Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nokia's announcements today -29th Aug

The most interesting point for me today, wasn't the batch of new phones (N95 8G, N81 etc... the separate new n-gage gaming and music portals, the Search application from the idle screen, the revised multimedia menu or even the "copying" of apple's iphone touch interface for S60 in 2008(see the photo example in the webcast here).

All of this was pre-leaked, known already via the inter-galactic superweb or I previously had posted on it.

For me, it was the announcement of Nokia's umbrella brand Ovi which will bring Nokia's own n-gage and music portals, social networking and internet services all together in one place with both internet, desktop and mobile access (on the mobile under a single application and across multiple OS platforms S60, series40 etc....)

Why is this interesting ? Well it shows Nokia are aggressively moving into the content services space (again - remember Clubnokia) as they say the "Device is not enough". Experience of the service matters.
Traditionally this space has been occupied and owned by the Operators who have previously controlled the content services going onto the device (at least preinstalled). Think 3's X Series for example. Some might view this move as disintermediating the operators and nudging them further towards the bitppipe, although Nokia claim Ovi is complimentary to the Operators own content and services strategy.

We've already seen that this is potentially a sensitive issue with Operators who have invested in building and offering either (a) their own home-grown branded content services or (b) 3rd party content services as exclusives.
The Operators also often subsidise the actual handsets to attract and retain end customers ... relationships between handset manufacturers and Operators is finely balanced ...

It seems to me, not just from today's Ovi announcement from Nokia but from other sources too eg. internet branded services being preinstalled (Vox, Flickr, blogger, GMaps, MySpace, eBay) and integrated into mobiles, open unrestricted internet access with flat rate data and new entrants into the marketplace (Apple-iPhone with revenue sharing(?), Google-gPhone) that the aforementioned "traditional" operator/handset manufacturer relationship is likely to change markedly in the very near term.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Jaiku - new client released for S60

Jaiku's new client is out of beta - and it is vastly improved over the old version.

Here's some of the new features of the S60 client.

* The choice between longer battery life or more up-to-date presence (a much requested feature).
* Reading and writing comments from and to your contacts.
* Go back in time! Using the ’stream view’ for your contacts, you can see what they were doing and saying in the past, not just their most recent post.
* More than just Jaikus! You can also see when your contacts have posted to flickr.
* Improved presence view, to make the most of your screen real-estate.
* A whole raft of usability improvements, based on what our users have been telling us they need, including an even easier to use interface, and a progress meter, so you can see what’s happening.
* More optimal data transfer and connection maintenance, giving you more bang for your wireless data dollar.
* …and all the essential (but not that interesting) stuff like bug fixes, speed improvements, that sort of thing.
* Oh, and let’s not forget - a spiffy new manual for this client.

Features from the previous release are still there as well:

* The live contact list works just like your phone’s built-in phonebook, and enhances the list with the buddy icons and real-time presence of your Jaiku contacts
* Post new Jaikus and have them immediately appear on the Web and your contacts’; phones
* Share your availability based on your phone’s ring profile
* Share your location based on free naming of cell towers
* Option to share your phone calendar (choose to share full titles of events or just when you are free/busy)
* Option to share number of nearby people based on detection of Bluetooth phones
* Switch Jaiku online or offline at any time
* Easy wizard guides you through the setup
* Automatic roaming detection alerts you when you are roaming away from your home network

If you don't have an S60 phone, you can always use the widsets (J2ME) version or mobile browser access at (which also works on iPhones).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

iPhone specific Facebook

Whilst the Apple fanboy, Mac developers and seriously creative hackers are finding out ways and workarounds to build and install native applications on the iPhone, the wider web services are developing iPhone versions of their website (320 x 480 pixels) to work through the iPhone Safari browser.

iPhone Facebook is the latest in a recent spurt of web services to add an official version of the site (, Bloglines, Digg, StumbleUpon , Ning etc... being others). What's impressive with the iPhone version of Facebook is that it behaves like a **native application** although it's accessed via Safari. Arguably it lays out the main features and functions better than the main website too!

Of course you need to be online on a network to access the site which is a disadvantage over a native iPhone app that can work both in offline and online mode and have deeper level integration across applications (eg a game for example). However accessing Social Networking sites that's the whole point in my view... you need to be online to see the latest events from and interact with your Social Network.

As a side note. Facebook has replaced my Google ig and Netvibes homepage (I used to switch between them) when I logged in to my desktop. Why ?

Personalisation dashboards sites like Netvibes, iGoogle and Pageflakes whilst useful, are based around content and alerts. Without the email widgets (ie. communication alerts) these dashboard sites would be of lesser value in my opinion. Social Network sites however ** are ** based around communication and sharing from the off (also including the important feature of gossip). Content widgets and blog/news/content alerts can then be added afterwards eg. Flickr, eBay, etc..

It's just more fun to view what your Social Network(SN) are doing than looking at a weather update isn't it ? - as it's more likley to be the start of a conversation. (If you really want a weather update, add a weather widget to your favourite SN - there's bound to be a hundred or so).

Also because email or should I say Facebook email is already integrated by default - I tend to value those emails over other emails held in other platforms because they are from my immediate Social Network. No spam! (Although it would be nice to have an aggregated Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail access in Fb - unlikely though I know - see the point below).

Netvibes at least recognised this quickly and now have a Facebook module, but what happens when the next hot Social Networking site comes along or the major web email providers decline access via Netvibes' platform (eg. Yahoo, hotmail or Google) I wonder..?

So why not use Netvibes with web mail aggregation (whilst it continues) as well as a facebook module ? Well, I like the Fb environment more, it's setup way better for sharing comments, video and photos, turn-based games etc.. than other platforms... this is in part due to the application development environment Fb have built.

Facebook also took some criticism in being a closed / walled garden ie. you couldn't get your highly personalised data out of the Fb platform. People spend time building up their Social Networks, profiles and adding content into the community - this was/is a big concern but is being addressed ...

Facebook have added RSS output for some of the events. For example I've added my Fb friends statuses and friends posts as RSS feed alerts to jaiku. Others Fb feeds are sure to be made available so the above concern is starting to lessen.

Update ... I see Netvibes as of today have also recently launched an iPhone version of their site at ... they're keepin' up.

(MOSH)OSO, Flickr and Mippin links

I'm late to post this I know...

Nokia goes MoSoSo (Mobile Social Software) with MOSH a mobile social networking / user-generated content community call.

Use (ALLACCESS) to login. It will be interesting to see if it is
(a) successful and if so ...
(b) merges with Nokia's acquisition of Twango and
(c) how it competes with other online social networking sites (bebo, myspace, facebook, xing etc..) and user-generated content sites run by a couple of the European Operators such as SeeMeTV / Look at Me.

For NSeries fans with the native photo-uploading client (called Share Online) which is used from the Gallery; a new version is available (v2.0) which allows photo tagging and descriptions and has an easier/improved provisioning process with Yahoo/flickr but you will have to start over.

Flickr by the way is rumoured to be offering video uploading (finally!) and sharing soon (presumably to compete with youTube, mySpace etc..), so we'll have to see if the Share online client will also allow video upload. This would then be a native alternative to Shozu for getting multimedia in different formats off your nSeries to different destinations.

Last but not least, Refresh Mobile who developed the super-slick Mobizines application (mobile magazine reader with personalisation and sharing features) that works on loads of handsets are working on a new service called Mippin. The beta is open now. Sign up at the link.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Music and Search

Question : What's the world's largest searchable index of free internet playable music that's adding thousands of new tracks a day?
Answer: Possibly SeeqPod (beta).
What is SeeqPod Music? From the website ...

At SeeqPod Music, you can search for music, music videos & podcasts by artists you like, as well as discover other artists and songs you were not familiar with. You can generate countless playlists of songs and videos, save them for future enjoyment and share them with friends by e-mailing or embedding a player and playlist in a web page.

Where does the music come from?

The amount of music on the Internet is much larger than music found in catalogs or physical inventories. It's also a well known fact now that the Internet has a growing inventory filled with mashups, mixes and music of all kinds. At SeeqPod we crawl the entire multilingual deep web in the vertical space of music for the purpose of new kinds of playable search, discovery, recommendation and social experiences. In addition, as people make music and video they submit it to SeeqPod Music. This is done using the "Submit Music" link. You can even submit a location of songs we have not yet found and they will soon show up in the PodCrawler and search results.

hmmm... interesting - sort of like Napster-clone via a browser / mobile browser then ? - but with a sophisticated search/web crawler behind it and the ability for the community to add to the content catalogue...
- I came across this link when browsing for music on the iPhone as seeqpod have a specific iPhone Safari interface.

It works very well on the iPhone thanks to the customised Safari interface. As
soon as you've selected a song in the browser from the list, it starts streaming (I only tried over WiFi but it was quick) so you get to hear the track pretty quickly.

I also tried it on the N95 using the OSS browser - I just pointed it at the same iPhone interface over HSDPA (expecting it to work - which it does) but most tracks are mp3's over http - so they're a download rather than streamed via rtsp - still it's a way of picking up some music as they can be saved...(I couldn't save on the iPhone).

Whilst the service might not quite have all the longtail music completely catalogued yet (I tried some quite obscure tracks which were present but there are glaring omissions too) - it looks like they are working on it with a combination of user generated content and patented search crawling.

Another question : will this service survive given the weight of the music industry ?

If they do survice, roll on HSUPA for streaming speed and ubiquity when mobile - another way of storing your entire digital music collection in the cloud and accessing a vast library of (free) music...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Flickr to Twitter coming - Twickr

Twitter as a social alert and notification platform is continuing to evolve with more mashup's being created. The latest one from Dave Winer is in beta testing mode...if you're quick and approved you might be able to get in on it..

It will allow your Twitter followers to see a flickr photo you've just uploaded.

Since flickr supports photo upload from your mobile via email and mobile web interfaces, posting to flickr is pretty straightforward.

The new bit is now you have an automated way of alerting others of the photo you just took on your cameraphone. Another option and possibly less hassle than emailing or MMS'ing it to a group of people and is bound to be used for LiveBLogging events.

Combined with the location integration applications for Twitter and Flickr - your twitter followers can see where you are (twittervision/twittermaps), what you say (tweets) and now also see the photo of what you just took (twickr). An alternative to realtime mobile video broadcasting to the web.

Whilst on the subject of Microblogging and alerting, keep your eye out for Jaiku's new (much improved in my opinion) mobile client - it's coming out of beta very soon. Since you can import Twitters into Jaiku also, the above service will also work in Jaiku.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Google Phone update

Thanks to my iTablet for this latest snippet of news on the Google phone. Google are busy building different prototypes allegedly they are working on their own mobile browser. Full post in title link.

People who have seen Google’s prototype devices say they aren’t as revolutionary as the iPhone. One was likened to a slim Nokia Corp. phone with a keyboard that slides out. Another phone format presented by Google looked more like a Treo or a BlackBerry. It’s not clear which manufacturers might build Google wireless devices, though people familiar with the project say LG Electronics Co. of South Korea is one company that has held talks with Google. Google has already lined up a series of hardware component and software partners and signaled to carriers that it’s open to various degrees of cooperation on their part, the people say.

Kyte Tv / Kyte Mobile

Been meaning to try out Kyte for a few weeks and finally got round to it. I thought it might be similar to ComVu's pocketcaster which is a mobile client allowing live video streaming to a webpage/channel/widget etc..without the hassle of uploading.

Kyte describes itself as : "Easily create your own interactive TV channel featuring pictures, videos, music, polls, livechat and much more with"

It seems almost like a "MyTube" crossed with a real-time-chat room with other interactive elements thrown in. After setting up an account you can download the mobile client (screenshots below).

You create your own channel and then can broadcast shows by streaming pictures, audio or video to the channel (from the web interface or from you mobile if your handset supports the mobile client.)

Uploading your show from mobile is also supported via email, although broadcasting direct from the handset seems to be less hassle.

You can watch your own or other people's shows (on their channel) from your mobile (Featured / Most watched / Just produced) as the pics below show or on the web.

You can also see how many others are watching your show. Other features include tagging of shows, saving favourite and allowing other friends to broadcast shows on your channel (with pre-checking options by the channel owner).

The integrated real time chat element I found ** very ** interesting as you can set it up for some auto-moderation (profanity) and it allows you to discuss the show you've produced in real-time chat room style with your "watchers".

From the pic below (I've blurred out watcher "Meechy's" face) you can see I was having a chat with two watchers (Meechy and Anon) having posted one of my avatar pictures to my channel as a "show".

What's impressive from a mobile perspective is that Audio snippets and Video messages (left by Meechy who was on a PC with a webcam) are also downloaded into the Kyte mobile client - a very nice touch! (note that it all happens in-line, ie. I can hear the message or view the video clip within the kyte mobile client - it doesn't start RealPlayer for example on the N95 making a very streamlined multimedia chat experience).

It seems that most of the features can be used directly from the mobile client although customising the look and feel and access control have to be done through the website.

It almost seems obligatory at the moment for any web startup to have a facebook widget and Kyte is no different, but you can also embed your channel into your MySpace, Wordpress or Blogger blogs as a widget too ...