Category: Smartphones

We can sell the Samsung Android tablets in Australia–for now

Article

Samsung tablet ban lifted | The Age IT (Australia)

My Comments

This latest development is part of the patent war taking place concerning mobile devices, with this round of legal action by Apple against Samsung being more of a “patent on style”. Here, the goal of the Apple lawsuit was to prevent the sale of the Samsung Galaxy tablets and smartphones because they were seen as valid competition to the iPhone and iPad and it has been known that Apple aren’t keen on licensing their patent portfolio to others.

Now the Full Federal Court in Australia overturned an injunction prohibiting the sale of the Galaxy Tab series of tablet devices in in that country; as long as the sales were accounted for. But Apple intends to go to the High Court to maintain an injunction against further sale of these devices

While the initial Federal Court injunction was in place, there were attempts to parallel-import the devices in to Australia but these were met with threatening letters from Apple’s legal team. This is even though it was feasible for people to buy or have others buy the Galaxy Tab devices in other countries that don’t have an injunction in place against them, then bringing them in or having them posted or shipped in to Australia.

This case may have the soundings of similar action that Apple took concerning GUIs and the Macintosh, with it being resolved in a more competitive manner thus allowing for a level playing field.

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Should mobile carriers charge a premium for tethering your mobile phone to your computer?

Article

BBC News – Mobile web users at the end of their tether

My comments

This article is pointing to a common practice amongst most US and European mobile-phone carriers concerning the tethering of mobile phones.

What is tethering?

This is where one uses a mobile phone as a wireless 3G modem for another computing device like a laptop computer or a tablet. It can be done wirelessly using a Bluetooth link or the phone operating as a wireless router when certain software is run. On the other hand, it can be done simply by connecting the phone to the PC using a USB cable and running a driver set on the PC.

Why tether than use a separate modem

Tethering has an advantage over using a separate modem to service a device’s data needs. Here, one doesn’t have to manage different data plans for each device – the mobile phone, the tablet computer or the laptop. Instead, they can work with a larger plan that is shared amongst all the devices.

Laptop users also benefit from tethering. This is because, unless they have a 3G-enabled laptop, they only need to think of one device i.e. the mobile phone rather than making sure they have a 3G USB or ExpressCard modem with them.

The common practice with mobile carriers

Most of the US phone carriers like AT&T or Verizon, as well as some of the European carriers treat the tethering as a distinct “wireless-modem” usage compared to using a phone for integrated Web browsing. Here, they insert premiums for this usage in to their tariff charts for this kind of usage and the US carriers even implement software to discourage tethering unless the user subscribes to a plan that specifically allows tethering.

My experience with Telstra

I have maintained a mobile phone service with Telstra since 1997, working through six subsidised-handset contracts over this period.

Last year, before I went to Sydney, I went to a Telstra store to ask about my data options with respect to my then-current phone contract, Here, I asked about whether I should tether my handset to my laptop or buy a 3G “stick” either as an extra service on my bill or as a prepaid service. They suggested that I consider tethering and increase my plan’s data allowance and I had paid for the extra data allowance.

Here, Telstra offered lower-allowance data plans as part of their mobile phone plans but allowed customers to “buy on” more data allowance. Here the tariff charts don’t discriminate between using your phone as a modem for another device and using the phone as its own Internet terminal. This is although they sell a range of 3G “sticks” and “MiFi” devices alongside the mobile phones.

I didn’t need to do anything to the phone to enable tethering and was able to be sure it worked on a “utility” laptop that I had and was intending to take to Sydney. This was before I was lent the Dell Inspiron 15r laptop which I reviewed as part of the trip. Here, I had made sure that the Inspiron had the necessary drivers for the phone before I had left.

Recent steps with some European carriers

Some European carriers have taken the same step that Telstra has been doing for the many years. That is to modify the tariff charts to remove the distinction between tethered (modem) and handset-specific data.

It is to cater for the reality that the same device uses the same bandwidth whether it is for its own use or another device’s use.

Tethering can benefit the carrier as well

Mobile-phone tethering provides a financial benefit for the carriers as well as a utility benefit for the users. Here, it allows the carrier to see increased per-service revenue. Typically this can be brought about by customers increasing their data allowances in the same way that I did – buying on extra data capacity to their plans where the tariff chart allows.

This is although most customers don’t “burn up” their call or data allowances that they pay for. Rather, if they anticipate extra use, they would increase the allowances. One reason is to allow the customers to budget for a predictable amount for their communications.

Tethering and the Internet-enabled car

When one starts to think of Internet-based infotainment like listening to Internet radio while driving or Internet-driven synchronous traffic-status updating for navigation systems, one would think of how they get the data to the vehicle.

I had touched on this previously in the article about Internet radio in the car and have mentioned that tethering a mobile phone to a vehicle’s infotainment system would be one of the pathis. Infact it may be a logical path as Bluetooth is used to facilitate handsfree calling in the vehicle.

Conclusion

What I would see is that tethering shouldn’t be treated different from phone-specific use and that users should be aware of this as an alternative to operating separate modems and accounts.

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Do we need to patent the style or interface of a device?

Article

Apple v Samsung just the tip of the iceberg

My Comments

What the Apple v Samsung court case that is being litigated around many countries in the world is about is the attempt by manufacturers to patent the style or operation interface for classes of manufactured goods, i.e. tablet computers and smartphones.

A manufacturer may work out the style for a particular class of manufactured goods or determine a user interface that is going to be the way this class of goods will be operated. But do they need to patent this style or user interface and chase down to sue other manufacturers who implement this user interface or style.

Established design practices that I have observed

In the case of how manufactured goods are styled, I have seen a large number of device classes that have a very common style and user-interface in place. Take for example, Henry Ford who determined the layout and role of the pedals in a car with the clutch on the left, brake in the centre and accelerator (gas pedal) on the right. This was gradually implemented by other vehicle builders in the early days of the car and became the standard for foot control in the car. Here, you didn’t need to relearn vehicle-control skills and practices just to suit particular manufacturers’ vehicles. For a tablet computer, the multi-touch operating procedures like the “pinch-to-zoom” procedure are really about achieving a consistent user interface. For Apple to patent the multi-touch interface is utter nonsense.

Similarly, there have been devices that used the same or similar industrial design, usually with a few variations. A common example are the interlocking rim deadbolts used in the USA and Australia. A lot of these units have a very common styling, with the turn-knob being the only part that differs between manufacturers in most cases. There have also been the earlier “IBM clone” computers with a system box and monitor styled like the original IBM equipment. In one example the “clone” monitor had a third “on-off” knob as well as the brightness and contrast knobs that were part of IBM’s design. Of course the monitor had the same fascia as the IBM design.

I often find that the use of common designs or user interfaces can work to gain increased acceptance of the device class, while the manufacturers take tome to work on a unique industrial design or different features.

The Samsung Galaxy S smartphone – is it the same as the iPhone 3GS?

I don’t see the Samsung Galaxy S smartphone, which I own, as being a copy of the Apple iPhone 3GS. The differences that I would notice include the installation of the headphone and microUSB jacks on the top edge of the phone, a removeable back to gain access to the microSD card, USIM card and battery as well as two extra touch-buttons at the bottom of the screen that are part of the Android user interface.

A person may think that this phone is an iPhone clone due to the use of the black bezel around the display, a hardware “home” button and a faux-chrome strip around the phone’s edge. This would be more so when the phone is in a hibernation state. Similarly, a “swipe to unlock” user interface which may use different prompt graphics to Apple’s “slide-switch” graphic may still be considered as mimicking Apple’s user interface.

Ramifications of this legal battle

I would suspect that if Apple wins the legal battle on user-interface grounds, it could affect all touchscreen computing applications, whether with a smartphone, tablet computer or even touchscreen implementations in regular computing devices. This could even go as far as Microsoft’s touchscreen computing table or dynamic whiteboards that allow touch interactivity.

It may also affect the abovementioned design practice associated with implementing similar industrial designs in most manufactured goods or the user interface in computer software. It would be more so with the positioning or styling of visual cues in these designs and can even affect how buildings or interiors are styled in case they cross over a brand’s territory.

Conclusion

This issue of using patents to protect the style or user-interface of a manufactured device or computer program shouldn’t be used to stifle the creation of competitive devices and the exploitation of the technology. The concept of patents should be more about providing a way of exploiting the protected technology in a competitive manner but with proper attribution.

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Apple iOS 5–To be updated without the need to tether your device

Articles

Apple iOS 5 Updated Over the Air – InternetNews.com

My Comments

The latest incarnation of Apple’s iOS platform is intended to be about integration with an Apple-based iCloud cloud-based computing environment. This is alongside the dream that Steve Jobs has about less reliance on the desktop computing environment. But there is an advantage that will benefit users of any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch whether they just use their device alongside a regular computer or independently.

This advantage is about “over-the-air” software updating for the operating environment. Some mobile phone platforms, such as a few Android installations, were able to be updated without the need to tether the phone to the computer. As well, iOS users could keep their device’s app collection up to date independently of the computer, a practice similar to adding an app to these devices. Now this will be implemented across the iOS platform so you don’t need to connect up that iPhone or iPad to your computer and fire up iTunes whenever Apple revises the platform.

One benefit that I would see out of this is if one’s computer is down for any reason, they can still update the iOS device. Also you don’t need to know where that white USB lead that connects your iPhone to your PC is.

Similarly, the update experience is more reliable for most Mac or PC users. This is because there is less risk of the device being “bricked” (put out of action) due to reasons like a software crash or hang; a slow computer or the USB cable coming out of the device’s Dock connector.

There may be disadvantages with this setup, especially for devices that are primarily operated on a wireless-broadband network. This is where the update may become a significant cost due to the data allowance on most low-end wireless-broadband plans. This may not be of concern for those of us who use the iPhone with Wi-Fi networks associated with most home or business wireline broadband services.

A good question with this update that may concern owners of existing iOS devices is whether the device needs to be prepared for “over-the-air” updating or not. This may be dependent on what version of the iOS system you are running. Here, the device could be enabled through an operating-system update or the installation of an “enabler” app from the iTunes App Store.

It will be interesting to then see whether all the iPhone and iPad users will find it easier to keep these ubiquitous mobile computing devices up to data.

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Simplifying login and authentication processes for WiFi hotspots

Articles

Wi-Fi body wants hotspots to override 3G • reghardware

From the horse’s mouth

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ Hotspot Program to Ease Subscriber Connectivity in Service Provider Wi-Fi® Hotspots  – Press Release

Wi-Fi Alliance Webpage

My comments

One main thrust behind the Wi-Fi Alliance’s new initiative concerning authentication, authorisation and accounting on public hotspots was to permit a wireless-broadband carrier to use Wi-Fi hotspots as a complimentary cellular technology. This is to avoid the need to buy cellular-telephony spectrum in order to increase service capacity and is increasingly necessary as the available radio spectrum becomes increasingly scarce.

Here, a cellular carrier could run their own Wi-Fi hotspot networks like what Telstra is doing or they could form a partnership with a wireless Internet service provider like “The Cloud” in the UK as a way of providing this service. They could then allow for a customer to seamlessly hand over from a 3G network to a Wi-Fi network that supports these credentials.

The way this is going to operate is to use a SIM card in a smartphone to store credentials for Wi-Fi networks. This card is typically controlled by the cellular carrier and may be only used for login credentials that continue the carrier’s partnerships.

A limitation I find with this is that the carrier could implement software locks so that the customer can’t use public networks other than those provided for by the carrier or their partnership. As well, there are other issues that haven’t been looked at properly with this goal for improved authorisation, authentication and accounting on these networks as I list below.

Venue-controlled hotspots

It can also make life difficult for customers who use hotspots provided by venue owners like hotels or cafes. Here, the login experience is typically managed by the hotspot owner and this may require information like a session ID in the case of a hotspot at a bar or cafe, or a room number for a hotel. These may apply for hotspot service where you pay the premises owner for that service or the service is part of the business’s main operation. In some free hotspots, you may have to click on a form to assent to terms and conditions of the service before you continue using the service.

As well, a user could use a hotspot run by an independent wireless hotspot operator and buy their access themselves through a Web-based user interface before using the service.

What I would like to see is support for these kind of hotspots because the user interface that is provided by most of them can become awkward for people who use handheld devices. This is typically because most of these user interfaces are designed for devices like laptops rather than handheld devices.

The improved interfaces could support “app-style” login experiences including “remember-me” login experiences where applicable. Other improvements that could be facilitated include the use of barcodes that are scanned by the phone’s camera to load “session keys” for docket-controlled hotspots or MMS direct-load support for login tokens for “SMS login token” WISPS. It could then lead to a venue-branded experience which some users may find as a “safety net” for their hotspot experience.

As well, a branded experience can be part of a “walled-garden” of sites that a person can visit free of charge or can be a sophisticated experience with such things as an online menu or the ability to order food and drink from your computing device.

Similarly, the idea of “franchising” WISP service to owners of venue-controlled hotspots hasn’t been worked out fully with this technology. Here, a person could have the rights to resell a WISP’s service under varying risk-return models and have the clients associated with that service use their hotspot in exchange for a cut of the costs paid by the clients.

Selective device-cluster creation

It is also a preferred standard to have devices in a public network isolated at lower network levels in order to prevent unwanted peer-to-peer discovery of the devices on these networks. This is typically achieved through functions like “AP isolation” or “Wireless Network isolation” and makes it appear to the devices that they are connecting directly to the Internet privately.

There are situations where a person may want to provide local connectivity between their own devices or devices owned by other users that are in their trust circle. Examples of this include LAN-based gaming over a wireless hotspot network, workgroups sharing data during a cafe meeting; one shifting data between a smartphone and a tablet computer at a coffee lounge or simply uploading pictures from a Wi-Fi-enabled camera to a 13” traveller laptop at their favourite “watering hole”.

Here, the authentication needed for this could be achieved through “same-token” login for devices with integrated Web browsers to entry of MAC addresses or WPS PIN numbers into a “cluster-creation” screen provided by the hotspot gateway. The Wi-Fi Alliance could examine the feasibility of using the new authentication methods as a way of creating selective network clusters across a device-isolated public wireless network.

Authenticating hotspots at the SSID-discovery level

The other question that has not been answered as far as I am concerned is whether there will be a system for authenticating hotspots and public networks in a similar manner to what is done when a user logs on to a banking site for example. This is to verify that the user has discovered a “safe” network before they select that SSID and begin to login to the hotspot.

The data that would be verified would be the MAC addresses of the access points as well as the gateway device’s  IP address and MAC address. This can be used to verify that the user has logged in to a network that is operated by the venue that is providing the hotspot service. For a WISP like “The Cloud” or FON, this may be useful for verifying that users have logged in to the WISP’s network. In this case, this information may pertain to the locally-installed hardware for the WISP.

Here, this could be achieved through a private-key / public-key exchange setup where the successfully verified hotspots could at least be highlighted in a wireless network with a ?key” or green-light icon. If this system does also support the transmission of logo icons, the client device could also show a company logo for that hotspot host.

It can also work as a way of encouraging customers to be sure of where they are surfing the Web through. As well, a business could have a Windows 7 laptop or Blackberry smartphone that supports this kind of verification for public wireless networks to prohibit logging in to public wireless networks that don’t have this kind of verification.

The main issue with this is that independently-run cafes and bars may need to be able to have access to any certification setups at a modest price, preferably through a government business-support agency or their bank.

Conclusion

Once these issues are ironed out concerning the provision of public Wi-Fi Internet service to the hordes of users with notebooks, netbooks, smartphones and tablet computers, then they can use these services to full capability in a secure manner.

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At last a free iPhone app for controlling the UPnP AV / DLNA Home Media Network

Links

Bergin-IT Gizmoot

Direct link to iTunes App Store

My comments

This happens to be the latest DLNA controller program for the iPhone or iPod Touch and is available for free from the iTunes App Store. This program also is ad-supported through the iAd network that exists for iOS software. At the moment, it isn’t designed to work well with the iPad.

The functionality is basic in that it allows you to browse your media on a DLNA (UPnP AV) media server and have it play on a DLNA (UPnP AV) Media Renderer. This would be considered basic compared to the likes of PlugPlayer in that it wouldn’t allow you to play the media from the Media Server through the iPhone, nor would it support downloading or uploading between the Media Server and the iPhone’s local storage.

It can support playlists and slideshows so you can have your Samsung TV or WDTV Live run a sequence of media under the control of your iPhone.

I would still recommend this app for people who want to get going with UPnP AV / DLNA “three-box” setups and they have equipment that can be controlled through a UPnP AV / DLNA control point. This would be more so with network AV media adaptors which you want to press in to service for audio playback and you don’t necessarily need to have the TV on so you can select music to listen to. You may even think of using this program with that iPod Touch or iPhone 3GS that you have set aside because you have moved to the ultra-cool iPhone 4, so that the old phone can be part of the DLNA Home Media Network.

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Consumer Electronics Show 2011–Part 1

I am reporting on the Consumer Electronics Show 2011 which is currently running in Las Vegas. This year, the show is focused around the connected home and lifestyle and I am intending to run the report as a series due to the many trends occurring at this show.

Mobile Handsets and tablets

Most of the activity this year is centred around the smartphone and the tablet-based multifunction internet device (a.k.a. a tablet computer or “fondle-pad”). Here, the main operating system of choice is Google Android. There are two major versions being promoted at this show – Version 2.3 for the smartphones (and other devices) and Version 3.0 for the tablet devices.

This is also augmented by the fact that the US mobile-phone carriers are rolling out 4G wireless-broadband networks. These are either based on LTE technology or WiMAX technology and offer greater bandwidth than the current 3G technology used to serve the typical smartphone user with Facebook data. This leads to quicker content loading for the phone and access to IP-based multimedia.

Infact the “big call” that is being run by these carriers when promoting their devices is the “4G Android smartphone” as being the preferred device to start a mobile service contract on. This is more noticeable with Sprint who are using the “4G Android Smartphone” in their graphics for their online ads.

The Android handsets are coming thick and fast, especially from Samsung, HTC (Evo Shift 4G / Thunderbolt 4G) and Motorola (Cliq 2). The Motorola is also intended to support “call-via-WiFi” so as to offload call traffic via Wi-Fi networks including T-Mobile’s hotspots. This is achieved through the use of the “Kineto” app.

The HTC Evo Shift and Thunderbolt phones are also known to implement a slider design similar to some Nokia phones and use this design to expose a hard keyboard for text entry.

Samsung are going “tit for tat” with Apple by issuing an Android smartphone, MID or tablet device in response to Apple releasing an iOS device. Their answer to the iPod Touch was a Galaxy Player which is Android powered and uses a Super Clear LCD for its display.

Sony have also come up with the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc mobile phone which has a display and experience as good is the iPhone 4 – the phone to be “seen” with.

As far as phones go, there hasn’t been any Windows Phone 7 action through this CES, but there have been some general innovations happening. One is to design a multi-core processor for handsets, tablets and similar devices. This design would have to be focused around power conservation in order to gain longer battery runtime for these devices. This has manifested in three “dual-core” smartphones being released by Motorola.

Similarly, there have been 40-80 of the tablet computer models being launched. This number may not account for different memory sizes for particular models or whether some models will come with wireless broadband or not. This is also the time that Google are putting the “Honeycomb” version of the Android operating system on the map. This version, Android 3.0, is optimised for the tablet user interface and uses more impressive user interfaces than what was used for Android 2.x in the tablet context. It therefore now sets the cat amongst the pigeons when it comes to a showdown concerning the iPad versus the Android 3.0 tablets.

Stay tuned to HomeNetworking01.info for more posts about the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

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Smartphones and tablets now working with sensors and controllers

Introduction

A trend that we may be seeing with smartphones and similar devices is that they work with various third-party sensor or controlled devices through the use of various apps written by the sensor’s or controlled-device’s vendor. A main driver for this trend has been the “There’s an App for that” mentality that has been established around the Apple iPhone with that smartphone becoming the centrepiece of most people’s lives.

Examples of this include the recently-launched Parrot “ARDrone” remote-control helicopter that uses a dedicated Wi-Fi link to an iOS device running a special app that is its controller; a barbecue thermometer being launched at the Consumer Electronics Show 2011 that uses a Bluetooth link to an iOS device that acts as a remote temperature display. There were even other examples like the Nike running-shoe pedometer that uses a dedicated wireless link to an iPod Nano running an exercise-tracking application.

These applications may be novelty ideas of implementing an iOS or Android smartphone as a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) device but there will be more applications that will become more real in our lives.

Examples application fields will include:

  • Food safety (thermometers that measure temperature for areas where perishable food is stored)
  • Personnel health and wellbeing (blood pressure and heart-rate monitors)
  • Building automation and security (dashboard apps that work with HVAC, security systems, smart meters and the like; garage door openers that work with a touchscreen smartphone)
  • Automotive and marine instrumentation (engine monitoring and diagnostics)

The current situation

The main problem is that whenever an application that works with an outbourd sensor or controlled device is developed, a lot of code is added to the program to work with the sensor or controlled device. This extra “bulk” is written by the app writer usually because the writer is the one who designs the device. The communications between these device and the host smartphone or tablet is typically using USB for wired connections; Bluetooth, dedicated or network-integrated Wi-Fi for wireless connections and the application developer has to work with the link that is appropriate to the device.

If the device designer wants to build a lively application-programming environment around the device, they have to either prepare a software development kit which usually requires the distribution of a runtime module with the application. This can take up memory and can put a strain on the battery life of the device.

What can be done

An improvement to this situation that would improve the lot for device designers and application developers who write SCADA for smartphones and tablets would be to establish a “driver” model for sensor and controlled devices.

Here, the operating system could run a “driver” for the application in a similar vein to how peripherals are managed by desktop operating systems. Here, the operating system can do things like manage the polling cycle for sensors or transmission of events to controlled devices, including responding to sensors that are set to trigger software events for the device class.

This can help with conserving battery power by disconnectiong from a sensor or controlled device if the destination apps aren’t run; or sharing data between two or more apps benefiting from the same sensor data. This could benefit some platforms, most notably Android, where one can write lightweight indicator applications like “widgets”, notification-area icons or active wallpapers which just benefit from sensor data or respond to certain conditions.

The problem is that the smartphone operating systems such as iOS and Android don’t support the same kind of programmatic modularity that desktop computing has permitted due to limitations placed on them by battery-operated handheld device designs with constrained memory and storage size. This issue may have to be examined whenever a subsequent major revision of the smartphone operating system is being worked on; and could include whether a separate “driver store” is maintained at the platform’s “app store” or that drivers are supplied as “apps”. This can then allow the manufacturers to update drivers as necessary, for example to add new functionality.

Conclusion

The idea of controlling or monitoring devices from computers or mobile devices is going to becoming something more mainstream rather than just a novelty and the operating system designers may have to factor this in to their designs.

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TwonkyMobile app–another DLNA control point for your Android phone (VIDEO CONTENT)

Twonky Mobile app for your Android phone

 

Click on this link to view the video if it doesn’t show up on your device.

Direct link to the Twonky website

No doubt you may have decided to go towards an Android smartphone or tablet device and it may not have come with an adequate DLNA media app. There is another DLNA so

Judging from this video, I could see that the Twonky Mobile app can do what is expected of a DLNA control point app for a mobile phone or tablet device. It can even link with online content like podcasts or YouTube videos that you pull up through your Internet browsing as well as the content that is in your phone or DLNA media servers.

To get at this software, you would have to go to the Android Market and hunt for “Twonky Mobile” and is currently free for a short time.

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PROMISE Technology’s contribution to the DLNA Home Media Network

News Article

PROMISE Technology Announces General Availability of SmartStor Zero and Its Fusion Stream DLNA Digital Media Apps | DMN NewsWire

From the horse’s mouth

SmartStor Fusion Stream

My comments and notes

SmartStor Fusion Stream app

The SmartStor Fusion Stream app is another program that integrates a smartphone or tablet computer based on the iOS or Android platforms in to a standards-based DLNA Home Media Network.

It is capable of what is nowadays expected for a smartphone-based DLNA network media app. That is it can play or show media held anywhere in the DLNA Home Media Network on the device itself or a DLNA Media Renderer device capable of accepting media that is “pushed” to it from a control device.

Another key feature is that it integrates the local storage with the DLNA Home Media Network. Here, you can upload pictures or videos taken with the device’s camera to a DLNA-compliant media server that supports the upload function. It can also download media held in the DLNA Home Media Network to the device’s local storage so it can be enjoyed “on the go”.

The ability to download content held on a DLNA Media Server to the local storage of an iOS or Android device with this software could be handy especially for iOS users who want to add selected pictures to their device without having to perform special sync routines. This is because iTunes doesn’t seem to support “drag-n-drop” syncing of pictures that a user selects to an iOS device – a feature that can come in handy if an iPod Touch or iPad is put in to service as an electronic photo album or digital photo frame.

A main question that I would have at the moment would be whether pictures and videos that come in to a smartphone that runs this software can be shown via a DLNA screen or uploaded to a DLNA Media Server if they came in via email, MMS picture or Bluetooth? Similarly, I would like to be sure that the program doesn’t impair the performance of the smartphone or device; or doesn’t take too long to browse the a DLNA media collection on a server.

This program could raise the bar when it comes to DLNA interface programs for mobile phones and internet tablets.

SmartStor Zero

The SmartStor Zero is another two-bay network-attached storage device which is optimised to work as a media server. As well as serving media to DLNA equipment and iTunes clients, it can accept content that is uploaded from mobile devices that are equipped with DLNA-Upload software like most of the DLNA-integration software for the Android platform and the abovementioned Fusion Stream app for the iPhone.

This device’s Web-based user interface has the ability to become an access point for the media held on the NAS. But it supports the ability to allow one to directly upload selected pictures to Facebook whether to a new album or as extra images for an existing album.

Another bonus is that the Installation software doesn’t add any drivers or other components to allow a computer to gain access to the NAS. Instead, the software works with the host operating system’s network-storage capabilities to “find” the NAS and provide a mount point or mapped drive letter for the storage resources.

One feature that I would like the DLNA software to benefit from is to support the photo tags that are part of iPhoto or Windows Live Photo Gallery. This could even include the People Tags and Geotags that Windows Live Photo Gallery supports so as to allow one to search or browse for people in the photo library using the user interface provided by a DLNA-compliant media player or control point.

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