Some more thoughts on mobile-based computing

There are no overarching threads to the technology links I have here beyond the huge emphasis on mobile. The mobile emphasis is insidious because I almost don’t notice that mobile is an angle n nearly every story I see. And when I write mobile, I don’t mean smartphones – or ‘handheld computers – as Newt Gingrich calls them in the hilarious link below. What I mean is mobile-based computing – and that’s mostly about adopting cloud-based content delivery systems, whether you’re talking about Google, Verizon, Vodafone or Microsoft. The hardware guys are just part of the mix.

Look at the links below and tell me they aren’t mobile-centric. And I don’t really think I hand-picked them as such or sub-consciously picked them for mobile. It’s more that this is where the technology world is going. I saw no stories on Cisco and nothing on Level 3. I saw a little bit on Dell and HP. But, on the whole, the world is moving heavily toward mobile-based computing. And apparently, those companies are not leaders in that realm – though Level 3 and Cisco could be.

Note the article on Nokia below in Spanish. I think Nokia’s shareholders are right to grow impatient. I am not optimistic about either Nokia or Blackberry. All of the network effects in mobile are working against them. To the degree Windows Mobile even does make a comeback, Nokia will probably not benefit from it in my view because that will be years in the making as Microsoft morphs tablet and laptop with its operating system iterations. Nokia is dead money unless they do something new. And lowering prices to put out product on Verizon’s CDMA network isn’t going to cut it. 

Verizon Wireless to pay parents surprise $7 billion dividend | Reuters

“Verizon Wireless, the biggest U.S. mobile service provider, said on Monday it would pay its parents Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc a dividend of $7 billion in June, surprising some analysts who had not expected a big payout.”

Just one month in, T-Mobile raises its $99 iPhone 5 down payment — Tech News and Analysis

“The initial iPhone 5 pricing was part of what made T-Mobile’s big new “no-contract” phones push so attractive. Now the carrier is changing the rules: it requires a $149 down payment.”

Yahoo’s Acqui-Hire Spree Continues With Mobile Gaming Startup Loki Studios | TechCrunch

“Yahoo has just been gobbling up startups. In the last week or so, it has announced the acquisition of Astrid, GoPollGo, and Milewise. In fact, in a tweet today, Yahoo said that it has “added 22 entrepreneurs to our growing mobile team,” thanks to the three aforementioned companies — plus a mobile gaming startup called Loki Studios.
the company says it was working on location-based games”

Watch Newt Gingrich’s Embarrassingly Hilarious Video On Renaming Cell Phones | TechCrunch

“Thank you, Newt Gingrich, for this YouTube gem; I think America needed a good laugh. Last week, the former Republican presidential front-runner and moon colony-enthusiast called upon the wisdom of the Internet to come up with a term for an Internet-connected phone, apparently not knowing that they are already called “smartphones”.”

An emotional Bill Gates pays homage to Steve Jobs while recounting final meeting

“As part of an interview with Charlie Rose that aired on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday, a visibly shaken and humble Bill Gates detailed his final visit with Steve Jobs, in which the two discussed everything from family life to empowering the future of eduction through technology.”

Intelligent To Do List App Any.DO Raises $3.5 Million, Will Further Expand Into Personal Productivity Space | TechCrunch

“Unlike many apps, Any.DO has more Android users than iOS, having initially taken advantage of that platform’s popularity, its need for well-built apps, and the potential built-in install base coming from Taskos, who were encouraged to switch over to Any.DO when it first debuted.
Any.DO is beautifully designed, which has the side effect of making the app appear deceptively simple. But in reality, there’s some heavy lifting going on under the hood.
“We believe the tools you have on your homescreen are going to be smarter and smarter over time,” explains Any.DO founder and CEO Omer Perchik. “In terms of the to do list…it will help you accomplish the things you have on your list, and we’ve developed a semantic engine that extracts intents and tries to find the relevant action,” he says. “And on the other hand, it’s basically predicting what you’ll be interested in doing.”
So for example, if you tell the app today that you want to plan a trip or workout at the gym more often, it will recommend other applications that will help you complete those tasks, including things like Kayak, TripAdvisor, MyFitnessPal, and many others. Also, if you tell the app you need to do something like “pay taxes,” it’s smart enough to start reminding you about that task in advance of tax day, even though you never provided an exact date or time.”

With $3.5M in funding, Any.DO proves an “Android first” app strategy can pay off — Tech News and Analysis

“I’ve known for some time that Any.DO is one of the best task management applications on the market. Now a team of investors have shown they do as well: On Monday, Any.DO announced $3.5 million in seed funding led by Genesis Partners and with participation from current investors Innovation Endeavors (Eric Schmidt’s fund), Joe Lonsdale, Blumberg Capital and Joe Greenstein.”

Nokia Brings Updated Windows Phone, the $99 Lumia 928, to Verizon – Ina Fried – Mobile – AllThingsD

“Nokia on Friday announced its long-rumored Lumia 928, a high-end Windows Phone model for Verizon.
The phone will go on sale May 16 for $99 (after a $50 rebate).
It’s a new take on the Lumia 920 that debuted last year. Though generally similar, it features a different screen technology, improved flash and audio recording, and is a bit thinner than the model that has long been on sale at AT&T.”

Video: Nova Launcher Updated, Customize Individual Drawer Icons and New Wallpaper Picker Interface – Droid Life

“Over the weekend, Nova Launcher received an updated to version 2.1, bringing with it a few features that really are quite notable. “

Los inversores de Nokia critican haber caído en brazos de Microsoft | Tecnología | EL PAÍS

This Spanish-language article says that Nokia shareholders are losing patience with their CEO Elop on his taking Nokia into a transition to Windows Mobile – rightly so in my view.  They note the shares trades at 65 euros in 2000 but are now only 2.72 euros.
The transition has been slow and I think it will end in disaster. Probably, Microsoft could take over Nokia once it goes on the scrap heap.

Microsoft’s broken Windows is lesson for Apple –

“If only every new market was approached with such an open mind. But far from approaching them as virgin territory requiring new ideas, as Apple did with the iPhone, technology companies tend to view them as disputed territory waiting to be colonised. The result is gadgets that do not work as well as they should and confused consumers.
Nobody has been more guilty of this recently than Microsoft. The company that dominated the first era of personal computing has been struggling for a way to take the initiative now that Apple has shifted consumers’ focus from their desktop computers on to handheld mobile technology. Some 400m PCs are still likely to ship this year, but their software is no longer the thing around which most people’s digital lives revolve.
Windows 8, the new operating system introduced late last year to correct this state of affairs, looks like being a spectacular example of matching the wrong interface to the wrong screen. “

Microsoft Responds to Windows 8 Critics – John Paczkowski – News – AllThingsD

“According to Microsoft, Windows 8 is a good product that’s steadily improving, and recent suggestions by the media that it is turning into a “New Coke”-style disaster are pure sensationalism. And in an unusual company blog bost, Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s VP of corporate communications, dismissed them as exactly that, suggesting they favored “hyperbole” over “nuanced analysis.”
The point, and the gist of Shaw’s message, is that Windows 8 is here to stay, and that Microsoft’s reaction to consumer backlash over some of its features isn’t going to be a knee-jerk return to a more familiar PC interface. It’s going to be a more considered response.
And if the company does elect to bring back the “Start” button for which so many customers seem to be pining, it’s going to be because it has been listening to feedback and adjusting its new Windows recipe accordingly, not because it’s scrapping it and reverting to the old one. In the meantime, if you’re a Windows 8 user befuddled without the “Start” button, just cowboy up and press the “Windows” key …”

Microsoft prepares rethink on Windows 8 flagship software –

I mentioned this ‘New Coke’ analogy and here is the post that spawned that talk. I don’t see Microsoft’s moves as bad but Waters thinks it is a huge own goal.
“Microsoft is preparing to reverse course over key elements of its Windows 8 operating system, marking one of the most prominent admissions of failure for a new mass-market consumer product since Coca-Cola’s New Coke fiasco nearly 30 years ago.”

New Android Boss Finally Reveals Plans for World’s Most Popular Mobile OS | Wired Business |

“In March, Google announced Rubin was stepping down from Android to pursue unspecified moon shots elsewhere in the company. Pichai would take over Rubin’s duties at Android. He immediately went from being an important Google executive (in addition to Chrome, he was also in charge of Google’s apps efforts) to perhaps the most pivotal member of Larry Page’s “L-team” of top executives. So far Pichai, a 40-year old grad of the fabled Indian Institute of Technology and later Stanford, has kept his head down and refused all press. But as this week’s I/O event approached, he granted WIRED his first interview since taking over Android.”

Google’s Android on 59.5% of all ‘smart mobile devices’ shipped in Q1, Apple at 19.3%

“According to research firm Canalys, Google’s Android platform continues to dominate the worldwide mobile marketplace as the OS powered 59.5 percent of the nearly 310 million smart mobile devices shipped in the first quarter, while Apple managed to grow its iOS and OS X presence to a 19.3 percent share. “

Take that, iPad mini: Retina display Nexus 7 at Google I/O says analyst — Tech News and Analysis

“The expectations of a new Nexus 7 keep rising. This week an analyst notes that Google will use a 1920 x 1200 display and Snapdragon 600 chip for an updated small tablet.”

Quickoffice In The Browser: The Reason Why Microsoft Is Suddenly So Scared Of Google’s Productivity Tools | TechCrunch

“We’re just a few days away from the start of Google I/O, the search giant’s annual developer conference, and while we actually know very little about what Google plans to announce during its massive, three-hour keynote on Wednesday, there is something brewing in Mountain View that has Microsoft’s Office division on edge. Over the course of the last week, Microsoft started a very negative anti-Google Docs campaign that fits the mold of its more general Scroogled anti-Google ads. But why the sudden focus on Google’s productivity tools? That reason, I believe, is Quickoffice in the browser.”

Google+ struggles to attract brands, some neglect to update | South China Morning Post

“To mark the Cinco de Mayo holiday this year, Domino’s Pizza festooned its Facebook page with a string of posts, including an image of a Mexican-themed guacamole pizza that garnered over 2,000 “likes”. But visitors to Domino’s companion Google+ page on that day found less festive fare: The most recent post was from October last year.
Two years after introducing its social network, Google is struggling to win over the brands and businesses that have been its most loyal customers in the Internet search market.
For Google+ to thrive, it is vital to draw in household names, not just to lay the groundwork for potential future business, but also because users of the site have come to expect being able to follow, comment on or even vent about their favourite brands.”

Eric Schmidt thought ‘Don’t Be Evil’ was ‘the stupidest rule ever’ when he joined Google | The Verge

“Schmidt talked about the company’s culture, including the famous “Don’t Be Evil” slogan instituted by co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. “The idea was that we don’t quite know what evil is, but if we have a rule that says don’t be evil, then employees can say, I think that’s evil,” Schmidt said. “Now, when I showed up, I thought this was the stupidest rule ever, because there’s no book about evil except maybe, you know, the Bible or something.” In the end, though, he believes it has worked, by giving employees a way to point out things they find unethical.”

Google Unifies Its Free And Paid Storage Options, Gives You 15GB To Share Between Drive, Gmail And Google+ Photos, 30GB For Apps Users | TechCrunch

“Until now, you’ve had to track your free storage on Google products separately. It was just another thing that Google hadn’t brought together to make it easier on users. Today, the company announced that you’ll now have 15GB of free storage to share between Drive, Gmail and Google+ Photos. Google Apps customers are getting a bump for Drive and Gmail to the tune of 30GB.”

Rumor: AT&T To Discontinue The HTC First Facebook Phone | TechCrunch

“HTC’s Facebook Home-laden First smartphone may only have debuted on AT&T last month, but it appears that the device may be a dud as far as consumers are concerned. According to a report from BGR’s Zach Epstein, sales of the HTC First smartphone have been so disappointing that AT&T will soon be dropping the device from its lineup completely and shipping all unsold inventory back to HTC.
If this report holds true (representatives from AT&T, HTC, and Facebook have not responded to our questions at time of writing), AT&T will continue to sell the First until it fulfills its contractual obligations to display the thing in its myriad retail stores.”

HTC First discontinued by AT&T: First ‘Facebook phone’ a flop | BGR

“The HTC First, or “Facebook phone” as many prefer to call it, is officially a flop. It certainly wasn’t a good sign when AT&T dropped the price of HTC’s First to $0.99 just one month after its debut, and now BGR has confirmed that HTC and Facebook’s little experiment is nearing its end. BGR has learned from a trusted source that sales of the HTC First have been shockingly bad. So bad, in fact, that AT&T has already decided to discontinue the phone.”

iPhone to Android: 1 Blogger’s Journey

“Rob has loyally covered iOS topics for several years at, but with the HTC One in hand and a smile on his face, he is welcomed to Phandroid as a brand new Android enthusiast.”

Amazon Now Offers Amazon Coins Virtual Currency On Kindle Fire, Gives $5 In Free Coins To All Users | TechCrunch

“E-commerce leviathan Amazon today is taking a step into social gaming: Amazon Coins, its new virtual currency, is now live in the U.S. To kick it off, Amazon announced that it would put $5 worth of the currency — equivalent to 500 Coins — into all Kindle Fire users’ accounts to use on apps and in-app purchases on its platform. The company says that this is equivalent to “tens of millions of dollars” worth of Amazon Coins.
Coins, which were first announced in February, are the company’s move into an area that has been a strong way for app publishers to generate revenue through their apps. In that sense, the launch serves a two-fold purpose for Amazon: a way of encouraging developers to come to its platform (something Amazon has already been working on), and to spur more revenue generation.”

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