Saturday, December 06, 2008

Mindshare vs. Marketshare

Nokia's announcement of their new flagship handset for the first half of 2009, the N97 (or perhaps just one of them?) got lots of buzz two weeks ago at Nokia World 2008.

The hardware specs are impressive and when handling the device, it does not feel too large in the hand. The form factor resembles a cross between the E90 and 5800 Xpress. They've added a decent battery but it still has a resistive non-OLED touch screen. Build quality felt ok.  The software is too alpha at the moment to really comment, but the device is running Symbian 9.4 with a version of Series60 edition 5 (same as the 5800) with extensions like Web Run Time widgets on the idle screen.

As many have commented already, the timing of the device entering the market may be a problem, as other device manufacturer's flagship devices will be refreshed or newly introduced by mid next year. This is normal as part of the device OEM roadmaps, there's always new handsets on the horizon, but a 6 month 'lead' time in today's competitive device landscape for a flagship replacement is a long time off.  I wonder whether Nokia wanted to 'get in first', pre-empting Macworld, Mobile World Congress, ceBIT 2009 to recoup some lost Mindshare.

Have Nokia really lost Mindshare this year?

A couple of subjective pointers from the conference lead me to the belief they are now playing catchup:

  (i) Having attended previous Nokia World events this is the first time I've seen the competitor devices acknowledged and openly mentioned comparing the G1, Blackberry Storm and the iPhone to the new N97 by Anssi Vanjokki during the ketynote speech.
  (ii) Several of the Execs wandering round the event were using iPhones. 2 years ago Execs would have been touting the latest Nokia flagship handset.
  (iii) The Ovi email service (see previous post on wondering where Ovi email was) is late in coming to the market, although the upgraded  Ovi Maps has potentially leapfrogged ahead of say, Google Maps (too early to say).

The N97 would have been on the drawing board 12 months ago, if not longer. During that time whilst Nokia's Marketshare has remained stable the Mindshare drifted to Nokia's competition. The Sony Ericsson X1, the HTC Max 4G/G1, Samsung Omnia, PradaII, Apple iPhone, RIM BB Bold/Storm etc... are all vying for the top slot and have been the focus of consumer attention in mobile devices in 2008 (versus Nokia's N96 and 5800 Xpress).

All of the above manufacturers will have new flagship devices in mid 2009 to compete. So, whether 2009 Nokia devices and the N97 can regain the top slot flagship product and get back some Mindshare remains to be seen ...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

BlackBerry Storm in a teacup

RIM have been highly successful in the enterprise push email market. So succesful, that anything mobile email related is instantly compared to Blackberry (even POTUS doesn't want to give it up).

However, as Apple starts to creep up its mobile market share with at least a potential new model every year and email/Exchange support, it may be enough to make RIM a casualty.

RIM have not sat back and watched this potential market-share threat of course and we're starting to see the first consumer-focused Blackberries appear into the market, as a response.

The one right now that's getting all the focus is the Blackberry Thunder (but more consumer Blackberries are due early next year). There's already many reviews on the web so I'll keep my own comments brief.

In short the BB Thunder is disappointing. The high resolution display is amazingly sharp and bright and the device has good solid build quality but the major feature of the clickable screen is a novelty and rapidly becomes irritating- taking at least twice as long to do anything as with the non-touch Bold (I just could not get used to the two letters per key on the on-screen keyboard in portrait mode). The browser is ok but multi-touch iPhone users will find it sub-par  - no pinch and zoom of course.

There's nice transitions and a medium reponse time when navigating menus and traversing around the OS (except the flip into landscape mode), but the built in native applications don't cut it -the media player crashed several times when trying to play any video for example. It's nowhere near as stable as the Blackberry Bold and left me with a similar impression of the nokia N96 when it first came out - buggy and unfinished. Perhaps some of the issues will be fixed in firmware updates.

RIM have a lot to learn when it comes to consumer-based devices it seems and it's yet-another-iPhone-clone that doesn't come close enough to provide any serious competition.
However I'll still be using the Bold for email until that iPhone with keypboard appears.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

200 million iPhone App downloads

Apple announced they've seen 200 million downloads of applications from the Application Store in 102 days since launching it, in their F4Q08 earnings call.

2M downloads per day across two devices(iPhone 3G / ipod Touch)... hmmm, I wonder if Handango have similar figures for the last 100 days?

You can understand why the competition are scrambling as Apple put it, to copy this business model.

Monday, September 22, 2008

G1 arrives

There's loads of reviews on the web already of the G1 versus the iPhone and other phones, so I won't repeat an in-depth review here. The conclusion is ... you're going to need to try one for yourself ... whether you like the G1 will be dependent on your main mobile usage (messaging/email/texting/voice vs. data-usage/browsing, content consumption etc..).

Personally I'm not a huge of the form factor of this first HTC Android device but can understand the appeal of a Sidekick+iPhone hybrid (including the Blackberry-like navigation ball). Lots of folk who wanted a physical QWERTY keyboard on the 2nd gen iPhone have a new choice (other full touch screen + QWERTY keyboard devices eg. Prada II are coming later in the year).

There's no soft keyboard option on the G1 which prevents any chance of single-handed in-line text entry (eg. in the browser or messaging apps). The HVGA capacitive display screen is responsive and the webkit based browser is speedy (not quite as polished or smooth as iPhone Safari with multi-touch support).

The Google mobile apps are very well integrated, as you'd expect... (but, what if you don't have a Google account ?)Like the iPhone 1st generation there are missing features both hardware and software based in this first implementation: no camera flash, video capture etc... but they did include copy and paste.

A quick note on my current view of Google's impact in the mobile marketplace a year on since announcing their intentions. The G1 device launch, is a necessity from a consumer perspective to get people thinking "Google do phones" and they can run the same Google applications as on the web (so another consumer choice for mobile-web-based integration a-la Ovi, Mobile Me.. Google have a headstart here because so many normobs use their web based services).

Google have proved they can develop and integrate a mobile OS ('Open' with constraints).
The main question I have now, is whether /how Android will be adopted and taken forward by the OHA to be integrated and deployed across future multiple device platforms ?

Collectively at any one time, the main handset manufacturers are working on hundreds of new devices for release globally over the next 18 months. The OS platform choice the handset manufacturers choose to deploy in these devices (and Operators influence) will be a crucial factor in Android's progress. This question also impacts the developer ecosystem uptake of the Android SDK and Marketplace distribution for free/paid applicatons. Reach is impacted by volume.

Back to the G1....Google's choosing to launch their first Android based device on the current form-factor (rather than a Blackberry-like/Candybar or Clamshell form-factor) has reaffirmed the large, touch-screen phone device is here to stay (with or without QWERTY), implying the continued shift towards doing much more on your mobile device than voice and texting...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Future's Cloudy, the Future's Ovi ?

Maybe, but Nokia have a lot more work to do yet.

It's been a while since the last update but Nokia have launched the next upgrade to their Ovi service offering (bringing the web, desktop and mobile harmonisation one step closer).

The new additions are synching (contacts, calendar, notes, tasks) via SyncML, a personalised dashboard with flickr and Ovi share 'widgets' and a desktop PC suite client (Ovi Suite). Multiple devices can be synched to a single Ovi account but mobile web browser access is still pretty limited with these new features (no login/dashboard view).

This complements the existing Remote File Access/Share (from your mobile/online PC) and Ovi Share (photos and media uploading/sharing)services.

Games, Music and Maps (no eMail?) are still to be integrated but Nokia have been listening it seems, for a single unified account login to all Nokia Ovi features with FileShare and new Synch service at least sharing the same login details.

The fixed-browser widget approach is a good move, allowing personalisation of the dashboard assuming we see other Nokia/external widgets being made availabe soon (I would find an SMS-text backup widget very handy ...)

However I think the whole Ovi strategy still way too fragmented for normobs - the multiple logins, multiple access points to the services (synchML, mobile web, web, active idle screen integration of Ovi Share) and the separate Share Online application, N-Gage arena on the device just cause confusion.

I'll assume at some point Nokia will have a centralised approach for device, desktop, mobile web and web and might take a leaf out of Apple's book regards simplicity (although MobileMe has its own fair share of problems too).

In the meantime Zyb, Dashwire, MobSynch, Funambol, SoonR, Orb and the myriad of other services that synch media+contacts+calendars from mobile-to-cloud and/or mobile-to-PC, will need to try and stay ahead of the giant as it continues centralising and improving these services further in its quest to become an internet company.

As usual, AAS have a much more detailed review.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mobile bloglines update

I tend to use Mobile bloglines rather than Google's mobile feed reader for staying on top of RSS feeds and this week Bloglines released a new beta version for mobile.

Point your mobile browser to and you'll be redirected to v3 (the newer version).

New features include: favicon support (turn-offable), ability to follow sublinks within a post but keep the post as unread (useful for continuing reading long posts) and startpage support (if you set the bloglines MyStartpage with favourite feeds - this is now available in v3).

If you prefer the original mobile version there's a link at the bottom to revert back to 'classic mobile bloglines'.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Updates everywhere

I've been using HelloTxt recently to update statuses across multiple (micro) blogging and chat channels. Lifestream updating from a centralised place, I'm finding is rather convenient.

It's a service similar to - and both have been around a while. Both also have mobile (web) access and support updates via email.

One thing I like about HelloTxt is the ability to in-line post a video-clip as well as images (like jaiku) and crucially it has an SMS Gateway for posting updates via SMS.

These services are slightly different from FriendFeed which imports your status updates and is more of an aggregator of other services rather than which is a multi-end-destination-status-update tool.

Both services could do with voice enablement from the mobile though (like TwitterFone or TwitterGram) or to link up with the spinvoxes or jott's of the world. The posting options are summarised below : - Web Interface, Special Email Address, IM Bot, Mobile Interface (including dedicated iPhone), iGoogle and Facebook Apps

- Web Interface, Special Email Address, Mobile Interface (no iPhone version), Posting via SMS, Facebook App

More detailed comparisonshere and here.

If you've got multiple microblogging/chat channels and you want to update them all simultaneously with the same updates you might want to try one of these services out.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Marauders Map - GeoPresence

Fans of Harry Potter will know the Marauders Map helped him greatly in his adventures.

The map showed him, in real time, the Hogwarts school and where each wizard was at any given moment. (For old gaming fans - the whole concept of seeing where everyone was on a map was like Escape from Colditz boardgame - by Parker - remember that ?)

Finding latitude and longitude from triangulated cell-towers or increasingly directly from GPS chips emebedded in the phone is standard fare and there's many geo-presence mobile services that can pinpoint you and others on a mobile map in realtime.

We built an in-house rudimentary version a while ago (using LBS and Googlemaps) and then added Facebook status on top. I could see my colleagues on a map in near real-time (as long as they had their mobile switched on and were in coverage) with their FB status and they could see me.

It was immediately obvious of the need for privacy and context. (Who wants to be tracked at all times ?) Child/prisoner/friend/parcel tracking and reality mining can all genuinely useful in the right context but getting that bit right with privacy/security/rights etc... is a whole different debate. Still, the technology is there.

I suspect there will be a lot more useful services mashing mobile location together with other features (I mentioned a couple previously such as wikinear and tweet cloud) rather than ** just ** social geo-presence.

Will we see an explosion of mobile-based geo-presence mashups when everyone's got a Marauders map in their pocket ?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Social Phonebook is coming (finally) ...

Zyb have now released a beta version of their client app in addition to mobile browser access via

It's only officially available (read-optimised) for Sony Ericsson phones right now although it installed on an N78 spoofed as W910i. Here's some of the client features: geo-presence, Social Network/microblog updates and sharing PIM functions (short video below) ...

Nokia launched an IM/Chat beta client today also with geo-presence (AAS review here). The app is integrated into the phone book/contacts as a separate tab (and not the Messaging app). One of Nokia's beta-lab earlier products "Conversation" was also integrated into the phonebook/contacts as an extra tab.

We are at last starting to see integration of communi-content into the most social and useful applications on any mobile phone - the contacts/phone book, (**and I note Apple have split off Contacts from the Phone application in v2.0, so that Contacts is now separate - allowing better cross-application integration. Why did'nt the master of UI/UE do this initially is odd - calling is person-centric not function-centric**).

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Empire Strikes back?

Been away on holiday recently and didn't fancy moblogging so apologies for the lack of updates. 

Still digesting the big Symbian news but the posts below give varying viewpoints and some excellent insight if you've not already read them.

There's also an interesting podcast from David Wood of Symbian worth listening to, explaining some of the history of the deal, vision and roadmap implementation.

I'm sure there is an analogy to the Star Wars movies in here somewhere...

On a lighter note for a Friday and a related theme, you may have seen Google's Mobile Tricks campaign recently launched, and this video below fired off the imagination -  will this ever happen?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Faster, Better, Cheaper ?

You know the adage right? You can never have all three, at very best two. There's usually a compromise across all three of faster / better/ cheaper. It depends on how you define these terms of course but with Apple's 3G iPhone announcement yesterday here's my initial thoughts.

1) Apple's mobileme: a cross between Zyb + Ovi(?) + Gdrive. Push mail, contacts and calendar with synch and sharing across pc, mac, iphone, appleTv - (not free). What about MS Mesh and the plethora of other backup, synch (funambol,dashwire,lifecache,sugarsych etc..) and share services in the cloud of Web 2.0 ? Will mobileme play nicely with the other web2.0 players for sharing photos, contacts, mail and calendar entries for example or are we back in walled-garden-world ?

2) Interesting to see the planned(?) "leaks" yesterday in an attempt to soften Apple's hype machine ie. the N85, N79 and 5800. Samsung also chose yesterday to launch the Omnia/Instinct - and RIM, well, they already announced the Thunder - classic prememptive tactics ?

3) iPhone battery improvements. Battery-life usually vanishes when multi-tasking multimedia when mobile on a fast connection. Intra-day charging is the norm for me just to survive, on any handset. If it lasts as long as the N78 (just like its predecessor the N73) I'd be happy (pretty sure it won't though).

4) 3G iPhone price point is crucial (£free- £100 tariff-dependent) with contract (18 months x £30 cheapest) - jailbreaking and unlocking will not be possible as in-store activation only? The hacker community will find a way - they always do; although it probaly won't be pretty, simple or quick...Will the mass market uptake (they might with a PAYG option) ?...When you compare what feature-phones and smartphones you can get for the same total-cost-of-ownership over 18 months in the UK - the 3G iphone offer is comparable now at least.

5) 22 countries on July 11th for the 3G iphone launch - 6 million 1st Gen iPhones sold so far, apple ** really ** must want to achieve that 10 million target, by end of the year 2008. Still a tiny drop in a big ocean of handset sales for perspective ...but the co-ordinated release date across 22 countries means word-of-mouth marketing will continue the next 6 weeks.

6) Hardware: No haptic feedback, no front camera, no camera upgrade or video support (what! - do Apple realise 8mp camerphones + xenon flash will be shipping this year in Europe), 16gb max storage (will it be enough - lots of apps will be > 10mb) and no keyboard or better bluetooth. Flush headphone jack (as it should have been). GPS chip and 'perceptively' thinner. Obviously there are tradeoffs, but camera over GPS ? - hmmm, perhaps apple should have attended a music concert to see what people do their with their mobile in this setting.

7) Software (iPhone v2.0) & apps - free upgrade for existing iphone users (good) and lots of interesting rich applications ready to launch (eg. mooCow's Band). Background tasking and push notifications aside (perhaps for another post), no MMS and copy/paste functionality? Lots of enterprise related software support including enhanced vpn, exchange and app-tieing-to-phone features - is this where the real money for Apple is ?

I'm underwhelmed, but from a strategy perceptive Apple are addressing the 3 pillars of consumer (price-focused), enterprise (corporate/security/email application focused) and developer (centralised distribution and strong revenue model plus SDK via the Application store focused) - how they maintain the momentum is yet to be seen.

So faster (3G bearer, faster-to-market than competitors less than 12 months for 2nd gen etc...), cheaper (just) but better?

What do you think ?

Friday, May 30, 2008


** Update ** looks like I spoke too soon, Qik adding geotagged video-streams too (from Mobile Monday Barcelona)...

Qik, FlixWagon, Kyte, ComVu, Floobs, CometNow, and Bambuser are all mobile broadcasting services, a couple of which I've played with previously. Qik seems to be the mobile geeks current favourite.

These services allow you to broadcast live video from your mobile and stream it to the web - part of the LifeSteaming or LifeCasting tool set, you'll need for a self-produced Truman show, to be a BBC journalist or NASA operations.

You can notify your twitter, jaiku or pownce followers that you're broadcasting live, right now, allowing interactive comments to be posted into the running mobile app's user interface. YouTube integration for direct streaming upload is also possible with Qik and flixwagon.

Bambuser was at the conference I attended last week and not having seen them before I tried it out, downloading the Symbian/S60 client from

It's similar to Qik and Flixwagon with a straightforward user interface and to start broadcasting just "connect". One of the features it has over the other services is the ability to GeoTag your live video stream (although an additional sis client install is required) so you can view the stream geo-positioned on a GoogleMap.

(Nokia's Sportstracker widget also now supports video upload although its not mobile broadcast streaming.)

Bambuser indicate there's more integration features coming soon, so one to watch ...

For an overview of how to do mobile broadcasting and more details on the above services visit Steve Garfields blog.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Zyb bought

I posted the other day about Zyb and why I thought it was the right approach to Mobile Social networking and communicontent (starting from the phone address book) and I see they've just been bought by Vodafone.... interesting.

SMS Text news (who always seem to be first) has multiple posts on their service, including a quote from Vodafone about the acquisition. Official press release here.

I wonder what this means for mobical, mobyko, bloove and anywr.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Touch take 2

I have'nt blogged about devices for a while, what better time for an update...

There's some posturing going on by the big 5 handset manufacturers to have the best flagship, high end, multi-feature phone for their 2008 portfolio - this includes touch screen devices.

Nothing new there of course.

But, since last year's iPhone, the race has intensified to get something close to the user experience it provides 12 months on. We are now seeing the second generation of iphone-like-clones hit the market and if the rumours are true we'll shortly see Apple's second offering too.

Haptic feedback is appearing and more emphasis is obviously going into the user interface and user experience.

Slimness of device has long since been to be a a differentiating feature in the flagship models.

The HTC Diamond (MDA Compact IV), Samsung F480, LG KF750(Secret) are all launching now or very soon and further devices coming later this year include the Samsung Instinct(i900), Sony Ericsson X1 and rumoured Blackberry 9500).

All of the above have great form factors (I particularly like the HTC and Samsung,- the latter being very similar to the LG Prada). They're, thin and small, with large touch screens.

The haptic feedback on the F480 works well and tapping around the interface is simple and response time fast (but the transitions are too slow). Typing a text or email with one hand/thumb is possible since it supports T9-equivalent input and the haptics helped here as did the sensitivity of the screen.

Usually I'm less a fan of the stylus based touch screen devices (like the HTC Diamond /Compact IV) as I find them fiddly and very difficult to use single-handedly even to make calls. However, HTC have introduced their TouchFLO 3D finger based interface (in a nod to the iPhones interface) to address this and there are also third party installable options. This makes the phone much easier to use through a simpler, attractive interface than the traditional windows mobile menu based interface.

With other touch screen devices coming from Nokia, Motorola and devices running Android the second half of the year will see things heat up further in this area.

If touch based devices are not your thing then there's also some great non touch based handsets coming as well, both consumer and enterprise, such as the Blackberry 9000, E71 and N96. I'm sure Sony Ericsson will put some strong top end non touch based devices out too.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Communi-Content aggregation

Shozu added more high profile end destination partners this week including twitter (& twitpic), photobucket and seesmic.

The microblogging end-destinations such as twitter are an obvious addition (text upload and comment/replies synching back to the phone) and indicates Shozu is heading towards becoming more of a mobile social service rather than just a pure uploading app to web end destination sites.

Flickr comment downloading on your uploaded flickr photos have been supported for a while and now you can receive yours and your friends timeline tweets. Hopefully geotagging text/status updates will be enabled if the end destinations supports it too, (like jaiku).

As I blathered on previously, there seems to be a race on to own communi-content aggregation and there's been a few moves in this area lately. was recently bought, Facebook apparently is failing, Ovi is expanding it's reach, FriendFeed continues to be the current web 2.0 darling and other services head towards aggregating all of your content and communication such as the services mentioned here (there's lots more).

Zyb, whilst originally a different proposition from Shozu, is related because it is now evolving from just contact and pim synching service to add in lifestreaming and aggregation. (see picture below). Shozu used to have mobile contact /address book synching but dropped it in the latest client version.

Jaiku, whilst being a micro-blogging end destination in itself, also used the mobile phone address book (in the client based version) to include presence and added the ability to import other web 2.0 service updates (Facebook, twitter etc..).

It looks to me like these types of services are converging and it will be interesting to see which ones go on to be the most successful, those based around the personal/social network, aggregating destinations (for content and/or communications), a hybrid of both or none of the above.

For me, those that include and integrate the mobile phone address book (and synch to the web) are the most interesting. After all the mobile address book/contacts the ultimate personal social network isn't it?

Comparing Zyb's new mobile enhanced contact/address book and Dashwire will be a blog post for a future date.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Facebook in Reality

No mobile related post this time, but I thought this was rather amusing ...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Neighbourhood watch

Loads of web based and mobile communi-content services have integrated location as a default part of the service eg. Flickr, Jaiku, Dopplr, Wayn, Gypsii, ZoneTag, Shozu, GMaps, BuddyPing, Twibble, Twinkle - the list is long... one thing they all lack is context.

Geo-locating content and communication (either at creation or consumption) is being further refined by some newish location mashups, or lashups :)

Wikinear from developer Simon Willison shows you a a list of the five Wikipedia pages that are geographically closest to your current location. It's faster and more convenient than going to wikipedia directly on your mobile and typing in your location.

You'll need a Fire Eagle login, then point your mobile web browser to

Wikinear uses Yahoo's Fire Eagle platform to get your location (Twitter is also integrated into Fire Eagle via Firebot to set your location directly via a tweet).

Twitterlocal is another service that filters tweets that are happening nearby within a 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 20 mile radius (as per previous post for Twinkle). Note there's a high noise-to-signal ratio!

How long before we see hyper-local, time-limited spontaneous advertising / marketing pushed through these types of platforms with access from your mobile (ie. I "follow" the provider costa50bucks coffee in a specific location and the discount code is redeemable only at that outlet) - the rudimentary **context** being provided here is they know I'm "local" and "might" be interested in a temporary discount.

Maybe it's already already happening...

One last service that's also filtering down more locally is TwitterVision which has been updated to allow localisation per country... here's the UK public timeline.

Friday, April 11, 2008

iPhone twitter (native)

** Update ** and another native iPhone twitter client called Twinkle. The difference with this over Mobile Twitter below, is that it also adds in location allowing you to see tweets from people within 1,2,5,10, and 50 mile radius of your current location. Add "" to the installer app.

I posted a while back about a couple of native S60 and J2ME clients for accessing twitter/jaiku and recently I've been playing with a native iPhone twitter client developed by npike.

Add this resource to installer and then download the twitter client from the Npike directory.

Clean and simple UI. I like.

Here's some other twitter based resources for desktop, browser and mobile.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Like MySay, ReQall, Spinvox etc... it's good to see voice being integrated to both mobile and web services.

It's still a hugely under developed area in my view, but perhaps this is slowly changing. There's some fairly new mashups listed here on the myVox site. They've been created by developers using the MyVox API.

I tried one below.

Google map with voice-notes (voicemap).
Click on the next marker button and then the pink marker to listen to a voice note I've left by dialling a US number to leave a voicesnippet for a location, where I'm planning to be next week. You can "privatise" the map as well with a password.

View Larger Map

I placed the marker on the map through the desktop browser. To make this more mobile-centric an improvement would be to automatically geotag your voicesnippet from the mobile, so the marker was placed for you. (On a sidenote: I wonder if we'll see MMS get integrated with Location for GPS-enabled phones soon, as audio snippets can already be sent via MMS, or perhaps even GeoVoicemail - here's where the person was when they left you a voicemail.)

I could see this type of feature in services like WAYN or Dopplr , Gypsii etc.. It's an additional, personalised option to say leaving a voicemail (no map) or sending emails with embedded maps attached (less personalised).

Flickr adds video

Flickr **finally** added video uploading and sharing abilities for pro members. Formats supported are (avi, wmv, mov, 3gp, mpeg1,2 and 4).

I tend to keep private/personal photos in Flickr so have been waiting for this feature for a while. I can now keep my personal videos in the same service (rather than on YouTube, Blip, Vimeo etc).

Anyone can view your Flickr videos if they have permission, so the usual public/private settings apply. A big downside for me however is that video clips are currently limited to 90 seconds - I hope this changes.

Now back to the options of getting video taken on your mobile into Flickr ...

Nokia's Shareonline app and Shozu are'nt supporting the option of uploading video directly right now from the mobile to Flickr.

At least, I could'nt get either working and the file types of ShareOnline flickr configuration file don't support video formats yet (ovi does) and Shozu sent me an automated email saying can't upload video to flickr (file type not supported). No doubt they'll be a new version of both apps with this feature supported soon enough.

In the meantime you can email your videoclips to flickr as per images from your mobile (a bit fiddly), but the mobile flickr login page has been down all day(!) so I can't check whether uploading of video is supported via the mobile website yet.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Say it loud - QR codes get a voice

** Update ** it would seem at least one high profile retail outlet - Harrods is going to trial QR codes.

QR codes will soon be embedding audio directly (images supported too).

When you use your cameraphone/barcode scanner app to view the QR code, it will playback the audio snippet directly (in addition to supporting URL/text as per today). It's not clear how long the audio-snippet can be...

More mobile noise pollution (yikes)?

QR codes don't seem to be that popular here in Europe (yet) as the article states and this recent report suggests .

Related but slightly different concept here on audio barcodes as NTT docomo have called them.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Opera mini 4.1 beta video view

Looks like Opera have taken a leaf out of Apple's book in presenting new features of their Opera Mini 4.1 browser, heh ...

I was interested in seeing how the fileupload option works to popular web destinations such as flickr (requires JSR-75: PIM and local file access support on the phone).

I downloaded and installed the unsigned version which means there's prompts popping up all over the place as you navigate through the phone directories to find an image.

However, supposedly if you download the signed version of Opera mini 4.1 for your phone and get it working, these prompts should be minimised (see WAPReview's comments here).

It won't replace my current fire-and-forget media-uploading mobile client because its faster and easier to use, supporting multiple web end desitnations.

Having said that, the Opera mini solution solution did work for uploading the image and is another option for uploading/downloading content between the mobile and web, directly from within the end destination website.

Opera mini 4.1 download is here (PC) or visit from your current mobile browser.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

MySpace mobile

Myspace mobile joins the growing list of companies adding mobile access.

There were workarounds in the past to get MySpace on your mobile (unless you were on Vodafone in the UK) such as vcellspace - now there's no need to.

The mobile web version has been in beta a while and now has been opened up to the public.

Many of the functionalities of the fixed web/desktop version are possible through this mobile web browser version.

Point your mobile browser towards: (another one that's not using the .mobi domain suffix).

As some of the largest social networking sites Facebook, Bebo and MySpace all have dedicated mobile web versions ... as do the microblogging and feature based social networks; twitter, jaiku, pownce, radar, flickr, youtube etcetera.

The business social networks haven't missed out either linkedin, plaxo and xing also have mobile web versions ... next on the list to get mobile optimised versions I reckon will be the lifestreaming aggregator services such as friendfeed, profilactic, socialthing, readr, mugshot. and so on..mybloglog already has a mobile version.

As a final comment for this post I was looking back at previous blog posts on Yahoo potentially buying Bebo.

How the winds change with Yahoo and Microsoft currently battling it out (Microsoft also investing in Facebook), Yahoo acquiring MyBlogLog and AOL being Bebo's buyer.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

iPhone SDK

Update ... the BBC iPhone iPlayer may have to take a backseat with a Lego app coming soon, can't wait ...

I don't think the Device OEM's are quite dead yet but amusing all the same ...

Monday, February 25, 2008

LinkedIn goes mobile

LinkedIn finally gets a mobile web version (including iPhone version).

I've been accessing the (fixed)website in the past through the mobile browser and as you would expect it was slow, clunky and pretty unuseable even on a 3.5G connection, zoomed out...but now there's a mobile optimised version - much better.

Point your mobile web browser to:

More details from the official LinkedIn blog here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mobile Podcasting made easier

I've advocated over the last two years that one of the most simple to understand concepts of mobile phones is dialling a number and speaking.

There's no going online via a mobile web browser and fiddly URL's, no client to find and run (however good it is), just dial a number and speak.

Everyone gets this and the mobile phone user interface is highly optimised for this usecase - so why not use it more for creating and accessing mobile content ?

My few regular readers :) will know I think that voice is a ** vastly ** underutilised channel for mobile application and content mashups as alluded to in previous posts here, here and here.

So I liked this Voice to RSS service provided by BlogTalkRadio.
The output is an RSS feed of an mp3 enclosure of the podcast. The RSS feed is a uniqe URL based on your mobile number suffixed (thus I prefer not to link to the RSS feed here)...but you can see an example from Robert Scoble's blog post.

It's simple and quick - and there's no sign in (although I believe it's a feature for those that want it, that's coming soon). Similar to some of the services integrating mobile voice as notes, memos, blogs and tweets with companies like MySay/ReQall/Twitter/Utterz and SpinVox, this new service allows a very quick way of podcasting from the mobile.

Beware if you try it as the number to call is in the US, so might be a little pricey.

There are other ways to achieve podcasting from mobile, but as a quick and dirty comparison I uploaded a voice note from within the voice recorder app on my mobile to my public channel on Ovi for sharing.

It's not as simple as dialling a number and speaking your podcast. It's uploaded and stored as .wav file rather than mp3, also you have to have an Ovi account of course - whereas with BlogTalkRadio no account is needed. You can then listen to the uploaded voiceclip via RSS if you are subscribed to that channel in your RSS reader.

Will any of these types of mobile services including podcasting make it to the mass market? (although if you can download a podcast of the daily BBC news to your iPod - one might argue its already mainstream).
I listen to podcasts regualrly on the daily commute and this service makes it a lot easier to actually create a podcast from your mobile and then broadcast it on the web via RSS.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Running to stand still

Battery life in mobile 'smart' phones has not kept up with the functional technology advancements such as embedding more radios, GPS chips and larger screens within the device.

As a real life example using my phone at the weekend on a 2 hour long car journey using GPS and GMaps (Nokia maps currently charges a small fee for directions - which is fine but I thought I'd try the free alternative), downloading a 2 minute video from YouTube into the device, then playing it and listening to a couple of music tracks - took the battery from full to 2 bars remaining within this short period of time.

Fair enough, as it was pretty intensive and not a typical usecase, but arriving at my destination and locking the car, I overhead two teenagers nearby in an exchange.
"No you can't borrow my phone - I've only got 1 bar left, I'm almost outta juice - I need it". I wonder how that teenager had been using his mobile and when he had last charged it, (note: separate insight of how teenagers share their mobile phones).

I think there's a consumer perception that a mobile phone should last days with a single charge (including me) - this is a problem for smartphones that come under any kind of heavy use, especially when using streaming video, mp3 download, gaming, broadcast mobile TV and other device and network resource intensive features.

So a couple of announcements caught my eye recently:
Kinetic-based mobile phone movement:

... and movement based charging (this time from a knee brace).

PS.Currently I'm skeptical on the Nokia N96 and its' 950mAh battery announced at MWC last week ... until I can play with it in real life scenarios. The N95 battery issue was a big issue until a firmware update and the N958gb version (just about acceptable for me even with WiFi scanning and bluetooth off). The iPhone despite its media-centric stance/optimisation ( also suffers a little with quick draining battery under heavy usage in similar circumstances - I wonder how it will cope with a 3G radio as well.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Shozu gets an update

... to version 4.0 (I only checked the Symbian version) - out are the contacts back up and zucasts, in is a simpler interface with end-destinations configuration ... point your mobile browser to

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Second pillar of Ovi revealed - Share

**Update** - share online fixed to add Ovi as a service provider and according to the Ovi product manager at MWC - monthly upload limits may be relaxed in the near future.

The door to Nokia's Internet services opened a bit further this week with Share online (Nokia's twango acquisition) hitting the web, following on from the UK music store.

Ovi share is based around media sharing (privately or publicly) similar to Flickr for Photos and YouTube for video.

All the usual elements are there: private / public group sharing / widgets for republishing media / email and MMS upload / RSS feeds and social networking elements / media editing functions / developer api (although I didn't delve into this to see how advanced it is). There's a 100 different media file types for upload, covering all the main formats.

Strangely Nokia's share online app is **still** being updated to include Ovi Share (but the link on the homepage to install the new version, whilst working, did not add anything new (Flickr and Vox are still the only service providers)).

I got round this by adding an end destination Ovi channel as an email destination in Shozu so can post pics/vids directly to Ovi without Share online, but it's a bit annoying I have to use a 3rd party app to do this when Nokias own media uploading app doesn't!

...The web based editing (eg. rotate, size, brightness) and vizualisation (eg. slideshow) tools for images are very basic unlike Piknik integrated within Flickr Pro, but Flickr has been going a couple of years - so I'm sure we'll see an evolution with these embedded functions.

The monthly upload limit is disappointing as well, but presumably we'll see a pay-for-extra-upload-storage-and-features business model coming. Another slight peeve is when viewing slideshows or listening to audio clips uploaded into your channels, clicking on the media forces a new browser window open to view it /listent to it - in line listening or viewing is much better user experience.

Trawling through the forums about feature requests from users it looks like Nokia are aware of the need for deeper level integrations (Ovi Facebook apps are mentioned for example)to play nicely with other web platforms and media web sites, so the Ovi share team are going to be very busy over the next 12 months.

From the mobile standpoint it would have been nice to have deeper level integration there too, eg. being able to dial a number and leave audio snippets directly a-la-spinvox or utterz rather than attach an mp3 voiceclip to an email for upload, being able to send a text directly to Ovi.

Mobile access is straightforward enough through the mobile browser as you'd imagine via the URL with access to most of the functions within the main website. No dedicated client as yet.

... Ovi looks to be shaping into something pretty important for Nokia ... there is the danger of course that Ovi tries to do too much and become one all-encompassing black hole doing nothing particularly well, when compared to specialist sites (eg. flickr for photos, youTube for video, and the different Social networking sites) so we'll have to wait and see...

I'll continue to play with Ovi Share and will be looking out to see if Nokia manage to get cross-integration of the other pillars of Ovi (n-gage / music / maps ) or whether these will remain as silos as they launch. Where will MOSH sit I wonder?

Also I hope Nokia will adopt the partnering model with specific 3rd parties(such as Moo with Flickr). Right now though, from a photo standpoint, I won't be giving up the Flickr pro account just yet...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Two interesting announcements

** Update ** - of the reasons regarding why Nokia would buy Trolltech, VisionMobile has a detailed case saying why it's all linked to Ovi

Nokia to buy Trolltech QT...
QT is Trolltech's GUI libraries / framework.

How will Nokia incorporate this purchase, I wonder ? Here's hoping for a complete overhaul of the S60 menu-based ui(!)

Heavyweight Amazon to release DRM-free music mp3 downloads Internationally (after success in the US) with its music store.

From a mobile perspective this will be another option for consumers, alongside the existing ones from Operators (eg. OmniFone), Device OEMs (eg.Nokia's "Comes with music"/Music Store, Sony Ericsson's "Play Now" etc..), Apple iTunes and 3rd party (eg Last.FM,) subscription based services that can be accessed from the mobile for purchasing and playing music (streamed or downloaded).

I wonder if Amazon will produce a dedicted optimised mobile web front end or client to the music store ?

Thursday, January 24, 2008


As Motorola announces big losses, Nokia announce 40% Market share, despite lower US sales for the quarter.

Whilst I've never been a great fan of Moto's recent handsets (the keypads or the awful user interfaces in the past), I hope they can turn it round - competition is good between the big device OEMs.(And the North American market, where Nokia continues to struggle is perhaps a chance for them to capitalise upon).

Having played briefly with their new top end handsets the RokrE8 (interesting...) and Z10 (which I liked) - it seems at least, the message of needing to create some competitive high-end handsets got through...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mobile Trends for 2008 by Vision Mobile

Interesting analysis from Andreas, particularly points 2,3 and 14.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Welcome 2008

There was a flurry of mobile realted content and application news during December - much of which I did not get to post about, but already as CES kicks off in Jan 2008 with lots of mobile related news - it looks to be another hot year ahead for the mobile industry ... maybe this will be the year mobile data (web, widgets, video etc..) goes mainstream ...

I posted last year about Psiloc's GSync which works really well at backing up your SMS's from your mobile direct as emails to your GMail account. I use it regularly, to store messages I want to keep and refer to.

Treasure my Text is relaunching their service to include SMS backup/archiving and management online and a twitter-like broadcasting of texts to be shared with different groups (controlled by you), as well as your SMS's as an RSS feed and the ability to send texts from your PC based browser (similarly to Dashwire and Nokia's PC beta phone browser plugin).

I predicted last year we will increasingly see "LifeStreaming" services for mobile and for the twitter / jaiku afficianados, you can already receive and send tweets/jaikus via text/SMS. Similarly with Treasure my Text you can start a "text stream".
I need to review the beta a bit longer before highlighting the differences as well as the usecase of why you might want to expose public texts (certainly private text archiving is useful), so stay tuned, but so far I like it. (I'd like the option to be able to forward my texts from TreasureMyText dashboard to a 3rd party email site in addition as well such as GMail though).

Thanks to the excellent SMS Text for the link.

Yahoo Go are announcing the 3rd beta of their mobile app based around widgets.
I'm not a big fan of the Yahoo Go 2.0 J2ME client as an on-device-portal - it was painfully slow and closed to Yahoo's home-grown services - flickr and Yahoo mail fine but weather and stock information was easier for me to consume in other ways when mobile than wait for the client to initiate in phone memory and connect to download the latest info, that's not to mention the myriad of dedicated on-device client apps that do the same thing.

Perhaps I'll try it on other non-symbian devices as lots of people do seem to like it. It will be interesting to see how the new Yahoo solution now potentially including 3rd party widgets has evolved, purporting to be open and with a WDK/SDK for developers to create/port widgets quickly.

To round out this blog post, FlipSilent (turn your phone on its face to put in silent profile) - for S60 platform is here, (the first version is a little buggy so it might be worth waiting a day or two for the next release).

Finally this application is in the wild, after this simple-but-great idea was thought of years ago.