Thursday, 30 August 2012
Advances made by Samsung and Nokia meant that when it came time to replace my Desire HD and HD7 I found myself without a HTC device. HTC's financial results suggest that I'm not alone either.
In response the Taiwanese company have released the One range of smartphones. And I'm seriously tempted by the One X.
I spend most of my time in the browser and HTC have the only browser which applies text properly as the zoom level changes.
When the competition between the One X and the Galaxy S3 is so close it's little pieces.of functionality like this that can make all the difference.
Wednesday, 29 August 2012
With all the fallout from the patent case decision last week, Apple and Samsung have an outstanding piece of unfinished business.
Prior to the case Judge Koh applied a sales ban on the Tab 10.1, on the expectation that it would be found to infringe. Turns out it wasn't. Which leaves Samsung in a position to reclaim at least some of the $1billion judgement...
Monday, 27 August 2012
The result of the Apple - Samsung patent case came pretty quickly. Suspiciously quickly some would say.
Groklaw has analysed the decision of the jury and found all sorts of anomalies. Not to mention plenty to suggest that the jury was far from impartial.
Samsung is likely to file some post-verdict motions to have the verdict set aside. This seems a obvious decision given the evidence uncovered by Groklaw. Given the location of the trial and the outwardly pro Apple bias of both judge and jury it will likely fail and result in an appeal.
The Groklaw article is here and makes for an interesting read:
Sunday, 26 August 2012
The Blackberry Playbook has had something of a troubled life thus far. Missing functionality at launch, flakey tethering with RIM's own smartphones and now a victim of collapsing market share for the Canadian company.
Its no surprise that Comet has decided to clear out its stock of Playbooks. They must be hogging warehouse space at an unprecedented level! Especially with the expected arrival ot the iPad Mini and the expected voracious consumer appetite for a product Apple said it would never build.
That clearout amounts to a price of £129 for the largest 64GB version - an absolute steal.
This doesn't seem to have generated the consumer interest that Comet may have been expecting. Probably because of that incoming iPad Mini.
l suspect that RIM are going to have to take a further hit on the Playbook and reduce prices to somewhere south of £100 to clear inventory.
ln times of trouble having the good sense to focus on your core products is key to survival. History from Apple and Palm tells us that.
RIM needs the cash from these sales desperately. With just over $1bn left in the bank there are very few quarters left until the money runs out.
That should be doing a fine job of focusing some minds in Canada...
Saturday, 25 August 2012
"I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer. And I take substantial pride in the accomplishments of my profession" ~ Neil Armstrong, Aug. 5, 1930 - Aug. 25, 2012.
There are many men who will lay claim to being the most famous in all history, only one man truly owns that accolade. The quiet, unassuming man from Western Ohio who was licensed to fly before he was licensed to drive.
Here's hoping those moon dreams finally come in your longest sleep.
This decision - should it stand on appeal - significantly limits the future of software development. Create a piece of software that achieves a similar thing to a competitor and you will be turned over.
I hope that Google has its notification panel patented, as Apple have ripped that off, as well as Windows Phone`s Toast notification.
I`ve said it before, but this kind of decision hurts consumers, competition and innovation. The patent laws don`t work well in the 21st Century and Apple is exploiting that to its own ends.
Apple`s most rabid fans may well celebrate this decision, but it is they who are most likely to suffer in the future.
Thursday, 23 August 2012
Apple's claims range from the sublime to the ridiculous - there are certainly areas where Samsung have infringed Apple's patents, but a combination of prior art and common sense should tell us that these items should never have been awarded those patents. Samsung has been guilty of mis-use of its FRAND licensed patents and both have been guilty of deceptions and mis-direction through the trial.
Judge Koh, who has presided over the trial, has demonstrated exasperation with both sides. Even going to the extremes of demanding that the two sides CEOs speak in the last few days of the trial to avoid a decision which would be particularly damaging to the loser, whoever that turned out to be.
Apple's predatory use of dubious patents has been used to attempt to limit consumer choice across the market. Samsung has done its best to mimic the Apple purchasing experience in its choice of packaging and presentation.
However I am 100% positive not one consumer has ever bought a Galaxy of any description under the mistaken impression that they were getting an Apple product so I don't believe that Apple's case is particularly strong.
On the other hand Apple's patents have been dismissed, invalidated and generally been found unenforceable everywhere outside the US. This predatory and combative use of its resources to reduce consumer choice should be ended once and for all.
As a result I'm hoping for a judgement that dismisses Apple's claims and finds against them. If Judge Koh should use this opportunity to prevent Apple bringing these claims to court ever again that would be a bonus.
However my fear is that in a US court, before a lay jury of US citizens, a US company will prevail over a Korean one. The net result will be a massive win for Apple and a massive loss for everyone else.
With the launch of Windows 8 in the autumn I believe that the Zune name is going to disappear and a new Xbox Music service will take its place to improve Microsoft's chances of competing against iTunes and Spotify, the current market leaders. Its a good strategy - for most people Zune evokes only memories of the failed music player (if it evokes anything at all) whereas Xbox is one of Microsoft's big successes.
There is one area where the Zune music service fails: social interaction. Microsoft needs to address this as part of the migration, adding the ability to easily share playlists with fellow subscribers, ensure that playcounts are properly maintained both within the service and in the desktop client; and allow users to post information about their music listening to different social estates: Live, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Its a small change, but its promotional value for the service can't be understated.
Tuesday, 21 August 2012
The timing is perfect, with the new iPhone almost a dead cert to sport a 4G radio (and its likely to be popular with New iPad users too, which also sports a 4G radio, pointlessly as things stand) and with rivals O2 and Vodafone stuck on HSUPA could give the two networks a big sales boost as iPhone buyers flock to the faster signal.
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
The updated Galaxy Tab ten-incher has arrived in the UK finally and if you're keen to have one there's a bit of a deal at PC World at the moment. A £50 cash back offer which brings the ICS sporting tablet's entry level down to £249.
Having had a brief try of the Tab 2 I think its exceptional value at that price. Personally I'm waiting for the Note 10.1 to arrive, but if you're not interested in the S-pen and ability to run applications side by side the new Tab looks a good buy.
Friday, 10 August 2012
Zune Music Pass is great too. I can access my music on the Lumia, on my PC, on my Mac and on my Xbox. Having tried Spotify and We7 I can safely say its the best subscription service money can buy.
My Xbox 360 is great too, Microsoft has done a great job of developing it from a games console into a home entertainment hub with marvellous integration of uPnP to allow streaming from a NAS or PC.
A perfect ecosystem. Not quite.
Microsoft has a rather elegant solution which ties its web properties and device OS together: SkyDrive.
Want to see you photos or videos on your phone, PC or just in web browser? No problem.
Unless you want to do the same on your Xbox. It seems Microsoft has forgotten that its big play for ecosystem relevance has one really strong foot in the living room and excluded it from Skydrive.
There's no logical reason to do so - especially as Xbox users can save their game date to the cloud - presumably on a server that hosts their Skydrive data too...
Here's a really simple way to get more and more people using Skydrive and taking the ecosystem war to Apple and Google for a change.
Come on Microsoft, this is a really easy win here...
Friday, 3 August 2012
For the London Olympics Badminton dropped its traditional knockout system for a groups and qualification system. Why I don't know. It increases the number of games required to decide the medal positions and leaves itself open to situations where teams are actively rewarded for not performing well.
In this case an unexpected result in one group meant that teams in another group were better off not finishing top of their qualifying group and were therefore incentivised to lose one game to improve their overall chances of getting a medal.
It produced a poor spectacle for the crowd (who were understandably upset) and the draconian penalty applied ended the Olympic dreams of eight competitors, two of whom were probably destined to win gold.
To whitewash the situation by destroying the players reputations is wrong and the Olympic body needs to review the reasons for these changes and why such a situation was not foreseen.