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Consumer Electronics

iOS 5 Update: Steve Jobs Rolling Over Already?

October 13, 2011

I understand the title of this post may be insensitive and nothing could be further from the goal of this piece. In fact, if anything, I admire Steve Jobs so much that I feel this entry needed to be made in order to honor his memory.

The question which our industry is asking today is how could Apple screw up the iOS 5 update so badly - literally a week or so after the death of Steve Jobs? I realize of course the two incidents aren't related but one has to wonder if all those devices that Steve keeps in his office wouldn't have have had a hiccup or two - causing him to sound the alarm bells that this upgrade was not ready.

As I mentioned earlier today - I went into the upgrade cautiously and an iPhone 4 was upgraded without a hitch but an iPad 2 crashed, giving me the error message below. I sent an email to my IT team and they suggested rebooting and retrying - apparently there are cases where an upgrade had to be performed four times to get it to work.



I was lucky.







At Metaswitch Forum 2011

October 3, 2011

I presented at two sessions today at Metaswitch Forum 2011 and both focused on wireline trends in the market. The general theme of this conference so far has to do with how carriers can compete in a world which is rapidly becoming mobile and social. Metaswitch for it's part has been busy improving it's platforms allowing carriers to take back control of business relationships with their customers.

Interesting takeaways from this session is a discussion being led by Anusha 'Ash' Nirmalananthan of Metaswitch where she is dissecting some social network activities in Facebook and Skype and exposing areas of exploitation for carriers.

She says, innovation and differentiation are crucial for carriers going forward.



Selling your Privacy Evolves with Amazon Silk Browser

September 29, 2011



Amazon's new Silk browser bundled with its new Kindle Fire will leverage it's own servers for browser proxying meaning that all the websites you surf will go through the company's cloud-based servers. Although browser proxying is not new, it has been used in the Skyfire and other browsers. Its general benefit is allowing web sessions to speed up and providing mobile browsers access to content incompatible with the browser - such as Adobe Flash.

TMC's Tom Keating has more on the privacy concerns and after reading his thoughts I realize just how fast product subsidization is evolving. You see yesterday I explained Amazon is subsidizing its tablets via Amazon Prime and cloud-computing services but now it seems Amazon will also have access to the sites you browse allowing its suggestion engine to to potentially use this data to better target products which suit your interests.

While privacy advocates may be up in arms, the reality is we sell our privacy for free services virtually every day when we use popular web portals, online email and a slew of other services such as browser toolbars.





Amazon's Subsidized Tablets Borrow from Wireless Carriers

September 28, 2011

Will any margin remain in selling standalone computing hardware?

I want to bet against Amazon - not because I don't like the company - I most certainly do. But because coming out with a new line of tablets to take on Apple is not turning into a successful strategy for the rest of the tech world. Both HP and RIM are feeling pain - even though I might add the Blackberry Playbook is a very solid tablet.

When Amazon released a slew of devices today from $79-$199 I was concerned that this is yet another case of a tech company going up against Apple and getting slaughtered. It is worth pointing out however that the HP tablet didn't really start selling until the price was dropped to $99.

But back to Amazon - I didn't think the original Kindle would be very popular and I was wrong.





Slowly, New York Subways get Cell Service

September 23, 2011

GSM customers rejoice, finally you will be able to use your cellphones in the subways of New York. As someone who has gotten lost navigating my way around down there, I am grateful this day has finally come. AT&T and T-Mobile customers will be the first to enjoy this new service which will be a godsend for tourists who like me aren't that familiar with how to get around the tunnels crisscrossing the Manhattan underground.

According to the New York Times:

The pilot program will introduce cellphone reception to the C-E platforms at 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue and three other stations along West 14th Street: the A, C, E and L platforms at Eighth Avenue; the F, M and L platforms at Avenue of the Americas; and the Seventh Avenue station that serves the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 lines.

Sadly, the project was stalled due to financing issues - lets hope we see coverage throughout the entire New York subway system and soon.




The Bittersweet Pandora HTML5 Update

September 21, 2011

Bittersweet only if you use Apple iOS devices.

As a huge fan of HTML5 and someone who is even involved in putting on  DevCon5 conferences covering the space I was thrilled to see the new Pandora HTML5 interface. Likewise I was disappointing to see I couldn't run the Pandora HTML5 environment on an iPhone browser natively and thus sidestepping the Apple iTunes App Store.

The look of the new Pandora based on HTML5


I have a request out to the company to see if there is an Apple limitation at work here or whether the company has intentionally hampered the app on iOS. As most of us know, playing media on the iPhone requires using their embedded player so my educated guess is there is an Apple issue here.

And before I posted I walked down the hall and tested the new HTML5 site on Erik Linask's Android-based smartphone and guess what. It worked flawlessly.








Twitter Tightens SMS Ties with Photos

September 21, 2011

Twitter's 140 character limit was actually a limit of SMS messages applied to the world's most successful microblogging service but in the last few years, Twitter use has migrated to apps on smartphones and web browsers. Today the company sent a reminder to the world that yes, you can tweet via SMS as well. In fact you can now include photos in an SMS message and have it update your account.

At the moment this functionality is limited to AT&T, Verizon and Cellular South in the US as well as Orange in the UK, Vodafone Italy, Rogers Communications in Canada, VIVA Bahrain and TIM Brazil.

Here is more information from Twitter and a list of short and long codes used to address your SMS messages.

Hat tip Phone Scoop.





AT&T Responds to DOJ - What They Missed

September 9, 2011

AT&T responded to the DOJ regarding the blocked T-Mobile USA acquisition saying that the proposed merger would be good for consumers as it would allow AT&T to gain access to T-Mobile spectrum allowing their call quality to improve and the number of dropped calls to be reduced. This in turn they argue would lead to lower prices. Ma Bell 2.0 continued to explain that the wireless business is fiercely competitive which has resulted in lower prices over time.

The interesting takeaway here is that there is nothing new being argued.

Windows 8 Targets Boot Time in War With Apple

September 9, 2011

Here is a typical scenario many of us deal with... While waiting for our laptop or PC to boot, we take out our smartphones or tablets to check email and work until the Windows-based machine ends it's leisurely boot process. Often we have a few choice words for our Windows machine as we realize the lunacy of having to deal with such a slow start-up process.

Even more ironic is the fact that an iPad 2 not only boots lightening-fast, it has a full day of battery built-in meaning you don't need to worry about shutting the system down that often.

About ten years ago I recall Microsoft working on an instant-boot technology but obviously this never made it into production and boot times continue to be a major Achilles heel of Redmond's OS.

So the news that Windows 8 will boot 30-70% faster than Windows 7 is music to the ears of people who are sick of having to use a spare device while the other boots.

This is how it works... The system processes or kernel hibernates when you shut down.







Even Apple Wouldn't Hire Steve Jobs Today

September 1, 2011

While we lament the fact that Steve Jobs is gone as CEO of Apple and hope he stays as healthy as possible, it is worth pointing out something which is true but underreported and amazingly shocking. You see, I recently posted my six observations on why Steve Jobs was successful and suggestions on how others could emulate him and as an extension, Apple. But after reading an article on TMCnet’s sister site, TechZone360 from Rob Enderle , President and Principal Analyst, Enderle Group, I realize that we have a major problem as a tech industry because as Rob points out, nobody would hire Steve Jobs.

His personality quirks and lack of education wouldn’t even give him access to an interview at most tech companies that would really need someone like him.

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