30 April 2009

eBook reader Stanza, Rest In Peace

Amazon has bought Lexcycle, creator of free eBook reader application Stanza, the 5th most downloaded free application in iPhone App Store. They say "We are not planning any changes in the Stanza application or user experience as a result of the acquisition". Nicely said.

Amazon bought MobiPocket Reader, popular multi-platform ebook reader for Palm OS, Windows Mobile, Symbian OS, BlackBerry and Psion, around 2005. If All About Symbian report on MobiPocket status is any indication of future, we can say goodbuy to Stanza, too. No changes, they said.

Hopefully, if things go right in this world, Amazon is planning to release their Kindle eBook reader software for more than iPhone platform, too. Hopefully.

28 April 2009

Android Cupcake, Officially

After a long wait the latest mobile phone OS challenger Android is gathering up more speed: new version, more hardware, lots of rumours.

Android 1.5 SDK is released, containing what was reported already in Android 1.5 SDK preview. Might add that one SDK contains several OS versions, supports add-ons and allows running several emulators side by side. Great for developers!

This release contains SDK and Android Dev Phone (ADP1) images for developers, but it shouldn't take long till normal users can enjoy their Cupcake, too. T-Mobile Germany has already promised updates in May. Sure the others will follow soon!

Second Android phone, HTC Magic, has been released. According to Androinica, HTC Magic is already available in Spain (see Vodafone) and soon in Italy, Austria and Finland (Saunalahti). O2 Germany is planning to release Samsung’s first Android phone Samsung I7500 in May. Latest rumours also mention that Tatung is planning a set of Android phones? On the other hand nobody knows what Dell is doing: Android, Windows Mobile or Symbian S60.

22 April 2009

Google Me, Google You

People searches cover 10% to even 30% of all online searches. Sometimes it's recruiters doing background checks, conference encounters trying to recall who were you, but mostly it's the person herself.

When you search yourself, what do you find? What would you like to find? How do you feel, when people you're trying to impress find the same things? How would you react, when you meet your online presence in a job interview (see chapter 9)? That's right!

Google has a new service, which allows you to have more control over what people find when they are searching you. You can have your own Google Profile with a short bio, pictures etc. Most importantly you can provide links to sites, which you do want people to see. Your own pro website, no more embarrassing MySpace and Facebook party pics.

Do you have a google profile yet? Check it out with this link. More info on this page.

Just remember: you are online (since you're reading this) and you do have a history - it NEVER goes away. People will search you and they will find you. You can try to change your name and move to a foreign country, you can try to cover old stuff under a pile of new things. Nothing disappears. With Google Profile and it's integration on the first page of their search results, now you have a chance to look better.

20 April 2009

Oracle sees Sun, gets dazzled?

For weeks IBM was supposed to buy Sun, so newspapers told us. The deal went dead and - just four days after - it's suddenly Oracle. What does Oracle foresee?

Discussions between Big Blue and Sun were rumoured for a long time, nothing about Oracle. Even at last moments, Sun board made a public offer to continue the discussions. The price Oracle pays is about same as IBM's turned down offer - but why? Is Sun is a situation where they absolutely need the money, must merger or what?

The start is not the best. IBM sure looked like candidate Number 1, which would make Oracle only second best. Bad for morale and motivation. Furthermore Oracle is still dissolving BEA Systems (Jan 2008), Hyperion (Mar 2007) and PeopleSoft (Dec 2004, hostile takeover). There might be some turbulance in foreseen future!

Interesting to see what happens to Mobile Java and Java FX.

15 April 2009

Nokia 5800 is now 3+ Millions

Congratulations to Nokia, for shipping 3+ million Nokia 5800 devices (as reported by SymbianFeak, and later corrected)! Congratulations to operators for reasonable pricing! Congratulations to users for adopting such a wonderful device!

My personal experience with Nokia 5800 has been a bit slow. I've used Nokia devices for last 10+ years, pretty natural for Finns. The user experience has been smooth and steady, reliable. When you learn the "Nokia UI" in one device, you can use any device. Changes between devices and platforms has always been moderate.

Nokia 5800 is different. It's not their first touch device, I did try Nokia 7710 a while, as well as its ancestors Psion 3/5 devices. Have also iPod Touch, as a reference device. The difference is that 5800 is designed to be used by one hand. Took a while to realize that, but since then it's been a pleasure.

14 April 2009

Android 1.5 SDK preview

Lifehacker is reporting brand new Android 1.5 SDK pre-release, good short summary. Here's my additional comments:

First of all, nothing about Android Developer Phone 1 issue where developers are not allowed to download and install their own copy-protected applications. This was not important enough to fix - or the situation is much more complicated that it originally looked like. We'll hear more later, I'm positive about that!

Refinement of all core UI elements sounds good, but we need to see what it means. Very positive sign that it was first on the release note! "UI polish" and Google Talk status integration for Contacts, the most used mobile phone application ever. Faster Camera startup and (first) image capture. Assisted GPS.

On-screen keyboard, landscape and portrait. There are also predefined SDK emulator profiles for HVGA landscape and portrait screens. Looks like there's going to be both vertical touch screen devices, like iPhone and Nokia 5800, as well as horizontal, like Nokia Communicators.

Homescreen widgets, reminding about Nokia N97. Widgets everywhere and I still can't quite understand why. Even David Wood, the Catalyst & Futurist of Symbian Foundation, is doing widgets! Well, have to admit that WRT 1.1 has some potential.

Web browser update, based on webkit. Wonder how many lines of code Google Android, Apple Safari and Nokia browser really share. Left hand cooperates, right hand competes.

Multimedia APIs, speech recognition framework, redesigned sensor APIs, better OpenGL support, improved JUnit support and easier performance profiling. Good mix of consumer and developer features. Now waiting for G2 device.

06 April 2009

Fragmented Java - Finally!

Nokia has announced that it will version "Java Runtime for S60" separately from the underlying S60 platform starting with S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2. This will increase java fragmentation. It's about time!

Java fragmentation is a huge problem. Instead of "write once, run anywhere", you need to test separately on hundreds of devices. Sometimes you have to choose features on certain devices in certain operator network or just the lowest common denominators. Either way, this has given java a bad name. Android suddenly looks very attractive, even with just one device out.

Nokia decision means offering Java Runtime updates outside firmware upgrades. This does increase fragmentation between and inside platforms, even within one device. True. On the other hand it increases device lifetime. Fragmentation can be partially fixed by individual updates. If this can be automated, situation improves!

Instead of fighting a lost war, Nokia turns the situation upside down and makes the best of it. New cool features, not supported by your device? Just update Java Runtime! Brave move, wise move, good for customers, good for marketing. Wonder what Sun will say about it? Or maybe IBM?

05 April 2009

Can Business (Card) Be Beautiful?

The basic purpose of business card is to give information. Name, company, ways to contact. Ideally it would also be a reminder about location, time and event. Hopefully it's an advertisement, reminder of possibilities, promises, opportunities. Business card should have a story to tell.

Would it hurt, if it was also beautiful? Would it help, if your business card was fit for framing? Something people would save not only because of you and the shared moment, but because they would like to look at it? Because it would inspire them to be better beings, more creative, look outside the old box?

Here's some inspiration, "60+ Most Beautiful and Creative Business Cards Designs". Next time you update your cards, take a moment to think about it. May your next card be a Better Card!

03 April 2009

Symbian Foundation, It's alive!

2 April 2009 is a date to remember. Symbian Foundation is finally independent from the friendly - but jovial - foster father, the one and only Nokia. Now it's all official!


...feeling nostalgic and recalling 10 years back. Someone came to tell that our team wasn't working for Psion any more, but for "Symbian". Nobody was sure what that word meant, fortunately the work remained same. The rest is history...

Happy next ten years, Symbian Foundation! You have a solid base where to continue from.

01 April 2009

Dell - Different kind of MVNO

Mobile and Netbooks are converging, but not only from mobile side. Nokia might be considering netbooks, but now it's also Dell who is considering going mobile.

First Dell attempt got delayed, due mobile handset design issues. The next plan is to drop handsets completely - no handsets, no design, no problem! Dell is planning to become a Japanese MVNO, offering network access for it's netbooks (with built-in HSPA cards).

Think about the benefits of MVNO without handsets: reuse netbook marketing material, avoid tough mobile handset markets, minimal dealing with operators, create a customer base for future handsets, stand ahead of other netbook manufacturers.

Operators are already offering netbooks with USB sticks, also Amazon Kindle has been doing something like this in USA. Dell becoming a MVNO is still an ingenious idea!