Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Content is king - December 29th

By Magnus Ingelsten
Just having experienced X-mas celebrations the Scandinavian way with Santa Claus coming on 24th, (this year it was me again dressing up, please do not tell my daughters younger cousins..) with the kids unwrapping their presents, eyes filled with surprise, astonishment, true happiness or slight disappointment for what content the gifts had under wraps. For us this year, we did not follow the trend to privately purchase tablets and slates, as we at Teleca bought both a Samsung Galaxy tab and an Ipad for our demo applications to show at upcoming Mobile world congress next year. So, I had now the opportunity to try them before my own private buying.

So a basic comparison, here it comes. The Galaxy was better prepared with applications and not much needed to be downloaded. Both devices however need you to register with either App-store/Itunes or Google to enable apps an app market to support. Because these devices are nothing without content. And content there are , more than anybody needs. And, that is why Android and Apple are so superior compared to anything else. Their app-stores are filled with all you can want, although an advantage to Itunes for it´s music etc.

Sizewise the Galaxy tab is half the size of the Ipad (yes actually and physically), and thus Ipad is a bit heavy.
For the purpose of using at home, the Ipad is a better choice since it´s larger screen, the Galaxy tab is my friend on the road, actually the only thing I need, works both as my phone, computer and as the great tablet/e-reader it is. And here at office, the Ipad´s browser was faster to download content over wifi. Screen/image resolution also a bit better. Still, however the Flash support lacking on Ipad is irritating.

Opinions on that?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tablet war -December 13th

By Magnus Ingelsten

The Christmas present of 2010 could be a slate/tablet pc. See the new Teleca Talk Newsletter and the Mobile Trends article . ( ) The worldwide sales of media tablets are expected close to 20 million units for 2010 and increasing to 55 million in 2011, continuing to >100 million 2012. (Gartner)

Does this mean that this gadget will replace or complement something else? Would we still carry also our phone and notebook and would we also have a 3rd gizmo? ..I think it will certainly complement. I know of a family just having bought their 3rd Ipad, and they still have phones and PC´s...

Gartner predicts that Ipad will have 80% market share this year. But according to Arete Analyst firm (article in our new Teleca Talk newsletter) Android is on a bender, and shows very high growth with many tablets coming out from Samsung , Motorola etc. So, would Googles invasion into the TV space with its Google-TV, make Android the perfect companion in the living room sofa with the tablet acting remote control, media centre and perfect on the go bringing TV shows and what else? Well, the choice is not easy, would it be Googles technology such as 3D maps etc and web domination or Apple´s compelling user experience and coolest design that will get the consumers blessing? Additionally Apples brand image, is 5x stronger than any other tablet brand.
See for more. (picture above from Technobolt)

The combat is interestingly supported by the fact Apple’s iPhone and iPad were top searches on (newfound) arch-rival Google during 2010. Google released its annual “Zeitgest” report for 2010 Thursday, a report that presents the top searches from around the world for the year.
Remember, Apple have the longest experience in tablets. You have not forgot about Apple´s Newton ? first presented in 1992 and on shelves in fall of 1993. Find data here: , 20MHz processor and 640 kB internal RAM. Hmmm, I think I go for the Ipad.

And our Teleca role in all this is that we bring outsourced innovation and highly skilled competencies and experiences to the table. On both iOS and Android, we support you to create differentiation, systems integration and compelling end-to-end applications enabling both OEMs and enterprises to benefit from this exploding market opportunity.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

MeeGo Conference 2010, Dublin part 3 -December 2nd

By Toni Nikkanen

Last day; Wednesday, November 17th

On Wednesday morning some people were already leaving, missing some good sessions. I concentrated on three.
The first was libquill, or the MeeGo image editing library. Libquill is part of MeeGo, and holds a lot of promise: It is able to edit large image files in limited memory and enables fast response times for user applications by way of multi-threading, performing the editing operations in the background while the user is already seeing the edit operation as if it was completed.
The libquill editing operations are provided as plug-ins, enabling developers to add their own if needed. Also there was discussion on supporting the use of libquill as a step in gstreamer, thus enabling any libquill edit operation to be performed on the gstreamer pipeline – in video playback or capture from a camera, for example.

The second was tracker. Now I feel many don’t realize the importance of tracker in MeeGo: It is the core of the content management framework, and therefore almost any developer should be at least aware of it. While tracker only indexes content such as images, video and e-mail, it acts as the primary storage for content like contacts and feeds.
The power of tracker becomes apparent when you consider that it can link everything it has indexed together, enabling whole new ideas for both user interfaces and for the social web. Also demonstrated was the ability to make tracker-using apps both from Qt and QML apps using the QtSparql module. While you do need to learn a new query language and understand the concepts behind NEPOMUK ontologies, it is very powerful in what can be done with it.

Perhaps one of the most engaging sessions was the lightning talk session at the end of the conference program. I heard many hearted 5-minute presentations ranging from using MeeGo for education, to how to make a successful mobile version of your web site, to how to successfully build and publish your own app. And about the Marble Desktop Globe application, which is a powerful, versatile open source map and navigation application for both desktop, and now also mobile devices. Also available as a Qt widget you can use in your own applications, with a fully documented API available.

Wednesday evening we were treated with premium tickets to the Ireland-Norway soccer game at the same Aviva Stadium we had spent the last 3 days in. We were well catered for, including given green Ireland-MeeGo soccer scarves. I wonder what the Norwegian participants thought about that? I even spotted a MeeGo ad in the soccer game.

It was clear from the amount of people and companies present, that a lot of product development based on MeeGo is happening now.

Thanks for some great days and experiences in Dublin.

I expect many exciting product launches at or before the next MeeGo Conference in San Francisco, May 2011!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

MeeGo Conference 2010, Dublin part 2 -November 29th

By Toni Nikkanen

Tuesday, November 16th

For many, Tuesday started with queuing for the free netbooks and I was no exception. Waiting in line was a good way to get some conversation with fellow aMeegos. Also, something funny happened. It was announced that Intel and Nokia employees would not get free netbooks, however the people in line front of me were from AMD, and they could get free Intel-powered netbooks.
Installing MeeGo on the netbook was a breeze and only took 10-15 minutes. Some functionality was missing, but already now some of them have been fixed by eager members of the community.
After I finished securing myself a netbook, it was time to grab a quick lunch and head on to the two security-related sessions, first one was with Ryan Ware (Intel).

Ryan’s presentation was mostly on motivation: Why are security features needed in MeeGo? The staggering concepts of Botnets for Hire ($8-90 per 1000 machines, which includes support by telephone!) and Malware-As-a-Service were presented among other good points. One: If you use your mobile as a wallet, what happens when someone steals it or breaks into it remotely? Or what if an attacker gains control of your battery charging function and makes it explode, all remotely? Or makes it call expensive service phone numbers? And the more powerful mobile devices become, the more it will be likely that they will contain your sensitive data like e-mail, documents or photos.

Security was clearly something lots of people in the audience shared interest in. Several questions were made related to DRM, for example.

Next was Nokia’s Elena Reshetova and Casey Schaufler, on MSSF (Mobile Simplified Security Framework). I saw the Maemo 6 Platform Security presentation by Elena Reshetova a year earlier at the Maemo Summit in Amsterdam, and was eager to see where they have gone from there. I soon found out that some things have changed, for example the introduction of SMACK, described by Casey Schaufler as “the simplest access control system that still works”. If we compare it to for example the complexity of SELinux, this sounds like a promising new development.
From “Writing Applications for multiple Meego devices” by Eduardo Fleury and Caio Oliveira, I picked up a good take-home message: Implement your UI with QML. If you are going to make your app available on different device categories, such as smart phone and tablet, don’t try to make a one size fits all solution. Instead implement common application logic, and then implement separate UI’s optimized for each device category using QML. You can of course re-use some QML UI components by being smart about what can be shared and what cannot.

The day ended as generously as it started. Hundreds of conference participants were smoothly transported to the Guinness Storehouse using a fleet of buses. There, we got to learn about the history of Ireland’s most famous beer, how it is made, and how it tastes. We also learned more about our fellow aMeegos as the evening went by.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

MeeGo Conference 2010, Dublin part 1 -Nov 29th

By Toni Nikkanen

The MeeGo Conference, hosted by Intel and Nokia 15.-17th of November 2010 in Dublin, Ireland, was a developer event packed with people, technical information, energy, and surprise announcements.
The conference started on Monday, but on Sunday a lot of people had already arrived, and were catered for by various pre-conference sessions – both technical and fun. I already got a taste of the big talent present at the conference, for example I got to see an impressively fast map application for the N900 called CloudGPS made by one developer, Damian Waradzyn. If you have the N900, I suggest you try it out!
Monday was the day of the keynotes, and of the surprise announcements.
The key point in Doug Fisher’s (Intel) keynote, in my opinion, was the MeeGo way of working: Inclusion, Meritocracy, Transparency & Upstream First. To drive home the point of Inclusion, Carsten Munk, the lead developer of MeeGo ARM, was invited as a co-presenter on stage. This was a bit exceptional, you rarely see Intel and ARM standing side by side on stage.
Upstream First deserves special attention. It is a point all projects utilizing open source software should take note of, because it can provide benefits for everyone involved. The idea is that if you are using open source software made by others, and if you make improvements to it, you should submit your changes to the original project. The benefit to you is that you don’t need to maintain your own fork of the software, saving you a lot of work when you want to keep up to date with the latest updates to that software. And as a good side-effect, the whole ecosystem benefits too!
Alberto Torres from Nokia reinforced the developer story with a sure grip. The message: Write MeeGo apps with Qt and QML. That’s it, it’s that simple. And, your apps will work also on Symbian and numerous other platforms, too.
The first surprise was that everyone attending the conference will get a free Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet (powered by an Intel CPU and running MeeGo, of course) on Tuesday. The audience cheered!
After the break, Dominique Le Foll from Amino gave his reasons why going with MeeGo was the right choice for the digital set-top box maker. For them, MeeGo was like a turbo on their software team – thanks to it, they were able to start working on their software already when their hardware was still being designed. Traditionally they have had to wait until finalized hardware, before starting work on the software. This alone cut their turn-around time from 18 to 6 months. Le Foll also underlined the benefits of the Upstream First principle in their work.

The real surprise announcement came during the Q&A session with the MeeGo Technical Steering Group: Valtteri Halla (Nokia) and Imad Sousou (Intel), chaired by Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation. In the middle of the Q&A session, Jim Zemlin called AMD VP of software development Ben Bar-Haim on stage. They announced that AMD is joining the MeeGo project, providing MeeGo support for AMD chips and products. If it was exceptional to see Intel and ARM on stage, seeing Intel and AMD on stage working on the same project was even more so.
Ben Bar-Haim also explained how the Upstream First principle was a major factor in deciding to put their support behind MeeGo.

The day continued with interesting technical and community-related sessions. Of those, I would summarize some interesting points: Wayland is going to become the display server of MeeGo in the future, replacing the aging X11 system. Qt is going to gain Qt Quick Components, which are reusable QML UI components, and also Qt3D, making it easy to create 3D applications with Qt and/or QML. The QML developer story is going to be completed by Qt Quick support in the Qt Designer and with QML Observer (a “QML debugger”).
I also found Dr. Till Harbaum’s session on MeeGo on the Beagleboard inspiring: -"with cheap hardware and powerful software, your imagination is now your only limit!"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Planet of Apps conference -November 24th

By Bhavya Siddappa on Planet-of-the-Apps Conference in London, November 2nd-4th.

Teleca recently attended the Planet of the Apps conference in London taking the opportunity to meet with developers, potential customers and to discuss the latest trends in the European applications market.

Some of the key takeaways form the conference were
- The mobile phone is the one device that most people don't leave home without and this will not change any time soon. Everyone across the value chain is starting to realize that the power is in hands and there is a huge revenue and market waiting to be concurred
- Mobile advertising is now starting to deliver on the promise it has held for many years. Retailers are starting to take mobile advertising much more seriously and the platforms are providing better services to support them.
- Applications are taking many forms, Free, Paid, Widgets, “Super apps” etc
o Super Apps are always on proactive notification, integration with native apps, contextualized, social, connected, efficient and that change user behavior.
- It’s not a two horse race - the market is very regional with Apple and Android strong in Western markets and Nokia remaining very strong in emerging markets.
- Retailers are now taking their mobile strategies very seriously. Everyone is doing something in mobile even if they don’t have a detailed strategy.
- The more advanced retailers are pulling their mobile teams back in to their main line business functions in order to make mobile a core part of their business.
- Monetisation options are increasing with a strong focus on in app payments and operator billing to enable great market reach.
- Community, Community, Community, building stand alone apps is unlikely to be enough. Users now expect great social networking and community services.
- RIM and Palm are trying to fight back by offering better developer services. RIM is trying to make a play on “Super Apps” around RIM OS 6.
- MasterCard may be first with a focused mobile payments strategy

Keynote talk on Delivering Differentiated Apps and Maximizing Revenue with BlackBerry: by Tyler Lessard
Starts by saying, ”Super apps” are applications that people use every day, as opposed to disposable ones. They are launching “InApp” payment, but believe that the future is most likely free apps with added features purchased within the app. They are connected with operators to open operator billing, enabling customers without credit card to access the services.
Advertising is become a big part of their offering and analytics are becoming a full part of the platform. BBM will be soon open to developers in order to support building a social platform. RIM will have right device to support Adobe technology. BlackBerry PlayBook is delivering a high end internet experience. They didn’t want to take phone platform to make a tablet so they went for a full fledge high end computing OS – That was the move of buying QNX.

Building applications that utilize location-based services: by Raimo Van from Layar
“We’re adding experience on top of your world”. The Layar ecosystem is composed of 3 parts: Publishing on your computer, a Discovery Browser and a Player Browser. Just as Youtube, they decided that the player should be available for developers to integrate it in their apps. Challenges are on the side of sensors, integration and testing, android porting. They have 1m + users worldwide. Concluded by saying, “don’t be an app, be a platform/browser don’t do it alone!”
Powering Communities to create an index of the real world: by Jan-Joost Kraal from eBuddy
eBuddy apps are on iPhone and Android. While discussion their case study they shared that they use in app ads. The click through rate is higher on a native app than on a browser version”. For mobile advertising funding model, a lot of traffic is needed. Discoverability/Findability is an issue, so they changed their name to ‘eBuddy messenger’ because people search for ‘messenger. HTML5 looks like a good opportunity but they are lacking the distribution channel.

Partnering with social media to achieve profitability: by Romain Ehrhard from Tellmewhere
“Use the social network to kickstart your community, Make sure that you still remain independent from the social networks, you never know what happens”. Branding is important so the tip was “Don’t have localized name, fails to work for internationals.”

Build vs Buy? – What will lead to long term commercial success?: by Dave Addey from Agant
Do you really need an app, or do you just want one? Apps are there to kill time. If you have a great idea and you know it makes sense, go for an app, but just do it well. They think that iOS is the best platform: stable, appstore, being long time in the business and are established platform.

Apps vs Browser: by Mark Curtis from Flirtomatic
Currently it is very hard to make browser compete with app because; Touchscreen UI brings expectations of Sideswipe, Pinch and expand and Access to key functionality like camera, gallery, GPS but Google has an answer “HTML 5”.

Both need to capture attention in noisy market and advertising works but hard to sustain. Viral on mobile not yet as effective as web. Browser search becoming very cost effective, but the question is where is app search and not to forget Mobile App Security is still a concern.

Planet of Apps Europe 2010, Day 2 , 3rd Nov 2010 “Conference Day 1”
This conference had a look at how apps have changed our lives, meet some of the creators behind them, and figure out just how big a business they really are.
Rory Jones, from BBC News opening remarks focused heavily on Google's smartphone operating system, with references to Adobe's Flash player and bit of favoritism towards Apple's strategy galore.
Russ Shaw from Skype delivered a keynote on “App or Die - How to be a success in the growing pps market”: Started off with good news, mobile video calling is coming to wide variety of platforms. By the end of 2014 mobile apps market will be worth more than $70 billion. The statistic shown by him was impressive, 4.6 mobile subscribers worldwide vs 1.5B PC users, so why make apps for netbooks if we have such huge mobile customer base? Skype is connecting the eco-system but their major challenge is moniterising. By partnering with Verizone they prove that they are not competitors for Networks but plan to bring in more innovation in network.
Tom Daly from Coca-Cola “Creating the business models of the future”: Gave an impressive answer to all those who want to know “Why bands should step into mobile apps space and how it would benefit them”. It was very clear that Coca-Cola pays attention to culture and market trends and they use mass media to connect to their fans. Key words of their business model were “Sharing, Connecting, Distributing and Amplifying” and they could make all this possible with mobile applications. Apps must empower storytelling so brands win the hearts & minds of consumers. Concluded by saying the revolution is just started, jump in & play well before it’s too late.
Derek McManus from Telefonica 02 UK was on the stage to answer the question, “Why and What carriers need to do to attract developers”. Stated that developers mindshare is become the hottest commodity in the mobile business. As he proceeded unlocking about developer mindshare he predicts that in US half of the market will be smartphones by 2014 and Android will be winning on.
Rethinking on developers perceptions he suggests that beauracy needs to in control, market must be transparent, complimentary to needs & is fundamentally fair. They wish to empower developers to do things differently, to lead decision making and give what they wish. Developers basically need connectivity to market, money for their efforts and community support for which they established 02 Litmus in 2009. Summed it up by saying “We have lots to do and we have started on our journey by forming new relationships, engaging and building learning, supporting monetization and encouraging collaboration.”

Panel debate: Establishing the future of mobile advertising: No more a debate where everyone agreed that Mobile advertising has emerged as an integral part of any brand’s marketing campaign today.

Current trends:
- Brands have started fan club communities and sponsoring sections of mobile Internet portals
- In-game advertising is increasing
- Pre–call ad inserts, ad caller ring-back tones (CRBT) as well as video ads on the mobile phone are gaining traction
- LPA – Location Point Advertising that’s what user expect on their mobile

Mobile advertising is a win-win proposition for all the stakeholders including consumers, brands and telcos. Customers can avail of some great opportunities, discounts, prizes and much more. The panel summarized by saying - Although the market seems relatively small now, the potential for growth is inarguably huge.

Panel Discussion: How brands can use apps to distinguish themselves in the marketplace
This panel session was made up of a number of enterprise companies such as British Airways, Last, Deutche Post, Trader Media Group, Virgin Atlantic, and explored how they are currently addressing the mobility challenging. While all the companies are deploying mobile services, mainly to consumers, and view it as a key part of their future strategy, it was clear that they are facing significant challenges in dealing with the number of platforms they need to deploy on in order to achieve a high level of market reach.
Several key themes came out during the panel session.
· iPhone, Symbian and Android are the key platforms that these companies are focusing on first.
· Some are using HMTL/web services in order to try and achieve wider market reach.
· Mobility is being folded back in to the core marketing / web strategy instead of being a small separate team doing its own thing – a clear sign that the importance of mobility is growing.
· Companies are using a mix of internal and external resources today but most believe that as mobility becomes more important that will make greater use of outsourcing.
The panel was chaired by our own Andrew Till.

Henri from Facebook was interviewed by Jemima Kiss from the Guardian: It was a very interesting presentation. Facebook is said to be the “3rd largest country” and its popularity is touching the sky. As per statistics 60% traffic is on and and they have 150 million monthly active mobile users of Facebook. People were comparing Google with Facebook, but the question was why as we haven't seen any search features on Facebook. Features like tag your friend, virtual currency, create events and check out has taken them to be on the top of the Social Networking sites. The most Retweeted tweet on twitter for this talk was
“When I'm opening fridge I can see Facebook. #planetapps. One day Facebook will be everywhere. I don't know if it's OK for everyone”.
Will Apple continue to remain the dominant platform that developers choose?: The panel seemed very much biased toward Apple platform. They forgot to take the statistic for 3Q 2010, Symbian had 37% of the smartphone market, Android was second with 25% (it was at 2% 18 months ago), and iOS in third place with 16%. RIM (Blackberry) was next. Windows was losing.
iPhone is higher quality, the Android has more features and is more open, which allows it to appeal to a greater number of people. Andrew Till took over the show by saying, the idea question “Android/iphone/BlackBerry/WinMobile7/Nokia – Which platforms should developers target?” was never discussed.

Key take away by the end of the day was:
- Google TV, an android adaptation that puts regular television and the Web in one user interface--stole the show, complete with support from some of the consumer electronics industry's biggest players.
- Smartphones market is very fragmented, HTML5 is the best answer to this issue.
- Cool Meego Devices: Set Top Box, Netbook, Tablet interacting together by Intel. Intel SDK looks like was made for crash reports and AppUp Center integration on Atom devices.
- The best way to promote your app is to build a good app
- Metro UI is amazing and hopes apps will be as good as on iOS

Planet of Apps Europe 2010 Day 3 ; 4th Nov 2010 “Conference Day 2”

Our lives are increasingly relying on mobile phones not only as phones but also as devices for obtaining information and conducting transactions—be that buying movie tickets or checking flight times. Apps have brought in a new revolution in the world. Thus this was one another day where all the delegates were trying to explode the opportunities in this space.

Opening remarks by Dr Windsor Holden from Juniper Research: The explosion in the number of mobile phones and associated services is here to stay. In fact, innovations in this piping hot field are taking everyone by storm. Powerful and innovative applications in this handy device have resulted in an all new ball game.

Using apps to get consumers to consume content on their mobile by Emma Lloyd from BskyB: Great Sky presentation. Lots of cool announcements for Sky users. Sky Sport News looks promising on iOS for both iPhone and iPad. It will be available soon on android and BlackBerry. Sky Sports have 2 million downloads so far. Driving mobile content consumption is the key lesson to be learnt from their success story.

Panel Debate: Is the music industry prepared? Android music app “Shazam” success actually put an end to the debate. In today's mobile world, it's all about music thanks to falling mobile Web access prices and new music download services. Mobile music is not just the next big thing. It brings together the digital home with the mobile data revolution. Those who enjoy music on their home computer will be able to enjoy this content anywhere, anytime on mobile handsets, smartphones and converged devices.
Challenges in terms of user interfaces, ease of operation, open file formats and sound quality. The panel summarized by asking operators to offer a wide range of the best music phones and unlimited data plans that give subscribers a full range of choices for accessing their music. Low-cost access and choice will bring the power of the mobile Web and music phones to their full revenue and lifestyle potential.

Mobile and the future of publishing by Juon from Pearson: They are facing an explosive growth in eBooks % of consumers, that means there is a lot of opportunity, challenge and a call to work with developers closely. Today there is a transformation from newspapers to multiplatform news. Happy with the grand success of US pilot; first-ever complete social studies curriculum on ipad. Says “It’s not the end of Books, Papers or reading, this is a challenge/opportunity for; new devices, new content experiences and new business models. Very soon it’s gonna be an era of e-reader, tablets with dual displays. Concludes wit an interesting line “There is no OLD Media vs NEW Media, There is the BUSINESS of digital media”.

“Paid vs free apps” by Ilja Laurs from Getjar: Shares his thoughts on the most effective method of monetising the apps market by giving an example of most successful app ‘Angry Birds”. It’s a free app on Apple market and for android it’s free with Ad support. Shared few Monetization Models; Advertising, subscription, pay as you use, free to use – pay to service, freemium and eCommerce i.e Virtual goods.

Debating how best to promote your app: The quick tip from the panel was when advertising app, you want to be where your potential customers are – online. Internet marketing offers you many ways to spread the word and boost your sales, even on a small budget. Few key mantras to promote apps in the market ;

– Make a Youtube video, choose app name and price app wisely, create some outstanding app icon, integrate social networking APIs and finally advertise and market the app via Facebook, twitter and blogs.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Droidcon London 2010 –The Report Day Two -November 20th

By Bhavya Siddappa, Technology Evangelist, Teleca Bangalore

Droidcon London 2010 – Day Two 29th Oct 2010
It was more of traditional conference the second day. Main topics were App´s, User Experience, Android development in general and a little about marketing. A great day too, read on!

Excellence in the Android User Experience: Romain Nurik from Google
Presented on how to create applications with great UX and great UI and extended his talk with Android design tips with some additional info on giving users great first impressions, and some new prototyping and asset generation tools that have become available.
Android User views: Ilicco Elia from Reuters Mobile
The App Store is not about the app, it’s about people, it’s about the edge that people believe they will get from the app. In-app purchasing is seriously lacking.
Growing the value of the application network: Christophe Francois form Orange
It was great to see Orange committing so many people and so much time to Android. Orange focusing apps: Orange TV with premium events, Connectivity & customer care, News, radio, Orange Map.
Creating Killer Location apps: Alex Housley from Rummble
Location is not a feature, it’s one element of context. Friend finders have been done to death, similarly, there will be opportunities working with existing big players in location “Where there’s a number there’s a game…”.
Android & CouchDB: Aaron Miller from CouchOne
CouchDB is a non-relational database (NoSQL) that stores JSON documents. Instead of queries, create “views” that allow fast lookup by keys. DB is highly durable. Good at multi-master replication and can easily write to any server. Its really powerful on a phone as it can sync with a server or with another phone and can have multiple DBs on net syncd to a single DB on phone.
Monetize your apps in emerging markets: by Chua Zi Yong from MoVend
He discussed the concept of marketing your apps to emerging markets. For a lot of people in emerging markets the phone is the only access to the internet, social networking, and gaming/entertainment device. He had some interesting statistics on mobile phone payments. Asia Pacific accounts for $62.8 million in mobile phone payments and the rest of the world only accounts for $45.8 million. The market for mobile app revenue is estimated at $135million for 2009 and at $4 billion for 2010.
Market is extremely fragmented; An Android market does not exist in certain countries. Tip: Try to get your application pre-loaded onto a phone and target what specific users like.
Android has a “dude” problem: by Belinda Parmar from Lady Geek TV
When surveyed only 5% of women said Android for their next phone, 57% said an iPhone. BUT… more women than men bought smartphones in the last 6 months. Forrester did some market segmentation on women gadget owners:
37% self sufficient, tech savvy
35% neutral, little engagement, low willingness
28% opportunity
Women feel overwhelmed and confused by choice of Android devices. They are twice as likely to have never downloaded a single app as it don’t see most of the apps as relevant to their lives. They want apps to solve a problem, to answer a question.
Recommendation: solve a problem, entertain, don’t educate
Turn good ideas into great apps: by Reto Meier
Shared more details on deadly sins & glorious virtues for android applications. Same Google IO 2010 talk & slides were repeated.
Android beyond the phone; Tablets, eReaders, and more: by Karl- Johan
Dell Streak uses mDPI resources but has much bigger screen. Android dual screen displays and e-Ink displays behave completely differently. Custom device manufacturers are really keen to have apps on their devices. They’ll expect a 20-50% markdown, but no need to pay app store fees. ViewSonic ViewPad 7 now available in the UK for £399: Having 800x400px display and runs Android 2.2 and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPRS & 3G.
The Snapdragon Mobile Development Platform: by Qualcomm
Qualcomm is taking on a new role of being the link in the ecosystem, ensuring that there are great apps for the ecosystem. They want to make sure that apps work well. Snapdragon is a system on a chip for ARM-based CPU, GPU, rich multimedia, GPS, 3G, Camera, power management.
Android reuse models: by Mark Murphey
He discussed some of the ways in which we can reduce lots of android developers reinventing the wheel everytime we need something. There are a few methods that a developer can use for distributional: Souce Code, As an Application, as a jar or Library.
Libraries can be used to solve problems for people who want free and paid versions of the app, and don’t want to maintain two versions of the code. He went on to discuss that we need a place to collect code to reuse and mentioned building a community website for this purpose, also saying “I can’t write a website to save my soul, I ain’t doing it!”

Future of Android panel
Ewan MacLeod moderated the panel:
Questions faced by the panel:
We’re still on the dream phase for Android: consumers “only buy one Android device”… Will consumers retreat to “something familiar”?
Nokia is still a big player but no longer biggest in all mobile developed countries
Android has challenges with fragmentation
One challenge for Android is capturing lower end, but high end phones will trickle down
Breadth of Google’s web services provides a very strong disincentive to leave
Google is encouraging OEMs & operators to fight amongst themselves to get great user experience
If I was your fairy godmother, what would you wish to change in Android?
-A decent automated testing framework on a range of devices
-A working billing infrastructure
-Developers making sure that their app manifests include clearly defined API access and permission
-Google to be a little more open about what they’re aiming at and what they’re not, to provide some reassurance
-Better way of getting hardware acceleration support

Teleca Stand:
We had lots of android developers coming to our stand and wanting to know more about Teleca offerings. The following demos just didn’t fail to amaze them:
-TI Dual Display on Android
-Android ported on Freescale Imax 53 board
-MeeGo phone
-AIM app totally based on Open Source.

We got people to our stand interested in joining Teleca as developers as we are globally looking into hiring many hundreds.
And, our presentation: We had proposed a Talk on “Dual Display” but due to the board overheating the demos for the presentation did not perform thus we couldn’t deliver the talk. Delegates approached the stand to know why the talk was cancelled, as we explained they were fine in just understanding the architecture for Dual Display.
The best compliment was when one of our partner companies with a booth next to ours, also dedicated appreciations of Teleca’s work to the bunch of attendees. It’s was indeed a proud movement.

Finally lots of interesting questions we got from the attendees:
- What can we expect from Teleca in MWC 2011?
- What kind of work are we doing in Automotive space?
- When are the dual display android devices coming in the market?
- Which will be the number one platform by the end of 2011?
- Is Teleca planning to get into products ?
- Are we working on CRM, ERP modules for mobile devices?

It will be an interesting next 3 months to show what we actually are doing on the above.

Droidcon London 2010 –The Report Day One -November 19th

By Bhavya Siddappa, Technology Evangelist , Teleca

Droidcon, a series of great events for the Android developer community. It is big , open, interesting and very encouraging and Teleca participated with our own Droidbooth and a planned presentation.

Droidcon, London, Day One 28th Oct 2010, First day, with unplanned, unprepared bar camp-style presentations had a nice range and quantity of low level programming tips and higher level business tips in such a short space of time. It was fun to see Android fans carrying Android Tattoos with a smile.

Sony Ericsson gave few tricks on Android UI: Advising developers not to do long running tasks in the UI thread, to use Handler & Service classes for longer lasting processes and to use Toasts to show quick popup status.
Location Services by Cloudmade, they will support Android later this year with a Maps SDK, based on OpenStreetMaps. Map data comes as you need it and is stored locally on device. Location-based advertising is related to a network that finds highest value ads from other networks. No one in the audience was able to say they were making money from LBS. A device centric comment was that GPS on Android is still seen as a battery hungry.
Another Interesting thing was to know that Motorola went to use Skyhook instead of Google location API on Android, the way they would get data for their customers WiFi location. Google forced them to switch back to Google location and Skyhook now suing Google!
RESTProvider : Carl from Novoda spoke on how to make a RESTful API available as a Content Provider. He also demonstrated Unit testing of android classes without emulator.
App Analytics from Capptain: Demonstrated combining in-app analytics with CRM. SDK is available in Android and iOS. It has new analytics capabilities like how long users are spending in each screen of your app, real-time analytics — can monitor where people are in your app right now, crash logs with device, firmware, etc details.
Git on android ; A guy from who works at the guardian walked through all the problems he came across when trying to use git on android and how using open source goodness he could simplify a lot of trouble by simply extending pre-written code and even create work arounds for troublesome bugs.
Meta-Market Model; Mark Murphey´s talk tied in very nicely with problems regarding using alternative markets. He created a brain storming session on the market problems and what can we do as a community to help improve this. Some of the good problems highlighted were: Comment spam, Not enough screenshots, Analytics, Refund policy too lenient, Downloads don’t work.
Market is a closed club, OEM’s who don’t agree to the rule book don’t have access. And simply creating an app store for each carrier/OEM etc. isn’t a viable solution which Mark summarized with a brilliant quote: “those who complain about fragmentation you ain’t seen nothing yet”.
So he came up with an idea about having a single open feed of android applications that all the market applications can hook into. So this would work as some sort of extended atom/rss feed (just add namespace) with open access which could benefit from the standards introduced and the maturity of the software already written. This sounds like a great idea but will obviously need a large amount of momentum to succeed. Mark said that instead of us complaining at Google to fix the market we should fix the market problems ourselves.

Day ended with a nice Tip from Tech hub:
“Devs aren’t always design focused, should assume users are complete idiots and don’t understand anything.”

So a great flow of insider tips to keep the hard core Android community abreast. More on day two next.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

App´s top tipps from OsiM London -October 27

By Andrew Till

Last week I and several colleagues attended the latest OSiM London event. I had the pleasure of presenting Teleca’s take on the evolving applications landscape and some of the challenges for developers in maximising their success in bringing compelling and profitable applications to market. At the end of the presentation I shared our “Top Tips” for success with applications based on our experience of developing applications for customers across multiple platforms. I thought it would be interesting to share these recommendations on our blog – enjoy and hopefully you will find these insight and useful.

1. Take a position, solve a utility or entertainment problem

It’s absolutely critical to be clear about the purpose of the application you’re developing and to also ensure that it solves a real problem. For example it’s not clear that we need any more calculator applications in the Android Market place given the number already available. Being clear about the problem being solved will help all the way through the development process and when it comes to loading you application on to an application store and the supporting messages you include with it.

2. Focus on User Acquisition, Engagement AND Retention

We see many developers and companies who only focus on the initial acquisition of users for their application but in our experience continued focus on regular engagement and retention is also key not only to the success of the current application but also for future application releases as well.

One interesting way of managing this is to measure how new features or feature removals drives key metrics such as application downloads, uninstalls and user rating.

3. Use the Metrics and know your competition

Many application stores now provide a wealth of data on how your application is performing, where it is ranked, who is downloading it and which market they are in. Using this information on a daily basis significantly improves your chances of success as it enables you to respond quickly to changing market demands, optimize pricing, assuming you are charging for the application, based on what is happing with your application and those it competes with and to critically identify when you hit the sweet spot with different demographics.

Using such metrics can also help you understand who you are really competing with and to plan accordingly. Most people assume they are competing with other applications in the same category but this may not always be the case as you may simply be competing for share of wallet and hence in reality your competition with many different types of application.

Put simply if you’re not using the tools provided by the store vendor they you cannot expect to have a killer app on your hands.

4. Release early and often

Trying to build the perfect application often leads to long overruns and being beaten to market by competitors. Increasing we are seeing that it is much more effective to release early and provide frequent updates to users. This has a number of benefits such as enabling you to “land grab” in new areas, helping to build a regular dialogue with consumers and critically building customer delight each time you provide an enhanced set of features. Typically apps can see > 80% of active users upgrade to the latest version within 30 days of release especially on platforms that provide notification services.

Using this approach can also enable one to identify if a feature is really worthwhile fully developing or if it is only going to resonate with a small number of users thus saving time, money and effort. Another benefit can be to help user re-engage with an application when they see that new features are available and thus helping to maintain a healthy active user base.

5. Integrate Facebook, Twitter and other social engagement channels

Leveraging social networking sites can bring many advantages. The most obvious is that it helps to increase visibility of your application and can stimulate a level of viral growth that is hard to achieve with other mediums. Today most social networks have standard APIs to enable seamless login and posting of a users account and make these available for integration via standard SDKs.

6. Build communication channels with your users to foster a community

Creating an on-going dialogue with your users is often the key to sustained success. Typical App store ratings are very binary (love/hate) and provide limited insights. Increasingly developers are now moving to utilise platforms such as GetSatisfaction, Twitter and other which enable a much richer level of communication and also provide detailed insights as to why users really love or hate what you have done. It also enables you to grow your voice in the market place, provide you engage and respond to users posts and build to app missionaries from your user base.

7. Show focus by Platform and Devices

With such a proliferation of platforms and device types it can be a killer trying to release on everything everywhere. Increasing we are seeing customer decided to focus on getting one platform right before moving to multi-platform deployment. While this may mean that you yield some time to market on a particular platform is also means that when you do move to multi-platform support you have a robust codebase to port and an growing user base, and hopefully evangelists, to support your expansion.

Of course there are many other tips and learning’s we’d like to share but in the interest of keeping this post to a reasonable size I will finish here. However do feel free to come find me at Droidcon in London later this week or Planet of the Apps next week.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

CTIA, tablets and app stores for whom? -October 14th

By Scott Yoneyama

So now that I’m back from CTIA and I’ve sent out my follow-up e-mails, entered my new contacts into Outlook, “Linked-In” with several of them and dug out of the hole created by being out of the office for a week, it’s time to reflect on what I saw and learned. What I learned was that what I saw generated more questions than ever.

As a dedicated owner of a Droid X, I was impressed by Nokia’s presentation. They make a very compelling case to developers to build for Ovi. The new QT platform is impressive and the N8 is a nice device. However, Nokia faces an uphill, “chicken and egg” struggle. They can offer worldwide distribution, but US developers want US customers and glory. To “help” them along, not only did Nokia lock the doors and give everyone in the room a brand new N8, but they also announced $10M in contest money for developers. Will it work? Stay tuned for that.

Everyone has an App store. Even I saw some I didn’t know about before. Carriers, device manufacturers….heck, is launching an Android store. Where will all of the applications come from? How will the customers find the stores? Do the costs of supporting an App store really make sense (for say, Samsung) when that device is going to be distributed by Verizon and shipped with the Android OS, both of whom have their own App stores??

The iPad is changing the game for publishers and we saw some impressive statistics and revenue numbers. In response, there are no less than 22 “tablets” coming to market before Christmas and they are all 7” varieties. This is a brand new, unproven and undefined market. Who’s going to use these devices? I played with one and I found it clunky and hard to manage. As a user, I struggle with the value proposition for a device that’s bigger than my already large smartphone and smaller than my iPad. Moreover, who’s going to build apps for these devices? The 7” screen requires a brand new UI vs. the 10” and smartphone UI’s. Without any users, will publishers take a chance on these un-proven devices?

What I found noticeably absent from the conference was any discussion about HTML5 and the mobile web. Aside from a brief, poorly attended presentation from a member of W3C there was almost no mention of this protocol and its potential to revolutionize the online and mobile web. Are we all simply so drunk on application Kool-Aid that we’re forgetting the foundation of it all and what can be done with these new upgrades to the protocol? Hmmm…..

iPhone, Droid, N8; Ovi, iTunes, Shop4Apps,; iPad, 7” Galaxy, 10” Stingray; Lions and Tigers and Bears….Oh MY!!! Where does one place their bets?

I flew home from the conference thinking about the movie, City Slickers. Jack Palance says to Billy Crystal, “You city folk, you fill your head with a lot of useless nonsense. The secret to life is this… thing” (I paraphrase a bit) Great applications do one thing very well. One can’t be all things to all people and those that try, fail. All of these devices, OS’s, stores…..they enable us to do one thing. They allow us to find something, buy something, communicate or be entertained. The “cloud” allows the information to be accessible anytime, anywhere on any device. So don’t get lost in the tidal wave. Just pick one and in the immoral words of M.A.S.H.’s Major Charles Emerson Winchester III, “Do one thing, do it VERY well and THEN move on!”

Friday, October 1, 2010

Beyond Exploratory Testing-IST as open source -October 1st

By Matthias Ratert

In all projects we test SW by executing automated test scripts and/or running many test cases stored in a Test Management Tool such as HP Quality Center. We check whether all requirements are implemented correctly. By performing Regression Testing we ensure they are working as expected when shipping a new software version to the customer.

To find new issues not discovered by Regression Testing, Exploratory Testing (ET) is one of the largest hypes within the testing community in recent years. The tester has to uncover situations that could negatively impact the end user in terms of reliability, stability and usability.
Trying ET was also helpful for us: We discovered new issues and it was fun to test. However it became increasingly difficult to come up with new and creative test ideas and too many areas of our complex system remained untested.

IST (incremental Scenario Testing), a Teleca methodology

In order to provide a testing alternative better suited to our needs, we developed Incremental Scenario Testing (IST). IST and its implementation, the IST Tool, were developed over several iterations. Soon we called it the creative director of our Exploratory Test sessions.
Testers are guided through a session by scenarios which are composed of test items such as preconditions, states and events. These test items provide the scenario framework; how to reach each specific test item is up to the tester. The expected result is not specified and has to be judged by the tester – as in ET.
The test scenarios are generated based on the occurrence probabilities of each test item. Scenarios evolve over time as previous test results are an important factor when generating new test scenarios:
• Failed test scenarios are re-tested whereas passed test scenarios are not re-tested regularly.
• Failed test items are used more often and passed test items are used less.
• The probability of unexecuted test scenarios being run increases over time.
This guarantees that each test session will identify new issues, independent of the SW development phase. The issues are validated by the IST Tool based on the tester’s experience. Reported issues are re-tested within the same test session and fixes are verified with a new SW build.
IST involves SW developers in the testing process. Modified or new functionality can be prioritized for testing. As the test subject can be exchanged easily and whenever needed, these SW changes are tested directly when integrated.
IST allows for flexible, adaptable and efficient test sessions that are suited perfectly for agile software development.

IST as open source
Finally our latest announcement: we decided that the IST Tool should be published as Open Source to provide this great methodology to the testing community. To be 100% sure that the implementation of IST is on the right level we first want to execute a pilot project. I’m looking for a partner right now – I hope I will find him on the Agile Testing Days in Berlin beginning of October. I will keep you informed ;-)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Will the iPad be a toy or tool? September 26th

By Andrew Till

Will the iPad be the Blackberry of Enterprise Apps or just an executive play thing?

While at a conference of global CIOs this week I had what I like to call a “blinding glimpse of the obvious”. While as expected every other person walking through the door was proudly showing of their shiny new iPads (well not so shiny as they were all lovingly carried in a case) once the conversation started it soon became obvious that iPads are having an unexpected impact. Despite all the concerns around enterprise security and lack of true multitasking the iPad is being widely embraced in corporate board rooms and the expectations about how they can be used are high. Time and again it was commented that application development was focused on the iPad due to demand from executives to be able to have access to traditional enterprise applications.

So this set me thinking. 10 years ago I used to hear all the time that executives were bring blackberries in to organisations and expecting the CIOs to “just support it”. While many said it would die due to lack of support from IT departments the opposite happened and RIM became the defacto owner of the mobile market.

So will the iPad force the enterprise mobile application agenda. Will corporate executives force a change in behaviour and the much anticipated wide spread adoption of enterprise mobility ? Will such applications filter down to a broader uptake of enterprise applications for smartphones in general ? Only time will tell but for now I am off to polish my shiny new toy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nokia World 2010 experience -September 16th

By Markku Hollström

I've been in numerous Nokia World's and it was good to see that Nokia is back and fighting. Nokia strategy has been always making sense, the execution has not always been as good as it could have been. Therefore it was so good to see that the new product launches and OVI application store are looking very good indeed. We can take part of accomplishment with us as well.

The star of the show was Anssi vanjoki and N8. The amazing image quality was lifted as the key selling point in Anssi's energetic and passionate key note speech, that was streamed in to Internet as well. I wish all of Telecan's had seen it. Surely Anssi will be missed by our community should he choose to retire from this business altogether.

If I would be selecting a device for my business use, the E7 would be my choice amongst all devices I know of. Large qwerty keyboard with a good feel, large display with a very high quality resolution and polarizer for helping to keep away reflections all combined with excellent support for office tools, including office communicator, are to me the most important factors. The overall User Experience was also convincing. New C models were very competitive with any Android devices in their price points and let’s face it, the C6 & C7 will launch in to a segment that Nokia still dominates and around which there is a very loyal following.

In numerous discussions I got the feeling that Nokia is now very much supported by operators. iPhone and Android are seen by operator a bit of a threat as they are potentially marginalizing operators own service offering and as they are not integrated to Operator app stores in a way Nokia is. Nokia has already agreement with 91 operators for operator billing while no other store can offer this option to developers. Why is this important? In practice download rates with payment are 13 times higher with operator billing compared to credit card/pay pal. This alone is very strong motivator for developers to put their apps in to OVI store. I heard from developers that Nokia has by far the best support for them what comes to revenue sharing and technical help.

Another realization from the show is that while industry debate tends to focus on Western Markets the emerging markets are also key. Here Nokia is clearly planning big things be it with already announcement initiatives such as Nokia Life Tools and Nokia Money or with new strategies they are planning. And again bring applications and services to these markets combined with extensive operator billing looks to be a winning combination.

While we focus a lot on Symbian and MeeGo let’s not forget Series 40 and there were a 1M reasons every day not to forget S40. As Nokia shared it currently ships 1M S40 handsets per day globally which is more than any other single SW platform in any type of device. As part of Nokia’s turn around it is also clearly focusing on bringing innovation to S40 as well. At the Show the C3 was announced a S40 handset combining a traditional keypad with touch screen support and 3G. Overall the C3 looks to be a compelling proposition especially when combined with the new S40 Touch and Type SDK which was announced at the show and will give developers a wide range of new APIs to leverage.

How can they not win in this situation?

50 Million Reasons to Develop OVI Store apps -September 16th

By Jari Saarhelo

Just came back from Nokia World… It seems to me that OVI Store is gaining momentum big time:

- OVI store is the only high profile app store offering operator billing which is key to opening up apps to many new consumer groups and markets
- Symbian^3 devices offer potentially a huge installed base with limited competition
- Many new enhancements around payment options (such as in app) are being launched

I had a chat with a mobile games developer I know very well from the past. They’ve written quite a few successful high-end titles for iPhone, however it is becoming more and more difficult to get publicity in Apple’s App Store. There are 150 new iPhone games launched every day – do you want to invest significant money in a title that might go unnoticed?

OVI Store is the only high profile application store supporting operator billing. So what? Based on Nokia’s usage data, customers select operator billing 13 times more often than credit card billing, if both options are presented. This is pretty logical considering that there are a lot of customers having no access or difficult access (Read: teenager needing to get parent’s credit card) to credit card payment. Offering the preferred purchase option on a high volume mobile platform is bound to increase the user base dramatically. Add the new try and buy feature to that and you have a pretty compelling purchase experience.

Nokia announced a big push on Symbian^3 with the launch of N8, E7, C6 and C7. They are expecting the devices to sell 50 million copies world-wide. This is a large installed base of compatible devices to deploy the mobile applications especially considering that OVI Store has currently a much smaller application portfolio than iPhone App Store or Android Marketplace has – there is a lot of room for great apps selling great numbers!

There are 50 million reasons to write apps for Symbian^3 right now.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Search for the Killer Mobile Convergence App -September 8th

By Craig Turner
We’ve heard all about Mobile Convergence. It’s actually happening right in front of our eyes – netbooks and tablet PCs with SIM cards, mobile phones with more processing power than a mainframe from the 90s and devices that aren’t really either one or the other, but excite us with the endless possibilities of convergent functionality. However, while everybody is eager to cash in on the hype and seem all certain that this is not just a trend, but the way of the future, the number of truly successful convergent applications remain limited.

Location Based Services is a good example of a convergent area that has seen some success.

In particular, navigation has proven quite lucrative an application for several suppliers – as a stand-alone application. As navigation moves from a specialized device solution to a convergent application available on various devices, we see turn-by-turn navigation becoming a free service, with Google Maps and Ovi Maps leading the way. Premium services based on turn-by-turn hold the promise of further revenues. Beyond navigation, there are plenty of free LBS applications out there to identify the nearest ATM or fast-food joint. There is certainly an argument to be made for the value of such services in retaining customers, but they aren’t going to be the next big revenue drivers.
As with navigation and LBS applications, it seems likely that other applications dependent on convergent technologies, if successful, will rapidly pass through a brief existence as premium services to becoming commodity services expected from any smartphone platform worth its salt.

Maybe it’s mobile TV. Google TV and AppleTV might enable mobile TV, but they’re clearly looking to move successes with Android and iOS. Even then I suspect it’s not happening as a mainstream feature until we have widespread 4G access. And a killer app? I’ve seen travelers of all ages in airports or on the plane watching movies on their laptops and portable DVD players, but not very many squinting at their iPhone for 2 hours.

Other possibilities are Mobile Banking or Mobile Payment. Several authors have extolled the virtues of mobile banking lately and that it is the application of the future. However, before we get there, banks are going to have to rapidly embrace a new technology and the public as a whole is going to have to build their confidence in mobile technology as a safe medium for banking. It’ll be interesting to see if the traditional banks are able to keep up with the speed of development in the mobile industry or if they are passed by newcomers, similar to Egg (Citigroup´s online bank) showing up the British banks with their online banking offering.

Mobile Payment is a more competitive market, as the service can be provided by anybody with customer access, including examples such as Nokia Money or the well-cited M-PESA project. In fact, pre-paid cards can even be seen as small bank accounts supporting micro-savings. To reach the masses, technologies such as NFC (Near Field Communications radio protocol for very short distance and ultra fast set up time) will need to be rolled out en masse and consumers will need to be guided down a gradual transition path from inserting their credit or debit card into a machine to waving their mobile device in front of a reader. They’ll also have to grow to trust that the person behind them in the checkout line can’t scan their back pocket while they are waiting.

However, you can’t rule out that all of these apps will develop moderately, but never really take off. Instead, a social trend might drive a surprising growth of an otherwise unlikely application will suddenly find itself installed on every second smartphone as the world’s next Facebook.

Who will win? -I don’t know. But whoever it is, they will first have to understand all the wide-reaching implications of Mobile Convergence and listen very carefully to what their customers really want – no easy task and certainly not something everybody in our industry is very good at!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Open source driving -August 27th

By Martin Wilde

The momentum around the adoption of Open Source for the automotive In-Vehicle-Infortainment (IVI) environment got another couple boosts recently. The Genivi Alliance announced in late July that it chose the Linux Foundation's Intel- and Nokia-backed MeeGo operating system as the basis of its next "Apollo" reference release for open source Linux-based IVI systems, followed less than a week later by the 1.0 release of the MeeGo for IVI platform. Running Linux on an Intel Atom processor, MeeGo for IVI ships with a sample Qt-based IVI Home Screen and taskbar featuring a scroll-wheel, as well as automotive-specific middleware components and sample applications.

This new spirit of openness and willingness to share and expand technology among historically rival manufacturers is a marked turnaround in the corporate car culture. Whether it's simply a marriage of convenience or a sign of the truly difficult times facing the industry, it's no less remarkable for its magnitude.

Automotive companies are concerned about driver distraction caused by IVI systems and Teleca believes that existing OS platforms like MeeGo and Android need to be enhanced to be able to certify which apps are safe for driving, with some kind of software or physical silicon partitioning to make sure that dangerous apps are locked out while the car is being driven.
But given that multiple car manufacturers are considering whether to go open source or to keep seeking proprietary solutions is evidence that the scalability and speed of innovation are virtually impossible to match in a proprietary software environment.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Let the war begin.. -August 18th

By Magnus Ingelsten

In the UK TV series Robot Wars, a competition between amateur teams building mechanical war robots equipped with hack axes, chain saws and powered by fierce electric motors, that are aiming to destroy or at least be the last of the fighting robots to survive the competition. And at every start of a battle the show host exclaims “Let the war begin!”
Now, can we draw a parallel between the little green robot (read Android) and the rest of the pack and the Robot Wars show? Is there a fierce competition and someone will eventually stand alone on the top, or will we see a fragmented market both in terms of segments, device types and OS adapted to different needs and industry segments?
If we embrace a variation of OS:s, is it good for competition and does it speed up the development pace?

I vote for that choice is good! And I dare say that the end-user do not care.? They care about choice. And to chose a device with no limitations and a lot of possibilities and freedom. Open is good! And they care about the total package with look, feel and a brand that deliver.

Because it is in line with the experience with other consumer goods My TV set, HiFi (do these exist anymore..?) TV surround equipment, washing machines, cars, GPS etc. Do we care what OS they run? I´d say not really. How about computers and e-readers and slates? It still comes down to possibilities and limitations. What can you do or not do.

My friend bough a new Android device the other day and we compared our two Android phones of different brands. He hated his device, and I loved mine. Technical differences? Not really. More features? Not really. Nicer device? Not really. But performance? Not really.... So what? Execution is the answer. One device lost usability and simplicity so the user experience got lost. He felt limited and without the right possibilities. It was all about expectations.

So, select the right OS for an implementation dependent on the user expectations. Ensure that the execution correspond to required possibilities and not limit them and correspond to expectations. Ensure the (user) experience is maximized to manage and address the use cases and features as logical and simple relevant for the user group.

-Expectations, Execution and Experience. Are these the 3 E´s for success?
What are your thoughts? (comments are welcome)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Is the little green robot all set to rule? -August 11th

By Sonali Mishra

The Android OS has continued to shake up the mobile world in terms of smartphone market share. According to research firm Gartner Android has now surpassed Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS in terms of global smartphone market share.

Android's share stood at 9.6 percent in the first quarter, up from 1.6 percent in the first quarter of 2009. Apple's iOS also grew, from 10.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009 to 15.4 percent, but Android is now clearly increasing the pace of its momentum.

In a further sign of its growth North American operator AT&T has announced that it is launching the Samsung Captivate, its version of Samsung's flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S. This will be AT&T's fourth smartphone running on Google's Android platform. Sony Ericsson has also unveiled its fourth smartphone based on Google's Android platform, the Xperia X8, and positioned it as a mass market alternative to its flagship X10 model. The company, which in the first quarter had its first quarterly profit since 2008, is back on the strength of its Android phones and its custom UX user interface.

So what has led to this a surge in Android phones? Openness, user customisation, longterm outlook, multiple OEMS and carrier partners, have all contributed to the growth of Android as an OS. Android’s openness isn't just limited to the core software platform: but is extended to a wide range of services and OEM device specifications. The latest release of Android (2.2 or more commonly known as Froyo) is now open sourced and starting to reach consumer devices. Froyo, bring a number of significant improvements including improved content discovery, as you’ll finally get a suggestion if you misspell an app name, substantial improvements in browser performance, both when launching and parsing content, and the inclusion of support for Flash 10.1. There are also new services supported by Froyo including support for Googles Simplify Media acquisition which will enable users to stream music from your home library and push apps from your desktop to the handset.

Following a slow start Android is now really hitting it’s stride with a wide range of OEMs supporting it, 10K+ new applications being launched every month, growing operator support and increasing market share gains. Wrap all of this inside Google’s massive marketing machine and it’s push in to new market segments such as Google TV and Tablets and you have very a true contender for the future smartphone market leader.

Monday, July 5, 2010

In-Vehicle Infotainment touched by Teleca -July 5th

By Dr. Roger Hampel

As the automotive industry is recovering from one of its worst crises ever, also the suppliers of automotive electronics and multi-media software are regaining strength.

For suppliers of in-vehicle infotainment systems, however, the world has changed dramatically over the last 3 years. Typical head unit functions like navigation or media player have become standard applications on Smartphones, thus consumers are no longer willing to pay a huge premium for built-in infotainment systems that are already outdated at the time they hit the market and which cannot be updated with new functionality in the field.

Leveraging smartphone platform ecosystems drives time to market
To bridge this gap, the automotive infotainment industry has started to embrace smartphone platforms. The GENIVI alliance of automotive OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers and service companies is developing an open source Linux based infotainment SW platform. The first platform release was based on Intel’s Moblin stack and it is anticipated that future platform releases will be based on the MeeGo platform, see Andrew Till’s blog entry from February 18th).
Google’s Android platform has also made its way into the automotive infotainment arena, e.g. in Continental’s AutoLinQ system. Furthermore, the recently announced acquisition of QNX, provider of OS and Middleware for automotive telematics, by Smartphone manufacturer RIM can be interpreted as a move to close this gap from the other end and Microsoft’s Auto platform is based on Windows Embedded CE

Cars go smart(phone)
Consumers will be able to experience connected services in the car such as downloading and installing apps from an application store, consuming audio and video stored locally and amended by online data such as album art or streaming online media. Media can be transferred seamlessly between the home network, smartphone and the IVI system. Car diagnostics such as battery level for electric vehicles, fuel gauge, door/window lock status can be accessed via Internet from any PC or the mobile phone. Actuators in the car can be triggered remotely, e.g. unlocking the car, closing the windows, activating stolen vehicle tracking. Emergency calls are automatically initiated by a triggering airbag.

The adoption of smartphone platforms for in-vehicle infotainment goes along with the change from device centric scope to ecosystem scope. Leveraging the ecosystem around open source platforms such as Android and GENIVI allows the providers of IVI systems to offer product development based on a sustainable roadmap for software platform evolution while reducing overall cost of ownership.

We are engaged
Teleca is a member of both the Open Handset Alliance governing the Android platform and the GENIVI alliance driving the development of the GENIVI platform. Moreover, we have been a Microsoft Gold Systems Integration Partner since 2002.

Expect breathtaking IVI systems to hit the market that have been touched by Teleca!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mobile Apps or Mobile Web or both? -June 28th

By Andrew Frost

There’ve been some discussions recently about the relative benefits of applications that are created as native mobile apps (e.g. for iTunes, Ovi Store, Android Market etc) or applications that are deployed via the mobile web. Andrew Till commented on this discussion recently on our blog following the Open Mobile Summit conference at the end of May.

The obvious benefit to a web-based deployment is that anyone with an internet-connected device can access it. No longer are you bound to application stores or particular brands of device, you can create something that anyone (maybe even desktop users) can access. The downside though is that you’re unlikely to be able to leverage the full power and integration of each individual device, due to a number of factors such as the underlying browser engine (i.e. Webkit or something else), the data models implemented by the device vendor and any unique interaction models implemented on the device that you need to consider in order to deliver a consistent user experience. So while web-deployment will certainly remove a lot of challenges it will not, as yet, be able to address all the challenges and hence your application will be inherently limited.

A new development in this area (on mobile devices at least) is the release of Adobe’s Integrated Runtime (AIR) 2 which is going to be available on a number of different platforms, initially on Google Android. AIR 2 brings a number of benefits:

  • Includes the Flash Player 10.1 with the new developer features and enhancements, so it is simpler to create an application that runs both as a web-based application and as a native application on a disconnected mobile phone

  • Applications appear as native – so despite being created using Flash/MXML, they can be deployed from application portals and installed on a device as a native application.

  • Potential for extended integration. AIR 2 has APIs for accessing a device accelerometer as well as supporting gestures and multi-touch, and the likely integration is going to expand further.

This last area is one in which Teleca has a great deal of experience, extending the capability of the Flash Lite player on mobile and embedded devices to allow OEMs to use Flash content for much more than just games and utilities – enabling tight device integration and using Flash content for the whole device UI, for example. Using Flash and AIR 2 capabilities to provide home screens and UIs on platforms such as Android may help companies to quickly and easily differentiate their products.
Teleca are heavily involved in projects using Adobe’s new Flash Platform run-times including Flash Player 10.1 and Flash Lite 4 and have also created some demos using AIR 2. This is an area we are seeing a growing level of interest in from developers and we can expect more growth over the coming quarters.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

bada - Application interface, Part 3 (3) - June 17th

by Markus Gausling

The bada application interface
The interfaces for the native C++ applications are provided by the Framework Layer. Most of the interfaces provide quite standard functionality that you would expect on a modern platform. This includes support for messaging, 2D and 3D graphics (OpenGL ES 1.1, OpenGL ES 2.0 and EGL) or media playback and media capturing. Additionally UI controls to embed flash content, web content and maps are available. Those are based on the integrated Adobe Flash player and the WebKit browser.
Common device sensors are supported as well.

The interesting thing here is maybe that weather information is also provided as a special kind of sensor. The actual data is retrieved from an online weather service.Additionally bada provides build in face detection support for still images and movies.

One interesting group of interfaces is defined by the Social APIs which provides interfaces for social networks such as Twitter, Facebook or Flickr which are seamlessly integrated with the platforms PIM implementation.

The bada platform doesn’t directly communicate with those social networks but through an SNS gateway hosted by Samsung. This ensures that the client-side interface doesn’t depend on the actual interfaces provided by the Social Networks and that new services can be easily integrated. On the other hand this introduces Samsung as an additional intermediate entity.

Publishing application
Samsung bada applications are sold through the "Samsung Apps" store. Applications for bada devices can only be downloaded from the Samsung application store. They need to be approved by Samsung before. Application developers need to register at the Samsung App Seller Office. The App Seller Office verifies and validates the application prior to certification. Once the application was certified it can be sold through the Samsung Store.
According to Gartner ( Samsung is currently the number two mobile phone manufacturer in the world. Samsung claims to have sold 40,000,000 mobile phones with touch support and that a number of new models in 2010 will be shipped with bada. Based on these numbers it is clear that bada will gain a reasonable market share in the near future even with strong competitors such as Android, iPhone OS, Blackberry OS and not to forget Window Mobile and Symbian.
From a technical point of view bada seems to be a quite stable and mature platform with powerful and well designed interfaces for application developers. Especially the tight integration with social networks makes application development for such applications quite comfortable.

- Samsung Bada -
- Bada Developers pages
- Samsung S8500Wave -

Monday, June 14, 2010

bada - The new kid on the block, Part 2 (3) - June 14th

By Markus Gausling

Developing native C++ bada applications
An application is described by an application profile. The application profile is an XML manifest file that describes the application, the system requirements the application has towards the platform (like display resolution, memory etc.) and the API groups the applications uses.
Developers are divided into two levels of membership (Basic and Partner) and based on this level the access to platform interfaces will be granted. Developers of the category Basic e.g. cannot access interfaces which require system privileges.

Samsung provides an online tool, the Application Manager, to fill in the information about the application. The Application Manager will then generate a manifest file based on the given information. The manifest will also contain a unique ID for the application. Using the Application Manager requires a registration which is free.
Once the manifest file is available the actual application development can start. Native C++ applications can be developed using the SDK which was recently released as a beta version (1.0.0b2).

The SDK is based on Eclipse with the C/C++ Development Tools (CDT).
It contains an emulator, sample applications and tutorials and also a UI builder.
The SDK is only available for Microsoft Windows and can be downloaded at

Thursday, June 10, 2010

bada – The new kid on the block, part1(3) -June 10th

By Markus Gausling

On the World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona this year Samsung has announced the Samsung Wave (also known as Samsung S8500). The device is a new smartphone with a 3.3 inch Super AMOLED WVGA capacitive touch display that has a 5 megapixel camera. It can playback and record HD video with 1280x720 pixels and it supports the latest WLAN-n and Bluetooth 3.0 standards. The device is about to be available in stores any time now.

While this is already quite impressive the more interesting thing –for me as a developer- is that it is based on Samsungs new bada platform which was announced in Q4 of 2009 and where an application development SDK was released these days.

So what is bada then? bada is Korean and stands for ocean. It is a closed platform in the sense that Samsung owns and controls it. bada is not an open source platform and only intended to be shipped with Samsung devices. It has open interfaces for application developers though.

According to Samsung ( bada is already available for nearly 10 years and was shipped in a number of devices during that time. Designating it bada means it was enhanced with new features such as multi-touch, social APIs and a new UI.

The figure shows the four layers of the bada platform and the different types of applications that can run on bada.

The platform supports four kinds of applications:

  • Native C++ applications based on the interfaces provided by the Framework layer.
  • J2ME applications (MIPD 2.0)
  • Widgets based on HTML, CSS and JavaScript and executed by the platforms WebKit.
  • Flash app´s executed by an integrated Adobe Flash player or embedded into native applications.

The bada platform was designed to run on smartphone devices as well as on cheaper feature phones. To make this possible bada has a configurable kernel architecture which can be based on Linux as underlying OS or some other RTOS.

Follow this bada educational blog. Next chapter 2(3) is about Developing bada C++ apps.