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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.


Category: Emerging Technologies
Edited by Gerald Boerner



Due to injury, this commentary will be added later. Please check back. Thank you.  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2010 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3851 Words ]


Quotations Related to XEROX

“Once the Xerox copier was invented, diplomacy died.”
— Andrew Young

“I thought administration was the running of the office. The Xerox machine. Paying bills.”
— Lesley Stahl

“It’s good Xerox is known for its copying machines, and it’s good Jim Carrey is known for comedy.”
— Steve Guttenburg

continue reading…

by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 For the past three weeks we have been looking at the developments in hand-held computers. These devices have evolved from the primitive PDAs through the Newton and Palm Pilot to smart phones. Today, we are considering the upper end of this trend, the Netbook.

These hand-held computers are like miniature laptop computers in that they allow mobile computing. However, they are driven by lower-end processors that run at about half of the speed of the notebooks, have very limited memory (about 1 GB) and limit the size of the screen and keyboard. They use a variety of operating systems, usually on the lower end, and have limited processing power.

They are more familiar to the business person than the smartphones, but not nearly as “sexy” as the iPhone or Android-based smartphones. We are considering them today so that we can continue our evaluation of the new Apple iPad as well as tablet computers from other vendors. This series will follow in a few weeks..  GLB


“Mobile computing is moving from the fringe to the mainstream. Portable computers are becoming the primary PC.”
— Gerry Purdy

“In mobile computing, people are typically thinking about how great an ultra-portable product is.”
— Alex Gruzen

“We view (the Microsoft) contract as a portable computing deal, not a mobile email deal – no impact on RIM.”
— Gus Papageogiou

“There’s been lot of expansion happening in the notebook computing space. That has helped Intel quite a bit, but they need to have something new if they are going to maintain their presence.”
— Dean McCarron

“Securing the data on notebook PCs is one of the toughest challenges for I.T. professionals, and with the proliferation of mobile computing across all business segments, the threat of data loss and network breaches through theft of notebooks has never been greater.”
— William Diehl

“As notebook PCs become ubiquitous for computing, entertainment, and communication, the need for improved visual performance and longer battery life become paramount, … The innovations by BOE HYDIS clearly point to a future where brighter, higher contrast, and wider viewing angle displays are possible while keeping both the cost and power consumption down.”
— Kamal

“TELUS is excited to announce the availability of Wireless High Speed in Quebec City, giving our clients access to the next generation in high-speed wireless data services. By uniting the broadband access speeds of our Wireless High Speed network with the newest portable computing products, TELUS is providing clients across Canada with the most powerful mobile data solutions available.”
— Robert Blumenthal

“We view Dell as a company in transition from a highly efficient distributor of commodity desktop computers to a provider of enterprise products and services, … Dell’s revenues remain highly dependent on commercial desktop unit shipments in the U.S., a market which is slowing as the industry transitions to an Internet computing model. Internet computing requires more robust enterprise servers and allows for thinner and more portable clients.”
— Kevin McCarthy

History of Hand-Held Computers: Netbooks

ASUS_Eee_White_Alt Netbooks (sometimes also called mini notebooks or ultraportables) are a branch of subnotebooks, a rapidly evolving category of small, lightweight, and inexpensive laptop computers suited for general computing and accessing Web-based applications; they are often marketed as “companion devices”, i.e., to augment a user’s other computer access.

At their inception in late 2007 — as smaller notebooks optimized for low weight and low cost — netbooks omitted certain features (e.g., the optical drive), featured smaller screens and keyboards, and offered reduced specification and computing power. Over the course of their evolution, netbooks have ranged in size from below 5″ screen diagonal to over 10.1″, and from ~1 kg (2-3 pounds). Often significantly less expensive than other laptops, by mid-2009, some wireless data carriers began to offer netbooks to users “free of charge”, with an extended service contract purchase.

In the short period since their appearance, netbooks have grown in size and features, now converging with new smaller, lighter notebooks. By August 2009, when comparing a Dell netbook to a Dell notebook, CNET called netbooks “nothing more than smaller, cheaper notebooks,” noting, “the specs are so similar that the average shopper would likely be confused as to why one is better than the other,” and “the only conclusion is that there really is no distinction between the devices.” However, in the same month, Walt Mossberg called them a “relatively new category of small, light, minimalist, and cheap laptops.”


The origins of the netbook can be traced to the Network Computer (NC) concept of the mid-1990s. In March 1997, Apple Computer introduced the eMate 300 as a subcompact laptop that was a cross between the Apple Newton PDA and a conventional laptop computer. The eMate was discontinued, along with all other Newton devices, in 1998 with the return of Steve Jobs. More recently, Psion’s now-discontinued netBook line, the OLPC XO-1 (initially called 100 US$ laptop) and the Palm Foleo were all small, portable, network-enabled computers. The generic use of the term “netbook”, however, began in 2007 when Asus unveiled the ASUS Eee PC. Originally designed for emerging markets, the 23 x 17 cm (8.9″ × 6.5″) device weighed about 0.9 kg (2 pounds) and featured a 7″ display, a keyboard approximately 85% the size of a normal keyboard, a solid-state drive and a custom version of Linux with a simplified user interface geared towards netbook use. Following the Eee PC, Everex launched its Linux-based CloudBook, Windows XP and Windows Vista models were also introduced; MSI released the Wind, Dell and HP both released a “Mini” series (the Inspiron Mini and HP Mini), and others soon followed suit.

Netbook_popularity_in_2008_(PriceGrabber) Netbook market popularity within laptops in second half of
2008 based on the number of product clicks in the Laptop
Subcategory per month by PriceGrabber

The OLPC project, known for its innovation in producing a durable, cost- and power-efficient netbook for developing countries, is regarded as one of the major factors that led top computer hardware manufacturers to begin creating low-cost netbooks for the consumer market. When the first ASUS Eee PC sold over 300,000 units in four months, companies such as Dell and Acer took note and began producing their own inexpensive netbooks. And while the OLPC XO-1 targets a different audience than do the other manufacturers’ netbooks, it appears that OLPC is now facing the competition that was catalyzed per se. Developing countries now have a large choice of vendors, from which they can choose which low-cost netbook they prefer.

By late 2008, netbooks had begun to take market share away from laptops. In contrast to earlier, largely failed attempts to establish mini computers as a new class of mainstream personal computing devices built around comparatively expensive platforms requiring proprietary software applications or imposing severe usability limitations, the recent success of netbooks can also be attributed to the fact that PC technology has now matured enough to allow truly cost optimized implementations with enough performance to suit the needs of a majority of PC users. This is illustrated by the fact that typical system performance of a netbook is on the level of a mainstream PC in 2001, at around one quarter of the cost.

While this performance level suffices for most of the user needs, it caused an increased interest in resource-efficient applications such as Google’s Chrome, and forced Microsoft to extend availability of Windows XP in order to secure market share. It is estimated that almost thirty times more netbooks were sold in 2008 (11.4 million, 70% of which were in Europe) than in 2007 (400,000). For 2009, sales are expected to jump to 35 million, rising to an estimated 139 million in 2013. This trend is reinforced by the rise of web-based applications as well as mobile networking and, according to Wired Magazine, netbooks are evolving into “super-portable laptops for professionals”. The ongoing recession is also helping with the growing sales of netbooks.[17]

In Australia, the New South Wales Department of Education and Training, in partnership with Lenovo, are providing Year 9 (high school) students in government high schools with free Lenovo S10e netbooks preloaded with software including Microsoft Office and Adobe Systems’ Creative Suite 4. This is provided under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Digital Education Revolution, or DER. The netbooks run Windows 7 Enterprise. They have unique tracking devices built-in that the police can track if it is lost or stolen. The NSW DET retains ownership of these netbooks until the student graduates from Year 12, when the student can keep it.

Greece is providing all 13 year old students (middle school, or gymnasium, freshmen) and their teachers with free netbooks in 2009 through the “Digital Classroom Initiative”. Students are given one unique coupon each, with which they redeem the netbook of their choice, up to a €450 price ceiling, in participating shops throughout the country. These netbooks come bundled with localised versions of either Windows XP (or higher) or open source (e.g. Linux) operating systems, wired and wireless networking functionality, antivirus protection, preactivated parental controls, and an educational software package. Microsoft and Intel have tried to “cement” netbooks in the low end of the market to protect mainstream notebook PC sales, because they get lower margins on low-cost models. The companies have limited the specifications of netbooks, but despite this original equipment manufacturers have announced higher-end netbooks models as of March 2009.

Ending in 2008 the report was that the typical netbook featured a 1.4 kg (3 lb) weight, a 9″ (23 cm) screen, wireless Internet connectivity, Linux or Windows XP, an Intel Atom processor, and a cost of less than 400 US$.. A mid 2009 newspaper article said that a typical netbook is 1.2 kg (2,5 lb), 300 US$, and has a 10″ screen, 1 GB of memory, a 160 GB drive, and a wireless transceiver for both home and a mobile network. Buyers drove the netbook market towards larger screens, which grew from 7″ in the original Asus Eee PC 700 to 10,1″ models in the summer of 2009.


OLPC_XO_next_to_a_Psion_Netbook_2 Psion netBook

In 1996 Psion started applying for trademarks for a line of netBook products that was later released in 1999. International trademarks were issued (including U.S. Trademark 75,215,401 and Community Trade Mark 000428250) but the models failed to gain popularity and are now discontinued (except for providing accessories, maintenance and support to existing users). Similar marks were recently rejected by the USPTO citing a “likelihood of confusion” under section 2(d).

Despite expert analysis that the mark is “probably generic”, Psion Teklogix issued cease and desist letters on 23 December 2008. This was heavily criticised, prompting the formation of the “Save the Netbooks” grassroots campaign which worked to reverse the Google AdWords ban, cancel the trademark and encourage continued generic use of the term. While preparing a “Petition for Cancellation” of U.S. Trademark 75,215,401 they revealed that Dell had submitted one day before on the basis of abandonment, genericness and fraud. They later revealed Psion’s counter-suit against Intel, filed on 27 February 2009.

It was also revealed around the same time that Intel had also sued Psion Teklogix (US & Canada) and Psion (UK) in the Federal Court on similar grounds. In addition to seeking cancellation of the trademark, Intel sought an order enjoining Psion from asserting any trademark rights in the term “netbook”, a declarative judgement regarding their use of the term, attorneys’ fees, costs and disbursements and “such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper”.[41]

On June 2, 2009, Psion announced that the suit had been settled out of court. Psion’s statement said that the company was withdrawing all of its trademark registrations for the term “Netbook” and that Psion agreed to “waive all its rights against third parties in respect of past, current or future use” of the term.


MSI_Wind_MB1 An MSI Wind netbook
motherboard featuring the
Intel Atom processor

Netbooks typically have less powerful hardware than larger laptop computers. Some netbooks do not even have a conventional hard drive. Such netbooks use solid-state storage devices instead, as these require less power, are lighter and generally more shock-resistant, but with much less storage capacity (such as 8, 16, or 32GB compared to the 80 to 160GB mechanical hard drives typical of many notebooks/laptop computers).

All netbooks on the market today support Wi-Fi wireless networking and many can be used on mobile telephone networks with data capability (for example, 3G). Mobile data plans are supplied under contract in the same way as mobile telephones. Some also include ethernet and/or modem ports, for broadband or dial-up Internet access, respectively.

Processor architectures: X86

Most netbooks, such as those from Asus, BenQ, Dell, Toshiba, Acer use the Intel Atom notebook processor (typically the N270 1.6 GHz but also available is the N280 at 1.66 GHz, replaced by the N450 series with graphics and memory controller integrated on the chip in early 2010 and running at 1.66 GHz), but the x86-compatible VIA Technologies C7 processor is also powering netbooks from many different manufacturers like HP and Samsung. VIA has also designed the Nano, a new x86-64-compatible architecture targeting lower priced, mobile applications like netbooks. Currently, one netbook uses the Nano; the Samsung NC20. Some very low cost netbooks use a System-on-a-chip Vortex86 processor meant for embedded systems, just to be “Windows compatible”, but with very low performance.

Processor architectures: ARM

ARM Holdings designs and licenses microprocessor technology with relatively low power requirements and low cost which would constitute an ideal basis for netbooks. In particular, the recent ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore series of processor cores have been touted by ARM as an alternative platform to x86 for netbooks. These systems, when available, will be branded as smartbooks. Freescale, a manufacturer of ARM chips, has projected that, by 2012, half of all netbooks will run on ARM. In June 2009 Nvidia announced a dozen mobile Internet devices running ARM based Tegra SoC’s, some of which will be netbooks.

Smartbooks will deliver features including always on, all-day battery life, 3G connectivity and GPS (all typically found in smartphones) in a laptop-style body with a screen size of 5 to 10 inches and a QWERTY keyboard. These systems do not run traditional x86 versions of Microsoft Windows, rather custom Linux operating systems (such as Google’s Android or Chrome OS). Other barriers for the adaption of ARM are slowly being removed, for example Adobe is finally working on an implementation of the Flash player for ARM.

Processor architectures: MIPS

Some netbooks use MIPS architecture-compatible processors. These include the Skytone Alpha 400, based on an Ingenic system on chip, and the Gdium netbooks, which uses the 64-bit Loongson processor capable of 400 million instructions per second. While these systems are relatively inexpensive, the processing power of current MIPS implementations usually compares unfavorably with those of x86-implementations as found in current netbooks. After the ARM version, Adobe is planning to release a version of the Adobe Flash Player (version 10.1) for the MIPS platform.

Operating Systems: Windows

As of January 2009, over 90% (96% claimed by Microsoft as of February 2009) of netbooks in the United States are estimated to ship with Windows XP, which Microsoft was later estimated to sell ranging from US$15 to US$ 35 per netbook. Microsoft has extended the availability of Windows XP for ultra-low cost personal computers from June 2008 until June 2010. However, the discounted license costs only applies to reduced size and functionality netbooks, which effectively enables the production of low-cost PC’s while preserving the higher margins of mainstream desktops and “value” laptops as well as avoiding increased use of Linux installations on netbooks. Microsoft is also testing and has demonstrated a ‘Starter’ edition of Windows 7 for this class of devices, and Windows 7 is likely to replace XP on netbooks, and as of the first quarter of 2009 many netbook models previously announced with Windows XP for the US market were in fact being released with Windows 7 Starter instead, at the same price point previously announced for the Windows XP editions. However, unlike on regular desktops or notebooks that were sold with Vista but included a coupon for 7, users could not get a coupon for 7 Starter if they bought a netbook. Windows CE has also been used in netbook applications, due to its reduced feature design, that keeps with the design philosophy of netbooks.

Some netbooks have also been sold with Windows Vista (mostly prior to the release of Windows 7).

Many netbooks are by default unable to activate Windows in an enterprise environment using a Microsoft Key Management Service (KMS) as they lack System Locked Preinstallation (SLP) capability in their BIOS. The missing feature artificially segments enterprise customers from the lower end Netbook market; some hardware vendors offer an optional SLP-compliant BIOS to enterprise customers at additional cost.

Operating Systems: Linux

As of November 2009, customised Linux distributions are estimated to ship on 32% of netbooks worldwide, making it the second most popular operating system after Windows. As Linux systems normally install software from an Internet software repository, they do not need an optical drive to install software. However, early netbooks like the Eee PC failed to use this benefit by disabling access to the full range of available Linux software, and by failing to provide the normal desktop experience that people have come to expect from Windows, Mac OS X and Linux systems.

Netbooks have sparked the development of several Linux variants or completely new distributions which are optimized for small screen use and/or the limited processing power of the Atom processors which typically power netbooks, such as Ubuntu Netbook Remix which is based on Ubuntu and viewed as a “remix” rather than a new distribution, EasyPeasy, JoliCloud (which claims full GMA 500 graphics support for Z520/z530 Atom variants), and Moblin, originally supported by Intel but now supported by the Linux Foundation. Both JoliCloud and Moblin purport to be “social oriented” or social networking operating systems rather than traditional “office work production” operating systems. See the full list of Netbook Distributions. An Intel-sponsored beta version of Moblin version 2.0 became available in the autumn of 2009.

Operating Systems: Android

Google’s Android software platform, designed for mobile telephone handsets, has been demonstrated on an ASUS Eee PC and its Linux operating system contains policies for mobile internet devices including the original Asus Eee PC 701. ASUS has allocated engineers to develop an Android-based netbook. Freescale have also announced plans for a low-cost ARM-based netbook design, running Android. In May 2009 a contractor of Dell announced it is porting Adobe Flash Lite to Android for Dell netbooks. Acer announced Android netbooks to be available in Q3/2009.

In July 2009, a new project, Android-x86, was created to provide an open source solution for Android on the x86 platform, especially for netbooks.

Since the initial work on Android, Google announced a netbook specific operating system, Chrome OS, and future operating system development may be forked into Android for smartphones and similar handhelds, and Chrome OS for traditional keyboard driven machines like netbooks.

Operating Systems: Chrome OS

Google’s upcoming Chrome OS is expected to be loaded on some netbooks; some even speculate that Google will launch a Google-branded netbook running the Chrome OS.

Operating Systems: Mac OS X

Mac OS X has been demonstrated running on various netbooks as a result of the OSx86 project, although this is in violation of the operating system’s End User License Agreement. Apple has complained to sites hosting information on how to install OS X onto non-Apple hardware (including Wired and YouTube) who have reacted and removed content in response.

In November 2009, Apple Corporation won a summary judgement against Psystar on the grounds that Apple’s method of preventing Mac OS X from being installed on non-Apple hardware is protected by the DMCA.

Apple unveiled the iPad on January 27, 2010. Though officially a tablet PC, the iPad is considered by some to be Apple’s closest compeitition to Windows-based netbooks. The iPad will operate on the iPhone OS rather than Mac OS X but departs from completely mimicking the iPod Touch by including a touch screen operated version of its iWorks program ($9.99 per module) and offering an accessory keyboard.


Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Netbooks…

Think Exist: Portable Computing Quotes…

by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Few things have taken the marketplace like the iPhone from Apple Computer. One can think of the iPod, the Macintosh, the IBM PC, the television, and perhaps the superhighways (the road system and the Internet). The iPhone OS that powers this phone allows the user to manipulate the screen with finger movements, not a mouse or keyboard. But probably the most impacting element is the support for third-party applications that run under this iPhone OS. This has transformed a cell phone into a mini-computer and has raised the bar for all of its competitors.  GLB


“What is so brilliant about the gadgets is their simplicity.”
— Desmond Llewelyn

“I liked to work in a shop down in the basement and invent things and build gadgets.”
— Francis Ford Coppola

“I’m pretty basic as far as technique is concerned. I don’t use many gadgets, and I like the sound my guitar makes, anyway.”
— Brian May

“I think there’s a tendency for modern man to become dominated by gadgets and machines, taking us further and further away from the things I’ve been talking about.”
— Robin Day

“I like being 35, I like having a bit of money to spend on music and useless gadgets. The net is providing new ways to communicate and cooperate that just didn’t exist in the 80s.”
— Malcolm Wilson

“Because the series is situated in the next century, and for the most part under water, there are many innovative technical gadgets. It’s a kind of StarTrek. When I first came there, I was really impressed myself.”
— Jonathan Brandis

“I played the organ when I went to military school, when I was 10. They had a huge organ, the second-largest pipe organ in New York State. I loved all the buttons and the gadgets. I’ve always been a gadget man.”
— Stephen Sondheim

“This is the other thing: we make the cost of raising kids higher than it has to be just because we feel they need all this stuff, like gadgets, certain schools, and activities that are nice but aren’t really necessary.”
— Patricia Heaton

History of Hand-Held Computers: The iPhone OS

IPhonehomescreen iPhone OS is a mobile operating system developed and marketed by Apple Inc. It is the default operating system of the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and the iPad.

It is derived from Mac OS X, with which it shares the Darwin foundation, and is therefore a Unix-like operating system by nature. iPhone OS has four abstraction layers: the Core OS layer, the Core Services layer, the Media layer, and the Cocoa Touch layer. The operating system uses less than 500 megabytes of the device’s storage.

The iPhone OS was introduced at the Macworld Conference & Expo on January 9, 2007, as the primary operating system of the iPhone, which was released in June of that year. Initially, Apple had no plans to release a software development kit (SDK) for the OS, which meant the only third-party applications with official support were web applications.

The OS had no official name until March 6, 2008, when the first beta version of the iPhone SDK was released. Before then, Apple marketing literature simply said that the “iPhone uses OS X”.

As of April 8, 2010 (2010 -04-08), there were more than 185,000 applications available for the iPhone OS with over four billion downloads. The 4.0 edition announced in April 2010 introduced multitasking as well as a slew of business-oriented features, including encryption for email and attachments.

User Interface

The user interface of iPhone OS is based on the concept of direct manipulation, using multi-touch gestures. Interface control elements consist of sliders, switches, and buttons. The response to user input is supposed to be immediate to provide a fluid interface. Interaction with the OS includes gestures such as swiping, tapping, pinching, and reverse pinching. Internal accelerometers are used by some applications to respond to shaking the device (one common result is the undo command) or rotating it in three dimensions (one common result is switching from portrait to landscape mode).

A home screen (rendered by “SpringBoard”) with application icons, and a dock at the bottom of the screen, showing icons for the applications the user accesses the most, is presented when the device is turned on or whenever the home button is pressed. The screen has a status bar across the top to display data, such as time, battery level, and signal strength. The rest of the screen is devoted to the current application. There is no concept of starting or quitting applications, only opening an application from the home screen, and leaving the application to return to the home screen. It is possible to force an application to quit by holding down the power button until the “slide to power off” slider appears, and then holding the home button down, however. While some multitasking is permitted it is not obtrusive or obvious. However, it is limited to Apple’s own applications, a limitation that will be lifted with the introduction of OS 4.0.

Third-party applications are quit when left, but from the 3.0 software update, notifications can be pushed from Apple’s servers to the iPhone or iPod Touch. Many of the included applications were designed to work together; allowing for the sharing or cross-propagation of data from one application to another (e.g., a phone number can be selected from an email and saved as a contact or dialed for a phone call.) The iPad includes a similar interface, except that the dock is “3D” and the background is interchangeable.

Application Support

The central processing unit (CPU) used in the iPhone and iPod Touch is an ARM-based processor instead of the x86 (and previous PowerPC or MC680x0) processors used in Apple’s Macintosh computers, and it uses OpenGL ES 1.1 rendering by the PowerVR 3D graphics hardware accelerator co-processor. Mac OS X applications cannot be copied to and run on an iPhone OS device. The applications must be written and compiled specifically for the iPhone OS and the ARM architecture. The Safari web browser supports Web applications as with other web browsers. Authorized third-party native applications are available for devices running iPhone OS 2.0 and later through Apple’s App Store.

Included Applications

In version 3.0, the iPhone home screen contains these default applications: Messages (Text messaging, MMS), Calendar, Photos (with video viewer on 3GS), Camera (Video recording and auto-focus enabled in iPhone 3GS), YouTube, Stocks (Yahoo! Finance), Maps (Google Maps, with Assisted GPS on iPhone 3G and 3GS), Weather (Yahoo! Weather), Clock (with stopwatch, alarm clock and timer), Calculator (with scientific version), Voice Memos, Notes, Settings, iTunes (with access to the iTunes Music Store and iTunes Podcast Directory), App Store, Compass (iPhone 3GS), Contacts (with landscape support), and the Nike + iPod app (iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch 2nd generation) that interfaces with the optional Nike + iPod sensor. Four other applications delineate the iPhone’s main purposes: Phone, Mail, Safari, and iPod.

The iPod Touch retains many of the same applications that are present by default on the iPhone, with the exception of the Phone, Messages, Compass and Camera apps. The “iPod” App present on the iPhone is split into two apps on the iPod Touch: Music, and Videos. The bottom row of applications is also used to delineate the iPod Touch’s main purposes: Music, Videos, Safari, and App Store (Dock Layout was changed in 3.1 Update).

Web Applications

At the 2007 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Apple announced that the iPhone and iPod Touch would support Web applications created by third-party developers using technologies such as Ajax through the Safari web browser. Apple Inc. considers that web applications capable of providing a sufficient user experience obviate any need for jailbreaking. Additionally, they determined that making native applications other than their own were unnecessary. However, the aforementioned web applications were unsuccessful, because the JavaScript engine running in Mobile Safari was not powerful enough to run applications satisfactorily.

Unsupported Third-Party Native Applications

The iPhone and iPod Touch can only officially install full programs through the App Store. However, from version 1.0 unauthorized third-party native applications are available. Such applications face the possibility of being broken by any iPhone OS update, though Apple has stated it will not design software updates specifically to break native applications (other than applications that perform SIM unlocking). The main distribution methods for these applications are the Cydia, Icy, Rock, and Installer utilities, which can be installed on the iPhone after jailbreaking.

iPhone SDK

IPhone_SDK_-_New_Project iPhone SDK included
in Xcode 3.1 final.

On October 17, 2007, in an open letter posted to Apple’s “Hot News” weblog, Steve Jobs announced that a software development kit (SDK) would be made available to third-party developers in February 2008. The SDK was released on March 6, 2008, and allows developers to make applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch, as well as test them in an “iPhone simulator”. However, loading an application onto the devices is only possible after paying an iPhone Developer Program fee. Since the release of Xcode 3.1, Xcode is the development environment for the iPhone SDK. iPhone applications, like iPhone OS and Mac OS X, are written in Objective-C.

Developers are able to set any price above a set minimum for their applications to be distributed through the App Store, of which they will receive a 70% share. Alternately, they may opt to release the application for free and need not pay any costs to release or distribute the application except for the membership fee.

Since its release, there has been some controversy regarding the refund policy in the fine print of the Developer Agreement with Apple. According to the agreement that developers must agree to, if someone purchases an app from the app store, 30% of the price goes to Apple, and 70% to the developer. If a refund is granted to the customer (at Apple’s discretion), the 30% is returned to the customer from Apple, and 70% from the developer; however, Apple can then take another 30% of the cost from the developer to make up for Apple’s loss.

Hacking and Jailbreaking

The iPhone OS has been subject to a variety of different hacks for a variety of reasons, centered around adding functionality not supported by Apple.

With the advent of iPhone OS 2.0, the focus of the jailbreaking community has shifted somewhat. Prior to iPhone 2.0’s release, jailbreaking was the only way to allow third-party applications on the device. Now with iPhone 2.0, native applications are allowed under Apple’s SDK terms, although certain functionality is disallowed on the device. These disallowed functions include background processes, and the ability to alter the applications written for the device by Apple. Some began attempts to disable Apple’s kill switch, although these efforts were largely abandoned once the kill switch was proven to only disable Core Location.

There has been a notable shift away from jailbreaking with the new App Store’s debut, in most part due to users’ acceptance of Apple’s compromise on opening up the platform, although there has still been substantial interest from the jailbreaking community, especially with the release of PwnageTool from the “iPhone Dev Team” which was released soon after firmware 2.0 for the iPod Touch and iPhone. Some jailbreakers also attempt to pirate paid App Store applications; this new focus has caused some strife within the jailbreaking community.

The other major focus of jailbreaking since 2.0 has been to reverse the SIM Lock that is forced onto most iPhones. The first generation iPhone can be fully unlocked with the “iPhone Dev Team”‘s BootNeuter application, and the iPhone 3G can be unlocked with a new beta effort dubbed “yellowsn0w” later to become ultrasn0w to work on newer baseband as Apple patched the baseband by release 2.2.1 and QuickPwn 2.2.1.

More recently, many efforts have been focused on broadening the Bluetooth capabilities of the iPhone. However, many of the efforts stopped due to the preview of the iPhone 3.0 OS on March 17, 2009, which included among other features, enhanced Bluetooth capabilities.

Within days of the official release of OS 3.0, updated instructions and applications to jailbreak and unlock 3G iPhones running the new OS were released by the “iPhone Dev Team”.

The “iPhone Dev Team” stated that the exploits that allowed a jailbreak of the iPod Touch 2G and an unlock of the iPhone 3G will respectively allow the same capabilities on the iPhone 3GS.

On July 3, 2009 geohot released purplera1n, an application to jailbreak an iPhone 3GS running OS 3.0. The “iPhone Dev Team” subsequently released updated versions of the redsn0w jailbreak and ultrasn0w unlock for the iPhone 3GS.

The “iPhone Dev Team” released an update to their PwnageTool program on October 2, 2009, to enable the jailbreaking of OS 3.1 on the iPhone 3GS.

On October 11, 2009, GeoHot (George Hotz) released blackra1n which enabled users to jailbreak firmware versions of up to 3.1.2, among all other iDevices, the iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch 3G (tethered support). blackra1n supports iPhone 3GS which has 3.1.2 installed out-of-the-box. blackra1n currently does not support jailbreaking with the 3.1.3 firmware.

Digital Rights Controversy

With the release of the iPad the iPhone OS’s closed and proprietary nature has garnered criticism, particularly by digital rights advocates such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, computer engineer and activist Brewster Kahle, Internet-law specialist Jonathan Zittrain, and the Free Software Foundation who protested the iPad’s introductory event and have targeted the iPad with their “Defective by Design” campaign. Competitor Microsoft, via a PR spokesman, has also criticized Apple’s control over its platform.

At issue are restrictions imposed by the iPad’s design, namely DRM intended to lock purchased media to Apple’s platform, the development model (requiring a yearly subscription to develop for the iPad), the centralized approval process for apps, as well as Apple’s general control and lockdown of the platform itself. Particularly at issue is the ability for Apple (or any other authority that can persuade Apple) to remotely disable or delete apps, media, or data on the iPad at will.

Critics assert that the iPad represents a “thoughtfully designed, deeply cynical thing”, which may constitute a step in transforming computers from general-purpose machines into centrally-controlled media consumption devices. Moreover, many in the tech community have expressed concern that the locked-down iPad represents a growing trend in computing, particularly Apple’s shift away from machines that hobbyists can “tinker with” and note the potential for such restrictions to stifle software innovation.

However, there are some outside of Apple who have voiced support for the iPad’s closed model. Facebook developer Joe Hewitt, who had previously protested against Apple’s control over its hardware as “horrible precedent”, has subsequently argued the locked apps in the iPad are akin to Web applications and provide added security.

Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: iPhone OS…

Brainy Quote: Gadgets Quotes…

by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 The smartphone of choice in the business world before the release of the iPhone was the Blackberry by Research in Motion. This device was able to synch with the major mail servers (Microsoft’s Exchange Server and Lotus Domino) and was able to “push” mail to the Blackberry client. Other messenger services were also available to make the Blackberry the corporate smartphone of choice.

More recently, the Blackberry has been adapted for the general marketplace. These models use an Internet server base rather than the corporate server; add-on apps are now being made available from third-party developers. These are the phones being sold into the general marketplace..  GLB


“The Blackberry is really essential for keeping up on my emails when I’m out of the office, which is a lot.”
— David Neeleman

“There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings, saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.”
— Robert Hass

“We would load up the yellow Cutlass Supreme station wagon and pick blackberries during blackberry season or spring onions during spring onion season. For us, food was part of the fabric of our day.”
— Mario Batali

“It created a global platform that allowed more people to plug and play, collaborate and compete, share knowledge and share work, than anything we have ever seen in the history of the world.”
— Thomas Friedman

“You take a plug and put it in a socket, and that’s what the theatre is-it lights up right away. You speak, and they respond immediately.”
— Chita Rivera

“Wouldn’t you like to have an augmented memory chip that you could plug into your head so you don’t have to look everything up and remember everything?”
— Kevin J. Anderson

“To me, ‘Blackberry Way’ stands up as a song that could be sung in any era, really. We do it with the new doing all sort of fanfare things in it and it works really well. It goes down great with audiences.”
— Roy Wood

“Pulling the plug on the BlackBerry could cost corporate America millions of dollars. The BlackBerry is more than e-mail but a handheld office, and if you shut down the BlackBerry, you shut off the data that powers American business.”
— Al Smith

History of Hand-Held Computers: The Blackberry OS

BlackberryOS5 BlackBerry OS is the proprietary software platform, created by Research In Motion for its BlackBerry line of smartphone handhelds. The operating system provides multitasking and supports specialized input devices that have been adopted by RIM for use in its handhelds, particularly the trackwheel, trackball, and most recently, the trackpad and touchscreen.

The BlackBerry platform is perhaps best known for its native support for corporate email, through MIDP 1.0 and, more recently, a subset of MIDP 2.0, which and allows complete wireless activation and synchronization with Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino, or Novell GroupWise email, calendar, tasks, notes, and contacts, when used in conjunction with BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The operating system also supports WAP 1.2.

The Phone Unit

BlackBerry_Bold_9700 BlackBerry is a line of mobile e-mail and smartphone devices developed by Canadian company Research In Motion (RIM). While including typical smartphone applications (address book, calendar, to-do lists, etc, as well as telephone capabilities on newer models), the BlackBerry is primarily known for its ability to send and receive Internet e-mail wherever it can access a mobile network of certain cellular phone carriers. It commands a 20.8% share of worldwide smartphone sales, making it the second most popular platform after Nokia’s Symbian OS, and is the most popular smartphone among U.S. business users. The service is available in North America and in most European countries.

The first BlackBerry device was introduced in 1999 as a two-way pager. In 2002, the more commonly known smartphone BlackBerry was released, which supports push e-mail, mobile telephone, text messaging, Internet faxing, Web browsing and other wireless information services. It is an example of a convergent device.

BlackBerry first made headway in the marketplace by concentrating on e-mail. RIM currently offers BlackBerry e-mail service to non-BlackBerry devices, such as the Palm Treo, through the BlackBerry Connect software. The original BlackBerry device had a monochrome display, but all current models have color displays.

Blackberry7250 Most current BlackBerry models have a built-in QWERTY keyboard, optimized for “thumbing”, the use of only the thumbs to type, and there are also several models that include a SureType keypad for typing, and two models that are full touch-screen devices with no physical keyboard. System navigation is primarily accomplished by a scroll ball, or “trackball” in the middle of the device, older devices used a track wheel on the side and newer devices like the Blackberry Bold 9700 or Curve 8520/8530 use a small pad for navigation “trackpad” instead of a trackball. Some models (currently, those manufactured for use with iDEN networks such as Nextel and Mike) also incorporate a Push-to-Talk (PTT) feature, similar to a two-way radio.

Modern GSM-based BlackBerry handhelds incorporate an ARM 7 or 9 processor, while older BlackBerry 950 and 957 handhelds used Intel 80386 processors. The latest GSM BlackBerry models (8100, 8300 and 8700 series) have an Intel PXA901 312 MHz processor, 64 MB flash memory and 16 MB SDRAM. CDMA BlackBerry smartphones are based on Qualcomm MSM6x00 chipsets which also include the ARM 9-based processor and GSM 900/1800 roaming (as the case with the 8830 and 9500) and include up to 256MB flash memory.

Updating the Devices

Updates to the operating system may be automatically available from wireless carriers that support the BlackBerry OTASL (over the air software loading) service.

Pearls_002 Third-party developers can write software using the available BlackBerry API (application programming interface) classes, although applications that make use of certain functionality must be digitally signed.

RIM provides a proprietary multi-tasking operating system (OS) for the BlackBerry, which makes heavy use of the many specialized input devices available on the phones, particularly the scroll wheel (1999–2006) or more recently the trackball (September 12 2006–present) and trackpad (September 2009-present). The OS provides support for Java MIDP 1.0 and WAP 1.2. Previous versions allowed wireless synchronization with Microsoft Exchange Server e-mail and calendar, as well as with Lotus Domino e-mail. The current OS 5.0 provides a subset of MIDP 2.0, and allows complete wireless activation and synchronization with Exchange e-mail, calendar, tasks, notes and contacts, and adds support for Novell GroupWise and Lotus Notes.

Third-party developers can write software using these APIs, and proprietary BlackBerry APIs as well, but any application that makes use of certain restricted functionality must be digitally signed so that it can be associated to a developer account at RIM. This signing procedure guarantees the authorship of an application, but does not guarantee the quality or security of the code.


Early BlackBerry devices used Intel-80386-based processors. The latest BlackBerry 9000 series is equipped with Intel XScale 624 MHz CPU,which makes the fastest BlackBerry to date. Earlier BlackBerry 8000 series smartphones, such as the 8700 and the Pearl, are based on the 312 MHz ARM XScale ARMv5TE PXA900. An exception to this is the BlackBerry 8707 which is based on the 80 MHz Qualcomm 3250 chipset; this was due to the ARM XScale ARMv5TE PXA900 chipset not supporting 3G networks. The 80 MHz Processor in the BlackBerry 8707 actually meant the device was often slower to download and render web pages over 3G than the 8700 was over EDGE networks.

BlackBerry Enterprise Server

BlackBerry handhelds are integrated into an organization’s e-mail system through a software package called “BlackBerry Enterprise Server” (BES). Versions of BES are available for Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino and Novell GroupWise. Google has made a Connector for BES which makes BES available for Google Apps as well. While individual users may be able to use a wireless provider’s e-mail services without having to install BES themselves, organizations with multiple users usually run BES on their own network. Some third-party companies provide hosted BES solutions. Every BlackBerry has an ID called BlackBerry PIN, which is used to identify the device to the BES.

BES can act as a sort of e-mail relay for corporate accounts so that users always have access to their e-mail. The software monitors the user’s local “inbox”, and when a new message comes in, it picks up the message and passes it to RIM’s Network Operations Center (NOC). The messages are then relayed to the user’s wireless provider, which in turn delivers them to the user’s BlackBerry device.

This is called “push e-mail,” because all new e-mails, contacts and calendar entries are “pushed” out to the BlackBerry device automatically, as opposed to the user synchronizing the data by hand or on a polling basis. Blackberry also supports polling email, which is how it supports POP. Device storage also enables the mobile user to access all data off-line in areas without wireless service. As soon as the user connects again, the BES sends the latest data.

An included feature in the newer models of the BlackBerry is the ability for it to track your current location through trilateration. One can view the online maps on the phone and see current location denoted by a flashing dot. However, accuracy of BlackBerry trilateration is less than that of GPS due to a number of factors, including cell tower blockage by large buildings, mountains, or distance.

BES also provides handhelds with TCP/IP connectivity accessed through a component called “Mobile Data Service – Connection Service” (MDS-CS). This allows for custom application development using data streams on BlackBerry devices based on the Sun Microsystems Java ME platform.

In addition, BES provides network security, in the form of Triple DES or, more recently, AES encryption of all data (both e-mail and MDS traffic) that travels between the BlackBerry handheld and a BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

Most providers offer flat monthly pricing for unlimited data between BlackBerry units and BES. In addition to receiving e-mail, organizations can make intranets or custom internal applications with unmetered traffic.

With more recent versions of the BlackBerry platform, the MDS is no longer a requirement for wireless data access. Beginning with OS 3.8 or 4.0, BlackBerry handhelds can access the Internet (i.e. TCP/IP access) without an MDS – previously only e-mail and WAP access was possible without a BES/MDS. The BES/MDS is still required for secure e-mail, data access, and applications that require WAP from carriers that do not allow WAP access.

BlackBerry Internet Service

The primary alternative to using BlackBerry Enterprise Server is to use the BlackBerry Internet Service. It was developed primarily for the average consumer rather than for the business consumer. This service allows POP3 and IMAP email integration for the personal user. It allows up to 10 email accounts to be accessed, including many popular email accounts such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and AOL. There are also special bundles for just Myspace, Facebook, & MSN as well.

A less common alternate to using BlackBerry Enterprise Server is to use the BlackBerry Desktop Redirector. This software is installed on a desktop computer that has the Enterprise email client installed.

BlackBerry Messenger

Newer BlackBerry devices use the proprietary BlackBerry Messenger, also known as BBM, software for sending and receiving instant messages via BlackBerry PIN or barcode scan. There is also the BlackBerry Alliance program of partners who work under contract with Research In Motion to create new BlackBerry applications. Typical applications include digital dictation, GPS tracking, CRM and expense management. On October 6, 2009 BlackBerry Messenger 5.0 was officially released, adding a whole new set of features, including bar code scanning to add contacts, profiles, sharing your location via GPS, and creating groups. The real advantage of BBM is that much like its internet based counter-parts, it also allows its users to connect to another user around the world.

Third-party software available for use on BlackBerry devices includes full-featured database management systems, which can be used to support customer relationship management clients and other applications that must manage large volumes of potentially complex data.


The BlackBerry device has been criticized due to its ‘addictive’ nature, resulting it being coined by some as the “CrackBerry”.

President of the United States Barack Obama became notorious for his dependence on a Blackberry device for communication during his presidential campaign. Despite the security issues, he insisted on using it even after inauguration, becoming the first President of the United States to use mobile e-mail. This was seen by some as akin to a “celebrity endorsement,” which marketing experts have estimated to be worth between 25 and 50 million dollars.


The primary competitor of the BlackBerry is the iPhone from Apple. Those who use the BlackBerry defend its utility, supporting its physical keyboard, secure e-mail, and applications such as BlackBerry Messenger.

Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Blackberry…

Wikipedia: Blackberry OS…

Brainy Quote: Blackberry Quotes…

by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Google entered the cell phone marketplace late, but has taken it by storm. More recently, their Android OS has powered many popular smartphones in the marketplace. It is in a confrontational battle with Apple’s iPhone OS; it has recently released one of its own branded cell phones, the Nexus One. It has recently been updating its feature set, and is one of the top competitors in the field. It has adopted an iTunes-like app store support for third party apps that build upon the Android OS.  GLB


“Everybody assumes everybody has a cell phone.”
— Jonathan Epstein

“Kids don’t want a walkie-talkie that looks like a cell phone, … They want a cell phone.”
— Sean McGowan

“We just broke out the cell phones, and he called his brother and sister-in-law, and it was no problem after that.”
— Army Sgt.

“What were they thinking? You know a hurricane’s going to knock down cell phone towers,”
— Paul Light

“It’s a dramatic change from where we were, and it will take some getting used to, … A year ago, Amy was home and we saw each other all the time. Now it’s weekends and cell phones.”
— John DeLuca

“We’ve been burning our cell phones up trying to do this ourselves. Now, we really need the community to step up. We need help today.”
— Dave Brennan

“…based on something called a ‘ping,’ where you literally ping a cell phone using an electronic signal that then reflects the location of where that cell phone is.”
— Jeanine Pirro

“I just made a movie. There’s a kind of a banter that some people might recognize as being screwball. There are no cell phones, no DVD playersit’s set in a timeless Brooklyn. Hopefully, it’s a good, old-fashioned movie.”
— Michael Showalter

History of Hand-Held Computers: The Android OS

Android_logo.svg Android is a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications, that uses a modified version of the Linux kernel. It was initially developed by Android Inc., a firm later purchased by Google, and lately by the Open Handset Alliance. It allows developers to write managed code in the Java language, controlling the device via Google-developed Java libraries.

The unveiling of the Android distribution on November 5, 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 65 hardware, software, and telecom companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. Google released most of the Android code under the Apache License, a free software and open source license.

On Feb 16, 2010 Google announced that 60,000 cell phones with Android are shipping every day. According to a press estimate, the Android platform ranks as the fourth most popular smartphone device-platform as of February 2010.


Android-2.0 In July 2005, Google acquired Android, Inc., a small startup company based in Palo Alto, California, USA. Android’s co-founders who went to work at Google included Andy Rubin (co-founder of Danger), Rich Miner (co-founder of Wildfire Communications, Inc.), Nick Sears (once VP at T-Mobile), and Chris White (headed design and interface development at WebTV). At the time, little was known about the functions of Android, Inc. other than that they made software for mobile phones. This began rumors that Google was planning to enter the mobile phone market.

At Google, the team led by Rubin developed a mobile device platform powered by the Linux kernel which they marketed to handset makers and carriers on the premise of providing a flexible, upgradeable system. It was reported that Google had already lined up a series of hardware component and software partners and signaled to carriers that it was open to various degrees of cooperation on their part. More speculation that Google would be entering the mobile-phone market came in December 2006. Reports from the BBC and The Wall Street Journal noted that Google wanted its search and applications on mobile phones and it was working hard to deliver that. Print and online media outlets soon reported rumors that Google was developing a Google-branded handset. More speculation followed reporting that as Google was defining technical specifications, it was showing prototypes to cell phone manufacturers and network operators.

In September 2007, InformationWeek covered an Evalueserve study reporting that Google had filed several patent applications in the area of mobile telephony.

Open Handset Alliance

“Today’s announcement is more ambitious than any single ‘Google Phone’ that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks. Our vision is that the powerful platform we’re unveiling will power thousands of different phone models.”
Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman/CEO

On November 5, 2007, the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of several companies which include Texas Instruments, Broadcom Corporation, Google, HTC, Intel, LG, Marvell Technology Group, Motorola, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile was unveiled with the goal to develop open standards for mobile devices. Along with the formation of the Open Handset Alliance, the OHA also unveiled their first product, Android, a mobile device platform built on the Linux kernel version 2.6.

On 9 December 2008, it was announced that 14 new members would be joining the Android project, including ARM Holdings, Atheros Communications, Asustek Computer Inc, Garmin Ltd, Softbank, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba Corp, and Vodafone Group Plc.


With the exception of brief update periods, Android has been available as open source since 21 October 2008. Google opened the entire source code (including network and telephony stacks) under an Apache License.

With the Apache License, vendors can add proprietary extensions without submitting those back to the open source community.

Update history

Android has seen a number of updates since its original release. These updates to the base Operating System typically fix bugs and add new features.

1.5 (Cupcake)… Based on Linux Kernel 2.6.27

On 30 April 2009, the official 1.5 (Cupcake) update for Android was released. There are several new features and UI updates included in the 1.5 update:

  • Ability to record and watch videos with the camcorder mode
  • Uploading videos to YouTube and pictures to Picasa directly from the phone
  • A new soft keyboard with an “Autocomplete” feature
  • Bluetooth A2DP support (which in turn broke Bluetooth connectivity with many popular cars and headsets. This has yet to be fixed as of December 2009
  • Ability to automatically connect to a Bluetooth headset within a certain distance
  • New widgets and folders that can populate the Home screens
  • Animations between screens
  • Expanded ability of Copy and paste to include web pages

1.6 (Donut)… Based on Linux Kernel 2.6.29

On 15 September 2009, the 1.6 (Donut) SDK was released. Included in the update are:

  • An improved Android Market experience.
  • An integrated camera, camcorder, and gallery interface.
  • Gallery now enables users to select multiple photos for deletion.
  • Updated Voice Search, with faster response and deeper integration with native applications, including the ability to dial contacts.
  • Updated search experience to allow searching bookmarks, history, contacts, and the web from the home screen.
  • Updated Technology support for CDMA/EVDO, 802.1x, VPN, Gestures, and a Text-to-speech engine.
  • Support for WVGA resolutions.
  • Speed improvements for searching & the camera.

2.0/2.1 (Eclair)… Based on Linux Kernel 2.6.29

On 26 October 2009 the 2.0 (Eclair) SDK was released. Among the changes are:

  • Optimized hardware speed
  • Support for more screen sizes and resolutions
  • Revamped UI
  • New browser UI and HTML5 support
  • New contact lists
  • Better white/black ratio for backgrounds
  • Improved Google Maps 3.1.2
  • Microsoft Exchange support
  • Built in flash support for Camera
  • Digital Zoom
  • MotionEvent class enhanced to track multi-touch events
  • Improved virtual keyboard
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • Live Wallpapers


Android_home The Android Emulator
default home screen (v1.5).

Current features and specifications:

  • Handset layouts…
    The platform is adaptable to larger, VGA, 2D graphics library, 3D graphics library based on OpenGL ES 2.0 specifications, and traditional smartphone layouts.
  • Storage…
    The Database Software SQLite is used for data storage purposes
  • Connectivity…
    Android supports connectivity technologies including GSM/EDGE, IDEN, CDMA, EV-DO, UMTS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and WiMAX.
  • Messaging…
    SMS and MMS are available forms of messaging including threaded text messaging.
  • Web browser…
    The web browser available in Android is based on the open-source WebKit application framework. The browser scores a 93/100 on the Acid3 Test.
  • Java support…
    Software written in Java can be compiled to be executed in the Dalvik virtual machine, which is a specialized VM implementation designed for mobile device use, although not technically a standard Java Virtual Machine. Android does not support J2ME, like some other mobile operating systems.
  • Media support…
    Android supports the following audio/video/still media formats: H.263, H.264 (in 3GP or MP4 container), MPEG-4 SP, AMR, AMR-WB (in 3GP container), AAC, HE-AAC (in MP4 or 3GP container), MP3, MIDI, OGG Vorbis, WAV, JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP.
  • Additional hardware support…
    Android can use video/still cameras, touchscreens, GPS, accelerometers, magnetometers, accelerated 2D bit blits (with hardware orientation, scaling, pixel format conversion) and accelerated 3D graphics.
  • Development environment…
    Includes a device emulator, tools for debugging, memory and performance profiling, and a plugin for the Eclipse IDE.
  • Market…
    Like many phone-based application stores, the Android Market is a catalog of applications that can be downloaded and installed to target hardware over-the-air, without the use of a PC. Originally only free applications were supported. Paid-for applications have been available on the Android Market in the United States since 19 February 2009. The Android Market has been expanding rapidly. As of April 15, 2010, it had over 38,000 Android applications for download.
  • Multi-touch…
    Android has native support for multi-touch which was initially made available in handsets such as the HTC Hero. The feature was initially disabled at the kernel level (possibly to avoid infringing Apple’s patents on touch-screen technology). Google has since released an update for the Nexus One and the Motorola Droid which enables multi-touch natively.
  • Bluetooth…
    Support for sending files over bluetooth was added in version 2.0.
  • Videocalling…
    Android does not support videocalling. However, it is possible if the phone runs an additional UI. This is proved on the HTC Evo 4G, which runs Sense and can support videocalling.

Software Development

Android_mobile_phone_platform_early_device Early Android device.

The early feedback on developing applications for the Android platform was mixed. Issues cited include bugs, lack of documentation, inadequate QA infrastructure, and no public issue-tracking system. (Google announced an issue tracker on 18 January 2008.) In December 2007, MergeLab mobile startup founder Adam MacBeth stated, “Functionality is not there, is poorly documented or just doesn’t work… It’s clearly not ready for prime time.” Despite this, Android-targeted applications began to appear the week after the platform was announced. The first publicly available application was the Snake game. The Android Dev Phone is a SIM-unlocked and hardware-unlocked device that is designed for advanced developers. While developers can use regular consumer devices purchased at retail to test and use their applications, some developers may choose not to use a retail device, preferring an unlocked or no-contract device.

Software Development Kit

The Android SDK includes a comprehensive set of development tools. These include a debugger, libraries, a handset emulator (based on QEMU), documentation, sample code, and tutorials. Currently supported development platforms include x86-architecture computers running Linux (any modern desktop Linux distribution), Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later, Windows XP or Vista. Requirements also include Java Development Kit, Apache Ant, and Python 2.2 or later. The officially supported integrated development environment (IDE) is Eclipse (3.2 or later) using the Android Development Tools (ADT) Plugin, though developers may use any text editor to edit Java and XML files then use command line tools to create, build and debug Android applications as well as control attached Android devices (e.g., triggering a reboot, installing software package(s) remotely).

A preview release of the Android software development kit (SDK) was released on 12 November 2007. On 15 July 2008, the Android Developer Challenge Team accidentally sent an email to all entrants in the Android Developer Challenge announcing that a new release of the SDK was available in a “private” download area. The email was intended for winners of the first round of the Android Developer Challenge. The revelation that Google was supplying new SDK releases to some developers and not others (and keeping this arrangement private) has led to widely reported frustration within the Android developer community.

On 18 August 2008 the Android 0.9 SDK beta was released. This release provides an updated and extended API, improved development tools and an updated design for the home screen. Detailed instructions for upgrading are available to those already working with an earlier release. On 23 September 2008 the Android 1.0 SDK (Release 1) was released. According to the release notes, it included “mainly bug fixes, although some smaller features were added”. It also included several API changes from the 0.9 version.

On 9 March 2009, Google released version 1.1 for the Android dev phone. While there are a few aesthetic updates, a few crucial updates include support for “search by voice, priced applications, alarm clock fixes, sending gmail freeze fix, fixes mail notifications and refreshing intervals, and now the maps show business reviews”. Another important update is that Dev phones can now access paid applications and developers can now see them on the Android Market.

In the middle of May 2009, Google released version 1.5 (Cupcake) of the Android OS and SDK. This update included many new features including video recording, support for the stereo bluetooth profile, a customizable onscreen keyboard system and voice recognition. This release also opened up the AppWidget framework to third party developers allowing anyone to create their own home screen widgets.

In September 2009 the “Donut” version (1.6) was released which featured better search, battery usage indicator and VPN control applet. New platform technologies included Text to Speech engine (not available on all phones), Gestures & Accessibility framework.

Android Applications are packaged in .apk format and stored under /data/app folder on the Android OS. The user can run the command adb root to access this folder as only the root has permissions to access this folder.

Android Developer Challenge

The Android Developer Challenge was a competition for the most innovative application for Android. Google offered prizes totaling 10 million US dollars, distributed between ADC I and ADC II. ADC I accepted submissions from 2 January to 14 April 2008. The 50 most promising entries, announced on 12 May 2008, each received a $25,000 award to fund further development. It ended in early September with the announcement of ten teams that received $275,000 each, and ten teams that received $100,000 each. ADC II was announced on 27 May 2009. The first round of the ADC II closed on 6 October 2009. The first-round winners of ADC II comprising the top 200 applications were announced on 5 November 2009. Voting for the second round also opened on the same day and ended on November 25. Google announced the top winners of ADC II on November 30, with SweetDreams, What the Doddle! and WaveSecure being nominated the overall winners of the challenge.

Google Applications

Google has also participated in the Android Market by offering several applications for its services. These applications include Google Voice for the Google Voice service, Sky Map for watching stars, Finance for their finance service, Maps Editor for their MyMaps service, Places Directory for their Local Search, Google Goggles that searches by image, Google Translate, Listen for podcasts and My Tracks, a jogging application.

Third Party Applications

With the growing number of Android handsets, there has also been a growing interest by third party developers to port their applications to the Android operating system.

Famous applications that have been converted to the Android operating system include Shazam, Backgrounds, and WeatherBug.

The Android operating system has also been considered important enough by a lot of the most popular internet sites and services to create native android applications. These include MySpace and Facebook.

The release of Mozilla Firefox browser for Android is planned for late 2010. According to an interview with Mozilla’s vice president of mobile, Jay Sullivan, conducted by TechRadar on February 17, 2010, part of the delay with the porting of Firefox over to Android has been because Firefox Mobile is built on C and C++ code, but that the new Native Development Kit makes it easier to port Firefox Mobile.

Native Code

Libraries written in C and other languages can be compiled to ARM native code and installed using the Android Native Development Kit. Native classes can be called from Java code running under the Dalvik VM using the System.loadLibrary call, which is part of the standard Android Java classes.

Complete applications can be compiled and installed using traditional development tools. The ADB debugger gives a root shell under the Android Emulator which allows native ARM code to be uploaded and executed. ARM code can be compiled using GCC on a standard PC. Running native code is complicated by the fact that Android uses a non-standard C library (known as Bionic). The underlying graphics device is available as a framebuffer at /dev/graphics/fb0. The graphics library that Android uses to arbitrate and control access to this device is called the Skia Graphics Library (SGL), and it has been released under an open source license. Skia has backends for both win32 and Cairo, allowing the development of cross-platform applications, and it is the graphics engine underlying the Google Chrome web browser.

Community-Based Firmware

There is a community of open-source enthusiasts that build and share Android-based firmware with a number of customizations and additional features, such as FLAC lossless audio support and the ability to store downloaded applications on the microSD card. The community refers to this process as rooting the device. Rooting lets users load modified firmwares allowing users of older phones to use applications available only on newer releases.

Those firmware packages are updated frequently, incorporate elements of Android functionality that haven’t yet been officially released within a carrier-sanctioned firmware, and tend to have fewer limitations. CyanogenMod is one such firmware.

On 24 September 2009, Google issued a cease and desist letter to the modder Cyanogen, citing issues with the re-distribution of Google’s closed-source applications within the custom firmware. Even though Android OS is open source, phones come packaged with closed-source Google applications for functionality such as the application store and GPS navigation. Google has asserted that these applications can only be provided through approved distribution channels by licensed distributors. Cyanogen has complied with Google’s wishes and is continuing to distribute this mod without the proprietary software. He has provided a method to back up licensed Google applications during the mod’s install process and restore them when it is complete.


Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Android (operating system)…

Think Exist: Cell Phone Quotes…

by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Nokia has been a player in the cell phone marketplace since its beginning. More recently, they have been marketing several smartphones powered by the Symbian OS. In the recent marketplace statistics, the Nokia smartphones had approximately the same marketshare as the iPhone, although the iPhone has been gaining market share recently. It has been updating its feature set, but has not gained on the top two smartphone OSs: iPhone and Android.  GLB


Cell phones rely on the strongest signal. So it’s not uncommon for the signal to hit a tower in another county,”
— Andrew Knapp

“When he canceled his cell phone he learned that the suspect had used the picture phone and had taken pictures of himself with the fire equipment,”
— James Conn

“If you feel someone suspicious is following you, the best thing to do is to talk on your cell phone, … Even if you just act as if someone is on the other end, it will make them think twice.”
— Arthur Mitchell

“Between cell phones, text-messaging, e-mails and computers, this tells us that if this was a more serious rumor or in a larger city, this kind of thing could really create huge problems.”
— Chris Campbell

“I didn’t want a period piece because embroidering is definitely not an art of the past, at least not yet. I suppose the story could be set anywhere between the 1960s and the present . . . but I did want to make sure no one used cell phones or worked on computers because that would ruin the sensual atmosphere.”
— Eleonore Faucher

“[He picked up the phone and began to make calls, aware that his firing would ripple far beyond his desk. Pottruck’s assistant of 15 years, Colleen Bagan-McGill, was driving through San Francisco with her husband and kids at the start of a long-awaited vacation when her cell phone rang.] How are you doing, honey? … I need to tell you something. I got fired this morning.”
— David Pottruck

“Reino and Las Vegas are parking innovators who have taken the industry forward by making parking as consumer-friendly as possible. This deployment is another milestone for the Peppercoin Small Transaction Suite and further demonstrates the potential to improve consumers’ experiences by letting them use their preferred payment devices-credit and debit cards, as well as cell phones — for transactions of all sizes in the physical world.”
— Mark Friedman

“The dynamic is unmistakable: fixed lines for phones have been declining at a three-percent rate for the last several years, while the number of Americans opting for cell phone calling keeps increasing. If you are a fixed line provider this trend means trouble. Many of the fixed mobile convergence strategies under consideration end up utilizing a smart phone or dual-mode VoWLAN/Cellular phone that works like a landline phone in the local area and then converts to cell phone calling.”
— Robert Rosenberg

History of Hand-Held Computers: The Symbian OS

nokia_n900 Symbian OS is an operating system (OS) designed for mobile devices and smartphones, with associated libraries, user interface, frameworks and reference implementations of common tools, originally developed by Symbian Ltd. It was a descendant of Psion’s EPOC and runs exclusively on ARM processors, although an unreleased x86 port existed.

In 2008, the former Symbian Software Limited was acquired by Nokia and a new independent non-profit organisation called the Symbian Foundation was established. Symbian OS and its associated user interfaces S60, UIQ and MOAP(S) were contributed by their owners to the foundation with the objective of creating the Symbian platform as a royalty-free, open source software. The platform has been designated as the successor to Symbian OS, following the official launch of the Symbian Foundation in April 2009. The Symbian platform was officially made available as open source code in February 2010.

Devices based on Symbian OS account for 46.9% of smartphone sales, making it the world’s most popular mobile operating system.


Symbian features pre-emptive multitasking and memory protection, like other operating systems (especially those created for use on desktop computers). EPOC’s approach to multitasking was inspired by VMS and is based on asynchronous server-based events.

Symbian OS was created with three systems design principles in mind:

  • the integrity and security of user data is paramount,
  • user time must not be wasted, and
  • all resources are scarce.

To best follow these principles, Symbian uses a microkernel, has a request-and-callback approach to services, and maintains separation between user interface and engine. The OS is optimised for low-power battery-based devices and for ROM-based systems (e.g. features like XIP and re-entrancy in shared libraries). Applications, and the OS itself, follow an object-oriented design: Model-view-controller (MVC).

Later OS iterations diluted this approach in response to market demands, notably with the introduction of a real-time kernel and a platform security model in versions 8 and 9.

There is a strong emphasis on conserving resources which is exemplified by Symbian-specific programming idioms such as descriptors and a cleanup stack. There are similar techniques for conserving disk space (though the disks on Symbian devices are usually flash memory). Furthermore, all Symbian programming is event-based, and the CPU is switched into a low power mode when applications are not directly dealing with an event. This is achieved through a programming idiom called active objects. Similarly the Symbian approach to threads and processes is driven by reducing overheads.

The Symbian kernel (EKA2) supports sufficiently-fast real-time response to build a single-core phone around it—that is, a phone in which a single processor core executes both the user applications and the signalling stack. This is a feature which is not available in Linux. This has allowed Symbian EKA2 phones to become smaller, cheaper and more power efficient than their predecessors


In the number of “smart mobile device” shipments, Symbian devices are the market leaders. Statistics published in February 2010 showed that the Symbian devices comprised a 47.2% share of the smart mobile devices shipped in in 2009, with RIM having 20.8%, Apple having 15.1% (through iPhone OS), Microsoft having 8.8% (through Windows CE and Windows Mobile) and Android having 4.7%. Other competitors include Palm OS, Qualcomm’s BREW, SavaJe, Linux and MontaVista Software.

Although the share of the global smartphone market dropped from 52.4% in 2008 to 47.2% in 2009, the shipment volume of Symbian devices grew 4.8%, from 74.9 million units to 78.5 million units.


The Symbian System Model contains the following layers, from top to bottom:

  • UI Framework Layer
  • Application Services Layer
    • Java ME
  • OS Services Layer
    • generic OS services
    • communications services
    • multimedia and graphics services
    • connectivity services
  • Base Services Layer
  • Kernel Services & Hardware Interface Layer

The Base Services Layer is the lowest level reachable by user-side operations; it includes the File Server and User Library, a Plug-In Framework which manages all plug-ins, Store, Central Repository, DBMS and cryptographic services. It also includes the Text Window Server and the Text Shell: the two basic services from which a completely functional port can be created without the need for any higher layer services.

Symbian has a microkernel architecture, which means that the minimum necessary is within the kernel to maximise robustness, availability and responsiveness. It contains a scheduler, memory management and device drivers, but other services like networking, telephony and filesystem support are placed in the OS Services Layer or the Base Services Layer. The inclusion of device drivers means the kernel is not a true microkernel. The EKA2 real-time kernel, which has been termed a nanokernel, contains only the most basic primitives and requires an extended kernel to implement any other abstractions.

Symbian is designed to emphasise compatibility with other devices, especially removable media file systems. Early development of EPOC led to adopting FAT as the internal file system, and this remains, but an object-oriented persistence model was placed over the underlying FAT to provide a POSIX-style interface and a streaming model. The internal data formats rely on using the same APIs that create the data to run all file manipulations. This has resulted in data-dependence and associated difficulties with changes and data migration.

There is a large networking and communication subsystem, which has three main servers called: ETEL (EPOC telephony), ESOCK (EPOC sockets) and C32 (responsible for serial communication). Each of these has a plug-in scheme. For example ESOCK allows different “.PRT” protocol modules to implement various networking protocol schemes. The subsystem also contains code that supports short-range communication links, such as Bluetooth, IrDA and USB.

There is also a large volume of user interface (UI) Code. Only the base classes and substructure were contained in Symbian OS, while most of the actual user interfaces were maintained by third parties. This is no longer the case. The three major UIs – S60, UIQ and MOAP – were contributed to Symbian in 2009. Symbian also contains graphics, text layout and font rendering libraries.

All native Symbian C++ applications are built up from three framework classes defined by the application architecture: an application class, a document class and an application user interface class. These classes create the fundamental application behaviour. The remaining required functions, the application view, data model and data interface, are created independently and interact solely through their APIs with the other classes.

Many other things do not yet fit into this model – for example, SyncML, Java ME providing another set of APIs on top of most of the OS and multimedia. Many of these are frameworks, and vendors are expected to supply plug-ins to these frameworks from third parties (for example, Helix Player for multimedia codecs). This has the advantage that the APIs to such areas of functionality are the same on many phone models, and that vendors get a lot of flexibility. But it means that phone vendors needed to do a great deal of integration work to make a Symbian OS phone.

Symbian includes a reference user-interface called “TechView”. It provides a basis for starting customisation and is the environment in which much Symbian test and example code runs. It is very similar to the user interface from the Psion Series 5 personal organizer and is not used for any production phone user interface.

Devices that use Symbian OS

On 16 November 2006, the 100 millionth smartphone running the OS was shipped.

  • The Ericsson R380, in 2000, was the first commercially available phone based on Symbian OS. As with the modern “FOMA” phones, this device was closed, and the user could not install new C++ applications. Unlike those, however, the R380 could not even run Java applications, and for this reason, some have questioned whether it can properly be termed a ‘smartphone’.
  • The UIQ interface was used for PDAs such as Sony Ericsson P800, P900, W950 and the RIZR Z8 and RIZR Z10.
  • The Nokia S60 interface is used in various phones, the first being the Nokia 7650. The Nokia N-Gage and Nokia N-Gage QD gaming/smartphone combos are also S60 platform devices. It was also used on other manufacturers’ phones such as the Siemens SX1 and Samsung SGH-Z600. Recently, more advanced devices using S60 include the Nokia 6xxx, the Nseries (except Nokia N8xx and N9xx), the Eseries and some models of the Nokia XpressMusic mobiles.
  • The Nokia 9210, 9300 and 9500 Communicator smartphones used the Nokia Series 80 interface.
  • The Nokia 7710 is the only device currently using the Nokia Series 90 interface.
  • Fujitsu, Mitsubishi, Sony Ericsson and Sharp developed phones for NTT DoCoMo in Japan, using an interface developed specifically for DoCoMo’s FOMA “Freedom of Mobile Access” network brand. This UI platform is called MOAP “Mobile Oriented Applications Platform” and is based on the UI from earlier Fujitsu FOMA models.

As of 21 July 2009, more than 250 million devices running Symbian OS had been shipped.

Developing on Symbian OS

The native language of Symbian is C++, although it is not a standard implementation. There were multiple platforms based upon Symbian OS that provided SDKs for application developers wishing to target Symbian OS devices – the main ones being UIQ and S60. Individual phone products, or families, often had SDKs or SDK extensions downloadable from the manufacturer’s website too. With the various UI platforms unified in the Symbian platform there should be less diversity between manufacturer’s SDKs from 2010 onwards.

The SDKs contain documentation, the header files and library files required to build Symbian OS software, and a Windows-based emulator (“WINS”). Up until Symbian OS version 8, the SDKs also included a version of the GCC compiler (a cross-compiler) required to build software to work on the device.

Symbian OS 9 and the Symbian platform use a new ABI and require a different compiler – a choice of compilers is available including a newer version of GCC (see external links below).

Unfortunately, Symbian C++ programming has a steep learning curve, as Symbian requires the use of special techniques such as descriptors and the cleanup stack. This can make even relatively simple programs harder to implement than in other environments. Moreover, it is questionable whether Symbian’s techniques, such as the memory management paradigm, are actually beneficial. It is possible that the techniques, developed for the much more restricted mobile hardware of the 1990s, simply cause unnecessary complexity in source code because programmers are required to concentrate on low-level routines instead of more application-specific features. It seems difficult, however, to make a move towards a more high-level and modern programming paradigm.

Symbian C++ programming is commonly done with an IDE. For previous versions of Symbian OS, the commercial IDE CodeWarrior for Symbian OS was favoured. The CodeWarrior tools were replaced during 2006 by Carbide.c++, an Eclipse-based IDE developed by Nokia. Carbide.c++ is offered in four different versions: Express, Developer, Professional, and OEM, with increasing levels of capability. Fully featured software can be created and released with the Express edition, which is free. Features such as UI design, crash debugging etc. are available in the other, charged-for, editions. Microsoft Visual Studio 2003 and 2005 are also supported through the Carbide.vs plugin.

Symbian’s flavour of C++ is very specialised. However, Symbian devices can also be programmed using Python, Java ME, Flash Lite, Ruby, .NET, Web Runtime (WRT) Widgets and Standard C/C++..

Visual Basic programmers can use NS Basic to develop apps for S60 3rd Edition and UIQ 3 devices.

In the past, Visual Basic, VB.NET, and C# development for Symbian were possible through AppForge Crossfire, a plugin for Microsoft Visual Studio. On 13 March 2007 AppForge ceased operations; Oracle purchased the intellectual property, but announced that they did not plan to sell or provide support for former AppForge products. Net60, a .NET compact framework for Symbian, which is developed by redFIVElabs, is sold as a commercial product. With Net60, VB.NET and C# (and other) source code is compiled into an intermediate language (IL) which is executed within the Symbian OS using a just-in-time compiler. (As of 18/1/10 RedFiveLabs has ceased development of Net60 with this announcement on their landing page: At this stage we are pursuing some options to sell the IP so that Net60 may continue to have a future.)

There is also a version of a Borland IDE for Symbian OS. Symbian OS development is also possible on Linux and Mac OS X using tools and techniques developed by the community, partly enabled by Symbian releasing the source code for key tools. A plugin that allows development of Symbian OS applications in Apple’s Xcode IDE for Mac OS X is available.

Once developed, Symbian applications need to find a route to customers’ mobile phones. They are packaged in SIS files which may be installed over-the-air, via PC connect, Bluetooth or on a memory card. An alternative is to partner with a phone manufacturer and have the software included on the phone itself. The SIS file route is more difficult for Symbian OS 9.x, because any application wishing to have any capabilities beyond the bare minimum must be signed via the Symbian Signed program. There are however various hacks, which allow installing unsigned programs with any capabilities to Symbian OS 9.x.

Introduction of the Symbian Signed system in which application developers need to pay in order to use some of the more attractive smartphone features (as contrasted to platforms like Palm OS and Windows Mobile) is making it an increasingly unpopular platform for Open Source projects, independent developers and small startups. This situation is worsened by the fragmentation of user interface systems (UIQ vs S60 vs MOAP), meaning that developers need to build and maintain multiple incompatible versions of their software if they want to target multiple devices which use the same underlying Symbian OS version.

Java ME applications for Symbian OS are developed using standard techniques and tools such as the Sun Java Wireless Toolkit (formerly the J2ME Wireless Toolkit). They are packaged as JAR (and possibly JAD) files. Both CLDC and CDC applications can be created with NetBeans. Other tools include SuperWaba, which can be used to build Symbian 7.0 and 7.0s programs using Java.

Nokia S60i phones can also run Python scripts when the interpreter Python for S60 is installed, with a custom made API that allows for Bluetooth support and such. There is also an interactive console to allow the user to write python scripts directly from the phone.

Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Symbian OS…

Think Exist: Cell Phones…

by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Just as the Palm Pilot was a breakthrough product in the personal organizer marketplace, so has the webOS from Palm been a breakthrough smartphone operating system. Its use began in the later models of the Palm Treo and finds it fullest role in the new Palm Pre and Palm Pixi smartphones. These phones mimic much of the ease-of-use of the iPhone while not being as restrictive and proprietary. The third-party developer app marketplace is growing, although it is significantly smaller than that for the iPhone. Today we take a closer look at this smartphone environment.  GLB


Cell phones rely on the strongest signal. So it’s not uncommon for the signal to hit a tower in another county,”
— Andrew Knapp

Cell phones give a false sense of security. Technology will not override the need to know where you are,”
— Andrew Knapp

“If you feel someone suspicious is following you, the best thing to do is to talk on your cell phone, … Even if you just act as if someone is on the other end, it will make them think twice.”
— Arthur Mitchell

“Between cell phones, text-messaging, e-mails and computers, this tells us that if this was a more serious rumor or in a larger city, this kind of thing could really create huge problems.”
— Chris Campbell

“I finally was able to get my mom on her cell phone last night, … She told me everybody was OK and the house was OK. It’s tough to get people on their home phones around the whole state.”
— Marcus Johnson

“I didn’t want a period piece because embroidering is definitely not an art of the past, at least not yet. I suppose the story could be set anywhere between the 1960s and the present . . . but I did want to make sure no one used cell phones or worked on computers because that would ruin the sensual atmosphere.”
— Eleonore Faucher

“Reno and Las Vegas are parking innovators who have taken the industry forward by making parking as consumer-friendly as possible. This deployment is another milestone for the Peppercoin Small Transaction Suite and further demonstrates the potential to improve consumers’ experiences by letting them use their preferred payment devices-credit and debit cards, as well as cell phones — for transactions of all sizes in the physical world.”
— Mark Friedman

“The dynamic is unmistakable: fixed lines for phones have been declining at a three-percent rate for the last several years, while the number of Americans opting for cell phone calling keeps increasing. If you are a fixed line provider this trend means trouble. Many of the fixed mobile convergence strategies under consideration end up utilizing a smart phone or dual-mode VoWLAN/Cellular phone that works like a landline phone in the local area and then converts to cell phone calling.”
— Robert Rosenberg

History of Hand-Held Computers: Palm’s webOS

Palm-pre-webos-lg Palm webOS is a mobile operating system running on the Linux kernel with proprietary components developed by Palm.

The Palm Pre smartphone is the first device to launch with webOS, and both were introduced to the public at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 8, 2009 (2009-01-08). The Palm Pre and webOS were released on June 6, 2009 (2009-06-06). The second device to use the operating system, the Palm Pixi, was released on November 15, 2009. The webOS features significant online social network and Web 2.0 integration.


webOS’s graphical user interface is designed for use on devices with touchscreens. It includes a suite of applications for personal information management and makes use of a number of web technologies such as HTML 5, JavaScript, and CSS. Palm claims that the design around these existing technologies was intended to spare developers from learning a new programming language. The Palm Pre, released on June 6, 2009, is the first device to run this platform.


The webOS interface is based on a system of “cards” used to manage multitasking. Applications can be launched from either the “Launcher”, which displays a default of three pages of applications icons in a scrollable grid, or the Quick Launch bar, which displays five icons inline horizontally. The user switches between running applications by clicking the front-face button to bring up the “cards” and then flicking left and right on the screen. Applications are closed by flicking a “card” up—and “off”—the screen. webOS also supports multi-touch gestures, enabling most navigational input to be made using the touchscreen. Unlike other touchscreen smartphones, the Pre does not include a virtual keyboard as it includes the slide-out keyboard.


webOS includes a feature called Synergy that integrates information from many sources. webOS allows a user to sign in to accounts on Gmail, Yahoo!, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Microsoft Outlook (via Exchange ActiveSync). Contacts from all sources are then integrated into a single list. Calendars from multiple sources can be viewed together or one at a time. For messaging, Synergy combines all conversations with each contact into a single chat-style window. For example, instant messages and SMS text messages are viewed together.

Web browser

The webOS web browser is WebKit-based and, thus, pages render similarly to other WebKit-based browsers such as Safari, Google Chrome and the Android browser. The browser can be viewed in either landscape or portrait orientation, switched by rotating the device. Specific features of the web browser include the ability to play .pls file types without the need for an additional application. In addition, on February 16, 2009, Adobe announced that it will be developing a version of Adobe Flash Player for webOS.


The device makes use of the cloud-based services model, but uses no desktop sync client (in the style of Palm’s HotSync synchronization method).

Palm has referenced a number of solutions for users who need to sync with their desktop software like Palm Desktop, Microsoft Outlook, or IBM Lotus Notes. Additionally, Mark/Space, Inc. has announced Macintosh desktop sync software, and Chapura such software for Windows. Palm has offered an online guide to help customers.

Palm Pre

Palm_Pre The Palm Pre is a multimedia smartphone designed and marketed by Palm with a multi-touch screen and a sliding keyboard. The smartphone was the first to use Palm’s new operating system, webOS (currently version, which is based on Linux. The Pre functions as a camera phone, a portable media player, and has location and navigation capabilities. The Pre also serves as a personal information manager, has a number of communication and collaboration applications, and has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity built-in.

The Pre was launched on June 6, 2009 with Sprint, and later also went on sale in Canada with Bell Mobility. A GSM version of the original Pre was launched later in 2009 on a number of networks in Europe and in Mexico. A revised model, the Palm Pre Plus, which doubled the available memory and internal storage, was launched on January 25, 2010 for Verizon Wireless.

The Pre has received positive reviews from technology critics, winning CNET’s Best in Show, Best in Category: Cell Phones & Smartphones, and People’s Voice for CES 2009.


Palm debuted the Pre at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, as the first mobile phone to use the Texas Instruments OMAP 3430 processor, as well as its initial US exclusive carrier agreement with Sprint, which operates a CDMA network. Prior to the device launch, it was known internally by the codename Castle.

The Pre’s incorporation of features similar to Apple’s iPhone, specifically elements of the user interface, has led to speculation of possible patent infringement litigation, with Apple COO Tim Cook stating that “we will not stand for people ripping off our IP” and Palm responding that they “have the tools necessary to defend [themselves]”, hinting at Palm’s large portfolio of patents.

On May 19, Sprint and Palm announced the Pre would be available beginning June 6, 2009 in the United States. The Pre retails at Sprint stores and other locations, including select Radio Shack and Best Buy stores in the United States — as well as locations in Europe.

On May 28, Verizon Wireless announced that it would also carry the Palm Pre in “about six months.” A later comment from a Sprint spokesperson indicated that the launch carrier would have US exclusivity rights to the Pre “through 2009.” Sprint’s CEO, Dan Hesse, commented that his company and Palm had agreed not to discuss the length of the exclusivity deal, but remarked that “it’s not six months.”

On July 7, Telefónica announced that they would exclusively carry the Palm Pre in the UK, Spain, Ireland and Germany on their O2 and Movistar networks, with availability “before the winter holidays”.

On July 27, during the company’s second quarter conference call, Verizon chief operating officer Denny Strigl announced that Verizon Wireless will begin selling the Palm Pre in early 2010.

News coverage of the launch noted that the sales quantity was a record for any Sprint phone launch, and estimated sales of approximately 50,000 units for the day, and up to 100,000 for the week.. However, reports stated that sales of the Pre in July and beginning of August were much lower than expected.

On November 11, Palm announced that the Pre would be available in Mexico being the exclusive carrier Telcel. It will start being sold on November 27.

On August 27, Bell Canada has the Palm Pre available. Bell will be supporting the Data services on the EVDO Network.

Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus

A new version of the smartphone was announced at CES 2010. Differences include the removal of the center button, 16 GB storage memory (8 GB on the original Pre), doubles the RAM from 256 MB to 512MB, and the back cover is now already Touchstone compatible. The keyboard and slider mechanism have also been improved. This will be sold exclusively, along with the Pixi Plus, by Verizon Wireless. On March 22, 2010 Palm announced that it would be releasing both the Pre Plus and the Pixi Plus on the AT&T network in the “coming months”.


The Palm Pre’s CPU is a 600 MHz Texas Instruments OMAP 3430 (ARM Cortex A8 + PowerVR SGX) underclocked to 500 MHz.

Screen and Input

The Pre features a 3.1-inch capacitive touchscreen over a 24-bit color 320×480 resolution HVGA liquid-crystal display. The touchscreen allows for manipulation of the UI with fingers instead of a stylus, commonly used with older Palm phones and PDAs. Below the display is the “Gesture Area”, a touch-sensitive area with LED underlighting that permits additional touch commands.

Like other recent Palm phones, the Pre features a full QWERTY keyboard. On the Pre, the keyboard slides out and is curved for ergonomics. In addition to the keyboard, the device features a single button in the center of the Gesture Area (absent in the Pre Plus), a volume rocker switch on the side, and a ringer switch on the top.

The Pre features three input sensors that allow it to respond to its surroundings. An accelerometer automatically changes the orientation of the display between landscape and portrait when the device is rotated in the user’s hands. An ambient light sensor allows the Pre to automatically adjust the brightness of its display. A proximity sensor allows the Pre to disregard touch inputs when the phone is held close to a user’s face during a call.

The Pre also has an integrated 3.2 megapixel digital camera with LED flash.


The Pre is available with high-speed connectivity on either EVDO Rev. A or UMTS HSDPA, depending on location. The Pre also includes 802.11b/g WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR with support for A2DP stereo headsets. A-GPS with support for turn-by-turn navigation is also included. For charging and data-transfer, the Pre uses a microUSB connector with USB 2.0 support, and audio output is supported by a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack. While the phone reports support for the Bluetooth DUN protocol, Sprint is not permitting use of the Pre in tethered (or “Phone as Modem”) mode, and has made no announcements that this mode will be offered in the future. Verizon does support tethering via their Mobile Hot Spot support.

Storage Capacity

The Pre has 8.0 GB of internal flash storage (approximately 7.4 GB of which is user accessible). The Pre does not have a flash memory card slot. The Pre Plus has 16 GB of internal flash storage.


The Pre is the first Palm device to use webOS, the Linux-based platform that replaces Palm’s previous Palm OS. Developed from scratch for use in mobile phones—whereas Palm OS was originally designed for PDAs—webOS is capable of supporting built-in first party applications, as well as third party applications.


The webOS interface is based on a system of “cards” used to manage multitasking. webOS also supports multi-touch gestures, enabling most navigational input to be made using the touchscreen. The Pre does not include a virtual keyboard, only a portrait-oriented slide-out keyboard. An onscreen, virtual keyboard is embedded in the code and can be made available through a third party patch. There are hundreds of third party “patches” that allow users to customize the usability and interface of the Pre.


webOS includes a feature called Synergy that integrates information from many sources. webOS allows a user to sign in to accounts on Gmail, Yahoo!, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Microsoft Outlook (via Exchange ActiveSync). Contacts from all sources are then integrated into a single list.


The device makes use of the cloud based services model, but uses no desktop sync client (in the style of Palm’s HotSync synchronization method).

Palm has referenced a number of solutions for users who need to sync with their desktop software like Palm Desktop, Microsoft Outlook, or IBM Lotus Notes. Additionally, Mark/Space, Inc. has announced Macintosh desktop sync software, and Chapura such software for Windows. Palm has offered an online guide to help customers.

Third-Party Applications

Third parties are able to develop web apps that run within webOS. In addition, Palm has announced that they have partnered with certain trusted third-parties that have been given greater access to Pre functionality. At launch, 18 applications were available in the Palm App Catalog. As of April 1st, 2010 there are over 4,800 official applications available in the App Catalog.. One of the apps, available at launch, is “Classic”, a Palm OS emulator (for $29.99) that can run a large number of the roughly 50,000 apps for the Palm OS. When Palm announced the Pre Plus and the Pixi Plus, they also announced over 20 3D games for the Pre. The most popular are Need for Speed, Sims 3, SimCity, Tom Clancy’s HAWX, and Real Soccer 2010.


Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: webOS…

Wikipedia: Palm Pre…

Wikipedia: Mobile Operating System…

Think Exist: Cell Phones…

by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 When the World Wide Web was first introduced by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, it was text only. In the early years of the 1990s it was expanded to allow the display of a limited type of graphics through the use of “helper” apps. At that point in time, web pages were static and created as if they were a page of a document. To update content, the entire page needed to be edited and the new content inserted.

Then, came the second phase of the web where dynamic elements were built into the web pages. Flash, animated GIF images, and other technologies were being combined with dynamic content being accessed from data bases through “back end” programming. This was better, but still required a traditional web browser and PC/Laptop. Each time we wanted to obtain updated information, we would need to re-access the entire page from our web server.

When smartphones began to appear, they were not able to access most web content. Their real diversity would require the implementation of Web 2.0 that not only could bring in content without reloading the entire page, but we could display that content on different devices. The content could be displayed “on the fly” to the display device without special programming!

That is what Web 2.0 can do for us! And, to add to that, Web 2.0/3.0 supports the social media that has become so popular these days.  GLB


“The Mobile Web Initiative is important — information must be made seamlessly available on any device.”
— Tim Berners-Lee

“The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.”
— Tim Berners-Lee

“Whatever the device you use for getting your information out, it should be the same information.”
— Tim Berners-Lee

“We shouldn’t build a technology to colour, or grey out, what people say. The media in general is balanced, although there are a lot of issues to be addressed that the media rightly pick up on.”
— Tim Berners-Lee

“The most important thing that was new was the idea of URI-or URL, that any piece of information anywhere should have an identifier, which will allow you to get hold of it.”
— Tim Berners-Lee

“The Semantic Web is not a separate Web but an extension of the current one, in which information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation.”
— Tim Berners-Lee

“We could say we want the Web to reflect a vision of the world where everything is done democratically. To do that, we get computers to talk with each other in such a way as to promote that ideal.”
— Tim Berners-Lee

“What is a Web year now, about three months? And when people can browse around, discover new things, and download them fast, when we all have agents – then Web years could slip by before human beings can notice.”
— Tim Berners-Lee

History of Hand-Held Computers: Web 2.0

Web_2.0_Map.svg The term “Web 2.0” (2004–present) is commonly associated with web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web. Examples of Web 2.0 include web-based communities, hosted services, web applications, social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, mashups, and folksonomies. A Web 2.0 site allows its users to interact with other users or to change website content, in contrast to non-interactive websites where users are limited to the passive viewing of information that is provided to them.

The term is closely associated with Tim O’Reilly because of the O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004. Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications, but rather to cumulative changes in the ways software developers and end-users use the Web. Whether Web 2.0 is qualitatively different from prior web technologies has been challenged by World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, who called the term a “piece of jargon” — precisely because he specifically intended the Web to embody these values in the first place.

History: From Web 1.0 to 2.0

The term “Web 2.0” was coined in 1999 by Darcy DiNucci. In her article, “Fragmented Future,” DiNucci writes:

The Web we know now, which loads into a browser window in essentially static screenfulls, is only an embryo of the Web to come. The first glimmerings of Web 2.0 are beginning to appear, and we are just starting to see how that embryo might develop. The Web will be understood not as screenfulls of text and graphics but as a transport mechanism, the ether through which interactivity happens. It will […] appear on your computer screen, […] on your TV set […] your car dashboard […] your cell phone […] hand-held game machines […] maybe even your microwave oven.

Her use of the term deals mainly with Web design and aesthetics; she argues that the Web is “fragmenting” due to the widespread use of portable Web-ready devices. Her article is aimed at designers, reminding them to code for an ever-increasing variety of hardware. As such, her use of the term hints at – but does not directly relate to – the current uses of the term.

The term did not resurface until 2003. These authors focus on the concepts currently associated with the term where, as Scott Dietzen puts it, “the Web becomes a universal, standards-based integration platform”.

In 2004, the term began its rise in popularity when O’Reilly Media and MediaLive hosted the first Web 2.0 conference. In their opening remarks, John Battelle and Tim O’Reilly outlined their definition of the “Web as Platform”, where software applications are built upon the Web as opposed to upon the desktop. The unique aspect of this migration, they argued, is that “customers are building your business for you”.[10] They argued that the activities of users generating content (in the form of ideas, text, videos, or pictures) could be “harnessed” to create value.

O’Reilly et al. contrasted Web 2.0 with what they called “Web 1.0”. They associated Web 1.0 with the business models of Netscape and the Encyclopedia Britannica Online. For example,

Netscape framed “the web as platform” in terms of the old software paradigm: their flagship product was the web browser, a desktop application, and their strategy was to use their dominance in the browser market to establish a market for high-priced server products. Control over standards for displaying content and applications in the browser would, in theory, give Netscape the kind of market power enjoyed by Microsoft in the PC market. Much like the “horseless carriage” framed the automobile as an extension of the familiar, Netscape promoted a “webtop” to replace the desktop, and planned to populate that webtop with information updates and applets pushed to the webtop by information providers who would purchase Netscape servers.

In short, Netscape focused on creating software, updating it on occasion, and distributing it to the end users. O’Reilly contrasted this with Google, a company which did not at the time focus on producing software, such as a browser, but instead focused on providing a service based on data. The data being the links Web page authors make between sites. Google exploits this user-generated content to offer Web search based on reputation through its “page rank” algorithm. Unlike software, which undergoes scheduled releases, such services are constantly updated, a process called “the perpetual beta”.

A similar difference can be seen between the Encyclopedia Britannica Online and Wikipedia: while the Britannica relies upon experts to create articles and releases them periodically in publications, Wikipedia relies on trust in anonymous users to constantly and quickly build content. Wikipedia is not based on expertise but rather an adaptation of the open source software adage “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”, and it produces and updates articles constantly.

O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 conferences have been held every year since 2004, attracting entrepreneurs, large companies, and technology reporters. In terms of the lay public, the term Web 2.0 was largely championed by bloggers and by technology journalists, culminating in the 2006 TIME magazine Person of The Year – “You”. That is, TIME selected the masses of users who were participating in content creation on social networks, blogs, wikis, and media sharing sites. The cover story author Lev Grossman explains:

It’s a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It’s about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people’s network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It’s about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.

Since that time, Web 2.0 has found a place in the lexicon; the Global Language Monitor recently declared it to be the one-millionth English word.


Flickr-screenshot Flickr, a Web 2.0 web site that allows its users to upload
and share photos

Web 2.0 websites allow users to do more than just retrieve information. They can build on the interactive facilities of “Web 1.0” to provide “Network as platform” computing, allowing users to run software-applications entirely through a browser. Users can own the data on a Web 2.0 site and exercise control over that data. These sites may have an “Architecture of participation” that encourages users to add value to the application as they use it.

The concept of Web-as-participation-platform captures many of these characteristics. Bart Decrem, a founder and former CEO of Flock, calls Web 2.0 the “participatory Web” and regards the Web-as-information-source as Web 1.0.

The impossibility of excluding group-members who don’t contribute to the provision of goods from sharing profits gives rise to the possibility that rational members will prefer to withhold their contribution of effort and free-ride on the contribution of others. This requires what is sometimes called Radical Trust by the management of the website. According to Best, the characteristics of Web 2.0 are: rich user experience, user participation, dynamic content, metadata, web standards and scalability. Further characteristics, such as openness, freedom and collective intelligence[19] by way of user participation, can also be viewed as essential attributes of Web 2.0.

Technology Overview

Web 2.0 draws together the capabilities of client- and server-side software, content syndication and the use of network protocols. Standards-oriented web browsers may use plug-ins and software extensions to handle the content and the user interactions. Web 2.0 sites provide users with information storage, creation, and dissemination capabilities that were not possible in the environment now known as “Web 1.0”.

Web 2.0 websites typically include some of the following features and techniques. Andrew McAfee used the acronym SLATES to refer to them:

  • Search…
    Finding information through keyword search.
  • Links…
    Connects information together into a meaningful information ecosystem using the model of the Web, and provides low-barrier social tools.
  • Authoring…
    The ability to create and update content leads to the collaborative work of many rather than just a few web authors. In wikis, users may extend, undo and redo each other’s work. In blogs, posts and the comments of individuals build up over time.
  • Tags…
    Categorization of content by users adding “tags” – short, usually one-word descriptions = to facilitate searching, without dependence on pre-made categories. Collections of tags created by many users within a single system may be referred to as “folksonomies” (i.e., folk taxonomies).
  • Extensions…
    Software that makes the Web an application platform as well as a document server.
  • Signals…
    The use of syndication technology such as RSS to notify users of content changes.

While SLATES forms the basic framework of Enterprise 2.0, it does not contradict all of the higher level Web 2.0 design patterns and business models. And in this way, the new Web 2.0 report from O’Reilly is quite effective and diligent in interweaving the story of Web 2.0 with the specific aspects of Enterprise 2.0. It includes discussions of self-service IT, the long tail of enterprise IT demand, and many other consequences of the Web 2.0 era in the enterprise. The report also makes many sensible recommendations around starting small with pilot projects and measuring results, among a fairly long list.

How It Works

The client-side/web browser technologies typically used in Web 2.0 development are Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax), Adobe Flash and the Adobe Flex framework, and JavaScript/Ajax frameworks such as Yahoo! UI Library, Dojo Toolkit, MooTools, and jQuery. Ajax programming uses JavaScript to upload and download new data from the web server without undergoing a full page reload.

To permit the user to continue to interact with the page, communications such as data requests going to the server are separated from data coming back to the page (asynchronously). Otherwise, the user would have to routinely wait for the data to come back before they can do anything else on that page, just as a user has to wait for a page to complete the reload. This also increases overall performance of the site, as the sending of requests can complete quicker independent of blocking and queueing required to send data back to the client.

The data fetched by an Ajax request is typically formatted in XML or JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format, two widely used structured data formats. Since both of these formats are natively understood by JavaScript, a programmer can easily use them to transmit structured data in their web application. When this data is received via Ajax, the JavaScript program then uses the Document Object Model (DOM) to dynamically update the web page based on the new data, allowing for a rapid and interactive user experience. In short, using these techniques, Web designers can make their pages function like desktop applications. For example, Google Docs uses this technique to create a Web-based word processor.

Adobe Flex is another technology often used in Web 2.0 applications. Compared to JavaScript libraries like jQuery, Flex makes it easier for programmers to populate large data grids, charts, and other heavy user interactions. Applications programmed in Flex, are compiled and displayed as Flash within the browser. As a widely available plugin independent of W3C (World Wide Web Consortium, the governing body of web standards and protocols), standards, Flash is capable of doing many things which are not currently possible in HTML, the language used to construct web pages. Of Flash’s many capabilities, the most commonly used in Web 2.0 is its ability to play audio and video files. This has allowed for the creation of Web 2.0 sites where video media is seamlessly integrated with standard HTML.

In addition to Flash and Ajax, JavaScript/Ajax frameworks have recently become a very popular means of creating Web 2.0 sites. At their core, these frameworks do not use technology any different from JavaScript, Ajax, and the DOM. What frameworks do is smooth over inconsistencies between web browsers and extend the functionality available to developers. Many of them also come with customizable, prefabricated ‘widgets’ that accomplish such common tasks as picking a date from a calendar, displaying a data chart, or making a tabbed panel.

On the server side, Web 2.0 uses many of the same technologies as Web 1.0. Languages such as PHP, Ruby, ColdFusion, Perl, Python, JSP and ASP are used by developers to dynamically output data using information from files and databases. What has begun to change in Web 2.0 is the way this data is formatted. In the early days of the Internet, there was little need for different websites to communicate with each other and share data. In the new “participatory web”, however, sharing data between sites has become an essential capability. To share its data with other sites, a web site must be able to generate output in machine-readable formats such as XML, RSS, and JSON. When a site’s data is available in one of these formats, another website can use it to integrate a portion of that site’s functionality into itself, linking the two together. When this design pattern is implemented, it ultimately leads to data that is both easier to find and more thoroughly categorized, a hallmark of the philosophy behind the Web 2.0 movement.


The popularity of the term Web 2.0, along with the increasing use of blogs, wikis, and social networking technologies, has led many in academia and business to coin a flurry of 2.0s, including Library 2.0, Social Work 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, PR 2.0, Classroom 2.0, Publishing 2.0, Medicine 2.0, Telco 2.0, Travel 2.0, Government 2.0, and even Porn 2.0. Many of these 2.0s refer to Web 2.0 technologies as the source of the new version in their respective disciplines and areas. For example, in the Talis white paper “Library 2.0: The Challenge of Disruptive Innovation”, Paul Miller argues

Blogs, wikis and RSS are often held up as exemplary manifestations of Web 2.0. A reader of a blog or a wiki is provided with tools to add a comment or even, in the case of the wiki, to edit the content. This is what we call the Read/Write web.Talis believes that Library 2.0 means harnessing this type of participation so that libraries can benefit from increasingly rich collaborative cataloguing efforts, such as including contributions from partner libraries as well as adding rich enhancements, such as book jackets or movie files, to records from publishers and others.

Here, Miller links Web 2.0 technologies and the culture of participation that they engender to the field of library science, supporting his claim that there is now a “Library 2.0”. Many of the other proponents of new 2.0s mentioned here use similar methods.

Web 3.0

Not much time passed before “Web 3.0” was coined. Definitions of Web 3.0 vary greatly. Amit Agarwal states that Web 3.0 is, among other things, about the Semantic Web and personalization. Andrew Keen, author of The Cult of the Amateur, considers the Semantic Web an “unrealisable abstraction” and sees Web 3.0 as the return of experts and authorities to the Web. For example, he points to Bertelsman’s deal with the German Wikipedia to produce an edited print version of that encyclopedia. Others still such as Manoj Sharma, an organization strategist, in the keynote “A Brave New World Of Web 3.0” proposes that Web 3.0 will be a “Totally Integrated World” – cradle-to-grave experience of being always plugged onto the net. CNN Money’s Jessi Hempel expects Web 3.0 to emerge from new and innovative Web 2.0 services with a profitable business model. Conrad Wolfram has argued that Web 3.0 is where “the computer is generating new information”, rather than humans.


Critics of the term claim that “Web 2.0” does not represent a new version of the World Wide Web at all, but merely continues to use so-called “Web 1.0” technologies and concepts. First, techniques such as AJAX do not replace underlying protocols like HTTP, but add an additional layer of abstraction on top of them. Second, many of the ideas of Web 2.0 had already been featured in implementations on networked systems well before the term “Web 2.0” emerged., for instance, has allowed users to write reviews and consumer guides since its launch in 1995, in a form of self-publishing. Amazon also opened its API to outside developers in 2002. Previous developments also came from research in computer-supported collaborative learning and computer-supported cooperative work and from established products like Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino, all phenomena which precede Web 2.0.

But perhaps the most common criticism is that the term is unclear or simply a buzzword. For example, in a podcast interview, Tim Berners-Lee described the term “Web 2.0” as a “piece of jargon”:

“Nobody really knows what it means…If Web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis, then that is people to people. But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along.”

Other critics labeled Web 2.0 “a second bubble” (referring to the Dot-com bubble of circa 1995–2001), suggesting that too many Web 2.0 companies attempt to develop the same product with a lack of business models. For example, The Economist has dubbed the mid- to late-2000s focus on Web companies “Bubble 2.0”. Venture capitalist Josh Kopelman noted that Web 2.0 had excited only 53,651 people (the number of subscribers at that time to TechCrunch, a Weblog covering Web 2.0 startups and technology news), too few users to make them an economically viable target for consumer applications. Although Bruce Sterling reports he’s a fan of Web 2.0, he thinks it is now dead as a rallying concept.

Critics have cited the language used to describe the hype cycle of Web 2.0 as an example of Techno-utopianist rhetoric.

In terms of Web 2.0’s social impact, critics such as Andrew Keen argue that Web 2.0 has created a cult of digital narcissism and amateurism, which undermines the notion of expertise by allowing anybody, anywhere to share – and place undue value upon – their own opinions about any subject and post any kind of content regardless of their particular talents, knowledgeability, credentials, biases or possible hidden agendas. He states that the core assumption of Web 2.0, that all opinions and user-generated content are equally valuable and relevant, is misguided and is instead “creating an endless digital forest of mediocrity: uninformed political commentary, unseemly home videos, embarrassingly amateurish music, unreadable poems, essays and novels”, also stating that Wikipedia is full of “mistakes, half truths and misunderstandings”.


Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Web 2.0…

Brainy Quote: Tim Berners-Lee Quotes…

by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 We have been considering a variety of hand-held PDAs that have been introduced over the past 25 years. In the last couple of posts we have examined what might be called second generation of PDAs that have included advanced features, including cell phone access and more computer-like functionality. Today, we will move into a more specific consideration of the broad category of hand-held devices: the Smartphone. These devices include a standard cellular telephone AND applications generally associated with a PDA.

Tomorrow, we will consider the enabling technology behind much of this trend towards smartphones, Web 2.0 technology. We will then take a look at the major smartphone OSs and the phones that use these OSs.  GLB


“You’d be surprised how difficult it is relinquish a cell phone.”
— Adrien Brody

“To be happy in this world, first you need a cell phone and then you need an airplane. Then you’re truly wireless.”
— Ted Turner

“The Three Stooges theme song is programmed into my cell phone when he calls, if that tells you anything.”
— Mark Richardson

“I had my house phone always forwarding to my cell phone, anyway, … I thought: Eliminate the middle man, which is my house phone.”
— Aaron Brooks

“A lot of people think that the new economy is all about the internet. I think that it’s being fueled by the internet – as well as by cell phones, digital assistants, and the like – but that it’s really about customers.”
— Patricia Seybold

“Globalization, as defined by rich people like us, is a very nice thing… you are talking about the Internet, you are talking about cell phones, you are talking about computers. This doesn’t affect two-thirds of the people of the world.”
— Jimmy Carter

“It’s so funny. Every time I sit down in the classroom, my book bag rings and it’s my cell phone, and it’s Joel (Schumacher) or Clint (Eastwood) going, ‘Do you want to do this movie? – and I can’t turn an opportunity like that down.”
— Emily Rossum

“Only five or six years ago, it would really take until the Wednesday after opening to sense what word-of-mouth was, … Now, with cell phones and instant messaging, they tell each other immediately. In a time of extraordinary noise, when there are so many different messages being sent to you, vying for your attention, nothing is more important than one person you know saying, ‘I saw a movie and it’s fantastic.”
— Walter Parkes

History of Hand-Held Computers: Smart Phones

smartphones_front A smartphone is a mobile phone offering advanced capabilities, often with PC-like functionality (PC-mobile handset convergence). There is no industry standard definition of a smartphone. For some, a smartphone is a phone that runs complete operating system software providing a standardized interface and platform for application developers. For others, a smartphone is simply a phone with features considered advanced at the time of its release – e.g., in the early 2000s this was features such as e-mail and Internet, but now these are commonplace on non-smartphones. Other definitions might include features such as e-book reader capabilities, Wi-Fi, and/or a built-in full keyboard or external USB keyboard and VGA connector. In other words, it is a miniature computer that has phone capability.

Growth in demand for advanced mobile devices boasting powerful processors, abundant memory, larger screens and open operating systems has outpaced the rest of the mobile phone market for several years. According to a study by ComScore, in 2010, over 45.5 million people in the United States owned smartphones and it is the fastest growing segment of the mobile phone market, which comprised of 234 million subscribers in the United States.


The first smartphone was called Simon; it was designed by IBM in 1992 and shown as a concept product that year at COMDEX, the computer industry trade show held in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was released to the public in 1993 and sold by BellSouth. Besides being a mobile phone, it also contained a calendar, address book, world clock, calculator, note pad, e-mail, send and receive fax, and games. It had no physical buttons to dial with. Instead customers used a touch-screen to select phone numbers with a finger or create facsimiles and memos with an optional stylus. Text was entered with a unique on-screen “predictive” keyboard. By today’s standards, the Simon would be a fairly low-end product; however, its feature set at the time was incredibly advanced.

Menu_du_Nokia_5800_XpressMusic The Nokia Communicator line was the first of Nokia’s smartphones starting with the Nokia 9000, released in 1996. This distinctive palmtop computer style smartphone was the result of a collaborative effort of an early successful and expensive Personal digital assistant (PDA) by Hewlett Packard combined with Nokia’s bestselling phone around that time and early prototype models had the two devices fixed via a hinge; the Nokia 9210 as the first color screen Communicator model which was the first true smartphone with an open operating system; the 9500 Communicator that was also Nokia’s first cameraphone Communicator and Nokia’s first WiFi phone; the 9300 Communicator was the third dimensional shift into a smaller form factor; and the latest E90 Communicator includes GPS. The Nokia Communicator model is remarkable also having been the most expensive phone model sold by a major brand for almost the full lifespan of the model series, easily 20% and sometimes 40% more expensive than the next most expensive smartphone by any major manufacturer.

The Ericsson R380, released in 2000, was the first phone sold as a ‘smartphone’. The R380 had the usual PDA functions and the large touch screen was combined with an innovative flip so it could also be used as a normal phone. It was the first commercially available Symbian OS phone, however it could not run native third-party applications. Although the Nokia 9210 was arguably the first true smartphone with an open operating system, Nokia continued to refer to it and the following models as Communicator; only Ericsson referred to its product as ‘smartphone’ at this time.

Treo_300 In early 2002 Handspring released the Palm OS Treo smartphone, utilizing a full keyboard that combined wireless web browsing, email, calendar and contact organizer, with mobile third-party applications that could be downloaded or synced with a computer.

In 2002 the new joint venture Sony Ericsson released the P800 smartphone, originally developed by Ericsson. It was based on Symbian OS and had full PDA functionality plus a range of features not commonly seen in mobile phones at that time: color touch screen, camera, polyphonic ring tones, email attachment viewers, video playback and an MP3 player with a standard 2.5 mm headset jack.

Blackberry7250 In 2002 RIM released the first BlackBerry which was the first smartphone optimized for wireless email use and has achieved a total customer base of 32 million subscribers by December 2009.

Although the Nokia 7650, announced in 2001, was referred to as a ‘smart phone’ in the media, and is now called a ‘smartphone’ on the Nokia support site, the press release referred to it as an ‘imaging phone’. Handspring delivered the first widely popular smartphone devices in the US market by marrying its Palm OS based Visor PDA together with a piggybacked GSM phone module, the VisorPhone. By 2002, Handspring was marketing an integrated smartphone called the Treo; the company subsequently merged with Palm primarily because the PDA market was dying but the Treo smartphone was quickly becoming popular as a phone with extended PDA organizer features. That same year, Microsoft announced its Windows CE Pocket PC OS would be offered as “Microsoft Windows Powered Smartphone 2002”. Microsoft originally defined its Windows Smartphone products as lacking a touchscreen and offering a lower screen resolution compared to its sibling Pocket PC devices. Palm then introduced a few Windows Mobile smartphones alongside the existing Palm OS smartphones, and has now abandoned both platforms in favor of its new Palm webOS.

In 2005 Nokia launched its N-Series of 3G smartphones which Nokia started to market not as mobile phones but as multimedia computers.

Out of 1 billion camera phones to be shipped in 2008, smartphones, the higher end of the market with full email support, will represent about 10% of the market or about 100 million units.

The Smartphone Summit semi-annual conference details smartphone industry market data, trends, and updates among smartphone related hardware, software, and accessories.

IPhone_3GS_with_home_screen In 2007, Apple Inc. introduced their first iPhone, the first successful all-touchscreen smartphone.

Android, a cross platform OS for smartphones was released in 2008. Android is an Open Source platform backed by Google, along with major hardware and software developers (such as Intel, HTC, ARM, Motorola and eBay, to name a few), that form the Open Handset Alliance.

The first phone to use the Android OS was the HTC Dream, branded for distribution by T-Mobile as the G1. The phone features a full, capacitive touch screen, a flip out QWERTY keyboard, and a track ball for navigating web pages. The software suite included on the phone consists of integration with Google’s proprietary applications, such as Maps, Calendar, and Gmail, as well as Google’s Chrome Lite full HTML web browser. Third party apps are available via the Android Market, including both free and paid apps.

In July 2008 Apple introduced its App Store with both free and paid applications. The app store can deliver smartphone applications developed by third parties directly to the iPhone or iPod Touch over wifi or cellular network without using a PC to download. The App Store has been a huge success for Apple and by March 2010 hosted more than 170,000 applications. The app store hit three billion application downloads in early January 2010.

Other platforms are able to download apps from any website, rather than only from a single app store, however other companies have more recently lauched their own app stores. RIM launched its app store, BlackBerry App World, in April 2009. Nokia launched its Ovi Store in May 2009. Palm launced its Palm App Catalog in June 2009. Microsoft lauched its Windows Marketplace for Mobile in October 2009.

In January 2010, Google launches Nexus One using its Android OS. Although Android OS has a multi-touch capabilities, Google initially removed that feature from Nexus One, but it was added though a firmware update on February 2, 2010.

As of March 2010, Nokia’s leading smartphone is the N900. This includes an 800×480 pixel touch screen, supports full multi-tasking (its OS is a version of Linux), has a 5Mpixel camera capable of full frame rate high resolution video, and comes with a wide range of modern smartphone features including GPS, multiple network access (including WiFI and 3.5G), and has 32GB on board memory.

Operating Systems

Palm_webOS_Launcher Operating systems that can be found on smartphones include Symbian OS, iPhone OS, Palm WebOS, BlackBerry OS, Samsung bada, Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless, Windows Mobile, Android and Maemo. WebOS, Android and Maemo are built on top of Linux, and the iPhone OS is derived from the BSD and NeXTSTEP operating systems, which all are related to Unix.

The most common operating systems (OS) used in smartphones by Q2 2009 sales are:

  • Symbian OS from the Symbian Foundation (50.3% Market Share Sales Q2 2009)…
    Symbian has the largest share in most markets worldwide, but lags behind other companies in the relatively small but highly visible North American market. This matches the success of its largest shareholder and customer, Nokia, in all markets except Japan. Nokia itself enjoys 52.9% of the smartphone market. In Japan Symbian is strong due to a relationship with NTT DoCoMo, with only one of the 44 Symbian handsets released in Japan coming from Nokia. It has been used by many major handset manufacturers, including BenQ, Fujitsu, LG, Mitsubishi, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony Ericsson. Current Symbian-based devices are being made by Fujitsu, Nokia, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony Ericsson. Prior to 2009 Symbian supported multiple user interfaces, i.e. UIQ from UIQ Technologies, S60 from Nokia, and MOAP from NTT DOCOMO. As part of the formation of the Symbian platform in 2009 these three UIs were merged into a single platform which is now fully open source. It has received some adverse press attention due to virus threats (namely trojan horses).
  • RIM BlackBerry OS (20.9% Market Share Sales Q2 2009)…
    This OS is focused on easy operation and was originally designed for business. Recently it has seen a surge in third-party applications and has been improved to offer full multimedia support.
  • iPhone OS from Apple Inc. (13.7% Market Share Sales Q2 2009)…
    The iPhone uses an operating system called iPhone OS, which is derived from Mac OS X. Third party applications were not officially supported until the release of iPhone OS 2.0 on July 11th 2008. Before this, “jailbreaking” allowed third party applications to be installed, and this method is still available.
  • Windows Phone from Microsoft (9% Market Share Sales Q2 2009)…
    The Windows CE operating system and Windows Mobile middleware are widely spread in Asia. The two improved variants of this operating system, Windows Mobile 6 Professional (for touch screen devices) and Windows Mobile 6 Standard, were unveiled in February 2007. It has been criticized for having a user interface which is not optimized for touch input by fingers; instead, it is more usable with a stylus. However, unlike iPhone OS, it does support both touch screen and physical keyboard configurations.

    On February 15th, 2010 Microsoft unveiled it’s next-generation mobile OS, Windows Phone 7. The new mobile OS includes a completely new over-hauled UI called “Metro”. It includes full integration of Microsoft services such as Zune, Xbox Live and Bing. The new OS platform has recieced very positive reception from the technology press.

  • Android from Google Inc. (2.8% Market Share Sales Q2 2009)…
    Android was developed by Google Inc.. Android is an Open Source, Linux-derived platform backed by Google, along with major hardware and software developers (such as Intel, HTC, ARM, and eBay, to name a few), that form the Open Handset Alliance. This OS, though very new, already has a cult following among programmers eager to develop apps for its flexible, Open Source, back end. Android promises to give developers access to every aspect of the phone’s operation. This lends many to foresee the promise of further growth for the Android platform.
  • Linux operating system…
    Linux is strongest in China where it is used by Motorola, and in Japan, used by DoCoMo. Rather than being a platform in its own right, Linux is used as a basis for a number of different platforms developed by several vendors, including Android, LiMo, Maemo, Openmoko and Qt Extended, which are mostly incompatible. PalmSource (now Access) is moving towards an interface running on Linux. Another platform based on Linux is being developed by Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic, Samsung, and Vodafone.
  • Palm webOS from Palm Inc. and Palm OS/Garnet OS from Access Co… 
    Palm webOS is Palm’s next generation operating system. PalmSource traditionally used its own platform developed by Palm Inc. Access Linux Platform (ALP) is an improvement that was planned to be launched in the first half of 2007. It will use technical specifications from the Linux Phone Standards Forum. The Access Linux Platform will include an emulation layer to support applications developed for Palm-based devices.
  • bada from Samsung Electronics
    The bada mobile phone operating system is still in development, and Samsung expects handsets to be available in the second half of 2010. The first device to run Bada is called ‘Wave’ and was unveiled to the public at Mobile World Congress 2010, Wave is a fully touchscreen phone running the new mobile operating system.
  • Maemo from Nokia
    Maemo is a software platform developed by Nokia for smartphones and Internet Tablets. It is based on the Debian operating system.

    Maemo is mostly based on open source code, and has been developed by Maemo Devices within Nokia in collaboration with many open source projects such as the Linux kernel, Debian and GNOME.

    Maemo is based on Debian GNU/Linux and draws much of its GUI, frameworks and libraries from the GNOME project. It uses the Matchbox window manager and the GTK-based Hildon as its GUI and application framework.


Wistron_Pursebook A smartbook is a concept of a mobile device that falls between smartphones and netbooks, delivering features typically found in smartphones (always on, all-day battery life, 3G connectivity, GPS) in a slightly larger device with a full keyboard. Smartbooks will tend to be designed to work with online applications. Smartbooks are likely to be sold initially through mobile network operators, like mobile phones are today, along with a wireless data plan.

Smartbooks are powered by ARM processors, which are more energy-efficient than traditional x86 processors that are typically found in desktop and laptop computers. Smartbooks use variants of the Linux operating system, such as Google’s Android or Chrome OS among others, rather than Microsoft Windows (which currently requires an x86 processor). By using ARM and Linux smartbooks expel the traditional Wintel platform. The ARM processor used in the Smartbook allows it to achieve its longer battery life.

Smartbooks tend to be designed more for entertainment purposes than for productivity purposes and typically are targeted to work with online applications and may be also sold subsidized through mobile network operators, like mobile phones, along with a wireless data plan. Nokia’s touchscreen enabled N900 has many of the features of smartbooks. The concept of smartbooks was firstly published by Qualcomm in the first half of 2009 and devices were expected to hit market as early as in the last quarter of the year, but due to difficulties in adapting some key software (most likely Adobe’s proprietary Adobe Flash Player) to ARM platform a delay occurred. About 20 devices are expected to roll out in the first quarter of 2010.


Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Smartphone…

Wikipedia: Mobile Operating System… Exist: Cell Phones…

by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 The first commercially successful hand-held computing device (Personal Digital Assistant, or PDA) was the Palm Pilot. It was a nice package that included a calendar, a contact list, notes, and other customized applications available in a stand-alone, mobile device. I started out with the Palm Pilot Professional and upgraded through a series of devices up to the Palm VII, which had built-in wireless communication for sending and receiving email.

The Palm Pilot built upon the less than successful experiences of the Psion and the Newton. It did not attempt to become a computer, as such, like the HP 200LX. With the introduction of the Trio line, the Palm entered into the realm of the smartphone, which will be dealt with in a later post..  GLB


“The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses.”
— Vladimir Lenin

“A first-rate Organizer is never in a hurry. He is never late. He always keeps up his sleeve a margin for the unexpected.”
— Arnold Bennett

“Broadcasters are storytellers, newspapers are fact-gatherers and organizers of information and news magazines are kind of a hybrid of both.”
— Everette E. Dennis

“Ellington never graduated from high school, so when you speak about his success as a musician, his success as a businessman, his success as an organizer, the city was his tutor.”
— Ed Smith

“It was very last minute. The plan originally was to come early and play doubles and take it easy for the Open. When I was told I got the wild card I practically kissed (the organizer).”
— Meghann Shaughnessy

“I always considered myself being an organizer. I’m very good at teaching singers, I’m very good at staging a show, to entertain people. But I never included myself. I never applied this to me as an artist.”
— Ike Turner

“When I played Bobby Fischer, my opponent fought against organizations – the television producers and the match organizers. But he never fought against me personally. I lost to Bobby before the match because he was already stronger than I. He won normally.”
— Boris Spassky

“We still have every expectation that we’ll be invited (to host) in the future. We’re making sure everything runs smoothly, … The best way to ensure a return is to make sure the organizers have a great experience, whether or not people say ‘Yes, that was fantastic!’ or ‘Miami again?”
— David Whitaker

History of Hand-Held Computers: Palm Pilot

Palm pilot 5000_eu Palm handhelds are Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) which run the Palm OS. Palm devices have evolved from handhelds to smartphones which run Palm OS, WebOS and Windows Mobile. This page describes the range of Palm devices, from the first generation of Palm machines known as the Pilot through to the latest models currently produced by Palm, Inc including their new Palm Centro line of consumer smartphones.


Pilot was the name of the first generation of personal digital assistants manufactured by Palm Computing in 1996 (then a division of U.S. Robotics).

The first two generations of PDAs from Palm were referred to as “PalmPilots“. Due to a trademark infringement lawsuit brought by the Pilot Pen Corporation, since 1998 handheld devices from Palm have been known as Palm Connected Organizers or more commonly as “Palms”. “PalmPilot” has entered the vernacular as a synonym for PDAs, regardless of the brand.

Palm_Graffiti_gestures The inventors of the Pilot were Jeff Hawkins, Donna Dubinsky, and Ed Colligan, who founded Palm Computing. The original purpose of this company was to create handwriting recognition software for other devices, named Graffiti, but their research convinced them they could create better hardware as well. Before starting development of the Pilot, Hawkins is said to have carried a block of wood, the size of the potential Pilot, in his pocket for a week. Palm was widely perceived to have benefited from the notable if ill-fated earlier attempts to create a popular handheld computing platform by Go Corporation and Apple Computer.

The first Palms, the Pilot 1000 and Pilot 5000, had no infrared port, backlight, or flash memory, but did have a serial communications port. Their RAM size was 128 kB and 512 kB respectively, and they used version 1 of Palm OS. Later, it became possible to upgrade the Pilot 1000 or 5000’s internals to up to 1 MB of internal RAM. This was done with the purchase of an upgrade module sold by Palm, and the replacement of some internal hardware components. Originally, it was conceived that all Palm PDAs were to be hardware-upgradeable to an extent, but ultimately, this capability gave way to external memory slots and firmware-upgradeable flash memory after the Palm III series.

The next couple of Palms, called PalmPilot Personal and PalmPilot Professional, had a backlight, but still no infrared port or flash memory. Their RAM size was 512 kB and 1024 kB respectively. They used the more advanced version 2 of the Palm OS.

Palm IIIc-100_0275 Palm III, and all the following Palms, did not have the word “Pilot” in their name due to legal disputes. (“Pilot” was, and still is, a registered trademark for pens.) Palm III had an IR port, backlight, and flash memory. The latter allowed to upgrade Palm OS, or, with some external applications, to store programs or data in flash memory. It ran on two standard AAA batteries. It was able to retain enough energy for 10–15 minutes to prevent data erasure during battery replacement. It had 2 Megabytes of memory, large at the time, and used Palm OS 3. (Palm also produced an upgrade card for the Pilot series, which made them functionally equivalent to a Palm III.)

Meanwhile, with Palm Computing now a subsidiary of 3Com, the founders felt they had insufficient control over the development of the Palm product. As a result, they left 3Com and founded Handspring in June 1998. When they left Palm, Hawkins secured a license for the Palm OS for Handspring, and the company became the first Palm OS licensee. Handspring went on to produce the Handspring Visor, a clone of the Palm handhelds that included a hardware expansion slot (early Palm devices also had a hardware expansion slot, however this was for device upgrade purposes, not peripherals) and used slightly modified software.

My_T5 The next versions of Palm used Palm OS 3.1. These included Palm IIIx with 4 Megabytes of memory, Palm IIIe without flash memory or hardware expansion slot (and available for cheaper price), Palm V with 2 Megabytes of memory, and Palm Vx with 8 Megabytes of memory.

Palm VII had wireless connection to some Internet services, but this connection worked only within USA. It used Palm OS 3.2.

Palm IIIc was the first Palm handheld with color screen. It used Palm OS 3.5 which provided extensive tools for writing color applications.

Some of these newer handhelds, for example Palm V, used internal rechargeable batteries. Later this feature became standard for all Palms.

Palm handhelds initially ran on the popular DragonBall processors, a Motorola 68000 derivate. More recent models are using a variation of the popular ARM architecture (usually referred to by the Intel Xscale brand name). This is a class of RISC microprocessors that is widely used in mobile devices and embedded systems, and its design was influenced strongly by a popular 1970s/1980s CPU, the MOS Technology 6502.

Palm Computing was spun off into its own company (called Palm Incorporated) in 2000. Handspring later merged with Palm to form palmOne in 2003 when Palm Inc. split into companies based upon selling hardware (palmOne) and the software (PalmSource). In 2005, palmOne acquired the full rights to the Palm name by purchasing the shared rights PalmSource owned and changed names back to Palm again. PalmSource was acquired by ACCESS Systems in 2005, which subsequently sold the Palm OS source code back to Palm, Inc. in December, 2006.

Treo700p Palm handhelds continue to advance, including the ability to access hard drives on computers via USB cables, and are beginning to merge with smartphones. The “Treo 700w” is one of the latest offering that combines a Palm handheld with mobile phone, e-mail, SMS, and instant messaging. It is the first Palm device to use Windows Mobile instead of Palm OS. It is widely expected that Palm handhelds as a PDA-only device will disappear as multi-function Palm handhelds like the Treo 650 decline in price. Multi function devices include several different abilities in the same package such as: an MP3 player, a camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or several other options. The Treo 650+ series is a multi-functioning series, packing in a camera,MP3,Bluetooth,and a phone. The Zire 71 and 72 are examples of this also. In 2007 Palm released the Palm Centro, a consumer-oriented smartphone running the Palm OS. It took a step away from the familiar Treo smartphone by making it thinner and changing the overall appearance of it. The Centro is a very successful smartphone as it combines many features with a lower price. Since then, Palm has also released the Palm Treo 500v, a similar device to the Centro which is also directed at the consumer market. Palm’s newest offering, the “Foleo”, was cancelled before being publicly available.

Palm OS

Palm OS (also known as Garnet OS) is a mobile operating system initially developed by Palm, Inc. for personal digital assistants (PDAs) in 1996. Palm OS is designed for ease of use with a touchscreen-based graphical user interface. It is provided with a suite of basic applications for personal information management. Later versions of the OS have been extended to support smartphones. Several other licensees have manufactured devices powered by Palm OS.

Following Palm’s purchase of the Palm trademark, the currently licensed version from ACCESS was renamed Garnet OS. In 2007, ACCESS introduced the successor to Garnet OS, called Access Linux Platform and in 2009, the main licensee of Palm OS, Palm, Inc., switched from Palm OS to webOS for their forthcoming devices.

OS overview

Palm OS is a proprietary mobile operating system. Designed in 1996 for Palm Computing, Inc.’s new Pilot PDA, it has been implemented on a wide array of mobile devices, including smartphones, wrist watches, handheld gaming consoles, barcode readers and GPS devices.

Palm OS versions earlier than 5.0 run on Motorola/Freescale DragonBall processors. From version 5.0 onwards, Palm OS runs on ARM architecture-based processors.

The key features of the current Palm OS Garnet are:

  • Simple, single-tasking environment to allow launching of full screen applications with a basic, common GUI set
  • Monochrome or color screens with resolutions up to 480×320 pixel
  • Handwriting recognition input system called Graffiti 2
  • HotSync technology for data synchronization with desktop computers
  • Sound playback and record capabilities
  • Simple security model: Device can be locked by password, arbitrary application records can be made private
  • TCP/IP network access
  • Serial port/USB, Infrared, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections
  • Expansion memory card support
  • Defined standard data format for personal information management applications to store calendar, address, task and note entries, accessible by third-party applications.

Included with the OS is also a set of standard applications, with the most relevant ones for the four mentioned PIM operations.


For several years PalmSource had been attempting to create a modern successor for Palm OS 5 and have licensees implement it. Although PalmSource shipped Palm OS Cobalt 6.0 to licensees in January 2004, none adopted it for release devices. PalmSource made major improvements to Palm OS Cobalt with the release of Palm OS Cobalt 6.1 in September 2004 to please licensees, but even the new version did not lead to production devices.

In December 2004, PalmSource announced a new OS strategy. With the acquisition of the mobile phone software company China Mobilesoft, PalmSource planned to port Palm OS on top of a Linux kernel, while still offering both Palm OS Garnet and Palm OS Cobalt. This strategy was revised in June 2005, when still no device with Palm OS Cobalt was announced. PalmSource announced it was halting all development efforts on any product not directly related to its future Linux based platform.

With the acquisition of PalmSource by ACCESS, Palm OS for Linux was changed to become the ACCESS Linux Platform which was first announced in February 2006. The initial versions of the platform and software development kits for the ACCESS Linux Platform were officially released in February 2007. As of November 2007, the ACCESS Linux Platform has yet to ship on devices, however development kits exists and public demonstrations have been showcased. The first smartphone to use the Access Linux Platform is the Edelweiss device by Emblaze Mobile that is scheduled for mid 2009.

Palm, Inc. the main licensee of Palm OS Garnet did not license ACCESS Linux Platform for their own devices. Instead, Palm developed another Linux-based operating system called Palm webOS. On February 11, 2009 Palm CEO Ed Colligan said there would be no additional Palm OS devices (excepting the Centro being released to other carriers). Palm is focusing on Palm webOS and Windows Mobile devices. On April 1, 2009 Palm announced the availability of a Palm OS emulator for its webOS.


Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Palm PDA…

Wikipedia: Palm OS…

Think Exist: Organizer Quotes…