I could point to their failed and horribly thought out Garmin Phone as an example but this is something much more basic that all their new products have.
About a year and a half ago I got a Garmin Nuvi 250, the price on them dropped to $100. You may have noticed on the road that A LOT of people have GPS in their cars now. This recent price drop is why.
Anyway about a week ago it told me to update the maps. Makes sense, there are a lot of places I drive that have new roads not on their maps. I hit cancel and forgot about it. Then today it nagged me again to download maps. So I go online and start the process of updating the GPS.
First off plugging the GPS into USB killed my keyboard. I don’t know why. I had to plug the keyboard into a different port to get it back, at least it didn’t fry it like the external hard drive I had a few years ago.
Then to get the GPS to update you have to goto Garmin’s website and download a browser plugin that detects the GPS. This involves a lengthy registration process I didn’t want to do. Last thing I want to do is give my email address and physical address to YET ANNOTHER company to spam me.
Now I had the plugin running and the GPS plugged in. But it wouldn’t detect the GPS
Move the GPS USB to another port.
Keyboard dies again.
Move the Keyboard back to its original port.
3 Minutes later the GPS finally connects.
Finally the GPS is discovered by the browser program.
“Click here to check for updates”
“Click here to download update.”
Finally the update goes through and I check the Maps update. There are two options, first is a lifetime update service that costs $120.
Yes One Hundred and Twenty dollars.
Or a one time update that costs $70.
Keep in mind that Garmin street maps aren’t all that great. When the GPS was new a lot of the streets were already out of date. Plus I’m constantly aggravated by the fact that the maps never start out zoomed to the level where you see surface streets, I always have to zoom in one level.
It also tries to redirect me onto streets that I know are slower. On the way to Bear Lake instead of taking I-15 north and going 75MPH (posted) it wanted me to take a back highway to Brigham City. Admittedly highway 89 is a beautiful drive and lined with fruit stands from all the nearby orchards.
But it’s slower!
All these gripes with the GPS and they want me to pay for a map update that costs the same price as the whole flipping GPS itself. In fact I can just buy the newer model for the same price and I’m sure it would have a more up to date map in it.
Meanwhile my Android phone does all the features the Garmin does. But it also gives me:
Maps that are as upto date as Google’s online database.
An application that updates over the air bi-monthly.
Satellite view of the surrounding area.
Current local traffic conditions.
An ETA adjusted for traffic.
Street view pictures of the intersections I need to turn at.
Current location of any friends and family with Latitude.
The ability to search and route to any nearby business, gas station, or ATM.
And best of all it’s FREE!!!
So as soon as I find a good dashboard car mount for my phone I have a Garmin Nuvi 250 GPS for sale. Then it’s good bye and good riddance to Garmin.
Well the fun’s over, Windows
Mobile Phone 7 is officially off my list for a future phone.
Basically it’s been confirmed that it won’t have copy and paste or multitasking.
I mentioned a a previous article that my biggest fear was that Microsoft would try so hard to copy the iPhone that they’d copy all the worst parts of the iPhone and that seems to be the way it’s going. Even having a slick new Zune inspired interface can’t save a phone that doesn’t have basic functionality. It’s why I hate the iPhone and I’m definitely not going to change my tune just because it’s Microsoft that is now screwing itself over.
The ironic thing is that I’ve been bagging on iPhone for lack of copy/paste and multitasking since day one. It took 3 years to get C/P and is rumored to get Multitasking now in it’s 4th year. All the whole WinMo had been rocking all that since about 2001.
Now Microsoft is regressing and backing to a state of suck that even the iPhone had finally cleared.
Oh well, there’s still hope for Android. And Windows Mobile 6.5 could probably live in the HD2 for a couple years before being completely outdated.
And there’s the slim hope that something may change. Either MS will realize it’s errors, or the rumor of a second business phone OS will materialize (or fix WinMo 6.X).
No not that one. Although…
I’ve been looking for a new smartphone and I can’t deny the Nexus One looks sweet. Now Google says that they’ve got a new model that will run on AT&T’s 3G network (before it was just 2G).
I’m really more interested in the most recent Android build and would prefer it in a keyboard slider phone but a Nexus would be cool too. However as of now I’m still waiting until the Dell Mini 5 “Streak” comes out so I can see what it’s like in hand. If I can stand the size I might prefer that for my new Android phone.
Also I may stay with Windows Mobile, the new info coming from MIX about the WinMo 7 looks cool but I still like the open-ness of 6.5. So the HD2 and possibly TouchPro 3 may be my new phone.
Cool that the Nexus is in play but I’m still on the fence.
Since the Apple iPad has come out and been somewhat disappointing eyes have turned to the Microsoft Courier for hope. It’s hard to guess about what a currently non-existent device is going to be like; although in comparison to the iPad hype at least we have some concept videos to work with.
Amazingly people seem to be really interested in the Courier, especially since the iPad turned out to be a big iPhone touch without flash. The big question is why?
First off is that the interface is much more different than existing interface on laptops and smartphones; I think this is what people were expecting from the iPad. There is naturally going to be some interesting things you can do with two screens that you can’t do with one. Although at home I’ve found the only thing I use a second screen for is to watch TV and get distracted while I’m trying to do real work on the other screen.
Matt Buchanan at Gizmodo seems a bit negative on the “devolution” of the device now that the iPad is out; maybe hoping against all hope that a device created by crazy Ballmer won’t turn out to be the Mac fan’s dream. But he makes a good point that the graphical interface that Courier seems to have a ton of complex hand gestures to operate. This is actually one of my gripes about the iPad is that it’s rumored to have a ton of new but needlessly complex touch gestures to do simple tasks that can be better served with simpler inputs. But when it’s on an iPad its revolutionary, when it’s on a MS device its needlessly complex (reality is it will suck on both).
As far as inputs are concerned I also like that it is going to have a stylus input. So much of the tech community seems to be anti-stylus now ever since the iPhone dropped it for big giant buttons that take up 1/4 of the screen. It’s actually a great interface and perfect for a tablet sized device. You don’t see lawyers and doctors walking around with notepad jabbing big giant crayons or markers onto the page. When you have a small interface you need some to do fine work.
I think the main draw for the courier and the reason why people seem so optimistic about it is that from the concepts it looks like it’s built to actually be used as a tool to make you more productive. Seriously, it’s cool that Microsoft sees this as a something that can do something other than watch youtube videos in bed. I think that either consciously or subconsciously the current zeitgeist in the handheld tech world is that we want something that that can make us better at doing actual work and not a recreational product. We’ve had enough fun with the fart apps and the smartphone lightsaber duels that with a larger device we want something that can be use to make work easier or at least less chaotic.
The very design of the courier makes it more work related than recreation; it’s hard to imagine using it in a traditional tablet use like watching videos or surfing the web with that split down the screen. However I’ve noticed that the interface is really only good for graphics artists or people who are making ads for Nike. 99% of my work involves punching things in with a keyboard, either writing, programming, or configuring via command line. Still coming from the PDA side of handhelds vs. feature rich dumbphones I really want a device that is suited towards productivity, kind of like how I’m really tempted to trade my phones for a Dell Mini 5.
However on the recreational side the courier would make a great e-reader being about the same size and form of a medium book. Engadget is even guessing that Microsoft is positioning this as their e-reader solution. And contrary to what some misguided people say I believe that the page by page form factor is the perfect way to read (but not with changing pages with stupid finger swipes on a screen). Reading really needs a break every few paragraphs for the mind to take a breath. I’m sure you’re seen a page online that was just a huge long scroll of text that went on far longer than you could bother to read. If you haven’t seen anything like that check out some of my older posts and some upcoming posts (or this post come to think of it).
Anyway the Courier really looks to be all that we had hoped that Steve might have made the iPad into. At the very least its’ another innovative and new product that Microsoft seems to be toying with. After a decade of being fat and lazy while the upstarts stole market share it looks like they could hit a few home runs out of the park this year and make 2010 the year of Microsoft. Or Windows Phone 7 could fizzle and this concept never become reality. We won’t know for sure until we actually some them hit the streets.
Tying together two recent posts, the WiFi tech that Apple is exorcising from it’s app database is the same technology that makes GeoSense work on GPS less laptops.
On a side note I think Sekai Camera was one of the few Augumented reality apps that developed well. The comments places were far more location specific than Layar’s display.
By finding your location with nearby WiFi Access Points. Not such a big deal on iPhone since it has GPS but it just shows how useful a tool it is.
Ok, he’s not a moron but I really hate it when people get so wrapped up in their new smartphone that they get tunnel vision. His quote was a small part of a big “pat on the back” session extolling Google’s virtues:
“In three years time, desktops will be irrelevant. In Japan, most research is done today on smart phones, not PCs,”
In Japan more people do use phones rather than computers. But it’s a cultural difference; they’re not ahead of us by way of tech innovation in this regard. In fact surf the web through a Japanese phone and you’ll see just how far behind it is compared to the richness of US mobile service consumption. The web pages render fast because they are the equivalent of 1996 html only lists of text.
Second is the fact that this guy obviously doesn’t see the huge market of gamers out there, or the professionals who need actual applications and not just a email browser.
Like I said, I believe John Herlihy is smarter that he sounds, he’s just got a bit of tunnel vision right now. I think if he were to step back for a bit he’d say something more like, “I believe in three years time smartphones will be purchased before desktops by most consumers.” Which I think could be very likely.
Why on earth would Apple think that it’s a good idea to pull WiFi detecting apps?
I think pulling all Porn and high Flesh to Clothing ratio apps is a little draconian but fair from a company point of view. However apps that help you find WiFi access points is a useful tool when mobile. Especially for a device that can be seriously limited if 3G reception is poor or you have an older phone with no 3G.
Porn apps are useless, and if Apple really wanted to make a statement and fix their image they’d pull all the fart apps. But legitimate apps that make a mobile phone a useful tool should be the apps to reward not remove.
It’s funny because everybody is always saying that the App Ecosystem that Apple has made with the iPhone is its greatest strength. But in reality the ecosystem is poisoned, and it’s only getting worse.
When I went to Japan I put Skype on my phone so I could keep making almost free calls home and not pay for long distance calls.
Skype is now pulling support for Windows Mobile and won’t offer the service anymore. So go grab the installer now so you’ll have it in the future. After this you’ll likely only find it hidden in the corners of places like XDA forums.
Firstly, I agree that the UI looks absolutely beautiful for properly bringing together Social Media info, Games, Music, and Photos. Even Jesus Diaz, one of the big pro-iPhone fans on Gizmodo is saying that “Microsoft Has Out-Appled Apple” and I agree 100%.
They do a really good job of pulling in info from multiple disparate sources and putting them together nicely on their “hubs” this very idea is basically what many people think the future of computing will entail; instead of separate apps for each outlet it can all come together in one place.
And it looks so advanced compared to iPhone with good reason. iPhone is still the basic app menu homescreen it has been for the last 3 years; Windows Mobile has always been derided because it seems sold compared to iPhone. Now Microsoft has leap fogged Apple and makes iPhone look like it is, an interface design that is nearly a third of a decade old.
And here is my first problem with Windows Phone 7 (WP7), I didn’t like how restrictive iPhone was. When it’s apps came out it got better but it’s still what Apple wants you to do and nothing else. WP7 is starting to look like the exact same thing. Microsoft’s integration of Social Media, Games, and Photos is damn near perfect; however I shun social media, never use my phone for games (I don’t even have an xbox 360 and no live account), and I think photos taken from phones are a waste where a real camera should have been used.
The only thing in Microsoft’s hubs I’d really use is Zune. And when I tried Zune out on my computer I hated it; it’s the last thing I want to be FORCED to sync music through. It’s as bad as iTunes but with a different look.
And a lot of the nasty rumors that I think are no-gos for a phone for me are now official are pretty much a given.
No custom skinning by third party manufacturers (HTC Sense, Toshiba 3D, TAT Home).
Apps only come through Windows Marketplace.
No Backward Compatibility for old programs.
Possibly no stylus support.
Possibly no keyboard.
Possibly no COPY AND PASTE!
Yes, TechCrunch hinted at limited to no C&P. Although that’s not certain at all.
My gripes with the phone are the same as my iPhone gripes. For all the slick, pretty, shock and awe interface stuff at the end of the day I want functionality. Unfortunately all the WP7 functionality seems to be focused on helping you waste time on social media, or waste time playing games, or waste time staring at pictures (I’m single with no kids, I understand this sentiment changes with children).
I came from PDAs, for me my phone is a computer in my pocket, a resource I can look up important data, keep my life in order with PIM applications, track when I’ve spent too much time on a subject and need to move on, translate info or languages I don’t know, remotely connect to server resources I don’t have direct access to, etc. Just about every use I’m going to have for my smartphone are things that don’t exist on the WP7 phone as it stands. They’re going to need to create a lot of apps to be able to keep up with the functionality of my Windows Mobile 6.5 phone.
So ironically it looks like I may be transitioning to Android in the near future to have a phone that is diverse as the Windows Phone I have now. However it’s too early to tell on anything, so many amazing things are happening in the handheld device space this year that all we can do is wait.
The only current phone up for play is the Nexus One that looks like a killer Android device. The HTC HD2 isn’t released yet but may be the pinnacle of what Windows Mobile reached before moving to WP7. Dell is creating a smartphone-tablet transitional with the Mini 5 that looks incredibly tempting if I can justify carrying around something that big. Windows Phone 7 Series deivces will be dropping by fall. And by time all players are onstage Apple with have the iPhone 4G shipping.
The future looks bright but difficult if you’re shopping for a new toy but undecided like me.
My Phone uses WM6.5 and sometimes it feels like I’m the only one defending it; many people attack it because the interface isn’t “iPhonesie” enough for them. In other words they don’t have the eye hand coordination to hit buttons smaller than 2in square.
Plus I like that Windows Mobile is actually more open than iPhone OS or Android to tinkering and changing. Not only does it make the phone customizable to my tastes but it means that any programmer can go in there and make the Os do what they want to. Ironic since I know so many Open Source gurus that lament my choice of Windows 7 on my desktop saying Linux is the way to go. But they have iPhones…
Anyway BGR has new rumors on the specs Windows Mobile 7 will have when it’s revealed in a couple weeks. And it’s all bad news.
- The traditional Home Screen will get a whole new look and will not support custom interfaces like Sense and TouchFLO
- No Flash support as time constraints prevented its inclusion
- Applications will be installed through the Windows Mobile Marketplace only, manual installation from a storage card will not be allowed
- Say no to multitasking and yes to push notifications which may be provided by a Microsoft hosted push notifications environment
- No .NET Compact Framework backwards compatibility so all those old apps will not work, but a portion of the data and business logic .NET CF may be ported at some point
- Browser is based upon desktop IE7 codebase, but with some IE8 functionality and is currently faster / better than the iPhone 3G
- No more active sync or Windows Mobile Device center. Zune software will handle all syncing
Basically they’re going to make WinMo suck as hard as iPhone. I’m frankly sick of the world striving to emulate the iPhone and focusing on all the worst aspects of the iPhone to adopt. First it was taking away the stylus, now where locking down the device and not allowing third party companies to improve upon the design.
I REALLY hope that either this is all bunk. Or the rumors that the phone OS is splitting into a Business and Consumer version; and that this is the consumer version and the Business version will retain the openness of the current OS.
As I’ve already mentioned in a few past posts, There isn’t currently a gap in my computing options that needs to be filled. During the reveal of the Apple iPad Steve Jobs touted it as filling a gap between the Macbook laptop and iPhone. Personally I already have an awesome home desktop, Netbook for portable computing, and HTC Tough Pro smartphone for specific computing jobs that work best when mobile (dayplanner applications, basic calculation, timer, and data lookups, etc).
So what I’ve been hoping for is a way to make my netbook into a convertible tablet. Then it can be both my mobile computer and a tablet computer. I don’t have much of a “gap” in my life but at the same time I want to do more than my smartphone can but not have to worry about whipping out the netbook.
Tablet computers are generally great but always just a hair too big to truly be portable. I’ve moved away from full laptops and onto netbooks because of this. For a laptop you need a good protective carrying case, and due to power constraints you usually have to haul a tangle of power cables as well. Pretty soon you’re carrying a backpack full of equipment to the coffee shop an pretending it’s mobile; because while it’s more mobile than a desktop, it’s certainly not as convenient as pulling a phone out of your pocket.
The apple tablet is almost the same size as my netbook and a good midrange size but at times even that netbook is a bit big. You can’t put it in your pocket on the way out the door, I keep mine in a neoprene case that is about the size of a dayplanner a “go-getter” from the late 90’s would carry around. But it’s still got to be carried by hand, plus a coffee in the other hand and I’m suddenly helpless to do simple things like open doors.
That’s why the Dell Mini 5 (aka streak, M01M) caught my eye. It pushes the limit of fitting in a pocket and is basically a smartphone, but it’s optimized to all the non-phone functions of a smartphone.
I’m a long time PDA fan going all the way back to 2000 when I got a Handspring Visor upto the Dell Axim X51v I had right before I switched to smartphones, so carrying a dedicated computing device in my pocket isn’t really a stretch for me. The only change is the addition of a phone, and while I don’t want to hold a Dell Mini5 to my ear (I think the iPhone is too big) it’s really easy to have a Bluetooth headset you can pop into your ear when you get a call. I actually prefer this because I can talk hands free and take notes on the device in my hands, or continue doing any work while the conversation if beamed from my ear to the slate in my jeans and out to the phone network.
In fact 99% of my phone usage is non-phone related, it’s all the computing features that I usually use, from quick text messages, to music, to video, to web surfing and reading. So having a larger than smartphone screen would be really helpful.
This would be made even better if the Locus OS concept by Barton Smith.
Locus basically works like a device that customizes its interface and options based on the job at hand. I first noticed this idea and got excited about it when the Motorola Droid was coming out. The idea was a car kit where the smartphone automatically switched to in car GPS mode when connected to the kit.
As a concept it’s great and would pair perfectly with a device of the Dell Mini 5’s size, imagine a phone that worked like a secondary screen/controller when docked to your computer. Would switch to a universal remote when in front of your entertainment system and could minimize to a web browser to lookup imdb or wiki info while watching. Then when you went out to your car and plugged it into the car kit it would become a GPS and pump music to the stereo. Or if you ride the bus or trains it would become a PMP and play movies or podcasts for the ride.
I love the fact that all these is possible right now and is little more than a few lines of programmer code from reality. The only remaining question is if any company will have the forethought to make it real, and if I can stand holding a 5” phone to my head to make calls on days I forgot to carry a separate headset.
Michael Arrington said that he’s getting rid of his iPhone (TechCrunch: I quit the iPhone) because of the Google Voice debacle. He thinks Apple is too restrictive in what it allows, and that they are sacrificing the customer’s best interests to protect their own bottom line.
Wow, for such a mainstream blogger I’m surprised it took that long for him to realize this. I figure that out back in 2000 before the iPod when Apple didn’t let competing 3rd party hardware work with their computers. Apple is the most locked down, proprietary company in the tech world, even Sony is more flexible.
I find it hilarious when people spout off about how great the open-source movement is, how Microsoft is the stifling evil empire, then they go buy an iPhone and Macbook Pro. It’s a very common hypocrisy in the tech world, reminiscent of when people here in America decry communism, claim they don’t support human rights abuses, then go to Wallmart to fill up on cheap Chinese sweatshop goods. Good job funneling all your money to your moral polar opposite.
Sorry, back to my point.
Recent tech news this week was all about Amazon’s Kindle burning books by remote. People are outraged that they paid for something loaded with DRM and the company took access away leaving them high and dry. Again where these people 8 years ago when we said this is what will happen with DRM?
iPhone has a killswitch in it too, that can remotely cut an apps’ access to portions of the phone. It’s never been used like Kindle was, and it would only disable certain functionalities of the app but what happens if Apple decides that an app is a “Competitive Threat” and uses their power to tip the scales back in their favor. I’m sure some of you are scoffing that “Apple would never really use that!”
That’s what you said about the Kindle.
This is the problem with DRM and companies that are as restrictive as Apple (and apparently amazon). You’re voluntarily giving THEM the power to control what you can do with a device YOU own. By buying into these companies, their products, and their services you’re funding their modus operandi and killing those whose morals and policies may be more inline with your own.
No company is perfect, but when you give your $500 of support to a company will it be to one that allows you the freedom to do as you like, or to the company that tells you what to like?
A new fad showing up among smartphone users is “Augmented Reality”; think of it as the way The Terminator sees the world. You look at something and all its stats flash into view, allowing you steal the right sized clothes off their owner, hotwire a motorcycle, and hunt down John Connor.
Unfortunately reality isn’t as cool or as useful. Right now we can take a phone with a camera and depending where you face it will overlay what subway stations are in that direction. Using location software like Google Latitude to map where friends are it would be possible to overlay the location of your friends like this too (except Latitude doesn’t work in the background so you have to kill it to see others, if they do the same nobody can see each other).
There are problems in reality us techies tend to ignore that stop this from being a true “killer app” and instead just a gimmick.
Current software isn’t really giving you anything you can’t get more accurately with an overhead map view. To simulate distance the sign is either at the top of the screen or the bottom rather than close or fading in the distance. Plus the subway that you’re heading to may be in that direction but it doesn’t take into account what is in between; so you may end up getting lost even more by making a bee line to the location rather than taking the correct streets to route around buildings, canals, and major uncrossable roads that could easily be seen and routed around with traditional navigation software. Imagine a metropolis like Tokyo with tons of maze like dead-ends where you can end up right next to the subway, but have a giant building blocking you from the entrance.
Overlaying a signpost in the direction of an object is cool but not really useful compared to existing tech, plus it’s processor intensive for the visual representation which leads to lag in displaying the info accurately. More intriguing is the ability to see an object or person, and download meta-data from the internet about them. However the only deployments of this have been too complex to work outside of demonstration.
It is cool stuff that will hopefully mature into something incredibly useful (like Terminator vision) but for now it’s just a gimmick with no real world value.
More info, and a more favorable view at Ars.
Engadget mostly posted a concise version of the NYT article, both the NYT and Gizmodo basically come down on the Japanese cell market, the main reason they don’t like the phones: too many features…
Before I expand on this, I’m really shortening what they said, and there is a lot of logic behind the idea that you can make a device too complex; so much so that it is less useable than a more simple device. Sony suffered this problem in the PDA market 6-7 years ago when they made amazing devices that were so chock-full of features people had a hard time learning how to use all of them.
The reason behind this is that collectively the Japanese are gadget fiends; they love tons of buttons that have all kinds of extra features. Compare a US automobile to a Japanese import; there are buttons all over the place for added features. Me and a friend were comparing my ’93 Pathfinder to his ’90 Blazer and he loved all the cool switches that turned on a “Power Mode” for the fuel injection, or the “Auto” setting on the AC. The Blazer had a steering wheel, pedals, stick-shift and almost no electronics. So you have to realize that Japanese tech culture loves to sink neck deep into features that confuse and disorient Americans that just want something simple and just gets the job done.
Back to the phones, the NYT is pretty fair looking at the business of the Japanese cellphone market and how they don’t have any teeth outside the Japanese market (where they are also suffering economic woes like everybody else)
But John Herrman of Gizmodo is basically reading the NYT article and using its limited explanation of Japanese cellphones as a reason to kick around anything not iPhone related (and commenter’s aren’t letting him get away with it). Here’s a shortened quote to give you the gist:
an assortment of barriers…are keeping them from leaving the island. But for the first time in recent history, this is a good thing. Japanese cellphones, as they are, sound absolutely fucking terrible.
Sound absolutely terrible. My advice to John, don’t knock it till you tried it. When I was in Japan I got to see, use, and have demonstrated to me by a native user (the tech loving guys mentioned above) all the amazing things a smartphone can do. Let’s break it down point/counter-point to John.
“Over-the-air mobile TV is interesting, but can—and will—be replaced by internet-based video services”
This is a bad thing. Streaming is exploding the data rate usage on cell networks; as a WAN tech I can expertly say this is very bad, WAN tech and wireless in particular are dry up really quick when you get more people on the network as anybody at SXSW can attest. Don’t believe me? Japanese are already fighting this demon on their cell networks (further proof they are ahead of us in smartphone tech). Besides I’d love it if my phone picked up HDTV broadcasts the way it does FM radio.
”and cellphone payment systems, though great, are by no means impossible here—in fact, they’re on their way.”
They’re always “on their way” but they have it NOW, and have had it for the past 3-4 years. “Osaifu-Keitai” is one of my favorite features on Japanese phones and I can’t wait till we have the same thing here. I’ve seen a lot of “express pay” terminals around and putting a chip compatible with our local credit cards would be cake. The tech is there, American business just isn’t taking advantage.
”Scanning the article for other futuristic features I’d like, I come up dry: Barcode scanning? Any phone with a decent camera and an appropriate app can do that.”
True, this is more of a failure of businesses to use 2D barcodes to enrich and connect print and digital media. This is the holy grail of marketing and all it needs is an official standard on the phones to excite businesses into using it. I don’t see how anybody in tech can’t see the amazing benefits of being able to seamlessly connect print, broadcast, and digital media (I think this shows that John is just a little ignorant on the subject).
Waterproofing and solar power? For most these are gimmicks. Facial recognition unlocking? Please, no.
Ok, I agree with John here. You can go too far.
Let me rephrase that. It’s good to go too far with amazing features like this so long as you have a cheaper model for people who aren’t super gadget hounds. I might want waterproofing, solar power, and facial recognition, but it should be a limited edition of the phone so I have an option to go without for cheaper.
The NYT article and especially John Herrman’s interpretation of it remind me of when I was explaining all the amazing features of my smartphone to people 3 years ago. When I told them that my phone could check email, surf the net, watch youtube, IM friends, or connect to my computer their response was the same as Johns, “Why would I need all those features that I can do with other devices?”
2 years later the same people were raving to me how great their iPhone was and in my head I was screaming, “I was telling you this exact same thing 2 years ago!!!”
Japanese cell phones are the same situation. In two years (hopefully) Americans will be bragging how their phones can watch HDTV, pay for gas at the local 7-11, or scan a code in a magazine to jump to an online video related to the article; and John will be raving about how it’s so great the Apple invented the technology to make it happen.
Edit to Add:
Sorry, reading through that it seems I’m really coming down on John, I think he just hasn’t experience these features firsthand and would be a convert in a second the minute he saw how it all comes together (but shame on him for assuming the NYT knew what they were talking about when it comes to tech!).
It’s understandable due to how little these great ideas are moving across the Pacific. The answer to the NYT article about why Japanese phone tech hasn’t caught on here is that it’s the service providers are holding us back. All these features are provided by the Japanese phone carriers as added features, it requires additional work on their end to provide the service, agreement across the industry to have standards that all phones can use, and it needs to be done in an affordable way. All three of those things are impossible over here.
Our phone carriers drag their feet increasing data bandwidth, let alone increasing features; we still think MMS and video recording are great new features, the Japanese phones have dual cameras to work as true video phones! And just try getting the main carriers to agree on any standardization for barcode scanning or wireless purchases. And if they charge a $20-$50 premium to tether the same data plan, how much extra will they charge for HDTV tuners, barcode scanning, and phone payment systems?
I still think it would be great to have my phone double as a Credit or wallet. I bought a Suica card just so I could tap-on, tap-off the subways, and buy drinks out of the vending machine without carrying change while I was in Japan on vacation.
At $20 is was a small convenience charge.
This is a cool digital twist on an idea I saw when I was in Tokyo. When on the Tokyo subway once you get to your stop you have to figure out which of the 2-3 stairwells to go up to make your next transfer or which exit to the surface you want to go up. A conveniet map on the subway shows all the cars and which car is right in front of the stairwell you need at each stop.
Now there is an application for that on the NYC subway called Exit Strategy NYC.
Another great use of digital technology to be you’re pocket guide to navigating the world. Between this and having Google Maps giving you mass transit directions from point A to point B you have a lot of help to get around complex cities. Google would be smart to buy this company or partner up to integrate it into it’s already very good direction finding app.
My one gripe? Yet again all windows mobile users get overlooked for the more trendy smartphones (although it may have something to do with WM not having an official app store with restrictive rules).
It’s time for an intelligent WM application programmer to make an Android emulator so we can start piggy backing cool apps that bypass us.