Monday, March 28, 2011

CTIA , March 2011, Teleca findings -March 28th

By Frank Bisono, Teleca North America

Hello from CTIA 2011 in sunny Orlando, FL! As the Teleca team wraps up yet another successful industry event, we wanted to take the time to recap some of the best parts of the show. First, we had a number of great meetings at our suite across from the convention center at the Peabody Hotel. It was a great opportunity to meet up with some of our valued clients, new and old. We are feeling some great energy and excitement about what’s?coming in 2011…stay tuned for more success stories throughout the year. The show floor was also buzzing with excitement. Although a smaller?footprint than in previous years, there were a number of vendors showcasing their latest warez and plenty of industry announcements?of interest. If there was one theme for the show (aside from wireless andmobile), it was tablets, tablets, tablets and yes, 3D(again). Apparently 3D on the TV is not enough, it’s now coming to your mobile devices in a big way. The industry is absolutely obsessed with tablets and 3D at the moment and the pace of new releases doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Google’s Android Honeycomb OS made a big splash on several new tablets at the show. Big announcements came from Samsung, with new form factors in 8.9 and 10.1 inch offerings, in addition to the 7 inch tablet currently on the market. The final hardware wasn’t available for us to touch, but they had it on display and let me tell you, they are sexy. Even the pre-production test units (although chunky) felt quite nice. At just a hair thinner than the new iPad 2, the Samsung 8.9 and 10.1 inch tabs are a thing of beauty. In an unusual move, Samsung announced pricing for these new tablets starting with the 10.1 (16GB WiFi only) model weighing in at $499, exactly where the iPad 2 starts. The 32GB WiFi only model will run $599. The 8.9 inch (16GB) Tab will start at $469 and the 32GB model will come in at $569. LG hit the market with their T-Mobile ready G-Slate,offering the latest HD & 3D stereoscopic onboard cameras. Yes folks, 3D Cameras on a TABLET! Not to be left out of the tablet wars, Sprint surprised everyone with their new HTC Evo View 4G tablet on Tuesday, as well as their new HTC Evo 3D smartphone. For myself, the hottest release of the show was Verizon’s 4G (LTE) HTC Thunderbolt mobile phone. It’s a fantastic display of hardware running on Android 2.2 with LTE blazing fast data connectivity, 1GHz Processor, 4.3″ display, 8MP rear camera, 1.5MP front-facing camera, dual flash, 720p HD video, HTC Sense technology and even it’s own DLNA stack. Keep your eye on this phone; it’s going to be a scorcher! Last, but not least, there were plenty of examples of the latest emerging technologies. Everything from VMware’s entry into the mobile virtualization world, Qualcomm’s Augmented Reality to immersion haptics, which provide a more lifelike experience when using applications on mobile devices. The User Experience world is about to get incredibly interesting with so much capability in our design war chest. The mobile future is looking incredibly bright and Teleca is well positioned at the center of the mobile universe to take advantage of all these new technologies and experiences. Keep your eye on our blog throughout the year for more exciting news and innovations coming from Teleca’s world class Design and Engineering teams.

More pictures at

Monday, March 21, 2011

LTE route to 4G migration

An article by G Krishna Kumar, "LTE route to 4G migration" has been published in the Hindu Business Line.

Read the entire article here >>>

Friday, March 18, 2011

Automotive goes open source - March 18th

By Thomas Buchner, a Solution Architect and Technology Manager for Automotive at Teleca

Automotive Industry finally looking at open platforms

With apps and open platforms used everywhere from mobile phones to tablets and set top boxes, the automotive industry finally is also considering open platforms as a basis of their infotainment products.

Traditionally infotainment systems were built on closed source systems like Windows Automotive or QNX. More and more of Teleca's automotive customers ask explicitly in their RFQs for Linux based alternatives like Android or MeeGo.

The reasons are many-fold:
  • Reduced royalties for licenses
  • Chance to source from multiple vendors
  • Last but not least the need to have a platform with a large developer base.
While these reasons are perfectly valid, some lessons learned in the mobile industry need to be applied to the automotive industry as well:

Open Source software comes not for free. To build a successful product, a strong partner that is capable to create a solid baseline from public available sources is required. More so for automotive products with their increased demands on safety and reliability.

To make full use of the open platform, a dedicated SDK needs to be created that unleashes the functionality of the platform to developers.

The platform, be it Android or MeeGo must be adapted to the underlying hardware to provide a compelling user experience for scenarios like multi screen multimedia content viewing, e.g. viewing HD video on the rear seats while the driver is guided by the voice controlled navigation system.

Teleca heads these developments together with partners and customers. Are you interested in more info see us at next automotive event, SAE2011»

Friday, March 11, 2011

Contextual Computing – The next big thing in Mobile Computing?

By Tilman Bollmann

Location Based Services have come over us. Have they? LBS is certainly one of the most hyped buzzwords in the industry right now, and for sure combining location data with other personal information offers a huge potential for services and marketing. And also a huge potential for paranoia. But has LBS turned into a business already? In 2009 analysts were forecasting LBS revenues to exceed 12B USD in 2014, but little has been said about such forecasts recently. And in fact, in my personal surroundings no one is actively using LBS beyond navigation and geocaching. Why?

The last cold winter in Germany revealed one special drawback of modern smartphones: the capacitive touch screens simply don’t work with gloves. And this get’s us to the major weakness of LBS nowadays: I need to become active to make use of LBS where in fact it wouldn’t be necessary. My mobile phone knows a whole lot of things about me. It knows where I’m working, it knows where I’m living, it knows my appointments, so why do I actively need to look up the best train connection when I’m leaving the office in the evening?

Taking just the location information leaves out a lot of relevant information from the context of a user, which includes calendar information, time, weather conditions, mood, social network, physical activity and wellbeing, and so much more. Combining this information with the history, my phone should be very well able to predict what I want to do next and provide me with the necessary information, without me asking.

So I’m dreaming of an active idle screen on my phone that tells me my train is leaving from track 6 in 4 minutes, that the Chinese restaurant around the corner has a special lunch offer today, remind me that I have parmesan cheese on my shopping list when I pass the supermarket and tell me that a friend which I haven’t seen in years is coming to town tomorrow. And all this without me having to press any button on a tiny 3 inch touch screen with winter gloves.
Of course this doesn’t work right out of the box. My phone and me would need some time to get to know each other. It needs to learn my habits, my favorites, my routines. But once it knows this, it could literally become my “personal digital assistant”.

And a “connected context” could even take this further! My phone knows I need to be in Bochum by 9:00 am. So does my neighbor, who’s usually taking the car. Our phones could tell us and he could give me a ride. Of course, connecting contexts requires a lot of trust and shouldn’t be opened up to everyone. But on the other hand it offers huge potential for increased efficiency and a more sustainable conduct of life.

“The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.”, Mark Weiser, father of the term “ubiquitous computing”, said in his article “The computer for the 21st century”. Well, the computer for the 21st century appears to be the mobile phone, and it’s pretty ubiquitous already, but it’s still a dumb device that I even need to tell not to ring when I’m sitting in the opera. To weave into the fabric of my everyday life, smartphones still need to become so much smarter, and I’m going to work on it now. Will you too?

Let’s see who gets there first.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Apple iPad Launch Event Summary - March 2011

By Dmitry Shapiro

SURPRISE! Steve Jobs appeared onstage. I guess the rumors of his demise just lost some legs. He started off by re-capping the year:

· iBooks: 100M books downloaded in less than a year

· iTues, App Store and iBooks over 200M accounts created.

· 100M iPhones shipped

· 15M iPads sold in 2010 (9 months) garnering over $9.5B in revenue for Apple

· 65,000 iPad specific applications in the app store vs. 100 Android Tablet specific apps.

He is saying that the iPad is not a computer. It’s a Post-Pc device. For those of you who read my posts, that’s called a “PARADIGM SHIFT”. Educators are calling it the future of education and doctors are calling it the future of medicine. One thing I like about Jobs is that he highlights that DEVELOPERS (Not Apple) are taking the device to places they could have never imagined.

Now he’s introducing the iPad2……Yes, they’re ACTUALLY calling it the iPad2:

As I expected, it has the new, 1GHz A5 chip inside, which is a dual-core chip. The CPU is 2x faster and the graphics are 9x faster. However, it consumes about the same power as the A4 which means that the battery will last just as long (10 hours). Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t announce RAM. It’s got front and rear cameras. We all suspected the front camera, but he rear one is a surprise. It’s also got a gyroscope and is about 1/3 THINNER! It’s down from 13.4mm to 8.8mm. It’s actually thinner than the iPhone 4 and the weight is down from 1.5 lbs. to 1.3 lbs.

Most importantly (don’t know why this is such a big deal to everyone) IT COMES IN WHITE!!! It will support both AT&T and Verizon (without an external antenna). The price will also stay the same. What’s disappointing is that the memory units will still be the same: 16, 32 and 64GB. I was hoping for more on-device memory. It will start shipping on March 11 in the US and March 25th in a bunch of other countries! Accessories include: HDMI video out and HDMI Mirrored Video Output. You will be able to output EVERYTHING YOU SEE ON THE iPad to your TV at 1080. (Just like Steve Jobs presents!! YAY for Demo’s!!!!). Unfortunately, there is no mention of USB or SD ports. It has VGA video recording up to 30 fps on the front camera, VGA-quality still camera and a rear camera with HD (720p) video recording up to 30 fps with audio and a still camera with 5x digital zoom and geotagging over Wi-Fi. You can tap to control exposure for video or stills. It also has a much larger speaker on the back. There is also an ambient light sensor. They’re also coming out with what they’re calling “Smart Covers”. This is a cover for the screen that will fold back for viewing and auto-wake or auto-sleep based on whether it’s open. It will be held in place by magnets. The micro-fiber screen cover will clean the screen every time you close it. When you see the photos, you’ll be amazed at how thin it is. It’s made of polyurethane.

Now for iOS 4.3……

It has dramatically improved Safari performance with Nitro Javascript Engine (2x faster). I also will include iTunes home sharing. Airplay will allow you to send everything to Apple TV. You’ll also be able to lock the orientation. It also will include Photo Booth. Also, as expected, it will include Facetime. They also introduced iMovie for iPad which will allow you to edit movies on your iPad and will sell as a $4.99 app. It’s very similar to iMovie for OS X. It will also include Garage Band as an app for $4.99.

So, my conclusion? If you need to output your iPad or want to capture photos and video with it (which is really hard if you haven’t tried it with a tablet before just based on trying to hold it up for the photo) then you definitely need one. If you want to run very high end graphics and edit video then you definitely need one. Will you feel completely left out with your iPad 1? No. You’ll be fine and if you don’t fit into one of the above categories, I’d wait for the iPad 3 which is rumored to be due out in the fall along with the iPhone 5 and OS X Lion.

Friday, March 4, 2011

User Experience @ Teleca

By Frank Bisono
Many of you have been seeing the term “User Experience” surfacing with increased frequency on many of our projects. Some of you may be wondering, “…just exactly what IS this thing called User Experience?” My goal is to shed some light into this mysterious yet essential role in today’s software development.

What Is User Experience?
"User experience" encompasses all aspects of the end-user's interaction with the company, its services, and its products. The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next comes simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own, a joy to use. True user experience goes far beyond giving customers what they say they want, or providing checklist features. In order to achieve high-quality user experience in a company's offerings there must be a seamless merging of the services of multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design.

*Definition by Nielsen Norman Group

User Experience (also known as UX) encompasses several disciplines: interaction design, information architecture, human computer interaction, human factors engineering, usability and user interface (UI)/visual design.

These roles can be broken down into two competencies:

UX Research:
A UX Researcher will typically come from a cognitive psychology or human factors background. A UX Researcher formulates research plans, conducts studies (both in a lab and in the users environments, also known as ethnographic studies), gathers the data, analyzes it and recommends follow-up actions. This is done working closely with a UX Designer.

UX Design:
The UX Designer is typically involved at the earliest stages of product development. Everything from the product strategy, business goals and aesthetic aspects are taken into consideration. The UX Designer will look at many factors in a products design including but not limited to: ease of use, aesthetics, efficiency, processes, and performance.

What User Experience is Not
There are a lot of misconceptions about what UX is, but here are some things that we can definitely say it’s not:
  1. UX Design is NOT the same as UI Design. UI Design is focusing on one element of the overall experience.
  2. UX is NOT a simple checkbox in a process. The user experience process is an ongoing and integral part of any product. It’s something that we need to keep iterating on and improving. It’s never done, even after we ship.
  3. UX is NOT just about usability. Usability is but one aspect of the overall experience. We want to make products that users embrace and find desirable, but is not our only goal.
  4. UX is NOT one size fits all. Every project and situation will be unique and have it’s own special problems to solve. You can’t take a canned approach that can be priced the same across all projects.
  5. UX is NOT a choice, it’s an imperative. In order for a product to be successful, you must factor the overall experience your users will have in the end. We can write the best code and solve the most complex problems in the world, but if in the end the users can’t use it, don’t like it or don’t perceive the value then we have ALL failed. It takes EVERYONE on the team to create a solid user experience.
How can UX help you at Teleca?
There are many ways in which you can engage with UX at Teleca.

Sales: From initial bid proposals where we can partner with you to help tell the Teleca UX story and what we can offer our potential clients, to helping forge a solution and wireframe concepts to use in a proposal. Please feel free to engage us as part of your pre-sales business development and strategy efforts.

Project Management: From the moment you have a potential project, please bring us in to discuss how we can help with requirements gathering, defining business objectives and proposing design solutions for our clients. We can help you get clearer timelines and milestone dates for your project based on current projects in the pipeline and estimated deliverables for the client.

Developers: We are here to work with you in an iterative way throughout the lifecycle of the project. If you have a question, or something just doesn’t feel right and you need a sanity check on some element of the experience, please feel free to ping us.

While this article certainly doesn’t cover the gamut of services we can provide as part of the user experience, I hope it sheds some light on how we can help make every project at Teleca a resounding success for our clients and us.