Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Android, FTW

Last night as we wrapped our weekly AndroidGuys podcast I was reminded why I prefer Google's Android OS and methodology to anything else.

Back in 2005, I was deeply entrenched in Microsoft's Live strategy, anything BlackBerry, and Microsoft Windows XP. Until 2006, that is when I started working for a small open source middleware company named JBoss based out of Atlanta, GA. My experiences at JBoss then Red Hat, showed me what open source is. Then how it goes about changing development and business models for consumers and enterprises. The main draw for me though was choice. Choice to use software or not use software, choice to sometimes pay or not pay for something as a customer decides where the value is for his specific needs.

Then I heard that Google had purchased Andy Rubin's Android OS and was said to create a mobile OS. The Apple iPhone had just appeared on the scene and it looked like a non-starter to me because its lack of ability, the seemingly closed development, and the perception that "there is no happy partner" when it comes to Apple. Oh well, I marched on with my BlackBerry and all was well until I heard that T-Mobile was going to develop an Android phone with Google to release in the U.S. I started reading all of the blogs on Android that I could find, around ten back in 2007 (AndroidGuys.com was one of those early ones), and looked forward to the big day.

Fast forward to October, 2008 when I got my first HTC G1. By then Apple had changed the mobile landscape with the AppStore and Android had followed suit with the ingeniously named, Android Market. While the G1 was subpar hardware by comparison, the physical device was not my goal but Android 1.0. No, to me it was a mobile computer running Linux that created an almost instant modder community and fan base.

Now after owning many Android devices they sit alongside a few Apple and Microsoft ones in my collection but without being a "hater" of the others I still see the value of choice in Android. Whether Google ever decides to change the OS and/or their way of developing and delivering the software, I do not know. But until then I will indeed be an Android Guy.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mobile Ramblings

Wow! I read the Engadget review of the newest iPhone and I have to say that I am duly impressed. Apple, once again, has raised the bar for all comers and will continue to do so. But as an Android Guy I am even more happy in that it will continue to be the standard to which all other mobile smartphones will be compared.

So if iPhone is the bar then Competition has to do one better. Advantage: Us. We get to choose from Apple, Android, RIM, and WinMO platform devices according to what fits our own wants and needs.

Never mind for now how the hardware and software is developed and or much developers do/don't get paid (that's for another day and another post), but consider the end product. Apple has become THE design studio for all things mobile but as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The newest crop of HTC and Motorola phones are also very elegant and industrial in their respective devices like the HD2 and Droid 1.

What I am looking for in nextgen mobile is not a desktop experience on a 4" device but rather one that seamlessly fits into my life without compromising usability and does not force me to carry around middle devices like my iPad and a netbook. Flash and HTML5 will work themselves out by natural selection but I am still trying to figure out if apps, web, or both will win and how the Cloud will play in a new world of one and two GHz mobile processors.

I predict that local apps will prevail with data and authentication to live in the Cloud and the browser will get better audio/video capabilities. Once people get their Hulu and Netflix fixes satisfied on mobile then the great debate of mobile Flash will subside and will leave Farmville as the most played game out and about.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Too many toys?

At the risk of sounding materialistic, I really like, nay I love gadgets. In fact it is an internal struggle I have where I know all of this stuff doesn't matter, won't last, and can ultimately become a god or little gods if I'm not careful.

I can safely say that my faith is firmly rooted in God, my love is for my family, and my professional passion for open source and Ubuntu Linux specifically is still strong.

By the way, I heard that the new Verizon Droid X is coming out on July 2......

My new HD2

OK, so I took the plunge this past weekend as T-Mobile was running the "Father" of all sales to celebrate Father's Day weekend. All phones were free for new family plans and existing lines either had substantial discount or were free as well in exchange for two more years.

After admiring the HTC HD2 from afar, I finally made up my mind and called my local T-Mobile retail store and asked for them to set one aside for me "just in case" I had time to come in on Saturday. I had only seen one before and played with it briefly in the same store but was very impressed with the 4.3" screen and the build quality of the device. As far as I can tell, the iPhone 2, 3, and 4 have nothing on HTC when they set their mind to building an world class phone.

After signing the paperwork on Saturday it has been a few days and I am still glad I got it but it has a few flaws that have been well documented mostly blamed on Windows Mobile 6.5. The Sense UI is fine bPublish Postut I have had problems with the Opera browser, e-mail integration for Gmail and my work IMAP account, as well as the lack of Google integrated apps (but that's why I have five other Android phones, whatev).

I mainly use it as a portable WiFi router. Since T-Mobile is one of the last bastions along with Sprint for unlimited 3G data it works great as a mobile hotspot for my iPad and netbook. Since T-Mobile's coverage is really good in major metropolitan areas it usually is not an issue when traveling and you would be hard pressed to not find a McDonald's and Starbucks for free WiFi for ATT DSL customers like me.

Well there you have it, another toy but this one is highly useful and was definitely the right price ;-)