Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nokia and Yahoo team up against Google

It has been said that Nokia and Yahoo make perfect mobile partners. Countering Google and fast track the Nokia's move into web services. The two companies are expected to get closer this week, with Yahoo holding a press conference today hosted by CEO Carol Bartz. This will showcase "an exciting announcement about providing global consumers with rich online and mobile experiences, and bringing forward a new era in keeping consumers connected."

According to sources, this will be a partnership with Nokia, somewhat on the lines of Yahoo's recently extended alliance with Samsung to bring a host of mobile services to the Korean giant's phones, spanning various operating systems. In Nokia's case, the collaboration is called 'Project Nike' (after the Greek goddess of victory, not the sportswear firm) and will bring Yahoo search, email and applications to Nokia Symbian and MeeGo devices. This will see these apps preloaded on various Nokia products, and even a fully Yahoo themed handset, somewhat like Nokia's lower profile Skype and Facebook gadgets.

The opportunity to team up against Google is obvious. Yahoo is becoming intimate with the companies who control almost 60% of the world's handsets (even on Samsung's Android range, Galaxy). There is a conflict of interest between Nokia and Yahoo - in particular, Nokia wants to build up its own software brand Ovi, even while it also needs to have big name services on its phones, and become a serious mobile application player quickly. These dilemmas explain why sources say the two firms have been in on-off talks for years.
As for Samsung, the Korean firm will preload branded Yahoo apps including Mail, Messenger, Front Page, Search, Flickr and News, expanding a three-year old agreement.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The end of Flash according to Apple and Microsoft

On the same day both Apple and Microsoft made announcements that signify the end of Adobe Flash. Microsoft's Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager for Internet Explorer, announced that IE9 will use only the H.264 standard to play HTML 5 video. Microsoft seems to have become very committed to HTML 5, while Flash loses even more ground. The announcement came the same day Steve Jobs detailed why Apple does not accept Flash on iPhone and iPad.

Microsoft is taking HTML 5 very seriously. Hachamovitch stated: “The future of the web is HTML5 ... HTML5 will be very important in advancing rich, interactive web applications and site design.” Many wondered what is Microsoft going to do about HTML 5 and, if they start integrating it, what video standard is it going to use? Microsoft has already started implementing some of the HTML 5 features – history, inline editing, web database – but they still have to catch up with the other browser vendors which have many more feature implemented like Canvas, Drag&Drop, Messaging, Video, Audio, Workers and others. But IE9 will certainly contain many of these features, Microsoft being known of advancing quickly on something after they have set their mind on it. For example, the IE team demoed recently IE9 running HTML 5 video on GPU, a step in front of other browsers by using hardware acceleration.

Steve Jobs in his post on Apple said "I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true."

He closed his discussion about the future of platforms with "Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short."

"The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games."

"New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind."