Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Wireless

2 questions.

1. It seems M$ has no answer to Sun's Java ME. I don't think .NET has anything for PDAs and cell phones.

2. What is temperature of the wireless industry in your country?

contrapunctus
Thursday, January 24, 2002

Apparently you have not heard of Microsoft's Stinger cell phone:

http://www.microsoft.com/mobile/phones/

cop
Thursday, January 24, 2002

2) About 40 degrees.

1) Leaving aside the fact MS do have a mobile "solution", don't you think someone somewhere has *seriously* OD'd on buzzwords, or theres a heck of a lot of solutions looking for a problem right now?

Robert Moir
Thursday, January 24, 2002

Windows CE.NET and the .NET Compact Framework are the current Microsoft solution in the cell phone and PDA space. One of the nice things about the .NET CF is that you work with exactly the same tools (Visual Studio .NET) as for any other .NET application.

Mike Gunderloy
Thursday, January 24, 2002

I'm going to go out on a limb here and proclaim the Embedded OS space as dead, or on its deathbed at any rate.

I say this for two reasons: (a) embedded applications are beginning to reach desktop-sized complexity, and (b) embedded devices are beginning to use desktop-class hardware.

The embedded space was a stopgap measure to solve the problem of mass-producing expensive hardware for small applications.  It served its purpose, but now the need just isn't there anymore, and the embedded world is just going to continue to shrink.

Lesse, PDAs with 32 or 64MB on-board RAM, 640x480 displays, wireless network connectivity, and copious amounts of Compact Flash persistant storage, running what?  Word, Outlook, and IE, etc.  About the only thing missing is a keyboard.  And we need an entirely new "lightweight" OS kernel for this?

The rumor I've heard is that CE.Net is the last iteration MS has planned for CE.  It's XPe from here on out.

Or embedded Linux.

Hard-core embedded fans can commence beating the tar out of me now.  =-)

Alyosha`
Thursday, January 24, 2002

> I say this for two reasons: (a) embedded applications are
> beginning to reach desktop-sized complexity, and (b)
> embedded devices are beginning to use desktop-class
> hardware.

I agree. I think this is why Linux is increasingly popular for embedded devices. It is a fairly lightweight, modular OS and it provides standardized tools and apps.

Ironically, my job involves Windows CE programming. Some of the "space optimizations" in CE often seemed to create huge programmatic differences from Win32 for little real benefit, especially when you consider Moore's Law. CE's funky 32 MB address spaces is a good example.

cop
Thursday, January 24, 2002

There's more to embedded than handhelds. It's definitely true that PocketPC handhelds are using desktop-class hardware (the 486 I owned when I finished school in '98 didn't have as much speed or memory as an iPaq). But there are lots of other places where embedded systems will get used - automobiles, home entertainment systems, who knows what? They're going to be used less for running scaled-down versions of Word and more for incorporating applications into devices that bear less resemblance to the desktop.

Beth Linker
Thursday, January 24, 2002

In the US, data on mobile phones is practically dead. Even if WAP was decent, there just isn't much value in data on the phone.

For lack of a better term, wireless PDAs are set to break-out. The BlackBerry is by far the best proposition in that segment but due to the lousy initial customer experience, corporate focus, lack of marketing, weak application interface, etc. it hasn't found a ton of buyers. Danger, Handspring, RIM , Palm and Good are all set to release phone/PDA hybrids which I predict will be met with lukewarm appeal, at best. There's basically no point to combining a phone and a wirelss PDA and the resulting device is almost always terribly inferior at both functions. Plus you have to convince users to give up their current phone and maybe even their service (and in the worst case, there number!). Good luck!

We hear so much about i-mode in Japan and SMS in Europe. Both sound positively time-wasting to me (especially as a BlackBerry user). I simply could not imagine trying to do anything communicative or interactive on a tiny screen with a phone keypad.

pb
Thursday, January 24, 2002

Heres a question for us all.

I have used a PDA for a few years now, I've currently got a HP Jornada with 16M of RAM, and I use word, Excel, Outlook (using IR on my Mobile).

As a user I cannot think of anything else I expect from the device I currently own. I can do doco, spreadsheets, get my email, calendar, etc.

What would make me spend more money?

The answer to this will determine the future.

Tony
Friday, January 25, 2002

Allow you to find your keys, and car in the Disneyland parking lot.  Have great deals of memory for filetransfer, with small, standardized addon peripherals for playing sound, taking photos, reading books.

Carry some equivalent of money, password and biometrically protected.

New standards will at some point force you to upgrade.  You are currently funding their R&D so that at some point sensible standards can be created.

Keep note of your location in a private but secure place so that you have an alibi for crimes.  Disturbing world coming up.

And what is Woz doing?
http://arstechnica.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?a=tpc&s=50009562&f=174096756&m=2270987653&r=2270987653

Richard Denker
Friday, January 25, 2002

<And what is Woz doing?>

As far as I can tell, nobody has any idea. :)

Chris Dunford
Friday, January 25, 2002

Where I work we do 802.11 based phones. http://www.spectralink.com/ Last quarter was not so great, but few companies were great last quarter.
802.11a and 802.11b are very hot. The security issues are being worked out, and prices are dropping. The prices are good enough anyone can buy an access point for the home.
I could see an 802.11-based device being a success where the Internet appliance failed. I want a touch screen, 8.5x11, no keyboard, and full color X term with a wireless connection so I can surf or read anyplace in the house. That would be cool. I could see this being used in a school as well. Handwriting recognition and good batteries are a must. Any VC interested?
I would not be interested in an all in one cell phone, PDA, camera, MP3 player, 802.11 networked, etc. If someone offered one worth buying, it would have to be amazingly well designed. Having a big processor and memory won’t help if the thing is impossible to use. To me the big issue is the human interface. A PDA with a usable expansion slot is the right solution.

Doug Withau
Friday, January 25, 2002

Always-on email (a la BlackBerry). I barely turn my PC on at home anymore.

pb
Friday, January 25, 2002

Ultra Wide Band radio looks pretty cool for the future of wirless, just read some interesting articles:

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20020124.html

http://www.uwb.org/faqs.html

Matthew Lock
Sunday, January 27, 2002

what will cause you to spend more money? context sensitive information and situational analysis.

Today's PIM's are really only Personal Information Hearders. They don't manage jack, instead they put things where you tell them to put them, never drawing any kinds of conclusions about their context and what about that context might make that information more useful to you.

Making that information more useful is where PDAs (and PIMs in general) need to go.

Alex
http://netWindows.org

Alex Russell
Monday, January 28, 2002

Comment about SMS - It's gobsmackingly useful.

It's useful in the same way that email is compared to normal phone calls. It's just more useful because it's mobile like a mobile phone is...

It allows the same "time shifted dealing with things" approach. The character limit on the messages tends to encourage brevity and the systems will queue up the messages if the receiving station is out of communications or turned off.

Yeah, typing them is a pain {Although my sister seems to be able to type them at a fairly scary rate.}, and there's a lot of hype about (mostly kids) who seem to be using SMS as a fashion accessory. But it's very useful to be able to just suddenly write someone a short "email" while you're thinking about something on the train. It's not important enough to disturb them /right now/ but you need to send the info to them.

Also: call directory enquiries from a mobile and they'll a) connect you to the number rather than tell you it (because it would be fiddly to have to write to down - you're stood in the middle of a road or something) and b) SMS you the number for you to store later.

And: you can automate them nicely. Call the AA, and their dispatch computer SMSes you to tell you when to expect the repair patrol. People have their network status alerts SMSed to them.

People are already selling services like sending you football scores and news articles over it and new ringtones and logos get delivered by SMS.

There's a lot you can do when you've got 30 million people - half a national population - who all have compatible kit, to whom you can send things they can deal with while they're anywhere or leave until later if they're busy and the messages cost all of 5p and the kit to deal with them costs a tenner. And people do read them, because when they're sat on the train there's nothing else to do... they are, in short, an all pervasive, portable, person-to-person network medium with a tiny upfront investment needed.

My mother will read SMSes because her phone's in her bag, but messing about dialling in to collect email means she reads that, like, once a month, which kind of illustrates the gulf people have trying to get computing to be pervasive.

Katie Lucas
Monday, January 28, 2002

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home