As many of you know, I have been a vocal supporter of the Google Android platform. While my support for Android remains stable, it is, regretably, showing signs of stress.
Since picking up my first Android device nearly a year ago, I have noticed, and read about, a number of little buggy things cropping up with the Android operating system. Now, we are beginning to see Android-based tablets coming to market. First was the Samsung Galaxy Tab, running Android 2.2. Today, people can pick up the Motorola XOOM. In the lead up to the launch of the XOOM, Google gave quite a song-and-dance about the tweaks to Android for tablet computers, in the form of the latest operating system release — Honeycomb. Like many techies, I was anxious to see the improvements and, admittedly, have viable alternatives to the iPad. (I think good options from Apple, Google, HP and Microsoft makes the entire device category better.)
Sadly, the comments in nearly every article, blog and video, say the same thing about Honeycomb. “It’s nice, but not quite ready.” What the…?! Check out this unboxing video by Kevin Tofel at the tech site GigoOm.
I cannot imagine for a minute that Apple would release a product that wasn’t ready for primtime. Well…ok…notwithstanding the whole iPhone 4 antenna design issue. You get what I’m saying. I want Google to succeed with Android.
Basically, though, it’s as if Google is content with releasing software in Beta form. That has been the company’s M.O. for some time with its web-based applications, where nearly everything is in a perpetual Beta state. However, for an operating system that powers mobile devices and tablets to be so shaky out of the box? That’s unacceptable. Look, I understand that no technological product will be perfect out of the box; but how about delivering something near the mark? Motorola and the other device manufacturers should demand more from Google. Unfortunately, in the race to catch, or beat, Apple, companies are willing to make compromises and cut corners just to have a product on the shelf. When you’re asking consumers to plunk down $800 for a tablet computer, it had better be more than an experiment, where end users are merely Beta testers.
Come on Google…do better!
The Samsung Fascinate will be released tomorrow, but a quick stop by the Verizon Wireless site revealed a Buy-One-Get-One-Free (BOGO) offer.
Now I am sure that Amazon and some other retailers will offer steep discounts on the Fascinate for new customers. (The T-Mobile Vibrant recently was offered for just a penny.) However, if you’re an existing VZW customer, and are renewing you contract, this BOGO offer might appeal to you if you have two lines, or are considering adding a line.
You may have seen this ad in the past couple of days.
Well, the “coming soon” timeframe has been clarified. Verizon’s version of the Samsung Galaxy S device, the Fascinate, will be released this Thursday, Sept. 9. However, pre-orders are currently being taken at Best Buy, and on WednesdayVerizon will begin selling the Fascinate online.
Verizon Wireless is the fourth wireless carrier in the US to add a Samsung Galaxy S device to it’s lineup. AT&T was first to feature a Galaxy S device — the Captivate. T-Mobile followed with the Vibrant, and Sprint recently released the Epic 4G, which features a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Interestingly, or surprisingly, the Fascinate does not fall under Verizon’s Droid moniker for it’s Android devices. Verizon’s Fascinate is very similar to the Vibrant on T-Mobile, in terms of the form factor. (See my previous post to see images of the Vibrant.) One major difference is the addition of an LED flash. That’s the not least part of the equation.
Is this the Android device you’ve been waiting for on Verizon? If you pick one up, please share your impressions in the comments.
Tablet-style computers have been around for some time, but, as they did with mobile phones, Apple took the tablet category to a completely different level with this beautiful piece of hardware.
Subsequent to the release of the iPad, other companies industry has been, rather transparently, scrambling to produce a competitive, compelling product. HP appeared to be closest to releasing a Windows-based tablet, dubbed the “Slate,” but that project has been shut down. Rumors are flying about Verizon Wireless launching an Android tablet on “Black Friday.” There’s debate about whether it will be a tablet produced by Motorola or HTC. Odds are in favor of Motorola at this point. There have also been whispers about Samsung expanding its Galaxy line from the recently released “S” line of Android devices to a tablet. Pictures and over-the-shoulder video of the Samsung tablet have been leaking lately. Then, today, this popped up on Samsung’s website.
The model obscurely shown is a 7″ tablet. As seen above, it will be running Android 2.2. Apparently, it will also feature a front-facing camera for video chat, Flash capable, a Swype-enable keyboard, GPS, HD video playback. With apps like Kindle or nook, this will obviously be touted as an e-reader as well. I’ve read that Samsung may release 7″ and 10″ tablets. The official word about that, and clarification on all the specs for the Galaxy Tablet(s) will be revealed on September 2.
Sidebar commentary: I am glad that Samsung appears to be going with “tablet” as opposed to “pad.” I, for one, think iPad is a goofy name, and could stand to be spared from a slew of competing pads on the market.
I’ve recently discovered a rather unexpected perk of my office — I work with some smartphone early adopters. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was able to do a hands-on impression of the iPhone 4 because of the graciousness of a colleague and friend. My techie partner-in-crime in my office ordered the Nexus One on launch day back in January. We have enjoyed many conversations and shared numerous links to articles on Android devices, Ubuntu, all things Google, Windows and Apple. Really, we chat just about everything in the world of technology. As soon as I picked up my Droid Incredible and Droid X, he was the first person I wanted to show and discuss Well, today he served up the treat. He brought in the recently released Samsung Galaxy S, dubbed the Vibrant for T-Mobile.
There had been rumors about a new Samsung smartphone for a while, but the details of the Galaxy S came forward at the CITA conference in earlier this year. What we saw in March was a device that looked curiously like an iPhone. It had a 4” screen, a slim body and boasted speed.
Interestingly enough, what was previewed at that conference turns out to be a pretty close to the retail version of T-Mobile Vibrant and soon-to-be-released Fascinate on Verizon. Actually, first out of the Galaxy S gate was the Samsung Captivate on AT&T. The Captivate has a slightly different body than the other Galaxy S devices, and looks more like a BlackBerry Tour. The Vibrant was released days later on T-Mobile. Though not a well-kept secret, Sprint officially announced the Epic 4G (a Galaxy S with a slider keyboard). Click here for a learn more about the entire line of Galaxy S devices.
I didn’t have a tremendous amount of time to check out the Vibrant today, but two things really stood out. First, the size and form factor. There’s no other way to say this. The Vibrant looks like an iPhone 3G/3GS — front and back. The overall shape, metal band, curved back and many of the visual features of the user interface all scream iPhone. The second thing that really stands out about the Vibrant is the screen. Simply put, it’s gorgeous. The Super AMOLED screen presents amazingly pure color with plenty of depth. The colors and blacks really pop.
Aside from these things here are some other things that I think are noteworthy.
I didn’t really get a chance to use a lot of the features of the Vibrant because my friend’s SIM card was in another phone. Nevertheless, I think the Samsung looks like it’s going to be a formidable competitor to other smartphones. The screen is large, but seems to be in a comfortable middle ground between the iPhone’s 3.5, a number of Android devices with 3.7” screens on the iPhones and a number of Android devices and the 4.3” screens on the Droid X and EVO-4G. The Vibrant is easier to hold than the Droid X and EVO-4G. If you’re in the market for a smartphone on T-Mobile, you may want to give the Vibrant a good look.