Thursday, June 30, 2011

Green: Spark, Mobile Solar Charger For Your Mobile Needs - One Step Closer To Self-Sustainability

This is a mobile blog but at times I also like to chime in on green tech as well.  And rarely do I get to talk about both in the same post.  And this is one of them.  Check out this solar charger bag, the Spark, that can charge up your iPad, other iOS devices, Androids, or other mobile gadgets.

The Treehugger post I got this from mentioned that it's for the iPad but I surmise it's their way of drumming up clicks (like I don't do this at all…tongue in cheek).  It provides power for so much mower than Apple's gears.  They mentioned other tablets and smartphones as well.  That's because it has a USB attachment that allows you to use it for various devices that can be powered/charged through this ubiquitous connection.

It's small enough with a 2 watt solar panel.  On an iPad, and probably an other comparable sized tablet, an hour in the sun also gives an hour of video playback.  

My initial thought about this was that it would be perfect for camping trip.  Then again, it would be perfect for just about any outdoor type of work or excursion.  At the same time, as a guy who likes to prepare for eventualities, this device could be critical in the event of a disaster and power is cut off.  As nice as the tablets are in providing 10-12 hours of battery life, once that power is used up, it's gone.  If the electrical grid is knocked out for some reason, well, this little guy could come in handy.  

However…there always is a however.  It costs $299.  It's not cheap.  On the other hand, given what it's capable of, the Spark could make a whole lot of difference.  

Having said all that, this is only a tiny step towards what I like as far as green power and mobile goes.  Self-sufficiency.  That's the kind of person I am.  I've bought a bunch of solar lamps and garden lightings from Ikea that I use indoor instead of out.  It's pretty awesome.  I was very happy with the small investment.

I think the Spark would be a right step in towards fulfilling this mobile/green vision in some settings.  It's good enough but I'm still looking at that solar setup that can powerful my whole house without breaking the bank.

If you're looking for something like this, the Spark is one of the best solar charger for mobile devices I've seen.  Honestly, I had expected this to cost in the neighborhood of $500.  And again, it charges all devices that can be charged through a USB port.

Source:  Treehugger.

Mobile Users Benefit If HP Licenses Web OS; Android And Windows Phone Could Take Big Hit

HP is talks with interested parties in licensing Web OS for their own use.  I wonder why HP would risk this move and who stands most to lose should this turn into a success.

First, when Palm introduced the Pre running the very first version of Web OS, a lot of people including myself though that Palm is back.  Then it ran up against the iPhone 3GS and a surging Android platform and that was pretty much all she wrote.  Now under new management, Web OS is getting another go with HP's deep pocket and a lot of programming and engineering power. 

I thought it was a brilliant buy.  HP would effectively create an alternative to Apple's iOS and iTunes ecosystem with a very impressive looking mobile OS.  As an Apple and mobile fan, you have to like what was coming from HP.  Printers, smartphones, tablets, and even PC would be running Web OS.  

So, even if HP manages to make Web OS a minor success, who stands to lose?  Android quickly comes to mind because of its large market share and the growing discontent with fragmentation among developers and concerns about malware.  HP will likely try to park itself just in the middle to claim some sense of openness while maintaining a certain level of control over Web OS and hardware developments at any third party companies.

HP's Web OS offerings are likely a plus for those Android users who like a higher degree of quality but are not willing to accept Apple's terms and control practices.  Web OS's stronger social integration will probably be very enticing for those who likes to stay connected to their friends as much as possible.

Microsoft's Windows Phone platform will likely suffer as a result.  It only commands 1% of the market and, yes, you can go down even further.  

As for Apple, it is likely to feel minimal impact in the immediate term.  If anything, increased competition from HP is something iPhone users welcome.   

Of course, we don't know the terms of HP's Web OS licensing terms yet.  That alone will determine just how strong of a competitor HP's mobile platform will be.  Do it right and we can see Android and WP take a big hit sooner rather than later.

HP Touchpad: Consensus Reviews In, Full of Potentials Just Like Xoom And Playbook

Reviews of the new HP Touchpad based on Web OS, which it owned after the Palm buyout, are coming out.  So far, most of the reviews I've read have been pretty brutal.  

Here's one from Gizmodo about it.  Now, Gizmodo have very personal reasons to be biased against Apple's iPad being how they're been embargoed from Cupertino over the whole iPhone 4 theft issue.  So, Touchpad should come out of the review smelling like a rose and then some, right?  Not so…the recurring themes in all the reviews seems to indicate that this is a beta device at best.  Heavy, slow, and no apps.  

More at Gizmodo.  I  think Engadget's review has a pretty good review.  Macworld's review isn't bad either.  Macworld is Pro-Apple but they also know a good thing (or bad one) when they see it.

Keep in mind that the Xoom review was better compared to the Playbook and, now, Touchpad.  In reality, hitting it out of the park as far as tech gadgets go like Apple did with the iPad last year is pretty rare.  Because of this, Apple has pretty much own the lion's share of the tablet market.  

And these tablets operate in very different capacities as well as philosophies.  

Apple's iTunes ecosystem is something you have to accept if you want to use an iPad or any other iOS devices.  And yes, it's closed with Apple retainning 100% control. Then there is Google' Android on the other end.  Though not as open as advertised, Honeycomb tablets offer a choice vastly different from Apple closed system.  RIM, with its Playbook, sits somewhere in the middle and may not be around if RIM doesn't turn it business around.

And HP's Web OS and Playbook?  Until recent reports that HP is in talks with various interested companies like Samsung about licensing Web OS, it remains to be seen just how HP wants to shape the future of Touchpad.  And this uncertainty is just as important a factor as are the reviews out there.  HP has the deep pockets and patience to make Web OS into something that can challenge Android and iOS.  And I think given time, Web OS has the best chance to offer both an ecosystem with some openness and still manage to keep out the weeds (malware).

Google Plus Success Depends On Privacy

Facebook is the biggest privacy violator out in the open.  Short of hacking into people's lives, Facebook has been notorious in getting users to share information that they thought would be only available to their "friends" and upselling it to advertisers.  With Google Plus, I hope Facebook finally get the nice hard kick in its "you know what".  However, for Plus to be a viable alternative to Facebook, it would have to be very discrete with user information and truly "do no evil" with regards to privacy.

Right now, it's off to a bad start.  See with Circles in Plus, users are able to control what information they share with their friends.  However, this morning, Gizmodo reports that the "resharing" feature is on by default allowing your friends to share your information.  I can see in some instances why Google would want to do this but not everything we put out there is for "resharing".

I've come to the realization that what we put out there on the Internet, to one degree or another, is quite public.  Some more than others.  However, what Facebook does is blatant "f-you" to its users and Google needs to pull back from that.  After all, it's copying virtually all of Facebook's features as well as its looks.  Given users assurance regarding their privacy is the only differentiator it has. 

Otherwise, why would anyone switch from Facebook?

As for mobile users, Android users have first tries at the native app for Google Plus.  I reckon the integration will be much tighter than Plus will be on other services.  As of now, Plus is sitting in Apple's app store approval purgatory.  It'll probably be approved.  And I know lots of us will be "checking in".  The "resharing" issue and other potential privacy land mines we don't know about yet could really make a diff between Plus being a Facebook killer or just another "Wave" or "Buzz" screw-up.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Surviving on 200MB of Wireless Data A Month? How?!

I recently bit down and went with Verizon Wireless, sooner than I would have liked because of the issue regarding the carrier ending their unlimited data plans by 7/7.  Before that, I debated if I can survive on 2GB a month.  

I thought long and hard about it.  There could be some compromises, not major ones, but I think I would be able to do it.  However, there are two things that I have to consider as mobile technology improves to the point where living without unlimited data just would not work any longer.  But that's for another post.  

Here, I am wonder just how anyone could live on a montly allotment of 200MB or anything less than a 1GB from carriers like AT&T.  For me, that's just not possible.  

Then after questions a few people who used a variety of devices from the iPhone to Androids, it occurred to me that they are not necessarily using the way I envisioned mobile warriors should be using their mobile devices. 

I watch videos, chats via Skype, update tweets, and surfing the Web quite a bit through out the day.  I think I can take up to 2.5 GB a month under some circumstances but most stay within a range of 1.8 to 2.2 GB a month. 

What about those who are within 200MB?  Apparently, watching video is almost not an option.  Nor is heavy use of the Web or any app that would require a lot of data use.  That means no uploading or downloading pictures or videos through apps or e-mail attachments.  Facebook and Twitter use is as heavy as most users I talk to go.  

Fear of going over 200MB?  Hardly.  Not with the mobile habits I described above.  

And it'll be interesting to see how users react to their limited bandwidth once carriers allow video chats like FaceTime or Google's new social initiative become more ubiquitous and, hopefully, more popular.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ending Wireless Plans Propelled Me To Buy the iPhone 4 With Possible Upgrade Just Around the Corner

I finally broke down and went with the white Verizon iPhone.  I know what you're thinking.  The next iPhone is probably a couple of months away.  What are you think?  You call yourself a mobile warrior? 

Well, there are two reasons why I pulled the trigger on this one and they're both kinda related.  First, we've know for about a week now that Verizon is about to get rid of their unlimited wireless data plan.  For $30, it's all you can eat.  Some time after 7/7, that plan is going away and never to be seen again.  

It's kinda of what AT&T did just before the iPhone 4 came out.  The good thing is that as a new Verizon Wireless customer, I can grandfathered in for the 3G service and very likely also for the LTE service when I upgrade to an LTE iPhone or another one, like Android later on.

Secondly, I've decided to a good son and take on my dad and his wife's mobile plan.  I current have T-Mobile and where they live, there is like a three block dead zone for T-Mobile service.  However, Verizon works very well in their area and most places they go in town.

But all that together, I decided I oughta switch.  Oh, and there is one last reason why.  I cannot stand AT&T.  

So, what will happen when the iPhone 4S or the iPhone 5 come out?  Well, I spoke to a Best Buy customer service rep when I went there to check out all the high end Verizon phones ( iPhone, Android devices) and she told me that the next iPhone won't be out until September and it will likely be just an incremental upgrade.

I'm pretty certain that she was probably given that information by Best Buy management or she went only and read all the different and, sometimes, competing iPhone rumors.  However, I did have to defer to her experience in the years working there and seeing the different upgrade cycles and assume that since she bought the rumors, there could be some weight to them.

Is an 8MP camera upgrade enough to entice me to upgrade even in September?  Probably not.  How about if the next iPhone has the newer dual-core A5 chip in it?  I think the A4 in the iPhone 4 is already plenty fast.  How about a 4" screen?  I'll consider it if it has a 720p resolution but still a maybe but not a definite for me.

Better battery life on the next iPhone?  Now we're talking.  I love to see the next iPhone gain the type of battery life that the iPad current has.  I like to see the next iPhone handle my moderate to heavy use and get me through the day without worry about find a plug or throttling back my mobile uses.  

Until then, I'm already in love with my new iPhone 4 and the iPod touch/iSpot combo is already feeling neglected.  I'm sure I'll find a way to incorporate them into my mobile work routine.  So, do you think I made a good decision getting the iPhone so close to an upgrade release?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pixar's Brave: $2 Billion At The Box Office Next Year

I watched Cars 2 yesterday. It was pretty awesome but you can tell it was catered to children under 10 or so. I'm just a bit beyond their target market but I still enjoyed it immensely. Heck, I spent $150 at the Disney store on Cars merchandise right after (for my nephews).

Still, it was no Toy Story 3. However, this new trailer for Pixar's upcoming blockbuster movie, Brave, that was previously shown on Cars 2 3D viewings, will put Pixar back on the path of breaking new grounds again.

It'll not only be Pixar's first fairy tale movie (recently Disney ventures into this realm has been dismal and Pixar is going to show them just how to get it right again), Pixar will go back to tell a new original story.

So, I'm going to call it. Pixar's "Brave" will bring in $2 Billion at the box office worldwide next year.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Albeit Slower, T-Mobile Only Option For Unlimited Wireless Access For iPad

Guess what? I am writing this post from the iPad. Now, you know that I've done that for eons. Others have done this as well. What's different this time around is the wireless connection that I am using. Posting through T-Mobile's EDGE.

With the GSM 3G iPad model, I am limited to AT&T in the United States. There is T-Mobile but a couple of things prevent most users from using their iOS devices with T-Mobile. Most users. I like to consider myself as more adventurous when it comes to my mobile needs.

See, the issue facing T-Mobile users from is that the 3G network and the iOS devices are not compatible. Hence, you're limited to EDGE speed even if you are able to get it work. Secondly, Apple has switched over to using micro sim cards. And those micro sim cards are not provided by T-Mobile.

So even if you're willing to go with the slower wireless speed, the sim card issue remains an obstacle. However, if you're willing to take the EDGE speed, you'll need to figure out a way to get your regular sim card into the micro lot.

So I went ahead and made the cuts. There are plenty of examples online on how to do this well. I read a couple and watched a few videos.

When it came time to do it, I ruined a couple of sim cards. I simply don't have the skills with razor blades. Instead, I figured out an easier way. Trust me.

A very pair of scissors. Yup. That's it. Cut around the metal part. Cut away the edges. Thats the easy part. Then there is some trimming the sim card into the smaller slot.

Make sure you it in the right direction. It didn't work the first time. I had thought I ruined another sim card. I took it out of the iPad and switched it around.

Whoola! Unlimited EDGE access.

-- Post From My iPad

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Disruptive iPad Changing How We Watch Video Again; Putting Cable Companies In Hot Water

You know you're disruptive when other companies get sued because of the doors and possibilities that your product opens.

After Time Warner was sued and eventually settled over its iPad app that allowed subscribers to stream services they order, Cablevision is being targeted by Viacom for virtually the same reason.

This is pretty impressive considering that the tablet market did not exist 14 months ago.  And today, the iPad IS the tablet market.  After all, the iPad accounts for about 90% of the world's tablet traffic and 97% of the US market.  

It's likely we are seeing the beginning of a turmoil in the video subscription industry, namely cable and satellite.  Don't be surprised if these apps are the precursors to video-only services for live TV.

Source: Macrumors

$99 Tablet (Yup, That's It)

You've got roughly six months left until Christmas.  Enough time to change your ways. But if you remain naughty, Santa will bring you, it's not coal.  it's worse (Wired).

90% of Enterprise Hacked; Will Get Worse With Mobile

I'll make this quick and short.  A survey with disturbing results showed that 90% of enterprises have been hacked and they are losing the battle.

And it appears they're not learning from this because 60% of them had been breached at least twice.  Sophisticated malware as well as social engineering as key for such breaches.

It's just unfortunate that such a thing can be avoided but the education in this regard is severely limited.  And most companies are too scared to admit it's going on.

And the recent rash of Android malware will only make it worse as more enterprise users go mobile with their work.  

Source: InfoWorld.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hulu Got Offered For Sale - Not Google. So Who?!

Hulu got an offer for sales.  According to Business insider, tweets from CNBC and WSJ (they're very close to each other) indicated that Google is not the company that made the solicitation.  

So, if not Google, then who?  I know people want to think that it's Apple or Microsoft.  I doubt it.  Between the two, I'd said it's more likely Apple but even that's not likely.

I think Facebook makes more sense.  It has shown interests in video streaming with its own endeavors but I think they've largely been major fails.  

Also, in contention could be cable companies.  They're stuck in the Dark Ages of cable video and getting Hulu could also be a route for the company to avoid becoming dumb pipes for broadband.

Whoever it is, it figures going after Hulu is cheaper than buying Netflix and is a faster route to the living room to challenge Netflix.  

It'll be interesting once this deal is closed.  Can't wait.

Note:  As a mobile fan, I would love to see Apple or Google make the move.  That would be fantastic.

Israel Asks Apple To Remove App That Might Foster Violence And Hate

There is an app that the Israeli government is requesting that Apple pull from the store that they said is potentially fostering violence against Israel.  The app name is called ThirdIntifada.

According to the Yahoo News post, it is an Arabic term for varying degrees of uprisings against Israel.  I only said varying because, while I know a lot of it is violent, I don't know if all of it is.  Semantics aside, I do believe in the freedom of speech and religion to a point.  

Doing a quick check on iTunes, the app has received three stars with no reviews to read from.  Plus, just about everything is in Arabic, including screen shots so I have no idea what it's saying.  

The request to remove the app came from Israel's information minister to Steve Jobs.  

I am bringing this up because from Yahoo's post, I am not able to corroborate the claims.  I guess I have grown not to take anything we read at face value.  Could be the Yahoo post is as it says or that the AP writer is too lazy to doing any fact checking before posting this.  We've been examples of such in the past.

But if true, I sincerely hope Apple examines this issue carefully.  I think lots of governments and Apple competitors are watching to see just how plays out.

Source: Yahoo News.

Versus: A New Series To Look At Present And Future of The Major Mobile Platforms And their Viablity

I'll be sharing with you my thoughts in the various mobile platforms
regardless of their sizes today and how they can survive through
tomorrow and even thrive.

I started thinking about this last night while listening to various
podcasts during my run yesterday. I think it's critical that we
examine where things are without getting too caught up in the various
fanboyism and take a good look at how things can turn out.

The iPhone 4 death grip was an issue but to this day, I cannot say for
sure if it was such a big deal. While Apple probably got a B- for how
it handled it, things could have turned out even worse for Cupertino.

Today, everyone is piling into RIM and its aging OS that runs on the
Blackberry. As far as I'm concerned, the Blackberry OS reminds me of
Mac OS 8 and 9 which was a patchwork that Apple desperately tried to
push out to compete with the better and faster Windows 95, 98, and
XP. Still, Apple prevailed and I like to see what are the chances
that RIM can rise like a Phoenix and remain a relevant mobile company

Also, Android with its never-seen-before growth has come to dominate
the mobile market. However, it's no secret that it is plagued by
malware as well as fragmentation.

And today, an analyst even believe that the release of iPhone 5 that
is like to be on multiple carriers including Verizon and Sprint could
not only further stem Android's share of thr market but begin to erode
its dominace in the US.

It'll be a fun look at the future. Maybe there will br a dark horse in
this fast evolving mobile war that comes out of nowhere and blindsided
even Steve Jobs.

Green: Another White House Green Fail

It's spring and there is no solar panels being installed on the White House or signs showing that something is happening. 

I don't know what the hold-up is.  Maybe President Obama, who made the promise last year that they would go up by this spring, is apprehensive about attack from his GOP challengers about putting up something that the federal government cannot afford.  

Hey, I know.  Maybe Google with its billions in investment should shame this pro-green President into doing something by offering to set up the White House with all they solar that they need.

Source: Inhabitat.

Monday, June 20, 2011

WiFi Based Charging

This is something I can get behind.  uBeam - A wirelessbase charging system better than anything on the market with a farther range.  On one side, you plug into the wall socket an ultrasonic transducer and on the iPad, iPhone, or another device, an adapter. The transducer sends off an inaudible sound to the adapter which then converts the sound back into energy to charge your mobile devices.

How will this sound affect the human body?  I don't know if it will at all.  Even dogs will not be able to hear this.  And I've got a few more questions about it. Like how efficient is this system and how much it'll cost.

In the TUAW post where I found information, it mentioned that someone like Starbucks can install this and virtually free up the wall sockets.  

Source:  TUAW.

RIM Forcing Faulty Blackberries On Carriers And Users

I typically consider this rumor but given what’s going on with RIM lately, I thought I would bring this up. See, for the last couple of upgrade cycles, Blackberries have been given new features. And while that’s normal and welcoming, the return rates have been higher than normal.

Apparently, RIM has been putting a lot of pressures on carriers to release unfinished products and sell them through to end-users. Given the state of the Blackberry market and last week’s low than expected earnings and light forecast, I am not surprised.

In the past, Blackberry GOGO deals from Verizon have helped sustained growth but apparently with increased Android competition on VWZ and the addition of iPhone 4 this spring, even such deals have not helped RIM.

Source: BGR.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Next Gen Mobile Chips: Quad-Core Or Supercharged GPU? What's Best For Battery Life

The next step in mobile chips is naturally going to be more sophisticated and faster than the current chips that power the top line mobile devices.  Tegra 2 from Nvidia is making waves with Android smartphones and tablets while Apple's A5 chip powers its iPad and, probably, the next generation iPhone.  Both of these chips are dual-core running at 1Ghz.  Also powering these chips are powerful graphics units.  And while it took years for desktop CPU to go from single core to dual core and an even longer period of time for laptops, mobile device chips are made the move faster and there is already talk about quad-core chips.

So, I wonder what is better for overall mobile performance.  And how does that balance with the battery life?

At this point, I think the current chips are good enough for our mobile needs.  And in fact, the previous gen chips, like the single-core Qualcomm Snapdragons running at 1Ghz as well as the A4 chips powering the iPhone 4, are doing quite a good job.  Their performance supports one hundred percent of mobile needs.  And as far as handling top of the line iPhone and Android games, these chips has yet to show their age.  

For competitive reasons, the various mobile device makers has no choice but to continue to push the mobile tech envelope  At the same time, I think the older chips will continue to find a market in the low-end smartphone and prepaid markets.  

And since more operations are being off-loaded to the GPU for greater coding efficiency, I wonder if there is a need to hurry the jump from dual-core to quad-core.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm all for faster and better smartphones and tablets.  At the same time, I like to see that balanced against even better battery life.

The 10-hours we're getting from Xoom and the iPad are pretty good but I would like to safely get 12 hours out of them for the next gen upgrades.  And on the smartphone side, is there really such a thing as moderate use that many review sites like to say in their battery tests?  I think as society goes more mobile, today's heavy use may well be tomorrow's light use.  

Take the Atrix which is used to power an Android-netbook setup.  Also consider the ASUS Transformer  Both of these devices can lay claim to better battery lives only with the hope of the added battery in their respective keyboard accessories  That doesn't work for me.  

Apple allows mirroring through its Airplay implementation to a HDTV or monitor.  With a BT keyboard, we can be looking at a whole new setup for our future computing needs.  If the iPhone or iPad that is simultaneously used as a mirroring device and for wireless input, that has got to sap the battery life.  

It would be great to see the next generation mobile devices used in this capacity without much of a penalty to the battery life.  And used as a standalone device, go from today's 10-hours to 12-15 hours.  

So, it'll be interesting to see if these companies will try to increase the mobile processing power with higher core counts and/or GPU but hold the line for battery life at the current level or go with a smaller increase in processing power while pushing the envelope on the battery life.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Movie Clip: Vancouver Riots, Animated

A couple of things. My friends north of the US, please understand this. As someone who has lived through riots after each and every single time the Lakers has won the NBA Championship, I know what some unruly fans do.

They rioted. But that was only when the Lakers won. When the lackluster Lakers lost in the semi-conference finals to the Mavs a few weeks ago, we cried and cursed and promised to be better next year. But no riots.

See, no need to riot when you lose. You're not supposed to. So, when your Canucks lost, what was the riot for? If anyone had the rights to riot, it was the Boston Bruins fans.

Anyway, your naughtiness was capture in this animated recreation by the folks who brought us the Tiger Woods episode, cartoon-style. If that was your goal all along, you've succeeded. Well're now forever immortalized by the Taiwanese, right up there with Tiger Woods .

Have a great weekend.

RIM Buyout Scenario and Questions

RIM is now cheaper to buy than Yahoo.  Even with a twenty percent premium, RIM can be had for $18 billion – plenty of companies are capable of buy them out with just even the cash reserves on hand.  

Microsoft quickly comes to mind.  Intel.  Cisco.  Google.  Oh, and then there's the unlikely candid that is Apple. 

Three questions need to be asked about a RIM buyout scenario:

  1. Who's more likely to pull the trigger?  
  2. How would it change the landscape?
  3. And is Apple really not as likely to be a RIM suitor?
I think we'll know in the next few months just how likely RIM is going to survive and in what form.

Ani-Virus Maker Wants An Open Insecured iOS So They Can Sell Anti-Virus Apps

Kaspersky, anti-virus maker, thinks Apple ought to open up the iOS because it is concerned that Android is kicking the iPhone's butt.  That concern is heart felt if not for the fact that the iOS as a whole is a bigger mobile platform than Android (including iPod touch and iPad) and that its has not been able to make money off of Apple's success like other app makers are.

According to Kaspersky CTO, he's worried about Apple's walled garden being competitive with Android.  

Okay...dude, just come out and say it.  And open iOS means you can sell anti-virus softwares to users who currently don't have a need for it.  And open iOS means it'll be inherently more insecure, allowing a bunch of apps with malware to enter the app stores like what's going on with Android.  

Just, this week, Google removed 10 apps with malware alone.  What Kaspersky should be doing is to promote its services to Android users like myself worried the increasing malware threats.  Not trump up idiotic statements like the iOS needing to be open so it can be competitive.

Even Android blogsite, Phandroid is promoting the idea that Google needs to lock down the marketplace some more.  So, Kaspersky dude, better do what you can before Google makes you obsolete too.

RIM: Making Money Still, Worry Is That It'll Stop With Increasing Competition

Research In Motion, maker of the iconic Blackberry and Playbook (not as iconic), got clobbered yesterday as its stock is down more than 21% as of this writing.  As a publicly traded company, making hundreds of millions isn't enough to stem the ire of stockholders.  

I know, it's all about being able to compete in the marketplace and RIM's mobile gears are not doing so well.  And while the two CEOs reminded financial analysts during the call yesterday night, RIM is still very profitable.  However, the fear is that it'll stop making money all together if it doesn't get its acts together.

Increased competition from Apple over the years stunted RIM's growth and lead to losses of market share.  

While management has pleaded for patience until new products reach the marketplace, those based on its QNX operating system, investors and bloggers think it might already be too late.  References to Palm has kept cropping up during user commenters on various blogs as the financial call started.  

Also, the iPhone has made great progress into enterprise, the last of Blackberry stronghold and the halo efforts of the iPad has made the iPhone more of an attractive alternative to the BB.  Furthermore, these troubles at RIM could for IT to rethink their commitments to Blackberries.  After all, they need to keep an eye to the future.

Then there's the tablet market.  RIM said it has shipped 500K units.  Immediately, many took that as a good sign.  But after sitting back to look at the wording, "shipped" does not meant "sold".  When pressed on this issue, one of the two CEOs said that RIM has no firm number.  But a moment later, he said that he was happy with the sold-through.  So which is it?  Now can RIM be happy about a figure they don't have?

Furthermore, layoffs are on the books.  And while many want the co-CEOs to be among them, it's not likely to happen. And it's beginning to look like if they're still in charge, a turnaround is less likely to happen any time soon.  Meanwhile, Apple will continue to eat away in enterprise.  

Just wait until Apple releases the next iPhone and, quite possibly, a budget version.  If you think things are bad now for RIM, you haven't seen nothing yet.

Apple Escalates Copycat Lawsuit Against Samsung; Sammy Needs To Also Watch Its Six For Nokia

Today, Apple escalated its copycat and patent lawsuit against Samsung, one of Apple's largest sources for parts used in its iOS arsenal.  The epic battle between Apple and Nokia ended earlier this week and it probably freed up a lot of resources for Apple to go after Samsung, which is really a shot a Google.

If anyone thought this would go away quietly, he or she could not have been any more wrong about anything in his or her life.  This battle will span continents and just about all other Android handset makers will be looking out for this.  Take the blatant copycat iPhone 4 running Android on sale at Sears.  (Doesn't seem like a bad device either.)

While I cannot see where Samsung has copied Apple, I'm not a patent lawyer so I cannot for sure.  Maybe a couple of devices but the Galaxy tablets?  Hmmm...

Anyway, Samsung could be facing a new foe in the courts if not the marketplace soon.  Nokia, reinvigorated by its win over Apple, could be looking for more.  And while Apple has yet to go after Google directly, Nokia probably doesn't have a problem with that.  

So while all the Android folks are looking at the Apple-Samsung dust-up, they need to be watching their sixes for Nokia.

Green: Solar Power to Drop to $1 Per Watt By Next Year

Earlier, I wrote an article about just what kind a moderate GOP president could mean for green policies.  However, I don't think I adequately articulated what a bang up job President Obama is doing.  I simply mean with GOP opposition, the national debt, and a worrisome economy, his hands could be tied.  Meanwhile, the government's support for green policies, guaranteed loans, and grants are helping move things forward.

An example of this is a report from ISH iSuppli that solar power will cost only $1 per watt by 2012 and by 2014, it'll be at $.79 cents per watt.  According to the iSuppli report, we can see installation costs at $2 per watt and this could spur a rapid demand for solar in the coming years.  

So yes, bright days for solar ahead.

Source:  iSuppli, Treehugger.

Green: 2012 And What A Moderate Or Conservative In The White House Means

Let's suppose President Obama does not get elected to a second term.  Ever wonder what will happen to all the green policies he's instituted?  I think most of that will be gone.  There are some efforts that will continue.  For instance, GM's march towards hybrids and EV will likely continue but most government supported projects will close or be allowed to progress to an inevitable end.

Now, torn between ideals is one in which there is a vocal calling for smaller government and to reduce spending and the deficit.  On the other hand, green policies, pushing the envelope for new renewable tech and conservation initiatives, could mean economic prosperity, a reliable energy source, and fundamental shift in our national security as well as those of the West.

And yet, I don't see the argument being formed in such the way I described or a policy which balances both immediate concerns as well as a vision for the future.  

The heavy Democratic losses in 2010 showed that the country is fed up with the polarization of political landscape and the GOP leadership doesn't recognize that, probably because of all the noises created by its more libertarian freshman representatives and the Tea Party wing.  

Meanwhile, the Democrats have never been very good at articulating their positions.  The lecturing we get from the White House from time to time certainly isn't what we need.  

As always, I'm hopeful.  So far the change we thought we were getting has not worked out just the way President Obama promised.  Granted he's got a mess when he entered the White House.  But we need him to tell us where things are and where we are headed.  We certainly are not going to get a clear vision from Harry Reid, Nancy Polesi, or John Boehner.  

President Obama remains quite popular among the electorate and there is no indication that he'll be the second coming of Jimmy Carter.  It would take a very moderate GOP candidate to defeat him.  A John Huntsman, former governor of Utah and ambassador to China.  And should such a moderate President be in the White House, what will happen to all our green gains over the last few years?

Just this weekend, the Senate passed legislation to end ethanol subsidy.  It was known as the "ethanol pledge" from The Wing West.  To me that was surprising to say the least.  Perhaps, a GOP House with a moderate GOP President could even work together to find a way to end the billions in loop holes and special tax treatments for big oil  And perhaps some of that money could go towards reducing the deficit as well as fund future green growth.  

Meanwhile, such a new President isn't likely to push as hard as President Obama with a green revolution.  Hey, it's going kind of slow already.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Unlocked GSM iPhones Show Why T-Mobile Sale to AT&T Should Not Go Through

Despite AT&T saying that T-Mobile is good for competition, I just don't see it.  I'm not sure AT&T even tries to justify or explain that statement.  But if there is one example right now that shows we should be against this merger is the unlocked iPhone.


If you go out there and buy the unlocked iPhone, you can use it only with AT&T.  With a bit of an effort, you can get it work with T-Mobile by trimming your SIM card into a microsim card. 


However, you cannot enjoy the HPSA+ network that T-Mobile is calling 4G which theoretically is faster than AT&T"s on "4G" network.  While AT&T is at 7.2Mbps, T-Mobile is moving towards 42Mbps.  Having said that, if you manage to get it working with T-Mobile, you are stuck on EDGE because of the difference in frequencies on which the two HSPA networks run on.


Now, here's the part you're waiting for.  Even if you decided against signing up for a two-year commitment with AT&T and get the unlocked iPhone 4 from Apple, AT&T does not offer a lower and comparable voice and data plan.  AT&T reminds us that their high rates are because of the subsidies they pay Apple so that post-paid users won't have to pay for the $650 or $750 upfront for the 16 GB or 32 GB respectively.


By that reasoning, shouldn't AT&T offer a plan that costs less because an unlocked iPhone paid for it in full? 


The answer is no.  Which really puts the high costs AT&T charges users unnecessarily higher.  And that's okay.  That's just business. 


With an independent T-Mobile as it is now, a future iPhone that supports its HSPA+ network puts it in direct competition with AT&T.  And traditionally, T-Mobile offers better rates than either AT&T or Verizon.  In fact, T-Mobile does have better pre-paid deals than AT&T. 


A lot of us think that Apple is about to release an iPhone for T-Mobile this year.  I think once that happens, we'll see a lot of defections from AT&T to T-Mobile.  And you know what?  When that happens, I can't see how AT&T can explain why eliminating T-Mobile is a good deal for the average mobile warrior. 


What going to be the kicker is that if the number of iPhone users defecting from AT&T to T-Mobile is such a huge number that AT&T's immediate bottom-line is affected and is forced to provide better deals to stem the loss of subscribers, it will really put a galactic size hole in AT&T's arguments, whatever they are, that the merger is good for competition.

Jailbreaking Has Been Important To Android and Even More so For iPhone

Android isn't open.  Let's put that issue to bed.  What is awesome about Android is that programmers have access to the various builds that allow the community to build on top of it or, in some instances, stripping away skins that are for the most part, unwanted and give users something to rail about on their blogs or in forums. 


Once stripped, the native OS became more useful, faster, and took up smaller amounts of foot print.  Take my G1, it's running a customized Android 2.2.  This is a device that was left for dead by Google and T-Mobile.  This is the maiden device that introduced the world to all that is cool and great about Android.


And take HTC Desire which HTC on Monday said it was abandoning.  I wager my year's salary that through the community of Android programmers, the Desire will be a couple more Android updates long after HTC has moved on. 


And jailbreaking or rooting isn't just Android.  iPhone unlocking and jailbreaking is fast becoming an American geek past-time and, for a while, turned into a must-see cat-and-mouse game between Apple and a few determined hackers that are determined to pry open the walled garden.


And though Apple would never admit it, I think more than a few at Apple are happy that the home team lost.  This is especially evident in the iOS 5 where a couple of keep features like notifications came through as a JB feature. 


And then take WhiteD00r. Those are zeros, no "o".  After Apple has abandoned the iPhone 2G and iPhone 3G, this group of hardworking folks has found a way to give these older but still awesome iPhones new life – multitasking and folders quickly comes to mind but with also many missing features enjoyed by only by the latest and greatest, the iPhone 4.


If I'm Apple, I would hire this group of programmers in a heart beat. 


So as much as the carriers and device makers want to pretend these under-the-radar don't exist, they cannot ignore the impact that they have had on their mobile platforms.  And, I cannot wait until Honeycomb and iOS 5 gets their turn.

Twitter’s New Features – Where Are They?

Since Twitter got started and became popular, there really has not been a lot of changes or additions that gives new users reasons to be more engaged on it or something that the media has gotten so "wowed" that it brought in new users in drove.  There has not been a novel use of Twitter I've heard about in a lot time. 


Should Twitter start to offer more services that allow users to connect more to followers and people they follow? 


Recently, we find out that Twitter will beginning to offer a photo service.  Rather than call that a new feature, I term it "a necessary encroachment" into already established services.  And being added to iOS 5 is a boom for the microblog, it isn't the same as innovation by any stretch of the imagination. 


I think in the next year or so, it could be critical for Twitter to out new features that will allow seasoned users like myself to continue to tweet and tweet more often.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

EA To Open Retail Store - What They Should Do For Mobile

EA is looking to open its own retail store.  This is competition not just for Gamestop but what's is really to stop EA from selling hardware as well in the model of what Apple stores operates.  

So far, it is opening up one store at a Charlotte airport and more retail locations are coming.  If this is only about selling games, it would be a major fail.  There are plenty of outlets right now for people to go to, not to mention the plethora of online stores.

I would like to think that EA destinations will be like an Apple store but for gamers and mobile fans.  

In the past, I written about the possibility that Google or one of its Android partners will eventually open up stores to work just as much as a portal as it is a place to sell Android gears.  

So far, the one store at the Charlotte airport does not seem like it's going in the direction that I like to see them go  But perhaps with the leaked documents on Apple retail operations, maybe EA and others should examine them and give my idea a second though.

More at USA Today.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shadow Inernet - For Those Who Want A Revolution (Or Break Through The Great Firewall of China)

The NYT is reporting the United States government, State Department, is working on a shadow Internet that can be moved into a despotic nation like Iran, China, and North Korea (the usual suspects) and allow users to punch through censorship efforts by these types of governments.

Other types of efforts mentioned includes stealth networks and cell systems that works independent of the host country's networks.

The idea is to fit such a network in a suitcase that can easily be transported into the target country.  

Obviously, it isn't as easy as one might think.  Not just from a technical standpoint but also from danger such a network possess to those who use and operate them.  Nevertheless, the powers that be figure the rewards outweighs the risks.  

Consider this like the mesh system that the XO laptops form OLPC operates on.  Except its way more sophisticated and used not by students, but dissidents and foreign operatives.  

Right on!

More at PopSci, NYT.

Starbucks Mobile Card Coming To Android In July - Feel Safe Using It?

On July 15th, Android users will join iPhone and Blackberry users in being able to pay for their drinks and purchases at Starbucks.  More than that, Starbucks locations inside some supermarkets.  I am especially happy about Pavilions since its one of the supermarkets where they offer some nice seatings for working and studying.

Since it's introduction, Starbucks has processed more than 3 million payments and I'm sure with Android in the mix, that will accelerate even more.  

Here's what is interesting.  There is no NFC involved at all.  In fact, Starbucks manager in charged of card payment doesn't think they should have to wait for the NFC market to mature.  And I totally agree.  After all, it works just fine as it is now.

One possible concern I have is security on Android.  With more reports of malware each week, I wonder just how safe our information will be should even just one malicious app sneaks into our Android phones.

source: Mashable.

Did Apple Lose To Nokia On Purpose So More Lawsuits Can Be Launched Against Android Foes?

When the International Trace Commission rules that you haven't violated someone's patents, that's usually a good step forward.  That is the case with the patent spat between Apple and Nokia - the preliminary ruling was in Apple's favor.  So why did Apple settle with Nokia and possibly paid them hundreds of millions and also future royalty payments?

Could Apple have simply "threw the game" so to speak to open the door for Nokia to go after the Android makers, an indirect shot at Google?  You know that "the enemy of my enemy" thing.  

We'll see in the coming months just how Nokia takes this victory.

Source:  Gigaom.

Facebook's Growth, One Way Or Another, Is Slowing And Could Shrink Due To Arrogance

Inside Facebook, a blog site dealing mostly with Facebook issues, reported over the weekend that Facebook lost 6 million users in the US and 7.5 million in North America alone.  Now, they've come out to dispute that.  

However, regardless of whether these numbers are  correct or not, one thing is clear.  Facebook is reaching a saturation point where growth will slow and eventually reach a point where its policies of alienating users will hit a point where they will quit en masse.

Furthermore, outside of Facebook's core social functions, very little else of its new features of properties have caught on.  

Despite Facebook's denial that it is losing US users, privacy boogyman and Facebook CEO Mark Z said Facebook is considering opening up members to children.  Yes, Facebook is looking to be a haven for abuse.  And if this desperate move doesn't say that its internal figures is showing problems for the social media giant, I dont' know what is.

Source:  Macworld.

HTC Programmers Failed Where Fans/Hackers Succeed

HTC Desire will not be getting Android 2.3 or another else after because HTC has given up on it.  What's particularly upsetting is that many folks are still not even through with their contracts yet.  Lunacy right?


What's more crazy is that the open source community made of Android fans, in particular the programmers, are able to eek out Android versions time and time again after companies like HTC and Samsung, probably at the behest of carriers, failed to come through on their commitment to update their devices.


One factor in play is that they all want us to buy new handsets.  Theoretically, we are buying every two years because of the two-year contract that comes with every subsidized Android handset.  This is the same for iPhones and Blackberries. 


The second factor here is the insane skins that they levied on top of the native Android OS to suit their business needs.  A lot of us are just fine with running things on widgets but they seem to think that they can do better.  Sometimes they do, however, most of the time, they don't.  The case here with the Desire is memory issues.  I'm certain if they take out the Sense skin, all of that memory problem will go away.


I'm not a bit lawsuit person but I think this is a case for that a class-action suit is required.  If carriers and handset makers require us to sign up for two-year commitments, they should be required to update softwares and apps for the duration of that contact.  If they can't keep their words, well, we should be allowed to end the contract and move on.

This is not an Android thing.  This is an issue for all mobile warriors to be aware of and be concerned about, regardless of the phone you use or are a fan of.


More at Android Community.

And so it has begun. Apple started selling unlocked GSM iPhones in both black and white and in both 16 and 32 GB configurations. Regardless of the color, the 16 GB and 32 GB models are going for $650 and $750 respectively.

Everyone is asking why...just because they can now? After all, we are so close to Apple releasing their next iPhone update.

Here's my theory Right about now is when Apple usually introduces new iPhones. So perhaps their contract with AT&T is up. That's the reason.

Apple's multi-year deal with AT&T was probably more complicated than just giving Ma Bell the right to BR the exclusive iPhone carrier until Verizon started selling the CDMA version earlier this year.

Once June rolled around, it freed Apple to start selling unlocked iPhones in the US. Now, we have to see what happens when the new iPhones are on the market. Will Apple continue to offer the new updated iPhone unlocked or is there a deal in place with AT&T to lock them down for a period of time?

By the way, it appears that Apple is only selling this through their online store so far and maybe even through the Apple stores but not through other retail outlets. So I think the chances of AT&T offering a lower mobile plan for unsubsidized unlocked iPhone users isn't likely to happen. Figures.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Monday, June 13, 2011

3DS Just Hit One Million Units Sold - What Are the Prospects of Mario Going Android Like Sony?

The 3DS is full of potentials.  I've had it for more than a month now and I've come to one conclusion and it's one and the same I came to in deciding against getting a 3D TV at this time:  It's nice to have but for the most part, gimmicky.  Don't get me wrong, it's amazing what Nintendo is doing for 3D on mobile devices and gaming in general.  Certain just as much a tech pioneer today as they were back when the original Gameboy was sold eons ago.  

However, it took Nintendo 13 weeks to sell one million units (Engadget)  I would have expected two to three million by now.  I reckon that Apple's iPod touch and Android devices have a lot to do with it.  So could Nintendo look to Sony's Android move and make a similar one?  

With Wii U to work on, I doubt Nintendo has a lot of time and resources to be working on the next mobile gaming device  Anything new on the handheld gaming front will be 24 months away at the very least.  We're more likely to see a minor 3DS modification before we see an entirely new gaming system.  So time aside, Android offer the easiest route for Nintendo to go down if they want to offer a more multi-functional handheld that does more than just gaming.  

Should Nintendo go down this path, I hope that they don't lose the uniqueness that is Nintendo.  One way for Nintendo to adopt Android is to craft a skin much like HTC and Samsung has but with a distinctively Mario or Pokemon feel to things.  Thing if it as a real life working Pokedex.  Yeah, I think I just got your attention.  

Nintendo can continue to work independent of Google or anyone else while offering mobile functions that are missing or inadequate on the 3DS.  

Speculations aside, I think Nintendo has much to offer, whether they use Android as an OS or craft their own.  I just hope that they realize the gaming market has change and that more than gaming, people want their mobile devices to be social and capable of performing different functions well.  

So should Nintendo give Android a try or go with Mario OS?  

A More Down To Earth Assessment of iCloud And What It Means for iPhone And iPod Users

iCloud is meant to put information at the tip of iOS users.  Literally.  Whether you're on the iPhone, iPod touch, or the iPad or a combination of all three plus a Mac or PC, Apple wants to make it seamless for the user to have the most updated information at their disposal.

In my previous post, I mentioned just how rosy the Techcrunch post was all clear skies.  This Engadget post kinda went the other way.

However, their conclusion is this.  Most loyal Apple fans will stick with iCloud and will find great use for it.  I agree.  I am looking forward to it with an abundance of caution.  

The bottomline is this.  Apple users, competitors, and its blog watchers are all anxiously seeking answers and trying to see it is as awesome as the WWDC keynote last Monday specified.  It will have a huge impact on iOS and Mac users.  Just about everyone who runs iOS 5 and Lion will be impacted by iCloud to one degree or another.  

iCloud competitors like Dropbox are gonna wander if they'll sink or manage to find a way to swim in this cloudy current.  It could be a good or a bad thing.  And competitors like Google, HP, RIM, and Microsoft are wonder if iCloud will having such a large pull that it'll draw away users towards Apple.  

iCloud: Don't Get Too Excited Until We See It In Action

This Techcrunch post paints really rosy picture for iCloud, setting the stage to conclude that all is lost for Apple's competitors, Google, Microsoft, and maybe even Facebook.

While I am excited by iCloud and its potential, there is just way way too many questions about it that Apple has not given us answers to.  It took an iWeb user to get out of Steve Jobs whether he needs to look elsewhere to host his personal website (yeah, iWeb is officially dead). 

So, I just have one word:  MobileMe.  

It works well enough for me but I signed on to it and dotMac for the last few years mainly because I expected more and more from Apple each and every single year.  

Until we all see iCloud work the way Apple intends it to and "it just works" for the rest of us, I'm gonna hold back on its praises.

Potential Unlocked iPhone Could Spark Another Mobile Trend

I was emailing back and forth with Dave the Mobile Sage about a rumor going around that Apple might start selling unlocked iPhones through AT&T this week.

And with phones continued to be carrier locked, it is possible that Apple's unlocked iPhone in the US could spark a rash of other mobile devices being sold unlocked.

I know that iPhones have been sold unlocked in other parts of the world for years but the US market is one of the biggest and most influential mobile market.

Suck unlocking could mean greater access to the latest and greatest mobile devices for users across markets. Right now, Apple and others stagger launches in different markets.

Take the iPad launch as an example. US users got it first but the reseller market is where the action's at whether we like it or not. And if Apple begin selling the next iPhone unlocked, totally expect a huge rush of demand for it from Asia where the markets typically trail US launches anywhere from 3 to 12 months.

And this could solve some demand problems. Take the Chinese launch of the iPhone 4 where hordes of resellers pushed out legitimate buyers. There was even word of a fight between a loyal Apple employee and unruly squatters. Maybe such problems can be solved buy unlocked iPhones.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

As Facebook Gets Set To Go Public, It Loses Six Million Users In US

Facebook seems to be the juggernaut that not even the mighty Google can topple. Try after try, the giant search eminent has yet to find an answer. But even as Facebook preps for its IPO, its growth has slowed and has even managed to lose six million valuable American users. Perhaps, Facebook's disregard for its user piracy and pursuit of advertising dollars could be it's undoing.

Facebook right now is its own worst enemy.

And yes, I know that it is still closing in on 700 million users but the US market is where it'll count. And this presents a great opportunity for others.

Others such as pre-startup like that is trying to set itself up as an alternative to Facebook that gives users much more control over their privacy.

And recent shenanigans like forcing users to opt-out of facial recognitions and changing privacy policies in the dead of nights are just going to further alienate users.

So potential investors beware. Facebook is more likely to self-destruct with Zuckerberg taking all your money and privacy and walk away laughing.

More at Inside Facebook.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Sunday, June 12, 2011

iPod Touch Battery Life: 75 Min Skype Video Call; Apple Should Find A Way To Make Battery Life Even Better for 2012 Version

I spent all morning talking to an online friend on the other side of the world on Skype since about 7am this morning.  It was a Skype video chat lasted about 75 minutes which forty minutes in got disconnected but I quickly dialed back.  As you know by now, I'm obsessed with battery life.  How power did this call chew up?  40%?  50%?  

At the start of the call, I had read a little bit on iBooks and made a few queries about today's weather and the movie times for Super 8 on Siri.  In all, I had been using the iPod touch for about 30 minutes before making the Skype calls.  

In all, the call took about 33% of battery life.  

Is that good?  Well, it's better than I expected.  At the end of the call, I expected to see the battery indicator closer to midpoint of the icon than the  two-third point by my estimation.  

The reason I am sharing this is because I do have a full day until 5PM PST when Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals start.  Until I can safely get home with the iPod touch plugged into a socket, I reckon it should hold me over through the rest of the morning and the afternoon where two hours of time, I'll be watching Super 8. 

My iPod touch is the fourth generation model.  This is by far the fastest and most powerful non-phone mobile device on the market, Apple really has not done much to improve its battery life.  Given its thin form factor, Apple has done a great job even squeezing out the battery life out of the touch.  Impressed as I am, I cannot help but think that had Apple given the touch an extra millimeter or two, adding an extra half ounce to its weight, it might give us an extra fifteen to twenty percent more battery life.  

On Apple website, the iPod touch is rated at 40 hours of music playback and 7 hours of video.  The iPhone 4 has the same 40 hours of music playback and is capable of playing 10 hours of video on one charge.  Apple also states the iPhone 4 can provide up to 10 hours of Internet use on Wi-Fi.  Though no information is provide regarding the touch's battery life under Internet use, we can safely that it is nowhere near 10 hours.  I would say that it is 7 hours at best.

On top of that, I normally do not sit there in silence.  Even now, I am listening to a podcast and before, that, I was streaming Science Friday from NPR.  With such an use combination, it's likely I will would have likely achieve closer to 5 to 6 hours of battery life.  

I consider this decent for a device this small and light.  For a non-phone device, I think nothing comes close to what Apple has achieved with the iPod touch.  However, I hope Apple seriously bump up the battery life on the next touch update.  We are increasingly relying upon our mobile devices and smartphones for our daily computing and social needs.  

Be it Apple, Samsung, or Google, these tech companies need to realize that our mobile habits have changed greatly even from a year ago.  What constitutes heavy versus moderate use has to change.

Note: Even though iPhone's 6 hours of Internet use over 3G is pretty good, I would like to see Apple really bump that up to 10 hours somehow. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

iMessage Versus Everyone Else; Developers Has To Evolve Or Become A Wiki Has-Been

One of the best examples of survival of the fittest, evolutionary pressure, or natural selection can be seen in how the mobile market is evolving. And with the introduction of iMessage in iOS 5, due this fall, we are seeing a lot of changes, or talk of changes in SMS, and how others like RIM's messaging implementation will be affected.

iMessage is already being herald as a winner. In the past couple of weeks, I have tried a few multi-platform messaging apps that served well enough. However, as with anything Apple, they can encroach at any moment into an field or function, that apps served, not previously available in its OS.

Developers of Whatsapp, Kik, KakaoTalk, and probably a couple of dozens others face a difficult choice this fall. Innovate or attempt to survive on other mobile platforms and leave iOS mostly to iMessage.

Like I've mentioned before regarding iCloud's impact on other cloud storage solutions, incumbents like Dropbox can see a silver lining in this. Apple competition does not necessarily mean the end of the world. There are positive examples of how Apple helped competitors.

  • Just like the iPhone brought a lot of attention to smartphones.
  • iTunes made it okay to download music.
  • iOS-based Apple TV has been great business for Roku.
  • iPad has developed a whole new mobile computing market that Microsoft previously failed to ignite on fire.  While sales of non-iPad competitors haven't caught on, it is only a matter of time before Android, Web OS, Playbook, and even Windows 8 begin to serve as strong alternatives to Apple's tablet offerings.

I am sure there are a couple of other examples. I reckon iMessage will force many innovate. And innovate goes both ways, doesn't it? Apple has a history of developing a great app only to allow it to languish. Sometimes, they come up with an incredible update such as Final Cut or allow it to due a quiet death (I am beginning to think iWeb and Ping will go down the latter path).

What of Blackberry Messaging, BBM? Word on the blog street is that RIM will release an app for both Android and iOS. And WSJ reports that Google is working on their own multi-platform messaging app or reinventing gTalk to compete.

So, I think messaging platforms will benefit from the attention that iMessage is going to bring. Instant messaging could also get a second wind as a result.

Everyone wins right? Wrong. iMessage, BBM, Google's offering, and the other messaging apps as a whole will put a big dent into the SMS growth - a cash cow for the wireless cartels across the world.

I don't have to tell you just what a rip-off SMS is. And I am safely in the majority as far as this opinion goes. While analysts do not see a sudden torrential shift in the messaging market, I think they are wrong. Dead wrong.

I predict a huge drop in the next 12-18 months as the revenue from texting takes a big hit. Just like the app developers threatened by iMessage, the wireless industry across the world will need to change. Somehow, I don't see that happening. Maybe a few can move and innovate quickly enough but most will wake up one day and wonder just where their steady and reliable billions in SMS profit went.

iMessage is both good for the wireless industry and great for mobile warriors regardless of whatever mobile platform your smartphone runs on.

Twitter Versus Weibo

In China, due to the tender loving care of the government of the people, the Great Firewall of China has blocked access to much of Western social networks like Facebook and Twitter.  It's unfortunately really since we can all vastly benefit from the tweets and updates of our fellow men and women from China.  However, all is not lost as there are alternatives, carefully monitored alternatives, that are available.  

Weibo is one such site that I signed up for.  I figure I give it a shot and use this opportunity to learn Chinese.  

And I reckon I'll see a lot interesting things.  What will be of interest to me is what I will not be able to see.  Keeping in mine that I have the reading level of a first grader if that and my comprehension of Chinese idioms and common phrases are even worse, I am eager to plunge into what it's like behind the whole separate Internet that Google has battled with Beijing since their announced pullout and reentry into the Chinese market to the latest incident of gmail hacking. 

I recommend folks sign up as well.  Even if you don't understand Chinese, I suggest you use Google Translate and for the most part, we can get the gist of most Weibo tweets.  Tweets.  Are these called tweets?  I wonder what the Chinese call them.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Microsoft Innovates And Here's Proof

Okay, so Microsoft has been down on its luck as far as its stock price is concerned. Oh, it is getting its clock cleaned by the iPhone an Android in the mobile market. But here's the thing. IDC predicts that Windows Phone 7 and/or whatever comes after will surge to such proportion that by 2015, it'll be the second most popular mobile platform on the planet.

Skeptical? Sure, who wouldn't be. But watching this Windows 8 video from Microsoft. Who says Microsoft does not innovate anymore?

Oh, and this is this week's Friday video clip. Have a great weekend!

Interesting Read On Twitter Integration with iOS - What It Also Means For Social Networking

Here's an interesting read on iOS integration with Twitter that was unveiled at the WWDC keynote on Monday. What was surprising was the deep level of integration that no one had expected Apple to do.  In one post I read, the blogger said Apple essentially gave Twitter  immortality Take the meaning as you will, this is a relationship that benefits both firms.

Also, I was listening to a podcast, 5 By 5, where John Gruber guessed that the relationship between Apple and Twitter is different from say Apple and Facebook, which is on the rocks, hence, its exclusion from iTunes, resulting in Ping's failure.

This came back to when Apple and Google broke their marriage.  Apple has learned from it.  Gruber said just as much and in the deal, there probably was a clause in which Apple would have the rights to veto any takeover of Twitter by another company or that Apple will have the first chance to purchase Twitter should the need arise.  Such a clause would provide Apple the confidence it needs to know that Twitter has no plans to become a competitor or be used by a competitor like Facebook, Google or Microsoft. 

Regardless, I can see some amazing things for iOS and the Mac from this.  Right now, the company with the most to worry about here is probably Facebook.  But relationship between Apple and Facebook can't be all that bad if is including fields in Contacts for Facebook (as well as a few other social networks).

Could Apple develop an app that serves as an umbrella platform for social networks the way Trillion, Meebo, or Adium does for the various instant messaging services?  Could that be what iMessage will one day evolve into?  Also, it would rock if we can tweet directly from iMessage as well.

iOS 5 is still in the first beta and I'm sure we'll see more about Twitter integration in the coming months.  The final version of iOS 5 will ship this fall, presumably with this year's new iPhone and iPod touch.

Source:  TUAW, Crunchgear

Thursday, June 9, 2011

iCloud: What Does It Mean For Storage Solutions? Probably Good Things

Steve Jobs always has a way to make sure the spotlight is on Apple and its visions.  And sometimes, this is bad for competitors.  Other times, it could be a good thing because Apple creates a mindset in the consumer that was not there before.  Take the iPhone.  Before the iPhone was introduced and sold in 2007, the smartphone market was very stagnant.  Then with the App Store, things just exploded.  And what does iCloud mean for, Dropbox, and others?

It does mean competition to some extent.  And that's what a free battlefield in every market means.  You've got established players and once in a while a new guy comes in and plays by a different set of rules.  The incumbents will have to decide a deal to deal with things.  Either innovate  and adapt or get wiped out.  The current crop of cloud storage solutions will have to find a way to provide value in ways that Apple's iCloud isn't.  And here's the thing to know about Apple:  they never try to be all things to everyone.  And that means opportunities for others to compete.  

Right now, I see Google and Microsoft definitely competing big time, even on iOS devices, Apple turf.  For someone like Dropbox, I definitely see some changes coming.  

Furthermore, iCloud will bring attention to the likes of Dropbox to the average mobile warrior that would otherwise not happen or will take lots of advertising dollars to make that happen.  iCloud could be more effective for competitors than any expensive advertising campaign can do.  Apparently, PC World agrees with me.

It all comes to down to how iCloud competitors want to deal with Apple.  Innovate and compete is the best way to go about it.  I definitely will continue to use Dropbox despite iCloud.  And also keep in mind that while iCloud will be a huge change for how iOS and Mac users deal with data, 75% of the market will not have access to iCloud.  That is hundreds of millions of users who can use third party storage solutions.

One Billion Smartphones By 2015 - WP To Take Second Place

When Apple debut the iPhone in 2007, there was already 1 billion phones sold worldwide.  However, that include regular phones that just made calls.  Since then, smartphones like the iPhone, Blackberries, and those based on Android have grown to become a large share of the global phone market.  According to IDC, there we will see 1 billion smartphones ship by 2015.

What's interesting is that I was going to extrapolate the numbers based on today's marketshare.  However, IDC had their own ideas.  Windows Phone 7 will come out of nowhere and take second pace from Apple while Android remains at the top.

With one billion smartphones in 2015, 440 million of them will be Android, 200 million will be WP devices, 170 million iOS phones, and 130 million Blackberries.  Essentially, IDC has WP growing from about 2 to 3 million shipped so far to 200 million in 48 months.  Or a 100x growth.  

Obviously, I am not one to put it past Microsoft to suddenly have a spurt of inspiration and innovative energy that can make this happen.  Still, this is one statistic I'm going to keep in in the back of my head for reference in 2015.  

Pulling back a bit, one billion is a crazy number and even by 2015, I'm sure the market will still have lots of room to growth on a planet with 7 billion-ish people.  And can you imagine the awesome mobile devices that we'll see in just 48 months?  

More at Info World.

Mobile At A Food Fair - iPhones And iPads Could have Helped Us Do Better Business

On Saturday, I went to help some friends with their first endeavor into selling food at a small stand they set up.  It was one of the more interesting experiences I've had.  I've done retail before for our family business but never sold food.  

I found that it was hard work but could mobile tech have made it easier?  Maybe even some kind of a bulletin or blog to help understand what's going on and how to go about becoming or efficient?

After all, we all had iPhones except for one and her job was to look pretty and pass out samples.  

And after this week's WWDC, I reckon that for our next food fair, I think iCloud can play a larger role in all this.  For instance, we had a schedule that we could keep and allow everyone to see who was showing up to help out.  Tweeting and updating on Facebook could probably be a way to keep everyone updated as well though I think I rather stay away from Facebook if I can.

Ultimately, we want to be able to use mobile to do better business.  Actually, I think we could have used an iPad to help us show off what we were offering and take videos of customer testimonies of what they thought about our food.

Also, keeping an inventory of what we had and we needed to stock up would have helped as well.  

There are plenty of apps that can help us with our jobs.  Maybe next time, we will try to integrate mobile tech and apps.  

Like It Or Not, China Makes Green Moves That'll Never Happen Here

In the past few months, I've been reading about China's moves into green tech.  I'm very competitive by nature so obviously, I can't stand it when pretty much more green efforts are being made anywhere else but the United States.

And like China or not, they make moves in green efforts that the right wingers and old energy-backed politicians, in both parties, continue to hamper a potential ecnomic growth engine.  

China will be doubling solar production from 5 GW to 10 GW by 2015.  They're playing huge in wind as well  In fact, China invested more in green tech than the US so far this year.  

And the oil and coal guys are playing a smarter game in the US than the green advocates.  The renewable energy and green advocates are talking about climate change.  The dirty energy guys are glad that's happening.  What it comes down to for these guys is money.  If the renewable energy industry can move away from any talk about climate change and more about economic growth and securing energy sources, the sun and wind, the public would be more likely to support an energy policy in this regard.

I'm afraid that opportunity had long passed.  And in China, even now, they've got their own cash-for-clunker program going on and I see them keep this going for a while.  Remember, this is Beijing, not a democracy.

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...