Google Search Appliance Grows Up and Reaches Out

In the battle for collaboration domination, Google has struck another blow with its suite of new features for the Google Search Appliance that let users search their Google cloud services as well as traditional data stores.

What will the iPhone 3G cost current AT&T customers?

Iphone_3g_trioWe’ve all gone gaga over the cheap new US pricing of the iPhone 3G and rightly so.  Given the original price of the iPhone, $199/ $299 is downright cheap and has more than a few contemplating purchasing an iPhone for the first time.  This feeling of euphoria may be misplaced in current AT&T customers if the information that Gizmodo is getting from the carrier proves accurate.  Word has gradually leaked out of AT&T that the cheap iPhone 3G prices that Steve Jobs taunted us with are in fact carrier subsidized prices and that the real price of the iPhone 3G is much higher than that.  AT&T is indicating that they are subsidizing quite a bit of the real price, although they have yet to admit what that might be, to get the pricing down to Jobs’ quoted level.  This doesn’t matter to new iPhone/ AT&T customers but according to the most recent information Gizmodo has obtained from AT&T it should matter to existing customers of the carrier.  They are reporting that AT&T will handle the new iPhone like they handle any other phone which means that if current AT&T customers do not qualify for a low-cost upgrade of their existing phone then they must pay full price for the new iPhone.  This price is not yet known but speculation puts it in the $500+ range for customers who don’t meet the detailed qualifying criteria which seems to mean anyone who hasn’t had their current phone for 21 months or so.  This frankly sucks and while I’ve been forthcoming that at the low quoted price from Jobs I would almost certainly be picking up an iPhone 3G at full price I can guarantee I will not do so.  I suspect that none of the original iPhone customers will be upgrading either at full price.  I wonder how Apple can state that the price of the two iPhone 3G models is $199/ $299 if in fact that is a subsidized price.  That is false advertising at every level and it also leads me to wonder how they are going to sell the phone in their online store if they can’t guarantee the quoted pricing?  Makes you think.

Nokia gets down to business with the E66 & E71

Nokia has unleashed two new phones today aimed squarely at the business market and both the E66 and the E71 have features designed for the mobile professional.  The E66 is a slider phone that auto-rotates between portrait and landscape orientations when the phone is turned, not unlike that fruity phone.  The E71 is the thinnest phone that Nokia has ever produced and features a Blackberry-like QWERTY keyboard and two integrated cameras.  Take a look at this Nokia produced video to see the new phones in action and you’ll find the press release after the jump.

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Palm Centro coming to Verizon this week

VerizonpalmcentroThis is unofficial at the moment, but Engadget Mobile reports a tip that Verizon customers can get the Palm Centro experience this Friday, June 13th. Hmm… a phone launch on Friday the 13th? That might not bode well. Actually the pricing may not bode well either if you go by the anticipated pricing: $269 with 2-year contract, $339 with 1-year, and $389 full retail. There’s some hoo-ha in the EngMobile comments about $100 discounts with a data plan coupled with an expected mail-in rebate of $70, so we still might see a $99 Centro on VZW. I’d also expect to see 3G connectivity like the Sprint model… something that the AT&T Centro didn’t have when we took a first look. With EV-DO likely, you’ve got a pretty capable little smartphone, for possibly under $100. I’d still wait until Saturday the 14th before buying though. Just in case.

(via Treonauts)

Could first-gen iPhone owners benefit with a lowered data plan rate?

3giphoneSo the big Apple product announcements are over and by now you’ve already seen all of the details of the 3G iPhone that becomes available on July 11th. We’re not going to rehash them here but we will be covering some of the features in terms of what they can do for you, how they compare to similar, non-Apple offerings, etc…

For now, I’m still stymied by no mention of the actual data plan cost for a 3G phone. Yup, it’s possible that the same $20 a month you pay for EDGE service will get you HDSPA. I’m still a "doubting Thomas" on that one considering that the new iPhone prices are $199 and $299 for 8- and 16-GB of storage. In fairness, today’s announcement are at a developer’s conference which isn’t the best platform for all the details of a consumer product.

Here’s one last outrageous thought on the data pricing. If higher priced, EDGE-only iPhones won’t be sold any longer, is it possible that first-gen iPhoners will get a break on their data plan, say: $10 a month going forward? That’s one way to leave open a $20 3G plan. Plus we’ve paid enough, me thinks. 😉

Update: TechCrunch reports that data plans for the 3G iPhone are $30 a month for residential customers, so although you pay less for the iPhone, you’re paying $240 more for the data over the contract life.

What is the model for cloud computing?

CloudsI have been watching Kevin’s "working in the cloud" experiment with great interest as it’s an area that has the potential to benefit a great many mobile professionals.  Equally as interesting are the comments that are being made about Kevin’s challenge and all of this together has me thinking about the cloud model of working.  It is apparent that working in the cloud is so new to so many of us that like many things we often have different views of what it is and why it is important.  It’s worth a discussion to see how we all view working in the cloud.

First up we should probably look at defining what working in the cloud is exactly.  I know that Kevin and my views on this differ and from the community comments so do those of many of you.  So what is it?  I view working in the cloud a lot simpler than some I’ve seen.  For me it largely entails keeping my data in the cloud so I can access from anywhere and anything.  I use a lot of systems in my work and keeping my data in the cloud could allow me to easily pick up where I left off from any system in the mix.  In this model of cloud computing applications and OSes don’t really enter into the mix that much.  Maybe all the systems are the same OS, maybe not.  Maybe the same application software is installed on all the systems in which case the cloud model is just to provide remote access to the data.  This is certainly the simplest scenario and in large part what I would look for most in cloud computing.

I won’t speak for Kevin but I know from conversations we have made on the topic he looks for more from the cloud.  He is not alone in that thought process based on the commentary we’ve seen so far and we should delve into that a bit.  Some folks view cloud computing as being totally OS agnostic, i. e. not just remote data access but also application and OS independent.  That is a valid POV and if that is the primary goal of the cloud computing challenge it greatly complicates it.  That would basically mean that everything you do must be browser-based since that is the only method that is totally independent of the system being used at the time.  Even that approach is not viewed the same for everyone as some have indicated that using browser extensions on a system to increase the local computing capabilities is "cheating".  That viewpoint is interesting to me because apparently those who feel that way believe that a plain-jane browser is the only application that you can expect to find on any computer and so that is what you must use to make a serious run at cloud computing.  I can understand that POV but I’m not sure I would agree that it is the ultimate goal with cloud computing.

I have long felt that to be the most productive you can be you must use the right tools for the job and use them efficiently.  Is foregoing the use of all tools (applications) at your disposal simply to work totally in the cloud the best way to approach your work?  See how quickly this whole cloud computing concept gets complicated and I’m not sure there is a "right" answer.  What do you think about cloud computing and how would you approach it if you were undertaking the challenge with Kevin?  Even further, how do you even define cloud computing and why?  This is getting very interesting and we need to share ideas and thoughts on this.

SanDisk wants you to forget Intel when it comes to SSD

Pssd_left_bigAs I was flying through feeds, I saw this picture of a Solid State Disk module and figured it was the Intel model we just saw this morning. Closer inspection showed the SanDisk logo on it of course, but other than that, there’s not much difference. The SanDisk pSSD offers a very similar form factor and the same parallel ATA interface of Intel’s C3-PO Z-P230. You’ll see 4-, 8- and 16GB pSSD products in August, although SanDisk is mum on the price just yet. Since these are multi-level cell (MLC) flash storage modules, I’d expect them to be relatively price-competitive to Intel in the $6 or $7 a Gigabyte range. Regardless of price, the pSSD does claim faster read and write speeds over Intel’s product: SanDisk says you can expect 39 MBps reads and 17 MBps writes while Intel’s flash maxes out at 35 MBps for reads and 7 MBps for writes.

SuperTalent’s MasterDrive KX: almost affordable 1.8-inch SSD drives

Masterdrive_kx_1Looking for a small form-factor Solid State Disk for that UMPC, sub-notebook or mobile thingamajig? SuperTalent has the goods and the prices are way down from what they were a year ago. The company has MLC or multi-level cell flash-based drives in a 1.8-inch size with a 5mm height that should fit anywhere you can find a micro-SATA interface in these three capacities:

  • 30 GB for $299
  • 60 GB for $449
  • 120 GB for $679

Access time is a speedy 0.1ms and you’ll get sequential read and write speeds of 120- and 40 MBps from the MasterDriveKX. Folks at Computex can see the new drives this week. The rest of us can hit up online retailer NewBiiz and order us some speedy SSD. 

StyleTap’s Palm emulator officially coming to the iPhone, Touch

StyletapipodtouchpalmSince we were just discussing Palm and their smartphone market share increase, now’s a good time to share the news about StyleTap. Back in February, we saw video of an experimental version of this Palm OS emulator running on an iPhone. As they say: give the people what they want. That video has been watched over 800,000 times, so the StyleTap folks figure there’s a marketable product here. You won’t be able to run your Palm apps on an iPhone our iPod Touch until next month at the absolute earliest: that’s when the deets become available on pricing and availability through the iTunes store.While we wait: what’s the value of such a program for you? $10? Not a dime over $25? Better yet: what are the first Palm apps you’ll be running on your Apple device?(via IntoMobile)

Western Digital to release faster, bigger notebook drives

You can never have enough disk space, something that is even more true with notebook computers than anything.  We’re now all carrying more and more data around with us and a big drive is important to have.  Western Digital is announcing a solution for that storage problem with the release of the new Scorpio Black drives.  These new drives all spin at a fast 7,200 rpm and come in capacities of 80 – 320 GB which is very nice.  The Scorpio drives are 2.5 inch drives so you won’t likely see them in the mini-notebooks that are all the rage but most notebooks can use that size peripheral so I expect we’ll start seeing OEMs using them soon.