Microsoft tag! The next era of advertising?

I came across something called Microsoft Tag for the first time when I was checking out free applications to download for my Windows Mobile phone from Microsoft's website. Microsoft tag was vaguely described as a barcode reader. So, I just downloaded it, and tried to read some barcodes with it, which it refused to. Then I went to internet to find what is Microsoft Tag.

Technically, Microsoft tag, is a multicolor barcode technology developed by Microsoft, which uses colored triangles to store information in the form of an unique ID. So, if you are thinking what is use of this unique ID, the answer is that the mobile phone application that scans and decodes the tag, will send this ID to the Microsoft server, from where it can get more information about the ID. Like websites, phone numbers, e-mail IDs etc.
But what makes it different from the conventional barcodes is that a cameraphone can read Tags from different distances. From wall posters, hoarding, computer screens, wrappers, anywhere. The publisher would get the statistics of who the person who has read his tag. So it is like a new way of advertising. If your mobile phone can get the position information along with the tag, the publisher can give you local results based on your location. So, you get the information you want, the publisher can target the customers in a better manner.

The great thing about Microsoft tag is that it is free (at least till date) and anyone can get a tag for himself and configure to his website or blog. I have already got a t-shirt printed with a tag which directs to this post. Fun eh?
The catch is that technology is still in Beta, so maybe once it is out of beta, it may not be free anymore.
Let us see how Google responds to this?

Get your tag here.
Microsoft Tag home.


"Honey, I shrunk the shuffle!"

Steve Jobs maybe still fighting his ailment and is not in office. But that doesn't stop Apple, as they introduced the new iPod shuffle over a week ago. iPod is the product that reminds us of the revival of Apple, under Steve Jobs. And now iPod shuffle III launched without Steve Jobs [ still developed under Steve Jobs], let us see how good it is.
Shuffle is the cheapest of the iPod range, and like any 'next version' , the first thing that you would notice in iPod shuffle 3.0 is the form factor. Moving away from the original square faced shuffle, the newer version comes in the shape an USB stick, standing 1.8" tall. And you would also notice the navigation keys missing from the shuffle, except for the repeat/shuffle/off toggle key next to the headphone port.
Yes, that is the major setback [or innovation, as you may see it] of the new iPod. The navigation keys come in the earbud cord. Yes, like in the mobile phones [which I hate] you have to locate the keys from the cord and press on them. Also the navigation is the least intuitive and lot lesser Apple like, without the click wheel. This also means that you cannot use any other headphones other than the proprietary Apple earphones, unless you buy a "third party dongle" which would station the controls.
There are only three keys in the keytab, volume up/down keys and a big button. The button is used for every navigation action like, single click for play/pause; double click to goto next track and triple click for previous track. Yeah, really awkward and a giant leap backwards in terms of innovation. Think, to move from 5th track to 2nd track, you are going to click nine times, makes us wonder, if Apple endorsing Morse code, by any chance?
The next big 'feature' that ships with iPod Shuffle v3.0 is, VoiceOver. No, it would make Skype calls for you! iPod shuffle does not have a display, and you could be lost [with 4Gb/ 1000 songs in you array], the new VoiceOver will tell you the song tags, as you navigate, the playlist names, and even the battery charging status, as you plug your pod to AC Mains. All this without disrupting the track that is currently playing, blending in smoothly. Don't get amazed thinking how could such a small device do a text-to-speech. The voice tags are added to each track/ playlist, as you add them from your new iTunes software from your PC/Mac. The good thing is the iTunes will recognize [Apple says so] the language of the song and do the VoiceOver in that language, and it can do so for over 14 languages [But I don't see any of the 500 Indian languages in the list :p]. Apple also says, you will get different voice depending upon the type of computer you are using to sync with.
Overall, iPod Shuffle 3.0 is a mixture of VoiceOver and the not so comfortable controls. Let us see how this performs [sans Steve], with its $79 price tag.
Another accompanying news is that an iPod touch blasted in the pocket of a teenager, and Apple has been sued over that. So, Apple does blow a hole in your pocket!

Why Motorola is still at the bottom of the table!

Motorola recently launched the "smallest & lightest" Enterprise Digital Assistant EDA] class phones, for the business class.
It leverages on Motorola's mobile computing platform architecture, MC55 and the features include, Windows Mobile Pro. 6.1,two-way radio, bar code scanner, digital camera, and mobile computer into a compact and lightweight design. It supports the GSM/GPRS/EDGE standard for wireless wide-area networks, offering voice and data services to provide the information needed for better decision making and business results. With an array of features, like integrated GPS,the new MC55 EDA supports a host of real-time location-based applications.
The phones have a whopping 3.5" [for comparison, iPhone has a 3.5"] and qwerty-keyboard, and has many unheard features like a 1D laser scanner, 2D imager, WLAN, WIFI,WWAN, VoIP, Push-to-talk, even support soft phone clients and integration with installed IP PBXs.
All goody goody?

This is how the phones look like!!

No, this is not some kind of joke of spoof. This is REAL!!