Google is unstoppable. Coming at the heels of searching the web, searching your desktop, offering gigabytes of free email, free chats and free maps, Google is now offering free Wifi access, initially at the Bay Area of San Francisco, USA. And most observers are quite sure that a nationwide rollout is not far behind. Has Google gone mad? No, it's part of its overall strategy for getting even more ad dollars. More Internet access means more eyeballs, and more eyeballs means more Google ad power. Five years after the Internet commerce bubble burst, a company has finally gotten the web-ad revenue model working beautifully. So much so that small businesses will happily spend around US$ 40 thousand per year on pinpoint Google AdWords because they really work. It's going to be hell for companies that have set up WiFi subscription services in the US. Not our problem though--the local market's still too small to support an online ad-based business model for free WiFi services.
September 2005 Archives
When I first saw a report where Nicholas Negroponte, the founding chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Laboratory is promoting the idea of a $100 laptop (roughly worth around 5,700 pesos) for the developing world, my interest was immediately piqued. His idea is to distribute these $100 computer to the less privileged children to help bridge the digital divide. This pipe dream is slowly coming to reality -- current technological advances are all falling into place to make this $100 laptop into something tangible. I'm sure that this project will be of great help to a lot of people and if only tech company gives back a portion of their huge income for this project, we may yet see this in worthwhile project on a global scale in a couple of month's time.
I recently went window shopping at the Technology Market at Market! Market! and I'm surprised to see a vast array of no-name MP3 players being sold at the cellphone tiangge area. Most of these players are from OEM manufacturers in China and they are being sold at the price range between 2,000 Php to 3,500 Php depending on the capacity & "features". Its too early to tell if this is a good thing or a bad thing but at this early, I'll make a fearless forecast:
The demand for these MP3 players will peak at around Christmastime making it among the most exchanged gift of the season.
By February next year, every other person you'll meet walking on the street will have an earphone stuck at the side of their heads (read: they are all using MP3 players).
A new cottage industry will be popular at almost the same time -- some enterprising computer owners will start MP3 Loading stations on their front porch selling music between 2.00 php to 5.00Php. I can see it now: Someone will build their own "Ay! Tyuns Myusik Store".I can only hope that this oversupply of MP3 players will eventually result in the lower prices of brand-name players.
It was brief, but we got a few seconds of fame in the Top Dogs podcast, the most irreverent and as a result, most popular local podcast available for download in the iTunes Music Store. Subscribe now - it's free! Bernie, our guest blogger and official office bench warmer did a feature on his favorite podcasts and Top Dogs got top marks. We were featured in the 9/21 podcast with Ms. Rica Taylor as guest. More power to you guys, The Top Dogs, from the Top Geeks. Heh. Top Dogs in Manila Website
Since hell froze over with the Treo 700w, it might be a good thing to take a look at the upcoming OS it will ship with, namely Windows Mobile 2005: Magneto. I got a good enough glimpse of the OS from Mobile-Review.com and I must say, that's thorough! Basically, Magneto will enjoy miscellaneous UI upgrades like the removal of floating bubbles from the stylus. Instead these help and info items will pop up from the bottom of the device screen. Magneto was obviously built for future devices to be used with one hand. The screen layout (which looks the same) will have provisions for no-stylus operation and pure keyboard action. This preempts the arrival of several devices that will either take the form of the XDA II Mini Pro or the HTC Universal. RAM will also work a bit differently - here's how. At the Mobile-Review
The company formerly previously known as Palm, formerly known as PalmOne, currently known as Palm is on the verge of releasing the Treo 700 (the rumored Treo670) -- a Windows Mobile-powered Treo! Engadget has a "First Look" at the device and it looks SWEET! I hope they'll bundle a way for it to sync with the Mac (asa pa ba ako???) I'll leave the *real* stalwarts of m|ph to do *real* commentary on this device. As for me, I'll sit and wait for the price of the Treo 650 to go down further...
Amidst the hoopla of the iPod nano's launch (and the retirement of the mini), what was not as publicized was Apple's quietly phasing out the classic monochrome-screened iPod. All iPods now come in full color, essentially retiring the "iPod photo" brand in the process. Which is just fair play considering that it looks awkward to have the lower-end product flash a full-color display while the flagship product sulks in monochrome. Here comes the tricky part: Where to next? Right now, the pods are differentiated by both physical size and capacity. There's the classic iPod ("Now in full color!"), 4.1" x 2.4" with at least 20GB of hard drive storage; there's the iPod nano, at 3.5" x 1.6" with 2 to 4GB of flash storage; and there's the 0.78 ounce iPod shuffle, with up to 1GB of flash storage. Sooner rather than later, the classic iPod just HAS to play movies. It's inevitable, and here's why. Flash storage is becoming cheaper and more powerful. Sometime in the near future, it will be easy to stuff 20GB of flash memory into an iPod nano-sized device. And Apple will have to do it or else the competition would threaten to outclass the iPod nano on capacity. But this means that Apple will eventually have to stuff a 200GB drive into the classic iPod as well, just to keep it differentiated. What will you do with all that capacity? Go video, of course. And the classic iPod is already poised for position, with its composite audio/video minijack already on board. So here's my fearless forecast for the iPod line: o Apple will launch the iPod video, which will play movies and offer at least 120GB of storage. o The iPod nano will become a 20GB music player, but it will be a strictly music and still-image playback device. A 1.5" screen is just a bit too tiny for moving images (not that a 2" screen isn't). o The iPod shuffle will become a 4GB entry-level music player, possibly with a one- or two-line LCD display just to keep people happy. It will still be called the shuffle (because it's catchy), but you can now select your songs as well. Possibly with the world's smallest Click Wheel. o The iPod video will eventually be phased out, and all classic iPods will become personal video and music devices. Heck, maybe the iPod U2 will even come with the complete music videos of U2. That's the path of the Pod. You heard it here first. Now let's sit back and watch the show and see if it all actually happens...
Astute visitors of our m|ph website would note the little Mobile Snaps logo to the right. It's your portal to joining our regular contest that gives you a chance to win a pair of stylish GBX shoes! Just send y0ur digital photos, taken using any digital device that you have, whether professional camera, mobile phone, PDA or whatever else. Of course we give a generous handicapping provision for those taking shots with less-than-professional devices. This month's winner is Jeana R. Solis, and you can see her photos here. She used her Nokia 6600 as well as a Sony DSC-P43 digital camera to take her shots. And if you want to view all the entries, you can head over this way. So if you have something --anything-- that can take digital photos, why not post them here as well? You won't lose anything. In fact, you may even get to win a pair of GBX shoes along the way!
If you want to meet the m|ph editors up close and personal, you still have a few hours before our infamous Q&A Cafe booth, where your friendly neighborhood editors answer all your tech questions, wraps up shop. The Q&A Cafe's motto: "Ain't no question hard enough." Most common question? It's "Is this where we get our free m|ph magazines?" But obviously that's a fluke. We did get quite a number of really interesting (and genuinely tech) questions as well. From a query as to whether Apple's Air Ports can be daisy chained to extend their range ("yes they can be daisy-chained"), to whether the Treo 650 is still worth getting given the rumors of an upcoming Treo 670 ("yes, since it's still a rumor"), to whether or not the Sony Ericsson K750i's camera is really the same as that of the W800 ("yes, because the W800 is essentially a spruced up K750i"). Although I must admit that we did get a few really challenging zingers here and there. But all in all, I think the Q&A Cafe did live up to it's motto. More or less. Especially for all those folks who were wondering where to get their free m|ph magazines.
Oh noes! With a tagline that goes "Intelligence outclasses magic everytime," you know that its time to remove those boxing gloves and put on the brass knuckles. We couldn't help but notice the new contender to the Magic Sing right beside the Q&A booth of the editors. Err, we really had no choice but to notice actually - the singing was getting really loud. Meet OnKey, the Intelligent V.Mic (SRP P7,500.00). You see, aside from the space age looks and the more appealing user interface, we haven't noticed anything completely revolutionary about the microphone. Hmm, Saturday night is coming up and we're just a few feet away. Maybe if we get tipsy enough, we can find out for sure what this OnKey microphone can do. As long as I get to sing My Way. And Mandy.
I've never seen so many Winklers in my life. The Digital Walker is the exclusive distributor of Crumpler Bags, an insanely addicting bag company from the Aussies. The store carries an assortment of bags and protective casings that supports all aspects of your digital lifestyle. From hard cases to neoprene protective hides, The Digital Walker never fails to deliver (and amuse). They have something for everything.
Here's something that caught our attention. Some time ago, Engadget did a roundup of MPIO's complete 2005 line. Guess what - the smallest of the pack is right here in Mobile Pilipinas. Ranging from 128MB to 1GB (its the gigabyte unit on display here), the MPIO flash player doesn't just play music. It is the smallest portable media player ever seen, about the size of a zippo lighter plus an inch. The lineup of multimedia entertainment includes photo viewing, digital music and movie playback, FM radio, and games. All packed in 35 grams of digital cuteness. That's 1GB of data for P12,000.00. This might be well worth it, if you want to watch you videos on a teeny tiny screen. Drop by Mobile Pilipinas at the Expo Exchange today and tomorrow to give the MPIO One a spin.
We're here live at the Expo Exchange in Greenbelt 1 for our annual MOBILE PILIPINAS 2005! Highlights of the first four hours include our EIC Adel Gabot being mistaken for a missus, an amateur ramp model contest with heavy participation from the audience, the launching of our latest September issue, and a live concert featuring three of our four cover girl artists - Hannah of Session Road, and Lougee of Mojofly and Aia of Imago. Juris of MYMP is our fourth musketeer. You can take home these four talented goddesses by dropping by the Expo Exchange of greenbelt for your copies of the magazines. Adel Gabot introduced himself to everyone as the new Editor-In-Chief of M|PH, showing off the new iPod nano, Apple's new 2GB / 4GB flash based digital music player. There's a lot more happening at Mobile Pilipinas. You can drop by from today until the 18th and see the latest in mobile technology. In the next part of our blogcast, we'll be showcasing some of the gadgets and gizmos that struck our fancy. Enjoy!
It's BIG! It's BEAUTIFUL! And it's very, very YELLOW! The September issue of m|ph is out today, unfurled where else but at Mobile Pilipinas 2005! This month's issue is all about the music, and what better way to face the music than with a bevy of pretty faces? Get to know the gorgeous lead females of some of today's best Pinoy bands -- Hannah of Session Road, Lougee of Mojofly, Juris of M.Y.M.P., and Aia of Imago! You also get a shootout of some of the best MP3 phones in the market today, meet Miggy of hot band Chico Sci, and learn how to turn your ancient audio cassettes to MP3s! You also get a roundup of flash-based MP3 players. Oh, and your editors will rant about Digital Rights Management for good measure. Beyond the music, you'll also learn about this amazing local company, Webcast Technologies, that makes its own GPS tracking and security devices. You also get a primer on how to put Linux in your laptop. And the reviews! Meet the Nokia 8800, the Sony Ericsson Z800i, the HP iPAQ hw6515, Samsung Digimax V700, Kodak EasyShare V550, Olympus Camedia C-480 Zoom, Astone Xinc AV, Creative Zen Neeon, Acer Ferrari, Fujitsu Lifebook P7010, and the AirPlay FM transmitter. Get all of these from your September issue of m|ph magazine! And to get your copy TODAY, head on over to Mobile Pilipinas 2005! At the Expo Exchange, 2nd floor of Greenbelt 1, Ayala Center! We'll be there til Sunday! :)
As the cost of owning a computer continue to rise, people should start to seriously look at Open Source as a viable alternative to the usual applications/programs they run on them. People should consider the fact that the cost of owning a computer does not end with the actual cost paid to the computer store. For instance, a computer may be quoted at 15,000 pesos, however, a buyer must also consider its Operating System (usually Windows XP), which costs anywhere between 4,000 pesos to 9,000 pesos. Then the cost of an office suite (usually MS Office), which costs between `12,000 to 25,000 pesos depending on the version. Those who wants to do some photo editing needs to shell out at least 20,000 pesos for Adobe Photoshop CS. All in all, the cost of the computer harware is a mere pittance compared to the cost of software needed to make it productive and useful. Some people makes the prohibitive cost of software as an excuse for them to go to their friendly neighborhood software pirates but doing it is rather risky. Apart from not being able to do the critical software updates, it also opens up their system to a host of computer viruses, trojan horses, adware and other "malware". People who resort to using pirated software also runs the risk of being caught by the NBI and BSA (Business Software Alliance). This is where Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) comes in. The Open Source community has already matured that it already offers free alternatives to all. Instead of paying thousands of pesos for an Microsoft Office, one can freely download OpenOffice.Org. Although it lacks the "bells and whistles" available to MS Office users, OpenOffice.Org offers basic word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and database. An important "bonus" of using OpenOffice.Org is all documents in its format is not vulnerable to all macro virus that affects MS Office documents. Instead of using Adobe Photoshop for basic photo editing, one can easily download and install the GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program). Although the GIMP does not offer all the advanced photo editing tools available for Adobe Photoshop, it is more than adequate for some photo touch-ups, resizing and even format changes. Using the Windows version of both applications (OpenOffice.Org and The GIMP), a computer owner can already save at least 30,000 pesos in software license fees. The more adventurous can even save more by completely replacing Windows with Linux. Almost all Linux installation discs are already bundled with OpenOffice.Org (or other Open Source office suites) and The GIMP -- among other useful applications. Mac users can also take advantage of the availability of FOSS for their platform. There is a Mac version of OpenOffice.Org called NeoOffice/J which performs really well on a Mac. Although Mac uses can OpenOffice.Org, they'll have to install the optional X11 on their computers before it can run OpenOffice.Org. The GIMP is also ported to the Mac platform and I personally use it for rudimentary image manipulation such as resizing, format conversion and simple retouches. The available Open Source software are not limited to personal productivity applications. There are web browsers (Mozilla), web servers (Apache), database servers (MySQL), mail servers (Sendmail), and others that can be used by the enterprise. One stumbling block on the wide adoption of FOSS is the impression that since these are free, support for these free applications will be difficult or even non-existent. However, each and every Open Source applications are backed by a community of developers and users who help each other in making their applications work better. Once a bug is found on a particular application, all one has to do is report it to the developers and more often than not, these bugs will be fixed and an update to the application will be available once it is tested by the community backing it. Now, doesn't it make sense to start using the freely available Open Source software on your computers?
With his traditional flourish, Steve Jobs has just unveiled two landmark products from Apple, and they're bound to stand the market on its end once again. The much-rumored iTunes Phone has finally arrived, and no, there is no 25-song cap on it. The Motorola ROKR is the first iTunes phone to hit the market, and it can hold a hundred songs and features a built-in iTunes player. Plug it to your PC via USB cable and the phone icon appears on your PC's iTunes software's Source list so you can simply drag and drop your music files. It also features Autofill, which turns the phone into an iPod shuffle, filling it with a random bundle of your favorite songs. In fact, you can think of the iTunes phone as a more advanced shuffle, particularly since it comes with a display (where your album art pops up in full color). It also pauses your music when you have an incoming call, just as a good music-phone is supposed to do. In trademark Moto fashion, the ROKR comes with both a stereo headset (with microphone) and onboard stereo speakers. Oh, the ROKR also comes with a built-in camera, but you're probably not interested in details like that. But what is probably more exciting news is the unveiling of the razor-thin iPod Nano. Intended to replace the iPod mini, the Nano is thinner than a pencil and just a third the size of the mini in volume! So just how small is this? Jobs fished it out of his jeans' change pocket ("Ever wondered what this pocket was for?"). And it's a full-featured unit, with clickwheel, full-color screen, standard 30-pin port, USB 2.0, 14-hour battery life and 4GB of storage so you can store a thousand songs (a 2GB model is also available). It also comes with a customizable clock app (initially set to Cupertino time, haha!), stopwatch app and even full-color games. Also new is a screen lock (use the clickwheel to dial your combination! Cool!) -- If you forget your combination, docking to your PC automatically unlocks it. It's the attention to these little details that makes Apple so special. The iPod Nano comes in both white and black. And it's priced like the old mini at just US$ 249. Wow.
Its not exactly a new technological breakthrough, but podcasting has been experiencing a really big boom in these past few months. The inclusion of podcast subscriptions in the latest version of iTunes helped a lot in bringing this technology to the "masses". According to Steve Jobs' latest keynote speech during the launch of the iPod Nano, around 1,000 new podcasts are registered at the iTunes' podcast directory per week. In a nutshell: Podcasting is simply another method of distributing an audio files on the internet. What makes it different is its content. A quick browsing at the podcasting directory of iTunes (or any other podcasting directory for that matter) will overwhelm a casual 'net surfer with the sheer amount of content available. From the inane (comedy/parody) to the hardcore esoteric (conspiracy theories, secular humanism, etc.) there is a podcast for anyone who would care to download and listen. As I've said, the selection is simply massive and it takes a lot of time and patience to sift through all the podcasts available in order for a person to find and subscribe to a podcast that fits his interests and lifestyle. I personally subscribe to a few podcasts and here are some of my favorites: Radio Leo: This is where a Leo Laporte fan can get their "Leo" fix. From hosting "Call for Help" and "The Screensavers" is a ubiquitous fixture in the podcasting scene and he's as lovable as ever. Skepticality: They dubbing itself as "truth in podcasting", Skepticality tackles issues that are otherwise ignored by the mainstream media. They look at current issues with a critical eye and they never accept anything at its face value. We Hate Tech: A tongue-in-cheek look at current technology issues. Rated by iTunes as "explicit", the irreverent hosts pokes fun at almost all the things nerds hold sacred and nothing is left out. Top Dogs in Manila: Another "explicit" podcast about the local "party scene". Here's a quote from their website:
"Top Dog is an irreverent show that is unafraid to uphold the traditions that make men the real dogs that they are. We eat meat, preferably deep-fried or roasted with the fat still on it, we drink and then drive, we have sex on our mind and try to get it as often as we can (gotta do the cardio, baby). And we're not afraid to admit it. We are not metrosexual, nor sensitive, but we are brutally honest, bordering on tactless..."Podcasting has the potential to be a powerful media. It allows the otherwise "voiceless" individuals to share their thoughts throughout cyberspace. I wonder if mph will have a podcast of their own???
Krussell International AB of Sweden is in an interesting place: selling high-end leather cases for various mobile devices in over 50 countries, they can aggregate their sales reports and figure out, based on their best-selling cases, what the top-selling mobile devices are worldwide. And based on their findings, the Top 10 PDAs and smartphones for the month of August 2005 are the following: 1. PalmOne Treo 600/650 2. HP iPAQ HX2100/2400/2700 3. Qtek S110/I-mate JAM 4. HP iPAQ HW6500 5. HP iPAQ hx4700 6. Qtek 9090/02 XDA III 7. Yakumo deltaX GPS 8. Mitac Mio 168/Yakumo 300 GPS/Navman PiN 9. PalmOne Lifedrive 10. HP iPAQ RX3100/3400/3700 And here are the Top 10 mobile phones in the world market for August of 2005: 1. Sony Ericsson K750i/K750c/W800 2. Nokia 6230/6230i 3. Motorola Razr V3 4. Nokia 6680/6681/6682 5. PalmOne Treo 600/650 6. Sony Ericsson V600i/K600i/K608i 7. Qtek S100/I-mate JAM 8. Sony Ericsson K700i 9. Nokia 6020/6021 10. Nokia 5140 Caveat: Of course we cannot categorically say that these are, hands down, the best-selling devices out there. What we can safely say is that these are the most popular devices among the people who care enough to pamper their devices with high-end leather cases. Which means that if some ultra-cheap phone turns out to be the top selling device in the universe, we wouldn't know about it using the above methodology. Nevertheless, this could still be a good indicator of the higher-end market's buying behavior. And yes, I do have a Krussell leather case for my trusty PDA. But no, I don't think of myself as being in the high-end. Heck, I've been known to scour surplus shop detritus like a madman.
I can't belive my eyes - the most coveted phone in the market is sitting on the charger right in my room. I was able to acquire a W800i for review purposes and will be posting my full length review after I get to test it out for a few days. I hope by that time, Sony Ericsson Philippines would have forgotten they lent me one. First impressions: The W800i comes packed in a hard plastic case, which is a first in the cellphone industry. I was impressed by the comprehensive package the W800i came with - apart from the charger and the unit itself, the phone comes with a sync cable that is usually sold separately, the software CD and a neat set of SE earphones with rubber padding instead of foam (although a set of 4 is included too). The W800i comes with a 512MB Memory Stick Pro Duo. This, plus the earphones are essentially what differentiates the W800i from the k750i. It is also important to note that the adapter of the W800i is different from other SE models because the charger slot is also the slot for the walkman earphones. This means that if you own other SE branded phones like a k700i, you can't interchange chargers. There is a myth that the k750i bundled earphones are better than the W800i's. Let me explore and I'll give you feedback soon. Watch out for the full review in upcoming issues.
These past few months, we have witnessed the meteoric rise of Google. It started as a "second-rate, trying hard copycat" to Yahoo as a meta-search engine. But from its lowly beginnings, Google seems to be bent on taking over the world -- and overtaking "The Monopoly" from Microsoft! It started with the beta version of GMail (Google Mail). It was quite revolutionary when it was first introduced -- the first *free* webmail service that offered 1 Gigabyte of mail storage. During those times, both Yahoo Mail and Hotmail only offered a just a "few" megabytes of mail storage. Since that time, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail had followed suit by offering larger mail storage but GMail retorted by doubling its already massive storage. A few weeks ago, Google introduced its first version of "Google Talk" -- an Instant Messaging (IM) client that doubles as Voice Over IP (VOIP) client. Although its entry in the IM arena is rather late, "Google Talk" is shaping up as a formidable challenger to both Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger since Google Talk is in its early beta version. The current version of Google Talk is pretty simple and since its still in beta, there are not a lot of options available to users but I'm sure that succeeding versions will be awesome! (is the google fan in me showing?) Between Google search and Google Talk, the Google Laboratories has been quietly researching on other internet applications such as an online web translator, a portal, "Google Desktop", "Froogle" (a price comparison internet application) and other esoteric research projects. The phenomenal growth of Google has some conspiracy theorists jittery. It's a well known fact that Google stores all queries on their search engines in a cache and they also send/store cookies to people who use them, therefore, Google knows what you have been searching for and some people are weary on how they are going to use this information. With 2 Gigabytes of mail that can be indexed and sorted, Google has all these information about you. Google Talk is using a Jabber server and Jabber servers have back-end databases, who knows how long Google stores all your conversations for later perusal? With all these information on hand on millions of internet users, I go back to the title of this entry: Is Google Bent on Taking Over the World?