Getting Internet media streamed to your big screen instead of your laptop is nothing new. The concept has been around for a while and there are many ways of doing it: I can browse YouTube via my Blu-ray player, watch Netflix movies on my Nintendo Wii, and rent TV shows on my Apple TV. But this is the problem: with all these devices offering narrow paths onto the Internet, designed in line with their own commercial interests, it’s all a bit untidy. Scruffy, even.
The latest dongle du jour is Google Chromecast–a little stick you plug into your TV’s HDMI socket. Chromecast lets you call up Netflix or YouTube (plus Google Play of course) content on your mobile device and play it on your big screen and sound system. The device is getting great reviews, and at only $35 it’s not a purchase you have to think too hard about, but for me it’s arrival has just made the murky waters even muddier. What we need is a ubiquitous, single standard for big screen Internet media that makes playing online content on your TV as simple as browsing on your laptop. It’s coming but we’re not there yet. In the meantime I guess Chromecast is a nice little toy to play with.
Mozilla aims to socialize app shopping with Marketplace for Firefox OS (video) Mobile
Don’t be put off by the clunky title of this article on Engadget: there’s actually a quite interesting story here. Mozilla — the people behind the Firefox web browser — are developing Firefox OS for a new range of low cost smartphones, in part aimed at emerging markets. How the he’ll do you compete and differentiate yourself against the Apple and Android giants?
Well, Mozilla’s answer is to make their app store social, with app developers showing as real people with whom customers can interact, sharing so likes with friends etc. I think it’s an idea that has merit and could just help to make Firefox OS stand out (until the others copy the idea, at least). Take a look at the short video and see what you think.
Can You Survive on 4G Alone?
Here’s an interesting article in the Daily Telegraph about what the imminent launch of 4G mobile networks in the UK will mean for fixed line services. The question they ask (and answer) is: “If your phone or mobile hotspot can deliver faster, more reliable broadband than your home landline service, why not cancel the latter and rely on 4G for all your Internet needs?”
While 4G may be fast and reliable, its current business model (mobile devices) includes caps on the amount of data you can transfer per month, and if you’re a heavy user (online gaming, downloading movies etc.) then on current tariffs it can end up being very expensive.
But the seeds have been sown and it’s only a matter of time before the mobile networks start competing directly with BT, Sky et al for your home business. I predict we will see the first home Wi-Fi router with a SIM card slot instead of a phone line socket within twelve months.
One of my clients has the HTC One, and while it’s a fantastic smartphone with lots of great features, it can be a little tricky figuring out how to customise the home screens and application dock. For some reason HTC does this very differently from other Android phones such as the Samsung Galaxy range.
Anyway, after a little searching around I came across this short video that shows how you can move icons out of and into the Dock. Easy when you know how!