Archive for the 'Idle Bites' Category

Jared Benson

Idle Bites: 10 March 2009

In case you’ve not had time to follow the backchannel chatter, we’ve gathered some of the mobile user experience articles from the last few days that caught our eye. Here’s some quick recommending reading that describes our changing digital lifestyles, mobile trends, future tech considerations, and there’s even a good robot story thrown in for good measure.

If you’ve come across a great mobile user experience story in the last few days, let us know! Post it in comments or find me on Twitter:


MWC’09 Trends by John Strand

Vision Mobile’s Mobile Megatrends 2009

Design Exploration

New Tab Page: Proposed design principles and prototype (Mozilla Labs)

iPhone prototype caught on video


The future of TV lies on the net

Digital Media newsletter (PDF)

Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) is coming, cable companies better adopt to changing times


Mobile TV Popular In Korea, Not Making Any Money

Emerging Technology

Charging mobile devices wirelessly: eZone by Qualcomm

Wintek to supply touch panels for Apple netbook, says paper

Philips: OLED windows in a few years

Japanese gadget controls iPod in blink of an eye

Robot Programmed to Love Goes too Far

Experimental Multitouch UI for Nokia S60

Social Networking

Social Networking More Popular Than Email, More Profitable Than…Er…Um

When Everyone’s a Friend, Is Anything Private?

General News

Internet, Mobile Phones Named Most Important Inventions

Chinese political advisor urges innovation to tackle downturn, emphasis on creative

Charlie Rose: A conversation with Marissa Mayer, V.P. of Search Product and User Experience, Google

Recession Forcing Automakers To Think About Mobile

Why we’ve reached the end of the camera megapixel race

// Pownce gets bought, pulls the plug

The creators of Pownce announced they’d be closing down on December 15th. Pownce attempted to differentiate themselves from services like Twitter by integrating features like photo and event sharing — with no character limit. However, unlike Twitter there was no easy way to update your status through a mobile device. The end of this service begs the question whether the dead-simple approach of Twitter is responsible for its success or: Do we need a better mousetrap?

// Verizon parent Vodafone acquires LBS company WayFinder

Vodafone, parent company to Verizon Wireless, acquired WayFinder, a Swedish location and navigation services company. WayFinder offers a number of GPS-enabled applications for mobile phones including Wayfinder Navigator which adds points of interest and social networking features to typical mapping functions. Clearly mobile carriers in Europe and the US are looking for easy wins for integrating LBS into their product offerings.

// Nokia Messaging promotes email in mobile experience

Nokia has announced Nokia Messaging, a solution that aims to integrate email into the core Nokia experience. Customized status setting and sending/receiving of IMs is also supported. However, what’s really interesting is Nokia’s ovi webmail offering, positioned to compete with popular offerings like GMail. Nokia sees value in owning the email experience from end-to-end, not just providing a conduit to existing email services.

//  The G1 is here.  Good start… further to go
T-Mobile’s long awaited “G1” has finally arrived, and it did so with a splash. Pre-orders for the device rumored totaling 1.5M. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the launch was far from the big splash that early reports might have indicated.  Few companies can rival the hoopla that accompany Apple’s product launches, but did the G1 live up to its moniker as an “iPhone” killer?  The verdict seems to be mixed.  Its 3.2MP camera, the QWERTY keyboard, and its open-source Android-powered operating system are headlining features.  But once people have dived into it, they’ve uncovered battery performance issues, an underwhelming selection of applications in the Android Marketplace, and a non-standard headphone jack.  Dealbreakers?  Maybe not.  Time will tell how this device fares against the legion of capable “smart phones” out on the market or debuting soon, but what can be said with certainty is that the premise of an open source mobile phone OS has become reality.  How it evolves, changes and grows into itself will now become the key item to watch.

//  Mobile phone skin rashes, found BAD
Remember when you thought the radiation emitted from cell phones was going to give you brain cancer?  Well, the FDA doesn’t think you are at any risk for adverse health effects from cell phones.  But…BAD thinks you can get skin rashes!  The British Association of Dermatologists notes that cell phones containing nickel could produce unexplained rashes on the face and ear.

//  We swipe our iPhones, but what if they tapped us back?
Apple’s introduction of gestures and multi-touch has changed the way we interact with our cell phones.  Flick.  Pinch.  Swipe. Drag.  Microsoft wants in on the game too.  But they want our phones to participate as well.  What if your phone could “tap” or “rub” you when you received a text message or some other notification?  Though incessant vibrating can become obnoxious, I am not too sure that tapping or rubbing would be any better.  If my phone “rubbed” my palm, I might drop it in disbelief.  Maybe these are new, less-intrusive ways for our devices to communicate with us, but somehow, I think most people might opt to remain with their obnoxious vibrating phone.

//  T-Mobile Announces G1 “Dream” Android-Driven Smart phone
With the announcement of T-Mobile’s G1 “Dream”, speculators in the market are saying that Android is expected to capture as much as 4% of the U.S. smart phone market from sales of this device. That’s a pretty large share. Initial reviews of this First Glance at an entire Google Android driven experience have been pretty positive. People are looking to shoot holes in it and are finding it to be quite competent in its offering. Perhaps this is the first of many inspiring Android offerings to come.

//  Adobe’s Newly Announced CS4 Suite Offers expanded tools for Mobile
This week Adobe Announced the new version of its creative suite, CS4, and as far as mobile is concerned, this may be a big leap forward for the suite of tools. Among the new features are a new searchable online library of popular devices from manufacturers, video capture and playback of simulated experiences in Device Central CS4, publishing directly to devices with Bluetooth, and an enhanced set of tools for creating engaging content.

//  First look: Samsung Omnia
Everything you wish for in your mobile? That’s a big promise… Can the Omnia live up to it? Samsung touts this device as “Bringing a PC environment to Mobile” and “replicating the look and feel of their PC”. This is no doubt something some users are looking for, to be mobile with something smaller than a laptop, but for some that are not using their mobile in a business-centric fashion, it might be overkill. The device runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional and uses an optical mouse similar to those on laptop computers, which clams to give better one-handed control of the device. It has features a decent 5 megapixel camera that are similar to the caliber of a Nokia N95 or better, and also boasts GPS, and geo-tagging features among others.

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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.
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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Image courtesy of and copyright fStop.

See who wins in the news this week…

ROUND ONE // Sprint’s iPhone Killer: Instinct VS. Walt Mossberg’s Instinct Critique

ROUND TWO // Apple’s Rumored Flash Killer VS. An Unofficial Adobe Response

ROUND THREE // Skype Repositions for Video VS. Fixed Mobile Convergence

And finally — in case you’re still standing — guess which one is a spoof…

ROUND FOUR // Handsolo Mobile VS. Crazy Finger Phone

Joe Pemberton

HTC Touch Diamond Interface

HTC has released a promotional video of the new HTC Touch Diamond user interface. The device boasts touch input and an accelerometer with HTC’s TouchFlo 3D rendering. The Windows Mobile 6 device will hit shelves any week now in the UK. The product is slated for the US later this year.

Joe Pemberton

Sun Unveils JavaFX Mobile

At last years’ JavaOne conference Sun Microsystems announced its entry into the presentation layer technology race. JavaFX Mobile will compete with Qualcomm’s uiOne, Adobe’s Flash Lite and Microsoft’s SilverLight.

From the AndroidGuys blog “…Earlier this week, Sun announced details for the forthcoming JavaFX Mobile and even demonstrated it with an Android prototype. Targeting multimedia phones, it will be part of a few planned JavaFX stacks due from the company. Typically, most phones running Java rely on the language for user-installed applications. For JavaFX Mobile however, it will have Java running behind everything from the user interface (UI) toolkit to the telephony, media, and browser software. Ideally, you’ll have the same experience with desktops, mobile devices, set-top boxes, and even automobile dashboards.”

Joe Pemberton

Idle Bites (13 March, 2007)

1// Adobe is reporting that Flash Lite will now support video.

2// Wired has posted their interview with John Maeda, who spoke at the TED Conference in Monterey, CA this week. When probed on his favorite manmade designs, he offered this:

“I like stuff designed by dead people. The old designers. They always got it right because they didn’t have to grow up with computers. All of the people that made the spoon and the dishes and the vacuum cleaner didn’t have microprocessors and stuff. You could do a good design back then.

I think if you’re a young designer now, you’ve got the internet and you’ve got screens all over the place — it’s awful hard. Technology is just so powerful now. You can do so much with so little. You can shove it into the size of a quarter. For designers to design great objects where technology is concerned, that’s hard.”

Too true. (Thanks Nancy.)

3// Last weeks’ Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, yielded some interesting discussion, like the keynote on networked mobile gaming.

4// File under: alternate desktop metaphors. Check out “BumpTop,” a desktop UI paradigm that uses physical behavior to aid organization of files. Whether or not the desktop metaphor is appropriate to mobile UI, could this type of physics and motion apply to mobile touch screens using a finger tip or thumb as the stylus?

5// Opera Mini. At most it looks like a strike against the operator content foothold. At the least it may be a reason not to have to buy a smartphone. (Thanks Christian.)

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