Hot topics in the tech blogs for the week of October 9: Adobe debuts the Adobe Flash Player 10.1 and announces almost 50 companies are taking part in its Open Screen Project, bloggers concerned over new FTC guidelines, Amazon brings their best selling eReader to consumers across the world, AT&T customers able to use VoIP on their smartphones, and Windows Mobile 6.5 disappoints bloggers.
Adobe Open Screen Project
On October 5, Adobe announced that it has almost 50 companies participating in the Open Screen Project - a project that will enable consumers to view full HD videos, interact with expressive applications and access dynamic content via the internet on their smartphones using the latest version of the Adobe Flash Player, 10.1. With 85 percent of the top 100 websites utilising Adobe Flash to play dynamic content on their websites and 75 percent of all web-based videos using Flash (figures from Adobe), Mobile phone users are eager to have Flash compatible smartphones. Bloggers embraced the news but were mostly concerned that Apple was not included in the list of participating companies. Technology blogs complained that the iPhone will become one of the few smartphones not to play flash content directly on the device.
FTC Final Guides governing endorsements and testimonials
On October 5 America's Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published the final version of the guides that govern endorsements and testimonials in the US. Bloggers were concerned that the new regulations clamped down on free speech and could result in bloggers or those who use social media to endorse a product could be hit with a hefty fine for non-disclosure. There was also concern in the blogs that the guidelines were overly vague and could easily lead to misinterpretation. The FTC's guide specifically detailed the way in which bloggers and social media users will have to disclose any form of monetary payment or on non-cash kickbacks (such as free products) in connection with their endorsements.
For months bloggers located outside of the US have been begging Amazon (or any other eReader maker) to launch their products throughout the international market. On October 7 Amazon finally acquiesced to the requests, announcing the "Kindle with U.S. and International Wireless". The device will be available to people in over 100 countries worldwide, with releases in further countries (such as Canada) planned for the future. The onboard 3G connection provided by American carrier AT&T will enable users to purchase and download digital copies of books, magazines, comics and newspapers while they are in the US and overseas. The international version of the Kindle 2 eReader will start shipping on October 19 and will be priced at $279. Bloggers are rumouring that Amazon will also bring their high-end Kindle DX to the international market sometime in 2010.
AT&T says yes to VoIP
After the great debate over why Google Voice was rejected from Apple's App Store (and many sneaking suspicions that AT&T was behind Apple's rejection of the app), AT&T have changed their tune and are now allowing VoIP applications to run on their network (previously smartphone users with AT&T had to use VoIP applications over WiFi on their devices). Making calls using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) enables consumers to make calls over the internet either for free or at heavily reduced prices. After months of badmouthing AT&T, bloggers finally applauded the telecommunications company for enabling the change.
Windows Mobile 6.5
There was a huge backlash in the technology blogs when journalists got a closer look at Microsoft's latest Mobile operating system, Windows Mobile 6.5 on October 6. The mobile OS was not quite up to expectations, prompting headlines such as "Windows Mobile 6.5 Review: There's No Excuse For This" and "Windows Mobile 6.5 Arrives, Mostly Disappoints". Windows Mobile 6.5 was designed to appeal to users that need to use their phone in both the workplace and at home, combining business functions such as web browsing, mobile versions of Microsoft office and push email with social networking, live chat and multimedia functions. On closer inspection bloggers found the OS to have simply undergone a "cosmetic facelift".