Google & Apple: Why?

23 11 2008
Ouch

The First Google Phone: Ouch

Just wanted to share some of my thoughts on the latest developments in the cellular world. What better place to start than the infamous Google phone, which turned out, much to most of our disappointment, to not be a phone at all, but a cellular platform or more precisely a mobile operating system? I just do not get a few things, and I would seriously like some explanations here, so please feel free to make use of the commenting tool.

Why would a company like Google, who is known for their innovation and products that just work (Gmail, Picasa, and many others), agree to introduce the world to their new and exciting Android on such a (I literally sat in front of my monitor trying to think of a strong enough word to describe the G1’s ugliness) horrendous looking phone? I cannot think of one aspect of the Dream’s hardware that is even slightly appealing to me! OK, software might be more important when choosing a phone, but there have to be red lines, and the first Android phone crosses them. So, why? There must be an explanation. Anyone?

Furthermore, once Google decided to settle and use the G1, how could they agree to release this phone without a 3.5 mm headphone jack? This phone is supposedly competition for the iPhone and others like it, but as if the G1 was not ugly enough on its own, you now have to use some clunky adapter to plug your earphones in? Why, Google, why?

Connect This to Listen to Your Tunes on Your G1

Connect This Nice Looking Thing to Listen to Tunes on Your G1

These are not rhetorical questions, I expect answers here. Does it really take so much to add a headphones jack? Would it really have been too much to ask for HTC to design a pleasant looking handset for the most exciting mobile platform of 2008? Maybe something like the HD? I would have even settled for a Diamond. I really just do not get it.

Next Gen Cellphone

Next Gen Cellphone

OK on to other topics. Phone Scoop reviewed the Samsung Behold. They gave it an OK review and were not very excited by it. I read the review and was very surprised to see that the main disadvantage of the phone was not addressed. The camera was OK, the music player was decent, nothing about the fact that it is a closed OS, with no option of installing anything 3rd party. I can tell you that this was for me, pretty much the thing that prevented me from getting the phone. Strange that they did not discuss it.

Behold the Samsung Behold

Behold the Samsung Behold

Lastly, just wanted to give a quick shout-out to the biggest disappointment of my week. The 2.2 iPod/iPhone firmware upgrade. I was so excited to use Street View on my iPod and for some unexplainable reason, that update was only provided to iPhone users and not iPod Touch users. Other updates were implemented on both the iPhone and iPod, like pressing the Home button now brings you back to your first home screen, and enhancements to the App store. So, I ask, why would Apple do such a thing? I find it very hard to believe that it is because of technical restrictions, there is no reason it would work on the iPhone and not the iPod Touch, which leads me to believe that this was a marketing decision.

Amazing!

Amazing!

It is no secret that I love the way Apple markets their products, which leads me to my conclusion that everyone makes mistakes. The hard part is to acknowledge your error and correct it. So, no pressure, Steve, but hurry the heck up and fix this, I want to see my old house on my iPod.

Just to end on a positive note, congrats to Technmarketing on their 100th post, and what a post it is, if I do say so myself.

-Hillel

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Gmail Mobile Application

13 11 2008

I want to share my experience with the new Gmail mobile application. I installed it on my Nokia e71 about 2 weeks ago and I think it’s a really great application if you are a Gmail user. This application allows you to read and write your emails without accessing your mobile browser, which forces you to be online at all times. With the Gmail app, you can write emails even when offline. Besides, 3G is costly and then there’s the coverage issue.

The look and feel is very much the same as the Gmail mobile web page, the menus are up to par with the look and feel of any touch screen device.

If you remember, Google introduced a Gmail desktop app with the announcement of Crome. That basically does a similar thing, a desktop application for Gmail, although you have to be online and there are no extra features.

The Gmail app doesn’t have IM capability to power your Google talk but there are other applications that keep us connected on mobile phones. There is always the next version

-Yitzchak

gmail-mobile-app

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Remember The Milk

5 11 2008

logo

How many times have you forgotten to buy milk? RTM is a really nice, easy to use task reminder/ fully integrated to do list. All the regular functions are included like due date, importance, groups etc. They also use Google Gears so that you have full offline access to the account. Location based tasks are very useful also. You can set where the task needs to get done using Google Maps or GPS. They just came out with an iPhone app which is really nice because it syncs with the Web app. The sync is really great because Steve Jobs decided to leave out a todo list or tasks function from the iPhone. I have no idea why this feature was left out, most smart phones have active sync which allows them to sync all Microsoft Exchange items including tasks.

The reall beauty lies in their integration with other platforms like iGoogle, Google Calendar, Twitter, Gmail, Blackberry and so many more. With there API they have been able to do some really neat stuff.

So a little about the Twitter integration, all you need to do is to follow RTM on Twitter and they provide a verification code to Identify you. Once that is set up all you need to do is to direct message RTM a task like ” meeting tomorrow with Steve at 7am” and it will automatically add the task to RTM and it works like a charm.

Try it out and let me know what you think.

-Aryeh

Here are some screen shots:

iPhone app:                                Gmail Widget

ss_today

ss_gmail

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Mobile Gmail 2.0: More Like 1.05

26 10 2008

Google released a new version of their Mobile Gmail client for all Java phones as well as Blackberry devices.  The new client brings offline email so you can read and compose your emails when you have no access to the Web. It also supports multiple account access and a few new shortcuts to access its menu.

I have used this app many times and as convenient as it was to have Gmail on my phone, it always struck me as a little primitive. After reading about the enhancements of the second generation Mobile Gmail, my opinion has not changed. In the 3 years since the original app came out, all Google could come up with is offline access? Didn’t Outlook do that like 10 years ago? OK, granted Outlook is on a PC and this is on a cellphone, but still, I expected much greater enhancements, like maybe the ability to have it run in the background and notify you of new mail.

Maybe Google should stop spending money on fighter jets (yes, Google bought a fighter jet) and pay their developers more money to actually make useful products.

-Hillel

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The Flip Side of The G1: Android

24 09 2008

Contrary to my thoughts on the G1, Android itself is pretty amazing.

Check out these videos:

-Hillel

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HTC G1: My Dreams Are A Lot Better

24 09 2008

So yesterday was a pretty important day in the mobile world. The “Google Phone” was announced. After all the rumors surrounding Google’s first handset,  T-Mobile announced the HTC G1 (Dream, hence the title), running Google’s Android OS.

Although, Android is an impressive and exciting concept, the phone on which they chose  to implement this new OS is far from exciting. In today’s day and age there really is no reason HTC should be releasing a phone that can not transfer files via Bluetooth. That is just one of the many disadvantages of the new G1.

The G1 does not support stereo Bluetooth, making it difficult to listen to music wirelessly. Well, no biggie, right? I can just use my regular headphone, right? Wrong! The phone has no 3.5 mm headphones jack. That means, if I want to listen to music from my phone, I need to buy some ugly adapter and plug it into the phone, and only then can I use my headphones. Does that sound like a state of the art, high-end phone to you?

The phone supports 3G speeds, but only an older generation, UMTS and no HSDPA, which is significantlty faster. It offers push Gmail, which is kinda cool, I guess, but no exchange support. It has a 3 MP camera, not too shabby, but no video capabilities (the iPhone might be able to get away with that because it makes up for it in other areas, but cmon HTC).

Like with many other phones that were recently announced, my conclusion is that if this phone had been released in the pre-iPhone era, maybe it would have impressed me more, but all that is left is to quote GSMArena.com when they say:

“So we waited a whole year now just to see a poor iPhone replica with a QWERTY keyboard that doesn’t even look half as good. It seems HTC have not put any effort in the design – and even the functionality is flawed. So thanks, but no thanks! Let’s see the next one, please!”

On the marketing side of things, I guess this ad is OK, in a Microsoft kinda way.

-Hillel


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Google’s Done it Again

3 09 2008

After playing with Google’s new browser, Chrome, I can safely say that Google has done it again. They have managed to maintain their “we make products that work” reputation. Chrome is faster than IE, Firefox, and Safari. My initial disappointment due to the lack of a compatible Google Toolbar, has now been corrected. Google designed the browser so that you do not need any add-ons, you can simply type your search words in the browser’s address bar and you are automatically directed to the search results, as if you had searched at Google.com.

All in all, Chrome offers a very nice and smooth experience with an easy-to-use interface. After Google released their Lively service last month, that was, in my opinion, unusable, I got a little worried that Google was headed in Microsoft’s direction, i.e getting too big to make really good products. It seems now, that they are in fact headed in Apple’s direction, which is where all companies should be headed.

-Hillel

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