Sunday, July 31, 2011

Will iCloud Become Apple's Cloud OS?

iCloud, though the public has not seen it, has been regarded as Apple's newest weapon and its best hope to supplant the services offered by Google, Microsoft, and others.  It will be what MobileMe was meant to be.  And it could be Apple's final effort in trying to convince users that it knows what cloud computing is.

Even at this point, iCloud may well be nothing more than a glorified online storage for files, photos, and music.  But as with everything Apple, it offers pinpoint improvements over time and adds new innovative features and apps when they feel it has been baked well enough.

And it could be possible that as iCloud evolves further, it could merge with iOS and OS X further in the coming years.  Just as what we are seeing now, iOS and OS X share features and that could become more so with whatever OS comes after Lion

Google's Chrome OS is a vision that we could see future embedded devices head towards.  And though that could be challenged by Windows and OS X, there is support for this path.  Mozilla's new project "Boot To Gecko" is aimed at the smartphone but just as some earlier netbook makers were anxious to make Android their default OS, don't think "Boot To Gecko" will be used exclusively for mobile phones.

Obviously, this is merely my own speculation.  However, a cloud-based OS where features are "downloaded" and accessed by the user would core OS be updated by Apple more easily.  And then Apple can build apps around it.  I reckon this could also be more efficient.

It was from reading this Yahoo post regarding iTunes getting iCloud integration that made me realize just how important iCloud could become.  It won't be just the core apps like iTunes, iLife, and iWorks but Apple could extend integrations with more advanced features in future updates.

This could lead to faster boot times and smaller footprints for future iOS devices and Macs.  And moreover, Apple could offload heavy lifting by its server farms as well.  

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Special Saturday Video: Not A Glee Fan But Couldn't Pass up Michael Jackson Parody.

I'm not a Glee fan. Partly because I won't watch a whole lot of TV to begin with. And the few videos that I've seen were special ones that I don't think represents the show as a whole.

Having said that, here is a Michael Jackson parody that is brilliantly done. I first heard it on Spotify but decided for myself to see if I can find it on Youtube. And yes, here you go.



Enjoy!

Russia Might iPad Use In Government

The Playbook from Blackberry received approval for use within the US government.  It was given FIPS certification.  And because the iPad was not, it appears that Russia could be looking at the Playbook or even an Android tablet with better security features.

It's likely that Apple will also try to obtain this certification but you can never really tell.  And given Google's interest in pushing for a more prominent role in government, Android could benefit greatly.  

We should know just how all this plays out eventually but this could be a huge victory for RIM.  And it needs every bit of help it can now.  And who will be the next to be certified?  Apple or Google?

Source:  BGR, Financial Post.

I Am Early For Dinner; Mobile Helps Diffuse Frustration

I like spending time with friends and families so generally when I am out, I leave some personal issues and worries at home. They get in the way of fun. I marvel at my ability to do this.

Being fashionably late, especially in Los Angeles, seems to be something that more people are taking to a whole new level. But with my mobile devices with most of the time, I have had something to do while I wait 15 minutes or half and hour while people I am having dinner with or just meeting up for coffee shows up.

And as I write this post, I am an hour early. Actually, no. The people I am having dinner with are an hour behind. Again, this is entirely fine with me. Most of the time, I am okay with it.

I got a chance to update my calendars, fire off a couple of emails, mod a pic I tool this morning donating blood and write a couple of journal entries (both on my phone and actual moleskin notebook).

In recent years, I almost never leave home without something to distract myself with. Before the smartphones, I had my Palm devices.

And before that? I shudder to think about those time. I recall being frustrated a lot.


- Posted using Mobile Devices

Friday, July 29, 2011

Google Improves Tablet Search And Images

Google continues to do great work on the search front. And while it's debatable how some of their UI looks and feel, at least with search, they're doing pretty nice by me.

They've made the UI better for tablet by way of adding and move search buttons and drop-down menus for easier access.


On top of that, this is my favorite part. The image results layout has imrpoved with bigger previews so you know exactly what you're looking at. Continuous scrolling is nice and faster load time.



It may not seem like much but with tablets fast becoming mainstream devices for consuming media and text, it makes sense for Google to make it easier for us early adopters to latch on. Bing, your move.

Google Improves Tablet Search - Looks Really Nice, Especially Pic Layout

Google continues to do great work on the search front.  And while it's debatable how some of their UI looks and feel, at least with search, they're doing pretty nice by me.

They've made the UI better for tablet by way of adding and move search buttons and drop-down menus for easier access.  

On top of that, this is my favorite part.  The image results layout has imrpoved with bigger previews so you know exactly what you're looking at.  Continuous scrolling is nice and faster load time.

It may not seem like much but with tablets fast becoming mainstream devices for consuming media and text, it makes sense for Google to make it easier for us early adopters to latch on.  Bing, your move.

Friday Movie: Dead Island

This is Friday’s movie. But be warned, this is a gameplay/trailer from Dead Island, the new gory zombie PC game.

The trailer you may or may not have seen so I’ve included below the video for the gameplay.



Here is the trailer for Dead Island. However, this is version that is chronologically reversed.



I don’t have a PC that can play this game. Perhaps, I’ll see if there will be a version out for the iOS or Android devices.

Green: Quake/Tsunami Ravaged Japan Able To Conserve More Power; Could We Do the Same Here?

The US already use more power than any other country in the world.  And modern nation to modern nation, we Americans consume twice the amount of power than our Japanese counterparts.  And due to the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was damaged by the March earthquake and resulting tsunami, has been unable to produce electricity, the people of Japan has been asked to conserve power during critical hot and humid summer months.

My question is can we American do the same here when, not if, asked?  Now about your country where you're reading this post here?  

Well, on behalf of all Americans, I'll answer this question.  And the answer is "you betcha!"  Outside of Washington, Americans are generally mellow, common sense folks (just don't piss us off) and willing to do what we can to help the community at large.  

Then comes my second question.  Why wait until a disaster to happen before we put ourselves on additional power and resource diets?

So far in Japan, the cutback has meet rationing targets and even exceeded.  The New York Times post I've read is one I recommend to all concerned about global warming, dwindling natural resources, or just want to do right for the environment.  

The public campaigns launched in Japan is one that instilled pride and a great sense of community. 

Having said that, we Americans can do this but just look at Washington today.  Right now with the debt ceiling fight.  I doubt there is anyone in his or her right mind who would think that a comprehensive conservation policy be instituted even if it that by cutting use of petro by a few million barrels as a starting point, it means less money going overseas, stronger economy, and the foundation for a more secured nation.

There is still a way to get done what the Japanese government is working with its people to do.  The states and local governments are not as polarized politically as the dysfunctional national government.  We Americans are willing and ready.

Note:  Noticed I mentioned nothing about global warming, climate change, or polar bears.

Another note:  It would help if we can bring smart grids and meters sooner rather than later.

  

Live Blogging A Jog

I ran 6.2+ miles yesterday. Applause. Thanks! It was fun and could have ran longer it or hadn't been for the fact that it wad just way too hard to see.

As I was running, I thought I'd do something fun. Live-blog the experience through Google+.

Okay. It was just a couple of pics of landmarks and some info about my run.

You can see here.
















As you can see, I had some fun with it. Did some touch-ups of the pics, added zombies.

Again, it was fun. Gave me time between updates for a breather it two.

I hope to do it again. And maybe I'll find a way to make it more efficient.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Patent Wars And What Will Reform Do?

I'm trying to keep an open mind regarding this but patents are supposed to protect the inventors...when when Acer/HTC suggests that Apple should innovate rather than ligitate, I'm trying to understand their logic behind it.

I know that prior patents does keep competitors from using one's technology. And the way to work around it is to innovate or find an even better way to implement a trait or function.  

I think what Apple is doing is unprecedented so it's making a lot of people feel uneasy.  New rules and all that.  

From the patent reform information that I could find on the Web, specifically, Wiki, I can see why Google would want to push for it.  It seems that it would make it harder to bring patent suits while prolonging the process of litigation.  

And yet, many of the companies involved in the mobile patent wars, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle support the Patent Reform Act of 2009.  However, even a wider range of industries are against it.  Obviously, this isn't a left versus right kind of thing.  

Perhaps if there is to be reform of any sort, maybe Congress can enact one solely for technology based patents and industries. 

Given my interpretation of the Patent Reform Act of 2009, I found it surprise that Apple supported it since they're the only suing a bunch of Android device makers.  I guess Apple is more concerned about patent trolls while they remain confident while they remain confident that should such a legislation pass Congress and sign into law by the President, it would have no impact on the current patent war.

At the same time, I don't see such a reform offering incentive to innovate since it does little to protect certain inventors who are without the armies of lawyers protecting their patents from infringement.

I'm just getting a feeler to all this.  I have much to research and understand.  I am tempted to get a patent bar just so I can understand what's going on.  (My science background allows me to do that.)

Sunken UFO? Not Likely But I Want To Believe

If this had been a X-Files episode, Mulder would be all over this like flies on…well, you know. According to Space.com, a Swedish research team lead by Peter Lindberg was during a survey when they stumbled upon a round object, 60 ft in diameter, on the ocean floor between Finland and Sweden.

Further evidence suggests that the object was moved there (crashed?) due to markings on the ocean floor that showed the environment was disturbed in such a way.

While there is no evidence that this round formation is of extraterrestrial origin, Lindberg, who isn’t aN ufologist, he believe it to be a Stonehenge of sort. Regardless of it could be, it certainly has brought attention to his work.

Here is a video showing us the scan.



So, interested in chipping a couple of bucks to launch an expedition to recover the alien craft?

Note: I want to believe but right now, I’m not ready to call this thing an “object”. I’ll go with “formation” until further evidence suggests otherwise. But this would be a great opportunity for a well funded science cable network to launch a special show based on its exploration and/or recovery.


iPad 3: Separating Reality From Rumors; Possibility of a Smaller Tablet

iPad 3 is coming. It's not coming.  It'll have a high rez screen but it'll cost more than the regular iPad 2.  Oh, and Apple may or may not be lining up manufacturers to make it.

If you're a close watcher of Apple, the historical progression of rumors and such all tells us one thing.  There obviously is a successor to the iPad 2 but it will not be coming until Q1 of 2012 at the earliest.  

Right about now, Apple is ramping up production of the iPhone 5. That means for the iPad 3 to make a fall, even a late fall, debut, Apple will have to start production real soon.  And according Taiwan Economic News, to Apple is still finalizing suppliers to make it. Furthermore, does Apple really want to be concentrating on two brand new products at the same time?  

And let's not forget the annual iPod refresh as well.  

So, iPhone, iPod and iPad 3.  That's quite a lot in the mix.  Then there are some of the Macs that will need to be refreshed as well.  If anyone can handle all this, it would be Apple.  Still, an iPad 3 launch is an unnecessary move at this point.  

Speculations.  I think Apple might still surprise us with something brand new.  And addition to the existing product.  I think there is an outside chance but still a chance that we'll see a bigger sized iPod touch with a screen 5-7".  I'm going to make you come back later for what I think is strong evidence of this.

So in conclusion, no iPad 3.  But I hope I'm wrong.  I can sure use a higher resolution tablet, not that I've got anything to complain about my iPad 2.


With 28% of the US Marketshare and International Demands for the iPhone Stil Strong, Apple Continues To Dominate Profit

The last I heard, Apple had over 50% share of the mobile profit while only a quarter of the mobile device share.  And with Apple increase it's footprint this quarter, it would be pathetic if that figure remains the same.  Well, no worries.  

9to5Mac suggests that Apple could capture as much as two-third of the total mobile profit.  That's right, one company with a vast majority of the pie.

It was only 4 years ago that the iPhone was introduced and Apple was vying for a mere 1% of the total phone market.  At the time, many analysts thought that was an impossibility.  And at the time, Nokia had nearly sixty percent of the profit.  

After Apple came Samsung with 15% of the profit in mobile.  

9to5Mac has much more details and pretty graphs so I'm gonna make you click over to read up on them.

ATT Settling Self Up For Lawsuits?

ATT is looking at throttling unlimited data plan users.  It doesn't matter if the user is an Android or iPhone user.  Or any platform for that matter. 

This is coming from multiple sources on the Web so it could be ATT looking to trying to let the information leak, simmer a bit, and take the temperature.  

With the merger with T-Mobile on the line, it doesn't seem like a smart move to make at all.  By anyone's standard, this is a bad thing, my fellow mobile warriors.  And I'm talking about the throttling but you're welcome to throw the merger into the mix of this bad.

The other side of this issue I've got is that many bloggers seem to be taking in stride.  They should be pissed off.  All I know is that should Sprint get the iPhone, I wish there would be a mass exodus from ATT and Verizon. 

Sprint is now the last of the carriers that offer unlimited and unthrottled data plans.

iPhone 3GS for One Penny

I've bought quite a few Apple products refubished. My Powerbook was.  So Is my current Macbook Air. And even a couple of iPods as well.  They're top notch as far as I'm concerned.  So now, Cult of Mac is reporting that the iPhone 3GS can be had for one penny.

It's significant because the iPhone 3GS is a very good mobile device.  As a lower end mobile computer, it is good enough to give some high end competing smartphones a run for their money. On top of that, the battery life is better than most if not all Android devices out there.  

What this move by AT&T is essentially their way of clearing the stock out for you know what.  The next iPhone.  There was fear that Apple may not release an iPhone this year. There's always a chance of that happening but not a good one.  The recent increase in chatters as well as moves by carriers, like this one, seems to all of seal the deal on the iPhone coming in a matter of weeks.  

So, if you're looking for a nearly free iPhone, you cannot go wrong with the 3GS.  And it even runs iOS 5.  If you buy a lower end or even a mid-range Android phone today, there is no promise that the next Android update will run on it.  

Source: Cult of Mac.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Example Of The Power Of Social Media: Single Tweet Can Cause A Riot

I don't know who DJ Kaskade is or if the person is he or she until I read this Los Angeles Times post where he tweeted "Today(at)6pm in Hollywood (at)Mann's Chinese Theatre. ME+BIG SPEAKERS+MUSIC(equals)BLOCK PARTY!!! RT!" and caused a riot as a result.

Over 2K fans converged on his location and was met with riot-geared police.

So, yeah, social media, can be used for good or...just about anything else you can imagine or expect. The consequences, on the other hand, well, one never know.

Source: Los Angeles Times.

Where Do Companies Get Their Names

Did you know that Amazon.com was formerly cadabra.com?  Well, imagine how lame it would have been and probably don't not have survived the dotcom bust had Amazon not changed its name.

Here are fifty of some of the biggest companies you've probably heard of and how they got them name.  I particularly like how 3M, Adobe, Audi, Lego, Nabisco, Mattel, Pepsi, 

Now Verizon got its name is pretty interesting.  So is vodafone.  

It's a mix of translations for some, words taken from dead languages (is Latin considered dead?), names, and clever concoctions.  Though some like IBM, which stands for International Business Machine, is kinda name but the story behind it sounds interesting.

Source:  Buzzfeed.

Motorola Expected To Ship 1.3 to 1.5 Million Xooms Through the Rest Of the Year; How Will The Tablet Market Shape Up?

Feeling a bit numbed after looking at Motorola's numbers, this is worse than what I felt after seeing RIM's own quarterly result.  Now, Moto is saying it'll ship at most 1.5 million Xooms.

What more can I expect?  As a mobile fan, I had high hopes that Motorola can stage a comeback in 2011 like they did when they fell but came back with the RAZr phones.  

So, if this is how the flagship Android tablet is doing, you have to wonder just how other Android tablets can do up against the iPad, Playbook, and Touchpad.  

Doing some quick math and estimation here, I see the follow breakdown of the tablet market:

  • RIM can possibly ship up to 1 million Playbooks a month
  • HP can possibly ship  up to 500K Touchpads a month
  • Samsung can possibly ship up to 2 million Galaxy Tablets a month
  • Other Android tablet makers can ship up to 1 million tablets a month
  • Apple can ship up to 5 million iPads a month
Take some liberty with the figures, this is how I see the tablet market break down once all the dust has been settled.  The figures I've provided are based on monthly sales:

  •  Apple 7.50M 53.57% 
  •  Galaxy 2.00M 14.29% 
  •  Playbook              1.00M 7.14%
  • Touchpad              0.50M 3.57% 
  •  Other Androids       1.50M 10.71%  
  •  Others               1.50M 10.71% 
As you can see, based on the interest levels in tablets other than iPads, I've given Apple more than half of the tablet market based on some estimates I've been able to get from the Web for the next couple of years.  Maybe I've given some of the tablets more or less figure than they deserve.  And certainly, Apple numbers are probably too low (sorry, Apple fans).  

And yes, I've left out Microsoft.  Simply put, given what we see with Windows Phone sales right now, there just isn't not that interest in Microsoft's mobile OS.  While Nokia's entry into the market later this year could change that, an increase sales of Windows Phone devices does not translate into interests for Windows tablets.

Also, I based my figures on the 50-60 million tablets estimated to be sold next year.  My figure came in around the mid-point of that range.  As for the individual breakdowns, those are only my guess based on the most updated quarterly information on the Web.  Also, I purposely left about 10% for "others".  

I think my forecasts are pretty conservative when it comes to iPad sales.  In one recent report, Informa doesn't have Android challenging the iPad for market share until 2015 (MacdailyNews). This new estimate is considered a push-back from other estimates I've seen earlier that put 2013 when Android tablet volume will surpassed iPad sales.

I guess what I'm saying here is that until Google and its partners really push hard Android tablets or another platform has a breakthrough, even conservative estimates like mine has the iPad with a large share of the market.

Boehner Debt Bill Delayed Until Tonight

Looks like the Speaker doesn't have the votes he needed to get his debt plan passed even with his party in charge of the House of Representatives.  

Source: Marketwatch.

Only 440K Xooms Shipped; I Had Held Out for 600M+

Motorola Mobility in their financial report reported by shipped only a dismal 440K.  Honestly, this is pathetic.  For the flagship Honeycomb device, Motorola and Google has really dropped the ball.

By now, I was expecting about a million tablets shipped a month.  And this figure is even worse than just 440K.  The number Motorola provided is shipped, not the sell through.  

I think it all hinges on Samsung now.  The Galaxy brand has a better following and should be able to do better.  On top of that, Amazon is rumored to be prepping up to 4 million Kindle tablets for the Holiday seasons.  

Hope of anyone with a fight chance against Apple's iPad comes down to Amazon and Samsung. 

Source:  Motorola.

Someone Finally Listened To Me! Apple Interested In Barnes and Noble, What will Google do?

I said this three years ago and again two years ago.  And when Borders started going out of business, I said it as well.  And finally, someone is listen.  BGR reports one of their sources has knowledge that Apple is looking hard at a Barnes and Noble takeover.

And it would make a lot of sense than BGR is suggesting.  These megastores have the room to accommodate Apple's expanding needs.  in fact, Apple could convert Barnes and Noble stores into super destinations for its fans.  And should Apple start to sell TV and expand its reach, it will need places to display them.  Current stores do not have enough room.

Furthermore, I like to see Apple save the brick-and-mortar book stores.  I think the two companies would be a perfect match.  

The question now becomes what will Google do?  Or Amazon and Microsoft?  Neither of these Apple competitors have the retail reach Apple does.

Boy Genius Report Comes To Android's Defense On Returns

Boy Genius Report did some checking around and found Techcrunch's 30-40% Android return rate a bit too far-fetched.  

After checking with their "sources", they find that returns are closer to single-digit percentages.  And with some major screw-ups, even those are just in the teens.

If it was in the 30 to 40% return rates as TC suggests, the handset makers would be going out of business.  I hope TC responds with a follow-up.

Source: BGR.

Did Windows Phone 7 Shrink Below 1% or Grew Big Time?

Is Windows Phone catching on?  Nielsen reports that Windows Mobile stands at 9% of installed base in the US.

In the last report, WP7 took 1%.  This time around, Nielsen did not provide data for WP7.  But WMPowerUser blog optimistically suggests that Nielsen folded WP7 data into the Windows Mobile data as one and that WP7 has increased so much that it is able to off-set loss of older Windows Mobile devices.

That is possible.  Until we get clarification from Nielsen, we won't know with any certainty.  We do know that there are the "other" section with 1".  

3DS Hurt By iOS Sales - Nintendo Pain To Get Worse When Gaming Comes to Apple TV

Due to the high flying iOS devices, iPhone, iPod touch, and the iPad, Nintendo has slashed the price of the newly released 3DS from $250 (the amount I paid for) down to $170.  I would be pissed if not for the free games I I should be getting from Nintendo for my trouble.

My issues aside, Nintendo is in a world of hurt.  As like $324 million of hurt.  That's how much Mario and friends lost in the latest financial result.  And what I did not realize was that they've been bleeding money for more than a year now.  

What happened?  Apple.  That's what happened.  Take your pick. iPhone.  iPod touch.  The iPad 2.  This kind of power hit Nintendo hard as it has sold just over 700K...worldwide!

While Nintendo did address the slow start of the 3DS out of the gate, they still refuse to acknowledge the real issue and danced around the true issue of changes in the mobile market and Apple roadblock.  

Certainly new games from 3DS will help things in the second half of the year but Apple isn't sitting still.  For the Holidays Season, Apple is expected to refresh its iOS lineup.

What's worse, Apple could be gunning for the console market indirectly with the Apple TV.  Airplay allows iOS gamers to through the Apple TV.  And if you've seen those HD games on the iPad, you know that the graphics are amazing.

In a couple of months, Apple could be creating another disruption.  This time, in console gaming through Apple TV.  Nintendo could see further losses.

One additional issue we might want to think about:  Vita.  Wonder how that's gonna perform.

Source: MSNBC.

Amazon's Tablet Plans are Real And Coming This Fall

Amazon is currently getting things ready to ramp up their own Kindle tablet.  I'm using Kindle because its the brand that is most popular within Amazon's own line of products and just as with Barnes and Noble did with Nook and Nook Color, I anticipate that "Kindle" will be very much the name of the tablet.

What's not entirely known are the specs.  Months ago, there was talk that Amazon might include a 4-core chip from Nvidia.  It was a ridiculous notion obviously.  And WSJ is reporting that the the top end tablet will not sport a traditional 10" display but one that is smaller. And there will not be cameras.

I reckon this is probably the result of one of two things.  Amazon really wants to reduce the cost of their tablets or they have yet to develop the skills to build in adequate camera and have been unable to find a source to their likely.

Amazon will be going up against the iPad 2 as well as a second wave of Android tablets.  

You're asking, wait a sec, isn't Amazon's tablet going to be on Android?  Yes and no.  Amazon is probably doing this without Google's blessing and is taking the codes from Gingerbread to do this.  On top of that, this is no unlike what the Chinese "Android" makers do.  They create their own flavor of the Google release.  

And Amazon does have its own app store.  

GM Gets Into Solar Charging For EV

If you want to talk about sustainability, this is this. CNet reports that GM is putting some serious money into Sunlogics that will purchase solar equipment for GM and dealerships to create renewable power charging stations.

In turn, Sunlogics will use that added fund to increase production.  As a part of a broader deal, GM will purchase power generated by GM and Sunlogics facilities.  

Right now, I'm loving this reinventing of GM with an eye towards efficiency and sustainability through renewable power.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

California Is Facing A Glut of Renewable Power Projects? That's A Good Thing, Right?

California has a goal of eventually getting 33% of our power needs from renewable sources by 2020.  While I am unable to find out just where we are at right now, I do know that we are facing a total of 71 GW renewable power that have applied to help California achieve this goal.

The 71 GW of power is more than enough to supply all of our power needs in the state.  So I ask this?  Why not go for it?

I think this is a project that Californians can get behind.  Imagine just what this will do to state's economy.  Imagine the status that California will become.  The symbol of green power that the Golden State will represent for the rest of the world to follow.

Can you believe this?  More power than we need.  Talk about the kind of national security we can provide.

Source:  CleanTechnica.

Tough Crowd in Sydney For the Touchpad Launch

Sydney Morning Herald isn't a paper I typically fancy myself reading if ever.  I mostly don't venture beyond papers in the US and a few English papers.  Once in a while I'll stumble north of the border if The Globe and Mail has something really really interesting to say.  And for me, ABC is the ABC but once in a while, I'll read something and, before long, realized it's the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, not the American Broadcasting Company.

So when SMH post on the Touchpad was decidedly negative, I was intrigued.  Adam Turner, SMH's very own mobile warrior, did not mind slicing through what I'm sure to be carefully crafted catchphrases.  Though why he cannot be impressed by the cards and Synergy is beyond me.

But he did made one very important point.  The mainstream tablet users have the iPad, power users have the option of Honeycomb tablets while Playbook is trying to hold RIM's ground in enterprise.  So, where does that leave Touchpad?  

Still, these Aussies are tough hombres.  That or the Touchpad is in a lot of trouble.  I think it could be a little of both.

Google Plus Traffic Down Mere 35 Seconds Per Visit

The amount of time that people spent on Google+ dropped from nearly six minute to five and a quarter minutes.  That's a drop of 35 seconds.  Is that really worth reporting on?  Well, CNet apparently thinks so.  

Well, folks, let's just say that the decrease can be for any number of reasons.  I'm surprise that the number has not dropped more.  In the first few weeks, you would think that most of the time is spent on Plus trying to figure out how to use it and manage our Circles.  Now that we know mostly how things work on Plus, we don't need that extra couple of minutes looking around for things. 

Further more, Google+ are more savy tech-wise.  True mobile warriors I reckon.  We're probably on our Androids and iPhones.  You don't need to spend give minutes answering, updating, and posting pics.  

And a drop of 35 seconds is nothing at all to worry about.  Plus has already reached twenty million.  I can't wait until early next year when Facebook tries to go public.  

Google Plus really has the ability to steal some of that thunder.  

What Does Angry Birds (the game) Have In Common with Nazi Germany

So, I ask you - what does Angry Birds, the all time popular mobile game have to do with Nazi Germany?

Angry Birds, if you don't already know, is about these pissed off birds try go get at the pigs for stealing their eggs.  Kids stuff.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

Apparently, Glen Beck equates the birds to the wealthiest 1% while the pigs have taken their eggs to redistribute.  Ooookaaaay, so someone has not taken his meds agin.

According to Macworld, Beck then proceeds to make a connection to the Nazi and even his co-hosts had no idea what he was talking about.

So you Android and iPhone users who play Angry birds (myself included), we're the richest people in the world and the socialists are stealing our eggs and we could be Nazis.  Or not.  

Google’s Big Fragmentation Issue And Control Is Needed Now

Wireless Week blog post is emphasizing the Android fragmentation issue.  I happen to agree with them 100%.  

When a mobile user buys an Android device, he or she ought to be able to know the carrier and device maker will provide a timely update.  Right now, most devices ship without Gingerbread for one reason or another.  And that simply is a fact of life.

However, the users has to be given assurances that a forthcoming update will be weeks away, not months.  This creates havoc for the market and the developers trying to create apps for it.  What's worse is that developers end up exacerbating the situation by picking and choosing which devices they are willing to support.

And in the past, I've blasted Google for this.  But we know by now that Google simply doesn't have a handle on the problem.  So I turned my attention to the developers.  They obviously only care about selling apps and accepted that fragmentation is a fact of life in Android-dom.

Wireless Week's made a very good point.  The Android ship cannot have more than one captains.  What's worse, each 'captains" have his or her own agenda and going into the direction they want Android to go.

In a recent developer data released by Flurry, developers are abandoning Android and once again embracing Apple's iOS platform.  The reason is simple.  Despite having a larger share of the mobile market, Android app development isn't what it can be.  And with multiple OS versions and dozens of devices to support, it makes sense for developers to concentrate on just a few or abandon the market and go else where.

From Q1 to Q2, Android project starts were down 8%.  Meanwhile, iOS gained 8%.  And that's not all, with 28% Android app developments started, you have to dig deeper and realize that some apps will support only a certain number of devices.  And if you're talking about high-end devices, that number becomes even smaller.  

Basically, Android developers are then forced to choose which segments of the Android market to support because of the OS fragmentations and mix of devices.  

Folks, this is not the way to go.

Must Read:  Wireless Week.


State of the Tablet Market (Mashable)

Mashable has a post that gives a very good state of the ereader and tablet market.  It's a recommended read for all mobile fans.  It doesn't get into what is being sold and which mobile platform has the pole position in the market.  What it does is provide concise information on who is buying the tablets and how they are using them.

I've highlighted some information from the post but I've left the bulk of information from the post for you to read when you click through.  Here are some interesting information I like to share with you.  I've focused mostly on the tablet.  To me the ereader is a device fit for one thing.  Reading. 

  • In 2010, 10.3 million tablets sold, 6.7 million ereaders sold.
  • Household with $150K is twice as likely to own a tablet
  • Household with children, 12% already own tablets
  • Growth of single function devices like the ereaders will slow as tablet sales pick up steam and acceptance among consumers.
This last point explains a lot of chatter about Amazon's Kindle tablet and why even before the iPad debuted last year, I predicted Amazon will have to release a multi-function Kindle.

And what are we using our tablets for?  Here are the top five things people use a tablet for:

  • Browing the Web
  • Viewing photos
  • Emailing
  • Playing games
  • Watching video
As you can clearly see, people are using their tablet mostly to consume contents.  While many of us mobile fans see an even greater role for the tablet in our lives at school, work, and the home, that day is not here yet.  The iPad came out only 15 months ago and tablet makers are still learning about the possibilities the tablet presents as a utility.  

I like to see this issue visited each year to help us see the evolution of the tablet and the changes as it relates to how we use it. Right this moment, the tablet market is basically the iPad.  As more Android tablets and Windows 8 tablets next year enter the market, we can see a whole different shift in the marketplace  One that we might not recognize.  And that is a good thing.

Source: Mashable

Madmen On Netflix Now!

Okay, for some reason, I'm pretty excited about this though I don't know why. I've never even seen the show but I've heard all of my friends talk about it.  Now, Madmen is available for streaming on Netflix.

I'll probably give this a go after I am through with Star Trek: The Next Generation.

There are four MM seasons.  I hope that's it.  One of the things I hate most about TV today is cliffhangers.

Source:  Huffington Post.

Lion Installation Fiasco; Cannot Wait For iCloud And Hopefully, iTunes Match Support For Video

I can't wait for iTunes Match.  And you know what?  I can't wait for video that I buy from Apple for the same treatment.  

Over the weekend, I attempted to install OS X Lion on my 2008 Unibody Macbook.  Earlier, the attempt to install Lion on my late-2010 11" Macbook Air went through without a hiccup.  No so with the MB.  In fact, it tells me that the HD is locked and I'm was not able to get beyond that point.

I've done some searches through the forums online but no one seems to have the solution I needed.  While I did back up the most important personal files through Time Machine, there was one problem.  A lot of my latest videos from iTunes were not backed up. 
 
I KNOW that this is my fault but I just wasn't thinking at the moment.  

Hence, I can't wait for iCloud and iTunes Match fast enough.  And I can't wait until iTM has video support as well.  In light of the rumors that Apple is doing its due-diligence on a potential Hulu buyout, iTM may not happen.  However, the likelihood of Apple buying Hulu is nil.  So I think iTM support for video is more likely to happen.  

Oh, my Walking Dead and newly downloaded Harry Potter movies…

Green: The President And The Car Makers Are Near Fuel Standards That Will Eventually Average 54.5 MPG

By 2025, we could see vehicle fleets with an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.  According to the Los Angeles Times, the White House wanted industry participation even though it has the power to issue new requirements on its own.

Having said that, the real world fuel efficiency will be around 50 MPG.  Why?  Because this is Washington and when it comes to national politics and policies, there are always hazy math and stipulations involved.

Of the Big Three, only Chrysler is less supportive of the new standards because it has fallen behind Ford and GM in innovating to achieve the standards. 

Honestly, this is a good move and the White House can use some good news these days.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Apple Staffing Up For the Fall - Back-To-School And iPhone Launch

Reports are circulating that Apple is staffing up for the fall as the back-to-school season gets into full swing.  An added element to all this is that Apple will be launch the new iPhone 4GS or 5 around the time students follow campus stores and, likely, Apple stores for their mobile gears to tackle the new school year.

We can safely assume that the new staffing will be for both purposes.  Therefore, it does not give us additional information to pin down a timeframe for the iPhone launch.  My guess is that I'll be lining up right around early September.  How do I know that?  I don't. It is just a gut feeling.

Having said that, there is one way we can know for sure.  Apple will have to hold a media event for the iPhone unveiling.  The time of this is critical.  If we are going to see the iPhone in early September, that would mean Apple will be holding its event about two weeks before it goes on sale.  An early September launch could mean that we'll be learning from Apple in about three weeks.  

Another way to look at it, we can keep an eye on the iOS 5 beta progress.  We are about half way there with the beta releases from Apple.  In the past when Apple held developer events to introduce new iOS versions, Apple held the event in April with iPhone launches about 8-10 weeks later.  Going by this fact, we are looking at an iPhone launch early September as well.

I think these approaches are a better measurement of gauging when we'll see the next iPhone rather than "trusted" sources or leaks.

Watch Out, Android And iPhone! Mango Is Here

If Apple's fruity brand is any indication that a benign fruit can be potent, then you ain't see nothing yet with Mango.  That is, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.5, Mango.

Wow, I totally screwed that one up didn't I?  

Well, Mango is the WP OS that Microsoft should have released a year or so ago but did and decided to go with WP7.  And while WP7 was a markedly departure from the icon style UI, the tile UI was much different and there was much to like about it.  So much so that Windows 8's UI is modeled after it.

And now, Mango is on its way to manufacturers and we could be seeing new Mango devices later this winter.  And with Nokia's support, Mango could be a true force to be reckon with.  And given the legal trouble that Android makers find themselves under with Apple and Microsoft, it is possible that more than a few of them will be looking at Mango to avoid future legal issues.

Google has got to be watching this closely.  On top of that, Mango's new features and mobile implementation shows just what Microsoft is about.  You never want to count Redmond out no matter what.  

And that means not even iPhone is safe.  Apple and Microsoft may both be going after Google through proxy wars, it doesn't mean that competition between these two bitter enemies ceased or took a break.  I expect the fight to continue as before.  No, I expect the fight between the two to escalate even more once the Android issues are resolved and the two companies goes gunning for each other again.

What Mango brings to the market is a full-featured modern mobile OS that can stand toe-to-toe with Android and iOS.  In fact, Microsoft has a secret weapon.  And that Nokia.  

So, for anyone who thought that the mobile war is settling down with Android taking close to 50% of the market and Apple's iPhone coming in around 30% and the rest belong to "others", think again.  

Obviously, nothing is a lock when it comes to mobile.  Microsoft, Nokia, and other WP makers will still require to convince the mobile warriors that Mango devices are what they want and need.  And that's not going to be easy with Android 4 devices and iPhone 5 sweeping through the market this winter.

Source:  Arstechnica.

LTE Tablets Comig - Great But What About the Battery Life?

LTE tablets are the future and no one is disputing this fact.  Near-term, is LTE just a marketing gimmick the way Verizon Wireless marketed the Thunderbolt as being the first LTE device that resulted in a lot of complaints about coverage and battery life?

That being said, I wonder what the first LTE tablets will be come when it comes to battery life?  We won't have to wait long as VZW and Samsung are able to until the LTE Galaxy tablet.

If they don't match up to rivals like the iPad, well, you know how the story will end.

Source:  MobileTopSoft.

Solar Record Achieved - 17.3%

First Solar achieved a record 17.3% solar efficiency, breaking the previous record  held from 2001 at 16.7%.  Beyond that, I wonder what took so long to break this record.

Now, it doen't meant that suddently, we are going go be see new solar panels taking converting 17.3% of sunlight into electricity.  Actual panel effiency from First Solar stands at 13.4%.  Which isn't bad but a long way from single cell conversions.  

On top of that, real world efficiency is even lower.  First Solar's average efficiency was around 12% in the first quarter of 2011.  that is less than 70% of what they achieved in the lab.


However, the use of Cadmium telluride panels is cheaper than traditional silicon panels.  Silicon-based panels have higher solar efficiency.  And while we are on the subject, there is another competing thin-fime tech, called copper, indium, gallium selenide (CIGS) that could achieve comparable rates with cadmium-telluride panels and could be more profitable for developers.

Mexican Papayas Made 99 Sick in the US from Salmonella

The CDC has warned the public not to eat imported papayas from Mexico after 99 people have been sicken in a 23-state outbreak of Salmonella.  

Those infected can suffer from diarrhea, fever, vomiting and cramps.  Those with weak immune systems can suffer from even severe symptoms and death.  Just watch out, folks.

Source:  MedicalXpress.

Estimated 1.2 Million Android Tablets Activiated (Google) - Android As A Viable Tablet OS In Question

According to Google's own data (Daring Fireball), true tablet activations came in at 1.2 million units, this is a number that is different from Strategy Analytics' data showing Android tablet accounts for 30% of the market.  How can the two numbers be so far apart?

Well, SA's report takes into consideration of tablets that do no use the Honeycomb flavor of Android but also any other visions of Android that were used as a tablet OS.  On top of there, there is some confusion about whether SA's data is for the number of Android tablets shipped by manufacturers or actually units activated and sold.

Between the two sets of data, I probably would go with Google's own for now, which is again, 1.2 million tablets activated.  Within the same time frame, Apple has sold about 15 million iPad 2.  

What does this mean?  Has Apple won't the tablet market?  Definitely not.  Android started with the G1 on T-Mobile but it was not until the second and third years when Android really took off.  And since then, it has not looked back.  I reckon that Google and its partners figure that the same thing is likely to happen with the tablet market.

It can.  But the amount of time that Android has to become a viable tablet OS is compressed in relation to the smartphone market and the players are bring a new arsenal that Android has to contend with.  

During the Android rush in the smartphone, two tablet players were missing.  HP and Microsoft.  This time around, both tech giants with deep deep pockets are playing for keeps.  It's like Steve Jobs said about the era we are in, post-PC.  And they cannot afford to allow Apple's iOS to continue to dominate nor Google's Android to gain an unshakable foothold in the market.  Windows 8 tablets will be coming in 2012 and you can believe that Microsoft will spend billions to promote it in ways that Google isn't because it is leaving it to its partners do promote Android.

On top of that, HP's Web OS is a long-term strategy that will be simply be abandoned after one Touchpad or Pre launch.  

Furthermore, if Android doesn't quickly gain acceptance and it considered irrelevant in in the tablet market, this trouble could spill into the smartphone market and erode the overall consumer sentiment about Android.  

Life In The Universe - Debate Goes On Whether We Are Alone Or Not

A new paper suggests that life in the universe is pretty rare and that because of how rapid intelligent evolved in Earth, we assume the truth is likely universal.  Essentially, the paper suggest the improbability that there could be advanced alien civilizations that as some of the original SETI team believe there to be.

And if this paper is to be believed, we are not going to have our first contact within the next two decades.

So, which is it?  Personally, I'm with Fox Mulder.  I want to believe.  But not until I see aliens standing in front of me with my own pair of eyes.

The authors, David Speigel of Princeton and Edwin Turner of University of Tokyo also suggests that if life does independently evolve anywhere else within our solar system, say, Mars, then it could increase the likelihood that the universe is filled with life.

So, what is the basis for this study?  It is based on the Drake equation that provided an estimation of how many alien civilizations exist in the Milky Way alone.  By changing one of the factor and replaced it with a question mark, they essential said they've invalidated the suggestion that there is life out there.

I think this paper should be filled with a lot of question marks.  Everything is based on theories when it comes to SETI.  We could be hearing from ET tomorrow (maybe we already have but the government has supressed it or that we are not quite technologically advanced enough to recognize it) or never.

Source:  Life Science

Android Returns Are 30-40%? Riiiiight...

Techcrunch is reporting that Android devices are in the 30% to 40% range while Apple returns reached 1.7% during the height of the media-inspired frenzy, Antenna-Gate.

I don't know what to make of this high return rate.  Obviously, Android is not what some buyers expected, especially lower-end devices  I highly doubt these return rates apply to flagship Android devices.  

Also, I really wonder about TC's source on this post.

Kindle Tablet: Amazon Is Making Its Upcoming Tablet With An Attractive Price and Market It as "Good Enough"

Our bank accounts are limited.  Well, maybe some of yours are not but mine definition has its limits.  Small limits.  Therefore, you can understand that pricing plays a big role in a vast major of my purchases?  

Therefore, it is not surprising that in a survey by Retrevo, nearly 50% of respondents attach price as a major factor regarding their tablet purchases.  In the same survey, 55% of the respondents will purchase a tablet from Amazon with the nearest competitors coming in at 31% for both Motorola and HP.  

Taking both into consider, and the fact that the Kindle tablet will sport a LCD screen coming in at 9" rather than the customary 10" its competitors like the iPad, Touchpad, and Xoom, and the report that it will have a more rudimentary two-finger touch support than more advanced touch features more capable in competing devices, Amazon could be going for the lower price entry with a  good enough product this go around

If Amazon can come out with a single-core or a lower-end dual-core powering a 9" LCD running a modified Android from Google with its own ecosystem, it could be just "good enough" for a large segment of the mobile warriors.  It's possible for Amazon to price it $400 and possible $300 if it it subsidized by a 3rd party.  There are also reports that the tablet will not have any extra features like cameras.  

What this will do to the competition is obvious.  And should the Kindle tablet take off, which I believe it will, Amazon can upgrade the following with additional features once they are cheap enough to do so without losing its margins.  At the same time, don't think that Amazon isn't above selling these tablets at near cost if it thinks it'll help gain a marketshare away from the iPad.

It's competition grand?

RIM CEOs Not Among 2,000 RIM Employees Being Let Go

I don't know if the two RIM CEOs work for a $1 like Steve Jobs but I do know that they are not among the 2K+ RIM employees that will soon be getting their walking papers.  And as for being the two guys that make RIM such a dominant force in mobile enterprise communication, they are also the forces behind what has happened to RIM to this date.  To be fair, RIM is still growing and is still a cash cow but growth as slowed as Apple attempts to usurp RIM's enterprise mantle.

So, the fact that the two CEOs who failed to recognize the fast changing pace of the smartphone and tablet market will continue to take the company in the same direct they've been going the last couple of years is just how life is.  Ten years from now, the ideal situation would be that blogs would talk about how back in 2011, there was so much pressure to remove them from their posts as CEOs and had the company caved, RIM would not be the power house it will be in 2021.

Somehow, I don't think that will happen.  I just hope that RIM will still be around in one form or another ten years from now, still profitable to a degree, and that we will not be lamenting what a mistake it was to keep those two in place.

Note:  One thing companies have to learn from Apple regarding dark times is that it has to assess its products, do a truly soul-searching, and innovate its way out of the problem.  Cutting 2,000 jobs doesn't seem like the way to do it.  

Google Did Not Do "What Was Necessary" and Now Tries To Play Victim

I think patent trolls are bad things for the tech market or any market for that matter.  They represents the worst elements of the system. And the system needs to be reformed.  But at the same thing, reformation of the patent system does to negate one thing:  the need to have patents or the need to innovate.

I fault Google for not protecting Android and not having the leadership to foresee a future in which rivals will not be willing to allow Android device makers to simply usurp the technology they developed by competitors.  

In an interview with Techcrunch, Kent Walker, Google's General Counsel, seems to be suggesting as much.  On top of that, I suggest that Google fire Walker for his ineptitude.  It would have been under his leadership to secure the Nortel patents and he failed to do that.  I see this interview as his attempt to cover his mistakes.

Having lost the bidding with to rivals, he now consider patents to be "government-granted monopolies".  Well, duh.  Then having no patents to back up their own OS, he goes on to suggest that some patents should not be valid without providing specifics.  But Walker has to understand that the Android lawsuits are not about patent trolls, especially in the case of Microsoft.  If he does think the Microsoft situation and patent trolls are the same thing, then it underscores my earlier point:  Larry Page, get rid of this guy now!

Google's history regarding other's intellectual properties and patents are clear.  You'll have to decide which side you come down on and make an honest assessment.  If something path to your final product or process is blocked by a patent, you have one of two choices.  Fight to invalidate it or innovate around it.  

At the moment, Google has done neither and outside of a few sorts, Google's partners could be feeling pretty sore about the whole situation.  Now, if Google decides to foot some of the payments and legal fees....

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mozilla - Firefox To Become Mobile OS

"Boot to Gecko" is Mozilla's answer to Chrome OS and new entry into the mobile market.  And it will not be for netbooks but also tablets and phones.  And it seems like Mozilla is taking aim directly at Google and trying to do for the mobile in ways that Android has failed to do.  Failed in what ways depends on your perspective.

Mozilla promises real-time openness without Google's invisible hands and the times when Google controls things with Android that is not entirely transparent.  In essence, The Firefox OS or whatever it'll be called will be truly open in ways that Android is not.

Now, you've noticed that I don't want to call this exciting new project by its current given name because it is pretty lame.  "Boot to Gecko"?  Please, Mozilla.  I think Firefox OS sounds better, don't you think?

And yes, this is very exciting news if Mozilla can truly come through.  We need more competitors in the mobile market than not.  One thing I think Mozilla has to be conscious of is that it will avoid stepping on the toes of the current incumbent OS patent-wise.  

The ultimate goal is "breaking the stranglehold of proprietary technologies over the mobile device world".  I know that sounds good.  Let's see it happen.

Does it really have a chance to compete against Google's Chrome and Android?  There could be a core group of mobile warriors, "purists" I like to call them, who are likely going to endorse this Firefox OS wholeheartedly.  I wish them the best.  Again, there is no words on how to get around current patent restrictions, the overwhelming lead that Android and iOS have, or if Mozilla has any heavy weight tech companies supporting it.

Still, we should be watching this closely.  Maybe it might not work to the extent we hope but it could at least keep Google more honest with Chrome OS and Android, both of which are neither open and has become more and more proprietary with each release

Source:  CNet.

US Also Under Domestic Terror Threat

This CNN report focuses on the potential terrorist threat from within.  And you probably don't have to venture far to guess that the threats come from the right-wing extremists.

It is not that the left are nicer or aren't as willing to shed innocent blood but let's face it, the information we are provided on a daily basis and with cable networks like Fox News sprewing hate and misinformation as well as right-leaning radio hosts that offer skewed reality.  Would anyone be surprised if we had another Oklahoma City style attack and it turned out to be someone who is against a black president, thinks his taxes are too high, or doesn't like the immigration policies? 

As someone who is right of center and more right than the political climate of my state, I see the need to educate myself beyond the noise we hear on the airwaves.

It is just unfortunate that such a threat can exist at all.  But then again, if it isn't cable news or the radio talkshows, I am sure the nutjobs will find other more hateful materials and beliefs to latch onto and act upon.

Source: CNN

Note: While I disparged Fox News and talk radio, I wonder it is also possible that threats from domestic right-wing elements could be worse if there was no right-leaning media that served as release values for right-wingers to vent.  Perhaps, the threats from the left is not as bad because they do have more avenues in the media to connect with like minds.

Clear's New Spot; WiMax Strong at 1 Billion Users

If you're new to the mobile scene, you should know that Clearwire, is a company partly owned by Sprint that provides the WiMax network in the United States.  It's not doing well.  But I'm hopeful.  And I'm hopeful that my iSpot will see a lot of milage for years to come.  I am expect another three, maybe four, years before the WiMax network in the US changes for good

Meanwhile, Clear is still trying to capture a piece of the lucrative wireless data market.  And even without my iSpot, which connects only to iOS devices for $25 a month, this new $99 Spot 4G from Clear is in its own right, a pretty compelling deal.  See, I went with my iSpot because I wanted to see if I can live off this $25 a month rate without owning a phone.  I did that for about seven months before I got reapplied for the iPhone and Triumph.

So, my question is you is whether anyone out there is running their home network off an WiMax hotspot like this.  Typically in my area, I am gettting between 4-5 Mbps downstream and about 1Mbps upstream.  

My only issue with these mobile hotspots is that their battery life is pretty limited.  During my iPod touch and iSpot experiment, I typically ration between whatever public hotspot I can find and the iSpot.  It would be terrific if these come with the option for a larger battery.  

I have on some occasion artificially increased the iSpot through external battery sources.  But it really beats the point about mobile if you're forced to carry an extra device.  

But then your mobile needs couple possibly be very different from mine.  You may need mobile connect only for a little while at a time.  Then any Spot from Clear could be what you're looking for.  And unlike the data plans from T-Mobile, Verizon, and ATT, Clear's "unlimited" still means unliimited while competitors are still looking to nickel and meter you to death.

Regardless of the portability issue, I think the death of Wimax chats are premature given the limited LTE rollout by Verizon Wireless in the US and ATT who have yet to even have one LTE market.  Furthermore, the complication in the wireless market generated by the ATT and T-Mobile merger could give Sprint and Clear's WiMax a second look by mobile warriors.  And Sprint is the only major carrier left that still offer truly unlimited data plans.

And to top all this off, there are currently 1 billion users connected to the Internet through WiMax (Wireless Week).  I think we're quite  away off from the WiMax network in the US being taken down for any reason whatsoever.  

Interesting Data on In-Game Payments That May Say A Lot About Who We Are As Gamers

Here is an interesting fact about gaming, free-to-play games and just how much we'll pay. And apparently, the average amount a dedicated player is going to expose their wallets to is $14 per game.

This is dramatically higher than "free" that these players were willing to pony up to start with.  However, there are not that many players with the willingness to pay that amount.  

What potential game developers should realize is that they need to understand as long as they can develop a large following with free to start and can retain a loyal following, they can expect to the revenue to start flowing in.  But just 3% are willing to spend the $14.  

I can't say if that's good or not.  Of course, there is the ad revenues that also come into play for most free games.

Source:  Toucharcade.

Reasons For Closing Fake Apple Stores In Kunming Shows China Is Not Serious About Interllectual Properties

The reason that the Chinese government in Kunming gave for closing the fake Apple stores was not over intellectual property rights or trademark issues but over the lack of permits to operate the stores.  

I know the Chinese government has a seriously need to save face, like all the time, but these kinds of double speak at home and saying something else entirely whenever a Chinese official visits a Western nation shows just Beijing either has no control over the situation or they are no serious whatsoever about enforcing international laws.

How bad is this?  Only two of five stores were shut down.  So, I am guess the other three has the backing of the local government through actual business licenses or has the local political boss' support.  

What's worse?  The people who work there actually thinks they work for Apple.

Source: Pulse, Reuters.


RIM Weighs In At 2K Less

I am not trying at making the loss of 2,000 less people without jobs from any company less than what it is.  But RIM investors just face the fact that if maziming their returns is what they want, the changed much come at the expense of those who made the mistakes of the last few years what allowed rivals to eclipse its place in the market and among its core customers, the enterprise users.

I hope those two thousand soon-to-be former RIM employees can get back on their feet soon.

And if employees are feeling the heat and shareholders are not will to do what is necessary to force a change in the direction of the company, Blackberry fans do not have to stay faithful to the platform. 

And I get the feeling that Apple would be more than happy to satisfy their mobile needs.

Retina Display Coming To the Macs - We Just Don't Know When

It looks like Retina display is coming to the Macs.  When?

it's anyone's guess but Arstechnica has a good detailed section on it within their Lion review article.  It's definitely must read on both accounts.

Again, the question is when will this happen?  I think Apple is likely trying to leverage this technology as soon as it can.  It'll be inconceivable that its competitors can move fast enough.  After all, Apple is probably going to update the iPad with the Retina display sooner rather than later.  This could mean that the economy of scales of the iPad screens can also help Apple absorb any increase in display prices for the Macs in the future.

That said, when Apple increase the  iPhone 4 due to it having the updated Retina display over the 3GS, it could be promising that the Macbooks, iMac, and the Cinema displays get Retina upgrades without much if a price increase if any.  I would not be shocked if Apple does provide the current LCD display with the Retina option in future Mac upgrades.

Such a move could potentially bring the new Retina displays faster to the market.  Let the customer chose if they want to pay a premium for better displays.  Therefore, I disagree with Arstechnica's assessment that we will have to wait quite a bit longer for it.

Amazon's Next Quarterly Earnings - Will Tax Collection Requirements In California Impact It's Earnings?

I'm a simple person when it comes to commerce taxes and whatnots.  So, when California, my home state asked for taxes to be collected by out-of-state online retailers, to me it made sense.  For too long, many residents, myself included, buy from Amazon because it was not only cheaper at some brick-and-mortar stores, you did not have to pay taxes upfront

Well, there is sales taxes on your online purchases which you're supposed to send to the state yourself during the course of the year or during tax filing times.  Billions of dollars of taxes were lost over the course of the last 12 to 13 years.  

I'm not here to debate that issue.  I'm wondering about the tax issues as it relates to Amazon's earnings.  California itself is the 9th biggest economy in the world even as we struggle through our own recession and employment problems but we continue constitute a large percentage of Amazon's online market.

Now for many online buyers, there may be no reason to buy from Amazon if they are forced to automatically pay the sales taxes.  They can go to local and home-grown retailers like Buy.com that could offer similar prices and, since the fulfillment centers are in California, we could also get our goods faster.  Or they can just go with local retailers' online sites like Costco, Target, and Walmart that often ship to the store for pick-up.  This is an option for Best Buy online purchases.  I reckon that those retailers could get a piece of Amazon's revenue should the affiliate embargo continues.  

At the end of the day, it all comes down to pricing as smart consumers continue to shop for the best prices around.  But I also expect a push by local retailers to fill any short-term gaps created by Amazon's exit.  

In the coming election cycle, Amazon is trying to put the issue to the voters.  Left of center Californians.  And they run the risk of permanently damaging relations with voters and the government.  And that could have a long-term impact on its ability to profit from California  

Note: I totally get the other side of the tax revenue issue as well.  Hundreds if not thousands of companies will be moving their operations to one situated out of California.  Just how this will play out is anyone's guess.  

Another Note:  I think there could have been some compromises that be worked out for a transitional period.  Amazon and etailers outside of California has had an advantage for years because they did not  have to collect taxes from Californians.  And they could also fold that into the pockets of shareholders and be able to pay affiliates.

Did WSJ's hit pieces on Apple Have to Do with the WSJ App Forced To Remove Subscription Link?

The Wall Street Journal along with a few other apps that sell books or subscriptions directly from the app.  

My guess is that WSJ tried to work with Apple on softening these rules, and they are not new, but has not been able to get Apple to bend.  

Hence, what Forbes (Onxo) believed were two hit pieces against Steve Jobs and Apple.  


Tragic Train Accident In China - New Media Trumps Beijing Censoship For Now

Chinese are very nationalistic these days.  Well, they have a right to be proud of some of the achievements that their government has given the people.  At the same time, the government has yet to grant the people basic rights that we enjoy here in the West.  However, the Internet has given some a voice.  And collectively that voice will not be denied.

And it is too late for Beijing to shut it up.  This is evident in the "cover-up" style of censorship regarding its high-speed train accident that Beijing enjoyed before everyone there had access to the Internet from their PC or smartphones.  One example of a new tool is Weibo, a popular Twitter copy, has given the youth access to an avenue to vent that their parents did not have.  

And these some of the users, let me tell you, are opinionated to the point of being rude.  But I think that's a great thing.  As the Chinese state media continued to direct information, journalists were not satisfied and that spilled onto the social networks.  

Mistrust ensued.  For instance, the account of official deaths varied.  This has given users cause to question the different version of official information on the accident.  

Transparency has been promised by a government machine as being as the Chinese government, additional openness is likely to come on a generational basis rather than quick reforms.  And should things become difficult for the central government, mass protest across the country or something, a brutal yanking of the Internet isn't certainly an option that hardliners would not hesitate to push for.


Source:  Reuters.

Honeycomb 3.2 Supports 7" Tablets: Best To Wait for Ice Cream

Earlier, I wrote about my interests in using an 7" tablet, whether it's Android or not, I don't' care as long as it is good enough to get me away from the iPad.  My needs are simple.  I want to be able to blog, surf the Web, e-mail, and socialize with my friends on Google Plus.

It appears that wish is closer to happening than I expect.  Ice Cream, with folds Honeycomb and the smartphone version back into one unifying OS.  Now, according to GottaBeMobile, HC 3.2 supports 7" displays but I think with Ice Cream only a bit more waiting required, I think it would be prudent for anyone, myself included, to wait until Android 4.  After all, given the poor track records of device makers not upgrading the OS, it would be better for us to future proof our devices.

In the same post, it has IdeaPad that could potentially run HC 3.2.  But then again, Lenovo is a good laptop company and I am unfamiliar with their track records for making tablets.

But I hope you don't think me as trying to move the goal post on this one.  I do want similar battery life to that of the iPad and the Xoom.  Like the GOP who will no compromise on the taxes issue with President Obama, I'm a bit of a hardliner when it comes to the battery life.  So when the time comes, I better be impressed.  

It's my hope that with about half a year since the Honeycomb was introduced along with Xoom, we will see a major changes for power managements and Google has made it easier for companies to improve and optimize the battery life on their tablets. Honestly, there really should be no reason the iPad can continue to trounce the rest of the market.

Samsung Shipped More Smartphones Than Anyone Else In the World?

Apple has had a great third quarter but it looks like Samsun's second quarter has been even better than Apple and may have shopped about a million smartphones more than Apple.  Samsung's resilience to the iPhone assault seems to have legs.  After all, the Galaxy line has done very well in the marketplace and may have the kind of name recognition that the iPhone has. 

From a competitive standpoint, the Galaxy is the single most direct competition to Apple's iPhone than the Android platform as a whole.  When people talk about Android, it is just what it is, a platform.  With the Galaxy, Samsung has created an international brand that has appeal and come to represent quality and excellence.  Though not quite at the iPhone's level, its success could possibly be why Apple and Samsung have become bitter mobile enemies even as the two companies worked together to supply Apple with the parts for its mobile needs.

Samsung's quarter was helped by the release of the Galaxy S II that may have sold over six million units.  That is about two million a month since their release.  Not to be redundant here, but these are almost iPhone like numbers.  Of course, Samsung has not had to content with direct competition with Apple's next iPhone upgrade until this fall.  It's likely Apple can take this crown from Samsung in the third and fourth quarters of the regular financial calendar.

Only time will tell.  At play are also patent law suits around the world between Apple and Samsung as well as the recent preliminary victory the ITC handed Apple over HTC over the violation of two of Apple's patents that line at the heart of Android itself.  Should Apple win any kind of judgment against Samsung in this matter and/or other issues, it could have the potential of stunting any gains the Galaxy brand has made over the last couple of years.

Note:  Apple, unconventionally, ends their financial year in the September quarter rather than the December quarter.  So Apple's first quarter is everyone else's fourth quarter.  Second quarter for Apple is everyone else's first quarter and so one.  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Steve Jobs Was Right And Wrong About the 7" Tablet

First, let me say that I love the iPad.  Regardless of your personal preference, the iPad is leading the charge for a new category of mobile devices.  I eventually hope to acquire another tablet that runs on a competing mobile platform.  To date, I've yet to find one entirely to my liking.  And it has more to do with the size and build of the tablet than anything else.  And since I"m not made of gold, the price is a factor as well.  So, why would an Apple fan consider a tablet with a smaller than 10" when Steve Jobs said that anything less than 7" simply doesn't work.

Well, for typing, I suppose he is correct.  I don't like pecking at the screen and smaller sized screens simply doesn't allow that.  But I can't say that I've bought that argument entirely.  There are a lot of things the the mobile users can do on the tablet that do no require excessive typing.  

So far, the 7" tablets on the Android platform are still running non-Honeycomb version of the OS.  I reckon that will change once Android 4 arrives later this fall.  That is a consideration.  The Playbook is well built but it is a bit more expensive than something for its size.  I am hopeful that HP will come out with a 6" or 7" Touchpad.  I would certainly jump at just such a device but with the 10" version not selling well, I don't know if such a device will see the light of day.

Obvious question is can Apple eventually release a tablet of this size and will they?  If so, I can see a lot of users adopt it as well.  When that happens, I wonder just how Apple will explain its previous stance and market such a device.  At least with the other platforms, we know that a tablet with a 7" screen can work adequately.