07/05/2010

Initial iPad thoughts

The iPad eventually arrived and it was duly unboxed and charged. Of course it wont do anything until you've plugged it into a PC or Mac and linked it to iTunes. Once that's done you can decide what to copy across (address book, calendar, photos and all the normal iTunes music/videos etc).

Using the iPad wirelessly it wont connect to the UK app store (but you can purchase items from the UK store using iTunes on the desktop, unfortunately not all items are available yet such as Keynote, Pages etc).

The screen in incredibly crisp and bright. The default background has some streaks across the sky and they look like the glass is scratched (so much so I assumed it had been damaged in transit). However when the screen was rotated, the 'scratches' moved with the screen, which was a relief.

The iPad can also suck all your email settings from iTunes and it's all very intuitive to use. Reading HTML mail is a joy and being able to pinch and stretch the mail to look at a graphic and then flick it back to the original size or flicking your finger to scroll really works well. When eBooks are available in the UK they'll probably be just as easy and very readable.

The only major flaw with the iPad is the WiFi, it does seem to have problems maintaining a decent connection. Trying to use BT Openzone in a Starbucks failed completely. You can connect to BT Openzone, click on the Starbucks section, enter your login details and 'login' then nothing. It just hangs there with the browser frozen. Using the home button or cancel (if cancel works) jumps you back, but the WiFi disconnects. It seems this has been reported by others and no one has come up with a fix (maybe because iPads aren't meant to be officially in the UK yet, so BT are ignoring the issue?).

However there's one service that may genuinely be THE service which makes the iPad amazing and that's TVcatchup.com it's a free service which gives access to 40 channels of UK television (and lots of radio too). They'll be HD channels coming too soon. Suddenly the iPad is a great little TV that is usable anywhere and the quality is pretty astounding for something that's streamed. There's potential issue with respect to the legality of the service, but while it's there everyone should be using it.

Watching videos is also a joy (purchased or rented via the iTunes store or from elsewhere). Any airline not thinking of loaning iPads to business and first class passengers needs their heads examining, the quality is just so much better than the in-flight entertainment systems. It much be possible for them to locally have movies which passengers download to their iPads during the flight and can watch. Of course the iPad also is the Email client, word processor and whatever other functions business travellers want.

Apple need to fix the WiFi, but it's a great device. Just need to get a 3G version now (and do the downsizing of the 3G SIM card as has been done here.

04/05/2010

HP's saucy acquisition of Palm

HP acquired Palm for $1.2bn and maybe there's method behind the madness, why would they want Palm?

The price seems quite high for a mobile company that isn't quite meeting market expectations and though Palm have some nice devices (the Pixie and Pre) and a new operating system (WebOS) they're not selling brilliantly.

HP make PDAs, they're trying to sell them into the enterprise which is where HP do well. Palm used to sell into the enterprise and do well, but they've lost their way and the introduction of WebOS was too late too little and they've been overtaken by Apple with the iPhone, RIM with their Blackberries and Google with Android based systems. HP license Windows Mobile which hasn't been the huge success that both Microsoft and HP would have liked.

So HP's acquisition of Palm suddenly means they have their own operating system WebOS which they can develop, make shiny and integrate on to their own devices and get their mobile devices back into the enterprise.

There's a second reason too, HP want to make tablets (of the computing variety) and they need an operating system, especially since Microsoft have just dropped their tablet plans. WebOS could fit that bill and again would fit well in HP's core enterprise market. It will need some polishing, but HP have got the clout to push it in the right direction. They can develop a creditable competitor to Apple's OS and Google's Android/Chrome systems and Intel/Nokia's MeeGo.

Maybe the acquisition was too cheap?

The carnival that's FOWD heads into town

It's that time of year again when The Future of Web Design or FOWD comes to London, specifically on the 17th through 19th of May with the first day being made up of workshops and the conference on days 2 and 3.

Like all Carsonified events it's jam packed with hot speakers talking about hot topics.

If anyone wants to go, register here and the first 20 to use promo code FOWD2010 get a 15% discount.

It shoudl be a fun event and on the Monday there's a party too.