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.

Sony_PRS-T1_2

My new Sony PRS-T1 eBook reader

As I was using my old Android pad mostly as a ebook reader, when it became obsolete, OS wise (about the day after I bought it) I went looking for a cheap/inexpensive ebook reader. I only real requirement was to be more or less open, and I had a handful of EPUB formatted ebooks already. The Nook’s were looking promising and then I stumbled upon this;

Sony_PRS-T1_2

The Sony PRS-T1 on sale, a bargain, and it does even more than I was expecting on the low end of the market. And it’s still android, should I decide to root it, but it’s works very well. Reads all my books, and manuals, browse the net (in grayscale) and I have it syncing up with my Mint Laptop using Calibre, and I’ve been piling in all the free ebooks I can find, great!

Ericsson_liveView

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.

Android WEP/WPA useless login features

I have come to the conclusion that if Android encounters a WiFi point that does not have WEP/WPA security, but instead, uses some corney web based HTML login code or password, Android goes bonkers.

Because Android is a very connected OS, the first thing that it tries to do on receipt of an IP address, it attempts to connect to Google services, and fails because it’s not fully on the Interet until it submits the correct HTML code. So the Android framework, that almost all Android apps depends on, Fails! And because the framework fails, the various browsers fail, and you can’t get to the login page to enter the unlock code to the portal, because you have no working browsers.

A classic “Catch 22″ issue. An issue that my N900 does not have

Android Sucks!
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Froyo for the CnM Touchpad II

I took the plunge and re-imaged my Cnm Touchpad II up to Froyo (Android 2.2.1) , And after the second try, it installed, after sweating bullets. And not only is it pretty, it’s faster, and I (after some efforts) now have the Android market.

Mind you the CnM Touchpad II is NOT the intended target for this upgrade, and I lost the use of the internal microSD card, and the fullsized USB connector to the builtin software, but I restored most of the functionality with additional downloads from the Store.

I actually like the upgrade so much I will host it here: apad710_froyo_v3.img

As you can tell this image is for a APad 710 which is really an exact copy of the CnM Touchpad II, however this image is ‘hacked’ and ‘rooted’ and ready to roll.

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.

Kindle as the fire of Fahrenheit 451

In the science fiction book Fahrenheit 451 I often wondered what the catalyst was. In the current age, that has become apparent, control, with government leaders demanding ‘controls’ over the Internet, and most other communications media the books presented in the Novel are information. However, there is another aspect of books which in this age of electronic books (eBook) presents itself as a missing element in control.

While experimenting with the Kindle on Android I found that the Android Pad I was using, while reading a Kindle book was in constant communication with Amazon Books. Almost every page turn was being recorded and sent to Amazon, even the location of where I was reading them was a requirement during the reading of the eBook.

I discovered that if you turn off location features in your pad, or Android Phone, the kindle software will prevent you from reading a downloaded book. If you can not communicate with Amazon via WiFI or other wireless channel, you can’t open your books, even if they were previously downloaded.

Sometime back Amazon became embroiled in a controversy over publishing rights to a book, and directly removed it from peoples ebook readers, without the consent of the user.

Amazon/Kindle does not allow the loaning of books to others, even if they have been paid for. The owner just doesn’t have that right anymore.

All of these elements add up to the same thing, printed books are ‘out of control’ they can be read by anyone, loaned to anyone, and their content is not subject to change once printed. These are things that Amazon eBooks can do. Change content, disappear, track readers, prevent distribution and dissemination of content.

Not to get too scary, but fundamentally the loss of printed books marks a point where knowledge has peaked, and the end of freedom of thought. No longer will information be available freely. The internet will be throttled, bottled, canned and banned to suit the requirements of the controlling society. Books will be available, eBooks, with controlled revisable content, restricted to cleared and sanctioned readers from known locations. And every word will be monitored as it is read.

The CnM Touchpad II – as a practical Pad

In my previous posting, I mentioned all the things this pad can’t or rather doesn’t do. To make this all balanced, I will put what it can do, into perspective.

For Instance, at a cost approximately the same as a Amazon Kindle You still get The Kindle eBook market.
… but then you get;

You can even play Games on it, who would have thought. And it has not added a single pence to my credit card. But I still don’t have the the ‘Google Market’ even though the calendar, contacts and Gmail still sync up with Google.

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€

Internet Pads everywhere

This article about a possible ARM-based Nokia tablet to come in the fourth quarter? And the author mentions that the Nokia Tablet MAY run Windows 7 Can you imagine? Nokia management shipping yet another OS on their equipment?

I think this is grounds to fire everyone at Nokia from the VP’s on up, and replace them with monkeys. They couldn’t possibly make worse decisions that this group of Nitwits.

An Idiot talks about the Nokia N900

While most of what this guy said is short sighted and generally idiotic it did touch on something I agree with


But the fact is that by the time the M900 hits store shelves, it will be competing with not only Apple’s iPhone, Palm’s Pre and Research in Motion’s second take at the Storm, but the first of what figure to be many Droid phones, all of which have serious brand recognition in the United States. By the time Nokia gets around to reintroducing the N900 — this time with pricing and a carrier — all the oxygen will have been sucked out of the market by the likes of Motorola, HTC and LG, running on Google’s Android.

Nokia, NO MORE DELAYS!!!

More Nokia N900 Slippage, Shit!

I’m saddened and disappointed to report that Amazon has reported another Nokia N900 shipping delay.

“Nokia N900 Mobile Computer with Maemo 5 Software”
Estimated arrival date: December 03 2009 – December 09 2009

That places the Nokia N900 dangerously close to a Vaporware classification. And moves the Nokia release date to the very end of November, rather than the early or middle of the month as was hoped. This is a bad move, one that put’s it’s release AFTER the Motorola Droid and all the other Android handsets. It makes the Nokia an Also Ran handset Maker, a Me Too! in a marketplace soon to have a large number of failed and marginalized handsets.

Smartphones, thick as Flies!

Well if anything, you can’t say there there are too few choices in the Smartphone arena. Joining in the iPhone , Rim, Palm Pre , Windows Mobile firefight, there are now Maemo and LiMo. The later two (Maemo and LoMo) are entering the market just as there is an Android explosion of new phones. And while the Android phones are very tempting my requirements still point me at the Nokia N900, and I think that unless the Vodafone M1/H1 360 doesn’t get traction early, LiMo will be an early dropout.

NOTE: as predicted Vodafone 360 – An Absolute Failure?