Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why Im waiting til 2010 to buy a new cell phone: Part 1

As exciting and interesting as the devices that are being released these days are, I plan on waiting until mid-2010 to buy my next device. Here's why:

Android is still in its infancy and very fragmented due to the release of several different devices running mutiple versions of the OS.  Android needs a requirement that manufacturers must develop using the latest variation of the OS, or at least leave enough compatibility to enable Android OS upgrades to be pushed to the device as soon as they are available.  The manufacturer's lengthy development and re-skinning of the UI for each new iteration of Android, slows down the overall development of the platform and the speed to market of the OS.
It is abysmal that Android 2.1 is already free range at Google and many manufactures are still building devices with OS 1.5 at its core, and many of these devices may not be compatible with the future releases of Android. I understand bigG's strategy of keeping the OS free and open market and all that but developers are beginning to scream murder, because they desire to develop their apps once and have it work on all the devices out. Google seems to be saying to manufacturers that if you want to use the free stuff its going to be behind our newest version.  In that case, maybe bigG can build cross compatibility between all of its OS variations.
The software aside for a second, the other major issue, I have with Android, is that most Android devices today are just not quite powerful enough to make the most out of the Android OS.  In my mind I see Android becoming a full fledged OS that can be ran on a multifuntioninteldevice MID (I am dropping the moniker smartphone since it no longer applies to todays tech products, until I come up with a better name) a tablet and even a desktop or laptop device, enabling the user to keep all their information integrated on one OS. I think Windows Mobile and Windows may have been closest to this universality but we all know how that story ends.  Android's hardware in its current state cannot get us to that utopic vision, and so I will hold my breath and my wallet until 1ghz processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage are the standard. (Nexus One) I have a lot more to say on Android but for the sake of length, let's move on.

I like Palm, A LOT, and I want them to succeed and do well, I really do, but the Palm Pre and the Pixi just don't do enough out of the gate to make me a converter. I've spent significant time with WebOS and granted it is still an infant, it has a lot of potential. WebOS is currently being straddled with 3 major issues.
One, the hardware of the Pre and the Pixi are neither breathtaking nor revolutionary, although cute, they do not inspire consumer lust like a umm iPhone or even a Droid for that matter. The build quality of these devices is average at best but they house an above average OS and thus they needed to be above average as well. Suggestion: a 3.2 inch screen, wifi, world radio, 800mhz, 512 MB RAM, removable memory, 4gb internal.  This would be expensive to manufacture but would make a huge impact on the market and create instant respect for Palm. I would pay $249 for such a device, because of the OS underneath the hardware.
Two, although I can understand being loyal to your supporters is a strategic business move, but the rapid decline in Palm mindshare and stock price is partly due to its sales record, which is intrinsicly tied to its carrier pushing their devices. I've heard it argued that Palm may have went with Sprint to avoid the possible embarrassment of launching the device on a larger network and having it fail. If this is what happened then I can understand the reasoning but in todays market consumers are becoming accustomed to rushed OS's with incomplete functions because they expect the company to roll out updates within a month, early adopters have became the industries product testers, and I'm sure the manufacturers have access to the same blogs we all do. Hopefully by 2010 Palm will be serving more carriers with more devices and gaining more users.
Third, this is the age of apps, apps and more apps. Apps that can do anything the consumer can imagine, from keeping track of their favorite teams, to tracking the movement of their children or loved one, today apps are God, and Palm needs more disciples following it. I realy like the underground WebOS community, those guys have come up with a lot of cool tweeks and useful apps for the device that really make using WebOS enjoyable. To take advantage of their hard work, you will have to gain root access to your device and install some programs on your desktop, but the process can be done in an evening.  There in lies the problem, most consumers don't give a damn about an underground WebOS community and woud not be confident enough to go through with rooting their device. I know Palm is working dilligently in this area and will be releasing more of its SDK to developers to tinker with, fortuately for them the market is still open since Android market has yet to be a profitable market for developers, but the clock is tick tick ticking Palm.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Whatchamacallit: finding a name for those devices in your pocket

Multipurposesmartdevice (MSD), multifuntionportabledevice (MPD), personaloperatingdevice (POD),... What is in a name you might ask, well to me the name is everything. The name conveys an idea of function, a name conjours up memories and stereotypes and once it reaches our mind it begins its journey through the process of cross referencing and cataloging until it is converted into an impression and then we draw a conclusion about the name we just heard. We then form an emotional reaction to that name based on our brains computations. So when you hear the word smartphone, what thoughts come to mind, what images pop into your head, what is the emotional reaction you feel?
As mobile tech advances, pulling us along in its wake, I have pondering the accuracy of the term smartphone as the moniker for the next generation of personaldatadevices (PDD).  To me these devices do more than just take and receive calls, they are multifunctioningintelligentdevices (MID), they are multipurposesmartdevices (MSD) and they are intelligentpersonalassistants (IPA).  My poor examples should not belittle the challenge in deciding what to call these products which have moved far beyond the realm of cellular phones and more into the world of minimobilecomputers (MMC), or pocketmobilecomputers (PMC)/mobilepocketcomputers (MPC).
The challenge with coming up with a name is that it has to not only convey funtion and purpose but it also has to sound good.  Just as the names we use today have become adjectives instead of just titles, the name of these personalcommunicationdevices (PCD),  has to sound, taste and feel true.  The final name has to invoke a simple image, cause an emotional reaction, and elicit an organic response, in order to be the one.  So... What do you suggest, by the way all the ones mentioned above have been copyrighted, jk.  Some other ideas worth mentioning are: Smart Device (SD), PocketPC is old but usable, mobileoperatingsystemdevice (MOD), minicomputingdevice (MCD), personaldatacommunicator (PDC). I'll admit that last one was trash, you can do better?, what  would you call it?

Monday, December 7, 2009

LG Expo demoed: its a projector and a cell phone

So maybe you've wanted to be able to use your phone to project unto a wall or some other surface and have even tried duct taping a mini projector unto the back of your phone and found the Frankenstein product too ugly to bear.  Well thanks to LG, you can save your duct tape for your next brilliant invention.  The LG Expo features a built in fingerprint sensor, a 3.2-inch touchscreen, a 1GHz processor, a 5 megapixel camera, and runs Windows mobile 6.5.  Also as you can see in the video it has a qwerty slider keyboard and features LG's new S class UI. 
The phone is expected to be released by AT&T on December 7th for $199 after mail in rebate and 2 year contract, expect the project to cost an additional $179 on top of phone price.

Verizon facing some heat from the FCC over ETF charges

Remember a while back when I posted an article about Verizon raising their ETF fees.  Well I guess I wasn't the only one that thought that this was a questionable move, it looks like the FCC is now asking questions of their own.  Specifically "do customers still have to pay the $120 left on their contract after the 2 year contract" and "how visible is the details of this ETF on customers contracts".  Here is a copy of the letter.
Verizon has argued that they raised the ETF to make up the cost for advanced devices they sell to customers at a subsidized price.  In other words, the reason you are able to get the Motorola Droid for $199 subsidized, retail $560, is that Verizon pays the remaining $360 of the phone price and locks you into a contract for 2 years to make up that cost.  The FCC doesn't seem to care.
The FCC has been taking a more proactive role as a consumer watchdog lately.  In fact, four U.S. senators recently proposed a legislation that would limit the amount that carriers can charge for an ETF, and also make the fees more accessible to consumers.  Could this spell the end of the ETF? maybe, but not likely, hopefully Verizon will wise up and fall back in line, so I can finally get that BOGO offer for two Storm 2's and sell them on Ebay for a small profit, hahaha.

Source:  InformationWeek

Crackberry news: all the goods from the world of Blackberry

 Trapster is a Blackberry app that warns you of upcoming speed traps and speed cameras so that you can hopefully slow down in time to avoid a ticket.  God knows I need this app.  The app has just been updated to version 3.5 so if you haven't tried it out yet it might be worth taking a look at.  This combined with your in dash radar detector should help you avoid a trip to the courthouse, or losing half your paycheck over a traffic fine, but if you're a baller and can afford a 109mph traffic ticket like Adrian Peterson then ignore this. More info about Trapster is available here, Trapster is also available on all other devices.
Source: Crackberry

BOLT is a free browser that is possibly one of the fastest options for mobile browsing.  The app is built on Bitstream's Thunderhawk browsing technology, meaning it is the product of over 5 years of mobile browser development and has been optimized for speed, usability, and performance. 1.6 offers improved performance, the ability to make BOLT your default browser, a password manager, and more, get it from, oh and you're welcome. Source: Blackberry Rocks

One thing that has been missing from the Blackberry App world is the inclusion guessed it THEMES.  Well wait no more, now you can purchase and download themes directly from App World's catalog of 151 themes in 9 categories.  Unless you like getting your themes for free, if thats the case then I suggest you visit: ,, or just do a Google search for free Blackberry themes. 

Speaking of free stuff.  Check out SMS Contact and Forward, Reply, and Edit.  SMS Contact enables you to sent contact infomation via SMS and you can also define what contact information you would like to send.  FRE does exactly what the name implies, go to your message hit menu, choose Reply & Edit or Forward & Edit and well, you can figure out the rest.  You can find them here.  Source: Blackberry Rocks