Category Archives: Apple

Comparing Apples to Oranges…


I rarely get to write down my random thoughts, like I hope to. Tonight was a normal night. I worked hard, played with my kid, made certain that my daughter and wife knew they were loved, and then went out with my friends to play darts and recharge my batteries some.

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What was different tonight was that while driving home I could not stop thinking about Apple’s new iOS 5 (“Android update” as I call it) and the pending new iPhone. Not just the “competition” was on my mind though. I started thinking about the Android community. How blessed I’ve been. How much value it has brought into my life. Ultimately concluding my thoughts with the notion, this is just the beginning. The future is brighter.

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If you did not listen (or read) today, Larry Page (CEO of Google) during the 3Q earnings call for Google was throwing out some mind-numbing statistics on Android (and basically every avenue of Google). He noted the 600K+ activations per day. Near $3B in profit. He even went out and proclaimed the new Android OS (ICS) Ice Cream Sandwich was going to be “incredible” & “you won’t believe what we’ve managed to do.”

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Alright, breathe. I was excited before. Hearing the CEO say words that strong about Android’s growth and maturity, combated with the fact he said they were going to be defending Android passionately in court (patent issues – aka the competition who is scared / trying to make money off of Android too)…. well, this made me a whole new level of excited. I said many times over that Honeycomb was horrendous, but Ice Cream Sandwich would save Android. Larry made me feel even more confident in that assertion.

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I don’t know if it is all the good news for Android lately, the new super-phones, cheaper tablets, or the iOS 5 upgrade hiccups, but I have been extremely pleased to be a self-proclaimed Android Fanboy lately. I’ve said it in the past, and it was true…. I will always point out a flaw in Android or give credit to the competition, but for once, I am just so incredibly happy with Android as an OS AND the community. I’ve been blessed with kindness recently. There is no better community. The current and future seem extremely bright for Android. Google is defending Android legally, manufacturers are profitting and more importantly seem to be opening up to the development community, sites like XDA and Rootzwiki are blowing up, people are talking about modding their phones, people seem hip to app security…. all seems well in this Android community.

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These are the thoughts I had at a stop light driving home. I love this community. I love Android. Thank you to anyone who reads this and can understand.

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Oh, I thought “apples to oranges” was an appropriate title because I can’t imagine ever having this same feeling of respect and admiration if I were on the other side, Apple. They may have a clean UI and brilliant marketing, but they severely lack on innovation and a true community. They will never have that. Be sure you understand and respect that.

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Thank you!

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Marketing Matters….


I try very hard to write about Android, but not sound like a fanboi idiot spouting nonsense – I try. I keep my ear to the ground to see what other things are happening in the mobile world… and I also try and point out others strengths or Android’s weaknesses.

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This morning I got slapped in the face with one of those glaringly obvious weaknesses of Android… which coincidently is the strong point of Apple – *drum roll* the Marketing.

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Android Police is a great site. If you do not read them now, check them out. They ran a brief article this morning that captured a great example of my concerns. I’ll break it down, but here is their full article:

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To summarize, the author noted a Best Buy ad on TV at the break of a very popular show (FYI, Breaking Bad is amazing). It was touting the speed and network reliability of Verizon, while showing off Android. Well, that sounds great doesn’t it? Nagh.

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The problem? The Android device shown was ROAMING! Seriously?!?!

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Hey world… come buy this phone that is roaming on the supposed best network… oh, it also does not have a full battery in the ad, must drain a lot…. It also is showcasing the crap Verizon bloat… not the potential amazing apps that you can get from the Market. Nope, they feel people want VZ Navigator & V Cast Music. OMG!!

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This made me so mad. Not only does it make Verizon and Android look bad, but I realized I could be getting paid a lot more money doing the job that the producer of this ad has. EVERYONE knows that when you display a product you want to market, you put it in the best form possible. Apple certainly knows that. Apple could duct tape a keyboard to a brick, call it an iBrick and sell it.

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For comparisons sake, every Apple ad I have ever seen has greatly annoyed me…. but left me impressed. They have full batteries, they have full signal, and they actually show the device DOING SOMETHING. How many Android commercials have left you impressed because of the phone DOING SOMETHING? I can only think of a couple, and those are Samsung touting the Galaxy line – they seem to get it.

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Alright, getting winded…. My point is this. One of the big setbacks of Android is that Google can’t control their own marketing. Their product has each manufacturer doing their own thing – leaving a very non-cohesive branding of Android. Forget the way over-hyped fragmentation of the OS…. It is the fragmentation in the marketing that is a real issue. I want to punch a person who says they got the latest “Droid” phone. But, that’s great marketing by Motoroloa.

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To the average person, I wonder how these ads come across. You see one Android phone… then you see another that appears completely different. You see roaming and battery drain…. Then you see an Apple ad that makes it look like it fell from Heaven. Which one do you think the average person is going to lean towards?

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I wish Google could do the marketing for Android. Have you seen the Chrome commercials? They are brilliant. Those commercials leave you thinking; wow… this is a great product. Roaming does not.

Is Apple Better Than Android?


The user interface (UI) is the space where interaction between humans and machines occurs. The goal of interaction between a human and a machine at the user interface is effective operation and control of the machine, and feedback from the machine which aids the operator in making operational decisions.

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This is the definition from Wikipedia. I am bringing this up again for a few reasons… I am too tired and concerned to talk about patents. I believe this is something Google and Manufacturers need to pay better attention to. I also received a tweet from a very popular writer on Mobile Tech topics.

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He sent a generic tweet that he uses Android (phone) and Android/WebOS (tablets), but when someone asked for a recommendation, he responded with “iPhone” or “iPad.”

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I admitted to the iPad suggestion – I’ve openly bashed Honeycombs UI. It really is not ready for mainstream… but why an iPhone over an Android phone? We have better hardware (similarly priced phones) and better (or the same) networks… I just didn’t get it. I asked him for the logic and if he just “assumed people are dumb?”

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His response was that these people just want to use their phone… this made me sit back and think. Do people really have a better experience with an iPhone over an Android if it’s merely being used as a phone (because anyone interested in customizing has no argument – Android is better)?

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Both seem to have a power button, both seem to have icons for the Phone and Contacts. Both have the ability to easily download apps (I believe the Android version is better)…. I don’t get it. What makes the iPhone better for a user with no interest in development/ROMs/rooting?

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It’s the polish of the UI.

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There is nothing iPhone can do that Android cannot. But when the icons and graphics look pretty, it’s amazing what the perceived value is. It’s just like the Apple marketing – eye catching and cleverly done. I will give nothing but praise to Apple here – they are the absolute best at making their product look… well, better than it is.

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Android has been out long enough to where this should be a moot point. It’s not evolving though, not fast enough anyway. I’m hopeful that Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) will remedy this.  Google I/O honestly did not provide enough of a glimpse, so my faith is blindly guided by the positive hype that surrounded it – and it somehow helping the fragmentation issue of Android.

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Before I get too far down that road (getting side-tracked), I wanted to ask you… what makes for a good UI in your eyes?

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Is it pretty buttons… fancy-smancy animations or is it just common-sense knowing what/where to press? I picked up Android having not owned a phone for several years prior. That may surprise a lot of you…. I actually enjoyed the fact I could remember peoples phone #’s. I was in college at the time, so I used AOL IM (wow) and my feet to actually have interactions.  I was basically a Grandpa when I got my first smartphone… I say that because there was nothing challenging to me about navigating the G1. It was clear to me how it worked and I had never even held a smartphone.

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Oh, Menu > Settings for settings… Oh, either press or long-press on something… oh, the notification bar pulls down to show me notifications… Oh, the Market has apps I can download by pressing “Install.” Honestly, what is so hard about this?

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Nothing. Which leads me to believe Apple’s success comes from crazy good PR and pretty icons. And those are two things Android lacks. Say what you will about custom UI’s like Sense, TouchWiz, etc… but you can’t deny they bring polish and features that should just be a part of Android.

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How do I know I am right? The most popular (over 500 million installs) custom ROM out there, CM7 incorporates a lot of these custom UI’s features. One of my favorite features of CM7 is the Notification bar and the toggle switches – unmistakably inspired by TouchWiz. Ironic that most of those guys bash Samsung, but that’s another rant. I do wish they would incorporate the Smart Dialer… it’s so incredibly nice to start typing the first few #s / letters and it sort and show your results.

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Let me know what you think. Is there more than the UI that accounts for Apple’s success? Does it really do things better? Am I completely off my rocker and a total Google Fanboi? I really want to know what you think about the lack of effort shown by Google to make the UI better too.

Apple Got a HUGE Patent, Or Did They….


A Toilet That Removes Waste With A Microwave - US Patent 5,276,924.

So did you hear the news? Apple got an incredibly broad patent that will allow them to collect royalties from anyone who makes a touch-screen? I mean… it’s all over the media. It must be true, right?

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No. No, it is not true.

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This week the US Patent and Trademark Office awarded Apple a patent for touch screen functionality. This patent was filed in 2007. I encourage you to take a look at the full patent here. Take note of the Claims section.

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So why am I not all up in a tizzy about this? For one, if it was SO incredibly broad, every manufacturer is going to be crawling up the idiot who granted this patent. The other, it’s not as broad as seemingly every site makes it out to be. You’d know that if you read the Claims though.

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So what does it cover? Well, from my non-law degree Apple-hating self, it reads that the patent covers the recognition of more than one finger used as an input for scrolling around content in its entirety or a portion of a frame. It does NOT cover the interface or multi-touch.

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Summarized: The patent is ONLY about SCROLLING a section WITHIN a page, and using a different number of fingers. Example: a scrollable Google map inside a scrollable webpage. If you allowed where one finger could do both, then you WOULD infringe on this patent.

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Here is an excerpt from PC Mag… remember, don’t freak out. This crap is wrong.

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It gets quite a bit more technical in its full form, but there’s one thing patent experts consulted by PCMag agree on — Apple has been awarded an incredibly broad patent that could prove to be hugely problematic for other makers of capacitive touch-screen smartphones. 

Apple’s patent essentially gives it ownership of the capacitive multitouch interface the company pioneered with its iPhone, said one source who has been involved in intellectual property litigation on similar matters.

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Now, lets go crazy and assume that all these sites claiming BROAD SCOPE… PAY APPLE OUT OF THE A$$ were right (again, they’re not). All a competitor would have to do is show this technology existed prior to Apple trying to patent them. It was not their intellectual property, cool. Okay.. so did it? How about the 2 minutes it took me to search Youtube and find this amazing video – shot in 1991!!!

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My final thoughts… all of these patent lawsuits are harmful (Nokia, Samsung, Apple, Nokie, everyone has a battle going on now). It is harmful to a consumer, and it is harmful to innovation. Imagine if Apple did have this BROAD SCOPE patent. Do you think companies like Motorola, LG and HTC would want to tango with Apple lawyers or pay huge royalties to Apple? Heck no… Look how far we have come in such a short time-line of Android… I mean, it’s just known that if you buy a phone its going to be outdated in a matter of months by the latest-greatest.

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Don’t you think these patent battles playing out behind closed doors with their settlements and loyalties do more harm than good? I don’t blame the companies… sadly, this is how things are done now. But I do know that it’s wrong and something should be done. What do you think?

Greg Hughes – You’ve Been Kanged by Apple


Did Apple generate ANYTHING new or revolutionary at the WWDC? No. We knew that. Something you may have not known though is that, aside from the Android Notification Kang, their next best feature they were missing was stolen from a college student in the UK, Greg Hughes.

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Say what? Yeap. Apple Kang-a-rama. Greg submitted his app months before WWDC, but it was rejected by the Apple Store. It was not the common email developers almost expect from Apple when their app is rejected, Greg got a call. He was told the app did not meet their security standards and was asked to send in his resume. Odd.

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So, Greg goes and sells his app on the Cydia store (around $500,000 worth of selling might I add). To his, and the worlds surprise, Apple releases this several months after his app was rejected as their own (insert colorful adjective) new feature. To add insult to injury, the icons are extremely similar.

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I can write a book on what I think of Apple and this situation. I would much prefer hearing it from you, so at least I know I am not alone in my thoughts. This information came from the Huffington Post and I was told about it via XDA.

Android’s… err.. I mean Apple’s iOS 5


I will keep this short. Facts. Apple sues everybody under the sun. This includes Samsung for being too similar to Apple, even down to the boxing of their products. There is a current lawsuit filed. I think we all know this and have started to accept it.

 

Enter, irony.

 

Unless you were under a rock, you saw at #WWDC Apple unveil iOS 5. I like to call it Android 1.5. I mean, their coolest feature was something Android had from Day 1 – The Notification Bar.

 

I will try very hard to compose myself here. It’s just hard to swallow just a large irony pill and not gag a bit.

 

Truth be known though… the thing that probably annoys me more than anyting….

 

Android has barely evolved the Notification Bar. Is there a reason in 3 years this INCREDIBLE feature has not had much added benefit or a better UI? Apple did this from launch. Look at it, it’s beautiful.

 

So, is it the irony, the Apple-Haterade, or just being mad at Google for not doing it better first?

 

Nagh. I tried to play Devils Advocate. Watch this video. How can you not hate that? This is an SNL skit waiting to happen.