There is no doubt that 2008 was the year of the smartphone.
The last 12 months has seen the launch of iconic devices such as the iPhone 3G, Google G1, Blackberry Storm and Nokia N97.
It also saw the emergence of the electronic ecosystems needed to get the most out of such handsets.
Of course it is not all good news, with the economic downturn, sales of smartphones are expected to fall.
What this will mean is that as our learners arrive and may be looking to purchase a phone, they may consider a device which only makes phone calls and SMS, and will ignore the more advanced web enabled smartphones which have so much potential for supporting learning.
The decline in sales could hinder the development and embedding of mobile learning in the UK educational sector, but possibly with the increase in the sales of (cheap) netbooks, maybe it isn’t all bad news for learning technologies.
Ars Technica reports on how the sales of small netbooks (like the Asus EeePC) are larger than the iPhone.
It appears as if netbooks are now “more popular” than the iPhone, according to data from Gartner and Display Search. This is not hugely surprising news because netbooks are cheap and handy, while iPhones remain a niche (albeit popular) item. According to the data, 5.6 million netbooks were shipped during the third quarter of 2008, which reflects a nice public interest in the item (compared to 4.7 million iPhones in the same quarter), but we’re not exactly talking overwhelming sales numbers. Rather, it’s a nice, steady market.
Not sure why they are comparing two very different products, but they are!
Key thing to remember is that a year ago, we didn’t have netbooks! The Asus EeePC had been announced, but wasn’t generally available and no other laptop manufacturer was going down that road.
The iPhone was only available on EDGE and lacked applications, now we have 3G and 10,000 applications to choose from.
Makes you wonder what is going to happen over the next twelve months.
In an interesting move for Ubuntu, the BBC reports on the development of the Linux based OS to enable it to be used on the small netbooks and smartphones.
Mobile phone chip designer Arm has announced an alliance with the makers of the Ubuntu open source software.
The deal will produce a version of the operating system for small net-browsing computers known as netbooks.
It marks a departure for Arm, which before now has been best known for designing the chips inside smartphones and feature phones.
The new operating system for Arm-powered machines looks set to be available in April 2009.
Ubuntu has certainly for many people allowed them to experience Linux in a way which is friendly and comfortable. Likewise the Linux distribution on the Asus EeePC has also introduced Linux to a new audience and I suspect that it is this distro that has motivated Arm and Ubuntu to form an alliance.
As can be heard in our podcast on the netbook these small low powered wireless laptops are proving very popular (often as a second computer) and are now cost so little that they are starting to be a real option for many learners.
Unbuntu is a very user-friendly Linux distribution and unlike the EeePC distro is much easier to install different applications with it. Will be interesting to see how this works.
The discussion starts off looking at the role of the Asus EeePC and other netbooks on e-learning on colleges across the UK. The discussion also looks at the variety of presentation software now available from PowerPoint to Keynote, Open Office to Google Docs. Then there is other stuff as well…
ZuiPrezi is a zooming presentation editor which allows you to easily create stunning presentations. With the help of ZuiPrezi you can create dynamic and visually structured zooming maps of texts, images, videos, PDFs, drawings. ZuiPrezi has a very intuitive interface and support for online sharing.
Create professional video for the classroom with the click of a button! Animoto combines your images and music to produce video with the visual impact of a music video.
Using Flowgram you can create interactive guided presentations by combining web pages, photos, Power Point and more with your voice, notes and highlights. Viewers can control the pages, scroll, click on links, view videos and more. An example Flowgram that was made by James.