Bard’s Tale for Android IIGS emulator analysis… and then some

The other day, I saw that Bard’s Tale for Android had an Apple IIGS emulator hiding in it. Given that the game was $2.99, and I have an HP TouchPad running Android handy, I decided to grab it, just to see what was going on with the emulator.

Here’s my initial analysis, in the form of a YouTube video (sorry for the poor quality):


Bard’s Tale (Android) embedded Apple IIGS emulator – YouTube

So, now that I had identified what the emulator actually was, I decided to go for a deeper look. Continue reading

Warning about the WIMM One’s EULA

So, I just got done with my smart watch series, and decided to sign up for the WIMM Labs site, and maybe purchase a WIMM One.

I was presented with a EULA, not entirely unexpected given that their site provides private downloads of things like the SDK.

Occasionally, I actually read EULAs. There’s an annoying reverse engineering clause, although it’s fairly toothless. The clause that really bothers me, though?

CONFIDENTIALITY: You acknowledge and agree that the Software and Hardware were developed at considerable time and expense by WIMM Labs, and are confidential to and a trade secret of WIMM Labs and/or third parties. You agree to maintain the Software and Hardware in strict confidence and not to disclose or provide access thereto to any person.

So, you’re telling me that, even though I can buy the damn thing for $199 on Amazon, I can’t show it to anyone else or let them use it? Really, WIMM?

Therefore, I decided to buy a refurbed Abacus Wrist PDA – I had one a while back and it died, but IMO it was a brilliant device, potentially the best smart watch even by modern standards (except for not being able to get alerts from an Android device). I’d be willing to consider the WIMM One if they revised that portion of their EULA, but not before then.

I’ll post the full EULA text after the break – you get it after signing up for the WIMM site, and if you simply buy the device without signing up for WIMM’s site, you don’t see the EULA at all until you’re setting the watch up. Continue reading

The history of the smart watch, part 4 – the modern era

Finally, we’re to the modern era of smart watches – stuff that’s actually for sale today.

Most of the modern smart watches all connect to a host device via Bluetooth (with one exception), at least an Android device if not additional platforms, for notifications. Some act as dumb terminals (along the lines of the Abacus/Sony watches mentioned in the previous post), whereas some have some local processing power and even apps (some running Android). Continue reading

This just got real – Droid X appears to have a 720p screen

So, Apple upped the ante in smartphone resolutions with the iPhone 4’s 960×640 screen, at 330 PPI.

That’s a fairly impressive resolution and pixel density – the highest resolution, and close to the highest pixel density (the LG CYON LU1400, a Korean TV phone from 2008, had a slightly higher 333 PPI on its 800×480 screen) ever sold on a phone.

However, if Verizon’s site is to be believed, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Verizon is claiming that the Droid X, one of the latest wave of 4.3″ “let’s make a small tablet and call it a phone” Android devices, has 720p resolution – 1280×720. That’s a mind-blowing 342 PPI.

If this is real, the PPI race is on like Donkey Kong.

Source: Engadget

Why Apple is evil: Why compete with your competition when you can just sue?

Some more old news, but Apple’s going for the patent suit method of killing its competitors, now.

And, rather than go against Google, they’re going against an OEM of Android hardware, HTC. This is likely an attempt to scare OEMs away from using Android – “use it, and you’ll get sued by Apple.”

Apple: Compete with Android on merit, not on suing manufacturers of Android hardware.

Source: BusinessWeek

MIPS preparing to take ARM on in the smartphone market

Looks like things are about to get interesting. ARM has owned the phone market for quite a few years now, with very little competition.

Sandeep Vij, CEO of MIPS Technologies, has said that penetration of the cellular market is his top priority, and there are two customers of MIPS that are working on chips for the cellular market.

In addition, MIPS has released a port of Android to their CPUs. Android is a good choice, as almost all Android apps are compiled to run on the Dalvik VM… recompile Dalvik for MIPS, and all of those apps will run, unmodified, with no emulation penalty (well, no additional penalty over the VM penalty.)

So, now we’ve got MIPS and Intel both aiming at smartphones, Renesas has a SuperH chip that has the processing power for a mid-range smartphone (although it has on-board RAM, and not much of it,) and the rumor mill is saying that Apple wants to buy ARM (although, admittedly, that one’s not likely.) Interesting times indeed, and this time around, we won’t have the pain of having to know what CPU’s in your phone to run an app, unless it’s Windows Phone (and Microsoft will likely require ARM for the foreseeable future, there,) iPhone OS (and Apple will stick with ARM, I suspect,) or Symbian.

Why Apple is evil: Their business model is contagious

This isn’t news either, but I’m posting it anyway.

Many have made the argument that it’s OK if Apple makes a walled garden, because there’s always other choices.

The problem is when Apple’s walled garden is wildly successful, competing platforms may switch to a walled garden model. And, Microsoft, which is quite often accused of copying Apple at every opportunity, well, they’re copying Apple on this one.

Windows Phone 7 will be a walled garden, too. Sure, there’s some Windows Mobile 6.5 devices out there, and they’ll continue past Windows Phone 7’s release, but let’s face it – 6.5 is crap.

And, AT&T’s first Android device, the Motorola Backflip, requires some hacking to get apps from outside of the Android Market installed. Granted, they didn’t do a good job of securing it, but they did try.

Arguably, this is more of a “why Microsoft and AT&T evil,” but this points out why Apple’s walled garden is dangerous for everyone, even if you’re not an Apple customer.

Source: Engadget

Scary thought of the day: Windows Mobile is the most open smartphone operating system.

You’re probably thinking, “what? How can that be? Android has to be the most open, it’s open source, right?”

And you’d be right… until you get into actual Android devices that are for sale. Other than the Google Dev Phone 1 (which has some other restrictions,) all of the devices are locked down at least somewhat.

There is one exception to my point – in one or two ways, Palm OS is more open than Windows Mobile. However, Palm OS is irrelevant nowadays, but I’ll include it in the comparison anyway. Continue reading