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

Ericsson_liveView

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

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

The end is near, for my Nokia N900

Screenshot-1

No, the USB connector is not loose, in fact everything is working fine. Well maybe the battery runs down and the tiny magnet on the prop went missing (fixed), It was the dissapearance of the Nokia catalog from the apt repository that has signaled the closing of the timeline of this product. Not of my choosing as the selections of Android, IOS, and others is just getting interesting. Some new and amazing mobile phone are on the verge of release there is almost no time to read about one then another announces something better.

In any case the Nokia N900, is very long in the tooth, being 3 years old this month. Still, I can sill do things with it that are not duplicated on any other phone, when was the last time you were controlling your (IR) Television, of opening an X-Term? Those days are long gone, and maybe not to be missed either, except by some of us geeks.

Now to choose…..

The Mobile Convergence

Over the past few years there has been a subject called Technological convergence not to be confused with Technological singularity In one aspect that event has happened to me this year. Because no one noticed, I have been pretty sporadic with posting on this site. Some of the reason is work related, more of it has been due to me being overwhelmed with events in and out of my control. And others have been due to some health issues.

During and between these events, I’ve been without my laptop (for some the sole source of internet communications). However I have not been without my mobile phone. But to call what I have, just a mobile phone, is questionable. I have a Nokia N900, more a small internet tablet than a phone and it has been a complete, in fact more than a complete replacement for my laptop. For more than 50 days and nights this year I have used it for email (4 POP, 2 Goggle, 1 Office) Web Browsing (Nokia, Firefox and Opera) and specialized apps for WordPress (2 blogs) Facebook, twitter ( 3 different clients) RSS readers, Podcasting, Music playback (several) internet Radio, Movie watching, Bookreading, IMing (Yahoo(2), AIM, Buzz, facebook) GPS, FM radio, Skype and Moble Telephony (telephone, who knew)

In fact, more things than I can do on a laptop, for 50 days this year I’ve been entirely ‘converged’ on my phone.

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.

‘an chuid eile’ of the world

I have been having discussions all over the net about smartphones and feature phones and the vast marketplace for non smartphones in the third world. A market that Nokia is big in, but is not well supported with things like facebook, Twitter and other social networking communications features, due, in part to the lack of more robust networks in those areas. Even during a discussion at yesterdays Cork Open Coffee the subject of community services came up and I was reminded of a New Beta from Nokia called Nokia Listings ( here, here, here. and here ) which is intended to support communications, operating within a weak infrastructure, in a social networking type of framework.

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!

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: