Archive for July, 2008

Missy Kelley

Flat Displays Are So Yesterday

Years ago we thought the world was flat, later to learn the truth. Microsoft is rehashing this old lesson and applying it to the world of displays. Today Microsoft is publicly showing for the first time a display they appropriately call Sphere. Using internal projection to display on a curved surface, this prototype also boasts an infrared system that allows touch interaction.

This version of the prototype is looking at the sphere, imagine what it would be like to be in the sphere. Que minority report clip.

Molly Davis

Innovative iPhone Apps: Graffitio

TITLE // Graffitio

PRICE // Free from the iTunes Store.

PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION // Attach conversations to the places you go and the things you see! As soon as you open Graffitio, it looks around you for Walls created by other users at restaurants, bars, stores, parks, events, or anywhere else you could imagine.
Read what other people have to say, and leave your own thoughts behind for others to find later. You can even create your own Walls. Graffitio connects you to people who have been there before and those who will follow.

USER EXPERIENCE INNOVATION // While there are a plethora of social networking tools that take advantage of the iPhone’s location-based services to track people, Graffitio is a unique application that lets a user create or add to an open discussion anywhere they happen to be standing.  Completely anonymous, it allows for the discovery of public discourse about places that is independent of user logins, social networks, and time.

While this is a genius idea, the execution of the design and server availability leaves the dissatisfied user with a funny feeling they should be looking for a “for demonstration purposes only” disclaimer.   From reading the application’s blog, it seems there are some major updates on the way but there are some issues with Apple’s application submission process.  Since the first release is all I have to review, my comments reflect what is currently available.


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Molly Davis

Idle Bites // July 25th, 2008

Editor’s note: Each week someone will run us through the noteworthy headlines in mobile and convergent device user experience. This week: Molly Davis, Project Manager, Punchcut.

// Nokia and Qualcomm take off the boxing gloves, decide to get nails done together instead

After three years of legal battles over wireless patents, Nokia and Qualcomm settled their differences this week and entered into a 15 year agreement. The exact details of the deal were not released, but “Nokia has been granted a licence under all Qualcomm’s patents for its mobile phones and network equipment. It has agreed not to use any of its patents directly against Qualcomm, allowing Qualcomm to integrate Nokia’s technology into Qualcomm’s chipsets.”

// Open Source Speculation: SymbiAndroid

Analyst Jack Gold shook his magic eight ball this week and predicted that within three to six months the newly open source Symbian OS should combine with the Open Handset Alliance’s Android. Parties on both sides yawned, dismissed the idea as a farfetched rumor and went on with their business.

// Get into the Qik beta, quick!

Qik, the software that allows you to stream video live from your mobile device and is then captured on the web, is now in open Beta. Here is the list of supported devices. We’ve had a sneak preview of Qik working on an iPhone, and can’t wait to see that go live.

// Bipartisan Bill to Freeze Wireless Taxes

Senators Wyden (D) and Snowe (R) introduced a bill to freeze current wireless taxes and prevent new increases for the next 5 years. Though this bill is not the first of its kind, it enjoys support from both sides of the aisle, and cellular industry support. “The average wireless consumer in the U.S. today pays more than 15% of his or her monthly bill in taxes and fees — more than twice the rate imposed on other competitive goods and services subject to sales tax. This is an indefensible level of taxation for most any product, let alone one that allows millions of Americans to constantly stay connected with the world around them,” said Steve Largent, president of CTIA.

// apple + c, apple + v spotted in iPhone 2.1 code
An observant developer stumbled across references to copy and paste functionality in the “localizable.strings” file in Apple’s first beta of iPhone Software 2.1 this week. One of the most requested features on the iPhone may be available around September via your iTunes.
Joe Pemberton

Innovative iPhone Apps: vSNAX

Editors’ note: We’ll be rounding up the noteworthy, novel and useful iPhone applications. While we hope our list is useful to you, we’re not necessarily trying to create the “best of” iPhone apps list. Our goal is to highlight iPhone (and iPod Touch) apps that solve UI problems in unique and interesting ways; solutions that add to the mobile device UI conversation or bring something new to the table.


PRICE // Free from the iTunes Store.

PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION // Rhythm NewMedia, the leader in mobile video, unleashed vSNAX, the free iPhone video application… The application is available for iPhone and iTouch users, and features high quality video content from MTV, CBS, E!, and others. Users can access the latest videos on news, weather, gossip, fashion, or television show highlights as the app refreshes itself throughout the day.

USER EXPERIENCE INNOVATION // Delivering video to a mobile handset has been done, but not always well. The originality worth highlighting is the way vSNAX creates a nearly seamless viewing experience. Despite the limitations of pushing short video clips to a device, the UI allows users to continue to watch a clip while selecting the next clip they want to watch. Instead of presenting a list of similar videos, vSNAX let’s you slide through several options while you watch and hear the audio of your currently playing clip. The result is an experience that is most like an uninterrupted television viewing experience.

PRICE TO VALUE // It’s difficult to argue with free, especially when the content is from ABC, E! and MTV networks. I expect future versions will include basic features like saved favorites and history.

Missy Kelley

Busted breaking the hands-free law?

Jawbone is here to help. The makers of one of the most expensive blue tooth headsets out, Jawbone wants to encourage people to go hands free with a pretty radical promotion. Through August 31, if you’re ticketed for using your mobile phone while driving you can use your ticket number to receive $20.00 off a new Jawbone.

This comes in the wake of several companies taking advantage of this new legislation to push their products ranging from GPS devices that incorporate mobile compatibility to bluetooth rearview mirrors.

The folks over at Jawbone are just being a little more creative, talk about lemons to lemonade.

Joe Pemberton

The iPhone App Store is Up

Apple’s iPhone App store is online a day before the iPhone 2.0 launch.

Perhaps you’ve had an experience like this one? One more example of the impact of mobility on our social etiquette. Enjoy-

Missy Kelley

Idle Bites // July 4th, 2008

Editor’s note: Each week someone will run us through the noteworthy headlines in mobile and convergent device user experience. This week: Missy Kelley, Senior Designer, Punchcut.

// Rumor: T-mobile testing 3G in Chicago

This short week started with T-Mobile’s little rumor. Fierce Wireless is saying T-Mobile will test 3G service in the Chicago region starting June 30th. Along with @Home, 3G could be a good incentive for T-mobile users to stick around even after the announcement of an increase in SMS prices (from .15 to .20). The increase to .20 isn’t out of the ball park, most carriers charge the same price, but it could be a pain point for those folks without unlimited plans.

// Speaking of SMS, Alltel adds messaging to My Circle

With so many offerings out there, Alltel has to be one of the most attractive with their My Circle plans. Now you can add messaging to these packages - that’s right, unlimited SMS and MMS to your circle**. With the new law in San Francisco against talking on your mobile phone in the car, this comes as a great relief, message away and keep those roads safe! Someone please improve voice to text!

**wizard not included

Read the update

// Ruined

If you live in Canada, you’re probably not impressed with Rogers/Fido’s offerings for the iPhone. If that’s the case you can check out Ruined iPhone and sign the petition. Will it change anything? We’ll see.

// Are you ready for an open source phone?

Well if you can wait until July 4th you can order yourself a neo Freerunner. This phone is Linux based, so all you developers start drooling now. The shipped version of the phone will come in both 850Mhz and 900Mhz Tri-band GSM flavors with a 2.8-inch VGA touchscreen, WiFi, AGPS, GPRS 2.6G, Bluetooth 2.0, 128MB WSDRAM, and 256MB NAND flash. I won’t speculate what this will mean to Android and Symbian, last time I did that we all thought Android would take over the world… That has yet to be seen.

UPDATE: Wait no longer! OpenMoko started taking orders a day early, that would make it July 3rd, TODAY!


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Joe Pemberton

Your Phone as Remote Control

We have been talking about it for years; a converged future where you can use your mobile device as a remote control for your media consumption. Yahoo Tech is talking about a free iPhone app that will let you control iTunes in your home from your iPod touch or your iPhone.

Of course, there are already hacks and DIY ways to achieve similar results. The significance comes when a company makes these features mainstream and the real newsworthiness will be in the execution.