Friday, July 23, 2010

Where my BlackBerry at?

Good news for all you CrackBerry addicts who can never figure out where you are! RIM has introduced a brand new feature to its BlackBerry operating system called “Locate Service,” and (you guessed it) it tells you where you are when you don’t have coverage for the traditional GPS application. Beyond directions and the usual location finder, the feature has been made freely available to app developers, allowing for a smooth integration into more widespread location-based applications such as Foursquare.

The new Geolocation format uses cell phone frequency towers to triangulate your position. Although it is not as accurate as a true GPS application, the Locate Service function is able to produce an address along with nearby points of interest from virtually anywhere with cell phone service regardless of a clear line of sight to GPS satellites. Also, since the program was designed by RIM, Locate Service should easily integrate with standard OS applications such as BlackBerry Maps and Contacts.

While the application is still relatively new, it shouldn’t be long before it is integrated into quite a few existing applications.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nokia is dying

Nokia’s Q2 2010 earnings, as reported this month, have taken a sharp fall (40% less than Q2 2009), and it may be because people aren’t buying Nokia products anymore. Well, that’s actually exactly why they’re not making as much money as they used to. Don’t get me wrong. The majority of the world still uses Nokia handsets right now, but most of the world will also be switching pretty soon if Nokia doesn’t get with the program. While Symbian has remained the world leader in operating systems for several years, it has not led the world in innovation, despite its open-source operation. So why is it that, when Symbian users have the freedom to shape the operating system and create exactly what they want, consumers are choosing other smartphones?

Maybe it’s because Nokia hasn’t exactly stuck with the mainstream when it comes to user interfaces. Looking at the rising stars of the OS world, application and homescreen layout has evolved into a pretty standard grid layout of icons. Busy people don’t want to have to read names of applications and navigate through menus. They want to look at a picture, touch it and get work done. It’s sort of similar to the ongoing battle between Mac loyalists and PC users. The difference in look and layout between operating systems with the same basic capabilities has created a technology war for the ages, and it doesn’t look like it will end anytime soon.

With that in mind, it will be interesting to watch how Symbian grows with new images of Symbian^3 and ^4 starting to pop up as well as MeeGo, Nokia’s newest operating system formed in a joint venture with Intel’s Moblin.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Windows Phone 7 is preparing for takeoff

Microsoft has officially released a preview of the new Windows Phone 7 operating system to developers and other partners in order to generate feedback and put the final touches on its user interface. The OS, which has reportedly been issued on Asus, LG and Samsung handsets, has already generated reviews from several mobile bloggers, and opinions seem to be pretty positive so far.

All in all, it seems that Microsoft has succeeded in creating an operating system with every bit as much functionality as the other mainstream OS’s while maintaining its own personal spin on features and producing an original UI, coined “Metro,” with little borrowed from its iOS and Android counterparts. Check it out for yourself in this clip from Engadget.

Developers still have a few months to mull over the updates as the OS is not scheduled for release until the holiday season. Still, it is rumored that Microsoft is already offering financial incentives for app developers to get to work on beefing up its app storefront. Microsoft is going to have a tough time catching up to Apple and Google in the app department, but it’s possible that its interface will attract business from consumers who are loyal to other Microsoft products such as Office or Exchange, are looking for a change from the now-standard grid application list started by Apple or are migrating away from OS’s that are losing market share such as Symbian.

Let us know what you think!

Monday, July 12, 2010

RIM Unveils Latest OS 6 Teaser

Well Storm users, it only took a few years for BlackBerry to realize OS 5 isn’t really suited for a touchscreen interface and start rebuilding. We’ll most likely see a few more touchscreen-enabled Berries hit shelves alongside OS 6, but RIM’s keeping pretty quiet on the hardware front for now. Instead, we’ve got another look at the new interface, browser and universal search bar.

The video mostly concentrates on the social applications of the phone. Evidently, RIM thinks its plethora of corporate users mainly Tweet and text about how “kick-tastic” the latest action flick was. However, it does offer some unique insight into some new functionality for the operating system including a new universal search feature and the new Web-kit based browser that we’ve all been clamoring for.

Check out the video below and let us know what you think! How many of you are looking forward to the operating system refresh or have you already jumped ship?