Friday, September 30, 2011

Samsung Outs New 7" Tablet - Highlights Specs To Show What's Lacking In Amazon's Kindle Fire


Another mistake in the making as far as I'm concerned.  Samsung highlights the specs of its new 7" Android tablet that will make its round and be released later this year.

The new Samsung tablet, Tab 7 Plus, will sport dual-core 1.2 Ghz CPU, cameras, cellular connectivity, HD recording, and runs Honeycomb 3.2.  It appears the 7" screen will be the same as all the other 7" resolutions - 1024 x 600.

On paper, the T7P does have the Fire beat - Fire has a 800 Mhz dual-core chip (an older one), no cameras so no HD recording, Wi-Fi only connection and runs the mobile phone version of Android.

Now, the Fire costs $199.  Samsung has yet to tell us how much its 7" tablet will cost.  I figure it's probably the same as the current one.

Even so, Samsung had to bring out the specs for the tablet right now.  Chances are, it will not be able to compete on price.  Nor could it strip out the cameras and 3G antenna in an attempt to get the price as close to $199 as possible.

So Samsung is left to try to justify a likely higher priced Tab 7 Plus (worth it if it costs $300 and no more) because it has better specs than the Fire.  You cannot blame Samsung for that.

However, Amazon could have a better mass appeal, not because the Fire has a lower price but it also has a digital content library to rival that of Apple.

Other tablet makers will try to make the same argument that Samsung is making here.  They don't have any other choices.  It's why I think we'll see nicely equipped 7" Android tablets this fall for around $300.

Source:  Macworld UK.

A Great Case For the Amazon Prison

Just like many folks are locked into Apple's walled garden, I reckon many people, especially Kindle users will actively become a part of the Amazon prison.

And the term "Amazon prison" is not my own but hose of Shelley Palmer, blogger.  And he makes a great case for it.  And while the term "walled garden" being applied to Apple's ecosystem sounds better, we have to wonder if they are both the same.

Amazon's contents are no necessarily exclusive to Kindle hardware.  However, Apple's contents, music and video, can only be used with iOS and OS X hardware, basically Apple gears.  What's interesting is that you can go arguments for and against going with Apple or Amazon.

Palmer did a good job arguing for Amazon.  It's a good read.  At the same time, he's talking with respects to content, not hardware.  And when you bring in the hardware equation, Apple and other hardware makers also have a great argument to make.

So, what matters to you more?  The content or the hardware?

Tablet: People Are Starting to Get It But It Could Be Too Late for Everyone (Except Apple And Amazon)


Here’s a quick thought from all the information we’ve gathered since the launch of the iPad 2 to this week’s unveiling of the Kindle Fire.  People are finally getting it.  What?

You cannot just manufacturer and sell a tablet and think that people will fall in line.  One might have thought that the success of the iPad 2 and failure of the Xoom to be apparently.  One might have thought HP killing off Touchpad a little over a month after its release would be lesson enough.  One might have thought RIM’s drumming in the market and the shipping (not sales) figure of the Playbook would be enough to teach us about the tablet market and mobile computing.

It has taken Amazon’s Kindle Fire with its low low $199 price and all the contents its bring to bear for people to start realizing where the future of mobile computing and entertainment is headed.

People are just starting to realize specs alone are not enough.  Dazzling demos are good for the blogs but doesn’t jive with Main Street mobile warriors.  People are just beginning to realize but it could be too late for everyone else.

After all, this is a process.  It’s taken Apple over a decade and they’re still working on it. It has taken Amazon five years or so starting Kindle and its still got a long but promising road ahead.

This idea that you have to create an ecosystem is beginning to sync in.  Does Google still have a shot?  Can Microsoft create a coherent solution with all its incompatible parts?  What about everyone else, HTC, LG, Sony, and Samsung?  Where does this leave Nintendo?

Is it already be too late?  Let's examine this over the weekend.

Sprint Could Position Its iPhone to Steal Users From Rivals - Wireless Data And Fact It's Not AT&T

This morning, I read a post how Sprint could have issues streaming users from its other three major US carriers.  Stealing from T-Mobile users will be like taking candy away from a baby.  But it will be tougher to do the same to AT&T and Verizon but not impossible.

First, there is no LTE iPhone yet and so no one can claim that advantage.  And everyone is has a 4G network, supposedly.  But it's not true.  AT&T and T-Mobile's 4G are nothing but pure marketing.  

Second, Sprint is the last major carriers to offer true unlimited wireless data plan.  I think that alone could be a major selling point.  It's one with me when I decided to go with Verizon for my iPhone upgrade.  More AT&T users would have made that jump had they not already been locked away by two-year sentences.  

GottaBeMobile conducted a survey that showed a majority of users who wants an iPhone already has a Sprint contract.  Does it means that those who don't have a Sprint contract do not want an iPhone?  It's really important to know just who they are surveying.  Also, there are more than a 1 million T-Mobile users with the iPhone.  They are more rip than at any other time to want to get out.  

With Sprint and Verizon added as an iPhone carriers, they've got two additional choicea.  With Sprint added as as an iPhone carrier, they've got a carrier who still offers unlimited data access.

Source:  GottaBeMobile.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

State of Android Tablets: Prices To Drop Big Time (Already Happening)


I"m in the market for a super-duper 7" Android tablet but the Amazon Fire ain't it.  However, I'm glad to see it here because it means my predictions that we're going to get great deals this Black Friday is not only coming true, but the anticipated price drop could be bigger than I ever expected.

And the price drop is already happening.  The HTC Flyer currently at $500 will be droped down to $300 by Best Buy on October 6th (Phandroid).  My friends, I beg of you: Wait!

Even at this price, it's still $100 more expensive than the Kindle Fire and has worse specs than the Fire.  Granted the Flyer has cameras but it's a tablet, there is only a need for a frontal camera for video chats.

And just yesterday, Dave the Mobile Sage informed me that a refub Xoom can be bought for $350 on Woot.  Excellent deal if you ask me.

And then today, we also learn that the RIM Playbook is also coming down in price:  $300.

All of his is happening two full months before Black Friday.  Personally, I'm waiting for a $99 Playbook.  Rumor on Wall Street is that RIM has discontinued Playbook production and cease all tablet development activities which RIM came out to deny.

And keep in mind that there are other 7" Honeycomb tablets that are supposed to be out in the coming weeks. I wonder what they would have cost before Amazon laid down the $199 Fire.  For instance, Toshiba is readying the 7" Thrive for a November launch.  No word on pricing but I reckon it cannot cost more than $300.  And even at that price, it's doubtful that even with better specs than the Fire, $100 difference is a big deal in the current recession that Main Street is still in.

So, wait.  There will be plenty of choices.  The Flyer at $300 cannot be sustained.  Nor can the Playbook at $300.  for a 7" tablet, if you're not in the $200 to $250 range, you can forget about having any meaningful Christmas.

Facebook May Be Cozying Up With Apple For iOS 5 Launch - Guess Who They're Targetting

Android fans, no fear here - HTML 5 works just as well on the iOS devices as they do on Android phones.  However, Techcrunch is reporting that Apple and Facebook may be presenting the new mobile HTML 5 platform that Facebook has been working on.  

What's interesting is that Apple and Facebook, one consumer tech giant and one privacy violating giant, are teaming up after a rumored fallout over Apple's failed Ping social network.  And they're working together because they feel they have to:  to go up against Google.  

Even if Facebook does eventually release an app for the iPad, I reckon we'll see one for Android as well soon after.  And this HTML 5 platform should be pretty viable on most mobile platforms, especially iOS 5 and Android since they both use Webkit as the basis for their browsers.

Source:  Techcrunch.

Bank of America Is Not Very American - Will Charge $5 a Month For Using Debit Card

I don't know about you but I think it's rather unamerican what Bank of America is planning.  Starting in 2012, debit card users will be charged $5 a month for using to make purchases.

I don't know about you but I think we do should do a "Netflix" like withdrawal and hit them where it hurts.

Brazil's iPad Plant Probably Not Going To Take Off

I'm gonna call this one out now.  Brazil will not be making one single iPad this year.  

High taxes, lack of skilled workers, and stagnation is to blame.  Too bad.

Source:  Reuters.

Holding Out For A $99 Playbook (Updated)

By now you know that RIM's Playbook isn't selling well at all.  It's the second tablet since the Touchpad from Palm (I rather not use the H word) that has been met with dismal sales in the market place.  And with that said, it isn't surprising that you can now get the Playbook for $299 at Best Buy.

Not a bad deal.  That's what I would have said had it not been for the $199 Kindle Fire that will be out in mid-November.  Yesterday, Amazon lit the media tablet market on "fire" with the Fire, it's first true tablet.  I'm gonna be calling this a media tablet until we find out more about what it can or cannot do.  

Now, the reduced priced Playbook is $100 more expensive and with less app support than the Kindle.  

As if that isn't bad enough, RIM may have halted Playbook production.  Yup, Reuters is reporting that Quanta has laid off workers at the factory that was responsible for producing the Playbook and RIM may have ceased tablet development altogether. 

Update:  Via CNBC, RIM said the Reuters report is pure fiction. 

We'll know just how this plays out in the coming days.  I know this much.  I'm not buying a Playbook until I can get one for $99.

Chat With Your iPhone: Any Reason Why It Won't Work With iPhone 4?


Is there any reason why the rumored voice chat feature in iOS 5 will only work with up the updated hardware, iPhone 5?  What about the iPad 2?  This is purely speculation on my part so take it as some pleasurable reading with your morning coffee and muffin before you dive into the day's work.

A couple of days ago, the Apple blog world flared up with word of a new feature called "Assistant" in iOS 5, a feature previously rumored about but never confirmed.  Assistant, is possibly an integration of Siri, an app that Apple bought more than a year ago, into the OS.  Siri is a voice command app that allows the users to search for results simply by speaking into it.

Tech Fatigue Or Good Enough

At times, I feel like it's time to appreciate just what we have already. I am not talking about life in general. While that applies, specifically, I mean tech. Coming from someone who is focused on tech, it sounds strange.

Not at all. I like that the arms race among mobile companies, hardware, software, and services, to continue at its current pace unabated, I merely meant that as individual users, we are allowed to slow down and focus on the more pressing mobile needs at hand without thinking the next Android or iPhone will so it better.

Sometimes, an app is an app no matter if it's running off a Blackberry that has a physical keyboard or via touch only. Sometimes, an older app works better without needing to be tinkered with.

And speaking of newer hardware, most of us would probably upgrade on an annual basis if not for for the financial consideration of being locked into multi-year contracts. Chances are, most mobile fans are not utilize the mobile devices to their fullest potentials. Consider just how the different apps have come out in the last year and whether you've fully embraced using them. For instance, have you integrated some of your social life with the apps - checking in, looking for deals, create a photostream of your time out with friends or vacation? And if so, what new features in new hardware help with that? Could it be done with mere software updates to the mobile OS?

And if not, why upgrade at all?

Or even if none of the above applies, why the impulse go upgrade? Better and bigger screens? Longer battery life is always a big deal to me, how about you? Or do you simply crave a faster device for gaming?

I think those of us who think, live, breath, and write about mobile can get carried away by the constant news and updates from the mobile world. It's what makes this biz and hobby so fun, intriguing, and exciting. Sometimes, it is okay to get off this train a bit and simple appreciate what we already have and make the most of it.

I know folks still on the original iPhone and the G1. I've seem old old Blackberries as well still in use. They know that mobile tech has vastly improved but their gears serve their current needs.

While there could be some fatigue involved for some mobile users, and that's just fine. Hang on to your current devices and ignore the requests to update the apps so you can give yourself a breather or if you simply like the way things are now.

And when you're ready to upgrade, there will always be a new phone or app just waiting for you.


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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Students Arrested For Hiring Another To take SAT For Them, You Can Be Booksmart but Brain-Dead At The Same Time

Seven students were arrested after a SAT plot in which one college student took tests for six high school students.  Apparently, he's pretty smart or very good at taking tests because he scored around 2200 of out a possible score of 2400 for them.

However, it was pretty stupid to be doing this.  After school officials were tipped off, they started examining the SAT scores with the academic records of those high school students to look for discrepancies:  high SAT scores and poor HS academic records. 

Sure enough, they  found those six and through handwriting examination, they found out that one Sam Eshahoff, was paid $1500 to $2500, to take those tests  And if you recall just how tiring it was, our brilliant test taker once actually took SAT exams twice in one weekend.

However, I wonder what kind of charges can the authorities bring to these guys.  Eschaghoff is being charged with scheming to defraud.  Okay, who?  Also, falsifying business records.  What business?  And criminal impersonation?  The students asked Eschaghoff to present to be them.  It's a stretch.

I'm not condoning this.  Eschaghoff should be kicked out of college and these HS students be expelled or worse but jail time?  Not enough murderers, rapists, abusers, and drug dealers deal with?

Source:  MSNBC.


Android 4: Ice Cream Sandwich Caught On Video

Android 4 is the next OS from Google that will finally unify the smartphone and the tablet versions back into one.  Here's a video that shows some parts of it in works.

It should arrive by November from Google with some devices already running it like the Nexus Prime from Samsung.  As for the rest of the Android users, well, you know the drill:  we're at the mercy of the device makers and carriers.  It's anyone's guess when they'll release Android 4 updates for phones currently running version 3.



It looks alright. It's still a bit spartan in some areas but I definitely people will be impressed with the improvements.  After the two minutes mark, you'll see the app changes.

Source: Android Community.

James Is So Fired! Tells Of His Work At Apple's Cafeteria

Meet James.  He works at Apple's Caffe Macs. Or did.  If not, he'll soon be unemployed.  Why?  Because he blogged about his work there.

I'm not so sure Apple chiefs are going to like this.  He talked about serving Steve Jobs soup and ice cream.  

Kidding aside, I hope he's not fired over this.  I don't think "James" is his real name but Apple security probably is on to him (or her). 

One interesting note:  The date is September 12th. Five weeks ago today, Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple and turned over the keys to Tim Cook.  As of three weeks ago, Steve Jobs is still on Apple's campus working to bring us the next and greatest Apple products.

So, maybe Steve just wants to focus on the big pic thing and let others handle the day-to-day stuff.  We all know that Tim Cook has done a great job  And it's good to know that Steve is strong enough to be working on campus every day.

Source:  Huffington Post.

Does It Take A Steve Jobs To Lift a Company Or Change the Course Of An Industry?

Earlier, I had an e-mail conversation with Dave the Mobile Sage regarding today's Amazon entry into the tablet market with the Kindle Fire.  He mentioned that Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is trying to be the next Steve Jobs.

I don't really see it but I do have to say that Amazon with its growing cloud empire is something that they got into before most others.  And most others, including Apple, are still trying to figure that part out.  

So, I ask this.  Does it really take someone like Steve Jobs to revolutionize an industry or change how we see or do things?  The one thing that sticks out for me is that Steve Jobs has failed before and learn from it.  Jeff Bezos started Amazon as a bookstore and grew from that.  

Many captains of industries have similar beginnings like Bezos but hardly any have had the experience that Steve Jobs did, revolutionizing an industry twice.  

And here's an interesting post I read.  Jerry Yang could be trying to reassert his control over Yahoo.  Could Yang, after starting up Yahoo successfully but failed as its CEO now learn enough to give the portal giant a second chance?  Does Yang have what it takes to make Yahoo relevant again?

Even if Bezos and Yang aren't Steve Jobs' in the making, does it matter?

Google Public Statements On Patent War Sound Those of 80s Central American Juntas Would Say

Google public statements on patent war sound those of 1980s Central American juntas used to say.  First, I'm a Google fan but I also recognize the need to protect and respect intellectual properties as the laws now prescribe, whether I agree with them or not.

My Next Car: Sporty Prius That Costs $4000 Less And 94 MPG

If true, this will be my next car.  Toyota is about to release a $18K Prius with a small but sporty feel that is capable of running up to 94 MPG.

Via Gas 2.0, this will be a Japan only release at first and we don't know if we'll see this anywhere else.  But given just how much interest there are out there for fuel-efficiency vehicles, I don't see why Toyota wouldn't want to give us this near 100 MPG love.


Amazon's Kindle Commercial



Wow...

Did Amazon Just Kill Off The Android Tablet Competition?


With the Kindle Silk and all the trimmings, I think Amazon just killed off all the competition in the tablet market, except for Apple.  But I think everything else is kinda dead or will be soon enough.

I mean the iPad is still the tablet to beat but it does look like Amazon with the 7" tablet priced at $199 has just held off everyone from HTC to Lenovo to Samsung.

Granted that the Kindle tablet will never be able to run Honeycomb or Android 4 but to millions of consumers who are not as knowledgeable as hardcore mobile warriors, that may not matter.  Most people don't even know that the Nook Color, and probably this tablet from Amazon, runs on Android.

Now, I've seen some $199 Android tablets but they're pretty crappy if you ask me.  And this Amazon threat is 7", just wait until they come out with the 10" version.

Ouch.

Kindle Tablet: $200 - Great For Users, Ouch For Competitors

The new Kindle tablet will go on sale on November 15th for $199.  This is going to be an awesome device for consumers.

Quick thoughts:  This is going to hurt a lot of tablet makers.  Now, no one thought this was going to cost $200. $250 To $300 but not $200.  It's going to kill off a lot of tablet makers.

Second, the final battle between Amazon and Apple won't happen until Amazon unveils its 10" tablet.  I wonder if Amazon will price that down to $250.

Here's a video Amazon released for the Kindle Silk.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

App That Puts Someone's Face On Yours In Real Time

Apple! I want this software/feature in my next iMovie or Photobooth update!



Source:  
Popular Science.

Amazon's First Tablet Maybe Be Subpar But It's Still Going to Succeed

This gdgt post really gave it to the Fire, Amazon's first tablet that will be introduced less than 24 hours from now.  You can read the unsubstantiated details about just how Amazon has to make some compromises and how it's not quite ready.

Even if this first Amazon tablet is "poor" and Playbook-like, I can't see how that's a bad thing?  Playbook largely failed because, well, it's Playbook.  

I think Amazon's Android 2.1 rendition should be better than anything that Samsung and others who aren't using Honeycomb have come up with.  I think Amazon along with Barnes and Noble will both outsell the rest of the traditional Android guys.

Furthermore, everyone know that the Fire will be Amazon's first foray into tablet market.  So, we're not exactly expecting Amazon to  hit it out of the market.  

For Amazon, it's about getting on base.

And for mobile warriors, regardless of which camp you're with, competition is good.  Personally, if Amazon does offer Prime users special deals via the Kindle, I hope it is extended to all Kindle users, even those not on the Fire.

Apple Confirms October 4th Press Event

Apple has confirmed it will hold an October 4th press event.  Nothing more to say beyond that.

Source:  CNN.

71% of US Wants Term Limits In Congress

71% of Americans want term limits in Congress...yup, who wouldn't.  I think it's about time.  And there was a time when going to Congress was about serving and volunteering time for the country.

This 71% number is a poll from Rasmussen Reports.  Obviously, it'll never happen unless we have a national referendum or sort on this.  The Tea Party has fallen out of grace with some in the public.  Perhaps, this is an issue they can get a hold of.

I'm sure, Boehner, DeMint, Reid, and the Pelosi's of Congress would never go for this.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Social: Facebook To Launch iPad App At iPhone 5 Event (What the...?) (Mashable)

According to Mashable, Facebook will finally unveil its iPad app.  Honestly, I don't see the point.  

Meh...however, we have to wonder if there will be more from Facebook as there have been chatter about Facebook trying to develop their own HTML 5 platform based on the browser experience.  And the thing is that while Apple and Facebook may have had some strained relationship, their animosity towards Google might make the two work out their differences and direct their attention towards Mountainview.

So, the rumor goes that Apple helped Facebook with this HTML 5 platform, that has been code-named Spartan.  

Whether we'll see something come ouf that is more important than a Facebook iPad app.

Kindle Tablet To Be Called "Fire" with Pretty Nice Specs and Possibly $300

Turns out that the Kindle tablet from Amazon that will be introduced this fall is called the "Fire".  Not sure why they settled on that name.  And it could be the iPad competitor that folks outside of Steve Jobs' reality distortion field are hoping for

However, even for most folks outside of this RDF, most people are still to pick up the iPad 2 as their default tablet.

What's interesting about Amazon's in an unique position to challenge Apple:  it has its own music, video, and ebook store, something that Google and its Android allies do not have.  It's something that HP and RIM do not have.

Also, from Techcrunch, the price is figured to be $300, which is very decent considering the specs that they've listed.  

Source: Techcrunch.


About Apple's Siri-Like Voice Capability, Android Has It A While Back, Nothing New?

I doubt Android fans in general pay much attention to the daily in-and-outs about what's going on with Apple.  And today's talk about Apple finally giving iOS 5 the ability to take voice input for writing e-mails, setting up events, etc have long been a staple of the Android platform.  So, what's the big deal?

First and foremost, I'm a mobile fan.  I love that competition is giving mobile warriors what they want, more often, and better.  However, it just seems like today's voice-command feature, being called Assistant, is just a catch-up by Apple.

Or is it?  

I'm sure Apple knows that Android users have been able to use their mobile devices to speak into them and perform mobile tasks.  Unforunately, not many folks use it as much as they should.  Now, regardless of which camp you fall under, Apple has have a history of making it seems like they created something brand new when, in fact, nothing is further from the truth.

However, Apple has a way of making it so that new features "they did not invent" are easier to use and more appealing.  I figure that is what we might possibly see in the next iOS 5 if today's chatters are right.

Still, competition, competition, competition.  Android 4 is due up a couple of weeks  I'm pretty sure Google has a few cool features that will blow our minds.

The only difference is that Apple's iOS 5 roll out to older devices will happen the same week as the iPhone hardware while Android fans will have to wait until the device makers and carriers make the update available which could take weeks if not months.

Could Apple’s New Voice-Assisted Feature Be More Extensive Than Blog Sites Are Saying?

Today, there is a lot of chatter about Apple's Siri-integrated voice assisted feature, rightfully called "Assistant"  One of the most mind boggling thing about this feature is that is may require that users upgrade to the iPhone that should be out in a couple of weeks.

The reason for the upgrade is that the new iPhone will have an updated CPU as well as additional memory.  I find that part of the report making very sense.  Here's why

The iPod touch traditionally follow the iPhone update a few months later.  And the main difference between the iPhone and the touch is that the touch has a lower resolution camera and less memory, half that of the iPhone.  However, the two devices share the same CPU.

If this pattern follows, that means the next iPod touch will have the same A5 CPU, currently powering the iPad 2, but the iPhone will have 1 GB of RAM as reported but the touch will have 512 MB.  Having said that, does that mean the freshly upgraded iPod touch will not be able to enjoy all the new features in iOS 5 such as Assistant?

Obviously not.  So, I find it suspect that the new iPhone will be the only iOS device out there come October that can enjoy the new Assistant feature.  And yes, it will be the only device because even the iPad 2 has only 512 MB of RAM.

Now, let's chat about the specific need for the A5 chip in order.  Why?  Siri, as well as Dragon Go, works just fine for the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4.  It also works pretty well on the current gen iPod touch.  And only the iPhone 4 and the touch have to the A4 chip.  So, why would Apple suddenly require an A5 ship, again the same chip that powers the iPad 2?

Two possibilities. One, this is an attempt by Apple to force an upgrade to the new hardware.  If true, this isn't the first time but definitely doesn't make it less crummy.  

Second, the Assistant feature is far more extensive that even what the blogs are reporting.  Remember in the past, I wanted the Enterprise computer like ability to hold a conversation with?  Well, 9to5Mac reported this but that still seems like a rudimentary feature that is already available on the Android platform.

So, perhaps, Assistant is much more advanced than anyone realizes.  Much much more.

Source:  9to5Mac.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nvidia's Kal-El 4-Core Mobile Chip Promises Speed and Battery Life with 5th Core

Maybe Nvidia's upcoming chip that will likely go inside the next generation Android tablets and possibly Windows 8 tablets has long been known to have 4-cores. Perhaps, it should more accurately be considered a 5-core solution.

According to Nvidia, Most mobile devices are on active standby for 80% of the time. The idea for Kal-El is that the fifth core becomes active during this standby period, running at a very low frequency and power requirement, allowing the device to sip energy as needed.

When more mobile computing muscle is needed, the other four companion cores become active and the power-saving 5th core goes dormant until needed.

This allowed savings of up to 60%. 60% More efficiency. As mobile warrior, I can't wait.

But keep in mind that Intel promises a day-long mobile devices by 2013 so It is good to see that Nvidia is progressing on that road as well.

Source: Gizmag




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Amazon Could Be Offering Prime Members eBook Loans

Dave the Mobile Sage informed me that Amazon, probably next week at their Kindle tablet event (9/28), may unveil a new service for Prime members, an ebook loaning program like what Netflix offers for video.

There is the link from eBook Reader blog.

Here's my initial thought on this in my email to the Sage:

I like it better if they offer similar services like audible.com. Music and books I like to buy and keep, not borrow.

However, media like video (movies) I don't mind renting.

But I keep an open mind for now. I'd like Prime services includes videos, books, and music. Then it would be a bad deal.

To succeed, they need to offer this to all Prime users, not just those who buy Kindle hardware. I suppose they'll offer it only to Kindle hardware users first and expanded them to others later.

--

That much said, how will Apple, Google, and Microsoft respond. This is an interesting study and ripe for speculation.

Any ideas?


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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Turning Problems Into Games Could Help Develop Solutions Faster

My first encounter with using a home computer to help with an effort beyond my own personal needs was with the SETI@Home all. Hundreds of thousands of computers, maybe millions worked together to see if signals from space could contain alien messages.

But this game, Foldit, allowed gamers to solve a mystery that has baffled AIDS researchers regarding the structure of a protein.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Amazon Will Unveil Kindle Tablet On September 28th

It looks like Amazon will be unveiling its Kindle tablet on September 28th in a media event at 7 am PST or 10 am EST.



This could be the Nook competitor that everyone's been talking about.  Also, some might way, the iPad killer as well.  The thing Amazon does have going for it is that it has a pretty massive ecosystem like Apple's.

It'll be interesting to see what this new 7" tablet can do and how Amazon plan on enticing us to pick one up.  Also, we know that the Amazon tablet will run a variant of the Android OS - it has already launched its own app store.

More than anything, Amazon, like Barnes and Noble with its Nook, could be more successful than the likes of Samsung, HTC, and others in the tablet market because of their radically different business model.  While these tech giants are competing with Apple's iPad - making money through selling hardware, Amazon and Barnes and Noble are offering more simple devices to help them sell digital contents.

And the advantage will go to Amazon over Barnes and Noble in that regard.

We'll just have to see what we get and how Apple and Barnes and Noble will respond.  Apple is widely expected to have an event the week of October 3rd to unveil its next generation iPhone and iPod touch.  I've always suspected that Apple could unveil a bigger sized iPod touch.  No word from Barnes and Noble on its Nook Color upgrade plans.

Source: 9to5Mac.

Running Update On Dish Network Block Buster's Netflix Killer Service

I'm gonna provide you with an update as I get them on Blockbuster's Netflix killer.  Hope it's not a dud.

The media event is on going now.  There's chatter that this service might be for Dish customers only.  In which case, this update will end pretty abruptly.
  • So far, a whole lot of thing....
  • New service called Blockbuster Movie Pass - lots of movies, games, and streaming video - no word on cost or who can get access to it. Sounds like it's not for everyone.
  • Another package called America's Top 200 - more content but so far nothing Netflix needs to worry about.  Sorry, looks lame so far. No wonder Netflix's stock is up.
  • Waiting to see if this service will be available to non-Dish customers but not hopeful.
  • So far, it's an add-on to existing services - unfortunately, most of us have already cut the cord and this isn't going to stem the tide of people who wants to cancel their paid TV services because they would be paying for something they already have as Dish customers in the first place.
  • This should be free to customers.  Lame.
  • I think Dish did Netflix a favor today - after looking at their deal, people will probably go "Netflix is an ass but it is still an option for cord-cutters".
Wow!  Q&A session revealed plan for non-Dish subscribers.  Saving details for that announcement. Could this be about Google TV?  Maybe With Apple or Microsoft?!

Apple Friendly Blogs Panicking Over Samsung's Use of FRAND Patents

Samsung's use of its FRAND patents against Apple has Apple friendly blog sites in a panic it seems.  Or maybe I'm the one who should panic  Or be elated that Samsung is fight back.  Either way, it doesn't matter much.  Again, Samsung is using what's called FRAND patents 

FRAND stands for "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory" (FOSS Patents).  What set off this new round of patent blog posts is a couple of posts from a Korean newspaper and Reuters that Samsung will become more aggressive in its litigation against Apple. 

As best as I can tell, Samsung is using patents that are "essential to the Universal Mobile Telecommunications Standard ('UMTS')" and has to offer Apple equitable licensing terms.  This is similar to the suit between Apple and Nokia.  And that was settle with money that Apple had previous set aside.

In the latest move by Samsung, it filed a suit in Netherlands seeking injunctions against Apple's devices.  However, the court there is going to go over the FRAND issues before moving forward.  (Macworld)

So, the world will go on, Apple will pay Samsung money due to FRAND patents that it has probably set aside and hopefully, Apple will stop suing over designs.

So, there's nothing to worry about, for Android or iPhone fans.

PM Mamoud Abbas Requests Statehood Recognition by UN

I think neither sides could have asked for a better opportunity than this current American president to find a solution for Israeli-Palestinian peace but both sides are squandering them big time.  And after meeting with President Obama, Abbas went ahead with the long expected move by the Palestinian authority to become a member of the UN.

The US might be forced to veto the request in the security council.  

Source:  NY Times.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Green: Theoretical 40% Efficiency of Silicon-Based Solar Cells - Just Need Them To "Make It So" And Bring To Market

Researchers at University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University have found a way to use "novel materials" to double the current solar efficiency from about 20% to 40% or more through the use of UV on nanocrystals to induce changes in shape and emit more colors.

Currently, the develop will be used for spacecrafts designed by NASA. What it means is that we'll see this eventually be on our roofs but it'll be a while. Obviously.

The wizard behind this is Dr. Omar Manasreh at the University of Arkansas.

Apple Leads In Consumer Satisfaction And Stickiness By Playing With Different Rules (And Probably A Different Game Altogether)


A couple of interesting data shows just where Apple’s iOS devices are headed – up, up, and up.  One of the things you have keep in mind is that Apple’s iOS ecosystem is like no other.  It’s closed without a doubt.  It has its limitations, obviously.  And yet, when it comes to satisfaction and retention, Apple literally has no peer.

Here are some stats that market share does not say.

Google's Webapp Now Support Multiple Accounts


Google Webapp now support multiple accounts.  A step closer to mobile nirvana if you ask me.

I have four different Google accounts.  A personal one, a work one, another one for work, and a public one which gets bombarded with spam.  And from time to time, I have to access them and I hate having to sign out of one account, sign into another, and then, if needed, sign out again so I can sign back into another.

I just tried it but it has not shown up on my browser yet.  Well, I did some checking.  You'll have to go to settings and enable multiple accounts use.  After that, it should be just fine.

The account that you sign in first will be your default account.  So, your Google+ or Reader will be directed to your default account.

Also, you can set up a separate URL for each account for easy access.  On the iPhone, you can set up an icon to your home screen for easy access.  Brilliant if you ask me.

Source:  TUAWGoogle.

Economy: Operation Twist To Lower Interest Rates Not Like To Help Create Jobs, Might Prevent Second Recession On Wall Street and Prevent More Job Loss

The government has a lot of problems and no one seems interested throwing off the shackles of the political allegiance to solving them.  So, it's left to the Federal Reserve.  After all, it's their job to deal with monetary policies.

However, what's being dubbed in the media as the "Operation Twist", the Feds hope to lower interest rates further to spur borrowing across the board.

How does it work?  More at Greenjava.  My personal feeing is that it could keep Wall Street happy enough that there won't be a massive job loss and plunge into a second recession.  However, creating jobs is not likely to happen until there is a political solution

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

House Defeat of Stopgap Bill Shows Which's In Charge - No One

GOP leaders were left wondering what to do next when their appropriation bill went down in defeat.  This was not suppose to happen, obviously.  It shows just how out of control the fragmentation is in the United States House of Representatives. 

Forty GOP joined a mostly united Democrats in defeating the bill.  Sometimes, i wonder if a forward thinking Speaker woudl try to find a coalition in Congress of both Dems and GOP would want to see the problems of this country solved than to cater to party allegiance. 

The Speaker would set up a coalition based on issues rather than a broader ones that we see in parliamentarian systems.  After all, it would not make sense for Boehner to ask a blue dog Democrat who might agree with him on fiscal issues to support his social agendas.

Yeah, I know. Wishful thinking on my part.

Can Apple Capture 20-30% of the PC Market? What Will That Landscape Look Like?

Apple's Mac sales have been on a tear in the last few years.  It's been beating PC sales and the halo effect from the iPod has been expanded by the iOS devices.  And according to iSuppli, Apple is within striking distance of being in the top five global PC makers.

By that, it means number 5.  However, can Apple go even further?  Perhaps capture 20 or even 30% of the global PC market?  

I really don't want to think that far ahead.  that's probably a decade or so away if that happens.  But if you include the iPad, Apple is already the largest PC maker in the world.  And Mac sales are just beginning to take hold in Asia.  

Furthermore, no longer is Apple's Macs considered expensive.  While you can buy a $400 or $500 Windows laptop, they don't give you the milage like a Macbook would.  Furthermore, the competition seems to be at the Macbook Air class with Intel pushing its ultrabook lines.

However, PC makers are having trouble matching Apple's $1000 entry point.  Most ultrabooks will need to use slower chips, cheaper materials and parts just to get to $1000.  Otherwise, they will have to cost on average $500 more than the Air.

And Apple could be getting unexpected help from one corner of the PC market:  Microsoft.  It just unveiled Windows 8 that won't be out until 2012, a year from now.  However, Windows 8 will be fragmented between different types of chips including AMD, Intel and Nvidia.  And the softwares may have cross-chip support.  It means that if you buy an app to run on an Intel PC, it most likely will not work in one running on Nvidia's chip.

For consistency, folks may look to Apple's Mac.  

Apple isn't out of the PC market just yet even if it has declared us in the post-PC market.  There are billions more to be made still and Apple's PC growth is capture a lot of that profit.

Source:  gigaom.

UltraViolet, A New Standard For Movie/TV Distribution Could Get Walmart's Support; Hope Mobile Support Comes Sooner Rather Than Later

According to CNet, Walmart will be support UltraViolet.  What is UV?

Ultraviolet is a new video standard that hopes to unlock video distribution for consumers.  Sounds friendly? So far.  The idea is that if you use a certain provider and you bought movies and TV from it but decides to change to another provider, you can take those rights with you.  

It'll be a could-based service.  Each account can have six users and up to 12 devices that can view it. 

This service has a a lot of support.  However, a few holdouts like Apple are not onboard.  And that's just what this service is meant to do - break down walls like this.

There is no mention of Google but I can't see Google not be behind this.

Walmart's support is just icing on the cake and we should see this service in 2012.  I'm not optimistic of the late 2011 roll out.  Just a realist.  

I'm sure this is the first time a lot of you are just hearing this.  I know, they've not done a great job advertising it.  And so far, it seems pretty much what I would want.  iTunes is easy to get video but with UV, it could be even easier.

Here's the Wiki page for the UV system and its homepage.

Source:  CNet.

Fall Mobile Fight: Galaxy S II and iPhone To Fight It Out Early October

Galaxy S II versus the iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4S, depending on who you believe) this October.  Slugfest to be free for all to see.  AT&T announced their version of the Galaxy S II to go on sale October 2nd for $199 with a two year contract.

Just a week or so later, Apple should unleash its heavy weight, the iPhone 5.  

Never has two such flagship devices been released so closely to each other.  Okay, I have to correct myself.  The Pre launch versus the iPhone 3GS was similar and we know who won that battle.

But this time, it's Android versus iPhone.  Obviously, the Android camp is looking to bloody Apple a bit.  Despite Android owning close to 50% of the market share, it's respect in the media is sub par compared to what the iPhone has received.  

On top of that, the Galaxy S II should also be slugging it out on the Sprint network with the iPhone has well.

Only Verizon will not be carrying the Galaxy S II but it does have the Bionic.  T-Mobile will not be carry the iPhone.  

But we're not done.  Later, the Nexus Prime should enter the ring.  This is the biggest threat the iPhone has never faced in such a short time.  Maybe this tag team could be just the thing to put Apple down?

We'll just have to wait and see.

Source: Android Guys.

HP Board Ousted Apotheker

Meg Whitman is in as interim CEO as HP just ousted Apotheker!

Wow...and I thought this was going to be a boring day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Google+ Gets Much Needed Improvements And Features

Google+ finally has search. And this is among a few other improvements and new features that Google unleashed on the world today.  Plus (pun intended), Google+ is now officially open for business.  No need to beg for invitations any longer.

While it's still in beta (Google is calling it "field trial"), it makes sense for Google to move as quickly on G+ as possible.  While interests remain high, it is nowhere near the level at the beginning.

Techcrunch has a few other features that you might be interested in.  I like the new Named Hangout.  More than that, we can now do mobile hangouts as well.  The Android app has been updated with this new feature and an iOS update will be pushed out soon.

G+ is beginning to take shape and it is vastly different from Facebook.  I like the better privacy control that we get with G+.  There's also screen sharing, video chats, and a sketch board as well.

How does this compare with Facebook?  Google+ should get a second wind with this batch of update but I don't think Google's done.  These are not innovative features by any means but it does show that social networks can be more than just about poking people and allowing the purveyors to sell user information to the highest bidder.

Source:  Techcrunch.

Blockbuster Streaming To Pressure Netflix Even More; 30% of Netflix Users Could Abandon Red Envelope

Dish Network's newest asset, Blockbuster, will be coming out with a robust streaming service.  It sounds too good to be true...but i wonder what the cost will be...and if we'll see iOS and Android apps soon too.

Anyway, glad to see this new pressure on netflix, which I happen to have...for now.

Bloomberg has more details on what services could be included.  It mentioned Starz, which just broke off negotiations with Netflix earlier.

Interesting...

Also, a research firm reported by Marketwatch suggests that 30% of current Netflix users could abandon the DVD and streaming services altogether.

Personally, I expect a new Netflix apology and a rollback of the arrogant and offending moves it has made by next week.  But with the Blockbuster offering public by then, I don't know if it'll even matter.

Green: Solar Charger For the iPhone, An Arsenal Every Mobile Warrior Must Have


I love writing these kinds of articles - mashing solar and mobile together.  Check out Mobius's recharageable solar case for the iPhone.  It's a case, battery, and a solar unit all in one.

An our of charge in the sun gives you an extra 30 minutes of data use, more than half hour of video, and nearly 2.5 hours of audio playback.  Charge it up to its full capacity and you get 8 hours of data and audio use and 1.33 days of audio.

I can't think of a better device for mobile folks.  You're using the sun's power to charge your device and on top of that, you are almost free.  Almost no need to look for an outlet.  I'm sitting here in my office, I can be charge my iPhone right now right under the sun.

This is where the future is headed.  Even if Mobius or others came up with a case without the added battery pack, a case with just the solar panel would also suffice.  Now, I don't know how the wear and tear of the battery inside the iPhone will be like but its definitely something I should mention.  However, Apple has been using the latest and greatest so I reckon the iOS batteries can take some charging on the go without much degradation.

Furthermore, it's likely that mobile device makers like Apple, and certain I've heard this from Samsung, that they'll be incorporating solar charging screens in the future.  More than that, universities are also on the path. UCLA engineers recently figured out a way on their own to use the LCD screen to charge and power the mobile device.  And the UCLA screen charge the device using ambient light.

The mobile green future is here.  Albeit, in a case but it's here.  Now, we wait for the tech giants to integrate them.  Until then, I think we can be satisfied with this Mobius solar charger.

Source: 9to5Mac.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back To School: What Did Students Buy To Arm Themselves For This School Year?


This summer, millions of students hit the malls, retail outlets, and the Web for their shopping needs.  And this being 2011, electronics figures to play a big part of the back to school budget.

Let’s start with what the students did not buy.  Televisions seems to be out, down more than 70% compared to last year.  Smartphone phones account for 14% of purchases, down from 21% last year but smartphone shares did increase 4% to 73% from 69% last year.

And what about computers and tablets?

More at Greenjava.

Tablet Market Status: Individual Android Tablets Has Largely Failed To Penetrate Market; $500 Price Point Too Difficult To Sustain

Another tablet maker pars down tablet shipment.  This time, it's Lenovo, who had some strong fighting words for Apple and the iPad earlier in the year.  For Lenovo, it is another slap in the face as Apple has easily surpassed the China based PC company.  For Android, the 2 million tablets shipped (not necessarily sold) would help those keeping scores give Android a larger share of the tablet market, individually, we are seeing one tablet after another fail to gain traction.

The problem isn't that the tablets are inferior to the iPad.  It is that the $500 and up price point is the new "$1000".  For a premium tablet, people want the iPad just as folks who pay more than a $1000 probably wouldn't rule out the Apple's MacBooks. But if this is the case, where does this leave tablet makers?

For Android fans, buying a $500 tablet running Google's mobile OS is a non-starter.  For your average mobile warrior, they have two clear choices - the iPad or not.  At $400-450, it could sway a few users.  At $350-$400, an Android tablet versus a $500 iPad becomes more clear.  

At that point, the competition may not be with Apple but it pits one Android tablet maker against another.  HTC and Samsung might have gained enough recognition to become a household name but Lenovo or anyone else certainly has not.  And with Sony's tablets going on sale soon, Samsung's Galaxy brand stands in the way of anyone else gaining traction in the tablet market.

It's why Barnes and Noble's Nook has found some success where no others have.  And it's why Amazon's Kindle tablet will likely have a sub-10" screen and sell for around the same price as the Nook.  Furthermore, unlike regular device makers, Amazon and BN are not just selling tablets to the masses: they are also selling books, apps, and services.  

That is not the case for anyone else. Google has to really figure out something that will help its Android partners.  Android 4 better be really good but even that might not be enough.  Google has to offer its partners a reason for selling Android devices at razor-thing margins.

Green Economy: US Solar Industry Employs 100K, Nearly 7% Growth

I don't know why folks in Congress are so again renewable power when they are faced with the fact that the solar industry now employs up to 100K American jobs that cannot be outsourced, a 6.8% growth.

According to Tree Hugger, 100,000+ jobs includes those lost due to the bankruptcy of Solyndra and Evergreen.  If anyone wants more evidence that clean renewable power and the ability to for the US to become more energy independent from petro, a source that most of the world gets from unstable states or regions of the world, this is it.

And already, the US military recognize the need to create a self-sustaining source of power, and so should the civilians in the American public.  To take things into perspective, the US economy at large netted a mere 0.7% job growth (REW).

What the Department of Energy and Commerce needs to do is parade the generals and admirals who are making the green push in the military and put them in front of Congress so they can tell them why they're doing it, how it benefit and secure the nation, and puts America on the right path.

I don't think it's that hard.  Forget about framing the argument into one about global warming.  The greening of the economy means jobs and security.

It's that simple.

Source:  Tree Hugger, Renewable Energy World.


Politics/Green: Jon Huntman Said Perry's Stance on Science It Out of Touch; Unfortunately for Huntsman, So Are Most GOP Primary Voters

I like Huntsman because he's saying what he believes and while it won't get him elected, it'll get him noticed by those of us who want our politicians to make sense.

I agree with him 100% when he said that Texas governor Rick Perry is out of touch with his anti-science stance.  Unfortunately for Ambassador Huntsman, it's the far right and Tea Party that are active in the GOP Primaries.

Maybe he'll be able to make a 3rd party run.  I know, I know.  Sorry, it's the food coma that's talking here.  But Huntsman and Bloomberg?  That'll be a nice ticket.

Source:  Huffington Post.

iPhone 5 and Next iPod Touch Could Put Final Nail In Dedicated Gaming Market


The Nintendo 3DS debuted with great fanfare that quickly died and sales at Mario and company sagged.  A price cut did help spur sales for a bit but that likely added very little to the bottom line.  In fact, Nintendo could be selling the 3DS at a loss.  When the 3DS went on sale last spring, it was up against a very vibrant mobile market.

However, it was fight against a 6-month old iPod touch and a 9 month old iPhone.  What are its chances against the iPhone 5 and the next iPod touch?  Not good, I wager.

Speech For Mobile Is Sputnik Moment For Apple

I've been writing about battery life since I started blogging.  But I think while that is one major aspect of mobile experience and this power issue has been show by Apple that we are nearing a time when worrying about finding and outlet will be a thing of the past, there is another battle front for the Cupertino company. And it is one that it's losing badly

That's voice control.  Google has demonstrated a natural integration of voice commands it balled "Voice Actions" into Android.  However, the iPhone's more rudimentary voice control is no where near what we have come to expect from Apple.  When Apple bought Siri last year, it was heralded as an important mobile moment where an intelligent voice system will be integrated into a mobile OS, not just simply voice commands.

However, even with iOS 5 this late in development, there is hardly any new information that showed a deep level Siri integration or anything that might have come of the Nuance rumors.  As a matter of fact, Nuance released its own Siri competitor, Dragon Go!, this July.  And yes, Siri is powered by Nuance as well.

If not from Apple, I like to see Dragon Go! improve upon what is already there.  Lack of innovation from Apple for such a long time could mean it has found no solution that is workable at the moment.  However, in the year since Apple bought Siri, there could have been a lot of work that we don't know about.  

Perhaps, Apple will surprise us next month.  Or at the very least, show us that it's trying by upgrading Siri.

Google's Flipboard Killer Will Be Popular For Those Who Live In Google Sphere

Google is working on their own version of Flipboard.  And from what we can tell based on its past work on the news and media apps, I think it'll be a winner to a certain extent.  First, let me say that there is not a whole lot of details about this.

One aspect about this app that I can pretty much be sure about is its tablet aspect.  And we might see this once Android 4 is out.  It could be a selling point of a new breed of Android tablets.  And you can bet that it'll be very sociable.  You can bet that Google Plus will be a part of any sharing that is related to the articles.  And Google News as well as Reader will both play big roles.

Will this make people want to switch from Flipboard to Google's new app, currently being dubbed the Propeller?  Well, I'm all for competition.  Keep in mind that CNN also has its own reader coming out.  And let's not forget Pulse News that is working on all mobile platforms.

At the end of the day, Propeller will have a big advantage over other readers because I'm sure Google will make it a default magazine styled app on all its Android devices.  And I'm sure over time, Google will not miss the opportunity to make it available on the iPhone and iPad.

Now, we'll just sit back and see if Google has a trick or two up its sleeves that might make its reader more appealing.  Simply copying what Flipboard is doing won't work.  Flipboard is very entrenched on the iPad now.  Google will have to really dazzle me if it wants to make me switch.

For Google, such an app could only have an appeal if the user already swears by all things Google.  

President Obama;s Deficit Plan: $1.1 Trillion From Ending War That Would Have Happened Anyway

The more I see this budget deficit plan, the less I think the GOP will go for it.  Take the $1.1 trillion savings that is bring proposed from ending US envolvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.

That is supposed to happen anyway.  It doesn't matter who is in the White House. 

Savings are coming in around $3.6 trillion.  If you take out this natural saving of $1.1 trillion over the next ten years, that means you're down to actual savings of $2.5 trillion.

It's a big number and I'm glad the President decided to go big on this. However, $1.5 trillion of the deficit reduction will come in the form of taxes on people who make over one million dollars a year.  

That leases $1 trillion in actual cuts.  I don't know if the GOP will go with this plan.  However, this is a template for Congress to work off of so maybe we'll see something come off this and not be used as a tool for 2012.

President Obama Goes Big With $3.6 Trillion Savings

President Obama goes big with a huge $3.6 trillion deficit plan that he hopes will reduce the US debt down to 2.3% of DGP by 2021.

It includes entitlement reforms which the GOP has already said doesn't go far enough. However, the plan is serving as a template for the Super Committee to work off of.  

I don't know how serious these people are but it looks like its a start.  

Again, I want to believe.  

we'll have more details on this throughout the day.

Source:  Marketwatch.

Lawsuits Could Force Google To Change Android Business Model - Might Be A Good For Google

According to FOSS Patents, Google maybe forced to change how the Android business works and it could mean that Google could do better because of it.  However, it would change how Android is perceived in the market place and make it less appealing to device makers.  

According to the lawsuit taking place between Google and Oracle, a win by Oracle could mean that anyone who activates an Android device, whether its sanctioned by Google or just a Chinese device maker going into business for itself with its own Android variant, Amazon and Barnes and Noble activating millions of Android based devices, or Baidu using it to create its own mobile ecosystem, Google may be on the hooks to pay Oracle a per device fee if Oracle wins.

The only option at that time is for Google to prevent Android form being used in the manners I described above.  After all, why should Google pay for someone else's mobile success in which it doesn't make money from them.

This will radically change how mobile devices view Android, and, in turn, case us mobile warriors to change our buying habits.  Google may be forced to charge its partners to pay Oracle.  And while this is no different than if HTC, Samsung, or anyone else licensing Windows Phone from Microsoft, Microsoft did not just buy a mobile device maker but Google did.

Google will no doubt give Motorola preferential treatments.  And what we may see is that Google will owning both the OS and hardware, not very different from the way Apple owns its OS and hardware.  

But I assure you that when it happens, it would be entirely coincidental.  This would not have been the route that Google anticipated.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Netflix CEO Goes On Youtube To Apologize, But Offers No Answer, Maybe Made Things Worse

Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, went only to offer an apologize for the lack of communication from the company on the price increase and for separating the streaming and DVD services.  On top of that, they introduced a new company called Qwikster that will control the DVD operations.

Essentially, instead of "Netflix" on your red envelope, you'll see "Qwikster".

Here is the video.  It seems sincere enough but it does nothing to address the real issue.  The price increase stays with added value for it.  Hastings said they did not explain the price increase properly.  And in the video, he still did not.  He really did not say anything we already know.

Streaming is the future and overtime, Qwikster will evolve with more other forms of physical media but it will probably die of a slow death as more media becomes digital only and gaming for Netflix becomes irrelevant as app stores take a bigger control.

He is trying to convince us that streaming and DVD operations being separated will be a good thing.  I can see his point in a manner of speaking but I'm not sure he's trying to say what I'm thinking.  Again, Netflix, since the price increase, is set to lose more content with the loss of Starz media.


I'm sorry but I just don't buy it.  I would willing to change my mind if Netflix suddden gains more content between now and Feburary 2012 when Starz content goes offline.

Like I said before, this video has made things worse, not better.

Voice Commands Could Put Us Closer To Star Trek Like Computer Commands



I always like how characters in science fiction novels and books are able to interact with their computers in ways that seem beyond the reach of anything we have here.  Computers that can interact with us as holograms or through auditory inputs and outputs.

Google's Voice Actions are pretty good and second to none in the mobile market.  Apple's Siri is impressive but nothing close.

However, third party solutions are paving the way for innovation in this field.  Couple with voice commands and better AI, we have Star Trek like interactions with our computers and mobile sooner rather than later.

So meet the Voice Chat Robot app that is leaps and bounds beyond what's on the market.

More at Greenjava.

Reading on A Mobile - We Aren't Doing It Enough

I had to go bring something to my dad this morning at his temple. I took advantage of the down time and decided to use it to write, game, and read.

So I decided to just read for a while. An ebook. Deadline by Mira Grant. Feeds was on the Nook and Deadline on the Kindle. I know, why mix the format? I have no idea why I did that.

I sat in one of the lectures but with language barrier keeping me from knowing that was being discussed, I decided to amuse myself a bit.

I read about 30 minutes. You know? It's one of those things that we don't do enough.

I started off on this with the original ebook reader, the Palm III.

I have so much distractions on the Anroid and iOS devices that reading ebooks hasn't really been an activity I do enough of.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

President Obama To Propose New Tax On Millionaires

Just In:  President Obama will be proposing a new tax bracket on people making more than $1 million a year.  It's being dubbed as the Buffett Tax.

I'm sure the GOP are thrilled.  Of course, the way politics works in Washington, they already saw this coming.

More at Greenjava.
According to a study commissioned by Intel and Microsoft, computer power efficiency has doubled every 18 months.

It has an additive effect. As components become smaller and faster, or through other innovations like faster memory, graphics card, and efficient screens, the system as a whole becomes more efficient.

Interestingly, no mention of how more efficient programming or better coding could also make the system become even more efficient.

Source: Greenjava.

Joblessness To Spark Rioting In the US Like Europe?

Rioting in the US by youths who cannot find jobs? Hardly but it does underscore the vast problems we all have today in the US. Not being able to find a high-paying job is very different from the political oppression in the Arab Spring nations and social maladies in Europe.

 We’re not quite there yet on both account but it does say a lot about who’s willing to do what kind of jobs and how much we see our own worth are. No PhD in his or her right mind is going to be in the fields picking fruits and vegetables, obviously. Or maybe not.

More at Greenjava.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Increasing Cost Of Wireless Data, Another Carrier Increased Cost

First, we lost unlimited wireless Internet access.  And now, it looks like we're going to be have to bear added cost of continuing our mobile experience.  It's not much, about the cost of a venti drink at Starbucks but it will add up.  It started with Virgin Mobile when they increased their prices a couple of months ago, and now, Boost Mobile is also increasing their mobile cost by $5.  

Here's the sad, sad news.  This could be just the beginning.  And keep in mind that with AT&T's purchase of T-Mobile on the menu, things can only become worse over time.  It's unlikely that the AT&T and T-Mobile merger will make things better for us.  In the case of Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile, I don't think it's the case of greed but it may have more to do with the cost of doing business.  This I can understand.

At the same time, I hope the mobile carriers can sympathize with us mobile warriors who live on Main Street - things are not exactly rosy in this economy now.  

Note:  Perhaps this price increase could also mean that we'll see better mobile devices in the prepaid market.

Intel, Can I Have 12-15 Hours of Battery Life For Our Laptops In 2012?

I don't that technology doesn't quite work this way but what if we could get 12-15 hours of battery life on one charge for our laptops today? Apple's Macbook already offers 10 hours of battery life and getting to 12-15 hours should not prove too technically difficult, right? By 2013, Intel will have a chip that allow a mobile system to run on one charge for a whole day. That's is about a minimum of 16 months from now. So, it is possible that we can get half of that mobile promise now? If you look at it, battery life doesn't just make that kind of a jump that Intel is promising. Maybe an extra hour or two every other year. Most laptop today have anywhere from 4-6 hours. I don't know how Intel is going to make this jump. Regardless, can we expect to get half of that now?

Politics: Tom Ridge Support For Jon Huntsman Affirms Good Guys Can't Win In US Politics

Former governor and first Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge has endorsed Jon Huntsman for the GOP Presidential nomination.  To which, everyone else in the field goes "meh".  Why?  After all, getting such an endorsement is pretty good.

Unfortunately for Huntsman, Ridge has not street credit with the Tea Party.  They're both too moderate.  Too common sense.  Guys who can and rather do good for the country and not their party.

Source:  CNN.

Playbook To Get Price Cut & That Won't Be Enough, It's Over

Playbook has already been clobbered in the tablet market by the iPad.  There is no double that about.  And if you don't want an iPad, you buy an Android tablet.  At $500, there is a lot of competition for RIM's Playbook which only comes in at 7".

And despite just how well built or how solid the specs are, no apps means no apps means only the most dedicated RIM fanboys will buy it. And even then, they have had to suffer through an incomplete OS.  In yesterday's financial call where RIM unveiled a profitable but admittedly difficult quarter in the numbers of Blackberries and Playbooks shipped, actions were promised.

iPad And Windows 8 Tablet Compared In 10 Min Video

This will double as Friday's movie as we see the iPad 2 go head-to-head with the yet to be released Windows 8.  We won't see this new toy from Microsoft for another year.

Still, it looks good enough at this time.  I think all current Android and Apple fans should take a look and see if this is Microsoft's comeback in the tablet and mobile market.

Could this be good enough that Apple and Google need to worry about them or this is a year off that iOS 6 and Android 5 should be able to handle the competition.  And keep in mind the tablet market right now is the iPad while Honeycomb tablets haven't exactly lit the mobile world on fire...yet.


What's interesting is that Windows 8 will come in two flavors - one support ARM chip and another support the legacy x86 chips from AMD and Intel.  Microsoft has confirmed that legacy applications for Windows will not run on the ARM-version of Windows 8.  Not sure if ARM-based apps can run on the x86 version of Windows either.

What we do know is that Windows Phone apps can run on Windows 8. Both ARM and x86 versions?  Not sure yet.  There have been conflicting information coming out of Microsoft at this time.  They've got a long time to short all that out.

Source:  winrumors.

Next Year's Macbook Air To Be Faster As Intel Chip To Natively Support Offloading Non-Graphic Op to GPU

I know the the title is verbose. Coming from a science background, this title is short.  What it boils down to is Apple's OpenCL.  It's the ability to allow the Mac to offload certain non-graphic operations to the video processor in your Mac and allow them to help out the main processor, the CPU.

This feature is ready supported in many graphics processors (dedicated or integrated), the GPU, from AMD and Nvidia but not by Intel's current integrated graphics processor.

I think the Macbook Air is plenty fast for what it was designed to do.  Personally, I think heavier lifting should be handled by the Macbook Pro line.  Still, I'm never one to pass up on anything faster.  

We can see up to 60% increase in speed from the Macbook Airs by this time next year.

Source:  Appleinsider.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Google To Spend Hundreds of Millions to Make Youtube Work More Like A TV

According to some insiders, Electronista is report that Google may be willing to put in serious money to make sure that Youtube has enough content to be relevant.  As for content, we're talking about TV and movies, not just stuff that some dude with a camcorder and an Internet connection puts up.

Oops...RIM Quarter Worse Than I Initially Thought

Earlier, I thought RIM's miss was not that big of a deal.  But now it's down 16% and they only managed to ship 200K Playbooks.  That's shipped, not sold.

On top of that, with the new phones, RIM failed to top phone estimates and ended up shipping 10.6 million phones.

Ouch...

RIM Misses Earnings But Still Making Money, Still A Chance of A Comeback

Research In Motion, maker of the wildly popular (I think it’s true) Blackberries, is down more than 11% in the after hours after missing on their targets and winding up in the lower range of their prediction.

I guess that’ll take their market value down to about #13.5 billion or so when it’s all said and done. It really does make them very attractive for a buyout. Dell? Google back for some more after Motorola or forget Motorola and get after RIM instead? Or perhaps, Microsoft might be interested?

Certainly, Blackberry fans have nothing to be despaired about. RIM is still making money, not unlike Motorola. And it still has a few tricks up its sleeve with the new QNX “superphones” due out in 2012.

Netflix Users Abandons Or Downgrades Plans In Drove, Hope Netflix Was Not Surprised

I don't what Netflix is smoking but I guess its investors are not smoking it.  Neither am I.  In the short-term, Netflix is going to hurt big time.  Stock is down 15% or so as it lowered the estimate of users it'll have.  I think in this economy, raising the price the way they did was just stupid.

And others sense blood.  Hulu, Redbox, Google, etc.  And more importantly, the content providers do as well.  Starz recently walked away from a deal with Netflix.  

I've downgraded my plan to streaming only and dropped my DVD rental portion, and picked up a Hulu sub just in time for the fall.  That's money Netflix could have used.

I encourage other Netflix users to do the same.  Downgrade or take a look at another service like Hulu.  If and when Netflix comes to its senses, we're more than happy to support them again.


Does Groupon, LivingSocial, & Other Services Provide A New Way Of Living For Mobile Warriors? Maybe

I love to see Groupon, LivingSocial, and these gift-certificate services take off.  I think they're absolutely an indispensable new social service that is far more important than anything Facebook can ever provide.  And I welcome what Google will bring once they bring Deals to more cities around the country (in the US).

Initially, I was cool to these companies.  I don't need that many massages or work on my face (it's too late for me, unfortunately).  However, I am seeing a lot of deals for yoga, gyms, and other workout regimes.  And you still get your massages as well.  

So I wonder if one times things right, an user can maintain a healthy and active life just through the use of these coupons.  Recently in LA, there are martial art lessons, juigitsu, yoga classes, hypnotherapy (I don't know how effective these are), pilate classes, and I can go on. 

I would not say they're a great deal but they're decent enough if you want to try different things in your life.  Ultimately, these companies offer a chance to change how we live our lives.  We can end up trying something new and likely it.   And these workout-type deals come once or twice a week.  Add them to your regular workout if you have one and you can be looking a pretty healthy life.

And then obviously, there's the food too.  Whole Food deal from LivingSocial a couple of days ago was a hit.  I'm considering this hot dog deal for Pasadena that I can use tonight if I want to.  $16 for only $8.  Sounds like a good deal.

And not just for food and working out, there are theatre tix and cultural classes like ceramic making.  

All in all, I'm beginning to look at these sites differently.  And I'm beginning to see online news sites offer local deals.  It allows a mobile warrior to find new exciting things locally and explore the city in new ways

Right now, these deals are kind of limited but as businesses change, or new ones pop up with younger and tech and social savy owners, I see this segment of the market explode big time.

And it helps that they all have mobile apps on the major platforms.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Samsung Prime Will Debut Around Same Time (Or A Bit After) iPhone 5

It looks like two high profile mobile devices, Apple's next iPhone and the first Android 4 device, Prime by Samsung, will be going head to head next month.  According to Droid-Life, an e-mail captured in a screen shot from a Verizon employee suggests this to be the case.

Obviously, the e-mail can be faked.  Nevertheless, this only confirms pretty much what everyone expected.  Furthermore, Prime will have some pretty good specs.  However, while there are rumors about specs for the next iPhone, no one knows the details at all.  At least not publicly.

While Prime may not (this could be Google's next Nexus phone so it can still happen) going to get the debut that the iPhone will on multiple carriers and regardless of the specs, it should be interested to see how iOS 5 and Android 4 go head-to-head in this mobile fight.  
As for specs, Prime is supposed to get a 720p screen.  

Source:  Droid-Life.

New iPad Keyboard With Twist: Elevated Keys (With Video)

I'm gonna become a sponsor as soon as I get home (forgot my wallet). This new concept keyboard for the iPad is like none other we've seen. First it's thin enough.  But more than that, it has a flat surface and the keys emerge when you press a button and they elevate from the surface.

It's called the Levitatr, a Bluetooth keyboard, again that has a smooth surface. And the keys only surface if you press a designated button.

If you're interested, you can go to their Kickstarter page to sign up for one.

You've got to see the video to understand what I'm talking about.



What do you think? It's gimmicky enough that I think I want one.

Source: GigaOM.

Is the iPhone Important To Apple's China Future And Chinese Carriers? You Betcha!


This post from iLounge says quite a bit about Apple, iPhone, and China.  A lot.  First, China Telecom will invest close to a quarter billion US dollars on marketing the iPhone.  A quarter alone on just a single device.  Sure, it happens to be Apple's iPhone.  What does that mean?

Well, the timing suggests that the iPhone will launch in China this year, perhaps a few weeks to a month after the North American launch.  Maybe a few weeks after the European launch. It suggests just how Apple sees the Chinese market.  In the past, the iPhone doesn't make it to the Chinese market until months after the US release.

An early launch not only shows just how much pinned up demand there are for the iPhone in China, but that Apple sees future growth in Asia powered by the Chinese market. And if past US launches are any indication, the iPhone 5 launch will be huge.  And an early Chinese launch will eliminate the gray market that has plagued the market and caused massive shortages here in the US.  

And with dragons being a good luck charm to the Chinese, this plan is called the "Dragon Plan".  And it suggests that preorders will start at the end of September (probably early October).  Furthermore, training and staffing will commence soon.  

And just to underscore the importance of the Chinese market, Tim Cook was recently spotted in China, likely negotiating with China Mobile, world's biggest telecom, on the iPhone.  And even Steve Jobs reportedly was personally involved in the negotiations.


Source: iLounge.

Why Does Tech Evoke Such Passion Among Fanboys?

Relgion.  Politics.  Okay, I get why those matters get people riled up.  Sports?  It's all in good fun.  But whatever reasons, tech, especially mobile and computing, seems to get generate such a passion among fans that it's borderlines on insanity.  

Why is that?  I'm a mobile warrior first.  And while I like new technology, I like to see all platforms do well.  Okay, I am quite partial to Android and iOS but that doesn't mean that I'm going to go around disparaging other platforms.  And when the need arises, I will call out Apple or Google.

However, there are those who believe their supported tech company can do no wrong.  I understand why bloggers do it.  They need eyeballs.  Okay, I do too but I generally like to look at the positive side of things.  And when there is an issue, like something Apple or Google did that I don't like, I'll bring it up.

But why tech?