Thursday, August 11, 2011
I am referring to the events surrounding the decision of Hitler to move East and fight a war in 2 fronts. He ended up fighting the Russians and the Allies. Whatever the reasons, it was the beginning of the end. In the books that I read, the analysis was that it was overconfidence on the part of Hitler. He thought that he could overwhelm the Russians with ease, a mistake that would prove fatal for his regime.
Today, we have Apple fighting wars on at least 4 fronts. It is fighting a war on the mobile phone market in the market itself and in court. It is also doing the same thing on the tablet pc front, where they are fighting in the market and in court. It would appear that all sides are gearing up for a battle royale, which could mark the beginning of Apples unraveling.
Some independent industry analysts are thinking that this multi-theater battle smacks of desperate moves on Apples part to regain market share. This scenario is further supported by what seems to be a concerted move on the part of publicists to paint an extremely rosy picture of Apple Inc.
Nearly every day, there is some article extolling the invincibility and financial success which Apple is enjoying. This is actually a move that can backfire. Some analysts are pointing out that Apple is even more valuable than the US and some other large companies. This a scenario that might not sit well with the general public, particularly Apples clients, in the aftermath of the downgrading of USA by Standard and Poor.
Well, if a company is making too much money, and can spend millions on court cases across the globe, then some people might think that they are making too much money from their customers. Some customers, particularly those who are feeling the crunch, might take a very serious look at the value for money rating of their machines. On the other hand, it could be that the company is losing market share and it is a desperate move on the part of the publicists to make the company seem more viable and attractive.
There is also another factor which could fast become the straw that broke the camels back. Many consumers are beginning to wake up to the fact that ultimately, they will be the ones to bear the burden of all these lawsuits. It costs money to file a suit and it will cost money when you lose one.
These consumers are smart enough to know that this will end up coming from their pockets. It’s ironic that these should come at a time when the competition has shown decisively that quality products can be produced at prices that are less astronomical. Samsung for one, has made the smartphone and the tablet pc immensely affordable putting it within the reach of average Joe.
But this may not last long because as the litigation costs pile up, and these companies lose money due to the inability to sell their products, the prices of these devices will go up once more.
There are many ways to interpret all these events, but one thing is certain. HTC, Samsung and all the other companies involved are not taking this sitting down. The public has also begun to back some players and their choice does not begin with the letter “A”.
Banning the sale of the Galaxy 10.1 in Europe is clearly the opening salvo in this battle which will definitely change the landscape of technology. An massive upset is imminent and that would pave the way for a new, and hopefully a more sober market place where competition will benefit the consumer, which is the way it should be.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I have been watching the flurry of patent related suits being bandied back and forth between major manufacturers.
I'm sure most of you have heard about all these suits of Apple against Samsung, HTC and Google which were likewise reciprocated with countersuits by the manufacturers involved. Then there is the case of Kodak against Apple and RIM.
In the midst of these patent wars, there are several thoughts that cross my mind.
One is I wonder what the end result will be and how substantial would be its effects. It is possible that one company will end up paying royalties to the other company. Should this be the case then the end user will be the ultimate loser, since it is almost a certainty that the additional cost will be passed on to them. While the foregoing scenario itself is quite an unpleasant and undesirable one, there is one another one that borders on the insidious, with sinister motives.
I have noticed that some writers are having a heyday predicting the downfall of Android, HTC, Samsung or at least the very least a massive loss of revenue for them as a result of the suits filed by Apple.
It is quite curious but wherever Apple is involved as a plaintiff, like clockwork, a study or article will crop up painting the equivalent of a doomsday scenario for the companies involved. Yet when Apple is the defendant, like in the case of Kodak, there are no articles that paint the same dismal scenario even though the case of Kodak could stop the importation of Iphones and Rim phones into the US.
On the other hand again, articles are aplenty about how Android will lose gazillions of market share because it may have to pay $5 to $15 per phone should they lose the suit !??
I don't know where these figures came from, but it seems logical to assume that the inability to import your devices is tantamount to massive loss of revenue. But in this equation, a $15 fine spells a catastrophic market loss. Go figure.
To my mind, it seems that someone is trying their very best to use unsavory methods to eat into a competitors market. Obviously someone is getting desperate and is now pulling out all stops to prevent what appears to be an impending if not current loss of market share. I would not be surprised if one of the players involved is incurring bigger losses than they are admitting.
Then of course, one must also keep in mind that there is also the question of international politics since the current battle in this market is USA vs Taiwan vs Korea, at least in some areas. In the other area, its free vs paid.... the usual crusade of open source against the "for profit"giants. What is even more distressing is that the case of Kodak has been dragging on for quite a while, but the case of Apple has gone right to center stage, getting a lot of attention, from the agencies involved and the media... It's something with very serious implications.
On my part I believe that someone should at least try to level the field by putting all the facts on the table. So i am rising to that challenge. From this point onwards, I will write a sort of editorial type article for my blog as my contribution to fair and honest writing.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Two important updates about the HTC SENSATION
1. HTC confirmed via Facebook page, that the SENSATION will be included in the system update that will unlock the BOOTLOADERS! This upgrade is expected in September.
2. The OTA update to the SENSATION that was rolled out in Europe a few days ago, is now available in the Philippines. Nothing fancy, according to HTC, just some system performance improvements.The new version after the update is 1.35.707.1
Here is a link to the page about the upgrade:
And here is the XDA thread about the update
Friday, July 8, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
We got a Nokia C3-00 as a loyalty phone from SUN. It's a great phone for the price, looking like a baby brother of my E71 which remains as one of my favorite phones.
However, since this phone was on a fixed load plan, my partner who is using the phone was horrified that her load was being eaten up for unknown reasons. The reason became clear when I checked out the logs. The phone had been connected to packet data, doing so on its own.
So the first thing we did was call Nokia to ask about the settings. It's a bit embarrassing to admit, but I had a hard time navigating the menus and it was then I silently thanked the powers that be, for the usability of android.
After talking to Nokia Care, and setting the various permissions relative to the access point, etc, we were confident that the phone would no longer connect automatically, So it was to our surprise that the phone continued to eat its load! Thankfully this was not a postpaid line otherwise, I was sure it would rack up thousands of pesos worth of data usage.
The next thing I asked her to do was to call SUN and while the customer support painstakingly went through the settings, the conclusion was that the Nokia people had provided what they deemed to be the proper solution. Hence they were left scratching their heads, while we were also scratching ours.
Despite a huge backlog of work, I could not accept that ME, a tech blogger at that, could not find a solution to this problem.
So I proceeded to attack the problem. Now to the best of my knowledge, I knew that the best way to prevent data charges was through the access point. Some judicious surfing provided me with what appeared to be the answer. I found this on the NOKIA Canada website and so far it seems to be working. The phone is able to access the internet through the WLAN and it has not attempted to connect to packet yet.
My other move was supposed to be creating a dummy APN to ensure that the phone does not attempt to connect behind my back while the WLAN network is unavailable. However, it seems that because the phone is locked to SUN, the settings for the default APN are unavailable to me.
In the meantime, those having the same problems with data usage might want to try the NOKIA solution below:
How can i use always WLAN connection on my Nokia C3-00 phone for Internet instead of GPRS?
Select Menu > Settings > Connectivity > WLAN > Available WLANs > Check the WLAN name you wish to connect.
Select Menu > Settings > Configuration >Personal settings > Add new > Access Point > Write the name of the WLAN access point you check before.
Select Menu > Settings and Configuration > Preferred access point — View the saved access points and choose the preferred WLAN access point.
Menu > Settings > Connectivity > WLAN > Internet Connection :Ask first
you are asked for the connection method every time you open an application that requires an Internet connection such as Browser or Mail.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
SAMSUNG GALAXY S II
Forgive me for the delay in posting the buyers guide. I was sidetracked this week by the announcement by two telecom companies about the Samsung Galaxy 2 and the HTC Sensation. I have been waiting for these two phones and now that they are here, I am faced with the unpleasant task of selecting one….for now ;)
A few details:
Globe Telecom announced that it was taking pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy 2. Thankfully, it is available to early birds at a much lower price point, the MySuperSurf 2499 or MySuperPlan 2499. The new MySuperSurf plan looks tailor made for my needs and the price point is fair.
Interested readers can view the Globe page here:
Smart Communications, not wanting to be left behind, also announced the availability of the HTC Sensation for pre-order. The details on the page are a bit skimpy but the price point is a bit higher than the Galaxy 2 which most reviewers consider to be the better machine, though by a small margin.
The pre-order page states the availability of the HTC Sensation under the Unli Data Plan 3000 which is not as a good a deal as the Globe one. It might be a matter of suppliers because the Sony Xperia Arc is available from Smart under the consumable plan 2500 which should have been par for the HTC Sensation.
Anyway, readers who want to preorder the HTC Sensation OR the HTC Wildfire S can go here: http://smart.com.ph/htc1/
It's great to see that the telecom companies are getting more into the high end units. However, the plans are starting to get too blown up in proportion and the plans hitting 2500 to 4000 pesos are a bit too much. In my experience, P999 seems to be the sweet spot and 1,500 and 2,500 are acceptable for plans like Sun Cellular's Elite Plans
Sun Cellular just has to rethink the pricing of the triple unlimited because they appear a bit overpriced as far as the landline service is concerned. The units also have to be rethought because the Sun Elite 2,500 offers the Galaxy Tab as a free phone, but when you consider that the Galaxy 2 is also available at the 2.500 price point from Globe then that is a nearly 10,000 peso difference staring them in the face...
Globe's MySuperSurf is "almost" a really great deal. If they include Super Duo in the deal, it could threaten the dominance of Sun as the value leader.
Competition is always good for the consumer and with the cellular wars starting to heat up again, it looks like the next few months will be good ones for the new phone buyers.
So the buyers guide is coming next.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
For quite a long time, the smartphone was not that popular among mobile phone users. The high cost of the units, the perception that they were too complex and had features that were of little use to the average mobile phone user made them a specialty niche composed primarily of business users.
However all this change over the last decade and the smart phone market began to experience rapid growth. A large portion of this change can be directly attributable to the increase in the use of the Internet and the proliferation of relatively cheap mobile Internet plans. The entry and popularity of social media and its integration into mobile devices over these past 5 years propelled smartphone usage to all-time highs. Consequently, it's expected that the smart phone will soon be the unit of choice for majority of mobile users.
What is a smartphone?
Before anything else let's define what a smartphone is. In its most basic form, it's a device which combines the function of a phone and a PDA or personal digital assistant. They integrate some form of contact management, messaging, file management and other PDA functionalities. Most are capable of multitasking and task switching and have some form of connectivity. In the past this connectivity was purely by mobile WAP but this has been supplemented today with USB connectivity as well as Wi-Fi capability. These devices contain many applications that mimic those on PCs such as word processors and spreadsheets. Aside from this, they also allow installation of other applications by the user. Smartphones come with operating systems, not unlike those on desktop computers.
Early examples of smartphones
Some notable examples include the Sony Ericsson P800/P9xx series, Palm Treo and the Nokia 9000 Communicator series.
These phones were considered essential tools for business persons specially since these phones had the ability to connect to corporate e-mail networks. Speaking of which another smart phone which rode to success on the wave of corporate connectivity is the RIM Blackberry which became popular because of the security inherent in its wireless system.
The big names enter the game
From then on device after device emerged in rapid succession in a game of corporate one-upmanship which benefited the consumer a great deal by bringing down the prices of the units. Eventually Microsoft entered the game and developed the Windows mobile system beginning with Windows CE. It was initially positioned to be a direct competitor to the PDAs from Palm and other operating systems.
As the devices slowly crept into the mainstream, the prices began to enter the mass appeal segment with the entry of cheaper smart phones which were repositioned by way of changing their feature set to appeal to the non-business segment. The main strategy was to focus more on multimedia and examples of this included the Nokia N series and the Samsung Omnia.
This emerging market was not lost on Apple so they decided to get into the game by way of the iPhone. Of course, given the cult status of Apple, it came as no surprise that the iPhone became a runaway success. While there appears to be some marketing magic being done to create an impression of hysteric demand for its units, there is no denying that the iPhone is indeed a success in this market.
The entry of a maverick
In a manner that mimicked the PC world, the smart phone market now started to become a battle of operating systems. Where the PC world has Windows, OS/X and the different Unix/Linux flavors, the mobile OS world has Symbian, Windows Mobile, IOS, Blackberry OS and Android.
Google may have been the latecomer to the party but it made a huge impression because of its open source platform which was not unlike the Ubuntu platform. This was a development which soon changed the face of the mobile smart phone market in a large way. It soon became apparent that all the old favorites such as Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Symbian system and even IOS were losing their market share to the android system.
The old guard fights back
2010 saw the beginning of some attempts by the old guard to regain or at least protect their market share. Pretty soon, several innovations began to emerge and there was talk of major revamps to the different operating systems. So Windows Mobile 7, the new IOS, new Blackberry and a new Symbian flavor were launched. Despite the innovations, all of them, with the possible exception of Apple, were one step behind Android. Because of its open source nature and the avid developers in the Android community, the OS was continually refined, tuned and optimize while waiting for Google to release the next version.
How to choose?
|Graphic courtesy ofhttp://simplygetit.blogspot.com/2010/12/mobile-operating-systems.html|
With at least 6 operating systems to choose from, the smartphone market has been transformed from a small niche market to the fastest growing segment of the market. Couple this with the number of manufacturers and there will definitely be a sea of choices in the smartphone arena.
With such a confusing scenario it is clear that buying a smart phone has become a very complicated process. There are so many factors to take into consideration and because of the competition, there are so many good units around. Perhaps the choice might be easier if you are primarily an Apple user where it might make sense to choose the iPhone if only because of its compatibility with your desktop applications. This however is not absolute because there are some tasks which other smart phones are better able to do than the iPhone and if majority of your smart phone needs revolve around those capabilities then it might make more sense for you to go for a non-Apple smartphone since there is very little problem anyway with inter-connectivity nowadays.
In the next blog post I will put together a small guide for smartphone buyers in the Philippines. Despite its developing country status, the Philippines has enjoyed one of the highest percentages of mobile phone usage in the world. In fact it has been considered by many to be the text messaging capital of the world.
This has led to more and more competition among mobile phone service providers in the Philippines Thus we have a continuing entry of the latest and the greatest smartphones being offered here. For instance, the Sony Xperia X12, the Nokia E7 and the HTC Desire S are all offered by the telecom companies here. The dual cores have arrived in the market spearheaded by the LG Optimus 2X. The Galaxy 2 is expected in June as well, etc etc, you get the picture…. Bottom line, there are so many choices and so many variables.
So having seen the confusion in my own social circle and experiencing it myself, I will provide some tips to try to help the average Filipino smartphone buyer in picking the devices the best devices for the needs. I will publish this in my post next week.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
In my last post, I mentioned that I was finally hacking my HTC Desire.
Well I went ahead and did it. But mind you, it was an extremely long process that saw me going through no less than 4 different ROMS (or was it 6??) and even more kernels! It was there that I realized that some custom kernels left some features out and others would have it all, albeit with limited functionalities. In other words, a great deal of them, if not all, were compromises.
This brings me to the most important step of hacking an Android to change its ROM. You must make a list of WHY you want to change it, and make another list of the FEATURES you MUST have. I cannot stress this enough mainly because I failed to do this and ended up wasting time. In my 4th attempt, I came equipped with a list which enabled me to do the second important step which is: If the ROM you want lacks certain functions, search for alternatives which you can install after hacking it.
So having said that, I finally found the best ROM for me which is ….drum roll please….. the Cyanogen Mod-7. Yes I mentioned in my previous post that this was my current ROM. At that time, I was a bit wary about the ROM because of bad experiences with the previous ones. However, I managed to get in all the functionalities I needed either within the ROM or through some third party free apps.
I suppose many would be asking at this point, what the end result is.
In a nutshell, it's like getting a brand new phone. It's not an exaggeration.
You see the Cyanogen mod or CM7 dispenses completely with HTC Sense. While others might bemoan this omission, it is one that I welcome because while Sense is an attractive interface, whenever I open the running applications section, I am dismayed at all the processes that need to run for Sense to do its job. That spells "battery eaters" to me and that is one commodity that is extremely scarce in most Android phones. In the Android world, gone are the days of a weekly charge because an "every two days" charge is cause for celebration.
Aside from the new interface, the CM7 ROM comes with so many tweaks that it's enough to make a grown geek cry. I know I almost did. There is nothing that makes phone geeks happier than to know that they can adjust things to their hearts content. Then given the fact that Cyanogen is one of the most popular 3rd party ROMS developer in the Android world, you can be sure that there is always help at hand if you manage to mess up your phone.
I originally thought that a compromise was the lack of tweaks to the camera interface which was something I was willing to live with. But after further research, I came across several excellent camera apps that came with even more tweaks than the original HTC camera so at this point in time I can state that there are no compromises in my CM7 setup compared to the original HTC sense.
The very best parts about this hack are twofold. One is that I no longer fear the low memory message because with close to 30 apps installed, my Desire still has 120 MB of space. Moreover, it is not likely to be used up because of the judicious transfer of apps to sd card. Second, whereas prior to the hack I was getting barely 24 hours of run time from my battery, today, I get about 2 ½ days! It's amazing that I was able to get this much additional battery life while using my phone just as much or even more. With wifi or mobile networks left on, I get a little over 2 days, like 50 hours.
Of course, these are my personal results and yours may vary. There are too many variables that can affect the ROMS performance but the important thing is to know the benefits that are achievable. Let me say again that hacking a phone is not for everyone and it will most likely, void your warranty. My phone is almost a year old so I had no problems losing the warranty.
Lastly, keep in mind that you must evaluate and select 3 important bits of software for your phone. These 3 determine the overall benefit you get from the hack. These are the Kernel, the main ROM and the Radio. Read up about your choices and select them very well.
Here again is the link to my CM7 ROM on XDA:
Thursday, May 19, 2011
It was bound to happen. The memory was running low and it seemed that my 1st Generation Desire was consuming it's battery at an alarming rate. I was lucky to make it through a full 24 hours on a single charge.
The Sun Elite Plan 1.5 is partly to blame. After all, with a trio of unlimited services, there was no reason not to stay connected to the internet even when I was away from my office / home wifi network. Then I would think age is a factor too since my Desire is pushing a year already. Time to upgrade maybe (wink wink).
However, its back to school time so there is no money for upgrade yet. The costless alternative is to hack it and see if some of the newer custom ROMs are better for power management.
So my saga began with rooting my phone, doing an S-off, messing around with the H Boot and flashing an endless stream of radios and ROMs.
My guide through all this was mainly the XDA site and rather than repeat what I went through, it would be easier to just post the links to the excellent resources I ran into.
So here are the resources. In my next post, I'll give some feedback about my adventures in ROM land.
Here is the link to the noob proof guide, with video to boot, from XDA:
Did someone say rooting? These guys made rooting a painless experience:
You'll have to do something called S-OFF to your Desire. This group fearlessly went ahead into the unknown so that your Desire can be set free:
Everything Desire is purported to be in this compilation. Very useful:
A more technical guide to Desire upgrades can be found here:
My current ROM can be seen here:
Their Wiki is here:
A pair of excellent tools that saved me from a lot of work:
S2E which is app2sd for the CM7
Fastboot Commander – made reflashing Hboot an easy process
You'll be needing the new radios so here is where you can get more info about them:
That's it for now.
Remember, you can easily brick your phone doing any of the stuff above.
READ AND UNDERSTAND THE MATERIAL BEFORE PROCEEDING.
I am not responsible if you end up bricking your precious Desire, so proceed with caution.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Been making it a point to visit the HTC SEA support site ever since I got my HTC's.
Lately, I have been burning with anticipation over the statement by HTC that the Desire family will be getting Gingerbread.
So when I saw this FOTA update for the Desire Z today, I immediately downloaded it and I was all over myself trying to check the software version after the upgrade.
Unfortunately the software is still Froyo as the version is still 2.2.1.
That's the bad news. But the good news is that this upgrade is supposed to "improve system performance and Camera feature enhancements"
Oh well, I guess it will make the waiting for the official Gingerbread update more bearable…
Here is the link for those who wish to update their Desire Z's
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Guess it really is true that good things come to those who wait. I mentioned just a few posts down that I wasn't really keen on the Nexus S because I was expecting the dual core phones to be coming out.
This is way back in December 6 and at that time there were rumors of the LG dual core that was due to come out soon which did come to pass. It was released sometime in January and created quite a bit of excitement being the first dual core Android Smartphone. However the rest of the phone wasn't really much of an improvement over my current stable of phone so I wasn't really tempted into getting a new phone just yet.
I was given the chance to get an Iphone 4 at a really great price because our company is a good client of Globe, but I just couldn't get myself to want the Iphone 4 particularly when I know that the Iphone 5 is coming out soon. Let me say that contrary to what some people say, the HTC or the Galaxy are most certainly not the poor mans Iphone. I could have bought any of these phones but the usability of Android, particularly my HTC Desire is way beyond the capabilities of the Iphone 4. Am I an Apple basher? Most certainly not. In fact I have been pining for a 27 inch iMac with an I7 which I hope to get this year. I am just not blind to technology and price/performance. I don't mind paying premium price as long as I get value. I hate paying just for the name of a product, perhaps I've never been a label kind of guy.
Anyway, I digress. So there were rumors floating around about the second iteration of the Samsung Galaxy and sure enough, it was just released along with the Galaxy Tab II as well. While both of them are big news, the Galaxy S II is my primary interest (my family has to eat too) because it is quite an improvement over its predecessor. It's got a bigger screen, 4.3 inch, Gorilla glass super AMOLED Plus display which exceeds the display on the Desire HD. Furthermore it's got a 1 GHz DUAL CORE processor and it's quite thin as well at 8.49 mm which gives it bragging rights as the thinnest smartphone as of this date.
I did get a respite from gadget envy of about 3 months but its officially over and the biggest problem for me now is which phone will be replaced. You see I was able to get most of the bugs from my Galaxy S ironed out. I upgraded the software and am now using Doc Rom from Docs kitchen. I am using the Speedmod kernel which took care of a lot of the phones problems from lag of the phone all the way to some tweaks including backlight modification.
I have to admit that despite the upgrades in all my phones softwares, the most usable phone for me, hence my main phone, is still my HTC desire. I couldn't bring myself to purchase a Desire HD because technically it wasn't a better phone than my Desire. Secondly I was able to upgrade my HD2 to a NAND based android so for all intents and purposes it's like I have a Desire HD since I am running a Desire Z ROM with the new Sense interface.
So I guess I'll wait a little bit more and see what HTC has in store for us in the coming months. Personally though if I get an offer from my local telco about the Galaxy II I'm afraid I may just spring for it without thinking twice. After all, the dual core and the big display alone are enough to win me over, but on top of that, it's also got an eight megapixel snapper, an LED flash and it has a two megapixel front facing camera!
Obviously this is truly an endless parade of gadgets and it there will always be a new one coming. Yes it can be quite expensive but then it always gives you something to look forward to. Furthermore, it also gives you an incentive to save your hard earned cash. After all, you can spend 10 thousand pesos on a night out, or you can keep that and know that you are one third of the way to the cost of a new Galaxy. Then you get a new toy and someone will be happy to get your hardly used hand-me-down.
I am once again looking forward to this new phone and I can't wait for the Galaxy S II to make it to Philippine shores.