Mozilla Seabird: the first smartphone that could overcome the mighty iPhone!

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Take a look at Seabird showcase in 3D

It’s just a prototype for now … but what a prototype! Conceived by Billy May in early 2009, the Seabird is an Open Web Concept Phone.

Take a look at -what we call – the most interesting / beautiful / smart / outstanding mobile phone concept we’ve seen so far! This is Seabird in their own words:

The Mozilla Seabird, part of the Mozilla Labs’ Concept Series, is an experiment in how users might interact with their mobile content as devices and technology advances.

The Seabird introduces a few possibilities into how user interaction might evolve with the advancing motion capture and projector driven innovation in the market.

First out, the Seabird imagines how a multiple use dongle might augment the crowded gestural interface with greater precision and direct manipulation of content in 3D space.

With mobile phone companies such as Samsung, LG and Motorola moving towards display applications for projectors, the technology remains open for expanding user interaction and input at the same time.

The Seabird, on just a flat surface, enables netbook-quality interaction by working with the projector’s angular distortion to deliver interface, rather than content. With the benefit of a dock, each projector works independently and delivers laptop levels of efficiency.

The form development took its cues from various aerodynamic, avian and decidedly feminine forms. Its erect posture intends a sense of poise while its supine conformity to the hand reconciles that with the user’s desire for digital control.

The curvature of the back also serves a functional role in elevating the projector lens elements when lying flat.

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Adobe moves on in dispute with Apple

“They’ve chosen to keep their system closed and we’d rather work with partners who are interested in working with us.

“We believe in open systems. We believe in the power of the internet and in customers making choices and I think a lot of the controversy was about their decision at that point. They’ve made their choice. We’ve made ours and we’ve moved on.

“It’s a business decision. With the energy and innovation that our company has, we’d rather focus on people who want to deliver the best experience with Flash and there are so many of them.”

The dispute between the two companies came to a head in late April when Apple CEO Steve Jobs posted an open letter describing his “Thoughts on Flash” and outlining the controversy from his point of view. Narayan quickly responded in his company’s defense, attempting to contrast Apple’s “closed” ecosystem with the multi-platform, “open” stance taken by Adobe.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission are currently pursuing an investigation of Apple over its business practices with respect to Flash technology.

Mark Papermaster fired by Apple due to iPhone 4 technical problems

Papermaster worked at Apple since 2008 after a 25-year career at IBM who sued him to prevent even to work for Apple, citing a clause in the contract stated he cannot work for competition.

Subsequently, the two sides reached a settlement. Apple spokesman, Steve Dowling, confirmed Papermaster departure and indicated that his position will be taken by Bob Mansfield, vice president of Macintosh hardware segment.

Apple released iPhone 4 on June 4 but… there were severe critics regarding its reception. Find out more about iPhone 4 reception.

Jailbreaking your iPhone or ripping a DVD is now legal in U.S.

These are the new rules that were handed down moments ago by the U.S. Copyright Office.

The office looks at copyright law every three years in order to make revisions or exemptions. The six “classes” now exempt from prosecution under the DMCA are:

1. Defeating a lawfully obtained DVD’s encryption for the sole purpose of short, fair use in an educational setting or for criticism

2. Computer programs that allow you to run lawfully obtained software on your phone that you otherwise would not be able to run aka Jailbreaking to use Google Voice on your iPhone

3. Computer programs that allow you to use your phone on a different network aka Jailbreaking to use your iPhone on T-Mobile

4. Circumventing video game encryption (DRM) for the purposes of legitimate security testing or investigation

5. Cracking computer programs protected by dongles when the dongles become obsolete or are no longer being manufactured

6. Having an ebook be read aloud (is for the blind) even if that book has controls built into it to prevent that sort of thing.

Nicholas Deleon, CrunchGear editor says: “This is easily the biggest tech news I have come across in quite some time—we’re talking years here. I’m actually going to need a few moments to digest all of this.”

Take a look at the Statement of the Librarian of Congress Relating to Section 1201 Rulemaking

iPhone 4 latest important accessory

Rivers of ink have flowed about iPhone’s problems with its reception, there is no secret to anyone. The jokes about the magic phone do not stop. The newest joke about it is the End Call sticker.

The idea is simple: stick it in the area where it is known that, if the hand is held, it decreases the signal and interrupt calls. Stick your stickers and have a virtual end call button.

The manufacturer knows that Apple fans are not saving money when it comes to iPhone. Therefore, he demands for this small sticker no less than 29 dollars.

Image source: Go4it

Steve Jobs knew about iPhone’s problems in April, before launching

On the other hand, the latest information inside Apple say that Steve Jobs was aware of the problems with the signal. He was warned by a chief of engineers, Ruben Caballero. He told Steve Jobs that while not sacrificing the chosen design, there will be signal problems.

Steve Jobs, however, like a boss who knows them all better than anyone, has chosen to ignore the warning. Considering that iPhone’s design is very important and that “small detail” like its reception cannot stand in their way, decided not to change anything.

And so it was a situation where many users are very unhappy, and Apple shares began to fall.

Image source: Go4it

Lots of rumors for Apple’s WWDC

“Topping the list of purported new features is Safari Reader, which will “will make web page reading easier by extracting and organizing the text,” reports 9to5Mac.

Bing is also set to make an appearance in version 5. This development, if you’ll remember last week, is not real surprise given all the talk about the search engine joining the iPhone alongside Google search.

Rounding out the news are claims that Safari 5 will render Javacript “25% faster” so that the browser is more Chrome- and Opera-like. HTML5 support, unsurprisingly, is primed to get polished and improved.

So there are a few updates, yes, but what we do not see, again, is any indication that a Safari extensions API will be made available at WWDC or within Safari 5. Maybe that’ll be “one more thing…”

according to Gizmodo

There are also some reports that some MobileMe users are seeing their account type switch from “individual” to “Full Member”, the hope being that a WWDC announcement will make everyone a “Free Member” by default.

Of course it could amount to nothing, but there have been rumors that this might happen, and in any event it’s certainly something we’ve been hoping would happen.

MobileMe’s services aren’t really a luxury anymore, and users are increasingly growing to expect that type of seamless, automatic syncing on their devices. Announcing a free, basic MobileMe service at WWDC would go a long way to getting Apple’s head in the cloud and fulfilling that expectation.

image source: Gizmodo

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Nokia and Yahoo working on Project Nike

The partnership between Nokia and Yahoo is named “Project Nike” (named after the Greek goddess of victory and not by sports shoe manufacturer) and has been planned since a few years ago, but without success.

Yahoo considered that this is the time for a revolutionary movement. Also, Nokia does not sit too well at the chapter successful innovations, especially because in the last period the attention was on Apple with its iPhone or iPad. Therefore, this initiative is currently the only way Yahoo and Nokia can compete on the mobile market.

Steve Jobs: Thoughts on Flash

Apple has a long relationship with Adobe. In fact, we met Adobe’s founders when they were in their proverbial garage. Apple was their first big customer, adopting their Postscript language for our new Laserwriter printer. Apple invested in Adobe and owned around 20% of the company for many years. The two companies worked closely together to pioneer desktop publishing and there were many good times. Since that golden era, the companies have grown apart. Apple went through its near death experience, and Adobe was drawn to the corporate market with their Acrobat products. Today the two companies still work together to serve their joint creative customers – Mac users buy around half of Adobe’s Creative Suite products – but beyond that there are few joint interests.

I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true. Let me explain.

First, there’s “Open”.

Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.

Apple has many proprietary products too. Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript – all open standards. Apple’s mobile devices all ship with high performance, low power implementations of these open standards. HTML5, the new web standard that has been adopted by Apple, Google and many others, lets web developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plug-ins (like Flash). HTML5 is completely open and controlled by a standards committee, of which Apple is a member.

Apple even creates open standards for the web. For example, Apple began with a small open source project and created WebKit, a complete open-source HTML5 rendering engine that is the heart of the Safari web browser used in all our products. WebKit has been widely adopted. Google uses it for Android’s browser, Palm uses it, Nokia uses it, and RIM (Blackberry) has announced they will use it too. Almost every smartphone web browser other than Microsoft’s uses WebKit. By making its WebKit technology open, Apple has set the standard for mobile web browsers.

Second, there’s the “full web”.

Adobe has repeatedly said that Apple mobile devices cannot access “the full web” because 75% of video on the web is in Flash. What they don’t say is that almost all this video is also available in a more modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads. YouTube, with an estimated 40% of the web’s video, shines in an app bundled on all Apple mobile devices, with the iPad offering perhaps the best YouTube discovery and viewing experience ever. Add to this video from Vimeo, Netflix, Facebook, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ESPN, NPR, Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, People, National Geographic, and many, many others. iPhone, iPod and iPad users aren’t missing much video.

Another Adobe claim is that Apple devices cannot play Flash games. This is true. Fortunately, there are over 50,000 games and entertainment titles on the App Store, and many of them are free. There are more games and entertainment titles available for iPhone, iPod and iPad than for any other platform in the world.

Third, there’s reliability, security and performance.

Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009. We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash. We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now. We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash.

In addition, Flash has not performed well on mobile devices. We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it. Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath. Who knows how it will perform?

Fourth, there’s battery life.

To achieve long battery life when playing video, mobile devices must decode the video in hardware; decoding it in software uses too much power. Many of the chips used in modern mobile devices contain a decoder called H.264 – an industry standard that is used in every Blu-ray DVD player and has been adopted by Apple, Google (YouTube), Vimeo, Netflix and many other companies.

Although Flash has recently added support for H.264, the video on almost all Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software. The difference is striking: on an iPhone, for example, H.264 videos play for up to 10 hours, while videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours before the battery is fully drained.

When websites re-encode their videos using H.264, they can offer them without using Flash at all. They play perfectly in browsers like Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome without any plugins whatsoever, and look great on iPhones, iPods and iPads.

Fifth, there’s Touch.

Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers. For example, many Flash websites rely on “rollovers”, which pop up menus or other elements when the mouse arrow hovers over a specific spot. Apple’s revolutionary multi-touch interface doesn’t use a mouse, and there is no concept of a rollover. Most Flash websites will need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices. If developers need to rewrite their Flash websites, why not use modern technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript?

Even if iPhones, iPods and iPads ran Flash, it would not solve the problem that most Flash websites need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices.

Sixth, the most important reason.

Besides the fact that Flash is closed and proprietary, has major technical drawbacks, and doesn’t support touch based devices, there is an even more important reason we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. We have discussed the downsides of using Flash to play video and interactive content from websites, but Adobe also wants developers to adopt Flash to create apps that run on our mobile devices.

We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.

This becomes even worse if the third party is supplying a cross platform development tool. The third party may not adopt enhancements from one platform unless they are available on all of their supported platforms. Hence developers only have access to the lowest common denominator set of features. Again, we cannot accept an outcome where developers are blocked from using our innovations and enhancements because they are not available on our competitor’s platforms.

Flash is a cross platform development tool. It is not Adobe’s goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. It is their goal to help developers write cross platform apps. And Adobe has been painfully slow to adopt enhancements to Apple’s platforms. For example, although Mac OS X has been shipping for almost 10 years now, Adobe just adopted it fully (Cocoa) two weeks ago when they shipped CS5. Adobe was the last major third party developer to fully adopt Mac OS X.

Our motivation is simple – we want to provide the most advanced and innovative platform to our developers, and we want them to stand directly on the shoulders of this platform and create the best apps the world has ever seen. We want to continually enhance the platform so developers can create even more amazing, powerful, fun and useful applications. Everyone wins – we sell more devices because we have the best apps, developers reach a wider and wider audience and customer base, and users are continually delighted by the best and broadest selection of apps on any platform.

Conclusions.

Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.

The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.

New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.

Steve Jobs
April, 2010