Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Mobile Phones

Mobile Phones, cell phones

Qik Live Streaming Mobile Video Now on HTC Phones

September 4, 2008

Qik, the popular live streaming mobile phone video app, is now available on a variety of new Windows Mobile enabled phones including select HTC devices.

New support includes:
• HTC Touch Dual
• HTC Touch Diamond
• AT&T Tilt
• Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Qik added mobile video blogging to the Apple iPhone just last week. I was actually going to use Qik on my Verizon XV6700 HTC Apache Windows Mobile 6.1 device to live video blog Internet Telephony Expo in 2 weeks - but it isn't supported. While the HTC Apache isn't specifically listed, I'm going to try again in a few minutes to see if it works.

Only Apple and RIM Can Make Good Smart Phones?

September 3, 2008

The U.S. market for smart phones continues to be a tough nut to crack for the established handset makers.

Top-tier players such as Nokia, Motorola and Samsung control 80% of the market for cell phones but have struggled in the U.S. to sell smart phones -- phones that allow users to surf the Internet, send email and download music, among other advanced functions.

Often caught up satisfying carrier demands, handset makers have been slow to bring out products in this segment, opening the door for the likes of Research in Motion and Apple.  And let's not forget Palm.

(What's in your pocket? Bet it's one of those ...)

Want to find out more about the trials and tribulations of this market? Check out the Wall Street Journal here.

Roasting AT&T over iPhone Problems

August 29, 2008

"A phone is only as good as the network it's on," said a full-page Verizon Wireless newspaper ad on Thursday, lobbing a shot at AT&T's 3G, or third generation, high-speed network.

(And ain't that the truth -- we know if well where I live!)

Apple sold more than a million iPhone 3G cellphones its first weekend -- with some stores running out -- and two million more since then, analysts say.

But its July debut has been nothing less than a public relations headache for AT&T, with eager buyers complaining about dropped calls and poor network connections.

Some fingers point to Apple, which has tried to deflect the complaints. But many others point to AT&T's cellular network.

Whatever the source of the problems, AT&T's rivals, long irritated by all the attention the iPhone has received, are on the attack and happy to exploit the discontent.

A Verizon executive sent an e-mail to Wall Street analysts last week: "So much for a 'new' way of doing business at the old AT&T -- your father's phone company." 

Get more at the New York Times here.

Is Sony Ericsson Headed for Splitsville?

August 28, 2008

According to Reuters, Sony's joint venture with cell phone maker Ericsson must do better.

Asked whether Sony is planning to end its Sony Ericsson joint venture, Sony head honcho Howard Stringer said: "It's certainly been a difficult year but buying out a partner is never an easy thing."

Sony lowered its group net profit forecast for the year to March by 17 percent, citing a slump at Sony Ericsson and weakening prospects for its electronics division amid tough price competition.

"We have to work together again as we did two years ago. Or the joint venture will have to find its own solution," Stringer said.

He added that it was hard for a company to be as nimble as possible when it works in a joint venture.

Are the bells starting to toll?  And will that be the last ring tone from Sony Ericsson?

Lots more here.

What's in Your Back-to-School Pack?

August 27, 2008

Is every kid in America (at least at a certain age bracket) heading back to High School (or even Middle School) this week with a cell phone and iPod?

I'm sure there a many other variations of gadgetry in the average back-to-school back pack (or other notebook, pencil, paper, lunch carrying device), but that's got to be the one.

Wait ... Maybe it's just the iPhone without anything else, but that would seem to be more appropriate for a higher demo that what I'm given to thinking. 

Or maybe the real debate is the iPod and a specific model of cell phone in tandem?

Anyway, before I get myself all confused over this burning issue, what do you think? Anybody out there got anything to contribute?

Microsoft develops Vi-Fi (Vehicle Wi-Fi). VoIP while driving baby!

August 27, 2008

A new technology developed by Microsoft in alliance with the University of Massachusetts (UMASS), and the University of Washington has resulted in a new technology called Vi-Fi (Vehicle Wi-Fi). Vi-Fi solves the problem of hopping from one Wi-Fi wireless access point (WAP) to another when signal strength diminishes. According to the article, the goal of Vi-Fi could be to power VoIP calls, Internet, and radio in cars of the future.

Ironically, Andy wrote a controversial blog this week about VoIPing while flying (using Aircell) -- well now you can VoIP while driving too! Of course, I've been using VoIP over EVDO for some time now while driving.

Woz: The Engineer Behind the Apple

August 26, 2008

At the 2008 Intel Developer Forum, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (right in photo) took the main stage to talk about his love of engineering and science, the process behind developing the Apple II personal computer, and what it's like to be "Employee No. 1" at Apple.

Wozniak also spoke of the impact Steve Jobs (left in photo) still has on Apple and its slew of successful products, from the iPod to the iPhone.

If he had his wish, he would have remained an engineer for life at Hewlett-Packard.

Instead, Steve Jobs encouraged Wozniak to leave the safe confines of HP and venture out into a new company -- Apple -- where the two would work to bring the Apple II personal computer into every household, school and business.

With some reluctance, Wozniak left HP and became--and still remains--"Employee No. 1" at Apple. In his partnership with Jobs, Wozniak would remain the engineer, and Jobs would sell what Wozniak would invent.

"A lot of times you become what you want to be in life, and I wanted to be an engineer," said Wozniak at the conclusion of the Forum.

"I never wanted to run a company. I didn't want to worry about money. I didn't want to move up the management chain," Wozniak said.

Treo 800w: Now Finally We Get Wi-Fi ...

August 25, 2008

The first Treo device with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity is worth a look for companies running a Microsoft back-end infrastructure or for die-hard Treo users. Alas ...

Although the Treo 800w is likely the best Treo smart phone Palm has delivered to date, Palm's late adoption of technology now standard on many competing mobile devices leaves the Treo 800w as a middle-of-the-road option for many casual buyers.

At long last, Palm has added Wi-Fi connectivity to a Treo, as the 800w features an 802.11b/g radio in addition to a new integrated GPS receiver.

Given how astronomically long it has taken Palm to implement Wi-Fi in any of its devices, it is gratifying to see that the company gone the extra mile to improve upon the basic software functionality that comes with Windows Mobile. 

Get more at eWeek.

Apple's Got a Few Blemishes of Late ...

August 25, 2008

So much good news and now so much bad news.

The Apple rumor mill is churning, but this week it's about software fixes instead of new products. News reports are raising expectations of yet another iPhone software fix next month.

Apparently software update 2.0.2 didn't fix connection problems -- in fact, it created new issues for some iPhone users even as others are wrestling with MobileMe foul-ups that make receiving e-mail on the handset sketchy.

The software fix Apple was reportedly related to a chip inside the iPhone. BusinessWeek reported last week that Apple was working on a remedy through a software upgrade. 

But applications are still crashing, crashing, crashing. 

Apple has set itself up for failure because it's vetting all of the applications on its App Store to ensure the software doesn't contain any bad code, according to Mike Disabato, a wireless analyst at the Burton Group.

"I've got three applications on my iPhone right now that don't work. Apple killed the Netshare application. Why did that do that?

Moto Looks To Get Its Mojo Back

August 21, 2008

Motorola, the world's third-largest handset maker, has just unveiled two new low-end phones on that allow users to listen to songs and surf the Web.

Facing stiff competition from handsets such as Apple's iPhone and the Nokia line, Motorola has said it would launch 50 new devices this year, including advanced phones, trying to come up with a strong follow-up to its once-lauded Razr phone.

One new handset is a music-enabled camera phone -- the W388 -- that sells for under $100.

The second device is a low-end third-generation (3G) mobile phone -- the VE538 -- which goes for less than $250 and offers one-click mobile social networking, photo uploading and blogging at various websites.

The two new products will be shipped to Asia-Pacific markets first -- before being rolled out globally -- by September. 

More at Reuters.

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