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Showing posts with label iPhone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label iPhone. Show all posts

Friday, 29 August 2014

Wireless Charging: A must-have technology with maturing standards


Wireless charging has been in news recently with the discovery that Apple has found a brilliant way to wireless charge iPhones, iPads and iWatches. While we continue to wait for the details of that one, I thought its worth providing a bit of round up from the LTE World Summit not so long back. A summary of market by IHS is embedded as follows:



Qi (pronounced Chee), probably the most well known standard, not just because its already available in devices like Google Nexus 5 phone and Nexus 7 tablet  but also because its 1.2 standard allows devices to be charged from some distance away. They had an excellent presentation outlining their progress and technology as follows:





Finally, any discussion on Wireless Charging wont be complete without the mention of other big player, Alliance For Wireless Power (A4WP). The above shows a comparison between different standards and the presentation from A4WP is as follows:




Finally, if you haven't seen our concept of futuristic 'Smart Batteries' (crossed 10K+ views) then check it out here.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Mobile, Context and Discovery - Ben Evans


An Interesting presentation and Video from Benedict Evans, both embedded below:



There is an interesting Q&A at the end of the talk in the video. You can directly jump to 27:30 marker for the Q&A. One of the interesting points highlighted by him, that I always knew but was not able to convey it across is there is no real point comparing Google and Apple. I am too lazy to type down so please jump to 45:10. One of the comment on the Youtube summarises it well:

"Google is a vast machine learning engine... and it spent 10-15 years building that learning engine and feeding it data"

So true. It is not Apple vs Google; it is not about the present. It is about the future (see Google's recent acquisitions for context). As Benedict says, if Google creates beautiful, meaningful and unique experiences for users, why would they do it only for Android, they would also have it on Apple devices. 

In the end, comparing Apple and Google is like comparing Apple(s) and Oranges :)



Monday, 13 January 2014

My observations on Mobiles and OTT Apps in India

What a change 2 years can make. The last time I was in India, people were reluctant to use data, smartphones were far and few and even those smartphones were just status symbols rather than for actual 'smart' use.


This time a lot of things were very different. I found that there was a Phablet craze going on. No sooner were people starting to get used to these big screen devices they realised how many things they could do. The well to do were buying Samsung devices and the people who did not want to spend big bucks were content with the little known brands.


The Domo phablet on the left in the picture above costs around 8000 (£80/$130) and the Maxx on the right is roughly ₹5500 (£55/$90). Both these come with 1 year warranty.


There were also quite a few ads using celebrities promoting Phablets. Its good to see people spending on these devices. Unlike UK where most of these devices are subsidised on a contract, people in India prefer pre-paid option and buying the phone outright.


I have to admit that even though I am a fan of these big screen devices, I find the Samsung Galaxy Tab just a bit too big for the use as a phone (see pic above).

It was also good to see that people have embraced the 3G data usage as well. I got a 6GB package for roughly 1000 (£10/$16). I found that people complained about the speeds and were prepared to pay more for 4G (faster data rates). I also noticed that a few people were not aware of Wi-Fi and the fixed broadband. I was told that the fixed broadband was capped, offered similar prices and could be quite unreliable. I guess Wireless is helping in India where the fixed Infrastructure may still be an issue in many places.

I have to mention here that I did not meet anyone who was using an iPhone. This could be due to iPhone being ridiculously expensive and people may be thinking why pay a high price for such a small screen. A comparison of iPhone prices worldwide showed that the price of iPhone 5S as % of GDP per capita (PPP) is the highest in India. See here.


Another area of observation was SMS and OTT apps. I remember spending a lot of time trying to convince people to use OTT apps for messaging as it would be cheaper for International messages. Well, now it seems everyone has adopted it whole heartedly. One of the problems with SMS in India is that you get too much Spam SMS and sometimes the operators are the culprits. There is no way to send a stop for these SMS messages. With OTT Apps, you know who is sending you messages and you can block the offenders.

There are many OTT Apps which are popular like Hike, Line, WeChat, WhatsApp, etc. The winner though is undoubtedly WhatsApp. I met an acquaintance whose has stopped using emails for business and now relies completely on WhatsApp. Then there were others who loved it because of Group chat facility.

There were many reasons why WhatsApp is a winner. Along with a simple interface and Group chat facility, one of the other reasons pointed out was that the facility to see when the person was last online was very useful. Recently WhatsApp introduced facility to send Voice messages. This helped it acquire some of the WeChat users.

It was good to see the beginnings of the mobile revolution in India. Wonder what my next trip will show me.

Please note that this article is based on what I observed in Mumbai among friends and family. In no way should this be treated as  detailed research.

Friday, 9 March 2012

'Blue Tick' for better RF performance


Last year I blogged about 'Antennagate'. From what I hear, iPhone 4S has left this problem far behind and have a much better RF performance than other rivals.

The Australian operator Telstra operates a scheme where it gives a 'blue tick' to all mobiles that have superior RF performance than other average mobiles.

The following is an interesting comment from their Crowdsupport site:


Telstra offers three classes of coverage, A B and C.


C Class coverage is Blue Tick coverage. These phones are designed in such a way that they will outperform other phones in coverage. That is ,they will hold onto a signal further than B or A class phones


Most smartphones due to the way they are manufactures are B class, because of their thinness and materials (such as glass and plastic)


The Atrix and Defy are Blue Tick because the plastic chassis that houses the antenna stops your hand from attenuating the signal.


The iPhone 4S is Blue Tick because the dual antenna design intelligently switches antennas if one gets attenuated.


Blue Tick phones do not assist with high traffic areas. They only assist users in low coverage areas. So a phone in the Melbourne CBD would behave much like any other Telstra phone. Whereas a Blue Tick phone out in rural areas would have better signal coverage than a B or A class phone.


Telstra empirically tests all it's phones because we reach more of the population and many rural people rely on mobile phones with each passing year.


It may be a good idea that operators in other countries start supporting a similar scheme so users who get very little reception in their houses or places of work can get a phone with better RF capabilities.

Any similar schemes operating in other countries?

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Mobile Phone Antennas and Networks

We all remember the so called 'Antennagate' where the iPhone 4 loses coverage due to the way its held. As can be seen from the above picture, there are a lot of antennas already in the phones and yes they are on the increase with LTE and other technologies being added all the time.

Apple admitted the fault and claimed to have fixed the problem but its well known in technical circles that the fix is more of a software hack which doesn't really fix the problem just pretends to fix it. That is why the networks dread it and you can find awful lot of information on the web about the problems.

In a recent Cambridge Wireless event, I heard an interesting talk from Trevor Gill of Vodafone and one of the slides that caught my attention was the impact of these poorly designed phones on the network. The slide is embedded below.

It is estimated that the RF performance of iPhone4 is around 6dB worse than most other 3G phones. What this means is that you may be getting 4 bars of reception on your other phone where iPhone4 may be having only 1 or 2 bars or reception. So if the reception is poor with 1 or 2 bars, iPhone4 may have no reception at all.

To fix this problem, either the networks can increase the number of base stations to double the existing amount which is a huge cost to the networks and extra radiation or the phones can fix it themseles by having an extra antenna. In fact as the slide says, extra antenna on each phone would translate to increase in network capacity by 20-40%, cell area by 30% and cell edge throughput by 40-75%.

One final thing that I want to mention is that testing (RF, RRM, Conformance, etc.) are mandated by the networks for most phones but they overlook the testing procedure for phones like iPhone. What this means is that they do get a lot more new customers but they get new sets of problems. If these problems are not handled well, the impression they give is that the particular network is rubbish. Another thing is that the devices use a certain build/prototype for testing but the one that they release may contain other patches that can cause chaos. One such problem was Fast Dormancy problem that I have blogged about here.

Hopefully the networks will be a bit more careful and will put quality before quantity in future.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Mobile Payments to be mainstream in 2011

With some much talk (and hype) surrounding NFC and Mobile payments, it looks quite possible that m-payments will enter mainstream in the Western world in the forthcoming year. Though mobile payments have become norm in developing countries like Kenya, Senegal and India, its yet to catch on in UK and the USA.

Here are some interesting facts from MobileBeyond:
  • The mobile transaction market is so huge it offers room for multiple players. Yearly worldwide electronic transactions total $7-$10 TRILLION
  • Competitors are generally local to each country or region leaving plenty of open territory for mobile payment service and technology companies. Companies that win in their markets will be those that understand customer needs.
  • PayPal in the U.S., which has traditionally catered to merchant accounts, most likely will adopt a similar mobile strategy. (Both Obopay and PayPal are service providers–not technology companies like Fundamo in South Africa that provides software solutions for service companies.)
  • “The competition is cash”–not the other players in this market space
  • In five to ten years, mobile payments will achieve high adoption among consumers in developing and developed countries.
  • Brazil, Russia, China and Mexico offer growth opportunities for players that understand these markets
  • According to Portio Research, by 2011 mobile commerce payments are estimated to climb to $86.6 billion
  • Nielsen predicts 27% of all U.S. payments by 2012 will still be cash
To get an idea, there are already multiple m-payments providers in Kenya. Leaving out the gians like Google and Paypal, there are other local providers like M-pesa, Pay-Zunguka, Pesapal and Zynde.

The following are the developments in UK from Computer weekly:

Some forms of mobile payments already exist. Phone applications like PayPal Mobile support person-to-person (P2P) payments. SMS-based transactions are used for car parking tickets and mobile commerce allows online shopping through mobile phone browsers.

Contactless cards are also in circulation for credit cards, transport tickets and are used in some food stores. The industry is looking next at near-field communication (NFC) mobile handsets. NFC allows 'tap-and-go' style payments using mobile phones at in-store terminals by incorporating contactless card technology into handsets. Alternatively, micro-SD cards with NFC-enabled chips can be inserted into mobile phones.

The Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA) has launched a Pay-Buy-Mobile project to enable consumers to pay for goods and services via their mobile phones. "By storing a consumer's credit or debit card within the SIM card and employing NFC technology, the mobile phone can be passed near a contactless Point Of Sale (POS) terminal to complete transactions," said Nav Bains, GSMA's senior director of mobile money.

GSMA has been collaborating with standardisation bodies; the European Payments Council, EMVCo, which manages card specifications and smartcard infrastructure standards body, Global Platform. The consortium is developing the Trusted Service Manager requirements document and a certification process to accelerate the commercialisation of mobile NFC services. But some experts believe NFC is a long way from a mass market roll-out in the UK.

The biggest breakthrough in the mobile payment market have been in developing countries, providing bank services via mobile phones for people who have traditionally not had bank accounts. Visa Europe recently launched Europe's first micro-SD based mobile payment systems in Turkey. But it is unclear when such a system will be introduced in the UK. says Juniper Research senior analyst, Howard Wilcox.

The number of contactless terminals in the UK is approximately 26,500 and the UK Card Association predict 14 million contactless cards will have been issued with contactless functionality by the end of 2010. "We're not expecting to give a launch date any time soon," continues Swain. "Globally, there's a lot of discussion but the UK is one of the only areas where we already have the infrastructure that would accept contactless mobile payments," he adds.
UK-based mobile banking firm, Monitise, has also recently launched a joint venture with Visa in India to accelerate the delivery of mobile financial services such as banking, bill payments, mass transit ticketing and mobile top-up to Indian customers. More than infrastructure, Monitise group strategy director, Richard Johnson, believes banks and mobile network operators need to work together. "Banks are where most people keep their money. It's about mobilising bank accounts rather than creating new accounts with network operators. Tap-and-go really requires collaboration," he says.


Industry expert consortium, Mobey Forum, hopes to bring banks, mobile network operators, acquirers and merchants together to build the relationships needed to progress the mobile payments industry.

Gerhard Romen, Mobey Forum marketing chair and director of mobile financial services at Nokia, believes the NFC trials have proved the consumer demand and, by 2011, all of Nokia's new smartphones will be NFC-enabled. "Once people work together, it'll provide simplicity for the user" he says. "A phone with NFC can do more than just behave like a card - it has a display, keyboard and internet connection - and becomes more interactive," he adds.

Today we have credit, debit and, perhaps, contactless cards. Tomorrow banks and mobile network operators hope to provide a mobile wallet. The next step will be introducing tap-and-go into the mainstream market and, despite slow progress, industry experts are increasingly certain it will happen "soon".

From eWeek:

Google and Apple are both making moves to ensure smooth financial transactions on their mobile platforms.

Last week news bubbled up that Google and PayPal were brokering a deal to let the search engine use the e-commerce service as a payment option for applications purchased through Google's Android Market.

Apple, meanwhile, hired an expert in near field communication (NFC) technology as its new product manager for mobile commerce and has published a number of NFC-related patents in recent months.

Google's e-commerce infrastructure is poor compared with that of Apple. Users may only purchase applications for their Android smartphones from the Android Market in 13 countries.

By way of comparison, consumers may purchase apps from iPhone's App Store in 90 countries all over the world. PayPal would be a welcome addition to Google Checkout and credit cards as payment options in the Android Market.

Gartner has said the market for mobile apps will be $6.2 billion this year, making it an obvious sector for Google and Apple to attack with gusto.

From San Fansisco Chronicle:

Bay Area businesses like Bling Nation and eBay Inc.'s PayPal division are rolling out products that allow people to hand over money to stores, restaurants, coffee shops or friends with the tap of a mobile device. No credit cards, checks or cash are necessary.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that other major companies, including Apple Inc., AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless are planning or negotiating to provide similar services.

"What I see is all these distinct initiatives coming together and merging at some point in the not-too-distant future," said Aaron McPherson, practice director at IDC Financial Insights. "All together, they add up to significant change."

Bling Nation, a Palo Alto startup founded in 2007, is among the furthest along in this emerging field, with more than 1,000 retailers nationwide accepting its payment system. The company provides so-called Bling tags, or small stickers, that affix to the back of a mobile phone and transmit data using a wireless standard known as Near Field Communication.

When users tap the tag on a proprietary reader at participating retailers, it pulls money from their PayPal account. For security, users have to enter a personal identification number for purchases over a certain amount, or when transactions occur at an unusual frequency or location.

Merchants pay for or rent the reader and are charged 1.5 percent of the total of every transaction, which is well below the average transaction rate for accepting credit cards. The additional advantage for merchants is that they can analyze customer data in a more fine-grained manner than is permitted through the credit card system. This allows them, for instance, to target sales offers to regular customers or those who haven't been into the shop in a while.

"They enjoy cheaper fees and analytics that can help them issue coupons and make more money," said co-founder Meyer Malka, adding that the advantages are turning businesses into proselytizers on Bling's behalf.

A little more than a month ago, the company began an aggressive push in partnership with PayPal to expand its footprint in downtown Palo Alto. It included giving away thousands of tags preloaded with $20 in credit to customers. There are now more than 50 retailers in the city accepting the payments.

As I mentioned last week, with heavyweights like Nokia, Apple and Google all coming closer to NFC and M-Payments, it should be a winning formula for the end consumers. We will possibly see more use of m-payments in the developed world. Lets not mention about security just yet.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Everyone is talking NFC



Its been over couple of years since I blogged about what NFC is. In fact successful trials in London occurred around that time but it seems the operators always had doubts.

Couple of months back, Nokia announced that from 2011, it will roll out NFC in all it phones. Here is an extract from the Register:

Nokia has announced that from next year every Nokia smartphone will have NFC, regardless of fact that the technology lacks a business model or any market demand.

The commitment was made during a speech by Nokia's VP for markets, Anssi Vanjoki to the Moby Forum, as
reported by NFC World. Vanjoki wouldn't be drawn on the company's smartphone plans, but did explain that every smartphone launched by Nokia would have an NFC component supporting the Single Wire Protocol (SWP) and MicroSD security, and probably a Nokia secure module too.

Once NFC is in a handset then one can do some interesting things with remote control of home electronics and Bluetooth pairing-by-tap, but none of that is the killer feature that NFC needs to make it viable.


Of course, the mobile industry isn't used to waiting for customer demand – no one ever requested a camera, or Bluetooth, those were pushed into punters' hands by operators (to sell MMS) and retailers (to sell headsets) respectively. But those were done by the network operators (which explains the popularity of Bluetooth in Europe, where operators own retailers).
Nokia, which has extensive IP in NFC, has spent a fortune trying to convince operators to back the technology, funding extensive trials and backing supportive research, but no matter how hard it tries, NFC just isn't desirable (at least until Apple puts it into an iPhone).


That was till last week. This week the news is out that Apple is testing NFC in iPhones. The following news from CNET:

Apple raised some eyebrows over the weekend when news spread it had hired an expert in mobile payments.

But now there's a report that says the company is already testing a prototype
iPhone with near-field communication (NFC) chips inside, which could pave the way for using future iPhones as a mobile wallet.

TechCrunch heard from an unnamed source that on Tuesday Apple is testing an iPhone with NFC chips it's ordered from NXP Semiconductor. It's not clear what kind of tests, and it could be very preliminary in nature. But coupled with the hire of Benjamin Vigier from mFoundry as mobile payments product manager, it does seem possible that Apple could be planning to open up its premier product to the world of commerce outside of iTunes.

In fact you may be able to do much more than mobile payments if Apple gets its way. You may be able to sync devices by touching each other. You can sync your MAC to iPhone or iPod. Here is a video showing some iPhone RFID demo, courtesy NFC world.

iPhone RFID: object-based media from timo on Vimeo.

In case you want to find difference between RFID and NFC, see here.

There is also an interesting article i read sometime back about when NTT DoCoMo will move to NFC. See here.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond

A new report "Mobile Developer Economics 2010 and Beyond", offers many new insights into mobile developer mindshare, and analysis into every touch point of the developer journey, from platform selection to monetisation. The research is based on a set of benchmarks and a survey across 400+ developers globally, segmented into 8 major platforms: iOS (iPhone), Android, Symbian, BlackBerry, Java ME, Windows Phone, Flash Lite, and mobile web.

In terms of developer mindshare, our research shows that Symbian and Java ME, which dominated the developer mindshare pool until 2008, have been superceded by the Android and iPhone platforms. Despite Symbian remaining in the pole position in terms of smartphone market penetration, ‘out-shipping’ iPhone 4 to 1 and Android many-times to 1, the signs of dissatisfaction with the way the Symbian platform has evolved have long been evident.

Indeed Android stands out as the top platform according to developer experience, with close to 60 percent of developers having recently developed on Android, assuming an equal number of developers with experience on each of eight major platforms. iOS (iPhone) follows closely as the next most popular platform, outranking both Symbian and Java ME, which until 2008 were in pole position.

The report can be downloaded from here and is embedded below for convenience

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Samsung v/s Apple Display War



In launching the new iPhone at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco last week, the Apple front man claimed the screen's IPS LCD technology, developed by LG and Hitachi, also offered superior colour resolution and was “quite a bit better” than Super AMOLED overall.

“You can‘t make an OLED display with this type of resolution right now,” Jobs said on stage. “Retina Display is going to set the standard for displays for the next several years. We don’t think anybody’s going to come close.”

But Samsung disagrees, claiming that the difference in the total number of pixels over Super AMOLED's 800 x 480-pixel resolution is all but negligible to the naked eye, and pointed instead to Super AMOLED's emissive lighting and its ability to deliver far better colour and contrast than more traditional backlit screens like the Retina Display.

"The visibility difference is only 3 to 5 per cent. But raising resolution to that level increases battery consumption by 30 percent,” a Samsung spokesperson told the Korean Herald. “Structurally, IPS LCD technology cannot catch up with AMOLED display technology,” .

One of Super AMOLED's chief attractions is the reduced strain on the battery thanks to that lack of backlighting, with Samsung's new Wave smartphone offering double the battery life of the iPhone. In addition, the Samsung screen offers a contrast ratio thought to be around 1,000,000:1, dwarfing the iPhone's figure of just 800:1.

According to Jobs, the iPhone's screen's 326 pixels per inch meant it had a higher resolution than the human eye “The display is your window into the internet, into your apps, into your media, into your software,” he said. “Retina Display is the best window on the planet.”

Its good to see the Mobile Display evolving but not sure if everyone cares about it. There is a good comparison of AMOLED v/s LCD with lots of pictures here, which will give you a good idea. More details here as well.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Video Calling: Boon or Bane?

When 3G was launched, the operators were clueless as to what 3G can do. The only way according to them to sell 3G was to to market 'Video calling'.

I am not sure how many of you have used Video calling, but I love it. Shame that the operators have priced it so ridiculously that I only used it when I had them inclusive in my package. Otherwise paying £0.50 per min seems exorbitant to me.

We have so many other options like Google Chat with Video and Skype Video chat available which is very convenient (and far much cheaper) according to me. Skype client is available on mobiles but still Video is not included. Its just matter of time before Video calling is included part of the VoIP client. All handset manufacturers are scared to include the feature so as to avoid the ire of operators. Maybe we will have to leave it to iPhone again to break this barrier as well.

The following is from Reuters news article:

Research in Motion Ltd says it is far from certain that video will become the "killer app" that defines smartphones, but even so the BlackBerry maker says developing more efficient delivery is necessary to prevent video from choking airwaves.

The popularity of feature-rich smartphones such as the BlackBerry, Apple's iPhone, and Motorola's Droid has surged, but they use as much as 30 times as much bandwidth as regular mobile phones to run the applications, or "apps," that make them so popular.

The surge in traffic triggered by video and other apps has led to more dropped calls and choppy service. As video on smartphones becomes more popular, it is leading to more congestion, and forcing carriers to spend billions to upgrade networks and buy more wireless spectrum.

"I still don't know and I don't think anyone knows if video is a killer app for smartphones," RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said at a conference hosted by a unit of Toronto Dominion Bank on Friday. "I don't particularly think it is."

Lazaridis said that even if video did not become the defining app for smartphones, it is already presenting a big challenge to networks.

Analysts have praised Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM for its relatively bandwidth-light BlackBerrys, which route most emails through the company's own servers. This is a legacy of the company's earlier days when it was seeking a faster, more secure mobile email service.

RIM also sends web browsing, Facebook, Twitter, and data from a wide number of BlackBerry apps through its own servers.

That makes browsing and using apps on a BlackBerry three to eight times as efficient bandwidth-wise as on the devices of RIM's rivals, said Lazaridis.

"What that means for the carrier, though, is after they have committed all those billions of dollars on new network technology and new network spectrum, they can have three BlackBerrys using the same network capacity as one of the other smartphones."

Lazaridis said RIM would invest more in technology that provides efficiencies to carriers, including when it comes to video.

He pointed to RIM's 2006 acquisition of SlipStream, which specializes in data acceleration, compression and network optimization technology.

"They had some amazing technologies for compressing everything from web content, documents, and video. So, you never know, the research that we do is very important, it's always borne fruit and we are hoping that we can continue to ... provide tangible efficiencies to the carriers."


Monday, 18 January 2010

Top 10 paid iPhone apps


Interesting collection of paid iPhone Apps from The Independent.

1. Doodle Jump: £0.59 Jumping game featuring different platforms and obstacles to overcome.
See here for details. Official website here.


2. Where's Wally (Where's Waldo in USA). £1.79 The striped-jumper sporting explorer leaves the page and enters the iPhone in this hidden-object game.
More details here. Official website here.


3. MOTO X MAYHEM £0.59 Jump, lean and race through 14 levels of motocross action in this side-scroller.
More details here. Official website here.

4. CRASH BANDICOOT £1.79 High-octane 3D kart racing.
More details here. Official website here.

5. BEJEWELED 2 £1.79 The simple but compelling gem-swapping action puzzle.
More details here. Official website here.


6. WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? £2.99 Although you can't win the ultimate cash prize, this game lets you experience the 'Millionaire' quiz questions.
More details here. Official website here.

7. THE SIMPSONS ARCADE £2.99 Help Homer round up the delicious doughnuts that are located around Springfield.
More details here.

8. TETRIS £1.79 The block-dropping classic.
More details here. Official website here.

9. NEED FOR SPEED SHIFT £3.99 With 20 supercars and 18 tricky tracks to master, this title, currently reduced, is a winner.
More details here.

10. IVIDEO CAMERA £0.59 No 3GS? No worries with this video camera app.
More details here.

Monday, 14 December 2009

59p iPhone stethoscope is a life saviour





The stethoscope, the 200-year-old accessory without which no doctor is complete, could soon be replaced by the humdrum mobile phone.

A computer scientist who wrote a program that turns an Apple iPhone into a stethoscope has made a major advance in medical technology and created a sensation among heart specialists. The application, called iStethoscope, was developed as a "bit of fun", and has become a runaway success after being downloaded millions of times by users across the world.

Cardiologists say the software has saved lives and brought specialist expertise within reach of patients in remote parts of the world. Heart sounds can be recorded and emailed to doctors anywhere for an expert opinion.

Peter Bentley, a researcher who developed the application in the computer science department at University College, London, said he was amazed by the response.

"The idea began as an experiment," he added. "I had a new, popular science book out last year and I wanted to see if I could tell people about the book using a free iPhone application that did something useful.

"It was intended as a fun toy but to my astonishment it was downloaded by several million people all over the world in the first six months. Then I started receiving emails, phone calls and visits from cardiologists all over the world. They said it worked better than commercially available digital stethoscopes. They were tremendously excited. One flew over from the US just to discuss it with me."

The cause of the doctors' excitement was that the audio quality from the iPhone was far superior to that from digital stethoscopes. Mobile phones are a huge market compared with digital stethoscopes, and economies of scale mean they are made with better hardware.

Responding to requests from specialists, Mr Bentley extended the application to allow heart sounds to be recorded, emailed and analysed. The application costs 59p to download, but cardiologists say it does a better job than equipment costing thousands of times as much.

Glenn Nordehn, a US cardiologist researcher and specialist in digital stechoscopes at the University of Minnesota, said: "This is the best thing to come around in terms of medical equipment for a very long time. [His] closest competitor charges about 3,000 times as much"

Mr Bentley is now working on further iPhone applications, such as an electrocardiogram reader. "This is the way everyone wants to go," he said.

For more info see: http://www.peterjbentley.com/istethoscope.html


Saturday, 12 December 2009

SQUARE: From the founder of Twitter





From CNN:

Twitter creator Jack Dorsey Wednesday gave the first public demonstration of his hotly-anticipated latest venture -- a device to allow credit card payments by cell phone -- and revealed it would be given away for free.

Details of "Square" -- a card reader which plugs into the headphone socket of most mobile devices -- have been circulating on the Internet since it was announced earlier this month, but little has been known about how it works or who it was aimed at.

However, Dorsey -- whose microblogging Web site has proved hugely popular but not hugely profitable since launching in March 2006 -- gave no explanation on how he would make money from his new creation, beyond revealing there would be a per-transaction charity donation.

Square, a tiny cube about an inch in length, contains a magnetic strip reader that allows users to swipe and read credit cards, then deduct payment on or offline through a downloaded application that communicates with card issuers in the same way as retailer devices.

Customers then use their finger on the phone's touch-recognition screen to sign their name to the transaction.

Dorsey, Twitter's co-founder and chairman, says the device, scheduled for launch on iPhones and iPods in March 2010, was inspired partly by the "immediacy, approachability and transparency" of Twitter and by the global economic crisis which has exposed a need for a radical rethink of the financial sector.



Saturday, 1 August 2009

iPhone Apps and the Smartphones's Apps war


Smartphones had done amazing this to the consumers in the past couple of years especially after the launch of iPhone. These days there is immense concentration on the development of quality applications Application which can lure the customers in real time and are useful to them. I remember initially mobile games created similar kind of furore but I personally believe that this is different. These days application are developed not only for fun sake but also providing the customers some really value added service.

iPhone certainly is leading in the race in this regard and application developers are hugely receptive to the ideas which can be translated into a iPhone application.

Lance Stewart is one such person who came up with the idea of latest iPhone application called Tube Exits.
It came to him when he was trying to get out of Oxford Circus tube station in a hurry. Anybody who’s has experience the London’s train station during th rush hours knows very well that you find yourself behind a huge crowd of people blocking the way to the exit.

After experincing similar this Stuart thought that what he needed was to get the jump on the crowds by knowing which carriage he should board to arrive at the platform exit. If he somehow knew, for every station platform on the London Underground network, which carriage would arrive at a station next to the platform exit, he would never be stuck behind foot-dragging tourists or daily commuters again.

He thought it would be good idea to put all this information into the form of an iPhone application for other commuters. Dreaming of making something out of it he compiled the information for more than 700 platforms at London Underground's 268 stations. As he was not the person who can develop the app of his own so together with the collected information he approached an apps developer with his idea.
The outcome of this Stuart’s initiative and idea was the Tube Exits app for iPhone which was launched on 16ht June and has become very popular since then.
The app comes in two versions: One is free but only gives you the information for the Underground's busiest 12 stations; the other costs £1.79 and covers the whole network. This price is probably a price of a zone 1 ticket, but you could use it again and again.

Stewart is now involved in developing a similar app for the Paris Metro and sees no reason why his original idea can't be applied to other metro networks around the world.

Tube Exits is just one of an estimated 100,000 apps that will exist by the end of this year. Most of the apps these days are mobile applications designed to be used on Smartphones such as iPhones or BlackBerrys.

Recently the apps industry has grown exponentially where the total number of Apple's App Store downloads only recently passed the 1.5bn mark.

The App Store's success is huge incentive for Apple and is really giving a tough time to its competitors such as Research in Motion (who make BlackBerrys) and Nokia (the world's biggest mobile phone maker). The App Store's staggering success has led nearly every maker of a smartphone operating system to mimic Apple's business model: make it very easy for smartphone users to buy or freely download software created by from third-party developers.
Indeed Apple has become an icon phone and at the moment Apple has something of a stranglehold on apps e.g. Tube Exits can only be used on Apple mobile hardware (ie iPhones and iPod Touches).

What's especially striking about apps is how quickly they have become popular and are the real money spinners for smartphone companies specially Apple. I remember it very well when the iPhone was launched, there were many sceptical voices. It was too expensive, too readily nickable, too much of a triumph of what techies could do over what customers wanted to be for it to be a success. Apps have changed all that where Apple gets a significant chunk of revenue from the sale of its Apps. Apple is smartly doing what Microsoft has been doing until now, binding the applications and software to its products.

Apple is also not leving any stone unturned in fighting for the superiority of it’s application. This can be best provide by Apple recent victory in front of the advertising watchdog, with a ruling that it is free to claim its iPhone applications store is superior to a rival service offered by Google.
The Advertising Standards Authority rejected complaints from fans of Google's G1 smartphone that a TV ad for Apple's App Store was misleading.

"Yep, there's an app for just about anything," a voiceover in the advert said. "Only on the iPhone."

The days ahead will be interesting and messier in terms Smartphone companies claiming for smart and beautiful apps.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Q2 Mobile sales: No surprises but lots of good news


Nokia, the world's largest maker of mobile phones, reported Thursday that its second-quarter operating profit fell 71 percent to 427 million euros ($600 million) from 1.47 billion euros during the same quarter a year earlier.

The company also reported that sales fell about 25 percent to 9.9 billion euros in the second quarter. But sales were up 7 percent sequentially from the first quarter of 2008.

Nokia shipped 103.2 million units during the quarter, which was down about 15 percent compared with a year earlier. But shipments were up 11 percent sequentially compared with the first quarter of this year.

Nokia said that it increased its market share sequentially for global sales of mobile phones to an estimated 38 percent. And its smartphone market share grew sequentially to 41 percent.

Toward the end of the second quarter, Nokia brought its N97 smartphone to the U.S. market.

It was bound to happen, but we didn’t think the Nokia N97 would outsell the Nokia 5800 quite as quickly as it has. However, from sales figures that have just been released, it looks like the big fight of the summer is going to be between Nokia’s two touchscreen smartphones.

The top ten phones currently being sold by Vodafone looks something like this:

1. Nokia N97 32GB
2. Nokia 5800
3. Sony Ericsson W595
4. Sony Ericsson C510
5. Samsung Jet
6. Samsung Tocco Ultra Edition
7. Samsung Steel L810
8. Nokia 6300
9. BlackBerry Storm
10. HTC Magic

South Korean company Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd recently announced the earnings results for the second quarter of the ongoing year. Globally, the company registered an 11.7 percent increase in revenues during the quarter on a yearly basis, reaching 32.51 trillion Korean won, and posted 2.52 trillion won operating profit, up 436 percent compared to the previous quarter of the year.

Samsung’s Telecommunications business also went up compared to the same time frame last year, reaching 10.04 trillion won in revenue, or a 27.4 percent increase, while the operating profit was of 1.00 trillion won, with a 10 percent margin. During the three-month period, the company says, its mobile phones sales reached 52.3 million units, marking a 14 percent increase compared to the previous quarter.

LG Electronics posted a record quarterly profit on strong mobile phone and TV sales, helping it win market share from rivals Nokia and Motorola today. However concerns over weaker margins may stall a rally in its shares.

LG, which trails Nokia and Samsung in mobile phones, sold a record 29.8 million handsets in the second quarter, up from 22.6 million units in January to March.

It posted an 11 per cent operating profit margin in handsets, compared with 6.7 per cent in the first quarter, a figure Choi said was "pretty remarkable."

The company's operating profit margin was 7.8 per cent in the second quarter and was at 4.3 per cent for all of 2008.

Fourth ranked Motorola is working to narrow losses through cost cuts in the face of sharp drops in sales, while world fifth maker Sony Ericsson is also braced for a tough second half of 2009 as a demand slump hits its stronghold mid-range products focused on camera and music features.

Apple's quarterly results were better than forecast, thanks to strong iPhone sales, including its new 3GS model.

Net profits hit $1.23bn (£953m), or $1.35 a share, in the fiscal third quarter to 27 June, from $1.07bn, or $1.19 a share, a year earlier.

The US technology giant sold more than 5.2 million iPhones in the quarter, seven times more than a year earlier.

Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said: "We are very proud of this result, particularly given the economic climate around us."

He also admitted that Apple was "currently unable to make enough iPhone 3GS to meet high demand and we are working to improve that".

Apple also hopes to make the iPhone available in more countries than the current 18, including China "within a year".

Thursday, 11 June 2009

The fastest and most powerful iPhone is here

Though Steve Jobs was not there, the new iPhone 3G (S) went on display at the Apple's World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 8. The 'S' stands for speed.

The new improved iPhone 3G (S) helps you download Web pages in a fraction of the time, and you can view email attachments faster.

Improved performance and updated 3D graphics deliver an incredible gaming experience, too.
The new phone can also capture video and boasts an improved capability for taking still pictures.
The iPhone 3G S will hit the market on June 19.

After a string of successes with the iPod and iPhone, Apple is hoping it can keep wowing shoppers with this latest version of its popular mobile handset. The iPhone 3GS will sport a number of upgrades from its predecessors – including a doubled capacity of 32GB; a digital compass; and the ability to record videos.

The larger memory will allow iPhone owners to store up to 7,000 songs or 40 hours of video on their handsets, which they can now download directly from the iTunes store.
Below is the summary of some of the features of this latest iPhone.

Video and 3-Megapixel camera:
You can shoot video, edit it, and share it - all on your iPhone 3G S. Shoot high-quality VGA video in portrait or landscape. Trim your footage by adjusting start and end points. Then share your video in an email.

The new 3-megapixel camera takes great still photos, too, thanks to built-in auto focus and a handy new feature that lets you tap the display to focus on anything (or anyone) you want.

Voice Control:
Voice Control recognises the names in your 'contacts' and knows the music on your iPod. So if you want to place a call or play a song, all you have to do is ask.

Compass:
With a built-in digital compass, iPhone 3G S can point the way. Use the new Compass app, or watch as it automatically reorients maps to match the direction you're facing.

Landscape keyboard, Cut, copy and past:
Cut, copy, and paste words and photos, even between applications. Copy and paste images and content from the Web, too.

Want more room to type on the intelligent software keyboard? Rotate iPhone to landscape to use a larger keyboard in mail, messages and notes.

Messages:
Send messages with text, video, photos, audio, locations, and contact information. You can even forward one or more messages to others.

Search:
Find what you're looking for across your iPhone, all from one convenient place. Spotlight searches all your contacts, email, calendars, and notes, as well as everything in your iPod.

Accessibility:
iPhone 3G S offers accessibility features to assist users who are visually or hearing impaired.
These features include the VoiceOver screen reader, a Zoom feature, White on Black display options, Mono Audio, and more.

Internet tethering:
Surf the web from practically anywhere. Now you can share the 3G connection on your iPhone with your Mac notebook or PC laptop.

Voice memos:Capture and share a thought, a memo, a meeting, or any audio recording on the go with the new voice memos application

Nike + iPod:
iPhone includes built-in Nike + iPod support. Just slip the Nike + iPod Sensor (available separately) into your Nike+ shoe and start your workout.

Stocks:
Stocks on iPhone shows you charts, financial details, and headline news for any stock you choose. Rotate iPhone to see even more detailed information.

YouTube:
Watch YouTube videos wherever you are. Log in to your YouTube account to save and sync bookmarks and rate your favourites.

Friday, 29 May 2009

New York Art using iPhone App

Check the Video of how this was drawn:



Portuguese illustrator Jorge Colombo, has graced the June 1st cover of The New Yorker Magazine with art he produced entirely on his iPhone. The original finger painting Colombo created in about an hour standing outside Madame Tussuad's’s Wax Museum in Times Square, has helped the magazine make a quantum leap forward from it's first issue released on February 17, 1925. Colombo's work brings fresh cultural relevance to a tired relic desperately in need of reinventing itself.

Jorge uses the iPhone app Brushes to create works of art he calls iSketches, focused on the city of New York which he now sells online as limited edition prints. Though Colombo has worked for many years as a professional Illustrator, graphic designer and photographer, it's his ultra-modern iPhone paintings that have delivered him into a period of personal renaissance. Colombo's iPhone paintings carry a distinct impressionist style, passionately romanticizing New York City landscapes and architecture like a possessed lover.

Jorge uses the iPhone app Brushes to create works of art he calls iSketches, focused on the city of New York which he now sells online as limited edition prints. Though Colombo has worked for many years as a professional Illustrator, graphic designer and photographer, it's his ultra-modern iPhone paintings that have delivered him into a period of personal renaissance. Colombo's iPhone paintings carry a distinct impressionist style, passionately romanticizing New York City landscapes and architecture like a possessed lover.

"It was a natural thing to try a new tool, it's a continuation of what I've been doing for years," Colombo told the iPhone Savior in brief phone interview. "The first sketches I did on iPhone were done on the subway but they were not very good, because I had not mastered the technique. iPhone art works better with wider brush strokes. You shouldn't try to do detailed drawings."

I immediately realized that Jorge Colombo is an artist that distills great insight and passion for art though he takes a casual approach to the work he produces on iPhone. The powerful Brushes ($4.99) application he uses as his digital tool of choice allows for his finished iSketches to be exported as QuickTime movies, retracing every finger swipe stroke by detailed stroke. (watch above)

"When I'm doing those drawings I sometimes erase it and do it again until I get it right. The app makes it look like every single brushstroke hits the mark and that's not true." Colombo quickly admitted, as he detailed how the Brushes output only records the finished strokes that the artist chooses.

"It makes me really happy when somebody gets the app on their iPhone, especially when they're not artists. I like that people do art as a hobby," Colombo said, "I hope that this will influence more people to do art with their iPhone."

Once millions of people discover Jorges' iSketches from the cover of New Yorker Magazine, I would expect a flood of artists will find fresh expression through a new medium known as iPhone painting. Unleashing the start of the iPhonian era of modern art. So if you happen to see Jorge Colombo, planted on the corner of some New York City street, remember that he's not just texting friends at a frenzied pace, he's busy fingering another masterpiece.

There’s a companion application, Brushes Viewer, that makes a video recapitulating each step of how Colombo composed the picture. Colombo leans heavily on the Undo feature: “It looks like I draw everything with supernatural assurance and very fast—it gets rid of all the hesitations.”

You can see more iPhone Artists here. You can see some more of Jeorge's New York Photos here.