Posts Tagged ‘app developers’

Here, and defending your trademarks

I read: Nokia threatens London start-up over ‘HERE”.

It’s all about Lowdownapp (I’ve not heard about it before this), made by David J Senior & crew. I think the crux of the problem is that they have also released an app called HERE and Nokia is obviously pissed because of HERE Maps.

Apparently Nokia has spent USD$12m on creating the HERE brand and are now defending it.

I’m not surprised this startup hadn’t heard of it. I’m also not surprised that unless you’ve used a Windows phone, you’ve probably not heard about HERE Maps either. There was a release of HERE Maps on iOS, but I’m sure it never got the attention that Apple Maps or Google Maps got (I’m including Apple here because laugh as much as you want, being a default, really helps).

A few months back, I spoke to an entrepreneur doing indoor mapping, and mentioned to him that Google Maps is starting to encroach on that space as possible competition (he knew that). I then said that the best indoor maps I’d seen so far had come from HERE Maps. He had never heard about it, and he’s deep into mobile and mapping. 

It’s a sad fact of life that $12m is money not well spent, because no one at the moment really cares about the Windows phone platform; so if that is your app showcase, you’ve screwed the pooch. To make matters worse, you can’t even find HERE Maps on the Apple App Store today (it was pulled down in 2013, but apparently will make a comeback in early 2015). It is still available as a beta in the Android Play Store. I liked this thread between Benedict Evans and David Senior, because while its clear that Nokia does have a trademark, and its clear to Benedict Evans since he watches this market, its definitely unclear to the masses that Nokia has anything to do with Here.

Should all startups perform a trademark search before naming their companies? I’m not sure — its already hard to get a good name with domain/social media presence these days. Plus its time consuming (not to mention costly) to do a trademark search in multiple jurisdictions that you care about (or maybe you can use a service like this?). Not something the average startup wants to spend costs on.

Heck, even established companies like Microsoft end up doing a rename of SkyDrive to OneDrive to please BSkyB. So it’s not a startup rookie mistake either.

What happens next is likely that the folks at Lowdownapp will rename their Here app; the functionality I’m guessing will remain the same, it will just be called something different. Do I like it? Absolutely not. However as a bonus, it looks like the app only launched in Dec 2014 so maybe it will be easier giving in to this battle.

Didn’t take long for iOS6-only apps

It didn’t take long for my prediction on 24 September to come true on 11 October. My suspiscion was also correct, it would be led by Marco Arment, but it had nothing to do with Instapaper, it was the launch of a new product titled The Magazine.

The reason to make it iOS 6 only?

It uses some iOS 6-only features and fonts, and it’s architected for iOS 6’s gesture handling. Setting this high baseline also greatly simplifies testing, maintenance, and future updates.

Wow. Fonts & gestures. Amazing.

Greed or tradeoff from Apple? 

On why the iPhone isn’t ready for the Malaysian market

I have lamented before, that Apple should sell the device, in more markets, especially here in Malaysia. I experimented with grabbing one here, and it turned out to be a pleasant experience. I can only sing praises for iWorld’s customer service, and quick delivery, and more.

But I think I’ve come to a realisation as to why the iPhone 3G is not ready for the Malaysian market yet, despite it being a groundbreaking device. So assuming you’re pining for one, you might want to think again, and settle for what is available in the market currently.

  1. The camera is nothing to shout about – who cares for a 2MP camera, with no flash, no video recording by default. The quality is passable, but no different from my old Nokia E61i. I’d have expected a lot more from Apple, clearly.
  2. No Multimedia Messaging (MMS) – don’t you think this is short-sighted? You’ve snapped a nice photo, and now you want to share it, and your only method to do it, is via email? Especially when the cost of MMS is a lot less than the cost of sending one email – unless you have an unlimited data plan, and that comes at around RM99/month via Maxis.
  3. No video calling – the whole idea of a 3G network, is that you have a lot more bandwidth to use, and you would make video calls. In fact, Maxis doesn’t charge you any more to make a video call, than they charge you to make a voice call. Is this forward thinking? I believe so. But with the iPhone 3G, you cannot make a video call, which seems kind of daft. Its useful, when you’re out shopping, or just wanting to see what the other person looks like…

So, unless you’ve got an unlimited data plan (they don’t come cheaply), you’ll find the iPhone 3G lacking. In fact, even with an unlimited data plan, its kind of lacking, in comparison to what you can get from Nokia and other providers. Apparently, not only I think the iPhone 3G is semi-daft – APC magazine came out with ten reasons too (though to be fair, cut&paste works now, I believe).

And until the iTunes Music Store becomes available, I don’t see it being too useful. In fact, I see a lot of iPhone’s being used these days, but I can assure you the use of the AppStore is limited – so, even if I were planning to develop applications for the local market, I would think again.

On local developers
I would however like to highlight that there are local iPhone/iPod Touch application developers. Take a look a ApptivityLab with their mistletoe application, as well as the wabbit studio’s shizi app, that is a Chinese & Hong Kong units translator.

I always remember writing units translators when I first learn a new language. Its one of those exercises that you do, similar to Hello World.

At some stage, it would be great if there were local applications, that provided more integration with the A-GPS, and more. I have plenty of ideas, but its a chicken and egg situation – I’ll have to wait for Apple to bring the device here. But Apple won’t – because the device is lacking. So maybe, we’ll see something new at WWDC 2009? I doubt it, but I have hope. Why? Because Apple designs for the American market largely, and the American cell networks, are just not nearly as advanced as those, outside America.

As an aside… I’m surprised it was ready for the Singaporean market. I’d have assumed that MMS, a phone that records video, video calls, and more, would be required.


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