Ideas are a dime a dozen… Or that time I “Invented” Uber but didn’t do anything about it.

I just opened up a text editor I have on my phone that I use to take down notes and ideas, and I found an idea for an app that I came up with, complete with monetisation strategy and everything.

I never built this app… But someone else did…

Taxi dispatch system consisting of 3 components

  1. Server component to keep track of driver locations and hires.
  2. Customer App (Android and iOS) allows customer to request a taxi. Track location of driver and pay for taxi ride.
  3. Driver component, notifies driver of jobs, tracks driver location.

Customer component will give quote for ride using distance to drive from x to y.

Customer component sends exact coordinates to driver if required and allows driver to see picture of front door.

Driver component transmits location of driver to server/customer to give estimate of how long till driver arrives.
Map integration for customer and driver.
Different version of customer software made available for each customer.

Download via QR code on receipt.

Monetization

Apps are free but 5% of hire is taken as transaction fee if paid through app.

Customisation of customer app is available at a one off cost, depending on level of customisation.

It’s not quite Uber, more “Uber as a service” to taxi firms, but still because I never built it I can just sit and wonder what would have been…

This Video Makes Me Want An Apple 5!

I really hope this isn’t a scripted parody… Sam Roberts interviews some one in the queue for an iPhone 5.

This video is also by Sam, interviewing an occupy Wall Street, protester.

Via Albotas

Juicetank iPhone charger case

This Kickstarter is genius! The idea is to incorporate an iPhone charger into an iPhone case so you physically plug your phone into the wall. The only flaw I can see with the design is that it doesn’t incorporate a docking port which you might want to use to connect your phone to a computer or dock. The only reason I’d not get one (aside from not owning an iPhone) is that it’s designed for an Americanplug socket, I’m sure if the project goes ahead they will create one for UK/European markets though…

Design Boom

Mass Effect Infiltrator Available on iOS


Don’t @Avarinne I’m not sure her PhD can survive a version of Mass Effect that she can carry around with her…

The game is available now on the App Store for £4.99:

“Players take on the role of our protagonist, Randall Ezno, a Cerberus agent who becomes disillusioned with the organization he works for, eventually turning into one of their fiercest enemies as he uncovers the depths that Cerberus will plumb to achieve their despicable goals,” said EA of the game’s plot. “Along the way the player gathers important Intel that will be shared with the Alliance to help sway the final confrontation in Mass Effect 3 through the Galaxy @ War system.”

It looks very pretty, I’ve not had a chance to watch the video fully, I’m sure that avarinne will buy it and I’ll get a chance to look at it over her shoulder, and if I’m lucky maybe play it.

Android Phone Review Template…

I loved this template for an Android phone review that Stephen M. Hackett of 512 Pixels put together, unfortunately it is so true.

I am a big fan of Android but apart from there being more space on the device I don’t see any reason to upgrade my Android phone, the features are creeping in but too slowly for my liking.

  • The screen is better, brighter and bigger than on previous devices.
  • It’s thin, but not iPhone-thin.
  • The OEM’s Android skin isn’t awesome, but in some places, it could be.
  • The new launcher comes with lots of widgets that do things.
  • 4G is cool, unless you like battery life. But damn, those 28 seconds of browsing are fast!
  • The camera software still sucks.
  • Also, FRONT-FACING CAMERA! Note: This can be swapped for “3-D!!!!” if the review requires it.
  • While Android is open, there’s lots of crapware on this phone.Hello, VZContact Manager FREE!
  • This may be the best Android phone yet, but if not, just wait a week or two.
  • The current version of Android lacks some polish, but the next version of Android will be the one to have, we promise. It’s going to rival iOS. Granted, this phone probably won’t ever get to run it.

I’m looking to upgrade soon and to be honest I’m kind of stumped as all the high end Android phones on the Market seem to be exactly the same phone with a slightly different shell…

So much so that I’m debating going on an 18 month fruity holiday to see what it’s like on the other side of the fence and to allow the platform to differentiate it’s self a little…

I think that choice hinges on what Apple announce on the 4th and on what the new Nexus Prime handset has to offer, although I doubt there will much difference between the Nexus Prime and the current Galaxy S II, I do like the idea of having a phone whose name is part Blade Runner and part Transformers.

Get Over It… Apple Doesn’t have a Patent on Shiny.

A friend posted a link to a rather trollish “article” about how the Android UI is a copy of the iPhone UI, this is probably sparked by the recent Apple lawsuit against Samsung, I’ll agree that Samsung’s custom UI is similar to Apple’s but to be honest there is only so much you can do with a mobile interface. Here is the image that forms the main content of the article:

They both have a grid layout, that seems to be the main similarity in the UI, I’m not sure what the issue is here… A grid UI is a fairly common layout for icons in both mobile and desktop operating systems.

The original Apple Newton used one:

Comparison between Newton OS UI and iOS UI

The Palm Pilot used one:

There is a reason for this, people have fingers and a natural method of arranging things that people are going to interact with with those fingers is a grid, even pre-PDA we were using grid layouts for things that people had to touch:

So yeah, grid layouts, they are fairly old, get over it. The mobile UI design industry is also very incestuous, for example Palm has poached designers from Apple who have subsequently been re-poached back to Apple, Google have also poached Palm employees and I’m sure more of that happens all the time.

As for the Spring board at the bottom, that’s a Samsung thing not an Android feature, it’s not in stock Android though it does feature in a few of the custom skins available for Android, but to be honest it’s not dissimilar from any other shortcut bar/menu out there, it’s hardly innovative. In fact it’s very similar to a task bar with shortcut icons in it which apparently dates back to Arthur on the Acorn released in 1989.

The Springboard is just a shiner version of the the shortcut bar at the bottom of that page, so unless apple has a patent on making things shiny, I’m not entirely sure where they are going with this…

As an addendum here is an article which compares the Symbian UI to a whole bunch of other UI’s all of which use a grid layout…

Is choice a bad thing in consumer electronics?

I’ve been thinking about getting a tablet PC for some time now and I’ve been humming and hawing whether to get an Android tablet like the Motorola Xoom, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, or whatever one is getting the most media attention at the moment. My other option is to get an iPad 2; now I was initially skeptical about the iPad when it launched, it lacked several features that I thought were “essential” at the time, was too expensive, and was locked in Apple’s legendary walled garden etc.

As time goes on however I’m warming to the iPad, those essential features don’t seem so essential, the price although just as expensive seems to be the same as all the other tablets on the market, plus the iPad seems to be the only one that is available subsidised with a data tarrif in the UK. As for the walled garden… I have to admit having used an iPad it’s a really nice garden. I mean it’s no garden of eden, but… I’m going to stop that metaphor before I start talking about being chucked out of the garden for eating an Apple.

Anyway, I look at the Android landscape and it’s constantly changing, there are countless articles that compare the “best Android tablets” on the market, but by the time you read the article it’s already obsolete because bigger better more powerful tablets have been released.

Don’t get me wrong, I think this is awesome, I really like the Android ecosystem and I love my Android phone.

There is an implicit “but” in that last sentence though, the “but” is that my top of the line HTC Desire was obsolete 3-4 months after I got it, I’m not looking at all the cool Tegra2 powered smart phones with envy. Okay it’s a year later now, and my phone contract is nearing an end, but I wanted a Desire HD when that came out, and there has been phone after phone that I’ve thought hey that’s pretty cool I want that.

Before I went Android it was the constant Stream of Nokia phones that filled me with envy, not sooner had you bought a new Nokia phone then they would release a new one with a slightly better screen, slightly enhanced camera, or one cool new feature. They just kept on coming, no manufacturer should make you regret buying one of their products, but that is how I’ve always felt with phones, there is always a better one around the corner, so how long do you wait?

This is where I think Apple may have stumbled onto something, with Apple you know where you stand, they will without fail release a new iPhone every year, and it seems that this policy is being extended to the iPad. this new phone/Tablet will provide an incremental upgrade to the previous one, so if you are a gadget whore you will want to get the latest and greatest but if you aren’t it’s okay if you skip a generation. This works well with the 18-24 month contracts that carriers are pushing these days, you can comfortably buy on release date and be happy with your phone/tablet for two years before it’s time to get the next iteration.

Apple also subscribe to the Highlander “There can be only one” strategy, all iPhones are created equal, the only difference is the size of the solid state drive, you don’t have to worry about getting the one with the better processor or the one with or without GPS or Bluetooth, or WiFi or whatever other sparkly feature, they all have the exact same features. The same applies to the iPad except that you have the choice of 3G or not, although arguably if you wanted a non 3G iPhone you can get an iPod touch (Don’t call it an iTouch, Apple employees hate that).

So yeah, from a consumers point of view there is something comforting in the knowledge that there isn’t going to be a bigger better badder, more sparkly phone/tablet coming out in a months time to make your once shiny but now quite dull one look like a turd with a touchscreen.

From a manufacturers point of view Apple’s iPhone team have a year to focus on building the best possible iPhone they can without being distracted by releasing half a dozen different other phones in the interim, they have one product one live version of the OS and one dream (okay I just like having things in three’s because it sounds better they probably don’t have one dream).

Whether or not I get an Android tablet or an iPad 2 is still up in the air, I’m probably going to play the waiting game a little longer, but how much longer? I don’t know.

If this had come out 2-3 years ago I’d have an iPhone.

Seriously the only issue I had with the iPhone at launch was a lack of a physical keyboard, and while I’ve learned to cope in the interim I would still prefer the option of having one on my HTC Desire. It’s not just an issue of tactile feedback, it’s a screen real-estate issue, the on-screen keyboard takes up space on the screen obscuring what I am typing, which is especially noticeable when I’m writing lengthy blog posts and emails.

Via Engadget.

How Different Smart Phone Users Perceive Each Other

I’d say that most of those are fairly accurate except I know quite a few people who are a lot less businessey who also use Blackberries.

Also how smartphone users see 2G Phone users:

Via C-Section Comics.