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Gadget

BlackBerry PlayBook First Thoughts

May 19, 2011

In my review of the BlackBerry PlayBook I must say I am impressed with the device - it is small - not too heavy, feels good in your hands and runs Flash like a champ. The back of the device is rubberized which holds the promise of increased durability and a large degree of scratch-resistance. TMCnet's Stefanie Mosca has more thoughts on the device and as a BlackBerry user it was certainly more functional for her. She also thinks it is an ideal device for traveling which is tough to disagree with - it likely even fits in most purses.

3Jam Purchased - is it Skype?

May 4, 2011

The news just broke on TMCnet that 3Jam was purchased - and potentially by Skype. Interesting news as I have written about how TMC uses 3Jam at ITEXPO to coordinate our management team and communicate rapidly between groups. The beauty of the service is it allows you to text to a group and have a single virtual SMS number you respond to which forwards messages to everyone in the group.

Interestingly David Gurle of Skype - General Manager and Vice President of its Skype for Business unit is keynoting the next ITEXPO in Austin, Texas Tues, Sept 13, 2011 at 4:30 PM. It will be interesting to get his thoughts - of course by then the details of the purchaser will most likely be out.

Oh and one bit of concern is the news that the service will soon be shut down - hopefully the acquirer will continue it.



Bin Laden's Death, Mobile and Social

May 2, 2011

In the wake of bin Laden's death it is worth reflecting on how consumers learned about the incident which was first live reported by Sohaib Athar - an unsuspecting bin Laden neighbor who tweeted the fact that he heard a helicopter and a subsequent window-shaking bang - a rare event as he called it.



Later, a commenter @naqvi on Twitter made the connection to these events and the Obama press conference which confirmed what had happened.

Of course later - the hard news and analysis did come from the mainstream media (MSM) - with lots of commentary from the social world. GigaOm has thoughts on how social and the MSM are connected.

What is most interesting to me however is the cheering which took place at a baseball stadium when the crown learned about the bin Laden news - specifically there was TV coverage of how people in the crowd were scanning their cell phones for the news and sharing it with others in the crowd. The video below gives you a small idea of other coverage I have seen.

The concept of news circulating via social faster than TV is not something we haven't discussed before - but this this stadium example of a large group learning about an important event via people at the center of informal social circle shows you how news dissemination and the web has evolved over the years.











Is TomTom the Most Unethical Company in Tech?

April 29, 2011

Recently, reports have surfaced that GPS manufacturer TomTom sold the information it collected regarding the speed of its customers to the government of the Netherlands so they could set up speed traps. In short, as a customer of TomTom in the country – assuming the practice is not more widespread, you are increasing the likelihood of getting caught by the police for exceeding the speed limit.

In my view, there is no more slimy practice than this – it is unfathomable to actually go out of your way to hurt your own customers – in the name of increased profits.

I must say my dealings with TomTom haven’t been much better as a year ago I called to turn off the Internet service associated with a TomTom GPS I purchased.

China Patent Wars: Huawei Sues ZTE

April 28, 2011



Huawei today filed lawsuits in Germany, France, and Hungary against ZTE a fellow Chinese manufacturer of telecom equipment - with strength in 4G/LTE technology among others. The interesting point here is the company is being sued for patent and trademark infringement and what this shows us is a greater concern for patents and trademarks in China. At least from Huawei.

According to the company, they paid US $222 million themselves in patent licensing fees to obtain the legal right to use patents and technologies of other companies in the industry. In fact TMCnet reported two weeks ago that Huawei and Motorola Solutions settled patent disputes.

This is great news as Huawei had a reputation years back for copying technology from companies like Cisco and after losing a  court case they seem to have become more serious about patents and trademarks.

Last month I pointed out how a sales boom for tech and media is being unleashed by China as a result of it announcing 3,001 people have been arrested for rampant product piracy and seized fake or counterfeit medicines, liquor, mobile phones and other goods.

This is all great news for western companies who have invented technology which China wants to and will continue to use.









Nokia Lays Off Due to Apple Success

April 27, 2011

7,000 people will be laid off by Nokia because of loss of market share to Apple. How bad is the situation? Well, a five-year chart of Stock performance of Apple and Nokia shows Apple up 400% and Nokia down about 59% during the same period. Of course Apple sells more than iPhones but we know this device is bringing more buyers into its stores with open minds and open wallets.

Will the new Microsoft deal turn things around for the beleaguered cell phone maker forced to cling to non-smart-phone sales as a differentiator?

Apple Responds to Locationgate

April 27, 2011

With the controversy surrounding the data being gathered by smartphones with Apple and Google operating systems, Apple has decided to come out with an explanation of what exactly it is doing and why. Here are the salient points of what they call a location Q&A:

  • Apple says it does not track the location of your iPhone, and it never has or will do so.
  • The reason this has become an issue is companies such as Apple haven’t done a good job explaining the complex technical issues at work.
  • Apple is maintaining a database of WiFi hotspots generated by tens of millions of devices sending encrypted information regarding the location of hotspots so as to be able to provide accurate location information when GPS satellite tracking information is not available. It cites usage in a basement as an example of why it needs to do this.
  • This crowd-sourced database is too large to fit in an iPhone but a subset of it is stored on iPhones and can be encrypted or not – based on user settings in iTunes. Researchers were confused by this data which was being backed up onto local PCs – but Apple plans on updating its software soon and at this point it will stop backing up this information.
  • Apple cannot locate a user based on its geo-tagged WiFi information.
  • Apple has been storing up to a year’s worth of location data and the company says this is a bug and going forward they will only store seven-days’ worth of location information.
  • Another bug according to Apple is the device continued to update WiFi and cell tower data from the crowd-sourced database even if location data was turned off.
  • Apple is collecting crowd-sourced traffic data in order to provide accurate traffic data for its users.
  • Apple provides anonymous crash data to third-party developers and the company’s iAds platform allows anonymous geotargeting of ads but requires user approval before sharing location data with an advertiser.

Is Apple Telegraphing A Tablet Market as Large as PCs?

April 21, 2011

I'm Predicting 500,000,000 tablets sold by 2015 (updated - an eagle-eyed reader noticed I left out 3 zeros for the various iPad estimates throughout!)


Through informal research I have seen iPad owners not giving up on their PCs – in fact they generally use both machines at different times for different purposes. For example, website surfing to sites which utilize Flash often requires a PC or laptop as they may not work on an iPad. Moreover, iPads and iPhones require PCs which they must plug into to receive software updates, etc. Many people find that they need to type large amounts at one time or another and they often choose a PC or laptop for this task – either not realizing they can purchase a keyboard for their iPad or just not caring.

Another important point I have noticed is iPads are being utilized by younger users more often than comparable laptops or PCs because they are so easy to operate and the App Store makes it a breeze to try new software. And another plus for tablets is they also act as a book replacement - as Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. reminds us.




Which Kills More Jobs - The iPad or US Politicians?

April 18, 2011

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. recently went on a rant discussing how the iPad is produced in China and is responsible for killing jobs and is responsible for Borders going bankrupt. He continued to rail against universities who have adopted the iPad instead of text books. He went on to wonder what happens to publishing company and librarian jobs in such an environment.

The question on our minds must be why is the iPad the focus of his concern and not the digital camera which caused Kodak to go into a tailspin and local photo shops around the country to close down? Why not target IBM for inventing the mainframe and making it possible to use vacuum tubes and later microprocessors instead of humans using pencil and paper.

President Obama Needs to be at ITEXPO

April 15, 2011

I recently learned that President Obama isn't happy with the old White House telephone. According to Fox News he said:

The Oval Office, I always thought I was going to have really cool phones and stuff," he said during a small fundraising event at a Chicago restaurant. "I'm like, c'mon guys, I'm the president of the United States. Where's the fancy buttons and stuff and the big screen comes up?



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