Holiday edition. (My holiday, not yours.)
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- Critical Path, a talk show by Dan Benjamin and Horace Dediu, is required listening in order to understand the mobile world.
- Jason Grigsby takes a good look at the mobile context and concludes that, although overrated, it’s still important enough to merit serious attention. He also gives lots of quotes and links. Required reading.
- RIM may stop production of its PlayBook tablet. That would be fast. And not entirely necessary. It has its drawbacks, but it’s not that bad. But CEOs must set unrealistic sales figures for tablets, that’s one of the current laws of the game. And draw conclusions when they don’t make those sales.
- The Vision Mobile Developer Economics report is well worth reading. For those who have too little time there’s also a good infographic that summarises the main conclusions.
- Microsoft unveils its Windows Everywhere strategy, which is based on ... well ... getting Windows everywhere. Mary Jo Foley explains.
Believe in this strategy or not, as you see fit. I don’t care about Windows Everywhere, and I suspect the average consumer doesn’t, either, but I may very well be wrong.
Do read, however, the last two paragraphs of the original article.
Again, I don’t care if IE can actually do this or not, or whether developers will be satisfied. The point is: web technologies are now being taken so seriously by Microsoft developers that they are considered adequate to solve fragmentation issues that previously took huge layers of middleware.
Who’d’a thunk it ten years ago?
- More news about Chinese OSs: Alibaba, the Chinese eBay, will build its own OS to rival Android and Windows Phone. (iOS is not mentioned.) Although the article doesn’t say so I expect this OS to be an Android branch. Much easier than writing your own from scratch.
- Interesting thought: it’s advertising, and not apps, that will power HTML5 in the near future. Advertising platforms face exactly the same problems as app developers, and HTML5 is an interesting solution for them, too.
- How to Hire and Manage Consultants. Also interesting for those who want to be hired as a consultant. I score well on all the points in the last list.
- Horace Dediu ponders the notion of “good enough.” If a mobile platform is good enough people won’t switch to another. But is Android good enough? Is iOS? It’s possible that they aren’t, and that means that there’s still share up for grabs in the mobile market, which in turn means it still makes sense to release new operating systems. The hole of opportunity will close somewhere in the next few years, but not right now.
- Some Nokia N9 news. This first MeeGo-based phone, which drew excellent reviews, will not be available in Nokia’s core smartphone markets in Europe, much to the dismay of Nokia watchers. Apparently the Finnish ex-giant wants its core markets to buy Windows Phones.
Still, the N9 has now popped up on Nokia’s Italian pages, even though Italy does not figure in Nokia’s official availability checker. Meanwhile some Dutch fans have founded a fansite, and Nokia promises to support MeeGo for years. Here’s to hoping!
- Analysis of the Cuban mobile market.
What is curious is the chasm between the cost of cellular service and the official Cuban monthly salary. How can a Cuban earning $15-$20 USD a month have cell service that ends up being twice that? The answer is that, at least officially, they can’t.
The government assumes its citizens are getting their funds from abroad or through illegal means.It’s Cuba’s version of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: The government agrees not to question source of income so long as the citizen agrees to pay the exorbitant fee.
- Is a tablet more like a phone or more like a computer? Web developers haven’t found an answer yet, but the Dutch treasury has: it’s a computer.
The point here is that employers who give their employees computers get some tax breaks if the computer is used for business purposes at least 90% of the time. For mobile phones this percentage is only 10%. In order to save money in these tough times, the treasury has decided business tablets have to be used for, you know, business.
- What should a developer know before building a public web site?. Surprisingly good summary, with lots of links, of stuff you need to know. I particularly liked the Caching Tutorial for web authors and webmasters.
- Jason Grigsby says something I’ve been thinking for months:
I am worried about the relative lack of attention the web gets from the Android team, though in all honesty I haven’t reviewed the Android 3 browser yet. It may redeem Google in my eyes.
If you want to beat up on a company for their laggard mobile browser, look in Mountain View, not Cupertino.
- Qualcomm unveils the Vellamo Mobile Web Browser Comparison (movie). Haven’t yet tested it, but I will look at it in detail once I get my Android-vs-Android tests rolling.
- It turns out you can make more money with developing apps for clients than with offering them for paid download. Imagine my surprise.
- Tomi rehashes ancient history and explains how Microsoft missed opportunity after opportunity in mobile.
- Vodafone is the first operator to get its own Android Market Channel. This seems to be a category in the Market that Vodafone fills with content, and not Google.
This is a nice compromise between Google and the operators, who all want to monopolise app downloads.
- Somebody will make an enterprise tablet, and it won’t be Apple.
The author doesn’t believe Android will be able to do it, either. But who’s going to take this prize? Microsoft? RIM? HP? Or is there no prize after all?
Apple's model of controlling both the value-add hardware channel and the software distribution channel is a decided anathema to enterprises, which typically prefer working with and through VAR channels (i.e., Value-Added Resellers) and System Integrators (SI).
Similarly to VARs and SIs, the Apple model heavily complicates the types of solutions that vendors can provide, the pricing that vendors can achieve, the ability to not broadcast key customers to competitors, and the like.
- Indonesia is the country that’s most dependent on mobile Internet. No less than 48% of Indonesians use only their mobile phone to access the Internet. Although all South-East Asian countries have high figures, Indonesia’s are by far the largest.
- Facebook continues to take its mobile strategy very seriously. It unveiled its Every Phone app that works on about 2,500 devices; it’s probably written in Java ME.
Much of the growth potential for Facebook lies with customers and geographies that can’t necessarily afford smartphones and expensive data plans but can afford a basic mobile phone and plan.
- Interesting case study in how Windows Phone is ignored by the industry. Users are more satisfied with WP than with Android, but that tidbit didn’t make it to the summary chart.
- Comparison of HTML5 video libraries. The very fact that such a comparison is necessary proves there are too many HTML5 video libraries. The author doesn’t seem too enamoured with any library, though.
- A British iOS app developer has removed all his apps from the US App Store due to the latest patent trolling. I think this is a slight overreaction, but it may be a harbinger of things to come.
The US patent system is ridiculous. Worse, everybody involved in the Web treats it as if it’s some kind of evil counterpart of the Holy Grail. It’s ridiculous, but it must be Dealt With. Cue ominous music and worried panels at web conferences.
Maybe it’s time to emphasise that this is a US-only problem, and that one solution could be the removal of many apps, mobile devices, or other technological solutions from the US market. That certainly won’t happen overnight, but it’s the ultimate consequence of a US problem that the rest of the world simply isn’t interested in and wants to avoid.
- This article contains more than a little truth. Web development has changed immensely in the past ten years.
Those were the days! We need a place where grizzled veterans of the Browser Wars can exchange fond memories and talk about how everything used to be better.
Web development, especially for front-end people, was fucking idiotic at the outset. [...] The whole world was in Times New Roman. The power of the web was less than the power of the manual lawn mower your parents had in the shed out back and were yelling at you to step away from the computer and get to work with.
I'm not saying I give up, but when this entire landscape has changed completely, I'm going to miss it. I think domestication has become inevitable. Unless the web fragments again, and it's once more us against them, I think we're on the road to efficient and productive normalcy. Which is great in almost every way except that it's just not as fun. The web is on its way to becoming a commodity.
- And in case the zombiecalypse occurs, Bristol is one of the safer places to live. The city council has a plan for dealing with the undead.
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