Quick blog: Low cost iPhone?

A new year and an old rumour once again rears its head, no not that 2013 is the year of Linux on the desktop, that Apple will finally release a low cost iPhone. Its a risky move for Apple, as they rarely (if ever) attack the low end markets with their products.

But I wonder, what if?

From my point of view, if they release a iPhone mini/nano in the $150-300 price point in all iPhone regions, then its game over for most manufacturers as we know them. LG, HTC, Sony, et al all have mobile products that haven’t found traction with the consumer and have no real answer to a low cost iPhone.

The question is, would they cede the mobile market to Apple and go elsewhere? If the main market is no longer accessible would we see them return with targeted niche products?

Interesting.

Getting Started with FirefoxOS

FirefoxOS is a new mobile platform, one with the aim to connect the next billion users and give them a great mobile experience.

But you don’t have to wait until a product is launched to try it out or start to develop for it, you can do that right now!

R2D2B2G (catchy name right?) is a Firefox add on that makes getting FirefoxOS up and running on your Mac, Linux or Windows machine really easy!

All you have to do is download the latest version of the simulator from here then install it via the Add Ons menu in Firefox!

Once you’ve installed the add on, navigate to Tools> Developer Tools > FirefoxOS Simulator

Click the Simulator button and congratulations you have a working FirefoxOS simulator!

 

If you want to find out more, I’m running a meetup at the end of the month where we’ll have FirefoxOS experts on hand to help out and show you how to create apps for FirefoxOS!

Screw social week, this week is all about HTML5!

Firefox OS, a HTML5 mobile platform done right

There’s been a lot of talk about Social media week and it looks to host a great series of talks and workshops on Social media and how to get the best out it.

However, I’m more interested in the HTML5 events taking place this week!

We kick things off at tonights Mobile Monday London which is discussing the age old topic of HTML5 VS Native, which has been done to death – so for it raise its head once again must mean that we have something new to talk about.

Although that may be covering old ground, Wednesdays event is all new as it the first ever FirefoxOS meetup! It will introduce developers to this new exciting platform, how to create content for it and have a chat with likeminded individuals.

Last but not least, we have Bruce Lawson talking about how to better design mobile web, having seen Bruce talk before, I have no doubt that it should be good fun 🙂

So, one week three events and a lot of stuff to talk about! Busy times!

A trip down memory lane

This week I’ve waved farewell to my friend and aid of the last year and half, my Sony Eriksson Xperia Play.

It’s treated me well, inspite of the treatment I’ve dished out to it. No matter the surface it has collided with, the Xperia Play has always managed to survive where other phones have cracked (literally).

I also firmly believe that it deserves a successor, as you simply cannot beat hardware gaming controls.

I’ve talked before on why I think Sony should drop its faltering PSVITA console line and make a push in the mobile gaming sphere.

Sadly Sony appear to disagree with me on that as they have no plans to release an updated device anytime soon.

So I found myself perusing eBay last week and accidentally put a bid on a HP Pre 3. At ÂŁ99 I thought there was no chance of winning, or so I thought.

Much to my joy/chagrin I did indeed win the auction and so once again I was back in the webOS fold. 

And you know what? I didn’t realise how much I missed the platform, sure it has it foibles (battery life is still as comical as ever) but the Pre 3 hardware is solid and the keyboard rocks.

Obviously the big question is apps, but I’ve found every one that I need including Spotify, Evernote, WordPress and WhatsApp. Mobile web has also developed significantly in the year and a half since I left webOS meaning that for new stuff like ADN I’m spoilt for choice (hello dabr!)

I know most will think me mad for paying good money for old rope, but if it all goes wrong the flagship phones from all major players will still be there.

Its also nice to be using something different, after all this was only on sale in the UK for one day!

September Mobile madness

September.

One of the most cherished months of the year, as it presents clear skies and the last of the warm weather for the year.

It also seems to be the month where every mobile provider reveals their new hardware, on the cards so far:

5/9: Motorola

The current rumour going is that they are to announce an ‘edge to edge’ screen (think no bezel on the side) that will no doubt be attached to superlatives such as ‘engrossing’. My hope is that Motoblur (Motorola’s Android UI layer) is further improved, perhaps further in line with Google’s Android HIG.

5/9 Nokia

The phone maker from Espoo has really taken a pounding over the last year, dumping Symbian, Meego, Maemo has cost them market share and revenue. It needs to show some fantastic devices that grab both the industry, consumer and carrier mindsets like no other.

6/9 Amazon

The Kindle fire was a small success, estimated at 5 million sold in the USA, it was a fairly decent first attempt at a tablet and the high quality Android tablet to compete on price. It was hamstrung by a lack of international presence and a poor OS as a starting point (Android 2.2 Froyo). I am hoping that the devices (I am aiming for two) revealed offer competitive specifications, a fair price and is available in more than just the USA. The main thorn in Amazon’s side? The Google Nexus 7, which at ÂŁ159 is a quality device from a known brand at a great price. All statements that we used when the Fire launched last year. One thing is clear – Amazon will need to show something more than just price to maintain interest in its tablet line.

12/9

Apple

Want to know why everyone is suddenly announcing hardware in the first week of September? Look no further than the undisputed king of the revenue ring, Apple. Next week they will be unveiling their latest iPhone and perhaps a new iPad Mini (though the iPad might be revealed at another event this month), with a rumoured 4 inch screen, micro dock connector and slimmer profile, the next iPhone is all about refining the concept of what Apple think is the best phone.

19/9 HTC

2011 was a Tumultuous year for HTC, from massive profits to disastrous losses, 2012 offered a new vision focussing on core handsets tried to stem the tide but failed to ignite consumer demand. Choosing to anounce in the same week as Apple is a risky move, anything unveiled could get drowned in the coverage of the next iDevice. Personally I hope that they continue the unique design philosophy set out by the One series of phones combined with a new streamlined Sense UI. As the only way they can succeed in this crowded market is by  showing users a distinct reason to invest.

Regardless of what platform you support, the next few weeks will offer something for everyone.

I love September.

Facebook phone

So the rumour mill has cranked into gear once again and spat out its latest juicy morsel, that Facebook is partnering with HTC to release a phone.

The question isn’t why they are doing it, but why has it taken this long?

I suspect they were playing the long game, watching to see how Amazon would fair with its Kindle Fire. Although they are two completely different segments (in this case tablet vs phone), they have one thing in common – the operating system.

As apparently like Amazon Facebook are planning to use a customised version of Android to power their device, the question is which version will be used at the foundation. Amazon used Android 2.2 aka Froyo which was an improvement on past versions but hardly set the world on fire, one hopes that both Facebook and Amazon make the leap to using Ice cream sandwich.

Regardless this puts a pin in a lot of peoples dreams that Facebook would use a HTML5 base for their mobile platform, of course the reasons for these hopes were never actually confirmed and the basis of them (project Spartan) seems to have disappeared.

With WebOS in purgatory, I guess all hope is on FirefoxOS to realise the web platform dream.

Of course this could be exactly what it was at the start, a rumour.

Time will tell.

 

HP to Google, where now for Enyo if the team has just left the building?

I am a big WebOS fan and had big hopes for the revival of the platform when Palm was acquired by HP then Leo Apotheker decided to take a different path and shut down the WebOS hardware division.

What followed that announcement was a mess, that clearly demonstrated how few people knew of the decision before Leo announced it. Still they made the best of a bad situation creating two projects OpenWebOS and Enyo.

Enyo was the language that WebOS 3.0 was built on is a really nice language to use, by converting it into a JS Framework meant that it didn’t require you to use WebOS and thus actually get used by developers. Things had been progressing well, a range of small scale events and quick releases meant that I had high hopes for it.

Until today, when I heard that a large portion of the team have just been hired by Google, most likely to work on ChromeOS.

So where now for Enyo? Probably no where good, especially if they fall foul of the restructuring effort taking place at HP which is looking to fire 27,000 people. 

So long WebOS and Enyo, I dont see how they can continue to bleed talent and expect the projects to succeed.

I would expect that ChromeOS is now one to watch.

Diet Coda

Laptops more often than not are heavier than tablets, that bugs me. 

More to the point as tablets evolve, so to do they tasks that can be achieved on them but so far that has not really included development.

Diet Coda looks to change this, as its designed to help web developers on the go and provide a suitable environment to “make quick fixes on the go”. I loved Ares (Palm’s online webeditor) and feel that apps like Diet Coda can help tablets go beyond consumption and become the devices that we know them to be.

It makes me want to get an iPad, as I don’t hold out much hope that it will be coming to Android.

Go check it out now at http://panic.com/dietcoda/

Palm Ares

Palm Ares

Palm was a early pioneer in the online web development environment

RIM still has a chance with Blackberry but it needs to move fast!

Typing RIM into Google News makes for nasty reading. If you are unaware of the current situation for the Canadian phone maker, here are some choice headlines:

And that’s just a snapshot.

If I was Mike Lazaridis or Jim Balsillie, I would be wondering two things, one where did it all go wrong and what can be done about it. The world isn’t interested in the first question and deeply concerned about RIMs’ plan to answer the second.

Continue reading at PostDesk!