Jan 29 2012

Pulse Improvements

Category: Android,ReviewsTeknovis @ 9:31 am

I use Pulse on my Motorola Xoom. I love it, and it is possibly the most used application on my tablet. The combination of Pulse and the tablet has definitely enabled me to become more knowledgeable in everything from current affairs to hobbies!

Unfortunately, there are one or two limitation of the application that really annoy me :( I commented about this last week on Twitter, and the good people who develop Pulse read my comment and asked me to suggest how the application could be improved. So this is why I am writing this :) (I also love that Twitter enables interactions like this to occur between the application developers and the users.)

Catagories

Imagine that I am interested in following feeds that fall into seven categories, for example, Economics, Politics, Sport, Travel, Lifestyle, Technology, and Property. Currently, Pulse allows me to have a maximum of five categories! So inevitably this limitation forces me to mix completely unrelated feeds together :( This looks wrong, and it makes it difficult to find the feeds that I want when they are bunched in with unrelated feeds.

The fix to this is very simple – allow an unlimited number of categories! There is plenty of space across the top for more categories! If this space become full, then let the user swipe to move from category to category (just like moving from port to post within a feed)!

While I am writing about categories, I remember that it used be possible to click on the category title to hide the row of categories. This was great, because it freed up some extra screen space. Unfortunately this feature has been removed :(

Feeds

Imagine that I am interested in following more than ten feeds within a single category. Actually, for three of the five categories that I have on Pulse there are more than ten feeds that I would like to follow! Currently, Pulse allows me to have a maximum of ten feeds per category :( Since I am limited to five categories, I cannot divide my categories any further to overcome this limitation :( This is particularly annoying when I follow several feeds that are updated infrequently :|

To fix this simply allow an unlimited number of feeds per category!

Screenshot

The diagram below (that I took from APP OF THE DAY: Pulse review (Android Honeycomb)) shows how both of these improvements could easily be incorporated! (Click image to see larger version!)

Pulse Improvements

Pulse Improvements

I do not see any technical reason why these limitations exist. My guess is that somebody hard-coded a number into an array somewhere!

It is probably worth remembering that these comments are coming from somebody who uses Pulse on an Android tablet with plenty of processor and memory resources, and a really fast WiFi Internet connection.

Hopefully this is useful!

Tags: , ,


Dec 30 2011

Skype on Motorola Xoom

Category: Android,ReviewsTeknovis @ 5:18 pm

When I wrote Motorola Xoom – First Impressions I noted that I was disappointed that Skype did not support video calling. During the Christmas holidays I installed the latest version, and I am delighted to report that it works perfectly!

I am delighted with this, and I have already used it for several hours during the holidays! I now have one less reason for turning on a computer :)

Tags: ,


Aug 15 2011

Google Buys Motorola Mobility

Category: Android,Business,PatentsTeknovis @ 6:02 pm

So Google has surprised everybody by buying Motorola Mobility today. See Google Buys Motorola Mobility For $12.5B, Says “Android Will Stay Open” (or any mainstream news website).

I think that this is a very positive development for the ongoing development of Android. Both technically, and due to the patent portfolio that Google has just acquired.

It is also a very rewarding development for anybody with Motorola Mobility stock!

Tags: ,


Aug 12 2011

The Week in Patents

Category: Mobile Computing,PatentsTeknovis @ 6:11 pm

It has been a really interesting week in terms of patents! Probably the biggest news has been Apple‘s attempts to block the selling of superior Android based tablet devices made by Motorola and Samsung. For example, see Samsung delays Australian Tab launch, Apple prevents Galaxy sales in EU, Will Apple block the Motorola Xoom in Europe next?, and Apple patent disputes Xoom towards Motorola. HTC should be in the mix there also as another infringer. However, the fight back in the EU has started according to The Battle Continues: Samsung To Appeal Apple’s European Injunction.

Apple have reasons to be concerned with the rise of the Android based tablets according to Android tablets peel away 20% of iPad’s mega market share.

Yes – I am annoyed by Apple for its behaviour. Although I imagine Google must be more annoyed! See Google Patent Woes for more details.

There has also been considerable interest in some of Apple’s patent applications that become public this week. For example see Apple Patents Hint At Multi-Part Gestures, Touchable OS X and Patent application: Apple wants to put projectors in its iPhones. The first of these is very interesting, and it makes me wonder if there is more to gestures on touch devices than we are currently considering. I do not think that I would be interested in the second idea, due to the extra hardware requirements it would impose on the device. Anyway, we will know if these applications are successful in about 5 years time.

Finally, Google had some success this week with one of its patents – US7996328. It is probably best described in Google lands patent for, um, estimating shipment time. That should help dissuade Amazon from taking patent infringement cases against Google anyway! Amazon is also in the patent news this week for its mobile device airbag idea – Amazon’s Bezos Dreams Up Protective Airbag for Smartphones.

Tags: , , , , ,


Aug 01 2011

Motorola Xoom – First Impressions

Category: Android,ReviewsTeknovis @ 7:56 pm

I recently bought a Motorola Xoom for myself, so this post describes my first impressions. Overall these have been extremely positive, and so far the device is exceeding my expectations!

Motorola Xoom

Motorola Xoom

I had decided that I wanted an Android powered table, and the only other contender was the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Both devices are extremely similar, so the ultimate decision was made on the form. The Xoom felt heavier, thicker, and solid. Whereas the Galaxy felt lighter, thinner, and it had a very plastic feel to it.

When I got the Xoom I initially played with it to learn about it, and I downloaded many applications for evaluation purposes. I then factory reset it, and configured it the way that I wanted.

Hardware

There is not a huge amount to write here, because there are already many good reviews of the hardware online. So here are a few comments:

  • The power button is located on the back surface in the upper right hand corner. I read several reviewers questioning that location, but I find it very convenient. I can comfortable switch it on and off using one of my fingers that is already there in order to hold the device.
  • Battery life seems great to me, although this is not something that I have measured. My biggest concern here would be the battery longevity in terms of recharge/discharge cycles. So far I am using the device until it fully discharges before charging it again.
  • The charge lead plugs into the bottom of the device (when it is in landscape mode). This makes using it while charging slightly difficult, because you cannot rest the device on our stomach.
  • The screen quality is really impressing me, especially when looking at photos. I also find it perfectly responsive.

Overall, I am finding the device very ergonomic, although my hands might be considered slightly larger than average.

Operating System and Bundled Applications

The device came with Android Version 3.2. So far I think that it is great, and I have no major issues. My comments are:

  • I am not a Gmail user, and I was concerned that every feature would need to be deeply integrated into a Gmail account. Luckily this is not the case, although I did create a trashy account to keep the device happy :)
  • I hate having to physically connect devices to a single computer. This is not required – sweet :)
  • The email client supports multiple IMAP accounts, although I am having difficulty deleting email. (They appear to delete, but when I check my email using another IMAP client the emails are still in my Inbox, but marked as read. I think the issue is that deleted emails should be moved into the Inbox.Trash folder.)
  • I wanted to create my own wallpaper, but I found it very difficult to find the exact required dimensions online. The best discussion on the issue is in Improved Wallpaper template, now with native resolution., but I am just using one of my own images that is a much higher resolution. The wallpaper tool is good in the way it allows you to crop the background wallpaper. If you want to use somebody else’s wallpaper then take a look at WallpaperCASA or xoom-wallpapers.com.
  • There is a bundled application for viewing common office file types. (See What is Quickoffice and why can’t I edit documents?.) I do not see myself needing to edit such files, but certainly viewing is extremely useful.
  • I have read that many people install task manager applications. For the moment I am happy to let Android look after this.
  • The browser seems great so far, and I absolutely love the Quick Controls feature (see Quick Browser Controls)!
  • I am starting to love widgets :)

There are many additional bundled applications such as calendars and contact lists. However, I have not used these because I am not interested in that functionality.

Additional Applications

I am more of a browser person than an application person, so an application must have real value or functionality for me to consider using it. Therefore, the additional aplications that I have downloaded have been limited to the following (in no particular order):

  • Flash Player: Whether you like it or not, many websites use Flash technology. My main motivation for getting this was to view some video-on-demand websites that I frequently visit.
  • ES File Explorer: It is interesting that the operating system does not come with a built-in file explorer. Perhaps this is because most users will never need one! However, I do, and his one seems perfect. Perhaps its best feature is that it enables me to directly connect to my file server (using SMB). This is fabulous for downloading my MP3s, photos, and other documents. The only small annoyance I have found with it is that you need to specify whether it should operate in landscape or portrait mode. It should detect this automatically!
  • Jota Text Editor: I wanted an application for taking notes, and subsequently sharing those notes between multiple devices. The initial note applications that I looked at all contained proprietary file formats. So I decided that a text editor was the way to proceed!
  • Skype: I use Skype a lot, so this was a necessity. It works fine, but I am disappointed that it does not support video calling. Hopefully this will change soon!
  • Pulse: This has probably been the application that has impressed me the most! To be honest, it is the first time that I have ever used an RSS reader on any platform, and it is so convenient!
  • Twitter: I tweet using multiple accounts, and this makes it so easy! The notifications and widgets are also very useful.

Some of these applications are not specifically designed for the large screen of the tablets, but they are perfectly acceptable as long as the zoom mode is not used.

So these are my first impressions! I expect many more posts on my Xoom :)

Tags: , , , ,


Jun 07 2011

Motorola Xoom Review

Category: Android,HardwareTeknovis @ 10:12 am

I previously described how I really liked the Motorola Xoom in Motorola Xoom. I really liked it when I saw it in Barcelona (at Mobile World Congress), but I must admit that I was disappointed when I saw it recently in a local shop. Perhaps it was because it had a very dull theme, and the iPad2 beside it seemed very colourful.

However, after reading Motorola Xoom A slab of 10in Honeycomb goodness today I find myself interested again :)

 

Tags: , ,


Feb 17 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Category: Android,Hardware,iPadTeknovis @ 10:19 pm

It certainly has been an interesting week from a tablet point-of-view. Firstly, I borrowed an iPad, and I have been giving it a good testing. The user interface is very nice, and the browsing experience has been excellent. I only encountered one website where the Javascript driven menus would not work for some reason. My only complaint with the device is that it starts to feel rather heavy when resting on your stomach :o

I also got to play with a Motorola Xoom (see Motorola Xoom for more details). During my brief encounter the device seemed to be as desirable as I had imagined ;)

The other big development (from the 10″ tablet point-of-view) was that Samsung launched the Galaxy Tab 10.1. For more details see the images or the features.

Galaxy Tab 10.1

Galaxy Tab 10.1

I spent some time playing with it also, and I cannot say that I noticed any significant difference between this and the Motorola Xoom. Perhaps this is not surprising given that they are both based on the same chipset, and they both have the same operating system.

I did read some complaints about the plastic build, but I did not find this problematic. Indeed, I liked the circular recessed area on the back because it made holding the device from any angle very comfortable.

Perhaps the only disappointment this week was that HTC did not launch a 10″ tablet :|

Tags: , , ,


Jan 07 2011

Motorola Xoom

Category: Android,HardwareTeknovis @ 7:15 pm

A belated merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! I had a great one, and hence I have not been posting here recently!

Anyway, I have previously written here about my irrational cravings for a tablet device. However, I really am not an Apple fan, so I do not see myself ever owning an iPad!

Today I think that I might have found the perfect table for me! It is the Motorola Xoom!

Motorola Xoom

Motorola Xoom

For more mouthwatering details see the marketing material or the technical details.

I am really looking forward to seeing one of these!

Tags: ,


Mar 18 2009

Irish Companies involved in OMA

Category: Mobile Computing,StandardsTeknovis @ 7:59 pm

Today I am going to focus on the Irish involvement in another international standards body called the OMA (Open Mobile Alliance). Information about the history and goals of the OMA can be found in About OMA. There are 4 different levels of membership of the OMA, and these are described in OMA Membership. However, I am not going to distinguish between these membership types. I am basing my lists on the memberships lists in Current OMA Members.

The Irish companies that are currently members are:

The non-Irish companies that have technical operations in Ireland that are currently members are:

As always, it is difficult to determine if some of these multi-nations have a technical presence in Ireland.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Feb 09 2009

Irish Companies involved in the GSM Association

Category: Standards,TelecomsTeknovis @ 6:26 pm

I am going to continue my series on Irish companies (and organisations) that are involved in standards organisations, and today I am going to focus on the GSM Association. This is appropriate timing for doing this, because the GSMA Mobile World Congress is happening soon in Barcelona. I have never attended this, but I would like to ;)

The GSM Association has several types of membership, and these are described in Types of Membership. I am going to focus on the Associate Membership type, and the members with this type of membership are listed in Associate Members.

The Irish companies that are currently members are:

The non-Irish companies that have technical operations in Ireland that are currently members are:

As always, it is sometimes difficult to tell what sort of a presence some of these companies have in Ireland.

There are also a number of Irish companies that are working in the same area as the GSM Association, but these companies are not listed as members. Enterprise Ireland supports these companies, and it rents a large stand at the GSMA Mobile World Congress which these companies can use. More details about this can be read on the 3GSM Ireland web site. The Irish companies that Enterprise Ireland is, or was, supporting that are not listed as members are:

I am really surprised, and impressed, with the number of companies in these lists!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Next Page »