Fitness for Christmas is a mobile game

12 October 2013 by Steve Blum
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Old school only gets you so far.

About half of the annual sales of consumer electronics products will come between now and the end of the year, so manufacturers are feverishly trying to get their new products in front of consumers. Fitness applications, particularly ones built around smart phones, are getting an increasing amount of attention as the holiday selling season builds.

There’s no question that mobile phones are part of the standard kit for athletes (although hopefully not during races).… More

Pure Unix slides as offspring mature

21 September 2013 by Steve Blum
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Big iron gunned down.

Recent obituaries for Unix have made for amusing reading. Two market analysis companies, Gartner and IDC, are predicting a long slide for the venerable operating system in the big iron side of the server market. Between 2012 and 2017, Gartner says that Unix’s share of the server market will slip from 16% to 9%, while IDC predicts revenues will drop from $10.2 billion to $8.7 billion over the same period.

The declining numbers – which are very plausible – aren’t a function of Unix’s appeal or utility, but of the types of machines it tends to run on and the people who maintain it.… More

Android anxiety drives Microsoft's purchase of Nokia

14 September 2013 by Steve Blum
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When you have to buy corporate affection.

Finally, there’s a plausible explanation for Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia last week: an Android phone was under development, on the only major mobile product line that supports its Windows operating system.

It couldn’t have been because Microsoft wanted to hire away the management team that took Nokia from world domination to being a life member of the sub-five percent market share club. I believe that Steve Ballmer thinks that he can scream loud enough to make Finnish engineers turn out hip, frictionless iPhone clones.… More

Android becomes the Windows of opportunity

It goes both ways. But maybe not much longer.

Microsoft continues to slide toward the back of the mass computing market pack. Three more signs it’s losing its grip on consumer-grade devices:


Facebook is first brand into the mobile skin game

5 April 2013 by Steve Blum
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Sometimes innovation only needs to be skin deep.

Facebook Home is a new kind of threat to Android and a new kind of opportunity for mobile entrepreneurs. It’s middleware that’s downloaded onto select – for now – smartphones and acts as the top skin of the user interface. Instead, for example, of seeing the standard lock screen, users see their Facebook feed, constantly updated.

Android apps are still there, if you dig down. But if you just go with the flow all you see is what Facebook pushes to you.… More

Friends, coders, countrymen, build me an app

17 March 2013 by Steve Blum
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Fifty-two hours, five teams, five working apps.

Five Android app development teams faced off this weekend in the second annual Ideas of March competition at Cal State Monterey Bay. On Friday afternoon, young coders from around Monterey County formed teams and heard pitches from local businesses and community groups. They picked one and spent the next 52 hours building apps that fit the need.

This afternoon, they presented their work to a panel of judges, myself included.… More

WiFi has huge role in mobile capacity management

16 February 2013 by Steve Blum
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There’s a reason Cisco bought Meraki.

Four times as much traffic goes via WiFi as on mobile data connections, when users’ Android smart phones and tablets have the capability to do both. A recent mobile data study by Cisco showed that, worldwide, the average Android owner sent 55.4 MB of data on WiFi connections and only 13.9 MB via mobile data networks on the average day in December 2012.

Cisco’s conclusion is that tablet and smart phone customers are using WiFi as a way of “staying within the limits of their cellular data plans”.… More

DISH hops out fighting

7 January 2013 by Steve Blum
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Joe Clayton takes a combative stance.

“If skipping commercials is illegal, I guess we're all just a nation of outlaws,” said Joe Clayton, DISH CEO. He was speaking at a CES press conference today, defending the AutoHop feature on DISH's Hopper set top boxes and calling for change. Change in the pay TV business model, change in the attitudes of networks and change in industry attitudes towards consumers.

Clayton was positioning himself as a consumer advocate, saying the industry was moving toward “a tipping point” on programming costs.… More

FCC crowdsourcing mobile broadband measurements

20 December 2012 by Steve Blum
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Can y’all hear me now?

Via Jim Warner, U.C. Santa Cruz network engineer and chair of the Central Coast Broadband Consortium’s technical expert group: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will ask the public to download an app and take mobile broadband coverage measurements…

The FCC and its contractor SamKnows will soon be announcing a program to collect crowd source data on mobile broadband performance. A program will trigger tests like iperf and ping and report the results along with handset and location information to a central database.


RIM ends the game with Zip

11 November 2012 by Steve Blum
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Remember the Iomega Zip drive? Back when laptops had 80 meg hard drives and a gig was just a dream, the 100 MB Zip super floppy was hot. But Iomega couldn’t push it beyond 750 MB.

ZipdriveI retired mine in 1997, and Iomega gradually moved it to the back of their catalog. Slowly. Even in the 2005 time frame, they still had Zip customers. Government agencies, mostly. Isolated from competitive pressures and soaked in a culture that often enshrines blame and ignores achievement, public sector IT life cycles are glacial.