Sunday, February 28, 2010

Every Mobile App & Services Must Have Twitter (And Facebook)

The rage these days are about Foursquare and My Town.  There's also word that Facebook is taking a serious look at acquiring Loopt.  But what about Twitter?

Twitter now has up to 50 million tweets a day and it doesn't seem to be slowing but a number of companies are coming at it from a variety of different directions.  Location-based services.  Twitter-like services.  Integrated gaming boards like those we see on the iPhone.

There are things that Twitter can do to solidify it's position in the cloud and on mobile devices.  On Apple, I stated that I'm interested in seeing Apple integrate into the next version of its iLife suite likes to Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks.

Twitter can insure its viability by making it easier for apps to integrate twitter services into their applications or services.  As a matter of fact, just about anyone can do this.  Facebook quickly comes to mind.

But Twitter's limited messages allow people to quickly share messages to families, coworkers, and followers from within their apps without having to switch back and forth between applications or services.

While I was using iCal to update my day's activities, it would have been easier to be able to tweet from within the application to my followers on Twitter as I make updates.

There are already examples of this.  There are tons of applications that allow users to upload their pictures to a whole host of online photo album services.  Some applications even allow users to upload their video to the Internet directly from within their desktop.

It's time for Twitter to change the game.  It'll give them a head start and really make things much much more interesting for its competitors and better for users.

Also, it appears that Twitter is set to launch a few more "nifty" services that we users are going to like a lot.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Adobe Or Amazon Should Buy Palm

I went to give platelets today at a local cancer care institute. I went to a Starbucks to have breakfast and replenish myself. I was heartened to see the first ever Palm Pre in a Starbucks. Usually there are a mix of iPhones and Blackberries.

This week, Palm pre-announced some bad news. It looks like revenue will come in way below Wall Street estimates. Way way below. So what happened? What next?

What happened was that a lot less folks are buying WebOS devices than everyone expected despite it's high profile launch last year and great reviews.

Executives at Palm said they know what to do next. No one is talking about taking offers of a buyout but that could well be just what Palm needs.

Before anyone just on me, hear me out. I like Palm and I still use my Zire 72. I love it. One of my best investment.

However, Palm simply doesn't have the deep pocket as it's competitors. It has yet to build out an ecosystem of apps and media contents.

The usual suspects of buyers are not surprising. Dell and HP. Once in a while, I will hear about Nokia taking interest in this.

But I've got two more names. Adobe or Amazon. Adobe is in a battle with other mobile platforms trying to take its Flash into the mobile market with limited success if any. And soon, I am sure Silverlight will make its way to the Windows Mobile devices.

By buying Palm, which Adobe does have the financila muscle to do, I do see a strong mobile force capable of challenging Apple and Google. And with thousands of developers already familiar with Flash, Adobe can add an option for developers to create and expose to users to a lot of rich apps and media.

For Amazon, Kindle Touh isn't likely to catch fire against the iPad. However, Amazon does have a vast media market. It can leverage it to expand a slate of WebOS-enabled Kindle devices.

Not even Google can make such a claim as to having a complete ecosystem with apps, music, audiobooks, ebooks, and video.

I will get into these individual companies on their own in later posts but I think most mobile warriors and Palm fans would love to see the kind of exciting things Adobe and Amazon can do with WebOS.

More at Barron's

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Google's "Free" Strategy In the Mobile Market Means It Makes More Money

I fully expect smartphones to trickle down to the point where it is possible to for carriers to give them out for free.

It'll start with Android phones from a whole host of manufacturers and brands trying to compete for the same consumer, effectively cutting margin in order to get as much of their own devices into our hands.

That is exactly what's happening now in the Android segment of the mobile market.  More importantly, this could be exactly what Google is looking for.  And I'm betting that they foresee thing years ago when they planned the moves with Android, and later in the year, with Chrome OS.

After all, Google is giving away Android and Chrome OS.  The tough part for Google is already over.  Android is gaining a wider mindshare and acceptance.  And riding the Android wave will be Chrome OS.  Once that happens, though there's no guarantee of success, Google implements addtional cloud-based services that keep mobile users hooked.

The more time you and I are on Google's network, the more ads they make.  The more searches we make, that means more money for Google.  It's an incredible strategy.  No one has managed to give something away for free and make money.

ISP and the early startups of the Internet bubble all tried and failed.  So what is making Google's strategy a success where others have failed? It's a complicated matter.

The Android devices aren't free.  They are free or sold to us at a reduced price because of the subsidies provided by wireless providers in order to lock us into lucrative multi-year contracts.

But what of Chrome OS?  Not all netbooks or tablets installed with Chrome OS will be subsidized.  And this also includes the coming flood of Android tablets that will be on the market soon.  I'm betting that Google has this worked out.  Part of the solution will be white spaces networks that Google is supporting.

Also, Google can reduce cost of providing cloud services through other means than scale.  It recently applied and was granted permission to be an energy trader.  I'm betting that figure big into Google strategy.  And speaking of energy, Google is also a backer of many green energy initiatives.  Think down the road for a second.  Free energy from the elements, sun and wind.  If Google is able to reduce its electrical bill, that will only add to its bottomline.

Futhermore, Google is also moving into markets dominated by others.  Music, video, and ebooks quickly come to mind.

If you're willing to see a future with Google's services permeating nearly every aspect of your online life, things are looking bright.  Today, the EU is looking at Google's dominant position.  Apparently, some aren't comfortable with.

More About Android price drops at On Android.

Will iPad Have Unannounced Features?

I'm happy with the iPad as it is.  I think i can do a lot of mobile computing with just what Steve and Co. showed me on January 27th.

But there was one major disappointment:  No frontal camera for video conferencing.

Still, as some of the more technical-inclined mobile warriors dig into the SDK, they find things both surprising and disturbing for potential first generation adopters.

More at On Apple.  Short story, I don't think Apple will including any surprise last minute hardware enhancements for the iPad.

Lots Of People Still Talking and Driving

I do talking on my phone at times when I drive.  When I'm waiting at a red light.  When I'm trying to find places to park.  When I'm on the freeway.  But never with one hand on the wheel and another with the phone propped up against my ear.

I'm either on a BT speaker or with a earpiece.  Most of the time, I ignore my phone when it rings.

But I still see a lot of folks do that.  And the other day, my friend and I nearly became statistics.

In fact, the driver didn't even bother to slow down while making a left.  I don't think she was even aware that we were nearly a third of the way across the street.

Anyway, I just have to rant a bit.  Even within my own family and circle of friends, there are those who can't help but yap on the phone right the moment it rings.  Nor can they wait the 10 minutes or so it takes for them to get to where they're going on their car and then make the call once they're not operating a vehicle.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Advice For Google: Port Buzz But Don't Make It Creepy

I think Google can revitalize Buzz but it needs to make it work for Android. I think it's one of those things that Google can really make work given that Android is a mobile OS.

However, given the uproar at launch, Buzz can really do a relaunch. However, it's hard to tell just how many people actually use it as it was intended. Personally, I've stopped using it. I didn't have a need for it. I've got Facebook and Twitter already and those are the two main ones.

Here's what I think Google should go for Buzz. Allow people to update their status, thoughts, what-have-you on Buzz but also allow them to be directly ported to any of the major social networks. I've always been a fan of apps that allow you to go to one place to get all the things you need done.

Take Meebo. It's got its own chat system but you can log on through its app on the Web, an Android smartphone, or the iPhone other instant message providers. Yahoo, ICQ, AIM, MSN, and even Facebook.

See, Google? Meebo has its own chats and made itself the gateway through which other IM services can also be used. Google should do the same with a Buzz app for the Android and other mobile platforms.

So long as Google isn't stupid about it, I can see a Buzz app as I've described it take off. Heck, I'll download and use it on my G1. And just maybe, I'll even use the Buzz features as well.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MacGyver App - Is There An App For That?

If you don't know who MacGyver is, keep moving. Just kidding. You must know who MacGyver is! Okay, I'm going to assume you know who he is. If now, here's a wiki link for that.

A few days ago, I read about an app that that allows other people to know that you're choking.  I didn't know that at first.  I thought it was an app that shows you what to do when someone else is choking.  As a matter of fact, I've got an app called "PocketCPR".  It provides step by step instruction on performing CPR.

But I'm looking for more than just a one trick app.  I'm looking for a MacGyver app.  See, MacGyver has the ability find a solution to a difficult situation with just things lying around.  Now, I don't play on infiltrating a Russian prison to break out a political prisoner.  However, knowing that peeing on the stop by a jellyfish is something that's good to know.

And if I'm ever stranded in the middle of nowhere, knowing how to start a fire with a couple of twigs could go a long way between survival and freezing to death.

I'm looking for an app that provides rudimentary survival skills, first aid instructions, and other common sense ideas.  I can see many mobile users buy and download these life-how-to apps, wouldn't you?

Maybe the actor who played MacGyver, Richard Dean Anderson, should get into the app business.

Kindle PLus Windows Mobile: Amazon and Microsoft In Tech Deal

Kindle will soon sport technologies using Windows Mobile from Microsoft.  That's what I see when I had a couple of minutes to digest the news that Amazon and Microsoft signed a cross-licensing deal.

Talk about taking a shortcut.  For all parties involved, it makes good sense.  With Apple's iPad weeks away and Android tablets not far behind, Amazon's Kindle would have looked very dated up against these new mobile devices.  Heck, the Kindle even looked aged against Apple tablet rumors.

By gaining access to Microsoft technology, Amazon can shave months if not years off the next gen Kindle development.  We might even see something from Amazon in 2010 after all.  There was no guarantee that Amazon would be able to garner the kind of developer enthusiasm Apple and Google has been able to generate with its own developer program.

In essence, Kindle now looks more relevant as a tablet.

What about Microsoft? Market-share for Windows Mobile and its other technologies. Not to mention the fact that it gained a valuable distribution partner. Both companies, now interlocked in the mobile space, will play of each other.

Oh, and both companies are headquartered in Seattle. I'm sure we'll learn more in days if not hours what this deal means.

More at Electronista.

Bill To Promote Mobility in Business, Education, and Society

The United States Senate passed a jobs bill that out to easily get to the President's desk for passage.  I haven't looked at the bill in depth.  But whatever form it takes by the time President Obama signs it, I hope it works.

Now, I'm asking you if some kind of bill is needed to help speed up adoption of technology.  I'm specifically talking about wireless technology.  And given how much we rely on tech these days, from school to business to picking where to eat for dinner, I think further penetration of wireless use can only benefit the economy and technological innovation.

Here are some things I like to see:
  1. Tax breaks for building out infrastructure.  Provisions can including hiring.  For those who are hawks against outsourcing, you'll like this one.  You can't exactly outsource building new wireless networks in the US to folks in India or China.
  2. Encourage uses of netbooks, tablets, and laptops in education.  Federal mandate that encourages states to innovate and try out new ideas to use technology to bolster students' education.
  3. Government grants into wireless technology - for instance, use of GPS to improve infrastructure and travel efficiency.  Imagine if we can cut down traffic even by 10% across the board in the US, we would save a lot on energy and gas emissions.  
  4. Make new battery technology a priority.  While screen and silicon improvements have greatly contributed to better battery life in mobile devices, batteries itself has not been pulling its own weight.  Specifically, special provisions, tax breaks and federal partnerships, are needed to shorten the time it takes for a technical breakthrough to come to the market.  Don't you just hate it when you read about a great idea at UCLA but to learn at the end of the article that it'll be 5 years before we seen it on the market.  Talk about a bait and switch.
  5. Paper mills aren't going to like this but go paperless.  The government should lead in ways to cut down on paper work.  Just as the Obama administration has been working on overhauling the healthcare industry, a variety of government agencies needs to develop ways to cut down on paperwork and automate information processing.  With less paper being pushed from one desk to another, it ought to move up the speed at which the government works.  Imagine not having to wait hours in line at the DMV for the slightest paperwork.
Those are ideas that quickly comes to mind.  I've tried to minimize the amount of intrusion of any mandate that the voters will find abhorrent in this political environment we're in.  And 2010 is an election year.

Done right with common sense ideas, I think a wireless technology bill with bipartisan support can benefit society across the geopolitical spectrum and all parts of the US (and global) economy.  It'll be popular with unions, businesses, and mobile users.  It'll benefit the efficiency of the government and the private sector while setting up a society is both smarter and more technically savy.  

And of course, the bill should keep an eye on the future as everyone else outside of the United States are also trying to create the same wireless and competitive market.

I like to come back and visit this subject.  I think with enough support and if this catches the eye of some wireless lobbyists (generally, I don't have any need for these guys), Congressional aide looking to help his or her boss score political points, or even a US Representative or Senator, we can really help start something incredible here.

After all, we're "mobile warriors" right?

Friday, February 19, 2010

School Violates Privacy of Students Via Laptop Webcams

Violating federal and state laws as well as the 4th Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Way to go, Lower Merion School District of Pennsylvania. That's what happened and they're being subject to a class-action lawsuit that's gonna cost the district a lot of time and money.  The school gave students laptops as part of their high school curriculum.  Many schools across the country (world) have done that but this is the first instance I've heard of where the webcam is secretly used to violate the privacy of people in their home.

Oh, yeah, I've read one other instance where this has happened.  In the book 1984 by George Orwell.  Read it. It's a must if you haven't.  The telescreen has a video camera to spy on the viewer.  More recently, I saw that on an episode of Fring.

Since then, the school has deactivated the ability to use the laptop's webcam to spy on the students at home. But what were they thinking?! More at Sci-Tech Today.

Now, I am wondering.  Can this really happen without us knowing about it?  Seriously, with the bugs and holes in the browser and some OS, viruses and such, it is possible a hacker or an entity like your local school district can hack into your laptop (most laptops now have a webcam) and use the built-in camera to spy on you?

More and more, we are being told that privacy going forward is going to be different from what we're used to.  That we need to abandon previous notions of what others are allow to know about us.  Fine but in this instance in Pennsylvania, this has gone beyond that.

For those technically inclined readers out there, can Apple, Microsoft, or other developers and hackers remotely turn our laptops, phones, and other mobile devices into spying apparatus without us knowing?

I share information about me willingly on Twitter, Facebook, or whatever I publish on blogs.  Keyword:  Willingly.  But the notion that someone can see what we do at home is frightening.  I hope whoever thought it was a good idea to install the program that allows the school district to monitor their students in the privacy of their homes gets taken out to the wood shed and is never heard from again.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

VOIP - Future Now

It's a bold move to begin saying that VOIP is starting to make traditional voice obsolete but it's already started.  Skype's the 800-pound gorilla in the room now but I think like any young market, being the first or the biggest is a terrific position to be in but it's never over with giants like Microsoft and Google coming after you.

Plus, voice being a traditional market for a lot of telecoms, they're not going to go quietly and just cede the market to others.  These guys are fighting, possibly, for their survival in a fast changing mobile market.

Over the next year, we're likely to see major changes in how wireless providers change their business models to accommodate the demand for VOIP instead of traditional voice plans.  We're going to see deal cut in such a way that they'll get a piece of the revenue generated from such a move.

How about platforms like the iPhone and Android?  It's a little different here.  No one knows what Apple's going to do given how they like to share nothing.  For Google, I can't think of anyone who doesn't believe VOIP is a market they're going to take Google Voice into.  This is probably why Apple hasn't approved Google's official Voice app.  Of course, this tells us where Apple's going as well.

For Nokia, RIM, and Palm, they'll probably be making deals with the likes of Skype.  I think acquisitions are also possible.  So for those mobile warriors that work in VOIP startups, prepare to be rich or close to it.

Microsoft just unveiled their Windows Phone Series, aka Windows Mobile 7.  I'm sure we'll see more in the coming days but with its tight integration with Live services, I foresee VOIP features as a part of MSN Messenger.  And soon.

For now, as mobile users, we just have to wait and let the coming storm settle.  See who's still in the race.  And as confusing as it'll be, we're the ones who get to pick the winners.  And the market is big enough for multiple VOIP providers.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

VW and Skype: Unlimited 3G Calling Starting Next Month!

Competition rocks! Verizon and Skype have teamed up together to allow 3G calls next month. And guess what? Unlimited. U-N-L-I-M-I-T-E-D.

How could this have happened without anyone knowing about it? What's key here is that the whole dynamics of voice and data plans have changed dramatically. Of course, we love to see the prices before making a final call but I'm sure folks at the other wireless companies are moving quickly to follow up on this and come up with an answer if they didn't already.

The new Skype mobile™ product enhances Verizon Wireless’ smartphones for users who have data plans by offering a new way to call around the globe, while also giving hundreds of millions of Skype users around the world the opportunity to communicate with friends, family and business colleagues in the United States using Verizon Wireless.
The two companies have created an exclusive, easy-to-use Skype mobile offering for 3G smartphones. Verizon Wireless 3G smartphone users with data plans can use Skype mobile to:
  • make and receive unlimited Skype-to-Skype voice calls to any Skype user around the globe on America’s most reliable wireless network;
  • call international phone numbers at competitive Skype Out calling rates;
  • send and receive instant messages to other Skype users; and
  • remain always connected with the ability to see friends’ online presence.
As you know, AT&T is allowing 3G calls to be made over their network earlier this month, shortly after Apple unveiled the iPad. Fring on the iPhone has already enabled it and Skype is sure to follow shortly though that hasn't happened yet.

The iPad will not need a voice plan so it remains to be seen if VW will do something to allow data only access. The press release offers very little information in that sense. This is for Skype-to-Skype calls as well as international calls using Skype Out.

Well know as the days and weeks go on just what VW is allowing, monthly pricing, and how others are likely to respond. We'll make the call to see if this was a bold move once all the details are on. But so far, I'm loving it.

More at Engadget, VW Press Release

Monday, February 15, 2010

Future of Mobile Search: Google Versus Bing

Rumor has it that Google pays Apple $100 million to be the default search engine on the iPhone. Frankly, that was more than I expected. This particular rumor surfaced after another rumor indicating that Apple and Microsoft, not a heavy weight in search, were in talks to make Bing the default search engine on the next version of the iPhone.

There was some indications as the Bing app for the iPhone works pretty well. Now, the question is how much more Google is willing to pay to keep Google the default search engine on the iPhone? $150 Million? $200 Million? And can Google afford to say enough is enough should Jobs push harder to squeeze more money from Google?

I'm not sure Apple is ready to go with Bing. And I wonder if Google realizes this. Why is that?

Google is search to many mobile users and Bing really won't be dethroning Google in mobile search any soon if at all. And there is no reason why Apple would want to help Microsoft's long-term goal. It's simply not in Cupertino's interests at all.

Google will be the search engine king for the mobile market while Bing struggles on as an iPhone app and, hopefully, become more relevant and serious challenger to Google on a resurging Windows Mobile platform. Meanwhile, Apple will extract more money from Google, buy itself some time until its own search engine is release.

Note: Don't be surprise if Apple buys one of the existing search engines on the market.

New "We Are The World" Video -25th Anniversary

You probably know by now that there is a new version of "We Are The World", 25th anniversary edition, that is trying to raise money for the Haiti earthquake relief effort.

But I think I still like the old version better. Still, I think this is worthy effort. I will be downloading this from iTunes.

Here's the official video. Enjoy.



The old version is more solemn while this one is a bit more upbeat. Still, I like it. I only hoped they had included more of the original performers.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Running Java VM 2-3X Faster

From Engadget, a Swiss developer has created a faster run-time machine that is up to 3 times faster than what Google has created for the Android OS.

More than that, it also goes easy on the battery, complete compatibility with Android apps and works on a plethora of chips.

I'll let the techs among you sort this out. So long as I get it in my next Android device, I don't care where it comes or how it got into my phone. Faster, longer battery life.

Of course, this is about Java so it can be ported to other platforms as well. Let's hope so.

More at Engadget.

Mobile Takeovers: What's Next? Geolocation Companies

Google's got billions in cash. So does Microsoft. Outside of stock buybacks and dividends, the these huge piles of cash simply sit in banks and short-term investments. Or, they can be used for buyouts of tech startups in an attempt of one-upsmanship among the tech giants.

A high profile battle in this version of corporate takeover (of startups) is the Apple-Google land grab of Admob by Google for a dirty cheap $750 million. Okay, I don't know if that was a good deal or not but weeks later, Apple countered with Quattro for about $250. In fact, Businessweek surmised that this was going to be a hot sector in terms of buyouts.

I think there's gonna be another sector that is going to see some activities in 2010: Geolocation companies. Heard of Foursquare. Yup. How about Yelp? That's right. Well, there was rumblings late that year that Google was looking to acquire Yelp for half a billion while Microsoft offered $700 million. Yelp rejected both offers. I'll leave that up to you to decide if it's a decision or not.

However, there are plenty of other location-based services with a lot of momentum in the market such as Foursquare who recently made headlines with a plethora of high profile deals. Because of the potential in this segment of the mobile service market, I am going to predict many of these companies may be snatched off the market.

But why? Isn't Foursquare fine if left to its volition? On its own now, FS can serve as many platforms across the market as long as there is demand. It's huge in the iPhone and is doing well on others with each passing day. Well, there are two reasons for this that I can see.

One, it's about integration. Another way to put it, plugging holes in your mobile offering. For instance, Google wants Yelp so that it can integrate it into its profilio of webapps in hopes of selling us location-based ads and services like search. The second reason is about taking the company off the market so that your competitors can't get to them.

In my opinion, FS has the momentum in the market. There are also other high profile targets. Loopt was one of the pioneers but it largely has not gained in the mindshare of late as FS has with its deals. But Loopt, like Gowalla and MyTown does have a large following, making these three companies in the running as potential targets for cash rich companies.

This could be the beginning of a new mobile and social phenonmenon. Or it maybe Internet Bubble 2.0. The safe bet is that Google, Microsoft, and Apple will be spending a lot of their cash in the coming year on these kinds of buys. But there are others. Remember Nokia? It's also got about $11 billion and it can make a play as well.

So, for you smart energetic folks out there. Go-getter types. Now's your chance.

Note: Yelp. Guys. An ad company that built itself up because of the iPhone app store got $750 million from Google. You ought to hold out and ask for at least just as much if not more.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Best Super Bowl Commercials of 2010

I don't know if you got to watch the Superbowl. The game was boring but I'm happy New Orleans won (just like the rest of the country...world).

But there were some bright moments - like the commercials.

Anyway, I thought this was the funniest by far.



Not too far behind is are the following. The Betty White Snickers candy is pretty good.



There are a couple of runner-ups but I don't want flood the post. Anyway, what's your favorite?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Can We Shop For Cars Over Wireless Internet?

I'm going shopping for a car today. My folks are buy and I'm asked to go. I know nothing about cars. They did no research whatsoever. They've got no plans about what they're getting nor how much they're willing to pay. Well, there's is a plan: getting ripped off.

So, is there some way to use my iPhone or Android device to make sure that we're getting a good deal? If there is an app for that, I like to know it. If there isn't one, there ought to be an "app for that".

Again, I know nothing about cars and even less about haggling. A quick search turned up a couple of apps of interest. Interestingly, an insurance company called Nationwide Mutual Insurance relased an app called Cartopia that allows folks to get information on cars for shopping and comparison purposes.

I'm downloading it as I'm writing but it's only got two stars out of five. Not very promising but it's all I've got at this moment. The main complaint about it is that it's too complicated to use. Again, it's all I've got at this moment. I'm sure as an iPhone, it's substandard but for other platforms, it might be God-send.

Just now, I tried looking at it. It is complicated. But I'm going to use it and get back to everyone about it.

Kelly Blue Book also released an web app called KBB. You use it right out of the mobile Web browser which I'm sure is optimized for Webkit-based apps. Looks more promising but it isn't as specific as the VN but it should be fine.

Anyway, gotta go! Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

This Is Why I Read Rumors But Won't Write About Them

I love reading about tech rumors. Apple's iCar? Sure, the more the better. Google is going to form its own nationality? My question next is do they offer duo-citizenship? Looks like the Obama Administration will nationalize the telecoms and everyone will be able to stream Hulu and Netflix until their eyeballs pop out.

See? Was that fun? I love reading about them. Unfortunately, the bulk of the rumors out there are made up or planted by companies themselves for their own benefits. I'm sure half the stuff about the iPhone are made up while the other half as just pure speculations that became something else.

It's like this kid's game I used to play in elementary school. You line up the class and have one kid at one end say something to the next sitting next to him or her. And he or she will do the same until it gets to the last child. And when you ask what him or she what was said, it will almost always be different from what the original message was. I'm sure tech rumors operate this way.

Still I love reading about them because it's fun. But I don't like sharing them. Here's why. This is a link from Dave the Mobile Warrior from the Cringely blog about the iPad. Boy, talk about being so far off. I don't want to say they made this stuff up just for hits but boy, you can't make a up a better rumor than this one.

The "beta tester" basically gave them everything they wanted to hear. Cameras? Sure, you want two of them? HD tuner (dude, use your brain, fellas)? It's got one of those! It'll also whisper sweet-nothing to you just because it knows you love it more than your first born.

Maybe the blog got thrown off by the fact that it'll be available on Verizon Wireless and AT&T and not with Sprint or T-Mobile. Maybe this sliver of reality made them thing this beta tester is a real deal.

Anyway, I'm fine with rumors. Keep them coming! But make sure they at least sound plausible.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Should Google Or Another Rich Tech Firm Buy T-Mobile

T-Mobile USA is becoming like the guest who was invited to a party out of courtesy by the host who didn't think he would really show but did nonetheless. It's out of place of sort.

Now, I've got an interesting proposition. What if one of the cash rich giants buy it out? It's the weekend so let's have some fun with this unlikely scenario, shall we?

More at On Android.

My Next Game: Chaos

This is also Friday's movie clip. It's from the next Dawn of War II game.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

ATT Allows Slingplayer To Work On 3G Network; More Changes To Come

If you like change and truly ones that you can see and be affected by, this is it. AT&T will soon allow the iPhone version of Slingplayer to stream video over their 3G network. At the moment, iPhone users are restricted Wi-Fi streaming. (More at On Apple).

This comes in the heel of last week's announcement from Apple that it was allowing VOIP using 3G network on the iPhone and, later, the iPad 3G.

For mobile warriors, this is a big step forward even if you're not an iPhone user. Individually, this doesn't seem to say much but AT&T seems to be a lot more confident about their 3G reliability and the ability to support the iPhone and the upcoming iPad.

Moreover, the relaxation of restrictions that were put in place moves us closer to the golden age when we can do virtually whatever we want over wireless networks, 3G now and LTE or WiMax later. We'll eventually do away with insane voice plans and simply pay for wireless Internet access.

With increasing competitive pressure from every quarter in this multi-front wireless war, wireless providers, service providers, and hardware makers all need to continue to evolve and innovate to gain any kind of advantage in the marketplace.

And we all win as a result.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What's Likely To Be Updated First? iPhone or iPod Touch

The iPhone Blog is reporting evidence of upcoming iPhone revision as well as the 4th iPod Touch lifted from the iPhone 3.2 SDK and the just released iPhone OS 3.1.2. I’ll let you enjoy the gory details there.

What I want to know is which of the two will get the upgrade first? More speculations at On Apple.

Has Nokia Mounted A Smartphone Comeback?

By now, you probably know about the volleys of lawsuits lobbed against each other by Apple and Nokia.  During that time, it has kind of made Nokia out to be the bad guy but that all depends on which side of the fence you sit on.  And to be fair, I've heard a lot from the Apple side of things (well, their fans anyway).

But in the last quarter, Nokia not only retained its smartphone market share as expected but actually grew at a faster clip than Apple.  And it also gained 5 points in the smartphone market from 35% to 40% n the fourth quarter.  During that time, Nokia sold 52.4 million smartphone phones will Apple sold a less than expected 8.7 million iPhones.

Apple's market share  shrank in the quarter relative to everyone else.  So, my question is has Nokia turned the corner?  Perhaps and it depends on how you look at it.  Over all, Nokia sold more phones than it did a year ago but its revenue dropped 5%.

Well, Nokia is holding its own.  Furthermore, it appears that Nokia is getting its house in order as it was surprised the last couple of years by the gains made by Apple's iPhone, Blackberries, and, of late, Android devices.

Still, it has quite a ways to go.  It had to match Google's free mapping and navigation with one of its own and it's online store, despite having a larger installed base, isn't drawing the kind of success Apple's iTunes app store is.

But I've noticed a lot of rumblings from Nokia lately.  In addition to free Ovi Navigation (Nokia's answer to Google Maps and Navigation), Symbian is now free for distribution.  This puts Nokia squarely on a collision course with Google And Android.

Going forward, Android is likely to make a lot of gains in the market as the hardware and software matures.

Frankly, this is good for the mobile market in general as there is plenty of room to grow.  After all, Apple sold a record number of iPhones and the market still managed to outsell the best that Apple has to offer.

More at CNet, Wireless Week.

State of eBooks

Pretty much everyone is chiming on the ebooks situation.  Right now, you can buy an ebook from Amazon for $9.99 for most bestsellers.  This is also true if you were to buy them from BN to use with the Nook.

But with the introduction of a certain hardware from a fruit-oriented computer company whose CEo appears to have some sort of spell over the masses when he speaks, things have changed in the digital book market.  And it's made things very very interesting.

In the past, by that I mean last week, Amazon paid publishers $15 per book and sell it at a loss at $10 to it’s Kindle and Kindle app users like those on the iPhone.  The idea is to drum up awareness and bring folks over to the Amazon website where you can buy other things, including ebooks, that Amazon isn’t selling at a loss.

Now because Apple is offering publishers the freedom to set their own market price, some are calling this the agency model, the publishers felt like they’re in a better position.  With Apple taking 30% and the publishers taking 70% but with them calling the shots, the publishers feel now there is value in the books.

Having said all that, the publishers will be making less money with Apple’s model than with Amazon’s.  Apple is looking at $13-$15 a book. After Apple’s cut, the publishers will rake in $9.10 to $10.50 a book, less than the $15 that Amazon currently pays the publishers.

How does that make any sense?

See, with Amazon setting the price at $10 a book for the market but at a loss of $5, the publishers were afraid Amazon will come back one day and ask for a lower wholesale price.  As in lower than $10.  And if they don’t capitulate?  Well, Amazon can pull their books as they did last week with one publisher who didn’t agree with Amazon’s model during negations (Amazon eventually back off).   

But now, that’s all changed.  That threat has been removed.  On the iTunes app store or any app store, publishers can price their books at market price rather than one set price. 

On the short run, it definitely means the next Tom Clancy or Dan Brown book will cost $15 instead of $10.  But the hope is that over time, that price will come down as sales drop.  That’s what we hope will happen.

There's still a  lot of sorting going on.  We'll know more after the iPad goes on sale.

Note:  Tom Clancy?  Sorry, my bad. 


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Why Apple Developed It's Own Chip For The iPad

Here's a very well written article from Technology Review about why Apple bought its own chip expertise and why Apple needs to design its own chips.

And it's so well written that even I understood the techno-babble in it.  I don't try to use Onxo on these kinds of hardware topics but given the attention everyone has afford the iPad, both good analysis and the reactionary ones, I thought I'd share this one with you.

What's interesting is that even at this point, Apple is looking to control every element of its hardware development.  We already know about how Cupertino is with software and user experience.  One thing that struck out at me is that the current chip Apple uses from Samsung costs Apple $15 each but design its own may only cost $5.

Going forward, Apple will be using this chip on a majority of its products, iPad, iPod Touch, and the iPhone. We are looking at a combination of 40-60 million units a year.  At a saving of $10 per chip by moving away from a 3rd party to one of its own chip, Apple is looking to profit between 400 to 600 million dollars a year.

On the market scale, this is something many of its competitors cannot match.

More at Technology Review.