Recently, a friend of mine and I were discussing his phone and his desire to buy the iPhone 5 to replace his Android phone. Personally, think moving from an Android to an iPhone is a mistake, but that’s not really the point of this particular posting.
During the course of the conversation, the phrase came up “It just works.” I’ve heard this phrase countless times over the years to describe one OS or another, and it’s always seemed weird to me.
For something to “just work”, the task that you’re trying to perform has to be within the subset of tasks the device is inherently capable of. For example, if I were to want to browse the web, in today’s day and age, pretty much any computer or smart phone I picked up would “just work”. They all come with built in web browsers and networking capability. So the claim “it just works” could apply to any of them. A secondary, counter example would be, if I were to want to dig a hole in my back yard. Now, short of using the case as some sort of digging device, none of those devices could claim to “just work”.
What this really boils down to is this: Whether a device “just works” or not is subjective to a particular persons needs.
For me (and I’d go so far as to claim most people), what I need in a computer is simple.
I need a word processor. This doesn’t have to be Microsoft Word, or Lotus something or other. To often, people get tied up in names. I’d be willing to bet that Open Office or LibreOffice can perform most if not all tasks required of an average user.
I need a spread sheet. Again, it doesn’t have to be a particular brand name, and again, Open Office or LibreOffice more than meet the needs of the majority.
I need access to the Web. Linux supports Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and other web browsers. All are capable of browsing the vast majority of the web.
I need to view graphics. I have a digital camera and two kids. I want to see video and images of those kids on my computer. Linux more than covers these bases, and does so with ease and style. No issues there.
So, when it really comes down to it, Linux does all the things that the average person requires from their OS. On top of those things, it’s easy to use, stable, and close enough to being virus free that it makes the Mac look like a cesspool of infection.
Based on those facts, I think it’s safe to say it.
I have no idea what this is going to mean for the Linux, Android, and even Mac versions of Skype. I just don’t see this is a good thing no matter how you look at it. Here’s a collection of links. I’ll be watching this pretty closely. I’m already starting to look for alternatives.
I watched this a couple days ago, and thought to myself, this is exactly why Apple is popular. If you watch the video, it’s an April Fools joke played on a Fox News corespondent where her co-anchor convinces her that there’s a new technology now available that lets a person smell and taste things through the screen of an iPhone or iPad. Not to ruin the joke or anything, but everybody cracks up when she licks the screen.
The sad part of this joke is, this is exactly what Apple has been doing to it’s customers for years. Their customers have been told so many times that their device is magical, or revolutionary, or intuitive that they’ve started believing it. They’re believing it despite evidence to the contrary. Apple isn’t laughing through, they’re just raking in the cash with a smile and a nod.
Today a good friend of mine asked me what apps can be loaded on the Xoom. That’s actually an interesting question at this point, since the Xoom is still new. I did a little bit of research (when I said a little I mean less than 5 minutes), and I found some interesting numbers.
According to one source, Honeycomb had 16 applications on the 25th of February. I’ll be pretty frank on this. 16 applications is L-A-M-E. No one is going to buy any device that only has 16 applications. The trick about that particular number is that the Xoom, which is effectively the first Honeycomb based tablet, was released on the 24th. So, at that time the Xoom and Honeycomb were a day old. Puts that in perspective.
Then, in comes Apple. On March 2nd, Apple announced the iPad 2. Now Apple is really working hard to dismiss their competitors, and they didn’t pull any punches with Android. According to the Apple presentation, Honeycomb had 100 applications. 100 applications is pretty lame too, but again, we’re talking about an Operating System that had been released for a grand total of 7 days.
It’s impossible to argue that Honeycomb has a large number of applications at this point. What makes things really interesting is that on the 3rd of March (one day after Jobs’s pompous presentation), Google expanded its Fragments API to applications running older versions of Android. What this means is apps that are compatible with Android 1.6 and higher can tap into Fragments to create apps that work on larger-screened devices like tablets. This makes it trivial to move your app for a handheld to an app for a tablet. The Android market is growing by leaps and bounds, and it has been shown to be growing faster than the App Store.
What this means is this: Gloat now while you have the chance Steve. It won’t be long before you hear that familiar whooooshing sound of your competition passing you by. It should be interesting to hear you try to explain why the number of applications available for a device doesn’t matter after the numbers for the iPad fall behind.
The Pwn2Own 2011 contest is right around the corner. It’s going to be March 9th, 10th, and 11th. It looks like Linux will be not participating again this year with the exception of Android. Maybe that’s because it’s a foregone conclusion that it won’t be Pwned. Who knows.
Android is in the mix this year in the mobile category. Here’s the contenders:
Dell Venue Pro running Windows 7
iPhone 4 running iOS
Blackberry Torch 9800 running Blackberry 6 OS
Nexus S running Android
My predictions are they will fall in this order:
Dell Venue Pro
I really was torn about 3 and 4 (but 1 and 2 were easy). Blackberry has been shown to be fairly security aware. I guess time will tell.
OK, so the announcement has been made. Details are had by all. After a review of those details all I can say is, *yawn*. The iPad 2 is nothing interesting. They’ve finally added the cameras, and they’re upgrading the OS (incrementally). Nothing to write home to Mom about.
Here’s a chart that compares the specs for the iPad 2 to it’s competitors in the market.
To me it looks like pretty much everything on the market already still beats out the iPad 2. I’ve heard rumors that the iPad 3 will be coming out this year as well, and it’s really the one to watch. I have a lot of doubts about that. I expect Apple to maintain it’s schedule and not put out the iPad 3 until next year. By then, even the dust the iPad 2 is eating right now should be settling down leaving the iPad family of devices definitively behind everything else on the market.
This is a truly great comparison of the Xoom and the iPad that I found over at Droid Life. I’ve seen others try to compare the Xoom to the iPad 2, but trying to do that is completely unrealistic as there currently are no released specifications for that device. Any comparison would be complete guess work. It’s worth noting that even the most optimistic of these comparisons only bring the iPad into the range of “comparable” to the Xoom, but they’re still guessing. When Apple releases the specifications, then we can start making that comparison.