Posts Tagged ‘Android’

Should I get the BlackBerry KeyOne?

I’ve been thinking that my next Android device to replace the Nexus 6 would likely be the BlackBerry KeyOne. It is apparently already selling in Selfridges, and the reviews are starting to pour in.

Verdict? Good keyboard and battery life. The good battery life should be good for the fact that I like to tether and share the Internet from my Android device when travelling. It also has fast USB C charging.

I want to increase my productivity on the go. Email on the go is something I feel like I’ve not managed to wrap myself around since I ditched my BlackBerry 9700 in 2013. I want to use Twitter (though the 3 tweets on a screen seems like a limitation; until you notice that on your iPhone 7, you also only see 3 tweets…). I want to use Bloomberg. And likely I want to blog. But maybe I also want to manage tasks on the go, like run OmniFocus. Oh, and Slack – that’s pretty crucial now.

So now I’ve spent many years in the iOS ecosystem. I don’t find my Android being too useful beyond running the occasional GMail, Gogole Maps, Swarm, Chrome. I want to use Android more clearly, hence the BlackBerry. But I also see software I like like OmniFocus that will likely never come to Android, and they don’t encourage 3rd party clients. A tad annoying.

Who says the ecosystem doesn’t matter?

Cyanogenmod raises money – how will they make money?

OK to USE?Cyanogen, makers of Cyanogenmod for Android devices, just raised $7 million from Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures. The founder Steve Kondik has a really nice story: a new chapter.

When you raise money, you certainly have to provide some form of “exit”. Many comments are asking how they’re going to commercialise, since they have a great commitment to opensource. Just look at their repositories.

The Verge thinks Cyanogenmod might be the third OS in mobile (after iOS and Android). It might even be ahead of Windows Mobile. Impressive. Just look at the opt-in installation statistics (~7.7 million installs).

I’ve never loaded Cyanogenmod on my Android device. I’ve owned a Nexus One, HTC Desire HD (10 days?) and a Samsung Galaxy S III. Samsung is clearly not pushing out updates yet (they delay them from what I gather now that the S IV is out) so I might look into Cyanogenmod soon.

I’m interested in how they’re going to monetize. Some options:

  1. Make an easy-to-use end user installer. Charge for it.
  2. Work with device manufacturers who are making cheap devices. 
  3. Work with device manufacturers like HTC, who are making devices but aren’t really “successful”, and replace their UI to be more streamlined.
  4. Secure messaging already exists; offer even better at a price tag?
  5. Secure voice calling for a fee? The resurgence of VOIP in an easy-to-use format.
  6. Offer hosted secure email, that is a gmail replacement? Nokia tried this to some extent with Ovi services. You got an Ovi account when you got a device.
  7. Preload a Whatsapp-equivalent, like Samsung does (ChatON); make it available on many platforms?
  8. Encrypted/secure backup & restore. Restoring on Android loses account details for example.
  9. Acquire TrueCaller and have the services built-in. Imagine this running as a default? Imagine paying $1/month to never have to answer spam again?

Many options exist. The firmware will be free. This is great, because older devices that manufacturers choose to neglect will just run Cyanogenmod.

The potential for developing nations is great too. The second hand market for an Android device just got a lot better. The total lifespan of a device might become tremendously longer. Interesting moves and something to watch, especially in a world where more open options are starting to come by: FirefoxOS, Ubuntu phones, etc.

Facebook Home

Colored houseI happened to be awake last night so I caught the announcement via livestream for Facebook Home. I’m glad its just a system launcher. There are many (I myself on my phone use Nova Launcher), but from the demo, this is beautifully designed with a new take on the interface. The demo showed it being smoother than butter ;)

Chat heads look interesting. Some may claim it being bothersome or unintuitive, but most iOS users have this already turned on via accessibility settings assistive touch since the home button breaks far too easily. Why a little white dot when you can now make it do things for you?

I was impressed with the amount of partners on launch day. Buy-in from manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, Sony, Huawei, Lenovo, ZTE, Alcatel. Chipmaker like Qualcomm. Telcos like AT&T, Orange, EE. I can only expect this to grow of course. Gives great competition in the mobile landscape for 2013.

You see, FirefoxOS has a huge amount of partners & buy-in. I continue to be surprised that Ubuntu doesn’t have a similar page.

Am I switching from iOS as my main phone? Unlikely. I’m almost certain that many at Facebook, including Zuckerberg runs on IOS. But I will be playing with this on my secondary device (the Galaxy S3). I’m a little surprised that the April 12 launch isn’t available for the Nexus set of phones… and in Asia, the Galaxy Note form factor is popular, where did that go?

HTC First will be the first device to come with the Facebook Home system launcher as a default. I’m not sure how this is different to them applying skins and admitting that Facebook does it better. This isn’t the first time they’re playing around with a Facebook phone though.

Interesting times as Facebook has confirmed that their strategy is clearly mobile first. The fact that they built this on top of Android can’t really impress Google very much ;)

Others have also covered this well, i.e a strategy for Facebook, how this isn’t good for privacy.

Mobile landscape: Ubuntu, Firefox OS

LandscapedLong-term I’m bullish on Android. Its everywhere, its like the multiple Linux distributions. I have a preference to Google-sanctioned devices (i.e. the Nexus series), but each and every Android device manufacturer has their own bells & whistles.

The mobile landscape is actively changing. I was in Paris when I watched the announcement that there would be an Ubuntu for phones. I was a little disappointed that the announcement was for the possibility with no manufacturers or no actual device being announced. You’d presume that’s what you would get with the countdown on the website, and all the hype built up around it. To add to my confusion, there still exists Ubuntu for Android, which has been around for quite some time with no one biting. I heard its vaguely opensource so you could run it on a device, but I’ve not seen much.

The idea is amazing (carrying your phone, plugging it in to see a full-featured desktop) and I can’t wait to see what happens in 2014. It seems like the developer environment is Qt/QML for a native feel, but you’ve also got HTML5. They’re going to leverage on the Ubuntu community. I just think the hype around this is being built too early.

However, what’s more exciting is Mozilla’s recent announcements. They have a Firefox OS developer preview phone announced. They tell you how to use Firefox OS today. There are also AppDays happening worldwide. And they have a phone coming soon as a partnership with Geeksphone & Telefonica of Spain. Here it seems clear that your HTML5 apps are going to rock (see the Firefox Marketplace). When I say soon, I’m saying next month, i.e. February 2013. I’ve signed up to buy one.

The mobile landscape is changing. Nokia was the king of phones with Symbian, and today they’re backing Windows Mobile. Most of the top manufacturers are building Android devices (opensource). There are many companies signed up to make Tizen devices in 2013 and beyond (opensource). Now you have opensource Ubuntu & Firefox OS. Apple may have started this modern trend but iOS device sales aren’t stellar (witness Apple’s recent stock drop). iOS to be fair is also built on opensource (itself its closed).

Year of the Linux desktop? Who needs that. You’ve already arrived at the years of opensource computing.

Ditched the iPad… for a Nexus 7

About two weeks ago, I ditched my iPad. I backed it up, did a clean reset, and gave the iPad to my mother. My primary tablet now is the Google Nexus 7. 

I like the 7″ form factor better. It is also much lighter. The battery life compared to the iPad isn’t nearly as great, but I’ll just have to make do.

Why not an iPad Mini? Quite simply because I bought the Nexus 7 first and cannot justify carrying 2 7″-like tablets. I realized I didn’t use that much software, regularly, on my iPad so the migration process wasn’t too difficult.

My mother is enjoying playing tonnes of games on it. The only game she’s purchased is PvZ HD which is on sale now for $0.99. Everything else is free.

Me? I’m getting used to the Nexus 7 as my primary device. What do I use on it mostly? Web browser (Chrome). Kindle to read books. NYTimes application, though I hate that I have to see ads even though I’m a paying user. Evernote for little snippets of notes here & there.

Beyond that, I’m now on a trip and have no inclination to miss my iPad. Weird feeling, huh?

A new phone, new for 9 months?

Apple is right. What sucks is that they make you wait one whole quarter before you get the new iPhone. So you really only have it as a “new phone” for 3 quarters. A mere 9 months.

Official Apple Store Malaysia - Buy the new iPad and MacBook Pro with Retina display, iPhone, iPod, and More - Apple Store (Malaysia)

I remember similar priced smartphones, like the Nokia Communicator, be the device to have for up to 36 months. When was the last time your iPhone device lasted for 36 months? Software wise, it usually does well though (kudos Apple, you didn’t screw up like the iPad). When was the last time you used a similar priced Android phone for 36 months?