Recent posts in my Mobiles Category

December 31, 2012

‘Assholes’ The Next Web ‘suck’ for stopping making an Android product that loses them money

The Next Web have announced they are stopping production of their Android magazine edition. Commenters are unhappy. But the post announcing the change raises some big questions about the economics of publishing editions aimed at the Android market.

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December 18, 2012

“Putting user experience at the heart of your tablet strategy” - Martin Belam at ‘Les Victoires de la Presse’

Yesterday I gave a talk in Lyon at WAN-IFRA’s ‘Les Victoires de la Presse’ event. Here is the essay version of a talk which looked at how user research and a focus on simplicity can help the news industry build better products for the tablet market.

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December 6, 2012

“The user experience of news” - Martin Belam at news:rewired

At news:rewired today I spoke as part of a panel talking about the importance of “user experience” for digital publishers. Here is the essay version of the talk.

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November 22, 2012

“Architecture, mobile and expert crowd-sourcing” - Daniel Gunnarsson at Online Information

At Online Information I was moderating a session that featured Daniel Gunnarsson from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts of Architecture, Design and Conservation. He was talking about a photo database of Danish architecture available on the web at Daniel described it as a “feel good” story, but also admitted that when he had pitched to do the talk, he had been expecting to talk about a product that had launched, not about how one had failed to launch on time. We’ve all been there. Here are my notes from the session.

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November 8, 2012

“A journey into the New York Times mobile and tablet strategy” - Alexandra Hardiman at #TAS12

Alexandra Hardiman is Director of Mobile Products at The New York Times, and at the Tablet and App summit in Frankfurt she talked us through the paper’s mobile products and strategy. I was delighted to hear lots of talk of it being user-centred. Here are my notes.

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“Toronto Star’s Ad Lab for digital advertising innovation” - Kate Collins at #TAS12

Kate Collins is Managing Director, Emerging Platforms & Products at Star Media Group in Canada, and at the Tablet and App summit she was presenting a case study of some innovative work they’ve done in collaboration with advertisers, exploring how advertising might work in the future in the tablet edition of the Toronto Star. Here are my notes.

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November 7, 2012

“Optimising the FT using HTML5 and customer data” - Stephen Pinches at #TAS12

On Twitter I described Stephen Pinches talk as a “masterclass in making good call after good call and really using user data.” With typical modesty, he replied that hindsight is a wonderful thing. Nevertheless, as Group Product Manager for Mobile & Emerging Platforms at the Financial Times, Stephen has steered the FT into the uncharted waters of breaking free from the iTunes store and going down the HTML5 web-app route. Here are my notes.

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November 5, 2012

“Behind the curve - the media and the new App economy” - Stijn Schuermans at #TAS12

Having opened the event with what Patrick Smith described as “an impassioned plea for iterative, responsive and nimble development run by small teams within big media firms”, my talk was followed by two case studies of pretty traditional approaches to digital magazine publishing from Stern and Condé Nast. I’ve already blogged my notes from those two sessions. Stijn Schuermans brought a welcome change of pace and an outside perspective to the problems assailing media companies in the digital publishing space.

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“Condé Nast place value in digital reach over digital sales” - Jamie Bill and Jamie Jouning at #TAS12

Condé Nast were represented at the Tablet & App summit by the duo of GQ publisher Jamie Bill and Jamie Jouning. The two Jamies were showcasing the work the company had done to move into tablet publishing in a fairly short space of time. Here are my notes.

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November 2, 2012

“The UX of publishing for tablets and smartphones” - Martin Belam at #TAS12

This is an essay version of a talk I gave at the Tablet & App Summit at the World Publishing Expo in Frankfurt, October 2012.

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October 18, 2012

Not quite the future of publishing yet - Pitchfork, Bat For Lashes, and mobile phones

You might have seen lots of people on Twitter lavishing praise on the web display of Pitchfork’s Bat For Lashes feature today. But not me.

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October 1, 2012

“Responsive IA: IA in the touchscreen era” - Martin Belam at EuroIA

This is an essay version of the talk I gave at EuroIA 2012 in Rome, looking at responsive design and touchscreen devices have changed the approach I take to my IA work.

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September 30, 2012

Building a coupon app for iPhone - Hermann Hofstetter & Gregor Urech at EuroIA

One of the few sessions at EuroIA I saw that actually had footage of using testing was a cases tudy of building a discount coupon app for the iPhone in Switzerland. Here are my notes on Hermann Hofstetter & Gregor Urech’s talk.

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September 25, 2012

“Designing products with mobile users at the core” - Martin Belam at Mobile Media Strategies 2012

This is a version of the talk I gave today at Mobile Media Strategies 2012

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September 12, 2012

Thinking about mobile and tablet design...

I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking about, and designing, mobile and tablet UIs. So here goes with one of those awkward blog posts where I essentially point at stuff I did elsewhere, and direct you to events I’m talking at...

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July 4, 2012

“New digital divides” - Martin Belam at Hacks/Hackers Canterbury

On Monday night I spoke at the inaugural meeting of Hacks/Hackers Canterbury. Here is an essay version of my talk.

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May 24, 2012

“Designing the mobile wallet” - Tim Caynes at London IA

Last week we had the latest London IA evening, featuring a packed programme with an IA Summit theme, as Tim Caynes and Johanna Kollmann reprised their talks from New Orleans, and Giles Colborne provided an overview of the event. Here are my notes from Tim Caynes’ talk about designing the mobile wallet.

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March 30, 2012

“Cabbies and code: the making of Hailo” - Russell Hall and George Berkowski at Hacks/Hackers London

At this week’s Hacks/Hackers London meet-up, the first talk of the evening was about black cab application Hailo, presented by Russell Hall and George Berkowski. Here are my notes.

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March 29, 2012

A busy time for Guardian Beta

It has been a busy couple of weeks on the Guardian Beta site. Over the last few days we’ve launched or started testing several new products. Here are some of the details.

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March 20, 2012

A thoroughly refreshing approach to news design from ITV News

This week ITV News relaunched with a site that made a radical break with the one they had before, and which frees itself from a lot of the baggage that usually comes when designing a news site. It certainly still has some rough edges, but it is a fascinating approach.

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February 28, 2012

“How the FT shifted from native apps to web apps” - Steve Pinches at Hacks/Hackers London

Here are my notes from Hacks/Hackers London meet-up where Steve Pinches from the FT gave a very open and frank talk about their work in the mobile space. He is product manager for that area, and was talking particularly about their move to HTML5 web apps and away from native apps.

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January 29, 2012

Online newspaper metrics? The grey lady doth protest too much, methinks

There’s been quite a fuss around the latest set of usage figures for news websites, with comScore suggesting that Mail Online has overtaken the New York Times as the world’s leading online newspaper. The Times has taken the odd step of both disputing the figures and the relevance - saying the inclusion of thisismoney distorted the number by adding an extra million or so. Spokesperson Eileen Murphy added: “a quick review of our site versus the Daily Mail should indicate quite clearly that they are not in our competitive set.” The grey lady doth protest too much, methinks

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December 1, 2011

“From Print to Pixel” - John-Henry Barac at UX People

John-Henry Barac is someone I have worked closely with at the Guardian on projects like our iPhone and other mobile apps, and he has written several thoughtful essays about the app and touchscreen user experience on his blog, so I was really looking forward to hearing him talk at UX People. He was discussing his personal journey from print design to “literally pushing pixels” through the touch-screen interface. Here are my notes from the session.

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October 17, 2011

How the Guardian’s iPad app changed the way that I consumed news

We’ve had a lot of products launch over the last few weeks at the Guardian, including Android and Windows phone apps and our Facebook app, but none have been as high profile as our iPad launch. With a design team of Mark Porter, Andy Brockie, Barry Ainslie and John-Henry Barac, you wouldn’t expect it to be anything other than beautiful, and using it has changed the way that I consume news.

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October 3, 2011

“Serendipity: The Hope and the Myth” - Oli Shaw at London IA

At London IA last week, Oli Shaw was reprising his EuroIA talk about serendipity. It is, he said, a lovely word on the tongue, but has been rated as one of the hardest English words to translate into another language. Here are my notes from his talk.

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September 24, 2011

“Pervasive IA for the Sentient City” - Andrea Resmini and Luca Rosati at EuroIA 2011

I’m trying to “live blog” my notes from EuroIA in Prague as quickly as I can. Here are my takeaway points from Andrea Resmini and Luca Rosati’s talk about pervasive IA in our cities, which has just finished. You’ll have to be forgiving of an above average number of typos...

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September 23, 2011

“Designing today’s web” - Luke Wroblewski at EuroIA 2011

This year’s EuroIA Summit kicked off with a keynote from Luke Wroblewski - whose book on web form design is one of my personal bibles. Here are my notes.

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September 8, 2011

New Guardian app for Android

We’ve got a shiny brand new Guardian Android app in the Android market place. It is one of several product launches we’ve got planned over the next few weeks, which makes for an exciting (but busy) time. I’m particularly pleased with the Android app though as it is the first big product launch where Karen Loasby has led the UX since she joined me earlier in the year.

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July 21, 2011

The Times iPhone app review - a thumbs up from me

I suspect that most blog posts about News International this week will be on another topic, but I’ve been reviewing The Times iPhone app. Here are a few of the things I’ve noticed and liked or disliked.

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July 4, 2011

Better contextual mobile testing, and barriers to adopting usability - UPA Redux #3

Recently I was in Atlanta for the UPA conference. Here is part three of my notes from the week, featuring Amy Buckner & Pamela Walshe talking about contextual mobile research, Susan Dray talking about barriers to adopting usability techniques, and a big helping of my own technology failure.

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March 28, 2011

"There's an app for that" panel session about mobile, iPhone and iPad apps at the Mediaguardian Changing Media Summit

I attended a couple of sessions at the recent Guardian Changing Media Summit in Kings Place. One of them featured a panel talking about the emerging world of apps for tablet and mobile devices. Here are my notes from the session.

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January 12, 2011

Student video interview with me about the impact of mobile technology on journalism and newspapers

A couple of weeks ago Myressa Markham came to visit me at The Guardian. She is studying Electronic Publishing at City University London and is doing a project about the impact of mobile technology on journalism. As part of it she came in to interview me.

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November 5, 2010

Guardian Open Platform powers the relaunch

Yesterday we unveiled a brand spanking new version of our mobile site. As well as a fresh look, there has been a significant change in the back-end. I blogged earlier in the week about Mike Bracken's presentation to the Gartner Symposium, where he talked about how the Open Platform saves us development costs. is an example of just such a product, built off our content API.

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November 3, 2010

Reactions to my 'shift to mobile is revolutionising online news design' Media Briefing piece

There was quite a bit of reaction to my article on The Media Briefing last week: "How the shift to mobile is revolutionising online news design".

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October 26, 2010

@currybet around the web today...

No blog post planned for today, but I have been cropping up in a couple of other places on the web if you need a daily fix of @currybet-related content...

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October 6, 2010

'Mobile first IA' is ultra-focused IA - Johann Richard at EuroIA 2010

The second session I went to on the Saturday morning at EuroIA 2010 had a focus on the mobile platform, as Johann Richard from UNIC spoke about how to "Start Your IA with Mobile". Johann gave some very clear examples of how the small screen and context of use on phones forces you to focus on the key tasks and activities the user needs to be able to achieve. With mobile use in mind, forms become simpler, navigation tauter, and the complexity of choice is reduced for the user.

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October 4, 2010

The MacGyvers of mobile usability testing - Belén Barros Pena and Bernard Tyers at EuroIA 2010

At EuroIA this year, Belén Barros Pena and Bernard Tyers were presenting their approach to DIY usability testing on mobile devices. Having listed various expensive ways of doing it, and their drawbacks, the duo then MacGyver'd up a device that clamped to a phone, and filmed the screen as a user carried out the test.

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July 29, 2010

Mediatique's BBC Trust research raises more questions about the lack of a BBC iPhone app Public Value Test

Without wanting to become a single subject blog this week, I wanted to return to the topic of the BBC Trust decision not to carry out a full Public Value Test into the BBC's entry into the smartphone apps market. One thing I will give the Trust praise for is, that like the Governors before them, they make their research documents public. I've had a little time to study the report they commissioned from Mediatique, and I wanted to pick up on a few points it contained.

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July 26, 2010

Should the BBC have entered the iTunes store without a full Public Value Test?

Last week the BBC Trust gave permission for the BBC to launch applications into the iTunes store. As someone who has worked on The Guardian's competing iPhone app, and given the fragile state of the news industry business model, I couldn't help but be disappointed that the BBC Trust did not put the proposal through a full Public Value Test.

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May 28, 2010

Future of web design: Tips on iPhone design and wireframing with Sarah Parmenter and Brad Haynes

At 'Future of web design' in London, Brad Haynes gave a session on tips for wireframing, and Sarah Parmenter delivered an excellent set of 10 tips for iPhone application design. Here are my notes from the sessions.

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May 14, 2010

#dendatameet notes - Oscar Westlund and mobile news

At #dendatameet this week, Oscar Westlund gave a presentation about news consumption on mobile phones. Here are some of my notes from his talk.

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April 30, 2010

The mobile digital general election - official party iPhone app review

As part of their election campaign, the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Green parties have all launched official iPhone applications. I've reviewed and compared them.

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March 30, 2010

Why the BBC Trust simply had to examine the BBC's iPhone plans

The decision of the BBC Trust to examine whether the BBC's iPhone application plans need further regulatory oversight is the right one, and the only that could have been made.

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December 15, 2009

Real-time web provides real-time feedback on The Guardian's iPhone application

Real-time web gives real-time feedback on Guardian iPhone app
Twitter is transforming the way that digital products are launched.

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July 10, 2009

Nokia's near-real-time adverts on the Northern Line

Yesterday Kings Cross seemed to be the epicentre of a London Transport #fail that thwarted my every move, but it did mean that I got an enjoyable bit of serendipity. As I was forced to unexpectedly re-route my journey via the Northern Line platforms at Euston, I spotted this advert. And then the delays meant I had time to film it. In the last few days I've been in a debate about how news organisations have totally failed to sell...
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May 29, 2009

Newspapers on the go - Metro and The Sun

Yesterday I was casting a (very) quick eye over the mobile offerings of The Telegraph and The Times. Today I'm looking at the sites that The Sun and Metro offer to users on-the-go. The Sun Of the sites I looked at, The Sun's was by far the most nakedly commercial. Sometimes literally so. Their homepage had a strong focus not just on the news, but on calls to actions to download ringtones, wallpapers and games, which are provided by a...
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May 28, 2009

Newspapers on the go - The Times and The Telegraph

Back in March The Guardian launched a specifically formatted mobile version of the site at At the time I thought it might be worth having a quick poke around to see what other newspapers in the UK were doing with their sites in the mobile space. Since then it seems that I've been at so many different digital media and journalism events or gigs that I never got round to blogging about what I saw. Here are some of...
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March 17, 2009

The mobile web's penalty shoot-out - Nokia N95 vs iPhone

Last Wednesday Arsenal's Champions League tie against Roma went to penalties - but the real shoot-out for me was in the Crown & Sceptre pub on Foley Street, between @solle's iPhone and my Nokia N95. It was 'London IA in the Pub' night, but Matthew and I were a little distracted by the game. Once it went to extra-time we nearly ducked out to a nearby pub that had Sky, but instead we ended up watching the penalty shoot-out in...
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March 10, 2009

Reactions to The Guardian's new mobile site

Last week The Guardian launched a new bespoke mobile version of our website at During the same week It was interesting to see that there was still some life left in the should-you-or-shouldn't-you have a specific mobile facing presence. Jakob Nielsen still very much thinks you should. "Mobile phone users struggle mightily to use websites, even on high-end devices. To solve the problems, websites should provide special mobile versions." Bruce Lawson over at ZDnet disagreed: "He's wrong. Making two...
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February 1, 2009

Disposable mobile handsets from environmentally challenged Orange

I don't suppose I should allow myself to be surprised anymore, but I'm still astonished at how badly wrong some major brands can get contact with their customers. Take my mobile phone provider for example. I woke up the other day reasonably well disposed to Orange. I've had some issues with their website in the past, and don't think I would score them highly in a net promoter test, but I was pretty happy with my phone and my tariff....
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January 12, 2009

"Beyond the browser: Usability in mobile interaction design" UX Corner meet-up

Last week I went to a London UX Corner meet-up entitled "Beyond the browser: Usability in mobile interaction design". The event was held in one of Sun Microsystem's London offices, and featured 3 speakers. As hosts, Sun got to give a brief plug for their UK start-ups network, which is free to join for companies less than 6 years old with fewer than 150 employees on the books, and promises beer and pizza as well as tech help. "Intricacies of...
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December 5, 2008

'Xmas futures, crystal balls?' - Festive Chinwag Live

I had a hectic day on Tuesday, as after speaking at the FreePint stand at Online Information I then headed into central London for the last Chinwag Live event of the year. Entitled 'Xmas futures, crystal balls?' it asked a panel of experts, chaired by the BBC's Richard Titus, to gaze 5 years into the future and imagine the mobile and new media landscape in 2013. Certainly the person on the panel with the most intriguing sounding job was Jonathan...
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March 23, 2008

Postcard from Macau #6: The land of SMS spam

I recently spent three weeks visiting Macau, the former Portuguese territory on the south coast of China. As a former colony like Hong Kong, it is now a 'Special Administrative Region'. This post is one of a series looking at aspects of information design, user experience, internet use and journalism that interested me when I was there. Macau's telecomms industry seems to have a great deal of competition in the mobile network sector. With leaks from mainland China, at...
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September 4, 2007

Orange could do with a usability upgrade

I used the Orange online service last week to upgrade my phone - and I have to say I was left distinctly unimpressed with some of the usability. I still retain a UK mobile phone for when I'm in the country. It means that I've been able to keep the same number that I've been giving out since the year dot on business cards and email signatures. However, if you've tried to call me on my UK phone over the...
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August 10, 2007

T-Mobile MMS addicted to Internet Explorer on the web

A friend sent me a picture message from the UK the other day. It originated from the T-Mobile network, and made its way across Europe to arrive on my non-MMS enabled Vodafone network phone in Greece. It appeared as a text message with a link and a password. I was very impressed with the whole cross-platform, cross-network, cross-national boundary operation. Until I got to the web bit of it course. The first thing that greeted me when I tried to...
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March 14, 2007

Slacker equivalent already on the market in Europe - meet Sony and Vodafone's Radio DJ

There has been a bit of a buzz around the announcement of a service called Slacker in the USA, which will be a device which plays personalised radio stations to the user on the go. Matt Marshall at VentureBeat even touted it as a potential "iPod killer". As I read through the promised feature-set, I started to get a little nagging voice in my head, saying "Hang on, isn'" Because for the last few months I've been working on...
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February 14, 2007

Thanks for the score BBC Sport - but who actually won?

I'm sure, like the media coverage of A-Level results, I moan about this every year, but it is that time of the year - F.A. Cup replays - where I get to gripe again about the way replay results are presented on the BBC's mobile phone service. Last night provided a classic example. The tie between Middlesbrough and Bristol City turned out to be an epic of the genre, with first one team being ahead, then the other, and in...
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January 29, 2007

The anonymous CD sleeves in 3's music download advertising campaign

I was on the top deck of a London bus last week, and noticed that all of the advertising space had been given over to promoting mobile network operator 3's music download store. They are advertising that the service has half a million tracks, and is, of course, open anywhere you can get a mobile signal, including the top deck of the bus itself. A couple of things struck me about the advert, which featured shelves and shelves of CD...
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January 17, 2007

Coverage of the Apple and Cisco iPhone trademark battle

Yesterday I wrote about the accessibility issue with Apple's newly announced "iPhone" product - and my concern that should many devices end up adopting their approach of a mobile phone without a tactile interface, usability for the large section of the population with some visual or motor impairment might be a problem. I also looked at the very vocal response of a section of the Apple fan community to the very suggestion that this might even be a question worth...
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January 16, 2007

iPhone and the blindness of the Apple fans

Well, it seemed churlish not to join in with virtually every other blog I read and not post something about the mobile phone / multimedia device you may have seen launched by Apple last week. I have to start by saying that I am intrigued by the user interface, and I'll be fascinated to hear about how people get on with it out in the wild. Rather than talk about the much-vaunted product itself, I wanted to look at a...
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