Mobile Computing Archive

Broadcast TV via the Internet

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 tablet

Tablets and smartphones could end up as the place to watch TV and you don’t need a tuner module

I have noticed that every traditional TV broadcaster that is running a “catch-up TV” platform is now streaming their regular TV channels live over the Internet using this platform. It is primarily pitched at those of us who use smartphones, tablets or laptops to view TV content “on the road” without the need for a TV-tuner module or broadcast-LAN tuner box and, in some ways, is being seen as TV’s equivalent to Internet radio.

Local content and advertising

This has opened up a can of worms when it comes to the kind of content available for people to view on their mobile devices, including the issue of regional content. In Australia, for example, the live-TV-over-Internet service primarily offers what is being broadcast to the metropolitan areas for the state capitals and this is ruffling local feathers when it comes to broadcasting news and public-affairs content relevant to the regional areas or providing airtime for local businesses to advertise their wares.

One of the core issues concerning the “live-TV-over-Internet” will be the locality of the editorial and advertising content including where is the content “local to”. If you listen to a foreign radio station’s Internet-radio stream using your Internet radio, you will know what this is about because of the talk and advertising that is local to that station’s city and there are people who like this either as a foreign-language learning tool or to acquire the “fabric” of that city if they lived there or have a soft spot for that area.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook

… as could laptops

This issue regarding TV could be rectified using streams that represent an area’s key markets and these streams have editorial and advertising content representative to those markets. The use of dynamic-ad-insertion technology would earn its keep with local campaigns being ran in the commercial breaks which could ameliorate the issues associated with local businesses not able to advertise their wares to their markets.

Area-specific rights issues

An issue that will impact “live-TV-over-Internet” will be area-specific rights for broadcast content. This is where a broadcaster buys exclusive rights to exhibit a particular sports fixture, movie or TV show in a geographic area, especially on a first-run basis. Typically these rights will be protected with

There will be the broadcast and customer-service issues being raised because a show normally available on a particular channel is not shown due to it conflicting with a local network’s existing rights.

Internet-only TV services

Another issue yet to come forward is the ability to gain access to “Internet-only” TV broadcasters which will come about as “live-TV-over-Internet” gains momentum. Such broadcasters are received primarily via your Internet service without having an over-the-air or cable/satellite presence.

These will manifest in the form of extra channels offered by a traditional broadcaster but not on the traditional broadcast platform, or an Internet-only broadcaster who would be able to run boutique content cheaply and easily due to low onboarding costs.

The issue that will show up with running an “Internet-only” TV service is how easy is it for potential viewers to discover these services especially if the goal is to run a scheduled-content service.

Content discovery

Another issue will be whether Internet TV will kill the traditional “channel-surfing” or “flicking” experience where viewers often flicked around the TV’s channel selector or jabbed the channel buttons on the remote control to look for something to watch. This is the main method where a lot of users discover newer radio and TV content. The current implementation would require you to run one catch-up TV / VOD app and browse the channels the broadcaster is offering, then run another app offered by another broadcaster and browse those channels to get the “lay of the land”.

This may be rectified through the use of a directory service similar to what has existed for Internet radio. Here, this could allow for a “channel-surf” experience along with the ability to browse for channels that offer content based on genres or other factors. Such a directory could be part of an electronic programme guide which encompasses all of the broadcasters and may work in conjunction with network or cloud PVR setups.

With Internet radio, multiple providers like vTuner and TuneIn Radio had set up to provide access to the Internet-radio streams, both those of AM/FM/digital broadcasters and of Internet-only stations. This means that an Internet radio or a mobile app would effectively have the same directory and different set manufacturers even had the ability to “brand” their own directories so as to be part of their user experience. This could then apply to Internet-based TV with different ISPs, smart-TV platform vendors, Websites and others running or licensing Internet-TV directories.

PVR recording

An issue that will also crop up is the concept of PVR recording of TV shows streamed via an Internet-based TV service. This will most likely be facilitated via an EPG so you can choose the shows from a programme grid or “what’s showing” list.

This could be achieved via a local-storage effort such as a traditional set-top device or a NAS that serves the home network; or a cloud-based effort based on the “software-as-a-service” model.

As what has happened with video recorders and traditional PVR devices, there will be the need to sort out copyright issues regarding the recording of shows. The new landscape in the context of “PVR as a service” will be highlighted in this context is the concept of “shared recordings” where one recording is made and many viewers view that single copy; or “private recordings” where each household has its own copies of the TV shows in a “digital locker” on the servers. Similarly, another issue that will show up is the portability of these recordings especially if the recordings are taken across national borders which would be a key issue in areas like North America or Europe.

The issue of portable recordings will come to the fore with us using mobile devices or a TV at another location like a friend’s home or a hotel to catch up on favourite TV shows.

Conclusion

What is becoming a reality is that television as we knew it is appearing via the Internet in addition to or in lieu of traditional broadcast-based pathways.

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The Universal Windows platform gains momentum

Article

Windows 10 Start Menu

Windows 10’s Universal Windows platform now in place and allowing for an app to serve smartphones, tablets and regular computers

Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform might be gaining momentum | SuperSite For Windows

My Comments

With Windows 10 out in the field, Microsoft has been observing that the Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform has been gathering steam.

What has been valued about the Universal Windows Platform is that a single codebase exists for applications destined for the Windows 10 Desktop operating system on regular computers and larger tablets; the Windows 10 Mobile operating system on smartphones, phablets and small tablets; along with the XBox One games console which would be used as a set-top box for online entertainment.

Candy Crush Saga gameplay on Windows 10

Candy Crush Saga – an example of what can be done here

Microsoft has worked on some software-development tools to simplify the process of porting apps from other mobile platforms to the Universal Windows Platform. One of these was the Project Astoria which simplified the process of porting Android apps but this was put aside while the Project Islandwood which facilitates the porting of iOS (iPhone and iPad) apps gained more traction.

This showed up initially with the ability for you to play Candy Crush Saga on your Windows 10 computer or Windows mobile phone. But now Uber, TuneIn Radio and other apps have shown up in the Windows Store. TuneIn Radio would have the same benefit across the board as a way to have Internet radio play on your regular computer like I have done a few times with Windows 8.

The article saw no use for the Uber ride-booking client on a regular computer. But I see Uber and other journey-booking apps that are pitched to smartphone users being relevant also to regular-computer users including those of us using desktop computers. This is because of the ability to book your ride using your Windows-based regular computer rather than finding your smartphone to do the job. User classes that would benefit are business users booking transport for people like lone workers or valued customers; hotel concierges and others in the accommodation industry; people who use 2-in-1 computers; or householders who use the main family computer to organise transport for members of their household or their houseguests.

As well, I would see the likes of Instagram and Pinterest benefit from this treatment because one could upload a photo taken with their good camera and post it there. They can also implement Instagram’s filters to “treat” the picture before having it available for all and sundry to see.

The Windows 10 Universal Windows platform can make the idea of apps being relevant across all computing devices without the need to write versions of the software to target particular device classes.

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You can set your iPhone or iPad to update iOS overnight

Article

Automatically Install iOS Software Update in the Middle of the Night | OS X Daily

My Comments

Those of you who run an Apple mobile device i.e. the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch will end up keeping iOS which is the device’s operating software updated. But you may find that the software update will have your device out of action while it is downloading or installing.

Why can’t this be possible for that iPhone to be updated to the latest iOS version while I am asleep? You can achieve this goal.

What does your iOS device need?

Backing up device data

You need to back up your iOS device’s data, preferably to the iCloud incase something goes awry during an update such as a bad download. Here, you cam manually backup the device to iCloud over-the-air or to iTunes on your regular computer. Or you can set up iCloud to automatically backup your iOS device every night.

The backup will save your device’s app list, local data held by your apps, user credentials associated with online services where you use a native-client app, your email setup details and, most importantly, your Camera Roll.

Setting up your device

Power

Your iOS device needs to be connected to an AC power source as if for charging. You may think that you may get away with an external battery pack but you are never sure if they are in a position to last the distance, so it is a better idea to stick with an AC charger.

Wi-Fi

As well, your would have to connect your iOS device to your Wi-Fi network. If you are dealing with a public-access network that implements Web-based login like the one in your university’s residence hall / dorm or your favourite hotel or B&B, make sure your iOS device is logged in to that network with the “login-confirmed” page kept open in Safari. With these networks, you could enable both the “Auto-Join” and “Auto-Login” functions so that you stay logged in on the networks.

Similarly, if you make a habit of shutting the Wi-Fi or Internet off overnight, either to save money or protect yourself from perceived radiation dangers, you would need to keep the Wi-FI and Internet on to facilitate this update.

Start overnight updating

When you see the “Software Update” reminder screen pop up, select the “Later” option.

This will offer you an option to remind you later or install the update tonight. Select the latter option for overnight installation to commence.

Your iOS device will commence downloading the latest version of the iOS operating software at a time between 2am and 5am and then deploy that software. This will involve the iOS device power-cycling so as to fully “cement” the new operating software.

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TAG Heuer’s Android smartwatch proves itself

Article

TAG Heuer’s Android smartwatch is (relatively) popular | Engadget

My Comments

TAG Heuer have launched their Connected Android Wear smartwatch and have seen their efforts in designing and promoting it pay off.

This is in the face of the Apple Watch which is seen as being part of the Apple brand which has a similar “status symbol” appearance to the likes of Nike footwear; and in the face of LG’s Watch Urbane which is LG’s dress-watch effort. Rather, the TAG Heuer will keep itself in the premium “Rolls Royce” or “Lamborghini” end of the market while premium watches offered by Apple, LG and others will keep themselves with the popular “BMW” or “Audi” end of the market.

There were some Initial doubts whether a luxury smartwatch, especially one based on the Android Wear platform would become successful . But TAG Heuer have ramped up the production of their Connected smartwatches from 1200 timepieces per week to 2000.  They also intend to run the Connected Android Wear smartwatch as the basis of a series of smartwatches that have different varieties, materials and finishes.

What I see of this is TAG Heuer achieving the combination of a true smartwatch running a common smartwatch platform emanating from one of the names associated with Swiss luxury dress watches. This is compared to some other attempts in the traditional luxury-watch sector to have a “connected watch” which is a traditional watch with a baseline remote-indication ability for your smartphone.

Time to impress her at that fancy restaurant or impress them in that C-suite upstairs!

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Google celebrates Hedy Lamarr who is behind how Bluetooth works

Articles

Hedy Lamarr: Five things you didn’t know about the actress and inventor in today’s Google doodle | The Independent

From the horse’s mouth

Google

Celebrating Hedy Lamarr (Blog post)

Video

My Comments

Google is celebrating Hedy Lamarr who was an Austrian film actress who moved to France then America where she gained her footing as one of Hollywood’s most beautiful film stars. They have done this using their animated “Google Doodles” which shows you the pathway from a film star to the home network.

But it wasn’t all about being the most beautiful woman in Europe or starring in these films that made her significant. When Hedy was with her first husband who was a German arms dealer, she had taken an interest in applied science which was part of what made military technology work.

After fleeing Germany, she also wanted to contribute to the Allied war effort during World War II in a more useful way than selling war bonds. She realised that Hitler was using his U-Boats to sink passenger liners and wanted to do something about that.

Hedy Lamarr worked with George Antheil, an avante-garde composer who was her neighbour in Hollywood, to invent a frequency-hopping system for radio communications. This was a tool to allow successful communications to take place without being at risk of radio jamming which the Germans were good at. 

The proof of concept was based around a player piano a.k.a. a pianola and its perforated rolls that had the music and taught the instrument how to play. Here, a piano roll was used to unpredictably change radio equipment between 88 different frequencies with the setup only operating on the frequencies for a short time. The sequence was only known between the controlling ship and the torpedo and it would require a lot of power in those days to jam a large swathe of frequencies. 

This was not implemented by US Navy until the early 1960s where it earnt its keep as part of a blockade of Cuba. But this technology and the spread-spectrum ability that it allowed for ended up as an integral part of today’s digital-radio communications techology. Examples of this include Bluetooth, CDMA used in some cordless phone and mobile phone applications and COFDM which is used in Wi-Fi wireless networking which nearly every home network runs with, DAB and digital satellite radio and DVB-T digital TV.

Here, it is about a film star who appeared through Hollywood’s Golden Era but also contributed to the features essential for mobile computing and home networking.

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Could the Android and Windows platforms strengthen each other?

Article

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 smartphone

Android moving closer ti Windows as a platform for one’s personal computing needs

A Mobile Crossroads – Android and Windows 10 Mobile | SuperSite For WIndows

My Comments

The Android and Windows platforms do have some things in common such as the ability to share URLs and contact cards via NFC or Bluetooth. As well, these platforms offer native out-of-the-box support for various industry norms at the hardware and software level like USB Audio device classes, DLNA network media acces, FLAC audio codecs, and MicroUSB connections for power and data.

This is augmented by another facture that people who value open-frame computing setups that are vendor-agnostic are likely to run a Windows-based desktop, laptop or tablet computer alongside an Android-based smartphone.

But there are some questions about whether both these platforms are coming to a crossroads in both the desktop and mobile contexts. Issues that have been raised is the availability of mobile-platform software for the Windows Mobile platform as well as Microsoft developing for the Android platform.

Windows 10 Start Menu

Windows 10 in its desktop and mobile phones will tie in with Android for stronger open-frame computing

This disparity is being addressed by Microsoft releasing the so-called “Project Astoria” software to reduce the effort needed by a software developer to port an Android app to Windows 10 and have it work on both desktop and mobile setups and the XBox One games console.

Another attempt that Microsoft was trying is to include the ability to sideload Android app APK files as part of a leaked preview build of Windows 10 Mobile. Here, these files would run in a sandbox of their own so as to assure system stability and security.

On the hardware side, manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Sony including the VAIO personal-computing spinoff, and Lenovo are increasingly targeting Apple’s customer base by offering 2-in-1 notebooks, tablets and smartphones that have that same luxurious cachet and performance level as the iPhone, iPad and MacBook.

It is also in conjunction with Microsoft porting an increasing amount of their productivity software to the Android platform along with writing Android-specific native clients for their online services. A good question that may be worth answering is whether Google will write native clients for their online services as Windows 10 Universal apps.

I see this ending up where Microsoft and Google could effectively give their mobile operating systems equal functionality for “home” and “work” use and support a tighter integration with Android, ChromeOS and Linux to increase the number of choices for personal computing options. Here, these platforms will end up forming a strong “open-frame” computing beach-head that competes effectively with the vertically-integrated platform that Apple offers.

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Lenovo releases a convertible that closely answers the Surface Book

Lenovo Yoga 900 - stand mode press picture courtesy of Lenovo

Lenovo Yoga 900

Articles

Lenovo’s flagship Yoga 900 laptop is an improvement in every way that matters (Review) | Engadget

Lenovo Yoga 900 takes the Microsoft Surface Book | ZDNet

Lenovo’s 360-degree Yoga 900 laptop answers the Surface Book’s challenge | PC World

From the horse’s mouth

Lenovo

Press release (also covers the Yoga Home 900)

Product Page – Buy here (USAustralia)!

My Comments

Lenovo Yoga 900 - tablet mode press picture courtesy of Lenovo

Lenovo Yoga 900 as a tablet

The premium end of the laptop market is starting to see some very strong competition with Lenovo trying to answer Microsoft with their Yoga 900 premium convertible laptop,

The Lenovo Yoga 900 was initially to be an update and refresh for the previously-reviewed Yoga 3 Pro, courtesy of Windows 10 and Intel Skylake horsepower. But with Microsoft blindsiding everyone else in the “open-frame” computer market with their Surface Book which is both a convertible and detachable, the computer press have seen it as close competition.

Lenovo Yoga 900 watchband hinge detail press picture courtesy of Lenovo

The newly-refined watchband hinge on the Lenovo Yoga 900

The Lenovo Yoga 900 has provided some aesthetic and build improvements over the Yoga 3 Pro such as a slimmer chassis with the computer being rated as being the slimmest 13” convertible to date. The watch-band hinge has been refined in order to provide for a smooth switch between laptop and tablet operating modes. Even a six-row keyboard allows quick access to adjustments like brightness or flight mode courtesy of a single button push. Of course, this convertible notebook will exploit Windows 10’s Continuum feature right out of the box, automatically switching the display between Desktop Mode with the Start Menu and the touch-friendly Tablet mode when you fold it over and back.

As I have said before, this computer implements Intel Skylake processors, either an i5 or an i7 depending on the package rather than the previous Core M horsepower. As for RAM and storage, the baseline option is available with 8Gb RAM and 256Gb solid-state storage while the top-shelf models come with 16Gb RAM and 512Gb solid-state storage.

What ZDNet and others were saying was that the baseline for the Yoga 900 (i5 processor, 8Gb RAM, 256Gb solid state storage) has an ask for US$1199 while the top shelf model (i7 processor, 16Gb RAM, 512Gb solid-state storage) could be bought fur US$1499. This is with the Surface Book costing around US$1000 more for similar specifications.

But the more expensive Surface Book is a convertible and detachable computer, comes with a stylus and has discrete graphics in some of its option levels. The Surface Book also offers 128Gb solid-state storage rather than 256Gb solid-state storage in its baseline package

Let’s not forget that Lenovo added the “champagne gold” finish to the list of finishes that the Yoga 900 can came in, as well as the silver finish and the orange finish that was common with the Yoga 3 Pro. The “champagne gold” look will have some of us think of that similar finish appearing on some premium consumer electronics especially Marantz hi-fi equipment.

As with VAIO coming back to the fore and Microsoft releasing their Surface Book, the Lenovo Yoga 900 indicates that there is still interest in premium-grade ultraportable computers as a distinct market segment. This is in a similar way to how vehicle builders developed the “personal luxury car” product segment which was based around vehicles, especially 2-door coupes, which were designed with a focus on luxury and style where you arrived at the destination “ready to impress”.

Who knows what the other computer manufacturers will come up with to satisfy this product, especially when the idea is to compete against Apple.

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Lenovo brings back the Adaptive All-In-One

Articles

Lenovo Yoga Home 900 touchscreen lifestyle image - press picture courtesy of Lenovo

Large touchscreen

Hands on with the Lenovo Yoga 900 Home | SuperSite For Windows

Lenovo’s 27-inch tablet is still heavy, but comes with more useful apps | Engadget

The massive 27-inch Lenovo Yoga Home tablet brings back the tabletop PC | CNET

Lenovo upgrades its big idea: The 27-inch Yoga Home 900 is for homework or air hockey | PC World

From the horse’s mouth

Lenovo

Press Release

My Comments

When Windows 8.0 came on the scene, some computer manufacturers led by Sony brought forward the “Adaptive All-In-One” form-factor for personal computers.

Lenovo Yoga Home 900 lifestyle image - press picture courtesy of Lenovo

Large screen – good for group computing

What is this form factor? It is a tablet with a screen size of between 19” and 27”, typically 21”  and can either work as an “all-in-one” desktop computer or a large tablet suitable for group-based computing activities. As well, these computers were primarily a “transportable” class of computer with integrated batteries that had a runtime of under 6 hours along with them being larger and heavier than the typical laptop computer. This means that you could take them from room to room or be able to stow them away quickly and easily in the same vein as a boom-box, portable TV set or small sewing machine. The premier example of this was the Sony VAIO Tap 20 which sits on a kickstand and links with a wireless keyboard and mouse for desktop use or lays down as a tablet.

Lenovo Yoga Home 900 press picture courtesy of Lenovo

Lenovo Yoga Home 900 as regular all-in-one computer

There was some coverage about these computers being so-called “lifestyle” computers – devices that blend in to one’s personal and household lifestyle. The best example that comes to my mind was an account written by a Microsoft blogger who brought the Sony VAIO Tap 20 to her parents’ home which was effectively the “family house” for her family.

But things tended to slow down as far as this product class was concerned because of varying factors such as the low-cost mobile-platform tablets and cloud computing being considered more relevant for personal computing.

With Windows 10 and Intel Skylake silicon being launched over the last few months, the traditional “regular” personal computer has had a “shot in the arm”. These systems have been pitched as being complementary to mobile-platform devices rather than competing with them. As well, companies who worked on the “open-frame” computing environment where there systems ran Windows, ChromeOS, Linux or Android were pulling out all the stops to have systems, especially those in the premium class, that performed and looked as good, if not better, than Apple’s systems.

This has caused Lenovo to front up with an Adaptive All In One computer in the form of the Yoga Home 900/ This 27” system runs Windows 10 which has the Continuum feature that adapts the display for both tablet and desktop use. Lenovo even uses the “Aura” touch interface to make it work well for group computing. They also run an app store which specialises in games and apps that are for this class of computer, including board games, air hockey, photo-sharing apps and the like.

As well, the Lenovo Yoga Home 900 uses Full HD display resolution, Intel 5th-generation horsepower and has an option for discrete (should you say gaming quality) graphics. With air hockey and board games aside, there needs to be a way to convince most of us to consider a computer from the “Adaptive All-In-One” class as a viable personal-computing option.

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Coming soon to your TV: The Microsoft Surface Book commercial

Video

Click or tap to view

Pre-order:

Microsoft Store (US, Australia)

My Comments

Microsoft has started building up the heat for the new Surface Book convertible laptop that is also detachable. They are pitching this computer at the arts-based territory which Apple heavily courts and is also tackling the premium end of the general-purpose computing market.

They also highlighted in this one-minute video the flexibility that this computer has in how you use it along with its prowess in handling graphics and multimedia tasks associated with the arts. As well, it shows these concepts in a manner that isn’t too gaudy and is of a similar quality to whenever a vehicle builder os announcing a new luxury vehicle.

This ad is being run in conjunction with pre-orders being taken for  the same computer and is showing up that the “open-frame” computing community can come up with equipment that can cut in to Apple’s territories, both in aesthetics and multimedia prowess.

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Toshiba premieres the DynaPad 2-in-1 detachable as an answer to the Surface

Articles

Toshiba DynaPad - the lightest 12" 2-in-1

Toshiba DynaPad – the lightest 12″ 2-in-1

Toshiba’s New DynaPad Is A Surface Clone For People Who Scribble | Gizmodo

Toshiba introduces a unique Windows 10-tablet-the Dynapad/ | Windows Experience Blog (Microsoft)

From the horse’s mouth

Toshiba USA

Press Release

My Comments

Toshiba is snapping at the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 detachable by offering a 12” detachable that ranks as the thinnest and lightest of this class. Like the Surface Pro 3, the Toshiba DynaPad has an ultra-thin keyboard as an option rather than as standard and the keyboard attaches to the tablet using magnets..

Toshiba DynaPad press picture courtesy of Toshiba USA

Toshiba DynaPad – natural with handwriting

It runs Windows 10 and uses a 12” IPS display with a resolution of 1920×1280 which yields a sharp detail and wide-angle viewing. Of course it has a touchscreen but it also works with a Wacom pen that provides a handwriting experience that mimics writing on paper. As well it uses an Intel Atom processor and 4Gb RAM but there are scant details about how much storage there is in this tablet.

What I see of this is that the Microsoft Surface Pro series of detachable tablets is becoming the “reference product” for the detachable-tablet 2-in-1 class. This is more so with a lightweight design which applies whether the keyboard is detached or not. As well, a highly-responsive stylus is being seen as a product differentiator to allow for handwriting.

Similarly, it will be interesting to see if there will be a handful of 2-in-1s or other ultraportables that stand out as something to crave or be seen with, especially if they run an open-frame operating environment like Windows or Android. Or is Apple going to stay as the “one to be seen” with.

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