Tag: iPhone

Ralf HallerRalf Haller March 24, 2010

Samsung Galaxy – best Android phone ever

The new Samsung Galaxy with its incredible AMOLED touchscreen seems to be the best Android phone ever. MobileBurn says, “It was so sharp, crisp, and colorful that the photos and videos just jumped off the screen.”Great set of other features too. (real n standard Wifi, 118g light, 9.9mm thin, 5 megapixel camera with ability to record 720p HD video). Apple should have maybe better sued Samsung and not HTC it seems as this Samsung Android mobile phone might become the best iPhone competitor soon.

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Ralf HallerRalf Haller February 9, 2010

My first steps with the NOKIA OVI, Maps environment

Got a new gadget. My Samsung D600 which I purely used for making voice calls got a bit aged now and I was in the market for a new phone. Having an iPodTouch for emails and surfing via WLAN I again was looking for a non-smartphone phone and had in mind something similar to my old Samsung which was one of the best phones I ever had. (light-weight, for a slider super slim fitting into a shirt pocket, long battery life, very easy to use, gorgeous color display, some basic software on board that I – admittedly – hardly used though, apart from the soccer penalty Java game).

During these smartphone times it was very very difficult to find anything even close to my beloved Samsung and I nearly decided to continue with it. But then NOKIA announced free turn-by-turn navigation and I decided to go for a NOKIA 6700 hoping to use it as a GPS and phone. Here now my first few hours of partly OK and partly frustrating experience that show how far away NOKIA is from becoming a software company and from Apple:

  • it becomes very quickly obvious that NOKIA is trying to tie in their app and music store with over the air downloads. While this is certainly in the interest of mobile operators for the end user it means long download times and higher costs. For me as I already have the iPod Touch with many great apps I won’t use the OVI store at all also due to this annoying setup. nice try guys but this is amateurish.
  • since navigation is now for free I was eager of course to try it out. After installing a bunch of software applications such as the one for synchronizing the phone with a PC (Mac is not supported – aeh!?), a SW update program and then a Map uploader program. In between things were hanging when Microsoft’s framework had to be installed. Overall I did not understand why it is not possible to simply have it all in one package. The average user will be struggling with all these software installs. So now eager to finally get it going I realized that I needed to activate the navigation service first for then it said I could try it out for 30 days. I am a bit confused now and not sure if that is indeed a trial only or a wrong info and I can use it for free as long as I wish. If I cannot I will give the phone back for sure as it would be a complete rip off…
  • Now OVI has not only apps (that I won’t use as mentioned) but also  offers online file storage, Contact, Calendar, Mail and a Music store. File storage I won’t need as I will do that with my iPod Touch and a nice app, Contact I am using and sync worked well (unfortunately over the air so I will watch my bill because paying for Contact syncing is again BS and so far I have not found a way to sync with my MacBook), Calendar I won’t use but would have loved to, unfortunately it does not seem to support any other calendars right now, so entirely worthless since I for sure won’t start keeping a second calendar just for the phone, Mail I don’t need either since it only supports ovi.com mail extensions and I hate to have to joggle between different emails. The music store offers one year free music downloads, whow I thought, but then I realized only three mobile phones are supported and of course mine is not. :-)


While NOKIA is obviously trying to catch up with Apple at the current state they are hopelessly far behind them that makes it often not only frustrating but gets funny or if you are sentimental makes you feel sorry for them. The software remains a patchwork with way too many different applications that at the end don’t even do what people want to do. If you are a Mac user then you simply cannot work with a NOKIA phone properly. And even if you have a PC (which I do and used here) frustration is big. Now remember though that I only wanted a phone for making calls and a free GPS built in. Assuming the navigation is indeed for free then the phone is a high quality audio machine that works very well with a BT headset, stores a bunch of contacts even in the OVI application so does the job I wanted it to do. So while I am fine with this phone, NOKIA is in trouble and if they want to remain a significant player then they have to fully focus on end-to-end total user experience and usability.

Update: as it turns out the NOKIA 6700 has no free navigation included. Only free map downloads. NOKIA is not clearly stating this on their website and therefore one better checks exactly if your model has free spoken navigation as well or if you need to buy a 90 USD license to do that.

Ralf HallerRalf Haller October 18, 2009

Will the Verizon/Motorola Droid campaign have any impact?

To give you my opinion right away: I can’t imagine that Motorola and Verizon will by addressing some of the possible shortcomings of the iPhone ecosystem make their own Droid launch a success. Product management is more complicated than looking at  the market leader, writing down all its product specs and then simply bringing out a product that shows better features. This strategy succeeds only in a commodity market. But Apple and the iPhone, app store, iTunes ecosystem is NOT a simple product only but a thought-through end-to-end user experience product & service offering. The Motorola and Verizon folks have obviously still not understood this otherwise they would not have launched such a desperate campaign merely addressing – mostly – features. The strongest point was the openness of Google’s Android platform but also here they did a quick-and-dirty job. Not surprising knowing how desperate Motorola is these days to finally get back on track with a successful mobile phone after its long-time-ago success of the Razr.

But if you want to tackle Apple then you must take them on in a completely different way. And I think they are vulnerable because any company who is arrogant will miss opportunities or simply not do the best job possible. History has shown that over and over again. Unfortunately the Indian or Chinese style of product management, comparing spec sheet features one by one is not enough to make an impact. This has to be done differently…

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Ralf HallerRalf Haller July 1, 2009

Latest hit on the iPhone: professional mobile navigation software

I noticed it a few weeks ago when I saw that the German GPS navigation company Navigon provided their navigation software for the iPhone that they quickly showed up in the Top 10 list in the AppStore.

Now Navigon is number one paid app in the Navigation category and based on the huge number of reviews (250) in a league with e.g. the very popular game Brain Challenge.

Navigon offers two versions currently: a European and a D-A-CH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland). It supports also many languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch and will have even more in the near future.

While the price is very high for an iPhone app (105 CHF and 69 CHF) for the two versions it is relatively cheap compared to buying a complete navigation device. Also this app seems to close a gap that neither Apple nor Google’s Android phone could close so far (not to mention the mobile operators who are loosing out it seems once more here too) and that is for a professional navigation system. There are GoogleMaps based GPS projects under way, but they are still in a stage where I would not use it and rely on it to find my way on time to a meeting in a new place. Of course they will improve over time as well but I think this will take a while and possibly never reach the quality of Navigon.

Now that Navigon has started this they should not stop but expand the functionality to much more location based services and join forces with many other apps that you can find already in the AppStore. They could become a platform for many of them. If they take that opportunity will have to be seen though. Navigon being a German company I doubt that they will succeed in this or even try as this is not something that comes natural to German companies.  They very typically stick to their own ideas and don’t use extensive partnering as a way to distribute their brands. That’s one of the reasons also why hardly any German software company was able to build an international success unlike so many US software providers. But maybe I am wrong and if so Navigon could have a stellar rise from here. Let’s see…

Ralf HallerRalf Haller May 28, 2009

Google IO developer conference draws 4,000 visitors – and many Androids

Google’s developer conference seems to draw a lot of Android folks this year according to Android Central. We have also been told first hand that Google takes Android very serious and that is reflected in the give-aways too, every attendee gets a free HTC Android development phone. Smart move to give the techies some “toys” to play. And the numbers of deployed Android phones are catching on too. As I mentioned not too long ago Opera, NOKIA and others will probably suffer from this. Only the iPhone will keep growing and has not much to fear I think. Looks also like China Mobile will take on an Android phone from HTC which will give it some lead even over Apple’s iPhone who is still only available as a jailbreaked version there. But that with a good size market I guess. :-)

Ralf HallerRalf Haller April 10, 2009

Skype on the iPhone – threat to mobile operators?

While it was possible to use Skype already for quite sometime through other service aggregators such as Fring starting from March 31 on you can directly install a Skype app on your iPhone or IPod Touch.

I have tried the chatting function and it works very well, better in fact than the Fring version so that there is no need for me anymore to use Fring.

The Skype iPhone app has been downloaded 2 million times the first week which is an unbelievable number. The potential are more than 400 million Skype users of course and with that creates some real threat for the mobile operators it seems. Interestingly, these iPhone Skype users seem new users who have not been using it on their PC before so the Skype community keeps growing with this too. Last but not least they are coming out with with Skype for other mobile platforms so soon it will be around on all smartphones it seems.

I still have to use the voice function but will certainly do so on my next business trip. The cost savings are tempting no doubt even if you have to first find a Wifi connectivity. The mobile operators have to react now with some very attractive service bundles I think. To try to block them from their network is of course another protective measure but hardly a long lasting strategy. Providing attractive international voice, data roaming packages is the way to go I strongly believe.

Ralf HallerRalf Haller February 6, 2009

Has GSMA got something against Apple’s iPhone?

Today I received an e-mail from the GSMA Mobile World Congress organization team with information on the soon-to-start event in Barcelona (Feb. 16-19). Included was an offer for a mobile event guide that you can download to your mobile phone. As it turns out, it works for 260 mobiles incl. the Blackberry, but not the iPhone. Quite strange, in light of the iPhone being the biggest success of any product introduction in the mobile communication history (and not only there). I will check and try to find out if there are any other reasons than what I speculate in the above heading.


Make the most of the Mobile World Congress 2009 by downloading the official Event Guide for mobile devices. The guide, sponsored by Tellabs and powered by Velti, allows you to find an exhibitor, locate facilities and services, view the Congress agenda, locate halls, zones and registration areas. The guide works on a variety of handsets* and is stored as an application on your device. To download the official Mobile Event Guide simply text GUIDE to +44 7786 201 765.

*The guide is compatible with over 260 devices including BlackBerry. It is not available for the iPhone. The guide can be deleted from your mobile after the event.