The web world will not be the same in a decade; Be ready for a big change.

Something new is ready to dawn upon in the tech world soon which could change the impact of the whole web world drastically. New Generic Top-Level Program (gTLD) is set to be launched. Don’t be bewildered if you haven’t heard about it because it’s in puberty right now.

A “generic top-level domain” (TLP) part of the domain to the right of the dot (.com, .org, .net). 22 domains across the globe with a choice of making any word a gTLD. The program will commence on January, 2012 and to claim a gTLD companies or organizations would have to meet a specific criteria.

  • They can pony up the hefty application fee ($185,000)
  • They can prove they can afford to run a gTLD year after year
  • They can justify why they should own a particular word as a gTLD – e.g. a travel company is
    unlikely to be successful at justifying buying “.Apple” as a gTLD but they can justify buying “.adventure”
  • It is believed that it will have immense impact on industry, company, marketer as well as the consumer. For more details about the impacts on the world visit.

Nokia launches new Windows Smart phones; Lumia 800 & Lumia 710

With the brimming advancements taking place in the mobile industry, Nokia; once the leading Smartphone manufacturing company, was lagging behind in the race. Nokia fell short of innovations and had to come hard to be in the competition against the likes of Android and Apple. Symbian was losing its charm so to get the latest technology and to be in the race Nokia joined hands with Microsoft earlier this year to start a joint venture and to give itself a chance of coming out of age. Now after some time Nokia has managed to launch its first Windows mobile phones Lumia 800 formerly known as the “Searay” and Lumia 710.

Lumia 800 sports a curved 3.7-inch WVGA ClearBlack AMOLED display, a single-core 1.4GHz processor, and 512MB of RAM. Mobile photographers will find much to like about the 8-megapixel camera with a f/2.2 Carl Zeiss lens, and the 16GB of onboard storage should hold quite a few cat pictures. The specs might not be the persuasive element to make users go for the phone, but the design might: like the N9 before it, the Lumia 800 features a stunning unibody design that’s shaped out of a slab of durable polycarbonate material. The smart phone comes in three colors: black, cyan and magenta.

Nokia Lumia 800

Nokia Lumia 800 : Image taken from The Next Web

As far as Lumia 710 is concerned it is n “affordable”, lower-end version of the Lumia 800 smartphone which shares the same 1.4 Ghz processor. The phone boasts a 3.7-inch LCD “ClearBlack” display, with 16GB of storage and a Carl Zeiss camera. It comes with a range of changeable covers, available in white, blue, pink, yellow and black.

Nokia Lumia 710

Nokia Lumia 710: Image taken from The Next Web

The mobile phones are already set for pre orders and set to launch in UK, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands in November. Customers in Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan will be able to get one by the end of the year, but domestic Windows Phones fans will have to wait until early 2012.

Now the question that lingers is that will Nokia be able to reclaim its lost market share and compete android, iOS by the launch of these stylish new handsets? Share your thoughts with us on this.

Patents War; Is it only the blame game or Does Patents really matter?

It all started in 1421 when Florentine architect Filippo Brunelleschi received a three-year patent for a barge with hoisting gear, that carried marble along the Arno River. Since then, significant patents have been issued over various inventions over the years. We read a lot of blogs and articles about patents being issued everyday and all the giant companies are mostly involved in this blame game of patents and lawsuits. But how do they affect a company? How important are they for the growth of the company and what benefits does it bring to the company? These are some of the questions that an average layman has and here I will try to answer all these questions with the help of some examples.

I shall startoff with the recent $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola by Google, to save one of their best innovations; Android. Google just needed 18 of Motorola’s 17,000 patents to do that but they had to buy out an entire entity for that. The patents include innovations covering location services, antenna designs, e-mail transmission, touch-screen motions, software-application manages and 3G protocols.Now let’s see what made Google disturb their cash flow by making such a big investment. Earlier Google wanted to acquire Nortel Patents but lost that bid to Apple, Microsoft and Ericsson and therefore had to acquire Patents to ensure the survival of Android without any hindrance. Apple is already a mobile phone company with all the necessary patents they need and Microsoft is collaborating with HTC and Nokia to produce Windows mobile, so Google had to make a move to better secure their place and get patents since Google is a rookie in the mobile development field as compared to their competition. Just to make it more effective and efficient Google even hired a patent expert when they lost the bid. Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google Inc., made a point by saying that they acquired Motorola for more than Patents, but not even Eric Schmidt can deny the fact that apparently it was for the patents and the product line they got in deal is a bonus as they still haven’t planned anything on it yet. Rumors have it that Google won’t indulge itself in the making of handsets and compete its own alliance(as HTC and Samsung are already using Android to make their handsets). One of Google’s top layers, David Drummond, even went so far that he wrote a blog and accused big giants like Microsoft of abusing patents to block Android from competing. Google still needs enough patents to protect Android which is why they might look to acquire InterDigital’s 8,800 patents in the coming time. So the importance of Patents can’t be denied for Google.

In this war of the patents, it’s not only Google which is fighting. All the giants are equally participating in the blame game. Apple recently filed a lawsuit against Samsung in Germany to stop their Galaxy Tab 10.1. A patent was filed by Apple on the grounds that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 infringes on the design of iPad2. After official hearings the court ruled that Samsung cannot sell its Galaxy Tab 10.1 because it looks too much like iPad2.This clearly helped Apple capture a market for their iPad 2 and increase their sales as well.Had they not fileda lawsuit against Samsung, they might have had to share the market with Samsung Galaxy Tab, but the patents helped them win a significant market share, eventually increasing their sales and profits. This is how it goes, once a company launches a new product they claim it using patents and make sure that they protect it. It’s pretty unlike intellectual property theft where anyone comes up with an innovative idea which is stolen and no one can claim anything against it. Patents gives you the right to claim your product and fight for it ensuring no one copies it and you hold the unique selling attribute of your product.

The graph below shows the number of Patents being claimed by different companies.

Patents Claimed by Companies

Patents Claimed by Companies

From this graph one can clearly see the number of patents being claimed by the giant companies in the tech world. Samsung has way more than 10,000 patents filed under their name. It is quite evident from these findings that almost all the companies are in this patents warfare. Patents are intangible assets of a company.

This patents blame game doesn’t seem to have an end and it will go on with all the brimming technological advancements taking place currently, with time it will grow as more new products will be launched and innovation will continue to incur.

Web Design Trends in 2011

There is a thin line between design and development, and as we move into a new decade, this line is becoming extremely blurry. Is it enough to draw beautiful mock ups in Photoshop? Maybe 5 years ago. These days, the average internet user requires more. All beauty, with no substance, gets boring after a while. If your only goal is to impress a community of fellow designers with your flashy designs, you’ll find yourself quickly beneath the tide. 2011 is not about beauty, it’s about function. The trends for this new year and emerging decade are responsive design, constant connection and virtual reality.

How will you stay relevant as a designer in 2011? The ultimate goal of a designer is not to dazzle but to entangle. Any designer can get ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ that are easily forgotten. The supreme designer is able to create an environment which charms and captivates the user to the point where he does not want to find the ‘Back’ button. Several elements come together to forge such a wonderland: harmonious color scheme, intuitive design, easily accessible information and fast response. Additionally, one can never under-estimate the power of simplicity. Of course, this has always been the case, but in 2011, you are no longer at the forgiving discretion of the desktop, or even laptop, computer. Now, your design must contend with smart phones, netbooks, tablets and the like. Are you ready?

Take a gander at the top 11 trends for 2011.

1. More CSS3 + HTML5

What a gratifying sigh of relief! CSS3 and HTML5 have been on the distant horizon of web design for the past couple of years, but now, in 2011, we see an explosion of it. Designers are finally starting to let go of Flash. However you may feel about Flash, you do know that it does not play well with some of the hot, new technology available to your current and potential visitors. In 2011, you will slowly step away from Flash and embrace the magic known as HTML5. Look at the amazingly similar comparison:

Now that’s shown, please understand that Flash and HTML5 are not equal opponents. There is plenty of room for both in 2011. The problem is that designers in 2010 (and before) misused Flash. Case in point, very rarely should your entire site be made of Flash, especially these days. HTML5 alleviates some of the burden we have placed on Flash. However, HTML5 cannot (yet) replace the extraordinary design elements we can achieve through Flash.

Perhaps even more exciting is the fact that CSS3 is available to us in a real way this year. Move over Photoshop (wow, Adobe just cannot rest), because CSS3 is making short work of text shadow, border radius and image transparency. If you have not already begun, now is the time to really delve into understanding CSS3 and HTML5.

2. Simple Color Schemes

Simplicity. There’s nothing quite as impacting as an honest message on a quiet backdrop. Quiet can be interpreted several different ways. Forget black and white or shades of gray. Think of green, yellow or even red as your primary color. However, limit your palette to two or three colors. Work within the shades of each color for variety. It can be truly remarkable what a few colors can do for your message. Observe:

Shades of green create this Twitter visualization tool. Side note: this site was created with XHTML/CSS and Javascript..

3. Mobile Ready

Smartphones, iPads, netbooks, oh my! There’s a dizzying amount of mobile products available to the consumer in 2011. This means your web design must be responsive to multiple viewports.

Creating a mobile ready website is not simply removing the bells and whistles from your design. This can create a vacant and impersonal design. Although not impossible, distilling the magic from your original design into a pure representation of your brand is tough! Fortunately, technology is quickly removing this burden.

With the help of CSS3, primarily media queries, mobile web design has taken a big leap forward (more on this later). One of the most important advances is that you can design a whole site and allow your coding to conform to the user’s viewing medium.

It may be tempting to just create a dedicated mobile site, but that may no longer satisfy your audience. Increasingly, mobile sites include the option to visit the original site. If you do not offer this option or if your original site is not optimized to mobile standards, you are simply not ready for 2011. Forecasters predict that smartphones will outsell personal computers this year. Bulletproof your design to meet this demand.

4. Parallax Scrolling

Parallax scrolling: not just for old school video games. As aforementioned, the hot web design trend for 2011 is creating a sense of depth. What better way to create that than with parallax scrolling? The parallax effect uses layers to present the illusion of a 3 dimensional space. It can be accomplished with some simple CSS tricks or the help of jQuery plugins like Spritely. Parallax scrolling can be most effective as a secondary element on your design, for example, as a header, footer, or background. Making it an integral part of your navigation may prove frustrating for your site visitor.

The Old Pulteney Row to the Pole website uses a top down parallax scrolling effect for the background. This adds a nice subtle amount of depth and lots of interest.

5. Designing for Touch Screens, Not Mice

Technology has become much more tactile. Usability is shifting from abstract to tangible. This means that instead of navigating your mouse to remotely connect, your destination is literally at your fingertips. Tablets, most smartphones and some desktops use touchscreens. Does your design accommodate fingertip navigation?

How much of your design is mouse-oriented? As designers, we worship mice. Our links light up when the mouse hovers over. However, there’s no hovering in touchscreen. How will your design indicate links to your visitors? What about drop-down menus? That’s also a no-go in touchscreen design.

Similarly, how will visitors peruse your site? As controversial as it may be for standard web browsing, horizontal scrolling may be more appropriate for touchscreens. Fitting nicely into this niche is a magazine-like layout where visitors virtually flip through your site.

Lastly, consider using liquid layouts as part of your commitment toward responsive design. In 2011, you are no longer dealing with screen resolution size. Visitors can change their viewing orientation from vertical to horizontal. Your design must be flexible to meet any challenge, or you will be a relic of 2010.

6. Depth Perception in Web Design

No, we are not dealing with the aerial ‘I can see your coffee cup and keyboard on your website’ design of two years ago. Depth perception is about creating dimension in your web design, so that parts of your site looks nearer than others. It conjures a faux 3D effect when done masterfully. Remember what it felt like watching the blockbuster 3D movie, Avatar? The elements jumped off of the screen, quite literally.

Although 3D technology has no yet made it to web design, you can still replicate depth in your design.

This playful website features a rotatable, 3D planet and makes use of depth with well-placed shadows and layering.

7. Large Photographic Backgrounds

Large scale backdrops will surge in 2011. These images will be high resolution, and covering the entire site. Large photos are an instant way to grab your audience– they cannot help but to see it and have an opinion about it. The background photo must be content-appropriate. Simply having a pretty image in the background without any context will disrupt your user’s experience. Trends point to soft and slightly transparent imagery that does not over shadow your content, but harmonizes with it.

This site makes use of high-resolution photos and the predominant color is yellow throughout.

8. Adventurous Domain Names & Integration

Although not in the strictest sense a web design issue, look forward to seeing more creative domain names. The once-coveted .com domain has lost a lot of its appeal– primarily because you have to think up words in Na’Vi in order to find a domain that has not been thought up yet. 2011 will see a more wide-spread venture away from .com and into more whimsical domains like .me or .us. Think of the possibilities and scoop it up before it’s gone.

.me is a great domain to use for personal portfolios, or blogs, especially if you want a seperate identity from your corporate brand.

9. QR: Quick Response

If you have noticed those square barcodes popping on business cards, magazines or else where, you may already know that they are a hot trend for 2011. How exactly does it translate into web design? Amazingly well, in fact.

The barcodes are called QR, short for Quick Response. Simply take a photo of the unique barcode with your camera phone. Like magic, your phone will call up the website associated with said barcode. The beautiful thing about QR is that you can use it in a myriad of ways. Feature your QR on your website, in order for site visitors to have a shortcut to your mobile site. You can also track your visitors through QR, by placing a special referral code on your URL. When you are leaving comments on sites such as this, use the QR as your avatar.

2011 is all about mobility and it will be smart to take advantage of this new medium.

10. Thumbnail Design

The ever-enterprising folks at Google have introduced the average user to thumbnail browsing. Gone are the days of clicking through to see the content of a website. These days, you just click on the magnifying glass and hover (assuming you’re not on a touchscreen). Magically before you is a glimpse of what waits on the other side of your click.

If your design is Flash-based, that is definitely going to be a problem. The preview will not display those elements of your design.

As the average internet user becomes more surfing-savvy in 2011, expect to see more people navigating by these means. It is just too great of a temptation not to judge a site by its thumbnail.

Apple Reveals Siri Voice Interface: The “Intelligent Assistant” Only For iPhone 4S

All those rumors of deep voice integration in iOS 5have just been confirmed. Scott Forstall is back onstage demoing the new “intelligent assistant” service, which surprisingly retains its original name: Siri.

Activating Siri requires a quick hold of the home button, and then Siri is ready to listen. So far, Forstall’s demos seem to confirm what we’ve already heard: it’s surprisingly robust, and is a champion when it comes to interpreting voice input.

So far, Forstall has asked Siri the current time in Paris, how the NASDAQ is doing today, and the location of great Greek food in Palo Alto. So far, Siri has answered all queries with aplomb, and the crowd is really getting a kick out of it.

The integration with iOS seems to be just as impressive as we’ve been hearing: you can ask it to remind you to call someone before you leave the office, and it’ll automatically create an entry in the Reminders app, complete with a geo-fence just to be sure. You can also ask Siri to read your queued messages to you and make an appointment in the Calendar app.

The worst part so far? Siri indeed seems to require the iPhone 4S’s extra horsepower, because it appears to be a 4S exclusive. The kicker? Siri was originally a run-of-the-mill iPhone app. What a shame.

Siri will be a beta for the time being, as it only supports English, German, and French voice input, but there are more language add-ons and tweaks to come.

Many thanks to sister site Engadget for the images!

Apple Officially Announces The iPhone 4S: Same Design, All New Guts

It’s official: sixteen months after the launch of the last iteration, Apple CEO Tim Cook has just taken the stage to announce the next iPhone. It’s called the iPhone 4S.

… and it looks exactly like an iPhone 4.

Uncharacteristically for Apple, official word of the iPhone 4S actually crossed the wire a bit early when the page for Apple’s store in Ginza, Japan mentioned the device.

The whispers around the rumor mill constantly contradicted each other regarding Apple’s next iPhone. Some foresaw the iPhone 4S; others saw an iPhone 5 on the way. Some claimed it’d be both. If an iPhone 5 is on this year’s launch calendar, it hasn’t been mentioned yet at this event.

The iPhone 4S will go up for pre-order on October 7th, with the first shipments set to arrive on October 12th.

The specs disclosed so far:

  • Dual-core A5 CPU, said to be “2x as fast at CPU tasks”
  • Dual-core graphics, up to “7x faster than the previous iPhone”
  • Battery life estimates: 8 hours talk time on 3G, 14 hours on 2G. 6 hours of browsing on 3G, 9 on Wi-Fi. 10 hours of video playback, 40 hours of music.
  • Theoretical download speeds of 14.4Mbps (as opposed to 7.2 on the iPhone 4.) Interestingly, Schiller called out Motorola, LG, and HTC for calling these speeds “4G”.
  • World Phone (in other words, the one model will handle both GSM [like AT&T] and CDMA [like Verizon], and it should work well in most countries around the world)
  • 8 megapixel camera (Photo resolution: 3264 x 2448). The camera also takes advantage of image processing on the A5 chip, enabling stuff like Face detection and 26% more accurate white balance.
  • 1080p video recording with real-time noise reduction and video stabilization (!)
  • Voice-controlled personal assistant. You can ask things like “Will it rain in Cupertino?”, or “Can you find me a Greek Restaurant in Palo Alto?”, or “What’s the time in Paris?” and it’ll answer accordingly. This is the culmination of their purchase of Siri back in 2010 — and surprisingly enough, they’re keeping the “Siri” name.
  • Available in black or white
  • Pricing 16GB for $199, 32GB for $299, or 64GB for $399. This is the first time Apple has offered a 64GB iPhone.
  • Will be offered in the US by AT&T, Verizon, and most notably: Sprint!

Recently in Web Development

Web development is an industry that’s in a state of constant flux with technologies and jargon changing and mutating in an endless cycle. Not to mention the sheer deluge of information one has to process everyday.

In this post, all the important news, announcements, releases and interesting discussions within the web development industry will be brought to you in a concise package.

Firefox 7 Officially Available

And just like that another version of the hugely popular Firefox browser is out. In keeping with their earlier promise of faster release, version 7 is out just a few weeks after version 6.

The new version is touted to use as low half as much as memory as the previous version. A little testing does indeed show the the browser is much snappier than before. Another feature that should keep users and web devs happy is hardware acceleration for the canvas tag. As someone who messes around with canvas all the time, this is indeed a big one.

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Ruby on Rails 3.1 is Released

This one is for the Rails aficionados. This extremely popular Ruby framework just released a major point release of the framework. Big features in this version include jQuery being included as the default JavaScript library and support for HTTP streaming.

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jQuery Mobile arc2released!

The jQuery team is back at their super productive best with their beta 3 and RC1 release of jQuery mobile.

Among a big set of fixes and improvements, this release also include support for pushState and the beforechangepage event along with improvements for the iOS5 platform.

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PostgreSQL 9.1 is Out

Among all the talk about noSQL, it’s easy to forget that we still are in a world where SQL is the dominant force. PostgreSQL, one of the well known SQL vendors just released a point update to their software with a lot of new features and improvements.

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MongoDB 2.0 Released

MongoDB is out with version 2 of their flagship MongoDB data store. MongoDB is one of the more well kno

wn noSQL solutions and just finished a round of funding from Sequoia, for the more entrepreneurish amongst you.

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Rails Installer Now Supports Rails 3.1

While Unix and Linux devs have the luxury of an easy workflow on their platforms, getting Rails setup well on Windows is still a chore.

RailsInstaller, an EngineYard effort, seeks to streamline this process. They just updated their software to support Rails 3. If you’re a Windows Rails developer, make sure to grab this!

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