Archive for June, 2010

Smartphone Tethering

Long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, computers went on-net – whether “on net” was “the Internet”, CompuServe, or (for the old-timers) something like FIDOnet – with a device called a “modem”. (Modems got their name because they MOdulated and DEModulated analog telephone signals to transmit binary data.)

In  these days of digital high-speed broadband and FIOS, a genuine “mo-dem” is somewhat of an ancient relic in the vernacular. However, if you have a smartphone, it can act as an analog (no pun intended) of an old-school telephony modem for getting your laptop onto the Internet when there is no other access available.

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Apple Now, Google Later?

In a survey of 2700+ mobile computing developers from an admittedly non-Apple centric developer base, the Appcelerator results shows that while iOS is king of the “now”, Android is perceived as more open and potentially with greater features in the future.

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Apple Just Gets It

It’s no surprise that Apple is making such huge strides in the consumer market. They follow the Human Factors tenet of providing a tool to get things done rather than an obtrusive device that one must adapt one’s life into. And not just in the products themselves, but in *how* those products are positioned.

Case in point, check out Sprint’s EVO 4G demo. It’s all about specs and “features to make other smartphones jealous”. Now contrast that with the practical, emotion-filled ad for FaceTime and the iPhone 4G. Screw the technical jargon, here’s how we make your life better.

Now Playing – Limited Engagement (Hopefully)

Let’s hope Skype is hurriedly developing support for the iPhone 4G. The much lauded video-conferencing capabilities of the iPhone 4G are only going to be possible using the Apple FaceTime app while strictly on WiFi. Apple is making FaceTime licensing available to other manufacturers, but they may be unwise in trying to corner the video market without interoperability. At the moment, they aren’t even functioning with their own Mac iChat app product! There are a lot of H.323 standards-based tools that will not allow this to go unaddressed. Resistance is futile!

Password Rotation… The Butt End of the Ham?

One of my favorite “fables” from my friend Peter Beddows tells the story of a family that always cut inches off the ends of the ham before cooking. The inquisitive young daughter asked why, but the only answer seemed to be that it was a long-standing technique passed on for generations. They finally asked the great-great-grandmother, who explained that it was – at the time – the only way to fit the roast in her small turn-of-the-century oven.

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Tethered Tablet

RIM is rumored to be working on a tablet device to compete with the Apple iPad. But the interesting, or should I say, puzzling decision is to make it a tethered device that still requires a BlackBerry for communications.

I think Apple addressed my “do I really want to pay data fees for yet another device?” concerns by providing an OnDemand no-contract activation. So is the fact that a BB tablet must be tethered to a BB phone a clever solution, or a major inconvenience? I favor compact & self-contained, so I tend toward the latter…

Trust Us – It’s The Most

The Sprint EVO 4G had the most successful opening day in Sprint history. Interesting that they mention 22,000 stores and beating the previous record of Instinct and Pre, but curiously never actually say how many were actually sold. Meanwhile, Apple had no such secrets in that regard even when gaffes were involved: 400,000 iPhones sold on the first day of pre-order, causing many of the AT&T eCommerce servers to crash and/or send erroneous emails.

Ready For The Enterprise? Uh, Yeah.

Is Android 2.2 enterprise-ready? Ultimately, with input from the usual suspects like Gartner, Information Week concludes “yes”. My favorite quote:

“iPhones and Android are coming to the enterprise, whether IT likes it or not.”

Um, they’re already here. The small- to mid-size firms have already elected to skate on that bleeding edge. Most of the features the pundits say are lacking are mainly a concern for only the largest of organizations bound and determined to command their IT with an iron fist (and a Blackberry Enterprise Server). And I have a sneaking suspicion that once the powers-that-be in such an org actually get to see/use something like Android or iPhone, the ‘standard’ will turn on a dime. Or more hypocritically, the standard will remain the same for all, but that exec will get a special dispensation from IT.

iTunes Legal Briefs (sic)

AT&T has an iPhone app (“Mark The Spot” – new? not sure) that allows you to report “bad user experiences” such as call drops, slow data, etc using the phone’s location data as it happens. (I’ll avoid the easy pot-shot about how the app must be getting used heavily.)

Clicking on the app store’s Download button, I was greeted with “terms of service for iTunes has changed”, and directed to read and acknowledge the updated legal mumbo-jumbo. I was taken to a thirty-five page document – yes, 35 pages! And it wasn’t even red-lined to highlight what specifically was ‘different’!! WTF? No one in their right mind is going to read this. Apple could have embedded a commitment of first-born deep on pg 27 and nobody is going to catch it. These things are getting out of control.

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