Apple, What Are You Doing?

This is my thoughts about the new iPhone that Apple just introduced today. I’m writing this as I watch the keynote. (it was written yesterday at night so I decided to publish it today. I haven’t reviewed or modified it.)

iPhone 5

The name

Seriously Apple? I really loved that you called the iPad 3 the new iPad, which is a lot better for you and for the people since now most of what you’re going to do is just do some iterations like you did from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S. Calling it the iPhone 5 makes no sense.

The bigger screen

That looked like a nice addition in the beginning, but it will become a hell. A lot of apps are going to have those crappy bars, could you guys do what Android does and just re-align the pixels? Most of the apps really have no reason to “take advantage” of that bigger screen. Also that aspect ratio is just the worst one ever. It will also start a little more fragmentation to the platform.

That back

Seriously that back looks like a generic chinese phone back. It is just so ugly. I would prefer if it was made all of the same color/material which would make a lot more sense.


Stock Apps

Shared Photo Stream

Haha, I had to laugh when I saw this. That’s really the worst thing ever. They forgot that today our friends have different devices, usually they are half iOS users and half Android users, also Instagram does this a lot better and in a lot better and more social way.

Siri

Nice new additions to Siri (I’m talking about the sports stuff). I hope that’s international because if that’s only for the USA you just made a stupid decision.

iTunes

The new additions to iTunes were really awesome. The new Mac app UI is really great. I loved the clean interface.


iPod

The nano

The new iPod nano is really awesome and a lot better than the current generation. If I didn’t used my phone as my music player I would buy it for sure. By the way I still can’t understand why someone would use the iPod nano to watch a movie or look at photos.

The touch

The back really looks like crap. It’s really thin and light, but the only market for that is kind of device is for children that their parents doesn’t want to give them a smartphone. Also I had a “WTF?!” moment when they showed that wrist wrap they are calling iPod touch Loop.


Conclusion

Sadly Apple haven’t got me back. I’ll continue to develop for BlackBerry, I think they are doing a better work to innovate with BlackBerry 10.

RIM is Doing it Right

Finally someone got it right! RIM is the first company that understood that there is no way you can be successful without having 4 things (and implemented all of those):

  • A good, stable and professional OS that fills the needs from teenagers to business people.
  • Beautiful interface that is everywhere and is extremely easy for developers to use on their apps.
  • Developer support/excitement.
  • Carrier support.

Impressions from The BlackBerry 10 Jam

I just got back from the BlackBerry 10 Jam São Paulo and what I saw there was just awesome! I’ve been developing for BlackBerry since I got my Torch 9800 (just for fun) in March of this year and as soon as I started developing for it I saw that RIM was really committed to developers. They provide all the tools, SDKs, frameworks and support for you to create the most awesome apps.

They saw that if you don’t have a developer community that is excited about the future they just can’t continue with their business since after Apple introduced the App Store consumers got addicted to apps and if a platform doesn’t have the apps the need/want they just go to another one. Everyone at The Jam was extremely excited about BlackBerry 10 and how innovative it will be.

I talked to some people there, from business mans that were there only to see the next step from Rim, to developers from other platforms that were thinking about migrating to BlackBerry. The business people were really excited about the new UI/UX of BB10 and how great it will be for multitasking. The developers were really excited too about the UI/UX, but a lot more about how easy it was to develop gorgeous apps for it.

One interesting quote that I got there was from a awesome Android/iOS developer that said: “I submitted a FREE app to Google Play. It made a good success there, but in about a month there was a exact clone of my app being sold on Google Play and other app stores for Android.” He was there because he loved how RIM really cared about developers (which is not true for Apple and Google).

The Dev Alpha

Another thing that RIM did right.

I was one of the lucky developers that was able to get a Dev Alpha (What is the Dev Alpha?). The idea behind distributing prototypes for developers is just amazing. I’m the kind of developer that hates emulators and only develop using real hardware. That’s why the Dev Alpha was a must for me, so I could start developing for BB10.

This is really a awesome idea that we don’t see very often: OEMs distributing prototypes for developers so they can start building their apps to make sure that when the platform is really for commercial release there will be a great selection of apps available on day one.

Monetization

One of the most awesome talks from the BlackBerry 10 Jam, in my opinion, was about monetization of apps in the App World and how it’s proven (by those analytics and research companies) that BlackBerry developers make more money than the average Android/iOS developer.

I totally agree with this because everyone knows that the piracy rates on Android are absurd and the fact that for some strange reason the average Android user doesn’t like to spend money on apps (even if it’s just 99 cents). On the iOS side piracy is a bit of a concern too, but less than on Android.

When we compare to BlackBerry piracy isn’t a big concern since RIM is very well-known for having the best security on their products, also as they showed on the conference the average BlackBerry user loves to download apps and think it is ok to pay for apps that are good and fit their needs.

Conclusion

RIM is really making their path into the future and will definitely survive this phase and get the 3rd place on the mobile market, since I really can’t see Windows Phone going forward with all these bad decisions from Microsoft, how they can’t get outside developers into their platform, and how they are having problems with OEMs to get onboard. (poor Nokia, no updates for you…)

UNIX Fragmentation 2.0: Android

First of all, let me introduce you briefly to the UNIX fragmentation: Before Linux was around (1991 Linus released the version 0.01 of the Linux kernel) there was a huge problem on the UNIX-based operating systems, since they were all proprietary and each OEM had their own version of the OS. It was common that some softwares would not be able to run on all the UNIX variations which caused a lot of trouble at the time since if you were a company buying computers you had to know if the computer you were buying was compatible with the software you had to run. You can read more about the history of UNIX if you want. I’ve learned about the history of Linux and the open source movement from two books: Just for Fun and Rebel Code.

Now, if you look carefully and you’ll notice that the same is happening with Android, maybe less intensive since software may run on different "distributions of Android" (aka different Android versions made for a particular device) but it’s happening. In this article I’ll be talking about this new era of UNIX/Linux fragmentation in two main areas: UI fragmentation (skins), version fragmentation (OEMs holding the source code) and how Google doesn’t care about their app developers.

UI Fragmentation

One of the most visible fragmentation issues of Android is the UI fragmentation. OEMs are (still) thinking that Android is just the smartphone version of the old Java ME-based OS they used on their feature phones. They are skinning Android just like they skinned their feature phone OS.

These skins are creating a huge issue among consumers because since they are not geeks, like us, they think that Android is something like a platform that manufactures use to run smartphone apps, most of them don’t even know its built by Google. These customers also get a little confused when they switch to a newer smartphone, from a different OEM, and the skin of the OS is completely different from the one they were previously used to.

Skins are terrible for the Android ecosystem, but most of them added some really great features, for example the “slide to call/text” from TouchWiz. These improvements to Android UX in my opinion shouldn’t be embedded into these crap bloatwares, but instead should be pushed to Android’s tree (remember the Open Handset Alliance?) to be used on all Android-based devices since they’ll improve the end user experience with the OS.

Version Fragmentation

I don’t know which one is worst: UI fragmentation or version fragmentation, but I think it’s more likely to be the version one.

This problem is completely Google’s fault, even Google itself had problems with Android’s version fragmentation: Google Chrome for Android only runs on Android 4.0+.

Time passed and Google hasn’t come with any solution to Android’s biggest issue, and they know that the only way to correct this is by making pressure on OEMs to only announce new devices if they are running the latest version, and impose tight timelines to update all the older devices that are capable of running the stock version of the latest major release if they want to continue having access to Google Play on their phones. Don’t come to me saying that there is also the carrier problem because there isn’t any carrier problem, Apple updates their devices to the latest version from day one. You know why this is possible? Simple: Apple told the carriers to fuck off. They imposed to the carriers that their OS shouldn’t be bloated, so carriers couldn’t include their crapware with it. As I said previously: Pure stock crapwareless Android is always the solution.

Version fragmentation is extremely frustrating since all those awesome features (and UI) that Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean have are currently available (stock experience) in one single mass-market device: The Galaxy Nexus.

This is a very serious issue on Android because its making app developers stuck with their innovations, which doesn’t happen on the iOS side. Everyday we see awesome iOS apps, with innovations in UI and UX, getting released for iOS, but we don’t see the same happening with Android mostly for one reason: Developers need to make their app compatible with older Android versions.

Developer Relations

Google doesn’t care about app developers. A great example is how we don’t see a lot of official Android developer evangelists around the internet, another example is how there is only one language you can use to develop you apps: Java. HTML5 is the future of mobile, and desktop, applications and Google is just ignoring this. Developing a PhoneGap app for BlackBerry or iOS is great and you don’t have serious problems like CSS properties or drafts that weren’t implemented, but on Android this is completely different, the terrible CSS3/Javascript animation rendering issue that is still open and yet not addressed.

The only company that I see that is doing a great job on this area is RIM. They care about their app developers because they know that users want not just awesome smartphones, but awesome smartphones with a lot of awesome apps they can download. A great example of this is how they support natively Java, Flex/Flash, HTML5 and C/C++. They even created a awesome mobile UI/UX framework for HTML5 apps called bbUI.js.

Conclusion

Everyday Android feels a lot more like vaporware for me. I’ve stopped using my Android phones on a daily basis and I don’t think I’ll ever start using them daily again. I’ve stopped developing for Android and now I’m almost fully committed to the platform I’m loving most, and felling more comfortable, to develop to: BlackBerry.

There is a Market For The Nokia PureView

Today I remembered about the Nokia PureView because of The Verge’s sample pictures and videos, and I after thinking about the concept of that phone for a while I finally understood the potential market, besides their fan base, that they might be aiming at with that device.

First of all when Nokia unveiled the PureView at this year CES my first impression was really bad, since I’ll never ever understand camera phones. Also it was running Symbian, which for sure was the best choice since Microsoft would never let them customize Windows Phone to their pixel needs and because this was really on development for at least 2 years. Another thing that I noticed was that it was extremely thick, making it really a camera also does phone calls. This happened because of the entire camera mechanics they used, which impressed me a lot because of the way they did it, by inverting the way the lens moves instead of just doing like any point-and-shoot camera, in and out, they made the lens go up and down, removing the need of that popup lenses.

But now I saw that this product was targeted at people like for example journalists (more specifically from the independent media) so they wouldn’t need to carry a camera with them while they are at a conference or just out gathering information for their article. I realised this after I started thinking about how many times I saw journalists using iPhones/point-and-shoot cameras to capture photo, video, or audio for their job.

I hope Nokia can get some attraction to this new device because I really liked it after realizing this.

Conclusions From The Microsoft Surface Keynote

I’m watching the Microsoft keynote at the same time as I write this, so if I commit any error just put it in the comments.

List of problems with the Microsoft Surface:

  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Confusing products (ARM and Intel)
  • No pricing confirmed

The 16:9 aspect ratio for a 10” tablet is the worst one you could ever use and still Android manufactures and Microsoft thinks it’s a great thing. It’s just impossible to feel comfortable with a 10” 16:9 tablet in your hands while in portrait and the same happens for landscape. Every time I get my ASUS Eee Pad Slider to do something I immediately want to go back to my iPad.

Having the same name for completely different products that look exactly the same is the worst thing Microsoft could ever do. They made a professional tablet, using a Intel chip, running Windows 8 Pro (another terrible name) that “might be capable” of running all those those so called “classic” applications. And another tablet that looks just the same but with a ARM chip and running Windows RT, and won’t be capable of running “classic” applications, which I’ve already discussed how it will be a nightmare on a past article.

The last thing that wasn’t presented and also haven’t talked about is the availability. I’m almost sure it won’t be available on developing nations like Brazil neither countries that don’t have Microsoft Stores.

Anyway I won’t be buying one of these because I seriously don’t care about Windows anymore, it’s boring since Windows Vista and it’s still boring, but now it will be a lot worst with all the fragmentation problems that are going to come with the release of Windows 8 and Windows RT.

Some interesting quotes I selected:

We believe that any intersection between human and machine can be made better when hardware and software are considered together.

Looks a lot like the Apple approach huh?

Take the mouse. Windows needed one, so we built one. Early reviews were not very positive — in fact, it was so new that Canadian customs quarantined it.

I won’t comment on this one.

"I say perfect a lot — it’s part of our team culture."

I still remember Windows Vista.. Also that’s not part of your team, it’s more part of the Apple team.

We took the time to get Surface and Windows 8 right. To do something that was really different and really special. We’re proud of the Surface like we’re proud of Windows 8. Because of Windows 8, the Surface is a PC, it is a tablet… it’s something new.

Looks like a Transformer Prime running Windows 8 for me…

Using bbUI’s onscreenready and ondomready to Dynamically Change Your HTML

I started playing a bit with BlackBerry development these days and since I’m not the best at Java (also hate how it’s difficult to do simple things with it) I choose their awesome framework for HTML5 native web development called WebWorks. I really loved it because it’s like PhoneGap, but a lot easier to build plugins (extensions on WebWorks) for it to make your native WebApp feel a lot more native.

Another great thing that RIM did to make the life of WebWorks developers easier and create apps that are exactly like native ones is a Javascript framework called bbUI.js, which is like jQuery Mobile, but seriously, it’s a lot more than just a UI framework. It makes it a lot easier to interact with the OS, override the back button for example, and makes your development cycle look a lot with native development by using screens. On this post I’ll teach you how to dynamically manipulate the screen’s HTML before it’s processed by the bbUI library.

One of the first things that you’ll notice after you start working with bbUI is that it’s not just a collection Javascript functions and CSS stylings, it actually reformat and customize your screen’s HTML before it’s shown to the user. As an example, this simple image-list item declaration in your screen HTML source looks like this:

After it’s processed by the library and shown to the user it will look like this:

Hopefully we can easily manipulate our screen elements and other things before and after it’s processed by bbUI. This is done with the bb.init() function (you can always read more at their documentation). This will be called when the application starts and can be used to listen to events like when a screen is loaded. The main ones are onscreenready and ondomready.

onscreenready: This event will be fired before the sources get processed by the library, so here is where you should manipulate, add or remove things from your HTML source using Javascript, so after it’s done the code will be passed to bbUI to be processed.

ondomready: This event will be fired when the screen finished loading and it has been already processed by bbUI and shown to the user. Here you can put things like alerts and other things that will be used to interact with the user, also some little editing to the screen’s source like renaming a field grabbing some information from a field and etc.

Here is a example of a bb.init() call:

The code is almost self-explanatory. The id is the name, second argument, you gave to a screen when you call it to be processed, for example bb.pushScreen(“screen/main.html”, “main”). And element is the screen source code, which is used to be manipulated before the screen is loaded.

A little problem that some developers might come across while using bbUI for the first time is that when you want to append or change the HTML of the screen before it’s processed by bbUI you might write your code like if the HTML was already loaded onto the screen, but it’s not. Here is an example of a code that won’t work, used to populate a image-list and then show a button that was hidden (using jQuery):

The main problem here is that it’s using document as the source to be manipulated. Since bbUI still hasn’t appended the screen into the document it will give you an error. In order to correct this you should replace document with element, that is passed by the onscreenready event. If you have any jQuery code, just add element as a context argument as shown below in the corrected code:

That’s it! Now you know how to use the onscreenready and ondomready events to dynamically insert or modify your bbUI screen’s. Any questions or suggestions just leave a comment and I’ll reply as soon as possible.

instapaper:

Instapaper is now available for Android devices, including the Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet, and Nook Color!

I partnered with my friends at Mobelux, a great development shop, to create and maintain an official Android version of Instapaper. From Mobelux’s blog:

We’ve taken great care to…

Finally it came out for Android.

Stephen King and eBooks

"I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts, I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book."

After Stephen King made that announced all the news sites when crazy to report it. I got the news pretty fast since my Twitter feed got flooded with the news coming from the most varied sources. When I started reading the articles about it I got shocked, how someone can do such thing in the middle of the eBook revolution? A lot of people, like me, prefer to read on eReaders than on the actual book, also there are a lot of people that prefer because it’s easier and more convenient to buy and digest the content of the eBooks.

I know that Mr. King (and Mrs. Rowling in the past too) is extremely famous and has the power to decide such thing, but letting a entire segment of the market, which was already used to your eBooks, without your new piece is just unfair. Many authors make this move because of disagreements with online stores, but those usually don’t affect well-known authors, usually just the small ones that really need to generate some revenue from their eBook sales.

eBooks seriously revolutionized the 600 years old industry. For the first time in the history we can buy books on affordable prices and with extreme comfort, this made the reading habits of many grow, which contributes to this generation to have more access to culture. Denying or delaying too much the release of an eBook is an act of denying knowledge and culture. The eBook revolution is future and in the future there is no place for paper.

Sources (to read more about the news): The Verge, BBC, LitReactor, Revolução eBook

BlackBerry application install logic reminds me of another very old OS called Windows…

Made with Paper

How To Setup And Use NativeControls In PhoneGap

NativeControls

As many might know the most used plugins in PhoneGap for iOS are NativeControls and ChildBrowser, but installing plugins is a bit tricky and you can’t easily find this kind of help around the internet, for example in my case I’ve learned by reading about plugins installation in PhoneGap and doing tests, so on this post I’ll cover the entire setup and usage of NativeControls (but you can use this for any other plugin in the iOS repo) in a very simple and informative way that even a PhoneGap beginner can understand. I’ll assume that you’ve already had installed and configured the Xcode environment on your Mac and is familiarized with the latest version of it. The first thing you must do is download the phonegap-plugins repo archive and extract it anywhere you like. Now go to the extracted folder and go to iPhone/NativeControls and copy the NativeControls.h and NativeControls.m to the //Plugins folder on Xcode, then move the NativeControls.js to your desired place in the www folder. After all this copying and pasting you must open your PhoneGap.plist under //Supporting Files and add a new item to the Plugins array with the Key and Value NativeControls and the Type String, at the end your project should look something like this:

Xcode

Now you’re ready to start diving into the code. The first thing you should do is include the required Javascript files into your index HTML source in this order:

The next thing to do is go to your main Javascript file, which contains the onDeviceReady event set and put the NativeControls initialization code there. On this example we are going to use the TabBar component to output something like this:

TabBar

As you might have noticed I’m using the Glyphish Pro icon pack there, which you can get for $25, but it’s worth every cent, since it’s such a complete icon pack for your TabBars and more. First of all you should initialize a NativeControls variable and create a assign a TabBar to it using this code:

Then you can start creating a icon/button for a tab using this JSON structure:

The first item is the name variable, the second is the icon label, the third is the icon path and the last one is a function that should be called every time icon is clicked. Be aware that you should insert the icon path relative to the project folder! About retina icons I really encourage you to check out this explanation on how to organize them. After you added all the icons you want to the TabBar you should show it in the screen. Then start to place the icons (the order you declare on this function they will get placed) and finally assign a TabBar to be active as the app is fired, just like this:

If you want you can choose from the pre-defined TabBar icons that Apple include by default on their SDK by using these keywords as the icon item:

  • tabButton:More
  • tabButton:Favorites
  • tabButton:Featured
  • tabButton:TopRated
  • tabButton:Recents
  • tabButton:Contacts
  • tabButton:History
  • tabButton:Bookmarks
  • tabButton:Search
  • tabButton:Downloads
  • tabButton:MostRecent
  • tabButton:MostViewed

Remember that the label will be unusable since these will overwrite it, but you should put something on the label item or it won’t work. I’ve uploaded the full source code to my Gist and you can check it out at Example of NativeControls in PhoneGap. After all this hard work you’re ready to compile your application and test it. If you followed the instructions correctly everything should work. If anything goes wrong please drop us a comment and will be my pleasure to help you. Also leave a comment with your thoughts on this article or suggestions.

Do We Really Need Choices?

My daily use gadgets + my iPhone that was used to take this photo

Disclaimer: If you’re a Android fan boy close this window right now.

I’ve been a truly Android fan boy for 2 years and a Apple hater for 5 years, but this year I did the impossible: Bought an iPad, a Macbook Pro and an iPhone. This acquisitions really changed the way that I saw Android and all the other platforms that I loved. On this article I’ll be talking a bit about the most used argument by Android users to say that their platform is better: Choice. They say that you there are a variety of devices on the market that runs their OS so you can choose the one you like most, also that you can customize Android, flash new ROMs and tweak everything you want of it. While Apple… Yeah, you know how closed they are.

I want to start this sentence by making you deeply think “Do we really need choices?”, I’m sure that if you think really deep on this you will end up in the same point I had. We don’t really need to have choices, all we need is a smartphone that has apps, games, email, phone, etc. (the same principles as the first generation smartphones like my old Nokia E61).

After thinking about this I realized that this got dramatically stronger with tablets. People are buying tablets and don’t even know what they will do with them. When someone asks me which is the best tablet from them I ask “What are you going to use it for?” and everyone is like “Really… I don’t know”. This happens on phones too, people just buy a new phone for no reason. And all this non-sense arrives at choices. No one really want a “different phone”, people just buy the phone that looks cool, don’t matter if it has a 5″ or a 3.5″ screen, if it runs Android, Symbian, Blackberry OS or iOS, they will buy it anyway. Do you really think that “normal persons” (which means people that aren’t tech savvy) will customize their Android phones? Of course not, they won’t install a new launcher, they will only change the wallpaper and add some widgets to the home screen and that’s all!

Apple is doing it right by restricting the users to the same screen size/ratio and keeping the design of their hardware and software almost the same since the first generations of their devices (this includes iPods, iPhones and Macs) is the best way to go. A great example of this on Android is the Nexus lineup, the “pure Google experience”. Those devices get the updates first and have the interface that Google originally made (which means no skins on top of it, just pure vanilla), just because they “locked” the user options into one line of (geeky) products that they can easily manage, which leads to the biggest problem that Android has today: Fragmentation.

All these “choices” are leading to awful experience on the software side and on the developer side. An example of the user experience side is that Dead Space works on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, but it won’t on the GSM version, don’t forget that we are talking about a Nexus phone, which should be the less-fragmented experience possible. On the developer side it’s very very awful because you must design your app to work on all the different screen sizes/ratios, hardware and also skins that companies love to put on their devices.

If you’re a gadget freak, like me, that buys a lot of devices, you might have already felt the same as I’ve described on this article. We don’t need more choices, we need more standards.

This is an old article from my old blog that I moved to here

The Raspberry Pi Will Bring Fun To Computers Again

I was browsing the Raspberry Pi forums these days and I came across a very interesting thread titled PC’s Are Boring. I read all the posts until that moment and started reflecting about that statement. The thread starter was completely right about this, PC’s (which I understand for computers that run Windows or Linux, excluding Macs) are really boring, that’s why the mobile industry is so amazing these days, because people stopped changing their computers every 1/2 years and started changing their mobiles.

A lot of the users on the forum were talking about “the old times” of the Commodore and Atari when you felt like you had power over the machine and today you’re just part of a mainstream movement. Also they were talking about how “normal people” are discouraged to program because are afraid they can break the computer (which isn’t true of course, but that’s what the average user thinks) and how the price of the Raspberry Pi could help people to get into Linux or programming. They are completely right, as soon as the Pi comes out a lot of programmers are going to rush to get their hands on one (I am very excited to get my hands on one too) and possibly a lot of people that want to start programming will get it too.

The RPi will make the feeling of having power over the machine come back again. The best example I can give is my own. I’ve never been so excited for a “computer” since the first dual cores came out, I’m thinking about the awesome things that I could do with it like: Making my own Linux-powered tablet (which is completely possible), porting new Linux distros to it, porting other OSes to it and even making my own distro only for the Raspberry Pi.

I’m sure all the geeks are very excited waiting for the release and wondering all they could do as soon as they get their hands on it. Leave a comment below with your opinion or ideas. If you want to keep in touch to the latest news about the board just visit their blog and don’t forget to contribute on the forums.

This is an old article from my old blog that I moved to here

My Dream Reading Device

My dream device

Today I was reading some of the 109 articles saved on my Pocket account and I thought about something that I would love: A tablet running a fully customized (for stability and lightness) version of Android sporting a awesome e-ink display. As soon as possible I posted it on Google+, since I really wanted to philosophize more on this idea I’ve wrote this article.

Why e-ink?

First of all, if you’re going to read for long periods of time the LCD screen is just going to burn your eyes, that’s why e-ink is the best alternative. Second, if you ever owned a Kindle (I own the DX, and the new non touch screen version), or any other e-ink device, you know that the experience is incredibly great. I know the refresh rate is a con, but seriously there are a lot more pros and also this technology is still evolving.

What about a touch screen?

Maybe, but I would buy the non-touch screen version because on a reading device I prefer to navigate and switch pages using physical buttons, also be able to holding it anyway I want without worrying about touching the screen by accident.

Why not just root a Nook Simple Touch?

Yeah, the Nook Simple Touch can be rooted and turn into a “fully functional” e-ink Android tablet, the problem is fairly simple: The lack of Android e-ink optimized apps. That’s why if a startup start this trend and it gets some attraction of reading addicts I’m sure developers of big reading apps for Android will optimize their applications for this new category. Also the interface isn’t actually optimized, it’s just a lighter version of ADW Launcher with some tweaks, nothing drastically changed from stock Android, and for this kind of screen a UI with more contrast and less mid-tones is a must.

What’s your proposed interface for this device?

This is my sketch of the perfect UI for it, made with Paper (sorry for my terrible drawing skills):

UI Sketch

The interface is pretty clean and extremely usable (also it looks a bit with the Kindle interface). The status bar will only show the name of the user and a clock. Below the status bar is the app drawer, I thought about it as just a simple collection of the application names (scrollable if you have more applications than it can fit on the screen). The last piece is the actual running application itself.

There is market for such product?

That’s a difficult question to answer, but as far as everyone can see the eReader/eBook market is growing exponentially and I think a lot of customers would give it a try if it was presented to them.

What you might end up doing?

As I wait until this dream reading device becomes true I’ll buy a Nook Simple Touch, root it, customize the OS to make everything with high contrast, and start developing that launcher from scratch.

What are your thoughts about this dream device? Any suggestions about it? Leave a comment.

We Don’t Need Another SIM Standard

Three days ago I received my first BlackBerry development device, a Torch. As I said, it will be just a development device, so I have to use it for a while to learn how the apps look like and how they feel, so I can start to develop/port applications to the OS. Why I told all this story? Simple, I use a microSIM on my iPhone, so I had to purchase a converter to use it on my BlackBerry, because it’s the SIM my carrier automatically activated the BlackBerry Internet Services. The day I had to buy the converter I remembered the new nanoSIM project and thought: “The problem isn’t SIM design, it’s the SIM itself”.

We don’t need another SIM design, we need to get rid of the SIM. It’s a 1998 that just got little updates over time. We are moving everything to the cloud (I know a lot of people hate this term, but I don’t care, I like it), our contacts, files, photos, our entire lives, why not all the informations the carrier needs to authenticate our plan?

The idea is fairly simple: Just as I have to register a username and password to have BIS (BlackBerry Internet Services) with my carrier, just make this for everyone on the carrier, as soon as you get your first phone/plan you register a username/password and all your information gets stored on the carrier. When you turn your phone ON, it connects to the carrier and ask you for the credentials, if they are valid it will download all the information and get your plan up and running.

What’s your opinion about this idea? Any thoughts about this topic? Leave a comment, I love to read and respond to them.

Why is it so Difficult to Think in The Connected Era?

This week I woke up with a awesome idea: Almost an entire first chapter of a sci-fi book, so I decided that I should wrote this book. Also I always had this desire of writing an entire book that would include all my theories about the society.

A week passed and all my progress at the time is 2 pages (A4). What happened? It’s difficult to have more ideas. On the era that we are connected 24/7 and work, studies and all our “offline” activities consume our time, minds and ideas, it’s difficult to think since our minds and thoughts are occupied with other “more important” activities. That’s why most of my great ideas and thoughts come to my mind while I’m not connected or doing any other activity (not that I haven’t mentioned “worried” about the activities), they usually come when I’m going to sleep, taking a bath or on the car. A great example is this article itself, I thought and wrote it on the car.

So here is a tip to end this story: If you want to have more/better ideas all you have to do is go “offline” and try to distract yourself from any other activity that might keep you away of thinking. Listening to a so g you love is also a good idea to have ideas.

Do you have the same problem of having ideas because of all the activities and distractions of the connected era? I would love to hear your opinion.