June 2008


T-Mobile $10/Month Home Service: Tempting, But I’m Keeping my Landline

Just read this article over on Fortune…

T-Mobile launches home phone service

At $10/month, it seems like a good deal. But, I’m sticking with my old fashioned POTS wireline in my home. My broadband provider is simply not as reliable as my POTS provider.

Mobile Devices

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Symbian, S60, and UIQ Team Up and Go Open Source

I usually get all kinds of UIQ press releases that I don’t care about. The one time there is a UIQ related news item I DO care about, I don’t get anything. Figures. I read this on Brighthand and went over to Nokia’s site to find the press release.

Mobile leaders to unify the Symbian software platform and set the future of mobile free – Foundation to be established to provide royalty-free open platform and accelerate innovation

The gist of the press release is that Nokia is buying all of Symbian (it already owned a big chunk of it) and is creating the Symbian Foundation. Sony Ericsson and Motorola and kicking in its UIQ (which used to stand for User Interface Quartz – I can see why they got rid of that part) UI into the mix. And Docomo (Japan) sounds like it will contribute its MOAP(S) (Mobile Oriented Applications Platform).

The big news though, IMHO, is that Nokia says they plan to Open Source this mix under the Eclipse Public License (EPL) 1.0. I guess this is reaction/preparation to/against the Google Android phone platform.

It is a long haul to get phone OSes off the ground and into the market (just as Microsoft or Google) though. So, I don’t expect to see anything from the Nokia Foundation until 2010 or so at the earliest.

Mobile Devices
Mobile Phones

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Lego Mindstorms NXT Mobile Phone Application


I’m writing a non-phone item for O’Reilly’s Digital Media Center related to LEGO Mindstorms NXT and ran into this LEGO provided NXT Mobile Phone Application that lets you control an NXT bot from a Bluetooth phone. It works with a couple of Nokia, Sony-Ericsson, and BenQ-Siemens phones. No Window Mobile support. However, you can find an unofficial Microsoft developed Window Mobile project for LEGO Mindstorms NXT called WiMo the Windows Mobile Robot.

Mobile Devices

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My Pocket PC Camera Has Macro Setting?


I think I noticed the macro switch on my TyTn Pocket PC Phone Edition (aka Professional Edition) when I got it last year. But, I never tested it out until this week. While the TyTn’s digital camera is better than most Windows Mobile device cameras I’ve tried, it is still hampered by a cheap lens. And, the macro feature suffers because of this. The macro photo of the leaf looks relatively sharp here because it is a resized down from the original 2 megapixel image. The original image looks quite blurry.

Still, it is a nice feature to have. I’ll play around a bit more with distance, lighting, etc. to see if I can figure out optimized techniques for its use.

Digital Photography
Mobile Devices
Mobile Phones
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Windows Mobile

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Windows Mobile and Google Android: Who Is the Customer?

Yesterday I said that Windows Mobile’s real competitor is Google Android. WiMo has already conceded defeat to Apple’s iPhone in the consumer space. Why? How? You and I, as individual consumers, have not been the target Windows Mobile customer since 2003. As soon as Microsoft’s marketing became phone-centric, the target customers became enterprises running Exchange Server and the mobile phone carriers. Microsoft’s recent purchase of Danger (the firm that sells the youth-consumer-centric Sidekick phone) muddies the picture even more. How are Windows Mobile and the Sidekick related? They sure don’t share the same operating system or run the same applications. They have completely different market focuses. This can only serve to confuse their marketing efforts going forward.

The big unanswered question is who is the market focus for the Google Android based phones? Unless it syncs with Exchange Server or Lotus Notes, it is not the enterprise (at least initially). Google’s multi-mode reference designs (touch and non-touch screen devices) may cause the same mind-share fragmentation that Windows Mobile’s touch and non-touch reference designs do. Given a variety of hardware vendors (again like Windows Mobile), it is hard to imagine that Google’s phone will directly compete or impact on iPhone sales. It will, however, have an advantage in the US by not being locked to a single mobile carrier (AT&T Wireless). My guess is that Google’s phone will take market share directly away from Windows Mobile and what is left of the Treo Palm OS based phones (are new Palm OS phones still around?). So, the follow-up question is: How much damage will the various Google Android phones cause to Windows Mobile smartphone sales? My guess is: A lot. If the Google-based phones are even half as easy to use as the iPhone, half-as compelling, and syncs reliably with the Google cloud services (calendar, contacts, mail, etc.), it will be a huge seller. Just imagine if Google adopts Apple’s Mac vs. PC ads and goes after ActiveSync/WMDC, the lack of media playlists, the slowness of going from app-to-app, and other WiMo weaknesses. It could get brutal in TV commercial-land.

Mobile Devices
Mobile Phones
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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iPhone vs. Blackberry & Android Vs. Windows Mobile

I’ve noticed some talk of comparing the upcoming phones based on Google’s Android platform to Apple’s iPhone. But, if you look at the platforms (literally and figuratively), the comparion doesn’t actually make any sense except in the fact that all these platforms will compete with each other.

Apple and RIM are more alike than Apple and Google. Both Apple and RIM control both the hardware and the software. Both own their respective market spaces at the moment: Apple iPhone = Consumer and RIM Blackberry = Business. And, both are trying to cross over into the other’s market territory.

Google Android is more like Microsoft Windows Mobile. Both are software reference platforms that rely on third party hardware manufacturers to deliver products to the market. Microsoft has no branding mind-presence in the market (no casual observer asks if you are using a Windows Mobile based phone). Google may find itself with the same problem. This may be ok if a single manufacturer (say HTC) hits a home run on the first swing and everyone identifies the “Google Phone” with that one device or brand. But, if Android phones are diffused in the market with lots of brands, form factors, and models, no one will care enough to ask if you are using a Google Android phone.

Google has one huge advantage though: It has no legacy products to worry about destroying. Microsoft has had to reduce the functionality of Windows CE/Mobile since day one to make sure it does not destroy the existing Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP/Vista market. It had to reduce the functions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Mobile to keep Microsoft Office at the top tier. Microsoft didn’t provide syncing to its Live/MSN cloud services (calendar, contacts, tasks) to protect Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange Server. Google doesn’t have this problem. They have just one platform: The Google Cloud.

Microsoft has to be willing to destroy itself in order to move forward in the mobile/cloud age. Couple of words/proper nouns to the wise: Pony Express, Western Union, DEC.

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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