Andy Ihnatko, a respected technology writer, just posted several thousand words on why he switched to Android. Here are several hundred on why I would almost never recommended anyone purchase an Android phone.
If I get a call or text from someone asking what phone they should buy, I immediately know a few things:
They have good taste.
They’re not a power user. None of my geek friends need to ask.
They have limited knowledge of phones and don’t care to do intensive research.
They’re probably going to call me for tech support at some point.
They don’t care about what’s coolest, or the question might have been, “What do you think of the Galaxy SIII?”
This leads me to believe they want something that will just work. They don’t want to think about battery life or choosing the right [insert category here] app. This is Apple’s strong suit. By controlling nearly everything, they’re able to get the highest quality components and feel confident their phones will be reliable. They also have a clear, if waning, edge when it comes to apps.
While Apple certainly makes choices that aren’t right for everyone, accepting their point of view is less stressful than trying to uncover a solution. This is the opposite of Ihnatko’s take:
If I don’t like the way my iPhone works, I don’t hesitate: I search online. I can count on finding an answer. Not a way to make my iPhone work the way I’d like it to; rather, a Perfectly Reasonable Explanation of why Apple believes that the iPhone should work that way, and why it refuses to let me override the default behavior.
If I don’t like the way my Android works and I look online for solutions, I can usually find a way to change it.
In my experience, most people—at least the ones who ask for my advice—don’t bother to dig deep for solutions. They try the first search result or call a friend or Verizon or just go back to playing Fruit Ninja. If they were expert Googlers, they wouldn’t have come to me with such a broad question.
We are now past the novelty stage of smartphones. The average user wants to get technology out of the way and start seeing friends’ photos. Saving a couple hundred bucks or picking the phone that’s in stock isn’t worth it. Buy the one that’s going to work for another 3-4 years, is easy to set up, and is used by most of your friends. For Ihnatko, Android fits the bill and he’s probably ahead of the curve here. Today, for the people in my circle, the right phone is made by Apple.
I need another device like I need a hole in the head, but I keep coming back to this. It’s a monochrome tablet device that uses eInk technology and a stylus. It looks great and it’s only $99.
I’m making an effort to attend meetings without my laptop, but I take notes much faster on my laptop than on a phone. With a uni-tasking device like the NoteSlate, I could capture my notes without the computer (and they have a plan to add OCR soon). It’s true, I might not use it, but it’s only ninety-nine bucks. I think it’s worth the risk to have something that looks so awesome.
A month or so ago, Microsoft released the Kinect, a device that tracks your movement and let’s you control a game with your body. It’s spectacular technology and I have no interest in buying one. The games are subpar, it’s $150, and I actually want it more for non-game uses. Controlling my computer or aspects of my house via specific body movements is far more interesting.
On that note, here are my 4 favorite Kinect hacks. People quickly figured out how to make use of the thousands of IR light blasts and their experiments give some hints to future uses of the technology.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
This is my favorite hack of the bunch. If they’re not already using similar technology in Hollywood, they will be. [via waxy]
3D Video Capture with Kinect
This is the first hack that I saw and it blew my mind. If you had four cameras mounted in the center of your ceiling, you’d have complete coverage and be able to explore the space in 3D. It’s only a matter of time before high-end real estate picks up on this and let’s me view a demo unit live.
Optical Camouflage Demo with Kinect
This video goes on way too long, but it’s an invisibility cloak! We’ve discussed having an always-on video conference between our NY and SF offices. I’d love to turn on a real invisibility mode when I don’t want to be bothered. [via Engadget]
Interactive Puppet Prototype with Xbox Kinect
You only need to watch a few minutes of this, because you quickly realize that puppetry is going to get a lot more exciting. Imagine going to Disney World and watching actors perform a live, animated version of Toy Story. [via Ze]
I’m a little late on posting this, but Gizmodo does a very thorough job of explaining exactly what Liquidmetal (the company Apple recently acquired) can do. If you really don’t feel like reading all that text, this sentence sums it up nicely:
To sum it up: Liquidmetal is useful anywhere you could imagine an extremely hard, somewhat flexible, easily moldable piece of stuff to be useful.
Matt Buchanan of Gizmodo explains how the recently announced Bloom Energy Server works. In short, it’s a new type of fuel cell that will allow business and home owners to cheaply generate their own energy (bonus fact: it runs at 1800°F!). It’s still unclear if they can get the cost low enough for consumers and it is not carbon neutral, but it’s considered a major breakthrough. NYT’s Green Inc. blog has a more general rundown of the device.
Anil launches a new site to encourage everyone to reconsider buying the latest and greatest. This is something I can get behind. Everyone, let's make an Earth Day Resolution to hold onto our gadgets a little bit longer.
The link is to a video, but the NYT has more. This reader is built on flexible plastic, unlike existing models, but the housing is still rigid. It's far from perfect, but it's a step in the right direction. It'll be out next year with a color version to follow in 2010.