Archive for the ‘Comms’ Category

AT&T releases official pricing plans for iPhone 3G; total cost of ownership is going up

att iphone 3gAT&T announced pricing details today for the iPhone 3G, which goes on sale at 8 a.m., July 11. There’s been a little grousing here and there, but for the most part the No. 1 carrier in the U.S. — and its accomplice, Apple — have received a free criticism pass.

Now that official pricing is here, we should be disappointed in AT&T and Apple. The iPhone 3G is going to be a heck of a lot more expensive to own.

In fact, the whole iPhone 3G pricing scheme smacks of corporate America — a product hits it big, so the next time out let’s milk it for every penny possible.

That’s what it feels like.

Here’s a quick review of what it will cost to own a brand-spanking new, faster, sexier iPhone 3G.

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Nokia purchases Plazes, a location-based social networking service

plazes logoBuried in Bob Iannucci’s discussion at Supernova 2008 last week was this comment: “Connecting people only through voice communications is limited,” the Nokia chief technical officer said.

To me, that sums up everything Nokia is doing, including today’s announcement. Nokia, the world’s largest handset manufacturer, is purchasing Plazes, the location-based social networking service that’s based in Berlin with all of 13 employees.

Plazes, founded in 2005, lets people alert their friends about what they are doing and where they are — sort of Twitter and Loopt rolled into one. Users can subscribe to their friends, a group of friends, or to specific locations known as “Plazes.”

Updates can be done via, by mobile phone and text messaging, or by a number of third-party applications using the Plazes’ API. And, we can expect, Plazes will be on millions of Nokia phones worldwide as soon as possible.

nokia logo“Nokia is a perfect partner for us because they share our product vision and have the muscle to bring locative presence to hundreds of millions of people all over the world,” the Plazes team writes on its blog. “What better partner than Nokia for exploring innovative ways of connecting people?”

With Plazes and other recent acquisitions, Nokia is clearly connecting people through location-based services, maps, music communities, gaming, and — almost forgot — voice.

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Seesmic to release bi-directional mobile client in four to six weeks

seesmic mascotThere’s a lot to like about Seesmic, the so-called video equivalent of Twitter, besides the charismatic founder Loic Le Meur, “in cloud” talent like Sukhjit and Giselle, and the people you meet “face-to-face” through video posting and commenting.

But there is one thing not to like: the lack of take-it-with-you mobility. To use Seesmic you’re mostly tethered to a desktop or laptop computer with a Webcam. You can use a cell-phone workaround like Shozu, but it can be cumbersome, working for some, not for others. Many people are hyper-mobile and participating in Seesmic is difficult, at least during the day.

This is all about to change. Over the next four to six weeks, Le Meur said following the Supernova conference, Seesmic will release its own bi-directional client for the Nokia series-60 phones including the N95. A hack for the iPhone 3G (jailbreaking it) will soon follow, as will a client for phones running Windows Mobile (and, it can be assumed, Android when they become available).

“In a few weeks we will have our own mobile client, which will let you have a full Seesmic experience,” Le Meur said.

The full Seesmic experience includes a two-way conversation. You record and upload video posts to the Seesmic Website (as well as other leading video sharing sites like YouTube and social network sites like MySpace and Facebook) that others can follow like Twitter. The community, including friends and strangers from all around the world, can comment on your post, and you on their’s.

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@Supernova: Evidence developers are just as interested in Blackberry as they are iPhone, Android

While the Supernova conference is mostly about the future of the network, a part of that network is mobile. And if you listen to most attendees, the two most important mobile players right now are Apple and the iPhone and Google and Android.

Oddly, it’s as if two other established players — Nokia and Research in Motion — have been relegated to the sideline as also-rans. One conference attendee even asked during a discussion about the future of mobile, “Is Blackberry dead?”


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@Supernova: Getting a glimpse of mobile's future without the iPhone and Android

supernovaThe mobile buzzwords at Supernova 2008 are plentiful: location, social networks, iPhone, Android, the cloud. But these are so . . . now.

At Supernova on Monday we got a glimpse of what’s next for mobile and our digital lifestyles and quite frankly, it has squat to do with hardware like the iPhone, software like Google’s open-source operating system Android, mobile platforms put forth by Apple, Google, Nokia, Research in Motion, and the carriers.

What’s coming is life profound: Put billions of sensors in cell phones, regardless of hardware, operating system, or carrier, and affect the way we understand traffic or the weather. With continued advances in chipsets, accelerometers, compasses, we can change the way we interact virtually with the physical world around us. We can turn monthly cell phone bills, which are difficult to use beyond paying, into living information integrated into our working and personal lives and social networks.

“We’re just getting started,” said Bob iannucci, Nokia’s chief technology officer.

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The App Store: Can it be worth $1 billion to Apple by 2010 with 70 percent free apps?

app storeAs with everything else iPhone, there’s been a great deal of speculation following the Worldwide Developers Conference regarding the App Store, where Apple intends to sell and distribute third-party applications.

There’s been talk of the grand opening being in July and at the end of June. Details continue to trickle out about how the store will operate. And “overnight” polls indicate the App Store will mean hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, perhaps even a billion, for Apple by the end of 2009.

One thing puzzles me, though: How can Apple potentially make $1 billion from the App Store by the end of 2009 when it’s estimated by some that 70 percent of the third-party applications will be free?

Go figure.

For now, here’s a quick look back at some of the App Store news following the WWDC keynote.

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From an RC beer cooler to an ESPN remote, digital lifestyle gifts for Dad on Father's Day

rc coolerThere are only a couple of more shopping days left until Father’s Day, that once-a-year event when wives and kids all across the U.S. buy Dad ties, aftershave, and other things he — let’s be honest here — will never use.

So to make shopping easier this year, we’ve assembled a few digital lifestyle ideas for your husband or Dad. Most of these are more expensive than Aqua Velva aftershave but, since we’re being honest here, these are what Dad might buy for himself, including a remote control beer cooler.

The obvious

The most sought-after Father’s Day gift on the planet will be the new 3G iPhone from Apple, which isn’t available until July 11. Until then, a hand-written IOU redeemable for the iPhone will do. Thankfully, the price is coming way down: $199 for the 8 GB model, $299 for the 16 GB phone. And since it now supports the enterprise with Microsoft Exchange syncing and other business-place features, the grumpy IT guys at Dad’s office will be happy.

Alternatives: none. Sure, we could argue for a Sony Ericsson, BlackBerry, or HTC smart phone, but why bother? Until Google’s Android phones are available — long after this Father’s Day is over — the iPhone will head Dad’s wish list.

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A collection of day-after links for iPhone 2.0

iphone coming soonYou may be tiring of iPhone news, but this — the post Worldwide Developers Conference keynote days — is just the quiet before the next iPhone deluge — the July 11 availability of the phone and the grand opening of the App Store.

For the next 30 days or so, you can expect lots of iPhone news to trickle out. New third-party apps. New hardware reviews. New analysis.

We’ve sifted through the first day of post-keynote jubilation to provide you with new software announcements, transitioning from iPhone 1.0 to 2.0 and moving from .Mac to MobileMe, the change in the iPhone business model, and the disappointments voiced by some now that the WWDC hangover is clearing.

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Finally, Apple takes enterprise seriously

During Steve Jobs’ keynote yesterday, one thing really stuck in my mind. Finally, Apple is taking the enterprise market seriously.

Yes, Apple is still primarily a consumer electronics company, albeit one that builds a range of hardware — laptop computers, set-top boxes, MP3 players, Internet tablets, mobile phones — in order to create some of world’s best software.*

Yes, the company is best poised to deliver a smartphone for consumers to manage life’s business.

Yes, in typical Apple-fashion, the newly announced MobileMe web service will bring enterprise features to consumers (dubbed “Exchange for the rest of us”).

Also see: Hey handset guys! Look around: Consumers want smartphones

But, with iPhone 2.0, Apple is sucking up to enterprise like never before…

Continue reading »'s At Bat brings real-time game stats and immediate video highlights to iPhone

mlb at bat iphoneI really could have used’s new At Bat application for the iPhone this weekend.

Our seats for the Cardinals-Astros games Friday and Sunday weren’t bad, all things considered, but we were in the outfield underneath an overhang from the deck above us at Minute Maid Park. We could not see the gigantic scoreboard, which is essential for real-time game information and knowing what the heck is going on.

To help us keep up with player names, positions, averages, and all the other stats generated by baseball, I turned to a Web-based application for the iPhone called Sports Tap. It’s a wonderfully simple app that tracks games and events in the sporting world from baseball, basketball, football and hockey to NASCAR, and Formula 1 racing. It’s sort of a mobile SportsCenter without the ESPN branding.

I tapped on St. Louis at Houston and was taken to a scoring summary, or boxscore. The user interface was a bit primitive — I had to go to separate pages to view St. Louis or Houston player statistics, and there was no wiki-like link between the two for easy navigation, but overall I could keep up with lineup changes and statistics., the interactive arm of Major League Baseball, has substantially improved on Sports Tap by not only offering real time scores and statistics but also video highlights, which amazingly are available moments after a play like Lance Berkman’s towering 460-foot home run on Sunday.

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