Category : Mobile

Facebook Officially Launches “Places”

As previously documented, Facebook has released its first ever location based service, Places, according to Mashable. This application is directly available on the iPhone only at the moment, though other smartphone users can access Places by using the site. Android and Blackberry editions will eventually be released though no set dates have been announced.

Facebook users will be able to share their location with friends, locate where other friends using Places are, and find new locations near them. Specifically, capabilities will include: adding places, checking in to existing locations, and tagging friends who you are with.

This service will be launched across the entire United States within a few days, though international launch dates have yet to be determined. Facebook plans on making data available for developers. Gowalla, Foursquare, and Booyah have been sited as applications who will load data back into Places.

Businesses have much to gain from this new feature by adding their location. Places may be claimed by official representatives only and will require and official document (business license or accreditation).

In terms of privacy, always a Facebook concern, CEO Mark Zuckerberg assured naysayers that it is designed to share places with friends, not the entire Facebook world. However, checkins will be displayed on your profile by default. Additionally, similar to being tagged in photos, friends have the capability to tag you without your permission. This can be disabled by adjustment within the “Customize settings” option. As with all profile content, users can decide who views their check ins.

The capability to report false information, abusive behavior, duplicate content or a closed business is also available through flagging content, though it will not be removed immediately.

Users should be sure to revisit their privacy settings before engaging in this new feature. Overall, Places will certainly provide a new outlook on how we can utilize this social network in the future.

Apple Introduces iPhone 4, Mayhem Ensues

“This changes everything. Again.”

During Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference held last week, Steve Jobs (re-)introduced the world to the new iPhone 4, set to be released on June 24, 2010. According to Jobs, the latest incarnation is “the biggest leap since the original iPhone,” and with over 100 new features and an overwhelming number of new fans, this just might be true.

Arguably, The Top 5 new features on the iPhone 4:

  • At a mere 9.3mm, it’s the thinnest smartphone ever.
  • While the screen remains 3.5 inches long, iPhone 4 packs 4x as many pixels (960×640) as its predecessor. At 361dpi, it has a display denser than the human retina can distinguish at arms-length, thus Jobs dubbing it the “retina display.”
  • iOS 4 = multi-tasking abilities. Many.
  • A major camera upgrade: 5 megapixels, 5x digital zoom, backlighting, an LED flash (finally) and the coolest 2way camera concept ever…
  • Front and back-facing camera lenses, allowing for the debut of Apple video calling, or “FaceTime”, which will run on Wi-Fi and allow everyone that calls you with an iPhone 4 to see you (through the front lens) or see what you are looking at (through the back.)

So how do you get your hands on one of these fabulous little gadgets? Good luck.

With pre-ordering opening to the public yesterday, June 15, Apple out did themselves yet again by selling a record breaking 600,000 iPhone 4’s in one day, subsequently selling out, and then shutting down. With debut pre-order sales reaching 10x what they did last year with the debut of the iPhone 3Gs, both Apple and AT&T have been forced to suspend pre-ordering indefinitely.

Check out this slideshow of the 14 best tweets about the iPhone 4 FAIL.

Is Flash No Longer Necessary?

This week Steve Jobs of Apple published long open letter on Flash in which he goes over all the reasons why Apple does not support flash.

This letter goes through 6 reasons why they have decided not to use flash.

Here is a short list of what was said.

  • Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe along with their future enhancement, pricing, etc.
  • Almost all the videos are available in a more modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads.
  • Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009.
  • 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.
  • Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers.
  • We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.

If you would like to check out the full letter click here.

Looking over this list there are few good points but also couple really bad ones. I understand the battery life, that is very important with the smart phones, no one wants to have a 5 hour phone. As far as security I disagree, I have been using flash since it first came out and I have yet to have an security issue. No one really watches flash videos anymore, that’s why there is YouTube. The whole thing about flash being proprietary, which business isn’t, Apple? Issue of the mouse rollover, that is not the Flash problem that is Apple developers problem, due to the fact that they have to figure out how it works. So overall in my opinion I think this letter is pretty useless and full of excuses. Me as a user would like to see flash on it just because most of the major websites are created partially using flash, so it is a inconvenience to me as a apple iPhone user.

Let me know how you feel about this.

Top Google Pranks This April Fools 2010

1. Google Changes It’s Name to Topeka

In response to the City of Topeka’s announcement that it is changing its name to Google for the month of April, Google has in return decided to change it’s name to Topeka. Not quite sure this is true? Just Topeka it.

2. Where Am I? Pluto.

Smartphone users that log on to Google Maps and type “Where am I?” into the search bar might be surprised to find that they are further away from their intended location than they thought. Google Maps users will find that instead of receiving the usual latitude and longitude coordinates, they are receiving answers like “Neptune,” “Apollo 17 landing site,” and “Mordor, Middle Earth.”

3. Your World Now in 3D

When using the Street View on Google Maps, users are given the option to view their location in 3D. Unfortunately for me, I forgot my 3D glasses at home today and haven’t been able to test this out for myself, but having spoken to a reliable source, I know that this works.  Just zoom to street level, click on the orange icon wearing the red/ blue glasses and watch as your world becomes 3D.

Are you on that phone, again?

Those of you who regularly read my posts (are there any of you?) would know that I am an NPR junkie. This morning I heard a great piece on the prevalence of young blacks and latinos using mobile devices. When I went online to hear it again (I said junkie), I happened upon this great chart too!

Chart: Mobile phone usage by ethnicity (English-speaking Hispanic, White, Black)

In case you are lazy, the piece definesfour major reasons for this statistical fact.

1. 24/7 accessibility for teens

2. It’s cheaper than buying a computer and internet access

3. Better than long-distance, it keeps you connected to family outside the US

4. Convenience – You can bring it anywhere. As one young interviewee describes: you’re not always going to be able to take your laptop everywhere you go.

Something to consider next time someone asks you – “So, what do you think of mobile advertising?”