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Posts Tagged ‘smartphones’

VIDEO: PeopleSoft Talk: Mobility, Featuring David Bain

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Oracle’s Marc Weintraub sits down with David Bain, Director of PeopleTools Product Management to talk about mobility, which is the mobile-centric features and upcoming direction in this area for PeopleSoft. Suffice to say that PeopleSoft is taking the mobile platform issue very seriously. This also ties in with what we wrote earlier about PeopleSoft Fluid User Interfaces.

Mobile is the future, and it’s also here now. There is not much argument about that. There is some argument about what doing mobile right looks like. Oracle is on the good side of that argument.

VIDEO: PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface, Featuring Willie Suh

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A couple of weeks ago we highlighted some information by Anoop Savio about a pretty exciting new feature coming for PeopleSoft: the Fluid User Interface.

I’d like to follow that up with a video by Oracle in which PeopleSoft Senior Director Marc Weintraub interviews Willie Suh, Vice President of PeopleTools Development. It’s a great explanation of the purpose behind the PeopleSoft Fluid Interface functionality: essentially, in this day and age, people expect simple, intuitive interfaces for everything they do. Suh explains good interfaces in everyday life: phone navigation systems (and how they’re often better than the built-in $2,000 navigation systems found in many cars), and thermostats, whose interfaces, up until the Nest, have been Byzantine beyond reason.

Interfaces are not just for computer apps anymore: they’re for phones, appliances, and tablets. Having a smart fluid interface capability makes or breaks your user experience.

Your iPhone Is a Better Camera Than You Think

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The web has a famous cliché floating about in regards to photography. Hailing from photographer Chase Jarvis, the quote goes, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” It’s also the title of his book on iPhone photography.

There’s a good deal of truth to this. As I write this, I have a Canon 5D MkIII sitting next to me, with the venerable Canon 70–200L f/2.8 USM IS II mated to it. All in all, about a $5K piece of kit, more than capable of making professional-quality video production output.

Problem is, it weighs as much as a sniper rifle, and looks just as imposing.

I don’t carry it with me unless I know I’m going out shooting. That means for most of my life, especially when I want to capture impromptu moments, my big-rig Canon is at home in its bag.

What do I always have with me? My smartphone (an iPhone in my case), and it’s far more capable to shooting quality photos than your Facebook feed filled with blurred cat pictures would have you believe. In fact, on our mantle sits a canvas-printed photo I took in Italy, blown up to about 20“ x 20”. The camera responsible for that pic? My iPhone. Smartphones break when people don’t take good care of them, if you need to repair your smartphone contact I Fix Phones of Denver.

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Casual Friday: Is Android Better?

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Paul Stamatiou’s Android Is Better post is generating a ton of attention (it made it to the front page of Techmeme, although it’s not there anymore), and I want to riff on it.

Most readers know I am an “Apple Defender”. “Defender” is an accurate word to use because I find myself in conversations defending iOS and Apple devices from inaccurate accusations and barbs, as well as defending some decisions that have (or have not, as the case may be) come out of Cupertino lately. But defense is not what I’m going to do here, you see.

Because I am not a slappy. I have used and written positively about Android and Android devices. And here, in reading Stamatiou’s post, I find myself agreeing with almost everything he writes – with one giant caveat. We’ll get to that later.

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The Best Reckless, Idiotic Smartphone App

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So there’s this app called Send Me to Heaven that’s available only Android (hmm). The idea is simple: the app tracks how high you can throw your phone.

You install the app (on your android, obviously). You then throw your phone as high as you can. Go on, throw it. Catching the phone is entirely optional, of course, but if you’re anything like me, your phone is carrying all kinds of incriminating evidence, so if it breaks, you’re in the clear.

And that’s it. Well, there’s more to it than that: what the app actually does is register how high it’s been thrown, then it uploads that height to a leaderboard. Effectively, it turns throwing your phone into a sport akin to Russian Roulette; do you want to be the best? Then you should risk your expensive phone to do so.

Totally dumb, reckless, stupid and awesome. I’d say give it a shot, but I’m not going to be responsible for a faulty catch. So, here’s a video showing someone else putting their phone on the line:

That video would have been much more interesting if the phone went kablooey.

Casual Friday: On the iPhone 5 (Or Whatever It Will Be Called)

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Here’s Henry Blodget, writing for Business Insider:

Over the past few days, the latest round of purported pictures of Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 5 have hit the web.

And I can’t be the only potential customer who is deflated by what they see.

In fact, I’ll go far enough to say that, if the iPhone 5 looks like the pictures that have recently appeared, Apple may be screwed.

Normally, I can’t stand link-bait articles like this, and ‘screwed’ is nothing but hyperbole for the sake of cheap web traffic. But I think there’s a bit of truth in what Blodget writes.

The ‘leaked’ pictures of the forthcoming iPhone 5 (I don’t think it will be called this; remember the de-numeralizing of the latest iPad) look startlingly like an iPhone 4S, which was released last year. The iPhone 4S is an exact replica of the iPhone 4, released in Fall of 2010. So, Apple is working with a design that’s a solid two years old.

It’s a great design, mind you. It’s the only device on the market that summons a Zen-like minimalism coupled with a Leica or Deiter Rams-esque sense of timeless industrial design. Banished antenna issues aside, the current design we have is a triumph.

A two year old triumph, but a triumph nonetheless. The iPhone 4/4S doesn’t look old compared to modern smartphones. It only looks old because we know it hasn’t been updated in two years. If Appler were to release it anew today, everyone would be impressed. That’s a testament to its still-fledgling timelessness.

Leaked photo of the purported 'next generation' iPhone.

However, things being what they are, if Apple releases a phone with a slightly taller screen (to achieve a 4″ diagonal measurement), LTE and maybe a slightly improved camera and a different back plate, I think most folks will be nonplussed. Yes, it’s an improvement, but people expect more from Apple, especially in this post-Jobs era, when the company’s product direction is under the microscope.

Blodget says:

Because it will make it clear that one observation that many Apple skeptics make is dead-on correct–namely that each new generation of the iPhone offers less and less improvement over the prior generation, and, thus, gives customers less reason to upgrade.

That’s true. The differences between the iPhone 4 and 4S were more RAM, a different CPU/GPU (both of which the average consumer doesn’t care about), a better camera, improved battery life and Siri (all of which are marketable features).

In practice, for your average smartphone user, the only real difference is Siri. And if you read this blog last week, you know my thoughts on Siri: it’s an unfinished, unreliable beta experiment.

The real-world differences between the 4 and 4S are quite small. Apple nonetheless sold a jillion 4S’s, but I wonder how much of that had to do with Steve Jobs’s death and the initial Siri buzz. And if you recall, there was much chagrin over the ‘sameness’ of the iPhone 4S. In the end, it didn’t appear to hurt sales any: the iPhone 4S became Apple’s most popular phone ever.

With the iPhone 5, we think Apple needs to show the world that it’s truly raising the bar again. Rumor says the iPhone 5 was one of the last projects in which Steve Jobs was intimately involved, so I have a hard time believing we’re going to see a 10mm taller iPhone 4S called the iPhone 5 (or whatever). Please pardon my willingness to refuse that the leaks we’re seeing now are actually representative of the final product.

Maybe what we’re looking at is the law of diminishing returns when it comes to consumers becoming tech thrill junkies instead of value seekers: the original iPhone rocked the mobile communications world like nothing else. Everyone had a rush of technocultural dopamine as the iPhone went stratospheric in popularity.

But now we’ve crashed and have the shakes, and we want something revolutionary again. Maybe the reality is that we’re continuing to get innovation, but it will be the little things – camera quality, innovative power charging/connectivity systems, software nuances, ecosystem quality and inter-device integration aspects – that we’re going to enjoy.

Maybe the dopamine will be there after all, just in time-released drips instead of one big rush.

Apple’s culture and management team is too imbued with Steve Jobs and the principles he instilled and fostered. Apple’s not going to rest on its success, but its modern innovation may not be what the mass market thinks – or wants.

After all, that’s the Apple way.

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The Maintenance Summit and Travel Tips: There’s an App for That

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(Editor’s Note: As we close in on the beginning of the 6th Annual Oracle Maintenance Summit in Nashville, TN (March 26-29th), I thought it would be a good idea to introduce you to our own Tina Thames.  Besides being an outstanding PeopleSoft consultant, Tina is gained fame in MIPRO for knowing “there’s an app for that”.  While all MIPRO Consulting consultants are travel savvy, I asked Tina to share some of her travel favorite travel-related smartphone apps that might make your journey to Nashville a little easier. )

Have a smartphone? Your travel is about to get easier.

Does this sound familiar?

It’s Monday morning.  You’re running late for the airport and you’re sitting in your office going through emails trying to find and print various flight, car and hotel reservation confirmations.  You stick them in your briefcase and make a mad dash for the airport.  As you board your plane, you find out that your window seat – has no window, AND the seat doesn’t recline.  Fast forward to the end of the day and you find yourself standing outside the client office, in the pouring rain, without a cab in sight!

Well frazzled road warrior, there’s a better way!  Check out some of these mobile phone applications and websites to make your life on the road much easier:

TripIt! 

This mobile phone application allows you to consolidate all of your travel reservations/confirmation by trip for easy access.  All you do is forward your email confirmations to the TripIt application (to an email address it creates for you) and it builds them into itineraries based on dates — including maps and directions from the airport to your hotel!  Upgrade to the proversion and track all of your membership rewards in one place. This is a go-to app for me.

SeatGuru.com 

This isn’t an app, per se, but you should check out SeatGuru.com for a review of every seat, on every plane by airline.  Does a seat require frequent flyer status?  Is there a power outlet near your seat?  A quick stop on this website and you’ll easily find what you need to know to pick that optimum seat.

TaxiMagic 

This application takes the hassle out of finding a cab in a new city.  Simply select your city and a list of taxi companies appear.  In larger cities,  the app lets you directly integrate to the company’s dispatch system to book your cab, track the arrival of your taxi, charge the ride to your credit card  — and it even emails you a receipt.  In smaller cities it will connect you directly to the cab company to make a reservation over the phone. If you’re not renting a car or surrendering yourself to mass transit, this app is a lifesaver.

These are three on which I rely heavily when I’m about to hit the road. There are tons of travel apps, some more useful than others. What are your favorites?

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MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

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What Apple’s iMessage Does to Text Messaging

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Here’s Neven Mrgan illustrating what Apple’s iMessage — the new iOS-to-iOS messaging service — did to his text messaging usage:

Note the iOS 5 launch line — that’s when iMessage was introduced.

This matches my experience directly. Almost everyone I message frequently has an iPhone, and my sending of actual text messages has dropped massively. It’s to the point where if I see the green message button/bubble (which signifies text messaging), I’m actually surprised. 90% of what I send uses iMessage’s blue buttom/bubble. iMessage absolutely cannibalizes traditional text messaging usage.

For you BlackBerry users out there, think of iMessage as Apple’s version of BlackBerry Messenger (commonly called BBM).

I love this trend. Not for me alone, but for consumers. As it stands today, wireless carriers price text messaging at astronomical levels, especially considering there’s no magic voodoo involved. It’s old technology at a premium price, and it’s almost all profit for wireless carriers.

iMessage sends information using your plan’s data pipe, and has the added benefit of confirming message delivery and showing when your correspondent is typing.

And it’s free. It can save you money per month. Value add.

If you’re an iPhone user and you haven’t enabled iMessage, you’re missing out on potentially being able to save a few bucks per month by reducing your text messaging plan. To enable iMessage on your iPhone, go to Settings -> Messages -> and flick the iMessage switch to ON. Easy.

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MIPRO Consulting main website.

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RIM Now Worth Less than Apple’s App Store Alone

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You read that right: RIM, as a company, is now worth less than Apple’s App Store, a fragment of a company, alone.

An analysis from Trefis places the value of the App Store at 2 percent of Apple’s market cap. AAPL stock has a market cap of $354 billion, or more than 50 times greater than RIMM, and 2 percent of that means the App Store contributes $7.08 billion to Apple’s market cap.

“The App Store is probably worth more than BlackBerry,” Hall wrote. “All of BlackBerry. Just the App Store. Nothing else. Not the iPhone or iPod. Not Mac. Just the App Store.”

This makes me both sad and angry. I mean, I’m sitting here shaking my head.

I’m sad because BlackBerry was my real introduction to smartphones. (We won’t count my fling with a Kyocera 7135, which was awful.) It was the first device that brought mobile messaging and email to the masses, and it gave us the ability to check the web, however awkwardly, on the go. BlackBerry was the leader: everyone had one, and they worked.

You would think RIM would have been able to parlay that early momentum into a broader vision, one that took the platform well beyond messaging. But you’d be wrong.

That’s why I’m angry. Through either sheer, bald-faced laziness or incompetence, RIM did essentially nothing notable for the past five years. Bombarded by Apple and Android — who now own the mobile space — RIM released reheated versions of their QWERTY devices, a few models of touchscreen devices that were universally decried as garbage, and then built a rushed, half-baked tablet to try and react to the iPad. As of this writing, they still have no next-gen OS that will appear before late 2012. The PlayBook tablet, especially, illustrated the company’s lack of vision and strategy: not only did the device get met with poor reviews and even poorer customer demand, but RIM went and built 2.65 million units of the things and later had to eat the losses as a $485M writeoff. Finally, as icing on the cake, a couple of RIM executives hopped on planes and began drunkenly chewing through restraints, which they found themselves in after some pretty horrific behavior.

And now, today, RIM is a shell of what it used to be. And certainly an even thinner shell of what it could have become.

If Apple’s Phoenix story is the tech world’s yin, RIM’s foibles might very well be the yang.

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MIPRO Consulting main website.

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Gazelle reports BlackBerry trade-ins at an all-time high

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From Gazelle.com, the popular service that offers cash for your old electronics as you prepare to upgrade:

Earlier this month, the trade-in of BlackBerry devices climbed, but in the past week, the number of these trades skyrocketed by 80%. This spike coincided with the launch of the iPhone 4S, says Gazelle Chief Gadget Officer Anthony Scarsella.

RIM used to be the darling of the mobile technology world. Now, they can’t buy a break.  Amazing how quickly tides change.

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.