Mar 6 2010

Sony Looks to Compete with Apple

A recent news story about Sony published in the Wall Street Journal has caused a lot of speculation about Sony’s plans for mobile devices. Though Sony is not officially confirming anything, it is thought to be developing products and services to compete with Apple.

Sony is reportedly ready to launch an online media platform called “Sony Online Services” that is intended to compete with iTunes. It is also releasing a mobile phone with the Android operating system soon. The phone is going to be called Xperia X10. Currently, Sony makes an e-reader that is a competitor to Amazon’s Kindle.

If Sony is intending to directly compete with Apple, it may want to prepare itself for potential lawsuits. Apple is currently engaged in a lawsuit against HTC for patent infringement relating to the iPhone, which many people are interpreting as an indirect against Google.

Via Digital East Asia.

Mar 4 2010

Apple Patent Case Could Affect Android Phones

Apple’s legal action against HTC, the first manufacturer to use Android in its phones, could have larger implications for other companies using Android on their phones. In the case, Apple alleges 20 patent infringements, and this case could be the first of many.

Apple hasn’t specifically named Google in the lawsuit, but many of the patents relate to operating system processes. Google has declared its support for HTC. Due to the increase in competition between Google and Apple, some analysts have speculated that Apple is attacking Google indirectly through this lawsuit. Therefore, the lawsuit could have implications for other companies later.

Apple asserts that HTC has infringed on 20 patents owned by Apple that are used in the iPhone. Apple wants an injunction that would bar HTC from selling phones that use the patents in the United States.

Via BBC News, image via BBC News.

Mar 3 2010

MobileMe Executive Appointed CTO at Thumbplay

Apple’s MobileMe technology executive has been appointed chief technology officer at Thumbplay, a cloud-based music company.

Pablo Calamera was director of Apple’s MobileMe and spent ten years at Apple during his career. As CTO at Thumbplay, he will report to Evan Schwartz, the CEO of Thumbplay.

Calamera will oversee all technology initiatives at Thumbplay. The company is in private beta in the United States and offers unlimited, on-demand access to songs. It is currently available for select BlackBerry devices but will eventually be offered for Android and the iPhone sometime this year.

I am hoping that this means Apple will have someone else in charge of MobileMe who will make changes to the service. I had a free trial of MobileMe several months ago and as an Apple user I expected to love it. Instead, I did not like it at all and found it to be rather user-unfriendly. Many people are satisfied with MobileMe, but I think it needs improvement.

Via CNET, image via Apple.

Feb 25 2010

Apple Updates MobileMe on Mobile Devices

Apple has enhanced the website for MobileMe when users visit it with an iPhone or iPod Touch. The new site now offers a direct link to instructions about configuring various MobileMe functions like Mail, Contacts, and Calendar, a link to Find My iPhone, and direct links to the two apps associated with MobileMe.

The link to Find My iPhone is particularly interesting. This extraordinarily useful feature allows users to find lost iPhones on a map, send messages to lost phones, remotely wipe data on the phones, and force the phones to play sounds.

The rest of MobileMe is not available on mobile devices with the exception of Gallery and iWeb.

The new mobile version of the site seems like a good start, but it is a bit lacking. Apple probably could have done a better job if it had released a special MobileMe app.

Via CNET, image via Apple.

Feb 15 2010

Cell Phone Providers Join Forces Against Apple

Major cell phone providers from all over the world are joining together to conspire against Apple. Okay, maybe “conspire” is too strong a word—“join together” may be a more accurate description—but you get the idea.

Announced today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Wholesale Applications Community is made of twenty-four of the world’s largest cell phone providers, including such names as Sprint, Vodafone, and China Mobile. The idea behind this consortium is to solve the major problem facing mobile app developers today: there are too many platforms. Oh, and money is a big factor as well. Apps are very lucrative—Apple’s App Store is a case in point—and these companies do not have nearly the app sales that Apple does.

Will this idea actually work? In theory, the idea is good. But in practice, there may be too much infighting in the consortium. One company will seek to dominate the others, which will create resentment, infighting, and weaken the consortium. Also, it is very unlikely that Apple would allow itself to be outmaneuvered in such a manner. Plus, Apple is one united company that doesn’t have the infighting. The consortium is a good try by the cell phone companies, but it’s going to take more than that to offer real competition to Apple.

Via ZDNet, image via Apple.

Feb 13 2010

iPad Spurs App Store Developer Interest

Interest in developing for the App Store has almost tripled during the month of January, according to mobile analysis firm Flurry Analytics. This is the largest increase in application development in the history of Flurry’s tracking. The surge is most likely due to Apple’s much-hyped upcoming device, the iPad. There is incentive for developers to customize their applications in time for the iPad’s release.

There are more than 140,000 applications in the App Store, according to Apple. The App Store will offer apps for the iPad when it is released, including specifically customized ones that will take advantage of the iPad’s large touchscreen.

Android applications grew about 25 percent in January. Though Android applications are growing steadily, the App Store still remains far ahead of Android due to the recent spike in January.

Via AppleInsider, image via Apple.

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