the next stage for smart phones

no doubt apple revolutionized the smart phones industry. apple gave the market a real shuffle when it introduced it 3 years ago. it was the user experience that made the difference – just like any apple product – from their software to their stores: it’s all about the user experience.

what helped the iphone take off was the community of developers. believe it or not, it is the early hackers who put their time and wits into action, to jailbreak it. jailbreaking means you free the phone from the exclusivity of the appStore, and are able to install apps from other developers (for free or for $$). there are several alternative appStores out there, like cydia and ‘rock your phone’.

why would anyone be interested in installing apps that are not on the appStore? mostly because they extend the capabilities of the device beyond what apple allows or is planning for the time being. for example: tethering. how long did we hear from ATT that tethering is arriving? why can’t we share our internet connection with our laptop and have the iphone serve as a hub? ATT is planning to do so (they claim they are making way for the bandwidth load they are experiencing altogether) for an extra (yes, u heard it right) extra $30 a month. so you pay $30 on your iphone to be constantly online with an unlimited bandwidth (it actually is capped if u check your account page online), and you will pay $30 more to tether.

if you jailbreak your iphone you can install an app called myWi which allows you to tether for a small one time fee of $20. sounds like a good deal right? it is.

another good example is using your data plan as you wish. the internet neutrality act proposes that each and every one of us can use his/hers connection as they please without the internet provider throttling and/or blocking the connections (which happens in spades, though most providers do not admit this). in fact, chile is the first country in the world to anchor network neutrality within it’s constitutional right.

currently ATT does not allow skype calls to be made over the data plan. only wifi. the same goes for ‘face time’ with iphone 4. you can see the other side only if both are over wifi. that pretty much sucks doesn’t it? well, ATT has been putting billions of dollars into infrastructure and i can attest that their signal has gotten better (not much but better) here in NYC. however, i cannot understand what reasons they had (besides greed) to up the data plan cost from $20 on iphone g1 to $30 for the exact same package.

back to business. if you install my3g you can fool the phone into reporting it is over wifi while you are actually over the data network.

want more examples? they are a plenty: sbsettings (allows you to control the phone via a swipe jesture, turn on the phone, the data connection, blue tooth, kill processes and more) proswitcher: allows you to multitaks, meaning putting an app in the background (now partly available in os4) ultrasnow: allows you to unlock the phone, so you can use it with other GSM carriers in the US or over seas (something ATT must provide you by law when traveling abroad – which they don’t). and many many more.

so now back to the title – the next stage of smart phones. well, the title is misleading. it should really read the next stage of smart devices. and that is exactly what they should be: smart devices.

the revolution had already started with the micro sim cards for the ipads. take a device and connect it to the internet – you are golden. forget about minutes, rollovers – all we really have is our data connection. do you want to make a call? launch skype. you can make unlimited calls in the US for $3 a month. face it – a phone is just an application, just like your painting tool or recording device. whatever you want to do will be %100 over the network without extra fees or hidden charges.

and they are all afraid of it because they will loose tons of money right? all the fees on our bill, state charged nickel and dimes for F charge and G cost. the interent scares that scavengers because what will you charge on top of the data plan?

and that is all i really want and the next phone i will get: a device that has the ability to connect to the internet without a phone attached to you. an ipod touch with a micro sim card will do fantastic for me and i will gladly give up my iphone for it.

the future is all about our freedom and ability to connect. it is all about us spending much less (think annually) and getting much much more bang for our buck.

The future of our living room

worlds are shifting. seriously…

all around me i see the matrix moving all around – where ever i look…

examples? aplenty.

digital media consumption: slate devices are here to rule the world. the more i play around with my ipad the more i realize how wonderful a 12h battery can serve humanity on the go. and that is key here – on the go. consider it a platform and not a gadget. mobile devices are here to stay. desktop computers? time to turn them into art. they are out the door in terms of dominating the market. face it – we consume, and we consume a lot. in 2010 who is not HDD? seriously… having all media streamed and centralized in a long hour operating device with a crisp device and intuitive interaction will break all barriers. from kids to astronauts. it is just a matter of time.

learning: kids will benefit much from slate devices (BTW, there are over 8 competitors about to launch their products and compete head to head with apple’s ipad). i see kids carrying a huge school bag on their small backs, all these massive books – i say no more! soon enough all the material will be available as a digital book, that will fit within the pound a a half a salte device weighs. with many hours of operation it is a no brainer for schools. moreover, the content can be layered with videos AND become interactive. how about that for creating interesting course material, tests, quizzes and home work?

the kitchen: yes my friends, the kitchen. one of the most important and fun rooms in any house hold – the room where we feed our body, the room where mostly women spend time (excluding metrosexual guys who care for their bodies like myself) to prepare meals for their families. how come there is no digital help there in 2010? sure, we have DVD players etc, but that is used to consume media. how about enhancing the experience in the kitchen? from social media, videos of recipes, timers, integration and interaction with consumer products, baby monitoring and much more. times are shifting my friends, didn’t i mention that?

the living room: yes – last and definitely not least, the title of this post. the real cash cow of media and hardware companies. the area where we will notice aggressive and fierce competition. let’s start with what we have today: we have a one direction big screen and a cable company that decides what we can watch, when and at what cost. they shove commercial right where we don’t want them and make billions. all of that my friends will rapidly change. to date, youtube video uploaded in 2 months accumulate to more footage ever released by all major networks aggregated within the last 20 years. incredible isn’t it? the future is prime content mixed with user created content that will become more and more high end as we go along. check out gary vaynerchuk and for prime content centered around wine. and more people are doing their own home production while building brand equity.

so we have great content in our finger tips. what will shift is the hardware. more and more TVs will be released in the near future that will run an operating system. like android, windows and mac/iphone OS. what that means is that the TV will become interactive and essentially a new product. TV 2.0. not widgets a la samsung. but a real computer that has a huge and beautiful display, input and outputs that can allow decoding of HD video and audio signal etc. all we got to expect from a TV, but the control moves back to us – the consumer. and this will happen not a moment too soon.

how long will it take apple to create a beautiful 50″ backlit LCD that runs the iphone OS, which allows multi touch and can be turn into a table when u want a flat user interaction? there are a couple of android based TVs coming out very soon from japan. face it. the TV can and should do much more than it is doing today. screw the big networks – power to the people. consume media when u want it and how u want it. let me buy the episodes i like directly to my set top box, sync it with all my devices seamlessly and make sure i can collaborate around it with my close ones.

if so far we had seen a great and exciting new ecosystem rising – the appStores. from apple to android, blackberry and samsung. we will see apps made for the TV as well. and here is where i ask you – what kind of apps can u envision being used in the living room? how will the TV enhance the usage and integration with other devices around our living space? our phones, our slates, and in the future maybe our cloths and appliances.

worlds are shifting my friends – they are shifting…

Five Things music and photography share

great post by the strobist, creating an analogy between music and photography. both arts site in the intersection of science and creativity like no other school. where it gets interesting is when u “get” the technicality of it (or even better – master it) is when u can liberate yourself and really focus on creation.

Strobist: Five Things Music Can Teach Us About Lighting.

what does hunting lions and the ipad have in common?

men usually do not carry bags around. they try and utilize any available storage space (jean pockets mainly) to avoid the “trouble” of carrying a bag (common in israel).

the home/car keys goes in the front pocket (bulky), the other front pocket holds the cell phone, wallet goes in the back , or can squeeze in front and, and the list goes on… when visiting a cafe in Tel-Aviv for example, you will notice that the table has everyone’s items on display 🙂 otherwise it will be painful to sit, right?

on a medical note, realize that carrying these items creates tiny imbalances that influence your posture and has microscopic effects on your spine. sound silly and you may dismiss it.. don’t say i did not warn you though…

to my point: there is something inherit about us men, genetic even, that our primal impulse is to refuse the usage of a bag in order carry stuff around.. it makes sense, it saves us lots of trouble and assists in keeping all our belongings safe and available. no… we will not use it. one may say it’s fashion related, that we don’t want to look feminine… or maybe (just maybe) it is the hunter within us that wants to be as light as possible.. you know, so we can responds to imminent attacks from wild animals – our lives are at stake here..

sometimes you will see a couple walking down the street holding hands. so romantic right? if you look closely you will notice that the guy is carrying a bag, which is not his own.. she packed all she will need (wallet, keys, makeup kit, emergency makeup kit, tissue paper, tampons, hand sanitizers and all you one she conceivably thinks may come in handy).. the poor guy looks defeated almost… why? because he planned on carrying pretty much nothing.. and he ends up carrying everything 🙂

guys are hunters, women are gatherers.. they go out to the fields for a while, pick berries and mushrooms, examine colors and compare notes. they need stuff (whatever that is) to get by. us men hunt lions, we need to move fast on our feet, carrying nothing but our weapons.

us guys can “get ready” quickly,  minimize what we carry on us, avoid a bag altogether right? we leave our homes happy. we have it all ON us, without any accessories..  and then the lady comes by, bats her eye lids and asks “can u please carry this for me?”… “sweetheart” he tells her, “i am hunting lions here! i need to be agile and responsive! the last thing i need is to carry a bag! .. what the hell?!”. and of course he carries it (if he is a gentleman) with an inherit feeling of defeat.

sounds familiar? i thought so… 🙂 what does it all have to do with technology (this is a technology blog…) you are probably wondering by now…

here is my question: can the ipad change the game for men?one of the great things about the iphone is that it is quite small for what it can do. it can fit into your jean pocket or clipped to a  belt. the ipad is a versatile device that will require some sort of carrying (not the one portrayed in the image above for sure.. though some men would find it appealing). the right design and concept may start convincing more men that carrying a bag around is cool and masculine. we won’t have to feel like a girl walking around with a bag full of stuff we don’t need.

i personally think there is room for an ipad carrying bag that men would adopt and use. time will tell.