Posts for Tag: windows mobile

How Mark Ruffalo and coffee showed me the value of Twitter over Google

I went to grab a coffee this afternoon at Blue Bottle in Oakland and the barista let me know a celeb was in the area - Mark Ruffalo. I have no real opinion about him as an actor. I think I've seen two movies he was in and thought he didn't add nor took away from my enjoyment of said movies. However, I'm always curious when movies or TV shows shoot in Oakland (Moneyball, Matrix Reloaded, etc) so I went to rusty-trusty Google and typed in "Mark Ruffalo Oakland". Nothing remotely relevant came up. Tried a few variations, adjusted some search parameters (only searches within 24 hours - one week) but still nothing that explains why Mark Ruffalo was in Oakland. I then popped over to Twitter and typed in the same keywords "Mark Ruffalo" and got these results:

As you can see, the 5th result down mentioned Mark Ruffalo and Sungevity, a solar startup down the street. Clicked on the link and BAM!, Mark Ruffalo sitting in a Tesla Roadster wearing a Sungevity hat. Looks like he was in the area not to shoot a movie but to pop into Sungevity for something or other.

This brings up my second instance where Twitter succeeded where Google (and other methods) failed to solve a problem/query. Over the July 4th holiday, I wanted to know if Blue Bottle was open on Monday, the 4th. Calling their number didn't help because it was a standard phone greeting offering hours of service during normal weeks but not holidays. Same for their website and any search I did about Blue Bottle and the 4th of July yielded no mention of hours. I then went over to Twitter and found Blue Bottle's account and BAM!, there you go.

Now these are just two specific instances and of course, I still do most of my general search on Google but it's been a long time since I last found the answer to a query outside of Google. It's a death by a thousand cuts for them as Facebook, Twitter, and others start chipping away at their defenses. Google looked unassailable, much like Microsoft 10-15 years ago. Today, there's only one product of Microsoft's that I use, Office. I've switched from Windows to Mac for my hardware, Windows Mobile to iPhone for my cell, and even Exchange to Google Apps for my businesses. The endless cycle of rise and fall in tech is unrelenting and no one is immune.

Why can't Microsoft or Google just build a really really really great phone? Software isn't enough.

Windows Phone 7 or WinPho7 (sounds like a tech noodle restaurant) launched today. A definite step up from Windows Mobile but still not enough to make people jump from Android or iPhone. Microsoft is definitely looking for the portion of the population that hasn't made the move to a smartphone yet but unfortunately for them, so is Google and Apple.

What gives me pause about this phone is not the interface. I haven't played with one yet but it looks intuitive and has some innovative features. My issue is the hardware which interestingly enough comes from the same manufacturers of Android phones. Samsung, LG, HTC, etc. just don't make amazing phones. They all make good phones but nothing earth shattering which is what it'll take to overtake the likes of Apple. Every Android phone I've held feels cheap, big, clunky, etc. It'll probably be the same with the new WinPho7 models. The bad part is that because the operating systems need to support multiple models, there will be compromises made to the least common denominator. A recipe for making a mediocre product.

Microsoft and Google have more than enough resources to throw at great industrial design. If this is truly a key market for them then they need to develop their own phone. The money is not in software alone. Google gives away the operating system and makes money on app sales and ads. Microsoft will most likely charge a nominal licensing fee for a WinPho7 license. Apple makes nearly 60% in gross margins on the iPhone because of hardware and software. That's about $300+ per iPhone but it's not all about the money - it's about building a phone that will blow away the competition.

Blind devotion helps no company...

Nearly 10,000 iPhone users were accessing the Microsoft employee email system last year...

A Wall Street Journal article is making the rounds re: iPhone usage by Microsoft employees. The debate that's going around is whether MS employees should openly flaunt their iPhones or be more discreet. I can't really answer that since I'm not a Microsoft employee but my guy reaction is to say they shouldn't be sheepish about using a rival phone. If nothing else, this should be a wake-up call to Redmond to make a better phone so their employees wouldn't have to use iPhones.

I remember being a consultant to Apple back in the mid-90's and the team we were contracted by insisted that all work submitted to them be created on Macs. That was an excruciating experience since the Macs of the time were horrible - slow, buggy, and prone to crashes every couple of hours. It took a huge change in philosophy/management/vision for Apple to pull itself from that nightmare. Let's hope that Microsoft has the cojones to do the same. As much as I like the iPhone, I also think competition in the marketplace improves products for everyone.

Why "Whiners" are good

Jesus Diaz writes a rant over at Gizmodo re: iPhone 3G owners (currently in contract) who are pissed about not being able to get the new iPhone 3GS at the fully subsidized price. To summarize, he's calling us whiners and that we should suck it up. Here's why he's wrong.
To his point - Yes, we are in a contract we freely agreed to. Yes, the cost of the iPhone 3G was subsidized by AT&T so that we could get it at the lower price. Yes, businesses like AT&T need to make money, too. But "whining" is the market's way of telling companies like AT&T and Apple that we demand better. It's how innovation is born and how we are able to enjoy things like iPhones. AT&T should listen to its highly profitable and highly engaged customers who stick with its service despite it being subpar. Apple should listen to its loyal customers who line up to buy its products by putting pressure on AT&T or better yet, by NOT renewing its contract with AT&T and allowing all major GSM based service providers (T-Mobile and Verizon) to have access to the iPhone and thus force competition on price and service quality. Don't hate on the whiners because without us, you'd probably have to pay full price for the iPhone 3GS AND have a 2 year contract like when the original iPhone came out. Or worse still, we'd probably all be using Windows Mobile phones because no one "whined" enough and demanded a better solution.