Category Archives: Google

Kindle Fire & Nook Tablet are not fragmenting Android

So many people are talking about how with the open sourcing of ice cream sandwich we are going to see a new level of fragmentation of the Android ecosystem. The best part is these people use the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablets as examples of this. These tablets are actually not a part of the problem. They are actually examples of Google’s solution to the issue.

One of the main reasons that they are not fragmenting is they don’t claim to be Android. If you look at the ad pages for both the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Barns and Noble Nook Tablet you will not see android referenced other then on Amazons as the Amazon Android App store which no consumer that buys it is going to confuse it with Google’s app store. The fact that it is Android is something only the really geeky need to know. I am doubtful outside the tech circles anyone is going to be talking about it as android. The only really major reason that it is Android matters is that it’s using Android’s development libraries which means most apps that work on any Android tablet will work on the Kindle or Nook they just have to go through there separate stores. As for that causing issues as well I have used Amazon’s App Store in the past and would consider it on par with Google’s.

So really this is all what Google wanted. They wanted to make it so that any company could make their own personalized devices using Android quickly now we are finally seeing the results of this policy. Personally I think it’s better since it means Amazon or Barns and Noble can be on par with Apple in at least the tablet OS space and use that to deliver their much more plentiful content. In the end we are seeing more competition and less consumer confusion what more could you want?

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Why I’ve lost faith in Android as a platform

This is a blog post a long time coming as over the last month I have struggled with my Android phone. I am going to start off saying if your just going to respond with “Just click X,Y, and Z and your issue is solved” at this point then stop reading now cause my whole argument is going to be ignored by you.

I had an Android phone for about 9 months. Over the course of those 9 months I spent all 9 of them trying to make my phone something better. I was using a Samsung Fascinate which is by no means a weak phone or in any ways should be a problem. The Galaxy S was the top line from Samsung who is not a bad phone manufacturer. Actually the hardware is great the phone has survived many drops with no signs of damage the thing that truely cripples the phone is it’s OS.

When I first got my Fascinate my first thought was “yay I can tweak the hell out of this thing” at the start. I spent a few weeks trying to use the default of this “amazing OS” I even tried all the different launchers and none of them fixed the fundamental flaw that was created by the buggyness and slowness of the OS provided by Samsung. So I started my journey of playing with ROM’s constantly on this phone. Now all I can say is that this lead to a phone only slightly more usable then before with just as many bugs. Even after Samsung finally got Froyo on the phone (6 months after promised) we merely got more bugs. Now this could be both Samsung’s and Verizon’s fault who knows which caused more bugs. Verizon’s attempts to replace Google with Bing couldn’t have made it any more stable.

Now all of this trouble comes from the fact that Android is too open. It doesn’t matter if your OS is really good if 90% of the users are given phones that slowly get buggier over time. We like to think of technology as advancing but Android devices I have used seem to only get more bugs as more versions of software is release look at the Droid X for even more examples. This is the key failing of the Android platform. People said there was going to be no consitancy to Android well I can tell you there is one constant  it’s that phone makes can keep making bad phones that will just confuse normal users. I don’t care if you can fix it by restarting or pressing a key combo or turning off the defaulted to on GPS. None of these matter as normal users should never have to deal with this stuff. Fine it will work for tweakers and you guys can have your phones but there is no need for tweaker phones to be forced on the population as a really usable phone. I think Android as a platform is in a race to the bottom of devices. In an attempt to make devices cheaper and cheaper the quality goes out the window. Don’t get me wrong I’m sure the Nexus phones will be good for techies and the Kindle Fire will be perfect for normal users but neither of those will be the majority of devices.

Now most readers will probably ask, “Well then what platform do you have faith in?” The saddest thing is I actually have to say there are two platforms that have it right. Windows Phone and iPhone. Yep Windows Phone . It’s not only more usable but as a user its less confusing. Instead of allowing you to bite yourself with 50 apps in the background Microsoft has seen what Apple did. Sure you can use your one app and the rest can run but in limited states to prevent the slowdown and freezing that became normal on my android. At the end I was rebooting almost daily wait no that wasn’t even me it would reboot ON ITS OWN!  I think Microsoft will win the race to the bottom as they have a more intuative and simple user interface will most likely hit the right price points.

So there is my outlook. Windows Phone and iPhone on top with Android stuck with Blackberry in nitch markets. Sure the Android phones will have the latest tech but seriously does anyone really need NFC at this point? Or even LTE? Yay, I get instant downloads oh wait I need to plug in again. Apple and Microsoft are both smart about technology these days and know its worth waiting till its been proven. This will be the key to their success just watch!

Why broadband will continue to fail in the US

With Google announcing it was going into the ISP business or at least into the ISP infrastructure business it looks like maybe we might see more broad band with the promised gigabit connections it might provide. But will this really solve Americas broadband crisis? Guess what IT WONT! Though Google would probably be the first one to go into the areas that are least served (leave and minor city and you can find under served areas) and claim the funds for it why would it? Would that really help them with their goals? These areas have been abandoned by the major ISPs look at Verizon selling off its rural phone lines. Why would they do this? Oh wait FiOS is more expensive to lay in the country and there just is not the money to be made there. So what happens? Well at lot of Americans still live outside the cities! So we get horrible broadband rate. Well lets look back at Google. Sure they could pull into these smaller towns an under covered rural areas but what would they gain? There would be no pressure (hell most of the major telecoms feel stuck in these areas) and at worst they will look like the bad guys as many of these areas are served by local companies that cannot afford to make needed upgrades. Now maybe if Google is just wanting to make the infrastructure this could work but still where is the pressure? It would be most good Google could do and sure would get great PR I mean I can read the headlines now “Google solves broadband issues the government could not!” ok it wouldn’t be that long but you get the drift.

Basically in the end I have this feeling that people outside of the major metropolitan areas are screwed. A year ago wireless was going to save rural broadband but Verizon has 3G in most everywhere but if you leave a city the towers are so sparse the connection is worse than dial-up. No one wants to invest in rural America which used to be seen as the heart of America. Now it has just been forsaken its paying for all the cities junk and never getting any investment.

Chrome OS Doomed from the start!

So today many people have been talking about Google’s announcement of Google Chrome OS. Of course Google has told us really nothing about this OS other then that it will run on x86 and ARM architecture as well as the fact that Google already has partners lined up. Now that we got what we know out of the way lets look a bit more at what Google is doing.

Why name it Chrome? First off why is Google naming it Chrome? Chrome is a product that so far is only used by Windows users (people on OSX and Linux want it but it’s not there yet). Google should not be naming its OS Chrome this will only cause further confusion. Of course this might also give away the secret as to why Google Chrome OS will fail.

Chrome OS doesn’t sound like its going to really have much more then a Web Browser! Wait what? Just a browser? Yep it sure sounds like it. They talk about how everything should just be done on the web. Sorry Google but web apps do not yet compete with stand alone. Take for example someone with a lowly DSL connection. Well how easy would it be to write a paper if you keep having to send data back and forth?  It would be a horrible experience (btw I know for a fact that trying to do anything quickly in Google Docs over DSL is slow.).

Google says people want faster computers. So what does Google promise? Well your netbook will run the Internet faster! But wait this is the same problem as before! Without a proper broadband network how is this beneficial to anyone? Will this OS actually run anything on the local computer is the one question that keeps popping into my head. I think maybe 5-10 years in the future this might work.

Of course if it ends up anything like Android it will be 5-10 years later. Look at android its been around for awhile now and still ONE actual phone. Good job Google where was the huge numbers you were saying would be out last winter. Of course the one major thing is suppposedly there are a bunch of ARM “Smartbooks” around the corner and well Chrome OS would be perfect for them as Windows would suck just as much on them. Oh wait Linux is out there.

Sorry Google but unless Chrome OS is just rebranding Ubuntu with Chrome installed I doubt its going to be as great as everyone is saying.

Google accused of stealing the Android name

Ok the simple answer is most likely no. From what is going on it seems like Google is under attack from someone who just happened to be lucky and own a name similar to Google’s new mobile phone platform. The fact that the company dissolved a few years ago makes it seem as though this case will end up with nothing for either side. It is really kind of sad to see Google attacked this way. I would not be surprised if this guy was hoping that since Google was so large it would just pay out the 2 million but has now bitten off more then he can chew. Who knows though? I guess we will just have to wait and I am sure we will hear more about it in the future.

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Microsoft still spreading rumors about a Yahoo! deal

Microsoft seems to really want to make a deal with Yahoo! at least that is my best guess since Steve Ballmer cannot seem to stop bringing up the idea of a Yahoo!-Microsoft partnership of some kind. Of course the real question is what would either of them really gain? On a search deal alone Microsoft has a lot to gain but what would Yahoo! get out of the deal? Nothing to much besides hopefully some extra money from Microsoft but at the expense of their already dwindling Market Share and most likely it would turn into an attempt by Microsoft to eventually actually acquire the company. I don’t Yahoo! has to do this but at the same time if Yahoo! can make a search deal but keep it more beneficial for them and not turn into Microsoft’s puppet it might help them. But really Yahoo! I think can do fine alone. Microsoft has never been able to gain in the search market and Yahoo! though shrinking I think can eventually come back and beat Google I mean their searches are already looking better then Google’s sometimes (Google’s search results are getting worse it seems).

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Google releases a way to do 3d on the web

Google today announced O3D which is a api for creating 3D apps on the web. This would be a javascript extension to allow for 3D graphics on web pages. Google is hoping this will help spark more ideas about where the web could go in the 3D direction. Of course this is interesting in other ways as well. For example more javascript is only going to bring in more security holes in the already tattered fabric that makes up javascript. Also who knows whether or not others will really pic up on this. As we have seen Mozilla build canvas3d for awhile now and there really hasn’t been that much mainstream interest. Maybe O3D will finally get the 3Ding of the web the mainstream attention that it needs if it really wants to get on its feet.

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YouTube adds old Movies and TV

Google has now added Movies and TV Shows to YouTube. Oh but wait its mostly just a easy way to find the TV shows that have already been around on YouTube and old movies you probably have no desire to watch. Oh but it gets better. Remember those shows that were licensed for YouTube but had no commercials well now your get a wonderful commercial before and after the video. So what is Google exactly trying to do here? Is it trying to compete with Hulu? With this small amount of content that is mostly sub-par compared to the prime-time content. Google does not stand a chance at beating out Hulu. Not only that but this is pissing off more and more people since most people that use YouTube want it to remain just a site for people to upload their own content. It’s in the name YouTube its about You not about the content providers! If only Google could realize this. In reality Google should have kept Google Video alive if for nothing more then as a way to add this content without messing with the YouTube name.

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Microsoft practically claiming victory in netbooks!

I normally have a lot of respect for Brandon LeBlanc as I have read almost all of his Windows Blog posts. This article though about “Windows on Netbook PCs": A Year in Review” acts almost as though the netbook battle has already been won. He write as thought the netbook market is not going to change anymore! First off congrats to Microsoft on going from 10% to 96% in netbooks (what country is my only question here). You managed to go from underdog to top dog… or so you think. One major threat to Microsoft in the netbook market is completely ignored. Yes, I know its an year in review article but from the wording they sound ready for everything… except as normal from Microsoft they are ignoring the idea of new netbooks.

When netbooks first came out this was the reason Microsoft started at 10%. Microsoft was betting everything on Windows Vista at the time and any of the original netbooks needed a SD card filled with Windows in order to run it.  It took Microsoft a whole year to get to the top in netbooks and personally I think they killed one of my favorite part of netbooks! The SSD! For me a real netbook must have a SSD as to be truly as portable as a netbook promises you cannot have a spinning disc in your netbook. Of course cheap SSD’s could not fit even the slimmer Windows XP so real netbooks tend to do two things. Either they ran Linux or they ran Windows XP off a SD drive or a only allowed for minimal storage.

Now why do I bring up my idea of a real netbook? Well it is because ARM is looking to revitalize this segment of the netbook market not just by using SSDs but also by making netbooks SMALLER. And I am not talking screen sizes I am talking thickness and weight the real important factor. But why does Microsoft ignore these great advancements shouldn’t they be talking about this (no articles from Microsoft even talk about Windows on ARM). One simple fact. Full versions of Windows don’t run on the ARM architecture. Is Microsoft going to be able to play catch up here? Sure Microsoft’s Windows Mobile works on it but who would want a 10-inch cell phone? So far Microsoft seems to be missing the boat.

Now lets go back to this article which claims victory by numerous areas even though the netbook win so far has been over mindshare more then actual usefulness.

First, Brian talks about configuration saying “There’s a wizard to help with just about anything, so you’ll never need to go to the command line and manually configure things.” Now what exactly is a consumer setting up on a netbook that would need command line access in say Linux? Last I checked a  netbook came fully loaded with all the drivers it would need and all apps in Linux these days have simple wizards as well. So chock down one FUD line.

Second, the argument of we got the mindshare so we win. Ok I will give you that argument. Sure everyone knows someone that can fix a Windows computer. You can claim that point.

Third, its easy to stay up to date with releases and updates. If you read the comments of the article Jonathan Rothwell does a very good job of dispelling this myth and I will try now to do the same. Last I checked every Linux distro I know does auto updates. As for predicable updates I know that this is a blessing to IT departments but allows for those wishing to exploit flaws to wait until the day after patches go out to release new viruses or utilize newly found holes in the system. As for releases well last I checked Microsoft releases whenever they feel like it. Most distros do a 6month or some other standard amount of time between releases.

As for the printer and other device compatibility Linux runs most printers. Lexmark is one of the only exceptions here and it’s because Lexmark is horrible about drivers. As for web cams Microsoft has forced webcams to be “Vista Certified” which means video over usb a standard that is implemented in Linux as well. Cameras work fine with Windows as well. In reality MORE devices are compatible with Linux as Linux supports devices from the 90s that Microsoft stopped supporting long ago.

So looking at Windows on the netbook future I think next year will be a huge change. Android netbooks means that Google’s name could be attached to netbooks hurting Microsoft when it comes brand recognition (Google these days seems to have a better reputation). At the same time with Microsoft ignoring the new hardware I think the netbook still could easily belong to Linux and Open Source.

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BTW: Do not think this means I dislike Microsoft. I am merely upset with this article that pretty much declares victory while skipping around the warzone that will be the netbook market very soon (if you don’t currently consider it that).

Will Google fall like Microsoft?

Will Google eventually get to the same spot as Microsoft? John C. Dvorak thinks it could. I think he makes some very good points in this article about how Google is looking to do. Basically he points out that Google’s stock could go as high as $20,000 though I think that might be a bit high. The main interest I found in this article was the discussion as to how he compares the fact that Microsoft only used one business model which Google has so far done the same. I find this an interesting idea since if Google does end up like Microsoft being a one trick pony Google’s eventual fall is almost for sure going to happen. Of course though this is Google. They have a bit different of a way of looking at things. This in the future will be Google’s best weapon when it comes to not falling behind. Things like Gmail and Google news have helped Google move a bit out of the search business but the question is can Google make something like Android or a Google OS work and actually be able to expand its markets unlike Microsoft who has only managed to get into one new area in the recent years (Games with the Xbox360 which took a lot of money which they may never regain).  In the end I think the future for Google looks good and from the sounds of it Dvorak thinks so too.

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