iPhone 5S Launch Day Adventure – SomeGadgetGuy at the AT&T store in West Hollywood, California

somegadgetguy juan carlos bagnell iphone 5s launch day att store west hollywood californiaAnd no fights broke out…

I might just start doing this for all launch day activities. The folks at AT&T were kind enough to open a store early for me to check out the iPhone launch. I got hands on with the iPhone 5S, and got to see a store in action on one of their busiest days of the year.

I did the whole day on about three-ish hours of sleep, so I might’ve gotten a little goofy… Yes I’m holding a Lumia 1020… This photo of me MIGHT have been taken with an HTC one…

Yay iPhone!

BBM now available for iOS, Blackberry explains Messenger delay on Android

android bbm blackberry messenger delay somegadgetguy htc oneMaybe the final sign that Blackberry might be running out of options, their terrific Messenger app is being ported to iOS and Android. It was one of the few experiences that BB could claim as being superior to other messaging apps on the market. However under the onslaught of Facetimes, Hangouts, Skypes, WhatsApps, and more BBM was getting lost in the shuffle. If BB leaves the hardware market, there’s still a potential future for them as a branded software solutions company. Releasing BBM wide could help them improve mind share with consumers who might have walked away from their phone offerings.

BBM is now available on iOS, but we’re still waiting for the official Android version. There are apparently some security concerns regarding the Android app ecosystem. From the BBM Blog:

Prior to launching BBM for Android, an unreleased version of the BBM for Android app was posted online. The interest and enthusiasm we have seen already – more than 1.1 million active users in the first 8 hours without even launching the official Android app – is incredible. Consequently, this unreleased version caused issues, which we have attempted to address throughout the day.

Our teams continue to work around the clock to bring BBM to Android and iPhone, but only when it’s ready and we know it will live up to your expectations of BBM. We are pausing the global roll-out of BBM for Android and iPhone. Customers who have already downloaded BBM for iPhone will be able to continue to use BBM. The unreleased Android app will be disabled, and customers who downloaded it should visitwww.BBM.com to register for updates on official BBM for Android availability.

As soon as we are able, we will begin a staggered country roll-out of BBM for Android and continue the roll-out of BBM for iPhone. Please follow @BBM on Twitter for the latest updates and go to www.BBM.com to sign-up for updates about BBM for Android and iPhone. These issues have not impacted BBM service for BlackBerry.

Now the question remains, how many of my friends might still be using BBM…

The Post Where We Say Goodbye to Blackberry?

blackberry stock slideI’ve been staving off writing this for some time now. Even among all the reports of potential buyouts, I kept hoping the company would start to turn itself around, find some momentum. It looks like that wont be happening.

Blackberry is warning investors ahead of their official call on September 27th that revenue will be more than a billion dollars below expectations. Yup. Expectations were hovering around $3 Billion, and BB will be reporting $1.6 Billion. Ouch.

Of course these are analyst predictions, and analysts are notoriously bad at predicting the future, but this will obviously hurt BB’s image (under-producing) more than it’ll hit any market watching “guru”.

Reactions to the news has caused a stock slide of almost 20 percent. Another blow to the company, and now CEO Thorsten Heins is announcing the first measure to be taken will be a round of layoffs to the tune of 4,500 axed jobs. They’ll also be streamlining future handset launches. Instead of the six phones they were planning on introducing over the next year, they’ll be dropping down to four, two high-end and two entry-level.

blackberry os 10 handsets z10 q10 smartphonesIt’s this combination of expectations and time which is going to put a hurt on upstarts and smaller companies moving forward. Yes, BB once ruled the smartphone landscape, but they didn’t properly focus on the consumer experience. Sure they have great mind-share and brand recognition, but they are also creating a new product line from scratch. New OS. New devices. Customers are wary of “new” right now.

Apple found success in smartphones based on years of consumer trust built on iPods. Android needed about three major revisions before it started gaining traction outside low cost, entry-level gear. HP bailed on Palm before it had a shot when it wasn’t immediately successful out of the gate (they’re currently floundering with half-way attempts at Android, with rumors pointing to a possible Windows Phone in the works). Microsoft is just now starting to be taken seriously in mobile, now that we’re looking at a third generation of Windows Phone hardware about to hit the market.

BB is on that “new” list. The bummer is, BB OS10 is pretty great. It’s a refreshing spin on a mobile UI. Gestures are clean. It looks good. It’s a nice experience. This means almost nothing right now. Customers don’t want “new”, they want an established ecosystem. They want to trust that their devices will get updates and that they’ll see new devices in the future. They want apps, and they want to see cases they’ll never buy at Mall kiosks. Those things only come with time and sales. Those early sales are going to be harder and harder to come by as every player that fails in this market will only reinforce why consumers should only buy something established. Why they shouldn’t take a risk.

Years. Blackberry needs years.

California Approves Ride-Sharing Services like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar

lyft_car_on_roadSo here’s the deal. If for some reason you find yourself without a car, or need to find a ride in LA, it used to be a somewhat miserable experience. It’s hard to rely on buses, the Metro only has a limited route, and cabs are slow to arrive and expensive.

When ride-sharing services started filtering into the city, it was a refreshing and high tech change of pace. Looking for a nicer “Town Car” service, you could fire up Uber, and for those short trips I might’ve called a cab for in the past, Lyft consistently proved faster and nicer. Especially from those ride-sharing folks who really got into it, offering beverages and snacks.

Of course Taxi companies, being somewhat old school, have to follow myriad rules and regulations that their app based counterparts weren’t subject to. Understandably, this has led to friction as established companies feel this gives newer services an unfair advantage. Plus many have brought up safety issues as things like vehicle maintenance and driver background checks aren’t executed in the same fashion as they might be with cabs and divers.

Well now ride-sharing services will be brought under the regulatory control of the Public Utilities Commission which unanimously voted to allow these services to operate. Creating a new classification, “Transportation Network Services”, now drivers will be required to pass background checks, pass training courses, and carry a minimum $1 million liability insurance policy.

This vote by the state government will probably serve as an end-run around cities and smaller communities which were exploring outright bans on ride-sharing. I’m personally glad to see this move, as we can always use a little more competition, and maybe we’ll see traditional taxi services step up their game too. Hopefully this encourages a little more open-mindedness around alternative forms of transportation all around.

Friday Fun: Why Louis C. K. Hates Cell Phones and Thinks Children Shouldn’t Use Them…

You can always count on Louis C.K. to have a “unique” perspective on modern society. On the Conan O’Brien he takes a couple minutes to skewer smartphone usage. There’s a little NSFW language on this one folks. So maybe watch it on your phone instead of your work computer…  It’s what Louis would want you to do…

GTA 5: Chatting Violence in Media and Breaking Sales Records – Arlene Bynon SiriusXM Radio appearance

ArleneBynonI always enjoy my appearances on the Arlene Bynon show. She’s a savvy business commentator, and she had me on for a segment covering the release of Grand Theft Auto 5.

We discussed the popularity of the game, its passionate following among gamers, the business impact of breaking $800 million in one day, and some of the controversy surrounding violence in media.

Originally Aired September 18, 2013.
Arlene Bynon: SiriusXM radio ch. 167, weekdays 4-6pm ET.

QuickOffice now free on Android & iOS – Includes 10GB additional free storage on Google Drive

quickoffice google drive android tablet phone documents spreadsheets free somegadgetguyJust a quick heads up!

Google recently bought out QuickOffice, and it looks like they’re ready to start bringing it into the proper stable of other Google Apps. QuickOffice can integrate with Google Drive, and it provides much better tools for document and spreadsheet editing (IMO) than the stock Drive app. Not the least of which is the ability to create a new document while offline…

QuickOffice has become my go-to solution for writing while traveling on my little Nexus 7, and now it’s completely free! That should be enough for you to at least give it a whirl, but Google is going to sweeten the pot a little more. If you install by September 26, you’ll also receive an additional 10GB of cloud storage through Google Drive.

Hit the Google Drive Blog for more info, or go directly to Google Play to install QuickOffice!

Moto X coming to Republic Wireless for $299, No Contract, Plans start at $5 per month

moto x republic wireless 299 wifi calling budget plans somegadgetguyRepublic Wireless is a scrappy alternative MVNO cell carrier. Offering insanely cheap plans starting at $5 a month, they’ve been a favorite around the budget conscious shoppers looking for smartphone service. The trick to keeping plans that cheap is Republic is a hybrid service. When out and about your phone uses Sprint’s network, but when you’re in range of WiFi your phone will use data to make calls like Skype or Vonage. I had the pleasure of reviewing their Moto Defy back in February.

Now the problem with Republic for many folks was the lack of devices. The software to enable hybrid calling has to be built into the ROM, so you can’t bring your own phone. Until now, the only phone they offered was the Defy, which was a fine Gingerbread device, but not the sexiest phone compared to other low cost carriers.

Well that’s going to change really soon. Republic Wireless has scored the Moto X, and they’re going to sell it for an incredible $299 off contract. From the Republic Wireless website:

The Moto X will retail at $299 (plus taxes and surcharges) from the Republic Wireless store. That’s right – we took the hot, new Moto X, added Republic’s great Hybrid service and priced it at $299 with no contract required. That’s a price that’s, like, impossible to match anywhere in the industry. How did we do it? The phone is $299 because we are footing the bill. Period. This is NOT a $299 phone. Take a quick look around the web and look at “no contract” pricing for the Moto X.

In the industry this is typically known as a subsidy, but we’ve added a twist. We are bringing down the cost without holding you to a contract. We’re doing this because we have trust in our members…and we have confidence in our product and service. Contracts are inherently built on a lack of trust…and a lack of confidence in your ability to bring your A game every.single.day. We believe in a better way…the way things should be.

That’s a pretty bold move on the part of such a small player, and I’m stoked to see companies like this look for ways to compete against larger carriers.

Get the full scoop on the Republic Wireless site.

My first impressions video of the Moto X.