BBM: A Conspiracy Theory

So BlackBerry stated they would be launching BBM on Android and iOS this past weekend, the official announcement was made months ago. As the hype was built, here in the Asia Pacific region specifically, BBM was the topic of discussion for the first time in a long time, reminiscing back to its former glory.

So they began the roll out slowly, confusingly however they started rolling it for iOS first, whereas they had announced that it would be coming for Android first. A couple of days before the rollout, the apk was leaked. Many people installed it but couldn’t get set up and connected, which changed this past weekend. Before it even launched on the Play Store, the apk was installed and activated on numerous devices, the number floating around is 1.1 million however it is not clear whether that was iOS and Android or just android. As time went on and people were clamoring away, posting their new PIN’s on any and every form of social media, BlackBerry dropped a bomb. They said they would be halting the roll out for the foreseeable future and would also be deactivating the accounts of those who signed up through the leaked apk.

Now here’s where my conspiracy theory comes into play. Take BlackBerry, a company that’s failing, dying. Soon enough they won’t even exist in the consumer world. Their former fame and glory now a shadow in the distance, fading away. Sunk-ed so low that they’re offering their only selling point to their competitors, for free. The picture that comes to your mind is of a BlackBerry, one that has not been picked and left to dry, withering on the vine, frail and wishing for death. But here’s where the twist comes in, the metaphorical rebirth. What if it was BlackBerry themselves who leaked the apk? It would make more sense would it not? A one last hurrah! Think about it, people were already forgetting about blackberry and preparing to throw their old blackberries away the minute they migrated over to BBM on their other, more loved platforms. So the minute BBM was on the Play Store and App Store all over the world that would be the last nail in the ill fated companies coffin. So they leaked the apk, gave people a small taste of what they wanted and got the world hungry and in a split second, took it away from them. Its a classic mind game and a good one at that. It’s been 3 days and my timeline is still cluttered with people asking what happened about bbm, how do you get bbm, etc. That’s the most anyone’s spoken about the company in a while. Now, people want it, they want it bad. Giving BlackBerry back a little control of the market they once dominated.

Now with this in no way am I saying “blackberry is back”, they’re still going to die soon and there’s no stopping that. This has merely prolonged the consumers acknowledgment of their existence. It is unclear what can become of this now, whether that was it and they just did it to do it and go out with a very minute bang, more of a pop! you could say. Or, did they do it so they could test the market and see how many people were actually interested in BBM, so that they could probably spin it off into a separate entity or even monetize it. What they do with it is up to them, all we can do is sit back and watch.

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Android Phones: Overpowered or Compromised?

Take a good look at the android phones that are around today. Have you noticed that some of them tout so many features yet always have something very lackluster about them? I mean look at the so called ‘Flagship’ phones out there now, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has brilliant performance and a superb camera, in exchange of that they chose to neglect build quality and make it out of plastic, bad plastic. Now look at the Lumia 1020, the tank of a phone overcompensates widely in the camera department but the lack of app support in windows phone renders the phone to be in what I can only call exasperating. 

Now let’s take a look at the mid-range devices. The underdogs in my opinion. My favourite of which, the HTC One Mini. It has a great build quality, a good enough display and a mediocre camera. I know it is the same camera as the One but it’s not, it lacks OIS (optical image stabilization) which actually makes a huge deal. Had they ditched the HTC One and the HTC One mini and made just one phone in between with no real compromise or over compensation, it would have been the perfect phone for me. 

 

You may be thinking, what exactly am I talking about. Well here it is, why must manufacturers over-compensate so much on one aspect of the device that they have to skimp out on the other. Why must we have the highest end specs and power but still skimp out on build quality. Why must smaller phones lack the necessary features to making it a useable device. Why can’t we have just ONE product that doesn’t go overboard on any aspect and doesn’t skimp out on any as well? That would be the phone to get. 

Think about it. One of the hardest decisions you have to make when picking up a phone is to go High End Vs. Cheap Price, more simply it becomes Overpowered Vs. Underspecced. Is this a battle we have to face? I can honestly say I’ve had this fight for so long that I’m still stuck with my almost 2 Generation old Galaxy Nexus. There just hasn’t been a phone so far that sits perfectly in the middle of what I would call a perfect fit. I considered the HTC One Mini but the lack of OIS disappointed me, the Moto X seems promising but there aren’t any plans of it being made available internationally as yet and that AMOLED display is really putting me off. 

Maybe what I’ve said makes sense to you and you can relate to it. Maybe I’m just too hard to please. Either way, the decision regarding a new smartphone has to be made and each day the battle grows more infuriating, no thanks to the manufacturers and designers around the world. Oppo, let’s hope you’ve got something up your sleeve with the N1. 

 

Why Facebook could prove to be the most important company on the internet

Facebook has been undergoing major changes and has been announcing numerous new features over the past year or so. Starting with Graph Search down to a redesigned News Feed and Facebook Home, it’s easy to see facebook is trying to increase its presence on the web as well as on your mobile phone. Why though? Many reasons. The main reason of course is because facebook wants to be your go to tool for everything related to interaction. From finding people to communicating with people, facebook wants to be omnipresent in your life. There are many people who argue that with this strategy facebook is becoming a “SkyNet” like company. What they don’t seem to understand is that they’re not paying for the service, therefore they probably are the service. Some claim that there are privacy issues, while no doubt you do have less privacy but that’s the way the internet works now days. If you want total privacy get off the internet. Facebook has been trying its best to keep the privacy concerns at bay.

Another great thing about having everything facebook related is that it just becomes easier. You don’t have to keep switching from different platforms and different servers, everything you need will be pulling data from a single place. Besides the ease of use, facebook products have been getting better and better. I’m a huge fan of chat heads on android. Chat heads alone are the reason I use whatsapp less and facebook messenger more, I just wish that the android app gets stickers like the iOS counterpart did. I may not have tried facebook home but I know a few people who have it and love it! (p.s. facebook, I’m still waiting for home on my nexus. thanks.) Couple that with their new minimalistic approach and you have a strategy for success.

Don’t get me wrong though, I still sometimes wonder how people can spend their whole lives on facebook. They’re constantly logged in and posting status updates. And what annoys me the most is the constant clatter from the pages I liked as a stupid little kid in 2009 and the annoying game requests. Hopefully that gets fixed with the new newsfeed but I’ll never know until I try it. The new timeline on the other hand, is fantastic! Continuing from my previous statement, I use facebook roughly 1o minutes a week, a little more now that I’m on holiday and it’s not just me, facebook has been seeing a decline in users especially teenagers. In my opinion, this is why facebook has been hard at work to try and play a more important background role, not necessarily a direct role. Such as with messenger and instagram, where you’re not technically on facebook but you are still ON facebook.

I guess what I’m just trying to say is that if facebook continues in this direction and they succeed, they might prove to be the most important company on the internet.

Why is HTML5 gaining popularity in the mobile industry?

Many of you may know about HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), it’s the programming language that’s used to build websites. It basically provides a base for web design and integrates with other languages such as CSS, JavaScript, XML, Flash, Perl and many others to create the many websites you know and love. In that sense, HTML5 is the fifth revision of the HTML standard. The upgrade adds many features and improvements such as speed, animations and HD video playback among many others. So now you must be thinking, if it’s a web designing standard, why have you been hearing so much about it in the mobile industry? Well the answer is simple, one of the biggest advantages of HTML5 is that it allows you to create web apps (a combination of animations, vector graphics, video and other features with an ordinary html layout to allow apps to be created within browsers). Would you like an example, take a look at Facebook or twitter’s website from within your mobile’s browser, that is a web app. Web apps started gaining popularity when iOS had the feature to bookmark a page directly to your home screen, although those weren’t necessarily web apps, they paved the way for engineers to get interested in web apps. However a pivotal moment for web apps came in late 2011 and early 2012, Microsoft announced that applications built for the windows 8 and windows phone store could be based on HTML5. A little later on, RIM announced that blackberry 10 would feature full HTML 5 integration for app development and so the trend continued. Before too long Mozilla announced that Firefox OS would be entirely html 5 based and Canonical announced that Ubuntu and more recently Ubuntu Phone would feature web app integration directly into the operating system.

Now there are disadvantages to web apps and HTML 5, such as the fact that web apps are noticeably slower than native apps and lack the performance since they can’t take full advantage of the phone’s processing power. But from a developer’s standpoint, there are many reasons why developing an app in HTML5 can be a huge advantage. HTML is a relatively easy language to learn, I can tell you this from experience. Not much time or effort goes into learning HTML and most programmers out there probably started off learning HTML. So it’s already widely accepted. HTML is platform independent, it works on mostly all platforms under the sun, such as this means that developers can use the same code to develop apps for Ubuntu and Firefox OS. They don’t have to learn another language to make their app available on another platform. This is the main problem you see today, this is the reason many of your favourite iOS apps don’t come to android and vice versa, it’s because they’re platform dependant. So by using HTML5, it’s less of a hassle for developers to create apps for different platforms. By being able to develop easily for all the different platforms, developers can reach a much wider target audience and user base, as more people will have access to their application. The higher the user base, the higher the market share and market growth and the higher the market share the higher the scope for profits. That settles the reason people sell their apps in the first place, to make profits! Even if it’s a free app, they use advertisements to generate revenue. There’s a popular saying in the Silicon Valley, “If you’re not paying for the service, you probably are the service”. HTML 5 can also prove to be an advantage in the long run and for consumer satisfaction because updates can be pushed out much easier and automatically, no need to wait for it to be authorized by the “App Store” and no need for users to go and manually download the update. Everything is done automatically.

There are many other minor advantages to using HTML 5 such as the easy access to data on other web pages, etc. however the main benefits have already been highlighted. So what do you think? Do you feel HTML 5 is the future of mobile app development or is it just a passing phase? Feel free to sound of in the comments below and till next time folks,

Stay Snazzy!

 

 

What I just realised about the POP Debacle

You guys remember POP right? The kickstarter funded portable charger that got canned by Apple, and then was mysteriously allowed back on the market? Well if you don’t we have a post for you on right here. So I was just sitting down the other day and thinking about this, when I realised, why was Apple so panicky about it? Well in my opinion, Apple found out about the project later than they had hoped, so they panicked. Why, you ask? Isn’t it obvious? They wanted to produce it! Think about it, a design language so close to Apple’s, along with the amount of people interested in it, Apple must be kicking themselves wondering why they didn’t come up with it in the first place!

Look at it in this perspective, the POP charger wouldn’t have even seen the light of day if Apple heard about it before hand, as they would have purchased everyone involved in the project, taken the pop charger, slapped an Apple sticker on it and broadened their product portfolio. Of course they would have changed something, such as maybe making the plugged in version of the POP aluminium based, or maybe even called it the iPOP. But alas, before any of that would or could happen, the project was funded on kickstarter, much to Apple’s dismay. Thus they panicked and thought that maybe if they got the product banned, perhaps by suing POP or something of the sort, they could get the product of the market and still get their hands on it. Sadly that didn’t work out, firstly because I’m not sure how that would’ve held up in court given that there are so many other third party 30pin cables and because of all the contributions they had gotten from numerous different donors would have been quite arduous to return. Worst of all, if Apple had decided to go forward with creating a similar product, the controversy surrounding that would have been tough even for the cupertino giants to evade.

Of course the real story could be completely different and this is just my opinion, but it would be interesting to see how this plays out and also come to think about it, which of Apple’s current products do you think were actually designed by someone else? Sound off in the comments below!

catch ya later folks

2012’s top tech might be obsoleted in 2013?

We all know that technology has been advancing at a rapid rate, so fast that the rate of new technology has more than quadrupled over the past couple of years. So fast that some technology tends to die out even a couple of months after it’s inception. So which of these many new technologies have I presumed to be doomed by next year? The portable charger of course!

A year ago, portable chargers were nothing, they were unheard of. Now, everywhere you turn, you’re bound to see a couple. Five in ten of the people in my school have them now; every restaurant, coffee shop, mall and even somewhere like the golf course I see people walking around with those bulky things hooked up to their phone. The main reason of this is, the hardware in smartphones is advancing rapidly, but the batteries aren’t. My blackberry 9360 couldn’t get more than 4 hours maximum on a single charge, thus making it essential for people to have portable chargers. In less than a year, portable chargers have become the norm, they’ve become the most rapidly growing technology that doesn’t classify as a daily driver. Therefore my question arises, what next?

Many people speculate that 2013 will be the year of the extreme batteries, with battery technology expected to advance and with new technologies predicted to be announced at CES in a couple of weeks, does that mean that all these companies that manufacture power packs are going to be going out of business? I’m not sure about that.

While I do believe that power packs are going to be redundant by the year 2013, there’s a large probability that the companies responsible for making portable chargers will be the same companies that invent some sort of technology that will dawn as the new age of batteries. However, what this means for the world of technology is that the market is fluctuating right now and that nothing can prove to be stable. What’s booming this year could just be ancient tech next year, which is why I feel that to jump into the tech industry at a time like this has a very high payout, along with an equally high risk.

What do you think will trend this year? Sound off in the comments below! Also, Check out LinkedGeek.com, a site I work for.

Why I think Facebook messenger has the potential to be a whatsapp killer.

If you haven’t heard, facebook recently launched a new feature within their messenger app for android that allows users to communicate with others by using just their mobile numbers, without the need of a facebook account, similar to other services such as whatsapp and viber. There are many other services similar to this that have tried to “kill” whatsapp but none of them have really succeeded. However, I believe there’s a couple of things that facebook has that can prove to be extremely useful.

1. Wide User Base

Let’s be honest? Who doesn’t have facebook? granted I only have 30% of my real life friends on my facebook friends list, but that’s because I’m very selective of the people I accept requests from. But think about it, with the amount of people already using facebook, you wouldn’t have to keep forcing people to download whatsapp and stuff, they would already have am account, thus making it hassle free. And not to mention it’ll make your contacts look more organized with their facebook display pictures and contact info, or maybe that’s just for those with digital OCD such as myself.

2. Desktop Chat

don’t you just hate it when you’re in a conversation with someone and your battery dies? how about if you need to message someone and your phone is not with you? With whatsapp there wasn’t anything you could do about it, but with facebook messenger you can continue that conversation from your desktop, tablet or anything else, since basically every device is a facebook device now days, even some shitty feature phones!

Well we’ve gone through the good, now on to the bad. It isn’t a secret that people aren’t really big fans of anything that has the name “facebook” in them now days, and that’s what I believe will cause less people to adapt the service. They could go ahead and just drop the facebook, making it just messenger, it’s a relatively small change but a psychological one at that. There are many other things they could do to get people onboard, I personally have been one to criticize facebook and what they do, but there’s something about this app that seems to be promising, guess we’ll just have to wait and watch.