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All posts tagged Smart Phones

October is here and with it the impending launch of the Windows 8 Ecosystem; the primary elements of which are Windows 8 OS, The Surface (and other Windows 8 Tablets, RT and Pro) and Windows Phone 8.

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Image courtesy of Microsoft Word Clipart Collection

We have already had the teasers from Nokia and HTC with the Lumia 920, 8X and 8S. Samsung is also lurking in the wings with their Ativ.

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Photos via the official Nokia and HTC sites

It doesn’t take a visionary to realize that the success of the Windows 8 Phone and the 8 Ecosystem as a whole is enormously dependent on Startups and Individual App Developers fully embracing the Windows Store as a viable option for their Apps; not just the Google and Apple Stores. Windows Phone Apps will make or break this.

Microsoft needs to take a step back just before the launch and seriously analyze their successes and failures with Windows Phone 7 and learn from this.

Israel, The Startup Nation is a giant Petri Dish for App development and yet successes such as Waze apparently see little if no potential ROI in a Windows Phone version.

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Alas the rumors were not true of a Waze for Windows Phone App .. my thanks to for their transparency and speedy reply.

To be fair, Waze are not alone in this. Path and several other successful Apps seem to have completely ignored Windows Phone as a platform. Have they just been waiting for Windows 8 Phone to see if the market share changes and makes it worthwhile or is the effort of maintaining versions of their Apps on one more platform just not worth the effort.

Ironically, Microsoft unlike Apple is a highly active participant in both stimulating innovation and providing guidance and  support at Startup level with Bizspark and their Accelerator program.

Ultimately, it is insufficient to build and launch Windows Phone 8 unless Microsoft can entice App Developers and Startups to either also  or exclusively develop Windows Phone Apps and if they are truly smart they will ensure that these Apps continue to support the existing Windows Phone 7.5 customer base.

Even with 100,000+ Apps already in the Store, Microsoft cannot rely on the adage “If you build it they will come”. In the age of Lean Startups there has to be a strong reason to choose to budget Development for Windows Phone Apps over iOS, Android or (even) Blackberry.

How would you entice and encourage this?

 

Windows Phones: Background

Two top professional bloggers who I like and respect, Hillel Fuld and Sarah Nadav have experienced radically different things with their Windows Phones (WP7.5 Mango).

Hillel wrote an outstanding guest post on Business Insider ostensibly going head-to-head with other industry experts like Robert Scoble about the potential for Windows Phone success; I agreed with a lot of what was written in this article. I also know that Hillel’s Mango experience was initially with a Samsung handset but later with the outstanding Nokia Lumia 800.

Sarah Nadav in her blog on the Jerusalem Post newspaper weighed in strongly disagreeing with Hillel based on her own experiences as a first time user of a Samsung WP7.5 Mango Phone.

Sarah kindly let me have a crack at her Windows Phone to see for myself. Here it is next to my current Windows Mobile 6.1 Smartphone:

Windows Phones - comparison

Warptesting the chassis

Straight off the bat I can say that I see what her trouble was with the phone.

  • Samsung in producing this phone made a large, stylish looking, shiny handset.
  • The trim of the phone is a silver colored plastic and the back is another plastic piece.
  • The back panel feels loose to the first touch and did in fact fall off multiple times as I was using the phone.
  • The data/ charger slot on top the phone has a sliding cover again made from this silver plastic.

When I compare the tactile experience of handling and operating this phone to my Toshiba Portege 810 or the Nokia Lumia 800 I find it falling far short of both. The feel is of several pieces of somewhat flimsy plastic that don’t quite fit together properly. I usually refrain from harsh observation but an acceptable hyperbole here is cheap. It felt like a knockoff or toy version of a real Smartphone.

I’m puzzled how the same company that makes the Galaxy series of Smartphones can have gone so off-track building this handset.

warptesting the os

Using the phone was a different matter altogether..

  • The OS is responsive even just changing from Portrait to Landscape was smooth.
  • The OS and its Metro UI are dare I say it sexy.
  • Getting used to the touch and slide can be tough and I assume this would especially be so for someone used to another Smartphone OS.
  • I dutifully tested the Windows Marketplace by installing Zune, trying Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and InstaCam (an unofficial Instagram app for WP7): Search and install was smooth and the apps I selected installed and were automatically added to the main menu (right-slide from Metro panes to access)
  • The phone seems to be locked for US use so I can’t comment on calls dropping. I’m prone to suspect the carrier more than the phone though.

So what’s the problem?

The Windows Phone Team needs to assume that a first time user needs some guidance with UI navigation:

Windows Phones - ms-office-clippy     Windows Phones - Ms Dewey

Clippy or Ms Dewey who do you want to help you around WP7?

Clippy courtesy of MSDN magazine and Ms Dewey thanks to Ms Dewey Facebook group

The problem is that here we have a new OS/ platform capable of great things but handset design compromises in the case of this model detract so drastically from the overall UX that it leaves the user with a poor taste in their mouth even before they get to switch on the phone.

Customers deserve a better UX but the OS deserves a chance to fully wow the users without the tactile experience undermining it from the get go. Game on Windows Phones.

Technorati Tags: ,Design Compromises,Clippy,Ms Dewey

December 22nd 2011 Apple registered two patents with the US Patent & Trademark Office .

This is not exceptional by any means, Apple on any given day probably has a guy sitting waiting for the doors of the Patent office to open.

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These two patents referred to Apple project for hydrogen fuel cell implementation with iOS and OSX devices. It seems Apple are not simply talking about MAC books, iPads and iPhones powered with longer lasting, more efficient batteries but that the devices have the ability to top up each other.

I’m a bit of a science and history buff and when I read hydrogen fuel cell I remember Chemistry lab and unfortunately recall the Hindenburg.

Hydrogen gas forms explosive mixtures with air if it is 4–74% concentrated and with chlorine if it is 5–95% concentrated. The mixtures spontaneously explode by spark, heat or sunlight. (Wikipedia: Hydrogen)

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Image courtesy of: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3f/Hindenburg_Model.JPG

I’m convinced that Apple will do everything preproduction to ensure the complete safety of these fuel cells but current international agreements seem to prohibit travelling with any mobile device powered by Hydrogen Fuel Cells.

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I tried to find a copy of the old style air travel tickets that contain the international convention but this image was the closest I could get to it. These are just some of the items forbidden on any civil air carrier; Hydrogen Fuel Cells seem to violate 3 to 5 different criteria here.

This leads to the following questions: –

  1. Has no-one at Apple thought of this? (I find that hard to believe)
  2. Is Apple going to use much of it’s newly reported wealth to invest in a change of international air travel regulations, to allow devices powered by these fuel cells onboard.
  3. Or, when you check in for air travel are all the Apple fanboys going to be forced to check their fuel cell devices in the hold while the Symbian, Blackberry, Android and Windows Phone users are going to be able to board smiling with tablets, laptops and smartphones in hand?

What do you think?

 

Trivia question: what does the Empire State Building have to do with this article?