Friday, September 26, 2008

T-Mobile G1 - No UMA!

After my last post regarding Android and the G1, it occurred to me that T-Mobile and/or HTC decided not to include support for UMA on the device.  That's a real bummer, as I am finding UMA to be a great feature on my Blackberry 8320.  Quick simply, UMA allows one to make mobile calls and related data access (e.g. text messaging) using Wi-Fi, and also allows one to seamslessly roam between GSM/GPRS networks and Wi-Fi, particularly handy in cases where cellular coverage may be spotty.  T-Mobile is the only US-based carrier that supports it, and they've made it available on several of their newer devices.  In my particular case, I use the UMA feature quite extensively whenever I travel overseas.  While in my hotel room or overseas office I simply disable access to the local mobile network and use Wi-Fi exclusively.  This means I can make mobile calls back home without incurring any roaming charges since T-Mobile doesn't appear to have the ability or desire to trace calls by IP address.  And this also means all of my text messages and Blackberry email do not incur any data roaming charges either.  I've also read on Blackberryforums that some users are claiming that T-Mobile doesn't even log some of the UMA calls, so those users aren't even being charged for the minutes against their account.  So...I'm wondering if the UMA ommission from the G1 was a major oversight on T-Mobile's part, or maybe a purposeful ommission given the folks like me that leverage it in order to save on their monthly charges.

I am Intrigued by Android

I've been a die hard Blackberry user for nearly 10 years now, sans the week or so I played around with a T-Mobile Dash last year. I currently use the Blackberry 8320, which is the best Blackberry device I've used to date. My friends and family always ask me why I don't use the iPhone since they know my penchant for gadgets and figured I'd always have the latest hot thing. There are actually a few reasons why I haven't jumped on the iPhone bandwagon yet:
  1. Push email if vitally important to me, and my corporate email address is not MS Exchange based.
  2. I need the ability to get push email for all of my email accounts
  3. The Blackberry allows you to create server-based filters, so that I determine which emails to be sent to the device and which ones I can just read later when I'm on my laptop.
  4. Ability to type easily - nothing beats the tactile feel of a real keyboard.
  5. Cost - Right now I pay $79 a month for 1000 minutes, unlimited email, data and SMS, and T-Mobile Hotspot.  The equivalent set of services if I were to move to an iPhone would probably cost me an additional $50 a month with AT&T
As everybody knows by now, earlier this week T-Mobile and Google announced the new Android G1 device which will be available in late October.  I read several of the reviews, and I have to say that I'm quite intrigued by Android and this could be the platform that finally gets me off Blackberry once and for all.  With built-in push email support for Gmail accounts this will address most of my email requirements.  The G1 also has a full keyboard, and the monthly cost would actually be lower than what I'm paying right now for the equivalent set of services.  Plus, I am hopful that Android will really take off as a development platform and that we'll see a ton of cool 3rd-party apps developed for it.  To be honest I'm getting really tired of Apple's heavy handedness these past few years, and we're seeing that once again with their App Store.  I mean come on, not allowing an app to run in the background?  If that is such a big concern to Apple then their stinkin' OS should be smart enough to lower thread priority and/or swap the app out if it becomes too resource intensive.  

The G1 may not be the sexiest beast out there, but it's the first of what I hope to be many new Android-based devices to come.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Now, for a Self-Serving Post on Wigix

For the past year and a half or so I've been involved with a startup called Wigix, where I am the CTO and co-founder. In a nutshell we are a serious alternative to eBay and offer a number of advantages including a "stock market" style of trading, product research information and community contributed content a la Wikipedia. Our goal is to build the world's largest structured catalog of products and to be the de facto product search destination on the internet.

Here's a funny and short video that we recently produced:

I invite anyone and everyone to join Wigix and see what we're all about. Thanks for reading!