Category Archives: Handheld and Mobile World

Advisory Board Assignment #3: Android!

AndroidTime for a new assignment for our advisory board! Today I want to hear what you have to say about Android. Let me start by laying out the pros and cons as I see them.

PROS

  • It’s Google. Google = Success in the technology market right now which bodes well for the device.
  • It’s a pretty nice OS from a user perspective. Nice UI. Decent look.
  • It might be the “other phone” along with the iPhone.

CONS

So – can you support or contradict the pros and cons? Do you have other pros and cons you’d want to add? How about personal experience with folks who have switched to or abandoned Android? As I’ve said, this is a platform we have not ruled out but I’d love to hear your opinion!

And as a extra motivation, if you post a response with your opinions TODAY you’ll be entered into a drawing for a special prize!

Development Update

targetSince a lot of questions about platforms and release plans have come up in the other blog posts, I thought I’d take a second to write a quick update. I hope this helps to answer some of your questions! Keep in mind that in many cases I won’t be able to give specifics, but I will do my best to tell you what I can.

So, if you want some insight into what’s happening at Ilium Software, read on after the jump! Continue reading

Windows Mobile Marketplace: Coming Soon

Ellen wrote last week about how Apple changed the mobile world with the iTunes App Store. I’m looking forward to seeing the impact of the Microsoft mobile software store, Windows Marketplace for Mobile, which is scheduled for release on October 6.

First of all, I’m very hopeful that it will be a big success. Microsoft will be including it on all the new Windows Mobile 6.5 devices, as well as making it available for download on WM 6.0 and 6.1 units. I believe that’s the single most important factor in an app store’s success.

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The Apple Difference

appstoreI recently found some notes and tasks from March 2008 – 18 months ago – and it really brought home to me how Apple has changed the mobile software world.

Our biggest problem at that time was that people didn’t know they could buy programs for their smartphone or PDA. Apple’s fixed that one – even people who don’t own a mobile device know “there’s an app for that”.

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NewsBreak Lite Free from Total Access

IliumNewsbreak_56x56I was excited to see that NewsBreak Lite is now available for free from Microsoft’s Total Access service for Windows Mobile. NewsBreak Lite is the free version of our NewsBreak feed reader/podcast grabbing software. The app is great and the price is right so if you have a Window Mobile device you definitely want to grab a copy.

If you aren’t familiar with the Total Access service, here is the official blurb from MS:

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Public VS. Private in the Virtual World

soapboxIt’s Friday, Apple still hasn’t approved the new version of eWallet, and I want to post something new on the blog, so I’m going to drag out the soapbox and talk about privacy issues. As I said in my Pinchgate post, I’m very sensitive to electronic privacy issues. I’m perfectly happy to share information, but I want to be part of the process. I want an application to ask before it starts sending my secrets off to some distant server for compilation and analysis. At the same time, tracking web usage is a universal aspect of the internet, so where does that fall in the privacy debate?

If you’re interested in this sort of thing, read on after the jump to hear me toss out some ideas!

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Could Apple Do This? Would they?

appstore12I’d been thinking about how much Apple is able to do – when they want to – with iPhone App distribution, because of how they set it up.

And I’d been thinking about how much I’d like – both as a user and a developer – trial versions of iPhone apps. But I know what a can of worms is opened by giving developers the ability make and unlock trials.

And then I thought – could Apple handle trials themselves, completely, by making all apps in the iTunes App Store free for the first few days, and then processing the payments if the apps were still installed after that?

The answer, of course, is that I don’t know. I have no idea if this would work or even be possible. I’m sure there are a ton of issues and implications to be thought through. It may be technically impossible, financially unfeasible, or just a lot more trouble than simply letting developers handle trials on their own.

But I can’t help thinking how cool it would be if Apple pulled it off.

It’s clear that no one else could do this with their app stores – no one else has that kind of control. Or – let’s face it – the guts. And it seems to me that it would be very much Apple’s style: here’s a better way to do something, we can do it, let’s do it. And if it turns the existing software distribution model upside-down, that’s just a bonus.

Any thoughts? I can’t tell if this is a good idea, a terrible idea, or something in-between. And it’s probably just wishful thinking on my part. But it would – in my opinion – be a huge benefit to both iPhone developers and users.

(Here’s the short URL for this article, if you want to share it. We’re working on the better “share it” thing; apparently it’s incompatible with something else we do.)

Windows Marketplace News

Microsoft released another Windows Marketplace update a few days ago, and I’m excited to share that we were part of the announcment! As you can see from the article, we are working closely with Microsoft as they get ready for launch. I thought I’d take a second to share an insider’s perspective.

Read on for my two cents on the Marketplace! Continue reading

Microsoft SYNC

Ford Sync(TM) LogoI just bought a new car yesterday and it came with Microsoft SYNC. SYNC, which apparently comes standard on pretty much every Ford vehicle these days, syncs your mobile device to your car and provides full voice control over that device. Besides the fact that it’s pretty sweet, there are a few other reasons I wanted to blog about it.

Microsoft Rocks

I know, it isn’t a phrase people say very often but frankly, they should. Microsoft takes a lot of bashing from a lot of fronts, but the reality is that they are successful not due to luck, stupid consumers, or momentum – rather, they continue to succeed because they actually do quite a lot of stuff really well.

Take SYNC -  I got in the car, it detected my iPhone, and within about a minute it was up, running, and had integrated by entire contact list. In addition, it gave me full voice control over the device. Every time I get in the car now, it automatically Syncs up and is ready to roll – no extra steps.

Same with the “dumbphone” my wife carries. Boom. Synched. Running. Done. What is more, the voice recognition is almost flawless (mumbling out a command while drinking a cup of coffee won’t work, however - I can attest to that).

All in all it’s a fantastic piece of software and I think it’s a good indicator of what the future holds for Microsoft Mobile products.

A Sign of the Times (And of Good Things to Come)

This is the even bigger thing to me.

Ashtrays are no longer standard on Ford vehicles.

SYNC is.

If this isn’t a clear indicator of how completely we’ve integrated phones into our lives, I don’t know what is. And with the success of the iPhone (and WinMo 6.5/7 I hope!), I believe that the “phones” in that phrase are going to very quickly become “SmartPhones.” For a mobile software developer, that’s a beautiful thing to hear.

Windows Marketplace, here we come!

windows-mobile-logoAs of today, I can officially tell you that our software works great on Windows Mobile 6.5 AND that you’ll find our products in the new Windows Mobile Marketplace. We’ve been working with Microsoft on this for a while, and as of today the news is official. In addition, we’re working on a number of updates to our core Windows Mobile products (eWallet, ListPro, and NewsBreak) that will take advantage of some of the cool new features 6.5 offers.

In addition, we’re working on many of your requests that came out of the last Advisory Board Assignment! Thanks again to EVERYONE who participated. That feedback is invaluable to us!

UPDATE: I grabbed some cool screenshots from the promotional video Microsoft released. Turns out our applications are in the video a number of times! Check them out after the jump!

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