Tuesday, August 10, 2010

As the Computer Turns...

If any of you follow software and hardware trends you'll realize that this is as much of a Soap Opera as "As the World Turns" (Not that I've actually seen an actual Soap Opera in it's entirety). Rumors build, ideas are stolen, people have died and then come back to life, and there's the unwanted advances that get people in trouble (Sorry Mark Hurd, but I'm sure you won't be reading this, if anyone does actually).

I've been following with interest different technologies and I have to say there's all sorts of intrigue and spying going on. In the past year Apple has been just months away from Releasing the iPhone 4 on Verizon, the latest and possibly best rumor so far has it that Apple has purchased millions of CDMA chips, CDMA is the network type that Verizon uses. Apple is also said to be close to releasing several new iPad models (which wouldn't be a bad idea, but hopefully the new models will have front facing cameras on them). There is also the rumor that the iPhone 4 in white was pulled from market in order to fix the antenna problem (boy did Apple really mess things up with that, remember kids, honesty is always the best policy... then again I'm sure dishonesty is what got people beach houses and fast cars).

Other items that I'm following is BlackBerry 6, BlackBerry is playing a huge catch-up game, they are also having an identity issue, are they an app platform or a secure messaging platform, they need to be both, but which is more important? I feel they're hoping that BlackBerry 6 will resolve this for them, though it may take a few years for older BlackBerry devices to leave the market. Most who know me realize that I'm not a big BlackBerry fan. BlackBerry Tablet? The rumor mill is churning on this one.

Android seems to be possibly the biggest winner here, mainly because they have stopped producing hardware, they only build out the OS now, the problem with this is that they have lost control of the hardware. They too are rumored to have a tablet, in theory one was released, but it was on hardware that wasn't licensed for Android and had to be pulled.

Microsoft? Yeah our favorite bad guys are still in the game, but why I don't know. Both Microsoft and Palm have blown a huge opportunity to dominate the market. I don't think either are players right now. Possibly Microsoft in the tablet market, but I feel Palm is dead.

Non-Smart Phones? Who knows... I'm not your average phone user, because I don't like phones, I like to use the browser, email, texting, apps, etc..., but I'm rarely on the Phone (unless I'm talking with my daughter or ex). I think there are many who don't like having all the bells and whistles on phones. In a way I envy them since they can disconnect easily.

OK, I've rambled, but that's what I do, what can I say, I'm a tangential kind of guy (math geek humor).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Developer Accounts...

Here I am this morning sitting in my chair, drinking my coffee and watching Warehouse 13 all the while pondering app stores... OK I know you're jealous over my exciting life, tonight, I'll figure out why the new cable box that I just got isn't working right, I might actually have to read a manual (which is a failure for those who created the box).

Any app stores, in playing with the app stores for Android (which I haven't done that much of), Apple (which I've done much more of) and BlackBerry (which scares the daylights out of me). The first two require a small purchase that can be done via any credit card, you can upload all kinds of apps, no limits, they also have decent methods for collecting money and paying it back to the user. They are also very well documented. The BlackBerry really surprised me though, it required a purchase that could only be done through a PayPal account. PayPal? Let's get real! They managed everything via DigitalRiver (which is OK, I just wish they found a better way to do it). From looking at BlackBerrys app development process, it's clearly a poorly thought out hodgepodge of technologies and processes. They are fighting to be in the app space, but their systems don't support it. As for their API much of what you want to do, can't be done before OS version 4.7.

In developing apps, I'd suggest you look at what will be around in the next 6 months and don't be afraid to tell users that they need to upgrade older equipment in order to use your app (especially if the equipment is over 2 years old).

Note that the Apple app store process is also confusing, but it's better documented both by Apple and other developers, the BlackBerry process is hidden by RIM and since there aren't many developers, it isn't well documented by the BlackBerry developers. Though don't count BlackBerry out, especially if you are developing for government or business, due to it's keyboard, messaging security, manageability, etc... it's a great business device, just because it's not a great app device doesn't mean it's not valuable.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

iPhone vs BlackBerry - Security...

I wanted my first blog to be something mushy, something that says "hey I'm a nice guy, you should follow my blog", but I guess not, I'll start with something real...

I find it interesting in a time when Apple is taking on BlackBerry that what is really holding people to their BlackBerrys is, well security. Not security as in "I know where all the buttons are and how to use it", well I'm sure some would argue that, but security as in "I know all my information is safe and secure". This latter bit is important, the Android has had several security issues and is now rumored to be looking into how to make it more secure (the problem is allowing you to bypass the Google App Store, not that the use of App Stores is flawless, but it helps).

The latest iPhone issue comes on the heels of an issue with the BlackBerry. The iPhone it seems can be Jailbroken via a website (the term "Jailbreak" a phone is to allow the phone to be freed up from the constraints that Apple puts on it, this could also lead to another term called "Bricking" in which Apple turns the phone into what is essentially a glass and plastic brick, no longer good for use as a phone). Running a Jailbreak on a phone is a tradition amongst hackers and non-hackers alike, but they usually require you to connect your phone to your PC and jailbreak it there (somewhat of a trusted environment, where you run the jailbreak because you want to). The latest exploit could jailbreak your phone, without your knowledge and this could be for nefarious purposes. Hopefully Apple will come out with a fix for this soon.

On the other end of the spectrum is the BlackBerry, now while the BlackBerry may look like a brick and sometimes act like a brick, it's a very secure brick (which is why it's so popular amongst those in the Government, Law firms and other Corporations). It's so secure that Saudi Arabia is going to block the messaging application unless they are allowed to snoop, I'm guessing that BlackBerry already allows the CIA/FBI to listen in. My belief is that instead of calling this an issue, BlackBerry should wave the flag to show how good their system is, it's so secure that Governments are outlawing them, based only on this security.

Perhaps BlackBerry shouldn't go the path of the Smart Phone market, but should stay as a messaging phone. What I've seen so far of the BlackBerry app store is that it's difficult for a developer to use and register to upload their apps. It's almost impossible for a corporation to do it (there's too much red tape in a corporation to go about getting PayPal accounts, which is what is required to post in the BlackBerry app store). I could go on and on with this, but perhaps that's for another post.