Last week’s mobile world mash-up

by Andi
phones phones phones

Last week has been full of rumors and news about the mobile world.

The first big announcement was the introduction of a touch interface for Series60. Then, first as a rumor and then as a reality, the Darwin SDK for the iPhone has been revealed. Not too long thereafter, Steve Jobs made us understand that all future iPhone applications will require certificates, and will be fully controlled via iTunes. Add the new patent filing for Microsoft’s new touch WM interface, and you get news from all important mobile device camps.

Read on for debates, suppositions and suggestions.

The touch interface for s60 came as a disappointment to me, because it’s my favorite flavor of smartphone OS and it was good as it was. It looks quite iPhonish with all the fade/zoom effects, and some parts are easy to operate with the finger. However, I’ve seen that there still are several elements that still require the use of a stylus. This somehow shows that Nokia won’t be releasing too many ‘only-touch’ devices, as nothing can beat buttons. Ok, they’ve got haptic feedback, it vibrates when you ‘press’ a ‘button’. But I’d really love to see how you can type without looking at the ‘keyboard’.

Touch UI will not require the recompilation of older programs, and it will work with them. However, they will release an ‘UI accelerator SDK’ which will allow software companies to create programs that will make full use of the new interface. The best new feature is -again- the browser; now it will have full AJAX and flash-video support.

What troubles me with all this flashiness and eye-candy is the required computing power. They will have to stick some more powerful CPU’s in the devices, and that generally means greater power requirements. It would be nice to have a good battery life in smartphones too.

Here’s a demonstration video of the new interface:

The second big piece of news is the confirmation of a SDK for the iPhone. Steve Jobs himself wrote about it in the ‘Hot News’ section at apple, and proved once more how much he knows about the mobile world and its works: just as much as Walt Mossberg – nada. Before shouting about my (obvious and admitted) bias, please do some research and counter me with facts.

The most important thing is that the iPhone will actually be turned into a real smartphone, officially. The first thing that just hasto be done is bluetooth keyboard support. Then, an Office suite, native IM and so on. Of course, all of these will be under Apple’s control and sold at a presumably high price via iTunes, but at least they’ll be there. So, a cheer for the iPhone, this time. (yes, this post is written by me).

Then, the Nokia N810 was announced. Another Internet tablet. These devices can already be called UMPC’s, in my opinion. While they’re impractical from several points of view (too small for a computer, too big for a PDA or phone, no phone function etc), they have a lot of advantages too.
For instance, in that package you get full AJAX, flash video and all the other fancy stuff a browser can do (Mozilla-based, by the way), you have SIP telephony with web conferencing, chat, and now a full keyboard too. The biggest drawback of this device is the lack of coverage. Even if WLAN coverage is ever-expanding, it’s not universally available.

That’d be it. The first two matters are really important. Let’s hope that the companies will make the right steps: toward a better user and abuser experience. For some amusement, look at how clueless this man is. But still, he’s got a point… A good one. About the tyranny of course..

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