Category Archives: mobile

Lotus Mobile Jam week May 16-19, 2011

Next week Lotus Support and User Experience teams are hosting a Mobile Jam.  They are looking for feedback on all Lotus Mobile products including

  • Traveler
  • Sametime
  • Connections

To participate you will need a Lotus Greenhouse ID, so if you don’t have one yet, head over and sign up now.

Once you are logged in to the Greenhouse join the UX Design Info Community, and then the Mobile subcommunity to participate in the Jam.

There are open mic calls every day of the Jam starting with the kickoff call Monday morning at 10 AM EDT, immediately followed by a call on Mobile access to IBM Lotus Sametime at 11 AM EDT.

Tuesday at 11 AM EDT is Using Blackberry Devices and BES with IBM Lotus Notes/Domino

Wednesday at 11:30 AM EDT is Mobile Access to IBM Lotus Notes using Lotus Notes Traveler

Thursday the week wraps up at 10 AM EDT with a Chat with Ed Brill

In addition to the schedule of calls, you can also participate by posting and responding to others in the community mentioned above.  If you have opinions about mobile access to IBM Collaboration Solutions take advantage of the opportunity next week and participate.

More details can be found here: Mobile JAM week May 16-19,2011

What does the Microsoft/Nokia Partnership mean for Lotus Traveler?

Nokia (along with GBS, and Blackberry) was one of the top level sponsors of Lotusphere 2011, they had a huge pedestal in the vendor showcase, and generated a lot of buzz with their Nokia E7 giveaway.

One of the takeaways I had from the Lotus Mobile Strategy session was the fact that Windows Mobile / Windows Phone 7 were not mentioned at all.  Currently Traveler officially supports up to Windows Mobile 6.5, and by all reports the Windows Phone 7 is not exactly flying off the shelves, so I can understand Lotus not running to add Traveler support.

So has Nokia after working to build a partnership with IBM on Traveler, and spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 to sponsor Lotusphere now jumped ship? Even better question does it matter? Nokia sales are way down (in the US they are basically non-existent) people are jumping to Android and iOS.

Perhaps this is just one less platform for IBM to focus on now, and more effort will be placed on the RIM Partnership, and developing Traveler and Mobile Apps for Android and iOS which to me would be a good thing.

In my opinion Nokia should have looked at Android, though I guess Google wasn’t offering them millions that Microsoft reportedly did to embrace Windows Phone 7.

What do you think? Is Nokia making the right move embracing Windows Mobile, or is this a step in figuring out which three mobile platforms will survive.

Nokia Partners With Microsoft, Embraces Windows Phone 7

Searching in Mobile Safari is Not Very Friendly

This has become a major annoyance for me when using Safari on iOS, and I wonder why Apple does not fix this.

When I use a browser on my desktop, if I want to search I simply type the term in to the Address Bar, this works in Chrome, Firefox, or IE, the three browsers I have installed on my machine.

chrome search

On my Android device (Droid X) the experience is the same I can type a URL, or search term in to the Address bar.

Android

Then we get to Mobile Safari on iOS (Screenshots are from an iPhone, but the experience is the same on an iPad).  For some reason Apple had decided to split URL, and Search in to two different fields. 

photo 1

When you are in the URL field (on the left), the keyboard is designed to type URL only does not have a space bar, so you can not even try to enter a search term there. If you are in the search field (on the right) you then get the regular keyboard with the Space bar allowing you to search:

photo 2 photo 3

Is anyone else bothered by this? I frequently find myself trying to search in the URL bar,  realizing after I finished typing (the first word) of my search string, only to have to do it over in the Search field, why doesn’t mobile safari just work like every other browser out there?

I am sure there are other browsers available for iOS, Opera comes to mind, Firefox Mobile does not seem to have iOS support yet, but I really haven’t bothered to look at it or other options, the browser that ships should be good enough for my mobile browsing needs.

Google is Recruiting iPhone App Developers

Back in early March Google was apparently offering a free Droid or Nexus One to developers who had already contributed to the Android Market.  Now it appears they offering free devices to  successful iPhone App Developers.  This is a very smart move by Google as they aim to encourage more developers to port their Apps to Android and increase the number of quality applications available in the Android Market.  

I heard that Google was reaching out to iPhone App developers not too long ago, and now it appears that the company is at it again. After all, who could blame them? The App Store is a huge success and while Android is catching on, it still doesnt have the same penetration as the iPhone OS.

Beyond free devices and the availability of Apps, I think this is an excellent point made in the article

I think if you dont get caught up in the iPhone hype, the latest Android offerings, including the Nexus One and HTC Incredible, are even better than the iPhone in some cases.

Apple definitely does a great job grabbing the headlines (in fact call me a cynic, but I still this the whole iPhone 4 “leak” was somehow contrived by Apple), but there is a large upside to Android and the more recent devices coupled with the 2.1 OS are really attractive iPhone alternatives.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt: The Correct Term is to Replicate!

I finally got around to catching up on Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s address to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week.  Pick it up at the 7:11 mark when he talks about cloud computing and says: “people always say I want to copy from here to there it’s the wrong terminology the right terminology is to replicate” I couldn’t agree more, replication has been a feature in Lotus Notes for 2 decades now.

Impressions of the Motorola Droid

I have been using the Droid for a few days now (yes actually using it, and giving the iPhone a break).  So here are some of my impressions and thoughts about the Droid. Lets start with the device itself, ever so slightly larger then an iphone 3G  but 1.3 ounces heavier, you can feel the extra weight, and while only .02 of an inch thicker that too is really apparent when working with the Droid.  Putting the dimensions of the device aside, the hardware is nice,  excellent screen, rotation from portrait to landscape is responsive and does not happen unexpectedly. The on screen keyboard is difficult to type on, very similar to the problems I had with it in portrait mode on the Blackberry Storm where the keys are simply too small to be accurate.  There is no SureType mode built in to the Droid, though it looks like there might be some add ons available via the Android Market.  The physical keyboard takes a little getting used to, part of the problem is I am not comfortable holding the device in landscape mode, but am slowly getting used to it, but I find my typing getting a little faster every day.  One of the nice features of the keyboard is that on screen you get a visual indication in line where you are typing  when the Shift, or Alt, key.   One of the features I really like is the Haptic Response from the keys, when enabled you get a buzz feedback from the keys to confirm an action took place, or let you know the key had no effect (for example hitting the home key when already on the home screen).   iPhone 3G Specs Motorola Droid Specs Applications Not surprisingly Google Voice integrates seamlessly with the Droid, in fact once the app is installed, if you set it to always use Google Voice you just make calls normally, and they automatically route via Google Voice. The Turn by Turn navigation is very impressive, actually has more functionality they my  Garmin Nuvi 200 and also integrates Google Street View.  In addition it has access to my contacts making it easy to add an address to navigate to. I have been using the Twitter client from Seesmic which is as rich in features as Tweetdeck on the iPhone, including bit.ly, twitpic, and youtube integration,   I have also found apps in the Android Market for Brightkite, TripIt, Facebook, Shazam, and there are certainly many other apps out there, but right now I would say it is an immature market for apps, the ones that I have looked at are lacking in finesse, I expect this will change over time for the better, but if you were comparing Droid and the iPhone on apps alone, the iPhone would win today. Battery I am still assessing the battery life on the Droid, and while it certainly seems better then the iPhone, it probably has room for improvement.  On the bright side, if I really wanted I could get a spare battery for the Droid (though I will probably just continue to use my Lenmar Power Port for spare power on the go). Camera Despite being a 5 megapixels camera and having a flash, the iPhone 3G 2 megapixels camera takes better pictures.  The Droid camera has problems focusing, and I have not been impressed with it.  Same for he video camera, so far the couple of videos I tried to take have not been that great.  The camera focus issue is supposedly being fixed in an upcoming software upgrade due out on December 11th. Voice Aside from the Google Voice integration mentioned above, I have found the phone to be decent, at times there are some echoes heard on calls, and this apparently is a known issue also expected to be fixed in the upcoming upgrade. Probably the biggest change from an iPhone to Droid is the ability to run background applications.  The notification panel which is at the top of the home screen is easy to use and pivot between applications i.e. switching from a task to e-mail or Twitter, and back.  This included turn by turn navigation which becomes an active item in the notification panel allowing you to easily check and e-mail and return back to navigation.  Here is a picture of the Notification screen (and make no mistake it might say “Exchange” mail, but that is my Lotus Notes mail coming in via Traveler) A picture named M2 The one other thing I really like is the ability to add widgets to the home screen A picture named M3 For example here is a power management widget I installed which easily lets me control the screen display, wifi, bluetooth, etc. to get the most out of my battery A picture named M4 Overall I am impressed with the Droid, I think it is lacking some polish right now, which will come with time, I will continue using it for a while and see how it progresses.

Lotus Traveler on the Droid – There’s an App For That

This morning my new Droid finally showed up at my door, I have been anxiously waiting to try this device out.  The first order of business was to work on connecting it up to Lotus Notes for my mail, calendar and contacts.

So to start with a disclaimer – Droid (or any Android based phones) are NOT supported in the latest release of Lotus Traveler.  I am working against a server running Domino & Traveler 8.5.1. The first think I decided to try was iNotes Ultralite (also not officially supported), so the first step was to configure my iNotes redirect to recognize the Droid browser as a mobile browser that should default to Ultralite mode.  I fired up the browser on the Droid and hit the site  What’s My User Agent?
A picture named M2

Which told me “Android 2.0” was the User Agent String I needed enter in the iNotes redirect config, here is what mine looks like now A picture named M3 Once I saved this, when I hit the redirector database and logged in I was redirected to iNotes Ultralite A picture named M4               A picture named M5

OK I know what you really want to hear about is Traveler so here we go! I started by trying to configure the native Droid e-mail app via ActiveSync, and while it seemed like it was connecting nothing was happening a quick google search let me to this post titled Getting Droid connected to Domino with Traveler which seemed to match exactly what I had run in to.  This post also contained a link out to another post titled Getting Lotus Traveler to Work With My Droid.

So off I was to find the Touchdown application and install it on my Droid, and as promised down came my e-mail, contacts, and calendar entries. When installing Traveler manually your server name should be servername.domainname/servlet/traveler, and the Windows Domain Field is left blank Despite the warnings in the original post about HTML mail I am having pretty good luck they don’t all render perfectly but most of them are readable.  The other limitation is taking action on new calendar events, just like on the iPhone you can not currenrly Accept/Decline or otherwise act on new meeting requests, however entires already on your calendar display and notify just fine (included federated calendar events).

The one real draw back seems to be lack of support for attachments. Here is what my entry looks like on the server in the Traveler database A picture named M6 The Touchdown application is currently on a 5 day trial, and it is $9.99 to purchase which if it continues ot work I probably will do at the end of the trial.

A picture named M7  A picture named M8

Now it certainly would be nice to be able to use the “native” mail and calendar application on the Droid, but as Ed Brill explained in a recent blog post on Android, one of the challenges the platform presents is that unlike the other mobile platforms that Traveler supports Android is open, and there is actually no definitive “native” application

The philosophy with Lotus Notes Traveler has been to leverage built-in capabilities on the devices that are supported.  In some cases, we install a small shim program to handle communications to Domino, but we don’t build mail/calendar/contacts applications.

More to the point, since Android is an open platform, we will see different device manufacturers elect to include or exclude different components from their implementations, or choose to build their own, or implement third-party, solutions for different functionality.

So with all that said and done, lets take a look at where we wind up: First using an application available in Android Market, you can use a Droid with Traveler now, and basically achieve the same functionality that is available on the iPhone today.  What we can learn from this, is that IBM obviously stayed very true to the ActiveSync protocol when the implemented support for iPhone which is why other devices (albeit not supported) have been able to work with Traveler Second while nothing official has been announced clearly IBM is looking at support for Droid who knows maybe even in 8.5.2 I will be working with the Android going forward, and will certainly report back any new findings on Android and Traveler.

Things that start with the letter V… and don't play nicely

No this is not about Vista. For the last few months I have been having problems with my Verizon Wirless Broadband card.  It connects, works fine for about 4 minutes then drops the connection.  This happened in various locations, including while stationary so it was not a signal or coverage problem. Friday I finally broke down and called Verzion for support, after software and firmware upgrades the problem remained, and they insisted it had to do with my VPN connection.   The only problem with that theory was I was not connected to a VPN at the time.  They finally opened a “trouble ticket” and assigned it to some other support group who came back and said it was disconnection due to a “bad IP Source” and the problem is on my laptop I should contact my IT support (which if you are me basically means look in the mirror). A few Google searches revealed many others experiencing similar issues but not solutions.  To attempt to solve the problem I started disabling various services on my laptop.  First I tried the Firewall, that wan’t it.  I switched off my Wireless, disabled my Wired Connections, not them either.  Finally I disabled the Network Adapters installed with VMware Workstation…… BINGO my connection lasted for 2+ hours on the Acela from New York to Boston. A picture named M2 Verizon Wireless and VMWare apparently do not play nicely together

My (not so) new iPhone and DWA Ultralite in Domino 8.5

About 2 months ago I got an iPhone, and have been testing the new DWA Ultralite mode on it, now that it is in Public Beta I can talk about it a little here.  I would include screen shots, but as of now I have not found a way to take a screen shot of an iPhone with out first jail breaking it, something I really don’t feel like undertaking right now. (any suggestions for this let me know please) First off, my general impressions of the iPhone, the interface is incredible, especially the web browser, and viewing photos on it, the camera is even pretty decent in good lighting conditions,  My only real complaint is I find it a little difficult to type on, though as I slowly train myself to let it complete words for me it is getting a little easier. In Domino 8.0 DWA came in two flavors, Full and Lite, in Domino 8.5 a third option was added DWA Ultralite, which is specifically defined for the iPhone, to use it you will need your mail template upgraded to the mail85 template.  The design is intended to mimic the look and feel of native iPhone applications and it does a pretty good job allowing access to e-mail, calendar, and contacts (if they are synched to the mail file).  The load time is quick, and navigation has been made pretty easy. Now for the best part, the DWA redirector template which ships with notes has been updated to include a section for Mobile devices, the default configuration allows you to use one URL which when accessed from a browser will redirect the user to DWA Full or Lite, but the same URL when accessed from an iPhone will redirect straight to Ultralite, so I have one URL that I can use to access my mail regardless of which mode I want it to be in.  If you have not played with the redirector, you can create if off the Template as pictured below (and before he comments my friend Chris will point out that the template is still named “iNotes Redirect” though most other references are DWA) A picture named M2 The configuration of the redirector is the same as in previous versions, with the addition of the Mobile section which comes pre-populated for the iPod and iPhone as seen here.  You can add other devices in as well, though I have not tried it on any others yet. A picture named M3 I know I would prefer to see Traveler support for the iPhone, and I suspect down the road it will happen, but until it does, this is a decent start for Notes support on the iPhone. Want to try it yourself? Head over and download the Notes/Domino 8.5 Beta

Microsoft announces Mobile Server taking aim at RIM

Microsoft has announced a new server named “System Center Mobile Device Manager” designed to manage Windows Mobile devices.  The server is being designed to allow for remote management, software provisioning, and VPN access for Windows Mobile devices, or in other words, what the Blackberry Server has done for years now. According to the article Microsoft wants to gain a piece of the enterprise mobile e-mail market, which RIM has an estimated 70% of.  What I wonder is how many people are going to even think about dumping their Blackberry infrastructure in favor of Windows Mobile.  In my experience (now one week) with Windows Mobile, I still find it easier to do everything I want to on the go with my Blackberry, and while I am sure some of it is familiarity (6 years of using a blackberry) it does seem to take more keystrokes or clicks to accomplish the same task. On the other hand, for shops using Good Messaging, or otherwise have applications developed for Windows Mobile, this could be functionality they have been waiting for.  The new server is due out in the first half of 2008, it also offers possibilities for organizations that want to use Lotus Notes Traveler, but require stronger capabilities to manage the devices. For me personally when I am done testing Traveler (which has been working great) I am going back to my Blackberry, and while I personally don’t use Facebook, for those of you Blackbery users that do, RIM announced a Facebook client for the Blackberry today, which you can download here. With BlackBerry in Crosshairs, Microsoft Debuts Mobile Server