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Showing posts from July 26, 2009

HTC Ships Touch Pro 2 Hotfixes

HTC have shipped two hotfixes for the TP2, the first addressing a problem with TouchFlo3D where the + sign couldn't be used in SMS messages. The second fixes a delay in GPS signal acquisition. Neither of these problems has affected mine, although I have been running it without TouchFlo3D for a while now.

Now if they can just work out a way of addressing the phone's other issues I'll be very pleased. So, I'd like a hotfix for the poorly positioned and overly sensitive power button; the bar of soap finish, which has me dropping it on a regular basis; the softkeys which are invariably activated when switching from landscape to portrait mode and more which I won't mention here...

Skype Close To Shutdown

Looks like Skype's 480 million users could soon be soon hunting around
for a new service provider after the world's biggest VoIP provider
lost a licensing agreement with Joltid - owned by it's original
founders.eBay's plans to float the company look to be in serious jeopardy too -
after all with no service to offer it's unlikely that it's significant
revenues are going to keep pouring in.Whether Skype can agree a new license in time to save it's service
remains to be seen, but even if it can I'd imagine that the terms will
be financially unpleasant.

FCC Begins Apple/Google Investigation

Well Apple's decision to reject Google's Voice app (and remove third party apps which enabled Google Voice services) hasn't taken long to interest the FCC. Apple and AT&T have both received letters from the regulatory body asking for an explanation whilst Google has also been asked for its input.

Will Apple be forced to open its app store to all comers or provide access to third party app stores? It will be interesting to see how much of an appetite the FCC has for regulating application sales in the monopoly that Apple enjoys.

Apple Kills Google Voice Apps, Opens Some Eyes

Well Apple may have had good business reasons for blocking access to the various Google Voice applications (and even pulling one previously approved app) the effect has been to push the app store and approval process right into the spotlight.

Apple has absolute control of what gets into the app store and that affects company's ability to compete. For example Mozilla have been barred from deploying Fennec and now anything Google Voice is barred too. Conversely Apple has allowed both Skype and Fring to sell through the app store, affecting the overall balance of power in the consumer telephony market.

In the same way that the iTunes sync lockdown would raise questions in the EU this issue is bound to prompt calls for further investigation into the app store and its approval process.

F1: Renault Appeal To Be Based On Telemetry Evidence

Renault (or more specifically Pat Symonds) will be spending the summer break preparing their evidence for the court of appeal in a bid to overturn their European Grand Prix ban. The team aren't hopeful, given the poor success rate of appeals, but that won't stop them giving it their best shot.

The appeal is going to be based on telemetry which I believe will show that none of the feeds the team was getting indicated that there was a problem and the first the pitwall knew of the issue was Fernando Alonso's radio call to tell the team he thought he had a puncture. There's a degree of indignation in the team at the suggestion that it would knowingly allow one of its drivers to leave the pits with the car in a dangerous condition, rightly so in my view. Its only necessary to watch Rob Smedley's interview with the BBC on Sunday after his driver Felipe Massa had been injured to see the close bond that exists between any team and its drivers, I can't imagine any team i…

F1: Schumacher In Shock Ferrari Return

Despite having denied being interested, Michael Schumacher has agreed to replace the injured Felipe Massa for the European Grand Prix. Its a massive announcement - after all he has nothing left to prove and its two full years since he last drove competitively. All the same its a great fillip for the Ferrari team and the sport in general at a time when its lurching from one crisis to the next.

Now those four weeks are going to be interminable...

F1: Who Will Replace Massa?

With Felipe Massa apparently taking the first steps along the road to a full recovery thoughts must turn to a replacement, possibly for the rest of the season.

Michael Schumacher's name has been mentioned by several commentators, but I don't think that's a sensible choice for either team or driver, its almost two years since the Red Baron sat in a F1 car and rule changes have been so significant that its unlikely to be a positive experience for team or driver.

Ferrari has two test drivers, Badoer and Gene, however neither has much recent racing experience although the thought of Gene in a Ferrari at Valencia would certainly boost crowd numbers for what would be his home race. Especially as it looks like Alonso's going to be kicking his heels along with the rest of the Renault team that weekend.

Of course there have been numerous rumours that Alonso is Ferrari-bound in 2010 so there may be an option to secure his services a bit earlier. If those rumours are true then its l…

Football: First Blood To City In Phoney War

This has got to be one of the classic football wind-ups and bizarrely its the king of mind games Alex Ferguson who has lost it in an almost Keegan-like rant. Carlos Tevez's move across the Salford/Manchester border to Man City has hurt Ferguson badly, this poster which glorifies City's status as the only football club in Manchester just rubbed salt into his wounds. Fergie's response (calling City a small club, maligning Tevez and trying to drive a wedge between Adebayour and his new club) was so out of proportion and character that its clear Mark Hughes' buying spree has the old warhorse running scared.

The addition of grit and quality to the squad (Barry, Tevez, Adebayour, Santa Cruz, Toure and probably Lescott too) looks to be developing a City team that can challenge for honours, even if its likely to take some time to integrate so many new signings. So Ferguson has every reason to be scared.

Unlocked iPhone Arrives - At A Price

Stuck in a contract you can't get out of and desperate for an iPhone 3GS? Expansys may have the answer you're looking for - if your question included the words 'money no object'.

The unlocked 3GS is now available from Expansys at the bargain price of... £919! Given that you can buy the iPhone with a contract from O2 - and remember that includes 18 months of calling and messages - for around £800 in nice easy monthly payments, what kind of person is so committed to their network (and the iPhone) to blow that kind of money on one?Can I suggest that blowing out your current contract, paying the disconnection fee and resigning with O2 will be a awful lot cheaper way of getting your hands on a 3GS if absolutely must have one.

Expansys are showing 36 in stock, it will be interesting to see how long it takes for that initial batch to sell...

Spotify For iPhone Presents Apple With Dilemna

Sweden's Spotify, which has become the most talked about music streaming service in a very short time since its January release, has submitted a mobile version of its application to Apple for inclusion in the App Store.

This presents Apple something of a problem. It has a hugely successful iTunes Music Store to consider when it ponders this application. Spotify Mobile is free but requires a Premium Subscription at £10 per month to use. If its subscription is taken up by large numbers of users that's going to hit the iTMS's profitability. After all its only worth subscribing to Spotify Premium if you spend more than a tenner a month on music downloads on a regular basis.

For every 100,000 users that Spotify Mobile signs up that's a minimum of £1million of revenue lost to Apple each calendar month. You can see why they might balk at approving it. However if Apple were to reject the App the same anti-competitive concerns which dogged its blocking of Pre synchronisation woul…

F1: Felipe Massa Awake, Talking, Out Of Immediate Danger

Its something of a relief to be able to say that reports from the Budapest hospital where Felipe Massa is being treated are starting to look positive. Initial reports were confusing, with most early reports suggesting that the hospital visit was routine. However pictures of the Brazilian being lifted from his car showed significant damage to his helmet and injury to the left side of his face around the eye socket. The contrast between the staring, shock of the right eye and completely closed left eye was particularly worrying, suggesting major head trauma and so it transpired when the hospital reported that his injuries were life-threatening.

Most telling of all was Rob Smedley's emotion-filled interview with the BBC on Sunday night where he spoke of "some hope" where none had existed the previous day. The close bond between the pair was clearly evident as was Smedley's distress.

Reports from AEK Hospital this evening suggest that whilst not out of the woods by any str…

F1: Renault Face One Race Ban For Pitstop Error

Given the recent incidents at Brands Hatch and the Hungaroring there couldn't have been a worse time to send bits of car flying across the racetrack, so its no surprise that the Renault team has been hit with a punitive penalty after this afternoon's pitstop chaos.

If you didn't see the incident the details are that Alonso's car was released from the pits before the right front wheel had been properly attached leading to first the aerodynamic finisher and then the wheel itself parting company with the car and bouncing down th track.

After investigating the stewards found that the Renault team had knowingly endangered their own driver and other entrants by failing to warn Alonso and making no attempt to stop the car leaving the pits or stop it out on the track. As a result the team has been banned from the European Grand Prix in Valencia, which will go down well with Fernando Alonso's home fans. Or possibly not.

Renault will launch an appeal, however I hope its unsucce…

Palm v Apple: Two Sides To Every Story

Palm's update to WebOS which allows the Pre to sync with iTunes has raised the ire of some iPhone sites considerably, its even got some normally quite independent commentators frothing at the mouth, quite an achievement really.

The crux of the argument is pretty much 'how very dare you!' which is so badly wrong-headed that it does require some response.

Here's why. Apple have established themselves as the pre-eminent online music store, a service accessible on the desktop only through iTunes. This gives Apple all sorts of anti-competition issues to deal with and I suspect that its actions in blocking access to the Pre may just have been a massive mistake.

Monopolies rules demand that a dominant position in one market area must not be used to restrict competition in another. Which is exactly what Apple is trying to do here. Imagine for a moment if Microsoft had jimmied Windows USB implementation to ignore iPod's and only allow synchronisation of Windows Mobile and Wind…