Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tizen and Bad to merge - January 17th

By Markus Gausling

According to Forbes [1] Samsung will merge its Bada OS with Tizen. Only few details are known but this is supposed to bring the Bada interfaces to Tizen and should include backwards compatibility with already existing Bada applications.

Such a move would have a few advantages from Samsung's point of view. First it would immediately provide thousands of existing applications for coming Tizen devices. Those devices could gain immediate access to the Bada applications available in Samsung's application store.

It would also allow Bada developers to develop for Tizen as well and as such increase the base of potential application developers.

Additionally this might be a move for Samsung to reduce the number of platforms they currently support (e.g. Bada, Window Phone 7, Android).

So this looks like a reasonable direction for Samsung to go.

[1] Forbes


Friday, January 13, 2012

Tizen is here - January 13th

By Markus Gausling

On 7th of January a preview version of the Tizen SDK for Ubuntu was released ([1]). The official 1.0 release is scheduled later this quarter and shall also support versions for Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac.
Tizen is maintained by the Linux Foundation with strong contribution from companies such as Intel and Samsung. It is designed to run on different systems such a smartphones, smart TVs, netbooks, tablets or in-vehicle infotainment systems. The released alpha version however is targeting smartphones and tablets primarily.
Tizen is planned to run on x86 and ARM architectures in the future.

Tizen’s architecture
Tizen is a Linux system which also uses a number of open source components. It provides an application environment which is based on HTML5 and Wholesale Application Community (WAC) standards, see [4].

The list of supported interfaces in the Tizen Web API layer can be grouped into the following three categories:
  • W3C - Contains interfaces for W3C-defined standards. This includes interfaces for standards such as HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, SVG or W3C Geolocation APIs.
  • Khronos interfaces – Interface for the Khronos-defined standards such as WebGL and the Typed Arrays API.
  • Tizen interfaces – Additional interfaces to access platform functionality not covered by W3C and Khronos. This includes e.g. PIM, Messaging and Call, Sensors, Bluetooth or NFC interfaces.
The Tizen SDK
The Eclipse based IDE contains a set of tools to develop Tizen applications using HTML/JavaScript/CSS. This includes an HTML WYSIWYG editor and debuggers. It also contains an x86-based QEMU emulator. Developer documentation is of course also included.
In addition to the SDK the Tizen source code is available in a preview version via Git ([3]).

Hands on experience
Setting up the environment was quite straightforward although it took some time to download the packages. Creating a sample Hello World with the application wizard went fine. As the IDE is Eclipse-based most developers should be immediately familiar with it.
The Emulator and the platform itself feels quite responsive and stable. This is probably also due to the fact that HW acceleration for the emulator is supported. Also the UI of Tizen looks reasonably designed and you feel immediately at home when you are already familiar with Android or iOS.
Developing some simple web applications with HTML5, CSS and JavaScript and the WYSIWYG also was straightforward. The applications could be quickly developed and tested. All in all developing for Tizen seems to be fun.

On a first glance Tizen has all the ingredients to become a successful platform. The Web Application based approach seems to be promising and seems to support rapid application development. This might attract a lot of new developers coming from the Web development area.
I believe developing native applications or at least support for native components is required as well though. So far I have heard that this is planned however I haven’t heard any details on this yet.
With Android, iOS or Windows already a number of players in the same segments are available today. MeeGo will also be maintained although it remains to be seen to what extent. So MeeGo can be regarded as a potential competitor as well.
On top of that Intel is still struggling to enter the mobile markets. With their latest Intel Medfield platform it is expected they will enter these ARM-dominated segments though.
Last but not least device manufacturers and end customer need to support the platform as well. Let’s see where this will lead…

[1] An early look at Tizen - https://www.tizen.org/
[2] Tizen developer page -  https://developer.tizen.org/
[3] Tizen Source Code - http://source.tizen.org/git/
[4] Wholesale Application Community (WAC) - http://www.wacapps.net/

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Great UX boost brand loyalty -November 29th.

By Magnus Ingelsten

Consumer experiences are what make a difference, whether it’s is going to a restaurant, on holiday, driving a car, using your home media centre or your new tablet. It’s long been proven by Apple’s products and understood by also many restaurants. Steve Jobs once said “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” So we cannot assume that users will look past a poor user experience to see the quality beneath. Because they will certainly not.

UX includes the whole journey. It covers everything from the new product demo, how you enjoe the feel of the box, how you open it, the user documentation, the device in your hand, sensing the keys and the ease in which you switch it on & set it up. The user interface must be easy, logical, automatically localized and personalized. The visual impact must be compelling, attractive and so much fun that you don’t want to stop playing with the device.

Why and how has this trend become the single most important competitive factor? Can we blame Apple? Since their first Macintosh debuted 1984 based on its Natural User Interface (NUI), their devices have been selling on user experience, which includes industrial design and problem-free usage. In almost every product category where Jobs led Apple he upset the status quo. Before the iMac, people accepted that computers came in beige or grey, arrived in multiple pieces and took hours to set-up. Jobs’ product integrated everything into a single device. Set-up was so simple that users only had to plug in the power cord to a single unit which people were proud to display at their homes.

The iPhone swept away design conventions by being the first to omit all but one of the physical buttons from the face of the phone, abstracting the interface elements into a software UI. Crucially, Jobs team emphasized on delivering the best user experience for music, video, web browsing and email, allowing them to scrap the legacy rulebook created for standard voice phones. Yes, it was such a revoulution that the market for other MP3 players/media players was instantly gone. Almost.

And since 2008 there has been a 100% increase on Google Trends for "the User experience industry."

This has been fully recognised since a few years by us at Teleca and we can help you by applying creativity, experience, consumer behaviour and full execution of UX and UI projects. Anything on your mind? Our UX design teams will take on your challenge.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Qt Developer Days in Munich -Nov.15

By Toni Nikkanen

Qt Developer Days, hosted by Nokia Qt Development Frameworks 24.-26th of October 2011 in Munich, Germany, was an event packed with developers, exhibitors and expectations.

The Tuesday morning keynote session was hosted by Alexandra Leisse, Qt's Web Community Manager. The first keynote speaker was Marco Argenti, Nokia's SVP of Developer Experience. His main message was that despite the strategic shift to Windows Phone, Qt continues to be important for Nokia and Nokia developers: over 100 million Qt phones have been shipped (Symbian, N9) with millions more still going to ship, and 90M apps are downloaded from the Nokia Store every day. What I would have liked to hear is how much money developers are making with Qt apps on Nokia Store right now.

"Qt for the next billion" was given as the reason why Qt will continue to matter for Nokia in the future: Nokia will make affordable phones that will have apps, and Qt is at the centre of this plan. Unfortunately this was not further elaborated. For the credibility of Qt, Nokia should communicate their future Qt plans more clearly. With Qt 4.8 being the last version of Qt for Symbian, some people even asked does this mean Qt 5 will be irrelevant for the mobile device sector? The answer was that Qt 5 will be very important for Nokia's mobile device plans, but they simply can't speak openly about it for now. My guess is that the planned release schedule (first half of 2012) for Qt 5 will coincide with product releases from Nokia.

Argenti also said Nokia has finally addressed the lack of Qt on Windows Phones, having released porting guides both from Qt to Windows Phone, but also from Windows Phone to Qt.

The major next steps for Qt will be the 1H 2012 release of Qt 5, and the move to Open Governance. Qt 5 will introduce several new features and improvements, such as increased modularity, small footprint, major upgrade of Qt Quick to version 2.0 with 10 major new features, an all-new graphics stack, and moving all platforms to use the QPA (Qt Platform Abstraction) system. On platforms with OpenGL (ES) support, the new graphics stack will perform about 2.5x fast as Qt 4.x, which could enable apps written using Qt to perform well on less powerful devices than currently possible. Open Governance means Qt is now developed entirely in the open, with collaboration and contributions welcomed.
Picture: Jari Saarhelo at Teleca being interviewed on NFC solutions.

After the keynotes it was time to head for the technical sessions. I gained lots of useful information on topics such as optimizing Qt Quick apps, Qt Quick 3D, persistent object storage for Qt Quick, and Qt on Android. It was intriguing to see how far the Qt for Android project has gotten to and that it is actually quite easy to make and sell a Qt app on the Android Market. And I was glad to find out how little rocket science or college math you need to remember in order to take advantage of 3D graphics using Qt Quick 3D.

I also browsed through the exhibitions and noted that while a lot of the exhibitors were Nokia subcontractors or partners, there were also many companies that have no other tie to Nokia other than that they use Qt, or offer services related to Qt. Qt wasn't an all-Nokia show before Nokia's acquisition of Trolltech in 2008, and today it still isn't. Qt always was, and still is, first and foremost a high-quality cross-platform application development framework with Nokia platforms being just one out of many possible platforms you can target with it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Automotive - IVI, a focus item at Frankfurt motor show, September 19th

By Roger Hampel

The automotive industry presents itself in good mood at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. More than 1000 exhibitors from 32 different countries are displaying their latest developments. The number of visitors after just two days of public opening is 10% above reference figures from 2009 and a total of 800.000 visitors are expected this year. As our visit was limited to one day, we didn’t embark on a test ride with one of the 200+ models available for driving, though for sure it would have been a lot of fun to race along one of the short and narrow tracks that numerous manufacturers had prepared at the show.

Notably, a big topic at this year’s show is electromobility. As consumers are more and more looking for fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly cars, all major brands are showing either hybrid or electric models. Telematics services are considered to be of particular interest to owners of electric vehicles.

Next generation In-vehicle infotainment is also a big topic at the show and solutions range from fully integrated infotainment modules featuring internet access, maps, streaming media and innovative ways of interaction such as gesture control and head-up displays for the premium segment down to innovative solutions of using a tablet PC as center stack touch control and display, especially targeting the cost-sensitive IVI market for electric vehicles. Android is widely considered for aftermarket IVI solutions due to its superior functionality, but only plays a minor role for in-dash solutions.

Within our newly established Automotive Business Unit, Teleca is already engaged in building next generation In-Vehicle Infotainment Systems. Expect to see some of the products that have been enabled by Teleca at Frankfurt Motor Show 2013. See you there!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

We get our great articles in the press -September 7th

By Krishna Kumar

It is great to proudly announce that two of my articles have appeared today in The Economic Times, and Deccan Herald;

Article 1 - The new Telecom Policy lags practice [The Economic Times, Editorial page, page 16, Co-authored with Dr Sridhar]. The article discusses about issues of roaming in 3G and Broadband Wireless Access services for data services; benchmark initiatives in the European Union on data roaming regulation; recent market developments in this area; initiatives on spectrum re- farming and spectrum sharing without appropriate policies; hence the need to legitimize these initiatives. Link to article»

Article 2 - Take charge & go-ahead! It is your career [Deccan Herald, Avenues supplement]. This article tries to look at some of the beliefs and practical aspects of career planning. Organizations can only play a supportive role. Among other things, longevity in an organization and focusing on soft skills would certainly provide the right impetus for growth. Link to article»

I hope you enjoy reading!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Will mobile apps sing new tune? July 28th

By G Krishna Kumar

Not too far in the future, HTML5 could share platform space in the mobile apps market.

Remember the frenzy created by the mobile phone game “Angry Birds”, which was first launched on Apple's mobile operating system, iOS? Not only is the game available on leading mobile platforms now, thanks to its popularity, but also, the usage of words “Angry” or “Birds” in other application names has increased manifold over the past one year, states Distimo, a company that studies the mobile applications market.

In general, every time ‘a cool application' is available on Apple's application store, the immediate response from a non-Apple smartphone or tablet user is to check whether the same application is available with the Android Market Place, OVI store or Windows Market Place.

Wouldn't it be great to see an application on all platforms at once? But before we look for answers, let's first take a quick look at the global business opportunity for mobile applications.

Is the market Big enough?

According to Gartner, globally, mobile application store revenue is projected to surpass $15.1 billion in 2011, both from end-users buying applications, and applications themselves generating advertising revenue for their developers. By 2014, the revenue is expected to touch over $58 billion.

Worldwide, mobile application store downloads are forecast to reach 17.7 billion downloads in 2011 and by the end of 2014, Gartner forecasts that over 185 billion applications will have been downloaded from mobile application stores. Free downloads are forecast to account for 81 per cent of total mobile application store downloads in 2011.

A study by Zokem, provider of mobile analytics, reveals that in smartphones, the share of application usage is overwhelming — it achieves almost six times more face time than web browsing.

In tablets, however, the difference is not so significant with 39 per cent of face time allocated to web browser and 61 per cent to applications. Studies have revealed that two-thirds of smartphone usage go into non-voice call-related activities.

With tablets gaining momentum and device users willing to pay for high-quality applications, the applications market will remain upbeat over the foreseeable future. Due to the opportunity size, developers and application stores are under pressure to create the best user experience and to provide quickest time-to-market.

Native Applications route

As of now, the traditional approach to application development for smartphones and tablet devices is to use the native Application Development route. This means applications are developed separately for iPhone, or on Google's Android platform.

Such custom-built applications utilise all the functionalities and capabilities of the device and provide excellent user experience. However, the biggest drawback is the cost involved due to extremely low reusability of software code.

Just imagine trying to develop the same application from scratch for four different platforms.

Zokem's March 2011 report indicates that email, gaming and music content are consumed more using native applications.

There are quite a few cloud-based application builders or application-creators that enable developers to create applications on multiple platforms/devices at once.

However, these app-creators don't exploit the platform-specific functionalities and are unable to match the rich user experience as compared with the native applications.

The app creator/builder market is nascent with many more trying to tap this space. This generic ‘create-once and run anywhere' is not hugely successful as yet. Is this going to change dramatically with the advent of HTML5?


HTML5 is the fifth generation of Hyper Text Markup Language, the popular web standard. Technology industry leaders such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, and hardware manufacturers support it. There is expectation that HTML5 will be the “true” multi-platform application development technology.

HTML5 would enable browser-based applications and also stand-alone applications, including off-line applications. It supports multimedia content through video and audio tag, location-based information using Geo Location APIs (application program interface) and can also access the native platform.

With browser being the core of HTML5, applications can work on “any” platform or device, including PC, smartphone or tablet, with minimal device-specific changes for stand-alone applications. That would mean a huge cost saving, compared with the native applications.

Currently, Flash is the undisputed leader for multimedia support on browsers. However, the HTML5 ecosystem is gaining momentum.

For example, WebM, an open source project, has been created to provide rich multimedia user experience on the Web. YouTube supports WebM in addition to its existing formats as part of its HTML5 experiment. Among other aspects, WebM is aimed at supporting low computational footprint to enable playback on hand-held devices.

HTML5 would be welcomed by publishing companies. Financial Times, for instance, recently announced an HTML5-based application to attract digital subscribers.

Though, there are not many mobile applications based on it as yet, HTML5 is an evolving technology. McKinsey estimates that more than 50 per cent of all mobile applications will switch to HTML5 within three to five years.

HTML5 would be a clear winner in the web/cloud intensive mobile application space, while native applications would lead the computation-intensive contexts. Essentially, HTML5 and native applications are poised to co-exist over the foreseeable future!

(The author is Director – Engineering, Teleca Software Solutions India. Views are personal.)