Thursday, January 17, 2008

Land of the free

Here's a report from an outsider on what the mobile market is like in USA. The iPhone is changing the game, sort of, but not as much by changing the American people's perception of mobile phones, but by making other phone manufacturers concentrate a bit on the UI, for once. The iPhone seems to be failing big time in the UK, which shouldn't come as a big surprise, because in most ways it's not really that great. You see, the UI has never been very visible to the customers, and that's all the iPhone has. Except for the amazing brand, and while that might be huge in the US (where the iPods have something like 70% of the mp3 player market), it's just not the same in the rest of the world. And Apple still haven't announced a 3g iPhone, as all European Apples fans are hoping for.

Go Yahoo go

I read a blog post about the new Yahoo Go mobile thingy, and decided to try it out. It's another one of those widget frameworks that everyone's so into these days, written in Java to cut development costs and increase user dissatisfaction. I was quite impressed by the performance, though. Sure, there's no reaction for the first half second after you press a button, but then the boring animation is actually quite smooth.

There's not much content there, and the app itself is quite unpolished (I didn't expect it to greet me with Italian as the default language), but it's one of those "betas", as popuplarized by Google. The user experience is quite reasonable, once you get past the rough edges. It's just slow, not insanely slow, and it didn't crash once in the five minutes I spent with it.

I guess we'll know in a couple of years what happened with all these competing widget platforms. I think Yahoo might have to convince some mobile manufacturers to include their platform in their phones to really get into the game, but they probably have already.

And while Yahoo are busy with Java and widgets, I keep working on stuff that responds so quickly to your input that you don't feel like your phone is your arch enemy...

Friday, January 11, 2008

10 years

Linux Weekly News turns ten this year. I started using Linux about that time, so I've been with them from the start. One of the news pieces from 1998 was that the latest version of the Linux kernel would require 8MB of RAM to run. At that time my newly bought PC had 32MB. My current phone has 64MB. That PC had a 200MHz CPU. My phone runs at 369MHz now. A very rough estimate would be that the weight of my phone is 2% of that computer, and about 0.1% of the volume. We live in a scifi dream.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Microsoft breaking new ground

I don't know if this is real, but it's supposed to be about a leaked Microsoft document on the spiced up UI in Windows Mobile 7, to be released in 2009. Revolutionary? Groundbreaking? Yes, for Microsoft maybe, which means there's not one single new idea in there. But it's about time the Windows Mobile UI started looking at least a bit as if it was actually designed for mobile devices, and not just a scaled down version of the desktop system.