Mobile computing’s rise from niche market to the mainstream is among the most significant technological trends in our lifetimes. And to a large extent, it’s been driven by the bounty of Moore’s Law—the rule that transistor density doubles every 24 months. Initially, most mobile devices relied on highly specialized hardware to meet stringent power and size budgets. But with so many transistors available, devices inevitably grew general-purpose capabilities. Most likely, that wasn’t even the real motivation. The initial desire was probably to reduce costs by creating a more flexible software ecosystem with better re-use and faster time to market. As such, the first smartphones were very much a novelty, and it took many years before the world realized the potential of such devices. Apple played a major role by creating innovative smartphones that consumers craved and quickly adopted. Read the rest of this entry
The strength of Samsung‘s 2012 depends on whether you’re in the South Korean company’s product team or its legal team. Seldom does a single firm see such a mixture of fate in the same product segment: huge success – both in sales and user reaction – to the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note II, versus a billion-dollar judgement against Samsung at the hands of arch-rival (and key components customer) Apple. All in a year’s work for a company described as both an “arch copyist” and a capable innovator. Read the rest of this entry
Few tools of modern technology have become as prevalent as the cell phone, which allows you to be in touch from almost anywhere, almost all the time. And you can do more than just talk: Today’s phones let you send and receive email and text messages, surf the Web, and play music and videos. Sifting through the sea of service plans and handsets can be difficult, but we’ll walk you through what you need to know to get the phone and the service plan that are right for you.
If you don’t have to own the latest and greatest smartphone, there’s no time like the present to buy a new one, whether it be the newest iPhone, an Android superphone, or a business-friendly Windows Phone. Before you hit the stores, however, do a bit of research and read this guide so that you’ll know exactly what to look for. Read the rest of this entry
Yesterday, I surveyed the latest mobile open source Linux projects and examined the challenges they face against Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM. I also explored their potential advantages, including an alignment with HTML5 and a focus on emerging markets.
Today I take a closer look at Firefox OS, Open WebOS, Jolla’s Sailfish, Tizen and Ubuntu. Most of these projects are expected to ship in new devices in 2013. Smartphones are the initial focus for most, although tablets and other devices are also on tap for some. Read the rest of this entry
An app that transmits data via a burst of “digital birdsong” aims to simplify the way users share images and other files between smartphones.
Chirp plays a two-second long noise that sounds as if it was made by a robotic bird. When heard by other devices it triggers a download. Read the rest of this entry
A deep dive into the innards of a typical mobile phone and how little you know about what’s going on inside, even when there’s an open source operating system running on it.
You might think that your phone is open, but even Android, Tizen and Firefox OS all depend upon highly proprietary code bases for making telephone calls and transferring data. When it comes to these fundamental capabilities, the open source part of a mobile software stack is only the tip of the iceberg, and behind APIs and simple interfaces for voice, SMS and data lies the technology that makes wireless communications possible – and it’s far from being open source. Read the rest of this entry
I’ve heard and read a lot of fluff over the years about the Linux Desktop and it’s frankly getting a little tired. Every new release of Ubuntu and its offspring brings out every commentor, industry pundit and technology writer to ponder the viability of Linux as a desktop alternative. I might have fallen prey to it once or twice myself over the years. We all know that Linux has no chance whatsoever as a real contender on the desktop. Even the most diehard Linux fanboy secretly knows this, although admitting it publicly will never happen for most. They’ll defend it to the bitter end. But, it’s a lost cause. That said and understood for traditional Linux distributions, Linux might still have a chance in the brave new BYOD world as Android. Read the rest of this entry
Since Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in 2004, the social network has become one of the most important centerpieces in society, especially as it becomes increasingly digital and mobile. Yet, as reflected by Facebook‘s shares since its IPO, the true value of Facebook has not yet translated to revenue dollars. That may change, however, if Facebook decides to build its first-ever piece of hardware: A Facebook smartphone. Read the rest of this entry