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!

When comparing current operating systems for mobile devices, the lack of an useful web browser for Palm OS immediately stands out – all other operating systems have an abundance of browsers available.

Java ports of WebKit recently began to pop up – unfortunately, one of the most promising ones of them(TeaShark) currently crashes on Palm devices according to user reports.

However, the company apparently is aware of the problem and plans to fix it according to this Google Groups discussion:

Thanks for the report. Unfortunately, TeaShark is not supporting Palm
devices yet. (neither natively nor through WEME (java))
We will let you know, when TeaShark is available on Palm devices.

Stay tuned!

P.S. In case anyone of you manages to get it running – please send me an email asap!

Austrian wireless carriers have battled one another for a long time; causing steep price droops and rock-bottom-cheap plans. Unfortunately, as a side effect, shop clerks get less and less skilled. Readers recently reported me loads of horor stories about T-Mobile Austria…time to print them out.

Availability whac-a-mole
T-Mobile Austria offers special contracts to members of the press – these are clearly advertised on the web.

However, shop folk knew about 20% of the available options – wonderful… . A request to talk with the supervisor was ignored.

Contract whac-a-mole
04022008078 T Mobile Austria Shop horror   or   the value of trained staff
The friendly guy above has sold yours truly bread and groceries for like 5 years now. In fact, his uptime is actually higher than mine – nevertheless, he experienced a lovely game of whac-a-mole at T-Mobile’s.

When porting his age-old tele.ring contract to T-Mobile(same mother company), the company requested 5 different credit checks. And no, they didn’t request them on block – but rather piece-per-piece. So…he ran to the shop five times…in vain.

Additionally, three clerks independently told him wrong information about included free minutes – they claimed 1000 free minutes for each competitor network, but the plan offers only 1000 for all of them combined.

Data whac-a-mole
Essentially a copy of what was written above, except that it happened a year ago. Shop guy told me I had 500MB free…but I had only 250. Cool!

Service outage? I don’t care!
While T-Mobile usually is reliable, outages truly strike you hard. I once had a GPRS outage at 2400 night and called a hotline. The conversation was approx. like this:

Me: You have an outage
CC rep: Call tomorrow
Me: Mate, listen up – this is a SERVICE OUTAGE!
CC rep: I don’t care

*click*

In the end, low rates benefit everyone – but they should IMHO not be financed on the expense of customer care. The examples above could have caused gigantic issues to the affected folks…something that definitely should not happen…ever…

What’s your personal carrier peeves?

P.S. I forwarded this post to T-Mobile’s press department – let’s see what they say in response!

Nowadays, many devices have both Bluetooth and WiFi radios. Many people owning more than one handheld still run legacy Bluetooth routers along their WiFi systems – and Bluetooth headphones/etc have never been as popular as they are right now.

So far so good – but both Bluetooth and WiFi operate in the 2.4GhZ band…don’t they disturb one another?

Get the full scoop at our sister site TamsPPC:
http://tamsppc.tamoggemon.com/2008/01/27/bluetoothwifi-interference/

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 has just updated Resco Explorer to version 3.10. The application now supports SMB file sharing(aka Windows Shares). TamsPalm had the opportunity to play around with the product a bit…here’s our verdict:

Accessing Windows Shares is possible via a graphical browser – there is no need to enter the path manually. However, accessing the browser is a bit difficult – it is hidden in the menu:
0a Resco Explorer 3.10 released   Windows Share access

The browser itself works very well. It scans the network for approximately 10 secs, and then shows a list of all workgroups and workstations in “range”. Each one of the workstations can then be “scanned” for its shares:
1a Resco Explorer 3.10 released   Windows Share access

Clicking on a share allows you to enter a user name and a password:
2a Resco Explorer 3.10 released   Windows Share access

After that, you are set to go. Resco Explorer integrates the share into the “directory tree” transparently – you can copy files to and from it, zip/encrypt files,.. like with files on a memory card:
3a Resco Explorer 3.10 released   Windows Share access

Overall, if you have a WIFI or bluetooth network at home, getting Resco Explorer is a must! Accessing files on your PC has never been so easy and convenient before. The program is currently on special offer in the TamsShop – the price of 25$ is more than justified!

GX5 has recently released a few impressively-looking applications for Treos – for example, DialByPhoto, a good-looking replacement for the Treo’s built-in phone app(DialByPhoto review). Their latest spawn is TreoWeather, a weather forecast tool…can it stack up?

After installing the program onto the Treo, TreoWeather needs to download additional icons wirelessly. It also asks for permission to retrieve data from Yahoo over the wireless link, and shows a quick tutorial on adding new cities:
0a TreoWeather review   a weather forecast tool for your Treo 0b TreoWeather review   a weather forecast tool for your Treo 0c TreoWeather review   a weather forecast tool for your Treo

Adding a new city is done in the menu – you enter the name of the city, and the program then offers you a list of cities that match. I tried austrian postal codes too, but had no success:
1a TreoWeather review   a weather forecast tool for your Treo 1b TreoWeather review   a weather forecast tool for your Treo

Per default, the program shows one city at a time in ‘mini mode’(the blurs are due to GIF compression and are not visible on the handheld):
2a TreoWeather review   a weather forecast tool for your Treo 2b TreoWeather review   a weather forecast tool for your Treo

Tapping the ‘maximize’ toggle opens detail view, where additional information about cities is available:
3a TreoWeather review   a weather forecast tool for your Treo

A 5day prognosis is accessible from there, too – as is the manual upgrade button:
4a TreoWeather review   a weather forecast tool for your Treo 4b TreoWeather review   a weather forecast tool for your Treo

TreoWeather’s display can be customized like most other GX5 apps – you can add a background image and overlay of choice, choose fonts and display units:
5a TreoWeather review   a weather forecast tool for your Treo 5b TreoWeather review   a weather forecast tool for your Treo

This review looked at version 1.0.0.0 of TreoWeather on a Palm Treo 680. The program was stable and needs about 1.2MB – however, parts of the program can be moved to the external memory card.

Overall, TreoWeather is a very nice-looking weather forecast tool for your Treo. It can fetch a forecast and display it beautifully – but it can’t autoupdate itself as of now(said to be coming soon). The update button is pretty difficult to access, and there’s no plugins for other programs either. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. If you want a cool-looking program, get TreoWeather by all means. On the other hand, if you need plugins, get 4cast(4cast review)… . Both products cost 10$…get an evaluation version of both and decide yourself!

Use the code DONTGETWET to get 20% off both 4cast and TreoWeather in the TamsShop

One of the most-discussed weak points of the Palm Treo 700p is its miserable bluetooth headset support. Palm’s Treo 680 is said to have an improved bluetooth system, and should theoretically work well with headsets. Logitech provided TamsPalm with a loaner of their Mobile Freedom Headset – a bluetooth headset with volume buttons and a single multifunction knob.

After pairing the Treo 680 with the bluetooth headset, connecting the headset to the Treo was a matter of pressing the button(if the bluetooth radio of the Treo was turned on). The Treo’s bluetooth stack then showed a small “headset enabled” icon instead of the regular bluetooth one:
0a Treo 680 bluetooth headset support   Treo 680 vs Logitech Mobile Freedom headset 0b Treo 680 bluetooth headset support   Treo 680 vs Logitech Mobile Freedom headset

Accepting and rejecting calls with the Mobile Freedom headset worked well. A single press of the multifunction button, and the Treo 680 went to work. Interestingly, the Treo played its own ringtone via its speaker system. The headset has its own jingle, leading to two jingles hitting my ear at the same time. Adjusting call volume with the buttons worked well, too.

Call quality was very clear on a range of up to 3 meters – once a bigger wall was in between or the distance got bigger, call quality began to degrade a bit, but remained on Treo 600 niveau for up to 5 to 7 meters.

However, this is where the Treo 680′s bluetooth headset support ends. PocketTunes stubbornly played its tunes via the loudspeaker and Voice Memo ignored the headset’s microphone, too. Apparently, the bluetooth headset is not available to the sound manager but is rather only used by the Phone app.

Overall, the Treo 680 supports bluetooth headsets. I used the Mobile Freedom Headset for about 30 minutes and experienced no crashes or serious lags. Of course, more integration and a higher range would have been cool to have – but a person who usually is close to his Treo shouldn’t have any problems!

What did you experience? Which headset do you use with your Treo?

When I originally got my Treo 680, its Blazer browser refused to open many web sites and instead showed a window like the one below:
0a How to fix .php page download problems with Blazer

Most pages which were dynamically generated via php and thus ended in .php were impossible to render on my Treo 680…this severely limited usability.

If this happens, a fix is easy and readily available. Download Resco Explorer(trial is enough), and open Control Panel -> Associations. Look for an association to .php(like the one shown below) and delete it:
1a How to fix .php page download problems with Blazer

Blazer now no longer feels the urge to ‘pass on’ the file to another application as there is no handler available in the Palm Os’ses registry. Instead, it proceeds to render and show the page normally…

The CeBit hall 7 was full of anti-virus vendors and manufacturers. Read: loads of people to bug for an opinion about mobile virii. I asked a few people from different AV houses, and here is what they told me:

Avira(former H+BEDV)
The Avira rep stated that his company expects a significant epidemic of virii for both Symbian and Windows Mobile due to the increasing user bases and also the increased capabilities and usage times.

Carriers will eventually step into the fight – but only after the first epidemic makes their customers force them to participate.

ESET
ESET, better known as the manufacturer of the award-winning NOD32 antivirus program, currently doesn’t offer any kind of antivirus product for mobile devices. However, the company plans to release such a product in fall of this year.

ESET expects the virus situation to get _much_ worse in the next time…

F-Secure
The F-Secure rep was giving a lecture while I visited their booth. However, he is willing to take a 10q interview later if you want him to(just post a comment saying yes and maybe giving some example questions

Symantec
The Symantec rep told me that a new research bulletin will become available on the 20th of March(we will receive a copy afaik). This bulletin will contain further information. Meanwhile, he gave me the following statements:

  • Currently, the number of threats is low
  • Palm OS Treos are expected to come under fire soon
  • Expect worsening of situation

While coding on a Palm OS game yesterday, I created a simple circle drawing algorithm based on sine and cosine of an angle. The circles it drew were of very low quality – and I set out to find a better circle drawing algorithm.

After a few hours of searching, I finally found this page:
http://www.cs.unc.edu/~mcmillan/comp136/Lecture7/circle.html

It explains a rather simple algorithm that works very well – should you ever need a custom circle drawing routine(no, the Palm OS’s doesn’t do it here), you will be very happy to have this page at hand!

Using Palm OS handhelds to, um, gain a little advantage over the average, non-Palm OS-equipped pupil at school seems to be a very common thing among us – but Bluetooth wireless gadgets apparently can be used for more not exactly legal deeds.

Indian Chess player Umakant Sharma was banned from playing competitive chess for 10 years(yep, ten) after authorities found out that he used a bluetooth headset sewn into his cap to receive orders from a partner running Hiarcs chess on a computer.

While Mr.Sharma made a very dumb mistake by copying the moves of the PC 1:1, this nevertheless shows how bluetooth can be abused. If he hadn’t been copying 1:1, he probably would still be playing….

Get more information here:
Wikipedia on Umakant Sharma
TheInquirer report

The folks at F-Secure’s do a great job keeping an eye out for mobile device virii – their blog is full of interesting stories and reports.

They recently posted a comic that explains how Series 60 virii spread in a very simple fashion. This probably isnt useful for you, but can pay out big when explaining the problem to your family:

http://www.f-secure.com/weblog/archives/Anatomy_of_Attack.jpg

We have seen all kinds of bluetooth marketing/advertising systems in the last two years. The concept that they used was simple: whenever a device is closeby, push ad matereal into in ruthlessly.

A college group has now taken a different approach. Their display looks at closeby bluetooth devices and stores their data in its internal database. This data is then used to show ads on a screen – each user thus gets to see each ad only once.

In fact, a small-scale test installation is already up and running:
http://www.newscientisttech.com/article.ns?id=dn10065&feedId=online-news_rss20

If you ask me, the main problem here is trackability. The ad display manager can know which Bluetooth device ID was here and when – another step away from anonymity and another reason to disable bluetooth on your PDA….

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