Monday, January 31, 2011

Motorola Signals New Tablet War With Superbowl Ad

Check out Motorola's Superbowl XOOM commercial.

It's digging at Apple by referring to the 1984 ad.

Awesome! I love competition!!!

It's time for the tablet way to begin. We saw a bit of that when Samsung Tab and other Android tablets took on 25% of the tablet market. Let's be clear. It isn't as if it was stealing from Apple as the iPad sales racked up over 7 million iPads and billions in sales.

The market is wide wide open for newcomers as well as current players, Apple and Microsoft. Yeah, I'm including Microsoft in all this. And it makes sense.

The tablet war will soon be joined by the one-two punch of HP and Web OS as well as RIM and its hopes in Playbook.

There's going to be a lot of trash talking in the coming days. Apple had 95% of a market that no one knows anything about. This is a war that will last years if not decades. I am looking for Google to be a strong player with Apple fighting and biting to retain the top position.

What I see is a dark horse coming along and disrupt things along the way. I don't know who but pay attention folks, it's game on. And this Motorola commercial on Superbowl Sunday is just the start.

More at Android Guys.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Sunday, January 30, 2011

AT&T's "4G" Network Is Nothing To Write Home About

I inherited Mom's 3G iPad last week as she waits for iPad 2 with the better resolution and frontal camera so that she can conduct video chats for work and with friends. I have been using a Wi-Fi only version and more recently, bought an. iSpot for use with it to get the wireless Internet access.

And while ATT prides itself on having the fastest 3G network in the United States, I cannot be sure if that means much. And here is why.

In one day's use and based on past experiences with ATT in the past and with T-Mobile's own network and now Clearwire's WiMax service, I am in a good position to pass a long a few conclusions.

Today, WiMax is excellent if you can get it. It is wicked fast. I consistently get about 4.5 Mbps. When T-Mobile turned on their HPSA+ network last year, I went from about 1MBps on the Android G1 to about 3 Mbps. And my understanding is that things have vastly improved by quite a bit. We could be looking at speeds up to 20 Mbps by the end of 2011.

These two current scores are in contrast with an average of 2 Mbps that I am getting on the 3G iPad. There was about three bars.

However, all the speed on the world means nothing if you can't good signals. And while I might be able to see a couple of bars, I can't say that I am happy with the 3G speed from AT&T. On the iPad, I am still unable to get anything close to the WiFi signal through the iSpot or the G1 acting as a MiFI versus just the 3G on Ma Bell.

I still don't understand why that is the case. This is something that I'll probably need to get Dave the Mobile Warrior to chime in on this.

And this is a huge deal going forward. Presumably, the next iPad may have native wireless access to Verizon's CDMA network along side AT&T. Unless it is able to somehow shorten the latency time or flip a switch to boost signal, it will not matter if users cannot access AT&T's HSPA+ speed running 14-21 Mbps while the slower CDMA networking running 1-2 Mbps is accessible by users on the same area.

Trust me, Verizon will be going after potential iPhone switchers from AT&T. A side-by-side comparison of signal strength could be just what Verizon is eagerly waiting for.

-- Post From My iPad

Amazon Giving Prime Users Free Unlimited Streaming

If this is true, I'm back on being an Amazon Prime user. According to some reports, Amazon Prime users are seeing options to have Video On Demand streaming of movies for free.

While this isn't totally confirmed nor has Amazon made an official statement on this matter, there is a lot of benefits for Amazon in this regard. Obviously, users will get more bang for its dollars should Amazon continue its march into online content.

Could this be the beginning of a new arms race in online video streaming?

More at Greenjava.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Windows Phone 7 Should Be Free Like Android

It's do or die time and I think Microsoft should just do whatever it takes to get back into the mobile game. Even if that means giving it away for free.

I've had many opportunities to play with Windows Phone 7 and like three different devices sporting Microsoft's newest mobile OS. And it's quite good. Needs more work but it'll get there. But at this rate, even if it does "get there", it'll hardly matter if no mobile warrior is buy it or not many folks using it to make it.

This is where if Microsoft gives it away for free, it can really hit Google's Android in a place where it hurts and maybe even take the step after that to go after the iPhone.

First, by making it free, it negates the main advantage that Google's Android have - that it is free. I don't know how much Microsoft charges for it but I don't think it can be all that much. And given that so far only 2 million WP7 devices have shipped (not sold as Microsoft claims), it isn't much part of Microsoft's last quarter profit ($6.6 billion) if at all or a measurable amount of the $19 plus billion in revenue. So why not give it away?

Second, Microsoft can stipulate that if they take WP7 for free, they must use Bing as its search engine. This is something that Google cannot make Android device makers do because Google has said that Android would be open-sourced and free to use. Right now, some Android devices sold on Verizon Wireless are using Bing as their default search engine.

Third, Microsoft can try to reclaim lost revenue of giving WP7 away for free by typing more of the OS to other more profitable ventures like Windows 7, Xbox initatives, and Office. Plus, Microsoft is investing a lot in cloud services. If Redmond can create a coherent ecosystem, it stands to gain a lot. Plus, it will be able to put a hurt on Google.

The next step, Microsoft should work on its own hardware just like Google did with Nexus One and is doing with Nexus S.

This is my prediction. Microsoft will continue to upgrade Windows Phone with more features to catch up to Android and iOS. And it can do so quickly. But by that time, it might not matter. So I think Microsoft will let WP7 loose. Microsoft will handle all the development and recoup the costs and one day make money through ads and services linked to other Microsoft products.

I don't think it has any other choices if it wants to stay relevant in the mobile market.

If You Want a Verizon iPhone, I Don't Think You Should Wait

Can you believe it has been almost three weeks since Apple and Verizon Wireless (VZW) announced the availability of the iPhone on America's largest (maybe second largest - VZW is disputing reports in the media that AT&T is now number one) wireless carrier and on its CDMA network.

And we are less than a week from current VZW customers getting first crack at ordering it. And the week after that, it'll be the general public's turn.

And while I am trying to stay strong and wait a bit longer, I wonder if Apple and VZW are underestimating the demands.

So far, all the folks I have spoken to are very excited about the iPhone on VZW and seemed ready to pull the trigger on it. And all surveys back in late 2010 as well as recent blog polls suggests an iPhone rout in the mobile market.

Not convinced? Let's take both Ma Bell and VZW's earrings this week. Both reported less new subscribers than Wall Street estimated. The conventional wisdom for this is that many mobile warriors held back purchases or upgrades, despite being the Holidays, and waited on faith, because we didn't know if the iPhone really was coming to VZW, that they can get the iPhone on VZW.

So the pended up demands is there. While we don't know just how much, I think we can safely say that there are going to be long lines again.

This time, however, the lines will all be outside the Apple stores and VZW stores. AT&T guys can just take it easy. At least, until June.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Nokia Embracing Android (Or Windows Phone 7) Would Be Bad For Mobile Users

Nokia is making money but it's not an investor or media favorite for obvious reasons. Though still the biggest cell phone marker in the world, it's market-share is eroding and being chipped away by more nimble and innovative companies and platforms.

There has been a lot of talk about Nokia embracing Android. Then Windows Phone 7. No one really knows but it does sound like it is about to do that. And that is bad for mobile warriors like us.

Here's why.

The mobile market is huge. There are seven billion humans on the planet and a majority of that do no use smartphones or mobile devices. That means there is a lot of growth. I'm not putting it in terms of potential. The growth is real. It'll be a decade or so before smartphones saturate the market.

That also means there is plenty of room for a lot of mobile players and the size of the market can support multiple platforms.

But with Nokia going away from Symbian or Meego and taking the easy way out by using Android and/or WP7, we lose out a top tier tech company embracing tech without the innovative efforts it would have otherwise needed to sustain its own mobile platform.

Effectively, Nokia becomes another HTC, Samsung, or an drone for someone else's mobile effort.

Look at Samsung. Yes, it has found success with Android selling over ten million Galaxy S devices and over two million Galaxy Tabs. However, it is also trying to foster its own platform. I am sure Nokia will do the same with Symbian or Meego. So, ask Samsung how well its Bada OS is doing?

I'll bet you most mobile warriors have not heard of it unless he or she is a mobile enthusiast like myself. And the same thing will happen to Nokia's other mobile efforts.

I know the executives at Nokia are under a lot of pressure to perform. However, if its true that Nokia is about to jump into bed with Google or Microsoft over its own mobile OS, any short-term gain from this effort will be the first step down the road towards its demise.

Contrast this with HP and Palm. HP will spend multi-years developing and fostering Web OS and I'm betting they will find greater success than anyone else is giving them credit for. Nokia ought to look at what HP is doing and find inspiration there.

Frankly, we have enough Android and Windows Phone devices out there. Nokia has to create its own digital and mobile vision and follow through on it. It's doable and there's a lot of time left.

We need more platforms competing on the market. Not less.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sony Release Next Generation Portable Gaming - Yes, A Game Changer

In my family, I have always had respect for much of what Sony delivered in terms of electronics and innovation. And yes, the PSP was innovative. And with NGP, next-generation portable, Sony has once again showed that it is alive and well, and ready to kick sand in the eyes of Nintendo, Apple, and anyone else who says that its better days in mobile gaming was in the past.

Here's a rundown of the specs that is already rocking mobile gaming. You're going to get blown away big time.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Without Smartphones or Cell Service, Noticed Social Changes

Should I get an iPhone 5 or the next best and greatest Android device later in the year? Or should I just stick with my iPod touch and iSpot setup? Well, I'm months away from having to decide. However, here's a short story I wanted to share with you in the meantime regarding mobile and the social changes I've observed in the last decade or so.

Just a recap about my current telephony situation. I've got a landline which no one uses except the alarm company and the police. Second, my mobile use is just the iPod touch and my iSpot from Clearwire (who I am more confident is going to okay financially). I use Google Voice, Skype, or Whistle phones to dial and receive calls and for receiving SMS. No cell phone service anymore.

Last night, 90 minutes before the Kings-Coyotes game, I called *(via Skype at home on the iPad) the two friends up to confirm the time and location we were going to meet outside the Staple Center. Where the Chick Hearns statue is at 1915. It was easy.

Know how to get there? Okay. You don't want to carpool there? Fine. It's Thursday night in LA and downtown traffic will be nuts. You understand that right? Excellent. See you guys at the game. Drive safely.

That was it. It was like high school. It was like in college. It was basically the time before everyone had mobile phones. It was a time before we could screw around with schedules on the fly.

It was a time when a commitment to time and place meant something. Sure, there were some folks whose DNA deemed that they must be late every freaking time but we adjusted. Now, if you're early or on time (like I am all the time), well, that's your choice. Meeting at 6 means 6:30 or even 7.

Without anyway to contact me now, folks will be forced to go back to what it was like. Just like last night. I had the tix and there was no freaking way I was gonna way for folks who were late. Kings got shutout last night. However, that isn't the point. Point is that I was gonna go enjoy the full game.

After the game, we decided to go grab a bite. I carpooled with a friend who was familiar with the night life downtown. He told the other friend where to go. He had a cell phone as did the other guy. I walked away with a feeling that the directions to the restaurant wasn't very clear. At least, it wasn't to me.

My friend and I got there first. The other friend got lost. So he called. Which was fine. But before the days of instant communications, he would have made sure he darn well knew exactly where to go or else, he was knew he was not going to make it to dinner with us.

So last night, I saw both worlds. One without cell phones and another with. On one hand, we had to commit our schedule before meeting up like in the old days. On the other, it is as it is now. People rely on their mobiles to get them to place and not necessarily on schedule.

I think I've got an excellent opportunity to embark on something here. An experiment to see just how people around me adjust to live as I've effectively broken the link that smartphones have established for the last few years. Maybe they'll realized the need to establish and stick to time commitments. Maybe I'll be chastised and be left out of social circles. As for the latter, it is one that I am willing to risk just to see how it works out.

As you know, I'm a big fan of mobile. I carry around two smartphones (though without services) and an iPad. And I'm likely to add a Web OS or Android tablet some time this year. So you know me. Huge mobile warrior. I can't live without my gadgets.

But I am trying to live without mobile and bring back a bit of social order and commitment that I once knew. I'm not asking for much here. I see mobile as a tool and not as a means to an excuse about being tardiness or changing plans on the fly.

What do you think? Regardless, I'll be back after a few weeks to let you know how it goes. My guess is I'll have things my way. Last night highlighted the change and difference between then and now as far as how mobile has influenced our social behaviors. In the month that I've stopped using mobile, folks have had to adapt.

It's early but I'm liking where this is going.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Green: EPA's Hydraulic Hybrid System To Power Chrysler Cars Without Using Batteries

Hybrid cars without the expensive battery inside and still manage to get mileage than regular combustion-engine vehicles?  Maybe this might be just the answer to getting cheaper and more efficient cars on the road.

Chrysler and the Environmental Protection Agency are working to integrate the EPA's hydraulic hybrid system into a few of their heavier vehicles to increase the mileage which should result in less carbon emission.

We can see up to a 30% increase in fuel efficiency from this process – 60% for city dwellers.  The way it works is that during breaking, heat lost would instead be stored tank containing hydraulic fluid with a nitrogen bladder.  It would be pushed back during stops at which time the engine in these cars should be shut off.  It would power the car without using gas.  The engine turns back on when needed.

And more than that, because it does use batteries like other hybrids (Volt, Prius, Insight), such a hydraulic hybrid system makes the world less reliant on rare earth metals, which China is attempting to ration and likely use it as a political and economic bargaining chip.

Though the EPA is working with Chrysler on this, I don't see why other car makers can't explore this as well.  Honestly, Chrysler cars and designs just don't do it for me.  It's more something of the baby boomers might drive.

Here are a couple of examples of HHS working (2006):

  • UPS has 88K trucks and costs $1.4B in fuel.  However, while hybrid vehicles with battery can take about a decade to recoup the cost, the EPA estimate that the UPS can recoup that back in 2.5 years.  
  • Ford is working on an Expedition (13 mpg) with a HHS system that can provide 32 mpg in the city or 22 mpg on the highway.  That's nearly 150% and 70% increase in fuel efficiency respectively.

More at CNN, How Stuff Works, Automedia, EPA (PDF)

Note:  According to the Wiki page, such a system has the advantage over more expensive battery solutions  However, packing and noise serves as technical barriers.  But it appears Chrysler have found a way to overcome that.

Two Companies Hurt Most by the Verizon iPhone

According to an unofficial and certainly non-scientific poll taken by Business Journal, a full 40% are ready to jump over to Verizon for the iPhone.  Still, even at 30% (maybe the poll points to 50% because this is not scientific after all), that is quite a high number.

And maybe this is good for Apple, it certainly isn't good for a few companies with a lot to protect and, maybe, even their futures are in jeopardy.

Let me begin by saying that none of them is Google.  Android is going to be huge and nothing is gonna stop it.  Not Apple.  I'm also not saying that Google will rule the mobile realm but I am just saying that Android is here to stay.

The first company I think will be going through a lot of pain is RIM.  RIM was thrown aside when its Storm was unable to match the iPhone blow for blow.  And with the iPhone going on sale on Verizon's network starting Feb 3rd, I can see sales already coming to a screeching halt.  And it might get worse if Apple opens up the iPhone to Sprint and T-Mobile.  

Even with the Playbook, it might not be enough to stop enterprise adoption of iOS devices as workers take up Apple's mobile gears.  And if you didn't know, Playbook works okay as a standalone tablet but only shines if it is coupled with a Blackberry.  Well, if less folks are using Blackberries, what's the point of the Playbook then?

The second company I think that will get hit hard by the tsunami of iPhone sales through Verizon, though the effects will not be as immediate as it will be for RIM, is Microsoft.  Why?  Because of this pattern.

As consumers, who also happen to be workers, adopt the iPhones and iPads and take them into their workplace, they may inevitably rely less on Windows.  And the halo effect of the iOS devices are strong.  And that could be more iOS and Mac sales for Apple.

Don't believe me?  Apple just sold its best ever number of Macs at over 4 million and along the way, moved over 7 million iPads.  The number for iPad will increase in 2011 as Apple also add native support for Verizon's CDMA network.  

So far, Microsoft has not positioned Windows Phone 7 as well as I hope.  But 2011 through 2012 will determine just how much Microsoft fades in mobile or whether it can mount a Steve Jobs-like comeback.  

I seriously doubt that Apple will be able to repeat the dominance it has had on the ATT network on the Verizon network.  But even if it manages to attract 30% of mobile users to use the iPhone, this will have devastating efforts on Apple's competitors across the mobile market.

Note:  On ATT's network, the iPhone outnumber Android devices 15 to 1.

Preliminary Speculation on Apple's nearly $4B Payment For Future Tech: I think It's About Glass

I'll have more to say on this but right now, I want to give my initial speculation on what I think Apple may have paid upfront for with the $3.9 billion Tim Cook mentioned in Apple earnings call yesterday

Glass.  Not just LCD or the Retina screen that many folks are speculating about but glass that goes on the iPhone.  The gorilla glass from Corning.  And more than just trying to find a stronger material for the iPhone, Apple is looking to add touch put to the underside of the iOS devices.

Beginning with the iPhone.  Probably not iPhone 5 but I'm guess it'll be for iPhone 6 and beyond. 

And while this doesn't mean twice the LCD screen, it does mean twice the type of glass that's needed to take in touch controls.  And a few weeks ago, there was a new patent granted to Apple that allows the touch contacts to be placed closer.  

Speculation then was that it will allow Apple to make thinner iOS devices but it could mean that it'll allow Apple to add touch to the bottom of the iPhone or iPod touch without increasing the thickness of the devices.

I've got other speculations on what Apple might have put the nearly $4 billion down payment for.  But this is what I'm most excited to share with you.  Again, these are my own speculations and one that I like to see.

Back touch input will put a whole new dynamics in how we interact with our mobile devices.  I fully expect other device makers to be looking into this.  But if I'm right, it does look like Apple has a jump on everyone else again.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mobile: Authors And Publishers Should Also Lend eBooks To Promote Sales

Lending ebooks are an interesting idea but it shouldn't be. I've borrowed from them as well. And after Barnes and Noble started to allow Nook users to lend books to other Nook owners, it appears that the Kindle can now offer similar feature.  It's likely others will follow as well.

Well, how about the publishers themselves?  Can they also lend out books to readers?  And what if Amazon and the other book sellers want to do the same?

This is an interesting concept that came to mind while I was at a coffee shop and the table next to me happened to be a couple of friends who were talking about one of their Kindle and why the other one should get it so that they can share books.  

Granted, I know nothing about sharing.  Well, I've been told to do it from time to time as a child but not since.  Anyway, one of them appeared to be a writer.  Written many books over his life time.  And while he was talking about his books in the Nook and the Kindle (no mention of Apple's iBookstore, which is lacking in selection compared to others), he said it was harder to get new readers if book stores like Borders go away.

So I thought it would be neat if he could lend some of his ebooks to readers as a way to introduce them to his work.  After a week or two, the book expires but asks the reader if he or she would be interested in more of this author's works.  At that time, it would be for a price obviously.

It would amount to sharing one's work over a Website  Some authors allow their work to be sampled that way.  With the lending method, it becomes easier for the author to control who gets the book to read.

I don't know whether what I am suggesting has already been discussed or is even happening now right  If it is already going on, I think that's terrific. If not, why not?

Intel CEO's Fate Hinges On Mobile

Intel CEO Paul Otellini survived an onslaught from AMD in the early 2000s when its smaller rivals' true dual core chips schooled the versions that Intel came out with.

But now, Intel is faced with another threat. This time, there is not one specific target like AMD but a loose consortium of companies in the hot growing mobile market.

And with the firing of AMD's CEO last week, should Otellini see it as a warning for what could happen to him if he doesn't deliver in the next year of so? So far, Intel has been able to rely on its core CPU business for the desktop and laptops. And between 2009 through early 2010, the Atom chip gave Intel an added boost and allowed it to virtually own the netbook market.

Then came the iPad and sales of netbooks tanked big time. Just ask Acer. They won't admit it but their sales drop in the fourth quarter of 2010 is obvious.

To make matters worse for Otellini and Intel, they have no presence in the smart phone market and very little if any of it's chips are used in tablets. And I am confident in saying that zero Intel chips are used in tablets with any meaningful battery life.

And things haven't gotten better so far in 2011. As CES got underway last week, Microsoft, the second party of the duopoly better known as Wintel, will be porting its next Windows to the ARM chips, the current dominant chip designer in the mobile market.

And that's not all. While everyone coming out of CES is talking about Android tablets, the bigger story is the CPU that will power the high-end Honeycomb (Android 3 - Google supposedly designed it from the ground up specifically for tablets) tablets.

Nvidia will make available to everyone Tegra 2, a highly efficient and powerful CPU, that is capable of giving users great 3D experience, high resolution, faster operations, and, most important of all for tablets, long battery life.

Meanwhile, there are tablets coming that will be released using Intel's Atom chips that will run Windows 7. Unfortunately, these tablets will only sport half the battery life of high-end tablets like the iPad (11-12 hours).

However, you don't want to count Intel out just yet. When comes to being backed against the wall, this is one company that I don't want to mess with if I'm ARM, Qualcomm, TI, or Nvidia. It has the deep pockets, R and D, and marketing prowess to make a come-from-behind win.

It'll be a long hard battle but I think Intel is fully capable quickly matching anything on the market in 12 to 18 months. The question is whether it'll be too late for Otellini.

-- Post From My iPad

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Forced To Work on The iPod touch - How It Worked Out

I am on the iPod touch right now. Writing, listening to music, and doing whatever else I do on the Internet at night.

Forced to do this because the MacBook is doing backups. So I figure now is as good as any other time to do some drive maintenance as well. And because I want it done faster, I decided to stay off it while TechTool and Time Machine do their things.

And yet, I feel complete at ease on the iPod touch. Oh, it is sharing duties with the iPad.

So far, there isn't anything I need to do that I can't do on my iOS devices. Well, there is are some Web updates I need to do with iWeb and Rapidweaver but the text I wanted post are already completed.

I am current watching an iOS development lesson on the iPad. We're learning how to create a calculator.

Anyway, it was the realization that I was able to be as productive as I could have been on a MacBook, a laptop. And in some cases, I was able to perform better on the iPad than on the MacBook.

See, I am trying to create illustrations for a book I am trying to write. Using SketchBook on the iPad, I was able to create drawings closer to anything I could do on paper. To date, I have not come close to doing the same using a mouse.

Anyway, as far as mobile goes, I think I can chalk up tonight very productive despite not touching the MacBook at all.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Forget about the iPhone, Android's Biggest Worry May Be Google

As you know by now, the iPhone will soon be available on the Verizon network. And in my previous blogs, you can see that I think that is a great thing because of added competition from Apple means pricing pressure on the handset makers as well as faster innovation.

Now, I see that Apple's new competitive pressure on the Android market has Google doing things that I am not sure is good for Android but good for Google.  And as Android fans, I'm not sure I care what is or isn't good for Google. And the stupid thing is that if Android falters, Google can take a huge setback in the mobile war.

Here's why

There will soon be a specific area in the marketplace called the "Tegra Zone"  It's exactly what it sounds like.  Tegra 2 equiped devices only, anyone else need not enter.  Well, if about Samsung with its own new dual core CPU or comparable Snapdragon chips from Qualcomm?  Are they not allow to run those apps?

They probably can but this will confuse the heck out of regular users like us.  And wait, there's more.  Sony is expected to have its own section of the app store accessible by PS phones running on Android.  

I further see Samsung, HTC, and Motorola fragment the Marketplace further with their own stores and, likely, with exclusive games and apps.  

Personally, I'm stick with the stock Marketplace.  But I can't help but fear that while the powers that be behind the Android effort are fine with some confusion, I don't know if the average mobile warrior will be happy with the confusion.  Can you already see reps at the wireless carriers telling everyone to buy the iPhone because it's got only one app store where you can get everything you need?

I know Google is in this to sell ads.  But hey, Google, what happens when less people buying the devices on which you want to sell your ads?  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Play Mobile Games Has Changed Me, For the Better

I've always played video games throughout my life.  Since the old Atari days. Then on the Appl II, PCs, and, now, on iOS devices.  It was only recently that I realized by dedicating my time to certain games, I have changed my real world behaviors.  These games include Smurf Village, Ngmoco's We Rule and We City.

The idea behind these games is to work, farm, or build things. In exchange, you gain money.  These games are not necessarily time consuming but it does take dedicating and patience. And because I've begun to notice that I've also began to treat how I play games and things in real life.

Here are some other ways that I've changed since playing games more because of convenience and accessibility due to mobility on my iOS devices.

  • In the simulation games that require building resources, I have noticed that I too have been watching my finances more carefully.  In effect, I'm maximizing every single penny.  Yeah, pennies.  And here, I am going to term "pennyze".  It's only been a short while but I see my bank account balance to potentially benefit as a result.
  • As in simulations games, you arrange your city or kingdom to your liking or changes in new resources.  I too do that with my home.  As a matter of fact, I've taken this to another step and drawn up plans for my spring plantings for my backyard.  I've bought new fruit trees and will begin planting vegetables in a few months  I would never imagine doing that had I not been playing these games.
  • Puzzles are fun but before mobile, it was not something I sought to look out for.  Now, the convenience of these games are on my iPod touch, I am play a few of them every day.  And I have noticed a quicker mind and consider possibilities I don't think about.
  • Better attern recognition.  
  • Better memory.
  • Maybe increased confidence as a result of these positive changes.
Obviously, there is a danger in translation your gaming persona a bit too much over into reality.  I've yet to encounter anything destructive.  Obviously, time time blasting away zombies, a popular genre in the iOS app store, has led me to walk down the street bashing people's heads on (even though I think more than a few folks in this world have no brains - you know, living zombies).

What do you think?  Have any of you felt similar changes?  How about negative changes too?  

I want to stress that this may not have been possible if not for the fact that these games are so easily accessible to me.  I'm a lazy creature by nature.  I don't open up my computer to play games.  And most of these games are either free or cost just a buck helps.  

Most importantly is the convenience of having these games in my pocket and I can play them when I have the time.  

Monday, January 10, 2011

We're Getting National Internet IDs? WTF?!

I'm not kidding.  When did this happen?  President Obama has given the nod to take point providing every American an Internet ID under the auspice of the Department of Commerce.  While this is a proposal, I don't know what to think of it.  

I'll need to do more research on this.  I guess this is sort of like a federal ID akin to having a Google Checkout or MSN account, except this a government issued ID.  

What this is is suppose to help reduce cybercrime and to increase cybersecurity.  This is the part that I am trying to learn more about.  It'll be called the Naitonal Strategy for rusted Identities in Cyberspace.

The scary thing is that there were proposals to have the NSA, tasked to spy on foreign sources, or the Department of Homeland Security.  Both of those two were shot down because of privacy concerns.  

Others are even more critical, stating the obvious that such a system created by the government would not be trusted and needs to be created by the private sector to insure competition and trust.  And it must also be voluntary.

"Voluntary" being the operative word here.  It was the first though that came to my mind.  What if I don't want to use a government issued ID?  And what if it does do what it was meant to?  Sure, I might end up using it anyway.  Nothing to hide.  Still, it has the hint of Big Bro written all over it should be get abused.

There isn't a lot going on with this just yet.  Maybe it'll be a 2012 issue.

More at Engadget.  Source:  CBS News.

Ahead of iPhone Launch, Trash Talking Between ATT And Verizon, Android Deals Coming

We are less than twelve hours from Verizon officially introduce the iPhone on its network and something funny has happened. ATT and Verizon have started getting into it on Twitter.

This isn't just trashing talking. This is a new form of psychological warfare for the dollars and minds of the mobile warriors.

First of all, I don't see many of us coming to the aid of either of these wireless providers. After all, for too long have they tormented us with stupid fees, limitations, and anti-innovative schemes. Second, some of the stuff they say about each other are truth, especially all the negative stuff because we have been saying them for years.

Now, one of the things that we can expect from iPhone on both two of the largest networks is that for anyone else who doesn't care about the iPhone, you're potentially looking at great deals.

Anyone competing with the iPhone can expect deals in this young year should the iPhone uptake at Verizon be as huge as it has been at ATT. I can see handset makers from Motorola to HTC to Samsung doing deals to maintain momentum they carried over from 2010.

And for those rumored not to get the iPhone, such as Sprint and T-Mobile, they will be looking to protect their subscribers.

Anyway, we will have some better idea tomorrow at 8AM PST when Verizon makes it official and we know what Apple and its newest mobile partner has up their sleeves. A week or so later, we can see their competitors respond in kind.

I love competition!

More at Techcrunch.

-- Post From My iPad

Apple Selling iPhones on Verizon May Be Good For Google

I was going to say that having the iPhone on Verizon is a good thing for Google largely.  Why would that be?  Would it not mean that there will be less Android phones like the Droid or the Galaxy devices sold to run on Verizon's network?

Here's why it's good but it could be turn bad really quickly.

Right now, some of Android devices being sold by Verizon are using Bing (including the Fascinate) as the default search engine.  Meanwhile, as far as we know, the iPhone's default search engine is still Google.  And while on the surface, Google wants Android sales to continue to go up or hold its own against the iPhone, there is no revenue going to Google if users are searching via Bing on Android.

So, selling less Android devices but more iPhones on Verizon might be a good thing for Google.

Unless one or more of the following happens.

Apple has a contract with Microsoft to use Bing as the default search engine for iPhones running on Verizon.  

Second, Apple plans to bypass mobile search and use Siri as the default search gateway for just about everything.  After all there was a reason why Apple spent $200 million to buy Siri to begin with.

And I wholeheartedly believe that Apple will try to disrupt traditional search in a big way.  And not just on mobile.

A third but much more unlikely scenario is that Microsoft pays Apple to rid the iPhone of Google entirely.  That, like Apple's Siri plan, would definitely hurt Google big time in the long run  And this may be something that Steve Jobs is quite open to if there are enough trucks in the world to move all that money to Cupertino from Redmond.

iPhone Pricing: 3GS Lower, Wonder If More Is In Store From Apple And Verizon Tomorrow

Just today, I learned that Apple has lowered the price of the 18 months old iPhone 3GS to $50.  So this begs the question why and what will fill the $100 price point.

We can easily speculate that the iPhone 3GS isn't sell well at $100 compared to the $200 iPhone 4 so lowering the price of the 3GS to $50 makes it more palpable for those looking for an iPhone but aren't willing to go into the $200 range.  And with a $150 gap between the iPhone 4 and the 3GS, it makes it an easier choice to make.

But what will sit at the $100 price point?  It is hard for me to fathom Apple leaving it wide open for Android or anyone else on the market.  And while Apple might see fit to lower the price of the 16GB iPhone 4 to $150 to reestablish the $100 gap between the 3GS and the iPhone 4, I doubt that will happen.

So, I am going to look into my transdimensional pool and travel into another universe where anything is possible.  

First, Apple lowers the price of the iPhone by $50.  Makes sense.  This will put a lot of pressure on its competitors.  And between the Samsung Galaxy S at $200 or an iPhone, its easy to go with the iPhone $50 cheaper.

Second, Apple lowers the price of the iPhone 4 by $100 to get the iPhone into the $100 price range.  This will hurt the market of its competitors big time. And I think this is a very likely scenario.  In any kind of contractual agreements, there are no longer exclusive agreements with Apple which may allow ATT to buy iPhones at a lower price.  

Between the $50 or $100 price drop scenario, I think the $100 is far likelier to happen.  

A third unlikely scenario is the launch of a new iPhone model sitting at the top.  Maybe Apple will surprise us with an LTE iPhone that commands a premium with 32 GB of storage, which would give Apple reason to lower the price of the iPhone 4 to $100 or $150.  Any number of new features would enable Apple to do make this move.  I can see folks willing to pay a premium for the fabled white iPhone or one with NFC capability.

What is more likely is that lowering the iPhone 3GS to $50 provides ATT with the coverage and competitive edge it needs to convince new users and some upgraders to stay with it using the 3GS as bait.  

However, Steve Jobs goes to NYC just to say "you can now buy the iPhone to run on Verizon" seems a bit much.  Perhaps he's there to clarify his previous statements disparaging the CDMA technology or unveil iPhone 4G.  

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Steve Jobs' Disney Has Sold More Than 1 Million eBooks on iOS.

Disney reported that it has pushed out more than one million ebooks to iOS loving children.  And adults I'm sure.  I cannot underscore the significance of this enough.  In a previous post I published on December 29, 2010, I had suggested that perhaps, Apple should create release a SDK with a subset of tools for the iBooktore.

An iBookstore SDK.  This will provide a more enriching experience for writers and publishers for the readers.  After all, the iOS devices can do so much more than read books.  If you want to do just that, the Kindle or the Nook would suffice.  

And interestingly, these one million books are not ebooks.  Rather, they are iOS apps that are books that provide text and rich media like sounds, pictures, and video clips. The sales volume from Disney is a testament to this idea.  I created book using Shutterfly for my nephew last Christmas.  If there was a tool to easily create an interactive ebook, I have all the materials I need to do just that.  Heck, I might even be able to sell it on the app store if there was a easy way to create what I am talking about.

So, Apple.  Time for you to step up and seize this moment.  I have a suggestion how Apple can do this easily.  And there are two routes Apple can do this:

  1. iWorks.  Pages has all that we need in terms of layouts.  And Keynote provides a page-by-page presentation.  The combination can be used to create an interactive ebook app.
  2. iAds tool that Apple released for develops is a great opportunity for users to create apps running.  From what I understand, it is an even easy tool to use than the iOS SDK.

Obviously, creating an iBookstore SDK that can publish to both the iBookstore and the app store would be idea.  And this would be a golden opportunity for Apple revolutionize the book industry and, more importantly, how contents are created and consumed.  Let text readers have their ereaders.  For anything else, there's the iOS devices.

More on Disney's 1 million book app sales at TUAW.


Nokia: Caught Between A Hard Place And A Bunch of Rocks

There's talk that Nokia will go Android despite its claims to support Symbian.  And is also talking of working with Nintendo or Microsoft using Windows Phone 7.  True or simply wishful thinking among various interested parties, the bottom line is this:  Nokia is still trying to find a way to compete effectively against the iPhone and Android.  The writing has been on the wall for a long time now.

The rumors of Nokia going with Android is interesting.  While I don't like to post rumors, I'm going to skirt the line and look at this from an analytical perspective.  First, Symbian is failing to catch fire outside of strongholds where Nokia has a historical presence.  Even so, those foundations are wavering.  It'll only be a matter of time before they give way to stronger, faster, and more innovative companies like Apple.

But does joining Android make any sense for Nokia?  Just how much more different can Nokia be from Samsung, Motorola, or HTC? I'll give you an example.  Coming out of CES, the main stories are about Android 3, Honeycomb, tablets.  But the bigger story missed is that they are virtually all the same tablet powered by the same OS and a majority of these tablets worth buying are powered by Nvidia's Tegra 2.  

Thus, by switching over to Android, and it's looking more and more likely that is the case, can Nokia suddenly innovate with Android to the point that it can make a compelling device that leaps head of its Android cousins from other companies? And if it manages to do that, can a Nokia tablet jump ahead of Apple's iPad and iOS?

I just don't see how that is going to happen.  Here is what'll happen.  Nokia will slap a skin on top of Android 3 to provide its sense of ownership and its take on the front end UI.  It may have its own music, media, and Android app store.  It may have an 8MP camera while others are using 5MP but that is hardly a feature that will make throngs of savvy mobile warriors switch to Nokia.

Just as it is the same in the tablet market, it'll be the same for Nokia in the smartphone market.  Using Android 2.x will still make it just one of the boys Google has making devices based on its free Android.  

Clearly, this will be a huge coup for Google in convincing the largest cellphone maker to join its camp.  Google will virtually ensure that Android becomes the number one mobile platform overnight.  Good for Google.  Not sure if it's good for Nokia.  However, it'll be bad for these companies:

  • Microsoft.  Trying to battle iOS, it would have to content with a much more powerful Google.  Right now, there is a lack of effort from Redmond in the tablet market.  A Nokia tablet will make a successful assault from Microsoft a year or two from now harder to fathom.
  • HP.  Web OS will make a big splash in February when HP unveils what its got planned.  And I'm am certain there will be a slew of slates and even a couple of smart phones, HP isn't likely to provide a compelling challenge to the iOS ecosystem.  It's more likely that HP's plan of attack will be in enterprise.  And in a world where consumers are bringing their own gears into work, I'm not sure Web OS has the staying power to compete with the big boys.  If anything, HP should have been courting Nokia.  Now, that would be different.
  • RIM.  Playbook got some rave review coming out of CES.  However, it has not been battle tested in the market against the iPad or Android 3.  More ominous is that it lost its head in the US to the iPhone and will be surpassed by Android in 2011.

There is a remote threat to Apple but Android has been a main challenger to its mobile plan from day one.  But here's the interesting part.  Apple may secretly be giddy about the prospect of Nokia joining Android.  The iOS show no sign of slowing.  And joining Android simply makes Nokia just one of the boys who make Android devices, but also eliminates the threat Nokia possess as an individual company.  It would have been more troublesome for Apple had Nokia put its eggs into the WP7 basket, though making devices using Android does not necessarily preclude Nokia from using any other OS.  Still, Nokia will cease to be looked up as a company that is competing in the mobile market but as one of many in the Android camp.

And on talks about working Nintendo, there is nothing that shows us that is happening.  But I really would be interested in Nokia going that route and truly working with a gaming giant than becoming a minion for Google or Microsoft.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Excited About the iPhone On Verizon? Yes? So Are These Folks At CES

While I am hoping for an LTE version of the iPhone, I think we're a little too early for that. But nevertheless, I am happy about the prospect that in 6 months or so when the iPhone 5 or iPhone 4G comes out, I will have a choice of network providers.

Here's a video WSJ provided. They interviewed a few folks about it. Yeah, they're excited. Too bad T-Mobile has not made an announcement of a special event where Steve Jobs might possibly show too.

Notice there was quite a bit of ATT trashing. Come on, Apple. T-Mobile's HPSA+ network is sooo ready for the iPhone too. Maybe June?

Source: MacDailyNews.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mobile War – Gaming Front and How Pivotal It is

For folks who don’t use their iPhones or Droids for gaming, that’s fine. You’re a Facebook, Foursquare kind of dude or gal. For the rest of us do are in this for more than casual gaming, having a wide selection of top tier games is important and gaming itself is a very big deal to those companies that provide the mobile platforms.

It’s important to Apple, Google, and anyone else who want to topple them. It’s why Microsoft is pushing the games they’ve got and what Windows Phone 7 can offer in terms of gaming. Don’t’ think that there isn’t a special Halo version coming to Windows Phone 7. Yours truly will be the first in line to get one.

And now, gaming will become instrumental to even app stores. Just this weekend, Amazon opened up their own Android app store. JB knows that there’s a lot of bucks in selling those 99 cent apps. And even more importantly, some app stores, in order to stand out, will likely request exclusives.

Earlier in the year when Angry Birds became available on the Android platform, it was available exclusively to GetJar and no one else. Not even Google’s own Marketplace that sits on every Android smartphone. How’s that for a coup?

Oh, and the wireless carriers have their own app stores in case you’re wondering. And soon, just about every hardware maker, if don’t they already have one, will have their own flavor of app store. Dell, LG, Samsung, Sony already has a vibrant PSP store that it'll likely channel over once their Android-based PSP phone is ready, HTC, and many others.

And who started all this? Apple. But there were app stores even before Apple came along and created a market for the iOS. That’s another matter entirely.

Back to gaming. This year at CES, the headline seemed to be about tablets and which one would dethrone the iPad.

Unfortunately, there’s was something just as important but it got lost in the media blitz. Nvidia’s dual core CPU, Tegra 2, that just about every Android tablet worth buying is running on and a few new mobile devices running on it.

Soon, hardware for WP7 will also sport the same Tegra 2 chip or similar ones.

And Apple is probably readying and itching to unleash their next generation hardware running on newer chips that I reckon will rival anything Nvidia has to offer.

All that graphics muscles and what for? Games. What else could be for? To run Flash? Puuuleaze.

When Steve Jobs gets onto the stage in a couple of months to introduce the iPad 2, he’s not going to demo how cool 3D mapping is. He’s gonna have an army of guys from EA, Sega, and others demo what the iOS platform has to offer in terms of next generation mobile gaming for hard core gamers. And bloggers will drool all over themselves reporting it.

And that could make the difference in the mobile war.

Going forward, I continue to believe that exclusives will be offered on one platform or another just like what’s going on now in the console war. And that will be just as pivotal as the processing power and the sheer numbers of gaming apps.

So, look around. As pretty as some of the UI coming out of RIM or Web OS is going to be on their smartphones and tablets, without games and apps in general, the 18-35 year old demographics are gonna avoid them like the plague.

And while the majority of millions of mobile warriors, who were good in 2010 and found themselves rewarded with iPads underneath their trees this Christmas, probably aren't hardcore gamers, having more gaming apps than what they know to do with is is better than having none at all.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Special Verizon Event Next Tuesday

Verizon Wireless is planning a special media event next Tuesday in new York.

Speculation is that this is the fabled iPhone with CDMA support and the venue looks like it might be true.

What does this say?

First, this is a CDMA phone, not an LTE version. And second, Verizon is just another carrier and nothing beyond that will be shared with the public.

Still, for any other company, this would be fantastic news. However, this is Apple no less. Gaining an extra eight to ten million new users just isn't "special" enough for a full on Cupertino treatment.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Apple's Mac App Store: Who Is It For? Who Benefits?

After dinner, I finally got an opportunity to play around with the brand new Mac app store that appeared magically on Intel Macs all over the land, provided you upgraded your OS to 10.6.6. Once that little business has been taken care of, you'll notice a small icon that appeared on the left-hand side of the dock.

So, good is this app store for? And who does it benefit? And will this translate into something that will be as successful as the iOS app store?

More at On Apple.

App Piracy: Does Offering Free Apps Help Stem Theft?

You would figure that 99 cents is not a whole lot to pay for a decent app.  However, you'd be surprise just how many folks will go to length to avoid paying for it.  I don't get it.  Developers put in hard work and paying them that isn't really asking a lot.

But since the inception of the iPhone store, many app stores including the Android Marketplace has sprung up.  Web OS has its own as does Window Phone 7.  Almost no mobile platform I know of does not have an app store.  In fact, though you might be not aware, Android has quite a few operated by carriers, hardware makers, and, apparently now, even Amazon.

And while generally paid apps vary in quality, I have to say the price reflects just how much users are willing to pay for it.  But piracy is still rampant.  

And with some developers offering both paid and free but ad-supported versions of their apps, I wonder if that has helped things some what.  I really hate to find out that folks will continue to pirate paid apps to not only avoid paying developers for their work but avoid ads as well

In my own little world, if I were a developer, I probably would offer a free and a paid version just to cover my basis.  

So, any developers out there know how things have turned out?  Does offering free ad-supported apps help stem piracy of their paid apps?  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

CES 2011 May Mark Turning Point In Decline of Windows

CES 2011 may mark the turning point in Microsoft's mobile fortune. How do I know that after just one keynote from Asus?

Here goes:

  • Asus Slate running Windows 7 costs a grand.  That's $1000.
  • Asus Android tablets start at $399.  
And this is before everyone else has reported.  I doubt Microsoft's keynote tomorrow is going to change that much.

Just remember when years down the line and your kids asked you when did Microsoft's fall officially started.  Tell them it's CES 2011.  January 4th, 2011.

CES: Day One Goes To Asus And Transformer Tablet, Uh-Oh For PC Makers

Yesterday, I wrote about what chances are HP and Dell have of taking the top spots in the tablet and smartphone markets. Well, let me focus on the tablet market. And I don't think their chances are great.

Asus showed me that by trying a little, PC guys can show off some great stuff. And of four of Asus' tablets today, the Transformer really has me excited. Forget about the Slider or Memo, the Transformer is really a tablet with a detachable screen running Tegra 2 and 16 hours of battery life. On, it's also a 10" screen with 1280x800 resolution.

Now, to recap, HP has Web OS and it has announced a special event in February. I will hold off making a judgement about HP until then.

However, Dell could be in a world of hurt. From what I see today of tablets running Windows 7, I don't want to be anyone, trying to pay his rent,who depends on Microsoft help you sell tablets. You get my drift.

Now, PCs are not going anywhere but tablets will begin to take a bigger slice each year from personal computer dollars. And that's not good for traditional beige box makers.

Laptops Versus Netbooks Versus Tablets in Schools

As an mobile tech enthusiast and avid iPad user, you can forgive me for believing tablets have a great future in education. For anyone else, I have to remember that not everyone has embraced tablets like I have and that laptops in general are what students turn to write their papers, conduct research, or get online.

But the time will come, probably as early as this year, when educators and students will be at the crossroad where they’d have to choose their mobile weapon of choice: laptops, netbooks, or tablets?

Can iOS gain 50% of The Market

Apple has more than 70% of the MP3 market. And it did it by radically changing how we buy and listen to music. So can Apple do the same with the iOS in the smartphone market as well as the tablet market? Forget about 70%. I am simply talking about half of the mobile market.

To do that, Apple would have to radically change how we consume content and buy into the while iTunes-iOS ecosystem. And I get the feeling that Apple has a long-term plan to do just that.

Unlike it's competitors who are playing catchup, Apple has a vision that it is trying to carry out.

By creating a means in which we mobile users can easily access information, media, and become a part of a larger mobile and social network, Apple would make its products and services indispensable.

Doing so would mean changing the rules and force its competitors to play by them. Moving the goal line and taking away the ball is what Apple plans on doing.

The CES this week will clearly show if anyone out there is up for the challenge of providing not just an alternative to Apple but give users a compelling choice.

I just don't see that happening. What I see is Apple marching towards dominating the smartphone and tablet markets.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tablet Today: Where Is HP and Dell?

Everyone know that HP and Dell are the two biggest PC makers in the world. And while the PC market is not going anywhere (I happen to like laptops and think the future continues to be bright), there are additional facets to the mobile computing market. And laptop computing is being encroached upon.

Mobile devices like the iPhone and tablets are coming up fast. And in these two markets, HP has not made much of a splash and Dell barely dipped its toe in it. So, the question I posed is where do these two successful veterans of the PC market fit in the smartphone and tablet markets?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Going Back Before Mobile Gears

I spend the day moving around. Again. It was tiring.

It was a day of shopping. South Coast. Grove. Beverly Hills. I was only the driver. Nothing more. I am a guy. I don't go shopping. I go buy things when I need something specific.

I had my mobile gears with me. Thank goodness for devices with longer battery life. Like the iPad.

I tried to remember what it was like before smart phones. So I tried tracing back.

Before Android and iOS, there was the MacBook. It had decent battery life but it would have lasted me three hours of use.

But I was out from nine until four. I would have ran out if juice a while back and ended up carrying a 5 lb. dead weight from about lunch until I got home. I might have been able to find a plug here or there at a Starbucks or bookstore. That would have helped.

What about before that? Well, there was a PowerBook and a Sony Viao. But the situation would have been about the same as the MacBook except I had extra batteries to lug around.

Well, what about before laptops? There was the Palm Zire, a Dell Windows Mobile, and a 2 MB Palm V. The battery life for these devices might be enough for my use. I remembered helping out my family business on weekends with the Zire.

It was good enough for ebooks from Remember those days? Yeah I think more than a few of you do.

The thing about the Zire is that it had a camera as well as an expansion slot. That came on handy because it allowed me to load more apps and files. Even some videos.

Oh, and the Zire had color. So did the Dell handheld. The thing about the Dell was that it was bulky and the battery life was erratic.

Then there was the Palm V from early 2000. Boy, that was one awesome PDA. The battery life on that little thing would put to shame most mobile devices out there given what it was created to do.

And before that?

If I remember correctly, it was a Sharp device that worked like a Dayrunner and has a small keyboard like some of the ones we see smartphones like the G2. It was a clamshell design with a black and white display with really bad resolution. I mean you were going to be doing much on it besides keeping contact info, calendar, and writing notes.

And it was mainly the notes portion I needed it for. It was at a time when I was creating and writing RPG adventures.

I had it with me during the early part of my college days. It was a good diversion to have around when I had to be somewhere that I didn't want be at or require long bouts of waiting.

And before this Sharp device that was likely the ancestors of today's iPhone and Blackberry?

Books and a couple sheets of papers for notes. That combination was my only solace from being dragged out the door on shopping trips.

How about you? Did you have a similar experience?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Apple Should Prepare to Leave China (There Is Still Time To Execute Such A Plan)

At first glance, you might think that the title of this article is a clickbait considering that China is the second biggest economy in the w...