Skype on the iPhone

So that rumor was true.  I downloaded the Skype app from the iTunes store.  It only works over the WiFi connection, so AT&T continues to get its blood money/minutes.

One feature that is missing is support of Bluetooth headsets. I want to talk to my Skype friends hands free using my Jabra headset.  Hopefully the folks at Skype will have that fixed in the next version.

New iPhone hardware rumors

Apple has changed the rules for the Rev 2, 3G iPhone sales. Customers can buy “unlimited quantities” without the AT&T contract that subsides the price.  This is the same tactic Apple used to clear out Rev 1 hardware before they announced the 3G iPhone.

The Apple Developers Conference, June 8-12, would be a good place announce a new rev of the iPhone hardware that will use the new firmware to the best advantage.  Apple could use a new iPhone to offset the Palm Pre and new Android phones.

New Skype on the iPhone rumors

From GigaOM we have the latest rumors about a Skype application for the iPhone. The buzz is that it will be announced next week.  I’ll believe it when I see it on the iTunes app store.

Cell carriers are going to start coming around to the reality that for smart phone users, they are a data carrier.  Voice is secondary and they want greater flexibility.

Update: Ok, I believe it.  I downloaded the Skype app from the iTunes app store today.  It only works over WiFi, but if you can get a WiFi connection, you can talk to your Skype buddies without AT&T having anything to do with it.

New Android Phones

The makers of the G1 announce that they are working on three new Android based phones.

Details only on one.  About the same size as the G1, but no physical keyboard.

I’m interested to see how Google responds to the latest iPhone firmware announcement.

Android as a Netbook OS

There has been grumbling about the lack of cell phone platforms available for Google’s Android OS. Perhaps it is because the cell phone platform was just a Beta test for Android.

Rumors about Android being targeted for Netbooks have been around for a while.  Well, it’s not a rumor anymore.  Android has been successfully loaded on an Asus Eee PC 1000H Netbook.

A low overhead, open source OS with the backing of the Google brand behind it.   This could be bad news for Micosoft’s sales projections of Windows7 in the Netbook space.  Consumers who are not comfortable with the current alternate of a LINUX based OS would feel more comfortable with a Google branded OS. (Yes, I know Android is LINUX based, but I’m talking marketing here, not the technical aspect.)

The fact that Google has made Android open source, means no OS licencing fee.  The Microsoft licensing fee is a big cut into the profit margin of any netbook sold running XP, Vista or Windows7 in the future.

Add Chrome to the mix, Google’s browser, which many feel was designed more as a platform for cloud based applications than a general purpose browser and you have a platform that fullfills many of the basic functions that users have.   Google has added the “offline” feature” to gmail and their calendar app.  I expect tasks and Google docs to follow soon.

Here is a senario to consider, using your Android cell phone’s G3 connection as the Internet connection for your Android netbook.  The Android to Android connection could be over Bluetooth, WiFi or even a USB cable.

Details on Palm’s new OS

The OS is called WebOS and is LINUX based. Applications will be written in CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.  The SDK should be interesting when it comes out.

The new Palm Pre, due out in the first half of this year, has some really nice features.  These include a Replaceable battery, and a MicroUSB connector for charging, with USB 2.0 support. This is on top of the standards, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, various sensors, a sharp screen.

The biggest stopping block to the Pre being a game changer is having it locked to the Sprint network.  As soon as it becomes available on other networks, it could be a interesting challenge to the iPhone.

Microsoft rumored to announce their own smartphone

Microsoft has been in the smartphone business for a while, but only as a software vendor with their WinCE OS (ok, so Microsoft calls it “Windows Mobile” now, but the WinCE name is so descriptive).  

There are rumors circulating that Microsoft will be announcing their own smartphone hardware.

Microsoft already produces hardware, the Zune being the closest to what they need for a smartphone platform.  How the current hardware vendors who sell phones with the Microsoft smart phone OS will react to Microsoft starting to compete with them in the hardware arena.

Non-Safari browsers for the iPhone

Apple is now allowing third party browsers on the iPhone.

Don’t get too excited, these are all Safari based browsers.  

When I can load Opera, Chrome or Firefox on my iPhone, that will be a real crack in Apple’s control over the device.

The Palm Pre

Palm has announced their new smartphone, the Pre.   It’s not out yet, but it does look interesting.  Big color screen, a slide out physical keyboard, WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G, calendar/email synch, accelerometer, 3 Megapixil camera, 8 Gig RAM, USB connector and support for additional add on memory.  

It looks like Palm is stepping up the plate in challenging the iPhone and phones using Google’s Android OS.   It will be interesting to see how the OS holds up under actual use and the application support.  Palm has a very deep application pool to draw from.  How compatible this OS is with the API for the old OS will effect how much of that application pool the Pre can draw from.

Palm’s new OS

Palm has been working on a new OS for the past four years, code named Nova.  The rumor is that it will be released at the Consumer Electronics Show in early 2009.

A Palm executive makes an interesting observation in BusinessWeek, “The next 10 years is all about the transition from notebooks to mobile computing.”

Palm’s strategy is to not go over the business market (dominated by Blackberry devices) or the high end “strong mobile media experience” (where the iPhone rules), but the “fat middle of the market” of users who want a mobile Internet device/Phone, but don’t need/want to watch movies on a tiny screen.

It sounds like a good plan, except for one fly in the ointment.  That is the same market space Google is going after with their Android OS.