Category Archives: RIM

Grooveshark Goes HTML5

Grooveshark LogoIn order to get round all those pesky app store rules, the musos at Grooveshark have produced a basic little HTML5 player that’s available via Grooveshark’s website. If you’re not familiar with Grooveshark, it’s “the world’s largest on-demand and music discovery service. With over 15 million songs, Grooveshark is an ecosystem that brings together music fans, bands, music labels, and brands.”

A posting on their blog yesterday said:

In an effort to span over this confounded series of tubes and reach as many mobile music listeners as we can, we’ve done the unthinkable.

iOS? We got there.
Android 2.3+?   We got there.
Playbook? We got there.
TouchPad? Yep.  There too.

Should you choose to accept your mission:

!!!  For covert opts points, try it on an html5 device not listed above and report your findings to Dr. Lovedoctor at for your bonus surprise.

I’ve tried out on an HP TouchPad, a Pre 3 and a Google Nexus S and can confirm that it works most of the time. On occasion, it wouldn’t start playing a track and once that had happened, I had to restart the browser to fix the problem. The app is pretty simple, no fancy cover-flow effects here. This is it on the TouchPad.

Grooveshark HTML5 Web App

Tap on a track and it starts playing. There are also genre “radio” stations for a continuous stream of tracks. Overall, it’s not bad but the tracks failed to start playing too many times for my liking.

Android Handsets More Unreliable

Android LogoWireless expert WDS is reporting that high failure rates in Android handsets are costing mobile network operators as much as $2 billion per year in dealing with repairs and returns. Reviewing the four leading mobile operating systems, its study found that Android-based devices seemed more prone to failure as 14% of technical support calls on Android were for hardware, versus 11% for Windows Phone, 7% for iOS and just 6% for BlackBerry OS.

Simplistically, Android handsets were twice as likely to suffer a hardware fault that an Apple or RIM device. The study suggests that cheaper hardware, software customisations and OS updates all contribute to the failure rate and in turn, the increased impact on the network operators to provide technical support and customer service. WDS analysed over 600,000 technical support calls from July 2010 to August 2011.

One thing we must be absolutely clear on,” says Tim Deluca-Smith, Vice President of Marketing at WDS, “is that our analysis does not find any inherent fault with the Android platform. Its openness has enabled the ecosystem to grow to a phenomenal size, at a phenomenal rate, and it’s this success that is proving challenging.

He added, “The Android customer experience differs enormously between devices and this means that the way in which Android devices are retailed and supported must consider factors such as the hardware build and quality of components.

If you are thinking about buying or upgrading your smartphone, you might want to bear this research in mind before you purchase.

The full WDS whitepaper can be downloaded from this page.

Android Leads UK Smartphone Race

Android LogoIn the UK, Android is beginning to dominate the smartphone space, with 50% of handsets sold in the last quarter running Android. RIM (Blackberry) and Apple are almost level pegging on 22% and 18% and with half of UK adults now owning a smartphone, Android has an impressive lead.

Breaking the Android figures down, HTC is the top dog, with nearly 45% of Android handsets sold. Samsung is picking up the pace at 38% but Sony Ericsson is the big loser, falling to 8.5% of the Android market.

Surprisingly, this means that HTC, Samsung, RIM and Apple are each taking about a quarter of the market. Compared with mindshare that Apple generally has and the dominance in the tablet market, it’s clear that the iPhone is under performing.

Personally, I would agree with the figures. Looking round the office, Android phones are definitely in the majority followed by iPhones and Blackberries. I think Blackberries are popular with younger people as both my nephews have that brand of phone. The breakdown of the Android shares also rings true. This time last year, it would have been exclusively HTC smartphones but now there are quite a few people sporting Samsung devices.

The research was carried out by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech over the past 12 weeks. To be fair, this probably means that iPhone sales were down as people waited for new model but there’s no doubt that Android is the no.1 smartphone OS in the UK.


GadgetTrak Remote Tracking Software For Mobile Gadgets

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

iMovee Mobeo ( 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

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

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.