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iMessage – a grown up version of BBM

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment
"Leopard" Icons in Black

Image via Wikipedia

So… I updated to iOS5 yesterday morning, the thing I wanted to try out most of all was iMessage and in all honesty it took me a while to figure out how to use it… because I was already. Now this for me is the perfect example of good design, it should be so simple that to use it there is no learning curve – or in fact no learning at all.

BBM has been the big success story for BlackBerry – particularly when it comes to getting teenagers to use it as BBM provides free texting, the trouble with it is that you BBM identity is based on your device PIN which means if you switch devices you have to add all your contacts again.  This has been made easier due to the backup/restore services however it still sends out an invite request to all my contacts. I seem to constantly get new invites from people who have lost, replaced or updated their BB.

The next issues is that it is an extra app to use which means that for those new to the blackberry they have to work out how to use it, OK so it isn’t like learning how to do open heart surgery but it still requires going onto another application and then adding contacts.

So what is so good about iMessages – The genius of it is twofold:

1. To begin with you don’t know you are using it, if a person in your contact list as an iPhone (or other iOS device) running it then an iMessage is sent by default and sms is used as a ‘backup’, I can see the delivery state and if the other person begins responding you can see it – so you can’t see if a message has been read but I’m not certain that is a killer feature anyway.

2. it works on multiple devices and follows you around based on where your account is in use rather than your device PIN. This means I stay who I am and if I get a new phone or device it will work on there too without having to do anything or requesting to be added to people’s contacts.

How Apple could improve it further would be to add it as a feature to iTunes or better yet make this accessible from other platforms and devices too but that may well be too big an ask.

A few years ago I used to talk to people about how one day all our phone numbers would be replaced using ‘presence’ and how UC would transform how we would live and work, that has failed to materialise (yet), for many reasons but steps like this will begin to make it a reality.

Could iUsers give Enterprises a way of managing iPads??

July 21, 2011 Leave a comment

I was taking a look at a video today (see below) and it got me thinking about how enterprises are allowing (or not allowing) their users to have access to applications using an iPad.  The current options for corporates to give their users access to iPad is to either lock them down and restrict them so much as to make their users upset (Angry Birds is an emotive subject) or use some sort of sandbox/security layer. It seems that Good Technology has a bit of a monopoly here, or they do with the customers I speak to. They provide a security and management wrapper around assets such as email, calendars etc.

From the video below it seems to me that it would be a relatively small ‘step’ to tie this up with some sort of enterprise control layer so that corporates could provision accounts and drop in apps and access to network resources in a secure fashion on the users own device and have the ability to disable it in the event of the user loosing either their device or their job. They would need to encrypt all data on the iPad’s local storage but I think this is the first baby steps that Apple might finally be open to the idea of enterprises using the iPad – or rather the concept of ‘Bring a device to work’.

I appreciate that this is only for jailbroken devices – and corporates aren’t likely to go and do that, but if you were to take the concept and combine it with MDM then the concept of one device for work and play will fly.

Wooohooo the New Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

July 8, 2011 Leave a comment

So we got delivered the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 today. It is hard to give it a full write up as I need to get properly acclimatised to Android – my only experience of Droid so far is the horrible time of using the simulator on my laptop, not something I want to try again any time soon.

So here are the first impressions.

Good:

It is very light

And the size feels good – and slim.

screen resolution is very good.

the accelerometers are very responsive… I don’t seem to have to keep tilting to get the right orientation.

Flash support.

Bad:

build quality feels cheap.

the plastic back is flimsy.

The OS still feels like it is lacking in various areas.

The screen has a strange oil slick thing happening like it has been damaged.

The one we have the rear camera isn’t working.

No USB ports or room forSD/MicroSD

………………………………

Overall the only thing it seems to have done is make me like the BlackBerry PlayBook more… as its build quality, look and feel are far more polished (I know I can’t believe it either!).

If the cost of this unit is low I can see it being popular, but for me the iPad (even v1) is still the one to beat.

Categories: BlackBerry, iPad, Mobility, Tablets

What I want – smartphone, tablet, laptop and desktop – nivarna….

April 14, 2011 Leave a comment

From what I see day-to-day there is increasingly less focus on what is going on in the realms of desktop OS. As browsers are getting steadily more and more advanced, and vendors are now getting behind HTML5 and CSS3it is making browser apps a much more pleasant place to be. Furthermore the ‘technical native’ generation are entering the workforce and as a result they are happy with the concept of browser-based apps. Also of note is that the strangle hold that Microsoft has had on the desktop OS world is beginning to relax: in 2003 Windows (in one flavor or another) accounted for nearly 94% market share, as of March 2011 this figure is now 86% (source WC3 stats). That represents quite a slide – and a 2% reduction in the last year alone. More interestingly it seems that Windows 7 (their best OS yet) hasn’t increased the market share yet even Vista caused an up-tick…  IDC announced yesterday that  Global PC shipments declined 3.2% during the first quarter of 2011 (1Q11) compared to the same time last year and that will have a knock on affect for the revenues of the likes of Microsoft. The world seems to be changing – and it seems things like tablets and smartphones may be the cause of this.

Now this is where there is an opportunity… let me explain…

When Motorola announced the Atrix I thought they were on to something – I really liked some of the ideas but the truth was it was a case of being close but not getting the cigar. I loved the accessories but all in the price is just too hard to swallow and that the netbook/laptop options meant I would end up running a Linux desktop which just isn’t for me (I know – I know – Linux is a great os but I’m not a fan)- so I remain a walking catalogue of consumer electronics….

If I could have a smartphone, that I could ‘dock’ into a tablet that I could then click onto a keyboard (for my laptop) and then when at my desk dock into a cradle to give me access to my multiple screens, mouse, keyboard (and touch screen aspect of the tablet for control etc) – each time increasing the processing power, resolution capabilities and storage then I believe we would have world peace 🙂 – well I for one would be happy. If I could go seamlessly from one device to another with access to same docs, (perhaps have a cloud based storage mechanism) or at least remote access to the files on the cradle whilst traveling then this would be a winner. Especially as this would also be a mobile/desktop soft-phone. Microsoft, Apple and increasingly Google (enter ChromeOS) are well positioned for this strategy and I have a feeling that this is where Apple are going – maybe that is the basis for the iPhone5 nano rumors and the huge new data-center… after all this would again change everything.

#iPad2 vs #PlayBook and the other #Tablets out there.

March 26, 2011 1 comment

Well RIM’s Playbook is coming out in a couple of weeks time, and I’m hoping to get to play with it properly in the office next week. When I got a limited opportunity to use it back in January I was impressed, it felt snappy and well-built (unlike the plastic feeling Android tablets I’ve tried out) – I even liked the form factor – maybe 7″ is enough to satisfy?? Who knew…

Since then we’ve seen a few more contenders come out to challenge the iPad v1, most notably the Xoom, even if flash support isn’t quite there yet as well as a new galaxy tab. Whilst these new tablets all look nice and had better specs than the iPad This reminds me of the Dawn of home computing in the early 80’s I can remember debating with my friends in the playground which we would be best to buy a, zx spectrum a c64 or a BBCb….


Take a look at some of the UK computing mags from back then:http://www.magforum.com/computer/computermagazine…

Anyone else got a feeling that history is repeating itself? Back then the key lesson to be learned was that it was the apps that dictated where the market was headed so the tablet vendors should bear this in mind especially so for new entrants like RIM and HP. The users will flock to use devices that have the richest app ecosystem – today that is iOS, no argument – I witnessed the queues outside the Apple shop in Cambridge yesterday and iPad2 is going to be another success story.

There is a lesson for Apple here too though, they need to keep the developer community happy to ensure they get the best apps and content available for their devices to stay ahead of the competition.  Having read (and seen first hand) how hard it is to get up and running to develop using PlayBook  RIM need to up their game fast to ensure that they don’t end up an also ran in the Tablet race – as they are going to be playing catch up with iOS and Android even if they grandfather in BlackBerry apps or perhaps add some sort of emulation.

The other interesting thing about the trip to Cambridge yesterday is that it made me think more about how it seems the desktop/laptop OS market monopoly of Microsoft is getting less strong these days, walk past a coffee shop ( I was in Starbucks) and of the 5 laptops in use all were MacBook pros (same in airports) and soon we may start seeing more of things like chromeOS and even webOS devices too.