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Showing posts from August 10, 2008

App Store Review: Bookshelf

Its taken me a while to get around to reviewing any new iPhone apps, but I say its better to get the long term picture than a short term view.

So first up is Bookshelf, the first iPhone appp I bought and in constant use since I bought it nearly one month ago.

Unlike other eBook readers available for the iPhone, Bookshelf isn't tied to a particular store or format. In fact Bookshelf supports as wide a number of formats as any reader I've seen on any platform including (but not limited to): txt, html, mobipocket, fictionbook and plucker. It also allows you to synchronise ebooks directly with your PC or Mac using a desktop java application called Shelf Server.

The process of synchronising iPhone and desktop is very easy: start Shelf Server on your PC, search for a Shelf Server from within Bookshelf and then to the location of your books to download them. The application also supports online bookshelves, so theoretically new books can be obtained on the fly whenever you have network…

Could HSBC Be Dropping Blackberry For iPhones

ZDNet Australia is claiming that HSBC (one of the world's largest companies) is evaluating the iPhone with a view to replacing its 200,000 Blackberries worldwide.

Nonsense.

The Blackberry is an established product with mature and proven capabilities and a support environment that works (most of the time anyway).

Much as I think the iPhone is a brilliant device it is lacking in so many essential corporate features that I'd be wary of deploying it as a replacement for my significantly smaller fleet of PDAs.

That's not to say that at some time in the future the iPhone (or some version of it) won't gain those features, but until they've been comprehensively tested in the marketplace they're unlikely to appear in any business or mission critical rollout. For users who just want email notification out of the office the iPhone will be just fine, but as a true enterprise tool it has some way to travel yet.

Simplify Media In The App Store

Wouldn't if be good to be able to stream your iTunes library to your iPhone or iPod Touch? Wouldn't if be even better to stream to your friends and from their libraries too?

Simplify Media - free in the App Store, for now - allows you to do all this. It works very well, although it takes a while to sync libraries the first time.Just be sure that you cleanse out any of those dodgy tracks that you wouldn't want friends knowing you listen to...

Thomas Hawk v Simon Blint and Personal Freedom

Thomas Hawk is a respected photo blogger (his website is here with some really impressive work), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is (according to their website) "one of the world's most innovative museums of modern and contemporary art". The museum's website states "Photography is allowed for personal, noncommercial use, except where noted. Flash photography and videography are not allowed in the galleries. Tripods are not allowed."

Which makes me wonder how a visit by Hawk to the museum could degenerate into an ejection, a forest fire of blog and social networking posts and a storm of some magnitude in the blogosphere.

The bare facts are that Hawk (a pseudonym) was taking pictures from the atrium's second floor when he was accused by Simon Blint (the Museum's Director of Visitor Relations) of taking pictures of museum staff and forcibly ejected in order to ensure their safety. Now, unless the SF MoMA is subscribing to the view that photography…

The Foleo Re-visited, Jeff Hawkins Speaks Out

One of the first post to this blog was about the disaster that was the Palm Foleo, an attempt by Palm to break out of its PDA and Smartphone origins and produce something different.

To recap, this was a bad idea for several reasons: it was too expensive, it diverted Palm's attention away from its core markets at just the time when they should have been an unswerving priority and it didn't really have a market to sell to.

Jeff Hawkins is now claiming that the Foleo was a netbook, before such a thing existed. Which is laughably far from the truth.

The only netbook that has gained any market traction has been the Asus EeePC and that differed from the Foleo by being a whole magnitude smaler, lighter and cheaper. Plus it delivered exactly on the experience promised, not something that Palm have managed to achieve in recent years.

Moreover, Asus managed to get the EeePC into the retail channel quite successfully and its success was then product driven - buyers saw it on the shelf, like…

App Store One Month On

Here's an interesting question: What was the most significant launch in July, the iPhone 3G or the App Store?

One month on Apple are reporting a pretty amazing 60 million downloads and $30 million dollars in sales. Thats $9 million in Apple's pocket and $21 million to some very happy developers.

And its bound to grow further as Apple deploys the iPhone into more and more countries. So what was more important? Well, in terms of what it can do for both Apple and developers - and no doubt the myriad of clones that will spring up - the App Store has to be seen most important mobile launch of the year.

Would You Pay To Watch TV On Your Phone?

With the imminent launch of the Nokia N96 in the UK, the question has to be asked, would you pay to watch television on your mobile? The service is likely to run between £5 and £10 a month for what amounts to some freeview channels and a few of Sky's less valuable real estate.

Putting aside the N96's small, small screen, would the ability to watch TV on your mobile tempt you to flash the cash, or has TV descended into so much rubbish that you don't even feel like paying to watch it at home?

Why I Abandoned Windows Mobile

For the last four years Windows Mobile has been my operating system of choice. I switched from Palm after the horrors of the Tungsten T|5 and accepted that whatever bugs Windows Mobile introduced they couldn't be as frustrating as the Palm had been.

Since then I have had a number of Windows Mobile phones (XDA IIi, XDA Mini S, HTC S620, T-Mobile MDA Pro, T-Mobile MDA Vario 2, HTC Advantage and HTC S730) and I think I've reached the stage where I feel the same way about Windows Mobile now as I did about Palm when I jumped ship.

All the devices I have listed above have had one problem or another (except the S620, however as a 2G phone doesn't meet my needs any more). The Vario 2, which has been my daily phone most of the last 18 months, has been the one that's finally pushed me over the edge.

Firstly the inherent problems: the video drivers are inadequate to playback video, TCPMP needs to use the WM software driver otherwise the screen corrupts completely. Which introduces p…

Touch Diamond Closes On Milestone

HTC's Touch Diamond is looking likely to be one of the most popular Windows Mobile phones ever, as it approaches sales of one million units in just six weeks. With Microsoft expecting to ship an unprecedented number of Windows Mobile licenses this year, topping twenty million if estimates hold true, that suggests that in the time its been on sale the Diamond has accounted for between half and a third of all Windows Mobile handset sales.

Impressive stuff and sure to boosts HTC's bottom line.

Blackberry Bold Also Not An iPhone Killer

Once again there's a popular meme spreading which this time suggests that Blackberry's Bold is the next iPhone killer.

It's so not.

What it amounts to is a good defensive move by Blackberry to minimise the impact of the iPhone in its core business Market.

But for someone with their heart set on the iPhone the Bold is never going to come close as a potential replacement.

So Apple Might Be Able To Close Down Apps

The web went crazy yesterday over the possibility of Apple being able to remove apps from your iPhone through a blacklist folder in iTunes. Even though this turned out not to be the case I'm struggling to see what the problem might be.

If Apple were to decide to revoke an app it would surely be as a result of a security breach or risk. I for one would be happy for Apple to automatically delete an app that was going to compromise my iPhone's integrity. In fact, I'd want them to do it over the air rather wait for me to sync back to iTunes.

Otherwise I can't really see any benefit for Apple being able to revoke apps - it's not like they'd kill an app because they had fallen out with the developer or anything trivial like that.