The Race to Connect Africa: Apple vs. Microsoft

May 19 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Economics   Year: 2009   Rating: 9 Hot

With the rapid rise of the iPhone and Microsoft’s announcement that it will back the One Laptop per Child initiative, a massive battle for the African computer market may be shaping up sooner than expected.

The AP reports a new deal between Apple and cell provider Orange that will bring the iPhone to “Austria, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Jordan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland and African markets later this year.”

At the same time, Microsoft has finally agreed to provide Windows to the now promising OLPC initiative after years of ridiculing the then far-fetched project.

Though the iPhone presently costs more than a OLPC PC, $399 vs. $100, that price is due to sharply drop (perhaps to the $100 -$200 range) with the imminent release of the new 3G iPhone, which itself may be priced at just $199 if rumors about a hefty AT&T subsidy prove correct.

While lack of comm infrastructure and politics will certainly remain the primary barriers to diffusion, it looks as though these low-cost yet high-value products, driven by large companies getting accustomed to rapidly exploding markets in which first-mover advantage is critical, may catalyze a perfect storm for connectivity in under-developed nations, most notably African countries. (cont.)

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New Devices, Apps Will Change Public Interaction

June 16 2008 / by Jeff Hilford / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Communication   Year: 2008   Rating: 9 Hot

The release of the 3G Iphone last week (which featured GPS function and encouraged 3rd party application development) and the first prominent commercial installation of the Microsoft Surface table at Rio’s in Las Vegas signals a shift in the way we are going to interact in public spaces. It also marks the beginning of a dramatic increase in device and location driven 3rd party application development. Take a look at the Surface promo video below (warning – it’s a little cheesy).

Meet Fring, the Destroyer of Cellular Companies

October 06 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Communication   Year: 2008   Rating: 9 Hot

A new application for the iPhone and iTouch allows users to make free phone calls using Skype, Google Talk, ICQ, Yahoo and various other social platforms. It’s called Fring.

Not only can you talk to people for free (you need an internet connection and they also need the application), but it combines all your contacts from the different social networks into one easy to locate place. “Fring leverages your handset’s internet connection to empower you with mobility and availability as never before, integrating all contacts into one searchable buddy list and all your online applications into one ever-growing catalog of services.” By making it easy to contact all of your friends, Fring has in effect taken the next step towards free communication.

So what could be the end result?

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Future iPhones Will Be Solar-Powered

May 27 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Energy   Year: 2008   Rating: 8 Hot

I’m already big on the future of the iPhone, particularly its potential for underdeveloped regions like the African continent, so Apple’s latest patent filing for a solar-powered iPhone only serves to further my belief that the device will not only go big, but also spread very broadly.

According to Mac Rumours who first discovered the patent application:

The most interesting technique described by Apple … is the integration of the solar panels behind the actual LCD screen of a portable device. The solar panel would absorb ambient light that passes through the LCD screen of the device. ... If successfully implemented, Apple’s iPhone, iPod and laptops, could require no outward changes in design to add solar power.

As the price of both iPhone components and photovoltaic (PV) cells comes down steadily, this will add to the appeal of the increasingly coveted device, especially in resource-strapped areas as rising oil prices gradually push up the cost of manufacturing, transportation and electricity.

Adding solar cells beneath LCD screens is such an elegant no-brainer that it’s difficult to imagine a period in the near future when all mobile phones/computers aren’t forced to integrate solar. The main plausible alternative I can see is the prevalence of small plug-in PV power stations (either based at home, mounted on the car or worn) that can directly or indirectly charge mobile devices. But even then, just knowing that your device can charge autonomously still seems quite desirable.

In what year will a solar-powered iPhone hit the market?

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$100 Million Development "iFund" Launched, iPhone's Future Looking Massive

March 07 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Entertainment   Year: 2008   Rating: 7

Is this just the beginning for the iPhone?

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) yesterday announced the launch of the iFund with $100 million in venture capital to invest in companies developing applications and services for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch. The iFund, managed by KPCB, will be invest in companies with “market-changing ideas and products that extend the revolutionary new iPhone and iPod touch platform.”

By establishing a $100 million fund dedicated exclusively to iPhone applications, KPCB is letting us know it expects ongoing iPhone market penetration to be massive, resulting in a multi-billion $ industry.

“A revolutionary new platform is a rare and prized opportunity for entrepreneurs, and that’s exactly what Apple has created with iPhone and iPod touch,” said John Doerr, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. “We think several significant new companies will emerge as this new platform evolves, and the iFund will empower them to realize their full potential.”

By “significant”, Doerr most likely means companies in $50-200 million range, which reveals an expectation that the mass of iPhone app developers could in and of themselves claim $1 billion in valuation sometime in the next few years. Just imagine how many iPhone users there will have to be to pump revenue into these new companies.

“Developers are already bursting with ideas for the iPhone and iPod touch, and now they have the chance to turn those ideas into great companies with the help of world-class venture capitalists,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We can’t wait to start working with Kleiner Perkins and the companies they fund through this new initiative.”

Of course they can’t wait. This is going to be huge for the spread of their platform and for their stock price, which may well pop when the market opens Friday.

So, when will you buy your first Apple iPhone? KPCB is betting it will be soon, if you don’t already have one.

When will you buy your first iPhone?

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How Android will Change Everything (in the mobile phone space)

September 22 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Communication   Year: 2008   Rating: 7 Hot

For all those out there wetting their pants for Google’s new Linux-based phone operating system, Android will be unveiled tomorrow to much hoopla. And while delay after delay has done some damage to the egos of salivating Googlephiles, anticipation is still high.

The reason?

For one thing, nobody likes a monopoly. The iPhone has become the standard when it comes to hip smart phones which for some reeks of domination. The hope is that the Android mobile phone operating system will do some damage to take down the iPhone juggernaut. Although many expect there to be an assortment of bugs since it’s the first release (as well as having choppy graphics), it’s still an attractive alternative for users who don’t want an iPhone or are sick of Windows Mobile (or anything Microsoft).

Secondly, the operating system is based on Linux. Many PC users have been switching to Linux due to problems with the Vista OS. Linux has it’s own culture about it that’s more dedicated than Apple users. They’re fiercely proud of it, it’s free, and anyone can alter it. The idea of a Linux-based mobile phone operating system will be irresistible to any Linux fan.

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Obama Fights Fire with Technology

October 03 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Government   Year: 2008   Rating: 6 Hot

If there’s one thing that separates the two presidential candidates distinctly, it’s their use of technology. We’ve all heard about how John McCain doesn’t know how to use a computer, and it’s no secret that Obama does. So it’s not surprising that the Obama camp has come out with a nifty new iPhone application to help their supporters help out even more.

The application, free from the iPhone App store, promises to change the face of activism through making difficult tasks easy.

The reason?

For starters, the application gives you stats on yours calls to friends in support of Obama (heck, it even tells you what friends are in battleground states). It tells you how many calls you’ve made and how you rank compared to other application users. You can get updates from the campaign, latest news on the candidates, and even local event information such as volunteer opportunities or visits from the Obama campaign.

The Obama campaign has raised the standard in political activism. You can bet that within the next few months (if they’re smart) you can expect to see applications from all types of organizations. The McCain Campaign, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and the ACLU are probably not far behind. Heck, you may even see an app from the Sea Shepherd before next whaling season is on.

With online involvement increasingly becoming more mobile, the era of TV ads and the stereotypical inactive voter could be gone within the next decade or two. In 2020 you could run your entire campaign, everything from fundraising to polling constituents, from your home. Today you need the bankroll of a small country to run a campaign — in 2020 you may only need a programmer

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Here Comes Video-to-Video Mobile Chat (Update: or does it?)

June 08 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: 2008   Rating: 5 Hot

Leaked photos of the new 3G Apple iPhone reveal that it’s very sleek and, best of all, supports video-to-video calling. If rumors of serious subsidies in the neighborhood of the -$200 range prove correct, then we could have a mobile video-to-video revolution on our hands the second half of this year, certainly by the holiday season.

Although it’s gotten increasing silly to wait for next-gen technologies, I sure am psyched that I bypassed the first iteration(s) of the iPhone for the 3G version, which is widely expected to be released June 9th.

Update: It looks as though this 3G iPhone photo may well be a FAKE, in which case we’ll have to wait a few more months or even a year before we get video-to-video. I dig the joke and feel thoroughly sheeeepish at having taken the bait. It did seem plausible, though I did pause, for a split second, when considering the bandwidth requirements.

Prediction: Such believable fake-outs, in the tradition of google’s April Fool’s jokes, will become far more prevalent as we enter the knee of the curve and crafty designers take advantage of the viral opportunities.

The iPhone's Plan to Beat Google on it's Home Turf with new Street View Update

October 29 2008 / by christinep / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: 2008   Rating: 5 Hot

Google Android has one of the best features designed for Google maps. Makes sense, doesn’t it? But while the newly released Android is getting all the hype in the news as of late, it seems Apple isn’t going to let Google get away with that title just yet. With the software 2.2 update, the iPhone will now support Google Street View as well as mass transit directions. With this feature, people will be able to view their actual surroundings so they can get a better sense of where they need to go. The mass transit feature is especially helpful for those who commute on a daily basis and need to catch those buses on time.

It wasn’t too long ago that a map was the confused traveler’s staple — you’d stare at it for what seemed like hours, dimly aware of your orientation or distances, unable to fold it back into it’s designed shape.

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The iPhone of 2015 Promises Flexible Screens and Contact Lens Displays

November 03 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2015   Rating: 5 Hot

Leaked photos of the next generation Mac Mini suggest that Apple is committed to steadily shrinking components and appears to be on the road to something that may look a lot like this vision of the iPhone 2015 that we published last November:

 

Sometimes it’s hard for people to get an accurate sense of what the future holds for certain technologies. For instance, could the average person three years ago have imagined that something like the 3G iPhone could exist now?

It is for this reason I present this vision of the iPhone circa 2015.

Contact Lens Display

The most interesting feature of the iPhone 2015 is its first generation Contact Lens Display System. If there’s one thing that iPhone users believe themselves to be, and that Apple stresses all the time, it’s that people who use Apple products are independent and unique. It is for this reason that an eyeglass display was thrown out. No iPhone user would be caught dead wearing the same glasses as over ten million other iPhone users. The fact is, glasses are cumbersome. They gather dirt, get lost easily, and make sports rather difficult.

In 2007, development of a contact lens display system began at the University of Washington, Seattle. “Engineers at the University of Washington have for the first time used manufacturing techniques at microscopic scales to combine a flexible, biologically safe contact lens with an imprinted electronic circuit and lights.” In the time between now and 2015, the cost involved in the production of a contact lens display will likely reduce in price, meaning the loss of one won’t reduce you to tears in case of loss.

The problems associated with contact lenses (protein build-up, 8-hour wear limit, annoyance of constant inserting and removal) will be lessened with oxygen-permeable lenses. O2OPTIX, a company currently specializing in such breathable lenses, already sells a lens capable of week-long wear without removal. “O2OPTIX is made with a revolutionary silicone hydrogel technology allowing up to 5 times more oxygen through the lens than the leading traditional 2-week lens, to help protect from the signs and symptoms of corneal oxygen deficiency.” It only makes sense that seven years from now a lens will be developed which can last even longer making wearable contact lenses less of a pain.

Of course there always is the option of implanting the lens permanently into the eye, but who would ever go under invasive surgery for first generation technology?

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Google Creates Awesome iPhone App, Apple Gives Google the "Finger"

November 17 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: 2008   Rating: 5 Hot

Look! A great new App is here for the iPhone! Google has incorporated voice recognition capability into their search, allowing users to speak what they want and get results through their phone. Check out the vid below.

Seems pretty cool, eh? Oh wait, there’s a problem.

Turns out that although Apple approved the App for a Friday release (Nov. 14th), it remains to be seen. You’d think that this application, which is coming out first on the iPhone and created by the mega-giant Google, wouldn’t run into any problems. You’d be wrong.

Apple really screwed the the pooch on this one. Although Google decided to release it first on the iPhone, this snub could cause some ramifications down the line between the two companies. Sad thing is, this technology is amazing. The fact the application was able to pick out “Fahrenheit” shocks me (I have a hard enough time spelling it myself). And combined with all the other issues developers of iPhone Apps have been facing, Apple seems to be becoming the “bad guy.”

Apple, what’s your deal?

via TechCrunch

It Hurt the Music Industry, But Can Apple Kill the Gaming Industry?

November 04 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2018   Rating: 4 Hot

Arik Hesseldahl at Business Week wrote a very interesting article about how the iPhone and iTouch could possibly compete with the big-wigs of the gaming industry.

“For the last few days I’ve been sampling some of the games available from the iTunes Store on the iPod Touch, and I’ve been stunned at how elaborate and involved they are. On the iPod Touch I’ve played a version of Gameloft’s Real Soccer 2009 that rivals the version of the game on the Nintendo DS, and I didn’t even miss the buttons.”

And it’s true, the gaming experience on these mobile devices has gotten so good that people are able to play networked games such as Quake 3 on them.

But the fact of the matter is, like video, playing games on a screen the size of a pack of cigarettes isn’t going to do much damage to the gaming industry. It’s going to be years before the iPhone can reach the same processor capability to match, for instance, the XBOX 360. The gaming consoles themselves are also much cheaper than an iPhone and are capable of streaming High Definition to colossal TV screens.

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