Tag: MID

The Telstra T-Hub can now become a fully-fledged Internet radio

News article

Tune into the world with the latest T-Hub software update – Radio, Software, Global | Telstra Exchange

My comments

Previously, the Telstra T-Hub multipurpose Internet device had an Internet radio function but this was limited to receiving the Internet streams of Australian radio stations. Most of us would think that this is limiting because of radios like the ones reviewed on this site being able to pick up Internet streams from overseas radio stations or the fact that we could use vTuner or Reciva web sites to “tune in to” these streams.

There had been a lot of discussion about this on Telstra’s “Exchange” website especially as they were about to release new software for this device, especially with a desire to have this functionality on board. Now Telstra have answered these calls by integrating the fully-fledged Internet radio functionality in to the T-Hub as part of the latest (version 1.10k) firmware update.

Someone raised in response to this article an issue about whether the Internet-radio service would be counted towards one’s Internet-traffic limit and there is a fear that it may not be so for overseas stations. Another key issue that also has to be resolved would be the quality of service that one gets with Internet radio because, as from my experience, there are times where there is increased jitter and latency with Internet radio stations especially when the station’s home country or we enter peak Internet-use times.

This news is also of interest to manufacturers, distributors and users of other multipurpose Internet devices that are intended to supplant or supplement landline-telephone functionality.

How to update the T-Hub to the latest version

  1. Touch the “Settings” icon on the T-Hub’s second home screen
  2. Touch the “Software Updates” icon.
  3. Touch “Check for New Software Updates”. This will identify if the T-Hub is on the latest firmware or whether there is an available update.
  4. If an update is available, touch “Download Now” to start the update process.

An Android-based portable media player takes challenge at the iPod Touch

Engadget Articles

Philips GoGear Connect is a legitimate Android-based iPod touch competitor (updated) – Engadget

Philips GoGear Connect Hands-on – Engadget

My Comments

Over the last year, devices that are based on the Android operating system have challenged the Apple iPhone and iPad. Now, Philips has launched an Android-based touchscreen portable media player that can effectively compete with the Apple iPod Touch.

This unit can connect to a Wi-Fi network and download apps from the Android Market or gain access to the Web and email through the Internet. Of course, if you add Andromote on board, you can play music files from your DLNA Media Server through the GoGear or use it as a controller for your UPnP AV / DLNA Home Media Network. Similarly, you could install TwonkyServer Mobile for Android on this device and the media on there is available to the DLNA Home Media Network.

Like most Android devices, this unit supports most media codecs in use and also has other points of flexibility like a microSD card slot for extra memory or “cassette-style” media management.

The unit does have a GPS, compass and accelerometer as well as the touchscreen and trackball, which could make it become an Android-powered games machine in the same way Apple pitched the iPod Touch as an iOS-based games machine with that famous TV commercial. It does depend on what games are available at the Android Marketplace like what happens with the iPod Touch and its iTunes App Store.

If it was offered a bit more like integrated storage capacities being above that of a similarly-priced iPod Touch, this could set the cat amongst the pigeons.

Wave of Intel dual-core Netbooks to break | Nanotech – The Circuits Blog – CNET News

Wave of Intel dual-core Netbooks to break | Nanotech – The Circuits Blog – CNET News

My comments

The new Intel Atom dual-core processor could be more than raising the bar for netbooks. One class of computer that appealed to me as a threat to the iPad was the “netvertible” or the convertible netbook. This was to have the same abilities as a netbook but also had a touchscreen that swivelled and folded over the keyboard like on other convertible notebooks and laptops.

There are a few issues that may put the brakes on this idea of a netbook competing with the Apple iPad. One is the lack of an e-book publishing system for the Windows platform that is robust enough to threaten the Apple iOS platform and the other is that netbook users are more likely to use their computers for producing content rather than just consuming it, an activity which the iPad is only good at. In this case, a writer, journalist or blogger could use a netbook as a “portable typewriter” for preparing written work on the road.

This may then allow the Atom chipset to be taken further to create a highly-competitive answer to the iPad and could also provide for “step-up” netbook computers for manufacturers who want to provide real differentiation in their netbook product lines. The chipset may also help with dethroning the StrongARM processors from the embedded / dedicated computing market like smartphones, medical equipment, NAS, Internet routers and the like; and extend the Intel Architecture in this class of device.

Another tablet-PC platform in the works, this time from Microsoft with a Windows-based solution

News Article

BBC News – Microsoft announces Windows tablet PC plans

My comments

Windows has provided for tablet and touch computing abilities ever since the Windows XP operating system where there was a special “Tablet PC” edition delivered only with computers that used stylus-driven “tablet-style” operation. These computers came in the form of a “slate” where the only user interface was the stylus-operated screen or a “convertible” notebook computer that can be operated as a conventional notebook computer or a “tablet-style” computer just by swivelling a stylus-operated screen 180 degrees. Most of these computers weren’t available in price ranges that most people would consider when it comes to buying portable computer equipment.

They didn’t extend the availability of this operating system to other “tablet-style” or “stylus-driven” setups like interactive whiteboards, “digitizer” tablets or display and light-pen / interactive pointer.

But, when Windows Vista came on the scene, Microsoft integrated touchscreen and stylus-driven “tablet” operation as part of the operating system for all of the mainstream versions. This has opened up the floor for more touch-enabled computer setups or the ability to provide such setups in an aftermarket manner. Windows 7 has extended this further with the support for multitouch screens, again baked in as part of the mainstream versions.

Apple has cast their first “punch” in the fight for commodity-priced touchscreen computing devices with the arrival of the iPad. This has been built on “consuming” material that is normally distributed as print material and, in the case of periodical content, uses client-side “apps” delivered through Apple’s iTunes App Store to “draw-down” the material.

Android and, now, Microsoft have started taking action in providing a platform that does what the Apple iPad does but in a more competitive way for both customers and developers. Microsoft has, on their side, an increasing array of “netvertibles” (netbooks with swivel touch-screens) and low-cost convertible notebooks as a hardware starting point and the touch and tablet functionalities in Windows 7 as a software starting point. They also have been known for establishing an affordable and accessible software-development infrastructure ever since the company started with the BASIC interpreter for the Altair microcomputer in the 1970s, by providing the Visual Studio software-development suite which can allow programmers to write touch-enabled software.

Microsoft could then provide extra “shell” functionality with Windows 7 to enable full touch operation but they will need to work this in so it can work with low-cost hardware in order to make their platform affordable for most. This platform would be like the Android platform where many different hardware manufacturers provide different units that run this operating system.

Personally, the “tablet” computer race will become like what has happened during the late 1980s when there were at least five GUI-based operating platforms on the desktop computing scene. What then happened was that some of the platforms “fell off the branch” or serviced particular user classes, as certain platforms became dominant in mainstream computing life.

As I have said before. there has to be standard interactive “electronic hard copy” platform that permits “publish once, read anywhere” content authoring with the full benefits that these tablet computers offer for the new platform to succeed.

The Cisco Cius business-pitched Android tablet – could this provide a platform to compete with the iPad?

Cisco Cius in useNews Articles

Cisco Unleashes Cius iPad Killer For Business Users | SmallNetBuilder

Cisco unveils Cius Android tablet with HD video capabilities | Engadget

Cisco uncloaks Android video tablet for suits | The Register (UK)

From the horse’s mouth

Press Release

Product Page (PDF brochure)

My comments

There have been a few features that impressed me about the Cisco Cius Android tablet judging from the news articles that I have read. One was that the tablet was able to work as a fully-fledged Android tablet with access to the Android Marketplace in a manner that makes it compete with the Apple iPad. The other one was that Cisco had taken a different market – the business user – and used the Android platform to make a tablet-style computer that fits the market.

This has then allowed Cisco to develop a hardware product that can offer the necessary functionality by adding on microphones, video cameras, an interface to a speakerphone / handset dock amongst other things. They could easily take this unit further with concepts like the “next-generation home phone” or simply make a competing tablet MID based on Android under the Linksys consumer brand.

This can also lead to a Cius tablet having a longer service life beyond the business because of its ability to benefit from the Android Marketplace which could yield many consumer-focused applications like Android ports of applications like Skype or may iPhone apps.

“Electronic hard copy” publishing – should this only be for the iPad platform?

Since the start of this year, there has been some interest shown by traditional hard-copy media publishers and book publishers in the idea of e-books and similar technologies. This has mainly been brought about by the arrival of devices like the Amazon Kindle and the Apple iPad. This concept has interested the newspaper and magazine publishers who have fund the value of their hard-copy titles dwindling as readers place more value on Web-hosted online news sources.

“Electronic hard copy” becoming only for the Apple iPad

This has intensified with the arrival of the Apple iPad where nearly every mainstream newspaper publisher is offering a subscription-based app for this platform and moving towards placing their online content behind a subscription-driven paywall, The biggest fear that I have about the current “electronic hard copy” situation is that all of the publishers will simply develop their “electronic hard copy” projects so that they only work with the Apple iPad.

Other platforms that exist

There are touch-based Internet-tablet platforms other than the iPad that can do the job of being an endpoint for “electronic hard copy” reading. The ones that come to mind are the Google Android platform which will be evolved into a touch-based Internet-tablet form factor as well as touch-enabled computers that run Microsoft’s Windows Vista or 7 operating systems. Infact I have viewed this site through a Hewlett-Packard TouchSmart “all-in-one” desktop PC at HP’s stand during the PMA Digital Life Expo yesterday in order to show a review of one of their products that was on the stand. This unit had the ability to “click on to” links at the touch of a finger or you could stroke your finger upwards to scroll through the site.

Similarly,there could be other touch-enabled Internet tablet platforms written for other embedded operating systems like Symbian, Bada or Maemo. As well, Microsoft can also provide a “scaled-down” distributions= of their Windows 7 codebase as the basis of a touch-enabled Internet-tablet device.

A common “electronic hard copy” distribution platform

What needs to happen is for the creation of a common “electronic hard copy” distribution that allows for the support of periodical content that is provided for free, “by the unit” or on a subscription basis in a similar manner to regular hard-copy periodicals. It should allow for authenticated distribution, rich-media content such as animation or video, search and interactivity amongst other things. It should also allow the publishers to “brand” their content and see a layout in a similar manner to how the hard-copy form has been presented.

For periodical content, technologies like the RSS Web-feed platform could be used as a basis for “pushing” newer issues to the device through the life of a subscription while there could be support for content-specific paradigms. In the case of comic-strip content, there could be the ability to scroll through each frame which would be variably-sized and perhaps may be accented with multimedia. Some material could allow for searching, filtered browsing and / or dynamic typesetting, such as a “full” dictionary that can be filtered down to provide words considered “legal” for Scrabble or a dictionary that emphasises in another colour “Scrabble-legal” words.

As well, you should be able to buy content for the device from anywhere other than the device’s “app store” like the way a Nokia phone user can get an app for their phone from the developer’s Web site, the Handango app store as well as the Nokia Ovi app store. This avoids the situations that have been occurring with Apple and the way they have been approving or disapproving apps for their iTunes App Store.


Once a common distribution platform exists for “electronic hard copy” content that works in a manner that breeds competitiveness, then more people would be able to benefit from this new way of distributing books, newspapers and magazines.