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Going Forward and Mobile

by Mike Kato

For this mobile computing issue, I had a hard time thinking about what to write about. I already selected a few apps to feature for the month's Disk Librarian, so I didn't want to write about these. I thought about a few other apps, but since I had already selected some of what I thought to be the most interesting, this didn't really appeal either. What I ended up with, then, is some sneak previews into the future of the Palm, and some other mobile computing tidbits.

First, I found out a few very interesting developments with the Palm platform at the PalmSource Japan Forum for developers last March 28-29. First, it is already very well known publicly about the major new features of PalmOS 5 and the fully ARM-native 32-bit OS. With three new ARM processors running the new Palms, built by Motorola, TI, and Intel, the new Palms later this year will be fast, powerful, and backward compatible.

But one application not publicly announced may really change the future of software development and marketing. The software, curiously, is not owned by the software group of Palm--PalmSource--but by the hardware company. The software is called, for now, Cambio, meaning "exchange" in Spanish.

Cambio has two basic parts. First the user rates some or all of the applications on his/her device. The ratings can contain memos or notes on the software. The second part of Cambio is the sharing feature. Only apps that the user has rated are shared with other nearby Palm devices. Sharing can occur by IR or by Bluetooth. When another Palm equipped with Cambio "sees" the shared information, the Palms check each others' databases, and automatically enable the two to download shared apps not currently on the device. The user does have the choice to "get" or "not get" each application, but they can be beamed in bulk, and not one application at a time.

For application developers, this system enables them to write an application, rate and share the application, and have users spread the application "virally" from peer to peer. When the user first uses the new application on his/her Palm, or when HotSyncing occurs with a desktop, then the user can be linked or directed to the developer's website for purchase/registration.

Another really interesting development is the advancement of voice recognition. While voice commands are rapidly becoming a standard feature of mobile phones, this feature is becoming standard in future Palm devices as well. With the processing power of the next- generation ARM processors, lookup and find features should become a whole lot easier and more intuitive by the end of this year.

Another interesting product/service, this time with mobile phones, is a service called OneC@llNet (http://www.onecallnet.co.jp/). The concept is simple. A company purchases a phone number from OneC@llNet. The company is issued a unique URL, where the company sets up a mobile phone website via an ASP service. The website is linked to the phone number. The company posts the phone number in ads and marketing information. When a potential customer sees the ad, he/she calls the phone number. After a simple registration process, the person receives an email message, containing the HTML contents of the company's website.

For the customer, it is easier to enter a phone number than a URL when seeing an ad in a magazine or train poster. For the company, the creation of a mobile website and marketing campaigns is easier than completely setting up a website on their own. OneC@llNet sells the service at rates starting at 10,000 per month, with costs rising to over a million yen per month depending on call volume and site size. This could be a very interesting development if mobile users really do take to calling over inputting a URL on their phones.

Finally, another interesting product/service is SkyWave (http://www.skywave.ne.jp/). Among other things, SkyWave is starting a SIP based voice call service via a PDA. Their initial services will use PocketPC devices, but Palm devices and others are on the horizon. Service should start by fall.

These are just a handful of the more interesting mobile computing developments, in my opinion. If you find anything else interesting or worth checking out, let me know. These are all very related topics for a book that I have started to write that I hope to publish in Japanese in the first quarter of 2003.

Contact me at: <mikekato@tokyopc.org>



© Algorithmica Japonica Copyright Notice: Copyright of material rests with the individual author. Articles may be reprinted by other user groups if the author and original publication are credited. Any other reproduction or use of material herein is prohibited without prior written permission from TPC. The mention of names of products without indication of Trademark or Registered Trademark status in no way implies that these products are not so protected by law.

Algorithmica Japonica

June , 2002

The Newsletter of the Tokyo PC Users Group

Submissions : Editor


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