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.

Truphone could wipe the floor with Google voice

There’s a lot of buzz on the web right now about Google voice going public. But there’s still a huge problem, text messages.

What people are looking to do is disconnect their number from their sim card. People are keen to have a number that’s theirs but not tied to a specific handset (voip, fixed or mobile) and are looking to Google voice to give them that functionality. The extra benefit being they don’t have to carry or use the same device they are device independent.

Google voice will only give you half of that functionality, the voice portion, the text portion is still left on your handset. So you’re left holding multiple devices again, if you want to receive SMS or MMS.

This is where Truphone trumps Google Voice, Truphone disconnects your number from the device, you can install Truphone onto most mobile devices and then insert any sim, local or roaming and it’ll just adopt that network as the transport, but using your truphone number as the ‘from’ number for both voice and text. So your Truphone number can deal with both Voice and Text. But you’ve spotted the tiny issue, it only works for mobile devices.

A little while back (august 2008) I wrote to the guys at Truphone with the following message, with the relevant one here being point 4 enter the Grand Central space (Grand Central is now Google Voice)

1. Number choice – The ability to choose a number from those available and or buy a ‘gold’ (and silver?) number.
Some carriers used to have the concept of Gold and Silver numbers, where you paid for a more memorable number.  If you don’t want to buy a number, you’re given the ability to select a number from the db. For example, my (GSM) number is XXXX 7887898, but my truphone number is +44XXX8804483, so I’d maybe try for  07978 887898 or 887899 for example.

2. Number portability – port my GSM number to Truphone.
James mentioned this in our short and bad line quality call the other day. I think this would be great as I could port my number to truphone and then use any carrier pre-pay sim card behind it for gsm coverage. Assuming truphone anywhere would still provide my Truphone CLI so it wouldn’t matter which sim you used. This I’m sure could cut my personal phone bill from a grand a year to a few hundred. The ability to disconnect your well known phone number from the carrier and allow you to move around carriers, both national and international would be a great benefit and provide a huge amount of freedom.

3. CLI choice – The ability to select.
I think there’s been some issues in this area with fraud, but the ability to choose either the GSM or Truphone CLI to be presented shouldn’t be a problem. People could put Truphone on their whatever phone and use it where there wasn’t any GSM coverage, but I would want to present my GSM CLI which my contacts can identify. (assuming you haven’t ported your number)

4. Enter the Grand Central space?
We don’t get Grand central in the UK and it’s had problems because it doesn’t do SMS, (no sms forward so resorting to sms to voice!). Could Truphone step into this space, by allowing users to register several numbers which are called in simultaneously or in order. The ability to define when certain numbers can get through or go to voicemail. The SMS capability of Truphone gives you a huge advatange over Grand Central here.

We know Truphone bought Sim4Travel and are working on their own sim for roaming, but I think some work on the back end of the voice routing, which could then allow users to tweak call routing via a portal would allow a much richer functionality to be gained and provide users with what they want, a number that’s not connected to a specific device that handles both voice and text.

Palm Pre has a shocking boot up time

image

Just watched CNET Asia’s ‘prize fight’ between the iPhone 3G, 3GS and the Pre and I was shocked as to how long the Pre and the iPhone 3G takes to boot up. My N95 takes about 25 seconds including entering my Pin. But 1 minute and 46 seconds to boot that’s just nuts, 48 seconds for the iPhone too, ain’t too clever.

The Pre did go on to win the next two tests, web browsing and taking a photo and emailing it. The second test is a little useless here with MMS already available.

Watch the video here. [via intomobile]

The E71 is back as the king of phones

..well it is in my view. Having had an E71 from WOM ages ago, I was seduced by the keyboard and the screen, but the camera was a little flaky. I purchased one back in September of last year and enjoyed using it, but the poor camera ruined the experience for me. Having two kids, the camera is an important element of the phone for me, so the E71 found itself on the shelf, replaced by an N95 8GB.

@Ratkat not a great difference, lighting different, you can see an improvement http://bit.ly/NSmvO was old this is new http://bit.ly/UFGg

However, as you may have read there’s been a new firmware release and it’s fixed the camera. Check out the photo’s in the above tweet and you’ll see the difference. The E71 has pretty much everything as a device, granted the keyboard on the E63 is better, but fixing the camera and losing the purple tint has made the device much more complete.

So for me the E71 is back as the king of phones, the N95 8GB has found itself confined to my gadget basket along with the N70, SVP C600 and so on.

London, Frankfurt and Geneva

The next 10 days or so are going to be pretty full on travelling, Tomorrow is down to Slough, then into London for a trip to a restaurant with the CFO of a major UK telco, then back home on Tuesday.  Thursday it’s the 7am flight out of Manchester to Frankfurt for two days coming back 10pm Friday night. Monday it’s off to Geneva for two days, this time with that hassle free airline easyjet. My Ticket to Geneva and this is return cost £39; in comparison a ticket to London on the train if you just rock up is £186, just nuts.

So the Patagonia MLC is getting more use with the one-bag travel system so much less hassle and worry and my other Christmas present the Fuji travel adaptor with USB charging will also get an outing too. I’ve debating whether to take the Asus as well as the work laptop, but I don’t think I’ll bother, one laptop will do, who do I think I am Jonathan Greene 😉

Truphone will also be coming along too as it always does, I’ve got a new gold number from them which is cool, but it’s not been enabled yet, so looking forward to getting that setup.

Where all this might go wrong is the weather, when I checked the BBC weather it said between 2-5cm’s of snow. Any amount seems to cause the UK to grind to a halt, so we’ll see what happens. Posts on twitter and indicating it’s started to snow in some parts already.

 

E71 new firmware – the camera still poor

Nokia released new firmware for the E71 Euro, v200.21.118 last week, there’s a change log here. The new firmware makes the browser much much faster and adds a couple of new themes which are nice. It looks like a major upgrade and worth the effort of the upgrade.

But there’s still one major flaw with the E71, the camera, it’s shocking, there’s still a purple tint to photo’s and they are still very very grainy in low light. The E71 has a 3.2mp camera just like the N73 had, but the N73s camera was aweome, truly awesome. I read a while back that the 3.2mp unit in the E71 is a much lower spec unit and used to keep the costs down.

My devices must perform three functions well, take calls and not crash and last for 2 days without charging, be good at messaging and emails and replace my point and shoot camera. The N95 still performs all those tasks well, with the battery being the weakest point. The E71 performs the first two requirements really well, but the third requirement of being a decent camera, it just fails.

I’ve just picked up an N95 8gb to address the weaker battery of my N95 classic, so I’ve got 4 devices on the go right now, my N95-1, my E71 and my E61i, but I expect the N95 8gb to be the device that I never put down.

Nokia Music app is a fail

I installed the Nokia Music App v1.0 a few days back to give it a try and see if I could manage my music on my E71 using it.

The clue here is version 1.0, that’s the key point, it’s the first version and it’s shockingly bad. The music sync is so slow and constantly fails. So updating the E71 with new music was a painful experience.

The killer reason it’s been wiped from my Netbook is I when fired up my booted yesterday, it got stuck in a hideous loop and wouldn’t load or install the new version it stated I needed to install. A trip to the Nokia web site and a download of the latest version fixed it.

The whole experience has further tainted my experience of Nokia software. The Nokia PC suite is about as flaky as it gets, it used to be good now it’s rubbish. The best app ever from Nokia was lifeblog, which was great, but that’s been sidelined. Nokia is going to have to shape up if it’s going to move into software. The PC software is an important part of the experience these days, so a badly implemented solution is going to turn people off from Nokia, just look at Apple’s iTunes integration.

There are some other Nokia software horror stories bouncing around, messing up people’s OVi sign on’s, the whole OVi strategy is a mess though.

Anyway, I’ll just sideload music directly onto the E71 from now, on come on Nokia sort it out.