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Posts tagged with 'mobiles'

Victor Palau

I have previously complained about the about the amount of gadgets that seem to be piling by my bedside table charging quietly every night.. Laptops, Tablets, phones, kindle (yes the plural is not a typo).

On top of that I am growing frustrated with my DVR. Last week the new series of “The Mentalist” was broadcasted in the UK. I did set the record in advance but somehow it clashed and did not get recorded. Even with the missed show only one-click away, in the TV channel’s website, it turns out that my only options were to wait for a repeat on TV in 4 days or go upstairs and watch it in the office desktop. Why is it so complicated!?

All of this frustration got me thinking and I have come up to some conclusions of what the future of my home computing is going to look like.

Centralised Content &  Specialised Consumption Devices

So it turns out that I am not going to give up my E-Ink screen for reading books. Why? Because it doesn’t hurt my eyes like an  tablet screen does. Neither I am going to convince my son that watching Peppa Pig in the iPad is not any better than watching it on TV. Why? Dunno, he isn’t talking yet.

The future for me looks like it is going to involve a lot of different devices, and I am fine with that as long as:

  1. I don’t have to charge them too often – once a month would about right,
  2. They are flexible and powerful enough to get them to do what I need them to do when I need it done,
  3. I can get all my content in all of them!

The good news is that the technology to allow all of this to happen is already being designed. Point number 3, is the easy one! you just need an Ubuntu One account. Point 1&2, I have considered them incompatible for a long time, until I heard about big.LITTLE.

big.LITTLE is going to be BIG

How do you make a low powered device that gives you plenty of battery life, yet is capable of processing complex tasks? ARM seems to have a pretty good answer: big.LITTLE.

Big.LITTLE is a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) that pairs up to four top notch dual-core A15 processors with four very low powered  dual-core A7 processors. The beauty is that they have very similar feature-set and architecture. ARM expects to be able to switch between them depending on the tasks asked to performed without the operating systems noticing the difference.

In a nutshell, it’s like being able to choose between a Prius or a Ferrari engine without having to change cars! Just choose the one that suits your needs better for today’s journey.

This is one of the technologies that is going to ignite the next personal computing revolution. I’ll tell you all about the other ones soon ;)

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Victor Palau

What Phone To Buy Next?

I don’t believe I am saying this, but I am no longer interested on the phone industry.. The thing is that I have been paying attention to the gadget news all this year and  I am pretty interested on the new kindle’s, however I have not been interested on phones now for long time.

Android has managed to make the phone industry boring. All the phones look the same, they run the same apps, they run the same services..YAWN! Do you feel the same way? The problem to me is that 1-2 years ago a phone was the only tech item that you really needed to access all services and do anything you could possibly want.

Since then, thanks to tablets and e-readers amongst other the phone is no longer the ultimate convergence device. I am back to carrying multiple gadgets and a never-ending battery charging nightmare. Can someone invent the evolution on computing devices? please..

So, this week Apple is launching the Iphone 5 – will see…

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Victor Palau

I have now been living with a baby, an iPad, a cr-48, a netbook, 2 Android phones and a kindle for the last few months… and it is not easy ;) here are some of my conclusions from this experience.


Touch is the king here.. my 9 months old plays with anything that has buttons and keeps trying to change the TV channel back to the Night Garden as soon as he can. It is now impossible to keep him away from the iPad. I loaded an interactive rattle app, and he loves it.  In fact, I am sure he looks at me thinking “why are you playing with my toy?” every time I pick it up.   Second to the iPad , he loves the android phone touchscreen.

Conclusion, there is something quite basic and primitive about interacting by touching stuff.. and you can’t beat it.

Consuming media

Here the iPad shines.  Granted that we had to overcome the limitations “by design” introduce in the iPad.. you need a case holds the iPad on a viewing position (£10) and you need to hunt down all the apps that replace web-based flash players (a couple of hours).  After 4 months of consuming online video, I came up with 2 conclusions:

1) I can’t wait to have a good Linux tablet that is open and supports everything. I don’t need to be dictated what is good for me.

2) Streaming is the way.. I recently fell sick and decided that a movie in bed was what the doctor recommended. I headed to iTunes and “rented” a movie… 2 hours after the download started I had passed out in bed and didn’t get to watch my movie..sigh. I paid for it and I wanted NOW!

So is the iPad the king in this category? Well, no.  We still reckon that the kindle wins hands down when it comes to reading ebooks. You can’t beat the battery life, compact form-factor and softness to our eyes.  Also, when it comes to audio consumption my phone is where I go.. music, podcasts and audiobooks on the go.

Creating content

Creating content is becoming very frustrating. I have been using the cr48 for blogging recently, and it is nice to write with but hard to edit multimedia. The netbook is just not powerful enough. I have been tempted to throw my iPad to the bin when I have tried to create content with it.

The bottom line is that none of these devices are flexible and portable enough to do the job. I have to go back to my “proper” laptop/desktop, but that dictates when and where we can create content. Even replying to my personal emails is now becoming a nightmare task. I need to spread across 3 devices to do a job! Predictive touch keyboards are just not up to scratch. This category still remains a #Fail for me.

Fragmentation and convergence

5 years I go, I was working on the mobile phone industry and the main topic of conversation was how “the portable device market was platform fragmented and heading towards device convergence”. At the time function-specific devices where beating hands down the multi-propose one so you needed to carry: mp3 player, mobile phone, cam corder, camera, books and organiser (paper or electronic).

Today everyone takes for granted that a single device (smart-phone) can do a good job in all those categories and you only need a function-specific device if you have an specialised interest/hobby.

I feels like we are at the same junction when it comes to home devices, and this is without talking about Roku boxes and Apple tvs. So what will be the convergence device to rule them all?

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Victor Palau

Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop announced recently what seems to be the end of Symbian. But, he might be underestimating Nokia’s dependency on the aging operating system.

Symbian is bringing some needed revenue for Nokia, although not enough to keep their leadership position. It is not surprising that Nokia has announced a move away from Symbian. It is surprising that the death of Symbian is so readily predicted before any real sign that the plan B will be successful. By moving to Windows, Elop is betting all his chips in red number 7.

Betting on a losing horse

The signs are not good for Window Phone 7, and it will not help to pair up with a phone manufacturer which many consumers now consider out of touch with what they want.

The initial buzz has been quickly stump out by an advertisement campaign that fails to communicate the value of this new platform.

As Google and Apple have proved now repeated times, the tipping point for a mobile platform is the application developers. While Microsoft brings to this partnership fantastic assets in App Development environment, it joins the battle too late.Why will you write an application for WP7, when you can write it for Android or iPhone?

Getting rid of Symbian

So in summary, Windows Phone 7 is a platform that brings additional license cost, has no consumer pull and it is not adopted widely by OEMs. Nokia will find themselves not only paying the license fee but also doing the leg work on their own of bringing the platform to a good quality level and attracting developers. It will be a ground hog day.

Elop’s strategy heavily depends on WP7 phones selling and selling lots. When (and not if) these sales fail to materialise, he will find himself craving every dollar that Symbian brings to Nokia. Unfortunately Nokia will continue their dependency on a ever less competitive platform, instead of working on a real solution to their problems.

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