Android 2.2 Brings Mobility to the Mobile World

May 27, 2010 by · Comments Off on Android 2.2 Brings Mobility to the Mobile World
Filed under: Technology 

Today Google launched Android 2.2 which, in this humble blogger’s opinion is a leap frog from anything else out there.  Besides the obvious smarter smartphone capabilities like the photo gallery, customizable home screen, better exchange support, etc. , it turns your phone into a real mobility powerhouse.  Hotspot and enhanced bluetooth make your phone a gateway to mobility for all other stuff you may want to carry.  I know what you’re thinking, PalmPre had that already.  But Android is mainstream, supported by multiple vendors, and the 2nd best selling mobile OS (after RIM’s blackberry, not iPhone).

The hotspot feature that essentially turns your phone into a Starbucks without the coffee – WiFi hotspot using 3G as back-haul.  3G may not have enough capacity, but remember 4G is coming to a city near you.  The point is, my phone becomes my only truly connected device via the wireless wide area network, with a single data plan that allows any other device that I might carry to connect to the Internet through it, without extra payments.  As lame as the unconnected iPad is, it is the cheapest out there (before the gPad comes out).  My Android2.2 smartphone  will make it connected and I do not have to pay extra data.  With my laptop I can browse the web, download a book, send email, you name it, even if I don’t have a broadband adapter.  My phone is the broadband adapter.

Enhanced bluetooth means that I can now have an ergonomically perfect set of devices to manage my mobile life.  I can carry my phone in my pocket or briefcase and use my headset or car kit to dial, answer an make all phone calls.  I can even play music through my car’s fancy audio without plugging it in.  You can envision new devices that use these capabilities to get connected.  A camera, for example can upload to Picassa or YouTube directly without having to connect directly.  In-car GPS or portable can also connect and get faster first fixes, maps from your phone or PC, etc.

Again, this is hardly new, but the combination of all this features in Android 2.2 brings true mobility to the mainstream, and will definitely put a dent to iPhone’s reign, that is until Apple decides to add these features too.  The question that remains open is how will wireless service providers embrace a single data plan?  Today they all charge for “tethered mode” which is really what we all use in substitution of a broadband card; we don’t buy a card, but we still have to pay for the extra data plan.  If carriers do away with this extra charge, they will create an explosion of data traffic that they are most likely not ready for.  Sprint in the US has created a plan that allows all this for a fixed rate.  Sprint also has the only 4G phone available today and with its partnership with Clearwire they have a shot to regain market share even if it’s only to geeks like us.  Soon others will follow, though.

Soon 4G, better back-haul from your wireless service provider, and an Android 2.2 (or equivalent feature set) can make every device a connected device.  The ubiquitously connected world is getting a push.



iDon’t Flash, say the Steves

May 9, 2010 by · Comments Off on iDon’t Flash, say the Steves
Filed under: Technology 

To start off with a cliché, it is true that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  But to have the Steves ( Balmer -Microsoft’s CEO and Jobs – you know who he is) agree on bashing a competitor is unheard of, at least for this humble blogger.  Apple has been criticized not only for not supporting Adobe Flash video player in the iPhone, iPod, and iPad (i’Ve had it with Apple’s naming) but for banning apps that have their roots on it.  To make matters worse, Silicon Valley’s more revered deity sent out a letter saying that Flash sucks – battery, that is, as well as making devices crash and causing other problems.  Balmer agrees.  They both are in favor of the open standard video version called html5 video.

Hey, we’re all for standards, even better if they are open, but is it realistic to essentially ban all Flash designed websites from your mobile iProducts?  Microsoft definitelly adds some muscle to the fight, but Shantanu Narayen (Adobe’s CEO) got there first.  An estimated  70% of websites with video use Flash.  It has a great advantage over html5: it exists today.  It has also a huge  installed base,  works across browsers, and makes it easier for non-geek developers to use.  The question is: will the the explosion of browsers (especially mobile) makes an open standard needed even more? Indeed, but it will not happen overnight, even with the Steves’ weight behind it.

Claiming that Flash crashed devices and drains battery is a bit too extreme, unrealistic, and quite frankly arrogant.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  But when you consider that the iPad has a 6000 mAh battery compared to the 1200 mAh battery in the iPhone 3GS sure, I’ll give you 10 hours of video too!  Simply put, battery problems are solved with batteries.  You want more battery life? put a bigger battery in.  Granted, it drives the device’s weight, but so does the display. Palm Pre, RIM, Windows Mobile (and soon Android) devices that support Flash lite are roughly the same weight than the iPhone, and crash just as often. Reality is, Flash provides the programmer control over the video experience and that makes Jobs angry.  He wants to control it all!  As per Microsoft’s motive?  Well, it just sounded like a good idea to blame computer crashes on somebody else’s software for a change.

Flash’s biggest limitation is the lack of mobile platform support.  It is a heavy weight platform that so far only works well on “big” desktop OS’s.  There is a Flash Lite out there but it is not 100% compatible with all Flash’s features.  But that will have to change soon, if Narayen wants to stay on top.   But then again, with more powerful processors and graphics coming to a mobile device near you will make this limitation a thing of the past.  In any case, it is this bloggers opinion that html5 video will eventually take over video on the internet.  The timing is the unknown.  But I don’t think one should start to short Adobe (ADBE), at least not because of Flash.  Au contraire mon fraire, this makes them a pricey acquisition target for cash rich software companies.



Palm Looks for a Helping Hand

April 13, 2010 by · Comments Off on Palm Looks for a Helping Hand
Filed under: Business, Technology 

In the past couple of days Palm’s stock (NASDAQ: PALM) has soared from around $3.5 to above $6 (from a 52 week high of $18 by the way) amidst rumors of an imminent buyout.  The question in my mind is who wants to pay close to a billion dollars for a company that looses $100M a quarter, has no cash, and it is debt ridden?  A fraction of that money will get any company in the smartphone game.  Most are already there, arguably with a little excess as I pointed out here.

Granted, their products are good, WebOS is a neat idea, but they have lost the clout they once had.  It is sad to see a Palm, in a way the inventor of the category suffer this fate.  But hey, in this industry you have to listen to Bob Dylan: “You’d better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone, ’cause the times they are a-changing.”

So what happened to Palm?  Execution and focus, lack of them, that is.  Back in the late 90’s with an explosive IPO after a spin-off of US Robotics everything looked rosy.  But they got greedy instead of focused.  But as Michael Douglas said in Wall Street: “Greed is good”.  No question but greed has to have a source.  And my fellow reader (singular) that has to be your products, not Wall Street itself!  It is my theory that Palm, as many other great corporations get too caught up in Wall Street’s metrics, quarters, and their leaders making money off of money alone, that they loose focus on the main thing:  Their products.  Countless corporations (Google, Apple, Toyota, Ford, etc.) are the opposite: they have focused on creating the best products or services, and Wall Street follows.

Greed is indeed good, but with a focused source.



Apple takes a bite off the Palm

July 23, 2009 by · Comments Off on Apple takes a bite off the Palm
Filed under: Technology 


One of the most impressive (or at least intriguing) features of the Palm Pre was its ability to “sync” directly to iTunes. It made it the only pretend-iPod phone available to the non iPhone world (if that makes any sense). As you probably know, the Palm Pre was designed by ex Apple employees hired by Palm to revolutionize their product line. That they did but they also brought in the keys to the iTunes kingdom giving the Pre a hand over other smarthph

Apple, of course, did not like it.

This is the deal: Apple recently announced that the new version of iTunes will most likely not allow non-Apple devices that sync to it to continue

to do so. They did not specifically name Palm, but who are they kidding we all know who they’re taking about. It is not a reaction that is surprising. As we all know, Apple likes control over the entire experience and does not like intruders in their system. That is what has made them so successful in the port

able music business and now smartphones. It is not surprising that Palm tried it either, what is surprising is that there are no lawyers back and forth arguing each others case.

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