Friday, January 29, 2010


If you're like me, you've probably read about a hundred articles by now on the newly announced iPad from Apple. Reception has mostly been unenthusiastic, but the charm of the iPhoneish look and large screen still seems to attract some people. In this entry, I will share my thoughts briefly on the iPad and the discussion its technical capabilities have aroused.

The Apple tablet has been speculated and hyped for about a decade, so its plausible to say that whatever Steve would've announced this Tuesday couldn't possibly have met all the expectations that had built up during this time. That said, there's a lot of things with the iPad that to me seem like they weren't really thought out all the way through, or things that I think are just plain out of date. The latter being something you definitely would not expect from Apple. Well, kind of.

Talking 'bout a revolution

Obviously the iPad is a revolutionary device if you ask Apple. But if you ask me, it's got these few things wrong with it:

- No multitasking.
I can't begin to describe how confused I am by this feature missing from the device. It is supposed to be something from between a smart phone and a laptop, so why is it missing a feature a mid-range smart phone can do in this day and age?

- Connectivity.
Well, there isn't much. All you have is a 3.5mm headphone jack, the typical iPod/iPhone and now iPad connector port, that will connect to your USB. You have bluetooth (?) and WiFi, but in addition to that. It's pretty limited. You can get it with a 3G option, thus placing yourself in a contract with AT&T. As far as I know, there's no means, however for printing anything you type on the device. This isn't inherently bad, it might be that you don't need to print anything directly off the device, but if its anything close to a laptop, it should be able to modify text documents, that I can print once I get home. And I'd like this straight out of the box, please! I don't want to invest more in the silly iWork package deal.


And well, that's all. Those are my main gripes with technical things related to the iPad. I find it idiotic almost, that people complain that it doesn't have a camera and flash. Who on earth would want to photograph with that thing? The other subject of whinery seems to be the inability to place phone calls on it. Would you really want to hold that thing next to your head?

Naturally everyone griping about issues like this have some means of using the device like this that they haven't shared, but I don't expect my SIM-embedded laptop to be able to place calls. In fact, I don't want it to. That's because, well, I don't want to seem like a complete dork.

The significance of the iPad

I wrote about the iPad's specs in a seperate entry only to be able to fully relish in what I have to say about what I feel that the iPad means in the long run for Apple and for us all. This is another entry of mine, where I attempt to predict the future and yes, attempt to predict based on what I see in the iPad what iPhone 4.0 will be like.

So the iPad's received with some enthusiasm but mostly dissapointment, okay. Does it mean bad sales for Apple? Yeah, probably does, but when Apple has bad sales, it means that only 2.5 million devices are sold instead of 3.1 million. So I think Apple can handle it.

What then, does the device mean in the long run? Will it be an embarrassing flop in the history of Apple or will it just turn out to be a product that Apple "wanted out of its system", just to get the hype and the speculation out of the way? Or will it simply be a product, that Apple won't be pushing as a big selling product, but simply as a product to keep the Apple brand in peoples' minds?

No one can be told, where the future lies

In my limited wisdom, I can pretend to see a few things in the future of Apple because of the iPad. Or more precisely, I think I can predict what's to come by just looking at the iPad.

Firstly, the iPad doesn't support multitasking. I think this is worrying for a couple of reasons:

#1, If the iPad is supposed to be something from between a lap top and a smart phone, why is there this deficiency in the device that just doesn't make any sense. Why is it lacking something, that mid-range smart phones have almost by default these days? I think this goes to show, that Apple's dropped the ball the technological advancement of their devices and frankly shows a loss of vision on what it was they wanted to accomplish with the iPad.

#2, I think that this stubbornness to not include multitasking in the iPad even after all the hell that the iPhone's raised for lacking in the same feature is Apple continuing its most irritating routine, that I think will now begin to turn against them. For as long as Apple's been in the mobile device industry, Apple's been placing restriction after restriction surrounding the software of the iPhone and only allowing the phone to be sold on contract to one operator. Determined on not including MMS immediately to the phone even after huge popular request, Apple seems to want to do things 'The Apple Way', which to most doesn't make any sense at all. I think the same is going on here, but now its resulted in a product that's behind its time and quite frankly, will very soon be sub-par.

* For an additional explanation, scroll to the very bottom of this post to see an interpretation based on the history of Apple!

Secondly, the iPad runs on software, that allows seamless compatibility with the iPhone. This is kind of cool on one hand, but absolutely devastating to the device on the other:

#1, You can run iPhone software on the tablet and you don't need to modify the program in any way. Apple only realeased the SDK for developers to optimise their applications for the larger screen of the iPad. This is a nice touch. Sadly, I think this is where the lack of multitasking came from, as if the iPhone can't run two apps at the same time, then neither can the iPad. To me, it is a given that a laptop-ish device should be able to multitask. I think its unnacceptable that a mobile computer will not multitask. MID-computers multitask and can cost up to 200€ less than the iPad. Why doesn't the iPad multitask!?

#2, I think this says a lot about the next iPhone. The release of the new iPhone must be pretty close now. Therefore it wouldn't make sense that Apple would release the iPad now and then release a new iPhone that wasn't compatible with the iPad. Therefore the software platform must be very similar. Conclusion: no multitasking. The iPad also has seperate applications for viewing YouTube content, so this leads me to believe, that so will the new iPhone.

There's also a lot to be said about Apple's strategy of marketing the iPad as a device from between two devices, the smart phone and the laptop:

#1, If the iPad is less advanced than a laptop, but more advanced than a smart phone, then the next iPhone can't be more advanced than the iPad. It is such a shame that it will probably be this way, but this again, is in my oppinion a testament to 'The Apple Way' slowly beginning to kill Apple.

#2, Apple's decision to make the iPad so similar to the iPhone is in my view a conscious strategy to 'stick with what you know'. In all honesty, the iPad looks like a giant iPhone. I think the notion of a giant iPhone is a very bad assosiation to  have with the device, as it sounds really comical. Now think about having to pay 600€ for this thing. Yeah, you're not smiling now, are you?

Just look at what fans did with the concept of an Apple tablet PC:

Playing it safe definitely doesn't sound like Apple, the company that revolutionised first the way we listen to music and then the way we want our smart phones to look and feel like. What on earth is going on with this design decision? And what was that company that's been receiving a lot of heat for not reinventing itself for the past 12+ months? Oh yeah, NOKIA. Is Apple repeating Nokia's mistakes?


It's been a bit of a long post again, but I hope you read this all the way through.

Below's my extra speculation about why I think there's something going wrong in Apple's strategy:

* Now this is a bit far-fetched, but in the past, Apple made some great successes (I'm talking Apple II in 1977 and Macintosh in 1984 here), but after that things just kind of slipped out of hand. They didn't have new ideas to bring out, so they repeated the same thing they'd done before. At some point of this process, Steve Jobs was fired from Apple and on his return in ~1997, Steve declared that Apple had been reminissing in the past for too long and so he came up with the iPod in 2001, which is a far more familiar story to everyone I believe. Could this be Apple getting stuck in the old routine again?

© Christopher Peake 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Peakmobility open for comments!

Being the noobie blogger I am, I noticed that I had blocked everyone except Blogger accounts from commenting on my posts.

The comments sections are now open for All!

Please leave a comment if you feel like it. No spam and no trolling though :/ That would be a downer.

- Christopher

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ovi Maps Comes With Music

Nokia's elaborate services plan visualised.

Nokia's announcement of beginning to offer it's Ovi Maps voice guided turn-by-turn navigation free of charge has sent a ripple through the market, as TomTom's share price lost 15% right after the giant's announcement. Free global navigation with no fear of roaming and license costs sounds almost too good to be true. Can it be true? The ultimate insider, Eldar Murtazin thinks that it is. And with just cause.

Mr. Murtazin's Tweets about Ovi Maps ever since right after the announcement have stated, that the now "free" Ovi Maps license will be added to mid- and high-range Nokia phone prices. So Nokia will bundle the "free" license with the phone, but will raise the price of new devices that launch since March 2010.

Force-feeding or countering losses?

Before you read on, I recommend that you read Mr. Murtazin's blogstory here.

He makes a point that Nokia's "Maps" service has never really caught on with people to the extent that they would pay for a voice guided navigation license. He continues to say, that Nokia has never released any statistics or sales figures of its navigation services.

Another point mr. Murtazin makes is, that Nokia is now "force-feeding" the unsuccesful Maps license to anyone buying the phone, as the customer will have to pay a little extra for the device from here on out. To me, this seems logical and it should come as no surprise that nothing is free in this world. Free stuff is always done at the expense of something else. So then, is this a new norm in Nokia's marketing strategy? Come to think of it, Nokia's done this kind of "trick" before and not too long ago.

Comes With Music. Remember that little service? It is the 12 month license for "free grabs" in the Nokia Music store, which sounds like a great deal to be getting with your phone. However, it was widely publicised that the "CWM" feature in a phone actually raised the price of the phone with about 100 euros. Nokia sells a fraction of its models that have CWM without the music store capability. And at least here in Finland, the CWM phones are the models that stores chose to begin selling. I think the reasons for this is quite obvious.

So how well has CWM worked for Nokia? Well, not very well. Before Christmas there were news that the CWM service wasn't really catching on and as a salesperson my self, I know that the steeper price of the device with CWM made a lot of people reconsider. It's also a bit contradictory when you think about it: services like Spotify and Nokia Music Store actually hold artists from only the largest record companies, meaning that the content is heavily pop-orientated. Now who are the biggest consumers of music that you hear on mainstream radio channels? Well people in an age group that you wouldn't buy a 700 euro phone for. To me it appears that there's a slight mis-match in supply and demand.

The bigger picture

So will the "freeing" of the Ovi Maps license turn out to be a good thing for Nokia with these experiences with Comes With Music in mind? Well, at least Ovi Maps is a service that people from pretty much all age groups can use, although only grown-ups tend to travel abroad and need be concerned about getting to places. Adults also have more money to invest into mobile devices, so this probably is a working match of service and demand. All this depends naturally on just how much the price will rise for Ovi Maps licensed phones.

©Christopher Peake 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Ovi announcement 21st of Jan 2010

Nokia's boasting to have new exciting things in store for us in the next 24hrs and it's got everything to do with Ovi.

Update/follow-up on this story (10:30AM, 21.1.2010)

It appears that Nokia's big announcement was to do with Ovi Maps, as Nokia will begin providing free turn-by turn navigation to mobiles the world over. Google Navigation just got itself a lot of competition, not to mention Garmin and TomTom, originally car GPS device manufacturers who've attempted to break-in to the mobile navigation game.

Let's see the advantages and disadvantages of Ovi Maps to the competition:

+ Ovi Maps doesn't require a data connection, so you can use your phone abroad to navigate your surroundings without fear of additional costs. Google Maps and even Google Navigation rely on pulling the map down from the internet to your device as you move around on it.

+ Broader language support. Ovi Maps is translated into every language where original Nokia products are sold + a few languages. Google Maps has many translations, but not this many.

+ Ovi Maps is preloaded on all Nokia devices. This means that there's no getting it from an app store or you having to go over to your mom's house to enable it for her. It's just there.

- To me, some versions of Ovi Maps have been quite rubbish, and especially the first versin of Ovi Maps on the N900 was pretty terrible. The update did a lot though, so this isn't really an issue anymore.

I think this is definitely a great move from Nokia. Ovi Maps is generally very liked, so people will certainly jump on this opportunity to use this. And naturally if it's free, it wins.

Now how do I enable my free navigation...?

The original post from 20.1.2010 is below:

Nokia will have a press event on Thursday the 21st at the Paramount Club, Centre Point in California. The Ovi store and general Ovi ecosystem concept has been widely criticised as feeling incomplete even still, a year after launch. If you ask most people, they would say that Nokia has a lot to fix and even more stuff to catch up with, but below is my personal wishlist for the event:

* The N900 will (finally) be recognized as a Nokia product
Well this one's probably a given, support to the Ovi store is in beta for the device, so its definitely coming. What I want in addition is the ability to sync calendar entries and contacts with the Ovi services online. I like to keep a backup online of my things in addition to the one I have on my memory card.

I also want the Ovi and Nokia PC Suite to sync perfectly with my N900, which it doesn't at the moment. Same calendar and contacts syncing functions are missing like in the online "counterpart".

* The Ovi services be (finally) finalized
The different parts of the Ovi service feel indeed like they would still be in beta and in truly feel like they are seperate parts. I'd like for the promise of seamless integration with eachother to come true and the best way to do this would be to allow me to use all the services with a single login! For some reason most of the services require me to log in seperately eventhough it naturally needs only one account.

* Something completely new
We've seen the (IMHO BS) videos from Nokia of implemented realities and odd cellphone goggles and ... movie poster readers and all that stuff. Look, I'm not interested. What we need is stuff we can use Now. Give me a reason to boast that I've stuck with Nokia all this time. Take the idea further, that I can upload images directly from my N900 to Ovi (and Facebook etc. of course). Give me a twist on this that will blow me away.

My wishlist is short and may not be impossible at all to accomplish. Most of all I just ask for current services to be perfected. There's the common gripe of "the apps in the store suck", but that I believe is something that Nokia can't really affect. Oh no, wait yes they can. By launching a device based on open software from the ground up. Like they did with the N900.

I will do a follow-up once the event actually has taken place.

© Christopher Peake 2010

iPhone OS 4.0 feature rumours

he boys over at are trumpeting this about the next iPhone OS (4.0):

" There will be multi-touch gestures OS-wide. (Would make sense for that as the rumored OS for the iTablet is close if not the same as the iPhone)
* “A few new ways” to run applications in the background — multitasking.
* Many graphical and UI changes to make navigating through the OS easier and more efficient. We haven’t had this broken down, but we can only hope for improved notifications, a refreshed homescreen, etc.
* The update will supposedly be available for only the iPhone 3G and 3GS, but will “put them ahead in the smartphone market because it will make them more like full-fledged computers” more than any other phone to date. Everyone is “really excited.”
* The last piece of information is the most vague, but apparently there will be some brand new syncing ability for the contacts and calendar applications. "

They get their information from Boy Genius Report and are brave enough to go with the idea that these are actual facts about the upcoming update. Check out the story here. There's even a little more speculation on the rumoured Apple tablet as well to boot. An OS update to the iPhone would also mean the release of a new iPhone model entirely, if Apple is to follow it's old patterns.

Other things said about the upcoming iPhone's features include a touch-sensitive casing for the device (in addition to the touch responsive screen), similarly to Apple's Magic Mouse. More on that here.

Personal analysis:

To me it sounds funny that Apple's new iPhone OS would make the phone more like a "full fledged computer", as for me the iPhone has always served as a more mass-market kind of device. People still have laptops at home for browsing the web and surfing on the mobile is still only the second or third device of choice for this kind of activity.

Also, I can't help but raise a tempting question about "who's copying who", when the situation has been for so long, that Apple sets the trend and pretty much everything to do with mobile devices and their software and OS's. Now Apple's coming out with something that will put users "ahead in the smartphone market". This coming from the company that added copy&paste only a year ago to their phones. Although I must keep in mind, that it is unclear "who" exactly is saying that "we" all are excited in this piece of news, as that isn't cited anywhere.

For me, this is a response to the DROID, WinMo devices and of course, the Nokia N900. The plot thickens.

© Christopher Peake 2010

Google's new market strategy follow-up: Apple removes Google as default search engine on the iPhone?

Yup, there's a rumour out that in the future, Google's search engine wont be the default search engine on the applephone, also known as the iPhone. In my view, this is naturally proof to my beliefs that by entering the mobile phone industry (in addition to mobile app industry), Google's started to make enemies out of old compadres.

First to report was Engadget, although I imagine this is popping up all over the web. While I'm not entirely sure what 'bunging' is exactly, it's worth checking out Engadget's story here.

To me this is particularly important, because this is probably an example of what will happen in the future. Apple made a big commitment to Google by including Google's search engine as the default in the browser (and later in the OS itself with 3G S, v. 3.0 OS) and by making Google Maps the default and therefore Only mapping program on the phone. In my view, Apple probably got a bit pissed about Google Navigation as well, as it was exclusively for the Motorola DROID only, and is at the moment by far the best mapping program there was. Perhaps Nexus One was the final drop for Apple.

Whatcha' doin', Google?

(c) Christopher Peake

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A take on Google's strategy: all good things come to an end.

oogle soared to everyone's consciousness with their self-titled, ground-breaking on-line search engine, that single-handedly ended the feud between AltaVista and Yahoo for search-engine dominance. Later came the acquisition of already popular on-line services such as YouTube and other social media orientated services. Then we slowly became used to free applications on basically all of our devices. There was Google Earth for our PCs and later the Chrome OS and there was Google Maps for our cellphones. Now the giant has moved on to releasing their own device the Nexus One being the latest example of this, naturally sporting Google's own software and operating system. What will Google focus on next?

In this entry I will discuss my views on Google's apparent strategies to begin selling services and the devices that use those services, instead of collaborating with other device manufacturers by providing only the software for their devices. I will envision the future, which to me looks very Googly indeed. But as suggested in the title, I have a feel that all good things will come to an end.

Whatcha doin', Google?

Google's received some due criticism over the decision to begin manufacturing devices, browsers and operating systems instead of providing only services for existing browsers and platforms. Well, not so much criticism, but some puzzled opinions about why Google is turning its former partners into enemies by starting to compete with them. Apple's iPhone made Google Maps the default mapping software on the phone and Mozilla made the Google search the default search engine in their Firefox browser. Now Google's entered the cell phone market with Nexus One and continues to release versions of Google Navigation only for phones with Google's own mobile OS, the Android. Samsung, HTC and numerous other device manufacturers have placed their trust in Google and put Android on their devices. The devices can't live without software, but the software definitely can't live without devices that use them. Google's also got its own browser entirely, leaving Mozilla in the shade in their future plans. Or so it seems, at least.

The future prophecy

Google's even been reported to show an interest in becoming an electricity company, providing 'greener energy for us all'. OK, nice idea, but you're a search engine company, are you not? Well not for long. This expansion into virtually every realm of the tech world will, of course mean that we will be seeing Google, well, everywhere. Now inherently this isn't a bad thing, because people use Google products for the reason that they are good products. Still there's no competition for Google's search engine or Google Maps, for example, because Google is also keen on upgrading its services constantly.

I think that in the future though, Google won't have anything to do with distributing it's software for free, because it won't have a partner's platform to do it on. The software itself will probably remain free, but you will need to pay Google for the platform or device the program runs on. In my view the biggest reason for Google's success in all things internet has been the reason that they've been free . Well, not entirely free, we've given our personal information out to Google (whether we realise it or not) and so that advertisers can bombard us with ads that might interest us, as we've told them our interests.

On the internet there's a constant trend of people using services that are free and once those services become something you have to pay for, they will discontinue using that service and another service provider will take its place. I think that this is what will eventually happen to Google as well. If Google continues to limit its applications to 'Google only* platforms, people will move on, although of course many people will pay the price.

So what is my prophecy exactly? Well, it is this: Google will become even more popular and widely used service provider in the future. However, I see that there's only a certain extent to which Google can, a) continue to offer its services for free, and b) expect people to stay on board once we get to the point where to get the max out of Google programs you need to pay something. So I see that Google will continue to grow for the next, well let's say 3-5 years. If Google,however decides to go ahead an attempt to provide people with the device and the software and claim most of the market to itself , it will begin to lose people using its products. This is because at this stage Google will have had divided people into two groups: customers and non-customers. Naturally only the former get to use Google products.

© Christopher Peake 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What exactly does the 'Nexus One' mean?

Google the search-engine giant released the 'Nexus One' as a 'Google Phone', although the device it self was manufactured by one of Google's compadres, HTC. Sporting the latest and greatest Android OS version 2.1, the sales in the first weeks of Nexus' life have been slow.

So what is the meaning of the Nexus One overall? Answering a question like this accurately so early on in the life of the device would be like having the answer to the question of the meaning of life. In this entry I will share my thoughts on the 'Nexus' and attempt to envision the phone's significance today and in the long run.

Here in the now

Even before its launch the 'Nexus' gathered noticeable attention, as the phone leaked out months before its release, catching the attention of mobile hardware bloggers around the world. It turned out that Google had given prototypes(?) of the device to its employees and what resulted was this quite natural flow of grainy, low-quality images to the world wide web for everyone to wonder and drool over.

To me this stunt of giving the phone out to employers was a hype-creating gimmick. In other words Google wanted for those images to leak out. There's nothing more exciting to a tech enthusiast than the promise of new and best of all unreleased tech to get him claiming 'first!'ies everywhere he went. This strategy from Google ensured that by the time 'Nexus' was finally released, everybody who wanted to be anybody in the mobile enthusiast world knew exactly what the 'Nexus One' was.

The device doesn't amaze with it's technological specs, as it hasn't entered the race of dumping the fastest technology on board nor has it entered the race in display size, where the other HTC devide, the HD2 is currently the winner. LG has larger displays than what's on the HD2, but since their success hasn't been anywhere near the success of the HD2, I won't mention them here (d'oh! Too late). Therefore the hardware isn't 'that something' of this device.

On the other hand, neither is the software something to go crazy over. Even though the device sports the latest Android to date (2.1), the new version of the OS doesn't bring much that is new to the table. There's a touch of Swype technology on it, the cool but US-only Google Navigation and of course the general open-endedness that is Android, but nothing whe haven't seen on other devices already. The device to notoriously introduce Google Navigation DROID was the Motorola that still succeeds in selling well and being generally a certain kind of trendsetter in most circles. So there's really nothing here to simply blow anyone away, at least not a tech enthusiast.

In the future there will be robots

So then, what is the significance of 'Nexus' when thinking of things to come? Well, obviously the 'Nexus' is currently suffering from customer reported 3G problems and Google isn't doing a very good job of running their customer service department. This whole 3G issue could scare most people away from buying the device, as bad news always spreads like wildfire. In addition, for me the lack of a physical QWERTY keyboard and somewhat plain appearance will reduce sales in my opinion.

So the 'Nexus One' won't be a great seller for Google. It doesn't mark a total failure for the megacorporation either. I believe, that the 'Nexus' has been to a big extent more a test trial for Google on releasing a phone. They tried out generating hype with the "leaking pictures" trick and obviously they didn't want to jam pack the device full of the latest technology to make it a wet dream for all the tech geeks interested in this industry. Although its always the majority market you need to win over to make any product successful, the plain and unimaginatyive Android user interface and the appearance of the physical device doesn't seem like they would attract the masses.

All this leads me to believe, that we are yet to see the real 'Google phone', as the 'Nexus' was in all honesty a rather half-assed effort to release a game changing phone, which it certainly isn't. Also, I think that even the greatest plan for this "real" Google phone might fail or be compromised, because of Google having such big friends in the industry, by having made deals with just about every manufactirer besides Nokia to put Android on their devices.

Does Google really want to get into a situation where it in essence competes with its associates?

(C) Christopher Peake 2010

Written entirely on the N900 and MaStory blogging client!