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New Oomble Web Features Released

Thanks to everyone that has tried Oomble so far. We’ve received some great suggestions for new features and functionality. We’re happy to announce the next release of the Oomble web interface. Some of the new functionality includes:

  1. Ability to create photo albums in your favorite photo site
  2. Ability to drag photos directly to 3rd party photo albums
  3. Multiple delete of photos and music off your phone from the web
  4. Multiple drag of photos to your phone or to your favorite photo site
  5. Multiple drag of music tracks to your phone from your iTunes library
  6. Support for new phone models

We hope you enjoy the new version of Oomble, and as always, please email us with comments, questions and suggestions at comments@oomble.com and follow us (or tweet about us) at www.twitter.com/oomble

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Upgrade Your AT&T Blackberry Bold Firmware!

I used to have all sorts of network problems with my AT&T Blackberry Bold. 3G and Edge would continuously switch back and forth anytime the Bold would access the network. Even WiFi would inexplicably just hang. This was a known radio/firmware bug that essentially rendered my Bold browser and other network-intensive apps basically unusable (including Oomble!).

Last month, AT&T released a firmware upgrade for the Bold and today, I upgraded my AT&T Bold’s firmware by simply going to Settings->Advanced Options->Wireless Upgrade on the Bold. My Bold automatically upgraded its firmware to Package Version consisting of Applications version and Software Platform version . I already had 4.6.0167 for applications, but did not have for my software platform. This upgrade in software platform has finally made my Bold’s network completely stable and has turn my Bold into the device that it is supposed to be!

Oomble now works beautifully on the Bold both on 3G and WiFi! If you are an AT&T Bold Oomble user, I strongly recommend upgrading your Bold firmware to (it’s so easy – just do it from the phone itself!).

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Rise of the Androids

I’ve been really interested to read the latest reports regarding the Android platform. Even though it’s market share is relatively small (due to the fact that it only ships on one device, the HTC Dream (G1) on T-Mobile), I think it’s poised for major growth. Android is on the radars of many companies and I think it will eventually capture significant market share. Here are some of the reasons I am bullish:

1) According to AdMob, Android has captured 5% of the U.S. mobile web traffic for smartphones. Granted this is not a huge number (compared to the iPhone’s 50%), but remember that the one phone Android is running on has only been out for 3 months – so this is significant. Also consider that RIM, Windows Mobile, and Palm devices have all lost double-digit traffic percents from the previous 6 months. Together, you’re seeing a real momentum shift in the consumer smartphone market.

2) Motorola has put more than $50 million into Android. According to Engaget, all future Moto smartphone development will only consider Android, and social networking features are being built into the devices. I suppose this means there will be tighter integration into popular online services and perhaps with the user’s contact list. Your phone book is a great place to start building your social graph.

3) Venture Beat reports that Android-enabled netbooks will be released in 2010. It’s clear that Android is targeting more than just cell phones. Others report that Android will be powering the electronics within cars in the future. I think this is where things get really interesting – think of all the devices that could be made network-aware.

4) Informa Telecoms & Media has predicted that Android smartphones will outsell iPhones by 2012. Given its open platform approach, I believe this will happen.

5) It has been reported that Acer will introduce a smartphone in September running Android. Mobile is one of the next big growth areas and you’ll see manufactures building new devices for this space, many running Android.

While the iPhone has been a huge success capturing significant market share in the U.S., I think there will be a flood of devices released in the next few years running Android. In the long run, I think the fact that Android is an open platform will be a huge advantage and will help to build critical mass. Does this sound like the Apple/Windows OS wars of 15 years ago?

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No More Adapters Please…

I haven’t used my iPod for months, instead deciding to use my cell phone as my music player. Last month I got a G1 (unlocked on AT&T). Overall, it’s a great phone, with excellent integration into the Google services, which I use heavily. However, when it comes to the hardware, I wonder if the design engineers actually use these phones. It amazes me that most phones (I’m not singling out the G1 here), even those specifically marketed as multimedia phones, still require an adapter for the headphone jack, unless you want to use the buds that ship with the phone. My G1 came with a miserable set of buds; the right and left cord lengths are different so they tend to pull unevenly and come out of your ears. And forget about jogging with them, they just refuse to stay in place. I think most people want to use their own headphones/ear buds, but then you have to use an adapter – if you’re lucky, your phone comes with one – but even then it’s one more thing to keep track of and hope you don’t lose. The G1 does not come with an adapter, so I had to buy one for around $8 ($15 with shipping). The Motorola RAZR V9 takes the cake – it requires two adapters!

Now I’m sure it does not cost that much to design in a 3.5mm headphone jack. I know space is tight, but these are the kind of details that Apple gets right when thinking about the user experience. I firmly believe the cell phone will be the real competitor to the iPod for mobile music. But if companies want to make any real headway in competing with Apple, take the first step and ditch the headphone adapters.

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Tip of the Day: Play Your Music!

Whether you are browsing through the music in your My Oomble account, in your actual phone or in iTunes in your Media Sources, don’t forget that Oomble has a music player that you can always use to listen to your music while you are logged into Oomble:
Just select the particular song you want to hear, press play and let Oomble get to work!

As always, please email us with comments, questions and suggestions at comments@oomble.com and follow us (or tweet about us) at www.twitter.com/oomble

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Tip of the Day: Drag Into Your Favorite Sites!

Just wanted to remind everyone that Oomble not only allows you to drag and drop content from your favorites sites such as Flickr and Facebook into your phone, but it also allows you to drag content from your phone into these sites. As shown below, I can drag a photo on my phone right into Flickr:

When I drop the photo into Flickr, the message field on top will tell me “Uploading to service provider . . . ” and when its finished, it will say “Item uploaded to service provider.” I can then just click on Flickr in my media sources (or go to Flickr outside of Oomble, it doesn’t matter) to go to Flickr’s site and I’ll see my photo in Flickr’s PhotoStream!

As always, please email us at support@oomble.com with any suggestions and questions and follow us (and tweet about us!) on Twitter at www.twitter.com/oomble

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Tip of the Day: Your My Oomble Account

Hopefully, you’re now getting a good feel for how Oomble can help you manage the media on your devices through the web. What you may not have yet noticed is what your My Oomble account does. Your My Oomble account is located on the top of the Navigation Panel.

Your My Oomble account serves as an “automatic” online storage while you are on Oomble. Whenever you drag a photo from Flickr or Facebook into your phone or upload a song from your PC or iTunes into your phone, that photo or song is automatically stored in your My Oomble account. Similarly, any photos uploaded from your phone into the Oomble interface are also automatically stored in your My Oomble account. My Oomble makes you feel safer when you delete things off your phone because you know you have a backup copy of it sitting in your My Oomble account that you can always drag back into your phone.

As always, please email us at support@oomble.com and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/oomble

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Tip of the Day: Delete Old Photos Off Your Phone

If you’re a big user of your camera phone (and are as bad with the camera phone as I am!), perhaps you’ve taken many photos on your phone that just aren’t worth keeping. Maybe they are just sitting on your phone because you didn’t want to delete them right away. Now you’ve got a whole bunch of them sitting there and it is a little annoying flipping through them on the phone and trying to delete them.

Through Oomble’s web interface, you get a real-time view of all the photos sitting on your phone and can easily delete them without ever touching your phone. First, just press “Sync” to make sure that Oomble is synced up with your phone. Go to Photos underneath your phone in the Navigation Panel and all the photos sitting on your phone should be there. Now go ahead and select those you don’t like and delete them by pressing the Delete button shown below:

Once you are finished deleting them off the Oomble interface, just press “Sync” again and Oomble goes to work deleting those photos off the phone.

Oh, and don’t worry if you deleted a photo off the phone by mistake! If you go to My Oomble -> Photos, you’ll find it backed up there and you can drag it right back into your phone (or into Flickr, Facebook, or wherever you store your photos). But if you also delete it from your My Oomble account, then it’s really is gone 😦

As always, email us at support@oomble.com with any questions and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/oomble

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Mobile Music Downloads and Streaming

There have been some interesting developments in digital music over the last few months. As the major labels are finally willing to look at alternate business models, new streaming music services have arrived. MySpace now offers unlimited on-demand streams of a large number of artist tracks for free and Pandora has recently released a client for the iPhone. Where does this leave digital purchase and download services like iTunes, Amazon MP3, and Walmart music? These music stores have been very popular since they offer the convenience of immediate gratification and allow songs to be side-loaded onto mobile devices. However with the addition of wireless networking into new devices, the game changes because now there are alternate methods of delivering digital content without first requiring songs to be downloaded to a local PC.

Of course there are pros and cons to the different approaches to delivering content. Streamed music gives you access to a large catalog of content (either from your private collection or from an online repository) and allows users to start listening to content without waiting for a complete track to download first. On the other hand, full-track downloads allow instant access to local content (no waiting for downloads to start over the network), offers offline access, and reduced battery consumption. When we think of the cell phone as a music consumption device, the battery issue becomes important. Given that the main use of a cell phone (communications via voice, email, and text) is critical for most people, having some service drain the battery on your phone can become an issue. If your iPod drains, you don’t have music for a while… no big deal. If your phone is dead, your ability to communicate is severely limited.

From a business perspective, the streaming model still offers challenges when it comes to generating revenue, since royalties must be paid on a per-stream basis. Subscriptions are one solution, but we will have to wait to see if consumers embrace this model, given they have become accustomed to downloading and owning content, especially when it comes to mobile devices. I suspect (free) streaming will continue to gain in popularity on the web, but full-track downloads will be the method of choice on mobile devices for the foreseeable future.

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