Sunday, July 25, 2010

webOS Battery Performance - Day 1 Results

After yesterday's post about testing battery performance on my Sprint edition Palm Pre, I left my settings alone, with the exception of turning on Wi-Fi as suggested in the PreCentral article.

After fully charging my Pre, the battery died at around 2pm today, 21 hours after the test started. That is a far cry from the 2.5 days that the BlackBerry Storm2 is getting. I'm going to charge the phone up again, and will re-run the test starting at 5pm this evening with W-Fi turned off and see how things go.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

webOS Battery Performance

I've been a fan of Palm's PDAs and smartphones for some 11 years now. I have a love/hate relationship with my Sprint edition Palm Pre. webOS is an amazing little OS that works well. The one feature that I love the most is Synergy. The ability for webOS to sync all of my cloud (aka Internet) accounts and present that information in a single unified spot is niffy indeed.

But I hate the battery performance of my phone. I can barely get 24 hours on a single charge with minimal calls and surfing. I have my Pre with me all the time, but I use is sparingly to make sure that I can make it through my day on a full charge. Conversely, my Verizon BlackBerry Storm2, which gets used about the same as my Pre, can easily go 2.5 days without me having to worry about recharging the device.

On the Pre, I keep features that I don't need that drain the battery turned off. This includes the GPS and Wi-Fi radios. I even keep the screen brightness down around 25-30%.

Earlier this week, I read an interesting data point on PreCentral that reads:
"Turn Wi-Fi on and leave it on. Seriously. Unless you’re someplace where there’s positively not a Wi-Fi network to which you can connect, leave Wi-Fi on. The Wi-Fi radio in all webOS phones (with the exception of the Wi-Fi-less Sprint Pixi) is notably more power efficient than the cellular radio, so whenever possible use Wi-Fi instead. Plus, if you’re on a metered data plan, you can save your bytes for later."
That statement runs counter to what I've always practiced with my Treo smartphones. For more than a year, I've left Wi-Fi off on my Pre, and only configured one of many email and social media account to sync at an interval of less than 1 hour. There is something to consider about the PreCentral article and that is that if you have apps that poll the Internet for information, the Wi-Fi radio really might be more efficient than the cellular radio.

I want to test this notion out, so all this week, I'm going to leave Bluetooth on as I always do (for handsfree driving), and turning Wi-Fi on. I also have GPS enabled so that when I take a photo, it is "geotagged" for use in iPhoto. (That is a really cool feature, if you have iPhoto '09 and a GPS enabled smartphone or camera.)

I'll post my results over the coming days. If I find that the battery life is good, then I may start turning on more frequent email and social media updates so I can get information more timely.

Comments on Apple iPhone 4 Antenna Reception Reports

I just finished watching the Apple steaming video from the July 16th press event to discuss the whirling controversy around the iPhone 4's antenna issue. You can watch the 30 minute video on Apple's website. I've waited over a week for the presentation to be posted as a podcast, however, it hasn't gone up yet, which leads me to believe that this video will disappear from the web soon. (Maybe around Sept 30, when the free bumper case offer expires.)

The Facts According to Apple, AT&T

Apple's assertion that the "death grip" issue is a problem on all smartphones, not just the iPhone 4. Mr. Jobs suggests that the loss of signal, or "bars", was more noticeable because of the two slits on the lower left and right sides of the iPhone 4.

Mr. Jobs also said that Apple takes these issues seriously and that they, "care about every user," and that they "love our users." During the presentation, Apple uncharacteristically came clean with some hard numbers based on the data that they have. Apple also released the delta change between early iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 dropped call statistics per 100 calls.



To help address the issue of signal strength, Apple also released the iOS 4.0.1 update on July 15th. The update is free to all iPhone OS 4 users and anyone using an iPhone 3 or iPhone 3GS. The iOS 4.0 software will not run on the original iPhone, also known as the iPhone 2G. The software update is available for download via iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC.

Making Sure Customers Are Happy

Even though Mr. Jobs' assertion is that this is not the major customer problem that some technology blogs are making it out to be, Apple wants to "take care of everyone" by giving all iPhone 4 customers a free case. If they have already purchased an Apple iPhone 4 bumper case, the company will automatically refund your money. If you still don't like the iPhone 4 or feel that the antenna issue is a big problem for you, you can bring the phone back to an Apple or AT&T store for a full refund. No restocking fees. A full refund. No questions asked. The iPhone must be in good working condition and you have 30 days to return the phone from the day if shipped from Apple or you purchased it from an AT&T store.



I'm glad to see Apple stepping up to the plate to offer free cases to every iPhone 4 owner and anyone who purchases an iPhone 4 until September 30th.

My personal feeling is that yes there is a problem, but it isn't as big as you may be lead to believe by the media. For me, I'm satisfied with the outcome, but then again I don't own an iPhone 4. I plan on waiting until I can get one on the Sprint network.

Apple Releases Minor iBooks Update (Again)

Apple has released a minor update to their iBooks application, 1.1.2. From what I can tell, the update has been released to address an issue that some customers were having installing the iBooks 1.1.1 update that was released just a few days ago.

You can download and install iBooks 1.1.2 on your iPad with iOS 3.2 and iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 4.0 or later installed. Hit the App Store icon on your iDevice or use the iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC to download the update.

Verizon HTC Droid Eris OTA Update Still Rolling Out

I don't know about you guys, but I've finally received my upgrade noticed for the MR4 Android update for my Verizon HTC Droid Eries. Android Central reported that the update began to trickle out to customers starting last week.

MR4 is a maintenance release that addresses the "silent call" issues with the Eris and other minor fixes. The update weighs in at just under 13MB and will take about 30 minutes to install on your device from the time you start the download to the time you finish installing the update.

You can check for the update by going to Settings > About Phone > System updates.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Apple Releases iTunes, iBooks Updates

Apple has released updates to iTunes 9.2.1 and iBooks 1.1.1 today.

iTunes 9.2.1

iTunes 9.2.1, available for Mac OS X and Windows PCs, is mostly a maintenance update that addresses bug fixes, performance issues, and will disable "older versions of some incompatible third-party [iTunes] plug-ins."

I don't use any plug-ins with iTunes, but if you do, you'll want to double-check yours for iTunes 9.2.1 compatibility before applying this update.

iTunes 9.2.1 is available for download on Mac OS X and Windows PCs from the Apple Software Update control panel.

iBooks 1.1.1 for iPad, iOS 4 Devices

The iBooks update adds some nice features to Apple's ebook reader. This update includes improved support for books and PDF files with images and adds support for books and documents with audio and video content, as well as additional performance tweaks and bug fixes.

You can download the iBooks update directly to your iPad or iOS 4 device by using App Store on the device or by downloading the update from iTunes and syncing it over to your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.

Friday, July 16, 2010

iOS 3.2.1 for Apple iPad Now Available

Amid the iOS 4.0.1 update hoopla yesterday, Apple also released iOS 3.2.1 for the iPad. I installed the iOS 3.2.1 on my 32GB Apple iPad this morning. The whole affair took about 20 minutes to download and install the software on my iPad.

The big fix in iOS 3.2.1 is to address the Wi-Fi connectivity issues that some people have been having since the Wi-Fi only model went on sale earlier this year. I've run into this problem once or twice since April 3rd when I picked up my iPad on launch day.

Unlike app updates, you will need to download iOS 3.2.1 by connecting your iPad to a Mac or PC and syncing it with iTunes 9.2. I had to select my iPad in the source pane and then click the "Check for Update" button.

The upgrade was painless, and I would expect nothing less from Apple. Using my upgraded iPad at work and at home, I did not notice any real differences between iOS 3.2 and 3.2.1; but then again I didn't have the Wi-Fi issue at the house or office.

iPhone 4 Antenna Press Event Video Stream Posted

Love it or hate it, Apple has sold over 3 million iPhone 4 smartphones since it was launched 3 weeks ago. Earlier today, Apple co-founder and CEO, Steve Jobs took the stage to directly address "Antennagate" (aka: hardware antenna reception problems).

The streaming video feed of today's invitation only media press conference has been posted on the Apple website for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Apple To Hold Media Event On Friday

Boy Genius Report is running a breaking story in the last hour stating that Apple will be holding an invitation only media event this Friday.
"Invites were sent out this evening to media outlets around the country. What do you think Apple is going to say?"

I doubt this is to talk about a new iPod, smaller iPhone, or iOS 4 for iPad. I'll hold off talking about the iPhone 4 drama until after the Apple event.

[Via BoyGeniusReport.com...]

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Steve Ballmer To Deliver Kickoff CES 2011 Keynote

John Paczkowski, of All Things D fame, is reporting that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will deliver the kick-off keynote address during the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.

Mr. Paczkowski writes:
"This will be Ballmer’s third time headlining CES, and after his first two appearances, I don’t think anyone’s expecting too much. The highlight of his 2009 keynote: The widely expected announcement of the Windows 7 beta. The highlights of his 2010 address: An ill-starred Windows-based tablet and Project Natal, a controllerless game interface system the company debuted at E3 months earlier."

If "The Other Steve" wants to keep things interesting, he will have to really play up his company's new Windows Phone 7 operating system and have a slew of OEM and carrier partners on stage to help launch the new phones.

I have to admit that I've never watched a Steve Ballmer keynote. They lack the excitement of even the dullest Apple keynote or media event. The last Microsoft event that I watched was the "Windows Longhorn is Windows Vista" keynote. We all know how that turned out. (Because of Vista, I switched back to all Macs at my home office.)

You can read the full article on the DigitalDaily website.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jailbreakers Holding Up iPhone 4 Update?

Are iPhone jailbreakers holding up the next ROM update for the iPhone 4? They might be if an article posted by RedmondPie.com is true.
"[A] recent tweet by a twitter user @MaxdMerc, a guy working at the Apple Store, Lakeside (UK) has reportedly confirmed that the next firmware update might be delayed slightly due to Apple working on a fix to patch the hole, recently used to jailbreak iOS 4."
I have to believe that this is something that Apple would do to, as some would say, "protect" the iPhone and iPhone customers.

[Via RedmondPie.com...]

For Apple, Google, the Stakes Are Sky High

Apple's iPhone and Google's Android platform are on top of the smartphone world right now.

Any one who has been watching both Apple's and Google's rise in the smartphone, music, and video businesses knows that the two tech titans are headed for a high stakes showdown in the sky.

Apple's approach to smartphones, and the entire iTunes ecosystem, is a walled garden that takes care of your every need; as long as you are using iTunes on your Mac or PC and an iDevice running iOS 3 or 4. Google, following in Microsoft's desktop footsteps, has flung open the doors to their Android operating system and allows anyone with the ambition and the know-how to develop a new phone or develop applications for their smartphone platform.

For both companies, streaming content over the Internet, or the "Cloud" as some like to say, is the next battleground for the hearts, minds, and dollars of gadget lovers across the globe.

A recent online Baron's Technology Trader column, How a Droid Could Eat Apple's Lunch" talks about how Google's and Apple's approach to "locking" customers into their ecosystems have taken divergent paths toward the same goal. Right now, Apple is sitting pretty as the undisputed king of the kill. The number of Android smartphones being put on the market is staggering when compared to the number of carriers selling the iPhone, which is only available from Apple.

It's hard to say who will be the winner of this show down. Barron's columnist Mark Veverka writes:
"There are other reasons why Android is gaining momentum. Many Silicon Valley veterans envision Apple's repeating the mistakes it made during the rollout of its first personal computers, when it chose to keep a closed proprietary system over a more pervasive operating system pushed by IBM (IBM), Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC). The WinTel collaboration took Apple to the brink of bankruptcy, and some fear that Apple is going down the same path with the iOS. "Android attacks Apple at its weakest point, which is its walled-garden ecosystem[.]"
You can read the full article on Barron's website.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Shocker: iPhone 4 Issues Requires More Than A Software Fix

Over the weekend, I Twittered the following as I was trying to catch up on the latest iPhone 4 cellular radio no-you're-holding-it-wrong PR disaster.

I wrote:

  1. NYTimes: Apple Acknowledges Flaw in iPhone Signal Meter http://nyti.ms/ajIgZc
  2. Why Apple's iPhone 4 Update Won't Fix Your Reception Problem http://bit.ly/cpqTNR
  3. Apple says software will fix iPhone 4, others say that this is a hardware problem. What do you think? Me? I think it's both hard/software. via mobile web

  • One solution is to hold the phone differently, avoiding to touch the left bottom corner of the phone (coincidentally, this is how models hold the iPhone 4 in most of Apple's promotional material).

  • The other other solution is to buy a case or one of Apple's $30 bumpers


Any way you cut it, this is a poor situation to be in for iPhone 4 customers. Apple has stated in an open letter on their website that, "[a]s a reminder, if you are not fully satisfied, you can return your undamaged iPhone to any Apple Retail Store or the online Apple Store within 30 days of purchase for a full refund."

I don't have an iPhone 4, but I am in support of the free Apple iPhone bumpers idea being floated around. Apple is sitting on a mountain of cash, and what better way to make lemonade out of lemons than giving away free bumpers until Apple is able to re-engineer the radio dead spot?

So how about it, Apple? Are you guys game? The legions of Apple fans have earned a little kick-back for their fanatical support over the last 10 years.

[Via GadgetsOnTheGo.net...; Gizmodo.com...]

Motorola Has Some Fun At Apple's Expense

Looks like Motorola is jumping at the chance to go after Apple and their widely publicized reception problems with the new iPhone 4.

A full page ad that appeared in the New York Times over the weekend, the ad reads:
"Most importantly, it comes with a double antenna design," the advertisement reads. "The kind that allows you to hold the phone any way you like and use it just about anywhere to make crystal clear calls. You have a voice. And you deserve to be heard."

Ouch!

[Via AppleInsider.com...]

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Palm: A New Day Begins

Today is the first day that Palm operates as a division of Hewlett-Packard. The HP/Palm merger has been completed and Palm is now a division of computer giant, HP.

On the Palm blog, Jon Zilber writes:
"Today, Palm becomes part of the largest technology company in the world, HP.

It’s our first day together, but it’s already abundantly clear to everyone who’s been involved in bringing the two companies together that great things are in store. The combination of Palm’s trailblazing webOS and HP’s strength as the leading provider of everything from PCs, laptops, and printers to home electronics and enterprise systems promises an amazing roadmap of new tools for your mobile and web-connected future."
You can read the full post on the Palm blog.

Alongside the blog post, a press release was posted on the Palm website.
“With webOS, HP will deliver its customers a unique and compelling experience across smartphones and other mobility products,” said Todd Bradley, executive vice president, Personal Systems Group, HP. “This allows us the opportunity to fully engage in growing our smartphone family offering and the footprint of webOS.”

Under Jon Rubinstein, former Palm chairman and chief executive officer, the Palm global business unit will report to Bradley. Palm will be responsible for webOS software development and webOS based hardware products, from a robust smartphone roadmap to future slate PCs and netbooks.

“With HP’s full backing and global strengths, I’m confident that webOS will be able to reach its full potential,” said Rubinstein. ”This agreement will accelerate the development of this incredible platform with new resources, scale and support from a world-respected brand.”
You can read the full press release on the Palm website.