Tuesday, June 29, 2010

North American's will soon learn to avoid all cellular contracts!

In the coming weeks I will set up a new website allowing visitors to quickly understand the advantages and disadvantages of singing up for long term contracts with North American cellular providers.

While avoiding contracts can add up to a sizable savings for any end-user, it does come with the added burden of learning to shop for ; purchase your own cellular equipment, smart phone or handset.  So my site will also provide you with simple step-by-step guides to both choosing and ultimately purchasing your phone and having it shipped directly to your home or business.
Time for North American consumers to learn what European and Asian cellular users have understood for some time; concerning their choices and the HUGE price advantages available to them when they avoid getting locked into long term, limited, high-price, contracts.

While the North American carriers tempt us with ($150-$400) subsidies placed towards the initial prices of the limited selection of equipment, they each strategically chose to offer new customers; they make out like bandits with the annual, total cost of ownership, they garner from each of their long-term, contracted, costumers!

Once my site is up and running, it will be accessible by either of the following URLs:

GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications: originally from Groupe Sp├ęcial Mobile) is the most popular standard for mobile telephony systems in the world. The GSM Association, its promoting industry trade organization of mobile phone carriers and manufacturers, estimates that 80% of the global mobile market uses the standard.[1] GSM is used by over 4.3 billion people across more than 212 countries and territories.[2][3] Its ubiquity enables international roaming arrangements between mobile phone operators, providing subscribers the use of their phones in many parts of the world.

The ubiquity of implementation of the GSM standard has been an advantage to both consumers, who may benefit from the ability to roam and switch carriers without replacing phones, and also to network operators, who can choose equipment from many GSM equipment vendors.[4] GSM also pioneered low-cost implementation of the short message service (SMS), also called text messaging, which has since been supported on other mobile phone standards as well. The standard includes a worldwide emergency telephone number feature (112).[5]
<For more on the worldwide history of GSM, click here.>
For High-Res version of this World of GSM poster CLICK HERE

New Virgin Mobile Plans
    • $25 -- 300 voice minutes, unlimited messaging, email, data
    • $40 -- 1,200 voice minutes, unlimited messaging, email, data
    • $60 -- Unlimited voice, messaging, email, data
    • $10 -- Blackberry data service charge
The pre-paid plans can be cheaper because there is no phone subsidy. You pay for the whole phone with no special discount that's spread over 1 or 2 years.  Therefor, my site will include a simple menu allowing visitors to pick from the top 10 phone choices for each of the  the most popular standards for mobile telephony systems in the world.  

... Simple searches, like the following: Google: "no contract any carrier";
... and; announcements like these, which most consumers don't know how to profit from: "Apple sells no-contract iPhones at full price"

You can easily find a list of all MVNO carriers here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_mobile_virtual_network_operators


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Perhaps Apple will soon release an iPhone "Lefty"!?!?

How embarrassing for Apple; from 4 bars to 1 in less than 10 seconds without moving locations! (Video demo by Engadget, UK)

The phone is so fancy you simply can't touch it! As further demonstrated in this video too: http://goo.gl/eeOQ

Not a very smooth move to make such a "thin & stylish" phone which requires an ugly, rubber, black case in order operate properly. So much for Apple's understanding of minimalism or form & FUNCTION. But they have only been designing & making (or outsourcing to China,) wireless communication devices for a few years. And this is only their 2nd phone design.

Strong inspiration for having experienced wireless communication company's design & manufacture the cell phones we chose to spend big money on; while getting suckered into, two more years of AT&T contracts. LOOK FOR CONSUMER ELECTRONICS FIRMS WHICH ACTUALLY DEVELOP / TEST & MANUFACTURE MANY OF THEIR OWN COMPONENTS UTILIZED WITHIN THEIR COMMUNICATION DEVICES; such as Sony/Ericson, Samsung, Motorola, LG, Nokia, etc.. However, feel free to shop different OS choices; the software can be easily upgraded and customized; the hardware however, in Apple's case, can not! (Once Apple releases a software "patch", one of the phone's radios will inevitably suffer permanently, lower, performance. However, Bluetooth, WiFi & GPS, share the left side of the device. The rest of the "wrap around" antenna is dedicate to UMTS (3G) & GSM/Voice.)

They say this "loss of reception issue" or short circuiting of the antenna, only affects, "left-handed, callers". At the very least, I think right-handed or the majority of people, tend to hold "Smart Phones" in their left hand while using a device's more advanced functions; so they can write and operate the more complex functions with their free, right, hand. (I am right-handed, yet typically hold my cell from with my left hand for all calling as well. Perhaps I started doing this back when I drove a stick shift car and had my earliest cell phones. Not sure?)

<Other "issues": http://goo.gl/WYPt >


Friday, June 25, 2010

Rubber Buggy iPhone Bumper (10x fast!)

"Rubber bumper" your iPhone or it may kill your call!
(Familiar though - "Rubber baby buggy bumper" - 10x fast!) 
Apple's been pushing this product, The iPhone 4 Bumper, for its' new phones; now we know why!

"The most prominent complaint on Thursday, were customers noticing that touching the seams of the antenna band that runs around the iPhone 4--particularly when holding the iPhone 4 in their bare left hand--interrupts reception, slowly causing the phone to lose its signal."
To read all the details on this complaint and this early, 3rd party testing, click here

Apple confirms, with this response
"Gripping any phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your Phone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases."

Even without these reception issues surfacing; it seemed a bit of an odd design choice to wrap a entire phone in an external antenna; which was meant to then be directly held by the end user. Despite the assumption by most, typical cell phone radiation is unlikely to cause lasting damage to humans; radiation from phones (especially when in close proximity to the antenna,) is proven to cause a "warming of the skin tissue". Therefor, articles like these, "How Stuff Works" , caution folks to "Use a phone which places the antenna as far away from you as possible." ...Ouch!

At least there are no complaints of needing to, "Rubber bumper your iPhone or it may kill you!" ...YET! :-S

Concerns like these, might give rise to folks only purchasing phones from the actual phone manufactures. Or at least seek devices manufactured directly by makers who have longer histories of cell phone manufacturing, and the related years and years of extensively tested, numerous designs. The types of company's with internal R&D, and those whom are able to include supporting components they actually designed and manufactured.  These types of company's are called "Development Manufacturers (ODM) and Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) providers"

Ask a consumer which company made their mobile phone, and they are likely to answer with the name written on the product, such as "Nokia" or "Motorola." But the reality is that the handset likely was made by a contract manufacturer whose name the consumer has never heard. Indeed, a shade over 30 percent of mobile phones produced in 2009 were built by such Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) or Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) providers.

However, a consumer is better off sticking with brands that provide much more in-house support, design and manufacturing of the components they utilize within their devices.  Manufactures such as the following:
  • Sony / Ericson
  • Samsung (Makes both the iPhone CPU and invented their "Super AMOLED" displays.)
  • Motorola
  • LG
  • Panasonic (Extremely popular in Europe, even though few are distributed in the U.S.)
  • Nokia (The most popular cell phone brand in the world)
  • Etc...

Understanding that very few of these manufactures make their own display technologies. And even fewer still make their own CPUs or Dedicated Graphics Processing solutions or the wireless communication chips and radios within the phones. However, all of them have an order-of-magnitude more experience than a "computing company", who has relatively recently entered the cell phone market, and merely submits a design solution to the lowest bidding chinese manufacturer, and then proceeds to fill the phone with commercial-off-the-shelf components, made by numerous other companies. 
Such as:
  • Apple
  • Dell
  • Etc...

The one thing a company like Apple can claim is the internal or single handed development of their OS (opportunity system). However, you will find this one claim to fame is the primary reason this particular product is avoided and unattractive to so many end-users and perhaps more troubling, developers and content providers.

Given the fact Apple can claim an exclusive ownership and distribution of their own Operating System, they use this exclusivity to control who can develop an application, what one tool (another product made only by Apple,) which can be used to author the application, and which store (Apple's own iTunes,) a user must depend on to buy not only all application sold on the device, but alos all mainstream media you wish to download and play with your device.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What offers meaning in your own life? Luke 6:38

A friend sent me a message this morning on Facebook:
"crazy as this seems, my daily devotional this a.m. was from Luke 6:38 which, again, is God talking right to me..."Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back- given with a bonus and a blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. generosity begets generosity."

I responded:
Makes perfect since doesn't it? Nothing can possibly be more rewarding then feeling we are useful, and nothing can feel more useful then providing a service and fulfilling a need for another person.

I concluded:
The two most dangerous days in each of our lives, are said to be the day we are born and the day we retire! Birth due to infant mortality in this country; and retirement due to the fact that those who do it, on average, take 7+ years off the length of their life; when compared to those who NEVER retire.

Point being - when we don't see ourselves as useful, we loose our spirit, our life, our meaning.

This particular speech was compelling to me, pertaining to the things that give folks meaning and inspiration in life: Dan Buettner - Living past 100yrs

If asked, Why do you get up in the morning? - what is your immediate reaction?

I watched another speech recently, which asked the question, "What counts?" The speaker asked the audience to consider what it was that they counted in their own live as a measure of value to them?

He pointed out one of the most common standards of measure used in this and many other countries, which is used to determine a countries current "success", the GPD, or Gross Domestic Product. In this particular medium of measuring our countries success, many tangible figures are measured and a total calculation is made.
GDP = private consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports − imports), or
GDP = C + Inv + G + (eX - i)
However, none of the "intangibles" of life, American living, happiness or any other non-tangibles areas of "successful" living are ever considered and measured.

Shouldn't some of the following items be considered more important than the measurements offered by mediums such as a GDP's measure of success? Items such as the following were suggested in that recent speech I watched:
  • The health of our Children
  • The quality of their education
  • Joy of their play
  • Beauty of our Poetry
  • Strength of our marriages
  • intelligence of our public debates
  • integrity of our public officials
  • Out Wit
  • Our courage
  • Our Wisdom
  • Our Learning
  • Our Compassion (I'll add: Humility and respect of others)
  • Our Devotion
I'll add...
  • Our Generosity
  • Our community involvement
  • Our Architecture
  • Our ability to build city's that connect us to our lives rather than "zone" us into divisions
When will we as a society start measuring more of the intangibles in our lives as THE measure of this countries "success". ...as a measure of "what REALLY counts"?

What would you add to this list?


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

High-end Media Devices Should Deliver Media

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the release of Adobe® Flash® Player 10.1 to mobile platform partners.
<Click Here to, read the Press Release>

A high-quality screen deserves high-quality content.  And the Internet is the place any mobile platform will head to get it.  

If only the iPhone, or any of Apple's mobile devices supported viewing it!  Vimeo, YouTube, Hulu, Blip.TV, Netflix, etc...  But Apple has no way to control or profit from these various outlets, so they make excuses to the contrary. 

More PPI (Pixel Per Inch) or Dot Pitch, isn't near as helpful as supporting the unlimited amount of multimedia websites which deliver 75% of all video content on the web and which all require Adobe's Flash.  One day this may be a moot point, but not today.

(Flash provides a "wrapper" to any number of current video, "CODEC's" or Compressor/De-compressor, including H-264 or MPEG-4.  In addition to Video delivery, Flash is the foundation for countless websites GUIs, or menu structures; including many of the leading e-commerce, news, and marketing websites.  In addition, Flash provides an exceptional application development platform, allowing artist and programmers to develop incredibly rich, gaming and immersive, graphically enriched, experiences.)

Redesigned from the ground up with new performance and mobile specific features, Flash Player 10.1 is the first release that brings the full Web across desktops and devices. Mobile users will now be able to experience millions of sites with rich applications and content inside the browser including games, animations, rich Internet applications (RIAs), data presentations and visualizations, e-commerce, music, video, audio and more.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Do we live in a big world or a small one?

Odd to me that one of the most accurate map designs in the world, portrays a planet of such unification.  We appear to all be joined together as one large common land mass.  Yet it often seems nothing could be further from the truth, when you consider the ever present influence of our differing religion and politics.

Fellow Americans can't seem to resist rampant, incestuous, petty bickering!  An ever growing amount seem to carelessly proceed without hesitation to tear down their own family's, political party's, church community's and/or the country's ability to proceed forward functionally; rather than attempt to grow and mature.

I venture to guess a great deal of our hostility is fostered from the fact we have no real persecution or daily need to fight for our survival within the U.S..  However, so often we want to feel as if we have earned the luxurious life we all share within this country.  Moreover, since only a small percentage of us have actually served in a capacity to have fought for this freedom, we instead choose to fight one another.  This garbage set of, mainstream media spurred, trash talk, has gone way beyond the confines of "constructive" uses of democracy and free speech.  

Often, needlessly destructive behaviors are justified over the shallowest of political divides, prejudices or mundane doctrinal excuses.  Creating ridiculous conflicts, hardly befitting the dismissal of solidarity, loyalty or loving consideration once offered by a true friend, family member, fellow citizen or loved one in return for shared or differing positions of depth and respect.

I wonder when and where humility and intelligence will finally coalesce on a large enough social scale to finally overcome, ignorance and pride?  Doubtful we will see such social or political maturity and sophistication, occur within our own lifetimes.  

Despite our fancy iPhones, air conditioned homes, unlimited access to information, and ever growing ability to communicate with others, all over this world; we still seem to hold ourselves hostage to a sort of dark-ages, fueled by pride; where related to our inabilities to effectively love, care, share, unify, forgive and broaden ourselves beyond our own selfish wants and comforts.

So when I asked the question, "do we live in a big world or a small one?" the answer I already had in my own mind was, "an unfortunately small minded one!"  Yet we have all witnessed the TRIPLING of the population of our planet in just 50 years time!  How can we afford to still act like such ignorant fools!???

Broaden your heart and broaden your mind.  We are here together, along with a total populous, fast approaching, 7 billion!  What have you done today to consider the well being of this vast amount of fellow human beings, versus just yourself?  I'm not saying to think in a way that is overwhelmingly burdensome; nor feel you are actually, directly helping, each and every one of these 7 billion people.  I am saying, stop thinking in a way that doesn't help them!  ...or yourself in the long run!

Our reach now goes far beyond the call to arms, gut check, post war speeches of the past; which we have also so confidently ignored, despite the last 10 years of costly wars.  Therefor, we should not merely feel compelled to check our patriotic conscience when asking, "not what our country can do for us, but rather what we can do for it?"  We must consider a much broader human condition and perspectives and countless lives far beyond our own political, social, economic and ecological bickering!  We, along with 7 billion others have a lasting impact on this small world, a flat world, the one word in which we all share.

If your thoughts are narrow and your reach short, then you are only limiting the life you will one day loose.  Don't take for granted the small world we do live in, by having a small way of embracing it.

Time to get a grip and grow up!  
You are either part of the solution or part of the problem!  
Which do you want to be in, P.O.T."S." or P.O.T."P."?


Monday, June 14, 2010

Choosing which phone to buy will be much easier next year!

A freind of mine recently admitted:

"I really appreciate you sharing your info on other smartphones.. Im really debating whether or not to get a new iPhone.. But in the end , I will probably get one.. There's just something about using it, I just bought an Imac too.. I'm just all into the beauty of their products.."

I responded with the following sentiments:
"No problem...

I understand completely; read the fine print (in yellow) at the end of my blog from last week:
(Previous blog posting: "The Easy choice is not the best choice")

For me, choosing a company that only makes one phone is a very tough choice in the first place. Especially, when they are also now, the sole dependancies for all of the development tools they allow utilized for the app publications on their one device. And these types of consideration have always effected my purchasing choices, when investing in personal technology or putting together the various software and hardware solution for a new animation studio. Fighting built-in-obsolescence, is no small feat! We are going to loose no matter what we choose. I just try to avoid as much pain as possible!

Mobile computing has WAY to much going for it for a company with just one phone in their product line and one development tool, to create the really broad reaching, impressive, significant advancements we will see the next 1-5 years yield. No two years contracts for me! ...on any device without some significant flexibility and freedom! I don't care how shiny or thin it is...

However, as far as the "experience" factor is concerned; I do suggest a high-tech user like yourself, go try a modern Android phone when you can. (Not a 1-2 year old model; walk in to a Verizon store and check out the "Incredible", not the Motorola Droid.) I think you'll find there is no significant "experience" difference at all; since, swiping, pinching and zooming, turns out to be the same as on all devices, as long as a capacitive / multi-touch / high-quality display is being used.

What makes all of these current devices "sing", are the App stores, or in other words the 3rd party development. So choose a platform that invites innovative development and the most profit for their respective developers. That will be the winning choice in the long run!

To beat the "dead horse":
The most troubling and latest restrictions within the iPhone ecosystem, is Apples latest move to both eliminate 3rd party development tools (meaning they will reject any app now developed with apps made with tools by company's such as Adobe, etc.); and Apples latest move to now prevent it's developers from using any advertising vehicle other than Apples untested or established internal offering adds insult to injury. This latest move prevents any developers who already have relationships with advertisers, (such as Google or a dozen others,) to continue pulling in revenue through these accounts they have had in place for years.

I too use Mac's for both business and personal purposes. My last personal workstation purchase was an 8 core Mac Pro; was a bugger however to get the quality, 3rd party, level of 3D graphics card I desired, chosen for OS-X! Can you believe a company that limits your choices even in the workstation side of their product line? But that is the only way Apple maintains their reputation, through a completely controlled, vacuum of limitations. It works GREAT under certain use-cases, and perhaps, personal scenarios. (...and I'm typing right now on my MacBook;) However, notice nothing about Mac's were mentioned at this years developer (WWDC) conference in Steve Job's Keynote! that was a FIRST!

Unfortunately, where mobile computing advancements are involved, (not the nuance of making a single device,) and as odd as it may sound to some, Apple is getting it wrong! RIGHT, on the short term (3 years ago), which is a catch 22, & apparently why their ego is now running the wrong way for the long term! They have one more year to catch on. By then, consumers would have been educated by the "mainstream" media and they better more profit capable developers would have moved to a less restrictive eco-system. (It took apple over a year to open an app store, for their 1st version of the iPhone, we'll see if they can course correct their current moves on their latest decisions, just as quick?)

Many folks also still compare Windows XP to a Mac with OS-X, despite the fact XP was released over 9 years ago. My own favorite combination is Windows 7 on my 8 core Mac Pro. A must try OS, for those who haven't yet. I throw at it some of those most advanced software available. It is impressive to see in action.

However, my favorite consumer electronics firm for Laptops is Sony, by a long shot! (After depending on 6 different brands over the course of the last 14 years.) No one can miniaturize and manufacture portable, laptop, computing equipment, better than them at this point. Go to the Sony style store in the Galleria for some locally stocked comparison that are fair. Fry's & Best Buy, don't stock the better products.

Perhaps, not a very fair competition, since most firms (such as Apple) don't have their own manufacturing facilities for the bulk of their products, they out source all of it, but provide their own in-house engineering. The challenge is expecting consumers to make their own comparison ahead of the "mainstream" media teaching them more about these choices."


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bill Gates described the iPad to Steve Jobs 4 years ago.

Bill gates explained in detail during this early 2007 interview alongside Steve Jobs, his belief that a device EXACTLY like the iPad would be the device he would depend on the most.

During an earlier portion (Part 3) of the same speech, Bill Gates explained he has no "irresistible urge" to transition his software company towards producing hardware devices. (The XBOX gaming console, has been Microsofts primary attempt to offer a combined solution.)

You can also tell Steve Job's real purpose or intended capabilities for the iPhone (which he had announced weeks earlier,) weren't completely fleshed out yet; and this certainly makes since, given the fact the Apple App Store, which really helped give the iPhone any real meaty purpose and usefulness, wasn't introduced for another year and a half; one year after the official release of the first gen iPhone.

A full transcript can also be viewed from the D5's website. A couple of the highlights I'm referring too are as follows:

Kara: What does that device look like in five years? What would be your principal device? Is there one or…

Walt: I could be wrong, I think you carry a tablet with you, right?

Bill: Right.

Walt: Which has not necessarily stormed the world yet.

Bill: Yeah. This is like Windows 1992, I think. That is, I’m unrepentant on my belief.

Walt: OK. But to go back to Kara’s point, what would you each imagine that you would carry as your principal, let’s say, thing to do the Web and…

Kara: I mean, Jeff Hawkins showed a very lightweight device.

Walt: Yeah. I don’t know if you guys saw, but Jeff Hawkins showed a Linux-based, very small–I think he called it a companion to a smart phone today.

Kara: A phone companion, which sounded a little naughty.

Walt: It doesn’t matter, you weren’t there, but what would you think you each would be–I assume you carry a tablet PC. I don’t know what brand it is. Maybe you change them up, I don’t know. You obviously carry a MacBook Pro, I would guess, or a MacBook.

Steve: Yeah. Well, and an iPhone.

Walt: And an iPhone?

Kara: You have one?

Steve: I do.

Kara: Right here?

Steve: Yes.

Walt: Well, he has one. He took it out before. Really.

Kara: Sorry.

Walt: He flashed his iPhone earlier today.

Kara: Anyway, go ahead. So what is your device? What’s the device that we should be carrying?

Walt: What’s your device in five years that you rely on the most?

Bill: I don’t think you’ll have one device. I think you’ll have a full-screen device that you can carry around and you’ll do dramatically more reading off of that.

Kara: Light.

Bill: Yeah. I mean, I believe in the tablet form factor. I think you’ll have voice. I think you’ll have ink. You’ll have some way of having a hardware keyboard and some settings for that. And then you’ll have the device that fits in your pocket, which the whole notion of how much function should you combine in there, you know, there’s navigation computers, there’s media, there’s phone. Technology is letting us put more things in there, but then again, you really want to tune it so people know what they expect. So there’s quite a bit of experimentation in that pocket-size device. But I think those are natural form factors and that we’ll have the evolution of the portable machine. And the evolution of the phone will both be extremely high volume, complementary–that is, if you own one, you’re more likely to own the other.

Kara: And then at home, you’d have a setup that they all plug into?

Bill: Well, home, you’ll have your living room, which is your 10-foot experience, and that’s connected up to the Internet and there you’ll have gaming and entertainment and there’s a lot of experimentation in terms of what content looks like in that world. And then in your den, you’ll have something a lot like you have at your desk at work. You know, the view is that every horizontal and vertical surface will have a projector so you can put information, you know, your desk can be a surface that you can sit and manipulate things.

Walt: Can I please have a room in my house that doesn’t have a screen and a projector in it?

Bill: You bet.

Walt: Thanks.

Bill: The bathroom.

Walt: Well…

Kara: That’s the perfect place for it, actually.

Walt: So what’s your five-year outlook at the devices you’ll carry?

Steve: You know, it’s interesting. The PC has proved to be very resilient because, as Bill said earlier, I mean, the death of the PC has been predicted every few years.

Walt: And here when you’re saying PC, you mean personal computer in general, not just Windows PCs?

Steve: I mean, personal computer in general.

Walt: Yeah, OK.

Steve: And, you know, there was the age of productivity, if you will, you know, the spreadsheets and word processors and that kind of got the whole industry moving. And it kind of plateaued for a while and was getting a little stale and then the Internet came along and everybody needed more powerful computers to get on the Internet, browsers came along, and it was this whole Internet age that came along, access to the Internet. And then some number of years ago, you could start to see that the PC that was taken for granted, things had kind of plateaued a little bit, innovation-wise, at least. And then I think this whole notion of the PC–we called it the digital hub, but you can call it anything you want, sort of the multimedia center of the house, started to take off with digital cameras and digital camcorders and sharing things over the Internet and kind of needing a repository for all that stuff and it was reborn again as sort of the hub of your digital life.

And you can sort of see that there’s something starting again. It’s not clear exactly what it is, but it will be the PC maybe used a little more tightly coupled with some back-end Internet services and some things like that. And, of course, PCs are going mobile in an ever greater degree.

So I think the PC is going to continue. This general purpose device is going to continue to be with us and morph with us, whether it’s a tablet or a notebook or, you know, a big curved desktop that you have at your house or whatever it might be. So I think that’ll be something that most people have, at least in this society. In others, maybe not, but certainly in this one.

But then there’s an explosion that’s starting to happen in what you call post-PC devices, right? You can call the iPod one of them. There’s a lot of things that are not…

I think there’s just a category of devices that aren’t as general purpose, that are really more focused on specific functions, whether they’re phones or iPods or Zunes or what have you. And I think that category of devices is going to continue to be very innovative and we’re going to see lots of them.

Kara: Give me an example of what that would be.

Steve: Well, an iPod as a post-PC…

Kara: Well, yeah.

Steve: A phone as a post-PC device.

Walt: Is the iPhone and some of these other smart phones–and I know you believe that the iPhone is much better than these other smart phones at the moment, but are these things–aren’t they really just computers in a different form factor? I mean, when we use the word phone, it sounds like…

Steve: We’re getting to the point where everything’s a computer in a different form factor. So what, right? So what if it’s built with a computer inside it? It doesn’t matter. It’s, what is it? How do you use it? You know, how does the consumer approach it? And so who cares what’s inside it anymore?

Walt: So what are the core functions of the device formerly known as the cellphone, whatever we want to call it? The pocket device. What would you say the core functions, like, five years out, what are the core functions of that pocket device?

Bill: How quickly all these things that have been somewhat specialized, the navigation device, the digital wallet, the phone, the camera, the video camera, how quickly those all come together, it’s hard to chart out. But eventually, you’ll be able to pick something that has the capability to do every one of those things.

And yet, given the small size, you still won’t want to edit your homework or edit a movie on the screen of that size. And so you’ll have something else that lets you do the reading and editing and those things. Now, if we could ever get a screen that would just roll out like a scroll, you know, then you might be able to have the device that did everything.

Walt: You know, in the very first D conference, we had these guys from E Ink here.

Kara: Yeah.

Walt: I’m sure you’ve both talked to them. They were talking about that. That was five years ago. It’s always five years out. So do you…

Bill: Yeah. There’s some advances in projection technology that are more likely to be delivered, I think, than the flexible material guys, but it’s not even on the horizon, no matter which of the two approaches are pursued.

Kara: And any kind of quality.

Bill: We have some Microsoft research people who work on [that] and there’s a lot of investment, but it’s at least in the five-year time frame.

Walt: You, five years from now, what’s going to be on that pocket device?

Steve: I don’t know. And the reason I don’t know is because I wouldn’t have thought that there would have been maps on it five years ago, but something comes along, gets really popular, people love it, get used to it, you want it on there.

So people are inventing things constantly and I think the art of it is balancing what’s on there and what’s not on there, is the editing function. And clearly, most things you carry with you are communications devices. You want to do some entertainment with them as well, but they’re primarily communications devices and that’s what they’re going to be.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The easy choice, is not the best choice, but it may be yours

It is simply easier for an "average" consumer to walk in here:

Or buy into the bells and whistles presented in a speech like this:

Rather than understand the significance of REAL innovations & features (lending to the true progression of mobile and cloud based computing,) presented in keynote speeches like these:

It is perhaps very unrealistic to expect any, potentially less discerning consumer, to sift through the varieties of devices available online, < typical, online, Android/GSM News > featuring an "open architectured" OS; structured and poised to FULLY capitalize on all emerging trends, countless advantages and REAL adoption of mobile and cloud based computing philosophies.  Versus, simply having a single, highly profitable (for the manufacturer,) and highly restricted product/device choice made for them, and touted as "The Best": i.e. http://www.apple.com/iphone/.

An unabashed dependency on a (temporary) lack of understanding or even laziness, is permitting Apple's business agendas and clever, slight-of-hand marketing, to continue offering one and only one handset alternative; with, less capabilities, less flexibility, less storage, HIGHLY restricted application development ecosystems, less choices for mainstream-media and entertainment providers, along with less reliability and value through the use of exclusive contracts with an extremely, unprepared, North American carrier.

<Should be a blatant red flag, from day one, for any cell phone consumer, when a manufacturer only supports the use of their GSM ("Global System for Mobile Communications") mobile device, when and if distributed, fully "locked", to one and only one carrier in any given region.  There is a reason the European market would not stand for such exclusivity, or "fully locked" distribution; as they are much more experienced & educated than their, North American counterparts, where related to the use of GSM, mobile devices.

Admittedly, their knowledge stems from a necessity to depend on these GSM networks many years (over a decade,) before they were popular or utilized in the States; due in large part to many of Europe's aging and sometimes, unexpandable, land-line, telephone and data infrastructures.  Picture trying to rerun or replace every, antique telephone cable within the, historical, city limits of a Venice, Italy.  Additionally, GSM offered a mandatory, UNLOCKED, ease of carier transitions, via a simple SIM card exchange; lending itself perfectly for roaming from carier to carier and country to country within a consumer environment unable to depend on isolation.  

Don't be attracted to the distorted version of GSM technology, Apple & AT&T are attempting to make you comfortable with.  Such limitations, continue to fly directly in the face of the technologies original purpose and value.>

Your hat has to be off to any marketing which can effectively convince "fan boys" that less, really is more!  I'm just not sure this is a legacy Apple will be happy leaving to the revolution of mobile computing; when hindsight really is 20/20.  Might be time for a true changing of the guards within Apple, before it experiences a repeat of the late 1980's PC revolution; which Apple also helped inspire; given the fact, and not so ironically, Apple is once again dependent on the same mistaken philosophies enforced by the same CEO which is now back in the driver's seat.  ...buckle up!

Slight-of-hand, worked VERY well for converting MP3 users (iPod owners) to sibling branded (Macintosh) Laptops; however, mobile computing offers a much more complex, diversified, slippery slope.  This isn't simply a device choice, or an opportunity to cross pollinate consumers to a broader product line.  It is a new revolution in computing and technology.  And I am not talking about a new type of phone!  All users, will eventually understand, the combined impact the devices share, thanks to the sum of the parts they access and unify via the Internet.  

Mobile computing is a new paradigm thanks to connectivity, CPU power, code and storage located beyond the confines of the device; not due to a well designed touch screen interface.  Once Apple's typical consumer catches on to this, Apple is in trouble if it continues down it's current path.

An eventually educated, fickled consumer is not someone to trifle with.  Apple had better keep hoping their stores and Keynotes are the "average consumer's" or "fan boys" only outlet for learning and understanding the full-potential and direction of mobile computing, the cloud and open architecture ecosystems.

< For a more detailed explanation/breakdown of the, now typical, "Slight-of-hand" marketing, most recently presented by Apple, at yesterday's keynote speech, given by Steve Jobs, during this years WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference); refere to my previous Blog Entry: "iPhone fell far from the tree of innovation".  >

* If each of the topics, manufactures and technologies explained within this blog post were completely new to you as a consumer, it would require about 4-1/2 hours of video viewing, reading & shopping to fully grasp the nature and benefits of the implied suggestion to not support Apple's current product line and business practice.  Quite frankly, 4-1/2 hours is just to long to expect a person to spend making a decision about a phone.  (I would venture to guess most folks spend less time deciding on a car.)  Therefor, ENJOY YOUR NEW, Apple i-Phone! :-)
Honestly, I doubt you'll be disappointed.  ...this year.


Monday, June 7, 2010

iPhone 4, fell far from the tree of inovation!

Well, all I can say about Steve Job's speech at today's 2010 WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference) is, if Al Gore can be awarded an Academy Award for a Power Point speech; which neither addresses or proposes any solutions to the problems he is claiming to spearhead; then why not Steve Jobs.  Never before has Steve Jobs been more guilty of spending more time, delivering less results.

Perhaps that wasn't "all I can say"!  Let's get into it!

Steve said, he was going to present 8 of over 100 new features Apple added to their iPhone Platform.  Let's at least assume these 8 "key features", worthy of CEO introductions, are near the top of this list of significant improvements.  If so, then how can he explain, three out of the eight "features" he chose to feature aren't new features; they are an updated / slimmer body, a new name, and a method of advertising.
Here is the anemic list of 8:
  1. New Design - slimmer and squared off, not really a new feature.
  2. Higher resolution - desperately needed given this hadn't increased in 2 years.
  3. New / Faster Processor - this happens as a matter of natural progression to every new computing device.
  4. Gyroscope - This has become a standard inclusion on all new Smart Phones
  5. Improved Camera - 5MP and 720p are nothing new either, but not having a removable battery or memory is odd for such a device.
  6. A new OS Name - Well this is no feature at all, just a new name...
  7. iBooks - So now there is yet another to choose from, beyond those all ready in the apps store by Amazon and others.
  8. iAdd - A new way of advertising is hardly something for consumers to be thrilled with. (I mention a real revenue improvement developer's would benefit far more from further down in this blog.)
and a bonus announcement
9. Facetime - a WiFi only video chatting application, that introduces yet another video chat API standard.
There was also a mention of finally being able to group or organize all the apps most iPhone users must spread across the iPhones numerous, generic "home screens" 
And there was a mention of some useful improvements to the iPhones e-mail features; unfortunately, for the sake of any claim to innovation or timely introductions, Android phones (and G-mail) has group e-mails into "conversations" since day one.
Perhaps more significant than any of these so called "New Features" were the 3rd party and application announcements shared during the speech, such as Netflix's up-and-coming, playable video upgrade.  (Of course this is already available to those platform that suport Adobe Flash, such as Android 2.2 users,) 

Or even more appealing than most of these 8 key features, was the little $5 app "iMovie for iPhone", which provides some simplified on the fly video editing.  However, where will you store all of these HD 720p editable libraries of content.  Moreover, how will you quickly and easily remove and protect the edited results or your precious memories while on your vacation?  (The phone are not UNLOCKED, so you can't use pre-paid data and GSM cards when traveling to Europe, so don't record anything while over there! Or on vacation in the mountains or on a cruise!)

So let's review in more detail his "wow factor" he depends so confidently on, worked out for him today at the WWDC event he just delivered he key note speech at just hours ago.  BTW, if you want to see a recent key note speech riddled with surprising announcement, great one lines, and jammed packed with innovations, this is not the keynote to spend time watching.  Instead you should head to the keynote given two weeks ago, at the Google Android Developers conference, and watch how things must be done in this new age of cloud computing and mobile device computing.  Steve will instead be demonstrating in his speech, how you attempt to convince consumer to stay loyal to one manufacturer, who is limited to one OS, and who also is hoping to limit their developers to only one SDK, and one Store, and one distributor for all media utilized on their product line, and now depend on this same one source for any of their add revenue.  This is a sinking proposition in a world of endless possibilities and options.)

"All new design".  You made it thinner, and placed glas on the back.  Other than that is is now blockier looking than your old model.  Okay - I guess this is a new feature??  Android has now been adopted as the mobile OS of choice by dozens of manufactures, so several new device designs and capabilities are released every month! http://www.gsmarena.com/news.php3?sTag=Androidl

"Retina Display".  What the?  So this is a way of bragging about the fact that such a large device only has a 3.4" screen. The tighter dot pitch was a design feature?  Give me a break!  Give me an AMOLED, capacitive touch, 4", 800x480 screen, any day; on a device taking up no more physical space.  Welcome to last months innovations by HTC for phone like the Droid Incredible.  And I don't even want to venture to guess what manufactures like Samsung and many others will introduce over the coming months.  I promise they won't claim a "Retinal limit", when dedicating a significant portion of both the lower and upper portions of this compact mobile devices screen potential screen real-estate to one button and a tiny mic.  To claim you have meet the "retinal limit", of a devices screen, as you excuse for a phone paltry 3.5" screen (you introduced 2 years ago,) and now rather standard resolution, is a smooth marketing trick...
As Apple admitted, the 960×640 resolution they are finally offering to iPhone users, is 4x times as many pixels as the current iPhone; this represents a part of the problem with Apple's product life cycle and the lack of competition they anticipate dealing with.  They have seemingly, no fear, in expecting users of their media device, (such as iPod touch's and the iPhone's,) to deal with such dated displays for as long as 2 years, before bothering to upgrading it.   But what consumers don't know their missing out on wont hurt them, right?  I guess so... But will this luxuriously & selfishly slow, product development cycle soon become a thing of the past where related to mobile computing platforms of this nature?  In the case of the iPhone, Apple is counting on you being STUCK in a two years contract, so you can't complain about the transitioning and improved technologies, which occur each and every month over a 24 month, high-tech, industry time-frame.

Those contracts and ignorance are definitely a great thing for Apple to be able to lean on, but a horrible thing for a consumer to be strapped too!

"New Processor", Moorse law states that processing power doubles every 24 months in ALL computing devices.  So how impressed are you now?  The latest de-facto standards for modern computing devices have recently been set by Qualcom's "Snap dragon" line of mobile processor, which have been typically clocked at 1 Ghz in the most recent variations of phone to support them.  However, Qualcom announced last week, their entirely new line of processor expected to be released in phones throughout the summer, (are not only dual cored,) but hit speeds closer to 1.5 Ghz and beyond.  Guess how long it will take for Apple to release an improvement after the iPhone 4 hits the shelves a month form now?  APPLES EXCUSES FOR SPEED AND MULTITASKING ARE UNACCEPTABLE, SUCH LIMITS DON'T EXIST ON OTHER BRANDS

"Gyroscope", really? the inclusion of yet another microelectromechanical system is news?  I guess this is a better than the fact the first generation of iPhone didn't even include a compass, (which rendered included application such as Google maps and its deeper function "Street view", much less effective.)  However, to list these MEMS as they are called for short as one of your 8 key feature for your latest cell phone is quite a lame stretch for even Apple's marketing.  Apple after-all has little to nothing to do with such technology.  These MEMS are a culmination of many mechanical devices which are built onto clusters of semiconductor chips, comprising of all sorts of sensors used to determine pressure, temperature, chemical and vibration, light reflectors and reactive switches as well as accelerometers which have become a standard array of inclusion in all cell phone, automobiles and digital cameras.  (And of course their OS's supporting APIs)  
Including their support and availability in a device is no longer news worthy for anything being introduced in 2010.  Not including them would be the real news.

"Improved Camera":  All I have to say about this is - removable / upgradeable battery & removable / upgradeable storage! MISSING!! AGAIN!!! The iPhone 4 has neither!  (how about this device instead! http://www.gsmarena.com/acer_stream_official_android_21_and_720p_video_inside-news-1694.php )So if you then chose to take advantage of this lovely, new and improved photography and videography capabilities; and say you are on a trip, or at an important family event such as a wedding or graduation; forget depending on this feature for any longer than your prior phone conversations, book reading, application use, navigation or music playing and storage permits.  During any such special event or daily usage (depending on how inspiring your life is to record,) you would have easily depleted both the remaining battery and the phone's useful storage to an extent that would discourage any real usefulness for this upgraded camer technology.  (Not to mention the iMovie on phone editing, should you choose to drop $5 for that little app.)

What a waste of a good camera, all in an effort for Apple to keep its' loyal consumers, hand-strung to a pricing model which revolves around their products built-in, ONLY, memory capacity.  And it is very odd to then require you loyal customers to purchase expensive or bulky 3rd party "cases" in order to extend battery performance; again, because you refuse to make the device where it can be opened or simply "innovate" a battery with an external snap-off / replaceable capability.  Even an old Swatch watch from the 80's could have it's battery replaced without the watch actually being opened up.  8MP PIXELS HAS BECOME THE STANDARD, AND ADEQUATE CCD / IMAGE SENSORS IS A GIVEN.  Sony is the company whom innovated the backlight sensor technology Apple is finally using.
Apple is not worrying about innovating here at all!
You would think such a device, one so nicely poised with a convergence of Mobile and multimedia technologies; all of which, one should be invited to be used while traveling; or at a minimum when one is away from a charging base or another computer; would include the ability to upgrade or change both it's storage and battery supply.  In other words when a person wants to travel light, or not worry about a dependency on other bulky technologies, they shouldn't have to.  Not very progressive!  

If you're actually going to have the guts to prevent expandable memory in a mobile device, then why don't you at least get more creative and flexible with cloud based storage.  Not taking very good advantage of the cloud or current mobile computing philosophies just doesn't seem prudent; unless you actually believe you can continue to contain and trap and hold your loyal consumers hostage to Apple only solutions in many key areas of their usage and investments.  

I have been shooting 720p Videos for years on my Sanyo Xacti via SD-cards!  Can't imagine trying to do this without ability to use spare battery or additional SD when traveling and/or one gets full!

"New Name": "iPhone OS 4", is now "iOS 4".  Umm, correct me if I'm wrong but - WHO CARES!!!  On top of everything, they had to pay a license fee and get permission to use this rather unoriginal OS name from Cisco.  The same company Apple had a court battle with, and lost 2 years ago because Cisco had previously trademarked the iPhone name.  Copying names (twice from one company,) is real impressive from a consumer electronics firm which basis it's reputation on innovation and creativity.  Hmm...  - THIS IS NOT SOMETHING ANY OTHER COMPANY WOULD BRAG ABOUT.

"iBooks": Well just as there are 250,000 apps to choose from already, Apple has now added to the choice of eBook readers.  I'm not sure why one should be impressed?  At least they now followed suit with other eBook application developers, and have made it possible to download a new book without the use of your personal computer to make the purchase and then sync the file.  However, why have they not also corrected this oversight for all other media on the device?  Such as music and movies.  THIS IS NOT A LIMITATION WITH OTHER MODERN WIFI CAPABLE MP3 PLAYERS AND MAJOR PHONE MEDIA STORES.

"iAds": As I said, a new way for advertisers to place adds is hardly something for consumers to be thrilled with.  Perhaps it would be even more appealing for developers, if Apple didn't take 33% of all money they earned through their app sales.  Google's app store only keep 10% and they give all of that to the carrier the phone downloaded the app from.  APPLE IS NOT A COMPANY I THINK MOST OF US WOULD LIKE TO DEPEND ON TO MANAGE AND ATTRACT ADD SPACE

"FACETIME":  Let's not forget the bonus, ninth feature, announcement Steve made.  A simple app that can use the front facing camera.  However an application that is restricted to only be used when one is near a WiFi network.  Assuming the phone has permission to use the network.  So no mobile based video chats.  And they really topped off the annoyance of this application by basing it on an totally new standard of video chatting rather than any one of the many open and existing standards.  However, they did brag about the fact that they were "opening" up this FACETIME's API, so other could attempt to make use of it.  Undoubtedly any such use will also be restricted to WiFi only.

An embarrassing fact for Apple is, products possessing all of today's "Key features" are all already available and in stores, and that is not a position which Apple is use to so blatantly needing to fend off on a launch (well, announcement) day when they are claiming once again to have such a bleeding edge advantage over their competitors.  
The on-slot of now viable, smart phone competition; and the countless manufactures and cell phone carriers this competition is stemming from; pits Apple as a veritable underdog, (despite their current market cap,) rather than an innovator.  A scenario Steve Job's has proven time and time again, he can't effectively defend against if it is a status that last very long; and his current method of doing business is unfortunately heading down his typical, destructive, limited market share, method of thinking.

Apples method of abusing their fan-base , the development community and being happy with a limited market share where related to their product lines and resulting overall ecosystem has been profitable in the short term of this revolution in mobile computing platforms; however, I don't feel it will be a sustainable method of doing business.  You can only fool the consumer market for so long, before they become wise and fickle, and move on to the company offering them a better more flexible product at a better value.

So how much is all this "innovation" going to cost you? 
  • With a 2 year contract - with AT&T
    • $199 for the 16GB model and 
    • $299 for the 32GB model. 
  • AT&T will let you upgrade to an iPhone 4-6 months earlier than usual if you re-up for another 2 years. 
OR, YOU COULD JUST WALK IN TO, a T-mobile, Verizon & Sprint store TODAY and pick up the Android Slide, a Droid Incredible by HTC, or an Android EVO-4G also by HTC to see these features already available and in stores today!  However, it are the Android platform slated for release throughout the remainder of 2010 that are worth really getting excited about.
  • Preorders start June 15th, with the phone in stores on June 24th. 18 more countries in July, 24 more in August, and 40 more in September (total of 88 countries).

The primary advantage in avoiding spending any more money on this franchise / platform: You are not further strapped to Apple's very slow to change product life cycle, and HIGHLY closed philosophies, in what has become the most exciting area of computing in decades!  Mobile computing devices and the amazing power of the Internet and cloud based computing to back it up.   Consider the advantages of the Android platform over these announcements made by Apple today.

Stay away from any company with an agenda to simply dazzle you with marketing or have you believe you are receiving "state-of-the-art" software and hardware, when they are actually holding you back and latching you to long term contracts and soon to be dated technology.