Google offers drag-and-drop App Inventor for Kids!

Google have launched tools to allow the creation of simple apps for Android devices, they’re not available just yet though, they are still in private beta. There are already several “it’s not going to produce much of value” posts our there, take this one from the Guardian.

Personally, having just spend the past three years learning to code for various platforms (including iOS), it is easy to be skeptical over these short cuts to writing applications

But I think they are missing the point, this is for children or young adults at least. It’s about getting kids interesting in Android, using Android and building apps that they may use, but it’s looking to the future.

I also agree that the next amazing twitter app will not emerge from this tool, but the person who develops that app, may have grown up on this, cut his or her teeth so to speak on it.

The form which allows you to register interest, is littered with references to education, Google’s aim is getting Android in to schools and used by kids as they grow up. Apple already does this it already offers free lessons for several of it’s apps for 8 to 10 year olds over the summer vacation, i.e. it’s starting the early.

To be honest, I’m keen to have a go, I haven’t done any programming since Uni and a bit of small talk on my IBM graduate training program, that’s it. But what I’m most keen to do is let my 6 year old daughter loose on it. She can use MS Paint, MS Word and do some interesting things, so I’m sure it won’t take her too long to pick this up.

The cat video might also spark a bit of interest, for the cat alone, but it’s about what she and kids her age will do with this. It gives them tools to make things not just out of paper and cello tape but allows them to make usable (if basic) software, that’s what this is about sparking an interest in the developers and entrepreneurs of the future.

Sad but true, Symbian-Guru.com is Over

This is a sad story, but one that’s happening frequently, guys and girls who once cheered for Nokia are making the leap away. Symbian-Guru, like me, has moved to Android, others have moved to iPhone, atmaspheric endeavors for example;

As of today, I will no longer be updating Symbian-Guru.com, and will be purchasing an Android-powered smartphone – my new Nexus One should arrive tomorrow. I’ve been a Nokia fanboy since 1999.

I’ve tried to use all of Nokia’s various products and services to the best of my ability, and I just can’t do it anymore.

I can’t continue to support a manufacturer who puts out such craptastic ‘flagships’ as the N97, and who expects me to use services that even most of Nokia’s own employees don’t use

I’ve noticed a lot of the buzz surrounding Nokia has gone, WOM World is working hard, but they’ve got their work cut out now. Nokia has got to pull it’s self up by the boot laces quickly, it’s fine concentrating on the emerging markets, but they are aspirational too, they aspire to own iPhones and Droid’s and cheap Nokia’s are just a stepping stone. They also want apps, have you used the OVi store recently, don’t it’s just awful. The new handsets, N8 for example look hampered with the same old issues, see the photo above from the Nokia Blog

I hope Nokia listens to what people like Symbian Guru says as it’s cheer leaders are leaving in Droids.

Will the iPad be used by Corporations?

We’re just days away now from people getting their hands on Apple’s latest product the iPad, a tablet device or appliance about twice the size of the iPhone. There is speculation that it’ll sell 6M units in 2010 which is a pretty huge number for what essential is a locked down appliance.

So where will all those devices go? Most if not all will go to the same people that (religiously) buy Mac books and Mac book air’s. I guess that most people will buy them to consume media whilst traveling or just sitting on the couch for instance watching episodes of Lost bought from iTunes, but who else could buy them?

We’ve seen the iPhone creep into the Enterprise at the expense of Blackberry (which ironically is creeping into youth culture with it’s built in IM app). How many emails do you now seen in your outlook inbox with the words ‘sent from an iphone’ at the bottom, I see a growing number. There is a view that the iPhone is a consumer device more so than a business supplied corporate handset, but due to it’s ease of use and the size and scope of the  “there’s an app for that” store, we’re seeing it creep in as the power users phone of choice.

The ability of the iPhone to encroach into the enterprise shows that the iPad may well enter markets that it’s not initially aimed at too. Take the Text book market, text books are expensive (or they were when I last bought one!) and they are heavy to carry around. We’re already seeing text book publishers’ work with software companies to bring their content to the iPad. So could we see School, Universities, and educational establishments in general take up the iPad as the device of choice to provide the educational content?

I’m not sure if iPad will creep into the corporate environment as a lot of content creation goes on and at the moment the keyboard is king. However, I can see Apple selling a lot more than 6m iPads over the next few years into a whole host of new markets as it’s an easy to use/manage/upgrade wireless appliance with what looks like a great screen. What does this mean for the Telco’s; it means yet more networked devices requiring a pervasive network and ubiquitous computing creeps ever nearer.

Also published on Orange Business Live Blog.

Location becomes fashionable again

The improvement in technology has meant that location is now important. Why, because Location Based services (LBS) are a hot topic at the moment with a huge interest in services such as Foursquare and Gowalla both of which are growing huge user bases, specifically the former, having just passed One million users as reported by Techcrunch.

LBS requires the network to know where you are so that if can tailor information specific to that location i.e. advertising, or allow you to perform a task specific to that location “check in” for example. The benefit of this sharing of your location, is you can see where your friends are, arrange impromptu meetings, coffee maybe as you’re in the same location.

However, less recent developments in technology and in particular high speed wireless data networks allowed us to become nomadic workers not reliant on a single location where work must be performed. As a result of this the importance of location reduced as we can perform pretty much “everything everywhere”.

An office is still the most common place where knowledge based work is performed, but that’s changing as teleworking or mobile working becomes much more common. The late 19th century concept of the offices is analogous to a factory, it’s the place where you must “check in”  between 9am and 5pm to be seen by your superiors to be working.

We started with the statement; The improvement in technology has meant that Location is now important. However if you look back just 18 months or less, the statement could easily have been just one letter different; The improvement in technology has meant that Location is not important, the office is everywhere. Just goes to show 18 months is a long time in the technology world.

Also posted on the Orange Business Live Blog

Android WordPress app

Posting this on the WordPress app for Android. turned portrait, the Desire could make mobile blogging very easy. Thumb typing is quick and easy and the spelling is quickly corrected by the software. So if you get a chance check out the WordPress app for Android it’s very slick, comments can be approved posts edited and new ones posted, quality.

First impressions of the HTC Desire

This isn’t going to be a full review, don’t have the time, so just a few observations..

The web is fast, with WiFi access and the 1ghz process web pages render as fast as any device I’ve seen. The web Browser is good, pinch to zoom in or out, hold it on the screen and you get a magnifying glass. The address bar vanishes to save space and pages scroll quickly and smoothly.

Battery is good, I used it a lot for reading feeds, twitter etc, took a photo or two and had a 10 min phone conversation, push email on all the time, as was wi-fi at the end of the day still 50% left, so it’d easily last a heavy use day on a single charge.

Ram, there’s way more ram on the Desire than the Hero, Taskiller shows about 100mb or so, when all apps are stoped, on the Desire, it’s over 200mb.

Optical scroll wheel, it’s going to take a little while to get used to, the old track ball was more accurate in moving the cursor around in text.

The camera is way better than the Hero, it too is 5mp but it’s way clearer and now video is 30fps nearer DVD quality than the jumpy 15fps of the Hero.

Friend Stream replaces the updates within the people app, which is OK, but I liked finding out when I went to call someone that they’d updated something before I called them, rather than via a separate app. Having used Peep yet, as still using Twidroid pro, so don’t know if it’s improved or not.

Live Wallpapers are a bit of a gimmick, they don’t add much, but eat battery I’m sure, maybe we’ll see more useful wallpapers sometime soon.

There’s a find people app, which is a little rvedundant, a news app which is nice but not as good as some of the 3rd party apps. Gallery or was it Albums,  is now call photo’s, so it’s moved from near top of the apps list to somewhere else. Gtalk is not just talk, only a minor change, but you think is it the old Gtalk or a new IM app.

The settings app first page has changes and it took me a few mins to find a few things, notably you can’t change the lock screen which is a shame.

The other differences to the Hero is the slight change in the layout of the physical keys at the bottom and pressing down and holding power key at the top of the phone is now needed to select vibration setting for example. Either holding down the Home key or pinches brings up the card view of all screens, which allows you to jump to anyone quickly.

The other thing I found you couldn’t do was disable HTC Sence and take a look at the underlying Google OS. On the Hero, you go into Applications, remove default and force closure, a press of the home key then brought you the option, Sense or Andriod,, which is a shame.

So far very pleased with it, I have an unbranded version, so fingers crossed I’ll get any future updates asap without waiting for the carrier approved update.

And like the last Android device I had, I haven’t had to connect it to a computer at all.

My 3UK MiFi has arrived

The courier dropped of a small package earlier this evening and my free upgrade from 3UK has turned up. It’s currently charging the 1500mAh battery contained within the smooth small white capsule.

You can see it’s smaller than both the Nokia handsets in the picture and come is the very fashionable white.

I’ve given it a whirl and connected my HTC Hero to it first time, no issues. The only thing I had to do was remove the pin code from the SIM, as there’s no way to enter the pin when you fire up the device.

 

So far all looks good, heading back down south later in the week for another stay over so will be giving the unit a work out then, tethering my hero, laptop and E71 to it, the only worry is the coverage. So first impressions are good, the lights are a little gimmicky but you can’t have everything.