Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Is the Palm Pre Really Moving to Android?

Palm PreRumors, it seems, are what makes the internet go round. I mean, what else would we do with our time instead of scouring the technological databases for the latest dirt or rumor on something? Go out and do something productive? That's just crazy talk. Well, the newest rumor you may have been catching up on recently is the one about the Palm Pre moving on over to the Android platform in order to survive the market. But is that really true? The people over at Palm don't seem to think so.

A majority of these rumors are coming from an email that landed in the inbox of pretty much every major tech outlet around. The aforementioned email stated that CEO John Rubinstein sent out an internal memo to all the software developers at the company about the switch. Quoted in the memo was Rubinstein saying, "While Palm is incredibly proud of our engineers who spent timeless work and effort to bring us this advanced operating system, consumers have simply not caught on."

Rubinstein went on to say, "To provide a better future for ourselves and our customers, the only logical choice is to transition our hardware and software to the Android platform." To put it simply, the plan would be to to create a sort of Sense UI webOS interface on Palm devices. At the same time, the company would also want to leverage Android's market footprint. The person who sent out this anonymous email was reported to say that the full memo from Rubinstein would be available on Wikileaks by midnight last night.

That sounds good. The only problem is that the memo never showed up on Wikileaks and when Palm was approached about the memo they quickly responded with laughter saying that no memo was ever distributed nor was there any internal move towards Android. Another rumor going along with this one was the one that stated that Palm had halted all production. But guess what? That has also been shot down by the folks at Palm.

While it would be very interesting to see Android with a webOS UI, it might be best to just sit back and relax and wait for actual evidence to surface, not some random email from an anonymous nobody. Until that happens, it is probably safe to assume that it isn't going to happen.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Apps for Medical Professionals

New Apps for Medical Professionals

This year, at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference for doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals, keynote speaker and Spring CEO Dan Hesse said it's time to take healthcare "out of the 70's." It seems as though some companies have already taken this message to heart.

Nuance Communication has announced a new line of their popular Drag products, which are specifically for medical professionals who want to put their smartphones to work. Their Dragon Medical Mobile App Suite contains three new apps and a software development kit. The products are aimed at making it easier for users to transcribe short notes, as well as allowing professionals easy access to Electronic Health Records (EHRs).

The first app, Dragon Medical Mobile Search, should be available by April 30th. It allows users to search websites by voice, using the company's Naturally Speaking recognition technology. For now, it only includes high profile websites: Google, Medscape, MedLine, and Epocrates. More should be available in the future.

The second app is Dragon Medical Mobile Dictation, which is designed to take notes based on dictation, email, and text. The third app is Dragon Medical Mobile Recorder, which is for organizations that use Nuance's eScription Service or its Dictaphone Enterprise Speech System. It has full transcription capabilities and generates high-quality documents. The SDK will allow developers the option of working with Dragon technology.

The company says it does not know when the second and third apps or the SDK will be released but they did offer previews at the conference. You can also sign up for free updates about the apps at Nuance.com.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

BlackBerry Owners Wish they Had an iPhone

Blackberry Owners Wish they Had an iPhone

Everyone I know who owns a BlackBerry claims to love it, but a new survey says otherwise. It seems as though almost half of BlackBerry users would rather have an iPhone. And nearly a third of BlackBerry users would switch to Google's Android-based phone, the Nexus One.

The study, conducted by Crowd Science, shows that Research in Motion's BlackBerry is still the most popular smartphone, at least in terms of market share, but even so, users would rather have a different platform. On the other hand, iPhone and Android users would not be so quick to switch platforms. 90 % of those surveyed said that if they were shopping for a new phone, they'd buy the same one they have vs. changing.

Crowd Science CEO John Martin says BlackBerry's brand just doesn't have the loyalty that other operating systems do. He says that the "allure of the iPhone" and the increasing popularity of Google's Android are taking away from what following the BlackBerry does have.

The study also found that most smartphone users say they use their phones for both business and personal reasons, but BlackBerry users were more likely to use them for business about 7 % of the time. BlackBerry devices are often known for having nice, quality keyboards, but Nexus One and the iPhone have on-screen keyboards that allow for a larger screen. This makes on-the-go media usage easier and could be a key factor in why people would rather switch. This has many smartphone makers wondering if they should ditch the keyboards.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

A New App for Teachers

A New App for Teachers

It seems as though there's an app to help with every career these days, and now that is true for teachers! And it's about time. Teaching isn't just about teach. There are so many records to keep and so much paperwork to keep organized. That's why two former school employees, Ben Threadgill and Ryan Haight, got together and formed BrighterLogix, a company that makes software applications for teachers and schools. Their goal is to make the paperwork and organization part of the job easier for teachers.

As of right now, Threadgill and Haight are the only employees at their one-year-old, Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company, but they've already created the app "SideKick." SideKick is a lesson-planning application that is customizable and has already been adopted by several school districts, as well as several individual teachers.

For example, in Oklahoma, Catoosa Public Schools is using the software. The principal of one school that teaches pre-K through first-grade students, said the teachers love it. "It's been working very well. They've made lots of enhancements that have made it very user-friendly for us," Kerry Sitton told Tulsa World.

The founders of the company are no strangers to the education world; Haight worked in the Catoosa Public Schools technology department, and and Threadgill worked for Western Heights Public Schools in Oklahoma City. By working the field and getting a first-hand look at the technology offered to teachers and other educators, the two men realized most similar technology was expensive, complicated, or just too inflexible.

Threadgill said his experience proved to him that lesson-planning was an important first task to accomplish, "Teachers often write them out on paper, make copies of them and hand-walk them to the office to submit them." But SideKick changes that. It involves a searchable lesson plans database and an interactive calendar that allows teachers to make plans day by day. It also incorporates state standards that teachers must comply to.

Currently, the two creators are signing more individual teachers up to use the apps in hopes they'll take them to their school districts.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Skype for Symbian Mobile OS

Skype for Symbian Mobile OS

Nokia and Skype have announced a new Skype client for the Symbian Mobile Operating System, which can now be downloaded from Nokia's Ovi Store. Right now, it works with about 20 of the company's phones. The app allows users to make Skype-to-Skype calls, send instant messages, share files and photos, and works with both Wi-Fi and mobile data connection. It will also cut costs when sending messages overseas.

Depending on whether or not your Nokia phone has a touchscreen, you'll need to download a different client. Even so, both versions work exactly the same way.

Skype suggests users purchase an unlimited data plan before using the application, due to the fact that the it can use anywhere from about 8,000 bits per second up to 20,000 bits per second. When using mobile data connection, well, that can add up!

If you use Symbian smartphones from other manufacturers, such as Sony, never fear, they company plans to have those soon. They are also working on a "top priority" version for Android.

Skype is becoming more and more popular in Europe - the company even partnered with Verizon Wireless recently - but some countries continue to charge excessive fees for using it. Experts are optimistic, though. With the increase in use, they say many companies will continue to treat it just like any other service. Also, the company is working to show companies how they can work with Skype to make more money for themselves.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

E-Readers, Tablets, & Netbooks, Oh My!

E-Readers, Tablets, & Netbooks, Oh My!

It's not exactly a cell phone and it's not exactly a laptop. So what are all those gadgets that fall in between the two? If you don't know your smartbook from your smartphone, here is a brief explanation of today's popular portable devices.

Netbooks: A netbook is a smaller, cheaper laptop with a lot less power. Screen Sizes generally range from seven to eleven inches and they generally run a Windows Operating System. Most people use them for simple tasks, such as browsing the internet, checking email and social media websites, or creating word processing documents.

E-Readers: These are pretty self-explanatory. E-readers, such as Amazon's Kindle, allow you to read a book electronically. But it's not just for reading books. These devices generally connect to the internet, giving them a computer-like quality. Most people use them for reading on the go!

Tablet Computers: With the recent announcement of Apple's iPad, you may find yourself asking, what exactly is a tablet? These gadgets allow you to read, watch movies, and browse the internet. They start out with screens around five inches and go up (the iPad's screen will be about 9.7 inches) and they generally use touch-screens instead of keyboards.

Smartbooks: Smartbooks aren't as popular as the others but some say they will be soon. These gadgets contain cell phone chips, but don't usually make phone calls. They stay connected to the internet 24/7 and turn on when flipped open. They also usually run Google's Android Software. Screen sizes tend to be around ten inches and they function much like Netbooks do.

Smart Phones: Smart phones aren't your typical cell phones, but you can use them to make calls. They have complicated operating systems that allow you to run applications among other things. The iPhone, for example, is 3.5 inches and has a touch screen, but companies are starting to make them larger and creating new ways to use them.

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