The Apple & Samsung Trial Results – My Take Now that the Jury is In

The verdict is in and Samsung’s got a lot of work to do.  They need to do some hardware  and software work as well as write a big check.  Here’s my take on the trial results…

I really expected the trial deliberations to go a lot longer than they did.  The fact that the verdict came back so quickly speaks volumes about design, perception, and what the public believes when it comes to computing and the patent system. I’ve got a quick summary of the results and a couple of opinions on where the trial went south for Samsung.

The trial, in my humble opinion, was over once the following graphic was shown.

I’ve owned a number of Samsung smartphones – the Blackjack, the Blackjack 2, the i700 and the Vibrant (a Galaxy S phone).  Prior to 2007 and the introduction of the iPhone, all Samsung phones had a distinctive look. They were sharp edged, angular, and ran a version of Microsoft’s Windows Mobile.  The Blackjack devices were “smartphones,” or the version of Windows Mobile that didn’t have a touch screen and they had 320×240 (landscape) resolution screens. These devices were Blackberry modeled devices and were rather successful, though they were different enough to not be considered infringing on RIM’s designs and patents. The i700 was Samsung’s very first PDA phone. It ran PocketPC 2002 and eventually got an upgrade to WM2003, but it was well into 2004 before that hit.  The other two devices in the infographic below, were modeled after it.  THAT design, was wholly original and all Samsung.  The i700 was a little bit before its time. It was a decent device, but really would have been much better without the stub antenna and definitely WITH UMTS/HSPA+.

Post iPhone, Samsung made two big changes – First: out with Windows Mobile and in with Android. Windows Mobile had unfortunately reached a point of non-growth and innovation and Microsoft never really stood behind it anyway.  Ballmer doesn’t understand mobility and the mobile operating system’s history clearly shows that.  Google’s Android is very Windows Mobile-like and went places that Microsoft clearly couldn’t go with their mobile OS. It was a much better choice for them.

Second: their phone designs took a drastic and radical shift. Despite Samsung’s claims that Apple doesn’t own a patent on a rectangle with rounded corners (and Samsung is right…they DON’T), its clear that AFTER the iPhone hit and was successful, Samsung’s phone designs changed. Those designs also look a great deal like the design of the iPhone.  Their UI, while built on top of Android, a drastically different looking and functioning OS, looks as much like the iOS home screens as they can.

Come back next time and I’ll give you the specifics on the damages as well as what I’d like to see Samsung do, post-verdict.

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Microsoft Mobility – I Don’t Think They Get It…STILL: Part 2

I’ve quipped on leadership before, but fer cryin’ out loud – I’m DYIN’ over here

There’s a lot happening over here at Soft32.  I’ve been doing deep dives on both Apple and Microsoft operating systems and you should be able to see them on Soft32 shortly.  2012 is definitely the year of the new OS; and Soft32 is committed to keeping you up to date on all of the developments.

Last time I was talking about how Microsoft needs to severely clarify the differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT.  Let’s get back into it and I’ll let you in on what I’m seeing out of Redmond with both Windows 8 and RT.

Microsoft is currently marketing Windows 8 and Windows RT as a tablet-based OS.  Windows 8 will run on Intel based machines and will include desktops, laptops (including TabletPC’s) and (slate based) tablets, similar to the iPad in form factor. Windows RT will run on ARM based tablets, and ARM based tablets ONLY.

Do you see the common element?  Tablets.  Both will run on slate based tablets.  An Intel based tablet will run the full blown version of Windows 8, which will include a desktop mode.  An ARM base tablet will run Windows RT and will NOT include a desktop mode.  ARM based tablets will support Microsoft’s new UI –  Metro – only.

The problem comes in from an end user perspective. Both Windows 8 tablets run, well…Windows 8; and I don’t think the average user is going to understand the difference between the two tablets.

What’s the difference?  Simple…Windows RT is a direct iOS, and therefore, iPad competitor. The two share the Windows 8 app store; and I don’t think users are going to be able to correctly distinguish between the two different tablets, OS’ and app versions.  It’s very likely that users will have a Windows RT tablet at, say, work…and a Windows 8 desktop/laptop at home.  The Windows 8  app store will sell both legacy desktop Windows software that will run on Windows 8 and Metro apps.

I’m certain that a Windows RT user is going to buy a Windows 8 app in the app store and then get frustrated when they can’t install it on a Windows RT tablet. The similarity between the two operating systems is going to create a huge amount of user confusion. Microsoft is pushing the perception that they are the same OS. Users will see this, and want to install apps from their Windows 8 machine to their Windows 8 tablet.

Windows RT is also not available for purchase or install, anywhere. The only way you get it is if you buy a device that has it on it. This will also confuse consumers, as some head to their local big-box retailer meaning to purchase it.

Windows 8 is great for mobile devices as touch is its focus, and that’s how users interact with those devices. The desktop experience hasn’t responded well to touch. If it did, PC’s like the HP TouchSmart, the Dell Studio One or Inspiron One or Lenovo Idea Center would be everywhere, and they clearly aren’t.

Microsoft needs leadership. It needs vision. It needs direction. It needs Windows 8 not to suck…and I am truly afraid that they are going to lose out on all counts…

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Microsoft Mobility – I Don’t Think They Get It…STILL: Part I

I’ve quipped on leadership before, but fer cryin’ out loud – I’m DYIN’ over here.

There’s a lot happening over here at Soft32. I’ve been doing deep dives on both Apple and Microsoft operating systems and you should be able to see them on Soft32 shortly. 2012 is definitely the year of the new OS; and Soft32 is committed to keeping you up to date on all of the developments.

As both major personal computing platform players are upgrading their operating systems this year, I’ve had an opportunity to do EXHAUSTIVE deep dives in both the Windows and OS X worlds and what I’m seeing on BOTH sides is both praise worthy and, at times, has me scratching my head.

I’ll tackle Apple later. I want to talk about Microsoft first, as this one is really bothering me.

Over the years, I’ve been a HUGE pro-Microsoft advocate, especially in the world of mobility. I was a huge Windows Mobile pundit, and I know I was NOMINATED at least twice for MS MVP for Windows Mobile. I never got it; but the people who nominated me told me of the nominations after the awards were announced. My point (without all the resume building) is that I was serious about promoting and contributing to the success of the MS mobile platform, so I’m not MS bashing; but after looking at Windows 8 so extensively over the past eight or so months, one thing has become crystal clear to me:

Microsoft USED to have an idea of where they wanted to go with mobility; but currently, don’t have the SLIGHTEST CLUE.

I’m sitting here, writing this and shaking my head. I can’t tell you how disappointed I really am with publically vocalizing that; but it became clear to me when speaking to my colleagues at WUGNET after finishing my deep dive of Windows 8 Release Preview. Microsoft has completely lost its direction, its understanding and its hold on the mobile computing community.

When Microsoft was competing against Palm for control of the PDA space, it had vision and direction. When it was competing against RIM for control of the Push email space, it had vision and direction. Somewhere between 2005 and today, it lost sight of where it was going in mobility and became stagnant…which is one of the reasons why it took them almost 2 years to release the first version of Windows Phone 7 in October of 2010.

I also believe it’s the main reason why Windows 8 is such a freakin’ train wreck. There’s no captain on the mobility train. They better get one quick before the train sinks or the ship derails… Yes, I know I just mixed my metaphors. That’s kinda the point…

Come back next time, and I’ll finish up the analysis.

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Keep yourself organized with StickyNote

You see them all over the office…Stickies. Stuck to desktops, underneath keyboards, on the side of cabinets, hanging from overhangs, and of course, on computer monitors. They are literally everywhere, and the guy who invented the glue HAS to be like a bazillionaire (or at least should be).  The only problem that you bump into is the one thing that makes them so wonderful – they’re everywhere, and they can create a huge mess. This is why I like StickyNote from Tenebril Software. It’s a reminder program for Windows.

StickyNote 9.0 is a virtual notes program, and is the only program to offer photo-realistic, 3D notes that look just like stickies you leave on your monitor. Today, you have more information to remember than ever before – passwords, phone numbers, messages, ideas, just to name a few. Managing this information efficiently is important to staying organized. StickyNote provides an easy solution, both at home and at the office.

StickyNote creates photo-realistic 3D notes on your desktop. With a single click, you can attach notes to documents or programs. Important ideas or passwords will never be lost. You can pass notes instantly over the Internet or local network. You can easily make sure phone messages are delivered in the office without ever leaving your chair. The notes pop up right on the recipient’s computer screen.

You can set alarms, set notes to appear at specific times to remind you of important events, and can even set the notes to appear periodically. You can also synchronize your notes with Microsoft Outlook, your Palm handheld or other PDAs.

read full review | download StickyNote

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ZIPPY BT-500 Compact Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard

AVS GEAR Inc. announced the debut of the newest addition to the company’s line of Bluetooth keyboards, the ZIPPY BT-500. Featuring Apple iPad 2 and iPhone support, this compact wireless keyboard is available now at Amazon.com and Newegg.com with an MSRP of $49.99, and is also backed by a ZIPPY three-year Limited Replacement Warranty through AVS GEAR.

The ZIPPY BT-500 connects to six different Bluetooth devices simultaneously and boasts one-touch fast switch technology between all six Bluetooth devices in a matter of seconds. In addition, this compact wireless keyboard has a transmission range up to 10 meters and is compatible with Smartphone devices, PDAs and tablet PCs that are equipped with Bluetooth technology.

The ZIPPY BT-500 features the following:

• Apple iPad 2 and iPhone support
• Multi-device fast switch wireless technology
• Bluetooth 2.0 interface; also compliant with Bluetooth 1.0
• Transmission range up to 10 meters
• Certified for Telecom safety

Equipped with ultra-flat scissor structure keys, the ZIPPY BT-500 is encased in an ultra-thin compact design and is ideal for use in a variety of environments. Featuring low-power consumption, the ZIPPY BT-500 provides users wireless freedom, complementing small spaces, such as living rooms, classrooms and conference rooms, and can also be carried while on the go.

AVS GEAR’s various product lines are available for purchase at Newegg.com. Additional information about the ZIPPY BT-500 and AVS GEAR’s extensive selection of computer peripherals can be found by visiting http://www.AVSGEAR.com.

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Celluon Magic Cube – virtual laser Keyboard for your mobile devices

The Virtual Laser Keyboard is an accessory for iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Smartphone, PDA, MAC & Tablet PC and any device that operates Bluetooth HID. In the size of a Zipo lighter and in an outer spaced “enterprise” style, it uses a laser beam to generate a full-size perfectly operating laser keyboard that smoothly connects to your mobile devices.

The The Virtual Laser Keyboard acts exactly like any other “ordinary” keyboard: A direction technology based on an optical recognition mechanism enables the user to tap on the projected key images, while producing real tapping sounds.

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