Economics of computing devices

I have been observing that as smartphones are becoming smarter, they are also becoming more expensive, there have been a segment that have also entered the market once fill by feature, or dumb phones, but they are almost designed to entice you upgrade to the more expensive and glamorious models.

At the same time, laptops, particularly ChromeBooks are now dropping below the price of the average smart phone. Add in the increasing use of pads, especially Android pads and you have to imagine that MicroSoft should be getting very worried.

Desktop computers, PC’s, are almost non-exsistent these days, traditional laptops are in decline and the base for an exclusive Microsoft Windows empire is crumbling before our eyes.

Aren’t we glad that Bill Gates is still the richest (published) man in the world.

And to put another nail in the bed Microsoft sleeps in, no one wants Windows 8.0 or 8.1! Why not just rename Windows 7 to Windows 9 and go on from there? Windows 8 market share stalls, XP at record low

The rise of the Smart Watch

With all of the talk about the iWatch from Apple, and every other vendor plus Dog announcing a smart watch. I thought I’d jump in and examine an apparently Failed smart watch. The Sony Ericsson LIVE VIEW

Ericsson_liveView

Now this device was generally panned by the media, partly because it was breaking new ground, and partly is was clunky, or so said.

Now I, like others would not have invested in such technology, partly as I’m not that active with my phone (Android) but also because it wasn’t rated highly. However Amazon was selling them for 25£ and that isn’t even an impulse buy by current standards. So I ordered one, and I now have had it less than a day, and this is my impression. But I really will try to comment on the whole Smart Watch issues.

The NM800 is an earlier version Sony Smart Watch technology, so first efforts not withstanding this is quite a nice device. The screen, while small is still readable, and at a very wide angle due to a lensing effect on the crown. It whole device is plastic and very light, but bulky enough to make you want to wear it on your wrist, I’m using it on the included clip, for three reasons, the included strap is poor, second, I have a nice watch. You can use a standard pin strap on the plastic watch fitting, thirdly and this is important, you can’t charge it on the wrist bracket, but you can on the clip.

In use the Liveview linked up easily with my phone, an HTC Desire X, after downloading the Sony App from the Google Play store. but it took a bit of fiddling, and downloading of additional (free) plugins from the Play store to add more complete functionality. But now, SMS, Gmail, phone calls all get forwarded to the device. I can read SMS, and email on it, though I have yet to get Facebook to work. In reality, there is nothing wrong with this device.

Now for the issues, the device at maximum range has a disconnect, reconnect problems, but I have yet to upgrade the firmware, which supposedly fixes this problem. The real issues, and this is the crux of Smart Phones is purpose. Of what Purpose do you need a Smart Phone.

Due to the use of Bluetooth for communications, 30 Meters is the furthest you and can be parted from your phone, in fact 10 meters is a more likely range. This might then be useful to check your ‘status’ without taking the phone from your pocket, or in a meeting, jogging or driving. However in normal practice the need for a bigger screen, and control surfaces found on the ‘full’ phone will be required to complete many actions and then would require you to pull out the phone anyway.

The next issue, as with Smart Phones, is power, and while I have not discharged the battery for the first time, the projected battery life for this device is 8 hours, about the same as an average phone. Which, by the way, decreases the battery life of the phone, requiring Bluetooth to be active on the phone all the time.

So the conclusion, if there is one, is this; they work but have limited usefulness and are cute as hell, and a cool geek gadget.

The Nokia N900 To HTC Desire X

Well The end of my Nokia N900 did not come with a bang, but a bonus, a Christmas bonus gift card from my current employer. And and even though the N900 was still pulling it’s weight, it wasn’t current technology. The choosen replacement is not a top-of-the-line, it was priced to matched the value of the gift card and the mininum hardware specs I applied to make it useful. Hence the HTC Desire X, a relative new dual core Snapdragon S4 with version 4.0.4 Android.

HTC_Desire_X

And it is in White, Another irony as my laptop went from Apple MacBook white to Clevo Black, now my phone from Black to White.

So far I’m happy with the choice, but I’ve only had it a few days, and while I think it’s already a better phone than the N900, it will never replace the the N900 as a computer.

Oh, and one other thing, it doesn’t look like an iPhone.

UPDATE: I just got the Android 4.1.1 upgrade, Thanks HTC

My new Clevo W240EUQ Laptop from PC Specialists

This is the Laptop I have moved to. No longer a Mac user, never more than a PC user and never a Windows fan. I’m now entirely into my custom built Clevo W244EUQ laptop, built to my configuration by PC Specialist in the UK. Having done a lot of research and agonizing over prices and parts, my system was constructed and sent to me in, call it 10 days including shipping and weekends. And yes I’m writing this post from it. and I’m doing it from Mint 13 with the Cinnamon interface. Everything works, with the single exception that the SD card reader is not picked up. It also has one ‘hot’ pixel which only shows up during boot time, and I can live with that. I was amused and gratified that the laptop was NOT an exact match to the photos on the PC Specialist site, but I don’t think it was their fault as the Clevo site have many different configurations of this model laptop. On the positive, the laptop is better looking, and has a better keyboard than shown in the Clevo or PC Specialist photos. Mine photos are included below, though the first one isn’t perfect, because the top cover is so black that the auto focus couldn’t lock in.

The Specs are not stunning, about the same as a MacBook Pro. A Intel i5-3210M processor, 8 GB of ram, a 500GB 7200rpm disk with 16MB cache, 14″ screen 1366/768 HDMI, 1000 base ethernet, A/G/N Wifi, 2 USB 3 and 1 USB 2 port and a (currently) non-working SD Cardreader.

UPDATE:

      Benchmarks
-------------------------------------
CPU Blowfish	    4.070
-------------------------------------
CPU CryptoHash   343.235
------------------------------------
CPU Fibonacci	   1.819
------------------------------------
CPU N-Queens	   5.411
------------------------------------
FPU FFT		   0.972
------------------------------------
FPU Raytracing	  3.688
-----------------------------------

We only want to produce Blockbusters

The recent Blowup about HP exiting the PC/WebOS Business reminds me of an old story about when Sony bought MGM, the movie makers.

The story goes like this; executives were briefing Sony Management about how profits were generated from the Movie Making business. One accountant described the process such;

“Well we make a hundred movies a year, about 10% are Blockbusters and we make millions, 60% make a modest profit, and pay for themselves, and the about 20% Lose a small amount, but help maintain our reputation, and then there are 10% that are serious bombs.”

The Japanese executives looked at each other and carried on a small side conversation and then stated;

“We only want to produce Blockbusters”

HP is like this, they only wanted to produce Blockbusters, as if this was merely a simple decision, “We only want to make Blockbusters”. As if there was no effort involved, no trial and error involved. And when the first effort fails, quit and run from the first attempt as if shedding the failure is the only responsible choice.

And I thought that the Executives of Sony and Nokia were failures, Looks like there is a Plague of idiot CEO’s out there.

NOTE 1: It looks like bad decisions MIGHT have repercussions as HP might oust Apotheker

If you Love/Hate Nokia read this


Will the Real Stephen Elop, Please Stand Up?

I couldn’t on my best day, speak to this better than this article.

If anything it should speak to any CEO/CFO/CTO that arrogantly enters a new company environment with preconceived notions of what strategy should be applied to their new positions. So this article isn’t just about Nokia, it’s about ignorance of facts.

New Toy – CnM Touchpad II

Ok, lets name all the things this new Android pad isn’t

  • No Camera’s either front nor back,
    First almost ALL pads have terrible cameras, making them almost useless, and the Facetime crowd is a passing fad, besides I have video Skype on my Nokia N900
  • No 3G wireless internet
    It does support 3G Dongles, which can be purchased anywhere, and 3G roaming is super expensive
  • No Android 2.3 (yet) or 3.0 (never)
    There are hacker versions of Android 2.2, and 2.3 however Android 2.1 still constitutes 27% of the market.
  • No iOS Eco-System or Market
    Thank God, no Apple in my pocket, or looking over my shoulder
  • No Android Market (almost)
    It’s loaded, and sees the market, just can’t download and apps
  • No GPS
    I have GPS on my fore mentioned Phone (another battery killer) it does have Google Maps

What it does have is;

  • A full sized USB2 connector that can take 3G Dongles, Flash Dives and keyboards
  • HDMI output to 720P
  • A Mini-USB connector to host
  • A TF-SD slot to 16GB
  • 3.5 mm audio connector
  • built in trackball
  • A pile of pre-loaded, not installed apps.

And it cost less than 150.00€

Sync Me Up



How do you keep your connected devices connected?
How many different services do you depend on to keep your ‘stuff’ safe and available from anywhere?
Could you imagine a better way?
I can, and I almost have it working with my ‘stuff’,
now I’m just working on a way to make it easy for everyone else to do the same.

MeeGo is now Dead, as a Mobile OS.

This article MeeGo will not displace Symbian as enterprise OS has now demonstrated that Meego is no longer supported by Nokia, and it will be left to die with Maemo as a ‘Non-Runner’ in the Mobile-OS arena. It also indicates that Nokia Management has gone down the MicroSoft path to complete irrelevance in the Mobile Phone market. It’s no wonder the Maemo/Meego managers and developers at Nokia are leaving. Most are heading to the surviving Mobile OS’s Android, Web-OS, iOS and Blackberry.

NOTE: and the BS continues, with Intel killing off MeeGo for Tizen to further delay or destroy Open Source for mobile devices.

Apple’s outrageous share of the mobile industry’s profits

That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

Pie chart: Apple’s outrageous share of the mobile industry’s profits

In any other businesses this would be called a RIP OFF! by Apple, but with the Apple-Fanboy base, They can do no wrong. I used to be a Apple Evanglista back in Apple’s dark days, and I still use a MacBook. But I use a Nokia N900, because I can do more, with less Apple regulation, and I pay a great deal less than any iPhone ball-and-chain.

Nokia Smartphone reality check, Ka-ching!

All the bad news,
Nokia smartphones dumb down profits
Nokia releases Q2 2010 results; profits down, market share flat
Nokia Q2 2010 results – profits down but smartphone sales up

So lets do a reality check on the facts; Nokia profits are Down 40%, but are still making a Profit. Which means they are in the green economically, and are making a Profit of €221M Euros (285M$). But 40% less than last quarter, meaning that they are only making 60% of the profit they made last quarter, during the worst recession in over 100 years And everyone is complaining?

The only thing this tells me, is that a manufacture like Apple who makes more profit on their iPhone 4, is ripping off their customers by charging a premium price for a Smartphone and Nokia does not!

Reality Check cashed, Ka-ching, change your misperception!

The best Portrayal of Nokia

This article is one of the best portrayals of Nokia’s Perceived fall from grace: The Background Story


…But somehow with Apple, the facts no longer matter. The iPhone was the ultimate best phone ever – according to Steve Jobs – and because Steve Jobs says so, that started to become the storyline. The truth didn’t matter…


Mobile Phones Shipped last quarter


…Because Apple was in the game, now anything Steve Jobs said was the word from god. And no matter how severely deficient the first iPhone models were, because they were Apple phones, that meant they were the world’s ‘leading’ phones. And if you didn’t match the current iPhone model with a potential ‘iPhone killer’ – then you were obsolete. …


Consider how unfair this issue is. Apple has today 2% of total phone market share. Nokia has 34%. Apple has 14% market share in smartphones – and has lost market share now for 3 straight quarters. Nokia has 41% market share in smartphones and has been growing market share in the same period. Of Apple’s flagship phone the iPhone 4 – with its 5 major improvements now in 2010 – Nokia has had 4 of those in its phones long before 2007. Why is Apple given any credit as the ‘leader’ and Nokia accused as ‘having lost the lead’?

Apps are saving the mobile Internet

Apps, Apps everywhere Apps. There has been a lot of discussion on the internet about the value of Apps. Which are abbreviations for applications, in this case small applications on mobile devices remind me of previous discussions, read arguments, about Client Server applications. These applications in the past were a model, a class of applications to distribute part of the workload of servers to the client. In reality, they had a more important role in decreasing the network communications traffic created by old style server based applications like Web-Apps. Using a client-server, or mobile app, can utilize an API that reduces the actual amount of data transferred between the server and client. And while the flexibility of Web-Apps is perhaps better for the application administration, mobile apps are better for the Mobile carrier reducing traffic and congestion on the wireless network. The current arguments are, that mobile apps are just a passing fad, funny how the same argument was used for client-server. But giving the issue with the Apple Antenna producing poor throughput, apps are what is saving Apples iPhone 4 and the AT&T network

Apple Antenna Spin

Apple’s Antenna woes stemming from the poor design of the iPhone 4 are well known. But what has just gotten under my skin is this PC World article Antenna Expert: Apple is Right, iPhone 4 Signal Woes Overblown. The article is laced with the next best thing to professional lying, from a group of self professed Radio Experts AntennaSys, Inc The article blatantly claims;

“This was a non-scientific test, but it was done by two engineers who deal with RF devices for a living,”

and then this is where the spin/falsehood is;

“We succeeded in taking a five-bar display and reducing it to one bar by doing that,” Webb says. “But the call remained solid and never dropped.”

In plain sight they note First that they DID NOT DO A SCIENTIFIC TEST that yes, the signal drops, but the call is Ok. As a geek, and one who has been dealing with wireless communications for 10’s of years. This is insulting, and a professional attempt to baffle with bullshit

First a simple lesson on current digital mobile voice communications;

Speech is divided into 20 (ms) samples, each of which is encoded as 260 bits, giving a total bit rate of 13kbps (kilobits per second). This is the so-called full-rate speech coding


These 260 bit packets are transmitted in serial order with redundancy, so if a packet does not get received, it get’s retransmitted. The data is transmitted into a Time and Frequency Division Multiple Access digital channel. These slots in which the packets of voice are shared are not contiguously serial for each user. So when packets are transmitted they are separated in the channel. So the packet stream must be reassembled at the receiver side to reassemble the stream of packets back into the audio to be intelligible. the packets are chosen to be small enough so that should there be a packet timeout during transmitting/retransmitting the human ear will not detect it.

The professional lie above begins as such, in the use of unscientific terms as ‘the call remained solid’ in reality it never is, they are packets divided in the stream. They may sound solid, but that is due to the nature of human hearing which will fill in any gaps in the sound, and that the actual bit-rate of the wireless sound is very low, about the speed of a dialup modem. This does not constitute much bandwidth and can be sustained on extremely poor wired and wireless connections. It’s a lie to use this as a measure of signal strength. A piece of string and a couple of tin cans, can sustain a voice channel (analog) with no compression at all. Fidelity is in the ear of the beholder, not a scientific result.

When testing the real through put from the defective Apple antenna, the measured bitrate, collision, and retransmitting errors must be tested on a calibrated bench instrument, not by someone clamping their hands around it and listening for the shoe to drop. Someone should tell the ‘Experts’ at AntennaSys to try the same test on a string between two cans, and see if the ‘the call remained solid’ .

UPDATE: