A number of my friends seem to think that I am anti-Apple. Nothing could be further from the truth (well…outside my disdain for the very restrictive ecosystem). I love the design and reliability of Apple products, though I don’t own anything made by Apple. A while back, people (read Android users) were doing cartwheels when the so-called iPhone 4 “Death Grip,” also known as Antenna-gate made headlines. Consumer Reports pulled its recommendation. Store made the nightly news on major news networks. Apple denied there was an issue. Steve Job was incredulous and annoyed by the suggestion that Apple may have produced a lemon. Eventually Apple yielded and offered rubber bands/bumpers/cases for the iPhone 4 to remedy the reception issues. All has been, relatively, quiet about the death grip since the case give away.
Microsoft finally released its Windows Phone 7 devices in the US market. It took less than a week for Antenna-gate, Part 2 to surface. The following video by Advanced Safety Devices demonstrates the death grip on the HTC’s Windows Phone 7 device, the HD7 on T-Mobile.
I hope that, by posting this video, the view of my neutrality on products and companies will be salvaged, it not restored.
For as long as I can remember, Microsoft has not been known for delivering clever ads. Apple, shoot…even Gateway, have been at the head of the class fresh advertising. Along comes the release of Windows Phone 7, and mabye — just maybe — Microsoft has turned the corner toward creativity. Really.
It seems like an eternity, almost two years, since Microsoft talked about launching the next generation of Windows Mobile. Since the first whispers, the update has taken a dramatic turn, including a rebranding — Windows Phone 7. At long last, it appears the launch is drawing near. The official word is still ambiguously just “fall,” though I think we should get a hard date pretty soon.
Almost daily, little blips pop up about various features of Windows Phone 7. Lately, I’ve seen some glimpses of the hardware from LG, Samsung and HTC. However, you know things are getting real when you see full-production ads surfacing.
The video has a Lost smoke monster thing going on. Let’s hope more interesting ads are in the works. In the meantime, Microsoft has a really nice website that demonstrates the different features of Windows Phone 7. Click here to check it out.
I’m talking about Windows Mobile 7 (WinMo 7). As many of you know, I have been eyeballing Apple computers and Google Android-powered mobile phones. However, my haunted Zune issues notwithstanding, I am still willing to give Microsoft a shot in the personal computer, personal music player and mobile phone arenas. I upgraded my Toshiba laptop with Windows 7 about a month ago and have been impressed with the improvements in system performance and stability. If these improvements carry over to WinMo 7, there’s reason to be encouraged.
Fairly recently, I decided to hold off on purchasing the Zune HD because there were rumors floating around that Microsoft was finally going to release WinMo 7. Microsoft put out a WinMo 6.5 a few months ago that, by all accounts, appears to be just a Band-Aid to add some features and attempt to keep up with the exponentially-changing mobile OS landscape. Just yesterday, Samsung announced a new device call Wave, running on a new mobile OS platform called Bada. (Don’t hate me. I didn’t make up the stupid name.)
Those familiar with me, know I am huge fan of clean design, and smooth fonts. I’ve got to say, the user interface (UI) looks is pretty!
Images: Microsoft News Center
Here’s a video first look at Windows Mobile 7, presented at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
If you really want to get your nerd on about Windows Mobile 7, check out this 22-minute video from Microsoft’s Channel 9 site.
It must be said that this Windows Mobile OS update is way overdue. A good number even question whether this OS upgrade is too little, too late for Microsoft. A good question. The answer, I think, remains to be seen. The proliferation of iPhones and iPods, and now Android OS run devices such as the Nexus One, Droid, Hero, Eris, etc. make it a tough smartphone hill to climb. (A hill Microsoft used to dominate, no less.) And, unfortunately, it will be some time before consumers get their hands on any WinMo 7-powered devices. According to the information released from Microsoft, WinMo 7 devices won’t be available until “Holiday 2010.” We could all hope that means one of the various national holidays between now and the end of the year, but I think we all know it probably means sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s a shame. It makes me wonder whether Windows has really finished the OS, and it’s just dangling some sexy teasers out in front us. As the expression goes, time will tell.
As for me? As much as my interest is piqued, particularly with the integration of Zune features with the phone, I am probably not willing to wait that long. Other than the Zune subscription-based music, most of the songs I have are MP3s, which can be played on any device. I am much less interested in the interface itself (iTunes, Zune Marketplace), and simply would like a device where I can successfully integrate my needs — phone, e-mail, calendar, decent camera and music. I rely pretty heavily on Google applications for e-mail, calendar and even documents, so the Android phones looking more and more attractive.
If you have experience and a preference for one of the Mobile OS platforms, let me know. I am particularly interested to hear impressions from people using Windows Mobile devices, as well as those who have moved from an iPhone, WinMo or BlackBerry to an Android or WebOS (Palm) device.
I try so hard to give Microsoft a chance. Though nearly all my photography and creative arts friends urge me to get a MacBook Pro, I’ve been hanging in there with my Windows Vista-running Toshiba laptop. (I would say notebook, but this big 17″ widescreen Jimmy takes up my whole lap!) Likewise, my friends look at my sideways when I talk about lusting for a Motorola Droid, Android OS, smartphone. “Just get an iPhone,” they say. Finally, I frequently have answer the question, “What’s a Zune?” when I pull out my personal media player (PMP).
Now, let me clarify that I am, in no way, a Microsoft-fan boy or a stockholder. The use of Microsoft-driven products, quite honestly, has mostly been more about economics. The laptops and phones are less expensive that Apple alternatives.
That didn’t necessarily hold true, however, for the Zune. I picked up the 120gig Zune for the same price as a comparable iPod. My son has a Zune, too. What attracted me to the Zune was the large, bright screen, sleek design. The biggest draw, t hough, was the Zune Marketplace subscription. For $15 a month, I get unlimited downloads of music. It should be noted that this music is only available as long as you have a Zune Marketplace subscription. You also get 10 “free” downloads to keep each month. I have been using the Zune for just about a year, and enjoy the access to unlimited music. Even if I lose it when my subscription ends, I was able to enjoy a lot of music for $15 a month. Not a bad deal.
Sorry, back to the point of this post. While I have enjoyed the Zune and the service, the problems with the hardware has started to creep up on me. First my son’s Zune started to act up, and eventually just died on him. I sent it back to the Microsoft and they sent us a new one. So far, so good with the new unit. (Forget that he dropped it and cracked the screen. Argh!) Now, my Zune has been acting up. First it was strange spikes of the volume, and the occasional inability to properly use the direction pad. Recently, I’ve noticed something very odd.
What the…?!!? This weird, phantom menu scrolling renders the device nearly useless until it’s shut down and restarted. I have repeatedly checked the WiFi settings to make sure the Zune wasn’t being affected by stray or overlapping signals from another device. No dice. A little Google search revealed quite a few people experiencing the same problems. Ugh.
So much for considering the Zune HD, which was launched a couple of months ago. I am really starting to think that anything attached to Microsoft operating systems are doomed for failure. I expect that when I pay $300 for a PMP or $1200 for a laptop, it’s going to work out of the box and for the foreseeable future. I refuse to become a Kool-aid sipping, Apple cultist, but there’s something to be said about paying for quality. You buy cheap, you buy twice.
I may just be looking at a bundle of Apple products in the near future. Not because I am trying to be stylish or part of the in-crowd. No, I am likely headed to an Apple store because, by all that I’ve read and heard, their products just work.
My very close friend, Dotch, has been an Apple/Mac aficionado since college. I still get a hearty chuckle reflecting on him clearing space and polishing the corner of the dorm desk for his first Mac. Over the years, he’s stayed true to the brand, and I’ve never once heard him cursing at his computer.
Fast forward to the last few weeks with my (knock on wood) trusty Toshiba 17″ wide screen Satellite laptop. The machine itself has been humming along for nearly two years. What’s been giving me increasingly giving me fits, though, is the buggy Windows architecture. (I’m running on Windows Vista Home Premium.) It begin with an occasional hiccup here and there with program compatibility. I bought a few Windows Vista magazines and the tips provide in them seemed to tweak out the goofy stuff. Recently, though, I’ve been nagging little problems. I could see if this was a one off thing. Maybe something happened that my system didn’t like. However, the system alerts has been showing up with some frequency. It seems like nearly every time I point my cursor down to my system tray, I get the hour glass. A couple double clicks later…this stupid alert.
What the…? COMEON!!!!!
Notwithstanding Dotch’s testimonials for the last 20 years about Apple products, I’ve been relatively neutral on the platform issue. I’m not really one for peer pressure or so easily enamored with Apple products. Sure, they’re pretty, but, heretofore, had not discerned a difference in utility between the two platforms . So when I’ve receive a distinct, almost incredulous, “WHAT? You don’t have a Mac?” from follow photographers, I brushed it off. I enjoyed a quiet chortle, observing that all these Mac owners are running programs–Photoshop or Lightroom–that run on PCs in lieu of Apple’s Aperture. What’s the big deal?
At the sake of being redundant, this…
…is becoming a BIGdeal!
Starting out in this business is costly enough with the expense of “photography equipment.” However, as I acknowledged in a previous post, in the age of digital photography, a computer is just as much photography equipment as are the camera bodies, lenses, lights and filters. I’m a very patient person, but I have a low threshold for equipment that doesn’t perform as designed. I can’t blame Toshiba, really. It’s the unstable Windows OS that I’m learning deserves all the criticism heaped upon it by Apple and countless numbers of technology writers. After all these years, I think I’ve reached the end of my rope with PCs. A MacBook Pro just may find a home on my lap in the near future.