A recently-leaked slide from AT&T’s has circulated all over the internet in the last few hours – according to PreCentral, it was followed up with a series of in-store seminars training employees on perceived or real weaknesses of the Pre when compared to the iPhone 3G.

Leaving the points in the slide aside (most of them are pretty, um, eeker), one very significant bit of information remains: the Pre will face the iPhone 3G, and not some kind of successor.

If AT&T would already have further information on the immediacy of the iPhone 4G’s release, why for heavens sake would they train their employees to fight the Pre using the iPhone 3G rather than the newly-released model?

IMHO, this is good news for Palm: it means that their (untested) device gets to run against a (2 year old) device which may be well-tested, but definitely isn’t cutting edge anymore and furthermore lacks a keyboard.

An iPhone 4G would probably steal most of the hype from the Pre – but when it comes to facing the current 3G, I am pretty sure that the Pre has good chances if Palm doesn’t bork up on customer care and/or press relations.

Ideas, anyone?

 Dmitry Grinbergs DGOS   blog postedYours truly has seen a variety of PalmOS-rewriting initiatives over the years – so far, none of them managed to get beyond the concept stage. The latest attempt comes to us via Dmitry Grinberg and is called Dmitry Grinberg Operating system, or DGOS for short.

While Dmitry Grinberg still doesn’t employ the services of a PR agency, he nevertheless is a true master of self-promotion…which is why he has launched a blog on the development of the new operating system. So far, he posted a few highly interesting code snippets which look promising – from an academic (ivory tower/cathedral) standpoint, I am pretty sure that his OS will be reliable and well-done.

Unfortunately, Dmitry’s problems don’t end here. Even if he manages to complete work on the OS, he will be in a similar position to PalmSource’s or UIQ’s. Technological superiority is not enough to ensure market success – if a big company can’t do it, how should an individual be able to get support from hardware manufacturers?

Anyways – further information can be found here:
http://dgosblog.blogspot.com/

Image: Tam Hanna, unknown Italian church or cathedral

It’s this part of the month once again – AdMob has provided me with a new Metrics Report. For all these of you new to the topic: AdMob is a company that focuses on serving up ads to mobile devices. Thus, they find themselves in an unique position for gathering data about market shares – and gladly pass that data on to the press.

As usual, I have picked out the most interesting bits of info – links to the full report can be found at the links below:
Palm OS – US market share takes decisive blow
The Palm Os finally is out of the US top 20 except for the Centro. The figure on the left is from August, while the figure on the right is from September. The single big winner is the iPhone, which now has about 3.2% of market share compared to the 3.4% of the Centro:
oldpalm Admob Mobile Metrics   the analysis newpalm Admob Mobile Metrics   the analysis

US – carriers and manufacturers
Our next char looks at which carrier deploys wich mobile phones. One can immediately seer that Sprint is the single biggest user of Palm devices, while MetroPCS acts as a game reserve for dead or dying phone manufacturers:
carriers Admob Mobile Metrics   the analysis

OS market share analysis
When it comes to OS shares all around the world, the Palm OS still manages to take in 6%. Symbian dominates the market, Windows Mobile and RIM OS fight about the second place:
shares Admob Mobile Metrics   the analysis

Further reading
September 2008 – PDF
August 2008 – PDF

P.S: Should the PDF links ever go down, please let us know – we have them archived!

I have no idea why Google chose T-Mobile as the debut carrier for its Android platform. Few companies have managed to amass as much incompetence into their workforce as the Austrian branch of T-Mobile has: the carrier essentially lives off its iPhone packages.

Nevertheless, Engadget reports that the US branch of the company will unveil the first-ever Android powered handset on September 23rd in a press event held in new York City.

A “ready-looking” device was demoed at a press event held in London a few hours ago – Google employees showcased Android on an unspecified black device (Video on YouTube) which had the manufacturer logo blanked out with white sticky tape.

Google has proven to be extremely “hectic” when it came to promotion Android – even the rather small Mobile Developer Days conference was graced with a Google booth. Even though the booth was officially “recruiting”, it was full of devotional gimmicks depicting the OS in one form or the other (including a MacBook running the simulator openly all the time):
 Android   T Mobile debut on the 23rd  Android   T Mobile debut on the 23rd

In the end, the hardware deployment of Android clearly is a matter of time. But the real issues have not been clarified yet: will the boys with the G in their name allow third-party developers to do real stuff, or will they be restricted to gimmicks in order to keep users using Google’s own (ad-enabled) applications…

What do you think?

Google’s highly lucrative developer competition has finally come to an end – the winners have now been released and posted to Google Code.

When one looks at the final results, one immediately sees that traditional business applications and games are completely absent: not a single traditional game or application has made it into the top 50. Instead, the panel at Google’s chose to nominate a variety of funky-but-mostly-useless applications that mostly use GPS or offer another form of Location based Service.

While it always is possible that Google felt like helping innovative developers with ideas that are less easy to sell than, say a good scientific calculator, I am nevertheless concerned about the total lack of a business app or game.

This could very well be considered as a sign from Google telling some developer types to stay out of “their” turf – the company has had its own email client, photo processor and office suite for quite some time and probably won’t be too happy about further competition.

Google has repeatedly stated that one of the ideas behind Android was the creation of a new “front-end” for displaying ads to customers: if this should work well, users must spend a lot of time inside of Google’s apps so that ads can be displayed to them in an effective fashion (the company IMHO is very unlikely to allow third-party developers to integrate AdSense ad space into their apps).

Thus, a successful third party application always deducts from Google’s revenue. The programs that got the awards all have a very short “half-life” – you use them, and return to the OS quickly (to process your results further)…

For me, the reasons outlined above make me more skeptical about Android. Honestly: I have not planned ports to Android before – but with the current information out on the market, I am pretty sure that I won’t get down with this OS before having exhausted all other (WM, S60, J2ME) options or having seen how the market shapes up…

What do you think?

Providing ads to mobile web sites gives you loads of data about mobile web browsers. Intelligent companies like AdMob make parts of this data available to the press to gain free PR (here you go) by helping the press do its job.

Anyways, this month’s “Mobile Metrics Report” was especially interesting, as it looked at worldwide browser market shares for mobile web browsers. The chart below is from the report linked above:
Unbenannt AdMob on browser market share

Classic smartphone web browsers surprisingly make up a minuscule of requests: Palm’s Blazer and Apple’s mobile Safari (which is a much better browser) both have 2% market share, Microsoft’s Pocket Internet Explorer and RIM’s browser both don’t exceed the 4% mark.

Nokia’s browsers (S40 and S60) and OpenWave (a classic dumbphone browser) both have about 30% of the market each, with Access’s Netfront (deployed on smartphones and embedded) coming in as a distant third with 12%. Amusingly, Sony’s CLIE handhelds make up for 4% of these 12%, which gives them a total market share of about 0.5%.

The real lesson which can be learned here is that smartphones and their users are an almost-ignorable minority when it comes to mobile web usage. We may be the most vocal bunch, but our numbers diminish compared to the millions of “dumbphone” users populating the mobile internet (and likely having a data contract). As each and every phone that has a web browser also is Java capable nowadays, the implications that this has on the size of the J2ME market are obvious: it is huge.

What do you think?

A big thank-you goes out to AdMob for providing the data!

logo On Googles operating system...or why we shouldnt care
The news struck me like a bombshell – an industry alliance called Open Handset Alliance announces a new mobile OS to be licensed under the Apache license(aka no need to give back derived code). Among the members of the committee: Google, a variety of carriers and semicon boys – and, most importantly – HTC.

Many of my colleagues think that this will affect Nokia(S60 OS) and Palm(Palm OS) the worst – however, I think that Microsoft is the one who really has a lot to loose here. Both Palm and Nokia have hardware and software in their hand and can thus afford to loose all other licensees(Palm has already lost most, as for Samsung….their cool-looking S60 phones have yet to hit the road). However, Microsoft doesn’t have an own hardware division doing smartphones(forget the Zune, boys).

Continued at our sister site TamsPPC

Thats right, today is the day…June 29th. There are already people waiting in line to get them at many Apple stores, and no doubt they will all sell out within a couple of hours. I however, will not be getting an iPhone. Here are a few simple reasons why the iPhone is not the phone for me. Ill start with some background.

Currently, my cell phone is a Samsung D807. It is a small slider phone with a relatively large screen and a 1.3 megapixel camera. It is a good cell phone and I enjoy alot of its capabilities such as:

  • EDGE network capability (although its slow, it is faster than GPRS)
  • Bluetooth connectivity (I use it for handsfree in the car)
  • Camera
  • MicroSD expansion

However, more importantly, my phone has its drawbacks, which would prevent me from recommending it to others. The EDGE network is slow, even with the excellent Opera Mini browser installed. It has proprietary connectors, which means I would need an adapter to play music through my regular headphones. Most importantly, although it uses the Java platform, the actual OS of the device is proprietary. That means it only uses Java, and can run no native apps. This means I cant replace the interface or add a new launcher, or even move categories on the phones menus around.
This is the absolute biggest problem with the iPhone. Its running FauxSX. They claim its OSX, but it cant run OSX apps. Now, I believe that at some point either hackers will figure out a way to run native apps on the device, or Apple will open it up to developers, but for now, if you get an iPhone, you are stuck with what you got. Here are my top 5 reasons why I am not getting an iPhone:

  1. Lack of 3rd party application support
  2. No 3G network, just EDGE (this is supposed to be a revolutionary device, EDGE doesnt cut it)
  3. Only 8GB of space in the premium version? (that wouldnt hold my entire music collection (About 9GB), not to mention my collection is all in WMA)
  4. $599, you have to be kidding me. What are the chances it will even last me two years (no gadgets of this type last me longer than 2 years).
  5. No stereo BT headphone support (was apple just being lazy or stupid here, it must be one of those two options)

There you have it, those are my reasons. If you want a truly good converged device, you are going to have to look further. If you are like me, and you want to be able to customize your devices, the iPhone is not for you. I will likely either be getting a Treo or a WM based device for my next phone. I am not sure which yet, but I can tell you one thing. It will not be an iPhone. What do you look for in a phone, and is anyone considering the iPhone?

PS: For reason number 4 above, you must understand that even if the iPhone does not fall apart after two years, there are other drawbacks to keeping it. By then, we will likely be seeing the second or third iteration of the iPhone, which will have either 3 or 4G network capability. Even if your iPhone works in two years, you will probably want to get a new phone.

Resco is an uniquely interesting company because they sell similar products for Palm OS, Symbian and PocketPC – so if one company can make qualified discussions and comparisons, its by almost all means them. Jan gladly shared with me a few very interesting insights – but before that, we need to look at a significant part of the Resco history.

The Resco history – short
Essentially, Resco was a PocketPC company right from the start – the Palm OS development division was added only much later by aquiring JSoft, Jan Slodickas company. There are more than 15 PocketPC people, but only 5 Palm guys at Resco’s; one of the Palm guys also does Symbian!

Platform sales – a few significant examples
For Resco, PocketPC generally is the top selling platform(if you look at the history, this probably explains why though). Palm is second, and Symbian development was an expensive venture that didn’t quite pay back. Please treat the following two apps as case studies:
Resco Sudoku
Resco Sudoku was released for Palm OS and PocketPC nearly simultaneously. Both applications have similar look&feel. The PocketPC version outsold the Palm OS version approximately 5:1.
World Cup Mobile 2006
This application was released for Palm OS; PocketPC and Symbian. Palm and PPC versions had very similar look&feel, Symbian version was a bit weaker. The PocketPC version outsold the Palm version 4:1, and the Palm version outsold the Symbian version 5:1.

The Top 10 selling devices
As a special gift from Resco I can bring you a top-selling devices list from one of their software distributors. The following devices “purchased” the most licenses in the last quarter:

  • Dell Axim X51v
  • Motorola Q
  • Palm Treo 650
  • Palm Treo 700p
  • Palm TX
  • HTC TyTN
  • Cingular 8125
  • Palm Treo 700w
  • Dell Axim X50x
  • HP hx4700

3 moths ago the order was(the Palm OS devices kept their positions – the shifts were in the PocketPC camp)

  • Dell Axim X51v
  • Motorola Q
  • Palm Treo 650
  • Palm Treo 700p
  • Palm TX
  • Cingular 8125
  • HP iPAQ hx4700
  • Dell Axim X50v
  • Palm Treo 700w
  • Audiovox PPC 6700

I am not totally sure about the significance of these numbers – after all, Resco is mainly a PocketPC company that runs the Palm department more-less separately. Also, there are less Palm developers than there are PocketPC folks – so as said, I am not the one who wants to interpret these numbers.
How would you interpret them?

The people at AllAboutSymbian seem to have telepatchic capabilities recently. They recently posted a post about how most Series 60 users don’t “want to” understand the Series 60 OS and treat it as they would treat any other IOS:

http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/features/item/Turns_out_you_dont_need_a_smartphone_after_all.php

Ladies and Gentlemen, I declare myself guilty of not having purchased or used a single third party application for my now dead Siemens SX1 for more than half a day. Yeah, I had a file manager on it – but this thingy was used like once a year at best. The only benefit that I reaped from the innovative operating system was the capability to transmit more than one photo at the same time – and this as a Palm OS developer.

The reason for this actually is simple – people who already have a PDA and are satisfied with it(Palm Tungsten T3) usually dont see a need to try out software for their mobile phone. For them, the handheld is the notebook – and the mobile phone only adds extra functionality to the handheld, sort of like a bluetooth dongle adds functionality to a PC.

So, the only kind of software that they would use are things that make the “connection” between the two devices even stronger. For example, the file manager made it easier to transfer images from the SX1 to the Palm – thus, it stayed on the mobile phone. Games, clocks or calculators, on the other hand, took up space where more photos could reside – so they usually were booted off the box before the evaluation period ended.

IMHO, the Series 60 economy must start to accept the “Tam Hanna’s” in their market sector – and the faster they do it, the better. While most people who buy an expensive Palm Treo smartphone understand that it is so expensive because of the capability to add third party applications, a person who chooses a Series 60 machine because it looks cool or is pink will probably never feel a need to add a feature!

What Series 60 developers should instead do is focus on the existing niche of interested customers – those that are interested in stuff like gaming, for example. Creating a market out of nowhere usually is difficult, entering a market is rather easy…

What do you think?

Recently, yours truly assisted a friend at a recording session. The recording went well-until we needed a camera stand that we didnt have in our shack. Luckily, an old friend of us lived closeby, and so we went over to get the stand that we needed. And-oh wonder-our brand new Sony camera fit onto the 20 year old camera stand beautifully.

But why doesn’t every manufacturer abide to some sort of standard? For example, why cant each Opamp have more-less the same pinout if it comes in the same packaging? The answer is binding customers to a product line-if a customer owns hundreds of bucks in accessoires, he is not very likely to switch brand, even if the current lineup of the manufacturer is far-from-perfect.

Standards can work very well though-if the following conditions are met:

  • The standard can “grow”
  • The standard is smart
  • The manufacturer does not produce a product that can replace the standardized one

Number three is the main reason IMHO. Palm does not produce memory cards(it just rebrands them), and thus they chose an open format. Sony produced its own memory cards, thus, its Clies were “Memory S(t)icked”. The same thing applies in many areas-only a select few manufacturers adopt open standards when able to produce an own, and those usually produce very good products…

How do you feel about this?

Recently, a few rumours were flooding all over the internet. The gist of the theories was that Apple was ganging up with RIM to create a “blackberry ipod”, however that box may look.

Immediately, people were bickering about how the CEO’s of the two companies were incompatible and about how this would never ever work out because of that. If you ask me personally, this is no reason though-I often worked together with people I really really hate, and the stuff that came out always was usable.

But Mike Mace(former PalmSource/Palm employee, many Palm OS veterans will still recall him) has a different theory about why the product would dump. He believes that iPod users and BlackBerry users are so different, that the users won’t want to “merge”:

http://mobileopportunity.blogspot.com/2006/06/why-apple-rim-would-be-bad-idea.html

What do you think?

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ZDNet Australia took a few Windows Mobile bigshots in for an interview about Windows Mobile 5, enterprise usage and lifecycle of mobile devices.

Basically, the core points are:

  • Microsoft says that their internal lifecycle is now 2.5 years
  • Many customers demanded Windows Mobile 5 for 2003 devices; even where upgrading was technically impossible
  • Enterprise customers demand “in-action” updating without need to erase all data

Get the full scoop here:
http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/software/soa/Windows_Mobile_still_faces_issues_Microsoft/0,2000061733,39257430,00.htm

This image gave me a start when I first saw it. My buddy Peter wantd to play a PC game with a gamepad, so he took the gamepad of his XBOX 360, connected it to his PC, installed a driver and had fun:
 On reusability of peripherals
Up to now, getting a controller working with a PC was extremely difficult. The german elektor magazine once managed to wire a Nintendo 64 controller up for usage on a PC; but had no chance in the end. The circuit was complex, the driver bad, and nobody really used the thingy.

This move from Microsoft’s IMHO is a sign how serious the company takes its XBOX 360 system, and how high they rate the need for its success. The XBOX 360 is a bit more expensive than the Nintendo Wii(more on Nintendo another day, pls remind me, anyone)-but this move by Microsoft “equalizes” the prices a bit.

Good PC gamepads cost 50$ or so last time I checked, and from what I feel the XBOX 360′s controller is excellent. Now, a gamer who purchases an XBOX 360, automatically gets a gamepad for his PC as well. And should the XBOX ever die, the controller’s can be recycled or sold to fellow PC gamers. This adds in a load of “future safety”, and this is something that many people love!

Overall, when offering stuff to customers, try to make it as compatible as possible. You may loose a bit of sales at first, but the universal compatibility will make your product more popular. The Handera 330 was extremely popular due to its Palm III style connector, which alowed recycling of peripherals that Palm themselfes had declared dead(m500).

What do you think?

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