Thursday, April 29, 2010

iPhone loyalty is more than Android

According to MocoSpace , which is one of the largest mobile social networking companies, the demand for smart phones is very high and most of the consumers prefer iPhone 2:1 over Android. Well that’s not surprising to me. What is surprising is the Android Phone Mobile Social networking traffic increased by 40%. The report also talks about the Verizon iPhone launch, which is almost becoming real. I guess in couple of years smart phones will overtake feature phones. This will open up huge market for Mobile Advertisement, LBS, Gaming, and Virtual Currency etc. You can download the entire report here.

If you have been following the mobile industry space, it’s been utter chaotic and every company big or small is trying to position themselves as a player in this space. Why not; it’s a no-brainer decision. The money is in the mobile industry. Be it Advertisement, Gaming, LBS marketing, virtual currency, messaging, etc. Apple is positioned very well in this space compared to other vendors like Google, Nokia, Motorola, HTC, and Samsung. Oops! Did I miss Microsoft, which has crappy windows mobile. Just this week HP joined the bandwagon with the purchase of Palm. What’s interesting though is that late comers like Apple, Google have trounced the leaders like Nokia and Motorola in the Mobile Arena. Nokia is trying hard to reinvents itself. Sorry too little, too late.

Key findings of the MocoSpace Mobile Social Graph:
• Android phone traffic increased 39.9% in Q1
• 30% of traditional feature phone users plan to purchase a smartphone in 2010
• iPhone is 2 times more attractive than Android for potential smartphone buyers
• Traditional feature phone usage decreased by 22%
• iPhone/Android sessions are 27.8% longer than feature phone sessions
• Mobile users log-in almost twice as often as PC users
• iPhone/Android users are 72% more likely to buy virtual currency than feature phone users

I’m happy as an iPhone user. Having said that, iam sad with Apple’s arm twisting, autocratic, walled garden approach. Is Apple becoming the new Big Brother?

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Finally it’s HP that solved Palm Mystery

Palm was in dire straits for quite sometime waiting for someone to buy them. So finally HP announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement to buy Palm , at a price of $5.70 per share, which is an estimated value of $1.2 billion. Earlier there were lot of speculation of HTC, RIM, Lenovo and bunch of other companies bidding to buy Palm. HTC was tipped to be one of the top contenders to buy Palm because of Apple patent lawsuit. However, HTC decided to go with their Mobile OS instead of buying Palm. It’s sad to see Palm, which was one of the pioneers in Smartphone and touch screen technology go down this way.

What does this mean to HP; they will own one of the best available mobile operating system. With the ambition to be in the tablet business and slate on its ways out soon, this looks like a great step forward towards mobile ambition. In addition, they can use WebOS for all future versions of slate and dump windows OS, which sucks anyways. HP is already stuck with windows in the netbook space and iam sure they don’t want to be stuck with windows in the tablet and mobile space. It gives them a big boost in owning a mobile OS than can be used on tablet computers. Does anyone really care about windows mobile anymore?

Off course the big question on everyone’s mind is why not use Android, which is free and open source. I personally feel nothing is free in this world. There is a cost for everything. Owning and controlling in-house OS has many benefits, which includes providing bells and whistles to developers for developing apps on the platform, owning an App Store, control on software updates etc.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

LTE gaining momentum, Bad news for WiMAX

According to IDC, LTE( Long Term Evolution- LTE is the 4th generation of radio technologies designed to increase the capacity and speed of mobile telephone networks ) is gaining momentum and we should see dozens of new network launching LTE network by this year. WiMAX future looks bleak compared to LTE. The capital spending on LTE will exceed WiMAX equipment spending by end of 2011. The research points out that the commitment level for LTE is high with more than 100 operators publicly supporting it, including nine of the ten largest mobile operators worldwide. Verizon and MetroPCS already announced that their network will be LTE ready by end of 2010. There are lot of technologies that has been proposed for supporting Voice over LTE network. Volga( Voice over LTE via Generic Access) forum is one of them. Volga was initiated with intent to extend traditional GSM and UMTS circuit-switched services over LTE access networks.

Big vendors are trying hard to get a Pie in the LTE equipment market. Ericsson has a bigger pie compared to other vendors like Huawei, Nokia Siemens and Alcatel Lucent.

Here are some additional findings from IDC's special study:
• LTE provides capacity support/offload for 3G networks, making it a complementary technology in the near term.
• The LTE equipment race is experiencing a "land grab" between incumbent 3G market leader Ericsson and the fast rising Huawei, while Nokia Siemens and Alcatel Lucent work hard to remain relevant.
• In 2010, all LTE vendors, including the likes of Motorola, NEC, and Fujitsu, are increasing their go-to-market efforts, further amplifying competitive pressures.
• Iconic smartphone devices, coupled with growing mobile broadband laptop use, will continue to drive the explosion in mobile data traffic.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Is SMS the new cash cow for twitter?

For all those cynics who doubted the business model of twitter. Day by day, twitter is unleashing their business model, which seems to be very promising. Now what caught my eye is twitters acquisition of CloudHopper , a SMS/MMS integrator company. According to their website, Cloudhopper powers some of the largest and most successful mobile messaging (SMS and MMS) campaigns in North America, Europe, and Africa.. This makes perfect sense, Currently, Twitter processes close to a billion SMS tweets per month and that number is growing around the world from Indonesia to Australia, the UK, the US, and beyond. This is a just one logical step towards monetization. Currently, users can update or receive status via Web interface and mobile clients with an option of SMS. But most of these interfaces use IP as a transport, which is free. However, User has an option to send SMS message to twitters short code, for which, user will be charged by the operator based on his subscription. Except for some developed countries most of the users in developing countries still use old handset that doesn’t have all the capabilities to download twitter apps like( tweetie, tweetdeck etc). So the best choice is to send SMS message to the twitter assigned short code, which is “40404”.

Its worthy of note that the initial concept of Twitter was based on SMS messaging and that is the main reason for the 140 characters size for each status message.

Here is a transcript from Jack Dorsey interview, where he talks about SMS :

It was really SMS that inspired the further direction -- the particular constraint of 140 characters was kind of borrowed. You have a natural constraint with the couriers when you update your location or with IM when you update your status. But SMS allowed this other constraint, where most basic phones are limited to 160 characters before they split the messages. So in order to minimize the hassle and thinking around receiving a message, we wanted to make sure that we were not splitting any messages. So we took 20 characters for the user name, and left 140 for the content. That’s where it all came from.

Even with the advent of so many different features, SMS is still the king and the cash cow for the operators. Verizon had announced earlier that during the fourth quarter Verizon Wireless subscribers sent or received more than 162 billion text messages, more than 4 billion picture/video messages.

So with the CloudHopper acquisition, twitter can actually run SMS based Contest/Campaigns/Events etc. The value proposition here is the revenue sharing deal that they can strike with the operators for increasing the usage of SMS and MMS messaging. In addition, they can charge companies to run the campaign. Imagine Voting for “American Idol” via twitter. Wouldn’t that be cool!

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Teens text more than 100 times a day

Teens are the real cash cow for the operators. According to Pew Internet and American Life Project , Cell phone texting has become the preferred channel of basic communication between teens and their friends, with cell calling a close second. The research says three-fourths of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 now own cell phones and of those that do, girls typically send or receive 80 text messages per day and boys, 30 per day. So one in three teens sends more than 100 text message a day, or 3000 texts a month. Wow, that’s an awful lot of messages and definitely more than the amount of mails I send :-). All that operator needs to do is keep the teens happy and the money will follow them. Text messaging has become a big part of teenager’s lives. Around 87 percent of those who text said they sleep with, or next to, their phone.

"Texting is now the central hub of communication in the lives of teens today, and it has really skyrocketed in the last 18 months," Pew researcher Amanda Lenhart said, attributing the rise in part to payment plans that allow unlimited texting.

If you look at the chart below, texting percentage( 54%) is more than social networking, instant messaging, email and voice course calls.

Some interesting statistics:
Teens who have multi-purpose phones are avid users of those extra features. The most popular are taking and sharing pictures and playing music:
• 83% use their phones to take pictures.
• 64% share pictures with others.
• 60% play music on their phones.
• 46% play games on their phones.
• 32% exchange videos on their phones.
• 31% exchange instant messages on their phones.
• 27% go online for general purposes on their phones.
• 23% access social network sites on their phones.
• 21% use email on their phones.
• 11% purchase things via their phones.

For more information, you can download the entire research paper from here( It’s around 168 pages)

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Monday, April 19, 2010

This is how the New iPhone Looks!

For all those folks waiting for the new iPhone and wondering how it may look, please find the answer below( pics ). Apparently, Gizmodo got hold of a lost new iPhone, which was in the disguise of an old 3GS phone. According to Gizmodo, the new iPhone was lost by one of Apple’s software engineer . Now it would be interesting to see how Steve Jobs will react to the whole fiasco. Boy, this one is a big bummer. For a company that loves its secrecy for new products, this one just lost the steam. Or… this may be another marketing gimmick of Apple, just checking out the curiosity of the market for the new iPhone. Either way there is enough curiosity and folks like me and hordes of other blog have time to write about it :-).

Some pics( Courtesy Gizmodo):

So what’s new( courtesy Gizmodo):
• Front-facing video chat camera
• Improved regular back-camera (the lens is quite noticeably larger than the iPhone 3GS)
• Camera flash
• Micro-SIM instead of standard SIM (like the iPad)
Improved display. It's unclear if it's the 960x640 display thrown around before—it certainly looks like it, with the "Connect to iTunes" screen displaying much higher resolution than on a 3GS.
• What looks to be a secondary mic for noise cancellation, at the top, next to the headphone jack
• Split buttons for volume
• Power, mute, and volume buttons are all metallic

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

eComm starts tomorrow, don’t miss it

Ecomm starts tomorrow. I would have loved to attend the event and hear from industry leaders speak about the future of Wireless Communication, Augmented Reality etc. Alas, I may not be lucky this time. However, I will be closely following the event and post anything that’s interesting. For more information about the event and the speaker list, please checkout the eComm Guide.

If you are your company is into communication space, this should be a must attend event. So don’t miss the opportunity to catch up with all the latest innovation happening in the communication space. More later.

Some of the major topics that will be discussed are listed below:
• Mobile Augmented Reality; Applications, Advertising, Collaboration and Opportunities.
• End of Telephony and New Voice Enabled Platforms
• Communications-Enabling Business Processes (CEBP); Enterprise and B2C Efficiency.
• M2M and P2P on Mobile Networks
• New I/O Devices and Methods; Tablets, Touch Gesture, Wearable, Augmented Reality, Transparent OLEDs, 3D Mobile Displays Etc.
• Connected Home and Car Revisited; in-car WiFi, Touchscreens, Adobe Flash Powered Dashboards, Voice Interaction
• Open Platforms and Open Source
• Connecting People, Places, Processes and Things; "Internet of Things"
• Broadband and Telecom, Regulation and Policy Trajectories: The Next 3 Years
• Mobile Advertising 2010: Location 2.0 and Privacy 2.0; Local Context, Social Context, Immediacy
• The Great Telecom Restructuring: Threats, & New Business Models
• Telecom Network APIs and Carrier Data
• New TV, Video Platforms and Delivery Systems

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Congress Acts, No more Caller ID Spoofing

Remember Caller ID Spoofing, the famous allegation against Paris Hilton for hacking into Lohan’s Voice-Mail . Caller ID spoofing is the act of changing the Original Caller ID of the user with a different user/fake number. This is one of best technology innovation for spammers and telemarketing folks. Congress has passed the “Truth in Caller ID Act of 2010” , which will make it illegal to use Caller ID spoofing with the intent to defraud or deceive. The change will affect any real time voice communications service, regardless of the technology or network utilized. VoIP calls are not immune to this law. It applies to all types of technology( legacy, IP etc )

Some info from the act:

‘‘ IN GENERAL.—It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States, in connection with any real time voice communications service, regardless of the technology or network utilized, to cause any caller ID service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information, with the intent to defraud or

The act however has some provisions, which can be used by legitimate companies to change the Caller ID for different services. For e.g, Skype, Google Voice and bunch of other Voice 2.0 companies use Caller ID spoofing as a way to provide innovative features. They may still continue to provide such services as long as the intention of changing the Caller ID is not to cheat or deceive.

The new law may not be good news to some of the Caller ID spoofing companies. Here are some of the companies tjavascript:void(0)hat provide Caller ID spoofing:
Phone Gangster

Interesting, here is what phone gangster has to say about Caller ID Spoofing:

What is Caller ID Spoofing?
Phone Gangster allows you to fake the caller id when calling another party. Upon calling a person, you will get to choose what number you want to appear as. Best of all, there is no way the party can find out what phone number the call originated from because their phone records will display the altered number. Our service is not only fun and useful, but it is legal as well. We have tested and confirmed our caller id spoofing service works in the USA and Canada. Purchase an instant phone card from us today!

I guess the legal claim needs to be revisted and the fun part is debatable based on this news

There are Legitimate use of Caller ID spoof, and some of them listed below( courtesy: Wiki):
• Commercial answering-service bureaus which forward calls back out to a subscriber's cell phone, when both parties would prefer the CNID to display the original caller's information.
• Most calling-card companies display the Caller ID of the calling-card user to the called party.
• Business owners have been known to use Caller ID spoofing to display their business number on the Caller ID display when calling from outside the office (for example, on a mobile phone).
• Skype users can assign a Caller ID number in order to prevent their Skype-Out calls being screened by the called party (the default Skype Caller ID in the USA is 000123456).
• Google Voice displays its users' Google Voice number when they place calls through the service using their landline or cell phone.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

iPad jailbroken! Who is desperate?

Ok Folks, iPad is already jailbroken by the some of the folks and one credible source is George Hotz, the guy who made the iPhone jailbreak piece of cake. Remember “Blackra1n”.Apparently, George Hotz has published a picture of jailbroken iPad running Cydia . (I have a jailbroken iPhone, which craps out occasionally). There are already pictures and videos of jailbroken iPad, and you can expect them anytime soon. My gut feeling is that it may be delayed until iPhone 4 is released this june so that Apple doesn’t patch the exploit. The wait may be a little longer for folks using 3.2 OS and higher.

Jailbroken iPad running Cydia:

Jailbroken iPad video of n64iPhone:

All that said here is a question lingering in my mind, how many people really care about jailbreaking iPad. I can understand iPhone jailbreak, which gives u access to tethering, unlocking so that it can be used with different operator other than AT&T. In addition, you can install all those cracked apps on jailbroken iPhone/iTouch. But running the same iPhone app on iPad might look crappy. So until we have iPad cracked apps available, don’t see a big need for jailbreaking iPad. There are so many free apps that can be used instead of Jailbreaking. In addition, lot of apps are now smarter and use various other mechanism like UDID, keys etc to thwart cracking the apps. And worthy of mention is the occasional crashes, reboots, and security threats that come part of jailbreaking.
So Is jailbreaking only for Nerds/Geeks? Or does a normal user care about jailbreaking.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Google Voice to take on Skype?

According to Arrington from techcrunch , Google is testing a Desktop version of Google Voice client. So finally the Google Acquisition of Gizmo( VoIP desktop client startup) is paying off . It makes lot of sense to have a desktop client instead of Web based solution. With the desktop client, consumers can make and receive calls, Send and receive SMS to any Mobile/Landline number in USA for free, which by itself is a huge selling point. Currently In order to use Skype client for Mobile/Landline calling, there is per minute or monthly charge depending on the subscription you choose. Same is true with SMS. With Google Voice desktop client, its free beer!. Off course, Google may decide to charge later for the service. But at least for now, you get free service.

In addition to free service, other features like enhanced Voicemail and single number has added advantages. However, there cannot be an apple to apple comparison between Google Voice and Skype. Skype is a monster when it comes to desktop calling. So Google Voice competing with Skype is similar to Skype competing with Google on search. Make sense. Having said that, Competition is good and brings the best out of great companies.

Currently the said app is under Google “dogfooding” system, which means it is currently being tested by Google Employees themselves before launching to public.

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Sneak peek into iPhone OS 4 features

As expected, Apple unveiled their new OS 4.0, which supports some of the most critical missing features so far. One of the big one to name is Multitasking support.

Here are some of the highlights of what’s coming in iPhone OS 4.0:
• Background audio.
• Incoming VoIP Call Notification.
• Background location.
• App Folders for sorting apps.
• Geotagged photos.
• User Defined wallpaper (I already have this feature. Thanks to jailbreak).
• Playlist creation.
• Search SMS/MMS.
• Unified mail. Merged inbox view, sync to more than one Exchange account, thread messaging view etc.
• iBooks, just like on iPad.
• Enterprise features like remote device management and wireless app distribution.
• Game Center. Very interesting concept. This includes leaderboards, achievement and match making. Available as a developer preview and out for consumer later this year. With more than 50,000 gaming apps this should be a great fit.
• iAd. Typical apple, this one was pretty cool implementation of ads on mobile. The ads keep you in the app. I loved the demo and it makes so much sense. At last very good Ad platform for mobile. Iam glad it’s Apple doing it. Google wake up!
• In app SMS.
• Map Overlays
• 1500 new API’s.
• 7 Multitasking API’s.
• 100 new features.

Check out the video here , which is about an hour long to know more about what’s coming in iPhone 4.0 OS

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Monday, April 5, 2010

iPhone 4 is coming this Thursday

Ok, I admit that I have been writing more about Apple products than anything else. It’s not just me, every media and blogs are going gaga over Apple’s iPad and anything that comes from Father (Steve Jobs) Ship. So with the iPad news still fresh, Apple is gone unveil their long awaited new iPhone 4.0. Some of the media folks (here and here) have received invitation to get a peek into the iPhone 4.0 and its features. Most popular features to expect or would love to see are Multitasking, Second Camera, Higher Resolution, Video Conferencing, a unified mail box, faster processer and off course cloud music.

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

iPad jailbreak in record time

So looks like Apple couldn’t stop the hackers from jail breaking iPad. After the iPad was released today, hackers started working on it and within 12 or more hours they were able to jailbreak the iPad( video embedded below). A bug in the Safari Browser has been exploited by hackers to jailbreak the new OS, which includes iPhone 3.1.3 and all other new gadgets with the new OS. The jailbreak is allegedly based off of a jailbreak called “Spirit”, written by a developer called Comex. So it will be interesting to see who (GeoHot or Comex) releases the consumer grade jailbreak software first. Both of them have allegedly jailbroke the latest software OS from Apple, and there are some videos (embedded below) to prove their claim.

Some background about the jailbreak:
In order to jailbreak the phone using spirit, one needs to surf a particular Web site using the internal safari browser, and grant the permission to jailbreak the phone. The software will take advantage of a bug found in the browser to gain root access to the device. This software bug is found on both iPhone OS 3.1.3 and the iPad OS 3.2, so it should be easy to jailbreak either device until Apple patches the hole with a security update.

Check out the following videos:
iPad jailbreak:

iPhone jailbreak:

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

iPad! iPad! iPad!

Yes, iPad is the buzz word all over the place. I don’t want to be left alone not talking about it. Off course, iam not one of those lucky ones who had the privilege to review the gadget. Well that doesn’t stop me from talking about this new revolutionary gadget. Iam an iPhone freak, so are many of my friends and colleague. I don’t know if this is some kind of a cult. As I said in my earlier posts, iPhone is one of best gadget I have ever had. My admiration for Steve Jobs is growing day by day. Thank You! This is the man who showed the companies how gadgets should be made. Ok enough of raving. The media and blogosphere is just going gaga over iPad. So thought of sharing some of best articles I read, hope you guys enjoy it.

The iPad App Store Is Live
Netflix Streaming on the iPad
The iPad Launch: Can Steve Jobs Do It Again?
Apple reveals its list of 'iPad-ready' Websites
App Store for iPad: More than 2,300 Apps and Counting
iPad Developer Support Continues to Soar

Some great reviews:
Apple iPad Review: Laptop Killer? Pretty Close
Looking at the iPad From Two Angles
Verdict is in on Apple iPad: It's a winner

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