iPhones Battery Backups, Blackberry, Android

I have found a cell phone battery backup device that rocks my world. The Imax Power IMP500 External Battery.

On the left, below, is my current cell phone (and HTC Hero from Sprint, which I would not recommend. Wait, if you can, for better options), and on the right, the Imax Power:

Imax Power

Here’s the deal: Batteries have a limited amount of power. Having a way to conveniently top off your phone’s battery may have some value.

In the case of my HTC Hero, the default battery has 1350 mAh of power (pronounced: milli-amps). This isn’t bad, but it could be better.

The iPhone 3GS has 1219 of power and the previous iPhone has 1150 mAh.

Now, more battery power doesn’t guarantee more talk or web browsing time. The efficiency of the phone plays a role as well, and iPhones seem to be a bit more efficient than comparable Android phones today. Regardless, neither phone has the capacity to last through an entire day at a conference where a person is browsing the web, checking emails, texting, and taking calls on a regular basis. You know: the kind of stuff the phones are sold as being designed to do.

So, in comes the Imax Power. This thing holds 5000 mAh of energy. So you can recharge a typical smartphone 2-3 times before this thing dies. That’s awesome. It’s enough to get through the day and then some.

The specs claim that you can get up to 38 hours of iPhone video playback time out of this thing. That seems slightly aggressive, but if you’re even considering that much power, you can understand how much of a game changer this is.

For me, this is a device I’ll be keeping in my suit, so I can continually top off my phone throughout the day so it’s not dead by the time I go to dinner. I’ll also use it when traveling overseas to top off my iPod Touch for days and days.

And, the real beauty of it is that it connects to any device. It has a USB plus on it, so whether you have an iPhone, Android phone, Blackberry, Bluetooth headshet, etc., you can top it off. And you can even use a splitter to top off more than one device at a time. Awesome.

So, get yourself a brick of power so you’ll be able to weather those powerless situations you’ll encounter throughout the day or while traveling.

iPhone 2008 is Like AOL 1993

Fifteen years ago, AOL was actually kind of cool. It provided email, shopping, entertainment, and chat applications through a slow internet connection to millions of people. But over time, the popularity waned as people realized they’re better off bypassing AOL for the actual world wide web.

To me, this seems quite similar to the state of the mobile industry, including the iPhone today.

1. It’s slow.

2. The carrier acts as a gatekeeper to content and applications.

3. One of the most popular buttons is for the web, rather than the applications the provider thinks are important.

History seems to be repeating itself on the mobile Internet.

Based on Apple’s recent approaches to application approval, I get the impression that the transition from AOL-style gatekeeper to web surfing device will be faster than in the past. If Apple denies their users access to content they want on their phones, they’ll simply use their phones to find similar content on the web. Apple will train people away from the App Store.

NCMR: Power in Your Pocket: Cell Phones and Social Change

A panel at the National Conference for Media Reform discussed how cell phones can be used for community and issues organizing efforts.

Mobile Has Reach

Cell phones not just preferred form of communication but primary form for millions of users. They are quickly being adopted at the expense of land lines, and are proving to be more effective than email in reaching certain groups.

One panelist, Monifa Akinwole Bandele, polled the audience, asking, “Who here has ever deleted an email without reading it?” This was nearly unanimous. She then followed up with, “Who here has deleted a text message without reading it?” which received exactly the opposite response. Maybe it’s because it’s newer technology, or because the time commitment involved in reading an SMS is less. Either way, people read what you send to their phones.

SMS has also proven to be a powerful communications tool when dealing with groups who don’t own computers such as minority populations including Latinos who have some of the highest mobile adoption rates in the United States.

According to Becky Bond from CREDO Mobile, the USA mobile-only (no land line) population projected to reach 30% by the fall election. Outside the United States, mobile phone access often dwarfs lane line access. For example, 97% of Tanzanians have access to a cell phone by either owning one or through access to a shared one in their community where no land lines exist.

With that in mind, SMS has become a popular communications tool for fast, easy, and cheap messaging – especially when compared to email, direct mail, or door knocking by non-profits or political organizations.

Mobile Challenges

However, using cell phones / SMS for organizing may be at risk. Carriers aren’t necessarily fans of seeing their networks used for political organizing. For example, Verizon Wireless refused to allow NARAL, a Pro-Choice organization to send opt-in SMS messages through their network until media pressure forced them to change their policy. Outside the United States, some government owned mobile networks have been shut down during elections. As Jed Alpert, CEO of Mobile Commons, explained, “We’re much further from net neutrality in mobile than on the web today.”

Twitter?

A few audience members asked about whether Twitter would be a good choice for text based organizing. The panel, some of whom work in the mobile industry was mixed on this, however, knowledgeable audience members seemed to think it would be a valuable platform for nearly free messaging. Of course, it doesn’t offer some of the statistics you’d receive through direct messaging, or the control you’d receive from parsing your own mobile database in order to target appropriate demographics.

LG's Watch Phone Concept

LG Watch Phone

We heard a rumor on the floor of the CES show that LG didn’t want people taking pictures of this concept for a watch phone. In our opinion, anything sitting in a display case in the middle of a trade show that’s visible to the eye is visible to a camera as well.

This is not a shipping product. According to the staff member from LG who spoke with us under condition of anonymity, this is simply a concept that they’re testing.

The people we saw viewing the product (but not taking pictures) seemed to have the a consistent reaction to this. They thought it was cool and would consider buying it.

Based on the form factor, it would probably need to have voice activated dialing and Bluetooth support to be really valuable. I can’t imagine many people would want to talk to their wrists.

iMeme Conference Attendees on Tech Trends

David Kirkpatrick from FORTUNE magazine hosted an interesting forum last week
called iMeme where big thinkers in we technology got together to talk about
future trends.

Preceding the now completed event, Kirkpatrick threw a set of questions out to
invitees about current tech trends, which
led
to some interesting commentary
.

FORTUNE iMeme Logo

Here are a few highlights:

Bruno Wu, Chairman, The Sun Media Investment Holding Group of
Companies

1) For you personally, what technology has taken the most unexpected turn in
your lifetime?

I never thought search technology would turn itself into the bridge to all
content, connecting all passion and interest and securing such a scalable
business model, and it has become the darling of the investment community.
When I was at Sina, we already had search, but we failed to capture this
opportunity.

Many businesses still don’t realize this. How can a site say it understands
search without having things as common as subscribable persistent searches using
email or RSS? High quality search and subscriptions turns the web into a
customized content delivery system of interesting things.

Padmasree Warrior, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology
Officer, Motorola, Inc.

1) For you personally, what technology has taken the most unexpected turn in
your lifetime?

For me personally, the technology that has taken the most unexpected turn in
my lifetime is what I refer to as “the device formerly known as the cell
phone.” I still remember many predictions that by 2000 there would only be
about a million cell phone users. Boy, were they ever wrong!

Today there are about 2.9 billion mobile device users, i.e., roughly half
the planet uses this technology for so much more than a phone call. Today
people call people, not places!

Absolutely. When I was growing up way back in the 80’s and early 90’s, my family
had no cell phones and one land line shared by four people! Because of this,
there was some competition for the phone, but more importantly, my parents got
to know my friends by occasionally answering the phone. And my friend’s parents
got to know me when I was calling for their sons or daughters. Now, there are
times where I hardly know a friend’s spouse since I’m calling a person rather
than a phone sitting in someone’s house.

We haven’t gotten there yet, but we’ll likely reach a day when everyone’s
assigned a cell phone number at birth that will stick with them throughout their
lifetime. And a domain.

John Clippinger, Senior Fellow, Berkman
Center for Internet and Society, Harvard Law School

2) What, for you, has been the most surprising infectious idea of the past
year?

Paris Hilton. I just don’t get it.

Sadly, I think he’s right.

Should License Plates be Driver's Cell Phone Numbers?

I’ve been turning into a bit of a
hypermiler,
which, for those of you not familiar with the term, is driving using strategies
that maximize fuel efficiency.

For example, when I’m heading
West
on Hwy 5 in Eden Prairie, Minnesota
on the way to work, I can put my car in
neutral at the spot marked in green and coast the last 1/2 mile or so to the off
ramp and make it up through the clover to the stop light (marked in red).

This particularly strategy doesn’t take any additional time on my part, since I
tend to end up at a red light at the end of the off-ramp no matter how I get
there.

Unfortunately, some people have problems with this technique, including Ben, who
happened to be following me to work the other day.

my pimped pic!

He gave me a call to let me know his thoughts on this while we waited at the
light. Apparently, he wanted to get to the light faster so he could wait longer.

This brings me to a theory a friend of mine has had for a while now about road
rage: he thinks it could be solved by making everyone’s license plate their cell
phone number. That way, if you saw someone driving erratically, you could give
them a quick ring to offer some constructive criticism of their driving
techniques.

What could possibly go wrong with that plan?

How to Download Music to a Treo 650

If you have a Treo, it probably goes everywhere with you, right? Why not carry your music and podcasts with you by taking advantage of the phone??????s storage capabilities?
Here is how it??????s done:
1. SD Card: Treo 600 and 650 models (and reportedly, the yet to be released Treo 700 as well) have an SD Card slot. If you have an SD Card today, pop it out to check the size.

This is a 1GB SD Card.
This will determine how many songs you can store. An average song takes between 3-4MB of memory, so here??????s an estimate of how many songs you can store based on the size of your SD card:

SD Card Size Songs You Can Store
16MB 5 Songs
32MB 10 Songs
64MB 20 Songs
128MB 40 Songs
256MB 80 Songs
512MB 160 Songs
1GB 310 Songs
2GB 620 Songs

2. SD Card Reader: Unfortunately, you can??????t sync songs from your computer to your Treo phone??????s SD card using Hotsync. Instead, you??????ll need an SD card reader, like this one:

Stick your SD card into the reader then plug the reader into your computer. Drag your favorite songs or podcasts onto the SD card. If you have a Windows computer, the drive will likely appear as a new drive in Windows Explorer. If your computer is very new, it may have an SD card slot built in, allowing you to skip the external card reader.
3. Put your SD card back in your Treo.
4. Play the songs. Treo 650 phones come with RealPlayer pre-installed. Click on that application (you may need to change your menu??????s display to ALL to find it). Treo 600 phones don??????t have an MP3 player installed by default. If you don??????t have one, check out Pocket Tunes.
5. Using Realplayer or Pocket Tunes (actual steps vary slightly for each program): Click Open, then select your SD card from the dropdown box on the upper-right hand corner of the screen. You should be able to see your songs. Click on the songs you??????d like to play. Click OK.
6. Using headphones. While the Treo has a speaker, it??????s not exactly Bose quality. Headphones will offer better quality, but there??????s a catch: Treo??????s do not have a normal headphone jack. You??????ll need to pick up this 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter:

Plug this into your Treo, and your favorite headphones into this.
7. Playing Treo tunes on your car stereo system. If you have a tape deck in your car you can use your car??????s stereo to play the songs stored on your Treo. Just pick up a tape adapter like the one below:

If you have a tape adapter lying around your house from your portable CD player days, you??????ll still need the jack adapter from step 6 to make it work with your Treo, but that??????s cheaper than buying the entire adapter.
You??????re done. You have now made your Treo even more useful and entertaining.
Post questions or comments below.

Sprint PCS Web Site Growing Pains

Corporate mergers have many challenges, including standardizing on a domain name. A few missed steps in the transition can hurt a brand, and cost a sight some hard-earned and well-deserved traffic.
After Sprint’s merger with Nextel, Sprint has been working on consolidating all services on the Sprint brand and domain name, www.sprint.com. Good choice. However, what happens when you type sprintpcs.com (a domain used by Sprint for their wireless services for years) into a browser:

End of the world? No, but dead web pages like this are not exactly positive brand builders. It also hurts site traffic: According to Yahoo, 588 web sites have linked to http://sprintpcs.com (make that 589). People clicking through from those links will currently meet the same fate I did.
How can this be avoided:
1. Standardize on a new domain.
2. Point previous domains to the new domain (both www and non-www versions of your previous sites)
3. Point internal pages of your old domains to their locations on the new domain.
4. Ask web site owners to change their links to your site’s new location.
Is this tedious work? Yes. Valuable? Absolutely.
Proper execution of the above strategies creates a stronger post-merger online presence that truly is a sum of its parts.