mailto: html code on a mobile device is actually a good thing

Many times when accessing a website we click on the contact link and it opens up outlook or another email program that we do not use. This is annoying and I cannot stand it. I tell all of my students never to use this code. However one thing one of my students recently pointed out to me is that when viewed on a mobile device, this actually takes you to your default phone email, which is actually a good thing on the mobile device as you are almost forced by google or apple to have a default email. Thus while I hate this on the computer, I love it on the phone. I just thought it was a pretty cool difference and thought I would share.

The code to create this type of link is: <a href=”mailto:someone@example.com”>

Can you ditch your smartphone for wifi only?

This is a great article by CNET.com. Here are some of the basic reasons why smartphone companies do not allow you to just purchase voice only plans:

*They do not make money on calls anymore. That is why they are now offering unlimited voice calls.
*They make money from data

Here is the part that I found really interesting:

“If you’re willing to ditch Verizon and any of the other major carriers, you could try a new service from Republic Wireless, which costs only $19.99 a month for unlimited talk, text, and data. The carrier buys and resells capacity from Sprint Nextel’s network. But it also uses Wi-Fi networks. And because it uses Wi-Fi to carry the bulk of its data traffic, the company can offer such a low-cost service.

The company launched a beta version of its service about a year ago. But it was quickly so overwhelmed with users interested in the service that it had to shut down. It relaunched its beta service earlier this year. And starting next month, the service will be available to anyone.

The only catch is that, at least for now, it only supports one device, the Motorola Defy XT. That device is available for preorder now and costs $249 (plus $10 activation fee). Other smartphones will likely follow. And there’s even a chance that eventually, customers will be able to bring their own smartphones to the service. But for now, it’s just the Motorola Defy XT.”

You want to make the best cell phone? It’s easy…

Cell phone manufacturers do not seem to listen to what customers want…well some do but some are just so out there. If I were going to put a device on the market right now that needed to compete with iPhone and such here is what I would do:

* Put in the best hardware – processor (quad core), loads of RAM, best cam available (we know there are 12mp+ out there in the wild), removable storage, etc.
* Use the vanilla version of Android. Seriously why spend tons of money on R+D when there is an opensource OS out there? And why put bad bloatware on it that only slows it down? If you want to add something, create an app that users can choose to use.
* Sell an unlocked version for under $350. And make versions that work on all carriers.
* Sell the phone with carriers but it should be cheap. If an unlocked version of $300-$350 a carrier version should be like $50 (if that) because the cell plan is paying for part of the phone.

And that’s just a start. Just doing those things alone would give you the best phone ever. So MS or any other hardware company that wants to make a phone that can compete with the iPhone or Galaxy SIII, here is what you can do. People do not want bloatware. People do not want expensive phones. People want phones that are powerful. Its not hard to make a phone that everyone will want but for some odd reason no companies seem to want to do it. Maybe fire your people in charge of product development and innovation because they are making junk right now.

How to make an HTML webpage the correct size on a mobile device

I have written about this a few times (just last week) and I wanted to add some details to the discussion. Basically when designing a webpage for the mobile device you want your page to show up as the correct size on the device so the user does not need to zoom. To do it you would use the viewport code. Today I am adding some more details to that:

General width. Keep in mind the ‘780’ changes depending on the size of your actual page:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=780">

This code just matches their device regardless of what you set:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width">

The following disables zooming altogether:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, user-scalable=no" /> 

This sets the zoom level when the page is first opened:

<meta name="viewport" content="initial-scale=1">

This creates no zooming and the user has to move the screen around:

<meta name="viewport" content="maximum-scale=1">

I encourage you to try them all out to see what works for your site and so that you get a better idea of what they all look like.

Developing for the mobile web – size

This is an update to a previous blog post of mine that has now been updated (http://raypastore.com/wordpress/2011/05/developing-a-website-for-the-mobile-web/)

So when developing a website for the mobile web we need to take into consideration the screen’s size. Obviously since we develop on a computer we need to test a lot to make sure our page looks right on the mobile device. So here are a few quick tips which are updated from my previous post:

1. Most phones compress the page (display) 980 pixels in width. That means that a page that is 980 pixels on a browser (desktop) will be compressed to the fit the phone. However, that is not always the case so we add this line of code:

2. The line of code, which is placed in the header (<head>):

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=780″>

Will make the page compress to 100% of the phones width (a %) rather than a strict defined width. This is a good option for those developing for multiple devices which is usually the case when developing for the mobile web…otherwise you would just develop an app.

Google announces nexus 4, 7, and 10

The nexus 4 is a phone and 7 and 10 are tablets. I am going to talk about the nexus 4 because this is the device that both amazes and disappoints me.

First of all, here is the information on all 3 devices: http://www.google.com/nexus/

Now onto the nexus 4:

8mp camera
Quad core processor
2 GB Ram

So what disappoints me: NO 4G. I really wish this phone had 4G. And since this phone is HSPA I am not 100% sure it will run on verizon (rumor is that it will not work on verizon) but it will definitely with ATT.

Now why is this phone the best phone on the market right now: I can buy an unlocked version for $299. Thats right, under no contract with a carrier I can buy this phone outright for $299.

Now for those that do not know what this means let me share with you….When you normally get a phone under contract through verizon/att you pay $299 for a phone that normally costs $650. So you actually pay for that difference in your contract, meaning that your plan is higher than what it really should be so that you pay back that difference in the 2 year contract you sign. So technically when you buy a phone outright, your monthly plan should be significantly cheaper. But its not, why? Phone companies are making money off of you not knowing this information. Well the information is well known just not by the general consumer so no one complains. So if we start buying phones off contract then companies will have no choice but to get rid of their ridiculous monthly fees that we are currently paying.

Developing for the mobile device chart

I made this little chart for my students as a guide to help them know what options are available for mobile device development:

Developing for the mobile device

  Native Apps Mobile Web
  Apple Android Android
Browsers
Apple
Browsers
xCode x      
Eclipse   x    
HTML(5) Mobile Packaging software

(ie software that outputs to xCode and Eclipse such as PhoneGap)

x x x x
HTML (5) Development Software (ie software that outputs HTML/HTML5 such as dreamweaver)     x x
Flash (any Adobe Air compatible software) x x x x

Verizon customers lose unlimited data plans if they upgrade to iPhone 5

Verizon (well all of the cell phone companies) just sucks (sorry if you do not like the language but it’s true, they really do). If you want to get the iPhone 5 on Verizon you will lose your unlimited data plan. These cell phone companies are like health insurance…we keep paying more and more for less and less and they keep having record profits. Go figure. Spread this around and make Verizon aware that we are not happy about this.

Of course you can always buy the phone unlocked (just buy it outright from apple or verizon not on contract) for $650 and keep your plan. But come on, $650?

http://www.bgr.com/2012/09/13/verizon-iphone-5-unlimited-data-plan/