Does Microsoft have what it takes be the come-back kid in the mobile phone business?

Earlier this week Microsoft announced their new mobile platform, Windows Phone 7 . They are taking the same route similar to Google’s Android by having their platform be available for different manufacturers and on different mobile carriers (Except for Verizon). Saying Microsoft is late to the battle of mobile devices is the understatement of the year. A little more than 5 years ago Windows mobile was one of the dominating OSes in the mobile market. Now it represents a whimper of a market share compared to Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android, and RIM’s Blackberry phones. For the past several years Microsoft sat on their laurels only to watched their competitors past them by. But will the new release of Windows Phone 7 be enough to put themselves back in the mix with the rest of the big dogs?

Many analysts have already noted that Microsoft is a little too late to the game and the best they can do is vie for 3rd place. And some believe MS’s new platform is the new Palm. With the recent failure of the Kin Microsoft doesn’t look to be in any kind of position to play around with this new platform. They need it to be a huge success and anything less is a failure.

I think it’s a little too early to count Microsoft out yet. They got something that none of the other guys have; a popular and powerful office suite, the Xbox Live service, and a huge install base of Windows users. If they are able to meld their products into something an end user can use effectively and efficiently they can bite a huge chunk of their market share back. From the preview of the devices MS is looking to differentiate itself from the rest by implementing a unique user interface. With large icons and widget style views it makes sense where MS is going: to providing quick access to information and apps.

So far they are taking the right measures by getting their platform onto many devices and carriers as possible. Billions of dollars have been pumped into marketing and getting developers on board and only time will tell if Microsoft can claw it’s way back to the top. Will you be getting a Windows Phone 7?

Froyo leak for Samsung Captivate

For those of you who owns AT&T’s Captivate you can now rejoice on the fact that there is a Froyo leak for the device.

What is Froyo? It’s the name for the Android 2.2 OS. The Captivate comes stock with Eclair, which is 2.1. The Froyo OS is a significant update to Android. It provides several new features (Wifi Hotspot, Flash support, save apps on SD…) and speed improvements.

Head over to Android Central or XDA Developers to get the leak. But remember that this is not an official release so there won’t be any official support. So far my experiences with it is great. Much better than the stock OS and the mobile Wifi hotspot is well worth it.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

RIM’s new tablet: Blackberry Playbook

RIM has just announce their new tablet. The Blackberry Playbook.

Specs listed on

  • 7″ LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch and gesture support
  • BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
  • 1 GHz dual-core processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD video recording
  • Video playback: 1080p HD Video, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV
  • Audio playback: MP3, AAC, WMA
  • HDMI video output
  • Wi-Fi – 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, charging contacts
  • Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, Java
  • Ultra thin and portable:
    • Measures 5.1″x7.6″x0.4″ (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
    • Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)
  • Additional features and specifications of the BlackBerry PlayBook will be shared on or before the date this product is launched in retail outlets
  • Every manufacturer and their mother are getting into the tablet foray. It looks like the iPad won’t be  alone any longer. Samsung and their Galaxy Tab will also be hitting state side soon as well.  So far the Blackberry Playbook has already exceeded my expectations, which wasn’t all that much to begin with as RIM is known to be very conservative with their Blackberry phones. That’s why I’m surprised by their hardware specs, and I’m very interested in their new QNX OS.  RIM will need this device to be impressive (and magical) if it wants to bite a chuck out of the iPad’s market share. Yay, for competition!

    Blackberry Torch

    If you’re a Blackberry addict then you would know that the new Blackberry Torch 9800 was released today on AT&T. I got mine this morning and have been putting it through it’s paces. So expect an in depth review coming soon.

    More phones in more places

    Below is a picture of the (from left to right) Droid X, Samsung Captivate, and the Blackberry 9700. The Droid X is a monster compared to my other two phones. And if you think the Droid X is big just wait till the Dell Streak arrives. It’s has a whopping 5″ screen.

    Thoughts on the new Blackberry Torch 9800

    Research In Motion announces their newest Blackberry device, the Blackberry Torch 9800. Unlike their traditional models or even their Blackberry Storm this new device has a touch screen with a slide out keyboard. In addition, RIM has also updated their OS which this new device is running. New hardware and software, this is RIM’s chance to stick it to Apple and Google.

    I’ve been a Blackberry fan for a very long time. Fortunately for me I have two phones. A work phone and a personal phone. One being a Blackberry and the other is not. For the past few years I rocked the iPhone along with my trusty BB. Recently, I picked up an Android device and couldn’t be happier. With Android and all its beefy specs and nifty features I still can’t imagine myself without my BB. Its hard to explain, maybe its the tapping of a physical keyboard, the quick press of shortcuts to my apps and functions, the reliable push email, and the good ‘ol Blackberry messenger. Call me crazy, but if I could only have one device it would stick with my BB 9700. Sure, my Samsung Captivate looks awesome, it has boat loads of apps, and runs on an OS that has tons of potential. But for me it does what I need it to do and it does it well though there are some caveats

    Let’s get to the point. This BB Torch looks great and I’m sure their new OS 6 is better than what any current BB owners have, but if this is the best RIM can do to compete with Apple, Google, and Microsoft then they are going to be in for a rude awakening. This new BB would have been a fantastic device if it was released a year and a half ago. But with the current releases of the new iPhone, Android phones, and upcoming Windows 7 phones RIM will just continue to play catch-up.

    The BB 9800’s specs reads like a phone that was made 2 years ago. Some would argue that the phone doesn’t need a 1 ghz cpu, 4.3″ screen, or a retina display and that’s fine and these people can buy old cell phones off craigslist, but as the average consumer increases data consumption and rely more and more on their moble devices companies that meet those needs will thrive. And for those defending RIM and excuse them from releasing a medicore device probably don’t own their stock.

    This new BB doesn’t add anything significant. A slight increase in RAM and a 3.2″ touch screen is anything but revolutionary and is barely considered an evolution. Why couldn’t RIM increase RAM or increase the screen’s resolution. A front facing camera isn’t necessary but it would have been nice.  Many people flocked to Android because it has lots of potential. iPhone users love their phone because it pushes the technological envelope and bakes it in an aesthetically pleasing design. And RIM seems content to just rehash their existing phones. If RIM wants to sell more phones and maintain their market share they need to be innovative and take some risks.

    I can only hope this is just a start to bigger and better things to come from RIM. This device will sell well and all the Crackberry addicts will be getting one, including myself. This device won’t be a game changer for RIM, it’ll just keep them in the game for the time being.

    AT&T’s newest Android phone

    This is the Samsung Captivate. Its AT&T’s newest Android phone. Compared to the HTC Aria this phone is enormous. It sports a 4in. AMOLED screen that looks incredible. I guess this is their answer to the Droid X and the Evo.

    It just got released today, so head to your local AT&T store to check out the demo.

    I’ll post a review in a few days.

    Apple admits to reception issue, but not really

    From tech blogs to politicians and many iPhone 4 users have voiced their opinions about the ‘death-grip’ recepetion issue of Apple’s new iDevice all while Steve and co. admantly believe it to be a non-issue.

    All of that became undone as Apple held a press conference this morning. It’s kind of ironic that if Apple believes it not to be an issue then why hold a press conference?  No longer can Apple blame AT&T for all its reception problems and this time Apple has been caught with its pants down. Apple know’s its a hardware issue and there isn’t any permanent fix short of redesigning the phone itself. So they offer free Bumper cases to all iPhone 4 buyers, but they still don’t admit there are any problems with reception. In fact Steve-o goes on to point out other phones from other manufacturers to have similar issues. I have a phone that Steve mentions and it doesn’t lose reception when I hold it in any way nor do my friends who have the same phone. I don’t know where he got that info from.  Nonetheless, that’s some excellent PR right there. It’s like BP telling everyone in the Gulf Coast “that oil spills like this happen all over the world, nobody’s perfect.”

    There are two things Steve Jobs is brilliant at; product marketing and consumer manipulation. He may be Apple’s savior and and considered a genius in the tech industry, but he may one day be Apple’s undoing. As consumers become more educated with technology Steve’s Jim Jones-hold on the average consumer and fanboy will diminish.  They’ll realize there’s nothing magical about Apple’s overpriced products and that they’re stuck in a walled garden controlled by Apple. Yeah, they have great looking hardware, but it’s not much better than current offerings from HTC and Motorola. Their iOS 4 is still outdated compared  to even Android OS 2.1. And don’t get me started on iTunes.

    A decade ago, Steve Jobs was the guy everyone rooted for to topple Microsoft, which they now have and Apple is now a powerhouse to be reckoned with. There is major competition in the years ahead. Companies like HP, RIM, HTC, Google, and (when they stop resting on its laurels) Microsoft will push Apple out of their comfort zone, and today they got a taste of it.

    Old School MP3 Players revisited

    These were the first MP3 players that I bought (pictures were take off their wikipedia page). They were expensive, and at the time many people were unaware of these portable audio products and it was considered a niche tech device. It wasn’t until a few years later that the Apple iPod made it’s debut that popularize and became ubiquitous in the portable audio device industry. The one on the right (Rio 500) was purchase back in 1999, and the one on the left (Rio S10) I purchased when I was in college.

    I gave the Rio 500 to my brother after using it for a year and replaced it with a Panasonic CD player that was capable of reading MP3 files. The MP3 CD player was great because I was able to store a ton of songs on a CD compared to the 64 MB that was built into the Rio 500. With the CD player I could listen while waiting between classes in college and wouldn’t have to worry about listening to the same song 12 times a day.  It wasn’t until I started doing long distance running that I got the Rio S10. The unit was light and I could hold it comfortably in my hand when I ran. Unfortunately it also had 64 MB, but it was enough to last me a whole run.

    Eventually my running out-grew the Rio S10, and I picked up a Creative Muvo. It had 256 MB of memory. It was a good player but it didn’t last very long since there was no good way of holding it when I ran, so I gave that away to my brother too. I later bought an iPod Nano. I quickly realize the Nano was too big. Wearing the Nano iPod arm strap was too cumbersome, so I traded down for a shuffle which I think is the best MP3 player for a runner or for anyone who likes with listen to music when they workout.

    MP3 players have come a long way and I’ve been following it since appeared in consumer hands. Today they’ve become more popular than ever. The ability to play MP3s are now embedded into almost every portable device from GPS units, cell phones, car stereos, and even sunglasses. As with all individual technologies it can adapt to the advancement of other technologies around it or die off in obsolescence. MP3-only devices are approaching the latter, but not without a fight. Many of the successors of MP3 players of yesterday are called Portable Media Players (PMPs) today. Not only do these play music, but they play video. And even these PMPs are beginning to reach obsolescence as well. They will soon be replaced by handheld video game consoles and smartphones. Only time will tell, but I’m sure their days are numbered.