There has been a Mobile Safari optimized version of Amazon.com for a long time now, and it’s a site I use a lot. I was extremely exicted to find out that Amazon has realesed a native application for the iPhone and iPod Touch. TUAW has a good write up about the app. One of the most interesting features is the “Remembers” feature. You can apparently take a photo of an object and upload it to Amazon. A couple mintues later you will be sent a link to the product. I’m not sure how they’re doing this, whether they’re licensing technology like TinEye or running the image to a bank of humans… but if it works as advertised, it will become an indespensible part of my shopping habits.
I was very glad to see that Amazon has made it easy to add items to your wishlist. I use the wishlist a lot to keep track of items I’m interested in but I’m not ready to buy.
I tried out the Remembers feature, and it really surprised me! It recgonized my new 15″ Macbook Pro from a really poor photo I snapped. And it did it quickly.
As Nathan mentioned in the comments, the Remembers system isn’t working off of any image recognition software or anything like that. Instead, it’s leveraging the Mechanical Turk system that Amazon launched not too long ago. Anyone can sign up to complete short tasks, such as looking at a picture submitted by the Amazon iPhone app, and returning the Amazon store URL. Check out more information at www.mturk.com.
This one’s a bit hard to explain, it’s best that you just watch the video real quick.
Using accelerometers, vibration motors, and sound, a mobile device can convey it’s contents to you through tactile and audible feedback. So if you get an e-mail, that e-mail is represented as a metalic ball in the device. Shaking the device makes the ball bounce around, producing sound and vibrations. Multiple messages cause multiple sounds, and different senders can create different tones.
It’s not completely practical as presented… I can’t imagine walking around with unread e-mails, making jingling sounds, but to me, the concept is extremely strong.
Anyone with a data plan on their cell phone, and the ability to run Java programs, should be using Opera Mini 4 for web browsing. I was using Opera Mini 1 and 2 betas when I used my Treo 650, and it was killer. Now version 4 is out with a ton of new features, and it’s free. Head over to http://www.operamini.com/ in your phone’s current browser and things should install smoothly.
Opera Mini uses the same rendering engine as the desktop version of Opera, so you will get to see websites as they are on your desktop, but with zoom ability (much like Safari on the iPhone/Touch) so you can still navigate on your phone’s smaller screen.
I know that in the past, Windows Mobile’s Java implementation has been pretty shoddy, so unless things have changed Windows Mobile users are best sticking with PocketIE or the much more powerful Opera for Windows Mobile. However, if you’re using PalmOS or another phone with Java, grab Opera Mini right away!
Here’s a note on who can use it:
Opera Mini is available to all Sprint and Cingular customers. Availability for T-Mobile customers is dependent on the subscription plan. BREW-enabled phones, including Verizon, are currently not supported.
However, Verizon Treo users are not out of luck (or any other Treo user for that matter). First, make sure you have IBM Java for the Treo installed, then you can grab the prc for Opera Mini and Hotsync or Bluetooth it to install it.
With the announcement of the iPhone, I haven’t been looking forward to the iPhone itself as much as I have been looking forward to the industry’s reaction to it. Apple’s attention to user interface will be a great shot in the arm for the cellphone market. The hype around the iPhone has shown that user interface is a huge factor to the customer.
The response is already happening. Today HTC brought something very exciting to the table… the HTC Touch. With the Touch, HTC has built a new user interface on top of Windows Mobile 6. It uses a lot of the same finger swiping controls that you see on the iPhone. I think these gesture based displays will become the norm on our devices.