Friday, July 17, 2009

Making mobile TV simple

By Andrew Till
Ever been bored at the airport and wish you had a simple way to access content from your home or friends PC? If so then take a look at this innovative application from TVMOBiLi that I came across during my travels this week. TVMOBiLi is available as a free download and seems to run on all major operating systems found in the home today and utilizes the increasingly common UPnP and DLNA protocols for media sharing. While UPnP and DLNA are not new, setting up a DLNA server is remains a complex and time consuming activity which is beyond the scope of most consumers. This is why TVMOBiLi is compelling as it removes this complexity and makes life very simple for the average consumer.

Another clever aspect is that it effectively allows you to establish a “social network” of friends, family and/or colleagues for viewing and exchanging digital media in a very simplistic way and one of the best things is that it runs on your existing hardware.

The application itself allows you to view images and videos not only from a PC but also via a wireless gaming console such as PS3, X-Box or Wii on any television, share files and music from any source so long as it is connected within part of your TVMOBiLi “network group”. There is also a trial release for the iPhone with more mobile platforms rolling out soon.

Another nice aspect to the service is that it has an intelligent tracking system that is centralized on the web so that it always knows where your data is. The data is never transferred to a central server but streamed on request over a peer-to-peer network. In essence it is very similar to using Skype with a small host application, a central connection database and no mass data storage requirement making it a simple and easy service to use.

You can find the application at - enjoy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Polishing the Chrome

By Andrew Till
Another week and another new OS to throw in to the melting pot of the mobile industry. I am of course referring to the announcement of Google’s latest “bling” Chrome OS designed for the Netbook market. While details remain somewhat limited and the release dates appear to be more 2010 than 2009 it does raise a number of questions. Why does Google need another OS for the mobile segment, what does this mean for all those busily working on Android netbooks and what’s the key story for developers. Of course some of these questions will not be answered until we can get our hands on the SDK and source code but here are some initial thoughts.

  • To date no one has been able to produce a single OS that crosses all platforms and I include Apple in this statement.
  • Android is designed for entry level netbooks down to mass market mobile phones. Chrome OS goes in the opposite direction and starts with netbooks and scales up to PCs. Notably support for x86 will be included from day one.
  • Both Chrome OS and Android use Chrome as the browser and therefore we can expect strong commonality for gadgets and web services and hence there should be a common development environment for application developers that want to span the broad range of mobile and desktop devices.
  • While Chrome OS is a separate project from Android it will, like Android, be an OSS project. Therefore we can also expect to see the community work to bring alignment to many common components that all devices will have such as the WiFi stacks for example.
  • We can also reasonably expect a strong level of commonality for development tools.

Finally while I can not help but wonder about the timing with the official release of source code being some six months away. Was this in part driven by Intel’s recent moves to support the Atom/Moblin platform? Or the growing rumours regarding Apple launching its own netbook at next year’s CES. One can only guess. However it does suggest that the market for netbooks is heating up and 2010 is set to be a key year for this emerging segment.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Counting chickens after they are hatched

By Chandra Challagonda
During the recent times I have been frequently asked which mobile platform is going to take the major share, what is the best/popular mobile platform currently etc. My answer is usually just a friendly smile. I understand why people keep asking me these questions and I often ask myself. Whatever the predictions say, I think it is a bit too early to point in any certain direction and say anything.

The biggest mobile platform share holder in smart phones; Symbian took the bold step to go open source. Clearly this step is challenging as Symbian was not originally not designed for it and it will take significant amounts of hard work to complete the transition. That said Symbian is the one with a long term track record and still has the backing of the worlds No.1 handset vendor. Windows Mobile is challenging other platforms with the unification with enterprise applications, which makes sense as most of the organizations are using Microsoft Technologies for day to day work . Apple's iPhone has totally changed the perception of what mobile phones are with extremely good usability and App store concepts. I heard my friend saying that, his 6 year old daughter and 60 year old mother knows how to download from the App store! Android is getting more and more popular and the OHA has really helped in its popularity. The platform itself is very flexible which makes it easily adaptable to many needs.

For me it seems like every platform has its own strengths and weakness. I think still we need to wait and watch when the different kind of phones hit the market & consumers based on all these platforms. I personally would not under or over estimating anyone in this game and will keep watching it. As one of the English phrase goes, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch".