June 2007


Apple iPhone Launch Impressions

Apple iPhone Launch Day

I went to a local Apple store today after work to take a look at the iPhone. I expected to find a couple of hundred people lined up there (the larger Apple store a few miles away probably drew many more people) and, indeed, found around 500 people standing in segmented lines (to allow foot traffic). There were a number of things that surprised me while standing in line.

First, many, and maybe most, of the people standing in line clearly understood what the iPhone was all about and what various smartphones from other vendors offered. I saw a number of Moto Q, Blackjack, and MDA devices in various hands of excited people eargerly discussing getting rid of them and their current wireless provider in favor of the iPhone. This, quite honestly, surprised me quite a bit. I expected a group that consisted mostly of iPod users with low-end phones who just wanted to coolest newest Apple gizmo.

Second, there were a lot of Windows users in the line. I expected more of a Mac-crowd.

Third, there were a lot of Mac power users in line. I was surprised how many were talking about using Parallels Desktop for Mac (virtualization software that lets you run Windows alongside Mac OS X) to run one or two necessary Windows applications on their Mac. Umm, shameless self-promotion… I wrote a little PDF booklet for O’Reilly Media last summer titled Windows for Intel Macs focused on helping Mac users to use Microsoft Windows on a Mac using Parallels.

Fourth, and this is really an extension of my first observation above, I was really surprised to hear how many people were willing to break their current two year contract with Verizon Wireless, or Sprint PCS, or T-Mobile to use an iPhone on the AT&T Wireless network. One woman mentioned to a group behind us how she had moved from Cingular (now part of AT&T Wireless) to Verizon to buy a Windows Mobile device just a few months ago and is now breaking that contract to get an iPhone.

Fifth, from what I could tell I may have been the only person of the hundreds standing in the line that did not buy an iPhone. I saw tiny bag after tiny bag containing newly purchased iPhones as I stood in line. And, as I walked out, I saw people in front and behind me with iPhone bags. I really didn’t expect to see $500 and $600 devices fly out the store like that.

The real test comes in a few months after the first wave of iPhone users have had a chance to put it through its paces. However, if the majority of iPhone users are still happy by year’s end, I think I will be glad I didn’t name my site WindowsMobileViews in favor of the more generic MobileViews. Because if these new owners are still happy by December, the phone industry will have a new 500 pound gorilla to deal with: Apple.

Apple
Mobile Devices
Mobile Phones

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Picasaweb for Mobile Devices

Picasa Web for Mobile Devices

Google announced Picasa Web Albums for Mobile Devices. You can find the announcement at… Put your photos on a map, and Picasa on your phone … and the mobile friendly site itself at…

http://picasaweb.google.com/m/

I tried it on both a Smartphone and Pocket PC (see screencap above) and the site worked fine on both platforms

Mobile Devices

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Clusty Mobile Search Engine

Clusty Mobile Search Engine

I guess you can’t have too many mobile friendly web search engines. Here’s another one you can find at:

m.clusty.com

It differentiates itself by dividing (or clustering) search results into groups such as web, images, and deeper drill downs into the category (say “windows mobile”).

Mobile Devices

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HTC Advantage Pocket PC Phone Edition Unique Keyboard

HTC Advantage Pocket PC Phone Edition video
The HTC Advantage Professional Edition (Pocket PC Phone Edition) is a very unique device in the Windows Mobile world. The first thing that strikes you is its 5 inch LCD display. Its fast processor and 802.11g (not 11b) WiFi makes it a great web browsing tool with that big display. And, of course, it is hard not to notice its big keyboard in various product photos. So, I was quite puzzled when I was able to play with one for a while because I couldn’t figure out where the keyboard. I thought it might pull out from the bottom or, perhaps, be a clamshell design with the keyboard covering the screen. As it turns out, it is neither though my second guess is closer. Its keyboard is a separate device that links up magentically. Click on the screen cap above to go to YouTube where I posted a short video demonstrating how it works. Very cool design.

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Windows Mobile

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Windows Mobile 6 Voice Command Tutorial

Microsoft Voice Command Icon

As far as I can figure Microsoft Voice Command is now in the firmware of Windows Mobile 6 Standard Edition (Smartphone) and Professional Edition (Pocket PC Phone Edition) devices. You might recall that my friend Frank McPherson and I had couple of give-and-take blog commentaries on opposing sides of its usefulness (Frank’s Pro, I’m not so keen on it). I guess voice dialing would be useful if it worked consistently. But, where I live, we have a lot of ethnic names (like mine!) that it seems to get confused with. And, I’m not sure how useful mild shouting application commands is compared to just clicking a button or two (especially on Smartphone with a thumb keyboard that can be dealt with one hand). But, if you would like to get the most out of Microsoft Voice Command, head over to Microsoft’s tutorial at…
Microsoft Voice Command Tutorial

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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Windows Mobile 6 Notes Lost its Inked Text Recognize Ability

Windows Mobile 6 Notes

The Windows Mobile Notes app never seemed to be able to fire on all cylinders from the very beginning. Despite its apparent usefulness, it seems like it didn’t get widely used by most Pocket PC users. For me theĀ  main problem was that it didn’t sync reliably with Outlook Notes when I first tried it. And, other applications from a variety of 3rd party developers quickly overtook Notes by providing a lot more useful features and metaphors (think yellow sticky notes).
Notes lost the ability to draw but gained the ability to recognized inked text a few generations ago. Windows Mobile 5 restored the ability to draw in ink again. But, I just noticed that Windows Mobile 6 lost the ability to recognize inked text (it used to be in the Tools menu). It isn’t a big deal, I guess. But, I hate to see Windows Mobile 6 lose a feature. I guess Recognize gets added to the list of dozens of features lost by Windows Mobile over the years.

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Windows Mobile

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