Friday, September 14, 2012

iPhone 5 Release: Meh.

The iPhone 5 came out today to a collective "meh" in the marketplace. 

Here are the top reasons to consider looking elsewhere for a more modern, forward-thinking device based on something Linux-based, like Android:
  1. It's the same d**n phone with a slightly quicker camera shutter, slightly taller screen, and supposedly fast processor (Apple is pretty mum on specs here which signals that it doesn't beat the standard quad-cores floating around the Android space these days). It's likely a dual-core processor and most likely slower than a slew of alternative phones as a result.
  2. Like all things Apple you ALWAYS need to pay for some extra add-on, service, or thing-a-majig to make it work for you.
  3. The adapter and connector have been changed. The EC (European Commission) decided that Apple had to offer a microUSB adapter for the phone (which, of course, isn't free). This doesn't really solve the problem but I'm not shocked that Apple got away with breaking their own agreement.
  4. Camera is still the same. The software is better, but the camera is the same. It's a decent camera, but nothing improved here.
  5. No Google Maps means: no live traffic data, no alternate transportation, no StreetView, and biggest of all, no Google Maps special sauce.
  6. It's really no better than a two year old Samsung or HTC phone with Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean running on it.
  7. For a certain amount of time, the apps that you paid for will all be letterboxed. That is, unless you upgrade them. Based on standard Apple iTunes Store behavior, some will be free and some will be paid..More money to shell out. Yay.
  8. Still no expandable storage. Most Android devices support up to at least 32GB of additional data in the form of a removable SD card. I can tell you that a new SD card is a lot cheaper than the storage upgrade options Apple is offering. That said, the same is true of the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire tablets. It's just an unfair practice all around to charge extra for something that should be an easy in-device add-on.
  9. It still doesn't work with TV, a theatre systems, or computers' DLNA streaming. Basically, you still have to buy an Apple TV to do what is free on Android across multiple, unrelated devices. Can we say unnecessary premiums?
  10. You still have to pay extra to use the WiFi tether. For most carriers, this is free on Android and if it's not, you can likely one-click-root and do it anyway without violating any laws.
  11. Siri might have finally caught up to Google Voice Search in this release, but it's still pretty far behind Google Now.
So, the best you can say for Apple's new iPhone is that they've bested their old iPhone and managed to introduce a few headaches in the "upgrade". I wonder when iPhone faithful will realize that they're being duped?

Read more:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Android vs. iOS: Sorting It Out

We had an interesting conversation come up at work today. One of our content portals was found to be severely lacking in the mobile support department and one of our end users complained about this. This, of course, triggered an investigation on the various test devices we have around the office (iPad, iPod, HTC Phone, Motorola XOOM, etc.). When I overheard someone spout some strange nonesense about Google users not caring about quality/functionality, I had it. That was a personal insult to me. :)

I stood up and calmly walked over to ask the obvious Android questions:

Me: What device was the person using?
Them: Aren't they all the same?

Me: No, actually... every manufacturer gets to decide if they'll use the default Android browser or build their own. That XOOM, for instance, has the Motorola browser, not the same one I use, by default.

Them: Yes, but isn't this the majority of the market share represented here? Also, why should we care, our stats show 80% of our users are coming in on iOS.

Me: First, I have 5 browsers that I switch between on a daily basis for different purposes: speed, look, usability, isolation, etc. Why would you assume that I'd only use one browser?

Them: You mean there are multiple browsers? Why not just have one?

Me: For the same reason there are multiple browsers on the PC. No one fits all needs perfectly. Here, look at the search results in the Market for "Browser". I can list of 6 on there that I've personally used and many have high download counts with high ratings.

Me: Also, about your 80%, I frequently change my browsers' user agent to reflect different OSes. Sometimes sites are optimized for iPhone, for instance, so I'll change my browser to act like it's an iPhone. Other times I'll switch to desktop mode to see the standard web site instead of the mobile version. Basically, the Android developers (also users) have said, look, if some website has decided to cater specifically to a target market, I'll just let them think I'm part of that install base by mimicking their web responses. This can, in some cases (particularly tech-savvy user-targeted websites) grossly skew website statistics, but it reflects a reality created by an inefficiency designed by Apple.

Them: Well, it seems this is all very techy and not likely what someone who just bought the device would so.

Me: That's just it. People who buy these devices are both techy AND more likely to be our target end user. They want choice. They want the ABILITY to do these types of things. If they did buy an iOS device, I can almost guarantee that they have since jail broken it and added a lot of these features that come default on Android. It's all about choice, customization, and maximizing the possibilities of the technology. That's the typical Android user. I understand that some would want simplicity and prefer the iOS for this reason. I'm saying that Android can be both simple AND complex at the same time. Assumptions about how our tech-savvy users are using their devices need to be made in that light.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Agile Development Project Tracking

Agile development projects are perhaps the best thing to hit for web-based applications since the Internet. Keeping track of them with a distributed team, however, can be a real bugger. Thankfully there's a group of people out there who have overcome the considerable hurdle of distributed agile development. Pivotal Labs, makers of many a web app solution, have graciously provided their project tracking tool to the rest of us. Pivotal Tracker is the best solution to the problem I've seen. While it is hosted, it is free for Open Source project users and the fee for closed source projects isn't prohibitive for most small teams. I've been using it for some work projects and I must say that it is definitely worth the effort of looking into.

Well done, guys!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Android Market on AVD 2.3 Emulator

I posted a while back that there was a way to get the Android Market installed on the AVD emulator for versions 1.5 and 1.6. It turns out there's a slightly less troublesome way to do it for 2.3 now:

Happy cross-app usage!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rooted and Loving Life

I finally took the leap about a month and a half ago and got myself off the "grid" by rooting my Droid Incredible and then flashing the ROM to Cyanogen 6.1RC2. I'm now on 6.1 Stable and I have to say, it's a HUGE improvement over the stock HTC ROM + Sense UI. I still don't have the stones to rid myself of the stock content for good and will likely keep them around as long as I have the insurance plan for the phone. However, it is nice to know that none of that crap is launching at startup or chewing up my resources.

Anyone else root their phones? Any advice to would-be rooters? Which ROM are you using and why?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Update Your Droid Incredible to Android 2.2 (Froyo)

I was starting to wonder if the HTC Droid Incredible would ever make the 2.2 update this year. Looks like Christmas came a bit early for those willing to do a little manual updating. don't worry, this patch is legit and comes straight from Google's own servers.

Here's the instructions from

A couple of things to note:
-You *may* need to make sure your build numbers match the expected build for the update (prepping for the update).
-You have to be patient. I know. That's the last thing you want with an early update, but it's true. I found myself waiting at several screens for more than 5 minutes while it did its thing. Just be ready for that. Don't reboot during any part of the update.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Android Market on Android 1.6 and 1.5 Emulator

I found this great post over at techdroid. It shows how to both install and use the development environment and setup the AVD to enable the market. The one downside? No 2.1 or 2.2 version available yet. I'll keep my eyes open, but as of now, I haven't found any yet. Anyone else have a different experience?

And in case the blog disappears at some point in the future, I'm posting the full text of the article here with props to the original author:

Wow, This is cool. Finally, I am able to run the Android Market on the emulator. And also, see all the paid apps and copy-protected app, right here on my emulator.
What do you need?

Well, the basic SDK. 1.5, 1.6 or 1.1

And then, go to the HTC website where you can find the images/recovery images. Download the version (system image only) which you want to run.
(Download the System Image zip)

Extract the files of this zip. There's a system.img file which you will need in the next steps.

Create an AVD (1.1, 1.5 or 1.6) depending on your requirements.

Copy this system.img file into the avd directory. For example, if you created an avd named "MyPhone", go to .avd\MyPhone\ and paste this system.img file here.

Now start the emulator. Voila, You are ready to go. After you sign in with a google account, your phone is ready to use. You now have access to all the market apps right from your emulator.

Note: If you are not able to run it successfully, and if you are getting Network communication error, please download the AVD that I have created from this link.

Link for 1.5 image

Link for 1.6 image