Category: Trends


I believe it was in the 2nd half of 2008 when I stumbled upon  Phones Show when scouring the interwebs for mobile phone reviews.

I was impressed by the quality of the presentation and content of the video podcast. It was everything a gadget enthusiast could ask for: A well edited, succinct review of a mobile device .

Make yourself a cuppa and watch the Phones Show as Steve Litchfield, its  architect and presenter, provides you the salient points of the device under his scrutiny!

Steve is someone who “Think(s)Different(ly)”. He is a firm believer in the power of a mobile device providing an all-in-one solution to the user. As proof, he uses his smartphone to film the Phones Show and I believe, does not own a separate digital camera device. The latter functionality has almost become the mainstay of most mobile phone users in this day and age.

He is fair and accurate in his assessment of devices. Getting a “thumbs up” from Steve is high praise indeed. He is a perfectionist through and through. I would know, as it took forty takes of my prerecorded mini-review of the Nokia N86 before it passed Steve’s exacting standards.

Steve’s fan base has grown and he has expanded The Phones Show to include its companion audio podcast , The Phones Show Chat ( co-hosted by the inimitable Tim Salmon) which provides an extended avenue for tech conversation.

He has an excellent smartphone grid that provides a suggestion of the smartphone best suited to your needs. This is just one example of his many noteworthy en devours.

The Phones Show and Phones Show Chat are advertisement free and Steve depends on subscriptions  to keep the show going. There is of course, no stopping someone from watching and listening to these shows for a song. That said, it would be a shame to see good work go unrewarded.

Please support Steve’s excellent work via this link.

The Shows must go on.

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Source: Ars Technica

Apple and Samsung have been at logger heads over the alleged copying of iPhone and iPad designs in Samsung’s  implementation of the Galaxy Tablet and Galaxy S smartphones.

It has gone to trial and I feel its worth following as it has revealed many prototypes of previous iDevices and internal decisions made by Apple in the development of these devices which would have not seen public scrutiny.

Samsung has had its own share of leaked documents as well.

Whilst most of us may view Apple as being the villain in these proceedings, it is worth noting that Apple is not unique in its behaviour in the protection of its patents. Again, this can be viewed as a proxy war on Android and this could be part of the reason why Samsung has earned the brunt of Apple’s wrath. It is still early days in the smartphone race and Apple wants to be in pole position over competitors. Apple, if successful in this trial, will gain momentum in the smartphone race. A Samsung win will likewise work wonders for their reputation as smartphone makers. I can see headlines such as “This is a moral victory for us (Samsung) and victory for innovation”. NOTE TO SAMSUNG : I may sue over the latter statement as it is my intellectual property.

Here are some interesting links related to the trial:

Apple vs. Samsung : Coverage of the biggest tech trial by the Verge

Opinion: Does Samsung deserve this lawsuit by Unleash the Phones

Samsung: Power Corruption and Lies by The Kernel

Cloud computing enables applications and services maintained by remote servers, thereby reducing our hardware requirements.

We can see the trend moving in that direction. Tablets, smartphones, Ultrabooks and Macbook Airs (not an Ultrabook) are evidence of this.

However, immersing fully into a life up in the cloud is not without its risks.

We as consumers, are relinquishing control of data to a remote server and with that, run the risk of security breaches.

WIRED writer Matt Honan experienced these problem when his iCloud and Amazon accounts were hacked. There was no fancy algorithms involved in the hack. The hackers merely followed the breadcrumbs of connections from Matt’s Twitter account. These hacks highlighted Amazon’s and more crucially, Apple’s iCloud service.

He wrote a detailed account of the events that led the hacking. Despite the rather painful experience, he is objective in his assessment of the situation.

Tips to living more securely in the cloud:

  • Do not daisy chain your email, Twitter, Facebook accounts.
  • Create stronger passwords different for each account.
  • Create a separate email which functions specifically as a recovery address.
  • If you’re using Gmail services, enable two-step verification of your account.

No method is 100% secure. However, these measures reduces one’s chances of being compromised in the cloud.

Image source: Ars Technica

 

Solid state drives are pretty prominent in the consumer sphere these days.

It’s the form of memory that is present in our flash drives, mp3 players and our smartphones.

However, there has been an increasing number of consumer computing products such as the MacBook Air, the ultrabooks using SSDs , thus ditching the traditional hard drive.

SSDs aren’t cheap but they increase the speed of your computer. Indeed, a MacBook Air with a slower processor feels faster than the incumbent MacBook Pros with their traditional hard drives.

What are SSDs and what is the technology that makes them tick?

Ars Technica has posted an in-depth article on SSDs which is worth a read.

The article can be accessed via this link.

And whilst you’re going through this article over a cuppa, be sure to read another quality article by Ars Technica  on Redundant Array of Inexpensive Discs (RAID).

More phones with more cores

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We have seen a rise in the superphone category. The latter-which is somewhat marketspeak- is perhaps a term used to describe devices that are evolving into portable computers.

Mobile World Congress 2012 will see another push in mobile tehnology to quad core processors running what will mainly be the Android OS. Great, more cores, more computing power! That is one school of thought. What about battery life? That is the argument on the other side of the fence.

Theoretically, more cores will allow the completion of more tasks simultaneously reducing power consumption. However, most us have begun to accept the day to day charging ritual required to keep these devices on full charge. We have even begun to accept the loss of the one week battery life device, a throwback to the old Nokia devices.

Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android deal with the management of their mobile OSs very differently. The differences are largely down to the priorities given to multitasking versus slickness of user interface. User interface is king in iOS land and Android gives greater importance to multitasking. However, the choice the end user makes is not dependent on this factor. In reality, it is the device, the ecosystem and the marketing that attracts the end user to a device. Perhaps its the device that attracts the consumer prior to other considerations.

Whichever way one plays it, phones will continue to have more cores with increasingly staggering benckmarks.

Moore’s Law continues.

Further reading:

Quad core will Reign at MWC and Why it Doesn’t Matter

Moore’s Law

Image Source:Digital Photography review

I had a thought today on how image capture quality on camera phones are becoming increasingly good and that it could replace a point and shoot in most occasions.

Surfing the internet led me to a serendipitous discovery of a post on Digital Photography Review regarding the effect of the smartphone camera.

The following is an excerpt from the post

One of the areas in which cameraphones beat traditional cameras hands-down, at least for now, is connectivity. The vast majority of cameras are ‘dumb’ devices in the sense that they cannot send and receive data wirelessly. If you want to manipulate, resize and share photographs taken with a traditional digital camera, you’re going to need a computer with an Internet connection. With a smartphone, however, you can take, manipulate and disseminate your shots in no time at all, on the same platform.

For evidence of the appeal of this way of working, you need look no further than Instagram. Only eight months old, Instagram currently has over 5 million users and hosts 100 million images, all uploaded from iPhones.

The Nokia N8 remains the ultimate device in the smartphone category. The imaging quality from this device is superlative and it is safe to say that the Nokia N8 is without peer in the smartphone camera category. That said, there a few devices which come close such as the Samsung Galaxy S2 , Nokia N9 and the upcoming iPhone 4S.

The iPhone 4, with its 5 megapixel camera unit is particularly noteworthy as the device’s mass adoption has led to a boom in the smartphone camera category.

The improvement in optics and resolution will increase and there will come a time when the traditional point and shoot is replaced by the all-in-one smartphone.

Interesting times indeed.

The article can be accessed via this link.

 

 

Squares, circles and rectangles are shapes that are commonly seen in our daily lives. The common occurance of these shapes does not lead us to thinking that it is unique to any one entity. Squares, circles etc etc.

However, in graphic user interface design, the adoption of a shape forms a unique trait of an OS.

Windows Phone uses square tiles. Apple’s iOS uses roundrect. HP(what was HP-Palm) uses circles. Nokia has gone with squircles.

Imagine something rather trivial such as a shape becoming a unique identifier of an OS. This is merely the tip of the iceberg in the user interface design of an OS.

Clayton Miller, a graphic and interaction designer covered this topic on his blog. This post on Logicboard merely references his material.

He is also the creator of 10/GUI which is a rethink on the user interface paradigm on a desktop system. The video demonstration is worth a watch over a cuppa.

Thanks to ZOMGITSCJ for the post.

 

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I came across an advertisement in The Star ( Malaysian newspaper) by DiGi ( a Malaysian telco) which advertised the Opera Mini internet browser.

This is probably the first time I’ve come across an advert of this nature.

The Opera Mini browser can be downloaded of the browser via an SMS link by typing “OPERA” to 2000.

A free browser at no cost for download?

This is an interesting marketing strategy for DiGi.

The reasoning behind could be the fact that Opera Mini utilizes lower amounts of data when compared to mobile browsers such as Safari and Android’s browser. This would perhaps reduce their mobile network congestion. 

The other, more direct implication of this ad is spreading the DiGi network as this promotion appears to be open to all other Malaysian telco users and all internet capable phones.

All in all, it is quite a novel strategy.
 

Image Source:Engadget

 

At the iPad2 launch, Steve Jobs alluded to the iPad defining their 3rd phase of the Post PC Era.

2001-iPod

2007-iPhone

2010-iPad

The statement in itself sounds audacious,arrogant and perhaps bordering delusions of grandeur.

However, there is no denying that Apple has redefined certain product categories. There were mp3 players at the time of the iPod’s introduction, there were phones that had top notch specs at the time of the original iPhone and there were most certainly many tablet PCs before the iPad.

Apple has this uncanny ability to absorb existing technology repackage and redefine them into attractive products.

The iPad and now the iPad2 have the lead in the new tablet market with a robust ecosystem. The competitors are coming with some very compelling products running Google’s Android Honeycomb tablet OS. The latter is rough around the edges in comparison to iOS’s completeness.

Time will tell as to how the Post PC era develops.

Note: This post is based on an Engadget editorial which concludes the iPad winning this third Post PC era. It is biased towards Apple but editorials put across a point of view which are always open to comments and counter notions.


 

Happy New Year from Logicboard

Happy New Year!

The past decade has seen a clear shift from desktop to mobile computing and with it, the shift to cloud computing.

2011 will see a further consolidation of this trend. The comsumer electronics show in Las Vegas this month will be an early indication on what is to come for 2011. Apple will introduce the iPad2 in April and the iPhone5 in June. More Android devices of varying specifications will be released this year. Of course, a more tablet friendly Android OS (Honeycomb) will make its debut perhaps as early as this month. RIM will release its Playbook this year. Nokia is likely to introduce its first MeeGo device and make further improvements to the Symbian OS. Microsoft will continue its update on WP7. HP-Palm will release its slew of WebOS based devices.

The above paragraph is a simplified collation of the many expected changes amongst the more significant players in the tech industry.

The new mobile decade begins and Logicboard hopes to cover it all.

Happy 2011!