.

At the end of the day, VW wants control.  It's that simple.  And you know what's also simple?  Go around VW.  Mobile warriors these days are savvy enough to navigate around settings to add their own app stores.  This is simply what I think users should do.  Developers should withhold their apps from VW.

I'm not saying that VW cannot create a better app store than the handset makers or developers, I simply doubt they can create one that works across all platforms without making sacrificing the bottomline.

I expect things to heat up about this.  Google had always pushed for an open Internet access and Verizon is simply fight for the status quo.  I don't expect VW to get away with this.  Hey, Congress, FTC, and FCC,  you guys busy?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Analyst: ATT Will Be Toast Without iPhone

Citing a Wired survey as an example in which ATT 3G speed trails its rivals, Walter Piecyk of Pali Research really hit it on the money. Without the iPhone exclusivity, ATT would be in a lot of trouble. Folks, in particular iPhone users, will not tolerate the horrible service, changes, and sub-industry standard network connection.

Despite what Apple says in public about how they love ATT (maybe they do since ATT pays Apple gobs of money), Apple would sooner be rid of them given the poor network ATT puts forth.

For ATT, the general feeling is that its executives are trying to milk the cow for all its worth so long as the iPhone is exclusive to its network. It's not about building long-term relationships with its iPhone customers. If they were, they would be trying very hard (or even harder than they are now) to try to address issues users have bought up.

And this isn't really about the iPhone specifically. It was the lack of network reliability that I left it for T-Mobile in the first place. And just recently, ATT was booed by attendees at Apple's developer conference for not having key iPhone features ready when the newest iPhone, the 3GS, went on sale. In fact to this day, ATT has not provided details on tethering and MMS and provide only a vague "later this summer" time frame.

So, what will happen when Apple starts offering the iPhone on Verizon as most expect it to happen when the 4th generation wireless, LTE, goes online? This is what should be keeping ATT executives up at night as well as their shareholders.

LTE will come to Verizon at least 9 months before ATT even gets started. If a deal is indeed struck between Verizon and Apple, iPhone 4G will be available only through Verizon. ATT will be struck with nothing. Millions will flock to the Verizon and its LTE network. Many of hundreds of thousands will be former ATT customers.

And that is assuming that ATT does not suffer delays with its LTE rollout. The word is that ATT is looking to lock up the iPhone through 2011. Why? Because the iPhone 4G should be out around that time. ATT is looking to lock up users through 2013 when it should have its own LTE network running, thereby, mitigating the damage of the iPhone on other networks and defections.

Piecyk was kind in saying that ATT will add subscribers but at a slower pace. I'm predicting that if ATT doesn't get its act together, it will see a net loss once it no longer have exclusivity to the iPhone or even the iPhone to see in the coming years.

In fact, it may already be too late.


Note: I am always skeptical of analysts especially those on Wall Street. This guy may be a hack working for Verizon Wireless. But in general, the dude's not far from the market on ATT. Just visit forums dedicated to the iPhone and you'll find thousands of posts about ATT's 3G performance and its lack of quality customer service.

Another note: Over at On Apple, I've kept open the possibility that the iPhone might find its way onto another network in 2010, specifically T-Mobile. It all depends on when in 2010 ATT's deal with Apple ends in 2010 and whether Apple decides to throw them a bone and extend the deal through 2011. If the deal does end at midnight of December 31, 2009, Apple can deploy the iPhone with T-Mobile and use this as a bargaining chip against future negotiations with Verizon and ATT.

Last Note: Read the comments from the Los Angeles Times article. It's not about the iPhone and ATT. It's all about ATT. Not one supporting ATT. It's that bad, folks.

Interesting Mobile News Today

I read up a lot on mobile news, blogs, and other bits of information. So, whenever possible, I'll just share with you what I think is interesting.

Kindle plastic cracks and now Amazon is being used. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. It's a $5M suit. Well, it's actually a protective case that caused Kindle to crack.

Apparently, Microsoft will be opening up more retail stores. And when possible, they'll be next door to Apple stores. Well, not quite next door. They're not that stupid. But close. I guess they're taking that ad campaign one step further and really make people compare and shot. Guess Best Buy is going to be on the way out in those commercials. Frankly, I'm looking forward to it. Competition is always for us mobile warriors. This is going to be interesting to watch.

Apple released a new version of their iTunes application. Always good for iPod And iPhone users. Not so good for Pre owners as they'll soon discover that their Pre won't sync with their iTunes library. A lot of hay will be made of this from both the Palm and Apple camps. I remember a time when Apple folks were like "Jobs should buy Palm". Regardless, did anyone really expect Apple not to do something about Pre-iTunes hookup? And how many Pre folks really care anyway?

Also, Google released Google Voice (GV) for Android which can be picked up through Android Marketplace. There is also a Blackberry version on Google's website. I got to spend some time on it with Dave the Mobile Warrior who will be testing out the BB version. There is no iPhone version though. HAHA (a la Nelson from Simpsons)!!! Given how ATT is, it'll likely be all crippled and not worth downloading. For those of us who are new to Google Voice and have questions or want help, here is Google's support page for all things GV related.
  • If you're playing around with it and using SMS because you want to get out of paying for it and maybe hope that you can get rid of your texting plan, you might notice you are getting two copies of SMS. If anyone figures out how to receive SMS without going through the regular mobile texting application, please let me know.




Longer Battery Life Or Double The Battery Life?

I read a very good article from ZDNet on non-removable batteries.  Specifically, the article was more or less about Apple mobile products - iPods, iPhones, and Macbooks.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, Apple is famous (or infamous) for sticking batteries into its iPods and iPhones, making it very difficult for the user to replace.
This was joined by the Macbook Air and then the Macbook Pro 17".  Just recently, they were joined by the rest of the pro line of Macbooks.
I'm jealous.  Not because I bought a Macbook one generation too soon but for an entirely different reason.  That reason being that I will likely never buy a second battery until my first one will stop holding any charge long enough for meaningful mobile computing.  That being said, the new 13" Macbook has about 40% more battery life than the one I've got.
Maybe Apple's right in their thinking.  Large majority of laptop or mobile device buyers don't carry around a second battery.   I have a G1 and as bad as the battery life is, I don't have a second battery to replace the first one when it runs out of power.
Nevertheless, it's the peace of mind in knowing that option that if I wnated to, there is more juice in the computer bag at a moment's notice.  And it is something that I've grown accustomed to thinking.
The article went to make some comparisons with other laptops and devices like the Flip that now have non-removable batteries.  In the beginning, I thought it was just Apple's insidious way of getting us to upgrade every few product cycles when the battery finally dies.  I'm not saying that isn't the case at all.
However, given the choice:  a non-removable battery with extra hours of use (7 hours) or a removable battery (4.5 hours) but I'm likely not going to carry around a second battery, I think I'll go with the first one.
However, it might be a different situation for other mobile warriors.  It also comes down to what you're requirements are.  If you work in the field a lot, Macbooks or other laptops with sealed-in batteries will not work for you at all.  In fact, the whole line of Apple laptops just won't work.
However, you're likely in the minority.  At least, that's what Apple's thinking is.
More at ZDNet

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Verizon Will Allow Access To Its Own App Store

It's all over the Internet now.  Verizon Wireless, the biggest wireless carrier in the United States, has decreed that it will only allow apps to be purchased through its own app store.

So, Microsoft's Mobile Marketplace will be out.  If you own a Windows Mobile app, you're at VW's mercy.

How is this right?  Oh, right.  Verizon as well as ATT as well as Sprint as well as T-Mobile all see themselves as "guardians" of hapless uneducated subscribers who need protection from the wild wild frontier of wireless Internet.

I totally agree with MacDailyNews that this is an attempt by VW to roll back the times after so many mobile platforms have started creating their own app stores, thereby, successfully wrestling away some controls from wireless providers (I can totally see the wireless head honchos calling ATT up and saying "you will be the death of us all" regarding their deal with Apple).  The bottomline is this.  iPhone users will never go for ATT controlling their app store experience.  Why should Windows Mobile users?  

One thing I fear is that Microsoft has sold out WM users (and other users of other platforms) by kowtowing to Verizon in order to gain a stronger foothold in the mobile market.  I doubt that's the case since Zune materials and media isn't likely to be included.

Now, Verizon isn't totally saying no to other app stores. It's just not making them available to users right out of the box.  Think of this as Microsoft including IE with Windows but it isn't saying you can't use Firefox or another third party browser.  

Verizon won't just stop there.  Blackberry.  Android.  Palm.  You're all a part of this.  VW is making this sound really good.  Don't bite, my fellow mobile warriors.  There's an acerbic taste to this and I'm afraid this will be pretty bad for all of us in the long run.

Bottomline from Verizon:  Us or no one else.


Note:  I wonder if there is something larger going on here than just VW simply asserting its rights as the false guardians of the wireless gateway.

Bill Gates Was Right About Cell Phones Being

I remember a couple of years ago, Bill Gates made a bold declaration that cell phones were be the computing tool of choice for hundreds if no billions of people around the world.  Of course, that statement was made under duress as OLPC's XO seemed to have all the momentum in pushing into the hungry minds of millions of third world children in search of education and a better life.

Okay, this is Bill Gates after all so I'm guess he has a glimpse into the future most of us don't and he probably knows what he was talking about.  That was in January of 2006.  Well, perhaps that day is almost here.

Perhaps eventually, it'll be a variant of an Android-based phone.  Microsoft could give away Windows Mobile to Africa's children with a cheap but powerful mobile device.  Might even be an iPod Touch.  Or OLPC might be developing a Sugar based handheld with touch controls as you're reading this.

For some in Uganda, that is happening to a degree now.  The Grameen Foundation has partnered with Google and a local telecom to allow users access to information via SMS queries.

Why SMS?  Most of the phones there are still simple cell phones with SMS capability.  We're not talking about smartphones yet.  But work is being done to create apps that allow information to be shared with the mobile users in Uganda and perhaps elsewhere.

An user simply texts a query.  It gets sent to a database where then a likely answer is then sent back to the user with the information being sought.  Also, a "Failed-Over Center" will collect queries that yield no relevant information to be analyzed in order to provide better services in the future.

Source:  CNet News

It's not the same as the OLPC or even what Bill Gates had envisioned but I'm sure we'll get there in Africa and other third world nations soon.  Progress will not be denied and Onxo will continue to keep an eye on what OLPC and other programs  are doing to bring mobile tech to the poor and the opportunities they generate.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mobile Platform: Multi-Task Good But Cut, Copy, And Paste More Important

We started Onxo with the focus to talk about practical mobile computing.  It's always interesting to put our cool mobile devices to creative and productive use.  

Just today, I learned that folks are using iPhone apps to avoid speed traps.  Brilliant.

For me last night, it was not any one specific app but working across different apps.  Multitasking.  This is an issue that Apple has dealt with using push notification.  It's a feature Apple competitors has trumpeted as something the iPhone is missing.  For Apple, it's about battery life and, for others, it's about why a modern mobile platform can't or won't allow more than one app to be running at the same time.  

I was working last night at a coffee shop that did not have a reliable Wi-Fi access.  So I had to rely on my G1 for Internet access to looking for what I needed.  It was a collaborative effort between the Android device and a Macbook.  It's not the first time I might add.  I was not able to transfer files but I was able to create notes and saving URLs and other information I needed for use later.

At the same time, I was corresponding with contacts through Meebo, tweeting, e-mailing, getting sports updates.  Oh, did I mention I was listening to the BBC as well?  

Then I wondered on a mobile device with a 3" screen, whether there is really a difference between multi-tasking and simply switching between apps.  It just depends on how easy switching between tasks each platform makes it for the user.

I suppose it comes down to what you need.  The Pre provides the user with fast access to apps while the iPhone requires to switch from one app to another (and some swiping with your finger).  But the iPhone has made up for that with the unique cut-copy-and-paste implementation (CCP).  I found the iPhone's implementation easier to use as it is more precise.  I found this to the case for Windows Mobile. (It's not as easy to use on the G1.  In the browser, your'e forced to select the whole page.)  

What the iPhone OS is unable to do that others can is allow me to steam music while I work on other tasks.  There it is.  Android allowed me to continue streaming audio even as I worked with other apps.  This is a common example that others have brought up when the debate about multi-tasking comes up.

Once again, it just comes down to what your needs are.  If keeping a live connection to the Internet or process, then multitasking is a must and simply switching between apps will not work for you.  I am sure there are other examples when multitasking is a must.  If you can think of one, please share with us how you use your mobile device or smartphone.

Note:  The iPhone OS will eventually support true multitasking.  When it happens, Apple will make it sound like it's something revolutionary.  Bloggers and the media will hail it as if it's something they've never seen before. You'll sit there, look down at your WM smartphone or Pre, and wonder, "wait, I thought it's been around for years".  You would be right.  Just remember that.  

Another note:  Engadget has a good post on this subject.  And thought not directly related to multi-tasking, iLounge points other shortcomings of mobile platforms, but specifically, the iPhone.  Both well written and most read.

Friday, July 10, 2009

iPhone App Store Turns One And Creates Ecosystem

Like some proud uncle, CNet proclaimed to the work today that the iTunes App store has turned one.  Congratulations to Apple in their implementation.

It had its dramas.  Since I'm not a parent, I'm not able to use analogies fitting of a developing potential.  I detest diapers.  

I'm guessing there are closer to 1.2 to 1.5 billion downloads by now aided by the number of 3GS sold and about 60K apps.  That was the easy part.  

It was the confusing and at times frustrating approval process for developers that has given bloggers a field day.  Editorials and reports across the spectrum of media demanded answer for developers like the Podcaster app who suffered at the draconian hands of Apple.  

Then are are issues like whether porn or certain materials that might cause one to blush should be in the app store.  Those arguing for such inclusions point out that the iPhone and iPod Touch provides parental control so it would not be an issue.  Still With Apple CEO Steve Jobs closely related to Disney, a family-oriented entertainment company, it would not be an easy thing to do without criticisms.

Over all, the app store has changed the dynamics of the mobile landscape.  So much so that other hardware makers and wireless providers are all scrambling to create their own versions of the iTunes app store.  Blackberry stands at 2K while Android Marketplace has about 5K.  Pre has a few dozen but that should increase dramatically later this year when the SDK is finally out.  

But that brings to mind a slogan from a pop radio station in LA.  "Often imitated but never duplicated".  For competitors, there is a lot they can learn from Apple that they did right and much about what they did wrong.  For Apple, my feeling that the success of the app store is only the beginning but there are additional steps that they must take to account for thousands of apps that are being lost in the numbers.

Over all, things look good for mobile warriors.  And for developers as well.  This has created an ecosystem of hardware, software, and wireless Internet that is ripe for more innovations as competition heats up.  


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sprint To Give $5 Billion To Ericsson Over 7 Years To Run Network

This is by far the biggest news so far this summer as far as wireless networks in the US is concerned.  Sprint have come to an agreement with Ericsson to run it's wireless network for the next seven years, paying them $5 billion.

Obviously, the main thing here is money that Sprint hopes to save over time.  About 6K Sprint employees will end up working with Ericcson starting this fall.  

The interesting thing here is what of WiMax?  Sprint is the technology's champion in the US.  According to Computerworld, the deal doesn't cover WiMax, which means it's still up to Sprint and Clearwire to manage and build the WiMax network and penetration into markets.  

What comes to mind is mobile virtual network operator, MVNO.  Sprint now simply sells the services and deal with the mobile customers while letting others like Ericsson and Clearwire work on the networks.  This effectively allows Sprint to be creative about offering services, 

So, why is this big news?  There is a potential for Sprint to pick and choose the technologies they want to offer without having to first pour in billions to build the network.  This would potentially open up the number of handsets and mobile devices that Sprint can offer its customers.  With a lighter load, Sprint will begin to concentrate on getting back customers it has lost over the years.  

For Ericsson, do a good job and more folks may be looking to them to manage their networks.  It would be a quick way for wireless providers to cut overhead, not to mention, someone else to blame if the network doesn't work as advertised.

Perhaps, we may see some interesting things for Sprint this winter.  

Source:  Financial Times

Mobile Tip: Heat Is No Good For Your Mobile Devices

This is a no-brainer.  Don't leave your phone, iPod, or any other mobile device in the car especially during hot summer months.  With global warming (alright, climate change for the conspiracy theorists), we can expect warmer weather for longer duration each year.

It stands to make sense that we shouldn't leave our digital companions in the car, direct sunlight, or extreme heat conditions.  Yes, extreme heat conditions.  I've seen folks take their music players into hot rooms and saunas.  

According to reports, an iPod is suspected of lighting this car on fire.  Though police merely suspects the culprit, they've yet to pin down conclusively it was an iPod.  Though the damage in the picture was a bit much.

Regardless, it's good practice as far as keeping your mobile devices in good working condition if it doesn't have to deal with extreme conditions, including cold weather or a wet environment.

My suggestion is that you find out from your manufacturer or manual the range that is best to operate your device.  It's not something we think about much but if you happen to be traveling, that might be important to know.  For instance, iPhones were known to be rejected by Apple in the Singapore possibly due to the high humid conditions there.  

And as always, practice safe battery use and conditioning.  It'll go a long way in extending the battery life.  

Plus, not leaving your laptop or mp3 player in the car is good for another reason.  Theft.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Google's Chrome Attack On Operating Systems

Google is planning on creating an Web OS (not to be confused with Palm's WebOS) based around a simple Linux kernel and call it Chrome OS.  Is that correct?

So, let's not confuse that with Google's Chrome, a Webkit-based browser they introduced last year.  I suppose they like the name and have decided to use it in their next endeavor to land another body blow on Microsoft (and Apple as well).

I won't go into it too much now but just thought I share this new mobile development with you.  Google has said this is designed for netbooks that can quickly get users onto the Internet as quickly as possible.  To be sure, Onxo has seen this coming for years.  There would have to be sufficient Web standards to support a true Web OS.  Google will focus on speed, security, and ease of use.  And I'm sure Google Gears have a big role in all this.

Right now, we're hearing one side of the story.  I'm sure the Apple and Microsoft camps as well as OS traditionalists will want to weigh in on this.  So far, I don't have an opinion on this at this time.  The cooking just got started and water is barely beginning to boil.  However, I have to wonder why now. 
  • Android seems to have just started gaining a foothold among hardware developers as well as app creators.  Won't this confuse things?  
  • Also, cost will be an issue.  
  • Internet connection.  Cloud computing will have a bigger role in all this than even Chrome (the browser) and Gears.  Is Google finally ready with a solution for ubiquitous wireless Internet access?
Just a few questions about this.  It isn't a simple matter of saying here is a new OS and go do something with it.  As Google's goal indicated, they want to change how things are now.  Google will need to offer a whole ecosystem along with the OS - wireless Internet access, low-cost hardware, and software that will entice users to move away from their Windows laptops.  

This simply confuses things at the moment with developers as Android also moves into the netbook arena.  Are folks to choose between Android and Chrome?  Smartphone or netbooks?  

On the whole, I am excited by this development.  If anyone can pull this off, it's scrappy little (big) Google.  More competition for Windows and Macs.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

MJ Memorial Streams - A Peak At Wireless' Future

Today's Michael Jackson Memorial was the second most stream even since President Barack Obama's Inaugural Ceremony earlier this year.  I was one of those who was stream via my iPhone as I waited in a waiting room at a courthouse along with other potential jurors.

But today's record breaking streams for a lot of onlines news sites like CNN and MSNBC shows just how much people are relying on the Internet for their news, social aspects of their lives, and entertainment.  But more and more, people are more likely to use their wireless devices in the iPhone (using the Ustream app) to get live broadcasts.

In fact just this week, Al Jazeera released their own iPhone app.  What's different from other news apps from the likes of NYT and Bloomberg is that the Al Jazeera app offers live stream to the English feed.

This brings up the subject of the inadequacy of wireless networks being able to support hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of simultaneous streams over the wireless Internet.  That time will come sooner than anyone expect.  What may possibly stave off that day is the continuing efforts of the wireless providers doing whatever they can to restrict and hinder use of wireless Internet as it should be to hide the fact that by maximizing profit, they failed to build the infrastructure to adequately serve its customers and burden the load.

Here are some statistics from the morning's memorial stream:
  • 7 Million simultaneous streams by Akamai
  • 9.7 million live streams by CNN (25 million streams for the Obama inauguration)
  • 6,000 updates per minute from Facebook users
  • CNN served almost 11 million unique users, MSNBC served 7 million unique users
  • Ustream (also offers iPhone app) served up 4.6 million streams and recorded 12K messages per minute.
It is safe to say that none of the wireless providers in the US would be able to even handle a small fraction of this kind of traffic.  40% of regular cell phone users have indicated they will opt for a smartphone or mobile device during the next upgrade cycle.  iPhone and Pre are selling like hot cakes and they'll be joined by new Android and Blackberries.

And these new mobile warriors will definitely be using their new mobile gears for more than making calls or texting.

More stats at NewTeeVee

Monday, July 6, 2009

Justice Department Is Looking At The Telecoms

I have no love for the telecoms and wireless providers.  In most cases, they are the came.  But the cost of messaging almost null, they insist on charging about $0.20 per text.  

Now, the DOJ is looking to see if they've abused their market power.  I think it's about time.  In fact, they should be working on this with the FTC as well as the FCC to determine how much abuse there are in the industry.  

The two main issues some lawmakers have raised about the wireless providers are phone and contract exclusivity and text messaging.  I imagine these are some of the issues that the DOJ may be looking into. 

This investigation is being handled by the antitrust devision and Onxo will update this issue as more information becomes available.  

Look, I'm for folks making a buck. This is the way it ought to be.  Whether profit is reasonable or excessive should be determined by the market.  But when these guys work together to hold back progress, fix prices, and hinder competition, they need to be slapped around.  

And hard.

Source:  CNBC

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mobility And Porn

Apple has the biggest app store in the known galaxy.  Sixty thousand apps and perhaps 1.5 billion downloads by now I reckon.  So it stands that there would be apps that service those who have no need for games, productivity, and all those farting apps.

 There has been quite a bit of headlines lately on mobile and Apple blogs about app rejections that borderline on apps providing porn or outright porn material.  I just don't get this.  I don't get Apple rejecting porn apps and why people need to have porn on the mobile phones and devices.

So if anyone can explain it to me, please do.  For that matter, I don't understand porn in hi-def either.  That's another matter I suppose.

Suffice to say, this isn't an Apple specific issue but one for the whole market.  I'm not for apps that provide porn in one matter or another but I am definitely against anyone trying to censor or lock out apps of these kind.  Perhaps it is a first amendment matter but perhaps companies shouldn't fear porn appearing on their mobile platform.  Whether they like it or not, porn is ubiquitous and folks can get it via the browser. 

Would Apple be sued for this someday?  Well, if not for the sake of the mobile warriors who want porn apps, at the very least, a lawsuit would get Apple to explain more about their app approval (or disapproval) process that doesn't make sense to some.

Note:  I don't know of porn games for the PC, consoles, or handheld games in the US.  I am sure there are in other countries.  Suppose if people want to bring those games to the US and Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft were to attempt to block their releases, would that be a bigger issue than it is now with mobile apps?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mobile Power

I get by with about 4-5 hours of sleep a day.  I wish I can sleep longer but I won't allow myself to do that.

I spend about half an hour a day walk to and back from work.  Then I spend an average of another 30-40 minutes running or workout.  I work in an office environment but whenever I get the chance to get away from my desk to walk to the coffeemaker, pick up faxes, or for any other reasons, I do it.

So, I spend a lot of my day moving around.  What if there is a way to translate those movements into energy for mobile uses?  And on weekends, I ride my bike quite a bit to go to the market or gym.  That's a lot of energy expended that I am sure can power my iPod or G1 to provide a few extra hours of battery life.

I'm swinging my arms when I move.  I'm not just talking about having something in the shoes that can translate the kinetic energy into stored electric power.  Though that would be cool wouldn't it?  We're a t the point where nanotechnology can be used to create clothes that can potentially allow movements and the energy created to be stored in some manner.

Here is a device similar to what I'm talking about.  The Dyson Energy Bracelet that takes into account the temperature differentials to produce electricity.  If just a few degrees in temperature can produce electricity, imagine what a day's collective movements of 4-5 hours can produce.


As you probably know, there are jackets with flexible solar panels on same for years now.  I can say from the looks, wearing a solar panel on your back will get you attention but not the type one would hope if you know what I mean.  But if a jacket, pants, or shirt can be lined to translate the kinetic movements of your body and heat into electricity, it can be quite a useful tool.

For a mobile warrior like myself who works in an office.  Law enforcement.  The Fedex and UPS drivers. There are dozens of professions where constant movements is a part of the job.  I imagine there could be a few of these folks who probably would like the extra power their muscles can provide their mobile devices.

If you know of such devices or research, please let us know and we can keep an eye its developments. Increasingly, more and more tasks will depend on mobile Internet.  And since longer battery life for smartphones and mobile devices comes not from advancements in battery technologies but rely on more and more efficient electronics, "kinetic wears" such as the ones I'm talking about here can provide the wearer greater efficiency, or at the very least, not having to worry about their devices running out of battery.

The Dyson device (to be available in 2012) makers state a few hours of wearing it will change a mobile device and provide a few extra minutes of talk time for a cell phone that can be charged through a micro-USB.  Suppose if they made it so that it can attach to the wearer's belt and be powered through his or her body, perhaps more power can be created than through temperature differences.

More on Dyson Bracelet.