Google Buys Motorola Mobility – A Comment

It´s been a while since my last post here (over a month in fact), and this post won´t be that great – apologies for that.

Almost everybody shared their feelings and thoughts on the fact that Google announced it´s willingness to buy Motorola Mobility 12.500.000.000USD, and I have to share my 2 cents on that, too.

I think that this deal makes perfect sense. Motorola Mobility hasn´t been doing too well, and they have been  Android only in the smartphone markets – despite that, they are a US company, just as Google, so integration (I doubt that the brand “Motorola” will vanish) won´t be that problematic. While many users certainly hope for Google to change Motorolas software team as people haven´t been all that happy with Motoblur and Motorola ´s slow Android updates (if any), this is not why this is happening. It should be a well known fact that Android has many enemies out there, partly due to its relatively open nature, partly due to its blazing success. Patent fights are going on, and the thing is: Google doesn´t have that many patents, as it´s not that long in the mobile OS business. Motorola on the other side has loads of patents as it has always been busy to patent things, in fact, as Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha recently uttered, Motorola was even planing to use their patent portfolio to make some money, e.g. by sueing other Android device makers.

This exactly is the reason why the other Android device manufacturers almost like the fact, that Google is aquiring Motorola Mobility, as it protects them. Google, on the other hand, will, while certainly interested in a profitable and flourishing Motorola Mobility, not use their new hardware division to get other companies like LG, HTC or Samsung out of the market; as they are interested in maximising Androids market share.

Motorola Sholes Bootloader Key Discovered

Today must be a great day. I am on the road and try to do mobile blogging with my Palm Pre Plus. While changing trains I started the beta release of the Carbon twitter client, and what did I stumble upon? 

Finally there is a bootloader key for the Motorola Sholes Platform (aka Milestone, if I am not totally wrong, phandroid pictures a Verizon Droid X though) – as most current Motorola smartphones are built around Texas Instruments OMAP 3 SoCs this could mean that several phones can get real Custom ROMs soon.
So if you are like me and like Motorolas hardware (Milesone(2), Defy, Flipout) but are turned of by the software these smartphones ship with (which has been described as buggy – and Motorola is slow at fixing and lazy at supplying later Android iterations) or already have a Motorola device- your problems may be fixed soon.

Sholes signing key leak explained

What’s really funny about this whole story is that it was the unresponsiveness of Motorola’s support that led to this leak – the hacker that discovered the weakness alerted them 3 months ago.

Looks like we all got trolled here. It just was a hoax.

Personal: Buying a Motorola Phone | Update: NOT!

Update: Unfortunately I received an email today telling me that the seller that offered the Flipout at this bargain price hasn´t enough Flipouts in stock and is unable to order more. This is really sad as I was looking forward to play with a low cost mid end Android handset made by Motorola. I couldn´t find a similar deal to buy a Flipout, yet. If I do, I will get one to fulfill my promise of reviewing and tweaking this little device.

When I first read, that Motorola would make Android phones, I was quite excited. At that time I had three Motorola phones, all EZX and thus running Linux: A first generation device (E680i) and two second generation ones (A910).

Android, as I understood back then, would make these phones a lot more interesting, as there would be tons of native software – while on EZX it was more about J2ME.

Motorola Flipout (Copyright: Motorola)

The CLIQ/DEXT, Motorola´s first Android phone, wasn´t to interesting for me, as I already had a similar, not too different, HTC made phone: The T-Mobile G1.

Then, later, Motorola came up with the first Android 2.0 phone, the Milestone. I was ready to throw money at this device – but then, out of a sudden, the locked bootloader story spreaded and I was turned off. So turned of, that I didn´t buy it, and in fact, no other Android handset since the G1. I didn´t like the design of HTCs later phones, and while I really liked what Motorola came up with (especially the Milestone2 and the Defy), I always felt like: Android isn´t fun without custom ROMs – back than I already was a heavy CyanogenMod user.

Now, today, I ordered a Motorola Android phone. It´s an ARMv7 powered phone and it was really cheap: 99€ including shipping without any contract. As you might guess, this isn´t a Defy, Milestone, Milestone XT720 or even Milestone 2 – it´s the Motorola Flipout, a phone with decent specs, as long as you don´t mention the screen. But hey, it´s small and has a hardware keyboard which seems to be just big enough, and since my G1s hardware keyboard is broken since CeBIT.. well, I just had to buy it.

I will test the device, and if Motoblur is too annoying, I will “deblur” it and tweak it as far as possible without a custom ROM – JIT, Apps2SD and so on.

I am quite excited how this Motorola phone will feel when I´ll hold it in my hands. If it is astonishing and I notice that I can live without the latest Android release I might be tempted to get another Motorola Android phone – or start / support a petition to persuade Motorola to leak open bootloaders for the phones they discontinued ( = no updates to later Android releases) way to early.

CES 2011: First third hand impressions

While I could spend my time with something else as well (and I mostly do over the day here in Europe), it´s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA again. Even though I haven´t been that much into tech lately (besides scrolling the daily tech news), I must admit that as always (since I follow mobile computing) I´ve been pretty exited.

It´s CES, and that´s great, just like Computex or MWC (the German trade show CeBIT hasn´t been too exiting lately, btw) and while it isn´t too tough to guess which rumors might become true (even as a bystander, like me, I would like you to consider me as an attentive bystander), you still always sense something whenever you see a first “hands on” or follow a live blogging session from a press conference. There is surprise (rare, but it happens), disappointment, sheer exitement or happiness (because something came out the way you dreamt of it) or fear (you don´t like what happens, whatever the trigger is).

I will not bore you with more detailed descriptions, I will just try to name anexample for each of the feelings I tried to describe above.

Let´s start with surprise: When I first saw the ASUS EeePad MeMO I was really surprised (positively) to see a tablet with a stylus from a company like ASUS, which is a hardware company (and adding in a Stylus within a finger touch environment like Android requires additional software to make real sense, from note taking to hand writing recognition). Still, ASUS has proven to be innovative during the last years, and I really hope that others will follow them – don´t forget: it was ASUS who invented netbooks, after all.

Next on: Disappointment. Well, there wasn´t too much disappointment yet, probably because other news have been to overwhelming. Still, there is one product which I followed in the past which will (as I see it now) not live up too its hype, which I´ve been a little part of. It´s the Notion Ink adam. Looking at all these Tegra2 tablets getting ready for the market, announced with better screen resolutions and Android Honeycomb (featuring the Android market) I expect this tablet not to be the success it could have been, if only it would have been ready earlier – if NotionInk had managed to hit the market this November with a less perfect, but still promising and relatively bug free outstanding product, NotionInk could have hit it off. Now, still not available in the stores and about to hit within a plethora of similar devices (to the eye of the average customer), considering the amount of thought the makers of adam put into it, inferior solutions featuring the software Google created and Googles Android Market, sounding alltogether less biblical (I never loved these adam, Eden … names), NotionInks´ solution will have a very hard time to perform half decent next to all these things with known brandnames on them. I just hope, that they will survive (and be it as a team, then part of another company – Toshiba seems to need some brilliant engineers, looking at their failure with the Folio 100 (and other, earlier mobile solutions like the TG01), btw ;-) ).

Sheer exitement / happiness. I like what Motorola did by creating a phone (the Atrix 4G) that will power a subnotebook. This is truely great, even though Motorola sucked at Openness (as in hackability) lately, because it is what I dreamt of years ago, when I had my first Linux powered smartphone, the Motorola A780.

Fear. Well, I could have just mentioned the NotionInk adam in this section, but I felt just too certain about its failure, so what will I put into this section? Yes, it´s Microsoft really porting Windows to ARM. It´s not Microsoft, I don´t expect them to fail, it´s that I am afraid of Microsoft killing other, in terms of user experience superior solutions with its momentum. A momentum it has because almost everybody is used to the shit (not talking about software quality here, but about user interface design) they´ve been delivering for years. I really hoped they´d stick to CE. And to be perfectly honest: It´s not just the usability that makes me worry, it´ s that I am great fan and supporter (whereever I can) of open source software, which will suffer in one or another way (open 3d graphics drivers is one frontier harder to fight at now). Microsoft really entering the ARM platform (a move which, with Intel (&Nokia) working on Meego) makes perfect sense from all standpoints I can think of (be it technics or business), but still, for the reasons mentioned above I would have loved to see Microsoft failing at doing the obvious thing.

I will write more about this CES if I feel like, promised.
Apologies: I left out links out of pure laziness, I expect my readers to be able to find the information they need themselves.

CES 2011: First third hand impressions

This post originally appeared at brimborium.net.


While I could spend my time with something else as well (and I mostly do over the day here in Europe), it´s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA again. Even though I haven´t been that much into tech lately (besides scrolling the daily tech news), I must admit that as always (since I follow mobile computing) I´ve been pretty exited.
It´s CES, and that´s great, just like Computex or MWC (the German trade show CeBIT hasn´t been too exiting lately, btw) and while it isn´t too tough to guess which rumors might become true (even as a bystander, like me, I would like you to consider me as an attentive bystander), you still always sense something whenever you see a first “hands on” or follow a live blogging session from a press conference. There is surprise (rare, but it happens), disappointment, sheer exitement or happiness (because something came out the way you dreamt of it) or fear (you don´t like what happens, whatever the trigger is).
I will not bore you with more detailed descriptions, I will just try to name anexample for each of the feelings I tried to describe above.
Let´s start with surprise: When I first saw the ASUS EeePad MeMO I was really surprised (positively) to see a tablet with a stylus from a company like ASUS, which is a hardware company (and adding in a Stylus within a finger touch environment like Android requires additional software to make real sense, from note taking to hand writing recognition). Still, ASUS has proven to be innovative during the last years, and I really hope that others will follow them – don´t forget: it was ASUS who invented netbooks, after all.
Next on: Disappointment. Well, there wasn´t too much disappointment yet, probably because other news have been to overwhelming. Still, there is one product which I followed in the past which will (as I see it now) not live up too its hype, which I´ve been a little part of. It´s the Notion Ink adam. Looking at all these Tegra2 tablets getting ready for the market, announced with better screen resolutions and Android Honeycomb (featuring the Android market) I expect this tablet not to be the success it could have been, if only it would have been ready earlier – if NotionInk had managed to hit the market this November with a less perfect, but still promising and relatively bug free outstanding product, NotionInk could have hit it off. Now, still not available in the stores and about to hit within a plethora of similar devices (to the eye of the average customer), considering the amount of thought the makers of adam put into it, inferior solutions featuring the software Google created and Googles Android Market, sounding alltogether less biblical (I never loved these adam, Eden … names), NotionInks´ solution will have a very hard time to perform half decent next to all these things with known brandnames on them. I just hope, that they will survive (and be it as a team, then part of another company – Toshiba seems to need some brilliant engineers, looking at their failure with the Folio 100 (and other, earlier mobile solutions like the TG01), btw ;-) ).
Sheer exitement / happiness. I like what Motorola did by creating a phone (the Atrix 4G) that will power a subnotebook. This is truely great, even though Motorola sucked at Openness (as in hackability) lately, because it is what I dreamt of years ago, when I had my first Linux powered smartphone, the Motorola A780.
Fear. Well, I could have just mentioned the NotionInk adam in this section, but I felt just too certain about its failure, so what will I put into this section? Yes, it´s Microsoft really porting Windows to ARM. It´s not Microsoft, I don´t expect them to fail, it´s that I am afraid of Microsoft killing other, in terms of user experience superior solutions with its momentum. A momentum it has because almost everybody is used to the shit (not talking about software quality here, but about user interface design) they´ve been delivering for years. I really hoped they´d stick to CE. And to be perfectly honest: It´s not just the usability that makes me worry, it´ s that I am great fan and supporter (whereever I can) of open source software, which will suffer in one or another way (open 3d graphics drivers is one frontier harder to fight at now). Microsoft really entering the ARM platform (a move which, with Intel (&Nokia) working on Meego) makes perfect sense from all standpoints I can think of (be it technics or business), but still, for the reasons mentioned above I would have loved to see Microsoft failing at doing the obvious thing.
I will write more about this CES if I feel like, promised.
Apologies: I left out links out of pure laziness, I expect my readers to be able to find the information they need themselves.

100! … MWC!

While this is the 100s post on this blog which I wanted to kill a few weeks ago in favour of brimborium.net, I will not fuss about why it is so great to have written 100 entries in bad english, but try to summarize what I like about all these new great MWC devices and announcements.

Let´s start with the latter. MeeGo. Nokia and Intel join their forces (Maemo and Moblin, respectively), to fight against Android reduce fragmentation and create a strong platform for mobile devices from smartphones to netbooks. Of course nobody knows how this will turn out, but anyway, Nokia and Intel both are pretty strong companys in their markets so this might become a strong platform. I believe it will, there have been some uttering that Nokia and Intel were rather late, but I don´t think that this is true, platforms (and markets in general) appear, evolve and become abandonned – there is nothing like an “end of history”, at least if there´s enough momentum behind a new player. BTW: The first MeeGo release will be what would have been Moblin 2.2.

That´s it with platforms, isn´t it? No, it´s not. I should mention Samsungs bada (meaning ocean in korean) and of course Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsofts new platform for mobile devices. Both are non-PC like operating system (as the old Windows Mobile was), but made for todays social smartphones, which are always connected to social networks – if you are interested in Windows Phone 7 Series, I recommend to read this engadget article. And bada? We know what it is, but we don’t really know what the software stack looks like. There might be a Linux kernel, but it might be RTOS, or whatever. The UI is likely to use some librarys used as well in a project which we know as “Enlightenment”, as Enlightenment’s lead Carsten “Rasterman” Haitzler has been working for Samsung lately. I said that we knew what bada is, but did not explain? Well, it is a part of Samsungs strategy to make smartphones more affordable, so one might think of it as an operating system that works on rather poor hardware, something like a “smartphone operating system for dumbphones”. But the hardware of Samsungs first bada phone, the Samsung Wave, tells a different story. Samsung is creating it’s own platform with an application market of it´s own, to monetize these smartphones even more – if you earn you money while the device is being used, you can sell it at lower price points, a simple equation that is, though I believe it is a mix of both strategies mentionned before, the Wave is just high end to get attention for the new platform. We will see how this will evolve, maybe Samsung will abandon some platforms as they have got Android, Windows Mobile and Symbian in their smartphone portfolio, but you never know. Let’s just hope that bada gets a bing widget (or application) ;)

Let’s talk about devices. I already mentioned the Wave, we are told that bada runs super fast and that the screen is pretty cool, apparently “Super AMOLED” has a fine daylight readability (AMOLED sucked at that), but the Samsung phone I would in fact prefer is the Android beamer phone called, guess it, Beam. The inbuilt beamer might be more of a fun feature, but as this beast has a huge battery, it might be interesting, even if you do not plan to use the beamer frequently. BTW, I personally will not get any Samsung phone in the near future, as the SGH-i780 was delightful in terms of build quality, but Samsung was lazy (and is e.g. with the Galaxy) with software updates.

HTC didn’t manage to get me surprised, they have announced the “Desire” which is, as Android hacker Cyanogen stated, a “Nexus One done right”. Ok, it has Sense (which I do not really like), but this thing is unlikely to sell bad. In addition to that there is one more Android phone, the “Hero” follow up “Legend”, which isn’t that legendary.
Of course all these were leaked before, the only thing we were missing were the names.

Motorola.. Did they announce anything really cool for the western markets? I guess they did not, and hey, the Droid/Milestone is still pretty cool and there is plenty of time to replace it later this year by another top offering.

Sony Ericsson announced more than one Android phone, having launched more than one new XPeria phone, the X10, X10mini and X10mini pro, which all run a customized UI on top of “Donut”. Still the form factor of the mini devices is definitely interesting.

That should be it for smartphones.. Oh no, I forgot the upcoming Intel Moorestown based MeeGo beasts, like the Aava Mobile x86 smartphone. Aava Mobile is stating to offer “The World’s First Open Mobile Device” – and while we know that this is not true, it is still a pretty cool thing.

Then: Loads of tablets, the first ION2 Netbook, and a device that is my favourite 2010 device until now: The Notion Ink Adam tablet. But this post is too long right now, so I will write about that later.

Motorola Droid is USB OTG capable

While most mobile devices lovers are eagerly awaiting the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, I am happy because I read today that the
Motorola Droid is actually able to be a USB Host. Of course you need a special cable to use your Droid even more like a computer thanks to this feature – but hey, it´s great anyway, thanks to Chris Paget for the cable guide, and Mike Kershaw and Mike Baker, who are Kismet/OpenWRT hackers, for the hacking.
As soon as it is confirmed that the GSM-Droid, the Milestone is USB OTG capable as well, I will be tempted to replace my OpenMoko FreeRunner and T-Mobile G1 by a “Milestone”..

New devices everywhere..


Christmas holidays are no more that far away, and so many companys get their product portfolios reader for the holidays.

But that wasn´t what I wanted to write about. I rather want to comment on all these new mobile smartphonish devices, that are on their way to market right now – we see a new generation of devices – in terms of performance.

Being powered mostly by ARM Cortex A8 based SoCs, manufactured mainly by Texas Instruments (OMAP 3 series) and Qualcomm (Snapdragon) these devices actually have the power to do “real computing tasks” if you want to call it like that – running on the same chips as the still awaited “smartbooks”, which are basically netbooks powered by ARM CPUs.

This said, I just want to name a few devices running Linux based operating systems: Motorola Droid, Nokia N900, Acer Liquid – they all rely on ARM Cortex A8 technology and feature WVGA touchscreens.

While all these devices are really nice (e.g. I really like the Motorola Droid and hope that Motorola will offer something comparable for GSM networks (the Droid will be on Verizons CDMA networks) I actually do not consider to buy any of these.

‘Why?’, you might ask, and well, the answer is that I am actually pretty sad about the manufacturers, that just make these devices as smartphones, not as mobile computers – even if some claim so. Still not clear what I want to say?
It is about some simple features these devices lack, though they could actually hardware wise support it. #1 is USB OTG or USB host. Really, this would make these devices much more interesting, not for just for me, but e.g. for IT professionals as well – and #2 is a video output, e.g. HDMI or something similar. If the devices would feature these features, they would be real mobile computing devices if you ask me.

Of course there are reasons why these devices are limited. The manufacturers always would have to supply more drivers for external devices, or open their devices so much, that skilled people would be able to get themselves what they need. Than, considering Acer and Nokia are selling netbooks as well, such mobile computing devices would possibly be bad for netbook sales – though I don´t really believe that- netbooks aren´t pocketable and another cup of tea. And the last reason is, that there is a rather low demand for these features – only real enthusiasts request such strange stuff ;)

Now there is one more question one might ask: Is there a device which is pocketable and has the features mentionned some lines ago? Well, there is one – or at least will be one device that sounds pretty promising.

The SmartV5, which is basically the known cheapo-MID with more power inside (supposedly some Cortex A8 + 256MB Ram [UPDATE: Might be wrong, as the SmartV7 MID uses a Telechips TCC8900 chipset – I couldn´ t find any further datasheets or informations about it, but it is believed it is an ARM11 chipset which video acceleration (somewhat comparable to the nVidia Tegra)]) and a HDMI output – manufactured by the chinese company Smart Devices, it is some kind of open – as it will be available with three different operating systems, like the companys known offerings: Android, Ubuntu and Windows CE – and that´s just what the manufactorer supplies.

But as there is always something to complain, it doesn´t have 3G – you can connect your surfstick via USB OTG, but there is no other option.

Anyway, you would not use that device as a phone anyway, featuring a 4.something” display, it is not THAT pocketable – but I still like it and await some reviews of it – if the reviewers are not too dissapointed about the built quality, i am likely to order one of these devices.

If I have the money to do so – I need a new notebook, as my current one (HP Compaq NX6325) just turned three years old. But this an entirely different topic…

Weekly linmob round up (7): 2 days late and not much to tell, again

First a short rip off from “linmob” on identi.ca:


A small device, BeagleBoard based, with a inbuilt projector and a laser keyboard. Interesting.


If this ever becomes really useable, OpenMoko users will be able to show off their devices again.


Motorola A1210 for China: TI OMAP 850, runs “homegrown Linux”.
Bet it’s made by E28 (?), like the A810.


Linux 2.6.29 is out, runs fine on my notebook :-) ..


OpenSource gaming handheld “Pandora” apparently being ready soon…

Well, that’s what I believe to be the most interesting stuff.


And as I don’t have time for the boring stuff now, so see you on next saturday.