The Airsource Blog

Articles in the Opinion category

From Architecture to Apps Design

I come from the world of architecture. Not the one where architects design software but the one where they design buildings - real ones with foundations, a structure, walls and a roof. And although that is now part of my past, it is still present in my daily life, because - believe ... Read more…

A Summer At Airsource

Well – this is it! After a fantastic 9 week internship it’s sad to be leaving behind the code, co-workers and, of course, coffee machine I have got to know so well. From the very first day I was plunged straight in the deep end, coding new features and fixing ... Read more…

Why the App Store beats OVI

I have just spent four days in Barcelona at MWC catching up on the industry developments. The main topic on everyone's lips was The App Store, and by "The" App Store I mean Apple's, not Nokia's OVI offering or any of the other contenders.

Let's take ... Read more…

Monetizacommercial ifuggedaboutit

An old colleague of mine who used to work at Microsoft told me that he once went to a global summit, to find people standing on tables shouting "Show Me The Money". As a business strategy, it doesn't work too badly. It fell out of favour in the 2000 ... Read more…

Thin versus Thick

Apparently, web apps may not be quite the cure-all that everyone thought they were. The linked article gives five reasons why a browser-based app may not be the best idea. Here's five of my own, related to cell phone web apps. A website doesn't know where you are ... Read more…

Getting blood out of a stone

I am pretty network agnostic. If I were buying a new phone contract tomorrow, I would not really care which network operator I used. Obviously I'd check out the details of the contract - but the name of the operator is not significant. With one exception - they have to issue a PAC code over the phone. If an operator isn't prepared to let me leave, then I'm not prepared to join them in the first place. Read more…

Mobile Linux?

Last week, the BBC reported on an upcoming version of Ubuntu for ARM "netbooks". Pity there's no article history; the title (currently Ubuntu set to debut on netbooks) originally said "smartphones" and the meta tags still mention smartphones1 even though the article itself mentions nothing about Ubuntu on smartphones, but I could spend all day reporting on inconsistent reporting. Read more…

Mobile Summer

I arrived at Airsource twelve weeks ago to begin my summer internship, and now -- sadly -- it is at an end. It has been an interesting time, where I have learnt a lot and contributed something I feel will be lasting. Read more…

Yahoo! BluePrint announced

Yesterday at CTIA Wireless IT and Entertaiment Yahoo! announced their contribution to the mobile platform wars in the form of an XML-based language named BluePrint. BluePrint allows the generation of mobile applications for Windows Mobile and S60, as well as widgets that run inside the Yahoo! Go environment. Yahoo! has provided us an overview here. The quest for "write once, run anywhere" continues. Read more…

Spill chucking

Just got a letter, from a source that will remain nameless... It was addressed to "Ben BLAUNITEDKINGDOMOPF". Sounds like someone needs to rethink exactly what parts of the address field get auto-completion... Read more…

Symbian OS goes OS

Airsource woke up this morning to Nokia's announcement to make Symbian an Open Source platform, and with it all the concrete platforms like S60, UIQ, and so forth. While Motorola, Sony Ericsson, and NTT DoCoMo are all mentioned in the press release, it seems to me that they had ... Read more…

Yotel just another Hotel

I stayed at the Yotel in Heathrow Terminal 4 the other day. I had an 11am flight to the US, and decided that instead of a 6am start from Cambridge, it made much more sense to stay literally 50m away from the British Airways checkin desk. This made me an accidental, but much appreciated, beneficiary of the T5 shambles - BA are keeping a lot of their long-haul flights in T4 until the new terminal has properly bedded down. Read more…

Mobile Device Databases

I've just been taking a look at Device Atlas, which in its own words is the "world's most comprehensive database of mobile device information". I had high hopes, but unfortunately it appears to be rehash of the kind of information which is readily available, without anything more useful ... Read more…

What platform should I write my app for?

When we set up Airsource, we set it up as a BREW consultancy. We rapidly sold a number of BREW projects, and built on the expertise we had acquired while at QUALCOMM. In the process, however, we inevitably found ourselves working on other software platforms, particularly on Series 60, which now accounts for about half of Airsource's work. Series 60 and BREW are often held up as competitors, though in practice I would argue quite strongly that they target very different markets. Read more…

En route to the Mobile World Congress

It's 5:30am and the annual wireless industry hoe-down (now in it's second day) is taking place in Barcelona. In order to avoid the rush, crowds and expensive Easyjet flights, I'm flying out a day late and looking forward to see what's in store for the industry during this coming year. Read more…

Android Code Day

After a much-awaited Release Day and the obligatory pub afterwards, last Thursday marked the end of January and Android Code Day in London and Tel Aviv. It was my first time in Israel, which made it more exciting As much as I'd like to visit Israel, I wouldn't be able to justify the expense (it might happen in the future with the current trend in ticket prices). The good news is that the train journey into London is relatively short and painless. Read more…

On starting a software company

This blog has been going for nearly a year now - our first post was on January 29th. Airsource has been around for a little longer than that - I quit my job at QUALCOMM to work full-time at Airsource in June 2006. We're approaching the end of the year, so what better time for a bit of a review. I'm going to stick to the technical side of things - I'm sure Nick will have something to say, and maybe one of our new employees will want to give their view of things too. Read more…

"Who's your boss?"

Approaching recruitment for the first time is always a bit of a tricky one. You dread the thought of getting someone onboard only to throw them overboard again after a few weeks because you totally misjudged their capacity to work, think or be part of the team. You advertise your position and after a few weeks of interviews you start to wonder if you aren't just doing it all wrong. It's in these moments of sheer desperation that that the Recruitment Agency beckons. Read more…

MOTODEV Summit, London

Last Friday I had the opportunity to head down to London to see the Motorola MOTODEV Summit world tour come to town. MOTODEV is Motorola's attempt to woo the developers of the world to their platforms and devices - attempt to capture some mind-share and give us some insight into what is around the corner for their technology. Read more…

BREW Conference 2007

The Airsource team are now back in the UK after BREW 2007. We've had a good post-conference debrief, which was particularly interesting for me, the CTO of Airsource, as it was my first BREW conference. I have a few thoughts I'd like to share. Read more…

Your application drained my battery

A client rings up and says 'your application killed my battery. I ran it, and within 30 minutes my battery was flat'. How do you prove that it's not your application at fault? Now, bearing in mind most mobile phone batteries last for a week or more on standy, even if you some long and very tedious tests, it's going to take you forever to prove, well, nothing really. Certainly nothing that will convince the client. Read more…

Windows Mobile Insanity

It's been a few years since I got stuck into Windows Mobile programming - back in the days of the Orange SPV when Windows Mobile was known as Smartphone 2002 - and the time has arrived to get back into it again. It used to be that Microsoft helpfully supplied you with a cut-down version of the Visual Studio toolkit called "Embedded Visual Studio" which you could download for free, but now you're handcuffed to Visual Studio .NET 2005 if you want to do anything with Windows Mobile 5.0 or later. No worries, it was time for an upgrade anyway. Read more…

The Art of the Demo

Mobile Monday is a great networking event for companies in the mobile space, and Airsource regularly attends. Last night I went along to their Demo Night, where instead of the usual format of panel debate and a couple of demos, the entire evening was given over to ten demos. Read more…

Don't Surprise The User

Back when I worked at Qualcomm, and previously Trigenix, I spent most of my time working on mobile phone UIs, or more specifically on uiOne and its earlier incarnations, a tool making it much easier to implement a mobile UI from scratch. As a matter of necessity, we spent a lot of time looking at UIs on embedded systems. I could go on, at length, about some appalling examples of usability, but that's a topic for another day. The question is, what makes a good UI? Why is one application awesome when others are terrible? Read more…

3GSM for £100

Well if that hasn't caught your attention I don't know what will! Having worked in the wireless industry since University (almost 10 years now), I'm no stranger to attending conferences. They're a great way to meet potential customers, to gasbag with old acquaintances and to take the pulse of the entire industry. Read more…

A searching look

A fascinating Mobile Monday on Feb 5th was hosted by the BBC at their White City headquarters in London. It's a huge glass and steel testament to the effectiveness of one of the UK's best known and best loved exports - part fancy office block and part uber-new media mecca. Read more…