Mobile

Modding the Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Tuesday, 18 October, 2016 0 Comments

modding: “The act of changing a game to make it another, or add features previously unavailable, old, or previously non-existent. It is commonly done in PC games.” Source: Urban Dictionary

In an example of the kind of publicity that money simply cannot buy, this hilarious Grand Theft Auto V mod turns the notorious Samsung Galaxy Note 7 into a deadly weapon. It’s “da bomb,” as users of ancient slang might say.

Extra: Here is an audio clip of a Lufthansa pilot on a flight to Munich asking passengers not to use any “Galaxy S7 mobile phones.” The worry for Samsung now is that the contagion will spread across its range. The worry for road warriors is that all mobile devices powered by lithium-ion batteries might be banned from in-flight usage. Some travellers, though, would not be unhappy with such an outcome.


Playground: The next Big Thing, again

Friday, 15 April, 2016 0 Comments

The history of computing over the past four decades shows that a new platform emerges roughly every 12 years or so:

So, what’s next? Artificial intelligence as a service. Andy Rubin has created Playground, which aims to create a manufacturing and development platform for AI-equipped devices. Playground will build a common infrastructure for these, just as Windows did for PCs and Android did for smartphones. It’s all about the device, not the network:

“At this point, that big, big idea may sound familiar. For the past several years, technol­ogists have heralded the dawn of the Internet of Things — networked thermostats, lightbulbs, refrigerators, and other gizmos that talk to one another. Companies like Google, Apple, and Samsung have all built proprietary ecosystems to enable that communication and are racing to convince manufacturers to build products for them. But Rubin says they have it backward; ecosystems arise to support popular products, not the other way around. Play­ground’s first step is to provide startups with the tech­nology to build new devices; the network will emerge later.”

That’s a quote from “Andy Rubin Unleashed Android on the World. Now Watch Him Do The Same With AI,” which appeared in the March issue of Wired. Earlier this week, John Battelle expanded on Jason Tanz’s article in a NewCo piece titled “Android’s Founder Wants To Give The Internet A Body.” Now that house prices in San Francisco have fallen for the first time in four years, one gets the feeling that the search for the Next Big Thing is taking on a new urgency around the Bay Area.

Playground


Mobile is everything, everywhere

Friday, 19 February, 2016 1 Comment

On Monday, the annual Mobile World Congress begins in Barcelona and the slogan this year is “Mobile Is Everything.” Those who follow the industry, will be aware that the Barcelona motto echoes the title of a presentation made by Benedict Evans in October 2014: “Mobile is Eating the World.” Both claims sound somewhat bombastic, but that’s only because many people are unaware of how powerful smartphones have become.

Most mobile phones today are equipped with an array of sensors and these enable completely new kinds of connected experiences. This can be seen in the title of a Barcelona event titled Digital Farming and Connected Car. Visitors to the “Digital Farming” presentation will see how “how field sensors transfer data directly to the farmer — with important information on water needs, fertilizer supplies and the right time of harvest.” The informed farmers will then drive (laugh?) all the way to the bank in their SEAT Connect cars, which will “initiate parking and fueling transactions,” while “Payment will be conveniently done in-car through Samsung Pay.”

“Where there’s muck, there’s money” was the old saying about farming. The updated version goes, “Where there’s data, there’s money.”

Looking at the bigger picture in which connectivity is redefining farming and transport, we find ourselves in a world where our bodies, homes and factories are becoming part of an invisible network of sensors called the Internet of Things (IoT). Is mobile a subset of this Fourth Industrial Revolution or is it the catalyst? That’s the debate that will rage this year. In Barcelona, it seems that they’ve made up their minds: Mobile is everything.

Mobile World Congress


The iPhone: On this day in 2007

Saturday, 9 January, 2016 0 Comments

Apple reinvented the telephone on 9 January 2007. “iPhone is a revolutionary new mobile phone that allows users to make calls by simply pointing at a name or number,” claimed the company press release. Steve Jobs was at his entertainingly visionary best during the Macworld convention in San Francisco when he made that legendary presentation. From that day on, for better or worse, a person became known by the company of the phone they kept. (Grammar note for 2015: singular “they”).

“We’re gonna use the best pointing device in the world. We’re gonna use a pointing device that we’re all born with — we’re born with ten of them. We’re gonna use our fingers.
We’re gonna touch this with our fingers. And we have invented a new technology called multi-touch, which is phenomenal.
It works like magic.
You don’t need a stylus. It’s far more accurate than any touch display that’s ever been shipped.
It ignores unintended touches, it’s super-smart.
You can do multi-finger gestures on it.
And boy, have we patented it.”

Steve Jobs (24 February 1955 – 5 October 2011)


Paja escribir!

Monday, 29 June, 2015 0 Comments

Figures from the fourth quarter of last year showed that 78 percent of South African mobile internet users were active on WhatsApp. Malaysia was second on the global list and, in third place, was Argentina. What’s driving this? Well, WhatsApp is simple to use, it’s free, it’s fast and there are no ads, no games or no gimmicks. And there’s another thing in South America: voice messages. WhatsApp introduced voice messages in 2013 and users in Argentina have fallen in love with the feature.

Writing in Motherboard, Kari Paul notes that the voice message fits with Argentina’s talkative culture. “The volleying of voice messages often starts off with the same phrase: ‘Paja escribir,’ or ‘Too lazy to write.’ Then the exchange begins.” The result? “Everyone in Buenos Aires Is Communicating by Voice Memo Now.”


BlackBerry vs. iPhone: beauty matters

Monday, 25 May, 2015 0 Comments

When the iPhone first appeared in 2007, senior management at RIM were convinced that their customers valued the iconic BlackBerry keyboard far more than the innovative Apple touchscreen. The mobile business was about security and efficiency instead of novelty and entertainment, they believed. In the Wall Street Journal, Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff examine this fatal shortsightedness in The Inside Story of How the iPhone Crippled BlackBerry. Snippet:

‘By all rights the product should have failed, but it did not,’ said David Yach, RIM’s chief technology officer. To Mr. Yach and other senior RIM executives, Apple changed the competitive landscape by shifting the raison d’être of smartphones from something that was functional to a product that was beautiful.

‘I learned that beauty matters… RIM was caught incredulous that people wanted to buy this thing,’ Mr. Yach says.”

Did video really kill the radio star? Tech historians still debate that question, but they are less divided by this fact: The inability of RIM to combine seamless internet access with an aesthetically pleasing experience mortally wounded the BlackBerry.

BlackBerry


Visca el Barça vs. mia san mia on the second screen

Tuesday, 12 May, 2015 0 Comments

A number of initiatives have been started in recent years to encourage more women to learn about computing, such as Ada Developers Academy, and Google, for its part, says it has given more than $40 million to organizations working to bring computer science education to girls. The reality, though, is that tech is still very much a man’s, man’s world and this impression was reinforced last week at the EIT Innovation Forum in Budapest, where Emanuela Zaccone was the only female nominee for the 2015 Awards.

Zaccone is the co-founder of TOK.tv, a platform that lets users chat to their friends while watching a game, such as tomorrow night’s Champions League semi-final between Juventus and Real Madrid. As it happens, the two teams are TOK.tv partners and Zaccone pitches her second screen play as a win-win for both sides as their fans, scattered around the world, can sit on the same virtual couch during a match and the clubs can monetize this engagement. And what about tonight’s Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich game, which pits the Catalan Visca el Barça against the Bavarian mia san mia cultures? Zaccone smiles. “We’re talking,” she says. The two teams are global players in every sense of the term and their joint presence on the TOK.tv platform would add considerably to its reach.

Back in 2007, when Emanuela Zaccone was working on her PhD thesis at the University of Nottingham, she had a hunch that a combination of social media streams and audio-visual content would lead to to new forms of audience participation in entertainment. She was right. From her vantage point in Rome today and in her role as Social Media Strategist at TOK.tv, she’s proving that a woman can transform a man’s game.

Emanuela Zaccone


Payments: Facebook has a message for paij

Wednesday, 18 March, 2015 0 Comments

Facebook hired PayPal’s David Marcus last summer to manage its messaging products, and in the company’s July earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg implied that a payment product was coming. And here it is: Facebook users can tie their debit card to their account to transfer money to one another with Messenger. “The Messenger app now includes a small ‘$’ icon above the keyboard which opens a payments screen where users can type the amount they wish to send,” reports Kurt Wagner for Re/code. The feature will be rolled out on iOS and Android in the US before launching internationally.

paij All of this will be watched with interest, no doubt, in Wiesbaden, where the paij app is headquartered. When the European Web Entrepreneur of the Year Awards were handed out last year, the Female Web entrepreneur Award went to Sylvia Klein, founder and managing director of paij. “Strategic partnerships and system integrations will help paij to determine the future of mobile payment apps initially in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and later Europe in general,” she stated. “In the long haul paij has the potential to establish a mobile payment concept taking on global challenges.”

The “long haul” has a short shelf life these days and it’s not just Facebook’s Messenger that’s ante portas. Apple Pay is shaping up to be part of that “global challenge” that paij will have to deal with. By the way, paij might need to move up a gear or two if it’s develop a convincing European battlespace strategy. The company’s last tweet was on 18 February, the most recent Facebook post was on 2 March and those to click the blog link on the company’s site get this alert:

Welcome to Parallels!

If you are seeing this message, the website for blog.paij.com is not available at this time.
If you are the owner of this website, one of the following things may be occurring:
You have not put any content on your website.
Your provider has suspended this page.

Obviously, paij needs to work on its messaging.


Body of glass

Monday, 2 March, 2015 0 Comments

“Seemed like the real thing, only to find mucho mistrust, love’s gone behind.” That’s what Blondie sang in Heart of Glass back in 1978. At the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona last night, glass was front and behind when Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge phones. According to Gigaom, “Samsung has done away from the plastic cases that always characterized its phones and adopted Gorilla Glass front and back panels, which are then encased with a metal band.”

This is very good news for Corning, and it reminds us of the glass stats cited by Benedict Evans in his “Mobile is Eating the World” presentation last year.

Glass

Note: “Samsung has be known to copy Apple’s design before, which led to record sales and record-breaking lawsuits. It’s hard to say if the Galaxy S6 will bring about any lawsuits, but the similarities between it and the iPhone 6 are undeniable.” Dan Seifert, reporting for The Verge from Barcelona.


Facebook: Earnings and Yearnings

Tuesday, 28 October, 2014 0 Comments

Can Facebook keep telling its growth story? The social network reports third quarter earnings this evening and expectations are high. Last quarter it generate revenue of $1.81 billion, a 53 percent increase from the same quarter a year ago and, as The Motley Fool encapsulates it, “shares up 45% in 2014 and nearly 200% since the start of 2013.” While all this is good news for investors, not everyone is thrilled by the rise and rise of the behemoth. Take publishers, for instance.

Their increasing dependency on referral social media traffic and Facebook’s increasing focus on mobile is creating a relationship that’s potentially ruinous. The inability of traditional publishers to create pages that load rapidly on mobile devices has led Facebook to dangle a lure. “One possibility it mentioned was for publishers to simply send pages to Facebook that would live inside the social network’s mobile app and be hosted by its servers; that way, they would load quickly with ads that Facebook sells. The revenue would be shared.” That’s what David Carr wrote in the New York Times on Sunday in a piece titled Facebook Offers Life Raft, but Publishers Are Wary. And so they should be, because attractive and all as this might appear, Carr quickly adds, “Media companies would essentially be serfs in a kingdom that Facebook owns.”

Can this grim fate be avoided? Over at Gigaom, Mathew Ingram follows up on Carr’s article and suggests that salvation might be found in offering readers the things Facebook cannot. Snippet:

“For me, the only possible route to survival (notice I didn’t use the word prosperity or success, just survival) is to play in Facebook’s sandbox, but to give up as little as possible — and at the same time, to spend as much or more effort on figuring out how to make your content as engaging and social as it can be on your own terms. Give readers the ability to do things that Facebook can’t or won’t: the ability to interact with you, to be part of the process… If you hand all of your content and relationships over to Facebook and assume that your work is done, then you have already lost.”

But what if the war has been lost? This chart from Shareaholic shows just how dominant Facebook is in the social media traffic business. We know enough now about its yearnings. They are being powered by its earnings and that’s why this evening’s results are so important.

Facebook traffic


Getting ready for the next billion

Friday, 17 October, 2014 0 Comments

Between 2015 and 2020, one billion new people are expected to come online for the first time, mainly through mobile-based internet connections. Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg talks with Michal Lev-Ram of Fortune about the next billion, his company’s innovation labs and the future of mobile data in a digital-dependent economy. “By 2019,” says Vestberg, “90 percent of the Earth’s population above six years will have a mobile phone.”

Ericsson, meanwhile, is talking up 5G, which it claims “will make completely new applications possible and bring even greater benefits to society. For example, near-zero latency enables machinery to be remotely operated in hazardous environments as well as driverless cars.”