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How Prices Compare on Different App Stores – GigaOM December 30, 2009

Posted by pannet in Mobile & Gadgets.
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With an increasing number of companies launching mobile app stores, we [GigaOM] decided it was time to compare them. We wanted to find out the average cost of a paid application on various stores.

We asked our friends at Mobclix, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup that offers mobile analytics and runs a mobile ad exchange, if they could help. They crunched some numbers and came back with some surprising findings. For example: BlackBerry paid apps are among the most expensive, followed by Microsoft, Android and the iPhone OS platform. Nokia Ovi paid apps were among the cheapest.

via How Prices Compare on Different App Stores – GigaOM.

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Four different ways to sync your cellphone with the cloud / ArsTechnica October 9, 2009

Posted by pannet in Internet & Communities, Mobile & Gadgets.
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It’s no longer uncommon for a phone to be able to sync data wirelessly so that you’re never without your contacts, images, and e-mails. We took a look at four different syncing services to compare what they have to offer.

The dark days of not being able to get data off your phone are largely over—at least for most smartphone users. With the launch of Best Buy’s new mobile service this week called mIQ, there are now a handful of cloud syncing services for a plethora of different devices. The offerings may be similar, but they’re not identical, so we thought we’d look at the most prominent syncing services.

mIQ from Best Buy

mIQ is supported on Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, and Symbian phones from a variety of different manufacturers. What it offers is a free way to back up your entire phone online—including contacts, texts, calendars, call logs, photos, videos, and voicemails. This is, of course, very useful if your phone gets stolen or ends up in an unfortunate accident like, say, if a friend pushes you into a pool. There’s 1GB of storage space; not a ton, but not horrible either for a free service. You don’t even have to restore your data to the same phone—if you decide to get a new mIQ-compatible phone, you can do a full restore to an entirely new device.

What we like about mIQ is the website that comes with it that allows you to send and receive text messages from your phone, but on the Internet. (This is a feature we wish Apple offered through MobileMe.) Of course, this is nice to have when your phone is dead or you’re just plain lazy—your phone is in another room or packed away in your bag and you’re just not in the mood to get it out so you can confirm dinner plans with your friends.

The last, and least interesting feature (to us) about mIQ is its ability to upload images, video, and status updates to all the popular social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and FriendFeed. It’s not that this feature isn’t valuable, but you can do this from practically any phone already (either through third-party apps or built into the OS), so it’s just not particularly unique.

Still, you can’t argue with free, and the service officially launches on October 12 (you can sign up now if your phone is supported).

My Phone from Microsoft

Microsoft’s free My Phone service arrived with the recent launch of Windows Mobile 6.5, though it has been in beta for the better part of 2009 already. Again, My Phone can sync and back up all of your phone’s useful data, including contacts, calendars, tasks, text messages, photos, videos, music, and documents, plus whatever you have on a memory card. The free service only goes up to 200MB of space, though, which can easily be filled if you’re the type who stores lots of non-text media on your phone. Still, you can access the data online through the Web and even add, modify, or delete things without having to go through your phone.

The cool part about My Phone is that it lets you find a lost phone, similar to Find My iPhone from MobileMe, but for WinMo phones. The user must turn on the feature first, and there are two tiers: a free and Premium service. The free service can show you on an online map the last location of your phone when it synced with My Phone, while the premium service shows you the current location—assuming it’s supported by your cell carrier where you are. The strength here is actually the fact that it can show you the last location instead of just the current one. Why? Because half the time when your phone is lost (or maybe it’s just us), it’s also dead, making it impossible to find the current location. But if you have the last location, that’s the first step in figuring out where you last left it, whether it be a restaurant or lodged between your couch cushions.

Finally, just like mIQ, My Phone can automatically share photos to your favorite social networking sites, and you can restore your backed-up information to a new phone if yours is lost or you decide to upgrade.

Ovi from Nokia

Ovi is not just an app store for Nokia phones, it’s also a mobile syncing service. You can sync your calendar and contacts and access your Ovi e-mail from your phone or the Internet. And, as is becoming the norm for these services, you can also access files in the cloud from either your phone or your computer, including photos, documents, and music, and you can share those files with others.

However, the feature that we like the most is Ovi Maps, which allows you to plan a trip on the Web and then save the map or directions to Ovi, which can then sync to your phone. You can sync places, collections of places, or routes—useful for planning road trips. I like this functionality because I’m the type who plans all of my trips (yes, even to the store) online before I leave the house, and I don’t like to enter that information again on my phone when I walk out the door. Sure, Google Maps lets you send a map route to a phone via SMS, but you still have to click a link on the phone side, and even then, it may not work the way you want. Ovi Maps makes that process much more seamless, and we like it.

MobileMe from Apple

Of course, there’s MobileMe, Apple’s made-over .Mac that has been struggling to gain users for years. And there’s a good reason for that—for a hundred smackers every year, the service didn’t offer much compelling reason to subscribe until the dramatic changes that Apple made in the last year or so (and some would argue that it still doesn’t).

MobileMe now allows you to keep your contacts, calendar, and e-mail in sync across multiple devices as well as your computer. Unlike some of the other services in this article, MobileMe does not keep a full backup of all your phone’s data—that’s because Apple has chosen to keep those kinds of backups on the computer with which you sync your iPhone. This, of course, cuts down on the amount of cloud storage space you’re sucking up (as well as bandwidth), but it also means you can’t access all of that information while out and about if your phone suffers some catastrophic injury. Still, in an emergency, e-mail, contacts, and calendar might be all you need until you can make it home again and restore your phone, and since those all use a push system, they work relatively well.

Then there’s the venerable iDisk, an online storage space for whatever tickles you. iDisk can be accessed from your desktop, the Web, and through an app on the iPhone or iPod touch, allowing you to sync any manner of files and share them with others. iDisk offers a comparatively-boggling 20GB of space, though it only seems high because the other companies choose to offer much less space (that same amount of online storage space can be gotten for much cheaper than $99/year otherwise, but it’s not as seamlessly integrated into Mac OS X and the iPhone).

Once again, our favorite feature about MobileMe is Apple’s new Find My iPhone feature and the services that go along with it. Like My Phone from Microsoft, Find My iPhone allows MobileMe users to locate their phones on a map through the Web, though the limitation here is that the phone must still be alive (hope you’re disciplined about charging your batteries, or that your thief doesn’t know how to turn the thing off!)—if it’s not, then you are pretty much out of luck. Still, the feature has already proven useful to many iPhone users (even here in the Ars Orbiting HQ), allowing forgetful people everywhere rest a little easier. Additionally, you can send a message to your lost iPhone if you think someone might have it. Doing this will make an alert sound even if the phone’s sound is off, and lets you instruct the finder on how to get ahold of you. Finally, if you suspect your phone is gone for good, you can set a passcode lock remotely or even wipe the phone right from the Web.

Is MobileMe worth the $99? For iPhone users, it’s the only choice if you want the Find My iPhone feature, and we do think that’s the main reason to get it. Otherwise, if all you want is online storage that you can access from your phone, we recommend DropBox. And since your phone’s backups are already on your computer, you don’t need MobileMe, though push e-mail and calendar info sure can be nice.

Path: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/guides/2009/10/four-different-ways-to-sync-your-cellphone-with-the-cloud.ars

Nokia Ovi Store Launch Is A Complete Disaster May 26, 2009

Posted by hruf in Mobile & Gadgets.
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This was supposed to be a glorious day for mobile phone giant Nokia. The Finnish company got out-innovated by Apple a couple of years ago with the introduction and subsequent success of the iPhone and the iTunes App Store, and has been desperately trying to catch up with Cupertino’s disruptive initiatives ever since by launching a couple of new devices on one hand, and consolidating its software & services business on the other hand.

Today sees the worldwide roll-out of Nokia’s Ovi Store, the company’s response to Apple’s App Store (and other centralized content stores for mobile phones and OS’es), and no doubt the company is watching the launch unfold on a global scale with watchful eyes. Here’s the thing: the launch is an utter disaster and I assume (hope) Nokia executives are outraged with the way things are going. […]

Update from the Ovi team:

“Shortly after launching the Ovi Store at 2 am ET, we began experiencing extraordinarily high spikes of traffic that resulted in some performance issues for users accessing store.ovi.com and store.ovi.mobi. We immediately began to address this issue by adding servers, which resulted in intermittent performance improvements. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused Ovi Store users and encourage you to continue giving us feedback as we develop the service further.

The Ovi Store device client, however, has continued to perform very well and there were no reported issues from users logged on through that entry point.”

via Nokia Ovi Store Launch Is A Complete Disaster.

Nokia’s Gigantic App Store – Forbes.com May 9, 2009

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Nokia is about to shake up the app store world.

The Finnish company is planning to roll out an online store for mobile applications later this month. Though Apple ( AAPL – news – people ), Research In Motion ( RIMM – news – people ) and Google ( GOOG – news – people ) already offer similar services, Nokia’s ( NOK – news – people ) launch promises to be the biggest app store opening yet and could re-shape the mobile applications market.

As the world’s largest handset maker, Nokia is used to big launches. The store, which the company is calling Ovi Store after the Finnish word for “door,” is no exception. Niklas Savander, Nokia’s executive vice president of services, says it will debut with a catalog of 20,000 items. In comparison, Apple and RIM launched their stores with a few hundred apps; Google’s opened with a few dozen.

via Nokia’s Gigantic App Store – Forbes.com.

Nokia’s Ovi to be launched globally in a month April 2, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities, Mobile & Gadgets.
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Vice president for Nokia media Marco Argenti outlined the plans for the Ovi Store they are preparing to launch next month. According to him the store will be an entertainment channel with applications and other content such as video, audio and games.

“We call it the personal media network, it will offer relevant, easy and pervasive ways of discovering new content – not only applications, but video, audio, games etc.” he said.

via Nokia’s Ovi to be launched globally in a month .