Tag Archives: Devices

Who will bring out the first eNewspaper Reader for free?

Rupert MurdochThis week Murdoch’s News Corp. annouced that they are developing a device that would be used to read newspaper content on a large screen. Murdoch says “its time consumers started paying to read Web content.”

Mobile technology could save the ailing newspaper industry, according to Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of News Corp. and one of the world’s leading media barons. The problem is well known: Newspaper sales and advertising is declining steadily because publishers, fighting tooth and nail for eyeballs, have made most of their content available for free on the Web. Think of it as a price war where the price has dropped to zero.

Murdoch said the project is in its early software development stages, and he provided few details on what he introduced as a potential solution to the problems ailing the publishing industry. “People are used to reading everything on the net for free, and that’s going to have to change,” Murdoch said at the cable industry’s largest annual gathering in Washington, D.C.

Why News Corp. is going to the expense and hassle of developing a dedicated device when the Kindle and its rivals already exists is unclear. Today, Americans can download and read the Wall Street Journal (owned by News Corp.), for example, each day on the Kindle for $10 a month. While neither the Kindle, nor its enhanced successor, the Kindle 2, is perfect, they have been widely lauded for providing a relatively easy reading experience on an electronic device.

Moreover, Amazon is also breaking new ground with its business model. Rather than subsidising the device, as a mobile operator might do, Amazon has priced the Kindle high, but doesn’t charge for the 3G airtime needed to download new titles, so that users can typically buy publications for less than it would cost them to purchase paper copies.

Of course, Murdoch may want a device in which both the hardware and the software are highly-optimised for the delivery of breaking news, potentially pushing headlines, sports scores and other fast-changing content out to his customers as they happen. But is there really room in consumers’ pockets, handbags or brief cases for another dedicated device, especially when they cost several hundred dollars apiece?

The Question for the MOCOM 2020 community is looking into the future: When will somebody bring out the first eNewspaper Reader for free? As the Kindle is sold for few hundred dollars right now, the vision of giving away eBooks or eReaders for free or for 1 USD is not far away.

When do you think this will happen?
And would you take an eNewspaper Reader for free?

Via Dave Pring and
Total Telecom.

Motorola presents iPhone rival Evoke QA4 at CTIA 2009

Full feature phone is packed with integrated widgets, real Web browsing and IM-style messaging

Motorola today introduced Motorola Evoke QA4, a socially-inclined device with a 2.8” full touch-screen that keeps you constantly connected. Evoke supports different messaging styles with a full touch-screen QWERTY keyboard and slide out traditional keypad. Customize the home screen content with integrated widgets and personalized RSS feeds, and use the full HTML browser to share pictures, videos and more online.

“We understand the importance of having a mobile phone that helps you stay connected simply and seamlessly with your friends and family, whether you prefer to talk, text or network,” said Mark Shockley, corporate vice president and general manager, Motorola Mobile Devices. “Motorola Evoke offers the cutting-edge convenience and instant gratification of a full touch-screen, intuitive online browsing and the ability to stay plugged in on your terms.”

Whether you stay connected through phone calls, messaging, Web feeds, social networks or all of the above, Evoke meets your preferences. The device offers multiple ways to make a phone call with a physical slider keypad and intuitive dialing features on the touch-screen. Equipped with an accelerometer, turn Evoke on its side to reveal a full-touch QWERTY keyboard for easy texting1. Home screen messaging icons, predictive text and IM-style messaging1 make it easy to follow the back-and-forth of multiple conversations. Evoke also places a premium on clear and convenient communication with noise reduction technology to help lower background noise on phone calls and Bluetooth technology to keep in touch hands-free2.

It’s easy to customize Evoke and bring the content that’s important to you straight to the display. Use integrated widgets1 to access real-time information, social networking sites, and personalized RSS feeds from the Web such as weather, sports scores, stock reports, news headlines and more1. You decide which widgets appear on your home screen and which are hidden.

Use Evoke to let others feel like they’re with you as you snap pictures and record video. Fast Web connectivity lets you easily publish photos and clips taken with Evoke onto your favorite blogs and sharing sites such as Picasa 1,3. Touch the screen for instant access to a full HTML browser1 and use quick-start widgets to easily bring up popular sites such as MySpace and YouTube 1,3. Built-in integration with MySpace also lets you keep close tabs on friends and post instant updates to your profile in one easy step.

Motorola Evoke QA4 will be available in Q2 2009. For more information, product specifications and images of Evoke, please visit www.motorola.com/mediacenter/ctia2009.

The Evolution of the Mobile Phones

Handset Motorola 1985This Videos shows the Evolution of Mobile Phones from 2985 until today.

You’re bound to recognise a few mobile phones from your past as we take you from 1985 to the present day; and you can even learn a few interesting facts along the way.

For instance, did you know the first mobile phone to feature an internal camera was the Sharp J-SH04, released in Japan in 2001? Or that the billionth Nokia ever sold was a Nokia 1100, purchased in Nigeria, a model designed to be dust-proof for use in dusty, developing countries?

Starting with the earliest Nokia and Motorola handsets and ending with the Nokia N95 and Apple iPhone, we also give you a glimpse into the future, with a few concept phones that may make your current mobile look dated within a couple of years.

The future of smart Ambient Devices

Chumby Ambient Device - Mocom2020Continuing with the theme of ambient communications and ambient products, I’d like to compare two ambient products on the market – the O2 Joggler and the Chumby.

In 1998, my mobile design company designed and built one of the first wireless portals ever seen (Zingo portal for Lucent). It was way ahead of its time, as were many of its features, one of which was a messaging service that interacted with a messaging panel on a fridge. Back then, we got a little excited about Internet connected fridges, so we felt that such ambient products were the future.

The fridge wasn’t really important, but the concept of interacting with the “home hub” was. The ability to send messages in and out of the home from various mobile family members seemed useful and an obvious thing to do. Roll on a few years – about 10 – and digital picture frames have become prevalent. I suggested in an old blog entry back in 2006 that it would be useful to pop a calendar into the frame, especially one used to keep track of family events. My family, for example, have a shared calendar on Google Calendar, but there are about 1001 calendar services out there, perhaps more popular than GC.

In my household, we have a plethora of computers that alway seem switched on, so it’s easy to access shared calendars, except … we don’t. I even mounted a laptop right in the heart of the kitchen. It still didn’t work.

As those of us well versed in mobile product design know, there’s often a HUGE gulf between the ability to run an application and actually running the application. That’s what early detractors of the Blackberry didn’t understand. Truly always-on email – ie push – is a very different experience to on-demand email – ie pull. That is, when the app is always running, it gets used by virtue of the “bumped-into effect,” which I have blogged about many times.

When the app needs to be invoked, it often doesn’t get used. Obvious, yes, but subtly important. There is a common objection here, which is to do with the notion of need. Many will say that if you don’t have a “i need to access my email every second” problem, then you don’t need always-on email. That’s not the point. Once exposed to an always-on experience, it can easily become imbibed into the user’s daily habits – new habits are formed. Twitter users will have experience this. Migrating from the web presentation to a Twitter client creates a much greater attachment to Twitter. Soon, the Twitter habit is formed and one can’t imagine daily digital life without it.

Now the question is whether or not the same experience could occur with an ambient device in the kitchen. Is there a device, that once connected, once fired up, once used by its family owners, will become incorporated into the daily habits of digital home living?

I believe that there is, although the exact formula has yet to be uncovered. Amstrad tried it not so long ago with their Internet phone. I even tried one of those in an attempt to get my wife more habitually plumbed into email – she had a tendency not to check email for long periods of time, which caused various problems (at least in my view). It didn’t solve the problem for a number of reasons. Upping the budget a bit, I eventually got her a Blackberry. Problem solved. (And now she has an iPhone.) BUT! Family calendaring still remains an issue.
Enter the O2 Joggler and the Chumby. They are both ambient devices intended to be switch on and accessible all of the time, which, we can imagine, means somewhere in the kitchen if it is to be a family-centric experience. This is certainly O2’s positioning for the product, which is advertised under the rubric of “O2 Family.” The devices are similar in concept. Notionally, one could describe them as digital picture frames with the addition of a calendar. HOWEVER, that is where the similarity ends. And, I believe, there is an important lesson here in what we have been talking and blogging about for some time in the mobile 2.0 world, which is the difference between a product and a platform. As far as can be gleaned from the O2 website, the Joggler’s main feature is its shared calendar function, which has various bells and whistles, such as text message reminders and text-message submission of new entries. There are features to import photos, get traffic info, weather etc, as described on the media release for the device On the other hand, the Chumby offers something that the Joggler doesn’t, which is support for a developer community via its widgets technology (based on Flash Lite). There are already some 1000 widgets in the catalogue, including 17 (when I checked) calendar widgets and 32 photo widgets (including Flickr and all the popular gallery sites). I can certainly use it to access our shared family Google calendar, which already has text or email alerts built in.

In other words, the Chumby guys have created a content platform, not just a device. In the words of Stephen Tomlin, their CEO: “Chumby brings new capabilities to connected devices by streaming always-on, always-fresh personalized Internet content to consumers.”

They have created a developer commnuity by leveraging a well-known development environment – Flash Lite – and an emergent delivery mechanism – i.e. widgets. You can even create virtual Chumbys just for fun (because Flash widgets will play in the browser). Here’s mine, showing real-time search of “mobile” in the Twitter timeline, upcoming events from Yahoo Upcoming, and random pictures from Flickr public RSS, but these could obviously be from my pics.

Will Palm Pre with its webOS be successful?

Palm Pre & webOS“Palm products have always been about simplifying lives and delivering great user experiences,” said Ed Colligan, Palm president and chief executive officer. “webOS and Pre bring game-changing simplicity to an increasingly mobile world by dissolving the barriers that surround your information. It’s technology that seems like it’s thinking ahead to bring you what you care about most – your people, your time, and your information – in the easiest and most seamless way.”

Palm webOS is a brand-new kind of platform, invented exclusively for mobile use. webOS recognizes that you want your people, calendars and information to move with you, wherever you are, wirelessly, as opposed to being bound to a personal computer. Palm webOS is the first mobile platform to automatically bring your information from the many places it resides – on your phone, at your work or on the web – into one simple, integrated view.

At the Mobile World Congress 2009 we had an detailed look at the new Palm Pre and the webOS platform. Here are two Videos explaining the key features and functionalities.

What’s your favorite? Nokia N97 vs. E75.

NOKIA E75 - MOCOM 2020At the MWC’09 I have met Mark Selby, VP industry Collaborations, and Benjamin Lampe, Manager Communication Devices, at NOKIA. We have discussed the Pro’s and Con’s of the new “Bad Boy” N97 and the E75.
I liked the NOKIA Messaging Client where you can manage several email accounts, blog and use social networking services.

What do you think about the two new phones?