Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I Had To Ask Myself...

Is it possible for the new Internet Tablet, that has caused quite a stir, make me want to upgrade? After hearing about some more details being revealed, There's probably more reason to be excited about this device than I first thought.

Do I think it's bigger than the 770? No.
I think the device is actually smaller than the 770. We'll see.

Do I think that nub sticking out in the top left corner is a web camera? Yes.
I think it's a web cam, but I also think there's more to it than just being "extendable". We'll see.

Do I think the three face buttons just ordinary face buttons? No.
Something's different about them, but I can't quite put my finger on it. [I know, bad joke]

Do I think the the chrome outline is part of the front of the device? No.
I think it's part of the transparent cover for the device. We'll see.

Do I think the device will officially be named the 870? No.
I think it's more likely the device will be named the 780, but I wouldn't bet on that either. Guess we'll see.

Do I think the speaker placement is a bad idea? No.
I think the speakers are in the right location and the mic is probably right where it needs to be. We'll see.

Do I think having a MiniSD card slot instead of RS-MMC was a dumb idea? No.
This will cause some to cringe I'm sure, but I think the decision will make it easier for Nokia to build smaller/slimmer tablets going forward. Besides, If they bundle a 128MB card with the device, does it really matter that much?

I may be nuts by thinking this way, but we'll see...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Mobile Still Missing A Large Part Of The Web

It's obviously difficult to create websites that look great on both computers and mobile devices, but that fact doesn't keep users as well as content providers from getting what they want. By not having a mobile web solution, content providers loose out on a large percentage of potential viewers, users miss out on useful information when using a mobile device. It's true that all content isn't created equal and certain sites are not really useful on a mobile device, but that should be left to the user to decide if it is relevant to their needs or not. There are several other reasons why we still have this divide between the mobile and non-mobile web:

Screen Size and Resolution - This is probably the largest factor in why mobile devices can only view a fraction of the web, yet it is slowly becoming less of an issue when it comes to manufacturing better screens. Resolution is improving, but devices become less mobile as the size of the screen increase and as a result are less successful on the market.

Web Browser Standards - Each device maker seems to have it's own, which causes the web to look different from one device to the next. This issue is also on its way to being solved with web browser makers [Mozilla, Opera] taking up the challenge to bring the same standards in their PC web browsers to the mobile platform. Mozilla has it's Minimo browser which is very much Firefox for mobile, and Opera has a few solutions with Opera Mini, Opera Mobile, and Opera for Devices. So now you not only have a standard compliant browser for your mobile, you have options to which browser suits your needs.

Specialized and Dynamic Content - This is not as big of a deal as the other issues, but they have become more important to Internet users over time. When I say specialized I'm referring to things like Java and Flash. Because these are mainly dependent on how powerful the processor in mobile devices are, I'll just say that the devices that can do it should. Devices like the Nokia 770 should be able to handle these applications and it's just up to the maintainers of the applications to adapt them to the mobile platforms. Is it so much to ask to be able to play games like this on a mobile device? As for dynamic concepts, I'm thinking about JavaScript and AJAX. There's really no reason most mobile web browsers shouldn't be able to handle this stuff, and yet, there is apparently still some reluctance to bring to mobile devices. This one is probably best left up to the web developers to decide if it's necessary for their applications.

I'm sure there are a lot of mobile users that want to be able to get as much of the web on their mobile devices as possible, and I think it would be great to be able to watch YouTube and Google videos directly in the mobile device's web browser. I'm sure all of this will be improved over time and I really think things are heading in the right direction. I believe we are almost at that point where all you need is something like an Internet Tablet with cellular connectivity to function on the go.

News 10.30.2006

More Details Emerge About The New Nokia Internet Tablet
- ThoughtFix has filtered out the more relevant info on the new Internet Tablet from the FCC filing documents, but it looks like there's still some questions left for Nokia to answer yet.

Halloween Theme For Netvibes
- Very cool theme from the Netvibes team. I hope the come out with some for the other holidays as well.

EMI Music CEO Says The CD Is 'Dead'
- Ooo, spooky!

Old Time Radio At The Monster Club
- Lots of great vintage radio horror shows.

La Fonera Subsidy Ending
- Hope everyone that wanted "El Cheapo" got it while they could. If not, you have until the end of this week when they raise the price from $5 to $29.95.

Have a Happy Halloween everyone.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Internet Tablet From Nokia?

A forum thread on Internet Tablet Talk shows what looks to be a new tablet from Nokia. As you can see, the display orientation, face buttons, and even boot screen look very similar to the 770. Although the design deviates from the 770 slightly, we'll just have to wait and see what the actual specs of the device are. It looks nice, and I still think this concept would be more widely accepted as a true 770 successor. How well the specs impress will determine its fate among current Internet Tablet owners.
digg | CrunchGear | engadget | gizmodo

Update #1: The object that looks like an external antenna on the top-left of the device supposedly is a web cam.

Update #2: Apparently Nokia has asked that the image in the forum thread be removed, which may mean there's some substance to this after all.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

News 10.25.2006

Sprint Launches Its First EV-DO Rev. A Network along with Novatel's new U720 Rev. A USB modem to access the ΓΌberfast network. Although San Diego will have first dibs on the new network, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., and others are soon to join in on all the EV-DO goodness in the future. Sprint says the network upgrade should be complete by Q3 2007. It's going to be a great year for wireless.
Links: [1] [2] [3]

In Other Mobile News...
Opera Mini Now Available For Treo And BlackBerry Devices
T-Mobile UMA Rolls Out In Seattle

NET9 Prophecy
Google Buys UMG
- Is it even possible?
- Can it be done?
- When would such a deal occur?

Let us know what you think.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sony Lawsuits Bring Down Lik-Sang

Talk about a suicide death wish, Sony just doesn't quit at making it's customers more and more angry at them with stunts like this. This is going to end very bad for Sony in the long run. I can see it now. All of us once liked Sony, then therootkit incident caused many to defect. Then there was the PSP firmware wars between the big company and the homebrew community. Then the freak show that churned out the PS3, which leads to the Blu-ray and HDDVD wars. Oh, and don't forget the largest battery recall in the history of consumer electronics. But that wasn't enough for Sony. They just had to break the backs of good old Lik-Sang. We'll tell our children and they'll tell their children that Sony became an evil and cannibalistic empire and should never be trusted again. You will be missed by many Lik-Sang.

Sources: Ars Technica | Boing Boing | Digg

New Tech, Old Trek

Nokia 770 To Get A Baby Bro?

Sources: Blognot | Engadget | Digg

Star Trek LCARS PADD On Nokia 770

Monday, October 23, 2006

News 10.23.2006

This may be old to some, but I haven't had a chance to say much about it. Cisco shows its new logo, and it looks very "Web 2.0", which I guess is okay. It will take some getting used to for some, and will likely throw people off with the new look of the site as well. Overall, everything looks a lot cleaner to me.

Mobizines has created a version of its flash-based magazine application for the 770, and it looks nice. The interface works well for the Internet Tablet screen, and there is a good amount of content to check out from the site. It really provides an interesting navigation setup that makes use of portrait orientation of the device. I'd like to see more mobile centric web design like this come to more mobile platforms in the future.

Landscape Mode

Portrait Mode

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Flash 9 For Linux [Beta] Is Here!

The big news for Linux users comes straight from Mike Melanson of the Penguin.SWF blog. There are still a few bugs still, but so far, it works a heck of a lot better than Flash version 7. Finally us Linux users can enjoy all the flashy goodness [and badness] that Windows and Mac users have had for the longest time. So if you're daring enough to install the beta, you can get it here.

Now, if we could get a Flash upgrade for the Nokia 770, that would top it off really nice. I'm sure the 770 community and the good people from the Internet Tablet Talk forums will tackle this and have something working for us in a flash [no pun intended].
[digg] [ITT]

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Google Putting The "Goo" In Good

Not only is Google not evil, but it's actually doing some more good in the hood. They've partnered up with EI Solutions, which specializes in the design and installation of large-scale, solar power systems, to begin installation of 1.6 megawatts of solar photovoltaic panels at the Google Mountain View campus. The new system will save Google around $393,000 annually for it's 30-year expected lifespan, which could essentially pay for itself in about 7.5 years.

So in a year or two you'll be seeing solar panels on top the Googleplex buildings when you do a search for 1600 Amphitheater Parkway, Mountain View CA on Google Earth or Maps. Great job Google! I hope to see other large companies continue this "greener and cleaner" way of doing buisness while investing in renewable power technology.

Links: [1] [2] [3] [4]

Monday, October 16, 2006

News 10.16.2006

Flash Player 9 for Linux Beta in the Next Week or Two
There is chatter about an impending beta release of the Linux Flash Player. I'm not allowed to confirm or deny any dates... The optimist Ryan Stewart predicted earlier this week that he expects the beta to go live next week, but later revised the estimate to 2 weeks.
[digg] [story]

Get Your Poll On
3pm Overdose is doing a poll asking where people are listening to MP3s the most. Be sure to check it out. Personally, I like to listen to my collection while working at my laptop, but the 770 is a really great MP3 player as well.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Breaking News: YouTube Is Down!

I tried to go to YouTube today and noticed it was down, so I did some quick research and sure enough, I stumbled on this Search Engine Journal post that is probably one of the first to report the situation. It could be a minor update, or the first major change since the Google-YouTube deal. We'll all see when it comes back online. Stay tuned.

Update: The site is back up, but everything is really slow. Oh, and I don't see any changes to the site. Nothing new so far.

Links: [1]

Saturday, October 14, 2006

WiMAX: Comming Soon To A Device Near You

Nokia will add WiMAX to cell phones in 2008, and although it seems to be a long way off to many, the technology to connect to the new 802.16e standard has already begun to be rolled out in some areas. By the way, the new mobile version of WiMAX is what you'll be seeing in 2008. Nokia has said that its WiMAX base stations will be available commercially in the 2.5 gigahertz band at the end of 2007 and for 3.5 gigahertz in the first quarter of 2008.

I hope this means we'll see WiMAX added to future Internet Tablets from Nokia as well. I think this could beat out T-Mobile's UMA solution in the long run.
Links: [1] [2] [3]

Friday, October 13, 2006

Up Yours, Network Bandwidth That Is

Flick The Bird Geek Style
Okay, I know a few people that could use something like this. The Flickin the Bird Pump up Finger gadget is pretty self explanatory. Now you can be sure the idiot leaning on his horn making ugly faces sees how you feel about them with the squeeze of the pump and the fist in all its glory sitting pretty in the back window. What? It's related to Mobile Information Technology in every way.
Links: [1]
Linksys WRT350N Wireless-N Gigabit Router with Storage Link
"Linksys busted out a new pre-N wireless router today, the WRT350N Wireless-N Gigabit Router with Storage Link. They're claiming wireless throughput speeds of up to 12 times 802.11g with this thing. To sweeten the deal, the WRT350N also includes a wired Gigabit switch..."
[digg] [story]

Thursday, October 12, 2006

"Palm" Reading

PalmSource Changes Its Name
Brighthand brings word that PalmSource is changing its name to Access to further confuse Palm handheld users. So, now the software to run on Palm handhelds will come from Access, but you can still get various Palm OS downloads from Palm.com. So no more crazy musical chairs from the company...for now.

Palm Announces the Treo 680
Speaking of Palm, they just announced the Treo 680 at the DigitalLife press conference in New York City. Running Palm OS Garnet v5.4.9, a 312 MHz Intel processor inside, and riding on GSM/GPRS/EDGE with a quad-band antenna [850/900/1800/1900] you can do some serious work on the go.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Google Docs & Spreadsheets Launched

Well here it is, Writely has become Google Docs and has been integrated with Spreadsheets to become Google Docs & Spreadsheets. To be honest, it looks a little cleaner than what Writely was before. A lot of the features have moved around as well, but it looks and feels great so far. Now all your web-based documents and spreadsheets show up in the same list to keep things all together. Of course everything is searchable, and you get the same quick links at the top of the main page to get to the Google home page, Gmail, Calendar and other services.

Note: I had trouble using the new service to post directly to NET9. Has anyone else had similar issues posting to a blog?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Google Snatches Up YouTube

Whoa, didn't see that one coming, and it looks like there's a lot of others that didn't either. I'm not going to drag on about how the deal like other blogers have, just a round-up of just how big of a deal it really is. This is likely to dwarf any other news for the next few days. Check out what others are saying...
Gizmodo - Official: Google Buys YouTube
Gawker - Breaking: Google Buys YouTube for $1.65 Billion
Yahoo News - Google snaps up YouTube for $1.65B
Ars Technica - Google buys YouTube
PC Magazine - Google Picks Up YouTube for $1.65 Billion
Market Watch - Google to acquire YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock
Daily Wireless - Google Buys YouTube

And of course the comments alone from Digg stories are worth their weight in gold...
Its confirmed. Google buys youtube for $1.65 billion
Why It Make Sense For Google To Buy YouTube
Google & YouTube - Six reasons why this deal makes sense

And finally, we leave you to what this deal looks like to us, and the Google-YouTube acquisition conference call [for however long it stays up].

Get Up To Speed With UMA Technology

MobileCrunch has you covered on what UMA is all about, and you're gonna need it now that T-Mobile has launched its alternative connectivity service using the technology. Basically, it's a win-win solution to both T-Mobile and its customers. For customers, it means dropped calls are less of an issue when you enter residences or buildings by having the UMA enabled mobile switch automatically from GSM/GPRS to WiFi along with decreased [possibly eliminated] charges while using WiFi as a connection option. For T-Mobile, it means fewer calls are using the limited capacity cellular network at any given time as well as monetary savings for the company.

I see a lot of potential for the technology, but it also has the potential for abuse by T-Mobile. If they do right by their customers, they could come out looking like the hero. Here's what I think are the possible drawbacks that could come from the new service:

[1] Because handsets must listen to two different radio technologies, they must have two radios on board. Both radios must be scanning for networks at all times, in case the user roams into an area where a WiFi network exists. This will mean shorter battery life for UMA enabled mobiles.

[2] If T-Mobile opts to extend its control over WiFi networks and continue to charge customers, one might wonder why they should be charged for data going over their own Internet service when they could use it for free with any other WiFi enabled device.

[3] New technology means new problems. Because the technology is relatively new, customer service and technical support will take some time getting to know how to deal with any problems that could potentially arise. This means stock up on Aspirin early adopters, it's likely to be a rough ride.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Touch Of The Future

So SlashGear got some video footage of the Synaptics Onyx concept phone, and boy does it look nice. The Onyx has no physical controls such as the keypad, joystick or scroll wheels found on traditional phones. Instead the Onyx relies on an "all-screen" touch interface. This is the type of interface I think the next generation of Internet Tablets from Nokia should have. [Check out the videos of the Onyx in action below.]

Here are some of my own drawings of what could be the future of Internet Tablets:
[1] - Top: Some minor adjustments in the current Nokia 770 design. Bottom: An "all-screen" version with just the top buttons left.
[2] - Top Left: A Tri-directional tablet for normal, phone, and game modes. Bottom Right: Improved version of the "all-screen" tablet with UI concept.
[3] - Full screen design with slide out keyboard and controls.
[4] - Improved version of the tri-directional tablet showing all three modes, and how the transparent cover would look. This is my personal favorite.

Synaptix Onyx Concept: Phone Application Demo

Synaptix Onyx Concept: Music Application Demo

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Nokia: Wireless And Full Of Widgets

Nokia Introduces a New Short-Range Wireless Standard called Wibree, intended to complement the Bluetooth wireless standard. Wibree is optimized for smaller, low cost, and less power hungry devices that could benefit from the new standard. The first commercial version of the interoperability spec won't be seen until the second quarter of 2007, but there are some interesting use cases that sure make sense of the new standard.
Links: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

Nokia Launches WideSets Widgets For Mobiles. The new mobile widget platform is available for Java MIDP 2.0 phones, and is currently in open beta. It's been described by O'Reilly as "WidSets is for the mobile what Netvibes is for the browser." This is all great news, but I have a question for Nokia. Where is the Java support for the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet?
Links: [1] [2] [3] [4]

Monday, October 02, 2006

News 10.02.2006

Netvibes Gets Cooking With Cinnamon
So Netvibes got another big update with lots of new features such as themes, embedded video search, and more. It's just too bad the 770's Opera browser doesn't play well with it. Maybe something to do with flash, who knows. Maybe we could see a mobile version of Netvibes in the future.
Links: [1]

GigaOM Asks Which Nokia Phone Will Make It Big
N80, N73, N75, or N95? You be the judge.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Nokia Coming To Your Living Room?

Does terminal computing have a future in the living room? Can this technology make a comeback in the most hostile of arenas? Nokia seems to think so, if the rumors are to be believed, and is said to be working on a new wifi device that will act as a hub of sorts that will stream video to [and from?] your mobile device. I don't know how much success the Wireless Stereo Audio Gateway was, but this new device could very well give Apple's iTV setup a worthy challenge.

With the new media rich phone line-up they just unveiled and the 770 Internet Tablet ready for such a device, Nokia could very well be on to something big here. I think with the recent advance in wireless networking technologies, mobile computing power, more efficient server technology, and more mature web applications the time is about right for the next generation of networked computing to come through the pipeline. Whether or not something like this is ready for the living room remains to be seen, but it's a good possibility this could be the best place to be in the future.

Links: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]