Apple: Will the stylus make a comeback?

Steve Jobs famously proclaimed that the stylus was too cumbersome to use and would not in fact improve workflow and input method. He proofed us right with the iPhone and the iPad – in contrast, Microsoft was all wrong – not just with Microsoft tablet PC that started in 2001, they were wrong even in the early 90’s with Windows for Pen Computer. Bill Gates is a true believer in tablets with stylus but in the last 20 years, he could never muster the innovative minds in his own company to make it work. Likewise, Apple spent a lot of time and money in the 90’s to perfect what was called the Apple Newton. The Newton could decipher handwriting and convert the result into Ascii text.

Apps are great - now on to inter device communication

By now, iPhone apps are so ubiquitous that it’s actually hard no to find an app for a particular problem. Case in point: I had to use a calling card for a conference call which meant entering about 30 digits (including the actual phone number) but most of these digits never change (calling card number, pin, conference code, conference ID) or in other words, there ought to be an app that would dial the number(s) and enter the correct pin at the appropriate time. Turns out there are several apps that do just that.

Siri’s importance

Much has been said about Siri – I’ve made the case early on here that Siri is a big deal and it seems I’m not the only one thinking that (here, here and here). But besides its relevance in the near future – Siri is not the end solution of computer interaction, in fact its strength is also its biggest limitation: spoken commands.

RIM’s lost opportunity

Blackberry’s are dead – make no mistake. There is one reason and one reason only why RIM even still has a business and that is the infrastructure investment by large corporations in RIM’s secure email system. Nevertheless, even that is rapidly falling out of favor because of low-cost implementations from Good Technology and Microsoft. RIM will continue to sell Blackberry’s for a foreseeable time but it won’t stop the inevitable demise of the business.

HP, where art thou going?

Todd Bradley gave an interview on Bloomberg to qualm the latest rumors about WebOs and to discuss HP’s PC business reversal-decision. In that interview, he suggests that HP is going to be everything to all people – corporates, end-users: “consolidation of its parts”

QR codes - or the poor man's NFC: a usability report

Pacific Coffee is the main competitor to Starbucks in Hong Kong and as such is embattled in a fierce turf war. Next to the Starbucksesque assortments of pastries and coffee, the company also sells its own RFID based stored value card. The card serves two functions - it's a reloadable stored value card that can be used for payments and it's also as a loyalty card (points) that records and manages the customers purchase profile. The customer is incentivized with rebates and the company gets the customers data.

Apple’s last (wireless-) mile problem and Google’s solution

The release of Apple's iPhone 4s gives us all pause - analysts and pundits have heralded it as just a bit faster with a nicer camera but nothing else. Indeed, the hardware has undergone just the typical evolutionary cycle that we have come to expect from these refreshes. But what most have not realized is that the software is a much bigger deal in this case.

Why Google should bring Android to the Desktop

Microsoft is working very hard on Windows 8 - its first operating system that looks like it can compete with today's tablets (unlike Microsoft's previous endeavors into the tablet space - dating back to the early 90's). The genius behind Windows 8 is not it's touch interface but its ability to act and behave like a tablet operating system when it has to while still being a pure PC operating system.

The corporate desk phone

The one device on my desk that hasn’t changed significantly in 50 years is the desk phone. My phone happens to be an Avaya VoIP SIP phone but I still can only utilize it as if it was a dumb device – that is, pick up the receiver and start dialing- or be alerted of incoming calls and then pick up the receiver to see who it might be. There is no direct connectivity between my desktop computer – or the cloud - and my phone.