CES Preview – Mobile Aps Showdown hosted by Jon Hein and Gary Dell’Abate of the Howard Stern Show.

CES Mobile Apps Showdown – turn your 2 minutes of mobile fame to your new fortune. 

Gary Dell’Abate and Jon Hein are hosting a great CES event on Thursday where competitors will showcase their mobile applications in the hopes of winning the “best mobile application” based on different criteria such as online voting and even audience applause.  A showcase event will follow where you can ask questions and test drive some of the applications you liked in the contest.

It’s encouraging to see a lot more internet centric events at CES in recent years.    In Technology Report’s 2008 coverage we noted that “Web 2.0″ and social media emphasis seemed a bit lacking but CES has made good progress in those areas – especially mobile internet which many see as the most fertile ground for expansion of the online landscape.

12:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012
LVCC, North Hall, Room N255-N257

From the official website of CES 2012, CES Web:   Cesweb.org

Pit your mobile app against the competition during the Mobile Apps Showdown at 2012 CES! Apps producers will have two minutes to demo their app, and an applause-o-meter will measure audience enthusiasm to determine the winners. Guest emcees Gary Dell’Abate and Jon Hein from the Howard Stern Show will host the event. 

Enter at MobileAppsShowdown.com.

Now in its third year at the International CES, this event, honoring the best smartphone and tablet apps, will take place on Thursday, January 12, 2012.

Judges will select 10 finalists for the apps competition, which will take place live at the 2012 CES and online. Two winners will be selected, one based on a live vote at the 2012 CES and the other based on online voters at the site.

Nominations for the competition are now open. Developers can submit entries to be judged by a panel of tech experts including Gina SmithChristopher NullHelena StoneDave Whittle and other industry notables. Ten finalists will have a chance to present on stage at the 2012 International CES, held January 10-13, 2012, in Las Vegas. Readers of the Mobile Apps Showdown website will have a chance to try the apps and vote for the people’s choice award. Winners will be awarded based on audience response, both online and live at the Las Vegas Convention Center at 2:30 p.m. PT on Thursday, January 12, 2012.

Special Hosts Gary Dell’Abate And Jon Hein Add To The Fun
Co-hosts and fellow techies Gary Dell’Abate and Jon Hein, from SiriusXM Radio’s Howard Stern channels, will once again bring their inimitable wit and knowledge of all things geek to the festivities. For extra fun, they’ll lead a rollicking trivia contest. Want to see last year’s fun? Watch the Gary/Jon show in action. All contestants will be available to show their apps at a “meet up” immediately following the event. 

Winners of the 2011 CES Mobile Apps Showdown
Last year’s mobile apps winners have gone on to become two of the most successful apps on the market today. DriveSafe.ly 2.0, an app that addresses the hazards of road distraction, won based on audience applause. Line2, which gives smartphone users a second line, won the online ballot with over 50,000 votes. Clixtr and Gwabbit, winners in 2010, have gone on to rank as some of the top selling apps and still feature its Mobile Apps Showdown Award prominently. Good apps. Good business.

See you at CES 2012!

CES 2012 Press Releases

CES 2012 Press Releases

Got Landline? VOIP, Magic Jack and the fall of the phone

One of the most significant trends in technology is the shift in phone pricing and usage patterns.    Ironically we now spend far more on phone related services than in the past even as we spend far less per call for conventional usage.    Thanks to Skype, Magic Jack, Vonage, and dozens of other ISP based phone services you can now generally make long distance calls at a tiny fraction of the former cost.     There are important exceptions to the plummeting price rules, such as using your own US cell phone in Europe which can have catastrophic cost implications.

However for local and US long distance you should review your current setup and consider alternatives.     Some of the points to consider are:

Do you need a landline?     If no, consider just using your cell phone.
Do you make a lot of calls?   If yes, you may want unlimited use plans.
Can you port (move) your landline number to your cell phone?    If yes, it makes moving to a “cell phone only” more plausible as you won’t lose your old phone number.
How expensive are your cell calls?      If “expensive”, review your contract – you should not be paying all that much anymore for great service and many calls.     Texting has become the new way to gauge customers so review those plans as well, and DO NOT let your children make phone decisions without your understanding – they rarely do a cost benefit analysis, making teen texting and ringtone purchases some of the most cost inefficient phone usage in all of history.

Magic Jack is not for everybody but they keep lowering the bar on “nearly free” calling and are now preparing to offer expanded free calling services, number porting, and more:  AP Reports

In my opinion a good general rule is that you generally can do much better than having a “separate landline”.      For me this takes the form of “bundling” my landline phone with high speed internet and cable TV.     But markets differ and deals change almost daily in terms of who is offering what.     If your landline is separate from your internet, you may benefit greatly by “porting” your local number and using VOIP  (Voice over IP) services such as Magic Jack, Vonage, or other internet based phone services from your local ISP.

HTC EVO 4G

HTC EVO™ 4G

Sprint Evo 4G

Sprint is gushing about their new Evo 4G which will soon be more available in the USA although it appears sold out in some areas from pre-orders.

That’s right. The phone that captivated international trade show CTIA is here, and we’ve packed it full of features! A large vibrant 4.3 inch screen, dual cameras, 32GB MicroSD card slot and wicked fast web speeds, this is more than a phone. It’s a Mobile Hotspot for up to 8 of your Wi-Fi devices. It’s a high-quality mobile device – featuring Android™ 2.1 and the award-winning HTC Sense™ experience, and it’s your personal portable HD media center with an HDMI output so you can share in HD.

Hyperbole aside, the reviews from CNET, Engadget, and early users are very favorable.

CNET Reviews

Engadget summary:    Let us be crystal clear: we love this phone. Nay, we adore it. But the fact remains that it’s still very much an Android device — which means that if you don’t like Android now, odds are good that even Android executed on the most amazing hardware to date won’t do much to change your opinion of it. You’ve also got to be concerned about upgradeability; Froyo is almost certainly around the corner now, and HTC hasn’t done anything to suggest it’s able to push Sense-powered updates in a timely fashion.

That said, this is truly one of the best smartphones ever made, and even spotty 4G — a reality of a young technology that’s going to take years to properly build out — probably won’t do much to hamper your enjoyment of this thing. It’s reasonable to assume that phones like the EVO will ultimately come to every carrier over the next few months… but hey, if you jumped ship for Sprint to pick up this monster, we wouldn’t be able to blame you.

I’m anxious to read more discussion of the 2-5 year  future of iPhone vs Android devices, but maybe I’m missing something here to think that’s very relevant.    Apple folks will always have iPhones and new folks will choose on the basis of factors that are not necessarily technological.     It is very clear that mobile devices are already shaping the future in key ways, and there is plenty of room for many models.

Important plan and 4G coverage info from Sprint.

HTC Evo 4G Announced by Sprint, Available June 4th

In a move Sprint hopes is not too late to the game, they’ve announced their latest and greatest addition to the Sprint line, the HTC Evo 4G.    We’ve seen how powerfully the Apple  iPhone has managed to maintain it’s solid position as the Smartphone of choice, so it will be a surprise to many if the Sprint HTC Evo makes more than a minor dent in the iPhone market.    However, the capabilities are impressive:

From Sprint:

HTC EVO™ Fact Sheet

The ultimate multimedia experience at Sprint 3G and 4G speeds

The world’s first 3G/4G Android handset, exclusively from Sprint, HTC EVO™ 4G, offers a rich mobile Internet experience with a fully integrated suite of services built on the AndroidTM 2.1 platform. HTC EVO 4G includes a blazing-fast 1GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processor, the award-winning HTC SenseTM user experience, an 8.0 megapixel auto-focus camera with HD-capable video camcorder and a forward-facing 1.3 megapixel camera. HTC EVO supports industry leading features including Simultaneous Voice and Data while in 4G coverage and new Mobile Video Chat, the two-way voice and video service from Qik. The large vibrant 4.3 inch display, built-in kickstand, 3.5 mm headset jack and HDMI output make HTC EVO 4G an unparalleled platform for wireless entertainment. Download music, pictures, files, or videos in seconds – not minutes – and watch streaming video on the go on a network with download speeds that are up to 10 times faster than 3G speeds.1 With built-in mobile hotspot functionality, HTC EVO 4G also allows up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices, including laptop, camera, music player, video player and any other Wi-Fi-enabled device, to enjoy the benefits of 3G/4G speeds on the go.

PRODUCTIVITY

  • 3G/4G capability
  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ QSD8650 (1GHz) processor
  • 4.3” capacitive display with pinch-to-zoom and tactile feedback
  • World-class HTML browser – bandwidth and quality that rival that of netbooks
  • Android 2.1, with access to more than 35,000 apps on Android Market
  • Simultaneous voice and data capability in 4G and Wi-Fi coverage areas, enabling Web surfing and more while talking
  • GoogleTM mobile services including Google SearchTM, Google MapsTM, Google TalkTM, GmailTM, YouTubeTM , and syncs with Google CalendarTM
  • Access to Google Goggles™ to search with pictures instead of words
  • Sprint Navigation, with turn-by-turn driving directions and 3D maps
  • Updated HTC Sense, award-winning user experience, which includes Friend Stream to integrate Facebook, Twitter and more into a single flow of updates
  • Visual voicemail
  • Messaging – personal and business email, IM and text messaging
  • 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot capability – connects up to eight Wi-Fi enabled devices
  • 4G data speeds (WiMAX) – peak download speeds of more than 10 Mbps; peak upload speeds of 1 Mbps; average download speeds of 3-6 Mbps.
  • 3G data speeds (EVDO Rev A.) – peak download speeds of up to 3.1 Mbps; peak upload speeds of 1.8 Mbps; average download speeds of 600 kbps-1.4 Mbps.


ENTERTAINMENT

  • Video chat service available as an upgrade to the pre-loaded Qik app to enable conversational, interactive, real-time sharing between mobile devices or from mobile-to-desktop
  • 8MP autofocus camera with dual LED flash and 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • High-quality video streaming and downloads at 3G and 4G data speeds
  • Capture and share HD-quality video (720p) from your phone
  • Output pictures, slides and videos in HD quality (720p) via HDMI cable (sold separately)
  • Live video sharing with Qik
  • Built-in kickstand for hands-free viewing
  • Media player with 3.5mm stereo headset jack
  • FM radio and Amazon MP3 store
  • Sprint applications including Sprint TV® and NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile(SM)
  • Bluetooth® 2.1 with A2DP Stereo and EDR
  • Built-in WiFi®: 802.11 b/g
  • Digital compass, G-Sensor, proximity sensor, light sensor, GPS
  • Expandable memory: 8GB microSD card included; supports up to 32GB

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Dimensions: 4.8″ x 2.6″ x .5″ (LxWxT) 
  • Weight: 6 ounces
  • Main display: 4.3” WVGA (800×480) 65K colors
  • Battery life: 6 hours of talk time. Time may vary depending on 3G/4G coverage and usage.
  • Standard removable 1500mAh Lithium (Li-on) battery
  • Memory: 1GB ROM, 512MB RAM

1 “Up to 10x faster” based on download speed comparison of 3G’s 600 kbps vs. 4G’s 6 Mbps. Industry published 3G avg. speeds (600 kbps-1.7 Mbps); 4G avg. speeds (3-6 Mbps). Actual speeds may vary. Sprint 4G is currently available in 32 markets and counting, and on select devices. See www.sprint.com/4G for details. Not all services available on 4G and coverage may default to 3G/separate network where 4G unavailable.Note: Device features, specifications, services and applications are subject to change.