Get Mobile Notification on your PC with PushBullet

Pushbullet-640x401 Everything has been done to death so when someone thinks of something so simple and yet so useful, well, you gotta hand it to them.

PushBullet is one of those apps that resides both on your mobile and your Desktop PC that deserves attention. Why? Coz for the longest time, everyone wanted something like this but no one bothered to do it as it just seems…well too simple to be of any serious use.

There are other ways to achieve what PushBullet does, but as a complete package, there are no competitors.

The Great Mobile Disconnect

Push notifications on your mobile reside on your mobile, and each time  you get a notification from your mobile app, you have to pick up your device to reply and read those messages.

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While on the desktop, you could be looking for some information and when you find a link you need to pass on to your mobile device, you can’t because the only way is to use Evernote or Google Keep, pasting the URL, and getting that on your mobile device.

How about the time you wanted to pass on an image from your mobile to your desktop? The fastest way was actually to save it to Dropbox and have that file saved back locally on your desktop PC hard drive. That’s like taking the scenic route to the book store.

PushBullet can do this and more. It can also make use of your mobile functions like replying your SMS from your desktop computer as long as the two are connected.

PushBullet on PC

Currently, it supports browsers such as Safari, Opera, Chrome and Firefox. The sharing of links and files is pretty solid except for maybe large files which will take a while to send over to your mobile device. There is another app, Caast.me, which is similar but uses a QR code to connect your mobile to your PC browser.

For Pushbullet, the connection is done only once on your computer, that is once you link your mobile to your account, it will forever be there. To add more desktops, tablets and phones, you just click to add on your profile dashboard and you’re done.

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What’s more you can also message your friend who are PushBullet users. If they are not PushBullet users, they will be notified to join up. I know this sounds kinda lame, since IM is probably the most abused and misused feature on mobile these days and with so many providers already offering IM services, it cease to be a unique selling point. But when integrated as a package, I can see the difference in the overall workflow experience.

PushBullet Workflow

This is what sets everything apart. As a stand alone app on your mobile, you can say that it is pretty useless as the only feature it has which differentiates itself from the rest is the news channel subscriptions.

There are several news channels or news aggregators which you can subscribe to for free—allowing you to periodically receive the latest news on the Internet. It doesn’t have proper news channels like CNN or NYT but it does support a host of industry channels from gaming to tech happenings. Beyond that, it offers nothing else for mobile users.

However for people who work from desktop PCs and mobile devices, this is a very handy tool as files and links gets passed around easily and shared with people on your IM list.

What’s more, you can also have project group mates who you might want to send URL links to instead of writing them an email. And who reads emails these days? When you get 100s a day, it gets pretty lame trying to sieve through them, and these are work emails and not the spam variety you find on supermarket shelves.

The UX is very well thought out. On mobile, it sits there as any standard app without IM capabilities. So there is no fussing around. You can also turn off the pushed notifications whenever you like or have them pushed ONLY while you are connected on WIFI.

The folks at PushBullet are still building this beast of a service in the hope of being bought out. I think they have done a great job coming this far. Lets hope it stays that way. I can already the hawks in the Internet industry descending on them to take them out. What they provide is inherently very simple but it is the way that it is delivered that makes them world class.

 

Nokia’s Lost Android Dream

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So it was a missed opportunity, and it is all in the news. Before Microsoft bought out Nokia, the latter had already been testing a slew of Android enabled phones with a dedicated eco-system similar to Amazon’s take on Android.

Looking back, I have to admit that I loved all the Symbian phones and two in particular were my personal faves, the Nokia 3660 and Nokia 6600. Now, we hear that Nokia might be no more, at least in Spirit, once Microsoft assumes control of the entity.

Before I got my iPhone, I had a N95—which I adored, and after that the Nokia 5800 before moving into iOS and Android. That said you could see how Nokia got it all wrong.

As much as I loved my phone, Nokia was destroyed by Elop, the CEO who abandoned all Symbian efforts and Meego initiatives for something he knows well…Windows Mobile.

What Went Wrong with Windows

When you are late to market, you sometimes have to pay to learn. And Microsoft is NOT  learning this one bit. For the record, Windows Mobile 8 & RT are significant departures from previous Windows Mobile OS systems. I once owned an O2 version of the XDA Mini. It didn’t work like a charm and faltered. Then I bought into the Samsung Omnia, a ridiculous Windows mobile OS killed it. Times were changing and Microsoft still didn’t get it right.

Windows Mobile 8 & RT with its slick Metro interface is fantastic. The concept on how it works is simple, just like iOS, the approach is flat. You can’t go wrong with something like this but Microsoft did screw it up. It was priced too close to Apple’s own iPhone. When the RT tablets came out, they priced it too close to the Apple iPads. Stupidity is indeed contagious if when you consider that Microsoft had a lot of catch up to do in the market.

The Japanese know that to command the attention of the masses you need software. And to get the people to develop software, you need to sell the hardware for cheap.

This sort of Loss Leader approach is what made the Playstation and Nintendo machines of their day the top of the heap. Remember that when the PS3 was launched, Sony sold it at a loss to encourage consumers to buy it, with that, they went into the software business with the numbers they needed to justify selling it at a loss. It worked. Nintendo did the same and corner the console market.

Dude, Where’s My Software!?

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The pathetic list of software on the Windows Mobile Marketplace is a sign of something gone wrong and here it is. Do you know it cost you US$1200 a year to sign up to be a Windows Mobile 8 Developer and have access to the MSDN support?

There is a free plan which includes the use of Visual Studio Tool Express but the developer license must be renewed monthly, at no cost. The highly restrictive free plan is limited to 5 PC  stations.  You can only list 5 free apps on the mobile appstore in one year and after that, it cost US$20 a pop for each additional free app you add to that list. MSDN is the developer network which you won’t have access to unless you pay that $1.2 grand a year.

In recent past, Microsoft charged US$99 for a windows mobile developer account but decided that it already makes enough money from the professional developers to forgo this part of the fee. Blackberry developers probably get the best deal with free membership and free listing with free tools. Blackberry also gives you the porting tools you need to make your Android app totally Blackberry compliant though I don’t see much benefit since you have Blackberry fragmentation to deal with.

Apple developers and Google Android developers have access to free software support as well as forum support without an afterthought. Google doesn’t charge you anything but a flat US$25 as an entry free to their domain. Apple’s iOS Enterprise Developer Program  maxes out at US$300 a pop. That’s a far fry from the US$1200 that Bill Gates Inc. charges. For smaller companies, you can subscribe to list any app on the Apple Appstore for US$99 a year.

Emulate Google Play Success

Sorry, Microsoft didn’t hear that. Google’s Android has garnered so much interest and success is due to one thing and that it’s devices are priced below that of iOS. The fragmentation that came along with it didn’t worry it as much as there was mass market appeal.

iOS was first to market, even though Nokia had for some time had its own store for Symbian apps, it never took off because it was in decline. Elop killed Nokia after taking it to Windows and that’s the end of the story.

The iOS success story is simple. Steve Jobs needed software for iOS and he made the tools freely available on the Mac when you sign up to be a developer. And the tools are pretty good too. When the hardware prove to be a hit, he had legions following him.

Google’s Android SDK is nothing to shout about but it works. Blackberry has the lowest point of entry for developers who want to go into Apps creation. Everything is free, to join and to list an app.

Microsoft: Penny wise and pound foolish

Microsoft thinks it needs a hardware manufacturer like Nokia to succeed in the mobile campaign. Sounds like a dream but they are thinking it might just work for them. Seven billion is small change for Microsoft. Nokia’s mobile business isn’t worth that much after the damage Elop did to the company. But Nokia held the trump card with 80 percent of the Windows Mobile Phone. No other manufacturer came close.

Even though Nokia is achieving limited success with its Lumia phones, it faces an Android onslaught. Elop could have done a deal with Google if he wasn’t reputed to be the Trojan Horse that Microsoft sent in. He could also have taken up MeeGo, a Linux based OS (which evolved to be Tizen OS). Instead, he took the backdoor route, that is move it back to Windows.

Looks like Microsoft is going to crash and burn in the mobile apps market, and they might as well take Nokia down that road with them. Sad end to a really great Brand and marks the end of Nordic entrepreneurial engineering prowess and design.