Thursday, June 3, 2010

Your Phone is so much more than a Phone

I have been developing mobile apps since 2002. Ever since I started, I listened to people talk about the potential of cellphones especially in the area of marketing. Ok, even I have talked about the great potential. But the reality is even though I have written some really cool mobile applications I just have not seen these predictions come to reality until now. I think within in the last year we have seen mobile platforms take center stage and become the ultimate personal and convergent device. Most of this is due to rise of the iPhone and Android platforms. Let me show some of my observations.

Digital Wallet
Ultimate Communication Device
Connectivity Device
  • Always connected Internet device
  • Portable hotspot (Sprint HTC EVO) for connecting all your devices
Entertainment Device
  • Movies
  • TV (ABC)
  • Music
  • Books
  • YouTube
  • Games, Games and more Games
Location Aware
  • GPS apps
  • Compasses
  • Camera and photo software
  • Video
And the list keeps going. Combined with the ease of portablity it is the only thing I always leave home with besides my wallet and hopefully someday I will be able to leave my wallet home too.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch Interactions Could Effect Gaming

I am very much anticipating April 3rd and the arrival of the iPad. The more I think about it the more I think about the impacts it will have. I have recently been spending a lot of time thinking about the new interaction opportunities we can have by combining the iPad with an iPhone or iPod Touch. I think these interactions become even more interesting in the context of gaming.

With the dimentions of the iPad, I can imagine placing it on a table facing up with four people surrounding it like a board game. Each person holding an iPhone or iPod Touch. For simplicity sake, imagine a game like Scrabble. On each person's iPhone or iPod Touch they can view their own tiles. On their turn, they can flick the tiles off their device and they could land on the iPad where the tiles can be moved into place. This type of interaction could work with anything somebody wanted to keep private like cards but then shared at the approriate time on the iPad. This interaction could also be used for photos much like the Microsoft Surface demos.

Now imagine turning the iPad up on its side or strapping it to the back of a car seat. Now you have a video game console. An iPhone or iPod Touch could be used as a game controller for a first person shotter , a stearing wheel for a driving or simulator game where tilting it could be the accelorator or finally a Nintendo Wii style remote for games including vibrating feedback and two sounds sources. So, instead of swing your iPhone around to make it sound like a light sabor, you can also make your first person game character wield a light sabor.

Now my son is sure to shatter my iPhone.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

iPad Longevity

Like many people, I was a little disappointed by some of the glaring omissions from the Apple iPad announcement. However, as somebody who develops for the iPhone platform, I do feel I need to at least get a version of the cheapest model for testing purposes. At least that is what I am telling my CFO ;) But as I think about the decision of buying a first generation device now and realizing Apple will probably release the version I really want next year, I started think about the longevity of the iPad especially compared to a netbook or the Kindle. Even if I upgrade a year from now, I think the iPad's form factor and weight make it increadibly useful for the long hall. As iPad's retire, I can definately see them become dedicated reading devices next to the bed or dedicated gaming devices for the kids. But I can also imagine them being mounted on kitchen walls. Maybe even mounted within a frame to hid the black borders. It could be used to display a calendar, digital photos, the current local weather, a clock or all of the above. In addition, it could be a convient means to store or look up recipes. Hmm... Maybe I should create a Kitchen App.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Magic Mouse Experience

The last two days I have been working a booth at a conference which included 4 rented 27 inch iMacs and they are just amazing. Each iMac included a Magic Mouse. I have to admit, I was very skeptical of the Magic Mouse and I have heard a fair amount of complaints but I found it enjoyable and it just got out of my way. It struck me when I heard somebody walk by and tell their friend that those are the mice with only one button. I got a chuckle since that is reason I use a Microsoft Mouse attached to my MacBook. I have just been conditioned to use the right mouse click after all my years on Windows. On my MacBook, I have also configured the touch pad so if two fingers are on the pad, it treats the button click as a right click. So, I wanted to see if the two finger gester could be configured to do a right click with the Magic Mouse. When I looked at the preferences, I realized the right click was already configured. That is when I realized I had been using the right click on the Magic Mouse for two days on a device the only has one button and it was just natural and seamless. That is how a consumer device should work.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Announcing Remarkable Ohio iPhone App

If you are interested in history, the Ohio Historical Center has erected over 1,300 physical markers around the state representing historical locations. You can learn more about these marker by visiting or by using the iPhone app I just developed for the join venture of eTech Ohio and the Ohio Historical Center. This free application identifies on a map where the 600 markers containing geo codes are. It also provides details about each of the markers. So, check out the app, I think you will be surprised how much history actually surrounds you. You can check it out in the Apple App Store at

The Ultimate Enterprise Java Build Solution Revisited

In May of 2009, I wrote the blog post The Ultimate Enterprise Java Build Solution . Over the past 7 years since I wrote the post I have help...