Sunday, May 31, 2009

Quickoffice for iPhone update 1.2 brings predictive text and more

Quickoffice was the first to launch an Office suite for the iPhone and as I wrote in my review I was pleased with most of the functionality in the software, but there were a couple of glaring issues that kept me from whole-heartedly recommending that application. I saw the version 1.2 update appear on my iPhone 3G this weekend and am pleased to report that this update included some MAJOR additions that leave me satisfied after paying $20 for the application. I still want to see email attachment support because that is how many documents pass through my mobile devices.

Here is the list of everything included in the Version 1.2 update:

* Auto-correction (predictive text)! This is the biggest improvement in my eyes.
* Auto-capitalization
* Double-tap to create a period
* Adjust indentation level of bulleted/numbered lists and paragraphs
* Find text in docs
* Set paragraph alignment
* Easily view wide tables


* Copy/paste cells, columns, rows, and cell ranges & formulas that are dynamically updated. This is another MAJOR improvement for my usage.
* Landscape editing
* Set/remove cell borders
* Edit font type & size
* Edit directly into a cell in portrait view
* Add, rename, delete, and reorder worksheets inside a single spreadsheet
* Set alignment with a cell

Quickoffice Files

* Bookmark last viewed position in non-editable documents
* Slideshow viewing of images in remote & local directories

As you can see, the folks at Quickoffice have been working hard to improve their product and have almost reached perfection (need that attachment support). I have used their Quickoffice product on S60 devices and think some of these issues they are working through are related to the sandboxing that Apple does in the OS that keeps developers locked out of areas they may have had access to on other platforms.

Remember that Quickoffice lets you edit, create, and view Word and Excel files. You can view Office 2007 (.DOCX and .XLSX) files now and in a future update you will be able to edit and create them as well. A free update also coming soon will allow you to access your email attachments and send them to the Quickoffice application (Apple doesn’t give you file access so developers have to come up with workarounds.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Microsoft's 'Bing' for internet search

To assert its presence in the internet search space, Microsoft has come up with 'Bing'- a new search service that promises to help customers make better decisions.

The software giant's latest foray into internet search arena comes after many attempts to challenge the dominance of Google.

Bing would go live on June 3, Microsoft said in a statement.

Terming it as a 'Decision Engine', the firm noted the new search service would help customers to make better decisions.

Bing would initially focus on four key areas: "making a purchase decision, planning a trip, researching a health condition or finding a local business".

The software major is yet to make a mark in the internet search space and has lost ground to main competitors Google and Yahoo!.

Microsoft's Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer feels that today's search do a decent job of finding information but don't do a "very good job" of enabling people to make use the information they find.

"Bing is an important first step forward in our long term effort to deliver innovations in search that enable people to find information quickly and use the information... (to) make smart decisions".


Silverlight 3 to launch July 10

Earlier this year, Microsoft officials said they planned to deliver the final version of Silverlight 3 before the end of 2009. Looks like they meant months before…

Microsoft is planning to launch Silverlight 3 and its Expression Studio 3 family of designer tools on July 10 in San Francisco, company officials said on May 28.

Silverlight 3 adds 3D support, GPU acceleration, H.264 video support and out-of-the-browser capabilities to Silverlight, Microsoft’s competitor to Adobe Flash. The out-of-browser support will add to Silverlight capabilities that are available currently in Adobe AIR.

Microsoft released the one and only planned beta of Silverlight 3 in March 2009.

I’ll be interested to see how much, if any, of Silverlight 3 gets incorporated into the upcoming Windows Mobile 6.5 and 7.0 releases (thanks to the “Alchemy” component of the platforms, as well as the Office 2010 Web Apps (for which Silverlight is not required but will “enhance the experience”) …. Stay tuned.

More on:

Google Wave Aims To Reinvent E-mail, IM

The Google I/O conference at San Francisco ended with Google dropping a bomb. Say hello to Google Wave, a unique service from the company that, according to many, has the potential to be the next big thing after e-mail. As we file this story, the latest wave from Google has already hogged the headlines and it has managed to hold on to be a trending topic on Twitter.

So, what exactly is the Google Wave? To simplify things, consider it to be an extension, or rather an evolution of existing e-mail, IM and file-sharing technologies. With Wave, users can share images, videos, converse in what Google terms a collaborative conversation stream.

If that bounced off your head, here we go again. In real world conditions, what you can potentially do is to start a Wave. Now, everyone on your wave will be able to enhance it with rich HTML, pictures, videos even presentations and with possibly anything you can do on the web. You can talk to them (your wave buddies, of course) while this is happening and see in real time how the wave of yours has started to evolve.

Cool, Huh? Now, if you sign off and come back the next day and you see that the wave has changed a lot since you last saw it, what do you do? You can actually go back and see how the evolution happened - a sort of rewind and playback thing. Of course, there is a lot more to the Google Wave than this, but that has to be experienced to be talked about.

Another facet of Google Wave is that this happens to be an Open Source project, and more of a platform, less a finished product. So, what we're talking bout here is an entire new API that allows developers to do almost anything they please, like integrating a Twitter client, playing games on to a wave. From gaming or official work to a simple chat, the Google Wave might just change the way we communicate with our buddies, in the near future

Google Wave is the creation of the same team that was behind Google Maps and the bunch seems to have run into something revolutionary, right from the outset! This five-person startup looks all set to be one of the most talked about Google products ever.

Google has not announced a release date for Google Wave as yet, but assures that it will be made available from later this year. If you want a preview, you do have the option to let Google know your interest here at

For more check it here at


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Twilver: A new Silverlight Twitter App

Brandon Paddock has built a new Silverlight application called Twilver using the Silverlight 3.0 Beta SDK. To try it out, you go to, an Azure ASP .NET page which hosts the Twilver control.

The way the authentication works is that the control checks to see if it has a cached access token, and because it’s your first visit it will then redirect the hosting web page to Twitter and makes a call via the OAuth API. Then you log into Twitter directly and they give back an authorized token to Brandon’s ASP .NET service on Azure, via the OAuth callback registration.

This is more of a developer project at this point, since there isn’t an end-user friendly version of the Silverlight 3.0 Beta yet (you have to get it via the SDK), says Brandon.

The screenshot shows what the app looks like – kind of simple at this point, but this is still alpha, so expect things to change in the future.


Google: The browser is the computer

SAN FRANCISCO--Google spent Wednesday morning trying to get developers excited about the next generation of Web technologies by showing off how future Web applications will mimic desktop apps.

"It's time for us to take advantage of the amazing opportunity that is before us," said Google CEO Eric Schmidt, kicking off Google I/O 2009 in San Francisco. Schmidt was referring to the growing sense that the Internet and browsers--rather than a computer's operating system--will be the future foundation for application development.

The industry isn't quite ready for that yet. Many of applications demonstrated before the crowd of around 4,000 developers will require the widespread adoption of HTML 5 technologies, which are still under development by a consortium of companies and organizations.

Still, Google's Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering, noted that the four modern open standards browsers (Firefox, Safari, Chrome,and Opera) are all adopting some HTML 5 technologies as they become more stable, taking every opportunity possible to ding Microsoft's Internet Explorer for lagging behind the other four browsers.

However, offstage after his keynote, Gundotra downplayed any conflict with Microsoft, noting that its task in moving toward HTML 5 is more complex because of the large number of enterprises running Internet Explorer, and the possibility that internal applications developed for that browser could break. "As they follow through, they are going to have a huge impact on moving the Web forward," he said.

Gundotra showed off how Web applications will be able to take advantage of five main HTML 5 concepts: canvas tags, video tags, geolocation, application caching and database, and Web Workers.

For example, canvas tags help developers bring all kinds of sophisticated graphics to their Web applications without having to use a plug-in--which is also the appeal of the video tag. Google showed off an "experiment" with YouTube videos coded using the video tags, which gives developers quite a few more options when it comes to how those videos can be embedded into a Web page.

Geolocation is another huge topic of late with mobile applications. Google showed off how its Google Latitude application takes advantage of a new iPhone geolocation API that Apple will release as part of the iPhone 3.0 software to run in the mobile Safari browser. Mozilla's Jay Sullivan also showed off how Firefox 3.5 will come with a button that allows the browser to pinpoint your location in Google Maps using Wi-Fi and cell tower positioning data.

In a briefing session following the keynote, Google's Matthew Papakipos, engineering director, said Google has various aspects of the HTML 5 capabilities demonstrated Wednesday in different parts of the development process. For example, the canvas tags that allow for richer graphics are present in Chrome 2.0, which is currently available, but others, such as the video tags, are farther away from reaching the world.

Mozilla plans to support all the HTML 5 technologies demonstrated Wednesday with the release of Firefox 3.5, Sullivan said. That is expected to arrive fairly soon.

One interesting question, perhaps saved for another day, concerned how, or if, Google plans to index the coming wave of Web applications as part of its search efforts. Attempting to index these rich applications at the moment presents quite a "challenge" for search bots trying to figure out how to categorize the content within an application.

"Content won't be a problem, but how do you index Gmail? Should you index Gmail?" Gundotra pondered.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BaseCamp : A Time Saving Software

While planning for a project, developers always look for a tool which is simple and saves their time. For many developers it is difficult sometimes to find the right management tool to run their projects with. BaseCamp by 37signal is one such tool, which is very simple to use, and has been criticized often by others in the industry for its simplicity. However, for an average project management's needs, base camp is more than capable to handle the entire project.

Basecamp is a sleek, simple project-management application, billed as a "client extranet tool for creative-services firms," but its audience is much broader than that. This tool is used by accounting firms, banks, public schools, and wedding planners, and it needn't be limited to extranets. It can also build intranets private networks for use within a small to medium-sized business.

This web-based software possess a fresh approach to application design. Its simplicity can easily be described when we say that anyone with a passing familiarity with the web can quickly set-up a private site. It gives its users the basic tools they required to post messages, task and schedules. One can quickly add and remove the other users.

Users can customize the colors and basic layout of their site. They can even adorn each page with a small company logo. One interesting feature power users will like: Basecamp lets you export items to an XML file, which can be used with other sites and applications. You can even arrange for Basecamp to send updates to an RSS reader each time your site changes.

For the beginners, this is one handy tool to begin with to organize the development of websites. Make lists of bugs, articles to write, sites to review, tools to implement, changes to make, etc.

Having project management software is like having a partner who helps you with your work. Keeping your self organized, and having the tools you need to make your job go smoother, is hard to find in a good piece of software. Using BaseCamp to manage your project keeps you more organized as well. It fills a need. So before buying, consider your options.

We have been using Basecamp at A-1 Technology to manage our project and our clients have universally praised the simplicity and functionality of the software. If you want to try basecamp click here.

Some other reviews of basecamp: PCMag Review of Basecamp
Readwriteweb Review
Pcworld Basecamp review

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Yahoo Upgrades iPhone App for Voice Search

Mobile searchers have another resource at their fingertips, this time in the form of Yahoo's updated iPhone app, which now includes voice-recognition search capabilities. Yahoo's oneSearch functions much like the Google iPhone app: users press a button and verbalize what they're looking for -- and hope it understands British accents.

Yahoo's iPhone app consolidates everything you need from the group: news, mail, messenger, video, and so on. With its new voice search function, Yahoo's app is now almost exactly like Google's, so the choice to download one or the other is now a question of brand loyalty and where your Web e-mail address is hosted.

The upgrade comes in the shadow of Yahoo's decision to abandon an application that stretches across all smartphones. The company decided to focus its efforts on the iPhone and the mobile Web browser experience rather than crafting all-in-one apps for individual smartphones.

By: Brennon Slattery, PC World
Read more at:

Taste of New York

New York, a leading global city, that exerts a powerful influence over almost every industry worldwide.The city is so happening and change strikes the city so quickly that whatever is in your guidebook or restaurant guide is probably out-of-date. Various diverese events ranging from food,fashions to books are being held in New York annually.

The city is gearing up for various upcoming events such as Taste of Times Square-an event specially for food lovers, Seduction related to fashion industry, Rose Month,Hot Dog Eating competition,Harlem book Fair,Summer Restaurant week and many more. The Food for lovers is a famous annual event of New York held in June where Food lovers flock From West 46th Street, between Broadway and 9th Avenue, and onto historic Restaurant Row Times Square and savour samples from more than 50 restaurants. There is no admission fee to the street festival, but TOTS coupons valued at US$1-US$4 can be exchanged for food.

Every part of New York city has its distinct character and attractions. The city is the "hub" of the Jazz World.All the greats made their names here, and young new comers flock to the city for the chance to prove themselves. If you are party animal and want to dance the night away,then pull out your dancin' shoes and check out one of New York's many clubs.New York is also known for style and world-class shopping. Fashion is almost a religion in New York. Events like New York fashion week works as an additive to the glamour world.It brings the all-important new season collections to the catwalk in front of the international fashion glitterati at Bryant Park.Apart from that The city is also important in the American film industry. You can get your Mini-Makeovers done matching the famous celebrities.

So sum it up, New York city is the hub of all major events and is an attractive spot for tourists giving a fun filling and full of life experience to everyone living there or visiting the place.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Congratulations to Atlassian on reaching $100 million

These are tough times and when you read of someone who is doing well you want to cheer. Atlassian is a software company which just hit $100 million in revenues - which they posted on their blog. They also talk about the transition from a startup to a medium sized company. Below is a little excrept from their blog:

This growth has accelerated the shift from generalist to specialist. To name a few, we've added front-end developers to craft clean and cross-browser CSS and Javascript. The Design team creates mock-ups, UI components and does usability testing. Technical writers handle the documentation. We now have more development managers who don't code. We have a QA team. Performance engineering has created baseline tests for load and stress. Programme management serves as air traffic control around complex dependencies of product integration. We also ramped up other departments: Product managers consolidate product requirements; as the Support Diva describes, support engineers have become skilled at solving problems that once passed through to developers.

Sometime when you make the transition from a startup a company can loose the things that make it special. Atlassian talks about what it is doing to prevent that:

Although we sometimes refused to admit it, we had crossed the line to become a medium-sized software organisation. Soon we had seven products, and we were integrating them into a new product, JIRA Studio. We desperately needed to take the plunge. Yet the transition was full of risks. Early on, I created a "don't change" list of the good stuff we didn't want to break, around innovation, open communication and practices found in the values. Also since software developers are a sceptical bunch, each new specialist would need to win over a tough crowd.

Source: Atlassian Blog

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sun CEO talks Java "App Store"

Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz has written in his blog of "Project Vector" which is to be unveiled at JavaOne. Project Vector is described by Schwartz as a way "to connect companies of all sizes and types to the roughly one billion Java users all over the world".

The plan appears to be similar to other application stores, with developers and companies being able to upload applications to be available for free, or for a fee, to users of Project Vector. Applications and updates would then be delivered through the Java Update mechanism.

Schwartz suggests that the Java Store, as Project Vector is likely to be renamed, will be unique because of the large potential customer base. The timing of the announcement is interesting, because currently Sun employees are restrained from making forward looking statements, without authorisation from the "transition team" managing Oracle's acquisition process, so it is reasonable to assume Project Vector has Oracle's support.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Facebook launching an App Directory

Facebook just launched it Apps Directory which seems very much like Apple Appstore. Are we going to be seeing a full fledged app store in the future. Facebook is rumored to be working on a virtual ecommerce system.

Washington Times - Is Facebook Directory the precursor to a paid appstore

Mobile OS wars: Apple, RIM surge; Symbian still dominant

Gartner’s first quarter smartphone market share statistics show that Nokia’s Symbian remains the dominant mobile operating system, but is losing share to operating systems from Research in Motion and Apple.

To wit (see Gartner statement):

* Symbian’s first quarter smartphone OS share was 49.3 percent, down from 56.9 percent a year ago. But that’s up from the fourth quarter.
* RIM’s BlackBerry OS surged to 19.9 percent, up from 13.3 percent a year ago.
* And Apple’s iPhone OS was 10.8 percent of the market, up from 5.3 percent a year ago.

Gartner’s smartphone unit data echoes the stats from IDC a few weeks ago. Gartner said mobile phone sales were 269.1 million units in the first quarter, down 9.4 percent from a year ago. Smartphone sales were 36.4 million units, up 12.7 percent a year ago.

Read More Here:

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Google Task makes me whole

One of the things I have been wishing for since I started using Google calendar and Gmail is to have a task manager. For a while I used RTP and while RTM is an excellent solution, I did not like the fact that I could not see the actual task and had to click on the RTM logo. Now that google has an integrated task manager which actually inserts the task on the calendar, I can feel whole. The experience of using this on my G1 and Iphone is extremely good.

Official Gmail Blog: Tasks, now in Calendar too: "Links"

Are You Twittering Yet?

Social media has become a popular medium nowadays. Not only is it a source of entertainment for most people, it is also the newest strategy for acquiring customers for businesses. And with hot new tools like Twitter, social media marketing has only become more progressive and popular!

Twitter is a free online social networking and micro-blogging application which gives its users the ability to send updates (up to 140 characters) called “tweets” to people who are following them on Twitter in their profile. The users, who have subscribed to tweets, are known as followers. Senders can restrict or allow anybody to access tweets. So what you have here is a publishing tool that can be either public or private. Users can send and receive tweets through different mediums like IM, cell phones and the web or external applications. The service is free to use over the Internet, but for SMS, service providers may charge fees.

Twitter is a service for friends, family, and business associates to communicate and exchange anything on twitter without any boundaries. In Twitter, even the most ordinary updates about your life can be pretty exciting. If used correctly and efficiently twitter is a great marketing tool from business perspective. Send out a tweet like "Have some breaking news you want to get out quickly?” Update your blog or web site and lets other aware about it instantly with a Tweet. You can promote your projects, books, movies, or whatever by offering a free download or showing a preview? Send out a Tweet with a URL to the free download.

Moreover twitter offers a great functionality which connects your blog and a Twitter Page through RSS feed of the blog. This functionality is known as "Twitter Feed". With the help of this, your Twitter page gets updated each time you add new content to your blog.

Much like how blogging has become a staple for today’s society, Twitter and “twittering” is on the same path to becoming ingrained in today’s culture despite only being around for less than two years. So simple in its execution yet powerful in the marketing opportunities, it offers ease of use. Twitter is one of the top web technologies to gain worldwide prominence.

Twitter puts you in control and becomes a modern antidote to information overload.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

For yahoo iPhone is priority - Kills blackberry app to focus on iPhone

Yahoo sent an email to users informing them that it had decided to cease development of a blackberry app to focus on the iPhone.

——Original Message——
From: Yahoo! Mobile beta
Subject: Yahoo! Mobile for smartphones beta update
Sent: May 18, 2009 8:04 AM

Yahoo! has decided to cease development of the Yahoo! Mobile smartphone app effective Wednesday, May 20th. So you will not be provided access to the beta program for this product.

For the time being, we will be focusing our efforts on the newly-launched Yahoo! Mobile experience for browsers (available at and for the iPhone (available via the Apple App Store).

We really want to thank you for your interest in being a beta tester. The feedback we receive during these programs is extremely helpful in improving the customer experience across all of Yahoo!’s mobile products. In the meantime, stay tuned for more exciting new mobile product releases from Yahoo!. There’s a lot coming and we want to hear your feedback!

Many thanks,

The Yahoo! Mobile team

Source: Blackberry Review

Top Five Customer Relationship Management Software

Nowadays, almost every business understands the importance of CRM and the fact that CRM software is a must. CRM software tracks when, how and why a customer interacts with the business. Indeed, it proves very beneficial in helping a business to identify and understand its customer's needs and expectations. In turn, it leads to increased satisfaction as the business focus on customer’s requirements. This of course, helps in building customer relationships, which in the long run lead to customer loyalty.

Despite of the fact, whether your business is big or small, your sales personnel need to keep track of leads and you need reporting that will give you answers to questions that drive your sales. But with so many options available, which features should you look for to really fit with your business' goals. From the customer's point of view, successful CRM software means that every time they need to contact the business, the service assistant they reach, already know everything about them and their customer history. As a result, the company in question is able to target and tailor their current and future products successfully to their customer's needs and shopping habits. There a number of CRM software available in the market and few of the prominent ones are listed hereunder:


1) The Relenta product is an online CRM. All the information is stored in its hosted service, thus extenuating the requirement of an extra server. It has been built differently with David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” (GTD) philosophy. It lets you share email between multiple users, so that it doesn't matter if a co-worker is on vacation or located many time zones away. You can view messages associated with any contact and instantly catch up on any activity that's taken place. Relenta is fast, efficient, mean and lean software.

2) The sales funnel is a collection of various types of sales opportunities. It takes on its own unique characteristics because it's relationship driven. Like a family has character traits, so does a sales funnel. It's called a sales funnel because of the progressive relationship between the quantity and quality of sales opportunities in a funnel.

3) Highrise is basic, web-based CRM software that works great in coordination with Basecamp. Its main features include sharing contacts, assigning tasks, keeping history and making cases. A great feature is that you can add information, tasks and contacts to Highrise via email. In addition, you can assign permission to everyone, specific groups or specific people using dropdown menus. It lets you keep a track of all the phone calls, emails, notes, follow-ups, and tasks. Highrise is the right, more thoughtful way to keep track of the people, conversations, and tasks that are the lifelines of your business.

4) With Salesforce CRM and its cloud-computing model, you can mind your customers and as well as your budget at the same time. Salesforce CRM puts an end to the frantic merging of spreadsheets and constant worry about missing forecasts. With instant access to reliable, real-time metrics on pipeline, forecast, and productivity, you never have any surprises. Salesforce CRM solutions deliver proven results and bring peace of mind.

5) It offers commercial open source customer relationship management applications for various companies around the world. It is designed for the budget conscious businesses looking to support the technology and that too without making a major investment in the first place. With Sugar CRM software, your business can track, manage and share customer information and sales leads in one place. By providing a comprehensive view of customer communications and contact information to all users, your staff can more easily and consistently follow up with customers and sales opportunities, in turn, helping to increase revenues and improve business efficiency and professionalism.

Whatever you select, always make sure that you have researched all the options. With CRM Software being such a hot thing in the business community, there are a lot smaller players that are doing some interesting things. Be sure to check out all your options.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Microsoft announces the Facebook application for Windows Mobile

Here’s an exciting news for Windows Mobile users as they can now stay connected with friends and family through Facebook. Microsoft has officially launched the Facebook application for Windows Mobile phones and lets users access Facebook’s standard features.

This application enables a user to update status, write on wall, add videos and photos as well as amend and edit profiles. It seamlessly integrates with the phone’s features in order to make direct calls from the Facebook profiles.

The Facebook app features News feeds and provides users the ability to compose, view, reply and delete items. It also allows users to change and update photos and videos as well as post comments and read photo details. With this application, you can access your friend’s profile, invite them, view full profile, accept notifications, comment on their status and more.

Additionally, the Facebook app utilizes the Windows Mobile menu metaphor that pops up activities when a user taps their finger on the touchscreen. Microsoft claims that this is the only Facebook app which allows users to upload videos directly from their mobile phones.

The Facebook mobile version is already available for many smartphones and other mobile phones but with limited functions as compared to the desktop version.

This Facebook app is now available for Windows Mobile 6, 6.1 smartphones and it will also be available to Windows Mobile 6.5 later this year.

Read On :

Windows Mobile 6.5 Is Now Complete

Microsoft has has finished work on Windows Mobile 6.5, the next version of its operating system for smartphones. However, this doesn't mean the release is imminent.

A tweet from the Windows Mobile Development Team says it all, "For the record, Windows Mobile 6.5 is DONE..complete..looks really good IOHO and every bit functional."

More about Windows Mobile 6.5
The next version of Microsoft's operating system for high-end phones isn't a major upgrade, but it will include significant changes to its appearance.

It will be more fingertip friendly, with many on-screen elements enlarged so users can select them without a stylus. Windows Mobile 6.5 will also have more of a focus on consumers, as the Today Screen has been modified to include items like a music player and photo viewer.

Coming this Fall
Despite work on this operating system being complete, the first devices running it won't hit the market until this fall.

Releasing a new smartphone OS doesn't work the same way as it does with desktops and laptops. The new version isn't sent directly to consumers, but instead Microsoft gives it to its licensees, who customize it for their individual models and release it.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Android 1.5 OS update schedule

Do you have a G1 and are waiting for an OS Update. Here is the schedule for the update:

* 5 percent of Android Devices will receive the Android 1.5 Cupcake Update on Monday, May 18th
* 15 percent on Tuesday, May 19th
* 30 percent on Wednesday, May 20th
* 45 percent on Thursday, May 21st
* 60 percent on Friday, May 22nd
* 75 percent on Saturday, May 23rd
* 90 percent on Sunday, May 24th
* 100 percent on Monday, May 25th


Android usage pattern

If you were considering developing for the Android, some fact belows about usage pattern of consumers may assist you in making the decision.

1. 80 percent of G1 owners browse the web daily.
2. Four out of five G1 owners download apps at least once a week from the Android. On average, T-Mobile G1 customers have each downloaded more than 40 applications from the Android Market.
3. An average G1 owner consumes 50 times the data of the average voice-centric phone user.
4. Among T-Mobile customers who have purchased the G1, roughly half have traded up from a basic handset.
5. The majority of T-Mobile G1 owners use Facebook and YouTube at least once a week.
6. Half of G1 customers also access Wi-Fi on a daily basis.

Source: Gigaom

Friday, May 15, 2009

Kindle and Blogs

Kindle has a new business model to sell blogs via the Kindle...

With immediate effect you can now publish your blog to the Kindle Store via RSS feed, and Amazon will do the rest in terms of formatting and delivery. Even better, Amazon will charge a price that they determine - around $1.99 per month seems average - and pass on 30% to you.

Source: Revenue Magazine

Amazon Lets Bloggers Publish to the Kindle

Amazon has decided to allow all bloggers to publish their blogs to the Kindle and charge users for reading their content on the popular e-book reader.

Kindle delivers not just books and newspapers but also blogs. So far, Amazon has offered a limited selection of blogs on the device. But now it is democratizing the platform.

Any blogger can sign up for the company’s ‘Kindle Publishing for Blogs‘ beta program and set up an account to participate. Bloggers just have to made their feed available to Amazon’s website and the company will translate it into a Kindle friendly format.

Amazon hasn’t made clear how much bloggers can charge for their blogs but it will split revenue from the subscriptions with the individual publishers. Currently most blogs on the Kindle charge $2 for subscription. Amazon has said individual publishers will get 30 percent of the revenue, with 70 percent going to the company.

Unless Amazon can drop the price of blogs subscription to a few cents, it is not clear why users would pay to read individual blogs on the Kindle that they can otherwise access for free through their computers or smartphones. Would you pay to read a blog on the Kindle? Tell us in the comments.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Apple Adds Online Purchase of IPhone 3G for New Customers

At long last, you can now buy an iPhone 3G via the online Apple Store and have it hand-delivered by your local FedEx guy directly to your domicile--presuming you meet certain criteria.

It's been a long and bumpy road for buying the iPhone 3G online. When the device was first launched in July 2008, the only way to get your hands on one was to go in to your local Apple Store or AT&T outlet. In September of last year, Apple started letting customers use its online store to reserve an iPhone at their local Apple Store; the process worked for both those customers new to AT&T as well as existing subscribers. But you still had to make a trip to your local brick-and-mortar to get your hands on the unit, and availability was not guaranteed.

Last December, AT&T started offering online purchases of the iPhone and since then it has also, from time to time, sold refurbished units. Regardless of where you purchased the iPhone, however, you were still required to sign up for a two-year commitment with AT&T.

By contrast, in 2007 the original iPhone was available for sale online at the same time that it arrived in stores. The was made possible by the ability for customers to activate their iPhones via iTunes at home; with the iPhone 3G, Apple and AT&T in most cases insisted upon activating the unit in the store.

Despite the addition of online purchasing Wednesday, there are still some restrictions. For example, while new customers can have their iPhones delivered, the process doesn't currently accommodate existing AT&T customers; they can go through the sign-up process online, but they will still have to pick up the iPhone at a retail store.

As always, we expect this to provide ample fodder for Apple conspiracy theorists on both sides: those who will claim that this illustrates an attempt to boost unit sales that were down sequentially last quarter, and those who will point to this as an obvious indication that Apple is clearing out inventory in advance of introducing a new model this summer.

While it does seem likely that there's some reason Apple chose to do this now, we're inclined to believe that the wheels of progress grind exceedingly slow, especially when AT&T is in the mix.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Google unveils new search tools

Google said in its quest to create the perfect search engine, it cannot afford to rest on its laurels.

The company's comments came at an event billed as a "state of the union" on search as it unveiled new products that aim to push search in a new direction.

Google has over 63% of the US market compared to rival Yahoo with 20%.

"The race in search is far from over and innovation and continued improvement is absolutely pivotal," said Google's Marissa Mayer.

"I've said this many times but search is still in its infancy. Our engineers are worried about what is the next big thing in search and how are they going to find it," said Ms Mayer who is the vice president of search products and user experience.

She said last year Google released over 365 products and in the first quarter of this year it was 120. Ms Mayer added that this was proof that "Google gets better all the time."

Google has in the past said that despite its lead in the marketplace, users were "one click away" from switching to other alternatives.

Vanessa Fox of SearchEngineLand told the BBC that Google's ability to constantly innovate gives them a leading edge.

"Google is saying we have to provide for all searchers and do things at scale. It means they have to launch all sorts of features while some companies can concentrate on just one thing. The key thing behind why they are still ahead is because they are able to innovate at such a pace," said Ms Fox.

Google Squared

During the "Searchology" event at Google's Mountain View headquarters, Ms Mayer and her team showcased four new products that she said would give users a "different way to look at the web."

One of the more experimental was called Google Squared which will go public in the next month or so. It takes information from the web and displays it in a spreadsheet in "split seconds," something Ms Mayer said would normally take someone a half a day to do.

During the demonstration, a query for "small dog" was typed into the search box. Seconds later a table popped up showing photographs of various dogs, their origin, weight and height in a clear and simple layout.

While Ms Mayer described this product as "transformative" she would only hint at the specific techniques that Google uses to drive this feature.

"I think we can open the kimono a little bit without talking about the computer science behind it.

"What they are basically doing is looking for structures on the web that seem to imply facts. Like something 'is' something.

"Different tables, different structures, and then corroborating the evidence around whether or not something is a fact by looking at whether that fact occurs across pages.

"This is all in the secret sauce of what we are doing and it takes an incredible amount of compute power to create those squares," said Ms Mayer.

"Refine, filter and view"

Google Search Options is a tool that is aimed at letting users "slice and dice" results so they can manipulate the information and get what they want faster.

They come into play after a normal web search and allow users to drill down into the results by offering an option for different genres like product reviews, forum posts or videos. Other choices include recently added blogs, images, timelines and so on.

Ms Mayer said this new feature should help people who struggle with the "vexing" problem of exactly what query they should type into the search box.

It is meant to give users the opportunity to "refine, filter and view results in a different way."

Another feature is called "Rich Snippets" which are search results that return more information in every listing.

For example, users looking for reviews of a new restaurant might get a "rich snippet" of average review scores, number of reviews and the restaurant's price range.

"This is a step toward making the whole internet smarter," said Google product manager Kavi Goel.


A final feature had Ms Mayer "reaching for the stars" with an app for mobile phones using the Android operating system.

"For a long time here at Google we joked could we actually find physical things like keys and now with the power and technology of Android, coupled with search, you can see we are starting to find some physical things like stars," said Ms Mayer.

Skymap displays the constellations. By using the smart phone's GPS capability, it offers the user a dynamic star map that knows where they are standing and which way they are pointing

The feature came about as a result of Google's 20% time that allows engineers to spend one fifth of their time working on pet projects.

The app is now available on the Android app market.

"Clearly Google is still pushing the envelope with all these new additions," said Rob Hof, Silicon Valley editor of Business Week.

"They are certainly continuing to improve daily. Whether it makes a difference and will stave off the competition, I don't know. But they are not standing still."

Ms Mayer said keeping the user happy is at the heart of everything they do.

"There is a shoe company called Stuart Weitzman and their slogan is "a little obsessed with shoes."

"Google is a little more than obsessed with search," confessed Ms Mayer.

By: Maggie Shiels
Technology Reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Google Android Will Grow 900 Percent in 2009, Analysts Say

Google’s Android mobile OS is expected see a growth rate of 900 percent in 2009, Strategy Analytics is predicting in a new report. The Apple iPhone OS will follow behind it, as the second fastest-growing smartphone OS, and the RIM BlackBerry is also in good shape, as the second-largest overall smartphone OS in the U.S. in 2008.

Google’s Android operating system is expected to grow by 900 percent in 2009, encouraged by vendors, developers and operators, a May 11 report from research firm Strategy Analytics is predicting.

The report, “Global Smartphone Vendor Market Share by Region: 2008,” breaks down smartphone market growth by region and operating system.

“The Android mobile operating system from Google gained early traction in the United States in the second half of 2008 and it is gradually spreading its presence into Europe and Asia during 2009,” wrote Tom Kang, the author of the report, in a statement.

Kang additionally expects the iPhone OS to grow 79 percent in 2009—outpaced only by Android, which is expanding from a lower user base.

Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics, also remarked in the statement that Android’s “relatively low-cost licensing model, its semi-open-source structure and Google’s support for cloud services have encouraged companies such as HTC, Motorola, Samsung, T-Mobile, Vodafone and others to support the Android operating system. Android is now in a good position to become a top-tier player in smartphones over the next two to three years.”

Despite the global economic climate, global smartphone shipments reached 152 million units in 2008, and Kang’s report states Asia Pacific is still the biggest market for smartphones, followed by North America and then Western Europe.

Core markets for Symbian have been sluggish Kang additionally writes, but the RIM BlackBerry has also seen success, pulling ahead of Microsoft Windows Mobile to become the second largest smartphone OS in 2008.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Nokia and Apple go head-to-head with latest app store plans

The battle of the app stores continues to heat up, with Nokia promising that its forthcoming Ovi Store will go live with about 10,000 items, while Apple is under fire again for saying it will only consider products based on the new iPhone 3.0 software for App Store. However, the new release does open up a wide range of new APIs, which could spark an even greater wave of developer activity for the handset.

Nokia told Forbes magazine that Ovi Store will have 20,000 apps at launch, making it the second largest after Apple's. This will certainly top Android Market's launch with just 50, and RIM's with a few hundred, though is well short of the iPhone's current tally. Key differentiators, says Nokia, will be a heavy focus on entertainment and video; the ability for users to personalize the choices with which they are presented; and extensive use of the store to distribute new Nokia software updates as well as apps.

Meanwhile, despite its popularity with users, the App Store continues to excite controversy among developers. The latest way that Apple has succeeded in getting their backs up is the announcement that it will only now review applications that are compatible with iPhone 3.0 as well as the current iPhone 2.2.1 OS. Any software currently in the Store that does not run properly on 3.0 will be removed, Apple told programmers on Thursday. iPhone 3.0 will be released to the public some time this summer, probably with new phone models too.

According to ArsTechnica, many developers are concerned. Apple said existing apps should run on the new OS without modification, but many have found otherwise, and fear their wares may be ejected from the Store even before 3.0 devices appear. One fear expressed by various programmers is that the move from 2.x to 3.0 changes parts of the ABI (application binary interface), which could cause problems for software that uses static libraries built using the 2.x toolkit.

To make matters worse, until developers are released from non-disclosure agreements about 3.0, they cannot put apps in the Store that are based on the new OS release or use 3.0 specific features, threatening a hiatus period in revenue terms until the unspecified date when the new platform goes live.

In other Apple news, a recently spotted job ad suggests Apple may be planning a PC with embedded 3G, and possibly even a netbook, despite scathing remarks made about the form factor by Steve Jobs and other Apple executives. The ad calls for a quality assurance engineer with experience in "3G and/or Wireless WAN".

And AT&T is reported to be planning to cut the iPhone's monthly services plan by $10 when new models appear, to keep it competitive against a wave of new upcoming phones. This would make the entry level data service plan for the device $59, down from $69, and reduce the cost of the two-year contract by $240. Currently, AT&T subscribers spend $1,856 over the life of their deal. The new deal could accompany a much rumored cutdown iPhone or 'iPhone Nano'.

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Moonlight 2 preview shows promise, still needs work

The developers behind the Moonlight project, an open source implementation of Microsoft's Silverlight media framework, have released a preview of Moonlight 2.0. The new version of Moonlight introduces compatibility with critical Silverlight 2.0 features, such as widgets and support for managed code.

The Moonlight project was first launched in 2007 as an experimental project undertaken by Novell's Mono team. It later gained official backing from Microsoft. The Redmond giant agreed to contribute to the effort by supplying documentation, test cases, and fully licensed codecs so that Moonlight can deliver full Silverlight compatibility to Linux users.

Moonlight 1.0, which was released earlier this year, enabled Linux users to view the Obama administration's official inauguration ceremony video stream. It was also used to build Moonshine, a browser plugin that uses Moonlight to play conventional Windows media streaming video content at a variety of websites.

Moonlight 2.0 preview is available for download from the Mono project's website. It is distributed as a Firefox plugin and is supported on both 32-bit and 64-bit Linux distributions. The entire plugin is roughly 9MB and it bundles the Mono virtual machine and other necessary runtime components. It uses several pieces of Microsoft's Silverlight stack, such as the Dynamic Language Runtime and Microsoft's Silverlight controls, which Microsoft has made available under the open source MS-PL license.

The Moonlight plugin itself is entirely open source and freely redistributable. The only component of Moonlight that cannot be redistributed or included out of the box are the codecs. The plugin will obtain a binary codec pack automatically from Microsoft after prompting the user.

I tested the Moonlight 2.0 preview on Ubuntu 9.04 with Firefox 3.0.10. It was easy to install and it loaded as expected when it encountered Silverlight content. Although a significant amount of progress has been made in the effort to achieve Silverlight 2.0 compatibility, the plugin is still at a relatively early stage of development and will require more work before it's production-ready. At the present time, it only works with a fraction of existing Silverlight 2.0 content. For an example that works reasonably well, check out the Dr. Dobb's Challenge 2 demo.

According to the roadmap, the developers plan to launch an alpha release next month, a beta release this summer, and the final 2.0 release in September. After the 2.0 release, the focus will shift towards delivering Silverlight 3.0 compatibility. Some Silverlight 3.0 API features have already been implemented in Moonlight 2.0, such as the SaveDialog and WriteableBitmap class.

Silverlight 2.0 offers some compelling features, such as the ability to interact with the page DOM using dialects of Python and Ruby. The Moonlight 2.0 preview brings those features to Linux users. If the developers can deliver full compatibility by the end of the summer and can catch up to Microsoft, the Moonlight project will ensure that Linux users don't get locked out as more high-profile adopters use Silverlight to deploy content on the Web.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Cool changes coming to Twitter Search

Twitter Search is going to get a lot more interesting soon, I learned tonight from Twitter's new VP of Operations, Santosh Jayaram. Until recently, Jayaram was VP of Search Quality for Google.

Speaking (with LinkedIn co-founder Allen Blue) on a panel I was moderating, and later in a one-on-one discussion, Jayaram confirmed that Twitter Search, which currently searches only the text of Twitter posts, will soon begin to crawl the links included in tweets and begin to index the content of those pages.

This will make Twitter Search a much more complete index of what's happening in real time on the Web, and make it an even more credible competitor to Google Search for people who are looking for very timely content.

Twitter Search will also get a reputation ranking system soon, Jayaram told me. When you do a search on a "trending" topic (a topic that is so big it gets its own link in the sidebar), Twitter will take into account the reputation of the person who wrote each tweet and rank search results in part based on that.

Jayaram did not say precisely how reputation would be calculated; he indicated that engineers are still figuring that out. But this, again, makes Twitter Search more valuable. Currently, if you search for a hot topic on Twitter, the results may be swamped by retweets and low-value content from hundreds or thousands of other users. A ranking system will help a great deal. See Twitter search is broken and Three start-ups attack Twitter Search.

I'm looking forward to these changes.

Finally, a real-time search story from Jayaram, which he used to illustrate the immediacy of Twitter Search during the panel discussion: he told of being in the Twitter offices in San Francisco on March 30, when the Twitter engineers noticed that the word "earthquake" had suddenly started trending up. They didn't know where the earthquake was. Several seconds later, their building started to shake. The earthquake had been in Morgan Hill, 60 miles south of San Francisco, and the tweets about the shaker reached the office faster than the seismic waves themselves.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

AT&T Introduces 'myWireless Mobile' App.

There's a new app out for all you iPhone loving Apple junkies out there. And, while this one actually has nothing to do with Apple, it'll still make all of your lives a little bit easier. AT&T has just released a free app called 'myWireless Mobile' that allows users to access and manage their phone accounts from the comfort and convenience of their iPhones.

An app like this is long overdue, and it's honestly a little boggling that AT&T didn't already have something like this ready back when the iPhone was first launched. While the tardiness is annoying, AT&T looks to have produced a very useful app that will allow their legions of iPhone customers to access their myWireless service with greater ease than ever before.

myWireless Mobile will include the ability to make one-touch payments, as well as view their voice and data use for the month. Users will also have the option of upgrading or otherwise altering their service plans from the Mobile storehouse. Plan holders will be able to view individual phone data/call usage, as well as see the group's total usage.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Google launches push services on BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES)

Google Apps Connector for BES is a piece of software developed by Google that sits on the BES and pushes your Google services to your BlackBerry. The software allows users to access Gmail, Google Calendar and Contacts using the built-in BlackBerry applications they already know and love.

This latest news from Google is intended to help small to medium sized businesses save costs on email services, while improving the overall BES email experience. Users can now instantly receive Gmail messages within the built-in email client on their Blackberry and they can continue to use the same shortcuts to manage their BlackBerry messages.

Although the calendar currently only supports 1-way syncing, 2-way syncing is on the way. This represents the Google mentality of launching a product early, as soon as it is functional for a large group of people. Research found that only power-users are looking for 2-way sync, and that the majority of BlackBerry users use their device for read only functionality.

Users can also access the email addresses and phone numbers of their co-workers using a company wide Global Address List. Both personal and business contacts saved on Google Apps are automatically synchronized over the air to users’ BlackBerry devices and integrated into the native Blackberry applications.

It was important for Google to make the transition for IT administrators easy. Admins are given full control of the solution and can continue to manage BlackBerry devices using the BES. Google Apps Connector installs on the BES, connecting it to the Google Apps cloud and synchronizing email, calendar and contacts for all users.

Google Apps Connector for BES is currently in beta testing with select companies and universities, and will be available free of charge to all Premier and Education Edition customers this July. Those of you who enjoy the Gmail experience with conversations, labels and full search capabilities can continue to use Gmail for Mobile.


Microsoft Launches Window Mobile Marketplace - will it take of?

Microsoft just launched it Windows Mobile Marketplace .......patterned on the iPhone App Store.


ebooks are the # category on the iPhone App Store

It appears that the #1 category for paid apps are ebook. That along with the heavy sales of the kindle would suggest that reading is likely to migrate online. Does that suggest a new strategy for publishers:


Amazon to introduce larger Kindle this week?

Rumors have been circulating for a while that Amazon has a larger form factor Kindle in the works--and we may get a first look at it as soon as this week, according to sources who spoke with The New York Times.

Initially, a lot of the chatter around a new jumbo Kindle was focused on the textbook market. But in recent months, as more newspapers and magazines have become threatened with extinction, these larger e-readers--which also include models from Plastic Logic and News Corp.--have increasingly been pitched as digital saviors for old-media companies looking for what the Times calls "electronic life preservers."

The Times didn't specifically refer to itself as one of the companies requiring such a preserver, but it is expected to be featured in the introduction of the new Amazon device along with other major newspapers and magazines that are already available on the Kindle e-readers for a monthly fee.

Clearly, it's that ability to charge a fee and the potential cost savings of a paperless platform that makes digital readers so attractive to newspapers and magazines. As the Times and other have pointed out, publishers could "save millions on the cost of printing and distributing their publications, at precisely a time when their businesses are under historic levels of pressure."

But there are some inherent problems with shifting paper readers over to e-readers. First, some people just like paper. It's light, disposable, and you don't have to worry about spilling your coffee on it and destroying it. Second, this Kindle is likely to be just as expensive as the Kindle 2, and probably more expensive--unless Amazon and its publishing partners have plans in place to subsidize the device (i.e., pay for a two-year subscription, get a discount on the e-reader). And finally, it's hard to compete with free online versions of the same publications that are quite readable on devices like the iPhone (and would be even more readable on the alleged media pad Apple may be prepping).

Personally, I like the idea of reading a paper on a jumbo Kindle or Paper Logic e-reader--but I don't really want to have to carry it around with me, even if it's thin and relatively lightweight. And I don't want to pay $13.99 a month for a Kindle New York Times subscription (half that, maybe). However, I can see how this type of device would be very appealing to college students, who could carry around all their textbooks (and regular books for that matter) on one device.

In other words, a larger form factor Kindle may sound good on paper, but it may not be as viable as some old-media companies might hope. Yes, it's a potential lifeboat, but if Apple comes along with a tablet-style device that does more--and doesn't cost all that much more--it could sink.

What do you guys think? How much would you pay for a larger e-reader and digital subscriptions to your favorite papers? And will Apple blow away a jumbo monochrome Kindle out of the water with a new media pad that has color and a real Internet browser?

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Apple tops J.D. Power's list for smart phone customer satisfaction

It's easy to be blasé about Apple winning another yet award for the iPhone, but happy customers are never something to take for granted.

And that why it's good news that research company J.D. Power and Associates on Thursday ranked Apple number one among manufacturers of smart phones. In its 2009 Wireless Consumer Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study - Volume 1, J.D gave Apple 791 points out of 1,000, 40 points ahead of the industry average, and 19 points ahead of LG, Apple closest competitor. Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry smart phones, scored 739 points.

The study lists the key factors for residential smart phone owners were ease of operation (30 per cent), operating system (22 per cent), features (21 per cent), physical design (18 per cent), and battery function (9 per cent).

J.D. Power also found that smart phone users reported sending and receiving an average of 17 e-mails per day using their phones, and 82 per cent of owners said they regularly use personal information management features such as address books and to-do lists to stay better organised.

The company conducted its study between July and December 2008, with 2,648 smart phone users who have owned their phone for less than two years.

In November 2008, J.D. Power also ranked Apple number one among business smart phone users.

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