Facebook’s App Center, Switzerland of Apps?

Facebook’s user volume presents so much opportunities, that a lot of them, perhaps even the Facebook staff or Zuckerberg himself haven’t discovered yet. One of these opportunities was app development and support. It has been done for quite some time now. However, Facebook had much more potential than that. It has now announced that it will become an App hub. This “App center” will be the app shopping mall to go to.

Fear not, Facebook is not in on it to become the new king and major competition to Apple, Google or any other app store out there. It rather is the place to go to no matter what device you have. Just like in a shopping mall you can find hundreds of different stores and brands, Facebook App Center will offer these options.

Once you enter the site, you can select the device you are handling and will automatically be redirected to its main app center; if you have an iPhone, you’ll be redirected to Apple’s App Store; if you have an Android device, you’ll be redirected to Android Market and so on. Not only is it a handier place to look for the latest trends and your favorite apps, but it is also a better place to compare prices (if any), ratings, quality and just how many people are actually using certain apps or not. It is a more critical, user friendly place in which you can better trust your friends’ judgement instead of the biased opinion of their developers.

Now, if Facebook’s App Center doesn’t charge users a penny extra, what does Facebook gain out of it? Just like regular Facebook apps like Farmville and the like, Facebook credits can come into play. Although this won’t mean an extra cost for users, it will mean a commission cut from manufacturers and developers. Impressive right? What will they think of monetizing next? Stay tuned.

Flash, iOS 5.0.1 and other Demons

It was a week full of technological developments and some managed to alter the caffeine levels in people’s blood streams. Between Adobe’s killing-flash announcement and Apple’s new iOS release, things are a bit sketchy for the mobile world.

First things first. Adobe has been the sole benefactor of Flash development since the mid 90’s, yes, that is before the Internet bubble. You could say it has built an empire and monopoly around the technology. But truth be told, innovation is not only about coming up with new versions of the old stuff. Innovation, after all, is about breaking paradigms. Flash was invented and developed to portray and develop animations and video content within the PC world. What came to be the mobile phone development wasn’t quite well calculated by Adobe.

Nevertheless, Flash continued to build its empire in non-PC devices without really taking into account one very important factor: mobile = small. Indeed, mobile translates to small everything: smaller screen, smaller processor and smaller capacity. A certain someone saw this window of opportunity and along came HTML5. Although young in nature, this new technology has managed to shake Adobe to its core, so much so that the company has pulled Flash from mobile and smart TVs just to pursue the big H.

How does this affect the mobile world? Well, if you turn on your Android tablet, don’t panic, you’ll still be able to watch videos supported by this platform. But eventually it will become a dead technology. No development = eventual death.

Ironically enough, it wasn’t that long after Adobe and Apple had announced their kissing and make up. Was this a dirty play on Adobe’s part? Unlikely. As mentioned earlier, Adobe is dropping the technology just to pursue HTML5, which was the only technology supported by Apple itself.

Apple has enough on its hands at the moment as it is. After the big 4S + Siri launch, all of us with the cute new gadget had come to terms with the very fragile battery life it has. If you’re lucky, you’ll cell phone will last 10 hours with a full battery. Reason? Bugs in the new iOS system. Solution? iOS 5.0.1 just to cure the little insect. Outcome? Well… it doesn’t look any better so far. My battery still runs out at the same rate it did before the upgrade, so what did you really do Apple?

After my rather strong argument against Blackberry and then switching to iPhone, I can’t really complain. Low battery or not, it is technology at its purest and most advanced meaning. So, cheers for all things mobile!

Remember Remember the 5th of November

Who would have thought a movie would have such influence in the mindset of millions of people? Truth be told, there have been a number of films that despite their fictional nature, have changed the course of history; Space Odisey 2001, and now it seems it still is the era of V for Vendetta.

In a futuristic, chaotic world, only the UK survives financial crisis and global conflict. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the promised land, but rather a struggling totalitarian state that only through fear can they hold steady. A particular masked activist decides that their system is no different from all the other fallen states, and so V is born.

That pretty much sums up the fictional plot, but what about the real world? Thousands if not millions of masks are sold around the world. But what’s even more shocking is that an actual group of people have taken in the philosophy and taken down tech systems to prove a point.

They promised that today Facebook would be next. Will this hold true? “Remember Remember the 5th of November”. What’s more, with all this technology around us, we can do anything, so why kill the principle itself? The group claims because of the abuse of power, but aren’t we all in the end in need of control? Where’s the line between control and abuse?

All I can think of is technology as a tool for the betterment of society. It may sound naive but in a connected world like never before seen, anything is possible.

Siri at Last

Yes. I kept my promise: the new iPhone 4s is in my hands now. After The Blackberry meltdown I wrote a pretty heavy note on Mr. Lazaridis poor execution and a “too little too late” apologetic video, I could only be logical and purchase what indeed is innovation by definition.
This post is being written from the WordPress app on my phone, I can even make Siri type for me.
Do note however that even with state of the art advantages, I wouldn’t have switched to Apple if only customers came first with Blackberry.
But now let the apps begin! I’m sure more than one of my readers will be happy to iMessage me ūüôā

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Steve Jobs: A Toast for Immortality

It was 740pm Central Standard Time. I was driving in my car after a long day at work on October 5th, 2011. I tuned in my favorite radio station and there it was, out of the blue: “Today will be the day in which the world will remember the passing of Steve Jobs.” Thank the universe the road was empty; I hit on the breaks so hard, I thought I would burn off my tires.

The first word to come out of my mouth in an estranged tone, “WHAT?!” All day long I had sat down in front of my Mac at work, concentrating deeply in my thoughts, in my every day tasks, enjoying every bit of it (seriously); not once did I glimpse over to learn about it through my Mac. No, I had to hear it from a radio talk show from somewhere far away.

It’s then when I turned to my phone and checked the Twitter feed. Indeed there it was on #TT, RIP Steve Jobs. Finally after a while I could open my Mac again. I found my way through the usual suspects: Twitter, Tech Crunch, Facebook, Google +. All of my friends, followers and people I follow back…. like if a chilly snowfall had¬†stricken¬†all of us by surprise. Then I found the saddest homepage in the Industry, and yet the PNG file is named T_Hero…

All I could come up with from the most honest part in my heart was the following Tweet: “behind every iphone, every mac, every ipad there’s a little piece of you… you’ll still change our lives every day, THAT’s immortality”. it got retweeted, it got reposted, and you know what? It is possibly one of the most accurate phrases I’ve ever said. RIP Steve Jobs; thanks for all the Magic.

A Working Culture Apart

Working cultures around the world are very different from one another, but the most common one is to have a fixed weekly schedule, (normally 9am-5pm) with a lunch break. Sitting down in front of a computer, with no access to other sites other than the ones permitted by the company.

It’s been said a thousand times over that this not only¬†inherently cripples employees’ creativity, but their very willingness to work as well. In a much more creative environment, not only do people feel comfortable in doing their job, but it is a cradle for new ideas.

When an employee receives other perks than just their pay check, worries go down and they focus on what’s important: goals being met. How great is it to not worry about going out to have lunch in near by fast food restaurants or cook something up to bring to work in a duffel bag?

How great it is that you can actually work out your worries in an integrated gym? All that food lying around in workplaces that feast their employees away every lunch time needs a separate part to bring all those calories down.

The old school of thought may think this not only expensive but¬†unnecessary, but take a look at the tech industries, mostly based in¬†Silicon¬†Valley. It’s the fastest growing industry on record and most of them have these perks and so much more. Now, not only can this industry profit from these practices. When well adapted, it can be used in any line of work.

Can you imagine bankers playing ping pong as they talk of their latest merger? It’s no different than a good old tennis match or Golf game. Why not having in the office and save time?

 

Apple Kicking it up a Notch

Article first published as Apple Kicking it up a Notch; Intel not so Happy on Technorati.

With continuous progress, Apple can only raise the bar constantly in order to proof significant advancements. The recent release of OS X Lion is the most recent palpable example. However, it’s not enough for Apple.

Recently¬†Apple asked Intel to reduce its chips’ power usage¬†or else Apple would look for a new supplier.This definitely pushes the envelope for Intel. Not only is there a race against time (as would be expected when meeting Apple’s requirements), but it’s also a race against other suppliers that might already be developing something to get in Apple’s good graces under these new circumstances.

In fact, Apple has an entire¬†code of conduct¬†which obliges suppliers to behave and deliver the highest quality always. If the technology doesn’t exist, Apple encourages its suppliers to develop new technologies in order to meet standards. There are two sections: one that makes sure the minimum is delivered and another one to make sure everyone is striving to be better.

This constant improvement is key to Apple’s worldwide success. Nevertheless, it is not always the case in which suppliers are glad to indulge or even comply with what the giant is demanding. For Intel’s sake, it would be a great idea to come up with a light power usage chip; otherwise someone else will come along and steal the deal away from them.

Facebook vs Google + Becomes the New Mac vs PC

Article first published as Facebook vs Google + Becomes the New Mac vs PC on Technorati.

Remember the video clips featuring two actors representing Mac and PC? It was a great representation of what still goes on between both brands. Although the videos were made to promote Mac over PC, they still coexist. Even with Mac only having a¬†15% of the pie in the US, rest assured Mac computers aren’t going anywhere; if anything, they’re growing every day.

Same thing seems to be happening on the newborn battle between Facebook and Google +. With 750 million users Facebook has world domination up until this point. They should definitely take care of their own share, that’s for sure. Just last week¬†CNBC reported¬†Facebook Stock to be in Jeopardy.¬† It’s no wonder when despite Facebook’s attempt to “wow” their audience with their¬†Skype¬†add-in launch, Google+ is still growing and it still represents a direct threat.

Google+ isn’t going anywhere either, except further growth. To be honest, it’s comforting as a user to finally see some healthy competition as far as social networks go. With Twitter as King of micro-blogging and Facebook as King of overall social networks, there didn’t seem to be much hope for anyone else to bring more innovation to the table.

G+ has brought a much needed push in the industry where in order to be better, brands need to come up with improvements. For example, just this week¬†Facebook launched Business exclusive profiles¬†to counter Google +’s business approach. It is a subsite that will not interfere with personal profiles and make it easier for companies to stop impersonating an individual.

This shoulder to shoulder race is representative of what true competition needs: countering with new products and services, so that in the end the true benefitiary is the consumer. Hopefully both Facebook and Google + can stay in the game to continue this benefit. Which actors will be chosen to impersonate the social giants should there be a “Mac vs PC”-like video?

Read more: http://technorati.com/technology/article/facebook-vs-google-becomes-the-new/#ixzz1TWUZaBsc

Windows 7 Not An All Star Player

Article first published as Windows Phone 7 Not an All Star Player on Technorati.

There are four definite Smartphone names in the industry that will not let anyone else in. It’s even getting smaller; OVI platform was once a contender, but now it is a thing of the past.

Although Nokia abandoned OVI after it had failed to represent any kind of threat to the big names, it adopted Windows 7 for Smartphones. It seems that perhaps Nokia is regretting that deal today. Why would they rethink their choice (although it seems a little late in the game to do so)?¬†According to PR Newswire, PriceGrabber conducted a survey in which 48% of participants chose iPhone’s iOS platform as their preferred choice and Android coming in as the second favorite with 19%. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 had only a 7% of the pie.

Just to think that Nokia chose Microsoft’s platform over Google’s earlier this year as published on¬†SmartSoft¬†makes us wonder if perhaps they have an Ace under their sleeve to improve these numbers.

The definite champion to this day is Apple’s iPhone. Nevertheless Android is getting a larger presence as time goes by. At one point the fight was between RIM’s Blackberry and the iPhone as denoted in their viral video campaigns back in the day. Blackberry’s version was that of an apple being destroyed by a blackberry shot at it as a bullet. Apple countered with the same scene in which the blackberry gets destroyed as soon as it touches the fruit. Today Blackberry even falls back to the last spot in that same survey with only 6% of preference.

Will Windows 7 for smartphones bring its A-game to improve its market presence? The iPhone 5 is getting ready to be launched and already people are excited about it. Microsoft should come up with something to get consumers just as thrilled.

Read more: http://technorati.com/technology/gadgets/article/windows-phone-7-not-an-all/#ixzz1TVICSoip

RIM Tablet Just got Uncle Sam’s Approval

Article first published as¬†RIM Tablet Just got Uncle Sam’s Approval¬†on Technorati.

Just when you thought RIM was biting the dust, here it comes again with a strategic advance up its sleeve. Even though RIM stock value has dropped 60% this year alone, as explained on¬†“Falling one by one”¬†the RIM Tablet has been called a companion and has just been certified by the US Government.

As explained on the RIM Website itself yesterday, the BlackBerry Playbook received a FIPS 140-2 certification, which stands for Federal Information Processing Standard. This means that every US Government agency or branch will use the Playbook as their official tablet. It is in fact the first tablet to receive this certification.

This will perhaps be a big surprise or even a jaw dropping piece of news for other brands. But will this really mean a threat to Apple’s iPad, the world’s leading tablet? Most webpages and publications have adapted their products to the iPad before any other mobile format. Remember Murdoch’s release of “The Daily” just for iPad on this year’s first quarter for example?

The Android tablet as well, considered to be the best alternative for the iPad as described on CNET has had countless programs and apps adapted to it. Its friendly open source programming makes it possible to even represent any kind of competition for Apple. According to BGR to be exact, as of the end of 2010 and the beginning of this year, the iPad had 75% share of market and Android carried 22% of the tablet market.

Clearly the BlackBerry Playbook holds no significant numbers against these two major brands. But perhaps the US Government arrived just in time to bring it back to life, but will it be enough?

Read more: http://technorati.com/technology/gadgets/article/rim-tablet-just-got-uncle-sams/#ixzz1SrjmLpdv