Category Archives: Mobile

I had about 24 hours to play with the HTC Incredible this weekend and I loved it. If you can handle an on-screen keyboard, and want an Android device, then this is the phone for you.

Quick specs include 8 GB internal memory, 1 Ghz Snapdragon processor (which makes it snappy), 3.7 inch AMOLED capacitive screen with yes, pinch to zoom, and integrated GPS. Oh, it also has a rather amazing 8 MP camera.

The Incredible is available for pre-order from Verizon today and will arrive in stores on April 29. It’s priced at $199.99 after a $100 rebate and with a 2-year contract.

It’s tempting to trade in the Droid for the Incredible. It really lives up to its name.

So, remember how I’m trying to get better with web video? Well, I haven’t really improved, but at least I’m not scared of it anymore. See the video review below.

Visit Michelle at her day job, tweet her, or visit her when you’re craving some wine.

The developer plane around the Twitter market may have room for concern, as Twitter continues to reclaim its empire. The microblogging company has been dropping one bombshell after another, announcing plans for the future and rolling out new features and services. This week we hear of another, as Twitter notes its future plans for creating its own URL shortener.

The announcement comes after other news of Twitter’s plans for an official Android app (created or acquired?), its Promoted Tweets roll out, launch of an official BlackBerry app and acquisition of popular iPhone app Tweetie. While we’re finally seeing what Twitter’s been keeping up its sleeve all this time, we’re also seeing the real world effects its having on its users and developer market.

Twitter has had a long and fruitful relationship with its developers, leaning on them to create apps that filled in the holes for Twitter’s base service. Twitter coasted along this way for a while, eventually making nods to the more successful and useful of the third party apps, while acquiring others. A feature upgrade every now and again may hint at threatening a certain aspect of the developer market, but Twitter’s expeditious move towards filling in its own holes makes us wonder at the causalities that may occur over the greater developer market.

Weeks ago, Twitter noted in a blog post that developers should stop filling these holes, and focus on more game-changing apps with solid business models. The silver lining of this message is that Twitter’s plans (and current revelations) towards reclaiming stake over its expanse insinuates a solid support system for well-designed Twitter apps.

This is an important move that many other companies have made with their own platforms, from Facebook to Android. The iPhone’s platform is one of the most widely adopted for consumer apps, and its market potential has already been established. The desire for other platforms to be as successfully leveraged means big advertising dollars for companies such as Twitter.

So we’re likely to see Twitter leaning on its third-party developers once again, this time to generate revenue around Twitter’s system. It’s a more dually beneficial way to operate the Twitter platform, though security measures will be an early and important concern for Twitter and developers to address.

In typical Twitter behavior, announcements regarding future plans for the company were broad and without much detail, regarding the upcoming feature roll outs. Nevertheless, news today of Twitter’s roadmap clues us in to the areas in which the company seeks growth. And it’s all about location, location, location.

While we already knew of Twitter’s plans for enhancing its services based on location and integration options revolving around geo-specific data, today’s announcement does offer a little bit more insight as to what that means for users and developers. We’ll soon see locations, user streams and annotations as integral parts of Twitter’s services, widening the ways in which Twitter data can be utilized.

Twitter will be curating its own database of locations, including hotels and restaurants, in order to offer an array of location–based information to developers. This is part of the @Anywhere project from Twitter, which will add location options to regular Twitter feeds.

For developers, this means Twitter and location-based data can be more readily used for individuals’ purposes, such as automatic tweet imports based on a blogger’s location, among other things. The number of ways in which location-based data can be combined with Twitter-specific actions is countless, and the new options will surely entice developers to extend greater offerings to end users.

That’s a compromise in one way, considering the fact that Twitter’s development of its own location-based services begins to impose on the progress made by third-party developers in the past few years. Several developers have created geo-specific ways in which to integrate tweets, including auto-updates based on one’s location. As mobile use of geodata-sharing increases, it’s in the best interest of Twitter to control more of this space as it pertains to its microblogging service.

Making the new database further accessible to developers, however, retains their interest while also expanding on the ways in which the data can be used for existing third party Twitter apps. One good thing that could come of the improvements is the ability for end users to have more options and control over the way in which geo-location data is being associated and used with their existing and future activity.

Combined with the additional Twitter initiativesfor vastly and expeditiously growing its ownership in the mobile app space, and the recent roll out of Promoted Tweets for generating advertising revenue, and the business picture for Twitter becomes even more clear. We expected to see a number of changes being made to Twitter’s service on an excutive level, and we’ve not been disappointed this year.

The race towards owning one’s own mobile ecosystem continues, as mobile device manufacturer HTC considers its own platform. Whether this will come to fruition through an acquisition or its own creation is yet to be revealed, though a move by HTC in this direction could pit the company against two of its biggest partners–Google and Microsoft.

HTC has seen significant growth in the past two years, due in large part to its allegiance with Google and Microsoft. Several of the devices that run Microsoft Windows Mobile, including the recently released HD2, were manufacturerd by HTC. And thanks to its partnership with Google, HTC is behind the majority of devices that run Android, Google’s mobile platform that continues to be a thorn in Apple’s side.

Having made such huge gains in a short period of time emphasizes the existing and future potential for mobile devices, particularly as they appeal to a large consumer base. The market for consumer electronics is booming no matter which way you slice it, as improved networks, enhanced features and application marketplaces appeal to buyers. Just as important, these factors also provide great business opportunities, as direct access to consumers means more profitability around marketing, advertising, and nearly every form of consumer appeal. Mobile devices are now able to make just about everything on-demand, spanning media access to personal assistant tools.

And HTC isn’t the only company to consider running platforms on its own devices, or creating devices to support existing platforms. The democratization of platforms and devices is creating a great deal of diversity on the larger mobile market, making for several interesting opportunities for companies that would otherwise have had to rely on partnerships with larger players such as Apple, Microsoft or Google.

Navigation devices, cameras and toys are being employed with mobile platforms, WiFi access and integration with mobile apps, increasing their consumer appeal and making them easier to utilize for their originally intended purposes. Even though we’re seeing an increase in the actual type and number of devices being created, we’re also seeing an increase in the support for existing mobile platforms, generating an attractive option for consumers. It’s no longer about having to add yet another mobile device to your laptop bag, purse or pocket. It’s about having a mobile device that can tap into a variety of networking options, so that it matters less which device you actually get.

And the loyalties around partnerships? Those will begin to fall apart and subsequently be rearranged, as more companies look to benefit from this increased and more direct access to consumers. Apple will be making its iPhone available through Verizon in the U.S. market, branching away from AT&T. Google already offered the Android platform on Motorola devices, in addition to HTC, and will soon be expanding beyond cell phones all together (televisions and tablet computers are next on the list).

It’s the app developers and the end users that will be largely affected by the growing number of options that will soon be available to them, and the market will reflect this. As we saw with social networking platforms such as Facebook’s, the increased options will encourage a platform-atop-a-platform approach to unifying whatever de-fragmentation we’ll see with devices and their platforms in the coming year.

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It was quite a mobile Monday yesterday, with responses from Apple iPad’s long-awaited launch, and news from Microsoft regarding its new efforts to create a new line of phones. The discussions around mobile devices continue to take up a great deal of media attention, particularly as consumers are able to get a better handle on what they want and need from a phone or tablet. Needless to say, companies like Apple and Microsoft are looking to appeal to as many of those consumers as possible.

With 300k sales on the first day of the iPad launch, Apple should be pleased with the first day. The iPad has already been featured on the famous “Will it Blend?” series, and, turns out, the iPad blends quite nicely. Others have been gaining a sense of what the world thinks of the new tablet based on tweets, with a large portion of relevant Twitter users saying that it simply does not replace the iPhone.

While there are quite a few factors that play into the iPhone comparison (namely the iPad 3G version that runs on AT&T’s wireless network not being available until later this month), it’s important to look at end users to see how they feel about a particular product. Especially as Apple has dominated the mobile scene with the prevalence of its iPhones. Introducing a new family member to its existing line up will bring cause for linear comparisons amongst other Apple devices, in addition to those manufactured by other companies.

It’s no surprise that the iPad has been critiqued by iPhone users, especially as the tablet seems to align with many of the principles set forth by the iPhone. A continuation of these principles is part of the allure of the iPad, even though the infrastructure and marketplace around the iPad have yet to match those of the iPhone. So there’s some disappointed sentiment regarding the iPad release, with plenty of room for improving the overall appeal of the device itself.

Which leads us to Microsoft’s announcement of the week. A new line of phones under code name “Pink” is expected from the company sometime in the near future, giving Microsoft a more hands-on approach to the mobile marketplace. Taking cues from Google and its Nexus One, Microsoft has designed the device and the software for the new line, to be manufactured by Sharp.

Microsoft should already have some good feedback to work with, given its latest entrant into the mobile marketplace–the HTC HD2. Sold through TMobile, the HD2 is one of the best efforts put forth by Microsoft that we’ve seen in quite some time, taking many aspects of the device and common uses and apps into consideration. The “Pink” line will likely take these concepts further, with a social networking slant on the new devices.

I think the incorporation of social- and media-sharing and consumption need to be even more developed when it comes to our mobile devices, making them easier to use. We’ve finally found a way to create usability around a mobile device for the act of being mobile–time to take things a step further.