Friday, October 17, 2008

BrightKite becomes useful

BrightKite's iPhone app now accesses the iPhone's GPS data. As you may remember, BrightKite was one of the early location-based services (LBS), but it didn't have an app for the iPhone launch or a way to extract GPS data. To update your location, you had to actually type the address. I quickly gave up on this. But the new app grabs the GPS data, which may give BrightKite a new lease on life as it competes with Loopt, Moximity, and other LBS.

Android's target

FastCompany repeats what many others have said: that Google's Android operating system is really targeting Windows Mobile, not Apple's iPhone. Well, sure.

On the other hand, initial reviews of T-Mobile's G1 have consistently said that it's a worthy competitor for the iPhone, although not as integrated or intuitive. This is terrible news for Apple, since Android is going to be deployed on several phones produced by several OEM's. If the very first one to be a worthy competitor, what happens when several OEMs compete with each other in refining the experience?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Going laptop-less

Abilene Christian has started a new program in which every student is given either an iPhone or an iPod Touch. (Those with iPhones have to foot the bill for their own service plans.) ACU supplies custom web apps that can be used with these handheld devices. Students can access campus maps and data in the cloud as well as class schedules, calendars, and so forth. They're a lot cheaper than laptops, and battery life is better (once you turn off 3G and rely on the campus wifi).

Obviously mobile devices are not substitutes for laptops or desktops ... yet.

Going paperless

Peter Merholz justly claims, "I called it!" The paperless office is back.

Let me take the occasion to make my own call. Unless the current economic straits are disastrous, we'll see an acceleration of this trend, with paper -- like email -- becoming primarily a way for younger workers to accommodate older ones. Of course, the worse the economy gets, the more older workers will delay retirement and the more paper will be used for routine communication.