26 posts • joined Wednesday 12th March 2008 13:50 GMT
Early bird catches the worm, early adopters eat the bugs.
Early adopters are lovely, beautiful, self-sacrificing people who wait in lines, alpha/beta test all new and expensive products, so the rest of us can enjoy the glitch-free benefits of their suffering (and usually at %25-40 off). We should refrain from mocking them in their misery.
As you know cutting edge is also the bleeding edge.
bezel is necessary
A bezel is necessary.
Aside from technical issues, your hand inevitably infringes upon the edges of the front of the device. If there were no bezels, you'd be constantly registering touches on the capacitative screen.
Therefore, a thin enough "dead zone" is necessary from a usability point.
Since the iphone has a 3:2 screen ratio, enlarging it would make the phone wider. The iphone design already has enough blank (i.e. non-display) front estate as it is. A bigger screen would mean a "chunky" device.
Most Android devices have screen ratios around the 16:9 mark, which is more conducive to having big screens while remaining ergonomic enough (longer but thinner, graspable by single hand etc). Android was also designed to be a lot more resolution agnostic (which makes ui design harder, but more flexible).
On the other hand, if a new iphone were to support a new, non 3:2 ratio screen it would break compatibility with a lot of apps in its store. iphones support only two resolutions: hvga (320x480), and its quadruple "retina" sibling (640x960).
Historically Apple has never been above breaking compatibility and/or dropping support. But I don't think they would risk their cash cow this time. Not without ample warning anyways (but that also goes against the secretive nature of the company).
4S may not be the "groundbreaking next-gen device" a lot of people expected, but it's a good enough internal refresh for a very successful device. It also happens many people get their Apple fixes on two-year contracts, so many "pundits" already are in the middle of theirs. It makes business sense.
Me? I'm holding out for the Nexus Prime.
To begin with all personnel (and their bosses) could be charged with 1.6 MILLION counts of id-theft (just the way RIAA does it, oh yeah!).
Once begun, the policy makers of said instituions can also be charged for all damages resulting from the negligence (e.g. : government -securely this time- reissues new "official use" birthdates for all people outed for all banking/online gaming/etc use, etc etc)
A fertile imagination for constructive use of mischief is all we need.
Good vs what?
I'm all for Android, I use a couple myself.
But the argument presented here holds some water: iOS is very much homogeneous hardware and softwarewise - thus easier to debug, provides device-based encryption and remote-wipe out of the box. Not many Android devices does that.
In the olden days when I had a WindowsMobile device (since it was designed to be incorporated into a corporate environment) all these security and remote management facilities were built-in.
I am sure in time Android will come around to implementing these sort of security measures.
On a corporate setting populated by a lot of suit wearing noobs, configurability and flexibility is something you would want to avoid. Anything more complicated than an etch-a-sketch is asking for trouble.
(Maybe some genius will make a Launcher for Android called CorpoDummy, and will get around this?)
If Apple wasn't this successful it would not garner so much dislike. I know of only one company that was both successful and generally liked in its day, and it's Palm (before they fouled it all up).
Which is not to say Apple is not Evil. It's looking out for Number One, and to hell with any scruples. If it's legal and profitable, Apple's doing it. And it gets most of it right too, its devices and software work in remarkable unity, the "user experience" is the standard everything else is compared to. It may not have invented much of the features it sells, but what it sells works pretty much as advertised out of the box, and not many non-geeks cares about the limitations. It's all shiny.
So what if Apple stunts free web apps (through negligence or by design), and gently tilts the playing field and nudges its sheep towards its app store? Will the millions of its customers care, or even notice? Certainly not.
Homework: compare the app uninstall procedure between Android and iOS. It's a simple thing. Count the number of taps, and the length of the "wait"s.
Disclosure: I am a geek, and currently use an Android device out of convenience. And as far as demographics go, I don't really matter. And neither do much of the people commenting here.
Back in the day when Catch Notes was called 3banana (and company name was Snaptic), they released a text only version of this app called AK Notepad.
It still works and syncs with Catch.com.
What's more, it can peacefully coexist with Catch notes on the same (Android) device, using the same credentials as Catch Notes, albeit without the voice/photo notes, obviously. These simply will not show on AK Notepad, without any fuss.
All notes taken on both can be exported to the SD card as plain textfiles from the apps (if you want to go off the grid, migrate, whatever).
One big shortcoming: Flash
I think it's a beautiful device. Sleek, well built, light, very nice screen, good battery life, a doodle to use to boot.
But the exclusion of flash kills it for me.
Thing is, I'd buy one of these in a heartbeat for mom - so she could use it basically as a web appliance, and maybe look at photos, bit of light calendar duty and check mail. The lack of multi-tasking, the very real Apple fascism, the inability to access the filesystem are not really important, not for her. Probably neither would the App Store be of much relevance.
But a lot of stuff she likes needs Flash, such as a lot of web videos, a lot of website interface elements etc. HTML5 won't cut it, not any time soon.
So I think it's crippled/less than useful where it really counts. For mom.
I? I use a HTC Desire myself, and plan to get her a premium Android tablet when they arrive.
Mr. Jobs is probably the last person to champion open standards, but let us not get ad hominem.
Having the option usually beats not having the option.
You can always turn the flash plug-in off. It's a one click affair on my Opera (desktop browser), it's a three tap option on my HTC Desire.
Flash would enable easy cross-platform app development, be it a silly game in a browser, or a stand-alone app using a wrapper (as Adobe was developing for CS5 before getting c**kblocked).
Free flash games running in a browser would cut into the App Store margins, being free (in money and from Apple GateKeepers). There are many delightful and light and free timekillers out there, without having to purchase one off the App Store.
iphone app dev being as lucrative as it is, it would enable coders to "write once, run manywhere", i.e. Android, some future WinMob device as well as the iphone. So, much stuff would not be exclusive to the App Store. Which is something Apple would not want.
Moreover Flash is, for better and worse, here and now. While I regard a push for open standards a Good Thing, the prevalence of HTML5 is quite a time down the line. And when it happens, there is nothing preventing the use of HTML5 banners instead of Flash ones.
Apple is in a very strong position, smartphone mindshare and marketshare-wise. But competitors are quickly catching up. I think this is only an attempt at stemming the tide, as it were.
No side-load, no multi-task and now no cut/paste? What gives? I thought WM7 were to be a smartphone, not just an Xbox extension with Zune tidbits.
Never thought I'd say this, but I think I'll stick with the clunky old dear, ye olde WinMob 6.5.
.. and probably/eventually switch to Android when a decent Outlook desktop sync thing shows up (not just contacts, but todo's, notes, calendar, mail as well - the whole boring PIM shebang).
Backwards compatibility: double edged sword..
It ain't the Windows Mobile we loved to hate anymore. It's a new beast from Microsoft in its effort to remain relevant in the mobile area.
Microsoft does have a lot of functional stuff. But they are not as well linked as the stuff from Google or Apple.
Take the Live Mesh, My Phone, Outlook, Live Calendar, Live Sync, Skydrive.. A lot functions overlap, but some don't, some do sync, some don't, some combinations are compatible others aren't.. a flickr uploadr and a twitter client does not a mobile platform make.
A lot of WinMob devices are "deployed" because of all the .Net code that runs on them. It is clunky and slow, but it also makes sense from a corporate standpoint.
And now we will have "the lack of legacy apps" issues. However funky the new devices are the accumulated "wealth of software" that used to be available all over the net for the ye olde Windows Mobile won't exist anymore. It'll be something like the Palm Pre, only worse. Nice system, no software.
So we'll see. I want a python interpreter on the thing. With the old WinMob I do.
The Nintendo comment: I don't think any KIRF company could manufacture a Nintendo DS or Wii clone and sell at a profit. Legal issues notwithstanding, the sheer volume of sales required to be in the black would preclude any gains - so it's pretty much a non-issue.
The VW engine comment: Actually, you CAN buy VW engines and install them in a car of your own making. VW will happily sell them to you, individually or in volume. It's a physical product and not a software thingy that's easy/free (as in without cost, not freedom) to duplicate, so that's another bad example. Anyway you can always buy an R8, dismantle the engine and put it in your beercratemobile.
Back in the day Apple did make proprietary hardware to go with their proprietary software, so it was not much of an issue. But they HAD to convert to the PC side or face extinction, since the competition was much cheaper and quite faster. Now they make PC's - nice ones, but still. Today they have to fight for their former "exclusive" image, if nothing else. Actually, I wouldn't mind having the choice of buying a Thinkpad factory-installed with OSX. Why not? Windows 7 is quite good on its own, but competition is also good - especially since I wouldn't be the one doing the competing, just reaping the benefits..
IMHO the Psystar folk are doomed to fail - but I can't help feeling sympathetically amused at their antics.
In essence, is Android open source because it is a Trojan Horse? Is it because Google can leverage its "services" on pocketable devices better, and reap the adsense dollars?
There is an ethics discussion here, which may prove his beardedness Mr Stallman was right all along. A question of Honesty.
So, the term "Open Source" does not carry the political baggage that goes along with the term "Free Software".
If Android has closed key components, it is not Open. Not all the way.
Now we know the Draconian iphone OS(X) is tightly closed, and jealously guarded. Another "closed" handheld OS, the Windows Mobile, is also protected by copyrights, but practically is as open and extensible as can be, provided that the core is paid for. They are very dissimilar in essence (I am not talking about kludginess, user interface zen, control freakishness or reality distortion fields) : I can legally have a home-made app/python script running on one, and not the other. But both operating systems, for better or worse, are proprietary.
Now these two are honest. They make no pretense of being "Open". You can't -at your whim- disassemble, modify and redistribute them legally.
Operating systems are much like political systems. You live "under" them, use their services, pay their dues, obey their rules, try to live with their idiosyncracies. On the scale of freedom of action, the (according to the users anyway) nirvana of iphone is a fascist dictatorship, windows mobile is a red-tape bound bureucratic but mostly benign monarcy.
Free Software is akin to a democracy -bordering on polite political anarchy- where the individual has all the options (but one - turn it into a totalitarian one), also including unwise choices.
So now it turns out Android was not as Open as was promised. Cease-and-desist is a bad way to point this out, especially for a company that has such a wonderful "Do No Evil" motto. I am sure many a workable solution was possible. Anything that wasn't as litigously trigger happy as a C&D.
But at the end of the day the fact I wrote this and you have read it proves only we are Geeks. People largely don't care for such issues. So they will buy iphones for the fart jokes and the games and the occasional cool/useful/slick app and mostly for the image/me too factor; Crackberries for the battery life and the thumbboard and actually the company e-mail tethered leash; windows mobile for exchange and windows compatibility and the tinkering; palm pre for the cool factor/Saab owner creds; Android for Google geekery; and finally Nokia/Samsung/LG/SE "dumbphone" as the smart choice: maybe the camera and walkman - but actually the phone. You know, to talk to people and stuff.
Ingenious free publicity!
Apple makes really nice GUI/UI stuff. Plus, cool (albeit hermetically sealed) hardware.
But Apple especially excels in publicity mongering.
Using a spurious DMCA take-down notice to warrant another news item?
It's about mindshare
WM has never had a mass-market appeal. Most of its users have traditionally been corporate users and geeks.
Even if WM 7 were miraculously easy to use, sexy and web2.0/media/etc friendly, it is a hard thing to change this image. Zune is too little too late, and was never much available worldwide anyway ("Welcome to the Loneliness?")
Having said that, WM is a powerful operating system. It may be inelegant but very flexible and uncrippled; unlike some mobile OS'es I could name.
Microsoft was too late to make it user-friendly and sexy, so HTC and others had to step-in and do it themselves, with varying degrees of success. Alas, this has also fragmented the look-and-feel of the thing (even if underneath lurks the WM6.x, the skin is what people will first see). It's like Linux in this respect. it is actually funny how WM (for a proprietary OS) resembles the OSS community and how iphone is the opposite of linux in its philosophy (even if they both are remotely related through the unix family)
I digress: My point is Choice and Flexibility is a Good Thing if you are a geek, willing and able to tinker with stuff. Most people are not. So if you are hunting marketshare fragmentation is not good. And being so slow to keep up with competitors is definitely Bad.
Oh and by the way, I do use a recent HTC WM device. I had wanted the ease of PalmOS of days of frankengarnet, with the slickness of iphone, longevity of a BB. So I got none of those, and I still think I made the best compromise. But being a geek I know my choices are not widely shared, world-dominationwise.
On the plus side
Better sound quality and better screen are a big pluses, considering it's a PMP.
For me the "no itunes for windows" is a very very big plus. I do have an ipod, and I hate the itunes sluggishness - and this on a 8GB, quad-core machine where everything else is much snappier. I consider it borderline malware.
I am not interested in the games and apps available for ipod touch, so I can live without them.
On the sync side this device can do Drag&Drop as well as Windows Media Player syncing - while not looking as slick as itunes for some, it is quite fast and very versatile.
Netfront ain't Safari that's clear, but it's not that bad. Anyway, I do have Opera 9.5 (and Iris Browser and Opera Mobile and Skype etc) on my phone so it's not that important for me.
This could even powered it with a hamster or two, though it'd probably make overclocking expensive and unhealthy (too much steroids to peanuts ratio) and it may bring the wrath of the fearsome semi-clad PETA troops on you.
In all seriousness a computer has more uses other than doing games, word processing and internet trawling - and this particular device fits a niche perfectly : an easily programmable general purpose automation machine: logging stuff, security, webcam monitoring/time lapses, misc automation, torrent duty w/ an external drive, etc using nothing but readily accessible software tools (think Python for instance) that can also work with cheap COTS PC hardware. It could even be solar powered, and probably could last through the night or a dark day on a battery no bigger than itself. You would not need a screen or a keyboard unless it needed servicing/updating etc. Because it's running X, it could be remotely administered too (using your Eee maybe?)
With no moving parts it would be quite robust and long-lasting - Plug'n'Forget.
Yeah sure - like every developer codes for enterprise apps!
It ain't no fart app but what if somebody wished to port Python to iPhone, maybe with appropriate extensions/hooks for the UI? That's a big no, according to the developer agreement, as it would enable "third party" codes to bypass iTunes App store.
What if somebody wanted to enable the BT chip to accept HIDs? Like using a regular BT keyboard with iPhone? That's another big no, as the BT does not have the profile, it was not sanctioned by Apple.
What about ScummVM? That's a cool one, I've got Maniac Mansion and Zac MacKracken on my Touch Diamond running nicely, albeit in a tiny screen. I doubt the EULA permits virtual machines and emulators.
List goes on, and you might as what the point is. If the device is a smartphone it's a miniature computer I can tote around, and tinker with as I see fit. It has everything a regular computer system has: CPU, RAM, storage, I/O and an operating system. iPhone is cool hardware, it's a shame Apple is abusing its power of Monopoly. And I'm not against Apple making a profit, oh no. But this much greed is frankly quite off-putting.
This one has an external battery, but works with induction so no unsightly cables are required.
It has no need for a earphone jack, because it works with a proprietary bluetooth dongle that has an Apple© authentication chip that degrades non DRM'ed content and conversations with non-iphone-blessed philistines.
For the enthusiast that does not want a bluetooth dongle, there will be an official internal bone-conduction version available at your nearest Apple center (minor skull surgery required, subject to an EULA).
Video calling is planned for iphone 6G. Apple has already filed all appropriate patents for phone cameras, video calling, etc.
Ms. Hilton was not available for comments.
Rear side of the device also acts as a fingerprint scanner, that shares this data with Apple for Your Own Benefit. You can be sure this data will not be shared freely ('cos nothing is free).
Three down, three to go
Yay! Copy and Paste, System wide search and Stereo Bluetooth! Not to forget the landscape keyboard and MMS!
All that's left is the filesystem access (transfer files over wifi/BT/USB), background process support, a non-flaky Outlook sync (actually a working mail sync in any form), a browser that can do "save link as..", and editing documents. And where is the replaceable battery, when the juice runs out in the middle of the day or on the road? How about some form of icon grouping (a.k.a. folders) for the launcher, or is this reserved for 4.0?
Lovely UI, solid improvement, sadly still too locked down and crippled. Clunky old WinMo for me for some time..
Paris, for she is flexible.
I can already see these worn as pendants, and a myriad array of third party "shuffle buds" on e-bay.
Me? I'm still holding out for the iphone shuffle and ibook wheel.
i get it
Yes, I get all the hostility against all things labeled Windows. It's popular and easy to pile sxit on it. Hell I do it too sometimes, it's so easy..
In my deepest humble opinion the best mobile interface was the Palm. I do no hold the Windows Mobile way of doing things, with its myriad drop-down lists and fiddly controls in high regard. Quite the contrary. Palm had it for a while, then they .. you know.
I am an unwilling (and still kicking) convert to WM due to a lack of alternatives (this is quite personal): I like the ability to fiddle and tweak, add to and change default apps. I like the ease of personalization. I am not like most people, just one of the crowd referred to as "power user" slash "geek", or just labelled "socially not adept just because he knows the 'puter stuff".
That said and hopefully out of way, the WM 6.x works just as advertised. It works. It is not pretty (but can be prettified to some extent). But it does work, and strangely enough is quite robust and reliable. It handles all the contacts / calendar / tasks / notes thing without hiccup (I am also a shameless fan of Pocket Informant). It multitasks gracefully in my palm. I can be downloading stuff of internet while uploading files to some shared folder on the network, while reading some e-book to pass some asocial time. I can even take some voice calls if required, and if I am wearing the earbuds, I can take notes about it while speaking (I am quite absentminded, so taking notes on business calls is a Good Thing).
Anyway, the myriad apps exist for WM and though there isn't an Official Draconian (ND)Appstore for it, it is elementary for any non-idiot to find them through google or somesuch. They are there for the evaluation and the taking. Fsxck the MS, you can just install them.
I got carried away. WM works better than you might think. And I've tried them all after Palm, excepting Android (and yes, including the jesus phone). I am currently using the HTC Diamond and not ashamed to admit it. It's not an iphone, but at least I can watch xvid videos on it without converting, and read iSilo and palmDb and (crxp)Lit documents, and draw a diagram with a freeware app (or basic notes) and send it via MMS. It is not only an ipod with a phone + a good browser and very good advertising. I can do stuff on the teensy black slab besides accessing my facebook account.
Just to underline: I like BeOS most of all, and Windows the least. IMHO the current most open and prolific handheld OS sadly happens to be WinMob. The others, while meaning well, don't quite cut it. I would love a Linux or PalmOS or Amiga or whatever device that could. It's just that there is nothing besides WM that half can at the moment.
It's a bit more complicated.
Actually the jailbreak works to Apple's advantage.
With the carrier-locked firmware it can pay lip service to its agreements with AT&T or insert_local_carrier_name.
Without jailbroken phones there wouldn't be much (prolonged) international interest, until available at that particular country. People would have to go with something else, because it wouldn't be an option. Jailbreak has fed the frenzy and did not cut into Apple's profit, quite the reverse in fact. And since it is not sanctified by Apple, it has no responsibility - best of both worlds. It certainly is not like PSP firmware hacks which -among other things- enable running pirated games, which does cut into Sony's income (Sony receives a share of all games sold, just like MS and Nintendo).
iPhone is a sophisticated piece of hardware, with a very good UI. But I don't consider it a smartphone unless it can run pda-style 3rd party native applications. SDK may be out, but without jailbreak and no apps at iTunes store it is still a glorified ipod with a very good browser. This will change in the near future, I am talking about right now. Capable and stylish: yes, smartphone: no. Not yet.
My el-cheapo dumbphone can read email and browse the web too. But I cannot add a new SMS app or change the phone front-end, just like iPhone. This is something I was easily able to do on my Treo.
The new SDK may be good enough for games, but without allowing multitasking or access to the calendar/email/sms/phone/etc, it may be too limited. No 3rd party email/im app running in the background, for instance. Or a decent todo list that works with the calendar. Even with the SDK, jailbreak will still be the only way stuff like this is possible.
The problem with jailbreak is no commercial company can count on it to create software it can sell. You cannot ask your customers to void their warranties to run your application.
When Apple begins to receive a share of all s/w purchased, jailbreaking may become harder. On the other hand history has shown almost all protection schemes will be bypassed, one way or the other..
P.S: the iTunes store is still not available in many countries.