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The Mobile Internet Devices becoming the trend for this year

O2’s Joggler, formerly OpenFrame, launches in UK this April

Over the past few months, a new device category has started to emerge in the form of the Mobile Internet Device. It would have the functionality of one of today’s smartphones except for cellular voice and data communications.

The device would link to a home or other network using 802.11g or 802.11n WPA2 wireless or use a Bluetooth-connected mobile phone as its modem when it wants to benefit from the Internet. They will work as a media player, a games machine or an Internet-based information device. Some of these devices may benefit from extra software being downloaded on to them through a Web portal set up by their manufacturer or supplier. The primary user interface on all of these devices is a touch screen, but they may have extra keys for access to regular functions. They would mainly use a standard or micro SD card and / or built-in flash memory as their user storage and have their software loaded on other flash memory.

Interestingly, Clarion, one of the most respected car-audio brands, had developed the ClarionMIND which is a combination of a portable navigation device and a mobile Internet device. This gadget provides in-car and on-foot satellite navigation as well as Internet information access and media playback. If it is installed in a matching dock, the unit works like a high-end portable navigation device, passes its audio through the car stereo system and matches its display to “day” or “night” mode according to how you operate the car’s headlight switch.

The iPod Touch was one such device that predicted this device-category trend. It had the ability to play or show media held within it and was able to benefit from a wireless home network by being able to browse the web or add on software through the iTunes App Store.

But could they make the smartphone or connected electronic picture frame / portable navigation device / portable media player redundant? Not really. I would see them as a companion device for all mobile phones and a device which can perform functions complementary to these other devices.

For example, a mobile Internet device could become a DLNA Digital Media Controller / UPnP AV Control point for the DLNA Home Media Network. Similarly, they could perform other control functions that are becoming part of networked home automation. As well, they could be seen as an alternative to handheld games consoles by being able to download games from the Web portal. Other applications would include Web activities where very little text entry needs to be done such as monitoring information pages.

It would be certainly interesting to see how the new Mobile Internet Devices fit in to the personal computing ecosystem as they start to appear on the market.

5 March 2009 Posted by | Future Trends, Mobile Computing | , , , | 5 Comments

PlugPlayer – A UPnP / DLNA media controller for your iPhone or iPod Touch

All of you who are using an Apple iPhone or iPod Touch have access to another DLNA media controller for these devices. The program, PlugPlayer, is able to play content that is compatible with these Apple devices from a UPnP Media Server or act as a control point for other UPnP / DLNA media players that support external control.

One feature that it will miss compared to the CyberMediaGate iMediaSuite program is for the iPod to be a MediaServer and use DLNA technologies to serve its media across the network. This may be something you may not need if what is on your iPod is a subset of the media library that is on your network. You can have an iPod running this program managed by another media controller like TwonkyMedia Manager or an iPod running iMediaSuite or this program.

This program is leading the Apple portable-device platform towards the DLNA-compliant media platform. Wake up, Apple and realise that the DLNA home media network is the way to go.

Links:

PlugPlayer – software information

PlugPlayer download link at iTunes App Store

29 January 2009 Posted by | UPnP AV / DLNA client software | , , | 6 Comments

iMediaSuite for Apple iPod Touch and iPhone – new version

The CyberGarage iMediaSuite program that I have mentioned earlier on in my blog has been revised and is now at 1.0.1 . Some of the improvements have brought about improved stability by fixing a memory leak; and there has been some improved functionality like a “clean screen” for the media player. It would still be available at the same URL at the iTunes App Store.( http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=293809842&mt=8 )

19 January 2009 Posted by | UPnP AV / DLNA client software | , , , | Leave a comment

DLNA-compliant media software for the Apple iPod Touch and iPhone

http://cgimediasuite.sourceforge.net/ – Link to web site for the iPhone / iPod Touch UPnP AV / DLNA software

CyberGarage have released two programs that bring the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch into the UPnP AV / DLNA home media network environment. This is certainly in response to many Google searches for software that can pull off this function on these popular and trendy devices.

The first one, iNetFrame, is a network picture viewer that allows the user to view pictures in an online collection hosted on the Picasa or Flickr photo-sharing sites. But this one allows one to view pictures on any UPnP AV / DLNA server on the local network. This program makes use of these resources to turn the iPod Touch or iPhone into a network electronic picture frame with an optional clock display.

The other program, iMediaSuite, works as one of three functions:

· a media server for media files held within the iPod Touch or iPhone;

· a media viewer which allows one to view or listen to media files held on other DLNA media servers; or

· a control point for playing media collections held on any DLNA media server (including itself) through another UPnP / DLNA media client that supports external control.

There are some obvious limitations with this software, such as being able only to play the file types that the iPhone or iPod Touch support, and not being able to play Apple FairPlay DRM-protected files on any of the DLNA media devices out there. This doesn’t affect the program’s use as a control point if you are playing files on another DLNA device from another DLNA collection. At least this is the first step in bringing the Apple iPhone world towards the DLNA media network.

One application that I certainly would admire is the control-point function because it avoids the need to have the TV on if you are playing music on one of those many network media adaptors which don’t have any display on them. You can just “point to it to play it” on the iPod Touch or iPhone.

Apple iTunes App Store locations:

iMediaSuite : http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=293809842&mt=8

iNetFrame : http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=294937127&mt=8

28 November 2008 Posted by | UPnP AV / DLNA, UPnP AV / DLNA client software | , , , , , | Leave a comment