BB10 goes Live

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The cats out of the bag, finally! Thorsten Heins unveiled BB10 in a global launch from New York City this morning. We watched live from IBM Connect13 and impressed is the best way to sum up the thinking

Firstly Thorsten shared how challenging the year had been, how risky BB10 was and he honoured his predecessors Jim Balsallie and Mike Lazaridis for all their work in helping build the future company. This new company will be called Blackberry was also announced, no more RIM, one brand globally for all aspects of the company.

The devices then appeared from the floor on poles, gliding up slowly, the Z10 (touchscreen) and the Q10 (Physical Keyboard) It’s a difficult challenge these days to create a differentiator with hardware, rectangular, no buttons lots of screen, how different can it be? Blackberry have done pretty well here, with glass weave lightweight materials, contoured easy hold and different colours available, well we saw white.

The Z sports a 4.2′ screen, 8mp camera and allegedly will retail sim-free at £480.

Thorsten handed over to Vivek to deliver some demos and this is where it got good…..

  • Blackberry Flow, if you have used expose on a mac its like that, seamless switching between apps one thumb.
  • Blackberry Hub, very cool all your collaboration in one place. Email, Twitter Facebook, Linked in …. You can post tweats or Facebook updates directly from Hub, no need to switch to the apps. While watching a movie you can slide from the left to peak at your incoming messages.
  • The Smart keyboard, is able to work out what you meant to type and even learns what mistakes you make over time, rumoured to be the best touchscreen keyboard ever, type away when the word appears you want simply swipe up to accept, neat! There is the Q series with proper keyboard for those die hard crackberry fans.
  • Blackberry Balance was featured in the demo, this is already out there on existing BB devices and sits well on the new platform, it’s like having 2 devices in one, personal and work and you switch between them.
  • Blackberry Reminder, this is a new feature and allows you to save all types of content into one place, a folder for a project for example. It could be pictures, emails, bookmarks anything.

  • Many other aspects where shown and overall it was a good launch of what looks to be a great product. Available from tomorrow in the UK and not until March in the U.S, the UK consumers must feel special.

    In reflection then, is it about the device? not really no. its about the apps with 70,000 expected and 100,000 within a month, not a bad start.

    Will it save them? Lets hope so, time will tell, with Microsoft investing heavily its going to be tough for RIM and its to close to call IMHO. If it is about investment Microsoft will surly win that one so lets see how loyal the fans are, and how appealing the device is to consumers of other platforms, many of which are bored and looking for a change, and therefore a shift.

    So is patience a virtue?

    Shares in Blackberry were down after the launch.

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    IBM 2013 Mobile Focus Areas

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    IBM unveil their 2013 focus areas for Mobile. Having provided 66 deliverables in mobile during 2012 they announced the focus areas for this year , based on discussions and feedback with CIO’s.

  • Innovative Tablet Experiences
  • Providing their range of native applications across phone and tablet platforms.
    E.g., Sametime, Sametime Meetings, Traveller and Connections

  • Multi-Channel solutions for Social Business
  • IBM’s push to include other functions continues, opening up application directly to HR and Marketing for example with little or no I.T involvement required.

  • Data Loss Prevention
  • So they have been listening to CIO’s pain and have added this as a focus area, a good move as lots of companies cannot deploy Traveller for example, because it does not sit securely in a container. Let’s hope this focus will mean a positive response otherwise many will have to continue to look elsewhere. On further investigation this is more about MDM so sadly the issue remains.

    A busy 2013 for the IBM developer community and with the focus away from Lotus it will be interesting to see what happens in this new era, this is where the acquisition of Worklight should start to show through.

    The one real issue is the apparent need for a Lotus backend, which begs the question on sustainability. An interesting challenge for IBM to ensure when companies move away from on-premise email, which we all will in time, to the cloud they do not loose customers to other areas.

    If you move from on-premise Notes email to Microsoft in the cloud would you stay with Sametime or move that to, same with connections.

    Positioning the products as a family, but also as standalone is key for sustainability. IMHO

    A big day tomorrow for RIM, the most important one in their history?

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    This was a real tweet, I liked it!

    One day to go before RIM start the journey to their survival! Here at IBM Connect 2013 you don’t see many Blackberry users, plus I have not seen a single Playbook! As we are in North America it may be slightly skewed in comparison to Europe but its bad none the less.

    BB10 devices I have seen look great, feel great and the interface is excellent, Blackberry Hub looks good so lets hope for all of us they can survive and make a comeback.

    We need RIM as they keep Apple, Google and Microsoft on their toes, we enjoy the benefits of hefty competition everyday in the devices we use.

    Attending an event tomorrow that will stream live the New York show, more to follow on this story.

    IBM Connect 2013 Keynote

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    The Power of Social, it doesn’t start your culture it reveals it!

    Connect 2013 Keynote, formally Lotusphere, sunny Orlando providided a good welcome as always.

    Opened by the band “They might be giants” who played a few songs in their earliest gig ever.

    The 20th Anniversary event, attendance is up and IBM report an increase to other non-IT functions, Marketing, HR have good representations, the shape of things to come!

    Talent is all around you! Alistair talked about online communities, and how when your competing online, even with those you have never met, it makes you perform better.

    The winners in social are getting smarter, improving customer service, growth, and improving their business, social cloud platforms are ready to adopt, to welcome you into this new warm and fluffy world.

    “Social is like a diet” said Sandy Carter, IBM’s CSO “It’s a lifestyle change”

    IBM demo’ed their latest social platform, codenamed Connections Next, lets hope all the innovation went into the product as they didn’t go into the name. The demo seemed to only be in there to keep the hundreds of technics in the room happy, making sure they have had their “Fix”

    We are the best computer in the world, we are the smart individuals.

    The biggest shift this year was away from technology, highlighting the Smarter WorkForce and showcasing Marketing solutions, there was little technology in there and as relevant as this shift is IBM should not be ashamed of their roots, someone had got to design, innovate and deliver the technology.
    Having said that a Forsee interactive meeting table was shown, where all the documents are opened, closed and pushed around, one of those “clever” technologies that know one buys and ends up out in the cold, IMHO

    Connections file sync is nifty, all your files sync’d to all your systems, corporate Dropbox then, the ability to remote wipe the data is a nice touch, allowing you to containerise your corp info.

    So to recap the noticeable shift at the conference this year was the lack of technology, it’s much more a conference for HR and Marketeers. It could have been an HR conference at times, not that I have ever attended on do those, honestly.

    At IBM Connect 2013 Orlando next week, will blog the top stories!

    IBM Connect 2013

    TV Content on the go!

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    With so much Online TV available its getting rather crowded and with differing quality and functionality it’s not exactly a good user experience, plus of course without WiFi everywhere it’s a buffering, spinning, waiting game anyway…

    4G is not going to solve this in the short term, it will be expensive in the first instance and once the price is right and it’s pervasive enough to be useful, everyone will be on and ……the network will be congested.

    How can we solve this so consumption of content is a real option away from the home, currently watching content on your tablet next to your TV, is relatively easy.

    The answer is, for now, and probably a long while to come “Offline Content” when your connected you cache content and its then available for when you not! This, of course is not a new concept however in the world of TV and Films it’s been a long time coming. I would hazard a guess because the paranoid content owners are worried it will end up ripped off and available to download, but the thing is, it already is anyway!

    I picked some of my favourite shows and looked for them on legitimate sites and on Bit Torrent search engine isohunt, here’s the results.

  • Top Gear, any episode or series on Isohunt, also on BBC, free for UK users, and also on Apple Store to purchase, quite why anyone from the UK would pay Apple’s prices is a mystery?
  • Dexter, any episode or series on Isohunt, not available on SkyGo, BBC, ITV, C4 or Demand5 but on Apple’s store for £27.99 per series! Ouch, no wonder people use BitTorrent then is it?
  • Homeland, any episode or series on Isohunt, the latest episode on C4, no way of watching older episodes so rather like traditional TV, if you miss it it’s gone, the only difference is you get 20 days to watch it rather than the hour it’s on, how jolly convenient. Lets not forget Apple, as always ready to relieve you of £24.99 for a series if you so wish!
  • So to sum up then,

    Everything is free on Isohunt, but illegal, some on UK TV networks and everything on Apple, but they charge similar to that of a wounded bull.

    It was however great to see BBC release offline caching recently for the iOS version of iPlayer absolutely love the feature, I now sit on flights consuming entire series of BBC factual programmes, so thanks BBC for leading. ITV, where the content is full of ads, no downloads, same for the others, come on networks sort your issues out!

    It’s believed SkyGo will soon offer this but at a cost, rumours are it will cost you an extra £5 per month for offline, bearing in mind your already paying for the content that would be outrageous but certainly what we are used to with Sky.

    sarcasm mode=on
    So where should you bet your money, the networks for moving the data or the networks for actually letting us consume their content on our mobile devices when we are actually, errr mobile and not at home within a few meters of our TV’s.
    sarcasm mode=off

    If you know of any others available with offline or indeed other relevant info I would like to hear from you.

    eBay, what a mobile success..

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    Having not sold anything on eBay for some time and Santa having come up with the goods for my son, he wanted to sell his old mobile phone.

    Remember what selling on eBay was like on a PC?

    Find a digital camera, take the pictures, turn the house upside down looking for the SD to USB adapter to copy the pictures off, upload, type in all the details blah blah, what a mission!

    So, of course I didn’t bother very often and therefore companies like eBay have jumped on the mobile revolution making it easier for us to sell. Initially we could look, then buy then sell and now lots of the functionality has been mobilised and what a revolution.

    I took a picture of the device on my phone, had the original box, so scanned the barcode and all the technical detail were pre-populated, uploaded the picture, confirmed paypal and postage details and listed the item, all this in less that 5 minutes. Done!

    eBay or should I say ebay as they now prefer have had over 100million downloads of the app and estimate over $10b in revenue has gone via the mobile platform.

    This is a great example of how mobile can benefit everyone, If we can all find one opportunity that is a fraction of the size of ebay in success terms we can make a massive difference.

    Pebble almost here …

    20130110-001054.jpg Will the Pebble end up being the hottest gadget of 2013? From what I have seen it should do!

    This smartwatch, which was funded from kickstart raised over $10m in funding and had people “throwing money at their computer screen when they read the pitch”

    An e-ink display (similar to the e-book readers) battery life of around 7 days on a charge, runs apps and connects to your iOS or Android device via Bluetooth make this a geeks dream. You can leave your chosen watch face on all the time and change it at often as you like.

    Smart watches are not new but have never captured quite so much attention as this, so 2013 is the year of the smart watch? This is wearable technology at its best.

    Some of the features from the Pebble site,

  • Incoming Caller ID
  • Email (Gmail or any IMAP email account)
  • Calendar Alerts
  • Facebook Messages
  • Twitter
  • Weather Alerts
  • Silent vibrating alarm and timer
  • Display SMS messages, on Android
  • The developer SDK is where we will see great innovation assuming it captures the imagination of the developer community, I really hope it does, this could be massive.

    Have a closer look at GoPebble

    Priced at $150 and shipment starting for pre-orders on January 23rd we will need to wait until they are generally available but as soon as they are my order will be in!

    Find my friends really works!

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    Recently I’ve been playing with the iOS app “Find my Friends” and had started tracking my children’s whereabouts, well to be more specific its installed on the device and the authorisations are done ready in case I need to locate them. It’s good to know if needed it’s there ready.

    This got me looking more at tracking using mobile devices and I wanted to know how they work and what effect they have on battery life. If you’ve used an iPhone as a Navigation device while walking or cycling you get 60-90 minutes and the battery’s done!

    There is the small matter of privacy that needs to be addressed, and that’s why the ones I found while researching this were all invitation and acceptance.

    John sends a request to be tracked to Peter, Peter accepts and John can then track Peter’s location. By default, with Find my Friends from Apple it’s not reciprocal meaning Peter would need to send an invitation to John if he wanted to track his location to. Also with the Apple solution when John initiates a request for Peter’s location a notification is sent to Peter’s iPhone which then on receiving this checks in using GPS and Cellular, this way the phone is not constantly reporting its location needlessly and wasting the battery. We’re you paying attention?

    There are 3 main location techniques, Cellular triangulation, which uses the signal strength across cell towers to locate the device, GPS, and a mixture of the 2 called Assisted GPS, which uses both to quickly identify its location. An forth uses the SIM and does not use the device hardware of software in anyway and seems far to draconian to bother looking into further.

    Many solutions are available aimed at Parents or Employees, both these groups seem to be easy pickings to be tracked and the EFF can go whistle! For every other group the EFF have a document on protecting yourself from tracking software.

    The EFF (Electronic Freedom Foundation) are a dedicated bunch who work tirelessly to help protect our digital liberties.

    Check out the EFF here …

    So back to the purpose of this article, so my son (Aged 14) went for a bike ride with friends this week and while he was in deep woodland near where we live the group managed to get lost.
    To cut a long story short slightly panicked he phoned and using Find my Friends I was able to direct him to a place he knew the way back from, I also had the comfort of knowing I could jump on my bike and go find them a lot easier once I had their location.

    A success and 1-0 to Apple’s Find my Friends, I will update you on the other tech info at a later stage.