Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


GadgetTrak Remote Tracking Software For Mobile Gadgets

Posted by tomwiles at 2:46 PM on February 9, 2011

GadgetTrak is a piece of software that you install on your mobile phone or laptop. The software will periodically check in and let you know the physical location of the device. If a camera is present, for example on a laptop, it can even take a photo of the thief and email it back to the owner. The software cannot be disabled by the thief.

For a Mac or Windows laptop, the price is $34.95 per year.

For Android and Blackberry phones, which includes remote data wipe ability, secure encrypted backup and a loud piercing audible alarm even if the device is in silent mode, the price is $19.95 per year.

For iPhone, iPod, and iPad, the GadgetTrak app is .99 cents, The iOS version does not include remote data wipe, but does include remote camera and push notification support to inform the thief of the GadgetTrak software’s presence.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine.

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Mobeo iMovee Brings Mobile TV to Smart Phones & Tablets

Posted by tomwiles at 1:41 AM on January 28, 2011

iMovee Mobeo (www.i-movee.com/mobeo1.html) brings mobile TV to smart phones and tablets. iMovee Corporation launches the entire range of Mobile TV products including SKY TV (USB Dongle), Mobidik (WiFi Dongle for Iphone, Ipod, Blackberry, PC, MAC etc), Telly MOBO (7″/9″ Portable DVD & TV), Touch Telly Series (Media Player & Portable TV 4.3″ ,4.7″, 7″), Telly NAV (portable Navigation Device with ATSC MH) and CAR Telly (Automotive Set top box). iMovee is also launching various ATSC MH & T DMB modules for manufacturers to readily integrate to their consumer devices and thus reducing the time to market.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of Slash Dot Review News and RV News Network — RVNN.TV

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Deloitte’s 2011 Teaser Predictions

Posted by Andrew at 12:00 AM on January 18, 2011

Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunication’s practice have given a sneak peak of their global predictions for 2011.

First up, over 25% of all tablets bought in 2011 will be purchased by businesses, with retail, healthcare and manufacturing purchasing over 10 million. Initially, the use of tablets in business will be by people who have brought their own device into work but by the end of the year, businesses will be buying for employees.

Secondly, less than 50% of all “computing devices” sold in 2011 will be traditional PCs and laptops. Peter O’Donoghue, head of Deloitte’s technology industry practice, adds: “In 2011, more than 50% of computing devices sold globally will be smartphones, tablets and non-PC netbooks. 2011 will mark the tipping point as the growth of applications for non-PC items outstrips traditional software sales and consumers embrace a wider variety of devices.”

When you consider that PC sales will hit 400 million in 2011, you suddenly realise how big the non-PC market has become, that it’s grown from almost nothing in only a few years and that the growth is likely to continue at the expense of the PC market.

Finally, Deloitte is of the opinion that no single OS will dominate the smartphone or tablet market. The top 5 operating system developers have plenty of cash to keep the OS wars going through 2011.  The top 5 aren’t named but I’d guess that it’s Google, Apple, RIM, Nokia and Microsoft. Deloitte points out that this fragmentation causes problems and additional cost for application developers, media companies and IT departments.

The full report will be released on Wednesday 19th January.

Palm Pre Plus – 3 Months On

Posted by Andrew at 5:29 AM on August 4, 2010

Picture of Palm Pre PlusPalm is definitely the uber-underdog in the battle of the smartphones with RIM, Apple and Android battling it out for supremacy.  Palm has been struggling for mindshare but with its acquisition of HP last month ago, it’s looking stronger ;-)

The Palm Pre Plus was launched in the UK on O2 back in May.  I have to confess that I already had a Pre that I’d obtained via ebay but as my contract was up, I renewed and got myself the Plus version.  I did seriously think about jumping to Android but in the end, I loved the underdog too much.

I’ve been using the Pre Plus now for about 3 months so I thought I’d give it a quick review for real-life usage rather than the feature-driven reviews that appear when devices first come out.

By far the best feature of the Palm smartphones is contactless charging using the Touchstone.  You place the phone on the Touchstone and it charges.  Simple and brilliant.  The Touchstone doubles as a desktop cradle, angling the Pre Plus so you can see the screen.

Battery life isn’t great and I’m seriously thinking about getting a second battery.  On quiet days, I can get through the day without charging but if I’m making lots of calls or using plenty of data, then I’ll get to mid afternoon before needing a charge.

Shape and construction.  The curved back and soft-touch rubber makes the Pre Plus feel great in the hand.  Apparently Palm were aiming for a water-worn pebble aesthetic.  The front is a bit plasticky and a metal surround would have been an improvement.

The slider mechanism has come in for criticism on the various Palm forums but I’ve had both a Pre and the current Pre Plus and neither have exhibited any problems.  If anything, it’s actually quite satisfying when you pop it closed.

The keyboard works well too.  Even as a man with biggish hands, I have no problems typing.  Ok, so you aren’t going to be writing “War and Peace” on it but for banging out some emails or text messages, it’s fine.

I’ve dropped the Pre Plus from waist height on two occasions, once onto concrete and amazingly, it survived albeit with a few dings in the plastic.  Thumbs up for overall construction.

Moving onto the operating system and software, WebOS is pretty good.  The multitasking of apps works seamlessly and on the Pre Plus, I’ve had over ten apps open at once.  This makes working with multiple information sources really easy – you can move between apps with a couple of flicks of the finger.

The other piece of brilliance is the Synergy technology which sucks in data from multiple sources into a single view.  For example, if I have a friend who is on LinkedIn, Facebook and in my Google contacts, I see only one entry for that friend in the Pre’s Contact app instead of three.  Genius.

The Pre lives in the cloud and I think it’s the way to go.  There’s no direct syncing with your desktop (unless you buy a third party product) but I have everything in Google – Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, Bookmarks and Docs. Other clouds such as Yahoo! are also options.  I’ve never measured what data rate I get out of 3G but it’s fast enough for me to download podcasts without thinking about it.  Having sync’d via the cloud, I’d never go back to a wired solution.

The Palm App Catalog has the smallest number of apps (2524 in UK at time of writing) compared to iOS and Android but this ignores quality over quantity.  There are some deficiences which I will come to shortly but frankly, there’s pretty much all you need available.  The basics (calendar / diary, contacts, web-browser, music player, video player, picture viewer)  are all built-in.  There are also apps for YouTube and Google Maps.  I’ve listed some of the other apps I have loaded below.

Social Media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Tweed (for Twitter)
Media – Evernote, Feeds (for RSS), drPodder (for podcasts), pReader (for e-books), Flickr Addict
Tasks & Projects – ToDo Classic, Outline Tracker
Security – SplashID
Money - ClearCheckbook, AuctionMate (for ebay)
Games – Hawx, Sudoku, Min-Golf, Brain Challenge and lots of other little games.

The one major deficiency is in Microsoft Office editing.  There is a viewer app for Word, Excel and Powerpoint but it’s viewing only.  Most of the time it’s not a problem, but there have been one or two occasions where it would have been handy.

The App Catalog itself is pretty simple to use and it’s all too easy to splurge on a few apps and games.

Finally, Palm has embraced the developer community, both official and unofficial, which has taken on the moniker of “homebrew”.  There are loads of patches which customise WebOS and apps in little (and not so little) ways.  You want more icons on each page? – you got it.  Want to be able to download YouTube videos? – you got it.  The heart of homebrew community is over at PreCentral and there’s loads of general information over there too.

So what don’t I like about the Pre Plus?  As I mentioned earlier, the front is a bit plasticky.  The door that covers the USB slot is poor but fortunately I rarely have to connect physically.  There’s no Flash support though it’s coming real soon now.  And the lack of market share means that it’s often the last to get an app or support.  For instance, there’s no Google Latitude or StreetView support.  It also means that it’s rare to meet someone else with a Palm – I work in IT with a hundred-odd colleagues and no-one else has Pre or Pixi - so I never get to say, “Did you see that new app GeeWhizzBang?”

But these are minor niggles in the overall picture.  Would I buy again? Definitely.  Choosing your next smartphone is never easy but if you are thinking of getting a new phone, don’t just head straight for the iPhone – the Palm Pre Plus or Pixi Plus deserve a look.

Windows era is ending

Posted by GNC at 9:07 PM on July 30, 2010

It’s true.  I am aware of the percentage of people who have windows installed on their desktop and laptops.  Further, the monopoly will not collapse it will erode, and quicker than you might expect.  I moved from a city where the local lake has risen nearly 30 feet in the last 20 years.  Everyone said, “It’s going to stabilize, it won’t. . .”  It did.  The Windows era is ending.
Why?  The diversity of mobile OS’s.  Apple, Google, HP, and the other smartphone and mobile companies have destroyed Windows in the mobile market.  Their mobile OS’s integrate with Windows desktop leaving little reason for users to switch to a Windows mobile OS.  As the computing industry moves toward mobility and the cloud it will mean most people will use the web and cloud on non-windows systems for their phone.   The largest computing market in the world are the developing countries.  These people will be using their phones not desktops and laptops.  I am not alone in this opinion, a good read is the article at Gigaom from a Mary Meeker presentation.

But that is not the worst for Windows.  Five years ago I would bet only 10 in 100 people could give you the name of another operating system of any kind desktop or mobile.  Microsoft owned the OS market name.  Computers were Microsoft.  Not anymore.  Android, iOS, Symbian, Linux, and others are known by the majority of people.  Software companies long since loyal to Windows are going to diversify.  They want some of the money from the iPad, Android, Chrome, and Palm branches.  The web is going to make it easy.  Put their software on the web and it’s over.  Further, enter the influence of social media.  Windows used to mean computers.  Now Facebook and Twitter mean computing.  Whatever can get a user to those locations is what is important.  Can you hear the old barn creaking?  Can you see the new buildings being built?  It is like the end of an era on the old farm.

None of this is to say that Microsoft is going to crash or stop making a profit.  I simply believe they are not going to be taking the growth of the new market.  They will continue but other companies are going to take the new market of computing.  The era is ending.

Smartphones Growing In Europe

Posted by Andrew at 5:07 AM on July 5, 2010

IDC‘s latest press release on mobile phones and smartphones in Europe shows the sector grew 8% in the past year, that smartphones represent over a quarter of all phones shipped and that current leader Nokia is losing market share.

The total mobile market grew 8% year-on-year with over 42 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2010.  Of this, smartphones were 12 million units, representing 28% of the market and up 57% on last year.  Mobile phones actually dropped 4% showing the trend towards the more powerful devices.

Overall, Nokia still rules the mobile market, with just under 33% of the market in the first quarter but this is down 9% in the year.  Samsung runs a close second with 29% of the market.  No-one else has anywhere near the  market share of these two.  Even Apple and RIM only have 7.0% and 5.6% respectively.

Looking at just the smartphone market, Nokia is still out front with nearly 41% market share, but again this is well down from 57% last year.  Apple is second with 25%, closely followed by RIM with 20%.

HTC comes fourth with 7.5% and consequently, Android outsold Windows Mobile for the first time.  No sign at all of Palm’s WebOS devices which anecdotally have only sold well in Germany.

To honest, anyone familiar with the space doesn’t need IDC to tell them that Nokia is struggling.  Partly it’s because the smartphone range isn’t great, but I think Nokia just isn’t hip anymore.  Forgive me if I’m being shallow but Apple = cool.  Blackberry = cool.  Android = cool.

The full tables are in the press release but they’re not labelled very well.  The first table is the total mobile phone market, the second table is the smartphone market.