Elsewhere on the 'Net - Mobile

Mobile elsewhere on the 'Net.


19 February 2010

App is Crap (why Apple is bad for your health)

Apps are harmful because they're one-platform and lock data on the client device instead of in the cloud, where they can easily be reached by other users, or by the same user on another device. They are just a fad that will blow over.

App stores | Permalink

Touch web browser mega shootout: Surf's up

An excellent comparison of touchscreen phone browsers.

Mobile | Permalink

18 February 2010

Dispatches from the front line - War reporter checks in from smartphone battle zone

Tomi Ahonen updates his smartphone war forecast: Apple is in trouble. Christmas sales weren't high enough. Plus other news.

Mobile | Permalink

31 January 2010

The Mobile App Store Landscape 5 years Ai (After the iPhone)

Thoughtful extended piece on the future of app stores. The only part I disagree with is the bit about the operators. The author thinks they're going to be losers, but they have a trump card up their sleeves: payments.

Payments through operator bills will always have better usability than any other form of payments, because the client doesn't have to do anything special. As long as the payment request is routed through the SIM card, identity and mode of payment are automatically validated without any need for passwords and stuff.

App stores | Permalink

18 January 2010

Windows Mobile, iPhone, Android - Marketplace Comparison

As it says, plus a comparison of developing applications for the three systems. Quite thorough, good read. And yes, the writer eventually picks one of the three as the winner.

App stores | Permalink

RIM patent app will have you barely browsing the web at incredible speeds

Seems RIM (the maker of BlackBerry) is working on a set-up that resembles Opera Mini a bit (but not quite). Devices will have a proxy server embedded that requests pages from a special server that compresses the (entire?) HTML page before sending it. The proxy seems to serve as a cache in addition to decompressing the page.

(Click on the image to go to the patent.)

As far as I can see there's some difference with Opera's system, although the basic idea is of course the same. Still, it seems that the browser eventually gets real HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and images, and not one binary file such as Opera Mini receives.

But I'm not sure of the technical details. In any case, this will speed up BlackBerry browsing quite a bit. Add that to the upcoming WebKit-based BlackBerry browser, and we can conclude that RIM is doing a major overhaul of its browsing infrastructure. That was very necessary.

Blackberry | Permalink

NetFront Browser v4.0

The NetFront browser for mobile phones has a new version. As far as I'm concerned this should be a really major (and I mean really major) improvement over 3.5, or NetFront is out of the mobile browser race.

Mobile | Permalink

8 January 2010

A Bloodbath for 2010: the Smartphone market preview

Extremely interesting forecast for the 2010 movements in the smartphone market. Summary:

  1. There is fundamentally nothing wrong with Nokia, although it won't grow in 2010.
  2. Everybody underestimates BlackBerry.
  3. Apple will do well if it holds on to its market share in a fast-expanding smartphone market.
  4. Keep an eye on HTC and LG.
  5. Samsung will go up, SonyEricsson down.
  6. Motorola is dead; it just hasn't stopped moving yet.
  7. Palm is irrelevant and may also be dead.
  8. Google has broken its word not to be a phone vendor. It remains to be seen how much backlash they'll get.
  9. Microsoft may go under, too, every new Windows Mobile version just takes too long.
  10. Everybody is obsessed with app stores, but in the end they won't determine market share.

Must-read if you're in the mobile space.

Mobile | Permalink

6 January 2010

Google's biggest announcement was not a phone, but a URL

I didn't quite realise what a game-changer Google's unlocking could be. First pick your phone, then pick a carrier plan you like. Might change the way carriers work.

Mobile | Permalink

5 January 2010

What’s Ahead for the Mobile Web in 2010?

Dennis Bournique looks ahead to the year, and concludes that the mobile and desktop web will converge, maybe even a bit faster than is safe. Also,

More Android, Symbian and Maemo, less iPhone

I'm not totally sure about Symbian, but on the whole I agree. The mobile space is more than just the iPhone, and 2010 is the year we're going to figure that out.

Mobile | Permalink

Is there hope for Palm in the 2010 smartphone wars?

How Palm wasted the good vibes the Pre's initial announcement gave them. This blog wonders if they'll be bought by RIM (BlackBerry); it doesn't believe in the Microsoft option.

Palm | Permalink

8 December 2009

The mobile data apocalypse, and what it means to you

Good piece about the mobile connection problem. It seems one smartphone generates as much data traffic as 40 feature phones. So if the sales of smartphones keep exploding, operators will run into network problems sooner or later.

This problem has a lot of aspects, and the writer treats many of them. Solid reading.

Mobile | Permalink

3 December 2009

Sony Ericsson Makes Web Application Play

Some more information about SonyEricsson's PhoneGap implementation. Works on both Android and Symbian, it seems.

PhoneGap, SonyEricsson | Permalink

Nokia's masterplan for 2010 and beyond

Nokia's plans translated from managerese. Symbian is going to get a completely new interface (good idea!) and is not going away. Linux-based Maemo is also here to stay.

Nokia | Permalink

2 December 2009

Mobile Cross-Platform Development: Palm Pre

How to port a W3C Widget to the Palm Pre - or How Palm implemented its own stuff for nearly everything.

Palm, W3C Widgets | Permalink

1 December 2009

JIL Developer Website Beta

Despite the title this site is mostly about W3C Widgets and contains genuinely useful information. Pity it's all in PDFs, but such is life.

Reference, W3C Widgets | Permalink

30 November 2009

LEAK: The Google Phone "Is a Certainty"

According to this article Google will release a Google-branded phone. It's possible, I suppose, but one wonders why they didn't release one a year ago.

Android | Permalink

27 November 2009

Opera Mini Blocked in China

Bound to happen.

On Friday November 20, 2009, Opera Software started directing users of the international version of the Opera Mini mobile browser in China to the Chinese version. [...] The difference between the Chinese and the international versions is that the former connects to compression servers within China while the latter connects to servers outside China.

Opera Mobile/Mini | Permalink

18 November 2009

Web Developers – Create Mobile Apps easily with Sony Ericsson WebSDK

SonyEricsson also jumps onto the mobile web bandwagon. Developers can now create SE apps with web standards, and Phonegap is used to translate the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and also to access SonyEricsson device APIs.

PhoneGap, SonyEricsson | Permalink

13 November 2009

UC Browser Version 7 Beta 2 Is Much Improved – But Popular Sites Are Blocked By The “Great Firewall”

So apparently UC Web Browser still exists and I need to study it.

Mobile | Permalink

Who Can Save Palm?

An interesting, though possibly too pessimistic, article about Palm's webOS and its difficulties in gaining tractions. The author concludes that Palm's best bet is to be acquired by another player for its webOS.

Another thing that has always amazed me is that Palm, while betting everything on web technologies, did so little to get in touch with web developers, who form the only group that already knows how to use web technologies. With Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith becoming Palm developer relations manager a first step is made towards solving this problem.

Still, Palm has lost precious months.

Palm | Permalink

6 November 2009

Actually 'nobody' moved Nokia's cheese, it still dominates smartphones, slight shfits only in Q3

Smartphone (sales?) stats from Q3 2009 including discussion.

Stats | Permalink

31 October 2009

Mobile 2.0 – Apps vs. Browser Based Web Services

Good discussion of the difference between app stores, mobile websites, and widgets, with widgets taking the middle position between the other two.

An argument against apps I hadn't thought of yet: reinstalling them on a new phone or after a hard reset is a pain. Same goes for widgets, but at least you could beam them over via Bluetooth from your old phone to a new one.

App stores, W3C Widgets | Permalink

30 October 2009

Mobile App Stores: The Next Two Years

Interesting analysis of the current app store hysteria and where it will lead to.

App stores | Permalink

23 September 2009

Classification of Mobile Browsers

Useful start. I'll probably have some minor notes to add, but it definitely gives a good overview of the current situation.

Mobile | Permalink

20 September 2009

Fun with CSS

How to import style sheets based on a media query. This will be very useful later on.

CSS, Mobile | Permalink

18 September 2009

Opera Mini 5 Tips and Tricks

Useful tips I'm going to need later on.

Opera Mobile/Mini | Permalink

16 September 2009

AT&T Dev Central

Well wel, AT&T gives decent information about the devices they sell. They even tell you which browser the device uses, and that's truly unique.

The only major flaw is that it does not have a search function. But otherwise it compares very well to other such lists I've seen.

Mobile | Permalink

11 September 2009

What language for your mobile app?

An overview of the mobile app market. If you want your app to be available on 60% of the mobile phones, you'll have to write six versions.

The solution to the problem is obvious: W3C Widgets.

Business, Mobile | Permalink

Touching and Gesturing on the iPhone

Useful overview of the (iPhone proprietary?) touch events.

Events, iPhone | Permalink

10 September 2009

Developing Widgets for Windows Mobile 6.5

The Microsoft documentation for building W3C Widgets. Differs slightly from the other systems, but that's to be expected with a spec that's not quite finished yet. Contains a few interesting ideas.

W3C Widgets | Permalink

26 August 2009

HTML5 from a Mobile Perspective

Jason Grigsby discusses HTML5 from a mobile point of view and concludes, interestingly:

I believe the adoption of HTML5 will be driven by the needs of mobile, not the needs of desktop developers.

Why does he believe so? Because IE doesn't matter on mobile. Food for thought.

HTML5, Mobile | Permalink

25 August 2009

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Joe Hewitt:

I have only one major complaint with the App Store, and I can state it quite simply: the review process needs to be eliminated completely.

Now that's an interesting idea, and to me it proves that the whole App Store thing is just a temporary fad, and that it does not form the future of the mobile web. After all, what's the point of an app store when apps aren't reviewed and weighed?

Enter apps that can be distributed by Bluetooth. Cool!

App stores | Permalink

BlackBerry Adopting Webkit – Trouble for Opera?

WAPReview points out that Iris, the browser Blackberry just bought, has a widget engine and supports the Geolocation API as well as several HTML5 features. (I haven't tested these myself yet.)

The first, especially, is very interesting. Although Blackberry is supposed to have its own widget engine, it's rumoured to use Java wrappers around every individual widget, which is not optimal for interoperability.

WAPReview expects Blackberry to switch to WebKit, discarding its native rendering engine. That could be, I suppose; it all depends on how much (or little) the Blackberry engine resembles WebKit.

Blackberry | Permalink

RIM Buys a Better Browser for BlackBerry

RIM, the makers of Blackberry, acquires Torch Mobile, the makers of the (WebKit-based) Iris browser for Windows Mobile. Apparently the purpose is to improve the Blackberry browser.

Will Blackberry switch to WebKit? At the start of this year I heard a rumour they would, but couldn't find any evidence. Why did they buy a Windows Mobile browser? Maybe just because it was the only browser maker available — it's extremely unlikely that Blackberry is switching to Windows Mobile, after all.

Anyway, this is the first takeover of one browser by another I've ever heard of.

Blackberry | Permalink

24 August 2009

Will Legacy Smartphone Platforms Keep-up with iPhone and Android?

Why Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian S60 have trouble keeping up with iPhone and Android. The operating systems were not made for generic web access and web applications.

Mobile | Permalink

13 August 2009

Speed Test – Opera Mini, Bolt, Skyfire and UCWEB

Another browser speed test, this time for the client/server browsers Opera Mini, Bolt, Skyfire and UCWEB. Opera Mini (barely) wins.

Opera Mobile/Mini, Performance | Permalink

Browser speed comparison - N86, N97, iPhone 3G, T-Mobile G1 and more

A browser performance test on mobile. Surprisingly, the S60 WebKit (five versions tested) is faster than either iPhone or Android.

The only thing I'm missing here is a reference to S60's extremely aggressive caching. Still, I might use the methodology described here myself later on.

Android, Performance, S60 WebKit, iPhone | Permalink

3 August 2009

Steve Jobs hates the App Store

Chris Messina discusses why the app store model will eventually fail.

App stores | Permalink

23 July 2009

Mobile Usability

Jakob Nielsen has done a study into mobile usability. Basically, my translation of his conclusions is that the biggest hurdle to mobile usability is the mobile device itself.

Mobile, Usability | Permalink

15 June 2009

JavaScript Frameworks within Mobile Widgets - Part 2

Stefan Kolb continues his series of tests of JavaScript libraries on mobile phones. This time he did the TaskSpeed tests on ten Nokia S60 phones.

Conclusion: Dojo again the fastest library; this time Prototype is the slowest.

Libraries, Performance, W3C Widgets | Permalink

8 June 2009

Getting started with widgets on Windows Mobile 6.5

Some information about the Microsoft widget system. Looks a lot like the W3C one, which is good.

W3C Widgets | Permalink

20 May 2009

Web-Based BlackBerry Widgets En Route

Blackberry to support W3C Widgets in the future? Of course this article doesn't give technical details, but the inevitable figure with the boxes and arrows pointing anywhere does seem to sketch a widget context.

Blackberry, W3C Widgets | Permalink

19 May 2009

Someone at Apple, please review stance on PhoneGap

Apple refuses iPhone apps that are written with the Phonegap library.

If they don't rescind this ban I'm forced to conclude that Apple is Evil.

iPhone | Permalink

14 May 2009

Creating widgets for T-Mobile handsets

More information about the Opera/T-Mobile widget manager. Something that's not clearly explained is that this widget manager is only available for Windows Mobile.

W3C Widgets | Permalink

Docked Mode for Widgets

A simple and complete introduction to the docked mode of W3C Widgets.

W3C Widgets | Permalink

13 May 2009

JavaScript Frameworks within Mobile Widgets

Stefan Kolb, one of my co-workers at Vodafone, has conducted a selector performance test for seven JavaScript library versions in the Vodafone Widget Manager, which runs Opera Mobile, on ten different Symbian S60 phones.

For now it is clearly visible that some frameworks perform better than others in terms of DOM selection. By far the slowest framework in my tests across all devices was the YUI v2.7.0 framework. The fastest frameworks were the two version of the Dojo framework, with version 1.3.0 performing slightly better than version 1.2.3.

It is also clear from the results that the performance depends on the mobile device. The Nokia N73 was the slowest phone, no matter which framework was tested on that device. The fastest phone was the Nokia E66, closely followed by the Nokia N85.

Hopefully, the tested - well established - web frameworks will soon be optimized to perform better on mobile phones. After that, I am sure, they will be of great value for the mobile widget developer, just like they are for web developers today.

Obviously, we need many, many more performance tests before we can say which library is "best" on mobile phones. Still, today we've made a start.

Libraries, Performance, W3C Widgets | Permalink

14 April 2009

BONDI "specification"

The BONDI specification attempts to define a generic JavaScript API that can be used to access mobile phone features such as the camera, geolocation, contacts, etc.

This is obviously an excellent idea.

The problem is that currently the specification is being written by people who've obviously never written JavaScript. Although this page does lead to other pages which eventually lead to actual JavaScript code examples, the whole thing is set up in an impossible-to-read Java format that has nothing to do with JavaScript and is very hard to interpret.

Still, it's the best we have right now.

I hope a future version of the specification will be written by someone with actual web development and JavaScript knowledge.

Mobile | Permalink

12 April 2009

Beware of Android bearing gifts

Why Android may not work so well for mobile phone vendors.

Android has been designed exceptionally well for 3rd party developers; the programming paradigm of Intents and Java-SE environment make programming apps a breeze.

However, when designing Android, the Google team had PC developers in mind. And in the mobile industry, it’s not 3rd party developers who create phones. It’s OEMs and their partners (so-called 2nd party developers). And the needs & wants of 2nd party developers are very different to those of 3rd parties.

OEMs care not just about speed of app development, but the speed of variant management; i.e. how quickly can you take one Android phone and create a second one that looks very different in a fraction of the time. Android is poorly designed in going from n to n+1 variant. You need to be re-customising the Java code for each app separately, playing with XML templates and inheritance operators alone will not help.

There's lots of other interesting stuff here, too.

Android | Permalink

5 April 2009

App Stores for mobile software - comparison

Quick comparison between the Google, Apple, Windows Mobile and Blackberry app stores. To me the Google one looks best.

Mobile | Permalink

3 April 2009

Introducing the Palm Mojo SDK early access program.

Palm now allows you to apply for a beta version of the webOS SDK, which includs the Mojo library. Maybe interesting; currently I'm wondering if I should sign up. (I wouldn't have the time to create a full app anyway, and I'm wondering what the SDK is worth without access to an actual Palm Pre.)

Anyway, I continue to be mildly impressed by Palm's wholesale gamble on the world of web development.

Libraries, Palm | Permalink

28 March 2009

Internet Explorer 6 on Windows Mobile 6.5 sports IE8 features!

According to this article the upcoming IE Mobile 6 will sport some IE8 features; notably the new JavaScript engine (plus, one hopes, the IE8 DOM implementation).

IE Mobile | Permalink

24 March 2009

Opera Software's U.S. Push

What Opera tries to do in the US: working with carriers instead of device vendors. Might be a good strategy.

Opera Mobile/Mini | Permalink

Palm's Secret Weapon for the Pre

Interesting article about the way Palm positions webOS with developers (and it seems they mean more than just web developers). Apparently developers will have to save Palm's bacon. And if the Pre is good enough, who knows?

Palm | Permalink

Editorial: time to change strategy for Microsoft mobility

Why MS's mobile strategy sucks.

IE Mobile | Permalink

WebKit Comparison on CSS3

Useful overview of where the various WebKit branches stand with regard to some advanced CSS tricks.

Android, Chrome, S60 WebKit, Safari, iPhone | Permalink

16 March 2009

Bye Bye Browser

TWO YEAR OLD article about movements in the mobile browser market back then. Useful for historical comparisons; it's also the first serious treatment of the mobile browser market I found.

Mobile | Permalink

11 March 2009

Linkliste Mobile Web Development


Mobile | Permalink

24 February 2009

JavaScript support in Opera Mini 4

As it says. Useful info.

JavaScript, Opera Mobile/Mini | Permalink

16 February 2009

Overview of webOS

An interesting overview of Palm's new webOS:

Palm webOS is Palm's next generation operating system. [...] webOS integrates the power of a window-based operating system with the simplicity of a browser. Applications are built using standard web technologies and languages, but have access to device-based services and data.


You can think of webOS applications as native applications, but built from the same standard HTML, CSS and JavaScript that you’d use to develop web applications. Palm has extended the standard web development environment through a JavaScript framework that gives standardized UI widgets, and access to selected device hardware and services.

Sounds like fun, no? And we'll have to teach a large amount of mobile developers to develop web.

Palm | Permalink

12 February 2009

Palm pulls the plug on Palm OS, bets the future on Pre's webOS

Palm thinks web developers are the key to success in the mobile space. Some of its stakeholders agree:

"The programming models for your developer, rather than being C or Java, is really just HTML and CSS and JavaScript," [Pandora CTO] Conrad said. "So you can take developers who have been developing Web applications and quickly get them productive in the webOS SDK, leveraging their familiarity with these Web-based standards. [...] We were able to take one of our star Web developers – someone who has never touched the Palm webOS and not done mobile development before – and have that person be immediately productive because it's all based on systems that the person is familiar with from Web development."

Will the mobile web cause front-end engineering to break through to an even larger degree?

Palm | Permalink

1 February 2009

Is mobile web development compatible with the One Web?

Bruce Lawson argues against creating separate mobile sites.

Perhaps one reason [for having separate mobile sites] is cultural? Mr Boss walks in one day and demands "a mobile site". All your competitors have a domain like mobile.acme.com, so that’s got to be the way to do it, right? Simply coax your CMS to squirt out the information that you think your mobile customers want, and job done.

It’s also hard to make web pages that work across devices and hard to find information. The web standards movement built up a huge bank of best practice on how to build cross-browser sites (and not sweat the minor rendering differences) but there isn’t that corpus of best practice yet for cross-device development.

The total lack of best practices is indeed becoming a problem.

Mobile, Theory | Permalink

24 January 2009

WebKit == Mobile

Alex Russell feels Webkit is in the process of winning the browser wars on mobile. Although he has a point, I'm missing a mention of Opera.

Alex also calculates how much less Dojo you'd have to download in a Webkit-only universe. Although that's interesting, I'm wondering how much you'd save in a Gecko-only, or even an IE-only universe.

Android, iPhone | Permalink

19 January 2009

PhoneGap, Palm Pre, and the State of Mobile Apps

Useful overview of the possibilities for creating web applications on various mobile phones.

Libraries, Mobile | Permalink

25 September 2008

Android: Lacks Polish, But Shows Promise

The first Android review I know of.

Android | Permalink

2 November 2007

iPhone Tech Talk

After the JS Core, John gives an interesting overview of the limitations of the iPhone; especially when it comes to JavaScript.

iPhone | Permalink

6 July 2007

iPhone and developing for mobile

David Storey of Opera takes a look at Apple's suggestions for serving CSS to the iPhone. He points out that the iPhone doesn't support media type handheld, which is the correct way of serving style sheets only to handheld devices.

iPhone | Permalink

So, you want to develop iPhone apps?

John Allsopp's advice for developing sites for the iPhone.

Safari, iPhone | Permalink

4 July 2007

Optimizing Web Applications and Content for iPhone

Apple's official pages.

Safari, iPhone | Permalink

iPhone Web Development Tips and Official Documentation Released

Useful tips and tricks about the iPhone. How do you recognise the user rotating his phone?

iPhone | Permalink

1 July 2007

iPhone Javascript and spec benchmark

The first independent iPhone benchmark test, compared with a MacBook Pro. John Murch ran a few online benchmarks, among which my DOM vs. innerHTML one.

Unfortunately we still don't know if these figures can be compared with other browsers due to the Date object problems I posted about earlier.

Nonetheless the comparison between Safari 3 on MacBook Pro and iPhone is (should be) valid. Result: the iPhone is much, much slower (factor 100!). That's much more than I expected, frankly.

Benchmarks, iPhone | Permalink

21 June 2007

XHTML disrupted by Mobile access

Turns out some mobile carriers mess with the HTML of web sites. Good to know.

HTML, Mobile | Permalink

15 May 2007

Make your site mobile friendly

Another article on how to create web pages for mobile phones. While studying it I became aware of the problem in mobile phone development: no data.

Virginia DeBolt gives a solid overview of current thinking on mobile support, but the problem is that the article contains no specific data. (This is not Virginia's fault; no other article I encountered contains specific data, either.)

I'd love to hear stuff like Note that the Ericsson QQMV5 has spotty support for the <blockquote> tag, but I've never yet encountered it, because it seems as if nobody actually tests sites on actual mobile phones (instead of emulators). I don't, either.

Virginia gives links to the Ericsson and Nokia support groups, but astonishingly they contain no data on XHTML support (at least, none that's easily findable). Ericsson natters about WAP as if it's still important, while Nokia's so-called data sheet is remarkeble only for the paucity of data it contains.

In other words, mobile phone browser vendors (with the possible exception of Opera) don't even attempt to document the standards their phone browsers support.

What we'd really need is a solid, well-tested compatibility table for mobile phones. Unfortunately that would require me (or anyone who'd create it) to buy dozens of mobile phones, something I don't have the money for.

So for the moment all "Optimise your site for mobile browsers" articles will continue to give the same advice, drawn from the same, non-mobile-browser-vendor sources, and they will hardly help developers who're searching for specific support details. Again, this is not Virginia's fault (every sigle article I read suffers from the same problem), but it does mean that I'm setting less and less store on such articles. Reality may diverge significantly.

Mobile | Permalink

1 November 2006

Best practices for the Mobile Web

A few tips and tricks from Roger.

Mobile | Permalink

5 August 2006

Getting Mobile

Especially interesting for its discussion of US "carriers", who seem to have a fundamentally different approach to mobile networking than European "operators". I didn't know there was a difference, but I'm very glad I live in Europe.

Mobile, Society | Permalink

15 July 2006

Web design for the Sony PSP

A wealth of tips and tricks for creating web sites on Sony PSP. By James Edwards, who's rapidly turning into The Unusual Devices Guy.

Mobile | Permalink

26 June 2006

Mobile Phone Tests

If you happen to own a mobile phone with browsing capabilities, do these tests. They might lead to a mobile phones compatibility table - and everbody knows we desperately need one.

Mobile, Tests | Permalink

This is the linklog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer. You can also visit his QuirksBlog, or you can follow him on Twitter.

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