2012 a year in review


Lets indulge ourselves with some reminiscing and have a brief look back. The year is not complete without a review of what happened, so here is my mobile and tech memories, favourite news stories and most significant moments from 2012 ….

What a year in mobile, so much action, development and progress in some areas and frustration in others, main frustrations tend to be communications related for me, oh how we long for better “always on” or should it be called “sometimes on” service!

  • Apple shift 3 million NEW iPads in the first 2 weeks of launch
  • Thorsten Heins takes over as CEO of RIM, see you later Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsilli the founder members
  • Vodafone acquires Cable and Wireless for £1.04bn
  • Microsoft unveils its crack at the tablet market with …. (drum roll) …. Surface
  • EE Launches the UK’s first 4G network
  • Apple launches the mini iPad and updates its New iPad only 6 months after launch, how annoying for those who bought one
  • Samsung looses its case and is forced to pay £1.05bn to Apple, but hey every cloud has a silver lining, they end the year ahead of everyone, including Nokia as worlds biggest phone manufacturer with a 29% share
  • RIM delay BB10 launch, and set an actual date, roll on January 30th 2013, for RIM’s fortunes at least
  • iPhone5 launches in China and 2m units walk out the door in the first weekend alone
  • And last but not least, a Brazilian company launches an iphone running Android! Yes that’s iphone rather than iPhone, expect a knock on the door from Apple’s legal army.
  • So a quick look forward to 2013?

  • CES is rumoured to unveil Samsung S4, and a new identity for the Korean giant
  • S4 could use the 8 core CPU
  • More devices will start shipping with 1080p displays
  • iPhone, 5s possibly?
  • Windows Phone will start grabbing market share
  • Blackberry? Your guess is as good as mine, lets wait and see.

  • Thanks for reading let’s look forward, see you in 2013!


    RIM loses a million subscribers in a month (ouch)

    RIM, Research in Motion headquartered in Waterloo Canada and the company who makes Blackberry have reported 3rd quarter results, and they make miserable reading, the first decline of this significance in its history

    So in Q3 they lost a million subscribers and revenues fell by 48% to $2.7bn from $5.2bn this time last year, all this a month before the launch of the BB10 products, which RIM hopes will reverse its fortunes. This leaves them at a measly 4.3% market share compare that to iOS at 14.9% and Android at 75%!

    We believe the company has stabilized and will turn the corner in the next year,” Thorsten Heins, the chief executive, said in a conference call with analysts. “We are realistic about our competitors, but we know that customers in this industry demand and respond to innovation.”

    The new BB10 device pictured above looks great and we hope all their incentives and promotions in the developer community have paid off, making sure the must have apps are ready on day one.

    Vodafone, O2, EE and 3 have all confirmed they will be offering BB10 devices in 2013.

    BB10 run Rim’s own operating system originally known as QNX and acquired in April 2010, it was first seen on the Playbook which has had a bumpy ride but is now a good buy at c£100.

    Source : New York Times

    Virtual Apps in your browser, check this out!

    Apps in your browser are nothing new, but HTML5 has made it possible to make them look like native applications running on a particular device, and now with some offline capability it’s pretty whizzy.

    Detect an iOS device give the interface a back button for example, something not required if running on an Android, connect to the camera or pitch a picture to zoom, all in your browser.

    Now check his out …


    This is a cloud based virtual app centre, I tested it on iPad with Chrome and Safari and ran Open Office Writer and Open Office Impress, very cool indeed.

    No App Store installs, just login and off you go and with Cloud storage integration from GoogleDrive, DropBox and Box you can File – Open directly to your account, save and when you get to a new location spark up a browser and continue on your desktop.

    With a reasonable selection of apps, games and graphics tools this is cool.

    Once you can get these type of apps on and offline it’s nailed, IMHO.

    Go on create a free account and give it a go.


    Mobile Application Dev

    With mobile apps often seasonal or required for a specific event they need to be easy and quick to develop and work across platform.

    When I say cross platform I mean the app will run on an iOS or Android device without having to redevelop it over and over per platform, like you would with a native app.

    Some solutions deliver what could be called a client to the device to abstract the application away from the platform, so for example if you invoke the camera the client will manage the call to the camera regardless of the device type and others are web applications that look like the real thing.

    Solutions like Sencha Touch are HTML5 and CSS environments that provide an inbuilt Model View Controller and over 50 features like smooth and native-like user experience, More info on Sencha

    Next up and the under-pinnings of some other solutions is PhoneGap, this again is a web based app development platform providing support for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows, Symbian and WebOS.

    PhoneGap is also used with SAP Mobile (Formally SUP) and IBM Worklight to provide the cross-platform interoperability in those products.

    Better not forget Appcelerator’s Titanium and JQuery mobile as both of those provide a great solution.

    Your now able to run some of these solutions in the cloud so you can upload your HTML5 code and access it directly from your mobile devices.

    These ramblings are not even scratching the surface there are around 50 platforms of various shapes and sizes that can do this but it’s a mine field, which one do you pick?

    So stick with HTML5 and CSS3 and even if you make the wrong choice you can up sticks and move, assuming you have not invested lots of development time in creating some fancy offline functionality.

    Someone recently said to me if an app is cross platform but you need an iOS version an Android version or a Blackberry version then it’s not cross platform at all but 3 separate apps.

    Develop in HTML5 and CSS3 and you can move between products easily talking your work with you, a good place to be indeed.

    BBM gets a voice, but cooler still you can type and talk!

    20121211-233222.jpgRIM has added voice call capability into its popular Blackberry Messenger Application, something that should have come sooner, a theme we have seen quite a lot recently with the Canadian company.

    What is funky in this update is the ability to text chat while you talk, so speakerphone chat and text message them, or presumably someone else simultaneously. In a world where we rarely do one thing at a time this is nifty we can do even more multitasking.

    The future of this platform is still within a Blackberry only community, this doesn’t seem sustainable as people move over to products like WhatsApp so they can interact with non-Blackberry friends and colleagues. A gateway service or even opening up the platform would be great. If BBM and WhatsApp were somehow connected then users on both sides of the divide would be able to keep their favourite platform while still cross platform collaborate, come on RIM why won’t you open it up you have c60million users and you don’t want them voting with their fingers.

    This update is going to be available back to version 6 and is expected in BB10 when it finally shows up.

    Mobile method of delivery

    With BYO, Corporate and 3rd Party devices in your enviornment requiring access to your systems and data how do you address this?

    MDM? I covered this earlier in the week, do not MDM personal devices, it’s a liberty and not a good experience for your users especially if they paid for them with their hard earned.

    If you speak to your legal dept they will tell you that allowing staff, on their own devices, to drop your documents all over them is a no no. You need to maintain control because legally your obliged to secure your data, and you don’t want authorities seizing a personal device in the event of a discovery situation. All corporate files on a personal device need to be a copy of what is available in the enterprise, that way the gadget is superfluous, but enough of that before you nod off!

    If your enabling personal BYO’ers then you need a container that way you can be sure your data is nicely encased safely, problem is there’re not the best experience and defiantly not like a native client, on iOS they don’t multitask, and you get charged per device rather than per user by the majority of vendors. in short they feel like a backward step especially having to synchronise.

    If you have Microsoft Exchange at the back your in an slightly better position to give your users a more Blackberry like experience but if not then don’t sell it as a BB replacement, sell the flexibility to your users.

    So the moral of the story then…..like a medicine tastes horrible but has a job to do a container is the same, if your doing the right thing and managing the app not the device then for now your in a good place, well the best place you can be while being compliant.

    The OS manufacturers need to finish building the split personality features into the platforms properly so we can enjoy native’like without the risks, so far only blackberry balance does this properly.

    Bring Your Own, Dreamboat or Shipwreck?

    20121206-224755.jpgI have been living the Bring Your Own dream since April when I bought an iPad and quite liked it for work, initially it was a gadget for information consumption but as time has progressed I have used it more for creation of content, I like the ability to use the same device simultaneously for work and personal use.

    You may be wondering why I am telling you this? Well all was good until the home button stopped working and I duly made an appointment to visit the Genius Bar to see what they could do, I was hoping they would not send it off for repair, as I didn’t want to be without it, and as I didn’t expect them to strip it down at the bar there was only one option left, and sure enough they went for it, opting to replace it, I assume with a refurb (so I am told) but it looked new and was boxed when he fetched it.

    The very friendly Apple Genius asked if I had the device backed up? as I was using iCloud and had that evening made an iTunes backup as well, I replied a confident and resounding YES prior to clicking the erase all content and settings.

    I left the store with a blank device and decided to wait until I got home to restore my data,

    Here’s basically what happened …

    1) Went to Restore the iTunes backup, error old iOS version installed
    2) Updated iOS, this proves beyond doubt it was a refurb, then iTunes restore kicked off
    3) Waited … after the initial restore I expected the apps to start downloading, but nothing
    4) Restored the backup again but still the same
    5) Read about lots of people on the Internet with a similar problem
    6) Gave up and manually installed every app and app setting/data Grrrrr

    I wanted to share a few cautions that have been a painful lesson …

  • Backups to iCloud include Photos but not Movies
  • If your Apps restore the data won’t necessarily
  • Many apps restore like the day you installed them, totally virgin
  • In app purchases of additional features need to be re-purchased, as you confirm to pay you will be alerted you already own them, so trust me. it looks like your having to pay again right to the end, how jolly unintuitive indeed
  • Services like Sky use the device ID and therefore will not just work without reconfig on their website
  • So in conclusion, what a pain in the %#* swapping your device and Apple are not exactly making it easy, in fact you expect so much your relaxed about it, and end up in a worse situation. If this was a Microsoft device I would have backed it up, and again then again and cloned it and then backed it up again.

    Be Warned and be careful!

    ByeBye Messenger … Hello Skype

    After 13 years and a loyal following of millions Microsoft is pulling Messenger in favour of the new kid on “their” block, Skype.

    Launched on July 22nd 1999, available in over 50 languages it’s to be put down at the ripe old age of 13. In its hay day messenger now called Microsoft Live attracted over 330 million active users a month and later added video and other collaboration features in an attempt to keep ahead of its competitors.

    So with only the ability to import your buddy list left Messenger will be confined to history and Skype will be the new way to communicate, unless people vote with their feet and goto WhatsApp or Kik or any of these new mobile enabled chat platforms, and lets not forget the existing platforms like Yahoo Messenger and Google Talk.

    This seems fairly sensible bearing in mind Microsoft paid £5.2b in May 2011 and need to embed Skype as their communications and collaboration platform.

    Goodbye Messenger!

    BBC Story

    Motorola’s fancy new Droid Razr HD

    Motorola readies its new Droid HD Razr handset for release and are shouting about battery life as its unique selling point.
    Amusingly they celebrate it as the “All Day Phone” yes we had “All Week” phones many years ago so that’s not that impressive. Of course these phones were not smartphones and battery technology is the constraint but it shows how crowded the marketplace is that they pick out a seemingly average feature as a differentiator.

    What about the 4.7′ 720×1280 super OMALED display, the 1.5Ghz Dual Core CPU or even the 8MP camera that can shoot full HD video? Well there is the problem, much the same, if not less than the competition.

    The Samsung Galaxy S3, widely acclaimed as the best phone in the world has a quad core CPU is skinny and even has an SD card slot, oh and they say 21hours talk time, now that’s nearly a day.

    So the moral of the story is that all these high end phones are packed full of tech so it’s a struggle to part them, therefore choose on brand, operating system or price….and have a think about your requirements as you will likely be signing a 2 year contract. More of a marriage that a one night stand although some celebs have shorter marriages come to think of it.

    Also, rather oddly, the fact it has a barometer and temperature sensor is buried deep in the specification, now that is cool why aren’t they shouting about that?

    Motorola Droid Razr detailed spec