Wednesday, 28 April 2010
What does this mean got the mobile marketplace? Well for starters I'm guessing that HP won't feel the need to continue its existing arrangement with Microsoft for Windows Mobile.
Will HP have the clout to make Web OS a success? I'm not so sure, after all the Ipaq has been rotting on the vine almost since the day HP took over from Compaq. The company has even lost its way in the corporate market.
Palm has a lot to offer HP, but only if the company commits to it whole heartedly. Part of me can't help but think that the wrong company bought Palm and a tie up with Nokia would have been infinitely more productive...
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
So Apple didn't take Gizmodo's unveiling of its new iPhone very well. As a result Gizmodo finds itself the subject of a heavy-handed police operation with journalist Jason Chen losing his computers and having his house and vehicles searched. There doesn't seem to be any question that Apple lost its prototype and more so that the finder did try and return it to them. Has a crime been committed? Unless Gray Powell is claiming it was stolen from him I can't see how it has. Furthermore Apple's role as advisor to the police task force undertaking the investigation gives this investigation the smell of vengeance...
Sunday, 25 April 2010
Steve Wozniak still has ties to the company he helped found so the lost iPhone prototype story just had to prompt a response and here it is. If you don't already know, Gray Powell is the Apple engineer who left the phone on a barstool...
Saturday, 24 April 2010
Headline figure? Fifty thousand apps available across the world and with no danger if being booted out of the market on a whim, I'm guessing it won't be to long before we're talking about the hundred thousand mark being breached too...
Google has fired its first salvo by stating that the iphone will not benefit from navigation features in the new release of Google Maps.
Its not a huge inconvenience for iPhone owners more of a sign that Google isn't about to take Steve Jobs' continual whining about Android without responding...
It probably adds weight to those rumours about Apple switching to Bing as default search engine with the next release of the iPhone OS.
This is going to get bloody...
Friday, 23 April 2010
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
Several of my friends and colleagues are now toting around the rightly popular HTC Desire with phone availability easing - for most networks anyway. It does appear that in order to feed the frenzy that the Desire has created some networks have been grabbing stock of unlocked handsets and reselling them as network stock. I can confirm that this is the case for handsets shipping from Vodafone and I believe that when Three starts sending them out they will also be shipping unlocked handsets.
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
What is looking increasingly worrying for Gizmodo - and to a lesser extent Apple - is that it looks like the phone wasn't lost or dropped but stolen by some nefarious yob and found its way into Gizmodo's hands after a small consideration of $5000 travelled the other way.
That's set a dangerous precedent, in effect signalling to the underworld that Apple's prototypes are highly valuable and relatively easy to resell. No Apple engineer will be safe to walk the streets again.
EDIT: Gizmodo have now published full details of how they came by the Apple prototype device and I'm happy to say that there doesn't appear to have been any hint of a theft involved in the process.
Monday, 19 April 2010
Or has it? Seems mighty convenient that the first time an Apple device of this magnitude breaks cover is also the first time that Apple has been usurped as leader of the smartphone pack.
Leak or loss, we'll just have to wait and see...
Turns out that Jensen hadn't made too shabby a decision after all, the new Mercedes has had a difficult start to the season whilst Jensen has won two of the opening four races and out-qualified the younger man three to one.
As we head back to Europe Button less the Championship by ten points and will be savouring the taste of a healthy portion if "I told you so" when he meets some of the journalists and pundits who were so quick to write him off.
Sunday, 18 April 2010
It will be interesting to see if the disruption caused to Northern European flights leads to any long term change of attitude from continental travellers. Given the green agenda that says flying is incredibly wasteful of resources, the relative ease of travel across Europe by rail/road and the converging cost vs time comparisons it wouldn't be surprising to see passengers heading for the airport exits having experienced the relative ease of competing travel options.
Whether you agree that climate change is a real issue or not its the potential business change that's worth following here.
The company is suggesting that its advanced multitasking WebOS operating system is the bait to find a new owner, but I'm not so sure.
After all Palm have hardly managed to win unswerving support from the developer community nor has it seen huge support from its user base. Anybody taking on Palm would need to factor in the investment required to win over these two groups. A big ask after spending a large chunk of money on the company itself. Made no less intimidating by the availability of Android for free and with the weight of Google behind it.
No, I think if there is a reason to buy Palm its because of its patent portfolio - and there will be an almighty scrap to secure it. On one side Google and HTC will be looking for a weapon to countersue Apple's suit; and on the other Apple will be looking for anything that can help it see off the increasing threat of Android to its ecosystem.
Interesting times ahead, for all the wrong reasons though...
Friday, 16 April 2010
Back in the days before Sony and Apple the unchallenged leader in electronics design was Olivetti, some of the company's mechanical typewriters are still considered to be design classics and command high prices when they change hands. So its good to see that the company is getting back into the mobile computing market after more than a decade away and whilst the new line-up isn't ground-breaking in its looks (nor its standard netbook internals) its hopefully the basis for something revolutionary to come.
Thursday, 15 April 2010
I now know of three people who have bought one, another two who are waiting to buy and one more who might buy if he can find the right deal tomorrow. That's an impressive hit rate and all the more notable because two of those Desires replaced iPhones, two will replace iPhones and the last will complement an iPhone.
That's an achievement for a company that nearly nobody has heard of, despite some clever adverts... maybe they should try for more airtime.
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
Well yesterday Apple eased that stipulation and made Opera Mini the first app to compete directly with a built-in Apple application. And guess what? Opera is now the most downloaded app in every App Store across the world. Seems like all those users did want a choice after all and perhaps not everyone is quite as enamoured with the built-in Safari browser as Apple and their fans will have you believe.
Opera Mini 5 is pretty much identical to the version already available on other platforms so its likely that iPhone users are starting to appreciate the huge performance enhancements that Mini's server side rendering delivers.
Its probably not going to replace Safari in most situations if truth be told, but I'm guessing that it will offer such sufficient performance gains as to give users pause for thought before they pick a browser in future.
Wonder what else Mr Jobs might be wrong about...
Interesting that Microsoft makes a big play of storing all Kin user's information in the cloud, especially given the recent loss of data experienced by Sidekick users hit by the recent server-side problems experienced by Microsoft...
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Add this to the arrival of multi-tasking and you've got a week of significant happenings in the iPhone...
Until now that is. I think that the Xperia X10 marks a change for the company and they really do get it.
Its not just the phone either, its the applications and environment that Sony-Ericsson have built around it.
The Xperia is the first Android phone which comes with a proper media sync application and one that actually does all the things that a media sync application should do for a smartphone. On the PC it's better than Windows Media Player or iTunes - making Android the leading multimedia handset on the market in what it does, how it does it and how it connects.
The software installers for Media Go and PC Companion are even on the Xperia's pre-installed memory card so that the first time you plug it in you don't need to go and download anything before loading the phone up with music.
There are plenty of other slick touches, which I'll discuss in my review, but for now I'll just say that the attention to detail in this phone far surpasses that of any previous Sony-Ericsson phone I've owned.
Sunday, 11 April 2010
On the plus side 3D works really well with stills and slow pans - its as if you are looking into a box containing the elements of the picture rather than a flat screen. There was definitely a feeling that the room was moving rather than the image on the TV - which was a good thing (I think, others found it made them queasy) and could make for some impressive features in, say, wildlife programs or travel features.
For faster action though the illusion soon fell apart. In fact the over-riding impression I left with was of an horrendous flickery mess, mostly because that's what happens to the picture as soon as any picture element starts to move across the screen. As a result I'm struggling to see who would want to be forking out the ransom money levels of cash required to put a 3D TV in their living room.
I'm sure its a technology that will mature by I can't honestly see the future being full of families sitting around looking daft just to have some contrived movie plot element poke them in the face as it jumps off the screen...
Saturday, 10 April 2010
Had my first hands-on with an iPad today and I wasn't really expecting to be impressed. Which just goes to show what a good job Apple have done with the iPad because I thought it was exceptionally good. Everyone who tried it had the same comment to make though: I think it would be great for my mother... not many actually considered it something that they would use themselves.
Its a lovely piece of kit and nothing like as heavy in the hands as I expected. However there were a number of very real issues which will need addressing if Apple aren't to gather themselves a large number of disgruntled customers. The keyboard is dreadful, its only really usable if the iPad is laid on a flat surface, in which case its almost possible to touch type on it. However held in the hands its impossible to 'thumb' the keyboard for even a couple of words (even in portrait mode) and you'll inevitably resort to holding the iPad in one hand and pecking at it with one finger of the other. The second two problems relate to the screen. Use it with any kind of light source behind or above you and the glare and the reflection are incredibly distracting. That's when you can see anything on the screen through the build up of skin oils and fingerprints which look deeply unpleasant when the iPad is off and affect its usability (if only to a small degree) when its on.
These items aside there is much to like about the iPad, its as slick and easy to use as the iPhone or iPod Touch, its fast (although I noticed that the Map History app took upwards of 30 seconds to 'build' a map onscreen, this was atypical) and it looks good.
Am I tempted to buy? No, but I can really see why millions of others won't be able to resist...
Friday, 9 April 2010
Yes, I've added another phone to the collection, the second running the Snapdragon processor. I was torn between the Xperia X10 and the Desire - both have similar specs and each has its own strongpoints. In the end I plumped for the Sony-Ericsson, even though I wasn't convinced it was the better phone. It won the day on the basis of its bigger screen, better camera and looks to die for (well, as far as you can say that about a phone anyway).
Full review to follow...
The arrival of social gaming on the platform looks to rival the Xbox integration which Microsoft announced with Windows Phone 7, whilst iAds targets Google's AdMob offering for Android users.
That seems to be the pattern for iPhone OS4, covering the improvements that newer platforms have made/addressing the iPhone's shortcomings when compared with other platforms and in general keeping Apple up with the game. I suspect the next move will be to address some of the iPhone's hardware shortcomings - new camera, screen, processor - with a hardware refresh around mid-summer.
Wednesday, 7 April 2010
I'm guessing its the latter, there seems no reason why the iPhone cannot now handle at least limited multi-tasking and the iPad should run many programs simultaneously with ease. In fact rather than pixel doubling existing iPhone apps on the iPad I would have thought that running up to four of them at once in quarter screen windows would have been the way to go...
Of course the other import of this news is how much the revelation of the new OS will allow us to form a picture of the fourth generation iPhone. I can't believe its going to be in any way run of the mill, if for no other reason than that Android has made huge gains over the last six months. Of course there's the imminent arrival of Windows Phone 7 and Symbian^3 for Apple to defend against too...
Should be an interesting announcement on Thursday...
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
The rules are quite clear in F1, a driver may change lines once in defence of their position, which beggars the question how did Lewis Hamilton escape penalty for what amounted to the most outrageous weaving I've seen since the 1980s?
At the very least a drive through penalty should have been imposed or in lieu of that a 20 second time penalty at the end of the race.
I'm amazed that no appeal has been lodged, especially by Ferrari who would see Felipe Massa increase his championship lead should Hamilton be demoted.
This is The Guardian's April Fool poster. A joke perhaps but it bests anything that any political party has come up with in my lifetime... A little light relief from what promises to be a very long month of political bullshit that passes for an election campaign.
Actual sales? 300,000.
That's pretty good for a device that few will actually have a valid use for. Yet for once the hyperbole and media frenzy that Apple whipped up worked against them and the stock market failed to leap as it has in the days following other product launches.
All the same that's an impressive set of numbers for a days worth of sales, especially when you consider that a proportion of pre-orders must be for the as yet unreleased 3G version.
What will be far more telling will be its first month's performance as the early adopters complete their buying storm and Apple's target market start considering their potential purchases.
The benchmark will be the 74 days that the iPhone took to sell its first million. Somehow I think the iPad will easily best that.
Saturday, 3 April 2010
Saying that I really can't see the iPad failing, there are far too many people out there who will take form over function or buy it because Steve Jobs tells them too.
Thursday, 1 April 2010
So what this graphic represents is a model for fixing the issues with overtaking and side by side racing.
1. Front wings and nose. My new formula calls for a standard single plane front wing devoid of Gurney flaps. With the need for air over the front of the car to generate front-end down force reduced, it should be possible for a car to follow another car through a corner in order to gain a tow down the subsequent straight. There will also be a requirement for the monocoque to have a flat floor with no gaps or twin keel type arrangements for the same reason.
2. Tyres and brakes. Tyres get wider - about 30% wider than today's Bridgestone. This further increases mechanical grip and coupled with the new front wing should see a car able to closely follow another through a corner in order to line up an attack. The greater tyre size should see extra drag to keep top speed manageable despite wing size reductions. Reintroduce a tyre war, use some of the funds in F1 to incentivise manufacturers and offset their development costs. Stick with two compounds per race but ban planned pitstops. Restrict pit crew to five people to ensure only necessary stops are made. Brakes must have steel discs in order to increase braking distances.
3. No airboxes or aerodynamic devices above the plane of the sidepods.
4. Fixed length sidepods between wheels, no other protrusions barring rear view mirrors. Defined minimum and maximum side pod height and no venting through the top or sides of the pod itself.
5. Standard rear wing mounted much further back and restricted to one plane and one Gurney flap. No bodywork to protrude beyond the centreline of the rear axle. Height and length of the rear wing support governed by min and max dimensions. Rear wing width reduced to 75cms.
How will this help F1? Firstly the concept of following a car through a corner will return. Also drivers will need to setup their cars for both heavy/new tyre and light/old tyre circumstances. Inevitably different drivers, teams and tyre companies will reach different compromises leading to different drivers being quick at different points in the race. Drivers will also have to balance speed and tyre conservation whilst second guessing their opponents.
For the teams expenditure will be reduced - the standard front and rear wings plus reduced scope for aerodynamic appendages should significantly reduce wind tunnel time and also limit the need for expensive 3d prototyping machines to run constantly.
Can the teams agree such a change? Probably not straightaway, but surely it should be possible to agree a package similar to the above ahead of the 2012 season... shouldn't it?