1296 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009
looked more like fridges than phones
Some months ago LG dropped out of the top 10 install list for my giffgaff Android app, replaced by Samsung going head to head with HTC and the Orange San Francisco.
I always thought the LG devices looked more like white goods than sexy toys and low price obviously wasn't enough to overcome their fridge-freezer dullness. When the ZTE Blade(AKA San Francisco) showed a phone could look marginally sexy and still be cheap the game was up for LG.
Gone and barely remembered ;)
Lady Gaga did it with more style ;)
Simples. We didn't *all* laugh at the streak, many of us lusted after it. Nearly grabbed one a couple of weeks ago when they dropped to a more appealing price.
probably won't be a Sony phone
Sony will certainly see an advantage in ramming their content onto Sony phones. As a user I'm used to carriers infesting their handsets with crapware designed to sell content and hate it. The manufacturer doing it is more annoying, taking away the option of buying an unbranded phone to avoid the crap.
...there was a lot of content pushing crap on my Xperia Play, most unable to be removed before I rooted.
It's a real pity, SE had embraced unlocking the devices so it was easy to clean the phone up. That's the exact opposite of Sony's ethos. It's really hard to believe they'll resist the chance to insert even more sales channels on their hardware and try much harder to stop users removing them.
Probably irrelevant though. My gut feeling is Sony won't make another phone, just add the phone support into their other products. The Play was a total sales disaster till they effectively remaindered it - now flying off the shelves at £150-200 but hardly a high profit margin. Nice phones but no-one wants to pay the premium the Sony brand used to get. The competition is too sexy.
if you steal enough a good product becomes possible
Microsoft have demonstrated that spending decades stealing from others can eventually lead to a half decent product. However inept or outright evil your company is.
What it can't do is make them more honest about that or stop them trying to harass or kill competition by fair means or foul, mostly foul ;)
my SE phone decided I was AC for me
[my AC post above was from an SE phone, which was playing hard to get and hit the AC button for me. DOH!]
Linux? Already got it on my Play ;)
No, I want to feel comfortable that I can carry on updating Android after Sony drop support for my phone. That I can rely on rooting it if needed. That there's no bloatware Sony can add that I can't remove. That the promised ICS update won't be boobytrapped by some control hungry Sony suit or if it is it can be defanged.
On a more 'what if' basis: that I can carry on just dropping media onto the phone without some Sony DRM/piracy detection scheme interfering and without having to use a Sony app to do it. Remember, this is the company that though rootkits are an appropriate thing to put on audio CDs.
Right now SE are happily unlocking bootloaders for most of their Android phones and helping 3rd party OS devs, Sony could kill that overnight. A locked bootloader is the kiss of death to 3rd party support.
high end phones was the "burning platform" Elop abandoned
1: probably a safer gamble going budget/midrange right now. WP7 hasn't set the world alight and simply putting Nokia's badge on the devices won't magically turn that around overnight. Highly profitable high end phones would risk chasing a small share of a tiny market, a market Apple already own. Easier and safer to smuggle WP7 into many more peoples pockets with cheaper phones.
2: after so many engineers walked and with so short a deadline Nokia had little choice but to take last years high end hardware and hack WP onto them. Last years high end == this years budget. The lost talent aren't likely to return and Nokia are likely to be out of the high end for a long time.
3: Microsoft need volume more than trailblazing phones. What Microsoft wants, Elop delivers. Microsoft actually have to fight for sales, unlike the PC with its 'Microsoft tax' and default Windows installs. The bulk of the market don't care what the OS is, just that it works and the price is right and that means competing with increasing numbers of cheap, powerful Android devices.
high price for marginal improvement
My Xperia Play has the same core hardware and so far I've only seen it struggle with excessively Flash heavy web pages. Spending more cash on a better CPU and draining the battery faster really isn't worth it just to speed up Adobes piss poor software. Software that might (ho ho) get faster with a free software upgrade ;)
I've even lowered my Play's min clock to 122Mhz and had no obvious speed or responsiveness problems. Noticeable battery life boost though.
Faster is always nice but most of us are a long way from *needing* that much power in our phones and it's hard to imagine that changing before our phone's get replaced anyway.
8 apps per screen is more than anyone will ever need
Why not have 'tiles' small enough to fit 16 or 20 on each screen, so all the apps you use every day are just a click or 2 away? Oh, just realised, Apple,Android,Symbian and even featurephones already do that and Microsoft cant be seen copying the old ways ;)
A UI where every app icon is really a supersized widget 'tile' shows Microsofts tradition of telling users how to do things instead of supporting what users want. No-one can possibly need more than 8 apps on their home screen after all. Think I'll stick to having the choice to mix&match tiny launcher icons with larger widgets scattered across multiple selectable screens.
BTW: I had single key shortcuts available for 2 years on my old Android phone. Didn't use it once. Didn't need it.
a UI so dumbed down it works on all devices?
I'm still struggling to understand why anyone thinks the same UI is a good idea on all sizes of device.
I control my mobile with a thumb and occasional pair of fingers for zooming, that works because the phones in my hand in thumbing distance. Reaching out to the monitor just over an arms length in front of me really doesn't work for me, too much fatigue even if I could reach the screen comfortably. The standard joypad on a console is just a non starter and a mouse on PC or console cant replicate multitouch... do you really want a UI so dumbed down it can cope with all those problems on different platforms?
Kinect might seem the answer, but I'm holding my phone with at least 1 hand so that's half the control missing!
Garbage In, Garbage Out, the source signal on UK channels is just piss poor and the system positively attracts reception problems. Apparently you've only heard low bitrate digital audio and think all the artefacts and dropouts are normal.
If I'm forced to put up with inherently low quality transmissions I'll choose the FM one's that carry on through reception problems instead of just giving up playing at all.
minor delay compared to what's coming
Nice to see the lawyers that created endless delays in the SCO vs the World cases on the receiving end of unwanted delay. Around 8 years and still counting ;)
This delay isn't significant, apart from giving the court another opportunity to push them into further settlement negotiations. Whatever the decision, Oracle, Google or *both* will automatically appeal the ruling, guaranteeing at least 6-9months delay even if the appeal is fast tracked - more likely 18months. With a case this complex that's likely to be just the 1st of several appeals or other attempts to keep the case alive. No enforcement will happen while that's ongoing.
Android will get plenty of time to evolve past Oracles grasp however this works out.
the SD card isn't dumb storage or meant for swapping
The way Android handles SD makes swapping cards a theoretical possibility that no-one would ever actually except for SD size or phone upgrades. So much app data ends up on the card your phone breaks without it, syncing between swaps is time consuming and almost impossible on the road.
Right now the SD card is not dumb storage expansion. That could be changed for devices with large onboard flash but don't hold your breath - or choose a device with a slot and hack it yourself.
"people want their phones to look pretty"
Yet WP7 has the fugliest of all phone UI's and no credible options for users to make it look better or behave different!
iPhone is as locked down but starts out looking good so no-one cares. On Android if you don't like the installed launcher, you can change it - install an app and it can look like iPhone,WP7 or something different and you can change it as often as you like, on the road. Root or unlock your Android bootloader and you can theme the entire UI.
Ballmer needs to learn that things aren't 'pretty' just because Microsoft tells us they are. Especially when you have a product as fugly as his.
O2 are no better
O2 have the same problems with backhaul and worse coverage in my travels. In the 50% of my city I can get a 3G or Edge signal at all it rarely delivers even GPRS throughput, took 10minutes to load a single BBC weather page (mobile version!) yesterday.
I don't know which network is worse, the difference seems more about exactly where the black and brown spots are. Though O2 appear to have no detectable rural coverage in much of the midlands and south west...
Like the others I also carry a 3 SIM to fill in the holes.
Being cynical (as usual) this looks like a great way to format pages to make sure adverts are always visible, whatever the device or window size. If it can be abused it will be abused.
Current NoScript also blocks Java,Flash,Silverlight and a metric tonne of other stuff. Try to keep up!
Can't remember how many versions (and security problems) ago I disabled Java in FF but I've never missed it. In the event I ever do need it, NoScript gives finer control.
It's long past the time FF shipped with Noscript installed and enabled.
nice to see the project progressing
Should silence the naysayers that claimed CyanogenMod was dead with Steve Kondik employed by Samsung. Just noticed last night Sony Ericsson claim to be helping and Samsung have donated hardware in the past. Looks like a long future ahead of it.
As the owner of an ancient G1 I always found CM too fat to use on it (before they dropped support) but it does have some nice toys and fixes and they're easy enough to merge into leaner AOSP builds. CM makes it's way into most roms out there one way or another.
SE are working on unlocking
Keep an eye on http://unlockbootloader.sonyericsson.com/which-phones
My shiny new Xperia PLAY should arrive in a few hours, think I'll try stock for a few weeks just to see what it's like before the major hacking fun, been a bumpy ride on my old phone ;)
so I turned on all the Windows security features but they don't work?
I'm equally puzzled: my copy of FF7 running on XP, with Data Execution Prevention *enabled* and no exception for Firefox isn't being protected by DEP? Are Microsoft claiming DEP in the OS doesn't work or just lying... (can you guess which I think it is).
Also notable that they can't tell that my FF is running with very restricted rights and almost no access to the file system, none at all to critical areas. Another OS protection that apparently doesn't work on anything from Mozilla... or are they lying again (go on, have another guess what I think).
My browser has severe restrictions imposed, both internally via plugins and settings and externally from the OS. I'm pretty certain if I imposed the same on IE it wouldn't run at all and probably take down my desktop or OS along the way.
When Microsoft stop giving their own software special privileges and dangerous hooks into the OS I'll take their security BS more seriously. Till then it's just lies.
The potential problem with "3" is lack of 2G coverage where they think 3G is good enough to disable the roaming to 2G. Which can be a serious problem with the piss poor performance of 3G in buildings.
Other than that though O2 is still playing catchup on 3G coverage and "3" has given more consistent coverage than O2 for me for the last 2 years. It's amazing how often I pull the phone out in pubs, get no signal and the staff automatically assume I'm on O2!
You should definitely try to test coverage where you expect to use it but O2 has let me down a lot more than "3" so far.
However... I assume you have acceptable O2 coverage now so you have another option, get a SIM free iPhone and switch to giffgaff. A painful £500+ now but if you can make use of their pseudo contract bundles it's a no-brainer for data hungry phones. Just annoying they've given up on PAYG and the service is pretty bare bones, both in supported products and actual customer support.
audio seems more important than video for many programmes
I've noticed for a long time now that most TV is 'radio with pictures', it just doesn't *need* to be watched continuously, the audio tells the 'story' with just occasional reinforcing dips into watching. For many formats it might as well be radio and I won't comment on what that says about programme quality - though a horror film you only watch 1/3rd off is obviously dire!
The upside of that is, adverts work pretty much the same way, hearing the ad is almost as good as seeing it. Ad revenue isn't challenged by this, if anything split attention should increase the time it takes to react to adbreaks and skip through them, increasing the chance they'll be experienced at all. And we already have the solution to advert dodgers, sponsorship of the break lead in/out, the signal we look for before hitting the skip button!
It's worse than that, the innovation that has escaped from MSFT is all reactionary, desperate scrambling to stop others taking their customers. Biggest example: C# may be a better language than the steaming pile Java is but it exists only because MSFT tried and failed to subvert Java, it's the reaction to Java.
Microsoft copies their competition and reserves innovation as the icing on those copies.
QuinnDexter: "consumers care more about the fact that it's a Samsung or LG or Sony Ericsson"
HTC & LG sell WP7 phones (Samsung just joined up) yet WP7 sales are still hovering around 2%. Apart from Apple (and Nokia in the near future) the manufacturer and the OS on the phone are orthogonal choices. People are choosing Samsung *and* Android, HTC *and* Android, LG *and* Android... they're conspicuously not choosing WP7, Bada, Meego, Symbian or any of the other 2nd tier OS's ;)
[My reply was focussed more on the 'what if everyone's infringing' interpretation, should have been more clear on that]
Yes, they may have those defences. Having defences doesn't stop you getting sued and just being sued can cause serious damage. Not being infringing doesn't even stop you being sued in the craziness of the patent system.
What ultimately stops you getting sued is not pissing off the rights holder enough to get sued, everything else just determines how painful the process is, win or lose.
Apple have pissed off a geometrically increasing number of people. If it turns out they're guilty I don't see anyone else getting sued as collateral damage ;)
That doesn't matter at all, the patent system does not require you enforce your patents at all, you can pick your targets almost at will (provided you avoid charges of anti-competitive behaviour).
So the question is not *who* introduced the infringing IP (and let's just pretend there's valid infringement) but who does the patent holder have a reason to sue.
The system is currently configured as Mutually Assured Destruction in the IT sector. It's got that way *because* there's no obligation to enforce, that's allowed accumulation of vast numbers of bad patents. Start widespread enforcement and the whole shaky edifice will collapse causing massive collateral damage to business along the way.
Apple threaten that MAD and that's a powerful incentive to focus attacks purely on Apple and contain the collateral damage by not widening enforcement.
$100m to Sun?
"The interesting thing about this case is that Google really could have gotten the licence [from Oracle] some time ago for $100m or something like that... but they didn't do that,"
Not quite. There were discussions with Sun, the most serious one involving ~$50mil upfront and revenue share downstream plus assorted IP right sharing. But there's no sign Sun were interested in agreeing to that in the court filings. It looks like Google tried offering Sun a pile of money to create a new OSS Java and Sun didn't want to play.
The only unilateral option Google had was licensing J2ME, SE was forbidden on mobile by Sun. Android would be crippled if based on J2ME. So no, Google didn't decline a $100mil chance to licence, Sun didn't give them the option.
MMS, the networks don't even try to make it work
Last year I spent considerable time and far too much money @16p/MMS trying to work out how to make MMS work with Android on giffgaffs woefully poor MMS service (blame shared with O2).
Still nearly clueless about what's needed. Even after passing the hurdle of letting their shitty network know both phones are MMS capable, faking a profile they actually had in the O2 database (because they're too lazy to use the standard profile lookup mechanism for unknown devices), it was still nearly random.
Working one day but not the next, never working with some receiving phones but iPhones always received them... or something vaguely like what I sent. Randomly resized, recoloured, or even replaced by thumbnail images, MMS that never arrived yet got charged for. A complete mess.
Maybe if Twitter shouts at the networks long and hard MMS might finally start actually working. More likely we never hear about this again, MMS infrastructure is just too broken.
Come off it. Android fans are perfectly aware that 320x240 screen res is an automatic 10% loss, Orange app infestation another automatic 10%.
For gamers that res is an automatic 'don't buy'. This gamer and Android fan thinks 70% is pretty generous... but I don't rate physical size or that keyboard format as highly as others ;)
some day Flash acceleration will be safe to use,not today though
One consistent feature of Flash video decode acceleration so far has been that it will take at least 2 system crashes on my XP box before I remember to go in and disable the buggy POS.
Flash and acceleration just seems to be a recipe for disaster, shoddy Adobe coding feeding the deep OS layers close to the hardware, layers that can take out the entire machine so badly only power cycling guarantees recovery.
Flash, good for gaming if your game is Russian roulette.
"You can't yet set a location"
Which is not much of a change, my location rarely survived more than 1 return visit before the BBC relocated me to London. The customised tabs on the mobile view have a half-life around 3 visits before resetting themselves - because apparently I really, really need to know what crap reality show the BBC are pushing.
I await with trepidation what the new mobile front page will do, my phone really doesn't like the full version. I also notice the beta is just as resistant to reflowing as the old one, with the added bonus that you can't even rearrange anything manually for small screen devices.
Having pissed this money away, perhaps they'll now spend some on the rest of the site, sick&tired of 90% of programme pages linking straight to iPlayer *instead of giving information*. The whole fscking site is a maze of twisty little passages, all the same, with bugger all content down any of them.
I for one will continue insisting any phone has vigorous 3rd party firmware support *before* I buy it. At least I'll have frequent fixes AND a choice of who to trust building it... and I trust some of the hobbyists more than any phone manufacturer right now.
Beyond that: it's a phone, a basic assumption is the bad guy will have physical possession of it and access to hardware hacking tools nullifying any security care of a dodgy unlock shop. Putting anything you care to lose on one is a big mistake with or without remote exploits. You want security, buy something secure, it just won't be an affordable smartphone.
The FB app was notorious for quickly draining batteries and a background service that wasn't keen on being stopped, whether you wanted it or not.
Sure you want to encourage these inept clowns to try harder at having the app running permanently?
Even Google can't always get this right, the maps apps background service also has a history as a battery destroyer for example, and also can't be stopped in many versions of the app even if you never start the maps app! I'd bet on FB deliberately trying to run the damn app behind users backs.
how much have they budgeted to fix smartphones?
I remain puzzled by why they think fscking the GPS on a hundred million plus smartphones is in any way workable or acceptable. I can believe they could retrofit mostly effective filters to many classes of GPS device but that's not possible on deployed phones and I strongly doubt it's an workable option on new builds.
Seems the US always prefers vicious competition in the market to any sort of forward planning, whatever the consequences.
unemployed puritan halfwit
It's a pity el Reg skipped the part where the now unemployed puritan idiot boasted about forcing Tindall to appear at his trial. Clearly demonstrating he's completely clueless about who's prosecuting him, what he's being prosecuted for or why Tindall needs to explain anything at the trial.
He also failed spectacularly to notice that rugby fans are a little too busy discussing Englands stuttering performance *on the pitch* to care what the muckrakers are hurling off it!
The biggest problem I have is dealing with the large number of screen formats and pixel densities. Android tries hard to make it just work but inevitably some loser phone with a 240x320 will trip you up.
The OS layer itself isn't much of a problem and doesn't need much working around ;)
Of course there's a contingency plan: Elop goes back to his job at Microsoft.
...some would say he never left it...
What would (possibly) really help is if Microsoft or their small band of fanbois could explain what WP7 *does* better than the rest. Hell, if they took time to explain what it does at all it would be a step forward!
M$ have tried desperately hard to create a buzz about the *brand* but never once condescended to explain the platform or devices. While I'm a great fan of style over content in film and TV, it doesn't work for tech, even Apple tell you it's a great phone, show you a great UI and the glamour is just the finisher. M$ show you a deadly dull UI and talk about everything but what the phones do.
A mobile is a working tool, every buying decision starts with "does it *do* what I need" and finishes with "how cool is it", M$ failed at the 2nd part and don't even attempt the 1st. If the creator cant explain the product why expect minimum wage salestaff to understand it or bother selling it?
[Arguably M$ had no choice before Mango, actually explaining what WP7 does is essentially describing how WP7 is inferior to every other smartphone OS unless you're buying a business phone and need strong Exchange support... and you probably want to go Blackberry for business use anyway!]
Compare with Java, wrap a poor language in a extensive standard library and require that lib to be in every implementation. In a very real sense those libs *are Java*, the actual language just glue. All the value is in having a consistent library package that's actually useful.
still a good deal.
The 4-5x price hike (over expectations) for the Nortel patents still makes this premium seem like a bargain ;)
Also not long since someone pointed out G get around $3bil of cash and MASSIVE tax write off with the deal, things they wouldn't have just from buying a shareholding. Softens that 60% apparent premium rather a lot.
[WTF: balanced Google reporting on the reg. Think I need to go lie down]
From Oracles filing; "The Court’s mediation plan is the last chance to resolve this case before a major investment of time and resources by the parties and the Court"
Maybe Oracle is finally beginning to understand what's a stake here: a small pot of money, no costs award and massive collateral damage *to itself* along the way. The Reg bootnote is a timely reminder that awards in this case are geographically restricted and their dreams of $6bil damages are beyond resurrection. And the court already bumped the starting point down to $100-200mil range!
By fighting an opponent not in the same patent MAD system they've already lost patents, because G has no reason *not* to challenge patents, unlike the business's Ellison is used to dealing with.
At the end of this the whole world will understand better the limits of Oracles control of Java and it's going to get a lot easier to say no when Oracle comes looking for licence fees. Much of Oracles case is a repeat of SCO vs IBM with the same ludicrously wrong arguments about API's. Sadly SCO escaped into bankruptcy before trial, kind of Oracle to give a 2nd chance to clarify what's legitimate, what's just licence extortion.
Judges ego? probably not
"I wonder whether the Judge's ego is even larger."
The judge is doing what all US judges do: trying to get the case ended before he has to waste serious time on it. Don't read too much into it, this is pretty normal. In this case Judge Alsup appears clueless about software or IP law so it's a difficult case (he's got to spend lots more time researching the law) he'd much rather not hear.
It's also about the maximum pain he can impose before trial but there's not much chance it will work, if anything he just annoyed Google enough to guarantee appeals. Appeals *really* annoy judges...
fine but not perfect, not consistent
It noticeably slows on our Blade on any complex level, you can see it dropping to 1/2 and 1/3 speed at times - possibly more on recent Seasons levels. TBH it drops frames on all but the simplest, emptiest levels. The physics is too much for 600Mhz ARM6, 800Mhz won't help much.
Not a phone to buy for high end gaming.
Still playable though. Unlike the shocking performance on my ancient ARM11 G1!
no unlock found yet
Big caveat right now: can't be unlocked without waiting 3months for Orange to do it, with monthly topups needed in those months according to some reports. You'll want to run this on contract or watch Orange raid your wallet on PAYG, no escaping to a cheaper network. I personally wouldn't consider running on Orange PAYG with data enabled.
Buying now intending to unlock is a gamble, they changed the ludicrously easy Blade/San Fran unlock and you ought to assume they did it properly this time. Until someone finds a crack... ;) That 3months+topups+£20 unlock fee is a hefty surcharge that needs factoring in.
The other caveat: there's a 1GHz version due sometime which may have an ARM7 CPU, though there's no confirmation it will be on Orange so pricing is pure guesswork.
The good news: existing Orange users should be able to get it for £120 by calling Orange, which is almost a no brainer buy, even with the unlock overhead.
I'm going to wait to see what happens, £120 with a cheap unlock would work for me now but there are more versions due and the 1Ghz version should be a massive improvement. With Medion looking like launching a version there should be some interesting price competition soon.
@jake: your 1983 phone
...would be 1G and have no relevance to a modern digital phone.
2G turned up in 1991 and is still in use and should still (just) have active patents.
EDGE deployed in 2003 and iPhone 1 was EDGE. Those patents very much in play.
3G around 2001, again patents nowhere near expired.
There's plenty of new phone radio IP to infringe since 1983 ;)
Google policy it to ignore the press
A timely reminder to the press that Google's silence means very little.
Google simply don't talk to outsiders until there's product to pimp. Don't fight every battle through the press. Don't habitually trash talk the competition *in public*. And they sure don't seem to respond to a desperate press filling in the blanks with hysterical guesswork.
Hell, they don't even talk to their customers!
Highly frustrating if you're a dev or customer, even more frustrating for journalists used to Microsoft, Oracle, SCO etc. feeding them torrents of material. Time the Reg accepted that instead of letting the skeptics run the show, might be a little less surprised when things like this happen.
Florian Muller is the anti-Cassandra
You missed Florian Muller from the list, the guarantee there's less to a story than it appears.
Florian is the anti-Cassandra. Always listened to. Never right.
Games site was always broken
Ummmm, Game, the website that only worked properly if I turned off every security and privacy option in Firefox? Have to go see if 1: the site works properly now, 2: they still remember I have an account.
Or maybe I won't bother ;)
mediation yes, settlement, not necessarily
He can certainly order them into mediation. He cant easily force them to settle through mediation. Perhaps not at all without both parties consent till after the trial actually starts.
Right now this would be a good way for Oracle to back down before their costs start really escalating. With the ongoing patent reexaminations and other defences, the most likely outcome is a huge delay rather than actually going to trial in Oct. Time is Oracles enemy, the longer this continues the more of their IP will be invalidated, the more can be worked around.
I still believe Oracle will fail to cover their own costs, *if* they win. What has changed is I'm beginning to believe they won't win anything. While Oracle deployed their lawyers to attack SCO style, Google deployed theirs years ago analysing licences.
It's an unfortunate fact that close to zero IT people have a strong grasp of IT law, quite how much it allows. A lot of Googles use of free software rides right at the edge of what's legal, it looks wrong because copyright in particular often defies common sense at a casual glance.
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