Tuesday, October 14, 2008
DriveAssist uses GPS and other technologies to detect if the person is moving at a speed which indicates he is in a car.
Many jurisdictions like New York and Connecticut forbid talking on a cell phone while driving without a hands-free device like a speaker phone or bluetooth headset because of distractions associated with such activity. Even this restriction however isn't foolproof because one still has to look at the screen to dial.
Smart phones such as the iPhone complicate matters because I often look at Google Maps and directions while I'm driving.
I think DriveAssist is a good feature. Unfortunately it is being offered on a carrier-by-carrier basis for a monthly fee.
I think that this creates a potential legal problem for carriers and handset manufacturers. If blocking calls from those that are driving is considered a safety feature then not including it in a phone or service plan for free may be considered a product defect.
As such carriers/manufactures may become liable to those who are injured by customers who used phones that lacked such blocking features.
Campaign ads for presidential candidate Sen. Barak Obama are appearing in the the video game Burnout Paradise.
Roadside billboard advertising in the real world is nothing new. Images stay with us as we cruise down the ashphalt highway. I think the impact is even greater in a video game because players are more engaged with what they are seeing on screen.
Obviously there are people at the Obama campaign are really thinking about how to engage with younger voters.
In game ad revenue also is a smart move by game publishers. GigaOm confirmed with Electronic Arts that the Obama campaign purchased the spots through them.
As a parent who recently purchased a Wii for my son, I wonder though how I would feel about ads for McDonalds or other companies appearing while my son is playing Wii Tennis? Kids are marketed to too much already, and there need to be some areas that are just ad free.
Perhaps in the future we'll be seeing games being sold in ad-supported and ad-free versions. The latter costing a little bit more of course.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Riding the Metro-North train into New York City one morning I spied a fellow commuter reading the New York Times. My attention was drawn to an AT&T Wireless ad for the iPhone. "Half the Price. Twice the Speed!," it proclaimed.
Yeah right, I said to myself as I turned my attention back to the screen of my Jesus phone that was still struggling to download a page over 3G even though I had full bars. So much for walking on water, I was having a better experience when I was on the EDGE with iPhone 1.0.
The slow experience has been widespread, and to be honest I haven't personally noticed any improvement from Apple's 2.02 firmware upgrade.
In this vain a couple of articles caught my attention this morning.
First the folks at Wired have come out with a nifty study that assesses the speed of various 3G networks worldwide. Wired gathered data from 2,636 participants (1,638 were in the United States). They found that European T-Mobile users reported the fastest 3G Download Speeds: 1,822 Kbps on average. In the U.S. AT&T was puttering along at 990 Kbps.
For those who are more visually minded Wired teamed-up with Zeemaps to create a Google Maps mash-up to show their respondents in clusters and provide signal strength indicators by geography. (The map has been so popular that it's taken down Zeemaps).
The problem it seems is not device related. All Thing :D citing a Reuters story reported this morning that the Blackberry Bold is experiencing similar sluggish speeds on the AT&T network. According to Citi Investment Research analyst Jim Suva, "There were a few occasional high-speed signal-dropping problems, especially on streets with tall buildings. The handset's EDGE network capability immediately picked up the signal, but at slower Internet speeds."
Still, Suva's analysis seems qualitatively based. A more scientific analysis is offered by Sweden's Bluetest which sells test chambers for wireless devices. In comparing the antennas of the iPhone, Nokia N73, and the Sony Ericsson P1. The test found that there was substantially no difference in the quality of reception between the devices.
The problem thus seems network based. Watch out AT&T! The sharks will surely circle.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
The key differentiator seems to be that Google and Yahoo show medal results and ranking while AOL doesn't. On the other hand AOL showed Olympic themed ringtones which we get source from Thumplay.
I think MocoNews' point is well taken. Ideally the recipe for the term "Olympics" should be Medal Results, News, News Pictures, Web Sites, Mobile Websites.
This is an awful lot of content to fit on a page but as mobile browsers become more full featured I can see mobile "One Clicks" being developed in the same way that AOL services such content for the desktop search.
In the meantime I'm glad we beat out MSN and have a good target in Yahoo! to shoot for.
Monday, July 28, 2008
The folks at Sprint, desparate to compete against AT&T, are touting the benefits of Samsung's Instinct phone. Their new marketing campaign "Insticnt More for Less. iPhone Less for More" is not very original but sums their stance of why the Instinct is better than the iPhone.
To wit, they've created a pretty slick web page with compelling flash videos comparing the two devices.
In the Instinct, Sprint has a device that is equivilent to the iPhone when it comes to web surfing and costs less (both for the hardware and monthly fees), but the iPhone has advantages that Sprint can only dream about.
By deploying a semi-open device Apple has attracted a worldwide community of developers who are free to invent whatever their minds conceive. They can then distribute their creations through the iTunes App Store. Sure, the Instinct has certain out-of-the-box apps like shoot-and-send video, voice-guided GPS navigation, and exclusive content from NASCAR and the NFL which the iPhone certainly doesn]t have, but for how long?
Putting aside the proprietary content, these applications most certainly exist for jail broken iPhones, and it's only a matter of time that they become legit.
The other area in which Apple has an advantage is that its device is an iPod. Having an iPod dressed up as a phone makes iPhone owners part of the larger universe of iTunes users.
It's like the corner store going up against Wall Mart. Sure they both sell detergent, but guess who's going to sell more? Putting it another way if given the chance would you want to drive a Porche or a Honda? They both have four wheels and will get you from point A to point B, but you'll look better in the Cayman. Same thing with the iPhone.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Here's the answer I received (and the web page it pointed me to): "He is a muslim, but he tries to conceal it. Thanks for using ChaCha!"
After standing in line for more than 8 hours over the course of two days I finally was able to get my hands on an iPhone last Saturday. Even though I saw an extensive presentation at WWDC I must say that as a replacement owner I'm extremely underwhelmed from a hardware perspective.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
This legislation is important for mobile content publishers and device manufacturers because it ensures that network providers like AT&T or Verizon Wireless can't dictate which applications can be used on their network by either banning their use or degrading access speed (or conversely speeding up). Broadband providers would also have to let handsets not directly sanctioned by them onto the Network.
These measures would put the wireless ecosystem in the same position as the desktop world. Cablevision, my high speed provider, doesn't dictate that I have to use an HP computer or that I can't access MTV through their service. Why should the wireless carriers have that power?
The CTIA of course opposes the legislation arguing no problem exists. However given that their funded by the carriers I wouldn't expect them to say anything different.
Friday, February 15, 2008
That's going to present a problem for the number of cell phones predicted to be sold this year. The article states that analysts expect 57%-59% of handset sales to be for replacement/upgrade purposes because the market for new subscribers worldwide is tapped out.
So the big question is whether upgraders are going to sit out the year until phones with the new post-QVGA phones appear in the marketplace or rely on aging platforms such as the N-95 from the Nokia.
My prediction is if you need a phone you need a phone now. However if your phone is extension of "You" the brand.
One reason is that with its small screen size and low bandwidth using the Internet on the phone is a pain. Apple's iPhone is changing the experience, but one panelist at the World Mobile Conference in Barcelona, Spain says that one way to unlock the mobile experience is through Search:
Panelist Mike Yonker, general manager of worldwide strategy and operations for Texas Instruments terminals business unit, said that the way for the user to get the rich content now available on a mobile handset is through the "search" function. But this isn't so easy. He compared the limitations of a mobile handset to a full personal computer screen.
Searching on a computer, he said, is like going to a store, where the customers sees every product displayed, and can make comparisons, touch the products, even try things on for size. Doing the same search on a mobile, he said, but like trying to shop in the same store but "through a drive-up window." No matter how much stuff is in the store, you can only find out through the cashier at the drive-up window.
Yonker is right that one challenge to be solved is helping users find content, but if that content is still difficult to view on the device the experience will still be bad. Expressed differently, it's not only the content that needs to bubble up to the top, but the content has to match the capabilities of the phone.
With the iPhone one can get to a true web experience. But until there are more mini-computers like the iPhone users are going to have to make do with the Internet-lite. And that's not going to grow audience.