Thursday, October 20, 2011

Apple iPhone 4S and Apple iMessage - Timeline for Standardization of Instant Messaging


Ils n’ont rien appris, ni rien oublie
(They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.)

Talleyrand ascribed to Chevalier de Parat, 1796)

The Apple iPhone 4S is doing quite brisk sales, selling nearly four million units (4,000,000) in less than three (3) days after its debut on Friday October 14th 2011, the most for any smartphone or phone launch to date. Despite what appears to be marginal updates, the AI (Artificial Intelligence) engine driven Siri Voice Assistant and the Apple  iMessage are the stars of the show.

From the sales record set, the Apple iPhone 4S is sure to draw a lot of the uncommitted and former Google Android and Blackberry users to Apple’s latest harvest as surmised in my blog article entitled “Apple iPhone 4S is a hit and the Apple iPod may get an upgrade - Steve Jobs Opus Major”. Siri Voice Assistant is sure to bring about a renaissance in Voice Control on your smartphone, making talking to your phone as opposed through your phone to someone else a more commonplace occurrence.

It also highlights the growing power of Artificial Intelligence in Consumer Electronics, a phenomenon which may or may not be to your liking, depending on how you view AI. Certainly a boost for the Voice Control Software makers such as Apple-owned Siri, a formed DARPA (Defense and Research Project Agency) Project spun off into a successful Voice Control Technology company as stated in the article “The DARPA Project That's Powering the New iPhone 4S”, published Wednesday October 5 2011, Yahoo News.

Nuance Communications is also feeling some of the positive vibes, having  recently cemented its hold on smartphone input technologies, specifically in the Google Android camp by acquiring Swype for US$100 million as per the article “Why Nuance, a Speech Company bought Swype” published October 7 2011 5:53am PT by Ryan Kim, GigaOM. Standardization may be coming to the Voice Control Technology world at last, with everyone scurrying to copy Apple.

But what of the IM (Instant Messaging) world?

After the recent BB Messenger and email outage of October 2011AD as per the article “BlackBerry blackout spreads to Caribbean”, published Sunday, October 16, 2011 by PAUL ALLEN Business reporter The Jamaica Observer is it not time to consider a common standard for IM?

Despite the inclusion of easy-to-use and intuitive Apple iMessage in the Apple iOS 5.0 update as stated in the article “BlackBerry Messenger vs.Apple's iMessage”, published October 14, 2011 2:57 PM PDT by Nicole Lee, CNET News -  Crave, the same problems with IM Apps still persists: lack of interoperability and cross-platform communication on a common Standard for IM. Even video Calling Platforms OoVoo and Skype have Cross Platform Video Calling Capability, though Social Networks are yet to follow suite.  

This was especially highlighted with the recent five (5) day worldwide outage of the Blackberry Messenger Service that appears have begun earlier in the week, culminating with a Caribbean-wide outage or BB Messenger and email services as stated in the article “BlackBerry blackout spreads to Caribbean”, published Sunday, October 16, 2011 by PAUL ALLEN Business reporter The Jamaica Observer.

IM and SMS (Short Messaging Service) are really the same thing, with the latter being a proprietary service offered by Telecom Providers. SMS usage however, has been on the decline in the US of A as stated in the article Has text messaging peaked?, published JUNE 10, 2011 8:45 AM PDT by Don Reisinger, CNET News - THE DIGITAL HOME with the rising prominence of Smartphones with Data Plans and Millennials [ages 18 to 28] and Generation X [ages 29 to 45] opting to IM than to text, seeing no substantial difference between the two.

First sign of the Dead Zone as first mentioned in my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers and SMS - The Dead Zone” and subsequent articles, the latest being “Telecom Provider LIME and M2M Services - Free SMS and EDGE for the Caribbean to Foster Regional Integration”!

This is especially true if the person migrated away from a Blackberry with its proprietary BB Messenger to any other smartphone. They would have to either purchase SMS Bundles to do their texting or opted to message via free apps to numerous to mention here.

Now with SMS usage hitting a peak and customers migrating towards smartphones, Data Plans and “free” IM options, Telecom Providers such as Telecom Provider AT&T have begun to increase their prices on SMS Bundles while making money from the expected boom in M2M (Machine-to-Machine) Traffic as per my blog article entitled “AT&T overcharges for unlimited SMS again - Duke Energy's US$1 billion Investment in The Dead Zone”.

But IM clients have long had issues. One of which is the lack of cross compatibility. An SMS sent from one Telecom Provider, be it local or foreign, can be received and interpreted by any other Telecom Provider. Same too with email sent from any smartphone, as they use common protocol standards.

This however, is not the case with IM, which from the very beginning, locked in customers to their proprietary standards used by their IM programs, clients and apps such as Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger and the infamous mobile IM client Whatsapp. This habit of proprietary lock-in carried over to the Mobile smartphone world and now to the Tablet world.

Thus the coming of the “Post-PC Era” heralded by Tablets and Ultrabooks means standardization would seem to be a part of the idea of making these varied always-connected devices interoperable and more stable on the ever expanding reach of Wireless Broadband Networks.

Devices such as:

1.     Intel’s Ultrabook Power Adaptors as described in my blog article entitled “Apple MacBook Airs and Intel UltraBooks cometh – Time for a Common Standard on Power Adaptors

Hopefully, standardization would thereby prevent a similar situation ever happening again, by making IM traverse between different smartphones on different OS on a common standard and thus allow communications to continue. This as standardization would also allow for rerouting of traffic, should a Proprietary IM Network be down for whatever reason.

And while the Telecoms and IT boffins are ironing out IM Standards, with the declining usage of SMS and MMS and the rise of M2M (Machine-to-Machine) Communications, free SMS subsidized by increased Paid M2M Traffic would seem an inevitability as described in my blog article entitled “Telecom Provider LIME and M2M Services - Free SMS and EDGE for the Caribbean to Foster Regional Integration”.
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