This week’s. Or rather, this month’s. I was too busy to blog for a while, but at least I’m home now, and I can continue this series. And I did keep notes.
- Again an iPhone Nano rumour. It would make so much sense for Apple to create a cheaper iPhone because it’s the only way to gain significant market share above the 15% or so it has now.
And it would make so much sense to do it this year, with the mobile market in disorder due to the fall of Symbian, the problems BlackBerry is having, the insufficient rise of Windows Phone, the declining enthousiasm for Android, and the general cluelessness of most (though not all) mobile actors.
We’ll see. But I believe it.
Hell, I said it before, so let’s go on record: I believe Apple will announce two iPhone models this year; the regular 5 and a cheaper “Nano.” There, I’m committed. And I’ll eat crow in public if I turn out to be wrong.
- After the instant messenger now the Enterprise Server: BlackBerry is porting its services to iOS and Android. IT administrators will be able to manage iOS and Android devices in addition to BlackBerry ones. That’s a big deal for corporate IT departments.
Thus RIM will remain a service provider even if its handset market is going down, as it might.
- Thomas Fuchs welcomes the new micro-frameworks that concentrate on one problem and solve it. This is the way to go on mobile: I less and less believe in the monolithic approach that requires you to download 60 or 80K over a mobile connection.
Of course, a good modularisation of existing libraries would serve the same purpose.
- The smartphone is a microscope now and can detect malaria.
- The US Army will create an app store for apps that support common army tasks.
In order to have a true mobile app strategy, the Army would have to settle on a single platform. Now that would cause an interesting bidding war.
- Brian Fling links to an interesting mail about mobile web apps being dead.
Although Brian and David Mark have a point of sorts, I feel that the discussion is framed incorrectly. I agree that web apps that mimic native apps are pretty much dead. If you must have native UX quality, go native.
The point is that you don’t always need native UX quality. In fact, I believe that for most non-game apps native UX quality is overrated.
I mean, there’s billions of desktop websites, and nobody has ever argued seriously that they must resemble native Windows or Mac applications, right? Modern web apps try to do that, but as far as I’m concerned the most succesful ones are those that don’t get too hung up on this resemblance.
If you must have something that looks native, use native. If you think you must have something that looks native, think again if your app is not a high-graphics game. If you don’t want or need something that looks native, consider web apps.
We have to liberate the discussion about web apps from the influence of people who are unable to look further than native-looking UX. There’s more to the mobile web. Much, much more. Problem is: we haven’t yet figured out what that more is.
- There’s a mild privacy flap in Holland about the police using generic, anonymized TomTom traffic pattern data to decide where to place traffic cameras. Actually this is not a bad idea at all, but the pro-car lobby (which is strong this year due to a right-wing government being in power) is incensed. TomTom (a Dutch company) has apologised, even though it seems it can’t really help it, since the information is also being used to generate the traffic jam reports its customers do want.
- Huawei and Panasonic have committed themselves to releasing MeeGo handsets. They’re not the most sexy of brands, and it won’t help MeeGo as a platform in the short run, but it shows the OS is not yet down and out, and may have a future ahead of it. What it really needs is a big player to commit to it. My money’s on HTC.
- How does Apple figure out where you are? Here’s the trick.
- Most of you will by now have heard of the iPhone collecting location data from all users. Steve Jobs himself denied that Apple tracks anyone, and apparently found the occasion so important that he gave one of his rare interviews. He said that while the iPhone does store location data, it’s anonymised and crowdsourced and mainly serves to aid location calculcations. He also emphasised that users can turn off their location service.
- And it’s not just Apple. Microsoft and Google do exactly the same.
- Meanwhile the four US carriers feel obliged to defend their location-gathering practices, and, again, emphasised that users have to give their consent. Furthermore they blamed third-party software.
Trusted carrier, eh?
While new third-party applications bring many consumer benefits, there are risks too. And because mobile devices are now an open platform, consumers can no longer look to their trusted carrier to answer all of their questions.
- An odd result of the location flap: iPhone user discovers his phone may be second-hand, although he bought it as new. Still, this may be explained by the fact that data from locations he never visited may appear on the phone. It’s hard to interpret the Jobs interview above correctly, but if I understand right this may lie within the realm of the possible.
- FBI stages a raid to find World of Warcraft gold fraudsters. Funny thing is, Charlie Stross wrote the book about this a few years ago.
Interesting. Didn’t know this was possible.
a browser that can only display a Canvas element and play Audio elements, but does not render generic HTML pages. A browser perfectly suited for HTML5 games.
- Nokia basically cuts loose Symbian by transferring it to Accenture. Tomi feels this is the right move, and Ewan McLeod concurs.
- Google loosens up the Android Market. Device vendors and operators may now promote their own content on a special page (which, I assume, will be the default Market page on the affected phones). That’s not quite the same as allowing people to build their own Android app stores and include them in the firmware, but it’s one step closer to a more open ecosystem.
Rushed to release, anyone? It’s very clear that 3.0 was an emergency measure because Google felt it was losing from Apple in the tablet market.
- Andy Budd points out that the app goldrush is over. I knew that; I said it more than a year ago, but it’s good that others see the same pattern.
If you want to make money as an independent developer, the app store is not the way to go. In fact, there is no way to go. It’s just impossible. Economics of development just don’t work that way.
- In related news: publisher Conde Nast is slowing down its efforts to create an iPad app for all of its titles. Apparently revenue is much less than expected, so why invest a ton of money? The app store is not the publishers’ saviour. There is no saviour. You’re going down and you know it.
- Dutch operator KPN slashes one quarter of all jobs. The reason? Declining SMS revenues. This is about the first time any operator reports declining revenues on the SMS cash cow. The reason is clear: operators are being too greedy and as a result people start looking for alternatives such as BlackBerry Ping (IM).
- France Telecom (owner of Orange) and Telefònica (owner of O2) push for content charging. If you want to download video over a mobile connection, fine, but you pay extra for it.
I’m moderately in favour. The clogging of the mobile networks is one of the most serious brakes on the growth of the mobile web, and it’s time consumers learn the mobile network will always remain slower and costlier than wifi.
- Mike Rowehl studies the browser as a competitor to the app store, and feels the browser is already ahead. Web-based stuff is much more versatile and malleable than apps from the store.
- Jonathan Snook introduces the
rem (root-em) unit of CSS. Supported in the latest versions of IE, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.
- And it’s possible to divorce by SMS in Tajikistan.
- Have a tip for next week?