Picking up my pen once again for Computer Weekly’s Inspect-a-Gadget column I spend some quality time with BlackBerry’s brand new handset, the Q10.
The Q10 is the first BlackBerry device to feature a physical keyboard since the release of its new operating system and Z10 all-touchscreen smartphone earlier in 2013.
The familiar looking handset is a big deal for the recently renamed canadian tech firm, marking its first real foray back into its core corporate market since adopting BB10 as its strategic OS.
Head on over to Computer Weekly to read what I make of the BlackBerry Q10.
As exciting as it has been to watch iPhoneography become a hit as Apple’s smartphone platform has evolved, I’m delighted to see Androidography as a movement beginning to mature as well.
The good news is that CNET UK has recently published a feature of mine on Androidography.
How to take great photos with an HTC One X follows an in-handset workflow, shooting, editing and sharing your shots without stepping anywhere near a PC.
While the piece focuses on the HTC One X hardware there’s still a whole lot in there that will be useful to users of other Android handsets, for example the apps and the accessories sections, as well as the general shooting and editing tips.
The second of my How to Make HD Movies on your Smartphone features for CNET UK was published last week. This time I focused on videography for the Android platform and used the Samsung Galaxy S3 handset as an example.
My iPhone filmmaking feature has been receiving great interest and feedback online too; as always there’s so much more that I could have written about accessories and apps and the same is true for the Android version.
I’ll be writing more very soon on mobile journalism and smartphone videography so do keep checking back.
Earlier this month I was commissioned by CNET to write a couple of features on making high-def movies with a smartphone.
The first of those features, How to make HD movies on your iPhone 4 or 4S, went live yesterday and right now I’m working on an equivalent how to make movies feature for Android based on the Samsung Galaxy S3 – watch this space.
In my iPhone feature I mention recently launched service called Newsflare. As mobile journalism (‘MoJo’) is a particular interest of mine, I find the Newflare concept very interesting indeed. The Newsflare app lets you upload video footage from your iPhone, either on-spec or in response to an ‘assignment’, which Newsflare will then try to sell to a media outlet for you (obviously taking a cut of your cash for their troubles).
I haven’t submitted anything yet to Newsflare, but I’m certainly curious to give it a go. I’m not at all convinced that it poses a serious threat to professional video journalists and cameramen but I suspect it could lead to more of the ‘good enough’ shots of breaking new stories airing before professional news crews arrive to capture broadcast quality footage.
A shot in the arm for citizen journalism?
Question: What do you get if you cross a Microsoft Kinect controller, some 3D glasses and an augmented reality platform with an Enterprise SAP HANA in-memory real-time big data-ready database?
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post for Computer Weekly in which I questioned whether Augmented Reality really is ready for the masses, concluding that while the technology and platforms themselves are getting close, a lack of real purpose and compelling content may be AR’s Achilles’ Heel.
Augmented Reality for the Enterprise
But then last week, while filming an item for the SAP Innovation Show at an event in London, I saw perhaps the most innovative application yet of AR for business.
As part of my original story I interviewed Matt Mills, Head of Innovation at Aurasma, part of Cambridge-based/HP-owned firm Autonomy and one of the main software houses developing commercial augmented reality platforms and applications.
While the offerings from the likes of Aurasma and Blippar are primarily consumer-focused (typically around marketing campaigns) Matt was also able to share with me some tantalising and genuinely useful applications of augmented reality in education and business, as in this example of using AR to install HP networking equipment.
But then last week at an event I had naively considered an unlikely candidate for showcasing gadgety innovation, I stumbled across what can truly be described as Augmented Reality for the Enterprise.
Spatial Operating Environment
CEO Vision combines an Augmented Reality platform with Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect controller to deliver a distinctly futuristic-looking data visualisation tool.
Aimed at non-technical executives, CEO Vision sources its data from an SAP HANA in-memory database and using an assortment of 3D eyewear, motion control and display technologies presents what Keytree calls its “Spatial Operating Environment”.
Viewers wearing the headset can peruse and interact with rich, animated datasets retrieved in real-time from the back-end database.
(and if you have some red/cyan specs handy there’s a 3D version of the video just for you)
Parallels will inevitably be drawn with Google Glass which last week also released a sneak peek of some footage filmed using its AR goggles, although CEO Vision perhaps scoops top marks inasmuch as anybody can try it for themselves right now.
Big Data means Big Glasses?
Personally I believe that technologies such as these from Keytree and Google will be essential tools as we attempt to visualise, digest and capitalise on ever-growing volumes of both business and personal big data.
But wearing my actual reality glasses for just a moment I don’t see that the technology is mature enough quite yet. The CEO Vision user interface boldly aims for Minority Report but credibly lands somewhat closer to Lawnmower Man.
Nevertheless it’s still impressive to see it in action at all and, as with Google’s intentions when announcing Glass, I suspect it acts as more of a signpost to the near future than a genuine stake in the ground for now.
Note: A version of this post also appears in Computer Weekly.
Last week I posted a piece for Computer Weekly about how Apple is losing touch with how its users use its mobile devices. You can read it here.
Unlike around three million others over the first three days of its launch (and no doubt record-breaking millions since), so far I’ve mostly resisted the urge to upgrade my 2010 original to the new third generation iPad.
I say ‘mostly’ as I did detour to a couple of stores to see what all the fuss was about, only their lack of stock saving me from a difficult decision and a sweaty store card.
Nevertheless, I am beginning to harbour some real reservations about the direction that Apple is, or rather is not, taking with the development of its mobile platforms, neglecting its users’ needs in favour of – well, what exactly?
I’ve been getting all tingly and excited lately about Siri, Apple’s all-hearing personal assistant technology.
Speech recognition has never reached the heights of the public’s lofty expectations, but in its inimitable style Apple has re-invented and re-invigorated a stagnating technology.
In this post for Computer Weekly a few weeks ago I explored how Siri is far more than just a neat trick inside an iPhone.
Siri can – and should – be embraced to help us interface better with other everyday objects. Think of it as a Universal Remote Control but instead of pressing buttons it listens to what you ask it and sends the commands to your TV, DVD player, alarm clock, central heating, washing machine, car – the possibilities are endless. This use of the iPhone as a VR Gateway has recently been demonstrated by some clever people using Siri Proxy.
You can read my full post in Computer Weekly right here.
Finally, I couldn’t help but share this video: just imagine if Apple had announced an Apple TV set at during its announcement last week (who knows what they might have called it: iTV, ATV, Apple TV?) and had gone ahead and integrated Siri rather than a traditional hand-held remote control. Might it have looked like this?
I got hands-on with the new Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 at the London press launch last week.
You can read the piece I wrote for Computer Weekly just here, or watch the interview/hands-on video I put together just below.
I reviewed the original Parrot AR.Drone quadricopter* in 2010 not long after its award-winning debut at the Consumer Electronics Fair in Las Vegas and you can still see for yourself why I should never be given a pilot’s licence.
At this year’s CES 2012 Parrot pulled an updated AR.Drone 2.0 out of its hat, this time promising flight controls and stunts that even I could manage, plus the ability to record and upload high definition video of my aviation triumphs.
From my Computer Weekly piece, here’s a quick video showing how I got on:
* To clarify a minor point (only because it had me confused), there’s a very subtle distinction between the quadrocopter/quadrotor, both of which appear to be generic terms for flying devices sporting four rotors, and the quadricopter, which appears to be Parrot’s product-specific term for its four-rotored AR.Drone.