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 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.