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The tipping point for mobile operating systems

April 7, 2009

A key decider in a mobile operating system manufacturer’s battle for market share, is how and if, they are able to migrate outside of the traditional mobile phone market into other devices. It looks like Android is about to make the dash into other household appliances according to this article in the New York Times.

This is important for mobile operating system manufactures, as it increases their developer pool into non traditional mobile application areas that then expands the mobile operating system ecosystem. Mobile operating systems can be utilised in many different areas other than mobile phones such as vehicles, audio visual equipment, office equipment, vending machines, security systems, home automation and even traditional white-good appliances.

Developing a ubiquitous Application Programme Interface (API) has been tried by many before, but transcending into the different device types is a difficult journey. Microsoft has attempted to some degree to spread their Windows API into mobile and other household devices such as personal data appliances (PDAs), remote controls and media servers, but they always ended up having to change the API set considerably making development difficult for developers to port their code from one platform operating system to another.

Google’s Android operating system may become a platform nirvana if it can maintain that API set across multiple device types. Microsoft’s Windows operating environment comes with the legacy of an untethered world when it was first created. Android, however does not, as it was conceived in a connected and wireless world, making it more adaptive of this type of environment and is a good example of how a mobile operating system is cloud computing aware and takes advantage of this highly popular infrastructure.

The road to API nirvana is fraught with danger if core capabilities are not included, such as a well thought out product roadmap, a rigorous support system, a great usability experience and a sound development cost model.

It will be interesting to see where Android appears in next and if they keep a pure and open API environment.

Posted By Shane Williamson

Mobiles don’t make people rude and impatient Mr Gurit Singh.

April 2, 2009
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An unbelievable article about how a Mr Gurit Singh in India has petitioned the Indian government to do something about mobile phones as they are making Indian people rude and impatient!?!?! As India has one of the fastest growing mobile subscriber populations on the planet Mr Gurit Singh must be beside himself with what the terrible mobile phone will do to his country.

Well mobile phones don’t make people rude and impatient Mr Gurit Singh, as quite frankly they already were.

Blaming the technology for how people utilise it is just plain silly. I know this to be true because I’ve met with one or two people who are socially adept in how they utilise mobile technology….or maybe even three people.

Sure there are some who choose not to fit smoothly into society by using rude annoying ring tones or answering their mobiles in business meetings or using the phone in movie theatres & concerts or speaking obnoxiously loud about their sex life on public transport or driving their car whilst using their mobile or talking to someone & doing their email or ……….. OK Mr Singh, I’ll sign your bloody petition! 🙂

Posted By Shane Williamson

Speaking at Entering the Mobile Ecosystem in Sydney next week.

February 27, 2009

I will be speaking at the Sydney event, “Entering the Mobile Ecosystem” on Tuesday 3rd March. There is a 25% discount if you register with the code “buddy”, further details below.

The seminar is for people who are:

  • looking for new, inexpensive ways to reach customers
  • wanting practical advice from speakers who have done it
  • wanting to meet mobile app developers, including the developer whose Australian iPhone application tops the charts
  • wanting a clear understanding of the next steps for you

Location: Sydney Australia
Registrations:
http://silfed01.eventbrite.com/
Date: 03 March 2009
Time: 9:00 am to 12:00 noon
25% discount use code "buddy"

Posted by Shane Williamson

Global Financial Crisis forces two mobile carriers to merge in Australia

February 9, 2009

Australian mobile telecommunication companies that compete with the largest incumbent carrier in the country, Telstra, have had a constant up hill battle for market share. There have been many attempts by the challengers to take market share from Telstra, but the size and incumbency of the ex-government owned Telco has been too great.

Today the 3rd largest, Vodafone & the 4th largest, “3” have announced they are merging into a joint venture called VHA. Whilst the main reason for merging would be that the current financial economy is hurting both these companies, it looks like it may be the only way for challenger carriers to merge together to share infrastructure as well as their subscriber base.

The new merged entity called VHA will be marketed under the Vodafone brand and will start operations in mid 2009. The Hutchison 3 brand looks to be terminated which will be a great loss for the local mobile industry.

3 Australia has been a driving force of innovation in the Australian mobile market as it was the first mobile carrier to introduce 3G into the country. It was also the first to introduce data capped plans that have led the industry in greatly reducing mobile broadband data rates. The 3 brand was highly successful in achieving a high level of recognition in a short space of time by clever marketing and it’s long term advertising relationship with cricket Australia.

Whilst the new Telco VHA could potentially bring greater 3G coverage around Australia, the burning issue that we are left with is that the Australian mobile space has just lost one of the more active and aggressive competitors in our market.

News articles

Sydney Morning Herald

The Australian

ARN

 

Posted By Shane Williamson

The long walk of the humble Smartphone.

January 12, 2009

With Palm’s recent announcement at CES of their new Palm Pre mobile incorporating their equally new mobile software platform WebOS, one wonders if there is room for yet another Smartphone operating system in the market today.

Consider what is happening to the humble mobile today as it is a device that is now replacing traditional PC mobile computing devices and even starting to head into mainstream PC desktop markets. In fact, Nokia last year was the biggest computer manufacturer in 2008. Whilst this seems a bit far fetched, remember that there are now over 4 billion mobile subscribers on the planet and the percentage of this as Smartphones is steadily increasing.

I’ve created a chart of the top 8 device manufacturers that have the greatest individual market shares.

image For details of what is and isn’t included in these numbers head over to Tomi Ahonen’s blog for the details

This chart shows how three mobile device manufacturers, Nokia, Apple & RIM (well 4 if you include Dell), each with their own mobile operating systems, are encroaching in on the traditional mainstream desktop players.

Mobile operating systems should be consolidating as the traditional operating systems did in the early PC days , but they are fighting the trend and are steadily increasing in number as new and old players throw their platforms into the mix, creating a highly competitive environment that is making it very hard for mobile developers to keep up with the fragmented market. This means applications for these Smartphones become operating system specific and not available across all devices.

Only two things will break this trend, one is consolidation will occur and the other is Cloud Computing or services and applications delivered over the wire versus from the device, will bring these applications and services to all Smartphone devices.

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Today Smartphone devices are smashing the desktop chains knowledge workers have been slaved to for some time. Whilst these devices will not be completely replacing desktops for some time, they are empowering people to work where ever they want and when ever they want to.

IT departments need to start looking at mobile devices in the same way they do their existing PC fleets. One important factor is the overall integration planning in how these devices are complimenting and extending existing desktop systems/services.

As for backing a particular mobile operating system, that comes down to what level of integration you want your devices to have within your enterprise. This is one of the benefits that Cloud Computing can bring companies in utilising both traditional desktop and mobile devices more effectively to increase productivity and efficiency.

 Posted By Shane Williamson

Clever & innovative video describing cloud computing

December 19, 2008

image GoGrid.com is a hosting company that have created this wonderful innovative video that explains some aspects of cloud computing in easy to understand terms and concepts. The video is a good introduction in how the technology works and what some of the basic benefits are.

Whilst I wouldn’t show this video to CxO level management, it does however highlight a key issue with discussing cloud computing today with customers and that is that cloud computing is being over complicated by a lot of vendors causing confusion for the customer.

Never assume the customer understands the technology in the same way you do. When talking about cloud computing to your customer you must define the capability within the overall strategy. This video outlines some great concepts of setting the conversation up to discuss how you can help the customer with your solutions.

Posted By Shane Williamson

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Is the new Nokia N97 what the N96 should have been?

December 3, 2008

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Nokia has just announced their new flagship N Series product for 2009 at Nokia World yesterday. The Nokia N97 looks to be a major improvement over it’s predecessors, but as the N96 was such a huge disappointment to existing N95 users, one wonders if this device should have been the next generation device beyond the N95.

Nokia took a big bet that the integrated Digital TV connectivity within the N96 would be a major reason for users to upgrade, but for those countries such as Australia that do not have the DVB-H digital TV standard, the N96 started to look like a “tarted” up N95. In fact, with the N96’s inferior casing build, the Nokia N95 8Gb was looking like a much better alternative. This gave a lot of Australian N95 users a good excuse to look too alternative devices such as the Apple iPhone or the Sony Ericsson Xperia.

It looks like the Nokia N97 is what a lot of us where hoping the N96 should have been. Whilst we can only see tantalising glimpses of what is being demonstrated on the various videos appearing on the web, the device does seem to be better constructed and the user interface more customisable.

Nokia is claiming the device will be launched in the 1st half of 2009, but for Australia that usually means the 2nd half of 2009.

It will be interesting to see if people will wait that time to upgrade to this device, or be tempted by a lot of the other next generation smartphone mobile devices that are starting to appear.

Nokia N97 specifications

System: WCDMA 900/1900/2100 (HSDPA), EGSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
User Interface: S60 5th Edition
Dimensions: 117.2 x 55.3 x 15.9 mm* mm (L x W x H) *18.25 mm at camera area
Weight: Approx. 150 g
Display: 3.5 inch TFT with up to 16 million colors nHD 16:9 widescreen (640×360 pixels)
Battery: Nokia Battery BP-4L, 1500 mAh
Memory: Up to 48GB (32 GB on-board memory, plus 16GB expansion via microSD memory card slot)
Lens: Carl Zeiss Tessar™
Image capture: Up to 5 megapixels (2584 x 1938) JPEG/EXIF (16.7 million/24-bit color)
Video capture: MPEG-4 VGA (640 x 480) at up to 30 fps
Aperture: F2.8
Focal length: 5.4 mm
Flash: Dual LED camera flash and video light
WLAN IEEE 802.11b/g with UPnP support
• Micro-USB connector, Hi-Speed USB 2.0
3.5mm stereo headphone plug and TV-out support (PAL/NTSC)
• Bluetooth wireless technology 2.0 with A2DP stereo audio, enhanced data rates (EDR)
GPS receiver with support for assisted GPS (A-GPS)

Nokia N97 data sheet (PDF)

Nokia World site

Posted By Shane Williamson

One iPhone web conferencing application to rule them all.

November 14, 2008

PhoneTopp has announced the imminent arrival of their iPhone web conferencing application.

The impressive feature of this mobile application is that it allows the user to connect to various mainstream web conferencing product such as Microsoft Live Meeting & Cisco Webex.

The Phonetopp application uses cloud computing to deliver their service by utilising the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service that provides resizable server capacity.

Phonetopp’s press release included the following statistics……

An enterprise collaboration survey recently conducted by PhoneTopp via a web survey tool and deployed to over 15,000 Microsoft, WebEx, Adobe and Citrix customers revealed:

  • over 62 percent of respondents desired or strongly desired to participate in a web conference from their
    smartphone
  • over 57 percent of respondents participated in a web conference at least once a week

There is no live product as yet so it will be interesting once Phoetopp does become released to see how the user experience pans out. The fact that the company is launching their product on the iPhone first before any other smartphone device again demonstrates the importance of the user experience.

Phonetopp has also stated that they are looking to launch early next year and hope to sell the service for US$8 per month subscription.

Phonetopp’s website

Sign up for the beta here!

Posted By Shane Williamson

WiMAX on mobile coming to Russia with love from HTC

November 13, 2008

HTC is delivering yet another first to the market with a mobile that utilises the WiMAX radio frequency.

The HTC device is surprisingly called the HTC MAX 4G. As there is no agreed 4G specification yet it looks like HTC’s marketing department has been sniffing too much fairy dust.

What is impressive about the HTC MAX 4G is HTC are finally getting 5 megapixel cameras into their devices.

The benefit for including WiMAX is really only for users in those countries that have deployed large scale WiMAX networks that act as an edge extension to an existing 3G network. Therefore the user is able to roam onto a WiMAX network with devices such as this and use mobile data services over the WiMAX infrastructure.

The HTC MAX 4G comes with VoIP capability, but there is no indication as to whether or not the user will be able to use a carrier inclusive VoIP service whilst roaming on WiMAX or whether they have to use an alternative provider such as Skype which they will incur further costs.

Device manufacturers need to work hard on ensuring the user experience is seamless when roaming to different wireless network types especially WiMAX. This will ensure the user can utilise all traditional mobile services such as voice/video calling SMS/MMS as well as mobile data.

The HTC MAX 4G specifications are:

  • Processor: Qualcomm® ESM7206A™ 528 MHz
  • Platform: Windows Mobile® 6.1 Professional
  • Memory: ROM: 256MB / RAM: 288MB / Flash: 8 GB
  • Dimensions: 113.5mm X 63.1mm X 13.9mm
  • Weight: 151 grams (with battery)
  • Display: 3.8-inch LCD, w/ 480 x 800 WVGA resolution
  • Network: Tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE:900/1800/1900 MHz Yota Mobile WiMAX 2,5-2.7 GHz
  • TouchFlo 3D UI
  • GPS: Internal GPS
  • Connections: VoIP, Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth® 2.0 with EDR, HTC ExtUSB™
  • Cameras: “High-Resolution” main camera, VGA secondary camera
  • Additional: Motion G-sensor (automatically rotating picture), Proximity sensor (saving energy while talking due to the switching the display off), FM-radio
  • Audio: Ring tone formats:AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, QCP, MP3, WMA, WAV, 40 polyphonic and standard MIDI format and 1 (SMF)/SP MIDI
  • Battery: Li-Pol, 1500 mAh
  • Talk time: GSM: up to 420 minutes, VoIP: up to 230 minutes
  • Standby time: GSM: up to 350 hours, VoIP: up to 50 hours
  • AC Adapter: Voltage range/frequency: 100 ~ 240V AC, 50/60 Hz, DC output: 5V and 1A

Thanks to MobileCrunch for the link

Posted By Shane Williamson

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Oh I so want this for Christmas!!! – Dr Who TARDIS USB micro fridge

November 10, 2008

Entertainment Earth has this great Christmas present for uber geeks to keep your favourite canned Christmas Cherry Coke timelessly cool and Dalek additive free!

The Doctor Who TARDIS USB Micro Fridge sends your favourite canned beverage through time and space to get that deep space chill only the TARDIS can deliver. please note however that current Earth technology limitations mean that only your canned beverage may enjoy time and space travel and not you.

Doctor Who TARDIS USB Micro Fridge

Head over to Entertainment Earth and pre order the wee beastie!

Posted by Shane Williamson