Wednesday, March 31, 2010

iPad: How It Will Improve My Mobile Experience

I'm less than 3 days away from totally changing my mobile habits. And with good reasons. First, unless you've been living on a part of the planet Earth where with no means of outside communication for the last couple of months, then you know that we're fast approaching iPad Day as I like to call it, April 3rd.

Bright and early Saturday morning, I'm gonna head over to my Apple store (yes, I own a couple of shares of AAPL so I like to think I own at least a couple of screws that's holding the place together) and with a large coffee in hand, wait until 9am for my reserved 32GB iPad.

Here’s how I envision my mobile life changing because of this:
  • No longer worry about the 4-5 hours I’m limited to on my Macbook. I can now safely work through the day on the 10 hours of battery life on the iPad. It’s no Macbook but it’ll do 80% of what I need done.
  • If I’m at a coffee shop or Borders, I’m going to be fine sitting somewhere without tables. The small footprint on the Macbook has always worked for me. And like the iPhone, the iPad will do just fine as I cradle it in my hands.
  • Wi-Fi. It’s everywhere now. I can only think of three places I frequent that I don’t have access to the Internet. But that’s fine. I’ll have my G1 or iPhone with me. Plus, I can tether with the G1 that will soon support HSPA 7.2.
  • iPhone 4.0. I know there is no concrete information about 4.0 but I think it’ll find in a lot of holes and silence critics who live out their days only to complain about things. I don’t know what new features iPhone 4.0 will have. Knowing Apple, we’re going to be happy about it. Plus, competitive pressure from Android is enough to light a fire under Jobs.
  • On some occasions, I’ll need my Macbook but I think I’ll be carry the iPad around more. With the Macbook coming in 4.5 lbs and the iPad at 1.5 lbs, my backpack will be a whole 3 lbs lighter.
  • VOIP. I’ll initially have the WiFi only version of the iPad. I’ve also placed an order for the 3G version. Just this morning, Goober announced that they’ve got VOIP solutions for users. I’ve got a few months left on my T-Mobile contract. Depending on how robust whatever VOIP I go with, I just might get rid of my phone contract.
  • Sitting. As I’ve said above, being able to hold the iPad up is a plus given its weight and small foot print. If you watch Steve Jobs sitting there hold the iPad, you can actually improve your posture, instead of bending over your laptop.
  • The iPad is always on. The Macbook I’ve got I can put to sleep but waking up, while it’s quick for the most part, can take a while depending on how much applications I’ve got open. If I need to show someone something or look up stuff quickly, I merely have to press the home button and I’m there. Instantaneously.
  • 32GB.  I'm currently limited to 16GB on my iPhone and 1GB on my G1.  Wow, the space.  What will I do?  Movies.  Check.  Special apps for the iPad?  Check.  How about a few episodes of my favorite TV or anime shows?  Done.  I only went with the 32GB because I'm sure I'll upgrade once a version of the iPad comes out with a frontal camera so there's no need to go with the 64GB now.  Plus, the 16GB would be too limited for my current needs.
I think I’ll likely modify and augment my mobile experience further once I’ve had some time to play with my iPad. I’m also looking forward to see what hardware developers come up with using Android.

What I really want to see if Chrome OS. So far, the demos for Chrome OS has been lame but I’m confident that Google has learned quite a bit from the iPhone and their experiences developing for Android. We’ll know later this year if things pan out as I hope.

Starting Sat morning, be prepared to be bombarded with iPad picture, news, and analysis. Not just from me but everyone else as well.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

After iPad, Who's Next?

This iPad week whether mobile warriors from other camps like it or not. But it'll be over eventually and another platform will get the attention. So who might that be?

Amazon with Kindle? Sony with a slew of Viao tablets powered by PSP 2? Nintendo surprising us with DS tablet or Microsoft mashing Zune, Xbox , and WM7 into a revolutionary alternative to mobile computing?

How about HTC, Dell and HP? Well, I don't have much hope for these three based on what I see near-term but I like to be surprised.

More at Onxo Mobile Devices for analysis on who has the best chance of offering a complete mobile computing experience.

Monday, March 29, 2010

First WiMax Phone From Sprint Cannot Talk & Surf At The Same Time

Here's the quick rundown:  When Sprint announced the HTC EVO last week, it really catapulted the 3rd place wireless provider to the front of the class as far as next generation mobile network is concerned.

Even T-Mobile made waves with its HSPA+ network plans.

But it was still EVO that made every mobile warrior salivate.  But HTC just told us that the handset can only allow the user to either talk or surf the Web, but not both.

More at On Android.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

List of Top Ten News Sources

In reading a Washington Post article about Glen Beck, who I agree is a clown, it gave us the top ten places the Web audience goes to get their news.
  1. Yahoo News - no surprise here
  2. MSNBC - not bad.  the website is very good but the broadcast really has bad, placing lasts behind Fox News and CNN.  
  3. AOL - this is a bit of a surprise.  I'm rooting for them because of their history.  
  4. CNN - good source of news.  sometimes information is hard to find.  I think CNN can charge online users for exclusive live broadcasts to what they've got on television.
  5. NY Times - coming in at 5, this does offer the paper hope of being able to charge for content.
  6. Google News - this is surprising.  But I have noticed that I go there quite a bit more because of how it organizes similar articles on topics I want to read about
  7. Fox News - given the perceived "anger" at the governmental establishment (incumbents).  Right or not, it does offer an online forum for right of center (and further right) readers to go read about a different take on news than from CNN or the NY Times
  8. ABC News - this is surprisingly low for them.  I don't know how they can fix this.
  9. Washington Post - it has been marginalized and read mainly among more elite and educated.  Mainstream folks aren't going to come here to find anything they can't find more easily from Yahoo or AOL.
  10. USA Today - they've tried social media components over the year but I guess it hasn't worked out.  Still, not bad.
A few sites that haven't made this list includes CBS News, WSJ, or one of the few wired services.

The trend will continue to show a diffusion as users, specifically mobile Internet users, become more Web savy and continue to look for news that geared towards their specific interests, for instance, politics and mobile techs like the iPhone.

It'll be sites like Politco and Drudge that provide political news, Engadget and Gizmodo for the latest on tech gadgets, and other media or social sites that are tailored specifically with speciality interests for their audience.

It isn't unheard of for many of the smaller sites to break news before even mainstream media (yes, including Fox News).  Last year's breaking news on Michael Jackson is a prime example of a specialty site breaking news before others did.  TMZ broke the news hours before anyone else, including the resourceful local LA media knew what was going on.

In the future, we'll see more of this.  Meanwhile, I continue to troll these top sites as well as media sites via my RSS readers.

More at Washington Post (again, coming in at number 9).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Telecom Conference Ends But Surprising; WiMax Dominated

Verizon. Hey, AT&T. It was Sprint. Yeah, it was Sprint that hit you. Oh, and while you were down, it was T-Mobile that kick sand in your face.

While Verizon and AT&T were talking. Just talking, Sprint "sprints" on and put more distance between it and the rest of the field. It remains in 3rd place but no one is saying that is isn't trying.

First, WiMax will be coming to additional markets, including some big ones: Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and about another dozen major cities. No more small towns in Texas, thank you very much.

Oh, Evo? Not "evil". HTC EVO, the first Wimax, 4G, -ready handset. It runs Android, has a huge 4.3" screen (Droid at 3.7", iPhone 3GS at 3.5'), and it's ready for video-conferencing with front facing camera. Okay, there have been other handsets with webcams but none of them run on a 4G network.

What has AT&T and Verizon been talking about? Nothing new. Innovation this. Innovation that. Nothing new. A lot of trash talking if that. Oh, they're waiting for more wireless spectrum.

Meanwhile, Sprint is telling everyone all is good and they've got enough bandwidth for everyone. Including, it appars, video conferencing.

Now about T-Mobile? HSPA+ is almost ready and it's going to be turned on in a matter of months. And they claim it is comparable to WiMax. We'll see if that pans out. Nevertheless, for the 4th place carrier, that came late to the 3G party, it has certainly made strides. HSPA+ will be up and running in about 100 cities in 2010.

Meanwhile, AT&T continued to talk over everyone but provided no firm dates on LTE and, for that matter, when iPhone tethering would be available. As far as matching T-Mobile's HSPA+, AT&T isn't going to try. It's CTO was talking about HSPA 7.2 - theoretically maxing out at 7.2mbps.

This is good I suppose. CEO of Deutsche Telekom, parent company, of T-Mobile USA stated he was looking to have the iPhone on T-Mobile's network later this year or early next year. I'm currently with T-Mobile. Guess who I'm rooting for.

As for Verizon Wireless, the largest wireless provider in terms of the number of subscribers, is trying to move to LTE as fast as it can. Second place AT&T can afford to wait it out a bit, as can T-Mobile, but VW cannot. Even now, it has the slowest 3G speed of the big four.

VW is placing it 4G bet on LTE. It hopes to have LTE up and running in 25-30 cities, covering 100 million users by the end of 2010. In real world terms, expect half that number.

This is where we are and where we can expect for the rest of 2010. Sprint and T-Mobile will be playing offense while AT&T and VW play defense for the wireless market. Coming out of CTIA, you can feel a shift how these four providers are perceived.

It is entirely conceivable that AT&T will end 2010 with the slowest wireless broadband network while Sprint chomps away at the end of the market that demands speed with T-Mobile cleaning up.

What's the immediate impact on mobile warriors? On the hardware front, I am drooling over the potential of the HTC EVO and how others, including Apple will try to catch up to what is obviously another major shift in the mobile market.

On the wireless broadband front, who doesn't like speed. Sprint and T-Mobile aren't talking about rationing or tiered access while At&T and Verizon, well, continue to talk. See, this is why we need competition. We are going to see major speed increase in the second half of 2010. With this extra bandwidth, we are likely to see apps that will take advantage of the increased speed.

For now, we wait until that happens.

More at Yahoo News. A most read that pretty summarizes some of my thoughts.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Google Stops Censorship In China

Google has stopped censoring results in China.

Google.cn is redirected to google.hk.  Google will also indicate to users when the Beijing is trying to apply filters to results.

Hope no one at Google in China gets arrested for this.

Yahoo, MSN, Apple, and others.  Follow this example please.  May not be good for your bottomline or shareholders but, at least, you'll have a soul.

Note:  I am a shareholder in all above mentioned companies.  I don't mind taking a hit for this move.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sprint: We've Got Your 4G Right Here

Really, Sprint has 4G now. WiMax. It's in some places. Nowhere near where I live but somewhere. And Sprint is attempting to push this on iPhone users. I'm sure others fit into this category as well.

In the latest advertising spot, Sprint mocks AT&T's 3G network and attempts to supplement it by offering its unfinished, albeit existing, 4G network.

It's a clever spot. I'm not sure the iPhone users ought to be its target audience. I think it's more of the iPod Touch and Wi-Fi only iPads that Sprint should be going after.

Enjoy.



It's very Apple-esque. AT&T, your move. Oh, right...LTE in 2012, is it? No wonder Sprint isn't in that big of a hurry to push out WiMax to the rest of the country.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Palm's Problem: I Don't Know Where To Start

I'm going to to second guess what Rubinstein and others have done at Palm. As a matter of fact, at any other time, against any other foes, I would say Palm had a great chance of changing the dynamics of the mobile market.

In the after hours of trading, Palm tanked about 15%, making its market value under $800 million. Sales fell short and forecast even more so. Things just aren't going well for Palm at the moment. In fact, things are stacked against Palm in just about pretty much every way.

Still, this isn't unlike the days when Apple was on the brink of extinction. The main problem at Palm isn't its technology or products. WebOS is amazing and the Pre is pretty cool, compared even to the iPhone. The problem is that everyone expected the large number of former Apple alumni (execs and engineers) who joined Palm to resurrect Palm the way they did (in their own ways) with Apple.

The fact that this didn't happen is going to be a great case study for business schools all over to dissect and analyze. In executions, there are difference between Apple and Palm. In timing, the Pre went up against the 3GS and Android. And then there was the iTunes fiasco of trying to make iTunes think the Pre is an iPod.

Against the odds, I am hoping that things will turn around for one of the premier mobile companies. It has an unique technical DNA unlike anything else seen at Microsoft, Google, and even, Apple.

Just today, Rubinstein blamed Sprint for some of Palm's woes. I don't know that's how I'd do it, alienating a partner that you still need. I think Palm needs to "think different" about how they want to execute their plans. They've got the OS and hardware that does along with it.

Perhaps, it's time for Palm to be bold in some way. It may need a bigger partner, like HTC or Motorola. Palm can also consider licensing its OS and technology to other companies.

To be sure, it needs to do something. Timing is going to be key with whatever Palm does.

Note: I love to see a WebOS tablet.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mobile No Longer Special But Necessary

I'm beginning to think that having access to mobile Internet is no longer something special. In fact now, it's almost a necessity if you've come to rely on it for much of your day-to-day activities. I'm not talking about updating Facebook or texting your peeps.

Company e-mails comes to mind. In my work, I'm constantly researching and searching for what my clients need. For personal needs, paying bills and scheduling and coordinating this weekend's dinner with friends is made a lot easier with group calendar.

I suppose what I'm saying is that more people now have access to wireless Internet and we're at a point where we are comfortable with adapting it to our lives. In fact, I'm pretty comfortable with watching my NBA games on my iPhone.

Being able to do that isn't all that special anymore.

Mobile App Wealth To Jump In 3 Years

According to a report from commissioned by GetJar, a bit self-serving since it's an app store but doesn't make it untrue, app business could explode by 2012 to the tune of $17.5 billion. Here are quick facts from the report:
  • 92% Growth year over year from 7 billion downloads in 2009 to 50 billion by 2012.
  • $17.5 Billion by 2012 - a market value greater than the CD market of nearly $14 billion.
  • Asian app downloads will exceed Western regions but will require a different monetary models.
  • Europe will hit $8.5 billion by 2012.  North America will hit $6.7 billion in the same time frame.
  • Advertising-based apps will account for 28% of app revenue in 2012 - up from 12% in 2009.
  • Average selling app price in 2009 is $1.90 but will decrease by 29% by 2012.
One of the highlighted fact in the report is who will come out ahead at the end of the day.  It is unclear how many app stores will spring up and who will be left standing.  The report believes a mere few will be left by 2012 to share the app revenue of $17.5 billion.

Even now, Google, Apple, and others are attempting to create an device-app-content ecosystem to cultivate as much as the demands of mobile users as possible.  I'm sure Android Marketplace, Apple's App Store, and a couple others will be around.  It'll be interesting to see if any of the more independent variety will be around and what kind of impact they may have.

So, anyone still looking to get into the app business, now's the time.

More at Business Wire, CNet News.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thinking Beyond Web 2.0 and Mobile Is Needed For Protesters and Dissidents

One of the reasons I started blogging about mobility and mobile devices is that I loved my OLPC's XO. Unfortunately, the device hasn't taken off as I had hoped but I've had plenty of other mobile issues to write about.

Now, I'm going to get into mobility and censorship. Bottomline: current social and mobile tools are not adequate to circumvent regimes bent on oppressing its citizens. Sites like Twitter and Facebook can easily be blocked. Ask Google how it's doing with it's Chinese search engine.

In fact, I'm not sure any tools created on existing technologies and Internet protocols will be effectively. The main advantage dissident groups may have is the ability to move quickly to avoid giving the government time to adjust.

Obviously both sides can create new tactics. But I've got an idea from one of the things I've spoke to Dave the Mobile Warrior. Remember when you're kids, and you can create a two- or three- way communication device with cups (cans) connected by a string?

Well. I don't think those anti-government protesters are going to carry around cans with strings all over the place. But I spoke to Dave about creating what I like to call a "puff network" by string together a bunch of access points and creating a small Internet. Your own Internet that allows you to do everything you want and provide access to those you trust.

Obviously, that's not going to work since the demonstrators are always on the move. It's not going to work for those Chinese dissidents trying to bring democracy to Beijing. But if someone can program an app that allows like minded mobile devices or laptops to share bandwidth using obfuscating protocols, would it be possible create these puff networks that is constantly moving and making it difficult for regimes to track individual movements?

Here's a scenario. A few thousand protecters are trying to find a place to demonstrate their ire against an issue or government. Instead of texting, since it's being monitored by the government, the leaders can send out messages via a private puff network accessible to trusted individuals who can share it by word of mouths. Dissidents can use these puff networks to share ideas and papers with others, effectively bypassing monitors and other censor apparatuses.

I'm leaving out a lot of details here but I believe this can be achieved. I'll leave the technical details to folks like Dave the Mobile Warrior and other technically inclined readers to think this over.

Personally, I think it's kind of cool to be able to string together access points and mobile devices to create a puff network. You can share music, movies, or any other files with people you trust. You can own your own Internet.

Crazy? Well, that's for blogs are for. It's why I enjoy writing about these things. No, it's not crazy. Someone prove me right.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tablet Success Depends On Complete Ecosystems

Duh, right? Just look at the success of the iPod and now the iPhone. Apple has created a complete ecosystem of connection, content, and services. In-Stat's latest report on this segment suggests that this is also going to be key to determine the success of tablets.

This is why Apple has been furiously trying to get the studios to lower prices, be open to new revenue models, and opening up content on the iTunes store. This is why Nokia and Google are trying to add their own services to compete effectively.

In-Stat, really pointed out two factors but I combined both into one. They pointed out that Kindle has a wireless connection, making it a complete system, more so than the iPhone. The Kindle has wireless connectivity while the iPhone requires a paid service. That is true but once Kindle emerges from the depth of Amazon's own R&D labs, it will be more hungry for content, which means a more robust wireless service. And that would make the Kindle less appealing in this regard.

The second matter In-Stat reported on is the ecosystem. Of course, they don't say it like that.

They did make one interesting point that Steve Jobs brought up during the iPad event. The tablets sits snuggly between the smartphone and the laptop, making it potentially very attractive to consumers because of portability, and, in my opinion, cost of entry.

It also examines the following points:
  • Examining the evolution of the mobile electronics market
  • Comparing tablets to other mobile devices
  • Evaluating the keys to success in terms of technology, content/applications, wireless services, and business models
  • Providing an outlook for both consumer and commercial segments of the market
  • Analyzing the bill-of-materials of a tablet and forecasting the future trends
  • Examining the initial products and strategies of some of the initial market entrants, such as Apple.
I do believe this isn't just my inner-"geek-wannbeness" talking but I am very excited about the tablet segment of the mobile market.  Since seeing its descendants on television and movies, and my re-imagining of how tablets can play a viable part on Stargate Atlantis, I've been waiting for the days for powerful tablets with useful applications, wireless Internet access, and long battery life (longer the better).

There is a lot of pinned up demand for just such a device.  With Apple's own silicon, Nividia, and Qualcomm's chips, it looks like it'll be for real this time around.  Microsoft and Intel made a valiant attempt with the UMPC a few years back.  I think this time, it ought to work.

More at In-Stat.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tablets Perfect In An Office And For Those On the Move

I'm at home mostly when I'm not at work or the gym. Okay, scratch the gym part. But I do move around from one location to another. Today, I had to move around quite a bit as the cleaning crew worked on my house. I also move around the office from time to time.

This is where a laptop comes into play. And soon, tablets. Be it for meetings or moving around as the cleaning crew work, I have had to vacate to get out of their way. Right now, I use my Macbook but I also use my G1 and iPhone when I don't need the power of a laptop. If I want to update Facebook or Twitter, do a quick e-mail check, or scan the headlines, the iPhone and G1 works nicely.

What if I don't need a full sized laptop but I want a bigger screen and a bit more freedom? Ah, this is where Steve Jobs put the iPad, right between the iPhone and the Macbook.

What I like mostly is the long battery life that comes with the iPad (hopefully, other tablets will also have long battery life). For this class of light weight devices, long battery life is a must.

For meetings, many people drag their laptops into the conference. Instead of that, tablets will be used. Notes, schedules, and any information gathered that are typed can quickly sync to the users' databases from the tablets. Google has really made this so easy with their cloud oriented services. Apple and others are trying to duplicate that. I'll get more into this later but for now, easy access to data is a must. It's a killer app as far as mobility is concerned.

But the fact that the iPad sits snuggly between the iPhone and the Macbook (for others, it's a smartphone and just about any laptop), Apple is trying to convey that the iPad has more to offer than the netbook. I can't say I agree with that though. I've got a netbook and it works very well.

My main gripe about netbooks is the portability if you want to compare it to the tablet. Plus, most netbooks doesn't come close what what the battery life of coming tablets offer. On top of that, netbooks doesn't run specialized OS catered to this class computers. As a result, there could be a lot of processing power wasted, sucking up energy. I think Chrome OS might change that a bit but we won't know until the end of the year.

The main advantage the iPad has is this specialized OS that runs on it. It'll be interesting once people start using them in the wild how much of an impact it will have on the mobility realm.

Personally, I'm a geek-wannabe (I don't claim to be once, they wouldn't have me) and I like new technology. And the iPad is just such a new tech with the potential to really improve how we do things. And this is "change" that we can see and believe in quickly.

Weekend Mobile: Tablets On TV And Movies and Cleaning the House

I'm cleaning up my house ahead of the cleaning lady coming over tomorrow. Yeah, I have to clean up a bit before she comes. It's just the nature of things are for me. And no, it's not that I can really afford a cleaning lady, it's just that the house really needs cleaning.

Having said that, two things about mobile here.

First, as I'm working on putting things in order, making it easier for the cleaning lady, I'e got Stargate Atlantis running in the background (house is quiet). One of the most interesting aspects about the show, other than the ability to travel between worlds (and that ever alien race speaks English), is that the personnel on Atlantis uses tablets a lot.

Had Atlantis been made this year or next instead of 5 years ago, instead of laptop tablets, we'll see iPads or maybe even Android pads. Think about it, the iPhone already owns a big chunk of air time on primetime shows. Next year, we will likely see tablets dominate shows that utilize tech. CSI, shows in Syfy, and thrillers like "24".

Should there be a straight-to-DVD movie made for Stargate Atlantis, I'm pretty sure McKay and Zelenka will be saving the universe from the Wraith or Replicators using iPads instead of the bulky Toshiba tablets they had to lugg around on Atlantis.

iPad Craze: Just Warming Up

It's time.  I'm talking about the iPad frenzy that is about to start.

In the last couple of weeks, Apple has laid low while allowing pundits and bloggers to talk up the iPad.  There was a good mix of doubters as well.

With today's announcement, Apple is gearing up for a major public push to get the iPad into the forefront of the tech world.

Starting March 12th, you will be able to pre-order and iPad and it will be available for sale or pickup on April 2nd, a month from now.

Over at On Apple, I've laid out how Apple will continue to march forward with the iPad push in the coming months.  Oh, the next version of the iPhone won't be too far behind.

So, for whatever reason you missed the iPhone frenzy the last time, here's your chance.  the iPad craze might just match that of the iPhone.

More at On Apple.

Lessons From Nexus One (For All Device Developers)

One of the hottest mobile devices on the market is no doubt the iPhone.  And with the new version potentially just 4-5 months away with the iPad looming, much of the work on the hardware has already been completed.

But the main component, the OS, can continue to evolve.  Macworld came up with a post on what the iPhone can learn from Nexus One.  But the underlying subtext is the power and versatility of Android.  Therefore, just about any other mobile OS can learn from exactly the same lessons taken from the post.

Flexible home screen is what Android has been known for.  Whether it's HTC or Motorola, they've been able to craft individual skins for the home screen, allowing users access information they typically find use and more quickly.  IM, SMS, and Facebook updates.

This is one failing of the iPhone OS, or strength by some.  The Home screen for the iPhone is static as it is for many other mobile OS.

The article goes on to talk about widgets and notifications as well.  It's a recommended read for mobile buffs but for regular mobile warriors, it is worth noting that this holy-grail device Macworld is talking about doesn't exist just yet.

Maybe it will be the next iPhone or another device from Motorola that comes closer to an even more seemless mobile device.  I wager that all mobile fans will be happy to see the next crop of offerings in the coming months even if none of them encompasses everything mentioned in the article.

The iPhone OS isn't likely to gain true multi-tasking but users will accept any scheme created by Apple to offer more flexibility in operating the apps (largely due to Steve Jobs' reality distortion field) while Android, Windows Mobile, and others will come closer to some of the iPhone's user experience and maintain a lot more flexibility in dealing with apps and customizations.

Regardless, give the article a read as it is longer than most Internet posts on this subject.  I'm sure many developers have thought about these issues and it articulates many recommendations and shortcomings that many of us have argued about.

More at Macworld.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hundreds of Millions of Mobile VOIP by 2012

One hundred million? Two? Nope, about 300 million mobile warriors around the world will have mobile VOIP by 2013. That is the latest study released by In-Stat. A more precise number is 288 million, a shade under the size of the entire US population.

Of course, this is a far cry from the 6.6 billion Earthlings currently populating our small world. So we're talking about 4.5%.

I think that is just the beginning. As more 3G networks are build out or upgraded while 4th generation wireless networks become commercially available in 2011 and 2012, we should see an even faster adoption of mobile VOIP.

I like to go out on a limb now and say that we should see a number of half a billion by 2013 than what In-Stat conservatively came up with. China and the rest of Asia will emerge from this global funk we're in strong with a population flushed with cash with a great appetite for new mobile technologies.

And given the deal Skype recently made with Verizon, Google hungrily looking to expand its reach in the mobile market with Google Voice and Android, and Apple's own solution with the iPhone, we are looking a a strong spark to move mobile communication using VOIP. These are companies with a lot of influence and cash.

In-Stat all report 400 million devices will ship with Wi-Fi and traditional cell connection.

For startups and entrenched companies like Skype (I'm a Skype fan by the way), the VOIP market is ripe for the taking and allows for multiple players.

More at In-Stat.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

App Idea For Tablets: An Intelligent Music Sheet App

I have had house guests for the past 3 months and it was one of the best times of my life. But they’re gone now (almost), and I’m adjust to life, living alone again. I’m sorry to see them go but like most things in my life such as this, they’re fleeting.

However, I was able to find time this morning for a decent run, came home, showered, and found myself with some time. I suppose I work up early and found the empty house a bit discomfortable. So I sat at my piano that had no been used for these few months and started hacking away. Hacking because the pieces I was working on is taking me quite a bit longer than I expected.

But it got me thinking about the iPads and tablets that are coming. I would love a music sheet app. Not only that, I’m looking for some features that can’t be found on standard old paper sheets or books.

I want the following features:
  • Ability for the app to listen in on the music being played.
  • As it “listens”, it’s able to track your progress.
  • It will turn or scroll as you play so there isn’t the turning of the pages like we have to do now.
  • While listening, it can tell you what notes are being played and if you’re playing it right.
  • While listening, it can provide you with the right pace of play.
  • It will have a built in metrotone so you can hear the click of the tempo while you play. Or you can turn off the sound and see some kind of flashing indicator.
I'm sure there are other mobile musicians out there who would like to see something like this.  I'm sure I'll be asking too much of this app allows users to create their own music and share it on some kind of social network.

Hopefully, one of the music sheet sellers can create an app with just what I'm asking for.

Monday, March 1, 2010

WiFi On Amtrak - Shows More Needs To Be Done To Provide Wireless Access

It's great that Amtrak is now offer wireless Internet access on some of its routes but it really just shows that so much more has to be done and can be done.

For instance, in some places where public transportations and taxis are ubiquitous, it makes sense for the local government or private companies to install access points at intervals to allow wider Internet coverage. And it would be a great source of additional revenue in this kind of economy.

As the buses move around and the taxis serve the city, it allows patrons to be able to access fast Internet.  After all, not everyone has 3G access all the time and only a small minority of the workforce has a wireless-enabled mobile device for Web access. And I'm sure it won't be for some years before a large portion of the population has this capability.

As a matter of fact, this isn't without precedent as a school in Arizona provides Internet access on its school bus (Engadget). What started out as a pilot has turned into more as school officials found increased productivity (and likely, less wedgies and spitballs).

And in downtown areas where there are a lot of public transportions, installing wireless Internet access on taxis and buses allow a large portion of an area to be blanketed by WiFi coverage.  This is a cheap way to provide Internet access.

Along that note, it would be great if parking meters which are everywhere these days also act as access points.  Makes sense right?

More at Yahoo News.